Well, compared to one of the previous videos, this is still a bit older footage and shows the amazing progress Steffie made over the years.
Improving the Snatch or Power Snatch
There is a debate in the world of weightlifting, or better Olympic Weightlifting, whether the Overhead Squat is beneficial to improve the Snatch or the Power Snatch or whether it is detrimental.
In my experience, the majority of athletes I work with and worked with (so we are talking about athletes that are using strength training and incorporating the Olympic lifts as a means to an end and ultimately to get better at their sport, not competitive Olympic Weightlifters) have the weakest link in the entire exercise chain, when stabilizing the bar overhead towards the end of the catch phase and beginning of the recovery phase.
In my opinion, one of the most suitable exercises to train and improve this position is the Overhead Squat.
This video shows a combination of a Power Snatch and an Overhead Squat
A few words of caution
- Don’t take a weight that is too heavy!
In my experiences, a weight that is too heavy will lead to compensations, which will be sacrificed in squat depth or improper positioning of the body.
- Don’t take a weight that is too light!
Sounds contradictive to the previous point? Yes and no, sometimes I see athletes taking a weight that is so light, that even when the bar is not over the center of the body the athlete is able to hold the bar with the strength of the shoulders and arms. When that happens, you will have none of the above benefits and simply wasting your time.
How much should I Overhead Squat
In this section, I want to discuss the Overhead Squat training frequency, the Overhead Squat strength standards, the Overheat Squat to Snatch ratio, and training variables to improve strength, power and mass.
How much should I Overhead Squat in a week
The answer to that question is dependent on how you want to use and for what you want to use the Overhead Squat.
In the early stages of an athlete’s career, we use the Overhead Squat (with the Front Squat) as the cornerstone exercise for the squatting movement pattern, strictly speaking, the main squat exercise in the strength program.
In the early stages of an athlete’s career, the Overhead Squat is the main squat exercise in the strength program.
Once the athlete progresses and has consolidated the movement pattern of the squat, the program is built around Front Squats and Back Squats and I like to use the Overhead Squat in the warm-up as a warm-up exercise.
There are two main reasons for this.
- With increasing strength levels the Overhead Squat will not provide a sufficient strength stimulus for the lower body. Actually, the upper body becomes the weakest link and the lower body is essentially able to squat more than the upper body can carry (with extended arms overhead).
- As mentioned before, the Overhead Squat teaches proper squatting technique and since the technique is not a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of thing you constantly need to train and rehearse the squatting technique and the Overhead Squat form is one of the best ways to rehearse squatting form.
How much should I Overhead Squat for my bodyweight?
First and foremost I want you to focus on learning how to overhead squat and the weight you can lift will follow.
The table shows a general guideline of strength standards for the Overhead Squat, based on my experience with athletes from a variety of sports and not weightlifters, that’s why the numbers might be lower than what you find in other sources.
overhead squat strength standards
Please be careful with these numbers, as they serve as a general guideline and are not written in stone.
You can find more details in the article How much should I Overhead Squat?
How much should I Overhead Squat to improve my Snatch and Power Snatch?
I mentioned before that there is a debate, whether the Overhead Squat is a viable exercise to help the Snatch or Power Snatch.
In my experience, the Overhead Squat is a valuable exercise to improve the catch phase and the recovery phase of the Snatch and Power Snatch. Check out the technical phases of the Snatch and Power Snatch in the article How to do a Power Snatch.
As a rule of thumb, you should be able to do 3 repetitions of the Overhead Squat with your Snatch max.
You should be able to do 3 repetitions of the Overhead Squat with your Snatch max.
These rules of thumb are useful because they can give you immediate feedback, where you need to focus on. I have had athletes, that could even overhead squat their Snatch max and purely by focusing on increasing strength in the Overhead Squat, they could increase their Snatch max. And vice-versa, I have athletes that can easily squat the Snatch max for multiple repetitions, we know there is no strength deficit, it’s probably more a coordinative and technical issue. We all know these athletes, strong like a bull, but they need to work on their ability to use the strength effectively.
But again, this is a sometimes heatedly debated topic. Please also check out this Q & A from Catalyst Athletics on lifting ratios.