Squats with a barbell overhead for many crossfitters – one of the most difficult exercises in their arsenal. This indicates lack of flexibility, balance, strength and coordination. For these reasons (and many others), athletes avoid the countless hours of work needed to improve skills for proper squatting techniques with a barbell above their heads. Many athletes will be satisfied with mediocre (or even bad) squats with a bar above their heads, having excellent results in squats with a barbell on the shoulders, deadlift, etc. This is normal, it is their personal choice. But before you choose this path or get tired of waiting for the squats with the barbell above your head to look acceptable, read that the trainer Glassman (Greg Glassman, founder and CEO of CrossFit) spoke about this exercise:
” Squats with a bar above your head – this is the main exercise for the muscles of the body, it allows you to lay the foundation of a jerk, and it has no competitors in the development of effective sports equipment. This functional key will teach you how to effectively transfer energy from large parts of the body to small ones, which is the meaning of exercise. For this reason, such squats are an indispensable tool for the development of speed and strength. For sit-ups with the bar above your head, you also need (at the same time developing) functional flexibility, they can improve the technique of squats themselves and severely punish errors such as improper position of the body, movements and poor stability during sit-ups. “- Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal.
Squats with a bar above your head, as Glassman asserts, will show all your shortcomings, that’s their value. Squats with a bar above their heads develop and adjacent skills that are used in some other important exercises (for example, jerk) – not to mention that this is a great way to improve effective (sports) equipment, both in the hall and in any convenient place. So stop during training to neglect squats with a bar above your head! Your coach will be able to show you the basics of doing this exercise, and we would like to give you some additional tips that may be of use to you (and if you are already doing this exercise, then it will not be superfluous to remind you of this). Read 6 of the tips below for improving squats with a bar above your head.
1 – Identify mobility problems – and work to eliminate them
You probably heard this already many times, but if you can not perform confident squats without weight, then there’s no point in improving squats with the bar above your head. First, make sure you have a solid foundation for squatting techniques, then try a couple of times to sit with a bar from the bar above your head (not with a PVC pipe, I’ll explain why later), you may feel additional problems with mobility in the shoulders. To perform squats with a bar above your head, you need excellent flexibility in the area of the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, gluteal and adductor muscles (muscles located in the groin area). It is unlikely that you have good mobility in all these areas. That’s why many avoid squats with a bar above their heads. It can be frustrating, but you MUST spend time,
2 – Develop Central Sustainability
Squats with a bar above their heads require a good development of the basic balance and, consequently, good stability of the hull. Given that during this exercise it is necessary to keep the bar above your head, much of the work to maintain stability is performed by the body, mainly the lower back. If you do not have a developed central balance, then when you perform sit-ups with a barbell above your head (or other exercises with lifting weights above your head), you strain your waist and this position will not be perfect, let alone that you put yourself at risk injury. That is why it is very important to strengthen the muscles of the body and develop the mobility of the waist, whenever possible. Every time you perform this exercise, strain the buttocks and tilt the chest a little back.
Exercise for the development of central stability:
Exercise for the development of mobility of the hips, after which
50 repetitions Hollow Rocks
50 repetitions of Sitapov
50 repetitions of the glutes on each leg
25 repetitions Strong lifting of socks to the crossbar / lap to the elbows
3 – Start with the correct weight, but not with a PVC tube
Do not start training with a PVC tube! Why not? Tamara Reynolds, acting weightlifter, coach and co-founder of the Weightlifting Academy, explains why you should immediately start working with the bar (or bar) instead of a PVC tube:
“One of the difficulties in squatting with a barbell above your head is keeping the bar strictly above your base. Even without realizing this, you will keep the PVC tube in different ways, and this can not be fixed. You need to feel where the neck is to adjust its position, and using a heavy neck instead of a light PVC tube makes this possible. “
Many CrossFit coaches may disagree with Raynolds, but I must admit that what she says makes sense. PVC pipes are so light that, without realizing it, you can develop bad habits and wrong position. Using a neck that is light enough to hold it over your head, you can use the muscles responsible for central stability and identify other parts of your body that need to work on mobility. This will help to perform squats with the right position.
4 – Squeeze the bar
When doing squats with a bar above your head, you should constantly push the weight, and not just hold it. The US Athletic Weightlifting Coach and acting weightlifter Cat Ricker explains why you should not just keep the bar: “One of the reasons is that during sit-ups with the barbell over the head the body acts intuitively, it wants to move as a whole due to the dynamics of the acting physical forces – in this case the force of gravity – and this means that when you go down, a group of muscles involved in raising the bar tend to relax, turn off from work and contract. Thus, the scapular muscle group tries to move from tension to relaxation. The upper trapezoidal muscles try to move from concentric contraction to an eccentric one, straining the body to catch the cargo falling overhead. “
Needless to say, you do not want your muscles to be relaxed during this movement – they need to be strained to form a solid base supporting weight over your head.
The next time you do squats with a bar above your head, try squeezing the bar and see if there will be any improvement.
5 – Stabilization at the bottom of the squat
When you sink to the bottom of the squat, it is important to leave it not too quickly, since you risk breaking the right technique. Instead, you should try to catch the moment and stabilize your position and position of the bar. Make sure that you stand firmly on the straight feet, your shoulders and elbows are turned outward (armpits look forward). So you reduce the risk of losing control of the bar when climbing out of the squat, and this will help you move effectively. But do not be at the bottom point for too long, since your muscles may lose tension, and you can get stuck underneath, which will not help you when climbing. When everything is normal, and you feel comfortable, leave the squat, paying attention to the correctness of the technique.
6 – Training squats with pauses
The lower point of squat is probably the most difficult part of the entire exercise. To work on this element of the exercise, it is important to get used to the bar (the bar with the weight) above your head when you are at the bottom of the squat. One way to do this is to train squats with pauses (this exercise can also be used to develop squats with a barbell on the chest and on the back). Squats with a pause are great for developing the strength of the exit from the bottom point, developing the strength of the body, helping to improve knee resturance, confidence and a comfortable lift. And that’s not all the advantages.
There are several options that you can experiment on when you perform squats with pauses, but personally I find the most effective use of a 4-second pause. To do this, perform squats with a barbell with much less weight than you normally use for 3-4 reps. Take the bar from the rack and take the position to perform squats with a bar above your head and go down to the lowest point (keeping the correct technique all the time). Hold in this position, counting to four, and then straighten your legs. Repeat a total of 5 sets of 4 repetitions with increasing weight.