Overhead Barbell Squat

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Quads
Secondary Muscle(s) Glutes, Adductors, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Shoulders, TricepsAbdominals
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Squat

Overhead Barbell Squat Instructions

  • Be in a strong athletic position: knees flexed, core and glutes activated, chest up, and shoulders back. 
  • Have the barbell in a rack or stand. Get underneath the bar, placing it on your traps
  • Grip the barbell as you would for a Snatch, wider than your standard back squat. Unrack and walk the barbell out.
  • Slightly dip your body down then extend your hips, knees and ankles to press the bar overhead.
    • Use the momentum from your lower half to move the weight overhead. 
  • Create a strong, stable overhead position by pulling your armpits forward and keeping your core tight.
    • Avoid letting your low back arch.
    • Keep your glutes engaged and knees slightly flexed.
  • Position your feet just inside shoulder-width with your toes pointed out slightly.
    • Avoid a wider stance of this squat variation. 
  • Push your knees out laterally and 'screw' your feet into the floor.
  • Push your hips back slightly and descend into the bottom position. 
    • Don't bounce or drop into the bottom position. 
    • Keep your chest up and shoulders stable.
  • Extend your knees and hips to stand up
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top.

Overhead Barbell Squat Tips

  • START LIGHT
  • This is a complex movement and require many reps to build technical proficiency. 
  • Keeping your core tight and shoulders stable is paramount for this movement. 
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