4 Quick Steps to improve your OH Squat! CrossFit New Jersey
It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve tackled mobility last, so here are a few quick techniques to help with everyone’s favorite position (sense the sarcasm??)…….. the overhead squat.
The overhead squat is quite possibly the most demanding position we see in our daily training. It takes excellent ankle, hip, shoulder, and thoracic mobility to achieve this position comfortably. For most, it’s a battle to hold and maintain this position. So, it’s time to tackle this head on with a few quick techniques to help improve your mobility for this movement.
#1 ACTIVATING EXTERNAL ROTATORS
To get into a good, deep, overhead position, we must maintain a neutral spine and external rotation of the hip.
Start by sitting on the floor and lay back so your feet are up against a wall. You want your butt as close to the wall as possible. Load each hip by pulling your knees down and into your chest, making sure your feet are flat against the wall and pointing forward. Take your elbows and drive your knees out. You’ll want to use the contract-relax method, holding for about 10 seconds each time. Spend about 2-3 minutes here.
#2 PIGEON POSE
Traditional yoga positions can do wonders for your range of motion. Pigeon pose is a great example for what we are trying to achieve today, which is external rotation of the hip for our OH squat.
Start by getting into a lunge position, with one leg up and the other extended behind you (see picture). Lay your leg across your body on the floor and place on hand on the foot and the other on the knee. NOTE: If you feel any knee pain at all, STOP. You should feel this solely in the outer hip area and not in the knee. Stand and lay your leg across a box or something elevated to alleviate your knee issues.
Accumulating another 2-3 minutes, spend time facing directly forward, but also moving around to find tight corners. You can lean more over the foot as seen in the picture above.
You can also lean more over the knee to find a different stretch. Find the area that feels best for you and spend some time contracting and relaxing.
#3 THORACIC ROLL
Grab a foam roller and a barbell to start. Lie on the foam roller so that it’s under your mid to upper back and reach overhead to grab a barbell (acting as your rolling anchor) that is stationed on the floor. Start with your hips up….
And then load by dropping your butt, trying to pull the ribcage with it…
Deep breathing is the key to this exercise. Try to keep calm and maintain long inhales and exhales. Open the shoulders by allowing the barbell to distract your joints in the opposite direction.
#4 BULLY STRETCH
You’ll need a band and something to anchor that band to that’s about shoulder height or higher. Put your wrist inside the band like so…..
Next, reach your hand behind your back and up the middle of your spine towards your head…..
The higher the band is anchored, the more intense the stretch, so be sure to start with the band low and gradually work your way up. The key to this technique is to keep the shoulder back in the socket and not allow it to fall or round forward. You can add a variation to this stretch by using your free hand to gently pull the neck towards the shoulder/arm that is not in the band.
These techniques are guaranteed to improve your overhead mobility, so give them a try before your next OH squat or snatch session!