What is an overhead squat?

Squats are not just a basic movement but also an immensely beneficial exercise to build strength and power. This exercise has several variations that not just add variety to your workouts but also improve the stimulus and hence more strength and endurance. 

One such amazing variation is the overhead squat. The over head squat is an advanced variation of the traditional squat exercise that works on muscles throughout your body. 

How to do overhead squat?

To gain the benefits of this exercise, you need to follow the proper overhead squat form and technique. 

Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of the overhead barbell squat exercise:

  1. To begin the overhead deep squat exercise, place a barbell across your back. it should rest on your shoulders. 
  1. Your hands must be placed wider than your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders outwards to engage your lats. Your elbows must be pointing towards the floor.
  1. Engage your hips, shoulders, and core. Lower your hips towards the floor and keep your chest high to push the barbell overhead. Make sure your knees are bent slightly.
  1. Now squat to overhead press and push the bar explosively through your legs and shoulders. The bar must rest in the centre of your palms with a slight extension in your wrists.
  1. Your back must be stable and your arms must be fully stretched. 
  1. Pause for a couple of seconds at the top of the movement and slowly begin the downward movement. Do this while keeping your chest high and your elbows fully extended. 
  1. Lower into a squat until your legs are slightly or completely parallel to the floor. Your knees must be in line with your feet. Pause for a minute at the bottom of the movement.
  1. Begin the upward movement by pushing your feet into the ground and keeping your chest high. 
  1. Squeeze your glutes and let your hips travel forward. 
  1. Stand tall until your knees and hips are extended completely. 
  1. This is one repetition. 

Sets and reps of the overhead squat workout: You can do 3-4 sets of 4-6 repetitions. 

Learn How To Do Overhead Squat by Cult Fit | Squat Variation | Squat Workout - Watch This Video

The overhead squat is the ultimate core exercise and peerless in developing effective athletic movement. In this video the Cult.fit Staff member has demonstrates the overhead squat.

What are the different variations of the overhead squat?

The overhead squat workout has several variations that help you gain more endurance and work different muscle groups. 

Here are some of the most effective overhead deep squat variations for you to include in your workout routine:

  1. Dumbbell overhead squat: Also known as the DB overhead squat, this is a challenging variation of the overhead squat workout that enhances your upper body agility and stability. To do the dumbbell overhead squat, hold a pair of dumbbells with a pronated grip. The dumbbells must be held vertically without allowing touching each other. The remaining movements stay the same as in the traditional form of this exercise.
  1. Plate overhead squat: As the name suggests, in this exercise, you use a weight plate to add resistance to your movements. This is also a great exercise to build your core strength and develop flexibility in your spine. To do the plate overhead squat, you just need to replace the weights and follow the same movements as in the traditional over head squat.
  1. Pause overhead squat: This is the variation of the traditional overhead squat. In this, you need to practise the overhead squat hold for 10-15 seconds at the bottom movement. This overhead squat hold is an excellent exercise to build flexibility, stability, and endurance by creating more tension in your muscles.

What are the benefits of the overhead squat?

Whether you are doing the dumbbell overhead squat or the traditional overhead barbell squat, this exercise has great benefits for your health.

Here are some of the most important overhead squat benefits:

  1. One of the best benefits of the barbell and DB overhead squat is that they enhance the overall strength of your body. It works on almost all the muscles of your body thereby improving your endurance and power.
  1. Practicing the correct overhead squat form, activates multiple joints in your body and enhances their flexibility. This makes you more agile and makes daily activities easier.
  1. One of the most important benefits of overhead squats for beginners is that it improves your core strength. Core strength is essential for a wider range of motion, more stability, and prevention of injuries. 
  1. Practising the overhead squat technique regularly helps you perfect the advanced squat variations such as pistol squats, goblet squats, or front squats.
  1. This is a great exercise to include in your workout at home. All you need is a pair of weights and you can do this exercise practically anywhere.

How to do the overhead squat safely?

Here is how to do overhead squat with the correct form and technique:

  1. Don’t let your torso dip during the downward squat movement. The trick is to keep the barbell stacked over your feet and keep your torso stable and straight.
  1. Press your hips back to improve your range of motion. 
  1. Don’t let your knees collapse while you squat.
  1. Start with lower weights initially and once you gain practice proceed with heavier weights. This is especially important for beginners workouts.
  1. Overhead squats for beginners must be learned from experienced trainers to prevent injuries. This is a great way to prevent muscle strain and correct your overhead squat technique, posture, and form. 
  1. If you have any pre-existing health issues, never start the overhead barbell squat exercise without talking to your doctor.
  1. Always do a warm-up session before doing this exercise. 
  1. In case you feel pain, nausea, or dizziness anytime during the squat to overhead press exercise, stop working out immediately.


The overhead squat exercise has great benefits for your health. However, the key is to stay consistent with your practice and incorporate its variations such as the dumbbell or plate overhead squat. It is also important to modify the overhead squat technique depending on your age, general state of health, and levels of conditioning and flexibility. 

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