Take 20 Minutes, to Complete Overhead Squats
2 Reps - 60%, 65%
1 Rep - 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%
3 Attempts to establish a 1RM Overhead Squat
All repetitions are taken from the rack.
In a heavy OHS attempt, we can all agree that it's not going to be our leg strength that limits us, but instead, how well we position the bar overhead. In most especially these opening sets, we have the opportunity to dial in two pieces:
The jerk from the back rack sets the tone for the lift. This often can determine our lift before the bar even in position. If we receive the bar poorly, and expend a great amount of effort just to lock the bar out overhead, we are at a great disadvantage before even starting our squat.
Whether our preferred technique is to push jerk or split jerk, let's pay due diligence towards maximizing our movement here. Punching our body beneath the bar, we are looking to conserve as much shoulder strength as we possibly can. For we know, that is our limiting factor today… not our legs, but our shoulders.
Heels - Often we lose an overhead squat in the change of direction… when we move from the descent to the ascent. Ensuring our heels are down here is a common "cue", but it absolutely needs to be harped on today. With an overhead squat heavy attempt coming, there isn't a margin for error. We aren't just looking for "heels down", but rather ensuring the load is spaced evenly through the heel arch. Have a friend check the outside corners of your shoes to be critical on any heel lift/movement here.
Midline- Cinch down the ribcage. Commonly we can move into hyperextension here, which is not a stable position to support weight overhead with. In order to maximize our control of the bar, we're actively thinking of cueing our abdominals on. Pull the rib cage down.
Shoulders- External rotation, though not just pushing our armpits forward, but by also pressing up as hard as we physically can. If we relax even a touch on the heavier attempts, the weight will move. And with a max effort attempt, a single degree away from the body is all it takes to cause a missed lift.
“Over and Out”
20 Power Snatches
20 Bar Facing Burpees
20 Overhead Squats
20 Bar Facing Burpees
20 Squat Snatches
*Rx Barbell - 95/65
On “Over and Out”, we are looking for a barbell that we are confident we can squat snatch for 10+ repetitions, unbroken, when completely rested. We are looking for a moderate loading that allows us to always find that next repetition, if we could just get our hands on the bar. This specific weight, which is designed not to be heavy, is what will create the unique stimulus we are looking for today.
We have three barbell sets (power snatch, overhead squat, squat snatch), with two sets of burpees. In today’s workout, let’s make our push on the barbell, and recover on the burpees with methodical movement. We know from experience that dropping the barbell causes a stoppage in progress – so we naturally want to minimize those, but of course with the bigger picture in mind (we don’t want to “blow up” here). On the burpees, we can slow our pace just a touch, which will continue to push us forward in the workout, but all the while recovering for our next set of repetitions back on the bar. Let’s visualize putting 70% of our effort onto the barbell repetitions, and 30% into the burpees.
On the first set of power snatches, we can push here, as long as we have sound technique on the bar. If we find ourselves pressing the weight out, or drifting to our toes, break the set. What we want to avoid in this first set is wasting energy. Recognizing that overhead squats and squat snatches are to follow, the last thing we want to do here is sacrifice our efficiency for speed. In all reality, a couple of quick breaks on this set can amount to a single additional break on the OHS, or even, on the squat snatches if we find ourselves overly fatigued there.
On the barbell-facing burpees, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Minimizing any extra steps is our primary focus point here, along with the chance to control and regulate our breathing. It is again our aim to move into the following set of barbell repetitions prepared, and we can do so by controlling a methodical rhythm to these repetitions. In the final 2-3 repetitions, slow your pace even a touch more to ensure a quick and smooth transition to the OHS bar.
On the overhead squats, it is good to push for a large sets, if not unbroken here. Recognizing that we have burpees to follow, we can use those repetitions as another recovery for the final barbell round. This is written however with the same theme we are applying to the power snatches – only if we have sound technique. If we are wrestling the bar and loosing positioning due to fatigue, we are sapping energy for the most challenging barbell set of the workout, the final squat snatches. Conserve our capacity for that set by moving efficiently first – whether that means unbroken, or sets.
We have the barbell-facing burpees to follow, we can use the same strategy as the first set. Immediately get moving, and settle into our methodical, breathing pace. On the final 2-3 repetitions, slow our pace just a touch more to allow for the fluid transition back to the bar. Here, we have our final squat snatches.
Individual capacity will dictate how we approach this set, but it is good to recognize that it’s not the first handful of repetitions that make the difference, but rather the final ten. This is where it can separate significantly for athletes. Yes, it is the end of the workout, but it is also the most challenging part of the piece. We want consistency across these final 20 repetitions, within reason. In other words, war-game this breakup strategy so that our second ten are just as fast, if not faster than our first ten.