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Overhead Squat and Snatch mobility

Does your overhead squat look like A?

Do you want it to look like B?

Do you want to be able to Squat Snatch or OHS to full depth or with more weight?

How long do you think it took Matt to get from A to B….?

About 20 minutes of focused work on mobility. Yep… TWENTY MINUTES!


Limited mobility makes moving harder and increases your risk of injury. We all know chucking heavy weight around is a shed-ton of fun but if you can’t move well you may not be throwing weights around for long without picking up niggles…or worse.

Matt jumped in on a PT membership with me to help him work on his Olympic lifting and gymnastics. So we took it all right back to basics and focused on his mobility first. And it’s already paying dividends!

To perform the OHS safely the shoulders need to be externally rotated (armpits pointing forward, not down….see arrows below) and the bar must sit directly over the centre of mass which means a straight line should be able to be drawn from the barbell and down through the crown of the head, through the shoulders, halfway between the knee and thigh and through the centre of the foot. Matts position in B isn’t perfect but there is a significant improvement.

The sequence Matt followed to get from A to B (and now does daily to assist with continued and long term improvement) is:

3 Rounds:

60 second KB ankle stretch each side:
Sitting in the squat position place a heavy kettlebell on one knee and allow the weight to drive the knee forward and out over the toes. Keeping the heel down, allow the leg to relax and feel the stretch through the calf and into the heel.

10 KB bottoms up squat press – 5 each side:
Sitting in the squat position, keeping the heels down and chest up, press a kettlebell (very light to begin with) up over the head bringing the bicep to the ear ensuring the arm is fully straight at the top of the rep. When 5 solid reps can be completed on each side for 3 Rounds you can increase the weight.

10 PVC pipe palm up OHS:
Using only a PVC pipe complete 10 OHS to full depth (or as far as you can manage at the time) with your hands snatch grip width but with the pipe resting on upturned open palms, fingers pointing to the ends of the pvc pipe. Do not grip or hold the pipe. Before sitting into the squat, make sure upward pressure is being applied so reach up to the ceiling with your shoulders with arms locked out. Keep the chest facing forward and heels firmly on the floor. Sitting the hips down focusing on still pushing the PVC pipe away, keep the PVC pipe over your centre of mass and keep the reps slow and controlled.

As always, if you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to talk to your coaches!

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