Wednesday, March 19, 2008

OverHead Squat Mania!

2nd Favorite Exercise?

The Overhead Squat (OHS).
So, you're never gonna move the same loads, and if you just need high force production in the posterior chain, then start with the Deadlift! But if you are an athlete, martial artist, dancer or anyone that has to use the power of the legs as expressed through the core or the arms...

You're gonna have to OverHead Squat! If you can squat 300lbs, that's great. You should be able to Front Squat at least 210lbs, if not a little more. That's 70%. If you can't Overhead Squat 70% of what you Front Squat (49% of Back Squat at this point) then you have a weak core! Every bit of deficit between what you can Back Squat and what you can't do Overhead is energy leaking out of the system. It's force you can produce in the leg muscles that can't be expressed elsewhere, because you don't have the pelvis/torso stability to transfer it!

In Crossfit they have a benchmark; 15 reps with a load equal to bodyweight in the Overhead Squat. Very few have done it, and most who have are small women. I intend to exceed this benchmark as soon as I can. Being a long femured non-squatter, I have always dreaded the OHS. The core stability was one thing, but the overhead lock-out, shoulder mobility, hip mobility and just high workload for someone 'not built to squat' are punishing.

But I like a challenge. Here's what I am up against;

I started on 3/10/2008. I decided that lower weights and higher reps would help me get the stability and practice I needed. I tried 95lbs. I was able to hit 11 reps. Not bad. Good enough to work with in the program that I am using. So, after less than two weeks I decided to retest...
Here's what happened;

Please stayed posted, as I share more information about Overhead Squatting, and it's role in athletic training and olympic lifting. For now, I will be doing another 'pre-test' with 115lbs. Once I break the '21' line, I will move up to 135bs for reps. Once I break 21 reps with 135lbs, I'll be done with this! 21 reps with 135lbs suggests a 1RM in the 250lb ball park, but I know that won't be quite true. But maybe I will break 200lbs, which would be a pretty big benchmark.

PS: Bodyweight today is 162lbs, but thanks to the ZONE, I think that I might be more like 155lbs in a few weeks, so I might be burning this candle from both ends!


kirez said...

Great project, Jason, and great start. I've also developed an appetite for this benchmark recently. I'm not quite as focused or organized on it as you -- but I'm new to CrossFit. Different physical dimensions, I weigh 202 lbs. I don't even know (!!!) my back squat max, but it's somewhere between 335 (which I did twice) and 365 (didn't go deep enough, but I think I can get it).

I wanted to tell you -- we've got something else in common. I sweated for a few weeks over what "Tagline" to use for my affiliate, and settled, finally, on a tagline including "physical culture" -- like it very much. So good call, there!


Jason Struck , RKC said...

I would update those figures relating the squat;

BS- 80% FS- 80% OHS

so, 300, 240 and 190 is more appropriate.

Mike Boyle used to say that he'd get his athletes doing 85-95% of their back squat within 12 weeks. Now I get it.

Anonymous said...

"21 reps with 135lbs suggests a 1RM in the 250lb ball park, but I know that won't be quite true."

High rep anything doesn't translate well to 1-rep max. For one thing, it's too easy to lengthen pauses between reps to drag out a high-rep set. Also, lifting max weights requires a different kind of mental focus than that needed for high reps.

For example, although I can't come close to OHS'ing 21 reps at 135#, nor do I intend to ever try, I can drop snatch 185# and snatch grip OHS 195# from a jerk. As a novice weightlifter, I've made the most progress not from doing high reps but from doing heavy doubles. I hit 90-105% at almost every practice, easing up only if my joints are unusually sore, and I do all of my squats ATG weightlifting-style and barefoot (which means my butt is about 2" off the ground).

By doing heavy reps daily, it's been easier for me to be consistent on my lifts. On any given day, I'm usually within 5# of my max on any of my O-lifts.

My stats:

BW: slightly over 150#
BS: 255#
FS: 235#
OHS: 195#

Anonymous said...

Here's my OHS/drop snatch progress (heavy doubles):

11/17 -150#
12/16 - 175#
1/4 - 180#
2/16 -195#

I took several weeks off during the holidays, so my progress could have been a little faster.

Jason Struck, RKC said...

Glad you could stop by; Your points are all well taken.

Perhaps you'd like to check out some of the OHS video that's a little more up to date.

If you re-read the post you'll see things like "21x135 suggests a max" and other statements making it clear that I understand there is little correlation between the two. You may also notice that I am training specifically for doing a set of 15 reps or more, again, quite different than a heavy single that is the nature of the weightlifting game.

Notwithstanding, to hit those numbers at your bodyweight is pretty excellent, I'd say keep up the good work!

Jason Struck, RKC said...

Jason Struck, RKC said...