Overhead Squat Progression

The overhead squat is a full body exercise and extremely difficult, requiring you to use all muscles and joints, and testing your flexibility + stability to the max.

The overhead squat is expensive, the overhead squat is something you need to invest a lot of time in, the overhead squat is also dangerous, go ego lifting, skip progression, or don’t listen to your body and you could be out of action for quite a while. So, don’t mess about with this exercise and give it the respect it deserves, for your own sake.


Following are muscles and joints used in the overhead squat:

  1. Triceps for the overhead lockout
  2. Deltoids for the shoulder flexion
  3. Muscles around the scapula for stability
  4. Erector spinae for thoracic extension
  5. Gluteus maximus for pelvis positioning
  6. Gluteus medius and minimus for lateral hip abduction
  7. Quads for knee flexion and extension
  8. Calves for ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion

That is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more going on.


The progression from nothing to an overhead squat looks like:

  1. Always working on an increased ankle, knee, hip, thoracic, and shoulder mobility
  2. Quarter squat
  3. Half squat
  4. Full squat
  5. Weighted squat
  6. Overhead squat without weight
  7. Single kettlebell overhead squat (L+R)
  8. Double kettlebell overhead squat


If your squat mobility is good but you’re not able to hold a kettlebell straight overhead, you must look at your thoracic mobility amongst other things, but that being a priority. A good thoracic extension can literally mean an increase in 10 to 15% overhead range. This can mean the difference between shoulder flexion carrying the weight, or your skeletal system carrying the weight.


If you want to improve your flexibility and mobility with the same stretches and movements that I use, buy the book I wrote containing most of the stretches and movements that I employ on a weekly basis. They’ve played a huge rule in every aspect of my mobility.

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