The overhead squat is a compound resistance training exercise to strengthen the hip extensors and prepare the athlete for more complex movements, like the Snatch.


The overhead squat is an essential exercise if you want to be able to perform more explosive exercises such as the Hang Snatch. In addition to strength gains you can use the overhead squat to improve:

  • trunk stability
  • body control
  • flexibility at the shoulder

Therefore you should learn how to perform the overhead squat in perfect form and implement it into your workout program during the preparation- and hypertrophy phase.

If you have flexibility issues at the shoulder then download chapters 4 & chapter 5 of Advanced Concepts of Strength & Conditioning for Tennis to improve range of motion so that you can progress into more explosive exercises to become a powerful athlete.

Overhead Squat Description

Overhead Squat

Overhead Squat

  1. Position barbell chest level on the rack; add resistance (plates), if necessary, and attach safety clips
  2. Take an athletic stance; stand straight, feet are shoulder-width apart; knees slightly flexed; toes point slightly outward (10˚-20˚)
  3. Use a pronated grip (palms facing down) and place hands wide apart on the bar
  4. Move head underneath the barbell and position barbell superior to the spine of the scapulae (on the top shelf created by the trapezius); do not place barbell on top of the cervical spine!
  5. Use a hitch from the hips to move the bar and extend elbows over the head, extend the wrists; bar should be over or behind the head; arms are straight; wrists extended
  6. First flex hips (~45˚) and then knees until knees are flexed to 90˚ (or as far as possible); maintain neutral pelvic position; keep knees inside shoulders; distribute weight through the heels; maintain neutral spine position (push chest out and scapulae [shoulder blades] together; maintain neutral head position (look forward)
  7. Extend the knees and hips and return to starting position

Note: If the athlete has flexibility issues and/ or for teaching purposes, a stance wider than shoulder-width is warranted.

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Overhead Squat Targeted Musculature

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps

Gluteus maximus 3D


Quadriceps he

Training Zone

In this section we provide you with some exercises you can use to optimize your training. The exercises have been grouped and selected based on the major muscle group(s) they target – the prime movers.

The first exercise is a dynamic warm up to increase muscle tissue temperature to prepare you for your workout – for more info take a look at the benefits of a proper warm up routine.

The second exercise is a free-weight resistance training exercise to strengthen the respective prime movers and improve neuromuscular system efficiency. Why? Find out more about the purpose of weightlifting for tennis players.

The third exercise is a static stretching exercise you can do following your workout as a cool down to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness – here is more information on the benefits of static stretching.

Gluteal Flexibility

  1. Dynamic Glute & Calve Stretch: High Knee Pull with Dorsi Flexion
  2. Back Squat
  3. Supine Knee to Chest

Quadriceps Flexibility

  1. Buttocks Kicks
  2. Front Squat
  3. Quadriceps Stretch

Hamstring Flexibility

  1. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift Dynamic Stretch
  2. Romanian Deadlift
  3. Static Hamstring Stretching


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