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10 Important Exercises for CrossFit Beginners to Learn

7. CrossFit Beginners: Overhead Squat

The overhead squat (OH squat) is, for many CrossFitters—one of the most vexing movements in the CrossFit repertoire. It exposes weaknesses in flexibility, balance, strength and coordination.

Benefits:

  • Teaches your body to learn how to extend properly
  • Engages the muscles in the lower body, namely the glutes, hamstrings, quads, core
  • The OHS force shoulders to stay in the correct position to support the weight
  • Teaches body awareness
  • Improves flexibility and mobility
  • The overhead squat develops core control by punishing any forward wobble of the load with an enormous and instant increase in the moment about the hip and back

Technique:

Set-up

  • Review the air squat for the basic squat mechanics
  • Grip the bar such that when placed overhead, it is 6-8″ above the top of your head
  • Push your shoulders and the bar up as high as you can (“active shoulders”)
  • The bar should be perfectly aligned with your heels
  • Maintain a tight core through the entire movement

Squat

  • Pull your hips back and down while keeping your weight on your heels
  • Pull the bar back deliberately as you squat to keep it directly over your heels
  • DO NOT let the bar move forward of or behind your heels at any point of the movement
  • Make sure your hips reach a point below the top of your knee (below parallel)
  • Keeping your weight on your heels, stand to full extension

This exercise will take a lot of practice to get good at!

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