Powerful Overhead Squat Workouts to Build Strength and Destroy Weaknesses

Overhead Squat Workouts are the perfect way to develop strength, skill, flexibility, core strength and enhance your lifting prowess.

Overhead Squat Workouts

First brush up on your technique, then select your next workout from the extensive list below.

Why are Overhead Squats effective?

In order to be successful at the overhead squat, you’ve got to be both strong and flexible—two general physical skills that don’t always go hand in hand. This unique requirement is what makes this movement so frustrating for athletes—you can’t use your brute strength alone to successfully perform overhead squats.

But once you get flexible enough and strong enough to perform this movement with ease, there are fewer things more satisfying. And overhead squats are a prerequisite movement to the full squat snatch.


  1. Start with your feet at a shoulder-width stance
  2. Press or jerk the barbell overhead with a wide grip on the bar
  3. Use active shoulders and push up into the bar
  4. Armpits face forward


Brace your core. Reach your hips back and down as you descend to the bottom of the squat. At the bottom, your hips should be lower than your knees. Maintain your lumbar curve throughout the squat. Keep your heels in contact with the ground as you descend and ascend. Your knees should track your toes throughout the movement. The bar should be over the middle your feet. Stand tall at the top of the movement to reach full hip and knee extension.

Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– Your hip crease drops below your knee crease at the bottom of the squat
– You reach full hip and knee extension at the top
– Your arms remain locked out overhead
– The barbell is positioned over the middle of your body

Pro-Tip: To help you stay balanced in the overhead squat, look at an unmoving spot on the wall. The spot (a chalk mark, nailhead, gym logo, etc.) should be at the horizon or higher—never look down.

Overhead Squat Workouts – Enhance your Limits


EMOM in 20 minutes
Minute 1: 6 Wall Ball Shots (9/6 kg) + 3 Bar Muscle-Ups
Minute 2: 12 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
Minute 3: 4 Power Snatches (55/40 kg) + 6 Overhead Squats (55/40 kg)
Minute 4: 10 Toes-to-Bars + 10 Knees-to-Elbows
Minute 5: 17 Push-Ups
Repeat 4x
On a 20-minute clock, perform 4 rounds of the prescribed work in the order written every minute on the minute (EMOM).

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

Scaling Options

EMOM in 20 minutes
Minute 1: 6 Wall Ball Shots (8/4 kg) + 3 Strict Pull-Ups
Minute 2: 12 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
Minute 3: 4 Push Presses (40/25 kg) + 6 Overhead Squats (40/25 kg)
Minute 4: 10 MedBall Sit-Ups + 10 Knee Raises
Minute 5: 17 Knee Push-Ups

Repeat 4x

Overhead Squat WorkoutsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.


EMOM for 10 minutes
2 Overhead Squats (135/95 lb)
2 Push Presses (135/95 lb)


EMOM for 36 minutes
From 0:00-6:00, EMOM of:
10 Pull-Ups
From 6:00-12:00, EMOM of:
5 Squat Cleans (155/105 lb)
From 12:00-18:00, EMOM of:
10 Toes-to-Bars
From 18:00-24:00, EMOM of:
5 Shoulder-to-Overheads (155/105 lb from the ground)
From 24:00-30:00, EMOM of:
10 Hand Release Push-Ups
From 30:00-36:00, EMOM of:
5 Overhead Squats (155/105 lb)


For Time
21 Overhead Squats (95/65 lb)
42 Pull-Ups
15 Overhead Squats (95/65 lb)
30 Pull-Ups
9 Overhead Squats (95/65 lb)
18 Pull-Ups


5 Rounds For Time
400 meter Run
15 Overhead Squats (95/65 lb)
With a running clock, as fast as possible perform 5 rounds of the work in the order written: 400 meter Run and 15 Overhead Squats.

Score is the time on the clock when the final repetition (the 15th Overhead Squat in round 5) is completed.

Good Times for “Nancy”
– Beginner: 17-20+ minutes
– Intermediate: 13-16 minutes
– Advanced: 10-12 minutes
– Elite: <9 minutes

Tips and Strategy

“Nancy” is fast and light, so your job is to control your breathing and heart rate throughout the WOD. Match your breath to your movement during the Overhead Squats: inhale on the way to the bottom of the Squat, exhale as you stand. Strive for unbroken sets. Move quickly on the run–around 80-85% of your max speed.

Intended Stimulus

“Nancy” should feel very light. Your lungs should burn throughout the WOD. If you struggle with Overhead Squats, lessen the load so you can perform all 15 reps unbroken. Prioritize range of motion (aka: full-depth Squats) over load. Enjoy the “runner’s high” you get at the end of this WOD.

Scaling Options

This benchmark couplet is meant to be light and fast. Reduce the load on the Overhead Squat so you can perform all the reps unbroken and still run fast.

5 Rounds for Time of:
400 meter Run
15 Overhead Squats (65/45 lb)

Beginner Option
4 Rounds for Time of:
400 Meter Run
10 Overhead Squats (45/35 lb)

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