overhead squat assessment Qualified Personal Trainer

Tips for the Overhead Squat Assessment (Video + Transcript)

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This featured video is from PG-NASM tutor Ian Murray. Within this video (and attached transcript) Ian will show the merits of using an overhead squat assessment to drive your overall corrective exercise strategy.

He talks about the following facets of the movement assessment and how they can help you as a personal trainer:

  • Postural distortions
  • Hyperkyphosis
  • Kinetic Checkpoints
  • Knees moving inwards or outwards during the assessment, and what that means for prescribing exercise.
  • Checking for tight hip flexors.
  • And more!

Speaker 1 (00:02):

Hello. My name is Ian and I'm part of the Tutor Training Team here at Premier Global NASM. As well as being a tutor with Premier Global NASM, I'm also a personal trainer and I have clients who I train on a regular basis. Now, all my clients, as part of their consultation, what I'll do with them is as an overhead squat assessment, which is a movement screen, which will allow me to test my clients', dynamic flexibility, their core strength, their balance, and their neuromuscular efficiency, which sounds very grand, but it's that connection between the nervous system and the muscles. If we have a good connection between our nervous system and our muscles then we are going to be moving effectively and efficiently.

Speaker 1 (00:44):

The overhead squat assessment is a really important test that allows me to see very quickly how my clients are moving. From what I see and how they're moving, I can very quickly design an effective program that gets them moving more effectively and more efficiently and will improve their joint mechanics. If I can improve their joint mechanics, then what that's going to reduce is the potential for injury and potential for pain. It means that they're going to be training better and they will be moving more quickly towards their goals.

Speaker 1 (01:19):

What we know is that people have postural distortions because the way they set themselves up on a daily basis because of occupation or because of training, people can start to get themselves into poor positions. So for example, if we think of hyperkyphosis, which again sounds very grand or we're talking about there with the hyperkyphosis, is when we get that rounding through the thoracic spine and that forward head carriage. So if you think about someone at work on their laptop all day, or they're constantly on their phone, checking emails, reading texts, sending texts, sending emails, what can happen is we get that forward head carriage, which is sometimes described as tech neck.

Speaker 1 (02:03):

So what we see is people on a daily basis get themselves into certain positions. If they are continually to get themselves into these positions over time, what we will see is shortening in muscles, muscles become tight. On the opposite side of the joint, we see muscles becoming stretched and weakened. So if we take the example that I've just mentioned of hyperkyphosis, what we see there is tightening in the pectoralis major, tightening in the latissimus dorsi and tightening in teres major. On the opposite side of the joint, what we see is a weakening and muscles becoming stretched, so mid traps, rhomboids become stretched and weakened.

Speaker 1 (02:47):

So using the average overhead squat, what I'm able to do is to identify these restrictions, both in the upper body, that we've just mentioned there with something about hyperkyphosis, but I can identify restrictions at the ankle, at the knee, at the hip, in the lower back as well. So with the overhead squat, what we will do is very straightforward to set up.

We're not going to give a client too much coaching because we want to see how they naturally squat. So we don't give them too much coaching. Just ask your clients, set themselves up with their feet between hip width and shoulder width apart. Arms taken up so they are next to the ears, level with the ear and straight. Then from that position, what we're simply going to ask them to do is squat down to the height of a chair. As I say, not too much instruction, because what we're looking for is their natural squat. So again, just squat down to the height of a chair five times, and what we're going to do is, we're going to look at them from the front and we're going to look at them from the side.

Speaker 1 (03:46):

We're going to be looking at certain points. We're going to be looking at what are called kinetic checkpoints. So those kinetic checkpoints are going to be the feet, the knees, the hip, the lumbar spine, the lumbopelvic hip complex and the arms. Yeah. So we're looking at what's happening around the shoulder joints. All right. So as a client squats down, we can look at her feet. If we see the feet turning out that can identify that there's a restriction.

So if someone does the overhead squat test and their feet are turning out, well, that will indicate is that they have tightness in the outside of the calf, tightness in the outside of the hamstrings, weakness on the inside of the calf and weakness on the inside of the hamstrings. So as a PT, what am I able to then do is to come up with a strategy to correct that. What I'll be looking to do is stretch and foam roll those tight muscles on the outside of the hamstrings and outside the calf, and then I'll strengthen those muscles on the inside of the hamstrings and on the inside of the calf.

Speaker 1 (04:53):

Moving up, if we were looking at the knees and someones squatted, their knees came inwards. What that would indicate is they have tightness in the adapters on the inside and weakness in the gluteus medius maximus on the outside. So those tight adapters are pulling the knees in and the gluteus medius maximus on the outside are unable to stop it from happening, their unable to control it. So again from that, what can I do? Well, simple strategy, I'd stretch and foam roll the adapters. I'd be looking to strengthen the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius.

Speaker 1 (05:33):

Around the hip and the lower back, what we see commonly, or one of the things we can see is an excessive forward lean. So again, if someone's doing the overhead squat, if they're getting excessive forward lean, then what that would indicate to us is they have tight hip flexors, tightness in the abdominal complex, and they have weakness in the erector spinae and the gluteus maximus.

Again, with this one, it's going to be quite common because again, if we think about how people set themselves up on a daily basis, they spend a lot of time sitting down with their hips flex. So to kind of tie in with that are the hip flexors could become shortened and overactive. So again, it'd be quite a common move and[inaudible 00:06:15] to see that someone would have that excessive forward lean in the squat.

Speaker 1 (06:20):

Coming up to the upper body and around the arms, we'd be looking at what happens to the arms as they squat. If the arms fall forward in front of the trunk, as someone squats down, then what that indicates to us is tightness in pectoralis major latissimus dorsi, teres major, and then they have weakness in the mid traps and rhomboids on the back. Again, we think about what we spoke about earlier about hyperkyphosis, that would tie in with that wouldn't it. So if someone had a hyperkyphosis rounding through the thoracic spine, that forward head carriage would be caused by tightness in your pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi and teres major. We kind of expect to see on the overhead squat that those arms were falling forward.

Speaker 1 (07:10):

So guys we can see from that overhead squat, from that very straightforward test, as a PT, we can get a lot of really good information. From how someone's moving in the overhead squat, we can identify restrictions and come up with a really effective strategy that's going to get them moving more efficiently and more effectively. It's going to reduce pain and also reduce the chance of injury. If we're doing that, we're going to move our clients more quickly towards their goals.

Speaker 1 (07:40):

So hopefully you can see from this short insight into the overhead squat, what a really great test is, what a really useful test is for personal trainers to get their clients moving more efficiently, more effectively, and getting more from their training. Okay, then guys, thanks for listening and I'll speak to you all again very soon. Bye.

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