Friday, June 27, 2008

Exercise of the Week: OverHead Squats

Here's an article originally posted on the CrossFit TriCities website. I am always learning from Jason and Mark. They not only possess the knowledge, but the ability to impart it on others in a motivating and encouraging way.

The overhead squat is a perfect example of exceptional mid-line stabilization and flexibility (amongst many other feats). Here, Dave demonstrates his ability to stabilize 95 pounds over head, which has everything to do with how strong and stable his "core" is. As the load is supported farther away from the hips, the demand placed upon the "core" can be more and more challenging to deal with. Without proper mid-line stability and relative flexibility, this "skyscraper" would collapse.

It's also important to point out that the overhead squat places an incredible demand on our "transverse plane", or the direction in which our body moves when it rotates. There have been a few questions as to why we don't "rotate" in a lot of our movements. Well, we can train the "transverse plane" just as effectively by resisting it, if not better, than rotating with it. What this means for our some of our cyclists is less sway on the bike and more power to the pedals while cranking uphill, and our runners are less likely to lose energy in unneeded body rotation while moving in a straight line (hint: this makes them faster).

We've noticed some issues with mid-line stability over the past week, and especially during yesterday's Fight Gone Bad. This is what we're going to exclusively focus on, to polish up the flaws that we've been seeing (especially during dead lift rooted movements). Passing on the knowledge of what makes our movements efficient, and not efficient, leads to faster times and injury prevention. These issues are a mobility issue, a flexibility issue, or any combination of the two. Learning how to control that mid-line even through stress and fatigue becomes more and more important as the pace increases and the loads go up.

Thanks Jason and Mark!

Here's a CrossFit video of the OHS.

I also found an article from Dan John, a champion Highland Games competitor.

On a personal note: I had been struggling with my OHS form, and therefore abandoned it altogether. I got some great pointers from Jason Homesly who "flipped ON the lightswitch" for me. I'm still working on my flexibility and form, but now I'm doing them regularly. I have gone from a broomstick, to a 45# bar, to now adding some 10# weights. The progression has been slow, but as always...seeing results. I keep repetitions numbers high and weight low, but that's gotta change! My advice: start with ZERO weight and get the form down first. Trust me when I say the feeling of falling over will subside.

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