Monday, November 29, 2010

Increase Overhead Squat Performance

Increase your stability in the bottom position for your Snatch and Overhead Squat

Here's a little twist on a strength and conditioning stand-by: the Overhead Squat.  And by twist, I'm talking about ensuring the rock solid position necessary to lock-out, bottom-out, and finish your snatch or overhead squat.  Twisting, bending, wobbling, etc. are the enemy of any successful lift and a sure fire way for an athlete to get hurt or have little to no transferability from the gym to the arena.
Having a partner provide slight rotational force on a dowel while in the overhead squatting position is what we term as rhythmic stability.  This is about finding the "middle way" - the route that ensures balanced contraction from both sides and from all angles.  This simplified definition asks one thing from the athlete and one thing from the partner.

- Athlete must keep proper posture for the entire exercise.  Never sacrifice technique or structural integrity for achievement.
- Partner must only provide enough force to ensure that the athlete can be challenged and still maintain posture.
Both must work together - no job trumps the other; just accept that this is not a "tug-o'-war" - it's about teamwork.

Doing this exercise correctly yields multiple benefits:
1. Decreased stress on our skeletal system as well as on tendons, ligaments, and joints.  The muscles have to contract appropriately, especially those small stabilizer muscles that then allow the big muscles to move the big weight and apply explosive force into the ground.
2. Improved respiration while performing intra-abdominal contraction - this will improve transferability to real life.  The training for this exercise extends as your ability to perform it improves - endurance is the key.  Stop counting reps - improve performance by extending time under tension with excellent form.  This is priority for preventative maintenance exercises as they help our major lifts and improve functional strength and power.  By increasing the length of the set and breathing more efficiently you promote transferability to the real world where counting reps is obsolete and respiration is essential.
3. Improved compliance to high performance training... we need variety, altered demands, and interaction with our friends, teammates, etc.  The timing and force vectors for this exercise is always different/changing, and there is just something to be said about resisting and fighting against good ole fashioned man (or woman) power.

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