Progressing the Overhead Squat

Latissimus Dorsi tightness test

It was shown previously that if a player cannot perform the overhead squat without movement compensation, the coach should then test their squat pattern with their hands clasped behind their head. If they can complete the movement with the hands behind the head it indicates that the movement issue causing compensation may be within the upper body. If we see that the restriction may be in the upper body we can further test to see if the restriction is caused by tightness in the Latissimus Dorsi muscle highlighted in the picture below. This is a common cause of the arms falling out in front of the body during the Overhead squat test. The video below shows the test being administered and the steps for implementing the test are as follows:

  • The player stands against a wall in a quarter squat position, elbows extended with the thumbs facing out and the lower back pressed into the wall
  • The player then raises their arms over their head to try and touch the wall with their thumbs all the time keeping the lower back pressed in against the wall as demonstrated in the video

The common faults in this test that can indicate tightness of the Latissimus Dorsi muscles are:

  • Lower back arching and not staying flat against the wall
  • The thumbs not being able to touch the wall overhead
  • The elbows bend to touch the wall overhead

These faults are illustrated in the video. If we identify that a player has tight Latissimus Dorsi muscles we could then include stretching exercises in our training programme to rectify this issue as shown in the following videos.

Corrective exercises

Lat stretch

Bench Lat stretch - kneeling beside a bench, player places elbows on the bench, sinks back towards heels whilst keeping elbows on the bench.