The overhead squat

The overhead squat (OHS) when completed should display symmetrical movement about the ankles, knees, and hips. This is the mobility part of the movement. When combined with hands held overhead the screen then challenges the child's ability to stretch the arms overhead and hold (keep stable) the arms overhead with the upper back muscles. Therefore, the ability of the child to extend the thoracic spine (upper back) is challenged while the hips, knees, and ankles both flex and then extend.

To set up and perform the OHS the coach gets the child to stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned (slightly) out to the side - as in a normal stance. Next ask the child to raise both arms overhead. Then ask the child to squat down all the way while keeping the arms above the head. The coach is looking to see if the child can perform a full deep squat with the heels on the ground and the hands overhead without pain or discomfort. The setup and performance of the OHS is demonstrated in the video below.

To score the OHS a one point score can be given for each of the following traits and a score of four is a perfect movement:

  1. Hands remain over the footprint
  2. Thighs break parallel at the bottom of the squat
  3. Feet remain slightly pointing outwards and the knees are aligned over the feet
  4. The child's body weight is evenly distributed between right and left feet throughout the squat.