The muscle snatch to overhead squat is a great tool for assessing tight and weak muscles as well as mobility and instability issues.

It’s also a great training tool, and AAS athletes do it every day.

The Fundamental of the Muscle Snatch to Overhead Squat

Here are the three reasons why this is a great assessment tool:

Hip Flexibility

It is very common to hear about tennis, football, and hockey players whose hips are are so tight they can’t move with fluidity. These athletes would benefit enormously from adding overhead squats to their training programs every day! These must be done to the maximum depth the athlete can achieve. They need to focus on sinking their hips, pushing into the bottom position and really stretching out, not just going through the motion.  Getting into a deep squat while holding a weight overhead is extremely effective for restoring mobility and flexibility in the hips and shoulder girdle. I joke that this is the yoga segment of our training sessions, which my athletes find amusing.

Daily Pre-Training Screening Tool

I might be stating the obvious, but this exercise is also a great pre-training screening tool, as it gives a good indication of how the athlete is moving on a given day. If they are able to do this movement in a  smooth and fluid manner then you know it should be a good day. In contrast, if they are not moving well,  not attaining their normal depth and range of motion, or not being able to maintain their usual positions then you know they are tight. This is a red flag to keep an close eye on this athlete or even make adjustments to the day’s training plan. If the athlete is shaking on the way down or up, that’s a huge red flag as it is an indication of spinal compression. In this case, squats are taken out for the day and replaced with cable split squats and some reverse hypers to get some traction in the spine. The athlete will also be sent for a massage or treatment after training.

Shoulder Girdle Flexibility & Strength

How many athletes do you see everyday with tight, rounded, and weak shoulders? It’s an epidemic! This problem is not limited to mostly hockey players anymore either. An increasing number of athletes from all sports such as basketball, football, skiing, and baseball seem to have a shoulder issue of one kind or another, and the age at which this is occurring is getting younger and younger. I personally believe this is related to the heavy use of video games and smartphones. My solution is a steady diet of the muscle snatch to overhead squat. It is amazing to see what a dramatic effect doing this exercise on a daily basis for a month has on shoulder strength and mobility. Those with terrible shoulder strength or mobility do this with a broom stick or hockey stick. It doesn’t matter as long as they get the reps in. So they will be working on shoulder girdle flexibility, mobility, and strength seven days per week. You have train it to improve it! After 12 weeks of this training a 13 year old kid who couldn’t stabilize and fix a dowel overhead is now doing sets and reps with 40kg / 88lbs overhead.  These small and often overlooked things make a huge difference in performance.

Charles Poliquin said to me years ago, “If you’re good at assessing the muscles snatch and overhead squat, this is the only orthopedic assessment tool you will need.”

Years of practical experience have caused me to believe this as well.