Can’t Do an Overhead Squat? This Mobility Flow Will Get You There

Can’t Do an Overhead Squat? This Mobility Flow Will Get You There

Shoulder Mobility Is Key

Many people struggle with achieving proper overhead shoulder mobility to perform an overhead squat. Lack of shoulder mobility is one of the most common factors limiting one’s ability to get into the proper position. The shoulder joint and surrounding muscles need to have adequate range of motion and flexibility to properly stabilize the arms overhead.

Address Tight Pecs and Lats

Tight chest and lat muscles can pull your entire upper body forward, preventing you from getting your arms overhead. It’s important to stretch these areas out regularly. I recommend doorframe stretches for the pecs and lats. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds on each side.

Open Up the Shoulders

The shoulder joint sits within the shoulder socket. This socket can get tight, limiting your ability to open up the shoulders into an overhead squat position. Try this stretch – grab a light pole or door frame and walk your feet forward, allowing your arm to raise overhead. This will provide a deep stretch in the shoulder socket.

Improve Thoracic Spine Mobility

The upper back area called the thoracic spine must have adequate mobility to get into the squat position as well. Poor thoracic mobility leads to a rounded upper back posture. Try foam rolling and doing cat-camel stretches to improve extension and rotation in this area.

Strengthen Your Core

A strong core stabilizes your entire body so you can balance properly in the overhead squat position. Planks, dead bugs, and pallof presses are excellent core exercises. Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps, 2-3 times per week.


What muscle groups should I stretch?

Focus on stretching the chest, lats, shoulders, and thoracic spine areas. These muscle groups limit overhead shoulder mobility when tight.

How often should I stretch?

Aim to stretch daily for 30-60 seconds per muscle group to see improvements in shoulder mobility for the overhead squat.

What are some thoracic mobility exercises?

Foam rolling, cat-camel stretches, and banded thoracic rotations are great for improving thoracic spine mobility.

How often should I train my core?

Train your core 2-3 times per week, allowing at least a day of rest between sessions. Core training assists overhead squatting.

What is the best overhead squat progression?

Start with banded overhead squats to reduce load. Gradually progress to unsupported overhead squats with a light barbell as mobility improves.