One Weird Trick: Installment 5 – Fix Your Overhead Squat
Introducing the Tall Kneeling Position, and How It Can Fix Your Overhead Squat
Watch this video to make sure you do the tall kneeling position correctly, and read below to learn how this drill can fix your overhead squat movement!
I’ve been blessed to have shared the company of several really smart physical therapists, personal trainers, and strength coaches of all types of backgrounds. I love how we can all see one specific issue, and come up with several different solutions for that same problem.
One of the things that has puzzled many of my colleagues is the inclusion of a tall kneeling position in an exercise program. First, what is the tall kneeling position? And should I include it in my exercise program?
Essentially, the tall kneeling position involves assuming a bilateral stance on your knees.
Next, programming it in your program depends on if you need it or not from an assessment point of view.
Whenever I program a tall kneeling position into a program, more often than not that individual presented lack of control with their overhead squat.
At its simplest, the overhead squat is a bilateral stance movement pattern. In the squat pattern, you are learning to change levels. And by levels, I mean starting tall, and ending up in a lowered stance.
In your beginning stance, you are theoretically in full hip extension while in an upright and standing position.
As you descend and change levels, you are eccentrically loading the posterior chain musculature, maintaining a static torso position, along with going into hip flexion.
In the tall kneeling pattern, you are simply challenging the hip extension movement pattern. There is no deep excursion into hip flexion (although, you can always go into a slight hip flexion pattern by sitting your butt to your heels).
So while an overhead squat can be limited for many reasons – lack of hip mobility, lack of hip control, lack of ankle mobility/stability, which are mainly lower body problems – there are also other reasons that an overhead squat can exhibit a dysfunctional pattern in an individual, namely torso and upper body related problems.
I highlighted and bolded the phrase “maintaining a static torso position” above because, from my point of view, the tall kneeling pattern’s main purpose is to maintain a static torso position while moving in various manners.
When to Use the Tall Kneeling Position
Well, an easy way to see if a drill is right for you is to see if you fit a specific type of criteria. I can’t diagnose from the internet, but I can provide better ways to move about based on your movement, such as during your overhead squat.
- Perform an Overhead Squat.
- If you have issues maintaining an upright torso, or you tend to dive forward immediately in your squat, elevate your heels.
- Perform the overhead squat again.
- If the position is not improved, then the tall kneeling position may be appropriate for a few of your drills.
Here are a list of other ways you can challenge torso stability:
- Tall Kneeling Cable Chop
- Tall Kneeling Pallof Press
- Tall Kneeling Med Ball Chest Pass
- Tall Kneeling Single Arm Rope Drills
- Tall Kneeling DB Overhead Press
… among many, many other drills and exercises!
Keep it funky.
P.S. In fact, when you think about it, the Glute Ham Raise is also an opportunity to challenge a “Tall Kneeling” position, albeit you are moving at the posterior chain!