Overhead Squat Assessment and the Kinetic Chain

Biomechanics and movement plays a large role in everything we do as humans . Understanding forces and how they affect each individual is a crucial aspect of being a fitness professional . Biomechanics itself can be directly related to the kinetic chain itself . The kinetic chain contains our nervous , muscular and skeletal systems . These all work together and must be in sync to move efficiently. This is why it is good to assess clients prior to exercising . Incorporating preliminary assessments prior to exercise is an absolute must . Granted the potential client has consent from a doctor to exercise , the fitness professional should assess the posture of the individual . After assessing the individual and looking for either lower or upper crosses syndrome , the trainer can then go into movement assessments. The main areas of focus for the coach should be the head, cervical, shoulders, knee, foot/ankle and the lumbo pelvic hip complex (LPHC).

My favorite movement assessment is the overhead squat . The overhead squat offers a variety of details about the client . It’s primary objective is to reveal core strength , flexibility dynamically , balance as well as overall neuromuscular control . When starting the overhead squat , the client should have hands overhead with the shoes removed. The positioning of the head and feet should be straight ahead . The trunk and feet should be kept in a neutral position . After the client is in ideal position, the client can then perform the squat . As they squat , you need to watch from the lateral and anterior positions. The knees should stay aligned with the feet . Some common issues that you may see are low back arching , knees caving or arms falling forward . If the low back arches excessively then it could be some under active muscles of the core , hamstrings and glutes . If the arms fall forward , it could be some under-active muscles of the glutes , erectors and anterior tibialis . If the knees move inward this is typically referred to as a knee valgus or “knock knees”. A knee valgus is a caving in of the knee which is caused by weak abductors and external rotators off the hip . The greater the cave of the knee , the greater risk the client is for a knee injury . Assessing with the overhead squat can help to target these weak areas . The fitness professional can program properly for each client based on their results . Overall the overhead squat is just one assessment I like to include in my own arsenal . Understanding the kinetic chain checkpoints I previously mentioned is crucial . Every person is going to be different . And most likely each individual is going to have some kinetic chain dysfunction . Make sure you have a decent understanding of anatomy . Also study the agonist and antagonists as well . This will help you as an athlete , coach , trainer in the long run . You will be able to help yourself and others much efficiently. The goal for general fitness and high level athletes should be the same . That overall mission is to decrease the chance of an injury and work those imbalances to improve performance.

Greyson Loweecy