Torso Position in the Overhead Squat
Be nice to your shoulders!
Disclaimer: You are all great. We are comparing and contrasting athletes' overhead position to help make everyone better, not to single people out and hurt their feelings. Last time I checked, we were all adults, so no hissy fits people.
Check out these eight athletes. What looks different about the athletes in the top row as compared to the bottom row? TORSO ANGLE. Athletes in the top row have very upright torso positions. Remember, the bar stays balanced overhead when it is centered over the middle of the foot. For the bar to stay balanced overhead with this upright torso position, the arms are also upright, meaning there is a very small shoulder angle. This makes our shoulders, nerves, soft tissues, etc. HAPPY. It also allows us to squat well below parallel.
In the bottom row, are athletes are showing a more inclined torso, i.e. a larger forward tilt. For the bar to stay balanced overhead when the torso is tilted so far forward, the shoulder angle must increase dramatically to keep the bar centered over the foot. If you had a small shoulder angle with a forward torso, the bar would be out in front of you (impossible, damn you gravity). The forward torso lean also makes it really difficult to squat below parallel, often leading to athletes coming forward on to their toes. This increased shoulder angle may be tolerable over the span of a workout or two, but your dear shoulders are not really happy here. Ever get a little numbness in your thumb or forearm after doing high rep overhead squats? Not a good sign. Duh.
A good torso position in the OHS is no joke. It requires a tremendous amount of strength, balance, proprioception, and flexibility (especially in the thoracic spine, hamstrings, shoulders, and ankles). Don't get frustrated if you can't get there in a day. Remember: TECHNIQUE-->RANGE OF MOTION-->INTENSITY. Technique and range of motion can take an unpleasantly long time to develop. No one said it was gonna be easy, folks. If it were, everyone would be doing overhead squats with 2x their body weight.
Don't give up on overhead squats because they're hard. That would be a totally sissy move. Be persistent, be patient, and you'll get there if you really want to.
Keep up the good work,