Overhead movements are movements where you hold a load above your head.
I do various overhead exercises several times a week. From shoulder presses to overhead squats to walking lunges, overhead movements are great in putting your big muscle groups into use.
Building Strong Shoulders
Overhead movements are great for building strong shoulders. If you have ever painted a ceiling or hung a picture or curtains up, you know that holding your arms up for extended time can be pretty grueling on your shoulders and arms.
To do overhead movements, your shoulders need to have a good mobility, which many people don't. Practice with something light at first, like a PVC pipe or a towel that you hold from each end, before grabbing anything heavier like kettlebells or barbells!
If your body isn't ready for it, you may hurt yourself pretty badly.
Work the Whole Body
But if you can do overhead movements, they are a really great addition to your workouts. Holding a load above your head, you can do squats, walking lunges, forward/reverse lunges, snatches or thrusters that are all great way to work not only the arms and shoulders but your legs and core too.
What I really like about overhead movements is how they challenge the core. It's really rare that I do any specific core exercises at all, because I get a lot of work done with overhead movements.
But as said, if you don't yet have great shoulder strength and mobility to do overhead exercises, specific core work may have a place in your workouts.
My Recent Overhead Sandbag Workout
Here is one workout where I use my sandbag for overhead work.
As always, I love the big compound movements that give me the most bang for the buck.
This time I combined a sandbag Push Up, Clean and Front Squat and Overhead Press into a one movement. It's basically like a burpee with some added weights, so let's call it a Sandbag Burpee.
Then I added in Overhead Walking Lunges and finished the set with simple Bodyweight Squats.
Keep in Mind:
When doing sandbag burpees, make sure to keep your lower back straight. This is super important to keep your back healthy!
Because the weight is on the front side of your body, your heels may want to lift up. Try to keep the heels glued in the ground. In the squatting part of Sandbag Burpee, think about sitting down on a bench that is not directly under your butt but a little bit behind, so you basically have to reach your butt out a bit.
Knee and toe alignment is important as well. Your knees may get “shaky” or turn inwards especially now when you are holding the weight above your head. Visualization helps you to stabilize the knees: Think that you want to split the ground under your feet.
Done in 20 Minutes
This workout was pretty intense! Even if it didn't look too bad in the paper, it was tough as I actually did it.
I definitely slowed down towards the end, which you can see also in the video that I actually filmed after my 5th round. But as always, the you should do the movements as fast as you can without letting the form suffer.
But the best part? The workout was done in about 20 minutes.
No excuses, you can always find 20 minutes to move! Try the workout out and let me know what you think.
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