The overhead squat develops core control by punishing any forward wobble of the load with an enormous and instant increase in the moment about the hip and back.
When the bar is held perfectly overhead and still, which is nearly impossible, the overhead squat does not present greater load on the hip or back, but moving too fast, along the wrong line of action, or wiggling can bring even the lightest loads down like a house of cards. You?ve two, and only two, safe options for bailing out ? dumping the load forward and stepping or falling backward or dumping backward and stepping or falling forward. Both are safe and easy. Lateral escapes are not an option.
The difference between your overhead squat and your back or front squat is a solid measure of your midline stability and control and the precision of your squatting posture and line of action. Improving and developing your overhead squat will fix faults not visible in the back and front squat.
As your max overhead, back, and front squat each rise, their relative measure reveals much about your developing potential for athletic movement.
An average of your max back and front squat is an excellent measure of your core, hip, and leg strength. Your max overhead squat is an excellent measure of your core stability and control and ultimately your ability to generate effective and efficient athletic power.
Your max overhead squat will always be a fraction of the average of your max back and front squat but, ideally, with time, they should converge rather than diverge.
Should they diverge, you are developing hip and core strength, but your capacity to efficiently apply power distally is reduced. In athletic pursuits you may be prone to injury. Should they converge, you are developing useful strength and power that can be successfully applied to athletic movements.
The functional application or utility of the overhead squat may not be readily apparent, but there are many real-world occurrences where objects high enough to get under are too heavy or not free enough to be jerked or pressed overhead yet can be elevated by first lowering your hips until your arms can be locked and then squatting upwards.
Once developed, the overhead squat is a thing of beauty ? a masterpiece of expression in control, stability, balance, efficient power, and utility. Get on it.