Introduction to the Overhead Squat Assessment

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, H/FS

Dr. Brent Brookbush teaches the sign OHSA with Modification (Heel Rise)

Definition:

Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA) - A dynamic/transitional posture assessment that combines end-range shoulder flexion with a squat (sit-to-stand transfer).

Why the OHSA (Relevance)?  This assessment is designed to highlight deviations from ideal motion with the intent of informing intervention selection. Dynamic/transitional postural assessments are particularly well suited for highlighting altered movement patterns that may incorporate multiple body segments, joints, muscles, fascia and/or neural structures. That is, this category differs from most assessments which attempt to identify a single structure or joint motion that may be contributing to the patient/client's complaints.  For example, although a manual muscle test for the gluteus medius may indicate gluteus medius weakness.; the OHSA may imply that this weakness is a contributing factor of a lower extremity compensation pattern that includes additional structures crossing the hip, knee and ankle - as is often the case when an individual exhibits the sign Knees Bow In (discussed in greater detail below).

  • What the OHSA is Not:  The overhead squat assessment is not a diagnostic test. The overhead squat is not designed to be a valid measure of joint or muscle pathology, is not designed with the intent of aiding in differential diagnosis, and should not be used as a "catch-all" assessment that replaces all other assessments. The Brookbush Institute recommends that the OHSA is one assessment used in a group of assessment that may also include a subjective examination, special/orthopedic tests, goniometry, muscle length tests, and manual muscle testing, provided the testing falls within the human movement professional's scope-of-practice.  The OHSA is one