Overhead Squat Assessment Solutions Table: Sign Clusters and Compensation Patterns

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

For an introduction to the Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA) including intent, validity, reliability, signs of dysfunction, analysis and set-up, please review:

For a review of the 8 common signs noted during OHSA, including video instructions, tables with analysis and intervention recommendations, and relevant research for each sign please review:

Printable PDF of the Movement Assessment Template (including the OHSA):

Sign Clusters and Compensation Patterns:

If you use the OHSA in practice, you have probably noticed it is very rare that an individual presents with a single "sign" of dysfunction. If you look closely at the tables in the article Overhead Squat Assessment: Signs of Dysfunction, you will note that many of the same muscles continue to appear, exhibiting the same changes in activity and length, throughout multiple signs/tables. This is especially true of signs related to the same joint or proximal joints (for example, "feet flatten," "feet turn-out," "knees bow in," etc). This repetition gives inference to signs being related to one another, resulting in "sign clusters," and these clusters are likely representative of compensation patterns. In fact, practice may highlight that dysfunction most often presents in patterns. Fortunately, these patterns are repetitive, predictable, and easily categorized into a few over-arching models of postural dysfunction/movement impairment.  Below you will find tables with analysis of each compensation pattern, with the muscles and interventions hyperlinked, hyperlinks for further reading on each pattern, a video description of how to identify the compensation pattern using the OHSA, how to use the Modified OHSA for differentiation, and a brief discussion on relevant