Core Corner – Squat to Overhead Press on One Leg

I often have people ask for exercises that give “more bang for their buck” — exercises that challenge the most important muscles, most effectively, in the least amount of time. In these cases we turn to multi-joint exercises to challenge core and hip stability and use as many muscles possible through the entire range of motion. 

The squat to overhead press on one leg starts with a traditional squat (multi-joint, large muscle groups) and continues by shifting to one leg, engaging the hip muscles of the standing leg, and pressing the weight away from the center of balance of the body.  

2016_12_dec_sustain_towe_pg30_1  2016_12_dec_sustain_towe_pg30_2


  1. Start in a stance with your feet about shoulder width apart, holding dumbbells at shoulder level.
  2. Leading with the hip joint, sit into the squat, keeping dumbbells at shoulder level.
  3. Once you find your range of motion at the bottom of your squat (keep your heels down, keep your spine neutral while leaning slightly forward at the hip joint), begin to shift onto one leg as you press up into a single leg stance, simultaneously pressing both dumbbells overhead. Hold the single leg stance for 1-2 seconds in order to maintain balance and control.  
  4. Slowly reverse the pattern, bringing the dumbbells back to shoulder level, returning both feet to the ground and lowering into the squat position.  
  5. Shift your weight into the other leg and press overhead, engaging your core and hip muscles while standing on one leg. Reverse the pattern, slowly lowering back into the squat with both feet on the ground. 

Use light weights to begin this exercise. Perform 2-4 sets of 10-20 repetitions.