With this lift, we are going to be chaining three different exercises into one. The Squat, the Hammer Curl, and the Palms In Overhead Press will all get connected into one repetition.

The Squat Curl Press is a great conditioning exercise.

While you may not see many people at local gyms performing this exercise, it gets commonly used by many different CrossFit facilities.

Squat Curl Press How to Guide

Image Example

how to do the Squat Curl to overhead press exercise https://get-strong.fit/The-Squat-Curl-Press-Exercise-Guide/Exercises

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Grab a set of dumbbells with each of your hands. Hold the dumbbells, so the palms of your hands are facing in towards your body. Your feet should be slightly closer than shoulder width and directly under your hips. Stand straight with your shoulders pulled back and down while pushing your chest out.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 2: Push your hips back and bend at the knees while keeping your weight on the heels of your feet and lower your body. Keep lowering your body until the crease of your hip is at or below your knees. Make sure that you do not let your knees go past the tips of your toes.

Step 3: Push through your heels and return to the standing position. As you are pushing with your legs, bend at your elbows raising the dumbells up towards your shoulders.

Step 4: Keep your body stable and now press the dumbbells up overhead with your palms either facing each other. To move a larger amount of weight slightly bend at your knees and quickly drive your heels into the floor to help create momentum and use the momentum to help press the weight overhead(also known as the push press).

Step 5: Now bend at your elbows and lower the dumbbells back down to your shoulders then perform the lowering portion of the curl to return the weight to your sides with your palms facing in towards your body.

You have now completed one repetition. Repeat for your selected number of reps and sets.

Video Demonstration

Difficulty Level

Since this exercise uses basic movement patterns, it gets rated at a Beginner difficulty level.

While it is a beginner level exercise, you should be able to perform the Squat, Curl and Overhead press by themselves with proper form and technique before you attempt to chain the three movements into one.

Equipment Required

For the Squat Curl Press, you are going to need either a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells.

You can also use weighted clothing to add some extra weight and increase the difficulty of the squatting portion.

Muscles Worked

This exercise uses a large number of muscles in your body. We are going to break down the different muscles used based on each of the different lifts used.


The Primary Squatting muscles used are the Quadriceps and your Hamstrings and the Glutes.

The Secondary muscles involved are your Calves, Core, and your gluteus minimum and media get used with this lift.


The Curling portion is going to place a high focus on your Biceps and use your forearms act as the secondary muscle involved.

Overhead Press

The Overhead Press works your Shoulders and Triceps primarly. Your core gets involved for the overhead portion of this lift. When you are pushing overhead, your lower back and abdominals are required so your body can drive the weight up in a straight line.


Since so many different muscles get recruited with this exercise, your body will burn a large number of calories in a short period.

Depending on the weights you select this exercise can be used in traditional strength(go heavy where you can only do 5 to 8 repetitions, also weighted clothing is helpful to help load more weight on the squatting portion) training. Alternatively, you can use lighter weights and perform this lift with less focus on raw strength and instead focus on your cardiovascular and muscular conditioning.

If you plan on using this exercise for conditioning and burning a maximal number of calories, then you should try using it in a High-Intensity Interval training program. We offer a free online HIIT timer that you can use free of charge. It works on almost all phones, tablets, and computers so check it out today.

Training Tips

When you are training for strength, it is best to use a set number of sets and reps. Log the weight used and if you can perform all reps for each set increment the amount of weight you use the next time you do the lift(progressive overload).

When you are performing the squatting portion, do not let your knees go past the tip of your toe. When this happens, additional stress is placed on your knee ligaments increasing your chance of receiving an injury.

Do not allow your lower back to round. Many people have rounding at your lower back when they are in the bottom of their squat. Keep your shoulders pulled back and down while sticking your chest out to help prevent rounding of your lower back.

While I prefer to use this exercise with a traditional squat stance, you can also use a wide stance(feet are on the outside of your shoulders) or narrow stance squat(feet 3 to 6 inches apart).

In Closing

On days where you do not have much time to spend in the gym using multiple compound movements chained together will allow you to get an efficient workout in a short time span.

If you want to use this exercise in a HIIT training routine, check out HIIT timer available to you free of charge or check out our exercise logger to track your weight lifted.

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