Due to some ongoing shoulder issues that I’ve been having, I recently started looking for a safety squat bar. I didn’t realize there were so many different ones out there. Thankfully, after a bit of searching and asking questions, I was able to narrow my search to the one that I ended up getting. I decided on the Edge Fitness Systems Safety Squat/Yoke Bar. The bar was ordered on a Monday and it arrived on Friday. It is shipped in two separate boxes, the bar in one box and the handles and pads in the other. Assembly took all of about 5 minutes, using a couple of hex keys. All you have to do is connect the handles to the tubes that are welded to the main bar and secure the collars that keep the shoulder pads in place.
First off, let me say that as a Mechanical Engineer, I am very picky about how things are made. I definitely favor function over form. If something doesn’t work the way I want it to, I don’t care how it looks. I want functionality first and foremost. The welds on the bar are very nice. They are basically textbook welds, very uniform and well done. I’m pretty sure they were done by hand (by the owner of Edge, Richard Davis, but they look like could have been done by a robot. They are that good. The finish of the bar is a satin black powdercoat. No irregularities could be seen. The coating is very even and smooth. I know the coating will get scratched where the bar sits in my cage and from sliding plates on and off, but to me, it shows pride in workmanship to put a nice powdercoat finish on the bar. finish on it The bar is 43 pounds, 86” end to end. If you're a real stickler about weights like me, I just slid my 1.25 Olympic plates on the bar and will keep them there. That's close enough for me! One thing to keep in mind with this bar is that your typical Olympic collars might not fit. I use spring collars on my Olympic bar and they were just slightly too large. To fix this, I bought two 2” spring clamps from Home Depot for $0.99/each. These snap right onto the bar. Issue fixed. Again, function over form, remember?
All three pads, two shoulder pads and one neck pad, are very dense, but overly hard. They are similar to what you find on some leg extension machines. You can push in on them, but you really have to squeeze them to do so. They might seem hard to the touch initially, but once the bar is loaded, they feel just fine. The center neck pad, has a nice vinyl upholstery on it that is attached by Velcro. I didn’t attempt to remove it, but I’m sure it would be easy enough if you ever felt you needed to. Perhaps you might want to get some cool name stitched on the cover, who knows? Haha. Or, you might want to get a slightly different material. I have no issues with the vinyl, so I’ll be keeping it as is. The spacing of the pads is just right. It allows for a nice fit for both me and my training partner who’s a lot bigger than me.
The handles are definitely longer than any other safety squat bar on the market. I know some people might say “Why do they need to be that long?” “Brand ‘E’ or Brand ‘R’ doesn’t use handles that long.” Well, let me tell you, you don’t need to put your hands at the very end of the handles. You can put them as close to the bar as you want to. Actually, after a few sets, I actually found myself reaching towards the end of the handles, so I actually appreciate the extra length. I have long arms (I have a 36/27” sleeve length in dress shirts) so the long handles work well for me. The grips that are on the ends of the handles are a closed cell foam type, very similar to what you see on a lot of lat pulldown and seated row attachments. The angle that the handles are set in relation to the way the plates are situated on the bar is perfect. You can actually squat with the bar and keep your hands completely off the bar. I actually did my warm up sets like that. The bar and weights balance out perfectly. Some lesser quality, poorly engineered bars will have the handles and weights set at the same angle.
There was a very small learning curve in getting used to the motion of squatting with the safety squat bar vs a regular barbell, but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be learned in a session. With this bar, I’m able to concentrate 100% on working my legs and not worry about my shoulder. I had one of the best leg workouts I had in a long time after using this new bar. This bar, and my trap bar, have completely transformed how I’m training. All I need to do now is work on the muscular imbalance around my shoulder and I’ll be good to go. I don’t have anything else to add, but if you have any questions about the bar, using it, dealing with Edge, etc., please feel free to let me know.