T Nation

Help With The Low Bar Squat


#1

I've always squatted with the bar high up on top of my traps, especially recently I've got good at keeping my back really tight and it feels really secure.
I want to know are there any advantages to low bar squatting worth taking the time to adjust?
I read starting strength a couple of months ago and Rippetoe seems to much prefer it over high bar but when I tried I struggled to have it on my back, it felt both uncomfortable and insecure and I basically held it in my hands, unracking it was particularly hard.
Thank you in advance.


#2

For what specific reason are you squatting? This will determine if you there are any advantages to switching.


#3

Basically just to get stronger.


#4

You can get stronger with a high bar squat. Zero need to switch to a new style.

Rippetoe is a silly man sometimes.


#5

Okay thank you, so what are the potential advantages of low bar?


#6

there's nothing inherently better about either style; different people will feel more comfortable with different variations.

Pick the one you like best and do that. That's really all there is to it.


#7

If you like it more, you can probably squat more weight with it, but some prefer to squat high bar. It is a different way to lift a weight, so it is good for variety, just like playing with stance width.

As you have more specific goals, your tools will need to be more specific, but if you just want to be strong, pretty much anything works.


#8

Okay, thank you both for your help I'll stick with high bar.
I just came across your log by the way punisher, I hope all goes well in your comp it's inspiring to come back from injury like that.


#9

The basic idea is you can lean over more which creates more favourable angles at the knees and hips for squatting . Like having a huge back arch, it doesn't make you stronger, it gives you a mechanical advantage which is important if your goal is to lift more weight than anyone else under a particular set of rules.


#10

Definitely seems like for my goals then I'm better just sticking with high bar if I'm more comfortable.
Thank you for helping.


#11

If you want to squat big, you should give it a try, if you want big legs, high bar is fine.

Personally I switched when I reached a plateau on high bar and wanted to simply try low bar.

Heavy high bar felt really bad on my neck too.

First about bar position, it may feel weird at first but you just need to find the correct adjustment, one big tip is thumbless grip for your wrist if you can't hold the bar without wrecking em.

The big thing with low bar squat is that more muscles are engaged and the lift feels more easy. High bar really emphasizes on quads while all your posterior chain will be engaged on low bar squats.


#12

I can't find a comfortable position on my back but I don't know whether this is due to me just being a wimp or something else. I already use thumbless grip. It's definitely something I'd like to give a go.
I think for the time being though I'll stick with high bar and when I hit a plateu or get bored I might change it up.


#13

You don't have to go extremely low on your back, just on the rear delts is fine.

It takes 2-3 sessions to adjust but then it feels nice :wink:


#14

SS is all about engaging the largest and the greatest quantity of muscles over the longest range of motion to increase strength. In accordance with that, he believes that low bar squatting is superior to high bar because it engages larger and more muscles over a greater range of motion.

That being said, I believe both low and high are very effective for increasing strength, so I wouldn't sweat the small shit.

Just sayin'.


#15

I generally think low vs high bar is BS and people just need to find the bar position that works best for them. That is, if they even need to squat with a bar on their back (if you don't PL, probably don't need to). Front squats are cool too, and personally I think the safety squat bar is the best squat option around. If I didn't PL I'd probably only use the SSB.


#16

Thanks, I train in a commercial gym unfortunately so there's no ssb but I've started trying front squats recently and I'm just starting to get comfortable. I plan on using them as an assistance exercise on Deadlift days.


#17

You might find this helpful. At about 5 minutes in and talks about how low bar squats are similar to the DL.

He has a How to Squat Video that is also excellent. Let me just add, I heart Alan's youtube channel. He's awesome.


#18

Thank you, I'm subscribed to him and watch all his videos but must have missed those. I agree his channel is great.