T Nation

High Bar Squats - Bar Placement


#1

I’ve been doing low-bar squats for about 9 months now and am looking to add high-bar into my routine. However, I can’t find nearly the same comfort level with the bar placement when trying high-bar.

Are there any tips about where exactly the bar should be located? Low-bar feels so much more natural with the groove across my back and I can’t seem to find a similar notch or groove when attempting high-bar.


#2

Totally untested plan:

Do a couple warm up style sets of Front Squat, first. Get accustomed to the upright style. The idea is to make sure that you are not just low bar squatting, with the bar high on your neck.

Then do a set of back squats, again warm up style, with a slightly higher than normal bar position. Next try another set or two, moving the bar up slightly each set. The exact position doesn’t matter. You can even do a set with the bar obviously too high, so you learn how much it sucks.

Then when you start adding weight for your real sets, your body “knows” where to set the bar.

It may take a few sessions to get comfortable, and find your “true” setup, so don’t rush into selecting a “bad” one.


#3

I’ve tried numerous times . Same issue.
I use SSB or for variation Zercher squats, which I find drive my low bar numbers up. Sets of 5, 8 or 10. Ramping or across


#4

It can take a while to find a comfortable high bar position. I’ve recently started squatting with my hands further away from me (sorta like what Brandon Lilly does and the total opposite of common advice) and it helps me create a better shelf for the bar to sit on. It’s probably the most comfortable I’ve felt squatting, ever.

I haven’t tried it with any serious weight, though.


#5

You guys ever mess around with the Manta Ray, that clips on the bar and lifts the the bar way up your kneck?


#6

Ditto. I only bring my hands a bit closer in for heavy sets where comfort is subordinate to not getting stapled.


#7

I found getting my elbows as close to my lats as possible was more important than hand placement.

This is much more comfortable than getting your hands into a ridiculous position.


#8

Had to use them in high school for a year (the school made us for “safety reasons”) it makes the squat much more comfortable, keeps you more upright and it forces you to be in the same position every time. If I didn’t have so much an ego I probably would get one to add to my gym.


#9

I have one and I love it. I do the vast majority of back squatting with it since it seems to help my low bar power squat more than my low bar power squat. Probably because I can push it really hard since it spares my hip and shoulders and back.

I even do Westside style box squats with it. It helps strengthen upper back positioning in a very specific way unlike SSB or front squat. If you round your upper back, it multiplies the effect of the error. Doing that type of box squat, I even get some quad activation.

I like doing Oly squats where I fight to stay as upright as possible with these too. Doing oly squats with it will hammer your quads. It’s nice work after deadlifting since it spares the hips and back so much.

It’s basically just a higher high bar.


#10

That sounds pretty good. I’ll have to use that thing more.


#11

Awesome video. I have recently switched to high bar squats from low bar (doing oly now) and now experience neck pain sometimes. I’m definitely a posterior chain dominant lifter, as I would good morning like a motherfucker back when low bar squatting. Could I be leaning forward excessively due to my low bar days and thus putting pressure on my neck? I have long legs btw.


#12

I suppose it could just be bar placement. Hopefully, someone else will chime in, though, I’ve never had neck pain from high bar squatting. I have hurt my lower back and that was definitely from floating too far forward.


#13

Sounds like it. I’d put this in the Oly section.

But fwiw, here’s what I’ve got.

When I do front squats or oly back squats I keep my glutes squeezed pretty hard going down and this forces me to keep my hips forward which keeps my back more upright. As I ascend from the hole, I squeeze my glutes even harder to keep my hips from going back and push my upper back backwards.

It could also be that your not retracting your shoulder blades hard enough. You can get away with this to some degree on low bar squats, but not so much when going high bar.