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How Much Do Low Bar Squats Work the Legs?


I have only recently got my low bar squat form down. I was formerly squatting high bar with oly shoes.

When I squat low bar and use hip drive I notice my hamstrings take almost all of the work. I usually have sore glutes and sore quads from high bar squatting and no muscle soreness in the hamstrings.

With low bar I have very sore Hamstrings, very sore glutes and fatuiged lower back.


Sounds like you have it right to me.

The entire posterior chain is the prime mover in the low bar squat, but you're still working the rest of your legs to some degree. You're actually working ~250 muscles in all with a squat, if my memory serves correct.


Well, if you are going to get your depth by sticking your arse out. Then there is a bunch of work to extent your hips and work to extend your knee.

If you are getting your depth by dropping between your knees, your body staying relatively upright, then you have a bunch of work extending your knee and work extending your hips.

Your glutes and hams (amongst others) extend your hips, your quads your knee. That should make sense why you are feeling different muscles in different actions.


Of topic,are u a paul scholes fan or the man himself


Can't really say mate.


I don't really shoot my ass back, I have quite alot of forward knee travel and slight backwards hip movement on the way down.

On the way up I drive my ass up making sure my upper body moves in unison.

I don't feel it in my hamstrings on the way down, only on the way up, it seems like my legs and core and back are responsible for the lowering and the hamstrings and glutes are responsible for driving up.

Its like on the way up my hamstrings stretch and feel like a band being stretched out.

It isn't really a powerlifting squat, more a basic strength squat as outlined in Mark Rippetoes novice program.

Its great because I no longer have horrible pain in my IT band/patella like i got from high bar.


You ran GSLP didn't you mate? Did you add any quad work in like front squats?


No, I never ran that. The only program I have ever ran was a beginner 5x5 full body program I got off of some other muscle website. It did include front squats, which I think pair well with low-bar squatting.

I'm still working with the same basic template, but I've recently dropped front squats to have two days per week with low-bar squats. I have been happy with this, but squatting heavy twice per week has me considering dropping low-bar squats on Friday and doing front squats and RDL's for legs on that day again.

Or I may just take up 5/3/1. I'm sorta winging it now and would most likely benefit from a bit more structure.


I was running GSLP, and I'll be getting back into it very soon (been disrupted with some life-stuff and injury-stuff) but I'm thinking of doing it with front squats for awhile.

My knees seem to be a bit weird with back squats right now, so I'm hoping front squats will help.

I've been using touch-n-go mat pulls instead of dead-stop deadlifts so I'm already hitting the posterior chain hard. At this point my thoughts are that maybe that my knee issues are related to not enough quad work.

For whatever that's worth.

I just look at GSLP as a good basic template that will still work well with a bit of customization in lift choices.

EDIT: you could just do something like front squats Monday, and low-bar back squats Friday too. Much like one of the templates he provides in the book with using two bench variations.


I honestly feel a Low Bar Wide squat is much more all over better developer of the legs. When I high bar I feel it in my quads and sometimes my Glutes. Going wide I feel it in my quads, hams, Glutes, hips and lower back even.


Thanks for this. I have been going back and forth low, high, narrow, wide. Recently settled on low/wide. Apparently did the right thing.