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Safety Squat Bar Tips & Tricks

I’ve used the SSB as an accessory movement but over the last 2 weeks it’s become a primary lift which has turned out to be significantly more difficult.

Sadly, there is not a lot out there in terms of technique with this thing which sucks as there are a number of challenges:

  • The sleeves dont rotate on most these things
  • The bar pulls you significantly forward
  • You tend to squat deeper.
  • Your elbows are infront and down making staying tight hard
  • much more

So, I thought a thread on some cues would help us SSBers out.

Here’s what I learnt (would love to hear corrections/better cues):

  • shoulders back, pull the handles apart
  • tuck elbows in
  • push your chest high throughout especially on the way down (or you’re dead coming out of the hole)
  • you need to lean back a bunch more than you think
  • breathing/bracing as per squatting

More tips appreciated…

Drive back into the bar hard on the way up, use the handles only to balance. Don’t pull up on the handles , as it makes it easier
Good luck and have fun.

Wear flat soled shoes that don’t pitch you forward

What are you trying to get out of the SSB? That’s going to change how you cue it.

I use it as a deadlift and stone load builder. It doesn’t really carry over to squats that way though.

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Build general leg strength
Improve upper back isometric strength (for drags)
Strengthen the squat pattern when the weight is out infront (as per picking up a husafel stone before carrying and I guess an atlas stone)

As far as building upper back strength with the SSB, I’ve found doing a Westside style box squat builds my upper back as well as deadlifts.

Good mornings even more so.

You can even just sit down on a bench with it on your back with no to little weight on it and do upper back extensions supersetted with shrugs.

I just looked up husafel stone. I know very little about strongman so take what I’ve got to say with a hefty chunk of salt, but it really looks like zercher or front squats would be more relevant. Especially zercher squats since the center of gravity looks most similar.

Biggest technique mistake I see is that people pull down on the handles as they reverse out of the hole which, due to the camber of the bar, changes your center of gravity mid-lift and really throws you out of the groove.

This is why I asked about goals, because this is actually something I do by design to train myself to be strong in a terribly disadvantaged position. It carries over well into deadlifts and strongman stuff, but doesn’t really map onto squats well.

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Honestly, just treat it like your normal squat. That’s what I do and I find it carries over massively well to my squat but I squat quite upright so that may be why. .

If you’re going to grip at the pads and you’re struggling, pull down on them. That helps. Or, if you’re using lower loads for reps don’t hold the bar at all. That’s interesting.

If you grip the camber and you’re in a power rack, be careful not to knock your forearms into the safeties.

At one time, I had immense carry over from SSB squats. At the time as I do now, I squatted low bar, wide stance, sit back a lot. My biggest problem was folding over and SSB squats helped iron that out.

Now, SSB squats do diddly squat since that’s not the issue any more.

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Which is where I fail when I do, even if it’s just out of the hole I fold up. Explains a lot.