T Nation

Some People Cannot Low Bar Squat?


i thought everyone could do low bar as long as they address shoulder flexibility with shoulder dislocation exercises (the bar rotation thing). i'm getting my friend to squat and he says it just hurts alot and his wrists feel really strained. are some people just not meant to low bar, assuming no previous injury?

my other friend says his spinal bones feel loose after deadlifting. everytime he deadlifted he got injured somehow (weird). i've never heard of people not being able to deadlift before, but his form looks good. some people not meant to deadlift either?


it all comes down to practice and patience. perfecting one's form takes a very long time. even then form can break down and needs to be constantly reevaluated. most poeple cant/won't put in the time to do so.

it's easier to just say i can't do it than to just keep plugging along until you achieve your goals.

sounds like your buddy needs to man up. squatting with a low bar puts a lot of stress on the arms but the body adapts over time. he should probably start high bar and each time he squats, get that bar a little lower until he finds the sweet spot. it's still going to hurt but that's the price to pay for a big squat. i can only back squat for two weeks in a row and then i switch to front squats because it tears up my forearms and elbows.


If your friend is not a powerlifter, why use a low bar squat?


also tell him to wrap his thumbs UNDER the bar (this is what i prefer) or take his pinkies off the bar so he can rotate his hands more, as others prefer


I didn't even realize the difference between "low" and "high" bar position until I had lifted for years. I don't understand how anyone can do low bar. I try and the bar falls off my back. I've always lifted high bar and I've never had issues with heavy weight. 500+ for reps is no issue and I'm not a huge guy to say the least.


I'm pretty much the same. After two weeks of low bar squatting with a straight bar my elbows are toast, which kills my bench and deadlift training. To remedy this I'll rotate in safety bar, manta ray, and cambered bar squats.


Are you a very upright squatter? I've seen a few people that stay so upright that the bar position really doesn't make much of a difference in terms of weight used.


thanks marauder!

thumbs under the bar, as in how normal people grip it? i do over the bar, as well as my other friend, so i told the noobie to over the bar too (thumbless) but still didn't work.

synthetic- did you have problems with squatting or just with the setup in low bar? my buddy starts crying during the setup. and how long did you try the low bar before going back to high?


I cant low bar but I think it because my back isnt built enough, All the guys I see low baring are usually pretty thick.


I think it has more to do with adjusting to it. I used to high bar squat and the first time I saw my coach he tried to get me to go right to low bar and I felt like the empty bar was going to fall off. Every session I tried to move it a little lower and now successfully keep it low on my back without having a thick back. I find my wrists still get sore, but I get support from my wrist wraps which helps.


I find that i actually hate high bar, it feels like the bar is wobbly and unstable, where with low bar its locked into my back.

i'm probably the only one who squats low bar in olympic shoes ATG. i bet my hips tuck at the bottom when i bounce off my hamstrings but i really don't have any lower back pain


Then you probably aren't flexing at the lumbar spine...most powerlifters would be pretty jealous, I know a little more mobility in my lower body would add 50lbs to my squat in a second.


As I'm very new to squatting, Ive never tried a low bar squat. What are the benefits of low bar vs. high bar?


Squatting low bar allows you to squat more on average, because the bar doesn't have to move as far. MarauderMeat (Christopher Drummond) wrote an article about this a while back, I believe.


i cant do high, it cuts off circulation and feels funny.

honestly thats the only benefit or really the only difference i see. some people say one versus the other will give you better depth or quad/hip activation but i think its pretty much the same.


you know i had a bitch of a time squatting before until i just took a natural stance, which strangely is heels maybe 10" apart, and feet at pretty much 45 degrees. i use a great deal of adductors. works okay though so far have done 315x7 with no knee pain or back pain. feels totally natural and I'm hitting rock bottom to catch the bounce at the bottom.

its basically powerlifter style from the waist up and oly style from the waist down. if you have long femurs relative to your torso and lower legs, this style might be best for you if you looked at my squat from a birds eye view, my thighs would form a 90 degree angle at the bottom of each rep.

high bar just feels weird as hell, feels like the bar is trying to roll over top of my head


I have generally used a low bar position to squat. This went with a close-stance and and very back-strength intensive squat style. This worked well for a while, but here's the issues that cropped up for me:

-Holding the bar low on your back requires that you move your grip out. This impacts how tight you can make your upper back and how well you can hold an arch
-Once I got over 800 lbs, the I started having troubling with the bar rolling. A low bar postion lends itself to this.
-Finally, no matter where I put my hands, I often got painful bicep tendonitis from sqatting heavy.


Couple of things I've noticed.

-High bar legs me stay more upright, which means I move more weight, especially with a wider stance. I definitely prefer the high position in my gear where I can REALLY sit back.

-Consistently squatting with a low bar position leads to more increases on my high-bar squat than consistently squatting with a high bar position. I have a feeling this has to do with the fact that low bar squatting requires more low back strength than high bar squatting, and low back strength is something that always seems to be lagging for me.


It took me several months or longer to switch to a low bar position. The first time I tried it I ended up with biceps tendinitis. Everytime I went to a lowbar position after that, one of my shoulders would kill, or my elbows would hurt.

I had to switch back to High Bar and then move the bar down a half inch everytime I could stand it. I combined this with daily band work for shoulder mobility (behind the neck pullaparts and shoulder dislocates), and ice after every session to keep inflammation down. You also need to have some mass on your upper back. As I got a little thicker, I found it easier to keep the bar in place.

It takes time, but for me it was worth it. I can definitely Squat more Low Bar than High Bar.


You do need to have decent shoulder rotation to get your elbows under the bar with a lower bar position...unless you put your hands out to the plates. If you can't get your elbows forward it will chuck you forward. This is biggest difficulty that i have seen with people that are "new" to low bar squatting. Also, bad rotation will cause your wrist to be cocked back really bad, which is the main reason that iI think people complain about their wrist hurting.