T Nation

Squat Bar Positioning

I know there are many articles on squating. I have read many. However I have yet to determine what is the best and proper position of the bar on your back.

I tend to have it on my shoulders right below my neck. I have seen people put it further down there back on their rear delts. I have also seen the bar positioned between the rear dealts and the traps.

For me my position is comfortable and allows me to lift the most weight. However as I increase it might become harder for me to hold the weight.

The latter two also seem to me to make me lean further forward even before I start my rep.
Not sure of the proper position.
Any pictures would be greatly appreciated.

I prefer the bar to be on my rear delts. There’s a spot there where the delt and the lower part of the traps just seems to cradle the bar. I can’t say that I have noticed more forward lean with this position.

However, if your upper back is not on par with what you are trying to squat or you just aren’t staying tight when you unrack, the weight seems like caves in your torso. I think that’s part of why a high-bar, narrow grip position seems to work better for many smaller lifters. The way that this position wedges the upper torso against the bar makes one stay much tighter than a a low bar, wide grip position would.

I like my bar high. It is easiest on my arms/shoulders not having to support any weight, simply holding the bar in place. Low bar really strains my wrists and doesn’t feel very comfortable.

Well it depends on what your stance is like in part. Wide-stance is great for powerlifting and strongman and stuff which basically involves a low bar position. High bar olympic squats (atg) are pretty good too. Keep in mind that wide-stance puts a lot more load on your low back and posterior chain.

The bar placement alone shifts the center of gravity as well. high will place more load up front and on the quads also a ton on the posterior chain. lower back further more on glutes and hams its more toward the center of your body.

Use them, both thats the reasoning behind for instance the west side boys cycling in the SSbar etc for high bar placement.


I am 6’5" and around 180lbs. I have been putting the bar behind my neck but one of my good friends who reads alot told me that the position I had it in was a bad one. He told me that eventually with more weight it will begin to hit or pinch a nerve because there is a vertabrae right below where i had it.

I tried leaning further forward and bringing my arms back and placing it directly on the back of my rear dealts. Well on first impression it hurt alot, my arms that is. And after like 3 sets of like 2 or 3 it was bearable.

So I think I am going to continue with the bar on my delts. As far as high or low bar position I am not sure. I have a stance that is a little wider then shoulder-width and I have my toes slightly pointed outward.

For years I was a high bar squatter. Once I became a Westside Disciple and starting moving that bar further and further South my Squat poundaged [and Deadlifts] headed North. I would venture to say the technique alone gives me a 10-20% increase in poundage over a high bar squat which at 400-500lbs can be 80-100lbs.

No, it won’t pinch nerves if you do it right.

Pull your scapula together, keep your back tight and there’s a shelf formed by the rear delts and your spine is safe from hundreds of lbs.