T Nation

Squats with safety bar

I can move a lot more weight when I squat using the safety bar (the bar with the built-in harness in the middle) instead of the standard olympic bar. A couple of questions: What muscles are getting short-changed when I use the safety bar, & would it be better all the way around if I went lighter & used the standard olympic bar only? Thanks in advance.

If you can squat (below parallel) with a regular bar, do so. It’s the most productive way. Safety bar shortchanges lower back/trunk stimulation among other things.


The SS bar will keep you more upright than a regular bar, putting more stress on your quads and less on your ass and hams. If you can squat more with the safety bar, either A) you need to bring your posterior chain up B)you gotta work on your arch and lower back strength. I semi-disagree with Greg in that I feel the SS bar does put more stress on the erectors in the middle and upper back, especially if you use the bar for good mornings. However, it does take some load off your lower back compared to a straight bar.

Thanks, guys. I figured some weak link was being left out of the chain somewhere when I was using the safety bar. I hadn’t used it since before I began King’s “Limping” series (just finishing phase 3), but there was no one in the gym but me yesterday morning when I started squatting, so I turned to the safety bar & the cage for help. The difference was really noticeable, so I got to thinking, then to feeling guilty… Thanks again for taking the time to respond.