T Nation

Squatting-Use the Foam Pad or Not?


Is there any point to using the naked bar other than feeling like a badass?


Yeah, not looking like a pussy.


It stops you turning into a 9 year old girl.


I used the pad once and it stopped me from using my arms to push up on the bar because the pad made it more comfortable just to have the bar across my shoulders/back. I think the pad makes the squat less of a full body exercise, reducing it's effectiveness. I'll never use the pad again.

Plus the pad is for pussies.


Pad makes the possibility of the bar slipping a little greater. Moves the weight higher up on you.

If you really need or want a very high bar placement, then use a manta ray - at least it won't slip.


I don't go to the gym to look cool or whatever. I only care about strength and muscle gains. Should someone who only cares about strength and muscle gains care?


For a serious answer, yes. If squatting with the bar is uncomfortable, you need to build up your muscle shelf in your back. You also may have the bar too high and if you don't have big traps, it'll be sitting on the top of your shoulder bones and that hurts. Also, making sure you pinch your shoulder blades together and keeping the elbows tight helps to bunch the muscle together.

The pad might also throw off your groove a little on bigger weights because the bar and weight won't be quite in the same spot as it would resting directly against your skin.

Same with anything else in lifting - it'll probably hurt the first couple of times and then your body will adapt.


Funny thread. I felt guilty using the pad when I started my comeback, but since I had virtually no traps or shoulder muscles, the bar pinched some nerves in my upper back badly. After a month I was able to ditch it. And the manta ray. Good riddance. They're literally for cripples and pussies. And this has nothing to do with how you look, I feel the same way training alone at home. You need to feel the BAR. Doc


Do you ever see powerlifters or bodybuilders or football players using the maxi-pad when they squat? No? That should tell you something.


This is another good point about the pad. Actually feeling the weight without padding, helps your body prepare for the load....

If you are having troubles with the set up/how you rack the bar, check Squat Rx #4 on youtube.


I bought a weight set off ebay for my little brother and it had a sissy pad in it. Every time I would go over he was using the damn thing.

I tore it up and threw it away.


quit being a pussy and take the tampon off the bar. Give it two weeks and your body will be used to it. Want the bar high on your traps? Put it there. Want it low on your shoulder blades? Pull your shoulder blades back and put it there. Man up already. Life isn't easy and if you take the easy way out in the gym, what will you do in real life? As I was telling one of the new guys at the gym when he had a tough set of front squats "Quit bitching and do it. Do it here, appreciate the lesson and apply it to your life. When I'm in here and I need to do a hard, heavy set or a new weight, I just man up and do it. Teach yourself to put the fear to the test."

as henry rollins once said "I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds."


From a biomechanical standpoint: The pad moves the bar/weight/force up and back away from the body shifting the COG (center of gravity) further back and placing more stress (read shearing and compressive forces) on the lumbar spine. Which in case you are new to this whole strength training thing would be a very bad thing. Very bad indeed.

As others have stated previously: go without, get used to the feel, learn to love the pain of the bar digging into your back. Grow some traps, rear delts and cajones while your are at, put some weight on the bar and SQUAT!


You know what? If using the pad is what you feel most comfortable with, and it is what it takes to get you to squat, use the pad. Squating with a pad still beats the leg press.
That being said, really dude, the pad is for ass clowns and pussies.


I feel like this would be a more valid observation if every guy who was strong had his life in perfect order, and for that matter, every guy who had his life in perfect order were strong. That's not the case.

Oh, and yes, the pad is for pussies


I get tingling in my arms and hands when I don't use the pad. Does this mean I'm putting the bar in the wrong place?

I know I need more thicker back muscles. The problem is these have been slow to grow, despite strength gains. I can do a one arm pullup and I've been working with 110 lbs shrugs 3 sets x 15 reps. In the time until these become thick enough, I've been using the pad.

"Quit bitching and do it. Do it here, appreciate the lesson and apply it to your life. When I'm in here and I need to do a hard, heavy set or a new weight, I just man up and do it. Teach yourself to put the fear to the test."

You don't know me.


Not necessarily the wrong place because you can have the bar wherever you want/is most comfortable. I would think you have it rather high sitting on top of the traps and you should try lowering it and have it rest more against the middle/back of the traps.


...and don't forget to drink milk!! ur bones will need the Calcium to get harder too


Agreed, I think using the pad puts the bar in a much less stable position on your body. You need that weight locked as close to your body as possible. Unless you are using a S.S. Bar, which is intended to make it harder on the upper back. And it makes you a pussy.


it could be that the blood is having trouble reaching ur hands since ur arms may not be used to that position+under a lot of weight+being tight at the same time.