T Nation

Training High Bar Competing Low Bar

Hi guys,
Do any of you train high bar then switch to low bar for competitions. I think I am going to ditch my belt for a while and go high bar to switch it up. I think it will be better for my legs, and put more emphasis on my quads. Any thoughts are welcome!

I add high bar in all the time, unless I’m getting ready for a meet. Once I start a meet cycle, I squat the way I will in the meet, where I am strongest.

Ed Coan swore by it and he was kinda good.

This past cycle I trained beltless high bar squat with Oly shoes. I hit openers yesterday for a meet coming up in a couple weeks. I tried belted low bar with Oly shoes and with flat shoes. The flat shoes felt a lot better even though I haven’t trained in them in 20 months. With the flat shoes it feels easier to grind through a rep and keep everything tight. After the meet, I think I’ll continue to compete in flat shoes while training in Oly shoes, at least for the next year. My posterior chain still feels significantly stronger than my anterior chain even though I’ve focused less on it this past year. There’s nothing wrong with using a variation over a comp lift if you want to bring up a weakness or find the movement more effective for building strength. The comp lift is for displaying that strength.

High bar squats really helped to strengthen my quads, glutes, abs and upper back. I put a lot of focus on keeping my hip flexors tight as well since there’s less emphasis on them with the more upright torso angle. Doing high bar while still doing lower back and hamstring work makes it easy to switch back to low bar. I do light work with good mornings for one session, medium work with RDLs for one session and heavy work with sumo rack pulls for another session. My deadlift feels stronger as well. I feel like I get more carryover to low bar squat and sumo deadlift from high bar squat compared to front squat. When running the cycle with front squats, I focused too much on my glutes without getting my hip flexors tight so that might explain why.

Even though you want to focus on your quads, I would still recommend to generate as much tension in your hips as possible. When you keep your hips stable, your knees remain stable and this allows your quads and glutes to consistently do the same work.

Do you guys think it will help me stay more upright in my low bar squat? I feel like my lower back and hamstrings always do most of the work in my low bar squat, when i squat high bar, my legs feel weak as hell.

Any reason in particular you want to be upright in a low bar squat? Low bar tends to necessitate a forward lean.

[quote]Reed wrote:
Ed Coan swore by it and he was kinda good. [/quote]

I like how you say he’s “kinda good”, ahahahaha. But I would say, do what works for you. From what I remember, he mentioned he did them cause he felt his quads were lacking and thus he stuck to closer stance high bar squats and such. If you’re more back dominant, it might be helpful. Either ways, just do what works for you man.

I don’t see a reason to ditch the belt, but otherwise, this sounds fine to me. If it makes you stronger, it’s a good idea. I personally prefer high bar when I’m handling lighter loads for more reps, because it’s easier on my elbows. If I’m handling something close to my max, I’m more likely to go with a lower bar position because it’s more favorable for that sort of task. But in general, anything I can do to protect my joints is probably worth doing.

Not trying to be absolutely upright, just a little more upright. I am well aware of the need for a horizontal back angle in the high bar squat.

[quote]jhtitleist wrote:
Not trying to be absolutely upright, just a little more upright. I am well aware of the need for a horizontal back angle in the high bar squat. [/quote]

The amount you stay upright isn’t as important as keeping everything tight. Remaining upright (as seen by most strong high bar squatters) is the result of staying tight. Focusing only on being upright won’t ensure you’re tight.