T Nation

Where Do You Hold the Squat Bar?

I’ve been wondering, where is one supposed to hold the bar when squatting?

i let the bar rest fully on my shoulders, fairly high on my neck. I don’t use my arms at all to hold it up, i just use my arms for stability.

Unfortunately, i’ve been brusing the tops of my shoulders using this method and i was wondering what the correct weight was.

Also, after squatting i have a hard time fully extending my left knee(basically standing straight) after a squat workout. It feels like its really tight and when i do stand straight it seems as though the knee is over extended.

Is this a stretching issue? What to do?

I put it on my traps, the meaty part…

do you think the knee problem could just be because your quads are fatigued?

Mix it up. High bar at times, and lower bar psoition at times as well as throwing in front squats, etc… change it up.

Keep the weight reasonable until you are able to nail perfect form with the higher weights. You should not move more weight and sacrifice form and safety in a movment such as sqauts. To much room for injury in the movement. Sloppy form in an arm curl wont do much, lose it in squats and you could pay for the rest of your life if your an unlucky SOB.

Do you warm your legs up before doing heavy squats? I have the same issue with knees, well, not exactly the same. It more has to do with soreness in the knee, during and after my squat workouts. I started to do leg extensions as a warmup for the knee before my heavy lifts, and it seems to help a little. I would recommend warming it up with leg extensions and maybe another lift. I know you might not be able to go as heavy with 1 or 2 lifts before, but like one of the other poster’s said, form is important. Longevity as well…

[quote]Hawkson101 wrote:
Unfortunately, i’ve been brusing the tops of my shoulders using this method and i was wondering what the correct weight was.[/quote]

Are you using a pad around the bar? If not, that would be a good idea.

Sorry michealv but the advice of using a pad is simply bad. Using a pad increasing the distance between your body and the bar making it less stable and therefore less safe. Not to mention that you will look like soy boy. Deal with the soreness (from the weight of the bar), eventually it goes away. A proper warmup and lots of stretching usually eleviate problems with sore knees from squating.

how many of you guys use a pad or something under the bar?

I got a Manta Ray which locks onto the bar and evenly distributes the weight, which is a lot less painful than just a bar.

I see lots of pics/videos of guys putting a >600lb bar directly on themself. Looks awfully painful. Why subject yourself to more pain than necessary? maybe to look tough? lol

Check out the thread on the Chinese lifter doing a 220kg double:
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=581652

Look at the way he pulls his shoulder-blades together when he sets up for the lift. That puts a lot more meat under the bar than if you just back up to it and then tighten up. Although having that guy’s traps probably helps a lot in the first place… good excuse to get on the upper-back work if squatting bothers you.

BTW, didn’t somebody call the foam bar pad a maxi-pad? You can guess why.

Nick

[quote]KiloSprinter wrote:
how many of you guys use a pad or something under the bar?[/quote]

I used to use a pad for squatting and never realized how much of a hindrance it was until I started squatting without it. Squatting without the pad allows me to “feel” where the bar is more. When starting out it took me awhile to find the money spot so I just say experiment with lighter weights and you’ll know when you get the spot that feels right for you.

I use a pad on the bar when I squat. I am squatting around 200lbs(90kgs)5x6 which isnt very heavy compared to most ppl here. I find that i can balance it well and that the foam doesnt really make a huge difference with positioning on my traps/shoulders. The weight of the bar usually pushed the foam down anyway so its no worry. But that is just me and others have different methods/opinions.

I use a pad while squatting with fairly heavy weight (3 plates). I like the cushion. It’s never been a hindrance for me.

[quote]Hawkson101 wrote:

i let the bar rest fully on my shoulders, fairly high on my neck. I don’t use my arms at all to hold it up, i just use my arms for stability.[/quote]

You should squeeze the bar as hard as you can when you hold it. When you do so it tightens up your whole body. It is very important to stay tight while squatting.

For Olympic style (close stance) squats I put the bar up on my traps. However, for my wide stance squat, I put the bar in the groove created by the bottom of my traps and my rear delts. You have to hold it there with your arms, but I find that this position keeps my center of gravity more towards my heels. I find the pad really just gets in my way…plus I like the feeling of cold steel on my back.

the manta ray ive used it but on for a way to change up a max effort squat excercise since it places the bar higher up…personally though the edges dug into my neck so it wasnt that comfortable but its a good variation to use every once in a while

jesus christ…

why don’t you fucking crybabies build yourselves an upper back?

a pad around the bar? WTF…is that some sort of bar tampon?

do you guys TiVo Ophra too…so she can brighten your spirits after your sobbing session with the squat bar?

With the given information, it sounds like your squat technique is not optimal. Try placing the bar lower on your traps and like Joebob said squeeze the bar. I even slightly pull down on it. There’s a great deal of squatting advice on this site just search around.

I sometimes have to be in a squat position for long periods of time (like hours) at work and a few years ago, I had the same knee problem your having. When I would get up I could not straighten my left leg. Stretching did help some but not entirely. After doing a lot of research on the knees connective tissues, muscle insertion ppoints, etc. what I discovered was that I had a serious muscle imbalance around the knees.

Although my diagnosis hardly scientific, I believe that my hamstrings were tightening up in a protective posture. Once I got serious about training the posterior chain, the knee problems went away completely and have never returned. This probably makes sense to somebody but all I’m saying is what worked for me. Your problem may be similar.

Muscle imbalance is fairly common and can have some seriously undesirable effects like sprains, strains, tears and pulls. Give it some thought and I hope you get it worked out soon.

Many moons ago when I first was referred to T-mag someone referred me to this link

http://www.bsu.edu/webapps/strengthlab/index.asp

Has basic descriptions and photos of almost every lift known to lifting kind. It’s not complete, I have found some pages without info. It’s clear concise and easy to find information on lifts, form and function.

Ref- Squatts for me, and sore knees I found increasing hamstring strength was the answer.

[quote]michaelv wrote:
Hawkson101 wrote:
Unfortunately, i’ve been brusing the tops of my shoulders using this method and i was wondering what the correct weight was.

Are you using a pad around the bar? If not, that would be a good idea.[/quote]

I disagree. The pad interferes with finding your balance and form. Learn to enjoy the pain. You only squat once or twice a week. And as you develop your traps, or get more comfortable with sliding the bar down your back, the pain will decrease.

[quote]DPH wrote:
jesus christ…

why don’t you fucking crybabies build yourselves an upper back?

a pad around the bar? WTF…is that some sort of bar tampon?[/quote]

LOL, DPH is right on the money! Seriously, a pad for a squat?? Nobody needs that.

I usually have this conversation with new clients:

Client: “Let’s put that pad around the bar before I do my squats.”

Me: “Okay, it’s cool to use a pussypad at first, but once your vagina stops hurting, we’ll progress to real squats without the pad.”

I usually say this with a smile, so that I only injure, but not really wound the pride of my client.

There are multiple applications of the back squat. Personally, and for my clients; I use high, medium, and low bar squat positions, with wide, medium, and narrow stances, sometimes with, and sometimes without a box.

First you need to decide what the goal of your training program is, and then pick the squat that best helps you achieve that objective.

But PLEASE, nobody on this site should be using a pad!

[quote]DPH wrote:
jesus christ…

why don’t you fucking crybabies build yourselves an upper back?

a pad around the bar? WTF…is that some sort of bar tampon?

do you guys TiVo Ophra too…so she can brighten your spirits after your sobbing session with the squat bar?[/quote]

Why do you care if these guys pad the bar or not? They take the weight down and lift it back up, same as everyone else, and padding the bar doesn’t keep them from getting stronger. And even if it DID limit their gain rate, so fucking what? It has absolutely nothing to do with you and your workout.

Two or so years ago, T-Nation was an amazing place - people really gave a damn about helping each other, and different points of view were totally fine. These days, it’s more about cock-swinging and name calling, mocking others for being different. Fucking high school.