From High Bar to Low Bar

Low Bar Squat for the First Time

In this video, we teach Sara, a competitive crossfitter and Olympic weightlifter how to do a proper low bar squat for the first time. We also correct her knee slide using the TUBOW (terribly useful block of wood, coined by Mark Rippetoe).

Most Olympic lifters choose to high bar squat and front squat, which trains the quadricep muscles but neglects the posterior chain – the muscles of the hips (glutes, hamstrings) and spinal erectors (low back). This leads to overly developed quadricep muscles and underdeveloped hamstrings.

General vs Specific Strength

For Sara, her front squat is actually stronger than her back squat, but we’re about to change that by teaching Sara how to use her posterior chain when she squats! A back squat is a general strength exercise for Sara, not a specific strength exercise.

A front squat is a specific strength exercise, because in the bottom of the clean, Sara front squats to stand up. However, to make Sara generally more strong, she can build the low bar back squat into her program, which will benefit her training and competitiveness across the board.

Lean Over, Butt Back, Knees Out

Focus on these main cues when you’re learning to low bar squat for the first time. In a low bar squat, the knees don’t travel as far forward and the hips get pushed back more, which allows the bar to travel in a vertical line directly over the lifter’s midfoot. It’s barbell PHYSICS!

Oftentimes, lifters struggle with holding their knees back, or preventing excessive forward travel of the knees. Either the knees continue traveling forward for the entire descent, or the knees poke forward at the bottom of each rep. This is what we call “knee slide.”

How to Fix Knee Slide

Since Sara exhibited knee slide, we taught her how to use the TUBOW. The TUBOW (terribly useful block of wood) is a great way to prevent knee slide, because it gives the lifter external feedback on when the knees should stop traveling forward.

Watch Matt fix Sara’s knee slide in the video above!

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