How To High Bar Squat

In this video tutorial, we teach you how to high bar squat. GASP! You thought we only taught the low bar squat? Here’s why the high bar squat can benefit your strength program.

A Squat with the Bar High on Your Back

In this video tutorial, we teach you how to high bar squat. GASP! You thought we only taught the low bar squat? Here’s why the high bar squat can benefit your strength program.

Some background first…

Why do we like the low bar squat better? It uses more muscle mass, including the muscles of the posterior chain. It requires you to lean over, so your back will get stronger. Putting the bar up higher on your back effectively lengthens your torso, which requires you to be more upright. Therefore, there’s less moment force on your back, so your back doesn’t get as strong.

When to High Bar Squat

Lifters with shoulder mobility issues who can’t get into a proper low bar position should high bar squat (or safety bar squat). Additionally, lifters with kyphosis, excessive rounding of the upper back, also find it difficult to get into the low bar position.

Lifters who’ve had recent back surgery, or even a severe back injury, may choose this squat variation because of the reason we explained above – there’s less moment force on the back.

Lastly, it’s a great supplemental squat (check out the front squat here) for intermediate or advanced lifters looking for variation in their training program.

Step by Step

For most lifters, the grip can be very narrow with thumbs wrapped around the bar. The bar sits on top of the trapezius muscles, across the shoulders. The stance will be slightly more narrow, and in the descent, the knees will travel slightly more forward compared to their position in the low bar squat.

Instead of looking down like in the low bar squat, look straight ahead (not up at the ceiling). Your head, eyes and neck should always result in a neutral neck position.

Our favorite cue is thinking about “chest up” or “lead with your chest.” This helps the lifter stay more upright and remain balanced on the midfoot.

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