Low Bar Squat Alternative

Rotator cuff injury? Elbow tendonitis? Can’t get into the proper low bar squat position? Try the safety squat bar.

In this video, Starting Strength Coach, Matt Reynolds teaches BLOC Coach/SSC, Patrick Youmans how to use the safety squat bar, shares programming tips and the benefits of this squat alternative.

How To + Benefits

There are several great safety squat bars, made by companies such as Rogue, Titan or Elite FTS. First and foremost, this bar allows lifters with rotator cuff issues and injuries or severe elbow tendonitis to squat with a bar on their back, without having to put their hands in a conventional low bar or high bar squat position.

Place the pad on your back as close as possible to the low bar position – just below the spine of the scapula. Hold the handles and try to maintain the angle on your forearm for the duration of each rep. Don’t let your upper back round – fight to maintain thoracic extension as you reach back with your butt.

Your torso will be fairly vertical using this bar, compared to the low bar squat, therefore less involvement of the posterior chain muscles.

Programming Tips

Would we use this bar for a lifter who isn’t injured? Absolutely! It’s a perfectly acceptable supplemental squat exercise, much like the box squat, tempo squat or pin squat.

Program the safety bar squat on a four day split following the main lower body movement, with the same set/rep scheme as a normal squat (3 sets of 5 reps or 5 sets of 3 reps). You could even combine the use of the safety bar with other squat supplemental lifts, such as a tempo safety bar squat.

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