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How to Use the Safety Squat Bar

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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, Matt Reynolds teaches BLOC Coach, Patrick Youmans how to use the safety squat bar, and 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, and Elite FTS. First and foremost, this bar allows lifters with rotator cuff issues, severe elbow tendonitis, or those recovering from arm injuries 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, which is just below the spine of the scapula. Hold the handles horizontal to the ground throughout the movement and try to maintain the angle on your forearm for the duration of each rep. It is more difficult to maintain thoracic extension with the SSB, so focus on not allowing your upper back to round. Pushing up on the handles helps a lot with this, to keep the bar from rolling up your neck during the ascent.

Your torso will be more vertical using this bar, compared to the low bar squat, so there is less involvement of the posterior chain muscles. Focus on your bracing!

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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