Low Bar SquatsPosted: July 16, 2019
The low bar squat has been synonymous with the powerlifting squat for decades. Why? Because (for most individuals) it allows you to move more weight. Why?
- It creates a shorter lever out of the back
- It brings the hips closer to the line of force
- It shifts some of the workload from the quads to the glutes and hamstrings
All of these things translate to a more efficient and powerful squat.
Now that you know the ‘whys’, let’s talk about the hows:
- Bar Position: Generally speaking, a high bar squat places the bar on top of the traps, a low bar squat places the bar on the rear delts. There are lifters who elect to go as low on the back as they can support the weight. My preference is to lock the bar into the groove between the base of the upper traps and the top of the rear delts. This position helps you keep the bar in place limiting its ability to slide down your back.
- Bar Path: As with any squat, the bar path should follow a straight line up and down over your center of gravity (keep it over your shoe laces). With the bar lower on the back, you will have a flatter back angle, so pay attention to make sure you are still hitting depth.
- Keeping the bar in place: The bar may have a tendency to slide, even when nestled between the delts and traps. To help keep it in place: try to pick a straight bar with good knurling in the center (which will scrape the skin off your back), chalk up your t-shirt where the bar will rest, and wear a snug cotton t-shirt that will stay put on your back and give the bar something to grip.
The low bar position can have a tendency to torque on your wrists and elbows. You may need to adjust your grip out a bit wider to alleviate some of the tension, but make sure you still keep your upper back taught.
You can find a more detailed walk through of the low bar squat in my Brute Force Strength Book of Techniques: BFS BoT – Low Bar Squats