If you follow the strength training forums you’ll find frequent discussions on bar placement on your back: High Bar or Low Bar. Little attention is spent, however, on getting the bar centered on your back. Watching a team mate set up off center, and having to reset twice because the bar was off balance in tonight’s squat session drove the point home.
The setup is the most crucial part of your squat. Do it correctly and you are likely to nail your lift. Mess it up and you burn energy unnecessarily, give your head the chance to tell your body ”damn this is heavy!’, and give your spotter a chance to earn his keep. Getting the bar centered on your back can be done in three simple steps:
- Make sure your hands are evenly placed on the bar; use the edges of the knurling and the rings on the bar to make sure they are perfectly even.
- Make eye contact with the knurling in the middle of the bar, and make sure you are directly centered on it.
- Keep your eyes on the knurling as you duck under the bar, remain square to the bar and make sure you duck straight under it.
Once you’re under the bar, be careful not to change your hand or back position on the bar as you settle in for your lift.
This step is often (nearly always?) overlooked, and quite often getting the bar set up evenly is either through sheer luck, or spotter assistance. Follow these three simple steps, and improve your setup.
For a full description of squat setup, check out Squat Technique in our Brute Force Book of Techniques!