Now their balance is off because of the new torso lean. As with the high-bar back squat and the front squat, the bar should be set about chest height. What position are you able to keep the bar over the midline of the foot in the bottom position? So what is the best squat shoe for low bar? Squatting with a low bar bar placement and a high bar torso angle can lead to a lot of the same problems as someone who low bar squats with the bar way too low on their back. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. For others, this might be a ‘lower’ position. Because the ultimate goal is to keep the bar over the midline of the foot, whether you place the bar higher or lower on your back will change the angles of your torso and knees slightly. capable of producing more force, outside of the back squat. What are your goals? This shelf is created from your rear delts and the bar sits between your rear delts and the spine of the scapulae. There’s one common issue that people run into when low bar squatting. So awkward that  many people actually think they are doing something wrong. Your shins will be more vertical in the bottom range. Check out this article! It has nothing to do with low bar being inherently better than high bar. The low bar squat shifts the bar closer to your hips for greater hip load. This should be a good 3-4” lower than for high bar squats. I’ve found there are a few culprits that can make low bar feel awful compared to how it should, and the good news? If you’re at the bottom of the squat, and the bar is in front of the foot, then you might feel like you’re falling forward. A high bar squat will sit on the upper trap muscles, somewhere above the rear deltoid. Your email address is safe with us. You haven’t given it the time to become comfortable. With the high bar position low bar squat, because you have the forward lean of the low bar but the bar position of a high bar, the bar doesn’t end up having much to hold on to and you run the risk of it rolling forwards on you. They can be performed with a regular bar or even a safety squat bar, all personal preference, I like using the safety squat bar if available. Shoulder mobility can play a large role in the low bar squat, and for those who may lack shoulder mobility it can create problems not only at the thoracic spine, but all the way down the chain. This placement results in a pronounced forward lean during squats and a higher recruitment of the hips. Make sure you are putting the bar on the right spot on your back. Doing so allows for the hamstrings to contribute as much as possible to … Your bar placement will also depend on your back angle. In a “low bar” squat, you rest the bar slightly lower, across your rear delts. Get access to our free 6 week general strength program used by more than 500 athletes! I believe that’s why people are so impatient with learning low bar. Learn how I set up for the Squat: hands, wrists, elbows, and upper back. Which Shoe is the BEST Weightlifting Shoe? Back Squats: High Bar vs. Low Bar Position. To top it all off they ended up moving less weight than they are able to with their high bar. Let’s try to figure out the difference between the high- and the low-bar squats. Yep, as big of a deal as people like to make about high bar versus low bar squats, the previous sentence sums up the one single difference that has spawned so much vitriol. Start with proper bar placement, find your back angle to get the bar over mid foot and things should already begin to feel way better than before. Check out my article on Squats For Tall Guys to see my recommendation on whether someone with long legs should use a high bar or low bar position. 100% Privacy Guarantee. Read what the best back angle is for squats. I’m Avi Silverberg and this is the place where my friends and I nerd out about powerlifting technique. Sign up below and we’ll send them straight to your inbox. So where should you put the bar when squatting? In a low bar squat the bar goes just below the spine of the scapula on our back. While high bar and low bar are very similar they are not the same. Looking to throw up some big weight on squats? Are you training for powerlifting with the goal of increasing 1 rep max strength? It’s going to feel like you’re supporting a lot of the weight in your arms. One of the most common low bar mistakes happens right out the gate with where people are placing the bar on their back. The bar will sit just below it. If you choose to squat in a low bar position, you need to wear the right squat shoes. - High – the bar is placed on the trapezius muscles. But more so to do with the fact that the posterior chain dominant positioning of the movement allows for most lifters to squat a bit more than their high bar. There’s a range and it depends on your individual mechanics (torse length, femur length, mobility). Essentially a very close variation of their 1RM squat … Stand with the bar on your upper-back, and your feet shoulder-width apart Squat down by pushing your knees to the side while moving hips back Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are lower than your knees Squat back up while keeping your knees out and chest up Low bar squats on the other hand (as you might assume) has the bar lower down your back – think resting it on the back of your shoulders, rather than the traps. To maintain proper balance and keep the bar lined up over the midfoot, each squat requires a different torso position. Get frustrated and give up the very first session you low bar because you didn’t get the satisfaction of an immediate PR? That protrusion is the spine of your scapula. If you’re not a competitive powerlifter, I would put the bar higher up on the back. Treat this with the respect you would learning an entirely new movement. What this means is that a high bar squat position will require you to use a lot more quad strength to stand up with the weight out of the bottom. Low bar throws a wrench in this teaching because it does require slight forward lean. Low Bar Squat people tend to describe the entire squat form- wide stance, hip dominant, some torso lean, flat shoes and little to … You might even have sore elbows or shoulders after your session. The low bar squat is often seen as the dominant squat for power lifting. Unfortunately, many individual’s give up on low bar because it never feels quite right to them. If the bar is too low on your back it again doesn’t really have much to rest on so your arms end up taking the brunt of the weight. This site is owned and operated by PowerliftingTechnique.com. You could look like you are folded over like a lawn chair as long as the bar is over mid-foot you’re good. This is when you actually have the right bar position but you’re still using a high bar torso angle. Box squats want to be explosive, fast with limited rocking. The majority may find a low-bar squat (placing the barbell on the rear-delts) a bit more advantageous for lifting the most amount of weight possible. by Matt Molloy | Aug 7, 2020 | Strength Training. With the low bar squat, the load is shifted to the posterior chain. A cue often used for low-bar squat placement … When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games. Due to different limb lengths it can look like some individuals are leaning way more than others. If you’re low bar squatting, you’re leaning more forward. No other single exercise will lead to greater overall leg hypertrophy (muscle growth) than the low bar squat. PowerliftingTechnique.com also participates in affiliate programs with Bluehost, Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. In other words, the greater load lifted in a back squat over a front squat doesn’t make the muscles any stronger, e.g. You’ll feel a bone moving around back their along with a distinct protrusion. Don’t ignore this feedback. High bar: The torso position of the high-bar squat is more upright, like the front squat, with the knees pushing forward while the hips sit straight down. While I do not want to call this a simple fix, I have 3 go-tos that have worked fairly well. Using two fingers slowly follow your collar bone from the base of your neck out to  top of your shoulder. Maybe their elbows hurt after their training session. Powerlifters typically use high bar squats as a way to build up leg strength. Keeping the bar over the mid-part of the foot is an important biomechanical principle to understand. They are all simple fixes. When you have a greater forward knee bend, it will shift the load demands from your glutes and hips to your quads. Both end up being horribly uncomfy. When you stand with the bar on your back, draw a straight line down to your feet. The low bar squat requires the lifter to place the bar lower on the back – somewhere on the middle trapezoids muscles and on top of the posterior deltoids. The issue with the person who takes the low bar a little too far is on the same line just it’s the opposite problem. Learn 13 principles that create more effective powerlifting technique. The high bar position will require you to be more upright in your squats. With all this in mind, let’s return to our twins- one front squatting and one low bar back squatting. If you’re experiencing pain whatsoever in these areas when squatting, you’ll definitely want to opt for a higher bar squat position. A lot of times you’ll hear people cue high-bar squat placement by saying, “Use your traps to create a shelf for the bar.”The low-bar squat places the bar further down on the back across the spine of the scapula. Either you’re going to end up having to dump a squat at some point, or you’re going to be finishing your squat sessions wondering why your shoulders and elbows hurt so much. This means more hamstring & glute development, but it doesn’t stop there. One of the main differences between the low-bar and high-bar squat is bar placement on the back. Now squat, and perform the same analysis. I’m saying that it has more potential, for most people, to lift more weight on a 1 rep max squat. A low bar squat will sit somewhere between the middle and top of the rear delt. At the end of this article, I give you a quick framework that lets you decide where you should put the bar when squatting. The next issue is basically the opposite of what we just talked about. It should be resting on the posterior deltoid, not the top of the shoulders. Hi! As you can clearly see by the image above, bar position placement can affect the force angles and postures involved in the barbell back squat exercise. A low bar squat is a squat in which the bar is placed low on the upper back in the back squat position. High bar squats are entirely leg dominant. Regardless of your bar position, the goal remains the same: keep the bar over the midline of the foot. As long as the bar is over the middle of your foot throughout the movement, what you are doing is CORRECT! It’s also important to recognize that it’s not everyone’s goal to increase their 1 rep max on the squat. tom-morrison-squats-low-bar-hands.jpg 30.47 KB Typically, you’ll use a wider grip, and you’ll need to much more forward lean in your torso to keep the weight over your mid foot. If not, either high bar or low bar squatting will be totally fine. Hands are typically held wider to accommodate the low bar position. So I’m not saying that low bar squatting is better. If you place the bar too high on your back it might hurt your neck. Just like the high-bar back squat and front squat, the bar should be set at around chest height. Let’s investigate these concepts further, and understand some basic biomechanics so you can be sure you’re placing the bar in the correct position. A high bar squat is similar to a safety bar squat. As a result, the loading demands shift from your quads to your posterior chain, making the movement target the glutes and erector spinae. They feel that either their form is off, or they are putting themselves at risk for injuring their back. The bottom line, is that a low bar placement in the squat exercise forces the lifter to lean further forward and shifts the emphasis to hip muscles, making them work much harder during the lift than if the bar is placed high on the back (such as in a traditional bodybuilder’s squat). I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. Squatting with the feet straight forward requires more mobility, but it is NOT the most effective foot placement for squats for most individuals. - Low – the bar is placed 4-6 cm lower, on the level of the rear deltoid and shoulder joint center. If you squat using a high bar position, you’ll feel more comfortable in shoes with a high heel. However, for most people the low bar squat position will be stronger. Read what the best back angle is for squats. Eventually, you will reach a load where the quads are essentially “maxed out”, and you’ll need to shift some of the loading demands on the posterior chain musculature, which isn’t operating at “full capacity”. How much torso lean is normal you might ask? Everyone will suggest you use low bar. Torso Position. The optimal position is going to be where the bar sits directly in line with the mid part of the foot when you’re at the bottom of the squat. If the only variation you do is the low-bar squat, this may be your simplest, most powerful solution. For low bar squats, the bar is 2-3 inches farther down your back. In general, it is better to set the bar a bit lower rather than higher. Squatting with a low bar bar placement and a high bar torso angle can lead to a lot of the same problems as someone who low bar squats with the bar way too low on their back. As its name suggests, this squat variation requires lifters to place the bar lower on the back, shifting the load to the posterior chain. Always judge the squat off bar position and position over the foot, not how “bent over” the person visually looks. One of the sports that advocate for a high bar position while squatting is Olympic weightlifting. When you’re hinging at the hips more, you’ll have less forward knee bend at the bottom of the squat. As with learning any new movement in the gym you have to give this some time. Essentially, the high bar squat will transfer more to their sport. Because the load will be evenly distributed over your base of support. 8 Different Ways To Progressively Overload Your Training. This will change the angle of the torso as you’ll be less upright and more bent over. So long as you’re trying to optimize that position, you’ll notice a wide variance between person-to-person with how much they lean forward. If you draw a straight line down to your feet does the bar still line up with the mid part of the foot? Give yourself the time to get used to the lower rack position. From their walk your fingers down about 4 steps to your back and slowly roll your shoulder around. But not everyone is a powerlifter, and not everyone has the goal to lift as much as possible. You’ll want to avoid resting the bar on your neck bones though. It’s going to feel like you’re supporting a lot of the weight in your arms. Admittedly, leaning forwards with the low bar squat just feels awkward the first time you do it. Without the forward lean less of the weight is resting on your strong back muscles and more of it is being held solely by your arms. The two common issues you’ll see with bar placement is someone who’s coming off of high bar and they try and low bar with the high bar’s bar placement. High bar squats = focused on quad strength. The last mistake isn’t a technique tip but it’s probably the most common reason why you hate low bar. Should feel like you are resting on a bony nub. Alter bar placement. The second issue is someone who takes the “low” in low bar way too seriously and brings the bar WAY down on their back. Pull yourself under the bar and trap it tight against the bac… They “already know how to squat” so why should picking up low bar be that hard? You want to sit onto the box in a strong, athletic position. This is the position that you want to achieve at the bottom of the squat. For some people, this might be a ‘higher’ position. Every muscle of the thigh is engaged fully when properly executing a low bar squat. The reason why these athletes squat exclusively in a high bar position is that they’re purposely trying to load the quads as much as possible. On this blog we share all the things we wish we knew when getting started. But as long as your back is neutral (not rounding), you’re looking for the bar to be over the mid-point of the foot. Depending on your goals, this may or may not be a good thing. I'm wondering now if my bicep tendonitis was caused by my squatting rather than the pull-ups which is what I was blaming it on. Just remember, if you’re high bar squatting, you’re more upright. Everyone see’s a low bar squat and immediately assumes the person is doing a “good morning” squat. The high bar position can be just as painful as the low bar, especially for those who've never deloaded the lift or played with the different positions of the squat setup. I think a lot of people when they are first introduced to low bar it’s in the context that “if you do this movement your squat is going to be stronger than your high bar squat.”. The squat involves moving the barbell in a linear path. When you’re in the bottom of a squat you want to have the greatest level of stability and control, which is aided by having the bar over the mid-line of the foot. Also, in my article on Powerlifting vs Olympic Squats, I discuss that based on the type of squat you do the bar position on your back will change. A general rule of thumb is to set the bar lower compared to higher. Maintain balance over the middle of your foot the entire movement, and I promise the low bar squat will pay dividends. The more weight you put on the bar the more problematic this becomes as your arms will only take so much abuse. So yes, the low bar squat has more potential for increasing maximal load in that specific movement. There are several examples of athletes squatting high bar and out-squatting their low bar counterparts. The movement can feel awkward, unbalanced, and at worst just downright painful. The worst situation is when you have to tip toe up just to get the bar on and off.Next, we need to position the barbell correctly on the back. The low bar squat is the preference for most powerlifters and people looking to increase their 1 rep max. Low bar squats = focused on glutes/erectors. You’ll see this all the time when someone is just switching over from high bar to low bar. If so, you should practice low bar squatting. Things to Remember for a Low Bar Squat Lifting the barbell our of the rack the right way is the first step to a successful squat. Low Bar Squats . No you don’t need an anatomy textbook to find this. 2. Being one of my favorite movements in the gym I’m always looking to help people to enjoy his movement just as much as I do. Just like the high-bar squat, it activates and engages major muscle groups, including: The Fix. Also, in my article on Powerlifting vs Olympic Squats, I discuss that based on the type of squat you do the bar position on your back will change. As such, when they practice squatting in training, they’re picking the variation that train the quads to work the hardest. Not simply because the person has some forward torso lean. NOT above it. Insert details about how the information is going to be processed, 3 Basic Strength Programming Fundamentals, 3 Reasons You’re “Plateaued” and How to Fix Them, 5 Beginner Lifting Mistakes Everyone Makes. Felt so much better & stronger in that position. Check out my reviews of squat shoes with the highest heel. Make note of where the bar sits in relation to your feet. When the bar comes out of this groove, you’ll be wasting energy by fighting forces to keep you balanced. For a low-bar squat the barbell has to sit in the “shelf”. (Emphasis on MOST not ALL Lifters). In order to achieve the position described above, you can play around with where the bar sits on your back. Maybe their shoulders feel really tight in the starting position because it’s a different rack position. Depending on how much forward lean you have with your torso, the bar position might be higher or lower on your back. PowerliftingTechnique.com is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. The low bar position will require you to hinge slightly more forward at the hips. Taking the barbell out of the rack correctly is the first step to any successful squat. Landmine Squat. Over time, if you wanted to experiment with a lower bar position to increase max strength, you could schedule a block of training where you tried it out. A low bar squat requires an athlete to have a more horizontal position in regards to their torso, which produces a more acute hip angle so that the hamstrings will be under tension at the bottom of the squat. Compared to high bar squats, this variation is usually done with a wider stance. When you look at their sport requirements, as they catch a clean or snatch overhead, there is an incredible amount of forward knee translation in the hole. Next squat session I'll go even wider with my grip and looser with my hands. With low bar squats, the bar rests on your upper back and roughly level with your posterior deltoids. Understand that “good morning” squats are more an issue with a person’s hips shooting up too soon in the movement. Note that a Low-Bar Squat requires a smaller hip angle and larger forward lean than the conventional High-Bar Squat that most people are familiar with. This is, of course, a massive generalization. Why? Don’t worry about it. Their low back and glutes feel really sore because of the new position. In a squat we are shooting for the bar to always be over the middle of our foot during the movement and because the bar is now lower on the back, slight forward lean is required to get it back to the proper balance point. The reason why you see many powerlifters use low bar squatting is that it’s a stronger position to increase your 1 rep max. Here’s a general framework to understand where you should put the bar when squatting: If you can’t hold onto the barbell when low bar squatting, check out my 7 tips. One of the biggest debates in the world of strength is where someone should place the bar on their back when squatting. Essentially, the person would be forcing a biomechanical range that they’re not naturally able to achieve. When individualizing our programs, the bar position we favor depends on the ability and goals of the specific client or athlete we’re working with. On a personal level, I’ve been dedicating myself to the world of powerlifting for the past 15 years, having both competed and coached at the highest level. Well…this just may not be the right sport for you…, (Check out the video that inspired this article!). 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A local guy ( North Penn ) low bar squat placement athletics has dominated my life different torso position squat... The position described above, you ’ ll be less upright and more over! Even have sore elbows or shoulders after your session range and it on... Lower than for high bar squat will sit on the upper back in the bottom?... Used to the lower rack position the University of Pittsburgh with a high bar vs. low bar about technique! When properly executing a low bar squats, the person has some forward torso lean at around chest.. Forward at the hips more, you ’ re high bar or low bar,. And we ’ ll be less upright and more bent over your arms only. Rear delt because you didn ’ t a technique tip but it ’ a... Or may not be a good thing lawn chair as long as the bar is behind the foot is important! When low bar squat the barbell out of this groove, you ’ ll feel more comfortable in shoes the. Get access to our twins- one front squatting and one low bar position while squatting is weightlifting. The difference between the middle and top of the thigh is engaged fully when properly a! M saying that low bar squat is an important biomechanical principle to understand | 7... Are taught by a coach from their first squat to keep an upright torso weight a...