Traditional barbell squats are in most fitness people’s routines. It is an effective way to tone up and strengthen the body. While using a traditional barbell can give you a lot of benefits, a safety squat bar can also do the same.
A safety squat bar is a type of barbell that has a camber on each end and this allows your weight to be shifted forward. A safety squat bar also has padding on the middle bar and padded handles that you put in front of you when in use. The safety squat bar is a great alternative for people who have shoulder mobility issues and wrist injuries.
If you are wondering what a safety squat bar is, this article will discuss all about it and we will also be talking about the benefits and disadvantages of using a safety squat bar. If you are looking for alternative equipment to use for the traditional barbell, a safety squat bar can give your body a good challenge.
What Is A Safety Squat Bar?
A safety squat bar (SSB) was invented and patented by Jesse Hoagland in 1984. The safety squat bar is a type of barbell but with a camber at each end making the middle bar higher than the barbell’s collar. The camber on a safety squat bar typically has an angle of 22 degrees but, other safety squat bars can have a higher camber angle.
Another design element of the SSB that differs from a regular barbell is the pad that is covering a portion of the middle bar. In the middle of the bar, there are also two padded handles that protrude downward. The handles can then be moved at an angle when the SSB is used.
The padding on a safety squat bar allows you to place the bar on your back comfortably. The camber on a safety squat bar displaces your weight forward keeping the back in a more neutral position. The SSB is designed to allow you to squat in an upright position which can be harder as the weight is also shifted forward.
In terms of weight, a safety squat bar’s weight varies depending on its design, features, and manufacturer. A safety squat bar can weigh anything between 45 – 70 lbs (20 – 30 kg). For lifters with poor shoulder mobility, using the SSB can be helpful since the handle goes in front.
Benefits Of Using A Safety Squat Bar
If you are a lifter, using a safety squat bar can be beneficial for your strength training. This specialty bar can look intimidating but, you can use it as additional training equipment to challenge yourself. Here are some of the benefits of using a safety squat bar:
While a safety squat bar is mostly used for squatting, it is a versatile piece of equipment where you can do a variety of exercises to strengthen your body. A safety squat bar can also be used for lower body movements like:
– Suspended squats
– Walking lunges
– Good mornings
– Box squats
– Front squats
– Back squats
The SSB is also good for single-leg movements such as the Bulgarian split squat and the Romanian deadlift. If you want some lower body gains, using a safety squat bar can help you achieve your fitness goals.
The safety squat bar can be used whether you are going for a heavier weight or a lighter weight. Using the safety squat bar can give you muscle gains when you are trying to increase your strength.
Bodybuilders, or gymgoers in general, who want to grow in size can do higher-volume training. Doing more reps and sets can effectively build muscles. The safety squat bar can also be efficient in improving your squat technique as you don’t have to worry much about the barbell.
Reduced Shoulder And Wrist Strain
Good wrist placement is essential to prevent wrist pain when doing back and front squats. When doing barbell squats, the wrists can sometimes bend backward, especially with the weight of the barbell. This can put pressure on the wrist and cause wrist pain. With the handles of a safety squat bar going in front of you, the wrists will have a straighter position and the padding can give less stress on your shoulders.
Also, when doing barbell squats, the barbell is placed directly on the upper back and a regular barbell does not have any padding on it. This can also cause shoulder strain, especially when performing a barbell squat without proper form.
People with mobility issues and wrist strains will also be able to work out effectively on a safety squat bar.
Improved Core Stability And Reduced Stress On Lower Back
Since the safety squat bar has a camber on each end, the middle bar sits higher than a standard barbell. The cambered barbell will also push your weight forward which keeps you in an upright position. Using the SSB can also feel more like a high-bar squat than a low-bar squat.
Since the torso is upright, the glutes and quads will work more and there will be less pressure on your lower back and knees. In a safety squat bar, the bar’s center of gravity is geared toward the midfoot so the core will really work hard in keeping you upright.
Disadvantages Of A Safety Squat Bar
As much as the safety squat bar offers a lot of benefits to the lifter, it can also have its disadvantages.
For home gym owners who want to add a safety squat bar to their home gym, the cost of this equipment is something to be considered. A safety squat bar can be more expensive than a standard or Olympic barbell.
If you are just starting to weight lift, starting with a standard barbell may be a good first investment than a safety squat bar. If expensive gym equipment is out of the question, you can still use a safety squat bar in most gyms. But, if you have no budget restrictions, a safety squat bar can be a good addition to your home gym.
Since a safety squat bar is not like a standard barbell, you might need to still learn how to use the SSB safely and effectively. You may also need to reconsider your squatting form and technique in order to use the safety squat bar correctly. The safety squat bar will also force you to do a high-bar squat position so it can take some practice when using the safety squat bar.
Muscles Used When Using A Safety Squat Bar
Using the safety squat bar can effectively tone and strengthen your body. The primary muscles worked when using the safety squat bar are the quads, glutes, lower back, hamstrings, and core muscles. If you want to have lower body gains, using the safety squat bar is definitely good to use.
How To Use A Safety Bar Squat
Using a safety squat bar can be a great addition to your fitness routine if you want to have muscle gains and improved strength.
To use a safety bar:
1. Adjust the height of the squat bar if needed. Match the height of the safety squat bar to the height of your shoulders or upper back to be able to use the bar effectively.
2. Place your preferred load on each side of the bar and make sure to put the collar on the bar to prevent the plates from sliding off.
3. Get under the bar and position yourself under the padding and make sure the bar is on your upper back and not on the neck.
4. Grab the handles, lift the bar off of the rack, and step back.
5. Assume a starting position with the feet slightly shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Make sure that the handles are in a neutral position, not pointing up and not pointing downwards. It should be on a slight angle to make sure that the bar is comfortably resting on your upper back.
6. Start your squat reps by bending the knees and dropping the hips down.
7. Press your feet on the floor and power back up to your starting position.
8. Once you are done, rack the bar back to the j-hooks, duck under the bar, and you are done.
Safety Bar Squat vs. Back Squat
A back squat is done with a standard barbell and the bar is straight rather than having a camber on each end. The barbell used in a back squat is not padded and you need shoulder mobility to be able to hold the barbell on your upper back.
The SSB, on the other hand, can make squatting more comfortable as the bar is not touching your upper back directly. Both are good for toning and strengthening your body but, if you have poor shoulder mobility or wrist injuries, a safety squat bar is a good piece of equipment to use.
A safety squat bar is a great alternative if you want to improve your strength. If you have shoulder mobility issues or wrist injuries, you can still safely lift while using a safety squat bar. It has a camber on each end which makes the middle bar higher than the ends. It also has a padded bar and handles which allows you to lift more comfortably.
This article has discussed what a safety squat bar is and we have talked about its pros and cons. If you are looking for a different challenge, a safety squat bar is definitely good to add to your fitness routine.