Exercising with proper form is essential to ensure your safety and maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.
One exercise, in particular, that requires attention to detail is a Safety Bar Squat.
The additional support of the barbell gives you an extra sense of stability while squatting which helps reduce excessive wear and tear on your body.
Today we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about safely performing a Safety Bar Squat Properly including its benefits, how to set up for the exercise correctly, technique tips, plus variations of the movement for both beginners and advanced athletes.
Let’s dive right into it!
Muscles Worked during Safety Bar Squat
A Safety Bar Squat is a powerful workout that tones multiple muscles. It focuses on your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core, while improving your balance and posture. Let’s explore the various Muscles Worked during a Safety Bar Squat.
- Quadriceps: These muscles are the main ones used when you extend your knees and lift the weight.
- Hamstrings: When you squat, your hamstrings work to control your movement.
- Glutes: Engaging your glutes helps you generate power when you move up.
- Lower Back: Your lower back keeps your posture upright during the exercise.
- Core: Your core needs to be engaged for stability and to avoid injuries.
- Adductor Magnus: This muscle supports hip extension and adduction during loaded squats using a safety bar.
Other muscles used include Spinal Erectors, Erector Spinae, Serratus Anterior and upper-traps.
Interestingly, when you perform a safety bar squat with heavyweights, some small muscles are activated to help you balance.
Safety Bar Squats are excellent for athletes. They build strength in unstable positions, which helps with functional movements in sports like Crossfit.
One of my clients injured her back when doing Olympic barbell squats. We changed her routine to Safety Bar Squats. This was better, as the weight was spread out across her back, reducing strain on her spine. She could then train again, without risking further injury.
Benefits of Safety Bar Squat
The Safety Bar Squat is an awesome compound exercise. It works multiple muscles and helps you to grow mentally and physically. Each time you do it, you’ll build muscle, endurance and confidence.
- This squat variation engages multiple muscle groups – quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, lower back and abs.
- It offers reduced spinal compression compared to barbell squats or goblet squats.
- You can lift heavier weights than with barbell squats due to its design.
- Many use it as a warm-up before heavier lifting.
- It helps with balance while building muscle mass. This leads to lifestyle benefits like improved posture and stronger joints.
It’s essential to learn proper technique. Improper execution can lead to injury.
Jessica learned this the hard way. She tried Safety Bar Squat without prior training and leaned too far forward. This caused severe lower back pain for days. After recovering she consulted a fitness professional and came back stronger. She experienced enhanced strength, stability and better results.
How To Do A Safety Bar Squat
Sure, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a safety bar squat:
What You’ll Need
- A safety squat bar (SSB)
- A power rack
- Set Up the Bar: Place the safety squat bar on the rack at about chest height. The bar should be just below shoulder level so you can easily unrack it.
- Position Yourself: Stand facing the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart. Duck under the bar and position it so that the padded part of the bar rests on your shoulders. The handles should be in front of you.
- Grip the Bar: Reach forward and grip the handles. Ensure that your elbows are bent and pointed downwards, not flared out to the sides.
- Unrack the Bar: Stand up straight to lift the bar off the rack. Take a step or two back to clear the rack.
- Assume the Starting Position: Position your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward. This is your starting position.
- Lower Your Body: Begin the exercise by pushing your hips back and bending your knees as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Keep your chest upright and your back straight. Continue lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, or as low as you can comfortably go.
- Rise Up: Push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position. Make sure to keep your back straight and chest up as you rise.
- Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions.
Proper Form for Safety Bar Squat
Here’s a 3-step guide for proper form for safety bar squat:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Put the pad on your shoulders.
- Grab the handles and lift the bar off the rack.
- Squeeze glutes as you push up from a squatting position, extending legs and hips at the same time.
Keep core muscles tight, head up and stay in correct posture. Don’t stop mid-rep or lean too far forward when squatting. Doing this exercise correctly can give you more strength and endurance.
Safety Bar reduces stress on knee joints. A study by Driven Sports Performance revealed less stress compared to other barbells used in similar ways.
Tips for Effective Safety Bar Squat Performance
If you’re aiming for a great Safety Bar Squat, here are a few tips! These will help you get the most out of your session and avoid any harm.
- Step 1: Align Your Body
Stand upright, feet facing the front and shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar firmly on your shoulders. Push your hips back and engage your core.
- Step 2: Posture
Keep your eyes straight ahead instead of looking down at your feet while squatting. This will keep your spine safe.
- Step 3: Slow & Steady
Bend your knees until they form a 90-degree angle. Maintain control throughout the motion and don’t bounce at the bottom.
Inhale as you go downwards. Stay still for a couple of seconds then take a deep breath again before coming up.
- Increase weight gradually.
- Take short steps when leaving the rack.
- When standing up, drive your heels into the floor and use your thigh muscles.
These tips will help you do a Safety Bar Squat with great form. Before starting any workout regimen, ask a professional trainer for safety advice.
Common Mistakes in Safety Bar Squat
Doing Safety Bar Squats correctly is essential for maximum results. There are common mistakes that can lead to injury or reduce muscle-building benefits. These include:
- Incorrect footing or alignment
- Inadequate bracing and control
- Insufficient Depth
- Leaning Forward
- Neglecting breathing techniques
- Not warming up beforehand.
Make sure to stabilize the bar properly. Don’t lift more than your body can handle.
Good posture is key. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and brace your entire body. Focus on correct depth and vertical spine alignment.
Proper breathing is a must. Holding breath increases blood pressure and may cause dizziness or blackouts.
Warm-up before getting started. This conditions muscles for intense sessions.
By following these steps, Safety Bar Squats can be done correctly and effectively.
Variations of Safety Bar Squat
Are you looking to make your squats more exciting? There are several variations of the safety bar squat you can try. Check out the table below for some of them.
|Zercher Squat||Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core||Target core and upper back. Good for strongman training.|
|Pause Squat||Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core||Time under tension increases. Build explosive strength.|
|Box Squat||Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps||Knees stress-free. Improve hip mobility and explosiveness.|
There are even more variations such as the front squat or split squat. However, it’s important to find one that suits your goals.
Fun fact: Powerlifters often use the safety bar squat to train their squat form without irritating old injuries.