Low Bar vs High Bar on Squats

High Bar VS Low Bar on Squats

This blog could be an entire chapter in a book. Lets start with the basics of bar position. High Bar squats should have the bar placed in the meat of the upper traps. Many times lifters will put the bar where the trapezius muscle meets the cervical spine and that is not an optimal position. The bar can end up resting on the spine and cause issues. Also, having the bar that high on the back can cause the bar to roll forward and cause you to tip forward. The ability to let the bar sit on the upper trapezius muscle will give some padding and also also the lifter to achieve maximal tightens and connection to the bar. On the high bar position the lifter wants to think about pulling the body up into the bar to create a wedge. Some people think about pulling the scapula down to create the wedge. Many people will use the cue of Chest up, which is ok, but it can also cause the lifter to arch the lower back which isn’t a position to be in while squatting.

Low Bar Position

Low bar has the bar resting on the top of the rear deltoids. The lifter things about retracting or squeezing the scapula together and the bar will rest on ledge made by the rear deltoid muscles. Maintaining the back squeeze throughout the execution of the squat is crucial for a strong squat. Some lifters will allow the bar to be lower than the rear deltoids which may make the squat feel easier because the bar is lower on the back, but this can cause issues of having the bar slide down the back. If this happens it can risk serious injury or at minimum dropping of the bar off the back. The USPA Powerlifting Federation actually have rules in place to ensure super low bar position is not used.


 If you are an upright squatter the high bar position is optimal. It allows the bar to stay over the mid foot throughout the execution of the squat. If you are someone that has to lean forward a bit to squat to depth then low bar position will be optimal for you. Again putting the bar lower on the back will allow the bar to stay over the mid foot during the execution of the squat. There is so much more I could say on this topic but I will point out a couple of things to be aware of. If you have really tight ankles and long femurs High bar will be very difficult for you to execute, you are most likely a low bar squatter. If you are a low bar squatter you have to have decent shoulder mobility to keep the bar in position on your rear deltoids. So if you are struggling with each position it would be helpful to get with a coach that can get you dialed in and possibly work on any mobility issues you have that is holding your squat back. Here is an article on some other key aspects of squatting you should know if you want to have a big squat. If you are looking for a gym in Tucson that specializes in powerlifting feel free to reach out to us. We also offer online programming and coaching.

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