How To Use The Safety Squat Bar – A Complete Guide

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Safety squat bars offer a unique design that provides benefits to lifters of all levels and abilities. However, like any gym equipment, knowing how to use a safety squat bar properly can significantly affect your results and safety.

Let’s check out how to use a safety squat bar, exploring its advantages and how to make the most of it.

How To Set Up & Use A Safety Squat Bar

If you’re just starting with the safety squat bar or want to double-check your technique, here’s what to do:

  1. Grab the Handles – Start by getting a firm grip on the handles.
  2. Position the Bar – Place the yoke on your shoulders, pulling the handles down so the bar is stable.
  3. Unrack The Bar – Carefully unrack the bar, take two small steps back, and get into your stance.
  4. Breathe – Inhale deeply into your stomach and hold it to brace your core as if bracing for a punch. Maintain this tightness throughout the rep.
  5. Perform The Movement – Execute the first rep of your squat, good morning, lunges, etc.
  6. Breathing Cycle – After each rep, breathe out slowly, then breathe in deeply again, brace, and continue this cycle.
  7. Finish and Rerack – At the end of your set, step forward to rerack the weight, ensuring the bar touches the rack uprights before lowering it onto the j-cups.

Throughout your training session, always remember the key rule of barbell logic: consistent practice. The more you familiarize yourself with the safety squat bar and its feel, the more comfortable and proficient you will become.

Other Exercises You Can Do

Aside from safety bar squats, the safety squat bar’s unique design makes it versatile enough to use in several exercises. Here are some to consider:

  • Front Squats – The safety squat bar can mimic a front rack position, making it an excellent tool for front squats, particularly for those with tight shoulders or inflexible wrists.
  • Good Mornings – This bar can help maintain a better upper back position during Good Mornings due to the padding and front handles.
  • Reverse Lunges – With the bar’s secure and comfortable position, reverse lunges become more accessible and can help with stability.
  • Split Squats – The safety squat bar makes split squats feel less awkward and more stable than using traditional barbells.

Exercises To Avoid

While the safety squat bar is a versatile piece of equipment, it isn’t suitable for all exercises. Specifically, it’s not designed for deadlifts due to its curved shape, and its unique structure makes Olympic lifting moves, such as cleans and snatches, impossible. Therefore, if your training heavily involves these exercises, a traditional Olympic barbell is going to be more suited to your needs.

The Benefits of Using a Safety Squat Bar

The safety squat bar provides numerous benefits that make it a great tool for your lower body training. Here are the main benefits:


Safety Squat Bars are specially designed to make squats more comfortable and effective. Their curved design and padding mean a smoother experience than what you’d get with a standard barbell. They’re a great choice if you have shoulder, elbow, or wrist issues that make regular squats a challenge.

Reduced Posterior Chain Involvement

Using a safety squat bar keeps your torso more upright during squats, dialing down the work your posterior chain muscles—like your lower black and glutes—do. It’s perfect if you’re aiming to zero in on strengthening your quads instead.


Whether you’re just starting out or have years of lifting under your belt, a safety squat bar is a solid pick to mix up your training while keeping the stress off your upper body. Just remember, even with all its padding, it’s crucial to gradually increase the weight to avoid injuries and maintain good form.

Programming Tips

As with any new piece of equipment, it’s essential to incorporate the safety squat bar into your training strategically. Here are some programming tips:

  1. Start Slow – If you’re new to the safety squat bar, begin by adding it to one of your lower body days per week, allowing your body to adjust to the change.
  2. Use It as a Supplemental Exercise – The safety squat bar can be used as a supplemental exercise to your traditional squats or when your body needs a break from the low bar squat.
  3. Mix It Up – Incorporate other exercises with the safety squat bar like front squats, Good Mornings, Reverse Lunges, and Split Squats to diversify your training.

Safety Squat Bar vs Traditional Barbell

The safety squat bar and traditional barbell have a few basic differences that make each unique:

  • Camber – SSBs have a bent camber that dumps the weight out in front of you a bit. This will feel like the bar is trying to pull you down which is a much different experience than a straight bar.
  • Hand Placement – Unlike a traditional barbell, the safety squat bar features handles that allow you to keep your hands in front of you, similar to a front rack position.
  • Padding & The Yoke – The safety squat bar offers padding in the form of the yoke, providing a comfortable place for the bar to sit on your shoulders.
  • Weight – Generally, an SSB weighs more than a standard Olympic barbell, which is something to consider when adding weight to the bar.


Now I turn it over to you!

Did this guide help you figure out how to use a safety squat bar effectively in your training? Let me know in the comment section below, right now!

Until next time,


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