What Is A Safety Squat Bar? – The Best Specialty Bar You’re Not Using!

The safety squat bar is one of the best specialty bars used in strength training and weightlifting.

It is specifically designed to enhance the squatting movement by providing added support and stability.

Unlike a straight bar, the safety squat bar features a unique design with cambered handles and a pad across the upper back, allowing for a different grip and weight distribution.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the Safety Squat Bar.

Let’s get started!

Benefits Of The Safety Squat Bar

The safety squat bar offers a range of benefits that contribute to its effectiveness in strength training:

Correcting Movement Deficiencies During Squatting

One of the notable advantages of the safety squat bar is its ability to address movement deficiencies.

The cambered handles and forwardly placed load force the lifter to maintain an upright torso position.

This positioning helps individuals who struggle with excessive forward lean or rounding of the lower back during squats, promoting proper technique and reducing strain on the spine.

Shoulder Mobility Issues and the Safety Squat Bar

For individuals with shoulder mobility limitations, the safety squat bar provides a valuable alternative.

Traditional back squats require a significant amount of shoulder flexibility to maintain a proper grip on the bar.

With the SSB, the padded shoulder support eliminates the need for an extensive shoulder range of motion, allowing individuals with mobility issues to still benefit from squatting exercises.

Targeting the Upper Back Muscles Effectively

The safety squat bar’s design places a greater emphasis on the upper back muscles compared to a standard barbell squat.

The forward positioning of the load forces the lifter to engage the upper back muscles to maintain stability throughout the movement.

This added stimulus can lead to increased strength and muscle development in the upper back region.

Improving Strength in Stabilization Muscles

Using the safety squat bar activates the stabilization muscles to a greater extent compared to traditional back squats.

The cambered design of the bar shifts the center of gravity slightly forward, challenging the lifter to stabilize the weight throughout the movement.

This increased demand on the stabilizer muscles helps improve overall strength and balance.

How To Use A Safety Squat Bar

To use the SSB correctly and maximize its benefits, it’s essential to follow proper techniques and form. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Begin by placing the safety squat bar on a power rack at an appropriate height.
  2. Step under the bar and position it across your upper back, ensuring that the padded support is centered.
  3. Grasp the handles firmly and unrack the bar by straightening your legs.
  4. Take a step back, maintaining an upright torso position and bracing your core.
  5. Initiate the squat by bending at the hips and knees simultaneously. Keep your chest up and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  6. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly below, ensuring your knees track over your toes.
  7. Pause briefly at the bottom of the squat and then drive through your heels to return to the starting position.
  8. It’s important to drive the handles of the safety bar up to fight the load trying to crush you forward.
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form and control.

Safety Precautions To Consider

While using the safety squat bar, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Always start with lighter weights and gradually increase the load as you become comfortable and proficient with the movement.
  • Maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise to prevent strain or injury. Avoid excessive forward lean or rounding of the lower back.
  • Listen to your body and adjust the weight or intensity accordingly. If you experience pain or discomfort, lower the weight or consult a fitness professional for guidance.
  • Warm up adequately before using the safety squat bar to prepare your muscles and joints for the exercise.

Exercises You Can Do With a Safety Squat Bar

Safety squat bars are versatile pieces of equipment that can be used for various exercises beyond squats.

Here are a few exercises you can incorporate:

Safety Bar Squat

Safety bar squats are one of the main squat variations used in Powerlifting training.

It targets the lower body muscles, posterior chain, and overall core strength in a way that a straight bar cannot.

SSB Front Squat

The SSB can also be used to perform the front squat by placing the bar across the front delts and upper chest.

This variation emphasizes the quadriceps and core muscles while reducing the demand on the upper back and shoulders.

Hatfield Squat

The Hatfield squat is a unique exercise that combines the safety squat bar and a power rack.

It involves holding the barbell with one hand and using the SSB for added stability.

This exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, and upper back muscles.

Factors To Consider Before Buying A Safety Squat Bar

Before purchasing a safety squat bar, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Quality and Durability – Look for a SSB made from high-quality materials that can withstand heavy loads and regular use.
  • Weight Capacity – Ensure that the bar can accommodate the weights you plan to lift.
  • Bar Weight – Consider the weight of the bar itself, as it can vary between different models. Heavier bars may provide added stability but can also increase the overall load.
  • Handle Design – Evaluate the handle design and grip comfort. Some bars may have rotating handles or different angles to accommodate individual preferences.
  • Price and Budget – Determine your budget and compare prices to find a safety squat bar that offers good value for money.
  • User Reviews – Read customer reviews and feedback to get insights into the performance and durability of different brands and models.

Key Features Of The Safety Squat Bar

When choosing a safety squat bar, consider the following key features:

  • Weight of the SSB – The weight of the bar itself can vary between different models. Opt for a bar with a weight that suits your preferences and training goals. Heavier bars may provide more stability but can be challenging for beginners.
  • Cambered design and its purpose – The cambered design of the safety squat bar refers to the curved handles. This design allows for a more ergonomic grip and weight distribution, reducing strain on the wrists and shoulders while promoting proper squatting form.
  • The functionality of the Safety Squat Bar handles – The handles of the SSB should be comfortable and provide a secure grip. Look for handles that are well-padded and have an anti-slip texture to ensure a safe and comfortable lifting experience.
  • Importance of padding on the Safety Bar – The padding on the safety squat bar plays a crucial role in providing comfort and protecting the upper back and shoulders. Look for a bar with dense and durable padding that evenly distributes the weight across the upper back for optimal support.

Who Should Use A Safety Squat Bar?

The safety squat bar can benefit a wide range of individuals with different fitness goals and abilities. Here are some examples:

  • Powerlifters and Weightlifters – The safety squat bar can be a valuable addition to powerlifting and weightlifting training routines, helping to improve squat performance and strengthen key muscle groups.
  • Individuals with Back Issues – The added support and reduced strain on the spine make the safety squat bar a suitable option for individuals with back issues or those who experience discomfort during traditional back squats.
  • Athletes and Sports Enthusiasts – The safety squat bar can be utilized by athletes and sports enthusiasts looking to enhance their lower body strength and stability, which can translate to improved performance in their respective sports.
  • Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention – The safety squat bar can be incorporated into rehabilitation programs to help individuals recover from injuries or prevent further strain on vulnerable areas.

It’s important to note that while the safety squat bar can be beneficial for many individuals, it’s always advisable to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before incorporating new equipment into your training regimen.

Standard Barbell vs Safety Squat Bar

When comparing a standard straight bar to the safety squat bar, several factors come into play. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Standard Barbell

  • Advantages:
    • Familiarity – The standard barbell is the most common and widely used piece of equipment in strength training, making it readily available in most gyms.
    • Versatility – The standard barbell allows for a wide range of exercises, not limited to squats.
    • Technique Development – Using a standard barbell can help individuals develop better overall technique and stability due to its less specialized design.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Spinal Loading – The standard barbell places a significant load on the spine during back squats, which can be problematic for individuals with existing back issues.
    • Shoulder Mobility – The standard barbell may require greater shoulder mobility and flexibility to maintain proper form during squats.

Safety Squat Bar

  • Advantages:
    • Back Support – The safety squat bar provides additional support to the upper back, reducing the strain on the spine during squats.
    • Shoulder-Friendly – The safety squat bar’s design minimizes the demand for shoulder mobility, making it a suitable option for individuals with limited shoulder flexibility.
    • Muscle Emphasis – The safety squat bar targets specific muscle groups, such as the upper back and quadriceps, in a unique way, offering potential strength and stability benefits.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Availability – Safety squat bars may not be as commonly found in commercial gyms compared to standard barbells, which can limit accessibility for some individuals.
    • Technique Adjustment – Using a safety squat bar requires some adjustments in technique and grip compared to traditional back squats.

Frequently Asked Questions


The safety squat bar is a versatile and effective piece of equipment that can help you improve your squat technique, build strength, and prevent injuries.

With its unique design and features, the safety bar offers a variety of benefits that traditional barbell squats cannot match.

So what do you think? Have you tried the safety squat bar before? What benefits have you experienced?

Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time,


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