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I don't understand low bar squats

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  • I don't understand low bar squats

    When you've finished a rep, and stand straight up. How are you supposed to keep the bar from fallling from your back? Should you lean your upperback forward when you're standing straight up? Isn't this bad for your back
    well then

  • #2
    With low bar squats you are leaning a little bit forward, yes, but not enough that it should be rolling up. Also, you don't lean your upper back forward, but your whole back, all the way to your hips.

    Low Bar vs High Bar Squatting | 70's Big This article explains it pretty well, and uses an image from Rippetoe's Starting Strength to illustrate the difference. In all three of the squat positions shown, the back is straight, all the way to the hips. From the page, "The high bar is a simple ďgo down, squat upĒ kind of movement. In contrast, the low bar squat requires much more attention to detail and is more difficult to do correctly."


    If you are switching from high bar to low bar, take the time to deload a bit, or practice your form with lighter weight. Low bar squats exposed me to some shoulder and back issues (mostly lack of flexibility) that were never an issue with high bar.

    "Some other problems with the low bar squat include itís difficulty. Itís not easy to do properly. This doesnít mean it should be avoided, but some trainees do such a shitty job of executing it that itíd be better if could wait to receive proper coaching. Also, some trainees donít have enough flexibility in their shoulders to put the bar in the right position. When they attempt to do so, it may result in shoulder, wrist, or elbow pain. If any problems in those joints become debilitating to training, the trainee should use a different style of squatting until they a) alleviate the painful symptoms and ó more importantly ó b) address the underlying mobility problem that is causing the pain.

    It's a good lift, but make sure you are doing it properly, and get your form down with low weight before loading back up.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jfreaksho View Post
      With low bar squats you are leaning a little bit forward, yes, but not enough that it should be rolling up. Also, you don't lean your upper back forward, but your whole back, all the way to your hips.

      Low Bar vs High Bar Squatting | 70's Big This article explains it pretty well, and uses an image from Rippetoe's Starting Strength to illustrate the difference. In all three of the squat positions shown, the back is straight, all the way to the hips. From the page, "The high bar is a simple “go down, squat up” kind of movement. In contrast, the low bar squat requires much more attention to detail and is more difficult to do correctly."


      If you are switching from high bar to low bar, take the time to deload a bit, or practice your form with lighter weight. Low bar squats exposed me to some shoulder and back issues (mostly lack of flexibility) that were never an issue with high bar.

      "Some other problems with the low bar squat include it’s difficulty. It’s not easy to do properly. This doesn’t mean it should be avoided, but some trainees do such a shitty job of executing it that it’d be better if could wait to receive proper coaching. Also, some trainees don’t have enough flexibility in their shoulders to put the bar in the right position. When they attempt to do so, it may result in shoulder, wrist, or elbow pain. If any problems in those joints become debilitating to training, the trainee should use a different style of squatting until they a) alleviate the painful symptoms and — more importantly — b) address the underlying mobility problem that is causing the pain.

      It's a good lift, but make sure you are doing it properly, and get your form down with low weight before loading back up.
      I just got back from doing low bar squats for the second time. It went better. I did a thumbless grip and this is much easier on my wrist. I bent at mi hips and pushed my shoulder blades back so the bar could rest more on my back. However my shoulders get a little tired by pushing the bar at my back.
      well then

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      • #4
        I used to do high bar squats only, but recently switched to low bar. I find it much more comfortable, less strain on my back and I am able to squat more weight than with high bar. It even feels better on my hips. With high bar I'd feel a little pull on the hip flexors and lower back when I go really deep, no such feeling when I go deep with low bar. I don't think I'll ever do a high bar squat again. The bar did feel weird being so low on the back at first, but I got used to it after one set. I use the same no thumb grip.

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        • #5
          take a look at mark's videos on youtube where he talks about hip drive. the essence of the low bar squat is the hip drive, and back angle is really secondary. your back will bear more of the load, so it's important to keep proper spinal flexion. but the crux of the movement when coming back up is to drive the sacrum.

          for me, the advantage of low bar squats is that they're just way easier on the knees if you're doing the properly. if you have back issues though, it may be easier for you to stick with olympic style squatting.

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          • #6
            Here's what happens when I low bar squat:

            I have to do a thumbless grip otherwise I'll injure my thumbs (this is what rippetoe advices anyway)
            Because of this the bar is slowly slipping out of my hands even if I lean forward as much as I can.
            My shoulders get very tired
            well then

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gadsie View Post
              Here's what happens when I low bar squat:

              I have to do a thumbless grip otherwise I'll injure my thumbs (this is what rippetoe advices anyway)
              Because of this the bar is slowly slipping out of my hands even if I lean forward as much as I can.
              My shoulders get very tired
              You probably have the bar too low - Ripp describes the bar position for low bar as the point where if you go any lower you can no longer keep the bar in place. There is a good video describing it on the starting strength website.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gadsie View Post
                Here's what happens when I low bar squat:

                I have to do a thumbless grip otherwise I'll injure my thumbs (this is what rippetoe advices anyway)
                Because of this the bar is slowly slipping out of my hands even if I lean forward as much as I can.
                My shoulders get very tired
                Grip as narrow as you can, and keep your elbows behind the bar. This bunches up your back muscles and provides a stable spot for the bar.

                The thumbless grip is correct.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by boomingno View Post
                  You probably have the bar too low - Ripp describes the bar position for low bar as the point where if you go any lower you can no longer keep the bar in place. There is a good video describing it on the starting strength website.
                  That could be true, I have the bar just above my armpits, is that too low?
                  well then

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Miscellangela View Post
                    Grip as narrow as you can, and keep your elbows behind the bar. This bunches up your back muscles and provides a stable spot for the bar.

                    The thumbless grip is correct.
                    I'll try that though it's very scary to not have any handsupport
                    well then

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Think of it this way - you're not trying to hold the bar in your hands, you're trying to use your hands to help your back muscles support the bar. Use your hands to push forward on the bar rather than supporting it from underneath.

                      It does take some practice, but it's much better when you squat heavy. When you first unrack the bar, just stand with it for a second to make sure everything feels stable. If not, re-rack and adjust.

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                      • #12
                        The other thing I've learned about holding the bar is to keep my elbows forward more than I think I need too. Your elbow should be pointing down along you sides, NOT out behind you. Pushing your elbows back causes you to rotate your shoulders forward and hunch the top of your spine forward.

                        And as mentioned above changing where the bar is on your back changes the angle of the squat a bit working different combinations of muscles. High bar back squats allow you to keep your back more vertical and low bar back squats you have to let your gaze travel down a bit as you start the squat and allow your back to angle forward as you squat. But don't collapse!

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                        • #13
                          Regarding elbow position - Rippetoe emphasizes keeping the elbows behind the bar. Maybe that's just more of a cue? Like, if your elbows are habitually too far forward, thinking "behind the bar" when you get into position actually puts them in the right place.

                          If your elbows are along your sides, you're supporting the weight in your hands instead of your back. This becomes problematic at 1.5x bodyweight. Also, if you keep your elbows by your sides, how do you keep your wrists straight?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Noctiluca View Post
                            The other thing I've learned about holding the bar is to keep my elbows forward more than I think I need too. Your elbow should be pointing down along you sides, NOT out behind you.
                            wait, no.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Miscellangela View Post
                              Regarding elbow position - Rippetoe emphasizes keeping the elbows behind the bar. Maybe that's just more of a cue? Like, if your elbows are habitually too far forward, thinking "behind the bar" when you get into position actually puts them in the right place.

                              If your elbows are along your sides, you're supporting the weight in your hands instead of your back. This becomes problematic at 1.5x bodyweight. Also, if you keep your elbows by your sides, how do you keep your wrists straight?
                              This. Your arms and hands should basically be trapping the bar against your shoulder blades.

                              Starting Strength: Video

                              Check that out, explains it better than I ever could.

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