01/09/2012 Low Bar vs. High Bar Back Squats

Directly from 70’s Big.com

Low Bar Squatting: Pros and Cons

“The low bar squat is said to “use more muscles” than the high bar squat. This may not be an accurate statement since all squatting will use the thigh and hip muscles, but it definitely uses the musculature differently.  It puts a premium on training the posterior chain; this makes it useful for general strength trainees, athletes, and powerlifters. General strength trainees and athletes need to get the most strong in the time they spend training, so squatting with a hamstring-focused style can help that. Most trainees and athletes have weak posterior chains anyway.  For raw powerlifters, they will be able to lift more weight in the long run by efficiently using all of the musculature in their competition squat.  Powerlifters in their first few years of training will get the most out of using the low bar squat.  Another benefit of the low bar is that the force around the knee is balanced because the hamstrings are pulling back on the tibia. People with knee pain will want to utilize the low bar squat.  If the knee pain is from pathology, this may be their preferred style of squatting.  If the trainee is young and healthy but experiences knee pain in squatting, this style of squatting can reduce the stress applied to the front of the knee and act as a transition exercise to other forms of squatting.”

High Bar Squatting: Pros and Cons

“The high bar utilizes the quads and can help develop the anterior aspect of the thigh — in other words, it helps create bouldered quads. It’s not limited to aesthetics, because the high bar squat will develop the strength of the quads as well.  High bar squats are obviously preferable for Olympic weightlifting as the squat mechanically mimics the receiving position in the snatch and clean. Also, if the trainee has been low barring for a long time, they will have developed musculature to support those mechanics. By high barring, they can create a balance in their musculature that allows for better weightlifting.  Summary: The high bar squat is superior for Olympic weightlifting because it teaches proper clean/snatch receiving positioning.  If there are problems with the low bar squat, then the high bar can be used to balance musculature or maintain squatting frequency.”


back squat



50 m sprint

box jumps (24/20″)



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