- Target Muscle Group
- Exercise TypeStrength
- Equipment RequiredSafety Bar
- Force TypePush (Bilateral)
- Experience LevelBeginner
- Secondary Muscles
Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Target Muscle Group
Safety Bar Squat Overview
The safety bar squat is a variation of the barbell back squat and an exercise used to strengthen the muscles of the legs.
The safety bar used in a safety bar squat allows you to have more control on the weight used for the exercise. This control leads to better body positioning throughout the duration of the squat.
Safety bars are commonly used by lifters coming off an injury, or those simply looking to remove some of the tension placed on the low back during other barbell squat variations.
Safety Bar Squat Instructions
- Position the bar just below shoulder level and adjust the safety stops right above knee height.
- Grasp the handles of the safety bar and step underneath.
- Position the bar at the base of your traps and look straight ahead.
- Unrack the bar, take 2-3 steps back and position your feet at shoulder width.
- Take a deep breath and keep your elbows in line with your torso.
- Descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
- Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, begin to reverse the movement.
- Keep your abs braced and drive your feet through the floor.
- Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.
Safety Bar Squat Tips
- Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you.
- Drive through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
- Imagine you’re trying to drop your back pockets straight towards your heels. Down, not back.
- Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward. Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
- Neck position is highly individual as well - some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking straight ahead. Experiment with each and see which one works best for your anatomy.
- Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.