High Bar Vs. Low Bar Back Squats

High Bar Vs. Low Bar Back Squats

Lately, us coaches have been receiving this question a lot so we decided we’d take a few minutes and answer it!  The question is; What’s the difference between High Bar and Low Bar squatting?

A high bar squat is performed with the barbell in the back rack position with the bar resting across the traps.  While the low bar squat is positioned about 2-3 inches lower and sits typically right above the shoulder blades.

 And like any good question it comes with the answer, it depends.  
It depends what your goal is, if sheer weight is your target, you should technically be able to squat 10-15% more using low bar variation because the lever is shortened and the bar is positioned more precisely over your center of gravity. This means that your muscles won’t have to produce as much force and torque for you to rise up out of your squat.
It also depends what you’re training for, if you were say, a Powerlifter training for a meet, you would want to start training your low bar squat a few weeks out from competition in order to time your strength spike to hit a true 1 Rep Max.  

But if you were training for CrossFit (like we are!) we prefer the high bar squat, because it encourages a more upright torso and utilizes more stabilizers similar to the ones needed when squat cleaning and snatching.

In conclusion, the difference between High and Low Bar squatting is what you’re training for, but ultimately if you’re looking to get strong and build up your lower body strength in general, all you have to do is squat!  You will get stronger simply by squatting more, in what position is totally preference and what your goal is!
-Coach Jake and the Coaching Staff

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