Low Bar Position: Squat

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TheHeb
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Low Bar Position: Squat

Post by TheHeb » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:12 pm

After reading Starting Strength, I've decided to switch from the high bar position (top of traps, just below neck) to the low bar position. In SS, it says to place the bar on the scapular spine, across the posterior deltoids, but whenever I set up I always feel it is in the wrong place.

I don't have much trouble keeping my upper back in extension or getting my elbows back, but I feel like the bar can't go much lower on my back, yet the bar is only an inch or two lower it seems than when I had it up higher on my traps.

Anyone have any cues or advice? Or is it just one of those things that I'll know when it's correct?

Thanks,
Heb


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Post by amivan » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:50 am

an inch or two lower sounds right, go any further and you'll be getting an arm workout trying to keep that weight on your body.

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Post by standAPART » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:16 am

It really depends on how flexible the shoulder girdle and thorasic spine are. If your exh. External rotators of your shoulders are tight, getting the bar any lower is tough. Only hold it where you are comfortable and keep the hand grip in close to "lock up" the rib cage.

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Post by robertscott » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:24 am

i want to try that low bar postion too, I'm so incredibly skinny a bar is agony across my upper traps, but i can't work out how to get it lower without dropping the thing

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Post by lightningsix » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:29 am

I think that if you go lower you are doing more of an arm workout and it's too risky a possibly of injury especially for beginners.

If the traps are hurting from the squats alone do some trap excercises to work them from soft to a little harder. A few weeks of shoulder shrugs would do the job or some cable cross flies.

It's just my 2 cents but for me personally I had the same issue. Everytime I did squats it was very uncomfortable and I would feel a lot of pain in the traps. I included about 4 weeks of shoulder shrugs and cable cross flies, lat pull downs things like that to help the traps and other areas build up and then went back to squatting. It really helped


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Post by robertscott » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:30 am

it's not so much the traps to be honest, more like my vertebrae feeling crushed

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Post by Chris_A » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:02 pm

Try squeezing your shoulder blades together, pull your elbows back, and possibly widen your grip a bit on the bar. It helps to practice with a broom handle.

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:40 pm

When you find the low "spot" for the bar, there is almost no arm "work" involved; it's not an arm workout at all. It doesn't require much arm strength, just enough pressure against the bar to keep it in the "groove." If you are feeling pain on the vertebra, I don't think you are in low position.

Yeah, like Chris said, use a broomstick or piece of PVC pipe, or just stand at the squat rack leaving the bar on the pins until you find the place. When I started I was using a high position (although I had no idea of the difference) and had to use a towel wrapped around the bar as a pad. I even ordered one of those velcro-on pads. While waiting for the pad to arrive in PNG (no, UPS does NOT come here), I had discovered the Squat Rx videos. Boris has one video about bar position:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=2eZ1HzoH0Rw& ... 1F&index=4

By the time the pad arrived, I was using a low position, and didn't need the pad at all.

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Post by pdellorto » Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:29 pm

We've got a pad, I never use it. If it hurts, the recommendation I read in a Stuart McRobert book was to just wear an extra t-shirt or a cut-off sweatshirt, but that was the most you'd want.

If you find a good groove on your back, the bar really just stays there. Big chest, crunch the shoulders together like your trying to hold a pencil there, bend the bar across your back like you're doing some strongman stunt. The bar shouldn't move. If it's heavy, it can't move up easily, and if it's held in place right, it won't have any way to slide down, either.

If you can't, well, high bar squats are a valid squat, too. From what I've read and seen in videos, though, low-bar gives you the most weight capacity, it puts you in the best position to squat the heaviest weight. Which if you're trying to trigger your body to pump out growth hormones is the way to go. I'm no squat expert, but I'm learning...and man, it's more comfortable with the bar a little lower than when I used to sit it on my traps.

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Post by robertscott » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:58 am

I'll keep trying even if it's a bit uncomfortable it's got to be better than what I'm dealing with now.

My gym's got a few of those foam pad things but i don't want to rely on them and end up stuck for squats when someone else is using it. Someone was actually using it for barbell curls the other day, which i didn't really understand.

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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:27 pm

Avoiding callouses on his tender hands?

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Post by Chris_A » Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:37 pm

Maybe to work on his grip like using a 2” DB or the old time “unliftable” Inch dumbbells.

Hmmmm……probably not as noble as that. Like JungleDoc said, he’s probably worried about his baby soft hands. :lol:

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Post by robertscott » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:48 am

he wasn't even holding it by the foam bit, it was between his hands.

He was swinging his hips back and forth so much top lift the bar it was almost pornographic, so it could have been to try and protect himself

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Post by Chris_A » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:51 am

robertscott wrote:he wasn't even holding it by the foam bit, it was between his hands.

He was swinging his hips back and forth so much top lift the bar it was almost pornographic, so it could have been to try and protect himself
Oh, one of those guys that thinks a curl is a full body exercise. :eek:

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Post by robertscott » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:17 am

it was for him, everything from the calves up was working.

I'm so jealous of people who train in decent gyms, i know obviously all barrels have their rotten apples but someone was mentioning in a thread the other day - i forget who - about old gnarly powerlifters who critique their form and motivate everyone and stuff like that.

My gym really sucks, it's huge, and I mean HUGE but it's utter garbage and there's no one in it who squats or deadlifts except me - literally. It can be pretty frustrating when people use the only power rack for curls then do like a hundred sets with a 5 minute rest inbetween

my rant ends here, don't worry.


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