The safety squat bar (also known as the SSB) is a great piece of gym equipment that helps you do a lot of different exercises, avoid injuries, and get stronger. These are just some of the best safety squat bar benefits, but this specialty bar really does have so much to offer.
No matter if you are new to the gym or have been going for years, if you are a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, the safety squat bar will help you train in some way.
Due to their rise in popularity, these safety squat bars have started popping up more and more in home and commercial gyms alike. If you are lucky enough to own one or have access to one, you should definitely be using it in your training.
It is one of my personal favorite types of barbells, and here are the top 7 reasons why it should be one of yours as well:
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Top Safety Squat Bar Benefits
Here are some of the benefits that the safety squat bar offers:
To me, the number one factor when judging equipment is how versatile it can be. It is safe to say that the safety squat bar really shines in this area.
Most people make the mistake of assuming that the safety squat bar can also be used for safety bar squats, but that is simply not true. There is no lack of options or variations with this bar. Here are some of the many exercises you can do:
Bulgarian Split Squat
Seated Good Morning
As you can see, you can work out a good portion of your body with just this bar, including your upper body.
2. Get Strong and Yolked
The safety squat bar’s design may seem a little odd but there is actually some thought behind it, let me explain.
The cambered ends combined with the higher bar position forced the lifter forward. This means that while you are squatting or using this bar, you will have to constantly fight to stay upright.
Your lats, traps, and the rest of your upper back will be getting a serious workout as a result. Considering how important the upper back and traps are to have a “jacked” appearance, this bar will do a lot for your physique. Not to mention, that the rest of your body will also have to push as well. This all depends on your form and exercise selection but you can expect to make serious gains in your legs and posterior chain as a whole.
The other thing about this bar is that you cannot use as much weight as you can with a regular barbell back squat. This is not necessarily a bad thing since it just means that you are getting more out of less weight.
3. It Is Safer
I am as large an advocate for the barbell back squat as anybody. But even I will be the first to admit that the barbell squat can be hard for beginners and even uncomfortable for most people.
Lots of people just are not used to the feeling of holding a heavy barbell on their back or having their spine maintain that load while they squat. This often leads to improper form and even injuries if not corrected in time.
In contrast, the safety squat bar is called that for a reason. This bar simply puts way less pressure on areas like the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. All of these are joints notorious for nagging injuries.
The key to this benefit is the padding and the handles. Thanks to the front-facing handles, you can hold the bar in place without having to bend your wrists or externally rotate your shoulders. The padding will also reduce direct stress on your shoulders and neck.
Meanwhile, your lower back will also thank you as the vertical position puts way less stress on your lower back. Your hips, knees, and ankles will also be allowed to have a more natural, improved range of motion.
4. Work Around Injuries
Getting an injury in the gym is already bad enough but it becomes worse when it affects your entire training program. Anybody who has experienced an upper-body injury will know that it can impact their ability to squat as well.
Since the safety squat bar does not require you to put any stress on your upper body joints, you can still train your lower body despite any nagging injuries you have in your upper body.
The same can be said if you are coming back from a lower back or leg injury. The reduced stress provided by the safety bar squat can help slowly get used to lifting heavy weights again.
5. Will Make You A Better Squatter
With this bar, any sort of lagging technique or muscle groups will be exposed on your first set. The design of the bar makes sure that you are doing everything in your power to stay in an upright position. So over time, your upper back and core will get stronger and better at keeping you in the correct squatting position.
So when you switch back to the traditional straight bar squat, you will find that your body feels solid as a rock through the movement. No more wobbles or instability.
Similarly, the other area where I see lifters mess up most often in their lower body training is not using a full range of motion. Thanks to the design of this bar, you can really go deep during your squats and actually get a sense of what a proper range of motion feels like.
The bottom line is that even if you still want to stick with the regular barbell squats, the safety squat will solidify your squatting technique.
6. Carryover To Other Lifts
Most people do not know this but the safety squat bar actually comes from the world of powerlifters. In the world of lifting heavy, the name of the game is always variation.
Your body is great at adapting but you will eventually reach a point where adding weight to your squat or deadlift is either very slow or really hard. When this happens, one of the techniques powerlifters use is switching the variations of the exercise they are focusing on slightly to shock the body with the new movement.
Common regiments include swapping the barbell back squat with the safety bar squat for a few training cycles to break through a plateau.
Just because this technique is most commonly used by pros does not mean you cannot take full advantage of it. Therefore, if you want to switch up your training or increase your strength, the safety squat bar can be a great asset. If you get stronger with this bar, you can rest assured that there will be some carryover when you go back to using a regular barbell.
The safety squat bar is one of the best specialty bars that do a lot to enhance your training. The versatility, injury prevention, and strength carryover make it a great option for anyone looking for something new.
Find The Best Safety Squat Bar
After years of testing, we assembled a master list of the best safety squat bars for every home gym owner
How much does a safety squat bar weigh?
Safety squat bars will typically weigh between 40-70 pounds depending on the manufacturer and design. We have a full safety squat bar weight guide where we break it down by the manufacturer.
Can you squat more with a safety bar?
No, you will actually have to use less weight since the bar makes the squat more challenging. This is not necessarily a bad thing as you will get more out of less weight.
What do you do if you don’t have a safety squat bar?
There are plenty of alternative and DIY options for a safety squat bar.