Looking to up your power lifting game? The Safety Squat Bar (SSB) squat is a wonderful piece of weightlifting equipment that will help you become stronger, increase your range of motion, and can prevent injuries. It is a remarkable exercise tool that, if you’re not already using, you should switch to using now. Here’s why:
What is a safety squat bar?
A safety squat bar is a barbell that is specially made. It has a camber on the ends, (meaning the ends of the bar, the collars, and sleeve) are lower than the middle of the bar. It has padded handles that stick out in front, taking stress off the shoulders, and the middle of the bar that lays across your back is padded as well.
The handles make the bar stress-free on your shoulders since they won’t have to rotate awkwardly and strain far back behind the bar, and your arms can hold the handles in front of it. This feature is a helpful tool for people with elbow or shoulder injuries and will help with multiple exercises.
Like its name implies the SSB adds an added touch of safety to your workout. The handles give you extra support and the padded section reduces the pressure on your shoulders and the weight is more evenly distributed. The camber pushes you forward so you are more upright than in a high bar or low bar squat, which will allow you to move your knees and hips more freely and will put less pressure on your lower back.
Unlike its name suggests, you can use the SSB for more than just squats. The SSB is one of the best ways to get great squats, but you can use the bar for bench pressing, step-ups, strongmen training and so much more as well.
Benefits of Safety Squat Bar:
- It is very safe. The Safety Squat Bar lives up to its name. It is extremely hard to lose control of the bar and is designed with added measures of safety.
- It’s comfortable. The padding on the handles and where your back goes gives you added comfort and ease and helps distribute the weight.
- It is very limited shoulder mobility friendly. If you have poor shoulder mobility due to an injury you can still use the SSB. Your shoulders and arms can be more relaxed using the SSB and you can still train hard. It can also be a great recovery tool for an injury.
- It reduces stress on your lower back. The camber on the bar points down a few inches, lowering the center of gravity for the exercise, and making less work on your back, thereby reducing back pain.
- It helps train your lower traps and is a good core workout. It also is a great bar to boost your deadlifting abilities.
- It allows you to get the same workout with less weight. You can still train hard and gain all the workout benefits with 10 percent less weight. This helps you get the muscle stimulation you are looking for, but puts less wear and tear on your joints.
The SSB is safe, shoulder/elbow injury-friendly. It’s a great tool for upper body strength training, squats, and it has many other benefits.
How to use a Safety Bar?
One uses the Safety Squat bar in a similar way to the normal barbell, with a few slight changes.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Where do the pads go? The padded handle section lays on your shoulders. When you stick them on your shoulders, you can let go and they will stay put–that is when they’re in the right place. If you place the padded part lower on your back, that defeats the purpose of the SSB. Some people go higher up on their neck with the padded part, and that technique can help with upper body strength and build; but in general, you want somewhere in the middle. If it stays in place even when you aren’t holding it, than that is perfect.
- What about the handles? One of the biggest tips for the SSB is to squeeze the handles hard. In fact, as hard as you can. Squeezing the handles and engaging your back will not only help with gaining body strength, but it will make sure you stay safe and the bar doesn’t fall on you.
- What should you do with the handles? Some people will say to lift the handles up as you stand up from a squat while others say to pull it down as you get up. Different techniques and styles can help with certain things, but they can also make the bar less safe, rendering you more prone to injury. The best way is to not move the handle at all when you come up from a squat, but keep squeezing it hard. You may naturally want to push the handles downward, but doing so can push you forwards. Try to keep the handles in the same spot.
- Staying upright? The SSB itself helps you stay upright already; however, if your hips come up faster than anything else when you come out of the hole, it will buck and toss you forward. To help prevent that, when you go into a squat, push your knees out instead of pushing your buttocks back. Another tip to help with that, as soon as you come out of the hole push your upper back into the pad. Just a short note: do not snap your chin back, keep your neck neutral. Push your upper back into the pad.
The SSB is super versatile and can help with a lot of things. It is an excellent tool to challenge your core and gain upper back strength, however, you still want to make sure you also don’t get rusty on the barbell. Keep up with the barbell too, or switch off days or weeks on each.
The SSB is a awesome piece of equipment, and if you haven’t tried it, you need to now! It’s great for deadlifts, front squats, back squats, 90-degree back extensions, good mornings, step-ups, bench pressing, lunges and so much more.