Why should an individual use a safety squat bar?
As an athlete or lifter
1- Limits strain on the shoulder joint.
2- Provides variation
3- More upright torso position, so less stress on the lower back
If an individual is taking 9000lbs of volume in a session from straight bar squats, they will most likely feel completely beat up in the upper back and shoulder joint.
For me personally, I feel a lot more comfortable bench pressing the next day if I use a safety bar for squats the day prior. My shoulders don’t hurt, and my back doesn’t hurt near as bad when doing it that way.
If an individual has limited thoracic or shoulder joint mobility, the safety bar will allow them to still squat in the proper positions. It also helps out our body by applying stress differently to joints and muscles. If we are constantly putting wear and tear in the same exact area, we’re eventually going to see some problems that possibly could’ve been reduced by changing up where the lift is putting the most pressure on different joints.
The safety squat bar is a great tool to avoid accommodation. What is accommodation? Accommodation is a biological law that states that a decrease in adaptation will occur to a repeated stimulus over an extended period of time. In other word, your progress will stop. Every activity you do has a learning lifecycle to it.
Switching the bar we squat with helps us push past previous limits in terms of adaptations due to accommodation. It is a tool that when applied properly, can help increase vertical jump numbers, sprint numbers, and strength.
A more vertical torso position will utilize more leg drive and less lower back strength. One of the reasons for performing front squats rather than low bar squats with an athlete is for this specific reason. We don’t want to cause more back pain with our athletes. We want to try to help them experience life with no back pain.
More leg drive will also have a direct carryover to short sprints and vertical jumps. Those are always going to be benefits for the population of athletes we work with.
For the raw lifters out there that hate the conjugate system. It’s okay. We know you get upset when you see bands or chains and hear someone say Westside. Those words are scary. Rotating specialty bars doesn’t have to be something you avoid although. For a lifter that is struggling to get into their hamstrings, feel free to cycle in some volume with a cambered bar. For a lifter needing more work on their upper back, bust out the safety bar. Just make sure when it is closer to meet time that the straight bar is the main part of your training again.