How to do a Safety Squat


The safety squat bar is a safer alternative to using a straight bar for squats. First off, the weight is cambered forward which helps the lifter to stay in a more upright position during a squat. There are handles that are placed in front of the lifter. This allows a person to more easily hold the bar in position without placing stress on the shoulders. The bar its self sits around the user’s neck and has much more surface area to spread the weight on the trapezius muscles. The bar is also nicely padded for user comfort.

Many people who have shoulder issues cannot squat using a straight bar because they can’t get their hands on the bar without hurting their shoulders. The handles on the safety squat bar allows a lifter with shoulder issues to perform barbell squats.

Safety Squat Technique:

  1. With your feet shoulder width apart, back flat and your knees bent place the bar onto your shoulders while it is in the racked position.
  2. Grab the handles and straighten your knees to un-rack the weight.
  3. Take a step back with one foot and then the other and stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your feet pointing slightly outward.
  4. With your spine in a neutral position and your core tight push back your hips and butt while simultaneously bending at the knees as if you were sitting on a bench.
  5. You should be looking forward not upward or downward during the exercise.
  6. Squat down in a controlled manner until you reach a depth where your thighs are parallel to the floor and then drive the weight back up pushing through your heals.
  7. As you come up you should uncoil your body with your hips and knees both reaching a straightened position at the same time.


Common Mistake
People often pull downward on the handles. If you do that it will place a great deal of stress on your neck. The bar should be balanced on your shoulders and your hands are only there for safety.

I find this exercise to be a great step up from using a leg press machine but yet there is still guidance and you retain the ability to add a decent amount of weight if desired.


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John Rutnik is a NFPT Certified Personal Trainer. He holds an AAS in Electrical Technology and has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. John has been involved in physical fitness and weight training since the late 70’s and is an avid outdoors man. He became a personal trainer after rehabilitating himself from a spinal injury he sustained in a car accident and losing 70 pounds. John later obtained ISSA Certifications as both a Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Sports Nutrition and became Lead Fitness Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Schenectady NY. His training philosophy is “no man left behind,” everyone deserves a chance to succeed.
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