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Low Bar vs High Bar Squat: Which is Best for You?

Let’s settle this debate.

What is the most optimal position for lifters: low bar vs high bar squat. To answer that, we should turn to someone who built his career around squat technique and knowledge.

Dr Aaron Horschig is a physical therapist, coach, and creator of the Squat University. He is one of the most respected authorities when it comes to squatting.

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Low Bar vs High Bar Squat

The term low bar vs high bar squat comes from the position of the bar on your back.

  • High bar – barbell sitting on top of the trap muscle
  • Low bar – barbell anywhere below that, most commonly in the middle of the shoulder blades

And that can make a big difference, according to Horschig, because it changes the mechanics of your back squat.

So when it comes to the debate of low bar vs high bar squat you need to look at not only how much power you can generate, how much torque is placed on your knees, back and hips, but also which is better if you are dealing with an injury.

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Chelsey Grigsby Low Bar vs High Bar Squat

“Basically, a low bar squat places more torque on the hips and low back, while the high bar places more torque on the knee joint,” Horschig explains.

This means that, typically, Olympic weightlifters will use a high bar squat as the upright trunk mimics the closest to the claim lift. On the other hand, typically powerlifters will use a low bar squat because the more leverage you are creating on your hips allow for some people to lift more weight. Overall do what feels best for you.

When dealing with back pain, a high bar back squat may be more optimal in the short term because it can take some stress off the spine allowing that person to continue training their squats while fixing their back pain. If you have knee pain, then switch to the low bar back squat.

If you have more questions, check down below Dr Aaron Horschig’s video comparing low bar vs high bar squat.

VIDEO – Low Bar vs High Bar Squat

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