When I first had to answer such a question during the seminar, I was a little surprised, because at that time I did not know any weightlifter who would perform the low-bar back squat. However, many sportsmen are now actively implementing this squat technique in their training programs. They hope to lift more weight and increase their progress in snatch and clean. Below we will find out the key differences between the low- and the high-bar squats.
So, the key difference is that the barbell fingerboard is on the weightlifter's shoulders.
- High - the barbell is placed on the trapezius muscles of the athlete.
- Low - the bar is placed four to six centimeters below, at the level of the center of the posterior deltoid and shoulder joint.
In any case, squats remain squats, and it does not matter where the fingerboard is placed. However, there are several details that every athlete must consider.
What types of squats are suitable for different types of athletes?
The high-bar squat is a standard exercise for Olympic lifts as well as for functional fitness athletes. The fact is that they perform their key exercises in an upright position, including snatch and clean.
In turn, the low-bar back squad opens up more opportunities for the sportsman to lift a record weight. That is why this technique is often used by strongmen, powerlifters and to some extent bodybuilders.
Below we will look in more detail at all four key features of this type of squat:
- Distribution of loads on the body and balance.
During any squat technique, the weightlifter should try to maintain balance on his mid-foot. So he needs to constantly keep thrust distributed on the heel, big toe and small toes. It is not difficult to imagine what can happen if a sportsman at some point moves the center of gravity either to the pads of the feet or to the heels.
Instead, in the high-bar position, the barbell fingerboard is slightly higher. Due to this position, a longer lever is created, which increases the chances of the weightlifter bending his back, losing stability and comfortable posture, if he upsets his balance at some point. That is why to confidently and correctly perform the exercises with the high-bar technique, the athlete must have well-developed and strong back muscles and reliable stabilization of the body.
During the low-bar position, the barbell fingerboard is located slightly lower. This makes the trunk lever shorter. That is why this technique allows the weightlifter to lift more weight.
- Trunk position.
Squats require proper trunk position. Due to this, the required balance of the feet is achieved.
The high-bar position assumes a direct posture of the sportsman. At the same time, the athlete's knees are significantly shifted forward, and he lowers the hip joints below.
In turn, the low-bar position involves a deeper tilt of the weightlifter's trunk so that he can maintain balance.
- Flexibility and mobility.
Each of the techniques has its requirements:
The high-bar position. This technique requires the athlete to have as much mobility and flexion in the ankle and knee joints as possible. If for some reason the sportsman's movements in these joints are limited, the high-bar position is likely to be uncomfortable for him.
The low-bar position. This exercise technique is much more convenient for weightlifters who have limited mobility in the ankle, because the angle of the hip joint in this case will be very sharp, and the ankle is almost at right angles to the platform. However, for the barbell position on the weightlifter's back to be safe and secure, maximum shoulder mobility is essential.
- Muscle activation.
To date, differences in how an athlete's muscles work with a certain barbell technique have not been sufficiently studied. But athletes who have experience using both techniques say that their muscles feel very different.
In the case of the high-bar position, the knee bends more and at the same time, more anterior thigh muscles are activated.
When performing exercises in the low-bar position, the tilt of the weightlifter's trunk is much greater, and this allows him to activate the posterior thigh muscles, in particular the buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
In summary, it should be noted that the low-bar squats allow the weightlifter to lift more weights. At the same time, do not expect that this technique will provide you with a greater increase in strength than the high-bar position. The low-bar squats only give a minimal advantage in the form of lever length. They also activate more muscles, which provides more comfort during heavy exercises. If a sportsman cannot lift a certain weight in the high-bar position but can overcome it in the low-bar position, then the reason should be sought in the stability and weakness of his trunk, and not in the insufficient strength of his legs.
Classic Olympic squats with the high-bar position help to strengthen not only the trunk but also the legs. And one of the key elements of any strength or speed exercise is the stability of the athlete's trunk. You have to decide for yourself which barbell position to choose for your workouts.
Keep your Body Warm and Mind Cold!!