Low Bar Squat exercise is a variation of the regular squat where the bar is placed at a lower position on the back usually below the upper traps and on top of the shoulders.

This allows for better weight distribution and leads to more balanced development of the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles.

The Low Bar Squat also activates the core muscles to stabilise the upper body and support the lower back.

This exercise is valuable in sports like football, rugby, basketball and sprinting where you need leg strength and have the ability to generate greater torque in your quadriceps and hips.

Low Bar Squat How To

  • Set up a barbell on the squat rack.
  • Go under the barbell and position it below your traps and on top of your shoulders. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Adapt a wider than shoulder- width stance and angle your feet slightly outward. Your heels should be in line with the bar and your lower back.
  • Stick your chest out and tighten your core then un- rack the weight.
  • Take one step back; assume the same stance and position before you un- racked the weight.
  • Inhale then begin the squat by bending at the hips. Descend under control and keep your lower back tight throughout the movement.
  • You are at the bottom position of the squat once the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Once you are at the bottom position, exhale then squat up. Maintain the same bar path as the descent.
  • At the top position, make sure you maintain your form before repeating the movement.
  • Repeat the movement until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

The position of the bar on your back is crucial in the Low Bar Squat.

If you place the bar too low, you may lose control and it could easily roll back.

You need to find a spot; a “sweet spot”, below your upper traps and on top of your shoulders where you have the greatest control and where you can balance the weight properly.

You can lift more weight in the Low Bar Squat because the shorter distance between the bar, the hips and your knees create greater torque at the bottom position.

Always remember to initiate the Low Bar Squat by bending at the hips and not at the knees.

Think of your hips as a hinge that can disengage by simply lowering your glutes. You can either look straight or focus on a spot on the ground before you start your squat descent.

If your hips and hamstrings are tight or lack flexibility, use weightlifting shoes or place one kilo plates under your heels.

Having an elevated heel helps with the transfer of weight from the back foot to the front foot at the ascent of the Low Bar Squat.

VariationsHigh Bar Squat, Zercher Squat, High Bar Vs Low Bar Squat

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Low Bar Squats

How To Do Low Bar Squats