Squat: Highbar vs. Lowbar


Duel to the death(continuation from instagram)! Highbar vs low bar. There always seems to be an obsession with people wanting to make blanket statements on what is best for every lifter. Truth is there is a time and place for many exercises depending on the individual goal. The majority may find a low-bar squat (placing the barbell on the rear-delts) a bit more advantageous for lifting the most amount of weight possible.

Low Bar Squat people tend to describe the entire squat form- wide stance, hip dominant, some torso lean, flat shoes and little to no forward knee travel and slightly shallower depth. High bar squat is often imagined as the opposite, upright posture, plenty of forward knee travel, ATG range of motion and often performed in heeled shoes. Despite hating a snowflake mentality that everything needs to fit our special unique qualities, I do believe that all of our squats will look different and don't need to be labeled.

To me the bar-placement is completely independent of how the rest of the body moves. There are many strong squatters who place the bar on top of the traps (high bar) and move a lot of weight. A powerlifting king, Bryce Lewis comes to mind but take a glance at top level weightlifters and you won't have to look very far to see some insane weights being moved. Counter to that there's decades of more typical low bar squatters who move massive loads. Chad Wesley smith and myself are examples of people who may put the bar a bit lower on our backs, but our general style fits the stereo-type of a “high bar” technique.

Long story short it doesn't matter what type of squatter you want to call yourself. What matters most is over time, find a bar placement and a technique that allows you to train the most optimally and comfortably to move weight with consistent form.

- Silent Mike