Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

Where to place barbell for squat [Article, Free Download]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 7, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Where to place barbell for squats

Where to place barbell for squat?

There two options, the high bar and low bar squat. The high bar squat is better foent. Mix both for best results.

New Call-to-action

Related articles

What is your why


Before we start with the details of where to place the barbell for the squat let me ask you a couple of questions. 


  • Why do you want to barbell squat
  • Why do you exercise 
  • Why do you want to get stronger 
  • Why do you ant to pack on muscle 
  • What happens if you do 
  • What happens if you don’t 


You might think that these questions are trivial, but they are essential to your long term success. Injuries, life, your job and even your closest friends and family will get in the way of your goals and ambitions. You better have very good reasons to push on and make it through the mud. 


Most people go through their lifes using this thought pattern 


  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 


With this thought pattern you will mainly focus on your impulses. You will become a slave to your daily moods and surroundings. Most people know what they want. Fewer make a plan how to get it. Almost none think deeply about why they want to achieve their goals. If you reverse your thought patterns to 


  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it
  • What do you need to do 


Your actions and thoughts will become a lot more positive and focused. The people around you will notice and be more likely to help you out. All in all you can progress quicker. To understand how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and slow. If you are not convinced yet look up Simon Sineks TED talk on the golden circle. He makes a very compelling case telling the story of the Wright brothers. 


Barbell squat 


The barbell squat is a variation of the squat. Any strength program worth its salt will utilize some form of the squat or burpee to make you lean and mean. The barbell squat is a variation when you want to mainly focus on strength and muscle while leaving agility to the side. 


Beside the barbell squat there are many variations of squatting. Some of them are 


  • Box squat 
  • Safety bar squat
  • Paused squat 
  • Pin squat 
  • Hack squat 
  • Air squat 
  • Goblet squat
  • Front squats 
  • Kettlebell squats
  • Dumbbell squats 
  • Overhead squats 
  • Platz squats 
  • Zercher squats 
  • Squats with bands 
  • Squats with chains 


Only to name a view. The permutations are endless depending on your build and training style. It is therefore good advice to learn form as many people as possible to improve your squat. Some sources can be:



And many other successful squatters in the IPF or from history. To perform a good squat follow these steps:


  • Set up the j cups at a height that you can unrack the bar by popping your hips forward 
  • Load the bar symmetrically 
  • Use collars for very heavy weights
  • Place your hands as close together as possible while still being able to get under the bar 
  • Get under the bar aggressively 
  • Wedge yourself under the bar 
  • Pop your hips forward to unrack the bar 
  • Walk three steps out 
  • Breathe out 
  • Breathe in and brace 
  • Pull the bar into your shoulders and try to bend it like a horseshoe 
  • Break from the knees
  • Descend as quick and controlled as possible 
  • Use the rebound at the bottom of the squat
  • Drove your legs into the ground 
  • Push against the bar with your shoulders 
  • Pop your hips 
  • Finish the squat 


Rinse and repeat for bigger quads, a stronger core and a few more hairs on your chest. 


The biggest advantages of the squat are that it has a lot of carry over to other exercises and is the single most effective exercise to build bigger quads. 


The biggest disadvantages of the squat are that most people lack the mobility to perform it proper and that the load can crush you. 


Low bar squat


The low bar squat is a variation of the barbell back squat in which you place the bar at the lower of two points on your back. 


Most people find that they have two shelves on their back to place the barbell securely. One high and one a little lower. 


The low bar squat is a favorite amongst powerlifters. It shifts the emphasis of the movement away from the quads and redistributes it more to the lower back. It is often combined with a wide stance and wider grip on the bar


This technique usually comes at the expense of speed in favor of power. Think about it like the gear box of a Ferrari and a truck. They have the same horsepower and the engine are based on the same principles. Yet the truck has been laid out to move a big load relatively slow while the Ferrari accelerates a smaller weight a lot faster. 


The biggest advantage of the low bar squat is that your lower back gets more activated.


The biggest disadvantage of the low bar back squat is that it provides a lot less upward drive and slower descend. Especially for weightlifters who want to transition under the bar and move it up quick this is suboptimal.


High bar squat 


The high bar squat is what most people intuitively perform when they get todo the barbell back squat. 


In this version the bar is placed on the fury of the two shelves on your back. The higher position usually makes it easier to descend into the lowest position of the squat quicker. As there is less of the back involved the weights moved a re smaller. This goes  especially for beginners. 


The biggest advantage of the high bar squat is its greater potential to develop explosiveness out of the hole.


The biggest disadvantage of the high bar squat is that you usually have less control if the bar during the movement. This is especially tricky when you train the back squat for maximum loads


Where to place the barbell for the squat 


Where to place the barbell for the squat is depending on your personal goals. It is important to note that this is not a either or question. You can mix your training up and make use of both variations if you wish. Many good squatters recommend this style of training.


If you are a weightlifter, footballer, rugby player or martial artists you probably want to  stick a little more to the high bar squat. The higher potential to develop explosiveness will help in other endeavors.


If you are a powerlifter or strongman you can put more focus on the low bar squat. You will be moving big weights slowly. 


Further reading 





Topics: Lift stronger, Squat, Kettlebll, Strength