Buffalo Duffalo Bar Squat: How To, Benefits,…

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You may wonder what changes in the squat by using buffalo bars, including the Duffalo bar. Find out the differences and whether they matter to you.

Something to mention first is that the Duffalo bar is one model of buffalo bars. I will use both of these names because of their similar effects.

That aside, the first benefit of doing squats with buffalo bars is that the bow hugs your upper back more. This generally feels more comfortable than a straight bar.

Arguably more important is that a Duffalo bar allows you to keep the bar in place with your hands in a lower position.

Some people are not able to do barbell back squats (comfortably) because their shoulders hurt from moving their hands backward and upward.

For these benefits, you could also use a safety squat bar. However, buffalo bars are typically more versatile and for example also a good equipment choice for the bench press exercise.

The main downsides of buffalo bars are that they require an extra investment and do not always fit that great in squat racks.

You want to weigh the upsides and downsides of this version of the squat for your situation.

How to do a buffalo/Duffalo bar squat

To do this exercise you need a good buffalo/Duffalo bar, weight plates, and a squat rack to do this exercise. Especially if you are new to this variation, safety bars and/or a spotter can be helpful too.

Once you have the requirements, take the following steps to do a buffalo bar squat:

  1. Find a squat rack, rack the buffalo bar at about chest height, and load it with the desired number of weight plates
  2. Stand under the buffalo bar, push your shoulders up so that the buffalo bar rests around your upper back, and hold it there with your hands.
  3. Unrack the buffalo bar and take a few steps back so that you have room to squat. Stand up straight with your feet at more or less shoulder width.
  4. Lower your body as far as comfortable in a controlled motion by bending your knees. Try to keep your spine straight throughout the movement.
  5. Slowly push yourself up until your legs are slightly less than stretched.
  6. Rerack the buffalo bar after your desired number of repetitions.

Doing squats with a buffalo bar basically comes down to the same movement as the regular version. One thing you do want to keep in mind is that the bow in the bar may cause just a bit of instability.

This instability makes it so you potentially can squat a bit less with a buffalo bar than a barbell. However, the difference should not be too big.

It can be smart to get used to the different feeling of squatting with the buffalo bar by starting with lower weights.

Another reason to do this is that the weight of a buffalo bar is typically a bit higher than a regular barbell.

Buffalo bar squat muscles worked

The bar is slightly different but buffalo bar and Duffalo bar squats will still mainly work the typical squat muscles which include your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back.

The bow in the bar can lead to just a bit more swinging which in turn could work your inner thighs, outer thighs, core muscles, and ankle muscles a bit more than a regular barbell back squat.

Besides that, you want to keep in mind that muscles are still muscles.

To grow and strengthen areas like your quadriceps with buffalo bar squats you still have to implement the right ranges of weight, sets, and reps for your training goals.

For example, to build strength, you would do 4 to 8 sets of 5 buffalo bar squats with a weight that is really challenging.

If you get stronger, you will have to change the number of pounds or kg to use to keep seeing a lot of progress.

Duffalo bar squat benefits

Buffalo and Duffalo bars can be a great equipment choice for doing weighted squats. Some of the main benefits of using these specialty bars are:

  1. More comfortable on your back: The bow of Duffalo and buffalo bar typically hugs around your upper back. Most people will find this more comfortable than a straight barbell.
  2. More comfortable on your shoulders: Duffalo and buffalo bars allow you to keep the bar in place with your hands lower than a regular barbell. For Individuals with shoulder issues, this can be a valuable benefit.
  3. Keeps things interesting: Some people find doing the same workouts over and over a bit one-sided. Changing things up with buffalo or Duffalo bars can increase your fun and help you stay consistent.
  4. Can be used in other exercises: This next benefit is a bit more general to the Duffalo bar and not just the squat exercise. You can use your Duffalo bar in a variety of other exercises too.

This type of specialty barbell is great for the squat exercise.

On the other hand, you can also give movements like the buffalo Duffalo bar bench press a try if it aligns with your training goals and preferences.

Implementing regular barbell back squats can also still be beneficial. For example, to prepare for a competition that includes a regular barbell back squat.

Potential risks

The buffalo and Duffalo bars do make things more comfortable on your upper back, wrists, and shoulders but the squat can still be challenging for your knees, back, and ankles.

People who are sensitive in these areas still want to be careful and potentially start with light buffalo bar squats.

If you notice any pain when you do buffalo bar squats this may be a sign you are doing something suboptimal.

This could range from using suboptimal exercise technique to not getting enough nutrients in your diet.

Is the buffalo Duffalo bar squat a good exercise?

The buffalo and Duffalo bar squat can be a good exercise to train quadricep, glute, hamstring, and calf muscles in a way that is more comfortable on the upper back and shoulders.

In turn, you also get the many other valuable benefits of doing weighted squats like better bone density, athletic performance, sleep, etc.

Besides that, you may also enjoy the way buffalo and Duffalo bars simply add some variety to your exercise routine. In turn, this could make it easier for you to consistently work out.

One downside to keep in mind is that this piece of fitness equipment can be pricey. Additionally, buffalo barbells do not fit great in some squat racks. Some people also simply prefer a straight barbell.


Is the Duffalo bar harder to squat with?

If you take the heavier weight of the Duffalo bar into account, it is often not harder to squat with. At the same time, there is sometimes just a bit more stabilizing involved which could make the exercises a tiny amount harder.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.