Safety squat bars do not only stand out because of their unique look. The different design also offers a variety of training benefits.
These range from providing individuals with painful shoulders the option to do squats to simply providing some extra comfort due to the padding and many other advantages of safety squat bars in between.
1. Safety squat bars can reduce shoulder pain
One of the main exercises safety squat bars aim to replace is the barbell back squat. Some individuals find holding the barbell in the back squat uncomfortable on their shoulders and wrists.
The effects of this can range from having less fun during squat sessions to not being able to do a squat at all.
By being able to keep the barbell in place with the handles in front of you, safety squat bars can make squats more comfortable and/or possible for certain people.
Since the weighted squat is such a valuable exercise when it comes to quadricep compound movements, this can be a big benefit.
2. You can use safety squat bars in different movements
While the safety squat bar only has one movement in its name, you can use it for a few other exercises too.
This is not the only important aspect of a piece of fitness equipment but being able to work different muscles with different movements tends to be considered to be a benefit.
A few of the safety squat bar exercises are “back” squats, good mornings, front squats, Zercher squats, walking lunges, hip thrusts, shoulder presses, (lying) tricep extensions, calf raises, etc.
3. Safety squat bars tend to be easier on your back
One of the relatively unique features of the safety squat bar is the camber, the dent in the bar. The result of this is that the sleeves with weight plates are positioned more forward and downward.
In turn, this makes it so you have to keep your torso more upright during safety bar squats compared to back squats to stay balanced.
One of the consequences of that is that safety squat bars make the exercise with the same name easier on your lower back muscles and spine.
People who have issues in these areas may find this aspect of safety squat bars valuable.
One thing to note is that less pressure also leads to less strengthening of your lower back.
You may not find this the biggest issue since squats mainly target your leg muscles anyway. However, you may still want to give this area extra attention with other specific movements.
4. Safety squat bars add some variety
The physical health benefits of resistance training are amazing but these are not the only reasons people lift weights.
More specifically, you likely enjoy your squat sessions at least somewhat if you are considering a safety squat bar.
Two things that can make your workouts even more enjoyable are switching up the exercises you do and using different exercise equipment options.
You can mostly put safety squat bars in the second category but they will also give the typical barbell back squat a slightly different feel due to the unusual weight distribution.
Enjoying your workouts is a nice benefit in itself but you may also find the extra fun makes it easier to follow your exercise routine consistently.
5. Safety squat bars can help increase your range of motion
As mentioned before, squatting with a safety bar requires you to stay more upright than a regular barbell back squat.
This does not only influence how much pressure you put on your back.
Some people do not go through the full range of motion when doing squats because they are not able to tilt forward enough to stay balanced.
The different weight distribution of a safety squat bar helps avoid this or at least allows you to squat somewhat deeper.
If your knees can deal with it, a bigger range of motion is typically helpful for muscle growth and strength progress.
In the case of the safety squat bar, this can lead to more gains in your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
6. Safety squat bars help you build muscle
You definitely don’t have to use safety squat bars to get this next benefit but it is worth briefly mentioning.
This specialty barbell in combination with a set of weight plates simply makes it easy to grow and strengthen your muscles.
To achieve these goals, you have to be able to do movements where you put your muscles under enough pressure and preferably make them go through a large range of motion.
The average safety squat bar weight of 51.67 pounds (23.43 kg) and maximum weight capacities ranging from 700 pounds to 1500 pounds (317 kg to 680 kg) should be more than enough.
7. You need fewer weight plates on a safety squat bar
As you can expect from such a specific piece of fitness equipment, there are not that many studies about safety squat bars.
That being said, there are still a few that do reach interesting conclusions.
One study with 12 competitive powerlifters measured an 11.3% decrease in 3RM (3 repetition maximum) when using the SSB compared to the regular barbell (1).
Another similar study with 32 individuals concluded that the barbell back squat 1RM of their participants was 11.6% higher than their SSB squat 1RM (2).
The consequence of these studies is that you need fewer weight plates to make safety bar squats hard enough.
This could mean spending just a bit less time on loading the bar and/or not needing as many weight plates.
8. Safety squat bars work muscles in a different ratio
Another consequence of the different weight distribution of safety squat bars is that they work the squat muscles in slightly different ratios.
More specifically, safety bar squats will focus slightly more on your quadriceps and slightly less on your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.
This is not necessarily a good thing for everyone but for certain people and training goals, this can be a benefit of safety squat bars.
9. Safety squat bar padding offers extra comfort
This last benefit of safety squat bars is relatively straightforward.
Anyone who has done a barbell back squat with heavy weights can tell you that it is not the most comfortable experience for your upper back.
Safety squat bars have padding in the areas that rest on your body.
Some brands do this better in this area than others but even suboptimal padding does generally offer more comfort compared to a bare barbell.