Best Safety Squat Bar to Protect Your Neck: Wu-Tang Ain’t Nuthin to F-ck With
So, you are serious about weight lifting and are looking for a training tool to help push your overall squat numbers over your previous personal record.
If yes, you have come to the right article.
When someone approaches me in the gym or the comment section and asks what I suggest for building bulletproof leg muscles, I always recommend that they begin incorporating safety squat bar squat variations into the lower body training routine.
The science backing this theory is simple: when you perform the same leg day workouts day in and day out at the gym, there is a possibility that you will hit a plateau in your training, which essentially means that your strength building process slows to a standstill.
People will add variations to their workouts to avoid this strength training plateau phenomenon, but in fact it is far more likely that eventually, as you perform the same lifts again and again, you will begin to notice imbalances in your form.
Problems like poor bar path, injured muscles, or a weaker muscle group on one side of the body are all challenges that force athletes to drop weight and reevaluate their weekly exercises to address these concerns.
Where am I going with this? Well, no matter what a person tells me- they have hit a standstill in their training or notice issues with their form- training with a safety squat bar can help.
A safety squat bar puts your total body strength and stability to the test by adding variation to your squat training that can transfer over to building up your power in a traditional barbell squat.
So really, the answer to how to build a strong squat is clear- start adding safety squat bar training into your lower body training days. But now, the more difficult question becomes which safety squat bar should I buy?
Maybe you have only ever tried one kind of safety squat bar at your local gym, or you’ve never been under one at all. Lucky for you that is now a nonissue, because I have gone out and tested all the safety squat bar options that I consider worthy of my readers' hard earned money, and compiled them into a detailed buyer’s guide so that you can easily find the perfect safety squat bar for your individual training and home gym.
Before we get to my list of the best safety squat bar options, let’s cover the basics of these unique barbells and their benefits…
What Exactly is a Safety Squat Bar?
A safety squat bar (or SSB, for short) is a variation on a traditional barbell that can be used along with the usual iron, calibrated, or bumper plates to strengthen an athlete's lower body and anterior chain muscles.
The safety squat bar has a distinct design that makes it very different from a regular barbell.
When you place a safety squat bar on your back in preparation for a squat, instead of needing to lock your shoulders, arms, and elbows below the bar to keep it in place, the safety squat bar actually has hand grips that point forward either side of the bar, allowing you to take a much more comfortable and natural upper body position during your squat.
This section of the safety squat bar that sits over your shoulders and neck is designed for comfort: usually, it comes with thick padding around the parts that come in contact with your upper body that allows you to wear the safety squat bar for longer sets without discomfort.
Finally, the safety squat bar is not straight. Rather, the bar is cambered so that the ends of the barbell that hold your weighted plates are positioned slightly below the bar itself.
How Do You Train with a Safety Squat Bar?
Now, don’t let the word “safety” in this bar’s name mislead you into thinking workouts with a safety squat bar are a walk in the park.
As a result of this padded, upper body handles on the safety squat bar, this barbell sits higher on your back. But, the weights are positioned below the bar because of its cambered design.
The combined result? When squatting with the safety squat bar, it will naturally pitch you forward. You have to fight more to stay upright under the bar while using a safety squat bar. See what I mean- not easier.
Thus, using a safety squat bar trains your body for strong, stable squats with a good bar path. This is why a lot of lifters will use SSB squats to retain their lifting form if they are falling too far forward during their traditional barbell squats.
Another benefit of training with a safety squat bar is the most comfortable upper body position that this bar demands of the athlete.
For folks who have limited shoulder mobility, or even a recent upper body injury, the safety squat bar can make squats possible while you are working on stretching and recovery.
Finally, the safety squat bar is not limited to squatting. In fact, you can use this bar to add variation to a wide variety of exercises, including box squats, good mornings, zercher squats, lunges, split squats, step ups, and calf raises.
Really, the possibilities for using your safety squat bar stop where your imagination does (with safety considered too, of course).
My Top Recommendations for the Best Safety Squat Bars
Now that you’ve got a good idea about why a safety squat bar is an essential training tool, let me share my buyer’s guide with you.
Each of these bars have been personally put to the test by me during my workouts to make sure they are high quality options. Keep readings to get the low down on the best safety squat bars available on the market to complete your home gym.
#1. Rogue SB-1 Safety Squat Bar
Rouge has done it again with the SB-1 Safety Squat Bar.
This is a durable specialty barbell that is built to withstand the test of time.
Want proof? This 70lbs bar can hold a weighted load up to 1000lbs and is coated with a powerful Cerakote finish to protect the shaft from erosion.
I was most impressed with how balanced the SB-1 Safety Squat Bar felt while I was under it- a trademark of high quality craftsmanship and design.
The heavy duty vinyl padding sits comfortably on my shoulders and keeps the SB-1 Safety Squat Bar properly positioned during sweaty sets.
Overall, I felt safe under this SB-1 Safety Squat Bar, and confident that this bar is sticking around for the long haul, which is why it is my number one pick.
#2. Titan Safety Squat Olympic Bar V2
The Titan Safety Squat Olympic Bar V2 is another supremely balanced bar. This SSB has a 5 inch drop from where the weights are placed in comparison to the bar, and a 22 degree camber, which positions the weights closer to the athlete’s centre of balance to deliver optimal lift performance.
I also appreciated the extra thick shoulder padding on the Titan Safety Squat Olympic Bar V2; it is designed as one piece, rather than as smaller padded sections, to reduce the possibility of the padding slipping on your back during your lifts.
As well, the Titan Safety Squat Olympic Bar V2 has textured handle grips to give you full control of the bar on your back throughout your workout.
Overall, the stability, comfort and safe design of the Titan Safety Squat Olympic Bar V2 makes it one of my top choices for home gym safety squat bars.
#3. Marrs-Bar Safety Squat Bar
Just like the candy bar with a similar name, this thing is sweet. The Marrs-Bar Safety Squat Bar is one of the best bars I've reviewed because of the high-quality padding and the high weight capacity.
This specialty bar puts almost no stress on the upper body; when I was under the Marrs-Bar Safety Squat Bar and removed my hands, it stayed balanced across my shoulders with ease.
I also recommend the Marrs-Bar Safety Squat Bar because it is relatively lightweight, weighing in at 64lbs, making it a convenient home gym accessory. With a pad width of 11'' it's pretty standard size for athletes of any frame size too.
The one downside is that it is quite expensive compared to others on this list, but I'd argue that the tensile strength, the weight capacity, and quality of the build warrants the price tag.
#4. Happybuy Olympic Safety Squat Bar
Happybuy's Olympic Safety Squat Bar is an excellent addition for any gym. It's only $256 (varying buying options on Amazon), so it's also very affordable if you want the combination of budget option and safe workout gear.
On its own, the Happybuy Olympic Safety Squat Bar weighs a mere 44lbs. It has a 12” spacing between shoulder pads, which is average spacing compared to other SSBs I have tried. Therefore, the Happybuy Olympic Safety Squat Bar is useful for lifters of all sizes.
I will add too that I noticed the Happybuy Olympic Safety Squat Bar is not as cambered compared to other SSBs. Meaning, I did not feel as much of a pitch forward while training on this bar, which can be ideal for athletes who don’t struggle with tipping forward in their traditional barbell lift, and are more so looking for a low bar squat variation tool.
#5. Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar
So, the reason the Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar is not the number one safety squat bar on this list is because it is not a conventional safety squat bar. As the specialty bar’s name suggests, it can transform to change the positioning on the plates on the bar in proximity to the lifter.
I found the ability to “transform” this Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar to be an incredible benefit for the following reasons: I can make my lifts easier or more difficult depending on my training cycle, I can adjust the positioning of the weights to suit my personal center of gravity, and I can change my squat position from front to high bar to low bar and even a goblet squat without needing to actually change how I hold the bar.
Therefore, the Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar is an excellent option for people who want a totally customizable SSB that pushes the limits of the kind of training that is possible with specialty bars.
#6. Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar
The Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar is a compact and durable SSB that, at only 59lbs, is an easy specialty barbell to store and move around in your home gym.
Don’t be fooled by its lean design though, the Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar can still safely hold up to 1000lbs in loaded Olympic plates.
The Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar is cambered and solid steel, meaning that this bar will sit at your centre of balance and the weights will not spin while loaded.
When squatting under the Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar, I felt the cambered design really forced me to engage my lats and core to stay upright, and I could really sit deep in my squat while under this bar.
One other small feature I like about the Ader Safety Squat Olympic Bar: the shoulder pads have a removable vinyl cover that you can wash if they get too sweaty after your workouts.
#7. EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar
EliteFTS markets their SS Yoke Bar as “the most important specialty bar for all gyms”, which I will absolutely agree with, home gyms included.
Why? This is an incredibly versatile safety squat bar made with your safety and gains in mind.
I tried the SS Yoke Bar as weighted resistance during all kinds of exercises: squats, lunges, good mornings, back raises, calf raises...in all scenarios, this bar performed.
You are even able to remove the handles from the shoulder pads to make the SS Yoke Bar a premium bar to strengthen your bench press with JM press variations, too.
One thing to keep in mind with the SS Yoke Bar: it is not very forgiving. This is a big bar that does not rotate, so you really feel everything under it. The SS Yoke Bar is 92” of steel, and has a longer bar camber than some other safety squat bars on this list. So, I would recommend the SS Yoke Bar for users with larger frames, or folks who already feel really confident under a barbell.
When it comes to adding a safety squat bar to your home gym, you really can’t go wrong.
These specialty bars are tried and trusted by the weightlifting community, so that you can be sure that your safety squat bar will open up new strength building possibilities to crush your personal records in the gym and on the competition platform.