In Blog

Photo courtesy of Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”

I am going to keep this short, simple, and to the point–I won’t get long-winded on this one, I promise.

High Bar Back Squat Pros:

  • Builds quad strength & definition
  • Mechanically similar to receiving position for the snatch and cleans

High Bar Back Squat Cons:

  • Does not effectively develop hamstring strength
  • Not as effective in developing posterior chain

Low Bar Back Squat Pros:

  • Good for general strength training and powerlifting
  • Effective in recruiting and developing hamstrings
  • Effective in developing posterior chain

Low Bar Back Squat Cons:

  • More difficult to learn and execute well
  • Difficult to achieve correct barbell position (lack of shoulder flexibility)

So, your question is probably, “So which one should I do, Coach?” 

My answer:

First off, let’s assess your goals. Are you going after sheer [powerlifting] strength? Then go with low bar. Or are you chasing after bigger lifts with your snatch and clean & jerk? Then go with high bar.

Bottom line: We do a lot of Olympic lifting at Big Horn CrossFit. Whether it is the lift itself (snatch or clean & jerk) or accessory lifts, we probably see them at least two to three times per week. Yes, we also execute powerlifting exercises (squat, deadlift, etc.); however, we do MORE Olympic lifting. So, we WILL do both the low and high bar back squat; however, we will most likely see more high bar back squatting.

Hopefully that clears it up for you. If you are still confused, please don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail, give me a call, or just mention it at the box!