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Safety Squat Bar?
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Turpin

Presently I am enjoying a return to heavier lifting , BUT as my weights increase so does my anxiety & fear of my previous back issues recurring.

I thought about making a purchase of a `safety squat bar`.

Has anyone used one ? .... does/will it alleviate some of the issues involving the low back when squatting ?
Im not looking for an easy option to squatting ( I do & will continue to practice the squat ) , but instead something that can/will assist in getting me back in there at heavier load.

T.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

I have minor issues with the low back... nothing serious, but as I get older I MUST stay away from regular back squats. It matters not if I go light and deep or heavier and shallower. They all seem to agitate me to some degree (a little or a lot). Even on the Smith machine it catches me.

Having said that... I used the safety squat bar when in Italy a few years back. It was all right, but you still have that slight lean over and I could feel it in the low back even with a plate-a-side.

I can only work my legs to the max while squatting using either a hip squat belt apparatus or the Zane Leg Blaster.

The leg blaster has you super erect, yet there is a bit of 'give' with performance (you're not locked in like you would be with a machine type squat). And the weight is more central (around the rib cage), thus altering your center of balance/gravity. You can only load it to 250 pounds, although that amount of weight while remaining erect is a big difference than with regular squatting (I also wear a 90-pound vest, which brings the total weight up to 365 pounds (25-pound harness included) in a super erect position. Plenty of weight and NO low back strain in the least.

I have clients with low back issues (car accidents, work-related accidents) who CAN use this apparatus to full effect and not feel any low back issues... or very little if and when there is a 'twinge.'

Something to consider as you age and you want to remain functional into our 60s and 70s. I paid my dues with regular back squats (got up to 17 very deep reps with 300 pounds) and now I'm moving on :-)
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Turpin

Thanks for the input Brian , I thought as much watching videos of the `safety squat bar` in action . And good to hear a viewpoint from a fellow sufferer.

TBH the best leg developer I've used is the Gironda sissy squat ( below ) and Roman chair and no back issues !

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=nZ0ggWUgDlI

Belt squats were also great alternative , I worked up to 500lbs here for 10 reps , but they are akward as hell in their set up.

TBH , perhaps I'm inviting trouble by pursuing the heavy stuff again ( or at least that which affects the low back ) and should be sticking with the variables that have brought me a degree of success over the past few years instead.

Much appreciated , T.
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Tomislav

New York, USA

Turpin,
the idea behind the Zane leg blaster is to keep the athlete squatting in a straight line; shallower squats are another option.

How far do you take the exercise? I like to keep the reps high and stop before any form changes occur; I think most athletes tend to alter the mechanics and stick the butt out for extra reps as they fatigue (some on purpose) which seems similar to rounding the back on the dl.
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Turpin

Tomislav wrote:
Turpin,
the idea behind the Zane leg blaster is to keep the athlete squatting in a straight line; shallower squats are another option.

How far do you take the exercise? I like to keep the reps high and stop before any form changes occur; I think most athletes tend to alter the mechanics and stick the butt out for extra reps as they fatigue (some on purpose) which seems similar to rounding the back on the dl.


I do full power squats ( max of 5 reps ) and each rep is the same as the first , hence I don't push for high rep ranges ( same with the deadlift ).

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=v6XCCC4-_zk

I had intentions of a return to powerlifting but altho my back problems have been much better ( since squatting and using functional KB exercise ) Im still concerned about a recurrence.

T.

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Tomislav

New York, USA

Turpin wrote:
Tomislav wrote:
Turpin,
the idea behind the Zane leg blaster is to keep the athlete squatting in a straight line; shallower squats are another option.

How far do you take the exercise? I like to keep the reps high and stop before any form changes occur; I think most athletes tend to alter the mechanics and stick the butt out for extra reps as they fatigue (some on purpose) which seems similar to rounding the back on the dl.


I do full power squats ( max of 5 reps ) and each rep is the same as the first , hence I don't push for high rep ranges ( same with the deadlift ).

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=v6XCCC4-_zk

I had intentions of a return to powerlifting but altho my back problems have been much better ( since squatting and using functional KB exercise ) Im still concerned about a recurrence.

T.



Excellent form T, each rep is indeed the same as the last, spot on!

I'm able to keep each rep the same as the last with high reps by being careful to stop well before I am fatigued.

I notice you have a slight speed increase at the top end, have you thought about slowing this portion of the movement or using continuous tension by not locking out the reps for added safety? I think not locking out can have a protective effect on the lower back.
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

Turpin wrote:

TBH the best leg developer I've used is the Gironda sissy squat ( below ) and Roman chair and no back issues !

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=nZ0ggWUgDlI



Good form on the GS squat. 15x5 is quite the volume, is this for deep prefatigue?

Regards,
Andrew
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Turpin

TBH Tomi , I am presently training more for performance and function than looking to chase muscular fatigue for purposes of muscle building , consequently my aim is to be as explosive as can be in each concentric phase of the exercise , and terminating at any slowing of the movement.

I presently train `raw` no belt , wraps or aids in order to re-create a firm basis to build upon once more BUT now the weights are beginning to necessitate more & more caution , and as such I thought the `safety squat bar` would have been a good addition to my training by allowing me to train and become accustomed to still heavier resistance safely whilst practicing the squat proper with my conventional power bar.

T.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Look into Dave Draper's Top Squat attachment. I have one here and like it with the Smith machine. I never tried it with conventional squats, although that is how Draper did them. I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make, but I suspect about as much as the Safety Squat (you cannot hang onto and pull up with the Top Squat, but I'm not sure if you want to subject your shoulders to that anyway).
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Turpin

AShortt wrote:
Turpin wrote:

TBH the best leg developer I've used is the Gironda sissy squat ( below ) and Roman chair and no back issues !

http://www.youtube.com/...h?v=nZ0ggWUgDlI



Good form on the GS squat. 15x5 is quite the volume, is this for deep prefatigue?

Regards,
Andrew


I was cycling between 8 x8 , 6 x10 & 3-5 x15 Andrew . The 8`s being more volume and less intensity whilst the 15`s being the most intense. Each set of each workout ( regardless of level of effort ) was followed by only 15 breaths / hyperventilating so the intensity of effort at 15 rep sets was much , much more than the lesser rep / more volume days BUT the volume was muscularly demanding without the nervous expenditure.

T.
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Michael Petrella

Ontario, CAN

Hey T,

I got the best safety squat bar money can buy. The whole thing is laser cut for precision. You can put 400 lbs on your back and squat is without using your hands if you wanted to.

Because it sits much higher on your back then a normal barbell it puts far more stress on the lower back then regular squatting.

If you are trying to alleviate lower back stress while squatting buying one of these bars is a step in the wrong direction.

Michael
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Turpin

Michael Petrella wrote:
Hey T,

I got the best safety squat bar money can buy. The whole thing is laser cut for precision. You can put 400 lbs on your back and squat is without using your hands if you wanted to.

Because it sits much higher on your back then a normal barbell it puts far more stress on the lower back then regular squatting.

If you are trying to alleviate lower back stress while squatting buying one of these bars is a step in the wrong direction.

Michael


Many thanks Michael , I thought this would be the case after several vids on youtube and posts on here.
I guess if I am intent on progressing further with my current training I will just have to persevere with form and function ( along with my usual mobility drills ) and take things slowly.

Many thanks , T.

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dcshores

California, USA

How about doing more of an Olympic style with a very erect spine and a whole lot of bend in the knees. My training partner has bad back and is unable to do conventional squats. However with 2.5 plates under his heels, he can squat ass to the grass with zero problems. I have trained on a safety squat and did not find it to reduce lower back stress.

Maybe consider one of these to strengthen and decompress your lumbar spine.

http://www.ironcompany.com/...0w#.UsG0z_RDuSo
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Michael Petrella wrote:
Because it sits much higher on your back then a normal barbell it puts far more stress on the lower back then regular squatting.

If you are trying to alleviate lower back stress while squatting buying one of these bars is a step in the wrong direction.

Michael


That's what I noticed. It balances nicely, but I never found a reduction in low back strain. However, I've seen it used whereby a person is hanging onto handles and pulling himself up while squatting (maybe not pulling, but at least helping himself stay more erect by having the hands hang onto handles in front of himself). With that in mind, a person might as well use a Zane Leg Blaster... same idea and likely a more upright stature.
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Turpin

dcshores wrote:
How about doing more of an Olympic style with a very erect spine and a whole lot of bend in the knees. My training partner has bad back and is unable to do conventional squats. However with 2.5 plates under his heels, he can squat ass to the grass with zero problems. I have trained on a safety squat and did not find it to reduce lower back stress.

Maybe consider one of these to strengthen and decompress your lumbar spine.

http://www.ironcompany.com/...z_RDuSo


Thanks , but An Olympic high bar squat IMO is less conducive to easing low back strain at high load.
High load demands economy of effort thru legs /hips AND back , the `high bar` squat negates the forward lean but will promote rounding at high load.

nb: the forward lean is not a negative in the squat , rounding is.

T.

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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

dcshores wrote:


Maybe consider one of these to strengthen and decompress your lumbar spine.

http://www.ironcompany.com/...z_RDuSo


I think he would benefit more from traction (e.g., Lynx Portable Back Stretch). A hyper like that would encourage some spinal flexion (as the legs lower and the strain pulls on the hams and glutes), which does nothing to decompress.
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Turpin

Brian Johnston wrote:
dcshores wrote:


Maybe consider one of these to strengthen and decompress your lumbar spine.

http://www.ironcompany.com/...0w#.UsG0z_RDuSo

I think he would benefit more from traction (e.g., Lynx Portable Back Stretch). A hyper like that would encourage some spinal flexion (as the legs lower and the strain pulls on the hams and glutes), which does nothing to decompress.


Everyone's back issue is unique to them ( as D Shores will attest ) and what helps one may/may not help another. Over the years I found what works for ME , but also made the mistake of avoiding certain exercise that brought about a reaction ... subsequently that reaction intensified by prolonged avoidance of certain movements.

To-date I am back on track and no longer avoiding movements but instead utilising them in a controlled manner and consequently I am more functional as a result. Kettlebells ( swings , snatches et al` ) would have terrified me years ago but to-date I am using them readily in all my training to compliment squats and deadlifts ( which I had not performed since giving up competitive powerlifting )
I no longer accept limitations , instead I see challenges ( & occasional set back ) to my overall function and enjoyment that have to be thought out and eventually put to rest.

T.
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Korherr812

New York, USA

We used a safety squat bar quite a bit at a gym in Albany, New York. The bar sits higher on the shoulders forcing one to squat in a more upright position. It's easier on the rotator cuff as one holds the pads in front rather than reaching back to hold the bar. (As I'm sure you well know the low-bar powerlifting style can be tough on the shoulders). I think its a better bar if your going to get into bands and chains because again you don't feel like your getting pulled forward. Get a good quality bar (don't go cheap!) You might start using the bar exclusively.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

I do realize that what may help one may not help another. I just don't get how a flexing force on the spine 'decompresses,' when the concept of decompression is about pulling the vertebrae apart. That is why I mentioned an actual traction system for 'decompression.'
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dcshores

California, USA

T

The bending forward creates tremendous load on the lower lumbar spine via leverage. Rounding or not rounding is important though. Bogduk is a very good source on lumbar biomechanics. You may enjoy it.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Exactly... tremendous load on the lumbar muscles... but how does that decompress? Traction takes off the loading and decompresses.
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Consider the MedX Lumbar... it's when you go back (and extend) that the vertebrae OPEN up, but when coming forward there is some degree of compression (which is why I limit ROM with my clients)... there certainly is no decompression taking place. Maybe we're defining decompression differently.
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Turpin

dcshores wrote:
T

The bending forward creates tremendous load on the lower lumbar spine via leverage. Rounding or not rounding is important though. Bogduk is a very good source on lumbar biomechanics. You may enjoy it.


But that forward lean is necessary at load and provided the bar alignment and subsequent weight distribution is correct the movement is/can be performed with minimum rounding.

The high bar variation realises little drive from the low position unless a rebound / bounce is had which at load creates more problems than the low bar power squat.

Coming from a gym that had a great many Olympic lifters I used to perform the high bar variation extensively even in powerlifting competition ( see pic above ) , BUT after experimentation and changing to the low bar variation I found much more drive and ease of performance in the squat.

TBH David I don't get any reaction from the forward lean , but I do from any bounce ( jolt )in the low position or rounding ( not keeping chest high ). Ive been really working my upper back hard to improve both my thoracic flexibility and strength , so far its been good ... but I am at that stage of progressing to the next level which is causing anxiety .

T.

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Turpin

Brian Johnston wrote:
I do realize that what may help one may not help another. I just don't get how a flexing force on the spine 'decompresses,' when the concept of decompression is about pulling the vertebrae apart. That is why I mentioned an actual traction system for 'decompression.'


Personally I use a lot of simple mobility drills and foam rolling to ease any segmental stiffness.
I tried the reverse hyper but found it only exacerbated any low back tension/spasm ( perhaps not suited to facet joint problems ) , instead I find comfort in mild pelvic rotation and glute/ham bridges ( the latter without load )

T.

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bobj

How is the zane leg blaster on the knees? I am 62 yo and my knees are not what they used to be. I also tried loading up a backback with around 90 lbs and holding onto a door jam to simulate the zane leg blaster without the $700 + expensive shipping tab. Anybody else try a similiar approach?

If I could find a used zane leg blaster in the chicago area I would buy it in a minute.
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