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A safety squat bar is a piece of exercise equipment designed to balance the weight that is lifted straight through the middle of the body. It also ensures that the shoulders are in a safer position than when using the regular straight bar. Even experienced weightlifters who are proficient in the squat exercise find that their shoulders are forced into a position of exaggerated external rotation when using heavy weights. This could cause long-term injury. The safety squat bar allows lifters to concentrate on their legs which is the whole point of the exercise.
The squat is recognized by serious lifters as the king of lower body exercises and is considered to be one of the best all round strength improving maneuvers. It strengthens the entire lower body muscles with the hamstrings and quadriceps bearing the brunt of the lift. Lifters who might otherwise perform regular squats are unable to do so because of the possible injuries that could be caused to their shoulders by the weight of the straight bar.
The legs can support far more weight than the shoulders; this is borne out by the number of lifters unable to increase their squat because their shoulders are unable to take the strain of hundreds of pounds. The safety squat bar has two short pegs which lie perpendicular to the main bar. These are designed to rest on the shoulders which is where the load is focused. This in turn balances the weight.
With a normal straight bar, lifters are forced to grip the bar with their arms whereas the squat safety bar enables them to keep their hands free and correct their technique if necessary. It is possible for a lifter to purchase a safety squat bar that is tailored to suit individual needs. This piece of equipment is essential for lifters attempting to increase the amount of weight they can lift without damaging their shoulders.
There are those who suggest the safety squat bar is inappropriate and should not be used by serious lifters. For many power lifters, however, the squat is the cornerstone of their exercise regime; they have found the safety squat bar to be conducive to large gains in strength. Several lifters have successfully squatted over 1,000 pounds with the safety squat bar credited for this success.
Since the safety squat bar takes the stress off the shoulders, it can also be used for other exercises that involve placing weight on the upper back. For example, shoulder shrugs are a great way to build up the upper trapezius area but a common mistake involves allowing the head to move forward during the exercise. This can cause a herniated disc but the safety bar keeps the shoulders rigid and allows users to concentrate their efforts solely on the exercise.