There’s no doubt that squats are one of the best exercises you can do. Yet, a heavy barbell across your upper back can cause neck and shoulder pain.
You may find squats are not kind to your elbows and wrists either. The safety squat bar is the answer. This bar has pads that support your neck and shoulders.
It also takes the stress off your elbows and wrists. If that’s not enough, it reduces stress on your lower back.
This guide will review the best safety squat bars available. Ready? Let’s check it out!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Best Safety Squat Bar
- Rogue SB1 Safety Squat Bar – Best Overall
- Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar – Best Value
- TDS Safety Squat Bar – Best For Durability
- Gronk Fitness Safety Squat Bar – Best For Bodybuilders
- Ader Safety Squat Bar – Best For Powerlifters
- Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar – Best Versatility
- Bells Of Steel SS3 Safety Squat Bar – Best For Removable Handles
- RitFit Safety Squat Bar – Best For Beginners
Reviews – The Best Safety Squat Bars
Rogue SB1 Safety Squat Bar – Best Overall
The Rogue SB1 Safety Squat Bar is our pick for best overall. The SB1 features a black cerakote finish for durability. It also has a fully welded design for strength. This bar has a 1.5”, or 38mm, solid steel shaft. The handles are 1”, or 25mm.
The Rogue SB1 Safety Squat Bar has closed-cell foam pads. The cambered design of the SB1 distributes the weight evenly while squatting. This helps increase the weight you can use on this exercise. The bar weighs 70lbs, holds 1,000lbs, and is 89” long.
- Holds 1,000lbs
- Made Using 38mm Solid Steel
- Fully Welded For Strength
- May Not Be A Good Option For Value Conscious Lifters
Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar – Best Value
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Here’s our pick for the best value. The Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar is designed to improve the center of gravity. This means your balance will be better when doing squats.
The neck pad is 15”, and the side pads are 9” long. The side handles are 15” long, which leaves a 6” grip space.
The Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar has a weight capacity of up to 700lbs. The bar has knurled grip areas and weighs 45lbs. The bar length is not specified.
- The Neck Pad Is 15” For Good Support
- Max Weight Capacity Is 700lbs
- Improves Balance During Squats
- May Not Hold Enough Weight For Some Users
TDS Safety Squat Bar – Best For Durability
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Here’s a bar built for strength and durability. The TDS Safety Squat Bar uses 30mm solid steel. This knurled Olympic bar has a weight capacity of up to 1,000lbs.
The TDS Safety Squat Bar features three thick, padded 8” long pads. There are 13” between handles, so it’s a little more snug on your neck than other bars. This bar weighs 65lbs, and it’s 86” long.
- Made Of 30mm Solid Steel
- Holds 1,000 lbs
- The Neck Pads Provide A Snug Fit
- Some Users Feel This Bar Needs More Neck Support
Gronk Fitness Safety Squat Bar – Best For Bodybuilders
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Generally, a bodybuilder will train using less weight and more reps than strength trainers. The Gronk Fitness Safety Squat Bar will hold 1,000lbs. However, some users feel that the pads slip under very heavy loads.
Yet, they do not slip under the more reasonable loads used by bodybuilding. For that reason, this is our pick as best for bodybuilders. This solid steel bar is 30mm thick. It weighs 45lbs and it’s 84” long.
- Holds Up to 1,000lbs
- Durable – Made Of 30mm Solid Steel
- 84” long
- The Pads Slip Under Very Heavy Loads
Ader Safety Squat Bar – Best For Powerlifters
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With a 1,500lb weight capacity, the Ader Safety Squat Bar is the best choice for powerlifters. This bar is 94” long with 17” Olympic sleeves. This knurled steel bar weighs 59lbs and is 30mm thick. The padding is 9” wide with 8” on each side for a snug fit. The handles are 5” long.
The Ader Safety Squat Bar will help you maintain your form during your heaviest lifts. You can use it in a rack, squat stands or for bench presses.
- Holds 1500lbs
- This Bar Is Almost 8 Feet Long
- Manufactures Using 30mm Alloy Steel
- Some Users Feel The Pads & Handles Should Be Removable
Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar – Best Versatility
Here’s a bar that has a total of 24 position adjustments. The Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar is our pick for best versatility. To start, the Transformer Bar has 4 Olympic plate sleeve adjustments. These adjustments change the angle of the plate sleeves. This will increase or decrease exercise difficulty.
Next, there are 6 adjustments that correspond to the type of squat you’re doing. There’s a patent-pending spring design for the adjustments.
This bar is almost 91” long and weighs 55 lbs. This bar has a 12” neck pad. The handles are longer than most bars and angle down. This supports any type of grip you’ll need. Finally, the Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar has a max load capacity of 1,500 lbs.
- Fully Adjustable For Plate Angle & Type Of Squat
- Holds 1500lbs
- Patent-Pending Spring Adjustment Design
- This Bar May Be Too High Tech For Some Users
Bells Of Steel SS3 Safety Squat Bar – Best For Removable Handles
Here’s a safety squat bar with three different handles. The Bells Of Steel SS3 Safety Squat Bar is our pick for the bar with the best handle options. This bar has regular handles. Next, there’s chain handles. This makes the squat even more advanced because you have to control the chains.
Finally, there’s extra long ”spider” handles. These are the best choice for anyone with shoulder issues. They take shoulder involvement out of the exercise. This bar holds 1200 lbs, it’s 86” long and it weighs 47 lbs. It’s made of 28mm solid steel.
- Features Three Handles
- The Spider Handles Take Shoulders Completely Out Of The Exercise
- Max Weight Capacity Is 1200lbs
- The Olympic Sleeves Are Only 13” Long. This Limits The Amount Of Plates The Bar Will Hold.
RitFit Safety Squat Bar – Best For Beginners
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Are you buying a safety squat bar for the first time? The RitFit Safety Squat Bar is our pick for best bar for beginners. This bar has a 28mm shaft and has an oxide finish for corrosion protection. The 13” Olympic sleeves are 50mm steel.
The RitFit Safety Squat Bar weighs 43lbs. The bar holds 700lbs, and it’s 87” long. The neck pads are thick with 12” between them. Beginners can do other exercises with this bar. These include squat variations, good mornings, and weighted walks.
- Holds Up To 700lbs
- Made Using 28mm Steel
- Good Value For Beginners
- The Neck Pad Is Not Wide Enough For Some Users
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Safety Squat Bar?
What Is A Safety Squat Bar?
Some individuals have injuries or mobility problems that regular squats might aggravate. A safety squat bar (or, SSB) is a piece of exercise equipment designed to avoid these issues. This includes neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist problems.
A safety squat bar is like a regular barbell. It has pads for neck and shoulder support. There are also short handles to grab onto. The side neck pads attach to the handles. This means your neck and shoulders are protected during your lifts. It also has knurling on the bar and a cambered design. This means the plates sit a little lower than the main shaft.
The Benefits Of A Safety Squat Bar?
Here’s the benefits of using a safety squat bar.
Reduces Shoulder Stress
The primary benefit of a safety squat bar is that it takes the shoulders, elbows, and wrists out of the movement. This means you can squat despite injury or mobility problems. These are more common injuries than you might think. About 40% of strength trainers, bodybuilders, and other athletes suffer shoulder pain. Then there’s problems such as wrist pain or tennis elbow.
With the safety squat bar, you can keep working your lower body. At the same time, you can rest your upper body. This makes a safety squat bar a good choice for any athlete that performs heavy squats.
Even if you aren’t trying to work around an injury, these bars are a good choice for beginners. They support injury prevention while beginners learn the exercises. This is important as beginners get stronger and add weight to the bar.
Helps Strengthen The Upper Back
The safety squat bar affects the back differently than a regular bar. The upper back comes into play more using this bar. This means you have one more way to train your upper back. This increases the involvement of the upper back during a squat. Many strength athletes use this bar specifically for this purpose. In addition, the safety squat bar takes the pressure off the lower back.
A More Quadriceps Targeted Squat
As noted, the safety squat bar has a cambered design. This puts the weight lower and a little in front of the body. This places more emphasis on the quads than a regular squat. This allows lifters to focus more on quad strength and development.
Posture And Form
There’s a lot to the correct performance of a squat with a regular bar. If you’re new to the lift, you may find it hard to keep your back straight. You may also find it hard to keep your core tight. Due to the design of the safety squat bar, you have to be more upright. This supports proper posture and your form on your squats.
Using a regular straight bar for squats can cause neck and shoulder pain. The safety squat bar has padding for the neck and shoulders. This makes the exercise more comfortable. It also provides more support to these areas.
How Do You Use a Safety Squat Bar?
- Begin your set up with the barbell at the top of the shoulders/traps. The pads should be resting on your shoulders. They should snugly pad the back and sides of your neck.
- Grab the handles. Use a comfortable grip position.
- From this position, step out with the barbell.
- Take your normal squat stance. This should be with your legs approximately shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back and core tight. Perform a regular squat with the weight in the rear half of the foot.
- Push with the quads to stand up. It should feel like you’re pushing the floor down. Keep your hips under the bar. Do not let the hips travel backwards.
- Keep the upper back tight as you push back up.
- You have completed one rep.
- Bars like the Bells Of Steel SS3 Safety Squat Bar have three handle options. One option is chains. That will change the dynamics of this exercise because you will have to control the chains as you squat.
- The Kabuki Strength Transformer Bar has numerous adjustments specific to certain exercises. Also, the plate sleeves are angle adjustable. This means your setup will be more involved. It will also be based on the exercise you plan to do.
- Changing exercises with the Transformer Bar will be a little more time consuming.
What Should You Consider When Looking For A Safety Squat Bar?
The bar should have thick padding. It should not compress while using heavy weight. It should be firm, and the covering should use quality stitching. The padding should fit snug around your neck.
First, all the bars in this guide use Olympic plates. The weight capacity ranges from 700lbs for the RipFit bar, to 1500 for the Kabuki Transformer Bar. Many of the bars in this guide can hold up to 1,000lbs. How much weight capacity should you choose? Pick one that has a capacity of a few hundred pounds over your strength goal.
The bar should be solid steel. Some bars in this guide, such as the TDS Squat Safety Bar, are made of 30mm steel. Our best, the Rogue SB1, uses 38mm solid steel. The plate sleeves may not be the same thickness as the bar. Also, your bar should have corrosion protection. As noted, the padding should be firm with good stitching on the covers.
What Exercises Can Do With A Safety Squat Bar
Here’s a list of the exercises you can do with a safety squat bar.
- Back Squat – For many lifters, this is the King of exercises. The squat works approximately the entire body. Primarily, it’s a direct quad and lower leg builder.
- Lunge – This is a direct quad builder.
- Front Squat – Using a safety squat bar means the regular bar won’t rest across your neck.
- Zercher Squat – This exercise may seem a little awkward if you’ve never done it. The handles give you more grip support. You’ll also have the neck padding across your midsection. This exercise is like a front squat. But, you’ll hold the bar in the crook of your elbows. When using the safety squat bar, you’ll wrap your arms around the side pads.
- Good Morning – This is a direct lower back exercise. Begin with light weight. Use a slow and controlled motion. Perform this in a power rack. Set the safety pins at the bottom of the exercise. If you fail, the pins will catch the bar.
- Seated Good Morning – The same performance is suggested for the seated version. Set the safety pins in your power rack accordingly. If you do not own a rack, keep the weight light on these.
- Step Ups – The safety squat bar design makes this a more secure exercise. Use a slow and controlled movement.
- Weighted Carries – Weighted carries are an excellent full body exercise. Yet, any type of walking with a loaded bar can be hard on your arms and wrists. The safety squat bar takes these out of the picture.
- Some lifters do other exercises, such as overhead presses. You can use the safety squat bar for this if you want to. However, there’s no advantage over other types of overhead pressing. Also, the padding and handles may get in the way. xTherefore, continue to use dumbbells or your straight bar as well.
If you have shoulder, elbow, or wrist issues, a safety squat bar is a great investment. It’s also a good way to improve your form.
If you want our best overall, the Rogue SB1 Safety Squat Bar is for you. Rogue uses 38mm solid steel to make this bar. It has a load capacity of up to 1,000lbs. The bar itself weighs 70lbs.
Are you a bodybuilder? Then the Gronk Fitness Safety Squat Bar is the best choice. This is another bar that holds up to 1,000 lbs. It’s made of 30mm solid steel and weighs 45 lbs.
Finally, are you a powerlifter? The Ader Safety Squat Bar is the bar for you. Here’s a bar that holds up to 1500lbs. It’s 94’ long with 17” sleeves. This means you can pile on the Olympic plates.
As you can tell, there’s a safety squat bar for every training goal. Use our guide to choose the best safety squat bar for your own goals. Happy Training!