HomeAdvice & Guides5 Awesome Benefits of the Safety Squat Bar

5 Awesome Benefits of the Safety Squat Bar

The safety squat bar is an amazing piece of equipment that produces massive benefits in terms of strength gains, injury prevention, and upper extremity preservation.

It’s a very versatile implement that has carry over to many different training modalities, including powerlifting, strongman, bodybuilding, etc..

Now, I’m a big fan of specialty bars in general. I use them with regularity to round out my training and because I think they’re a lot of fun to use.

In my opinion, the safety squat bar is the best all-purpose specialty bar you can own.

Here’s the top 5 reasons why:

#1. It’s Incredibly Functional

One of the absolute biggest benefits of the safety squat bar is that it’s so flippin’ versatile.

There’s simply no shortage of movements you can accomplish with this bar.

Check out this quick clip showing a few of the best ways to utilize it (the last one may be my favorite):

To summarize, you can perform:

  • Back Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Zercher Squat
  • Good Morning
  • Seated Good Morning
  • Single-Leg Good Morning
  • Front Lunge
  • Back Lunge
  • Split Squats
  • Step-ups
  • Hip Thrusts
  • Overhead Press
  • Triceps Press
  • Calf Raises
  • … and whatever else you can come up with

Bottom line is this bar has multiple uses that can translate to serious strength gains.

#2. It Will Get You Really Strong

Speaking of strength gains, the safety squat bar is a brutally awesome tool designed to test your body in unique ways.

The end result? Serious gains.

You see, the bar has a camber at the ends which actually drops the collar below the midline and at an angle to the vertical axis. This anatomical nuance, coupled with the fact the bar actually sits a little higher on the shoulders, tends to pitch the lifter forward. In doing so, the lifter has to fight to stay upright to prevent folding like an accordion… and bringing great shame to their family in the process.

EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar Profile in Garage Gym

This fight absolutely demolishes the upper back, and I mean that in the best of ways. Your traps and lats are going to get extremely strong with this bar. They have no choice. This bar is like CT Fletcher… it commands you to grow!

Of course your traps and lats aren’t the only thing that are going to get strong by using this bar. Depending on how you use it, you can ignite the entire posterior and anterior chains. With the front squat, you’re going to get serious anterior core activation along with the quads and glutes. With the back squat, you’re really going to hit the posterior hard while still stimulating the quads due to the vertical spine position. As for the other variations listed above, you can target more specifically the quads, erectors, etc…

I should mention, you likely won’t be able to lift as much weight with the SSB as you do with your back squat. It will humble you, and that’s OK.

#3. It’s Safe and Comfortable

As the name implies, the safety squat bar is… safe (when used properly of course).

Safer, at least.

The primary benefit from this perspective is that it significantly decreases stress on the upper extremities, particularly the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar on White Background

The way the bar is designed, there is a padded section that sits around your neck with two handles extending over each shoulder. This allows you to easily hold the handles directly out in front of your body. There is no need to externally rotate the shoulders, which is something many people have issues with on a traditional straight bar. The length of the handles depends on the bar you purchase and on personal preference. I personally prefer shorter handles (EliteFTS, Crepinsek, Rogue, etc…) to longer ones (Edge Fitness, BWTG, American Barbell, etc…).

Also important to note is that some of those movements in the video above couldn’t be performed with a fixed long-handle SSB. That’s another big reason I like the shorter handles.

So if you have shoulder or elbow pain while back squatting with a straight bar, or if you have wrist pain when front squatting, this bar will help you tremendously.

Safety Squat Bar Vertical Spine Angle in Gym

BUT, it’s not just the upper extremities that it helps. When squatting with the safety squat bar, your spine position will actually be more vertical. It looks more like a front squat or a high-bar back squat. This positioning minimizes shear forces on the lower back and also allows for improved range of motion through the hips, knees, and ankles.

As it relates to the padding, some are more comfortable than others, but all provide some type of protection between your delicate neck and raw steel. ‘Delicate’ is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but being that the bar does sit higher on the neck, it would actually be torture without a pad.

#4. It Has Great Carry Over to Other Lifts

As a specialty bar, you would expect the safety squat bar to have a carry over into your other lifts.

Rest assured, it will.

Being that this bar was created by powerlifters, it’s not surprising that it has an awesome carry over to both the straight-bar squat and the deadlift.

Going back to the whole camber design and pitching you forward concept, the bar will actually create a positioning that mimics that of the deadlift. Because of this, and because of the SSB’s ability to strengthen your posterior chain, your deadlift is primed for a big boost. Furthermore, the safety squat bar is absolutely going to help your regular back squat due to it strengthening your entire leg musculature and core.

Brian Shaw EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar in Hardcore Gym

Don’t think that the SSB is only for powerlifters though. Strongmen use it extensively in their training. Look at Brian Shaw and Brian Alsruhe as prime examples. They have gone through training cycles where they completely replaced the back squat with the safety bar squat because it’s so good at building strength and carrying over into their contests.

By the way, if you’re a competitive powerlifter, I’m definitely not suggesting you ditch the back squat entirely. I do, however, think it has a place in your training as an excellent accessory movement.

#5. Your Technique Will Improve

Because of the way this bar is built, you’re going to have to fight your ass off to stay upright. Brian Alsruhe said it well when he compared the SSB to someone grabbing you by the back of the head and trying to shove your face into the ground.

As you use this bar and become stronger, your ability to stay upright under a straight bar is going to be improved. Similarly, you’re probably going to be able to hit depth easier with a safety squat bar because it does promote a more ‘sit down, not back’ movement. This can also translate well to your straight-bar technique, as you should have a greater range of motion.

Safety Squat Bar in Large Open Gym

If you’re a lifter who struggles with chest caving, you’re probably going to benefit the most from this bar as it relates to straight-bar technique. That’s not to say that lifters who have different sticking points won’t benefit, because they absolutely will. This bar commands growth and strength (remember, CT Fletcher). That growth and strength will inherently help your technique.

Where to Buy

As far as where to purchase a safety squat bar, there are really only a handful of companies I would trust. I personally own the EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar, and I highly recommend it. Check out my full written review here.

Other high quality SSB fabricators include:
Rogue Fitness
Black Widow Training
Edge Fitness Systems
Watson (for my European friends).

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Safety Squat Bar – Conclusion

The safety squat bar is without question one of my favorite tools in the gym. It’s versatile, it’ll get your strong as hell, it’s safe and comfortable, and it will improve not only your other lifts, but also your main lift technique.

Check out this great video by Brian Alsruhe for more information.

If you have any questions on safety squat bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you want to chime in on your own thoughts, please do so!

As always, I appreciate any feedback.

If you found this review useful, please feel free to share it on social media!

The bar is loaded,


Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab. He serves as the chief content creator with over two decades of training experience. When he's not testing equipment and writing about all things fitness, Adam loves spending time with his wife and two children.


  1. Since the SSB pitches you forward, does it help people, like myself, who tend to fall backwards when squatting keep better balance? Is it also easier to keep from hyperextending your lower back for us who are working on fixing their APT?

    • Thanks for reading and leading a comment! Because an SSB squat is initiated more like a front squat, I find that it helps with balance. With a more vertical spine, I also think it helps with the low back hyperextension. Have you tried any corrective APT exercises?

  2. Yes I have. I’ve been doing a corrective exercise routine in the mornings in addition to adding RDL’s to my lifting routine. Getting a SSB bar is really tempting because straight bar squats are really hard on my low back. Great article!

  3. Excellent article on the SSB! I just tore my rotator cuff, waiting on the MRI results to know the severity. My orthopedic doctor said not to do anything that requires me lifting or carrying with my injured arm. I workout at home so there’s no access to all the specialized leg equipment in a commercial gym. Is the SSB easy on the rotator cuff? It looks as if it would be due to the elbows staying close to your body. If so, I’m hoping to use this recovery time to really hit my legs and core instead of sitting on my butt getting weak.

    • Thanks, Brian! I hope the injury heals quickly, buddy.

      The SSB is a really good, and popular option for people with shoulder issues. I would certainly recommend it.

  4. There’s one more benefit at least for me. I’m 74 years old so doing front squats and back squats full range of motion is somewhat painful and unsure for me. But, with the safety bar, I unrack the weight and put my hands on the uprights of the power rack and squat away without worrying about balance or if I’m going to get stuck on the bottom and unable to get up. My hands give me that “little” extra oomph to get up from the last repetition. So, I can just squat away until my legs give out and have no worries. With a regular bar, I’m wondering if I’m going to get a twinge while in the bottom position or just a complete leg failure. Then what do I do – drop the bar a foot or so to the safety bars and throw out my back in the process? Nope, safety bar for me all the way. It gives me all the benefits of front squats without all the pain of twisted wrists, elbows and shoulders.

  5. […] 5 Awesome Benefits of the Safety Squat Bar Strength Training Equipment 12 Different Types of Barbells and How to Train With Them Identifying Various Gym Equipment – With Images Let’s Connect! Find me on Medium: https://medium.com/@jimmieperry Find me on Snapchat:Jimmie_Perry19 Find me on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jimmieperr/ Find me on Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Jimmie-Perry-III Subscribe to the Youtube Channel!: https://youtube.com/powerlifting.website Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Powlifts […]

  6. […] Check out the full benefits of this amazing barbell written by the garage gym lab by clicking here. […]

  7. I just tried the SSB bar for the first time this morning in place of front squats because I have tremendous difficulty with the front rack position. I have been doing crossfit for 11 months but I’m still kinda a fat bastard lol but I beat my back squat pr and front squat pr this morning by almost double. Its just so much more comfortable than a barbell for either back or front squats. I may never squat with a standard barbell again. My previous 1rm for FS was 95 lbs and back squat was 195 lbs and I hit 225 lbs today with the SSB. Huge fan

  8. […] are some of the main benefits that using a SSB can provide, as opposed to the traditional straight bar […]


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