least one week between sessions. In the very first 2 sessions, subjects worked up to a 3RM on either the
barbell back squat or the safety bar squat. In the 3rd session,
topics performed 3 sets of 5 repetitions with 75%of their 3RM using both squat styles. The subjects were allowed to self-select their stance width, but were required to use the exact same width for both squat styles.
needed to be performed to legal powerlifting depth. Throughout the security bar crouches, the subjects were told to not push upward on the handles of the security squat bar. All representatives were performed with EMG electrodes on the upper, middle, and lower traps, the back erectors, the lats, the rectus abdominis, the obliques, the medial and lateral hamstrings, the vastus lateralis and medialis, the rectus femoris, the medial gastrocnemius, and the glutes. The topics were also equipped with reflective markers for kinematic analysis. The authors reported incorporated EMG and peak kinematic measurements. Findings The topics crouched 11.3% more with the barbell than the security squat bar, on average. Rectus abdominis, medial and lateral hamstrings, vastus lateralis, upper trap, and medial gastrocnemius EMG were considerably higher throughout the barbell squat. On the other hand, lower trap activation was significantly greater during the security bar squat. Peak hip flexion, ankle dorsiflexion, forward knee travel, and forward
substantially higher with the barbell squat. There were no significant differences in glute, vastus medialis, rectus femoris, spinal erector, lat, middle trap, or oblique EMG. There also wasn’t a considerable difference in peak knee flexion. For the visual representations of the results, I have actually scaled all of the variables based upon the higher value in each between-condition comparison so that each chart will be legible. The integrated EMG values for the trunk muscles went as high as 720µV and as low as 44µV, which do not play well together on the same graph. With scaling, the highest worth for each contrast is 1, and the most affordable value for any comparison is 0.54.
Interpretation There were a couple of things that intrigued me about these outcomes. The reality that the safety bar resulted in lower rectus abdominis and upper trap EMG readings surprised me; assuming EMG is at all related to how you feel after training, I would have expected higher stomach and upper trap EMG with the security bar. If I have actually just been back squatting for a number of months, my upper traps and abs are always wrecked the day after a session of safety bar squats. I was likewise
shocked that EMG for
the leg and thigh musculature was a lot lower during security bar squats. Initially, this may sound rational: Absolute loading was lower with the safety squat bar, so absolute EMG readings need to be lower as well. However, the typical loads used were 109.8 kg for security bar crouches and 123kg for barbell squats. The typical subject weighed 88.1 kg, and when you squat, you’re likewise moving your body mass. Therefore, the overall load difference was something like 197.8 vs. 211.1 kg (I recognize I ‘d require to make some changes for segmental masses to be totally accurate, however you understand ). This suggests that the difference in total load was only about 6.3%, not 11.3%. However, the mean EMG differences for the hamstrings and the vastus lateralis were 10.2-20.6%, which are bigger than would be anticipated based solely on differences in loading. We likewise have a couple of research studies comparing back squats and front squats, finding that the lower body EMG differences between back and front squats(which also have clear distinctions in external loading) are either small()or nonexistent( 3, 4 ). I wonder if the EMG differences in this research study may be partly attributable to distinctions in comfort and technical efficiency with the two bars. As you learn a brand-new exercise, EMG tends to increase as muscle coordination enhances and repressive feedback decreases (see Mike’s post on that topic in this month’s issue), and the difference in 3RMs recommends to me that a minimum of some of the subjects weren’t exceptionally experienced with security bar crouches. I would have expected a distinction of ~ 5%, rather than ~ 11%, if the lifters were really proficient with safety bar squats. The authors also report a variety of 2.4-18.9 %distinctions in safety bar and barbell 3RMs. I feel great stating that people who are genuinely proficient with a security bar don’t squat almost 20% less with a security bar than a barbell. The researchers only excluded people based upon having no experience with security bar crouches, so I think it’s plausible that a few of the EMG findings could be attributable to differences in experience and efficiency with the two bars. The reality that the safety bar likewise resulted in lower abdominal EMG also suggests to me that the lifters might have been bracing less effectively throughout the safety bar crouches, which would support the concept that at least a few of the topics simply weren’t very experienced with safety bar crouches. With any acute research study, a sensible follow-up question is” does any of this in fact matter for long-lasting training adaptations?” The authors of this study suggest that, due to the reduced EMG of the quads, hamstrings, and abdominals,”crouches with the security squat bar might be less efficient than crouches with a basic barbell for increasing lower-extremity strength.”Nevertheless, I tend to disagree. A research study from Meldrum and DeBeliso released a couple of months ago examines training adaptations after 9 weeks of crouching with a barbell or security squat bar( 5). The research study was carried out on baseball gamers, and it analyzed changes in squat strength(the security
bar group just tested strength with the safety bar pre-and post -, and the barbell group just tested strength with the barbell pre-and post-), vertical dive, and 60-yard sprint. I didn’t evaluate this study for MASS since group allowance wasn’t random, so it can’t be utilized to draw causal reasonings (the pitchers crouched with a safety squat bar, and the non-pitchers used a barbell), but the study was otherwise well-done, and the two groups didn’t differ in any major way pre-training. Both groups increased vertical dive height to a similar degree(+1.9 cm for the barbell group, and +2.9 cm for the safety bar group), both groups had small, non-significant decreases in 60-yard sprint times(-0.07 seconds for the barbell group, -0.08 seconds for the security bar group ), and both groups had big boosts in squat strength with the bar they utilized for training (+29.9 kg for the barbell group, +40.3 kg for the security bar group). Strength increased considerably more in the security bar group, but they were likewise a bit weaker to start with, so that’s probably not worth getting hung up on (and an excellent proportion of their strength gains might have been due to discovering effects, if the other group was more experienced with barbell squats than they were with safety bar squats). This makes me more confident that long-lasting adjustments probably do not differ very much in between barbell and safety bar crouches, in spite of the intense EMG distinctions observed in the present research study. In defense of Hecker et al( 1), I’m practically favorable that this longitudinal study by Meldrum and DeBeliso was released after they ‘d currently sent the present research study for publication. One set of findings that requires more explanation is that there was virtually no distinction between groups in forward knee travel( shank angle and peak dorsiflexion were significantly different between groups, but they only differed by 0.9-1.3 degrees), and peak knee flexion was the very same, however peak hip flexion and forward lean were lower with the security bar.
If you have actually got a decent innate grasp of geometry, you ‘d recognize that this set of findings would be practically difficult with barbell crouches, assuming bar position didn’t change. Being significantly more upright with the same amount of dorsiflexion and knee flexion would move your center of gravity backward, beyond your base of support. A security bar moves the system’s center of mass forward, all else being equivalent, allowing a more upright posture without likewise requiring
more forward knee travel. One argument put forth by the authors of this research study was that, given that security bar squats permit you to preserve a more upright posture, they’re potentially safer for the lower back. I’m skeptical of that argument. If the position of the barbell’s center of mass is unchanged, then yes, a more upright squat may position less stress on your lower back. Considering that the security squat bar shifts the bar’s center of mass forward, I believe forces on the spine would be quite comparable to those during a barbell squat. Simply put, if you weren’t more upright, the safety squat bar would potentially lead to bigger forces on the spine. Furthermore, a substantial part of the force your spine “feels”throughout exercise isn’t directly attributable to external loading. Rather, it’s an outcome of the contraction of the muscles surrounding the spine. In this research study, spine erector
EMG was the exact same for both squat designs, which recommends that forces on the spinal column are similar. Now, it’s possible that safety bar crouches might be much safer if they cause less back flexion(which is entirely possible, given that they require less hip flexion, on average ), however that wasn’t evaluated in this research study. I have actually heard anecdotal reports that security bar squats feel better for some people with back issues, and I have actually also heard anecdotal reports that they trouble some individuals more than barbell squats. I think it’s plausible that safety bar crouches modify the mechanics of the motion enough that they affect the spinal column in a different way (sometimes for the better, in some cases for the worse) for some individuals, however my assumption is that they’re not naturally better for spine health. Eventually, I think the main advantage of safety bar crouches is that they can permit people with upper body injuries or movement limitations to squat without concern. A secondary advantage is that they might do a better job structure upper back strength than barbell crouches. I do not think they’re always much better or worse than barbell crouches, and in fact, I think both styles are comparable enough to be interchangeable in most contexts. If you’re a powerlifter, you’ll clearly gain from doing a minimum of some of your training with a barbell so you’re prepared for the platform, but for just establishing lower body strength, I doubt there’s much of a distinction between barbell squats and security bar crouches. Feel free to utilize whichever bar is most comfortable for you. Next Steps I wish to see a longitudinal study similar to the one performed on baseball gamers, with the addition of random group allocation. Ideally, it would also evaluate hypertrophy. I ‘d likewise have an interest in research study
into the results of security bar versus barbell squats on long-term bench press strength gains. Given that security bar crouches ought to lead to less wrist, elbow, and shoulder tension (especially compared to low-bar squats), they might indirectly aid upper body training. I ‘d likewise be interested to see research study on other specialty bars. Application and Takeaways If you’re a powerlifter, you undoubtedly need to squat with a barbell frequently sufficient to develop your abilities with your competitors lift. Safety bar crouches seem to be a completely great squat variation for powerlifters and a completely fine option for anybody else who simply chooses crouching with a safety bar. Wish to find out everything you ‘d ever wish to know about squatting? Have a look at my How to Squat guide. The most recent research study– interpreted and provided each month If you wish to remain updated on the research study essential to strength and body professional athletes and coaches, however you don’t have the time to desire to develop the skill set to critically evaluate research study, you can register for Regular monthly Applications in Strength Sport( MASS ), the regular monthly research review I put out monthly, in addition to Dr. Eric Helms and Dr. Mike Zourdos. Each problem of MASS includes at least 9 pieces of material like this.