Have you heard about or used the safety bar before?
If not, you're in for a treat. If you have well, keep reading on, and maybe you'll pick up a few things along the way.
If you're not familiar with it, the safety bar has a padded section that sits around your neck and then extends forward with two handles on each of the ends of those pads. This allows you to grab the bar out in front of you, instead of having to get under it and place stress on the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
Because of this setup, the safety bar is an amazing piece of equipment to have at your disposal. It has so many benefits that lends itself to building strength, gaining muscle, or taking care of or working around injuries.
For example, less stress on the shoulders, better positioning, the ability to do a bunch of different exercises without having to worry about your arms/hands. There are so many possibilities. A few years ago, I broke my thumb, and it eliminated a lot of things I could do, but thanks to this bar, there was a lot I COULD do.
So what can you do with the Safety Bar?
Safety Bar Hatfield Split Squats
If there was one exercise I could do all the time, it would be this one. I've written about this exercise before (check it out here), but it bears repeating.
One of the trickier things about any single-leg exercise is balance and stability, so by adding in the ability to hold onto the rack, we eliminate those limiting factors.
This way, we can load the weight up and take advantage of the hand assist.
Front Rack Reverse Lunge
Flipping the bar around and holding it in front of you places more demand on your core, improves extension of the T-spine and upper back and most importantly, increases the comfortability on the shoulders.
Plus if you’re dealing with an upper-body injury, like an elbow or hand, you can still load up without having to hold only a dumbbell.
These are a great exercise for the entire posterior chain, which includes your back, glutes, & hamstrings. Using the safety bar, we’re circling back to that comfortability factor of hanging weight on your back.
Using the safety bar, we can provide that little bit of comfort to the neck/shoulders and still get the same effect as using the barbell.
One of the issues I run into with front squats for myself and with clients is the uncomfortable nature of them. In the crossover method, the bar tends to dig into the shoulder too much, making it uncomfortable. As for the front rack method, most do not have the wrist flexibility to do them.
With the safety bar flipped, we can hug the pad in front, and then squat away. In this variation, we don't have to worry about the bar digging in uncomfortably, and we don't have to worry about wrist flexibility. We can focus on the exercise.
Why be super uncomfortable if you don’t have to
Hatfield squats, or hand-assisted squats allow you to overload your squat and work through sticking points. When you hit those sticking points where you're not as strong, being able to use your arms to assist can give you that little boost you need.
These can also be used to add load as you come back from an injury but other variations just don’t work as well