The Safety Squat Bar
Of all the different specialty bars on the market, this is the one I recommend most. The safety bar develops great brute strength. It's a phenomenal way to build your lower back, legs, and upper back. The key is to not get too fancy with it.
The two exercises I recommend are simple, the good morning and the squat. When squatting with the safety squat bar, the weight is cambered out in front of you, causing you to feel like it's dumping you forward. This forces you to use your entire back to keep it steady. Yes, it can look ugly when you muscle it up out of the hole, but no one gets points in the weight room for looking pretty, Planet Fitness notwithstanding.
Not only will squatting with this bar help your squat but it will help your deadlift in every way, from the legs to lower and upper back. Because of the camber of the bar, it's like doing a front squat without the fear of losing the bar forward. Front squats are a great assistance exercise for the deadlift. Think of the safety squat bar as front squatting without having to think about form.
Also, the bar is very easy on your shoulders. You don't have to externally rotate your shoulders when using it so it's a great way to add volume to your squat training without the shoulder discomfort.
As for the good morning, it's probably the best assistance exercise for your deadlift as few exercises do a better job at training the lower back and hamstrings. The safety squat bar is ideal for good mornings as it also works the hell out of the upper back, an added component you don't get with the straight bar. The only issue people have is that the pad can sometimes be uncomfortable at the bottom of the lift. But really, if this is your major problem, let's just say you may need another type of pad to help another, more pressing problem.
If you're using the 5/3/1 program, here's a simple way to use this bar in your training.
On squat days, your second exercise would be safety bar good mornings. On deadlift days, use the safety bar as nature intended, for squatting.
You can use the 5/3/1 set/rep program for these assistance lifts or do the very challenging Boring But Big sets/reps. I'm currently writing assistance lift sets/reps programming for the "big" assistance lifts (safety bar squats, good mornings, leg presses, straight leg deads), but it needs to be fine-tuned and polished before I release it.
The final point is, if you have access to the bar, use it. If you can afford it, get one. Your lifts will thank you.
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