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Barbell Placement for Squats

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to squatting, “Are my feet in the right position?”, “Am I getting down far enough?”, “Where should I hold the bar?” It might seem overwhelming at first, but once you master the basics, it just requires repetition after repetition to improve.

Our founder, MegSquats, takes you through the fundamentals of the setup and execution of the squat in the below video, and we'll break it down piece by piece within this post.

We’ll review proper squat form in this blog covering:

  1. High bar vs low bar squat

  2. Hand placement

  3. Foot placement

  4. Elbow placement

Proper Squat Form

High Bar VS Low Bar Squat

Let’s start with the setup of your bar positioning; you have the option to do a high bar or low bar squat. The main differentiator is where you place the bar on your back; it can be higher up on your traps or lower on your rear delts. Choosing which one just depends on your preference. We recommend experimenting with both movements to see which feels more comfortable and works better for you. Your torso will be more upright in the high bar squat than in a low bar squat where your torso is leaning forward.

Hand Placement

Hand placement on the bar will vary from person to person. The most important things to remember are to ensure your back remains tight and you retract your scapula. You might even hear someone say you’re creating a shelf of muscle for the bar to rest on.

Foot Placement

Foot width and angle will vary depending on the person. Factors like hip flexibility and range of motion will affect what might feel comfortable for one person and not the other. If you’re just starting out, we recommend using a stance that is slightly wider than the width of your hips. You may choose a narrow stance if you’re doing a high bar squat versus a wider stance in a low bar squat.

Elbow Placement

This last note is simple and may automatically happen when you retract your scapula and squeeze your back tight. This is your elbow placement, they should remain in line with your torso as you complete the squat.

What To Keep In Mind

Although we are giving you tips on placement to help your squat technique, this is dependent on the person and can vastly differ from person to person. The most important thing you can do is find a setup that works for you while engaging your legs, using your abs and lower back to stabilize your trunk and upper body to keep the bar stiff on your back.

You can learn how to perfect techniques for other lifts in our main blog section! We welcome people at all levels, whether you’re learning the fundamentals or need a refresher on form. We offer training programs designed to help you get strong with optional conditioning, weekly warm-ups, and a bodyweight option.

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