Tag Archives: Low Bar Back Squat

Wednesday – Leg Workout

  • Low Bar Back Squat (w/ belt)
    • 275 lbs x 3 reps
    • 315 lbs x 1 rep
    • 325 lbs x 1 rep
    • 340 lbs x Failure*
  • High Bar Box Squat (w/ belt, 14″ box)
    • 250 lbs x 3 reps
  • Partial Rep Squat (w/ belt)
    • 385 lbs x 20 reps
    • 465 lbs x 20 reps


* I am starting to get to the point where I don’t mind failing. I have learned proper technique in which I can throw the weight off my back without consequence other than it crashes to the ground like thunder. It would be better to succeed but I can’t always add 5 lbs to my lift each workout. In fact it is progressively getting harder to add weight to my back squat and maintain full depth. As the weight increases I tend to shorten the range of motion. This is also why I always reserve at least a set or two dedicated to the box squat to properly assess strength gains.

Tuesday – Leg Workout

  • Low Bar Back Squat (w/ belt)
    • 275 lbs, 2 sets x 1 rep
    • 295 lbs, 2 sets x 1 rep
    • 315 lbs, 2 sets x 1 rep
    • 330 lbs, 2 sets x 1 rep
  • Partial Rep Squat (w/ belt)*
    • 395 lbs x 20 reps
    • 445 lbs x 20 reps


* I decided it was time for a change. My left shoulder has healed enough to allow me to do back squats again so it is time to go heavy. The heavy partials are supposed to tire me out at the end of the workout but instead I find that it gives me an adrenaline rush and acts like steroid. After my workout all I thought about was doing heavy pin presses, shrugs, and other partial rep movements that allow heavy weight to be lifted.

It is my belief that this heavy load does indeed stimulate situational testosterone. As a natty this is as close as I can ever come to elevating testosterone levels. Whether this is a placebo effect or not the end result is the same. I rush out to the garage each day to impatiently train. I left off last year doing 505 lbs partial rep squats for sets of 5 reps. It is a surety that I will go way above and beyond this amount of weight. If I reach 700 lbs this time around I won’t care if the squats I do are partial rep as many competitive powerlifters claim they have trouble walking out of the rack with this amount of weight.

Monday – Push Workout

  • Bench Press
    • 205 lbs x 2 reps
    • 225 lbs x 2 reps
    • 245 lbs x 2 reps*
    • 140 lbs x 20 reps
  • Floor Press
    • 205 lbs x 2 reps
    • 225 lbs x 2 reps
    • 245 lbs x 2 reps**
  • Box Front Squat (w/ belt, 12″ box)
    • 205 lbs x 1 rep
    • 225 lbs x 1 rep
    • 275 lbs x Failed
  • Front Squat (w/o belt)
    • 160 lbs x 15 reps
  • Low Bar Back Squat (w/ belt)
    • 275 lbs x 2 reps
    • 295 lbs x 2 reps


* I failed on the second rep but it was close. I got stuck at the sticking point and will probably try again the next workout or attempt 255 lbs for a single.

** I failed on the second rep. However, this is a new 1 rep max PR for me in the floor press. The amount of weight I can lift in the bench press compared to the floor press is close and have come to accept the it as an accurate conjugate. If I gain 20 lbs in the floor press it is safe to assume I will have gained 20 lbs in the bench press. The floor press reduces the amount of stress on the front deltoid making it an excellent alternative to the bench press if you have shoulder problems.

Thursday – Legs

  • Box Front Squat (w/ belt, 12″ box)
    • 225 lbs x 3 reps
    • 270 lbs x Failed*
  • Low Bar Back Squat (w/ belt)
    • 275 lbs x 5 reps


* I failed on the box squat but have been setting new PRs over the last few weeks. My bodyweight is down to 165 lbs but I was still able to do a 265 lbs front squat the previous leg workout which is not too bad. I know that in Classic Powerlifting (raw) being able to bench press 100 lbs more than your bodyweight would qualify you for the nationals here in Canada. The weight an athlete can handle in the front squat is somewhat similar. The most I have ever seen any front squat on YouTube is around 600 lbs.

3 Need-to-Know Squat Variations


If you want to get big you need to build a solid foundation to stand on. Among all exercises the squat is the highest ranked exercise for building size and strength in the legs. However, if you only use one squat variation in your training you obviously don’t know squat about leg training.

There are 3 squat variations that are need-to-know. They are the low bar back squat, high bar back squat, and front squat.

A difference in where the bar rests on the back of the shoulders of just a few inches is enough to biomechanically alter how the exercise is performed. As a result, the low bar and the high bar back squat are two distinct exercises.

In the high bar back squat the positioning of the bar is in such a way that the lifter is mechanically required to squat vertically placing emphasis on the quadriceps muscles as opposed to using the posterior chain in the low bar back squat.

The purpose of the high bar back squat is derived from the sport of Weightlifting where it is used to build the strength needed in the quads to lift heavy in the snatch and clean and jerk. This is different than Powerlifting where the squat is not only used to build a foundation of strength but also to test strength.

Positioning the bar lower on the back causes the lifter to naturally lean forward in the squat activating the posterior chain. The involvement of the posterior chain allows more weight to be lifted. The goal of Powerlifting is to lift the most weight humanly possible so all lifters essentially use the low bar back squat.

The weight difference between these two squat variations is hard to determine as few athletes take the time to master both techniques. However, on average a lifter should be able to low bar back squat 120% of their high bar back squat.

The advantages and disadvantages of these two exercises are based on application. A bodybuilder would benefit more from high bar back squats as it develops the lower quads more greatly.

Some bodybuilders claim that heavy squats make the waist large similar to how some Powerlifters develop a thick trunk lifting monolithic weight. Switching to high bar squats reduces the amount of weight lifted while placing more stress where bodybuilder’s need it to be – on the quads.

The front squat is another important variation that is more similar to the high bar back squat than it is to the low bar back squat. The front squat is used by Weightlifters for the same reason they use the high bar back squat. It develops power in the quads needed for Olympic lifts.

The front squat places more stress on the lower quads than the high bar back squat but reduces the amount of weight lifted by 80%. As a result, Weightlifters often incorporate heavy back squats into their training to build strength. The heavier you lift the stronger you get.

Understanding these three squat variations can also help prevent overlaps in training. For example, if you use low bar back squats for legs and conventional deadlift for back the same muscles get worked both times just in a different way. A better approach would be to use the front squat or high bar back squat on leg day if you need to train back around leg day.

Also, front squats and high bar back squats do not burnout your nervous system compared to as low bar back squats. You could potentially get away with training front squat more frequently for an extended period of time whereas with the low bar back squat you could expect to burnout much earlier.

If you don’t know squat about these three variations than do yourself a favour and invest time needed to learn them. Remember, if you want powerful, muscular legs than you need to know squat about quad training.