In today’s blog, I want to talk about specialty squat bars and give you some reasons to consider getting one and discuss some other reasons why maybe you should stay away from them so if you’re on the cliff hopefully this review blog is going to help you, one way or the other.
It is a really interesting story with me and squat bar because if you asked me several years ago. “Hey, should I get a specialty squat bar/ specialty bar for squats” My answer right away would have been NO, and that’s pretty much it. 😊
Because if you know anything about squat bars, my perception of them initially would be and what really came to mind was an old fat power lifter who tends to be a little bit out of shape, wears a lot of knee wraps, and probably doesn’t squat to depth, in a weird Federation✌️ and unfortunately I think a lot of other people had that perception too.
And I didn’t probably help that at that time because there wasn’t also a lot on the marketplace in terms of brand availability of such bars. ⏯️ Outside the Texas power bar, Mastodon squat bars, and some other there wasn’t a lot of dedicated specialty squat bars available, at least that I was familiar with.
But now my views have changed. In fact, I think they’re very beneficial for a lot of people yet still not essential.
When you look at a squat bar dimension, the basics behind it will be:
✔️Squat bars are longer than a normal barbell.
✔️It’s thicker than a normal barbell.
✔️Allows you to load more weights on the sleeves than a normal barbell.
✔️Has wider center knurling or altogether comes fully knurled.
Now for most people training at home or like YOU and ME who are maybe squatting like 300, 400 pounds, I didn’t think this bar would probably be that useful. But again, I have mixed thoughts on them.
Reasons why you consider buying a specialty squat bar?
Why I think you should get one because:🤷
1. The added length of the bar:
With a squat bar you typically find that it’s much longer than a normal power bar📏, I think the thought here was to allow bigger lifters with poor shoulder mobility🤷 to kind of set the bar appropriately and not worry about any kind of shoulder issues. Especially if they are in a really tight squat suit or just generally out of shape, who can’t really move their shoulders that well. 😅
Also, if you have a 49 inches gym rack, They’re really beneficial to a lot of people, and depending on what type of power bar you generally have or if you have a competition style collar on there, you’ll find the plates generally get pretty close to the uprights on a rack because the squat bar is longer it actually pushes the weights out further.
➡️ This means that really no matter where the bar is centered or positioned in the rack when it’s racked while walking out you’ll no longer clip the sides of the rack which can be very disruptive for anybody.
Especially if you’re going for a really heavy lift or a PR and when you’re really focused on actually doing the lift. Hitting the rack would waste so much energy and willpower of an athlete 🤮 that it can really sabotage you going forward.
2. The bar is thicker than others:
When you take a look at the shaft of a squat bar, you’re typically looking at somewhere between 32 to 35 millimeters compared to a normal bar that’s somewhere between 24 and 26 mm.
Initially, they did this to add stiffness to it and rigidity as you load more weights and as the weight is obviously further pushed out because the bar is longer, it’s really beneficial to a lot of people training. In my opinion, because there’s the more actual area of the bar to be in contact with your back.😀
3. More aggressive knurling on the bar:
Add on to that the fact that most of these specialty squat bars are extremely well to aggressively knurled.⛰️ It means that not only do you have a lot of contact points on your back but those contact points are really sharp and when you set up with a squat bar, you really know and feel it because it’s not going anywhere, or slip which can really help on hot days when it’s pushing 100 degrees.
You might be more sweaty💦 and you have that knurling digging down into your back and when you have that thicker bar on your back that really gets set pretty well.
That’s an issue I’ve seen with some of these other bars or if you’ve squatted with the power bar which might have center knurling but there are still some smooth parts of the bar on the shaft that can lead to slipping.
For that reason, a lot of people chalk their back in competition to negate this, in training they might wear A7 bar grip shirt or things of that nature. Therefore, the knurl on this specialty bar for squats is fairly aggressive, which I like a lot.😁
4. Wide center Knurling than other power bars:
With a lot of these squat bars what you’ll notice on this one, in particular, is the rogue stainless steel squat bar is fully knurled across the entire shaft which is nice meaning no matter where the bar touches on your back you’re going to have knurling there which again leads to how secure it can feel on your back.
And even when you take a look at some of the other squat bars that might not have a fully knurl shaft like the Texas squat bar the ISF squat bar strong-arm squat bar the center knurling portion is actually wider than you’d find on a power bar 🦍 or if you’re coming from something like an Olympic bar which doesn’t have any knurling whatsoever in the center you can really feel that in difference.
5. More Knurl Marks:
While setting up the bar on your back. You might notice that some squat bar like Strength Shop- bastard squat bar has a lot more rings💍 on it than your normal barbell. In fact, some have 5 rings which I think are just off of frame but you’re familiar with those they’re on every single powerlifting bar you’ve probably ever used. 😄
It also has a center ring, so that way if you’re getting under the bar and lining up you don’t need someone to help set you up, you can ensure that you’re always in the center of the bar.
✔️This also helps in general because this squat bar is longer than normal. The fact that I generally use roller cups for my rack so I can always position the bar as CENTER sometimes even though I think the bar is centered because this is so much longer and I’m not running into the sleeves as quickly as I would with a PowerBar.
I could potentially be a little bit off-center otherwise so I can always make sure with this Center knurl mark and I’m always in the center where I need to be obvious to set myself up for as much success as possible.
➡️ You will also notice though there are two other knurl marks right here for rings and what this is actually going to do is denote where on a typical barbell the knurling would start.😄
Now this might not seem like a big thing to a lot of you but if you talk to someone who takes a narrow grip, they usually will use the start of the knurling in order to position their hands instead of someone using the actual powerlifting ring marks or whatnot.
💭 This just gives you another guide point that if you usually used to grip where the knurling starts to set up, this is just an easier way to go about doing it.
6. A good competition squat bar:
If you’re actually competing in a Federation, so pretty much anyone outside the IPF. You’re probably using a squat bar. A lot of people ‘like to practice how they play’ that’s why people get calibrated plates that’s why people get all this fancy expensive equipment because they’re really interested in powerlifting.🔥
Having a bar that you’re going to use in competition can be very helpful otherwise if you’re used to training on a power bar and you when you go into your competition and, for instance, for squats you’re using a specialty barbell🏋️ which you’ve never touched before. It can be a little difficult for some people to kind of grasp, and that’s not just because it has a thicker shaft.
So practice like you play.🤾♂️
These are mainly 6 main benefits in my opinion of using specialty bar for squats.
No longer hitting the brights on walkouts, the bigger thicker bar is going to feel a lot better on your back especially with the knurling and again if you’re competing in a Federation that uses one it’s good to have one in your back pocket.
For everyone again I think they’re very beneficial, but there are definite reasons to stay away from them as well.
Why you should not buy Squat Bars?
1. Most specialty bars are very expensive:
So this bar, Rogue Squat bar, I think retails for something like $450 that’s before tax and shipping. Cap squat bars around the same, we’re taking a look at like the Kabuki squat bar I want to say it’s probably in the upper five hundred or so depending on what finish you get it’s definitely enough from you. So these specialty squat bars can be pretty pricey, which makes them a deterrent for people to buy something like these.
- These bars specialize in one movement that is squats:
😅 Though they’re meant only for squats. Can you bench with them❓ Yes, but if you’re competing, you’re probably not going to want to bench with this bar because it’s not going to be like what you’ll see in the competition.
Can you deadlift with them❓ Yes, you can, but it’s actually harder to grip even though it has good knurling it’s thicker, which means it’s going to tax your grip a little more.
And because the knurling is more prominent in terms of a fully knurled shaft or a wider center knurling piece, and you find it aggressive here. On top of that, depending on how you pull for a deadlift. If you choose to use that for this, it’s really going to eat up your shins or your socks or whatever the case may be.
➡️So the specialty bar for squats is tough, and it’s tough to recommend.
- Not as versatile like safety squat bar for squat variations:
In my opinion, whereas a deadlift specialty bar will allow you to pull more for most people the very first time you use it. It’s also not as versatile as something like a safety squat bar which you can use for safety bar squats, or for Hatfield’s squats, or lunges, good mornings.😅
It’s a lot more versatile than this which is predominantly just for back squats so again for a lot of people number one paying a lot of money 💰 and the number two not using it as much as you would like is a drawback.
The cons of the squat bar are:
- No IPF / IWF approval
- Space requirements
- Limited use
Does specialty bar for squats override the benefits of using normal Power Bar?
📢Power Barbell for an all-around bar it’s tough to recommend and probably the biggest reason why I wouldn’t recommend this for most people because when I take a look at one of the biggest benefits which is not hitting the uprights or maybe even feeling a little more secure in your back.
Those are all things that are easily prevented if you work on your walkout and how you actually rack the bar on your back so if you have a problem where you’re clipping the uprights as you walk a squat out, help clean up your walk out. That way you don’t have to spend $500 on a barbell that you probably don’t need.
Is it beneficial?
Yes, it’s beneficial, but again you could easily fix that without dropping money on this squat bar 💸 and could put that towards buying other things for your own gym as far as getting a better rack on your back. Yes, the knurling is good, all that good stuff, but for a lot of people that are not going to make a huge difference.
I think for most people add to the fact that if you do compete, let’s say in USA PL or IPF 🏋️♂️ you’re going to be using a power bar for all your lifts. So you would never actually use this in competition again kind of diminishing some of the value that I’ve mentioned is one of the reasons to consider it.
At the end of the day there’s pros, there’re cons like I said, I think they’re extremely beneficial if you’re looking for your very first specialty barbell. 💯
I don’t think a squat bar should be bought unless the exception is you compete in a federation that uses one or you really just can’t clean up your walkout enough where you can’t avoid hitting the uprights.
There are other bars as well- like Olympic bar or power bar, which you can probably buy first but again if you have the money, you have the room in your gym or you’re looking for something like this. I think it’s a good idea for a lot of people. 💭
You’d be surprised about how much you like specialty squat bar, even if you’re squatting something like 200 or 300 pounds.
A good resource: A Champion’s Guide on How to choose the best barbell for home gym in India.
1. How much does a squat bar weigh?
A specialty squat bar normally weighs 20-31 kgs, that’s more than any Olympic bar. The reason is clear and simple; they are made long, thick, and with larger sleeves. The extra material gets added, making them heavier than any normal barbell.
2. What bar do you use for squats?
Most people do use a power bar for their squats, as they are made thicker, have center knurling on them, and gains minimal flex. But as the emergence of specialty squat bars begins, some athletes who do train with federations, or compete, have shifted towards practicing with a specialty bar.💤 There is no significant benefit, but they’re more native to bars that we get in competitions.
3. How much does a squat bar cost?
The gold standard is probably the Texas power bar, which is in my opinion the most popular one that’s someone I see out there most frequently. ➡️ To get that bar in the lowest level finish which is bare steel, bare steel shaft, and bare steel sleeves, with shipping is going to cost you still probably around $440 when it is all said and done.
4. Which is the best specialty squat bar in India?
Considering the Indian market for gym equipment which is fairly new and much separated, there are opportunities to explore and brands are bringing out some good bars but currently, we can’t recommend you anything because there are none available. Alternatively, you can explore Bullrock Fitness India or USI sports to look at some of their other specialty bars.
I hope you get some value out of the blog: “Specialty Squat Bar: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!”😄
If you have other comments or questions regarding a squat bar or anything else. Please leave them in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading.
Stay Strong, Keep Lifting.
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