Q&A- Power squats and high bar squats

Hi Craig

I’m confused. I do squats twice a week. I do them with the bar high on my shoulders and I have a wide stance. I squat below parallel. I think I am doing them correctly. But I read about you referring to low bar or power squats and also high bar squats? I’m not sure about the difference?



Hi Chris

It’s a good question you ask. There is a big difference between power squats and high bar squats.

Power squats are a power movement. The goal is to lift as much weight as possible. The bar is carried lower down the back, usually across the rear delts. The stance is wider and the emphasis is on using the big muscles (hips, glutes, lower back) to lift as much weight as possible. You should descend to at least parallel.

High bar squats are performed to target more of the quads but they also emphasis overall leg development. The key is to go rock bottom on these so that the hamstrings are sitting on the calves. The upper body should remain more upright. The goal is more about leg development than lifting huge weights.

Chris, it sounds like you are performing a bit of a hybrid. I usually encourage new lifters to perform power squats because they build the overall lower body and introduce lifters to the idea of shifting big weights. I would suggest you shift the bar down your back slowly and do power squats.

Here is an earlier article I wrote on the power squat which may interest you:

Powerlifting technique part I- The squat « biggerstrongersmarter.

Give these a go and let me know how it goes for you.



bigger stronger smarter


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