5 Techniques to Boost your Low Bar Squat MaxLegs 4 min Read
They say practice the way you want to play. But squatting 550lbs isn’t playing. Why 550lbs? Because that’s my…
Chain suspended low bar squats are my single favorite variation of the low bar squat or any squat for that matter.
They allow you to pick a starting height for the bottom of your squat, and treat the squat like a deadlift.
This variation completely removes the stretch reflex and should reinforce your ability to create tension & assume a perfect bottom position while in the hole of your low bar squat.
Today I’ll cover the equipment needed, how to set your equipment up, the benefits of chain suspended low bar squats, and how to do them for maximum strength gain.
In addition to your usual barbell and plates, you need a few items many gyms don’t already have.
You’ll need a power rack or some solid structure to suspend your chains from.
For chains I recommend buying one of the kits from Rogue. The Rogue kit comes with a smaller gauge chain, a large gauge chain (where the actual weight comes from), and carabiners included. The nice thing is that if you invest in a kit you can use it for chain resisted squats, deadlifts, or bench presses.
You can go to the home improvement store and cut your own chain, but it really doesn’t save you any money. The chains are just kind of expensive. If you go this route you will need (2) 8′ lengths of 1/4″ chain. If this is all you buy it will be cheaper than the Rogue kit, but you cannot use them for chain resisted movements.
The carabiners were what I found in a quick Amazon search. They have a limit of 440lbs each which should cover you (using one on each side of the bar is capable of 880lbs, just be careful slamming your weights on them).
Setting up the chains is simple.
Sling one over each side of your power rack and complete the loop with a carabiner.
The tricky part is setting them to the right height, and you have a couple of options for this.
You can set the height so that it is level with the bottom of your normal squat, or you can set the height so it is level with your sticking point–that specific height where you are most likely to fail after the stretch reflex gives out. I recommend the latter.
I recommended taking a video or reviewing a video you have of a heavy squat to note your sticking point and then setting the bar height to this.
Obviously ensure your chains are set to the same length, and they are even forwards & backwards so the bar is square with the rack.
Setting up for chain suspended low bar squats for the first few times can be tricky.
First, set your grip appropriately.
Next, duck down & under the bar to slide it into place. I usually leave my hips high until I have it placed correctly on my back.
After it is below your traps and above your rear delts bring your hips under to assume the bottom of your squat.
Finally, drive your knees out, tighten your core, and create tension throughout your entire body.
The goal here is to have the hips rise at the same instant that the bar/chest/shoulders rise.
A common mistake is to allow the hips to shoot up before the bar rises, and this is one of the most common errors I see in regular low bar squats. Take video, and watch for this.
If you are setting the bar height to your sticking point you will get very, very good at pushing through the most challenging part of your low bar squat.
Because the chains take the load off on the eccentric(down motion) portion of the lift they minimize your soreness and really hone in on improving your nervous systems contribution to strength.
Chain suspended low bar squats are great for improving your tension creation and positioning in the hole.
Be sure to record video of your sets to make sure your squats look good, and that you are creating the appropriate level of tension.
In addition to chain suspended squats, changing up your programming can help you improve your low bar squat. The Seriously Strong Advanced Program will add some diversity to your training and get you to new PRs. Check out the advanced program by clicking the link below:Download The Seriously Strong Advanced Program
Visit The Serious Guide to the Low Bar Squat for more information on the low bar squat.