The 5 Best Accessory Exercises for the Low Bar Squat

Legs | Strength Training 3 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen

Nothing is going to build your low bar squat better than more low bar squats.

That’s a given.

But it’s only true if your form is great.

There are two factors that will decide if you can low bar squat well: understanding, and capacity.

First, you must understand how a good low bar squat looks and feels.

For this you should check out our guide on how to low bar squat.

Next, you must have the physical capacity to low bar squat well. Low bar squats require tremendous amounts of strength & coordination throughout your entire body.

You must have balance in strength between muscle groups, and you must have balance(left vs. right) in the same muscle groups. 

The following list are the five best accessories for strengthening the five primary muscle groups involved in the low bar squat.

1. Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows – Upper Back

No other exercise is going to build your upper back better than chest supported dumbbell rows. Say hello to massive mid/low traps, ripped rhomboids, and toned teres major & minor.

These muscle groups are important for low bar squats because they create the shelf your bar will rest on, and keep you in thoracic(your upper spine) extension during the lift.

If you lack the strength to hold a good position or don’t have large enough muscles for the bar to rest on you won’t go far in the low bar squat.

2.  Jefferson Curls – Low Back

Jefferson curls are straight-legged deadlifts on steroids.

When you do straight-legged deadlifts you touch the plates to the ground and come back up.

When you do Jefferson curls you have to stand on a box, because your rep doesn’t stop at the ground. Your rep stops when you just can’t go any lower.

This allows the erector spinae(the muscles we’re targeting) to move through a massive range of motion.

Big ranges of motion mean big growth.

3. Banded hip Thrusts – Glutes

The glutes are critical in the low bar squat, and with that truth comes another: the thrust is a must.

Banded hip thrusts with added weight on your lap build the gluteus group in exactly the way it needs for strong low bar squats. The glutes are fully loaded at the bottom of your deep hip flexion low bar squat, and they are the main driver in the beginning of the ascent. They are also responsible for creating a stable position in the hole.

Grab a band. Grab a bench. Grab a dumbbell. Start thrusting.

4. Romanian Deadlifts – Hamstrings

Hamstrings do a lot in the low bar squat. And if you have been high bar squatting, or just not squatting well to begin with your hamstrings are weak.

We always think about the quads as bulging out on a well-muscled thigh, but the hamstrings should bulge as well. The hamstrings are to the triceps as the quads are to the biceps–the quads and biceps get all of the attention, but the hamstrings and triceps are huge contributors to limb circumference.

Nothing will build your hamstrings like great Romanian deadlifts. 


5. Bulgarian Split Squat – Quads

The quads are last because they are the least likely thing on this list to hinder your low bar squat. Leg presses and general life tends to favor the quad, BUT if your quads are weak Bulgarian split squats are the cure.

You can do them with a barbell across the shoulders, dumbbells in hands, or with simply your body weight.

The requirement here is that you position your feet so that your knee goes through a large range of motion. This will ensure your quads get pumped to grow.

Hungry for more?

If you’ve got more questions about the low bar squat be sure to read the how to low bar squat guide.

Everything else you need to know is covered there. Technique. Programs. Videos. The Works.

Still need help with programming? Be sure to check out The Seriously Strong Beginner Program and The Seriously Strong Intermediate Program if you’re more advanced to take your workouts to the next level.

Download The Seriously Strong Beginner Program Download The Seriously Strong Intermediate Program

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.