Many people have asked me lately what grip do I use for my front squats? A Clean Grip or a Cross-Over Grip? My answer? Neither.
You see, years of gymnastic and cheerleading did a number on my wrists and I struggle very much trying to use a clean grip. I am also majorly claustrophobic (I used to struggle wearing turtlenecks… no joke) so a crossover grip feels like I am about to choke to death.
I am sure many people want to tell me to, “Man up!” and get over it, and that’s fine. I would much rather figure out an alternate solution to my problem… one that I am much more comfortable with.
Enter: The Safety Squat Bar.
I started using the Safety Squat Bar at my gym for Front Squats and Front Loaded Step-Ups several years ago. It’s more comfortable, I don’t feel like I am choking, it doesn’t bother my wrists, and I am never going to Front Squat in competition… so why does it matter? Why let my “grip woes” affect the effectiveness of my lower body workout if it doesn’t have to? Sure, not using one of the other grips may be considered “less cool” or “easier”… but my lower body and my core still have to lift the weight… so who cares?
If you don’t have a Safety Squat Bar, you can try using wrist straps to hold the bar. I haven’t done this with much weight so I can’t comment on how it feels, but some of my friends have done them this way with much success.
So there you have it. 2 wonderful alternatives for Front Squats for those of us that just can’t get comfortable using the other grips. Now you have no excuse as to why you don’t Front Squat. My only warning: be prepared to set some major PR’s on front squat when you use a Safety Squat Bar. You’re welcome.
PLEASE NOTE: Safety Squat Bars weigh more than regular Olympic bars. The one I use weighs 70 lbs. Keep that in mind when loading up the weight!
ADDENDUM: If your gym doesn’t have a SSB, you can find them at the link above for only $370. Most gyms have a “new equipment” budget and often times if you ask the GM to buy something they will do it. They want to keep the members happy… and remember: the squeaky wheel gets the grease! Keep bugging them about it until they get you your safety bar! =)
Have you tried using a Safety Bar for Front Squats? What about Back Squats? Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? Do you have any other options for Front Squats? Let me know what you think below! Thanks!