Comparison of Power and Velocity in the High Bar and Low Bar Back Squat across a Spectrum of Loads

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PURPOSE: To examine differences in mean power output between high bar (HBS) and low bar back squats (LBS). METHODS: Six trained males (25.0 ± 3.1 years, 1.78 ± 0.04 m, 87.6 ± 7.5 kg) with previous squatting experience (experience: 7.5 ± 4.1 years, HBS 1RM: 157.0 ± 15.3 kg, squat/bodyweight: 1.8 ± 0.18) completed the study using a crossover design. Subjects completed a 4-week familiarization phase with both conditions. Mean power data was collected over 2 sessions using dual uniplanar force plates and 4 linear position transducers sampling at 1,000 Hz. Subjects were randomly assigned to the HBS or LBS for 1 set of 3 repetitions at 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% of their most recent HBS training 1RM with 3 to 5 minutes’ rest between sets and 2-7 days between testing conditions. A 2x8 repeated measures analysis of variance was used to determine interactions and main effects for condition and load with post-hoc tests conducted for statistical main effects. RESULTS: Analysis revealed significant main effects for load (p < 0.01) but not for condition. CONCLUSIONS: According to this pilot data, athletes seeking to increase power production ability should choose a squatting style in which they feel most proficient and comfortable. Furthermore, either the HBS or LBS can be used as the primary squatting movement, or as a secondary movement to provide variation. However, based on previous research it is likely that sport specific biomechanical parameters will influence the squatting style selection for the majority of athletes who participate in sports that involve jumping, sprinting, and change of direction.


Greenville, SC

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