I was asked this the other day on our Women Who Lift Weights Facebook Page and it was a great question that I felt I should cover in a bit more detail.
My answer is very simple, no you should not wear a bar pad when you squat.
The excpetions being if you have had some type of surgery or medical conditioning but if it’s just because the bar “hurts on my neck” this is not a valid reason.
Here are a couple of things that can do to get more comfortable getting a barbell on your back and squatting some heavy weights without using a bar pad.
1. Don’t Lay The Bar On The Top Of Your Neck.
Take your hand and lay it on the back of your neck and find that little bump. Find it? Good. The bar does NOT go there when you squat :). Put it a little bit lower than that spot.
A big problem with women squatting is that they are never tought where to position the bar correctly on their back. Often a lot of women just walk under the bar, lay it on their neck, walk back and squat.
This is not the best way to do this.
Learn the proper placement of the bar on the upper back or mid back area depending if you high bar squat or low bar squat.
Bar placement on squat plays a big role, but it never goes on the top of your neck. Always on the meatier parts of your upper or mid back.
2. Create a Shelf With Your Upper Back.
Learning to create a shelf for the bar is very important. If you squat high bar you have a smaller shelf than with low bar, but you can still do this. Learn to get your upper back tighter and create a place for the bar to rest.
Read and watch the video on this article about how to Set Up For A Strong Squat.
3. Just Get Used To It.
It might take a bit of time for you to get used to the bar but the body adapts to stress so just give it some time and your body will adapt. I have had women that I coach that found the bar hurt at first and after a few months they can squat 200 pounds without pain. Just be patient, tough it up a little at first and your body will adapt.
Just make sure the bar is resting in the right position on your back and not on that bump on the back of your neck Know the difference between good pain and bad pain.
A lot of women that I coach struggle at first with their grip strenght when it comes to deadliffts, heavy carries and pull ups. At first the hands and grip strength are the limiting factor. Just push through it, stay with it, and your hands and grip will adapt.This is very similar to my article on not using gloves when you train. Your hands will adapt, just be patient and they will adjust. Same with the barbell on your back for squats.
Unless you gave a physical or medical condition When possible ditch the pad for squats.
Once you find the correct placing for the bar you won’t need a bar pad, nor will you ever want to use one.
You can use it for exercises like the Hip Thruster but try to avoid it for squats. Learn the proper bar placement and you will never want to use a bar pad for squats again.
I hope you found this info. If you did I would love to hear from you please leave a comment like and share. I appreciate it.
If you would like to have me as your online coach click Women Who Lift Weights Community for more info.
Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.