Squat Technique - Bar Path

This will be a quick rant on barbell movement when squatting.

By barbell movement, I mean what happens to the bar as you are squatting. Where is it in relation to the feet. More specifically, the shoe laces.

When coaching, barbell position is the first thing I check. I look at the end cap of the barbell. Where is it as they are standing? What happens as they begin to squat? This is the bar path.

As the athlete begins with the squat, I trace an imaginary line from the beginning of the squat to the end of the squat. This line goes from the top down to the laces. Did the end cap stay in line with the laces the entire time. Where did it deviate.

With this information in hand, I can then offer the athlete some suggestions to make their bar path better.

Next time you are squatting, film yourself from the side. What did your bar path look like? If the bar path was forward of the laces, here are a few things you can try to get the barbell back over the laces:

  1. Stretch your ankles - focus on the Achilles tendon.

  2. If back squat - shift your weight back. Your heels should be making contact with the ground. Also, don’t squat too low until your mobility improves.

  3. If front squat - get the barbell as close to your neck as possible. Lift your sternum and your elbows.

Keep the bar over your laces and you will see your control and weight start to improve.


David Shirley

CrossFit Upland is an Official CrossFit Gym in Upland California. Since 2014, CrossFit Upland has been guiding its members to find their fitness.