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Thread: Buffalo Bar Squats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Strong Island, New York, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Buffalo Bar Squats

    After three weeks no weight training due to illness, than New Years, more illness, etc., I'm rolled back the weights by 85% and started a LP.

    I decided to experiment with the Buffalo bar. I did a couple of sets of Coach Paul Horn's low bar shoulder stretch with a conventional bar, then warm ups and 3 x 5 using the Buffalo Bar.

    I was able to get into the low bar position fairly easily. Best of all, My shoulders didn't bother me at all, like they usually do with the conventional bar.

    I don't think it perturbed my form to any great degree.

    I'd like to know your opinion on the buffalo bar coaches.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    7,491

    Default

    I don't have any personal experience with them, having never had access to one at a gym I regularly worked or lifted at. The only time I ever tried one was winter 2016 as a guest at a gym in Phoenix, when I still couldn't get my hands in place for low bar squats after my labrum tear, and it didn't help at all. So take this for what it is, and maybe people who have used it will chime in.

    Generally it's better to try to do the low bar squat, especially as a novice and early intermediate for whom squat variations other than low bar are almost always unnecessary complexity and less effective than just low bar squatting. People who can't low bar squat can usually get themselves to where they can, with focused stretching. It requires a period of discomfort but usually they get there.

    If, even after doing the low bar stretch, and hanging, and maybe dislocations - consistently and enough to actually make a difference - you still can't low bar squat, or can't do so without inflicting yourself with shoulder pain that effects your other lifts and activities in life, then you just accept that, and maybe try again at some future point.

    I don't know how bad your shoulder pain is. Some discomfort is worth it, if it doesn't rise to the level that it effects your other lifts or activities. If it does, OK. I also don't know how much you've tried to improve your range of motion beyond a couple sets of the Horn low bar stretch. It has acute effects, yes, but it's the chronic effects of doing it a bunch, several times per week or more, that add up over time to get you to where you can low bar squat. Based on your post, I'm not convinced you did that.

    Usually we just use high bar for people like this. But if the buffalo bar allows you to use low bar mechanics, then yes, I'd think it would be a preferred option. Since I don't really have experience with it though, I don't know - is that the case? My only concern is that it looks like that kind of bar wouldn't sit stably and still in place while lifting. It looks like it'd be unstable. But since I haven't really used it, I don't know - and I know lots of powerlifters use it, so maybe not. Someone who's used it may have better insight.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Strong Island, New York, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    During my last LP, I did the Horn stretch and dislocate only after my shoulders were bothering me, which mabey wasn't allowing the inflammation to go away.
    Now my shoulders feel fine, so now I can start my new LP with a clean slate.
    For example I could continue with the Horn stretch, dead hangs, and dislocates, contunue squats with the Buffalo bar, then gradually integrate the conventional bar.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    If your shoulders feel fine now, why not just use the regular low bar squat?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Strong Island, New York, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolf View Post
    If your shoulders feel fine now, why not just use the regular low bar squat?
    Because I fear that if I use the regular bar, my shoulders will start bothering me again.

    BTY I'm going to attend a SS Squat Camp on Sunday. Let's face it I could really use some hands on. I'm sure that the Coaches there can correct me enough that I can use the conventional bar without too much shoulder discomfort.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Atlanta area
    Posts
    4,907

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    One additional issue with the buffalo bar: Since it's cambered, it's center of gravity is not along the axis of the bar. Because of this, as you bend over, especially as the weight increases, it will try to roll around on your shoulders. Meaning the point of contact on your shoulders is going to change. This might be an issue.

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