The Safety Squat Bar is one of our favorite specialty bars to use. This bar is easy on the shoulders, which is especially helpful for powerlifters and those with a limited range of motion. That said, the SSB pretty much decimates every other part of the body.
Often times when people see the name "Safety" Squat Bar, they think the bar is easier to use. That, however, couldn't be further from the truth. So, just so I can put this idea to rest, the Safety Squat Bar is NOT easier than a traditional barbell squat. It's just different, and in some ways, much more difficult.
One of the details of the Safety Squat Bar that makes it quite a bit different from a standard barbell is the camber.
The majority of time, what the SSB is trying to do is dump you forward. This forces you to fight by keeping tighter and staying more upright. The people most affected by the SSB are low-bar squatters and it can take them some time to get used to the bar. The primary benefit from this perspective is that it significantly decreases stress on the upper extremities, particularly the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
The way the bar is designed, there is a padded section that sits around your neck with two handles extending over each shoulder. This allows you to easily hold the handles directly out in front of your body. There is no need to externally rotate the shoulders, which is something many people have issues with on a traditional straight bar. The length of the handles depends on the bar you purchase and on personal preference.
So if you have shoulder or elbow pain while back squatting with a straight bar, or if you have wrist pain when front squatting, this bar will help you tremendously.
BUT, it's not just the upper extremities that it helps. When squatting with the safety squat bar, your spine position will actually be more vertical. It looks more like a front squat or a high-bar back squat. This positioning minimizes shear forces on the lower back and also allows for improved range of motion through the hips, knees, and ankles.
One thing that is an improvement on the Titan SSB V2 over what other SSB offers is that the sleeves are an Olympic Sleeve, meaning they take standard collars instead of having to use axle collars. This means calibrated plates fit well on the bar without too much play as well. Honestly, all bars should use the standard Olympic sleeve size and companies are starting to adopt this.
The Titan Fitness SSB v2 pad is just right. It's made of a very dense foam that actually looks like really thick carpet padding. The covering has a great feel to it – it's grippy, yet supple. The stitching on the pad is very well done, adding to the high quality look and feel. The velcro used to secure the covering is really strong and it doesn't peel in any direction.
As you use this bar and become stronger, your ability to stay upright under a straight bar is going to be improved. Similarly, you're probably going to be able to hit depth easier with a safety squat bar because it does promote a more ‘sit down, not back' movement. This can also translate well to your straight-bar technique, as you should have a greater range of motion
The biggest and possibly only drawback of this bar is the finish, which is known to flake after sliding plates on and off the sleeves for an extended amount of time. This completely cosmetic issue has no bearing whatsoever on performance. To be fair, specialty bars in general leave something to be desired when it comes to sleeve finishes. Most of them are powder coated, which will also chip and flake, so it’s hard to knock Titan Fitness too hard on this. Still, it’s something to consider if you’re a stickler about such things.