Should I use a foam barbell pad for squatting?

Should I use a foam barbell pad for squatting?

Should I use a foam barbell pad for squatting?

If you’ve not used a foam barbell pad for squatting, then you’ve probably at least seen somebody else use them. They are big foam pads that you can place on the center of the barbell to prevent the barbell from touching your shoulders while you squat. This is often employed by new gym goers.

The reason why new gym goers love foam barbell pads is because until you get used to the feeling, having a loaded barbell resting on your back can be quite uncomfortable. Particularly for people with weak trapezium muscles.

But please, don’t use foam barbell pads for squatting!

Not only is it universally derided by experienced gym goers, but it is also quite dangerous to use them. See, for a squat to work properly you need to have as much stability as possible. You wouldn’t want to squat while standing on a bouncy castle would you? No of course not, because the instability would make squatting really dangerous. It’s common sense.

But a foam barbell pad will create a lot of instability on its own. See, even the thinnest of foam barbell pads is still going to be quite thick (otherwise it wouldn’t work). This means that when you place the barbell on your upper back/shoulders, the barbell will be raised slightly. Because the pad will be in-between your shoulders/upper back and the barbell.

Should I use a foam barbell pad for squatting?

This can turn the barbell into a see-saw, if you’ve been training for years you are guaranteed to have seen this happen at least once. Person with foam padded barbell raises barbell off the handles and walks backwards. The barbell brushes one of the handles. This raises one side of the barbell in the air, while the other one see-saws down.

In an attempt to adjust, the person tries to bring the other side back up, but this only causes the original raised side to go down. The barbell is going all over the place. At this point one of two things happens: Either the barbell rights itself and the person continues their set. Or, the barbell tips over.

Obviously, the preferred scenario is for it to right itself, and if you are not using a foam pad it will do this every single time. But the foam pad makes things much worse, and this can really affect your set.

The foam pad also prevents you from performing a low-bar squat, because if you tried it the barbell would roll. Meaning that you can only perform high-bar squats. You can’t perform front-squats at all!

Seriously, if you don’t like the feeling of a barbell on your upper back or shoulders, then you should lower the weight. Then toughen up a bit! It’s not so bad. Because once you are used to the feeling, you’ll squat better for the rest of your life. Foam pads do have their uses, they are great for barbell hip thrusts. But keep them away from your squats! They’re definitely not worth the hassle.

Should I use a foam barbell pad for squatting?

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