Titan Fitness Safety Squat Olympic Bar Review
Updated: Oct 28
A brief overview of the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar
We always love to review innovative fitness products that address a specific need in the health and fitness industry. The Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar does just that. It’s a uniquely designed squat bar that shifts the weight of a traditional squat toward the anterior chain, putting special emphasis on the quads and reducing stress on the knees, shoulders, and spine. I've used it for years and it’s the only bar I’ll squat with!
Advantages of a Safety Squat Bar (SSB)
Reduced Stress on Shoulders and Upper Back: The unique design of a safety squat bar places the load lower and slightly forward which promotes a more upright torso position during squats. The result is less stress on the shoulders and upper back, making it perfect for people with shoulder issues, injuries, or limited flexibility in these areas. I have limited flexibility in my shoulders which makes it hard to grip a straight barbell. The forward-facing handles allow me to perform squats safely and comfortably.
Improved Squat Form: The SSB encourages a more upright and balanced squatting form. This can help prevent leaning forward, rounding of the spine, and other common form issues associated with traditional barbell squats.
Enhanced Core Engagement: One of the interesting advantages of a safety squat bar is that it forces you to engage your core and stabilizer muscles to maintain balance. This results in improved core strength and stability, which can benefit your overall lifting performance—even in lifts where you’re not using the SSB.
Reduced Lower Back Stress: By promoting a more upright posture, the SSB reduces the stress on the lower back. If you have lower back pain or other mobility issues a safety squat bar can feel like a godsend after using a traditional barbell.
Versatility: While primarily used for squats, you can use a safety squat bar for many other lower-body exercises, including lunges, step-ups, and good mornings. The flip side to this is you won’t be able to do rows, deadlifts, and other exercises that require a traditional bar.
Challenging and Unique Workouts: The safety squat bar can introduce a new level of challenge to your workouts. The unique bar shape can make squats feel different and can help you break through plateaus, providing variety in your training routine.
Comfortable Padding: Most SSBs are equipped with comfortable, high-density padding on the shoulder and neck supports. This ensures a more comfortable and secure grip during workouts. The Titan SSB is no exception. The one-piece foam padding makes squatting more comfortable and reduces friction commonly experienced with straight bars.
Safety and Injury Prevention: Like the name says, a good safety squat bar can help reduce the risk of injuries during squats. Whether you’re a beginner looking for help with your form or a long-time lifter with injury issues SSBs are a great way to stay safe and injury-free.
Disadvantages of a Safety Squat Bar (SSB)
There’s a Bit of a Learning Curve: For those accustomed to using a traditional barbell for squats, transitioning to a safety squat bar may require some time to get used to. The inherent design of the SSB forces your torso into a more upright position which may be uncomfortable at first. The handles may also take some time to get used to since your arms and hands will be in front of your body instead of holding the bar horizontally like a barbell.
High Cost: Safety squat bars can be (and often are) more expensive than standard barbells, which can be a drawback for those on a tight budget. However, the investment may be worthwhile for those who benefit from the SSB's unique features. My gym invested in two of these, so I got lucky, but for those with a home gym setup, you’ll need to weigh the cost vs. benefit.
Weight Limitations: Some SSBs may have weight limitations, meaning they may not be suitable for extremely heavy squats. This won’t be a factor for 90% of people, maybe even higher. But if you’re a serious powerlifter be sure to check the weight limit on your bar. Titan offers both a 1,000 lb. and 1,500 lb. version of their safety squat bar. Personally, I've never come close to those limits.
They’re not compatible with Certain Exercises: While SSBs are versatile, they may not be the ideal choice for all exercises. Let’s face it, they are specialized pieces of equipment for lower-body squat-type movements. You won’t be able to use an SSB for deadlifts, rows, or other exercises that require a straight barbell.
Rack Compatibility: Most safety squat bars are designed to be used with power racks or squat racks. The Titan Safety Squat Bars are all designed to be rackable. If your gym or home setup doesn’t have the right size rack, you may not be able to use the SSB effectively.
They’re Bulky and Hard to Store: SSBs are generally bulkier and can take up more space than standard barbells. If you’re like me and you go to a gym this isn’t an issue. They have the space and the appropriate storage solutions. If you’re operating out of a home gym this can be a problem. Most home gyms are limited in space, so consider this before you purchase.
Limited Availability: SSBs are not as widely available as standard barbells, which can make them more challenging to find. Most gyms offer a selection of traditional barbells and that’s about it. If your
Maintenance: Like any gym equipment, SSBs require maintenance to ensure their longevity and performance. Over time, the padding and black zinc coating may wear out, and it may be necessary to replace these components. At the time of this writing, Titan doesn’t offer a replacement pad. At my gym, they had to have a replacement pad custom-made which I’m sure wasn’t cheap.
Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar Specs
Sleeve to Sleeve Length
Loadable Sleeve Length
Shoulder Pad Inside Width
Shoulder Pad Grip Spacing
Black Powder Coat
Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar Features and Design
1. Rackable Design: The rackable design means that the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar is compatible with power racks or squat racks. It has a straight center section that can be placed on the J-hooks or safety pins of the rack for easy loading and unloading. This is particularly useful for safely setting up the bar for squats and other exercises.
2. Front Handles: The Titan Fitness Safety Squat bar features a pair of handles on the front portion of the bar. These handles are designed for you to hold onto during the exercise. They provide a secure grip and can help you maintain proper form and balance, especially when performing heavy squats.
The front handles also help you feel more stable while using the safety squat bar. They allow you to push against them, helping to prevent wobbling or losing balance during the squat. This added stability can be especially valuable for those with mobility or balance issues.
While the primary purpose of the handles is to assist with squats, they can also be used for other exercises such as Bulgarian split squats, step-ups, and good mornings. The handles can provide a secure grip during these movements, enhancing your overall workout experience.
And if you’re doing an exercise where the handles might interfere…no worries. The handles are completely removable. Simply unscrew them from the main body of the squat bar and go.
3. Padding: For added comfort and safety the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar features a vinyl-covered, one-piece foam pad around the center section of the bar as well as around the handles. The padding minimizes stress on the shoulders and neck while performing exercises.
One drawback to the padding is its lifespan. Although thick, the padding seems to compress and wear down over time which can result in discomfort. We reached out to Titan and at the time of this writing, they don’t offer a replacement pad which is disappointing.
4. Black Zinc Coating: Aside from making the bar look modern and cool, the black zinc coating applied to the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar creates a barrier between the steel of the bar and the exterior environment to protect it from corrosion. While durable we have seen this coating wear off over time. Regular cleaning and even a light coat of oil can help extend the surface life of the zinc.
Performance and Functionality
As mentioned above, I use the Titan Safety Squat Bar often. I started using it years ago after experiencing knee pain during and after heavy squats. While it didn’t eliminate my knee pain completely, the Titan bar did wonders to minimize it significantly.
The cambered design drops the weight 5” or 6” essentially forcing you to maintain a more upright torso during the squat. Not only does that prevent leaning forward and rounding of the spine it engages your core muscles much more than a traditional squat.
By promoting an upright torso and shifting the weight lower and slightly forward, the Titan Safety Squat Bar shifts your working weight more to the core and the quads removing pressure from your spine and knees…this was the kicker for me.
“I don’t think they’re necessarily better or worse than barbell squats, and in fact, I think both styles are similar enough to be interchangeable in most contexts.” - Stronger by Science
So now you’re probably asking, “Since we’re shifting all this weight around to different points on the body is the safety squat bar less effective than a traditional bar?” The answer for most people is no. There isn’t a ton of research on safety squat bars vs. traditional bars but recently Stronger by Science did a great article on the subject. They gathered the most recent data, and their conclusion was “I don’t think they’re necessarily better or worse than barbell squats, and in fact, I think both styles are similar enough to be interchangeable in most contexts.”
These days price is top of mind for most consumers. And for me, I’m the same way…on most things. But when it comes to fitness equipment, especially a piece of equipment that’s going to carry a few hundred pounds on my back, I’m going to err on the side of quality. That said, I would go with Titan ten times out of ten. The product is not only high quality it’s priced very competitively. I've put together a comparison table below so you can see for yourself where Titan’s safety squat ball falls among the competition.
Titan Fitness SSB
Rogue SB-1 SSB
Rep Fitness SSB
Bells of Steel SSB
I've picked four of the leading brands, and as you can see most of the top safety squat bars are in a similar price range with the Titan bar being the lowest by a few bucks. I've used both the Titan and Rogue safety squat bars and both are excellent. While I haven't used the Rep Fitness or the Bells of Steel products I have heard great things about both.
Titan Fitness Safety Squat Olympic Bar Review: Wrap-Up
If you’ve read this far you can probably tell I’m a big fan of the Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar. It’s a well-designed piece of fitness equipment that has allowed me to keep squatting heavy while reducing knee pain during and after workouts. I enjoy the added stability of the handles for exercises like drop-back lunges and good mornings. Plus, I’m big on domestically made products and Titan Fitness manufactures all their safety squat bars right here in the USA.