A Hatfield squat is essentially a safety bar squat with your hands holding onto a barbell placed in front of you. For larger framed lifters you may even be able to replace using a front barbell with grabbing the support beams of a power rack to guide you. While hand placement and the support option is variable- using a safety squat bar is critical to executing this move, so the yoke of the bar can balance on your upper back.
You can push out of the hole with less lower back involvement due to the increased support coming from your hands on the front barbell or from the beams.. This position also allows you more control over the eccentric portion. With more control on the way down you can effectively and intentionally load the quads and take pressure off of the lower back as mentioned before.
This variation of the squat shines in the fact that you can really zero in on using your legs while mitigating undo stress. So if you are a very back dominant squatter, try this move and find your quads for increased power and stability. You can regress/progress easily with this move based on the amount of hand assistance you use.
The benefits of this move are similar to those of a traditional hack squat in terms of muscle building and destroying your quadriceps, but unlike a hack squat it builds and reinforces squat patterning and helps create competency with higher loads. Higher loads that are able to be done with increased frequency and lower fatigue make for fantastic strength and muscle builders!
How should I be implementing this move?
When this variation is first introduced to your program, focus on volume. Get quality sets of higher reps in (8-10) and feel free to up the intensity slowly in following weeks. Although it may seem appealing to use this move as a complete all out Instagram worthy overload to stroke our ego- just because you CAN doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. Think of this move as a builder rather than a tester. Use the fact that you can overload easily to get MORE total volume in done with higher working weights. Maybe even try it beltless to reinforce proper bracing and serve as a governor for the ego!
Try them out!
Tag @bamabricksquadtraining and @bamaburr in your Hatfield squats!