This is the safest way to position the barbell on your shoulder if you're doing a set of squats. Squats recruit some of the biggest muscles (lower back, quads and hamstrings) of the body and so will allow you to lift heavy weights.
Why use Safety Squat Stands
Lifting the barbell with heavy weights from the floor for squatting is not only limiting. It is also dangerous. Limiting, in the sense that it takes enormous strength to take the weight up, over your head and on to your shoulders.
And dangerous in that you may not make the weight over your head and end up injuring yourself.
But squats aren't the only exercises that you can do safely with squat stands. Standing overhead barbell presses are another. Some call them military presses.
This is the weight training exercise where the barbell starts from the top of the chest or back and then lift it upwards overhead.
My Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Squat Stands
When I decided to do my workouts at home due to time and budget considerations, I knew I didn't have much space like what you'd find in a commercial gym.
Any weight training equipment that I would be building should take little space in terms of footprint and should easily be stored away when not in use. Some of the squat racks you'd find in gyms like Gold's Gym already resemble a cage (some call it squat cage) and are hardly movable.
But the homemade equipment must also be safe enough to use. Believe it or not, I've seen a couple of improvised barbell setups that were a bit frightening, to say the least.
Since I had plenty of wood scrap back then, I was able to build squat stands out of wood and a few metal parts like screws and nails to join wood. The weight plate and dumbbell rack is another piece of exercise accessory equipment I built from wood.
I only had basic woodworking skills and that was actually enough to build these squat stands. You don't actually need a lot of tools to work on this DIY project. Simple carpentry tools like hammer, saw and file are enough.
Shown below is one of the safety squat stands I built out of wood. It shows the 3 levels of catches: top, middle and bottom.
Design and Plan for the Squat Stands
Strictly speaking, a squat stand would only have the two catches or the hooks to hold the bar. And this would be on the top of the stands. Since my wooden squat stands were custom built, I incorporated 2 more levels of catches.
See the above picture for the location of these 3 levels of catches.
Apart from the top catch, I added the middle catch that will hold the barbell for exercises like the Bench Press and Standing Barbell Curls. The bottom catch holds the barbell for exercises like Upright Rows and Lying Tricep Extensions.
(See Part 2 for the continuation of this article)