Is it easier to squat with a safety bar?
In this study, competitive powerlifters squatted about 11% less for a 3RM with a safety bar than with a barbell. The safety bar led to a more upright torso position and increased lower trap activation (assessed via EMG). It decreased activation in the vastus lateralis, the hamstrings, and the abdominals.
Why is high bar squat harder?
High bar: In the high-bar squat, the bar is further up your torso, which means that if you’re not balanced over your midfoot, the bar has greater leverage over you, making it easier for your spine to round or collapse out of the safe neutral position as you fight to stand up under the weight.