Hatfield Squat with Safety Vulture - Performing Technique

Strength disciplines - bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting - are based on basic exercises, one of which is squatting with a barbell. The use of this element in training programs allows athletes to increase muscle mass and develop strength indicators.

Hatfield Squat with Safety Vulture - Performing Technique

The classical technique of the exercise involves the location of the bar on the trapezius muscle and posterior deltoids. In this case, support for the neck with your hands is a prerequisite. But there are times when an athlete cannot fix the projectile on the upper back, for example, with shoulder injuries.

For such situations, the famous athlete Frederick Hatfield has developed a specialized neck.

Historical background

From childhood, Frederick Hatfield (Frederick C. Hatfield, there is also a spelling option for the name Hatfield) was fond of various sports: running, American football, basketball. After serving in the army, he enrolled at South Connecticut State University, where he did gymnastics and performed at national championships. In 1969, Hatfield successfully completed his studies with a bachelor's degree in physical development and rehabilitation.

In 1973 he received his doctorate in sports psychology and sociology.

After graduation, he taught at universities throughout America for several years. At the same time, Hatfield did not forget about sports. He was fond of weightlifting professionally, but, not getting into the country's Olympic team, he switched to powerlifting. In the 80s, he decided to leave the professorship and do business.

His passion for strength disciplines helped him establish a company producing sports equipment and food.

Powerlifting brought fame to Hatfield. At the age of 45, an elderly athlete was able to crouch with a barbell of 1014 pounds (460 kg), setting an absolute record. The weight of Frederick himself at that time was 115 kg.

Thanks to achievements in power disciplines, he was given the popular nickname "Doctor Squat".

After this, Hatfield was increasingly invited as a consultant and coach at various sports events.

At one of the training sessions, Frederick severely damaged his shoulder joint, which meant a long recovery period and the refusal of squats with a barbell. The athlete was thinking about how to continue training and at the same time not aggravate the injury. After several attempts, he managed to create a bar for safe squats.

The projectile made it possible to balance the load on the musculoskeletal system and free the shoulders.

Subsequently, the exercise was called "Hatfield squats.

Advantages of a safe bar

Quadriceps are the largest muscles of the lower extremities. Therefore, their development directly affects the athlete's ability to squat. The bar developed by Hatfield allows you to load quadriceps muscles and increase the "explosive" strength of the legs. We will analyze other advantages of this projectile:

  • Freedom for the hands.

    In classic squats, when using large weights, the athlete involuntarily begins to “round” his back, which often leads to displacement of the intervertebral discs and injury. Using the Hatfield neck for power squats, the athlete gets the opportunity to hold his hands on the racks and thereby maintain the vertical position of the back during exercise.

  • More weight. Hatfield's projectile allows you to increase weight loads. When passing the "difficult point" of lifting, the athlete helps himself with his hands, leaning on racks.

    Of course, in competitions no one will allow you to hold on to the emphasis, but as a training exercise, such squats have a positive effect on progress.

  • Ease of use. Hatfield Vulture is equipped with a soft pillow that eliminates the discomfort in the neck and rubbing the skin. In addition, the athlete will not have to twist and strain his wrists, elbows and shoulders. The powerlifter can use free hands to “tune” the body to fit the projectile and improve exercise technique.

  • Practicality. Hatfield's “empty” vulture weighs 40 kg. It can be used in rehabilitation training. For example, for knee damage or sprains, lightweight squats are recommended. Also, the projectile is great for ending a hard training, when the athlete has practically no strength.

    In such a situation, the athlete can safely squat, and with his hands hold the racks to maintain balance.

  • Security. Hatfield claims that 75% of injuries associated with squats occur when the athlete moves away from the racks and when he puts the projectile back on the stops. When using a safe fingerboard, a powerlifter does not need to take unnecessary steps with a load on his shoulders, thereby increasing the risk of injuring his knees. The exercise is carried out almost close to the power frame.

The advantages of the Hatfield neck also include the position of the pancakes. The projectile is designed so that the center of gravity is not in line with the shoulders, but slightly lower. This reduces the dangerous load on the shoulder girdle.

The technique of Hatfield squats

Squats with a safe bar are no different in performance from the classic ones. Exercise qualitatively loads the muscles of the legs, strengthens the ligamentous apparatus and stimulates the growth of muscle mass.

Hatfield Squat Technique:

  1. Set the projectile on the power frame to the height of the middle of the chest.
  2. Grasp the transverse stops of the bar, sit down and rest your trapezoid in a soft pillow.
  3. Substitute the feet exactly under the bar and with the help of your legs remove the projectile from the racks.
  4. Take half a step back and move your palms on the uprights.
  5. Place your feet slightly wider than the shoulder joints and distribute the weight evenly (there should be no displacement on the heels or toes).

  6. On inspiration, gently lower the pelvis below the knees. Avoid leaning forward and pulling your hips back.
  7. At the bottom, do not relax. With a powerful exhale, rise to a vertical position.
  8. During the ascent, help yourself with your hands to overcome the “dead center” that occurs around the middle of the amplitude.

Recommendations from Frederick Hatfield:

  • when squatting with heavy weights, ask your partners to insure you;
  • to protect the lumbar region and knees, use a weightlifting belt and special bandages;
  • if you want to take more weight than usual, try to spread your legs wider and tilt the body forward slightly when lowering.


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