I have made it my goal to focus on my squat this year and whilst I am making gains im also looking to optimize my technique.
I currently go high bar, straight down pushing the knees out and I feel pretty good. Then I read starting strength for some pointer and Rippetoe suggests lifting the butt out first with a low bar. Sounds crazy to me and when I tried it I got abit of back pain but the weight also went up easy. Which do you think is optimal for long term strength? Lifting your butt first seems weird but it definately used more hamstring [/quote]
It depends on what the rest of your training looks like. The “low bar” AKA olympic squat hits the quads more and is not unlike a front squat when it comes to muscle stimulation.
The “low bar” AKA power squat his the posterior chain more and is not unlike a deadlift when it comes to muscle stimulation.
So if your goal is simply overall strength, then the best squat variation might depend on what other exercises you are doing. If you are front squatting in your program but not deadlifting, then the low bar squat might be the best option. If you are deadlifting but aren’t doing front squats then the high bar squat would be your better option.
If your goal is just to “squat more” then you should go with the variation better suited to your body type. The high bar squat is generally better suited to people with short legs and a long torso whereas the low bar squat is better suited for people with long legs and a shorter torso.
Health also come into play. The low bar squat is much harder on the lower back while the high bar squat can be harder on the knees.