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Opinions on Rippetoe Squat Technique?

I’ve been trying to master my squat form, and I’ve been using Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength”. He recommends low bar, relatively wide stance, and looking at a spot on the floor six feet in front of you, instead of looking up. I recently read people criticizing this form, arguing that high bar, narrow stance, looking up is better.

So, I was wondering what people thought of Rippetoe and his squat technique. Thoughts?

Depends on weather you are learning from a weightlifting athlete or a powerlifter. Traditionally Rippetoe is a powerlifting coach, and thus his program is designed in preparation for powerlifting strength.

If you are doing the program for neither powerlifting nor weighlifting, ultimately it doesnt matter which type of squat you use, because later down the track you will most likely be interchanging back squat with front squat, or interchanging with from low-bar to high-bar.

Generally the ‘head facing six feet in front of you’ and ‘looking up’ is the same thing. Simply raise your head to at least chin parallel to the ground.

About head position: if you look down, your lumbar spine will round, and if you look too high your neck will hyperextend. Just try to avoid both extremes.

I tuck my chin and push my head back. This is proper form and usually you are looking in front of you and down more than up. Looking up is a really dumb idea and hyperextends the neck and can round the upper back too. Tucking the elbows and pushing them forward is very helpful in keeping an upright back also. I’ve actually heard idiots tell people to push the elbows back…really bad advice.

For deadlift the common mistake is to start with the bar as close to the shins as possible, it should start mid foot for similar reasons and the chin should be tucked and the head forced back…

It all depends on what you want out of your squat. Use 'em all throughout your training life!

When doing back squats I just try to imagine a tennis ball under my chin, seems to do the trick for me…

I do put elbows back a bit as it stops the bar trying to roll down my back…

One reason Rippetoe recommends looking down during the squat is that it is difficult to generate hip drive if you are looking up (he also mentions that hyperextending your neck is dangerous). Try it for yourself, and see what you think.