T Nation

Rippetoe Modified to Avoid Back Squat?

47 years old with history of back and neck issues. Thought I would give Rippetoe’s Starting Strength a try, but back squats push forward too much on the upper thoracic / lower cervical area for me. After doing warmup sets plus three work sets of back squats the other day, I had a noticeably head-forward posture for a while afterwards. Plus I work at a computer all day anyway, and I remember reading an article by a T-Nation contributor recommending front squats as being better for “computer guy”.

I have tried front squats and they seem like something I can do, but my understanding is they do not provide a balanced stimulus to quads and hamstrings. So I am guessing if I replace back squats with front squats, some other adjustment(s) will be needed in the program to balance quads vs. hamstrings.

QUESTION:

Assuming back squats are out, and assuming 3 sessions per week alternating ABA followed by BAB – which of the following would be better?

Version I –

Session A
3 x 5 front squat
3 x 5 OH press
3 x 5 barbell row

Session B
3 x 5 RDL
3 x 5 dumbbell bench press, 30 degree incline
(bb bench bothers my shoulders, and I don’t have a spotter)
15 total chinups

Version II –

Session A
3 x 5 front squat
3 x 5 OH press
3 x 5 barbell row

Session B
2 x 5 front squat
3 x 5 dumbbell bench press, 30-degrees
4 x 5 RDL

Believe it or not, the leg press can help you here. Just get the feet high on the pressing board and push with the heels.

The RDLs are not a bad idea though. I wouldn’t front squat twice in a row myself.

If you are a computer guy, then you ought to look at Deconstructing the Computer Guy, Shoulder Savers and Neanderthal No More by Eric Cressey. I believe all these articles are on T-Nation, but he also has them on his own site.

I would think you should work on air squats( ones with no weight) and get your form in good order, then add weight. Like Rippetoe says make sure you get below 90 degrees, that is true of all squats. I would also suggest the overhead squat besides the fact that it works the entire body it punishes bad form and may assist in you correcting the back squat. Keep working at it, you’ll only get better.

If you go to the beginner site, TheDudeAbides recently did the program using front squats. It worked well. He did the deadlifts as prescribed.