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Squat Technique for Tall Guy?


I've always been training with a low bar squat technique, using the method dictated by Rippetoe. However I have also found this has led me to some inevitable back injuries due to the nature of my body shape. Being 6 ft 3 with very long legs and a short torso has often made it hard for me to squat.

Recently I've adopted the high bar squat position where you hold the bar on your traps, not your delts and I've felt this has been better for my back than the low bar position, and has evened out the differences in the size of my levers, essentially making my back lever longer. This has helped stop me doing good mornings out of the hole, but I'm always on the quest to find the best technique to suit me so I'd like to hear the experience of similar body shaped lifters. And also try to fine tune my squat.

Currently I do thumbless grip (as advised by Rippetoe)
Bar on traps
Slightly wider than shoulder width stance
Very deep squat

Now I'm curious after reading an article by Dave Tate, as to if I should do box squats instead of normal squats? Would this suit my body type? This would mean returning to the low bar position, taking a much wider stance and reducing my ROM so that i just go below parallel. Any opinions onto which technique i should try?


Your goals? If you want to build your squat, squatting like a powerlifter trying to build his squat is probably the way to go. If you want to build your legs, squatting like a bodybuilder trying to build his legs is probably the way to go.


Yes, forgot to mention goals. My goals are for strength. I'm not looking to be competing in powerlifitng competitions though.


Im 6'3.

I get under the bar and I squat.

When I had problems (years ago) I went to see a powerlifter (he happened to own the gym).

I did hip and knee exercise, corrected my form, got rid of the two by four under the heals and squatted.

Box squat, front squat, back squat, overhead squat, zercher, sissy, split squat, pistol, etc.....

Are irrelevant of your height. They are goal dependent only.

having said that, I have low back issues. I was always afraid of box squat, thought they would hurt my lower back. Found that they didn't and where actually quite good. Just get proper training. Start light, box at right height, get form first, then weight.

Good for strength.

Any powerlifting exercise is great for strength, even if you dont want to become a powerlifter.

One of the first video I saw years ago. Good intro.


i too get under the bar and squat, have been doing so for 2 years now. So what squat technique do you do? High bar? low bar? Thumbless? super wide stance?

Seen squatrx, it's good, but I feel it's a bit too congested with info and not enough on nailing squat form.


well im short compared to you guys at only 6ft tall with my long legs and nubby torso. i used to have issues squatting as well. i thought for sure it was mu height till i learned to squat between my legs. then ATG came shortly later with ease.

now i squat however i feel. in that i will go shoulder width to twice shoulder width, high bar to low bar, fronts, overheads, box, etc., and all kinds of variations. once i learned to squat properly i started to be able to do them all without pain or discomfort.

the best video i have seen on squatting was this:


if you arent married to the idea of back squatting, try the front squat. ive read numerous times that its better for taller lifters. i prefer it for quad development anyways.


Who cares.

I squat.

I adapted to my body because I have a bad lower back. Do you actually think thumb less is a defining factor in squatting?

You asked because of your height. it's horse shit.

if there is too much info, then got to the first video, practice that until you have it down pat, and move on. Get a coach. Go to a better gym.

I didn't get better by looking at videos or posting on a forum. I got better by having my form critiqued by someone who had numbers to prove he knew what he was doing. I'll never be a power lifer (Have no desire), but I have had enough injuries to understand that form > weight. My back was so bad, I squatted with only the bar, after two months of broom stick work, hip work and knee work.

The bar sits on my shoulders, as I still have pain from a whiplash. I use all kind of stances, depending what I'm working on. Right now, it's power and strength, so back squat with a power lifting stance.

Sorry about the tone, but you need to simplify. Do what is right for YOU.



I care. Body proportion is definitely a factor when it comes to weightlifting and can often be a limiting factor. I also like to know the justifications behind different things. Some say thumbless, some say with thumbs, I want to know what the difference is.

Maybe putting this in a beginners forum is a bad idea because I know very well how to squat with good form, because I've put in the time and read widely, but there's no intermediate forum so this'll have to do.

Yes I do like to keep things simple but I also like to question things and finely tweak and optimise them to suit me and my body type. The huge amount of variations in squats means that there are hundreds of combinations to try out, so I'm trying to figure out ones that will compliment my body type, and merely asking for suggestions.


I'm 6'3" and front squatting makes it easier to get below parallel. My 2 cents.


There is no right answer dude. Do what feels best for you and what suits your goals. If you want a huge squat, doing a narrow, high bar stance is gonna make that goal harder to reach. If you want huge quads, I would recommend against a wide stance, low bar squat. You can rephrase it a million ways, but nobody can tell you what will work best for you, you have to figure it out yourself.


Man the biggest thing that's helped me (6'4" and leggy)... just squat and don't worry about it. I have decent leg development (or at least proportional to the rest of me), I can run and jump and all that as good as anybody, my legs feel strong even if my actual squat number isn't that impressive.

If you don't plan to compete, just squat because it's good for you.


thumb or thumbless, that's bullshit. I wanna see the person who claims one is better than the other, squat MORE with the one they claim is better. Do you think it's possible that someone may do that?

I think the most balanced squat is full squats high bar back squats. If you do low bar parallel squats, that's what you'll get good at. If you do front squats that's what you'll get good at. Every other type of squat will lag behind if you don't do it.

But like I said, the most balanced one for overall strength is full high bar back squats IMO. If they hurt you then try front ones. I don't think some beginner really needs box squats if they can full squat with no flexibility issues btw unless you plan to compete in powerlifting.


The best thing you can do IMO is to pick a style and stick to it. I'm 6'4'' with the same build. It sucks. Takes longer for noticeable changes in leg development, strength gains, blah blah. I've also learned over the years that bitching and excuse making will not change me to having a natural squatters body. Just gotta deal with it. I personally use high bar, but pick whichever style that is most comortable. If a certain strains your back more than another, scrap it, but if you pick one you're comfortable with and practice it dilligently then strength will come. It just may come a little slower for us tall guys..


I don't think that back injuries are inevitable for a tall person doing low bar back squats. injuries from squatting sounds like the result of something going wrong with squatting. that being said, different levers are definitely suited to different styles of squat.

if you are looking for tips on improving your squat the best thing you could do would be to post vids. i've been surprised to learn in my own case that often what i think i'm doing is fairly different to what i think i'm doing. even if you are doing what you think you are doing people are better able to assess how you can do things better if you post vids.

you could post vids of you squatting with different squat styles, for instance.

squatting with a more upright torso (high bar back squats or front squats) reduces the torque on your back, that is true. it is also good to have a strong lower back / to train the lower back, though.


Pick a style and use it, don't keep changing.
My son is 6ft 5 and squats similar to me: bar on traps, but his style is better (I'm 6ft only)


People do have anthromorphic differences and that does affect training, if you are experieincing problems with your lower back from low bar squats, don't do them. If you have access to a safety bar that would be ideal. I would look at Louie Simmons videos on squatting. I have never squated low bar style, and have hit 555 for 3 and have good leg size. I do not have a short torso but have worked with guys who did. Adapt the training to you, not the other way around. Good luck


I find wider stance, feet pointed outward about 35-40 degree's works for me at 6ft, ectomorphic shape. I'd add that i have poor hip mobility though so this is why i find the wide stance more accomodating.

Like the others have said its quite a personal thing but usually i've found most tall trainees find a wider stance more suited to their morphology. If i were you i'd either get to the base of the problem by getting a coach. Or, try each and every squating technique/variation till you find one that suits you best.


check out 'proper back position for a power' article by Ripptoe on this site. if you are a tall guy... maybe you have that lower back numbness thing going on. he might have the fix for you...