T Nation

The Opposite of What I Knew About the Squat


He basically just instructed his trainee to "push your butt up at the bottom and drive your hips at the top". Isn't that the same as GMing your way to the top? That is exactly what his instruction is...

This highly contradicts Louie's instruction of "driving with your head first once you ascend".

If this is how your truly do the squat, then I've actually been doing the squat right! I've videotaped myself once and I noticed that I do use alot of hip drive. At first, I thought "OMG! I'm GMing my way to the top! This is not good. I need to learn how to lead with my head/chest once I start ascending from the bottom", and then all of a sudden, the Ripster preaches about how my style of squatting (which I thought was wrong) is what should be done.


I don't understand what you're trying to say. All I know is that Simmons and Rippetoe squat techniques are different. If you want to compare squat technique....post your vid.


Not quite the same as GM'ing since you are supposed to keep your back angle relative to the floor the same (as much as possible) through the lower half of the movement. Both versions of instruction require you to transfer force from the p-chain to the bar and that means a stiff torso.

Rip emphasizes the butt, I think, because most people that he deals with quad-squat. The shoulders and hips are supposed to rise at the same rate from bottom. Simmons' focus is to get people to stay tight through the torso while using their assumed-to-be strong p-chain. Again, the shoulder and hips rise at the same rate from the bottom.


They definitely are. What I am basically trying to say is that the two of the most highly respected figures in strength training contradict each other. I've always thought that their instructions with the squat are the same. I thought that the only difference between their instructions is the depth and stance width. I've always thought Rippetoe advocates going ATG, and it seems that he is fine when his trainees just go to parallel... Which is quite disappointing for me because I absolutely love full squats, as in having my butt 4-6 inches from the ground. THE DEEPER IT IS, THE BETTER. The lower you are flexibly capable of squatting down, the more weight you'll be able to catch while doing either of the olympic lifts...

I just learned something today and I just figured I should share it with you guys. All people who posts here in the strength sports section are my idols and I really respect them...


He seemed to coaching to beginners in the clips that I saw.

For competative lifting, I would disagree with everything he said and go with Louie Simmons. I'm not familliar with Ripetto other than these few short clips, but I would guess that the results of their different coaching styles and purposes are vastly different.

From my perspective, in the squat vid he was teaching that dude how to get clam shelled and over complicating posterior chain recruitment for the squat.

Dan John on the other hand, has a very good basic squat vid clip. I can't find it for the life of me though.


I don't really remember any of Louie's articles wheer he instucts people to keep your back angle equal. He always said "head goes up first before the ass." i think that the only difference between them is the way they teach their guinea pigs. It's like when a coach teaches an athlete how to clean. He can either say "angle of the back stays the same until..." or "bar, shoulders, and hips go up at the same rate until...".

...Or, you can instruct them by doing it MY WAY. If I were to teach someone how to do a clean, I would emphasize him to "lead with the shoulders". It seems that if you instruct someone to "raise the shoulders and hips at the same rate", they consciously try to raise their shoulders and hips, which if you are doing it, you would feel as if you're doing it right, but you're wrong. YOU SHOULDN'T CONSCIOUSLY RAISE YOUR HIPS. Shoulders should lead first, and then the hips will automatically follow atleast in my experience in self coaching myself.



Was this the one you were talking about?


Yup. Thats the one.

Very succinct, spot on form developement.

Ripetto never seemed to notice that the guy he was coaching for that squat vid had bad form from the hips up- with his head hanging, elbows back and spine at a less than ideal articulation before going into the whole hamstring mechanics thing.

Good hamstrings aren't going to be worth a crap if your spine buckles as your hips rise.


No one should do it your way, and you should not teach anyone how to clean because you don't know how to. Stop.


Head down and elbows up is actually the way he teaches people to squat. Madness, I know.


I do not agree with the heads down part, but I do agree with the elbows up. When doing a low bar squat, in order for you to create a "resting spot" for the bar, you have to really raise your elbows up.


No you don't.

I am by no means an expert, but the one thing I've figured out is that there isn't one way to squat. There are just too many variables that affect squat technique, physical leverages (leg length, torso length, gut, etc..), muscular strength throughout bodyparts,felxibility and mobility, gear/no gear (including belt, and wraps as variables), monolift/walkout...

Damn everytime I add 10lbs to the bar I need to relearn my technique because maybe my hips were my weak point and now its my abs or whatever.

If you randomly picked 20 great squatters past/present, you'd probably see at least half a dozen very unique techniques.

So find out what works for you now, but don't expect it to work forever.


You're so wrong here, its almost not funny.


I just discovered this whole elbows thing this week. Read an E-book by Jim Wendler where he discussed it and I was thinking about driving my elbows under the bar while squatting that day. It seemed like it fixed everything. It's impossible to cave over when pushing your elbows forward. Amazing. I wish somebody had told me that a year ago.

It seems like the kid in the video isn't really pushing his hips forward and completing the movement at the top. Am I off base with that?


Lost all respect for Rippetoe with the damned Cross-Fit shirt he's got on...:wink: Kidding.

Really though, squat (and deadlift) technique is going to depends alot on limb segment lengths. There is of course ways to do it so that you 'don't get killed' and ways to do it to 'add more mass' and ways to do it to 'lift as much damn weight as possible'. Give me 5 great coaches in the strength and muscle game and you will see 5 different ways to coach the squat and/or deadlift. And they will each have great reasons for why they teach it the way they do.

I've seen 160lb dudes all jacked up on whatever "deadlifting" 405 for reps by bouncing the shit off the floor with a rounded back. Do I come over to him with my maybe 300lb max and tell him how to deadlift properly? He's lifting more than me. That and with whatever he's on he may punch a hole through the wall and bite my head off Ozzy Ozbourne style.

In a nutshell, get the weight up without killing yourself. You can find pretty technique on the NSCA site for squat and deads.


For what its worth, I've recently switched to squatting with my head looking straight ahead or slightly down. Granted, I squat low bar and keep my elbows under the bar, but I feel like this helps me lead with my shoulders rather than my head, which is a stronger position for me.

If you have to chicken wing your elbows out to keep a low bar position, then you aren't tight enough. The bar doesn't "sit" on your back so much as it's held there between your arms and torso. If you're trying to casually "set" the bar on your back like you might do when you squat with a high bar, you're going to have to create a shelf. If you aren't a SHW with zero shoulder mobility, then why are you placing your hands on the bar like one, bring them in as close as you comfortably can, then bring them in another inch or two and that will be where your hands should be. For me, that means that my thumbs are only a few inches from my shoulders when I take the bar out. Keeping your hands close like this will force you to pinch your shoulder blades together and keep you tight.


Or- You could grow yourself some traps.

You should also be rolling the knurl of the bar upward and inward to give it some traction. Sounds masochistic, but true. Not like a flesh eating steamroller, just a little twist so that it digs in and creates a resting spot.

But if you are realy dedicated to the "low bar elbows back" squat technique, let me ask you this-

How are you going to tighten and brace your lats/traps with your elbows back?


Rippetoe has taught tons of people how to squat. There's no way his method is just stupid. The whole focus of his squat method is training what he calls "hip drive." You sit back into the hole, and then drive up with your hips. This really helps get the whole posterior chain into the lift. There are two reasons he says to keep the head down.

First of all, looking up makes it difficult to drive with the hips the way he wants you to (in my experience, this is true). Second of all, it's safer for your neck to be in a neutral position when you are holding heavy weights on your back. Some people argue that it is impossible to keep a lumbar arch when your head is looking down, but this isn't true. It may be true that it is more natural to maintain a lumbar arch with the head pointing up, but with practice, you can maintain a lumbar arch and a neutral neck position at the same time.

As for the "conflict" between Louie Simmons and Rippetoe, I don't really think there is one. Louie Simmons trains the elite powerlifter, whose only goal is to put up huge numbers. Rippetoe has made a name for himself by teaching beginners. Rippetoe's focus is on a balance between squatting safely and squatting big weights, whereas Simmons' focus is on squatting ridiculously huge weights. In a sense, Rippetoe and Simmons are teaching different lifts altogether.


Also, Simmons is instructing squatters who are squatting in 2-4 plys of material that allows them to take a very wide stance, sit WAY back into the gear, and stay VERY upright.

That changes things to a degree.


Eh, grow a little more meat on your back you'll find a good low-bar groove. Using your arms winged-back like that to hold the bar can be rough on your shoulders. That's not to say that I haven't seen soem great squatting done that way- just that it always makes me feel like my arms are being ripped out of their sockets.