Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength and Practical Programming, answers all of your questions about how to do the back squat, including high- vs low-bar, narrow- vs. wide-stance squatting, paused reps, shoes, cues, and more.

In this episode, I speak with the grandfather of barbell training, Mark Rippetoe, who has given us many a great things, like Starting Strength and Practical Programming.

I’m a fan of Mark and his work, of course, because nobody has done more to promote, teach, and defend barbell training than Rip, and because he’s extremely disagreeable, which always makes for a fun conversation.

In this interview, we talk the squat, an exercise Mark kinda likes. In fact, he says that there are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.

And whether you agree or not, I think you’re going to find today’s talk helpful. You can find the basics of good squatting in Mark’s book Starting Strength, but once you get some experience under your belt, you begin to wonder how to optimize the movement.

For instance, you’ve probably wondering…

  • Should you high- or low-bar squat?
  • Should you squat with a narrow or wide stance?
  • Should you use paused reps?
  • Should you use weightlifting shoes?
  • What are the best cues?

In this episode, Mark is going to answer all of those questions and more. By the end, you’ll know more about squatting than 90% of the people in your gym, including the trainers.


11:12 – What is The Barbell Prescription about?

14:52 – What are you thought on high bar versus low bar squatting?

28:11 – Which is better for squatting – a narrow or wide stance?

32:25 – What are your thoughts on pause reps?

36:35 – What are your thoughts on heels elevated on plates?

40:32 – What are your thoughts on weightlifting shoes?

41:43 – What are coaching cues that you recommend?

48:58 – What are your thoughts on the safety bar?

49:58 – What are your thoughts on functional training?

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