Home Blog Back Squat Technique: How to Find the Right Grip

Back Squat Technique: How to Find the Right Grip

Written on July 2, 2014 at 5:50 am, by Eric Cressey

A lot of lifters struggle to find the right hand position on the bar during back squats; in many cases, it's because there are physical limitations blocking them from getting where they want to be - and doing so pain-free. Check out today's video to learn more:

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15 Responses to “Back Squat Technique: How to Find the Right Grip”

  1. Ken Says:

    Great article! Very helpful.

  2. Eric Lagoy Says:

    Nice video, in addition to freeing up the thoracic spine I’ve had some success decreasing elbow pain with squatting releasing pec minor and subscap (dry needling, IASTM, manual therapy, etc.), to help tilt the scap into a better position.

  3. Jeremy Berg Says:

    Why do you want to work with a narrow grip if it puts more stress on the shoulder? Is it more beneficial in some other aspect than a wide grip?

  4. Mike Alves Says:


    You don’t look prego w/ twins. ;-). Congratulations to your bride and you. That’s very exciting.

    On another note, what did you do with the bigger guy in the video. Wider grip, front squat or safety squat?

    Cheers and good to see you at PB, RI.


  5. Eric Cressey Says:


    Some guys definitely feel like it gets them tighter and in more control of the bar. I liked it a lot…until my shoulder started hating it!

  6. Eric Cressey Says:

    Great point, Eric!

  7. Adrian "Daisy" Day Says:


    Great post. Showing the two guys in a side position really indicated the difference levels of mobility.

  8. ellen stein Says:

    so I take it then you are not a fan of the way Mark Rippetoe advocates LB squatting bar position? I have changed my whole squat since I met him and did his workshop and it has improved my squats tremendously…your thoughts?

  9. John Donaghey Says:

    Hello Eric,

    is is pointless to take your hands wider to ease the pain on the elbows? I do get the elbow strain (on the inside of the elbow) when I squat.

    I guess i should work more on thoracic mobility. I was just wondering if it was okay to take the hands wider for the starting position.



  10. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi John,

    I think it’s perfectly fine to bring the hands out a bit. You have to work with what you can do.

  11. Wynter Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Great video. In a perfect world would you recommend the elbows to stay in line with the ribs as with Connor or have the elbows flar back slightly? What are the pros/cons of each?

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Nick C Says:

    Why thumbless grip?

  13. Eric Cressey Says:


    I don’t usually teach it. Just something these guys did on the fly.

  14. Eric Cressey Says:


    I’d prefer to see them in line with the ribs – or at least close to it.

  15. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, Mike! For the bigger guys, a wider grip usually works best and allows them to find a comfortable shoulder position without compromising stability. They can certainly front squat and use the SSB as well.

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