Originally Posted by marg
looking down makes it much more likely for a beginner to round the back. i don't mean look straight up, but look up at a 45 degree angle. i'm not familiar with starting strength, but it looks like a legit book. i learned to lift from a competitive powerlifter and former mr. universe competitors. i'm not saying that validates my advice because many competitors are just genetic freaks that know very little. i only mention what worked for me because i believe it's the best way. just like financial advice, everyone has a system that works. i think looking up is less risky.
FWIW, i have never had a problem with my stability, nor did the handful i taught to successfully squat in a day or so. i also think that my way is safer considering the many trainers that also advise to look up.
books also tell people terrible advice like putting weights under your heels to get that initial balance down, too. the book doesn't mention the extra stress this puts on the knee tendons.
Not a fan of this advice. Looking up is not good. Just think of keeping your chest up and you'll be fine . Likewise, I agree with the other posters. Don't breath during the rep, and in fact it may be better to hold your breath for at least a couple of reps.
I'd also recommend pointing your toes out some (like 30 degrees) and make sure to press your knees out sideways. This will recruit more leg muscles.