The main thing I have against Rippetoe is his spoken hatred for barbell rowing. Power cleans are a ballistic movement pulled from the ground through utilization of the posterior chain muscles; the row and power cleans are not comparable.
Barbell rows retract the scapula and work muscles like the posterior deltoids, infraspinatus and teres minor. It's essential to work these muscles if you are bench pressing since bench presses are the antagonist.
If you protract the scapula, you retract the scapula for balance. He says cleans, optional pullups and deadlifts are enough and this isn't true. Cleans and deadlifts are both posterior chain dominant. Deadlifts work the lats hard and so do cleans, but the lats are part of the internal rotators of the humerus that would only contribute to the imbalance.
The best way to hit a muscle is by working its prime function. The prime function of the posterior deltoids is transverse extension - retraction of the scapula, as well as the rhomboids and trapeziums.
Starting strength is a great program. What Rippetoe has done a great job of is teaching novice lifters that they don't need hundreds of thousands of movements each week to grow. He's also done a good job of shutting the "squats are bad for your knees" gurus up for a while. What this has also done is convinced a lot of lifters there is no better way to train.
With this in mind, I'd rather listen to a starting strength guru than a bench and curl enthusiast abiding by the bro science.
I like Rippetoe myself, but I don't agree with every ounce of information he says. Too many people take his posts as the gospel and no other books or articles are worth reading if it doesn't agree solely with what Rippetoe says.
The "look down" while squatting principle is questionable, but I have heard Rippetoe say he doesn't mind his lifters to look straight ahead either. He seems to think looking up is wrong, and I'm not sure how you can make a statement like that considering some of the most successful squatters in the world look up.
Personal Trainer- ACE, NASM AFPA; Nutrition Consultant- AFPA
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." - Philippians 4:13"