Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 21, 2015

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eric pogue deadlift Eric Pogue locks out his final deadlift attempt of 465 lbs. An 8 week strength cycle at Crossfit Solace with SSC Michael Wolf put 90 lbs on Eric's squat and 60 on his deadlift. [photo courtesy of Michael Wolf]
strongman competition group Left to right, Kelly Adams, Laurie Pagano,Tonya McCarter, Susan Clayton, Em Drager, and their Starting Strength Coach Emily Socolinsky, competed in the 2015 Winter Wreckage Strongman Contest at MacMillan Training Systems in Pennsylvania. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
strongman car pulls log presses 2015 Winter Wreckage Strongman Contest: Left, On her way to 2nd place in Women's Heavyweight Novice, Tonya deadlifts the car for 24 reps. Right, Emily Socolinsky presses the 95# log. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
strongman keg toss sandbag carry 2015 Winter Wreckage Strongman Contest: Left, Susan throws the 100# keg over the bar. Right, Em carries the 150# sandbag for over 300 feet. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
anna 225 deadlift Anna pulls a 200 lb PR set of 5 deadlifts at WFAC. In just over two months of training with Nick Delgadillo, Anna has put over 100 lbs on her squat, 70 lbs on her deadlift and gained 5 lbs while losing bodyfat. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
jon strength training Jon squats 250x3 in the WSC barbell club. He recently completed in the Starting Strength Fall Classic and has set new strength goals for the new year. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
training gardiner athletics Scott and Charity got in a few training sessions at Gardiner Athletics while visiting from Oklahoma. [photo courtesy of Kelli Nielson]
zarotney deadlift for football Evan Zarotney deadlifts 225 x 5 as he works to get strong for football. [photo courtesy of Black Iron Training]

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Best of the Week

Is the press an unneeded accessory in the training program?

When I first did [the Starting Strength linear progression] I didn't have a bench so I did squat, press and dead. First run though SS and advanced novice my press was 187 when my bench was 270. My bench is now 250 and with out pressing at all I did a test and found my press was 170. The bench press seems to be giving my shoulders the same ability I was achieving when I was doing both lifts 2 years ago. Why is the press advised if I don't seem to be getting more bang for my buck?


Richie, this is just my personal recommendation based off my own trials and errors. Looking back at my log, when my shoulders were healthier, the combination of heavy overhead pressing (I was doing more of a press 1.5, not press 2.0) and benching seemed to help me the most. I worked up to a 465 bench TnG and a 315 OHP (could have probably done more). After tearing my supraspinatus 50-70% I couldn't press anymore without feeling pain. I did find a way to bench, and I kept doing that. Fast forward now the present day, and even though I have been benching multiple times per week, I wasn't seeing the same kind of progress. Now I messed up my other shoulder, so I think I am going to focus on rehabbing it by working full ROM press and bench (both with a pretty narrow grip). In the past I was trying to find a way to get weight back on the bench as fast as possible. This time I am just going to keep it really light and take the slow road while trying to push up my squat and DL.

So if I were you I would do both.

Matt Reynolds

I'm not actually sure that I've ever met anyone who has actually followed the program who decided they didn't like press MORE than bench press.

Press is just the most bad ass lift there is. I love reading about guys like Bednarski who were just super humanly strong driving up these world record presses. This is much, much cooler than a big bench press. There are few things more satisfying than a PR press.

Best of the Forum

Question on rack pull/halting/deadlift cycle

I set a goal to pull a 600 lb deadlift by the end of 2011, if not sooner (pulled 545x1 yesterday). Since I'm experiencing issues with recovery from heavy deadlifts I've chosen to start a program centered around haltings and rack pulls for my heavy pulling.

The issue I have is that I love to deadlift. I always have; it's my favorite of all the lifts. It's going to be very strange for me to train without deadlifting. I'll trust your judgement, though, and give it a go. I understand I’ll be alternating haltings and rack pulls every other week. I read that you only deadlifted in the warm-up room and on the platform on meet day. Since I have no plans to compete in a powerlifting meet at this time, I have a question for you.

How long would you suggest cycling in the haltings and rack pulls before testing the full ROM deadlift again? 8 weeks, 12, 15...?

My stiff legs end with 405x5 and I do heavy shrugs twice a week. I'm sure that's not helping my recovery issues since that would be 2 days a week of heavy pulling with cleans on a 3rd day. I just love to pull...

Mark Rippetoe

It will be interesting to see if that is enough base for a 600 deadlift. Figure on 5 lb. jumps, so that would be 10 lbs/month for the 55 lb. span. Given a couple of resets, probably by October.


Got it. Just to be clear, are you recommending the haltings/rack pulls straight thru until around October. Or do you suggest pulling from the floor a few times to chart my progress as I go?

And my squat will be going up. I'm planning on a mid-400s set of 5 by summer. I've got a couple of issues to work out with recovery and cleaning up technique. The strength is there.


How many weeks after beginning the alternating of rack pulls/haltings before testing the deadlift? Would you wait to do it on the intensity day when you're body’s a little bit less beat up?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know that you test the deadlift, because if you do you interrupt your training for the deadlift. Ironic, eh? Maybe once, Travis, after a reset and a recovery to the weight.

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