Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 16, 2015

From the Coaches

Under the Bar

Nicole Ramirez barbell squat Nicole Ramirez squatting at the Starting Strength Seminar that took place this weekend at Coliseum Strength & Conditioning in Hampton, VA. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
barbell deadlifts mary lou kern Coach Cody Miller watches on as Mary Lou Kern, age 60, deadlifts 185# for 2 easy reps. Despite a daily 3am wakeup call, she is making great progress cycling intensity days with a Texas Method setup [photo courtesy of Cody Miller]
barbell deadlift gardiner athletics Dave pulls 130kg at Gardiner Athletics [photo courtesy of Kelli Nielson]
lloyds squats 315 Lloyd hits another milestone with this training. 315# squat for three sets of 5. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
neck position barbell squat Suri learns correct neck position and eye gaze in the squat with the help of a lacrosse ball. Proper hip drive will help her get strong at the WSC barbell club for women. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
New Paltz Powerlifting Peter Nathan teaching the low bar squat to the New Paltz powerlifting club. [photo courtesy of Gardiner Athletics]

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Best of the Week

Shoulder Pain / AC Joint

I’ve been struggling with AC Joint arthritis for a few months now. I will be 40 years old in 1 month. I’ve been doing the program (Starting Strength Novice…then Texas Method) since May of last year. I am working with Dave Abdemoulaie in Chicago. I went to the Ortho who did an x-ray to confirm there is no AC joint separation, but there is some bone degeneration. And what appears to be a history of an older untreated injury (likely a bad hit from high school football).

I’ve tried a number of things:

  1. Lowered bench frequency to once a week (and switched to close-grip BP)...did that for 8 weeks
  2. Focused on form (this is on-going with Dave…)
  3. No benching for 4 weeks / no pressing for last 2 of those weeks
  4. Dropped Power Cleans (not flexible enough to properly rack the bar….made this decision cautiously after multiple coaching sessions with Dave). Replaced with Speed DLs.
  5. Ice/NSAIDs/Massage

I just started benching again this week (Sunday) after my 4 week break and amazingly my shoulder did not hurt at all. I did start nice and light (70% of my 1RM). This morning, I did presses again (also light, 75% of my 1RM), however I noticed the Press caused immediate shoulder pain (AC Joint). Have you heard of this before…where OH Press causes more pain than Bench? Or could this be that I caused the issue benching the other day and the Press aggravated it?

I’m struggling with where to take this next. Ortho wants to give me a cortisone shot…which everyone says to stay away from. Any advice?

Mark Rippetoe

An A/C joint osteophyte could cause your symptoms. I'd say that the next step is an MRI, for a complete and accurate diagnosis, possibly followed by a Mumford procedure to take out the spur. In the meantime, just do close-grip benches, and under no circumstances let anyone give you a cortisone shot. If you need surgery, get it done before you tear your cuff tendon, if it's not already torn.

Best of the Forum

4000-5000 calories

How is it that I am able to eat well below what you guys normally recommend to truly get big and strong and still put on the weight, I went from 140ish to 200ish in about a year with a diet averaging 2500 calories a day and not the full GOMAD 4000-5000 approach I see here a lot. I’m also 5’7” in height. Lifts went up as follows (3x5):

  • Squat - 85 - 310
  • Bench- 95- 200
  • Deadlift - 95- 345
  • Press - 125

I have had to try really hard for my PRs but they happened and now I feel I need to eat more because of the effort that is now needed, this is not another "I ASK THIS BECAUSE I'M AFRAID TO PUT ON BODYFAT thread" but I just wanted to know, if this is normal to have put on the weight having consumed only 2500 calories?

I would like to think most people would add about 500 calories at a time when strength becomes more difficult to gain? Or should I just shoot for the stars and eat 4000-5000 calories? I ask these probably stupid questions because I just want to get really strong and would like to know how much you would have me eating (yes I did read a clarification but the paleo diet is still like 3500-4000 calories if I remember well.)

I should also say I’m just a student whose only really physical demand is barbell training so maybe its because I burn less calories a day?

Mark Rippetoe

If you actually gained this much weight on 2500 calories, you are different than most of us here. It might be your slothful approach to the rest of your life, or it might be that you are just an amazingly efficient digester of food. Perhaps your are Digestor, King of Growth. At any rate, just add 500 at a time until you get the effect.


I just want to add this, and this is with no intention of being felt sorry for, but really so Mr. Rippetoe knows how much he has played an important role in my life and where I am heading. Throughout my teenager years drugs and alcohol really messed with my family, which affected me in more ways than one. Stress became normal, I used to cry a lot- I seem not to be able to cry or become very sad anymore. I rarely ate, that’s how I weighed in at 98, on top of that I started losing hair at about that time, the only one in the family at such a young age. At my lowest, my adopted father had past away who happens to be American (I live in the Caribbean) and I was alone for the most part, on the good side my biological parents began financially supporting me.

Anyways so here I was now, up until a couple years ago at 19, entering university and very self conscious about my appearance, and just feeling like there was so much I had missed out on early in my teens. I started gym and as I said, gained some weight and then I discovered Starting Strength and while its not some success story after all I squat 310, it did the world of wonders on my confidence and my approach to life. Mr, Rippetoe once said somewhere that he can give back a person their life, although this may have been intended for older people, it did the same to me. He deserves to know this.

Mark Rippetoe

You've done well, Dingster. Lots of us have gotten through the hard parts by getting under the bar.

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