Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 29, 2016

  • Easy Doesn't Work - An SSC panel discussion on a recent paper in which the authors concluded that "Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men."
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #32 - Rip answers questions about shimming a shoe for a leg length discrepancy, the difference in training variables for men and women, and training with significant health issues.

Under the Bar

Carl Raghavan at WFAC Starting Strength Coach Carl Raghavan, from London, squats at WFAC during his annual trip to the USA for the Starting Strength Coaches Association Conference. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
Caitlin Loeffer squats Caitlin Loeffer, who began her Novice progression just over a month ago at ten pounds lighter in bodyweight, squats an easy 115 for three sets of five. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength and Conditioning]
Carrie Tellefson squats Carrie Tellefson squats a lifetime PR of 162.5 lbs for 5x3 at Gig Harbor Strength & Fitness. She has put on 15 lbs since she started her Novice Progression and makes gains every week! [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
Marc Scholvinck deadlifts 405 Marc Scholvinck deadlifts 405 for a set of five, setting his personal record, with many PRs yet to come. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength and Conditioning]

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Best of the Week

Weight VS Depth on Arthritic Knees

I started my Mom on SS 10 weeks ago. She is 68 and has arthritic knees. The SS program has made a big difference in her life and we are very excited. She has gone from body weight squats to 55 pounds now. However, knee pain prevents her from reaching full depth. My question is: Do we keep increasing the weight or wait until she can reach the correct depth? I am concerned that adding weight without proper depth will be hard on her knees. She is leaning forward out of balance and trying to get the bar lower without bending her knees.

Tom Campitelli

I would recommend losing the bar and having her squat to a box. I would bet that knee pain is not the limiting factor here, but strength is. It is likely that she will have trouble standing up from a below parallel box, so find the height to which she can squat for three sets of five. Lower the box until she is below parallel. Then start adding weight. Take the box away once she can consistently go below parallel. She will want to sit down on the box instead of keeping her weight in her feet. She will need to be cued to fight this tendency.

Best of the Forum

Statins and Muscle Damage
Andy Baker

Been hearing and reading a lot in the media lately about the possible links between statin drug usage and muscle soreness and muscle tears. Even the Lipitor website has some info on it about this possible danger. About two weeks ago, this was all over the news and that was the first I had ever heard about it. Wanted to relate to everyone on the board who either takes statins or trains those that do that I can attest to this side effect first hand.

About a week ago I had a client suddenly yell out in pain during a set of air squats during CF WOD I was taking him through. He grabbed his hamstring where it inserts at the knee joint and has had a lot of pain in this area since that time. This particular client is well adapted to regular back squats and high repetition air squats as a part of his program and had no problems with his form so I was baffled as to the problem. He revealed to me today that he has been on Lipitor for about 6 weeks and the light bulb went off in my head about the possible connection between his mysterious hamstring injury and his Lipitor usage.

I then did a run through of all of my clients’ information charts that have ever experienced an injury while training with me. I had two other injury cases over the past year. One guy had a really severe strain/tear right around his hip flexor region during a set of walking lunges with no added weight. The other guy had a strain/tear in his groin during a set of lightweight thrusters. I went back into their folders today and guess what - BOTH OF THESE GUYS ARE ON LIPITOR TOO.

It was just so weird to have three different clients, all of which were very well adapted to the exercises they were performing, were using perfect or near perfect form, were properly warmed up, and were using little to no resistance suffered similar mysterious injuries and all are on the same meds!

Take it for what it is worth but I believe in the connection.

Mark Rippetoe

It would behoove everybody taking statins on the advice/insistence of their GP due to a slightly elevated serum cholesterol to do their own homework and carefully weigh the costs/benefits of this usually unnecessary prophylaxis.

Lon Kilgore

Putting someone on anti-cholesterolemic drugs after one test that shows a marginally above normal result is wrong. A series of tests separated by weeks is required to truly establish the presence of hypercholesterolemia. When hypercholesterolemia is authentic then diet and exercise behavior modification should be the first prescription. If those turn out to be ineffective over a period of a few months, then prescription therapy should then be considered.

I also find it interesting that in a huge number of clinical laboratory tests, the results need to differ from "normal" by two standard deviations in order to be considered a medical problem. I'm pretty certain that this is not the case in cholesterol measurement.

High cholesterol is associated with premature death over time. It is not an emergency condition that any research I know of says will kill you tomorrow. That means a GP and someone with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia has time to address the situation properly prior to prescribing statins.

Andy Baker

I am always amazed at the number of clients I get through my doors who are in their thirties, forties, and fifties that have been prescribed statins, blood pressure meds, anti -depressants, etc as a first step in the treatment process. It is very sad that a large part of the medical community has become nothing more than glorified drug peddlers.

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