Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 19, 2016

  • More Fully Alive, Pt 2 - Leah Lutz describes the early stages of her transformation from fat person to competitive powerlifter and strength coach.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Episode 35 - On Pain: Physician and Starting Strength Coach Austin Baraki discusses chronic pain and pain management with Mark Rippetoe.
From the Coaches
  • Emily Socolinsky is Strong - How barbell training turned her life around. [Directed by cinematographer Shannon Palmer]

Under the Bar

axle deadlift Scenes from the 5th Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest to benefit the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation. The event is organized each year by Fivex3 Training. 1 of 3: Axle deadlift [photo courtesy of Brad Norris]
circus dumbbell press
2 of 3: Circus dumbbell press. [photo courtesy of Brad Norris]
hercules hold
3 of 3: Hercules hold. [photo courtesy of Brad Norris]
wolf and the deadlift Starting Strength Coach Michael Wolf begins teaching the deadlift at last week's Starting Strength Seminar in Hampton, VA. [photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds]
bodyweight deadlift jamie mullens Jamie Mullens, D.C. deadlifts her bodyweight (120lbs) for 5 in week 3 of her Novice Progression at Gig Harbor Strength and Fitness. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
Firefighter Allison Monda trains the deadlift Gig Harbor Firefighter, Allison Monda, deadlifts 165 in week two of her Novice Progression at Gig Harbor Strength and Fitness. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]

Click images to view slideshow.
Submit your images to
Submission guidelines to enter this month's Under the Bar prize drawing.

Best of the Week

Protect Yo’ Neck: A question about neck exercises

Does training the neck with weighted resistance need to be performed differently than other training?

Is there a distinction to be made between types of neck movements, e.g. flexion/extension, rotation, protraction/retraction and how they should be programmed for incremental overloading? Does the nature of the cervical spine and how it articulates warrant specific programming considerations apart from how one would train any other movement?

How quickly can the actual joint tissues adapt to incremental overloading? And how does the anatomy of the neck and head dictate how one should do a movement, i.e. what should be avoided?

Mark Rippetoe

What is the normal function of the neck musculature?


Stabilizing the neck. Also moving the neck around, but usually never against a large resistance. Thus I assume you think training your neck using "movements" is rubbish.

We also don't train our back muscles by moving our spine around, but rather by doing deadlifts during which the back muscles stabilize the spine.

Anyway, moving the spine while under load doesn't seem to be a good idea.

Mark Rippetoe

If isometric stabilization is the function of the neck muscles, then exercises which require neck stability – either directly, like the deadlift, bench, and press, or indirectly, like the squat – work the neck muscles. If you are a football lineman who uses his helmet as a weapon, it makes sense to do extra neck work. If you are a lifter, your neck will grow accidentally.

Best of the Forum

Good knees forward vs. bad knees forward

When is forward knee movement acceptable and when is it not? I am not able at the moment to dip below parallel without moving my knees forward: I stick my ass way back, and lean forward until the bar threatens to slide forward (bad, I know). Should I allow forward knee motion for the sake of going below parallel, or just go as low as I can without knees going forward?

Mark Rippetoe

Knee movement forward is a necessary part of keeping the bar over the mid-foot, but it has to take place at the right time or it screws up posterior chain drive. If you slide your knees forward at the bottom you're increasing your knee angle, which slacks the hamstrings from the distal (knee) end. Like when you do a machine leg curl, any increase in knee angle shortens the hamstrings. Since the squat depends on hip extension – a hamstring contraction from the other end, the proximal (hip) end, of the hamstring to open the hip angle, any slack on the tense hamstring from the knee end kills the tension trying to open the hips from the other end. If you allow your knees to slide forward at the bottom, you're destroying your capacity to drive your hips up. Knees must travel forward, but they have to be through doing so by the time you get about 1/3 of the way down, so that the rest of the descent can be used to sit back and tighten the hamstrings and adductors for a better rebound and hip drive out of the hole.

You can easily get parallel this way. Everybody does, because depth is hip travel, not knee travel. You can actually get depth with no knee travel at all – with vertical shins – if you lean forward enough. But this leaves out the quads, and we want to work them. So slide your knees forward first, at the top, then sit back and squat to depth with your hips.

More from Starting Strength and the Forums

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Under the Bar Contest

Enter to win shirts & mugs.