Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 15, 2016

  • In Shoulder Rehab, Rip demonstrates how he rehabbed his shoulders after a rotator cuff repair and Mumford Procedure while also clarifying shoulder anatomy and the actual function of the rotator cuff.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • In Ask Rip #20, Rip discusses the development of Starting Strength, the future of powerlifting, and overtraining.
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

governor corbett pulls 200 Governor Tom Corbett pulls 200 lbs while Nicholas Racculia coaches. [photo courtesy of Nicholas Racculia]
ian pressing 105x5x3 Ian presses 105x5x3 midway through his first strength cycle at Solace New York. [photo courtesy of Hayden-William Courtland]
cara bowen deadlift pr Cara Bowen pulls a PR deadlift at The River’s Edge USAPL Meet in Granite City, IL. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
jodi arnold 205 squat Ryan Arnold coaches Jodi Arnold on her first set of 205 at Complete Body NYC. She's improved rapidly from her first day at 85x5. [photo courtesy of Ryan Arnold]
mark pulls 315x5 Mark pulls 315x5 at Horn Strength & Conditioning in Los Angeles. [photo courtesy of Paul Horn]
annie ngo usapl meet Annie Ngo lifting in the USAPL River’s Edge Meet in Granite City, IL. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

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Best of the Week

Should be mandatory for all special needs parents

The Situation: I think I have always known that my son was different. I had 3 little brothers and had some experience with children even before I became a father at 43 years old. The world was always a little too much for Jesse, it came as no surprise when at 3 he was diagnosed as Autistic, he was subsequently also diagnosed as "intellectually disabled" which is the feel good term for mentally retarded. He is profoundly affected by both. Though he has grown and learned Jesse (now 8) still faces profound delays. He has never spoken a word, remains in diapers throughout the day, and functions much as a toddler.

My Response To It: Through it all, every time Jesse hit me (and a kid can really hurt when he goes for the soft spots), every time we had a meeting with the school or the state, every time I gave up a life goal because it just was not possible with the little guy around, I learned one thing. I was powerless. I certainly could not fix my son. I had minimal input into what or how services were provided. I could change nothing. This bled over into everything I did and before I knew it I believed that I just needed to "Embrace the Suck". I lost my belief that anything I did would ever matter. I am profoundly embarrassed by my reaction and always thought that I would be tough enough to endure anything. I was wrong.

What I Did: Early last year - and I am still not sure what drove it, I went into the gym. At first I just worked to get in there and do anything with consistency. My wife and I figured out a way of sharing our responsibilities that allowed me 3 sessions per week. For 5 months I executed an ill-informed "brosplit", concentrating on isolation exercises. In mid-September of 2015 I started the Starting Strength program. With a 195 squat, 135 deadlift (I had several herniated disks earlier), and a 155 bench. Currently I squat 350, deadlift 315, and bench 190. Not earth shattering numbers but not bad.

My Response To It: Strength training saved me. We often study the physical response to training using the stress - response model. I believe that the same response is happening in our minds. I think that training allowed my mind to have a domain where the decisions I made had a real and direct impact in my life. I could modulate the stress and the mind response allowed for growth.

Strength training allows me to -for a little while - focus on something other than work or my son. Anyone who has squatted a weight that is challenging for them knows that you better keep your focus or you will be stapled to the floor. The immediate threat of failure is a great mind-training tool.

Older lifters (and I turn 50 this year) can make real progress. I followed the program exactly without the modifications for older lifters and the GOMAD. I carry plenty of surplus calories at all times in the form of fat.


I can relate some. My adopted son has several learning disabilities. Not knowing his genetics, probably prenatal drugs or alcohol but we will never know and it doesn't matter much. Anyway, he is now in high school, sociable kid, and an avid hockey player. But the things that come with special Ed are common nightmares.

I've been lifting seriously for the last three years, never miss a day of training, despite frequent travel. I think that getting stronger is literally and metaphorically necessary for dealing with life's curve balls. It's a win-win for my wife, my son, and my career. What are the downsides? Less business for geriatric medicine? I can live with that.

Best of the Forum

Your thoughts on dealing with shoulder impingement

Here's the deal Rip.... I'm a competitive powerlifter with a shoulder injury.

I have pain in the shoulder joint that precludes virtually all upper body pressing as well as any type of pullup. I can back squat, but I am always inflamed afterwards. So it is hampering my training in general, especially upper body.

Years ago before being a serious lifter I was diagnosed with bursits in the same shoulder, went through PT (which seemingly didn't help), stopped "lifting" and it just resolved itself over time.

Over the last year and a half or so I had intermittent pain in the shoulder, typically I responded by taking some time off OH work, which aggravated it. I trained through it for the most part up until my last meet in October, after which I simply couldn't train through it anymore. Haven't really benched or pressed since, but I have found ways to continually aggravate it countless times.

After putting it off for FAR too long, I went to the doc. X-rays showed nothing. An arthrogram MRI showed a small fissure in the cartiledge, which the doc says didn't believe was causing problems and no need for surgery. No firm diagnosis, other than "could be instability or impingement, yada yada". No real answer and recommended me for PT.

I am not big on doing PT for an extended time for such a nebulous diagnosis.

I am inclined to believe it is just simple impingement. My plan of action now is avoid any aggravating exercises, ice it frequently, and planning on taking ibuprofen twice daily. I am also seeking a second opinion, as well as waiting to hear back from my first doc on the possibility of getting a cortisone shot.

I believe the problems originated in improperly locked out OH presses and too widely gripped bench presses. The doc I went to, although a well known orthopedist (apparently worked for the Eagles) didn't seem to know much about weight training, didn't question me about my level of development or anything like that.

I was hoping you might have some feedback or guidance on this issue.

Mark Rippetoe

If you believe this is simple impingement, and you don't think the tear is a factor, up the ibuprofen to 800mg x 4/day for 5 days, and then start the Starr rehab with presses, making sure to shrug into the lockout. But add this as a warmup: hang with a pullup (prone) grip for several 15 second reps from the bar, then several more with a chin grip (supine). Then do a couple of sets of 20 light lat pulldowns with a chin grip. This should prepare the shoulder capsule for the pressing.

Do presses only for 3 months after this is healed, and then re-introduce benches with a moderate grip, and from then on do your benches 1:1 with presses. This keeps the shoulder in balance, and prevents these kinds of problems.

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