Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 14, 2015

  • Up from the archives for Strength Month: The Belt and the Deadlift. Rippetoe explains why you should pay more careful attention to the size of your belt.
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Under the Bar

starting strength intern Starting Strength coach Diego Socolinsky working with FiveX3 Training's new intern, Robert. One of the best ways to work towards obtaining your Starting Strength certification is to intern at a Starting Strength gym. His homework: buy weightlifting shoes. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]
deadlift jonathan glaubach Jonathan Glaubach deadlifts 250 x5 as he trains for the Starting Strength Fall Classic at Woodmere Strength & Conditioning. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]

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Best of the Week

University Strength and Conditioning Coaching and why people should not bother

Wall of text inbound but I wish someone had set me straight about this years ago.

I have posted here in the past about my pursuit of a university S&C career and just wanted to share my experience with you and your users who may be interested in this field. First off, I have my bachelors in kinesiology, I hold the CSCS and USAW certs, I have completed great D1 internships and even a great crossfit internship. I have jumped through a lot of hoops and devoted a lot of time to this goal so trust me when I say: choose another path.

I recently took a 3rd D1 internship position. This internship was the final nail in the coffin for me for a slew of reasons... I was told I would be competing with about 9 other interns over the course of the internship for a part time assistant coaching position that would be the hours of a full time position (great deal right?!). Other things that occurred were constantly being yelled at to run to set up cones for drills while the coaches sat back, being told to do things that the coaches knew were wrong, bitch at you, and make you do it the right way (like it's some sort of character building bs), horrid coaching in things like the power clean and testing athletes who I can not believe didn't blow ligaments during SVJ and broad jump testing. In my 1 month, I witnessed multiple bad injuries, for instance a bad neck strain while testing cheerleaders doing pullups while the head coach just keeps yelling "Pull Pull Pull!" (out of over 20 women, 4 were able to do a pullup and 1 strained her damn neck and was out for 2+weeks.) Lastly, a program written in stone that didn't make sense to me. I had multiple athletes ask "Are we eventually going to be lifting heavy?" This occurred about the 3rd week into the athletes resuming training too, mind blowing. I would say that compared to my other internships these athletes were much weaker although better conditioned (guess which school has the better records...) **None of this garbage occurred at my other internships though, this was just a bad program**

Now, internships are different I get that, my first 2 were great and it was with the same university, they molded me into the coach I am today. That staff was professional and their goal for the internship program was to craft tomorrows S&C coaches. The 3rd internship to me was a way for the coaches to have free workers clean the facility and do the parts of the job they didn't want to do so beware.

After graduating college and applying to positions around the country I came to the same wall: Must have 3-5 years D1 coaching experience and Masters Degree Preferred.

As for the masters degree, NOTHING being taught in a masters program is worth another 2 years of your life for a job that is underpaid, overworked, unstable, and crap hours. I walked away from the 3rd internship when I realized that my time would be better spent working at McDonalds working up money to just open my own gym.

The bottom line to me was this: At one university I had coaches who I respected, they walked the walked and talked the talk. At another I had a few knuckle head coaches that were yes men, spent a fortune on an education for a job that doesn't pay enough, and who I would not allow to train my child. This is the discrepancy you will see at the collegiate S&C scene (and I am sure everywhere) and it finally took me seeing the head S&C injure enough people for me to call it quits because I could no longer intern under someone that had nothing to teach me.

If anyone has any questions I will answer them but I have lost interest in getting into a field where you are expected to bend over backwards for a college for them to fire your ass because they hired a new football coach who has his own S&C guys.

Mark Rippetoe

Thanks for the post. We've said this many times on this board: the majority of collegiate S&C programs are a very difficult situation for a coach who is interested in doing the right thing.

Best of the Forum

Deadlifting on the 25mm bar

When the grip fails on the deadlift, have you seen your athletes (especially if they have smaller fingers) do more reps/lift more weight on the women’s bar?

Mark Rippetoe

We don't let the boys use the woman's bar so that they can deadlift more without strengthening their little grip. The 25 mm bar is expensive and it is designed for females to use for the snatch and the C&J, not for boys to avoid addressing their problems.


Thank you for your answer. Is it your argument that all things that we pick off the ground comes in size 28.5 mm and that it is not worth using the 25mm bar to strengthen your back when your grip fails? Or are you going to tell you athletes that if some thing measures lesser than 28.5mm not to pick it up off the floor? I have never seen the women’s bar, far less used it and just wanted to know if there was any real world difference.


When the grip fails, you go to an alternate/mixed grip or to a hook grip or straps as discussed in the book.

The point of the smaller diameter bar is to make it easier for the on-average smaller hands of women to hook grip the 15kg bar. Not for it to be easier to hold for a regular overhand grip, but specifically for using hook grip technique.

Right tools for the right job. And the 15kg bar is not for deadlifts. Not. Ever. Especially mine.

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