Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 15, 2016

Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #31 - In this episode, Rip answers questions about the best available training bar, some specific injuries and issues, and what he does for fun.
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

tdood 484 competition squat Tom Shadood (tdood) with a competition squat of 220kg/484lbs. Stay tuned next week to see his pull. [photo courtesy of Ian Roberts @eyerobs on Instagram]
cody martin hook grip After reading Dr. Feigenbaum's most recent article "The Grip Problem," Cody pulls an easy 500 lb hook grip during warmups. This is his second time using this grip. [photo courtesy of Cody Martin]
charm city strongwoman 2016 Three glimpses into the 2016 Charm City Strongwoman Contest. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
Will Rose squats 260x5 Will Rose squats 260x5 with SSC Grant Broggi in Costa Mesa, CA [photo courtesy of Grant Broggi]
jan benching at 71 Jan, age 71 years young, benches 65# for three sets of 5. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
martha squat triples at 175 Martha squats 175# for a triple at a bodyweight of 122#. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]

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Best of the Week

Qualities a novice trainee must ADOPT…

I got a few questions regarding your experience working with a variety of novice trainees, from the complete beginners, former athletes, veterans, underweight, etc.

  1. What training qualities do you expect from your novice trainees or basically what do you want to SEE in your novice trainees?
  2. Common struggles of novice trainees.
  3. What is the absolute WORST mistake for novice trainee can make?
  4. What is the absolute BEST thing a novice can do to accelerate their result based on your experience?
  5. If I was your trainee (skinny but determined 18 years old kid, currently 174.5cm, 137lbs) what do you expect from ME in order to be successful and what potential do you see in me if you were to train me for 2 years?

I know this is rather selfish question especially the last one but it would really benefit many other novices out there doing your program.

Mark Rippetoe
  1. The ability to eat a lot of food and drink a lot of milk.
  2. Eating.
  3. Not eating enough.
  4. Eating enough.
  5. Eat more and drink one gallon of whole milk a day.

This is so right, I don't know if it can be emphasized enough, and not just for novices either. True story:

My son was, at the time, a national champion. The following year, he lifted in the Arnold and made the same total that won for him the previous year, with openers his snatch was 10 kg below what he was doing with straps, and his jerk had gone no where, probably 15 kg below his clean. He made 190, and then cleaned 200 twice only to miss the jerks. Afterward, ever the optimist, he told me, "I think I made a statement."

To which I replied, roughly, "Yeah, whatever is on the bar, you'll get it on your chest and stand with it. You'll clean the house; you'll go for anything. Yes, you've got balls. By the way, everyone already knows that. You proved it when you were 12 and it is still true today. Oh yeah, also, your grip strength is holding your snatch back. Yes, you are pretty strong, but you are only as strong as your weakest link. While we are at it, once again, you weighed in at a full four kilos under the limit. In four years, you've gained one kilo in body weight, if that. You're 21 years old. Yes, you made a statement and that statement is that you are not very smart."

If you haven't guessed, we have had this conversation before. This time, finally, he took things to heart. A serious discussion took place, especially about the eating. He always ate healthy, very "clean." I told him gaining weight is work, just like dieting to lose weight. You will have to be uncomfortable all the time. Just as one on a diet is uncomfortable, hungry, maybe weak, you will not feel good. Of course, increased sets and reps on the toilet occurred. But, he worked at it and made progress.

He did some serious work on his grip, started eating, and by the Nationals two months later he had gained 2 kilos bodyweight and put 10 on his total. By the PanAm Games, he actually had to cut a little to make weight (now weighing 4 kilos more than what he weighed at the Arnold five months earlier) and put another 10 on his total and probably left another five on the platform. In about five months, an advanced lifter gained four kilos in bodyweight and put twenty on this total.

It takes work. It isn't easy. But if you train properly and eat, the results will be there. If this story motivates one person to follow Rip's advice, I'll be happy, and so will that person.

Best of the Forum

Deadlift back extension?

I have had a few people I know ask me for help on deadlifting, and I put them through the basic deadlift set up. However a recurrent theme I am running into is that they do not seem flexible enough to get into the correct position and then put their back into extension without dropping their hips.

Now, I am wondering if this is generally a flexibility problem, or something wrong with my ability to cue. "Chest to the wall" doesn't seem to help enough.

They often feel tempted to drop their hips lower to get into extension, but with any weight on the bar when they attempt to pull, the hips will just rise until they get in a mechanically efficient spot and then we are back to square one anyway.

If this is a flexibility issue, are there any specific hamstring stretches that seem useful. And if it isn't, what is usually done to fix this?

Mark Rippetoe

When the hips drop, the hamstrings slack due to the closing of the knee angle. This obviously makes it easier to extend the lumbar, but it has shoved the bar forward of the mid-foot. We have found that

  1. knees out in step 3,
  2. getting the lifter off his toes in step 4, and
  3. a couple of sets’ warmup effect corrects the problem 95% of the time.

Thanks Rip. Am I correct in thinking that, the more the knees are pushed out in step 3, the lower the hips can drop while keeping the bar over the middle of the foot? Also, should, similar to the squat, an effort to be made to always keep the knees in line with the toes (so shoving the knees out should be preceded by pointing the toes out more than usual?).

Is there a general stance angle that you recommend in this situation? As from what I am aware the general recommendation is just to point the toes "very slightly out", which doesn't seem compatible with this fix.

Mark Rippetoe

You are correct; toes are pointed out more than very slightly. This allows the knees to drop out into the correct position. I can't find the poster text right now, but it's been posted here before and one of you clever people can find it for him.

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