Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 27, 2018

  • Starting Strength Coach Inna Koppel discusses strength training while pregnant with two of her lifters. Listen in to see how it affected delivery, recovery, and PRs.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

juan zevallos squatting
Josh Wells coaches Juan Zevallos at this past weekend's Training Camp at Crystal Coast Strength & Conditioning. [photo courtesy of Shelley Wells]
jessica gonzalez squatting 230
Jessica Gonzalez easily squatting 230 at the same Squat Camp. [photo courtesy of Shelley Wells]
ed coan in wfac meet shirt
Clothes make the man! [photo courtesy of Ed Coan]

Gym Dog of the Week

elliot dog at woodmere fitness club
Elliot at Woodmere Fitness Club. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]

Best of the Week

Warm Ups for old guy

I know this is a bit of a repetitive inquiry, but I’m wondering if I’m doing too many squat warmups. Age 48, ht 6'4", weight 278, carnivore, goddam sexual tyrannosaurus:

No jogging, biking, foam rolling or pre-workout jelquing

  • EB x 10
  • 65 x 5
  • 95 x 5
  • 135 x 5
  • 185 x 3
  • 225 x3
  • 275 x 3
  • 315 x 3
  • 365 x 2
  • 405 x 1
  • 425 x 3,3,3 (work sets)

I’m doing a modified Texas method, 3 days per week, so this was my most recent volume day (i.e. Monday) training session. As I look at it, it seems like a lot.

Mark Rippetoe

If I was going to squat 425 x 3 x 3, my warmups would be:

  • 45 x 3 x 2
  • 135 x 2 x 2
  • 225 x 2
  • 315 x 1
  • 385 x 1
  • 425 x 3 x 3

By poundage, that’s 6,060 lbs in warmups v. 1,960 in warmups. Do you think that’s my problem? I’m just doing too much? Because its 10 sets v 7 sets, also. Am I needlessly tiring myself out? Because I "FEEL" pretty good when it comes time to my work sets. Are my feelings misleading me? This is about how I’ve warmed up ever since my Novice linear progression, hence the 65 and 95 pound weights in the beginning.

Mark Rippetoe

If you have a problem, that's probably what it is.

Geoff Bischoff

I notice your example uses exactly 4 sets between EB and Working set, with a weight curve that starts steep then shallows slightly (+90, +90, +70, +40). Which is what I think is explicitly recommended in the Blue Book. Or else PP. Hell I'm re-reading chapters so often right now I don't know what's where. Anyway, I've wondered as my LP gets into later stages:

Is that 4-set paradigm intended to be irrespective of how high you're going? If your intention was to squat 605x3x3 on the top end, would you still find only four loaded warmups, with a similar loading curve?

Mark Rippetoe

Once you get your squat to 600, you'll have developed a preference. Just don't do too many sets.

Best of the Forum

Hand position in the squat
The Mastiff

I know you teach the thumbless grip with the wrists at a neutral angle, but if an individual is capable of wrapping the thumb under the bar and squatting comfortably, should they do so?

Mark Rippetoe

Do you know why I teach the thumbless grip?

The Mastiff

To minimize pressure on the wrist joint and forearm, yes? I only ask because it seems many lifters can squat great poundage with the thumb under without issue. Then again that might come down to individual flexibility or just genetic structure I suppose.

Mark Rippetoe

And the elbow. So, proceed as you wish. You want me to change my recommendation based on what many lifters seem to be able to do?


Sounds like if your wrists hurt, you are bearing weight with your wrists, which also necessarily transmits that down to the elbows – even if your elbows do not yet hurt. Sounds like a recipe for trouble.

I used to get elbow pain even with proper hand position. I read a few other old posts here that reported the same thing, all curiously right about the time we got to ~225 in our linear progression. Mine got better when I tightened up my back more, creating a more proper "shelf" for the weight. At lower weight, I could just throw the bar back there and concentrate on other things. I now have to be more deliberate to keep my upper back tight, and everything is fine.

Mark Rippetoe

Maybe this has something to do with the reason for my recommendation.

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