Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 06, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

adam skillin locks out a 240 kg deadlift
Adam Skillin locks out a 240kg deadlift during the Starting Strength Coach meet held at WFAC during the Starting Strength Coaches Association Conference. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
group photograph at the 2018 sscac strengthlifting meet
Lifters, coaches, staff, friends, and family who attended the SSC Strengthlifting Meet at WFAC Friday night. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Meet Results

2018 SSCAC Strengthlifting Meet

Best of the Week

Eye Gaze and The Power Clean
Scott Beall

On pp. 191-192 of the book, you make it clear that an incorrect eye gaze can ruin a good Power Clean. And that the wrong eye gaze can cause the jump to happen when the bar is not mid-thigh.

How does incorrect eyes gaze cause a poorly timed jump, specifically? I imagine it has to do with back angle.

Mark Rippetoe

It does. Keep going.

Scott Beall

If the eyes are too low, a more horizontal back angle is created, causing the bar to shift forward away from the shins at the start of the pull, moving the bar away from midfoot, leaving more leverage to be overcome on the way up. I imagine this situation has more to do with poor leverage than jumping at the right moment.

If the eyes are too far upward, the back angle is excessively vertical, causing the knees to be shoved forward in the way of a vertical bar path. This situation will force the bar away from midfoot, leading again to unnecessary leverage to be overcome. In this case, it is likely that the jump will happen early with the bar at the knees rather than mid-thigh.

In addition to poor leverage, the first situation facilitates a lack of good contact of the bar with the shins and thighs. And both situations do not create the proper back angle when the jump happens. The first instance has a back angle that is too horizontal at the jump, and the second with a back angle that is too vertical.

Mark Rippetoe

Good, Scott. Now, it's been my observation that the latter is more common, and it has more to do with an accentuated loop at the top of the pull caused by the exaggerated layback caused by the head following the eyes, but that's the way to think through it.

Best of the Forum

How much weight is too much with osteoporosis?

I am 53 years old, weigh 112 pounds, and started strength training six months ago after doing Crossfit for one year. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis 3 years ago but a recent dexa scan showed improvement to osteopenia. The worst score was -2.2 in vertebra D-7.

My question is, am I putting myself at high risk of a vertebral compression fracture by continuing to increase the weight of my squats & deadlifts? From June to November my 1 rep max deadlift increased from 150 lbs to 200 lbs, and my back squat from 85 lbs to 130 lbs. I know that I need to keep my form nice & tight, but how likely is it that my muscle strength will dangerously outpace my skeletal strength? I would really appreciate any insight you can give me.

Mark Rippetoe

The risk is certainly not zero, but the risk of continuing osteopenia in the absence of effective exercise is 100%. My mother had a stress fracture in a thoracic vertebra that, being honest, was probably the result of deadlifts. But she was 82. I suppose it's just a matter of a risk/reward assessment. Have you had any pain in the area?


No pain. I guess I need to be vigilant about the possibility of a stress fracture and pay attention to any pain that might develop. Did your mother get enough early warning signs to avoid a catastrophic injury?

It is frustrating to have to consider the brittleness of my bones as a factor in my workouts. . . I want to be able to just go in and give 100% effort toward increasing my strength without worrying about osteopenia. . . it is a very abstract-seeming diagnosis until a bone is fractured, and I've had no fractures yet.

Thank you for your input. I guess I should just proceed with caution and pay really close attention to form. Do you have any advice about the process of checking 1 rep max? I've only done this twice, about six months apart.

Mark Rippetoe

She had no idea at the time, just some minor back pain. The injury was revealed much later on an unrelated x-ray. And one of the ways you are to be careful about this is by NEVER doing a 1RM "check." It will be dangerous, and it will not tell you anything necessary that you don't already know.

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