Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 12, 2016

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

Montfort 405x5 deadlift
WFAC member Michael Montfort pulls a PR 405x5 deadlift at this weekend's Starting Strength Seminar. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
Melissa Barry 250 squat
Melissa Barry continues to get strong at WFAC recently hitting 250 lbs for her heavy day work sets across on the squat. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
teaching the bench press
Coach Hannah teaches the proper bench press hand off to barbell club members. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]
sam trains for running
High school freshman cross country runner Sam Hewitson deadlifts 130x5 at a body weight of 115 lbs in week 5 of his novice progression. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
training workshop
Starting Strength Coaches Rori Alter and John Petrizzo conduct a training workshop at Stony Brook University Strength Club. [photo courtesy of John Petrizzo]
alena with 135lb bench press
Alena Gribskov smiles as she locks out the final rep of a 135lb PR set at CrossFit Gantry in Long Island City, NY. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
one plate milestone
Lange squats a plate for three sets of five. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength & Conditioning]
deadlift pr
Stephen hits a deadlift set of 225 for a personal record. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength & Conditioning]
Jesse squats 315
Jesse squats 315# for three sets of five last Monday. He started his LP about 10 weeks ago with 185# on his first session. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
finishing 250
Shealinna finishing a rep with 250# on her last set of five [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
squatting post surgery
Phil, age 65, uses a cambered bar to squat 90kg x5x3 kg two days post-op from wrist surgery. [photo courtesy of Chicago Strength & Conditioning]
linear progression
Nirvi prepares to pull 70kg x 5 on week 4 of her linear progression. [photo courtesy of Chicago Strength & Conditioning]
training off-season
Kristiane is a club rower and is using her off-season time to get stronger. Here she pulls a solid set of deadlift warmups after being away from the barbell for a few months. She has not lost much strength from the time off. [photo courtesy of Bay Strength]

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Best of the Week

CrossFit advice, please

I’m interested in competing at the highest level I’m capable of in Crossfit. You said if a cyclist can increase his overall strength his endurance will increase due to increasing his overall power output capacity. Is there a way to do the same thing from a high intensity stand point? Is there a way I can train crossfit where it becomes EASY? In other words, MY GOAL is to become the strongest possible with the highest level of muscle endurance and stamina I POSSIBLY CAN. I enjoy being the best I possibly can, amongst others in the room.

Mark Rippetoe

So many misconceptions here. So little time. Gentlemen/Ladies?


Since strength is the capacity to produce force and everything we do requires force production, becoming stronger makes everything easier. It's always going to be easier to clean and jerk 135lb for 30 reps for time, when you can deadlift 500lb vs. when you can deadlift 225lb, that is, if you're inclined to participate in such stupidity to begin with.

That said, if you train Crossfit, i.e. try to progressively get better and better at it, it will never be easy. This is like asking how you could train to make squatting easy. Squatting will never be easy, you will simply get stronger, and what was once a heavy weight for you will one day feel light.

If you're interested in competing at Crossfit, realize that you don't get competitive at Crossfit by actually doing Crossfit, i.e. random WODs. You need to get very strong, and once you're very strong, work on all the Crossfit-specific skills and adaptations. While most of us here consider Crossfit a great way to randomly flop around at the gym and hurt yourself, the top Crossfit athletes are legitimately strong and very fit people. If you want to be close to their level, you have a lot of work ahead of you.


Cyclists measure power in average watts produced over a number of specified time periods (anywhere from 6 seconds to 120 minutes) to determine objective measures of sprint capability or an estimated average speed in a 40k time trial.

If you can find a way to put down more power across the board, you become a faster cyclist.

Kelli Nielson

What do you think high level crossfit athletes do for training? I'll give you a hint... it's not Fran.

Do the program. If you don't have strength first, you can forget about being capable of doing the rest.

Jordan Feigenbaum

This is kind of one of those things that makes sense only when looking at long term development, which is what we as coaches do. You cannot just do strength training for months and then add in conditioning 3-4 weeks before a competition and expect to do well- it doesn't work like that if you want to be good. Sure, most absolutely need to be stronger in order to be competitive in CrossFit at a high level- a LOT of time spent training has to have been applied to a person possessing very good genetics. Still, the sentiment that all work should be strength for an athlete in this realm is incorrect unless we're talking about a novice, who is not yet an athlete- you feel me?

I think that the real question regarding CF and SS's application to it (that the OP has NOT asked but we're opining on) is "What should I do if I am a novice and want to be good at CrossFit?" Well- you should do SS and exhaust LP, then begin intermediate programming with a slightly higher bias on the Olympic lifts than typically done. Then later start adding in development of skills and energy systems. This cannot be done all at once if none of these things are already present, thus it must be done over a long, long time and most people have no business doing it including this author.

Best of the Forum

Programming with all the time in the world

Not that I'm one to stray from a common doctrine such as yours but I have a question since my situation is a little out of the norm.

Little back info before I get to the question.

I'm currently into a deployed location in Africa. I have access to all the weights I could ever handle, and all the food I could ever handle. I'm currently sitting on stand-by (Which basically means I do nothing but eat, sleep lift weights and play video games/watch movies/read etc).

Would the same type of programming still apply? (1 on 1 off) The only other thing I do physically is walk a few miles a day around the camp. The only reason I ask this is because I have such a large amount of free time and I figure that since I'm sleeping so much and eating so much I could get away with a larger workload. I'm currently on day #7 which is roughly the beginning of week 3 with all lifts basically going up.

Any words you have so that I can maximize the time I hear to my greatest advantage would be great.

Mark Rippetoe

Sounds like a good gig. It is possible that you could up your training volume a little, but you still have to recover between workouts. I think you'd be a good candidate for a simple modification to an every-other-day schedule, reducing the 2-day weekend break. But if you try to do more than this you'll probably get stuck sooner than you would otherwise.

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