Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 19, 2016

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #37 - Rip discusses neuromuscular efficiency and it's effect on the stretch reflex, the "X" factor with regards to your training environment, Carroll Smith's books, and more.
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

John Antonio Pascarella 240x5
John Antonio Pascarella, PhD brings Iron to the Ivory Tower by pulling 240 lbs for a set of five. [photo courtesy of Nicholas Racculia]
Katie Martin pulls triple digits
A very proud Katie Martin pulls triple digits (100 lbs) for the first time ever. [photo courtesy of Nicholas Racculia]
Aaron Zach presses 210 for 3x5
Aaron Zach presses 210 for 3x5 10 weeks into his linear progression. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
Inhyuk Eun gets some in-person coaching
Korea-based SSOC Client Inhyuk Eun gets some in-person coaching in with Matt Reynolds before heading to the Texas seminar. [photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds]
Baraki pause squats
The master looks on while Austin Baraki performs pause-squats at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds]
Coaches coaching coaches
Austin Baraki coaches fellow Seminar Staff Coach Randy Winfrey during their lunch break at the December Seminar. [photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds]

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Best of the Week

Back pain in beginners who try to deadlift

I am currently teaching a friend to deadlift. I get him into correct position, back flat and it’s looking ok. But when he lifts, he gets a dull feeling or pain in the back, even though his lumbar spine stays flat. I had the same issue before myself. Until I learned how to get enough air into my belly to stiffen up the trunk. But this takes a lot of time and practice to learn. I wonder if you know a better way of doing it and what’s your experience with beginners who get back issues even though it looks like they are doing it correctly.

Mark Rippetoe

Air does not go into your belly, and my experience has been that people who deadlift correctly do not experience pain while deadlifting. So, I think that either he – and by extension you – are doing this incorrectly, or he has a pre-existing injury.

Walter Palmer

I would not rule out the possibility that these guys do not know the difference between pain and discomfort given his own description that they have not trained before. With these types of trainees, I find that they often confuse discomfort or exertion that is inherent in producing a volitional force against the weight with pain.


As a trainer, how do you determine this?

Walter Palmer

Here are some ways that I assess for this issue:

  1. Observation of correct form to eliminate technique areas that can cause pain.
  2. Titrating the weights up to determine their reaction at light, medium, and heavier weights.
  3. Assessing how they perceive pain in other movements, e.g. do they find all exertions to feel like a "dull" pain?
  4. Interviewing them about any injury history or medical issues.
  5. Assessing their level of motivation.

Best of the Forum

Kettlebell & Barbells

Do barbell strength training & kettlebell conditioning go together?

I tried CrossFit for a little bit and just saw the 2014 Crossfit Games. My left knee was in pain because I used poor form on the deadlifts and cleans and I concluded that I will see some new injuries if I continue with the program. I think going back to basics like in high school (powerlifting and Olympic lifting teams) will be a good start but I do like kettlebells. too. Does anyone here mix it up with both BBs and KBs?

Mark Rippetoe

Kettlebell training is endurance training, not strength training. My experience with it is that it promotes quite a bit of soreness due to the high eccentric component.

Nicholas Soleyn

I have spent a lot of time around kettlebell enthusiasts and am married to a SFG kettlebell instructor. Kettlebells are too cumbersome at even moderately heavy weights to be a useful tool for strength training and, as Rip pointed out, there are much better options for conditioning that will interfere less with your strength training.

Very heavy, low-rep swings might be useful for something similar to dynamic effort sets, but power cleans are better, because you have to rack them.

My wife says, if you want to get strong stick to basic barbell training; if you want to build your conditioning, do high intensity intervals with a sled; if you want to do kettlebells, realize it's just for fun and probably counterproductive.

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