Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 02, 2019

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Training Log

In the Trenches

ryan ocp coaches the squat
Ryan O'Connell-Peller coaches Maile at the Starting Strength Squat Training Camp in Portland last weekend. [photo courtesy of Next Level Barbell]

Best of the Week

Trap Bar

I want to start deadlifting. I do mostly upper body exercises, including bench, but I don’t do squats or deadlifts. I am older, 68, and I just don’t want to do squats right now because I don’t have the mobility of putting the bar behind my neck and holding it with my hands.

I have started deadlifts a few times and always pull something (shoulders, legs, groin, etc.) because I apparently try and lift too much. I don’t think I’m lifting improperly just too quickly ramping up.

I have thought of using a trap bar to start off with and build my strength up before doing deadlifts. Does this seem like a good idea? I got to believe doing anything is better than nothing.

Mark Rippetoe

My position on the trap bar has been widely distributed. We'll make you a video. If you are hurting yourself doing deadlifts, you're doing them wrong. Avoiding an exercise because you are doing them wrong is not as effective a strategy as learning to do the exercise correctly. Do you have no access to coaching? How about our instructional videos?

Mark E. Hurling

I started using a trap bar in my early 60s and liked them. I never had the problems with them decried here at the time, or maybe I just never noticed the problems. Since being taught how to deadlift safely and correctly though, I have had few if any problems since. Earlier this year I decided on a whim to try the trap bar again and discovered ALL the issues that are problems. Beats me what happened in between, but I promptly resumed straight bar deadlifts and have no plans to ever try the trap bar again.


Two topics I am sick of hearing about is those who want to do trap bar deadlifts and those who don't want to do power cleans. Can't we just banish all these to the frequently asked questions forum?

Mark Rippetoe

Fine with me.

Best of the Forum

Is Practical Programming all you need for life?

Is Practical Programming and Starting Strength the only two books someone needs for the rest of their life, or does someone eventually need a coach?

  If so, what would a coach offer that I can't learn myself?

Let me clarify – If I wanted to become just as good at programming as an SS coach, what can I do? Is there some magic snake-oil-potion they drink to be able to program much better.

To become a person who is 100% independent in terms of their training and programming, is more needed than PP & SS?

Mark Rippetoe

No one gets to the level of an SSC without help from humans, with coaching, guidance, and clarification. Neither you nor I are that smart.

Andy Baker

You get good at programming by spending thousands of hours on the gym floor with lots of different types of people and coaching them through the process of being very weak to very strong. You try and fail with 100s of different approaches until certain patterns start to emerge with certain demographics that can be used to reliably create generic training templates and methodologies like you find in PPST3.

I say this at least once per week in the programming sub-forum. The programs in PPST3 are NOT prescriptive for any one individual. We even say this in the book, yet people still treat them as such. They set them up into spreadsheets and plug their own numbers into those templates and then turn off their brain and try to train on auto-pilot without thinking and adjusting as they go.

Rip can correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember years ago in a conversation we had prior to doing PPST3 that the main reason there weren't a lot of programs in the first two editions was precisely to avoid encouraging people to engage in this behavior.

Each program in PPST3 is just a model of a certain principle. Try and understand the model and don't get lost in the minutia of sets/reps/% etc. That stuff is individualized to a degree and can be quite variable depending on age, gender, goals, etc, etc.

Mark Rippetoe

But people – being people – will always opt for a prescription rather than understanding the material as a template.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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