Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 05, 2022

Anomaly Edition

On Starting Strength

From the Coaches
  • "Don't you go dyin' on me!" You gotta squat, but if you train alone, you need to be able to fail a squat safely. What to do? It's simple, and Phil Meggers explains and demonstrates in this video.
  • How can one simple object fix your knees' forward & lateral position, your hip position, & even your back angle? Phil and Becky Meggers explain and demonstrate in Testify's most recent Saturday Short video.
  • In this episode of the PRS Podcast Rori Alter discusses a common leg drive error. If you’re experiencing pec or shoulder pain or abruptly failing one to two inches off the chest, you may be making this mistake.
  • Programming, Nutrition & Injuries – Check out the most recent PRS Podcast episode, a listener Q&A episode.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

dawoon shin starting a heavy squat in korea at a starting strength training camp
Dawoon Shin is ready for his heavy squats at the Starting Strength training camp held in Seoul, Korea this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
jisu baik deadlifts while coached by inhyuk eun
Jisu Baik's heavy deadlift under the eye of Inhyuk Eun during the Deadlift & Clean camp in Korea. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
group picture squat camp korea
Group picture of lifters and coaches at the squat camp in Seoul led by SSCs Kyongha Kim and Inhyuk Eun.
manny rechtand american record deadlift
This past Thursday, December 1, Fivex3 member, Emanuel (Manny) Rechtand, competed in USAPL's Southeast Regionals Meet in Orlando, Florida. He hit an American Record in the deadlift in his age group and weight class, deadlifting 160.5 kg (358 lb) at a bodyweight of 126 lb at 74 years old. [photo courtesy of Esther Rechtland]
aubrey 35 kg snatch during training
Aubrey snatches 35 kg in preparation for this weekend's Christmas Classic weightlifting meet at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
shreya uses a safety squat bar to work around a shoulder injury
Starting Strength Cincinnati member Shreya uses a safety squat bar to continue her training while working around an issue with her rotator cuff. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
camisha explains the bench press to ava and avery
Camisha Noble explains the finer details of the bench press to Ava and Avery. These two high school volleyball teammates recently joined Starting Strength Cincinnati to train together for the offseason [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]

Meet Report

The annual Testify Christmas Classic weightlifting meet took place this Saturday, December 3 at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, and you can view a recording of the meet here. For the women, the Best Lifter Award (Morgard the Manatee) went to Bella Muller, and for the men, the Best Lifter Award went to Mason Whitehead. The Best Lifter Awards were determined using Sinclair points. View full results.

aubrey 3rd snatch 40 kg
Aubrey successfully snatches 40 kg for a PR on her third attempt at the Testify Christmas Classic weightlifting meet held at Testify Strength & Conditioning this past Saturday. She went on to go 6-for-6 and set PRs in both her snatch and total. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
christine 3rd clean and jerk 80 kg
Christine hits a solid 80kg clean-and-jerk on her second attempt at the Testify Christmas Classic this weekend. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
geneva 2nd snatch 43 kg
Geneva snatches 43kg on her second attempt at the Testify Christmas Classic this weekend in Omaha, NE. She was glad to be back on the platform after a four year break in competing. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Best of the Week

Quick Question - Book Title

Robert D

On the podcast where you interview Chase, you mention that you leant him a book on vertebrate paleontology. Is it the one by Alfred S Romer? Just curious, as I might want to give it a read. A forum search for 'Vertebrate Paleontology' didn't return any hits.

Mark Rippetoe

Not the Romer text. Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution, by Robert Lynn Carroll.

Best of the Forum

Loving NLP, Hating Bench Stall


Thank you for your good work. I appreciate the difference you make in my training and life.

Age 67, 5'6", 166 lbs.

After missing some reps, I changed from 1-on, 1-off to 1-on, 2-off and like that better. With 1-on, 2-off, I feel more confident entering the workout, the bar moves faster and I complete all reps, except press. Squat has progressed from 185 to 210. Deadlift has progressed from 240 to 300. Press has progressed from 60 to 85.

My problem is the bench. I can complete 3 sets of 5 @ 145 but can't complete them at 150.

Still following the A-B program but now having switched to 1 on, 2 off, I only bench once every 6 days. That does not seem like enough.

I'm thinking about adding a bench-only day one day before and one day after each B day. This would give me bench work every other day while maintaining the 1-on, 2-off A-B schedule for the other lifts.

Your thoughts?

Mark Rippetoe

What happened when you tried 147?


Second the micro plates suggestion. They are a miracle for the pressing movements. I'm surprised you haven't needed them for the press first, but maybe you started it more conservatively than your bench. First time I did this I was not conservative about my starting bench weight, and of course, it increased the least. Where did you start off your bench?

Oso Rojo

I'll third the micro plates. I'm a few years younger at 60 but in a similar boat. I carry a set of 1.25 and 0.625 (5/8) in my gym bag. That way I can jump 2.5lb or 1.25. Microgainz makes the 1.25s and Grainger or Fastenal carry the 2" washers that make the 5/8. Progress for us old guys moves slower sometimes but keep at the progress!


Not having fractional plates, I went from 145 to 150. At 150, benched 4 reps of 5 and had nothing more on 1/10/22. On 2/3/22, benched 3 sets of 5 at 145 (easy). On 2/10/22, I tried 150 again. Benched 2 reps and had nothing more.

I then added an extra bench day as described above.

On 2/12/22, (Bench only day) benched 3 sets of 5 at 145.

The fractional plates I ordered arrived.

On 2/14/22, Benched 3 sets of 5 at 147.5 On 2/16/22, (A day) Benched 3 sets of 5 at 150. On 2/18/22 (Bench only day) benched 1 set of 5, 1 set of 4, 1 set of 2 at 152.5

On 2/19/22 (B-day) I abandoned the workout utterly perplexed as my squat of 220 failed after just 2 reps (and I was feeling great heading into that workout, thinking I'd hit 3 of 5 @ 220). Also my deadlift has stalled at 300.

In previous workouts, I squatted 3 sets of 5 at 215; then at 220, one set of 4, one set of 3 and one set of 3. I deadlifted 300 on 2/10/22 but every attempt at 305 since then was no lift. After the last 305 no-lift, I tried again the same day at 302.5 which was also no lift. I did not walk away from my 2/19/22 workout because I was discouraged, but because I was confused. Why are my lifts going backwards? Am I plateauing?

I'm re-reading Baker/Sullivan now to figure out where I went wrong.

Other Info: I practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed between 10:00 and 10:30 most nights. Actually in bed at that time. Rarely drink alcohol and never at home. Fall asleep quickly. Wake naturally at 6am some days and 4am others (no explanation for the difference, it just happens that way).

No cardio between lifting workouts.

I usually get 100g-150g. protein each day from protein bars, drinks and isolate powder; and more protein from food.

I've always hated the idea of food logging but this stalling out is a humbling experience and I think I'm going to have to learn to love it.

I think my macros and calories are in a reasonable range but I guess I'll never know for sure without a food log.

Belly fat is growing on me. More than I've had for a long time and I do not like that. I don't care about abs but I care deeply about keeping noticeable belly fat off my body. Thinking about adding 30 minutes of steady-state cardio (spin bike) to address belly fat concern.

Back to the question you asked, Rip, trying 147.5, I hit 3x5 at 147.5 and at 150, but started missing reps at 152.5.

Mark Rippetoe

As we have explained, "microplates" can be made from washers or pieces of chain. Three bench workouts with 48 hours between them is not the program. Have fun with your training.

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