Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 07, 2020

Abdominable Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Q&A Episode - The Milk Locker – Mark Rippetoe answers questions from Starting Strength Radio fans in another world famous Q&A episode.
  • How a Starting Strength Belt is Made – Blake and Katie, the owners of Dominion Strength Training, show you the meticulous process for manufacturing a Starting Strength weightlifting belt.
  • Accelerating the Power Clean – Starting Strength Coach Phil Meggers discusses the beginning of the power clean and why accelerating the bar is required once the basic positions and movement are learned.
  • Inguinal Hernia And Strength Training by Jonathon Sullivan – A 32 year-old male notices the gradual onset of a heavy “dragging” left groin pain. The pain is intermittent and seems to be associated with coughing, sneezing, or defecation...
  • Re-Thinking Health by Daniel Oakes – Evolutionarily speaking, I suppose you're a successful homo sapiens if you've successfully created successful offspring (or have the luxury to choose otherwise). How much time did...
  • Weekend Archives: Curb Your Veganism by Robert Novitsky– Health fads come and go in developed countries, like ours here in the United States, but some have teeth. Among them, veganism...
  • Weekend Archives: Good vs. Bad Trainers by Mark Rippetoe – When you walk into a gym, how do you know if the guy with “Trainer” or “Coach” on his shirt actually knows what he’s doing? As a member of the lay public...

From the Coaches
  • If you're going to perform the Olympic lifts (i.e., the snatch and clean-and-jerk), you need to front squat. Phil and Becky Meggers of Testify Strength & Conditioning show how it's done.
  • Setting the back in rigid extension in the deadlift can be problematic for some lifters. Phil Meggers covers three cues that can help lifters set their back properly.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

mike sharp sets meet prs
Mike Sharp cleans-and-jerks 90 kg for a PR on his third attempt at the Testify Christmas Classic weightlifting meet this weekend. With this lift, Mike set PRs in both his clean-and-jerk and total. [photo courtesy of Testify Strength & Conditioning]
steven smith second attempt clean and jerk
Steven Smith cleans-and-jerks 48 kg for his second attempt at this weekend's Testify Christmas Classic weightlifting meet in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Testify Strength & Conditioning]
ian pille snatch 105 in competition
Ian Pille snatches 105 kg for his third attempt at this weekend's Testify Christmas Classic weightlifting meet in Omaha, NE. Ian went 5 for 6 on the day and set a PR total. [photo courtesy of Testify Strength & Conditioning]
penelope and carson at stronger together baltimore fivex3 training
The Second Annual Stronger Together Meet was held at Fivex3 Training in Baltimore last weekend and raised over $3000 for the Music Therapy program at Gilchrist Hospice of Towson. Penelope (left) and Carson (right) were there to see things done right. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
jules puppy at wichita falls athletic club
WFAC coach John’s new puppy Jules taking a nap after some hard playtime. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]

Best of the Week

Head Injury w/ Clean CT

Slipped on ice last night and bashed the back of my head against the door jamb. I saw stars and was disoriented for a few minutes and, after realizing I had a good sized laceration on the back of my noggin, went to the ER.

Got stapled up and asked for the CT scan, which came up clean. I have no nausea and no headache (except for pain at the laceration) and otherwise feel completely fine. In fact, I credit my training for not having any back, neck, or limb injury as a result of the fall.

Also, I’ve read Mark’s admonition in an old thread of “Have you had a cranial CT? If not, get one now. And do not ask some shithead on the internet about your closed-head injury ever again.” But, I’ve had the CT. The guy in that thread did not and had other symptoms.

The ER doctor said to take a week off because I have a “head” injury. But, if everything came up clean and I have no other symptoms, I’m wondering if I really have a “head injury” or just a laceration that happens to be on my head.

Knowing that doctors will tend to be overly cautious, I just don’t know if a clean CT is enough to take me out of the realm of legitimate medical advice, to which I should adhere, and back into the realm of listening to shitheads on the internet.

A week off sounds excessive, considering I haven’t missed a training day in two years. I want to just shift my schedule back one day to see how I feel today before getting under the bar again tomorrow. But, if I’m really in a “don’t be an asshole and listen to the doctor” situation, I’ll just suck it up. Dying under the bar with a brain bleed sounds less than productive for my training goals.


Mark Rippetoe

I don't think you have a "head injury" per se, but rather a cut on your head. Warm up carefully and see if anything unpleasant occurs.



Feeling ok today, not great. But that might have something to do with lack of sleep after a night in the ER.

My wife says I was disoriented for more like an hour, not just a few minutes, so I guess that’s more reason to take it slow. I’ll feel it out with the warmups tomorrow and try not to be a hero.

Matt James

I had what I thought was a mild concussion in 2016. Was a fair bit disoriented for most of the evening. Didn't think too much of it and went off on a week's vacation that involved hiking/running all over the Black Hills and generous quantities of good bourbon. By the time I got back I was in bad shape, and dealt with the after effects for months (headaches, memory loss). I got a CT when I got back from the trip and it was clear, for what it's worth.

A week off may be excessive assuming it's mild. But be careful. You may feel fine during your workout and feel like shit the next day. Obviously if that happens you need to rest until your symptoms are gone. If you're feeling off today, it may not be a bad idea to give yourself another day or two of rest before you train again.

Just my two cents. Don’t be a dumbass like me. A couple days off from training is a lot better than weeks or months of bullshit.

Mark Rippetoe

Yes, you can concuss without a bleed. Remember: warm up carefully and pay attention to what is going on.


Sorry, I had written a longer response before, but I guess it timed out or my phone browser just lunched it.

For a pseudo-medical opinion (I am a doctor, but I am not your doctor): It does sound like you had a concussion. A head CT would show bleeding or skull fracture, both of which would be worse than a simple concussion, but a CT does not show concussions. That diagnosis is based on symptoms.

For a simple concussion, training is probably safe. If it makes you miserable, however, you won't get extra credit for torturing yourself, and may delay the resolution of symptoms. Better to take a few days off or a few light days if needed. But if you can train without discomfort, I wouldn't worry about doing so.


Thank you for all the feedback.

In case anybody is interested, I was able to finish a squat day yesterday and bench day today without dying, but it sucked bad. Barely squeezed out squats and missed the last rep on the bench. Listening to Dr. Sullivan about not torturing myself, I cut back volume deadlift to one set and dropped weight on volume presses by 10% and still felt way too heavy. Attempted no accessories.

I’ve never been more aware of head pressure during Valsalva. Not that there was more of it - but it sure felt like it and I was just more aware of it. Pain around the stapled laceration certainly didn’t help.

This is the most negative impact I’ve experienced from non-training stress. At least training kept me from breaking anything else when I took the digger.

Jonathon Sullivan

The most important thing here is to avoid another head injury. I don't have a problem with resuming training after a few days off. But don't fall down again.

Best of the Forum

Valsalva, Belly Breathing & Dizziness

There are a lot of videos and articles on the internet which emphasize breathing in your belly for the Valsalva. I tried doing that and I found my lower spine to be hyperextended by sticking my belly out. After the lift I experienced dizziness, headaches and weakness in parts of my body.

The book clearly states to expand the thoracic cavity and when I breathe into my chest everything works perfectly fine. I'd like to know why they advocate belly breathing.

Mark Rippetoe

They seem to have not attended school, where you learn that air goes into the lungs. Air in your belly is a burp (assuming that "belly" means stomach – if it doesn't, back to school anyway). Breathing into the "belly" is a cue, even if it is a bad one. It is not anatomy.


Thank you coach Rip. I'd like to express my gratitude to you for teaching me the true meaning of strength and fitness. There's a lack of fitness knowledge in India and the Indian fitness industry is highly geared towards Weider based fitness. I'd like to see a Starting Strength gym here in India and be an SSC some day.

Thanks again for your marvellous work. Cheers


Can I add - having experienced near fainting on the press - be careful not to hyperventilate on the approach to the lift. The stress of lifting a heavy weight can result in that kind of rapid breathing before one jumps into freezing cold water. Approach the lift breathing gently and normally, then one valsalva breath just before the lift.


I agree with you completely. Breathing too quickly before the lift caused me headaches too. I guess taking a big breath in your chest gently would be the right cue then.

Mark Rippetoe

I have found it to be exceedingly unnecessary to tell my lifter where to put the air. We all breathe, and we're all experienced with the process. I have found that "Big breath" or Big air" works every single time it's tried.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.