Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 13, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #42 - Rip and staff discuss the upcoming strengthlifting federation, audiobooks, and making money on athletes.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

sean 405 for 5 deadlift
Sean pulled 405 for a set of 5 at the seminar this weekend at Kingwood Strength & Conditioning. Despite having the majority of his thoracic and lumbar spine fused with Harrington rods, he has successfully trained for strength with barbells. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
rodriguez deadlifts an easy set of 495
Another lifter at the same Seminar, Joseph Rodriguez, pulls an easy 495 lbs for a set of 5. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

High squats and being stuck on my deadlifts

I'm a 53-year-old male, 6'2", #187(yes I'm trying to add weight), who has been training for 8 months. I was pretty untrained my whole life (skier, biker, p90x) but just got serious about strength. Through my linear progression, I got my squat up to 270x5x3. I had good progress on the deadlift but I'm stuck at 290x5 and can't seem to move up. I recently video'd my lifts and saw that my squat was 3 to 5 inches high. I'm in the process of deloading my squat to a weight I can get below parallel and moving back up with an emphasis on getting deep each rep. Do you think my high squats and being stuck on deadlift are related? Grip and form don't seem to be the issue.

Mark Rippetoe

You don't think a 5-inch-high squat is a form problem that may bleed over into other lifts? And really, 6'2" at 187???

David Kirkham

Oh...the dreaded video that doesn't lie. Yep. I did that one too. Had to deload at about the same weight. I think I went all the way down to 200. It was a baaaaaaad day in the gym. It didn't take that long to get my weights back up.

Keep pulling and squatting. You'll get there. If I can do it you can too. The most important part of the program is showing up in the gym.

Best of the Forum

Protect Yo’ Neck: A question about neck exercises

Does training the neck with weighted resistance need to be performed differently than other training?

Is there a distinction to be made between types of neck movements, e.g. flexion/extension, rotation, protraction/retraction and how they should be programmed for incremental overloading? Does the nature of the cervical spine and how it articulates warrant specific programming considerations apart from how one would train any other movement?

How quickly can the actual joint tissues adapt to incremental overloading? And how does the anatomy of the neck and head dictate how one should do a movement, i.e. what should be avoided?

Mark Rippetoe

What is the normal function of the neck musculature?


I'm guessing the neck muscles respond to training the same way other muscles do.

Their function, I think, is to support and stabilize the head. Boxers (for instance) train their neck muscles to help them take punches.


Stabilizing the neck. Also moving the neck around, but usually never against a large resistance. Thus I assume you think training your neck using "movements" is rubbish.

We also don't train our back muscles by moving our spine around, but rather by doing deadlifts during which the back muscles stabilize the spine.

Anyway, moving the spine while under load doesn't seem to be a good idea.

Mark Rippetoe

If isometric stabilization is the function of the neck muscles, then exercises that require neck stability – either directly, like the deadlift, bench, and press, or indirectly, like the squat – work the neck muscles. If you are a football lineman who uses his helmet as a weapon, it makes sense to do extra neck work. If you are a lifter, your neck will grow accidentally.

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