Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 13, 2023

Pincers Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Functional Training with Kim Goss – Rip talks with Olympic lifting coach Kim Goss about functional training, coaching, and how obtaining degrees isn't important.
  • From Working Out With My Mom in a Garage to Owning a Gym – The Hunt family from Starting Strength Boise share their journey from working out in their garage to owning their own Starting Strength gym.
  • Director's Cut - Hip Drive – Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo explains hip drive and how learning to squat correctly takes advantage of this essential human movement pattern.
  • “Functional” “Training” by Mark Rippetoe – It's become the dominant fad in Strength and Conditioning. Sports coaches love it because it looks “sporty” to them. Strength and conditioning coaches love it because it's easy...
  • Weak Grip and Its Effects on the Deadlift by Andrew Lewis – Your deadlift may be failing because of your grip. An obvious indicator is that you can feel the bar slipping out of your hands...
  • Weekend Archives: The Science of Verbal Cues: Turning Words into Action by Nick D'Agostino – What is your mission as a coach? When you’re working with a trainee, what are you aiming for?...
  • Weekend Archives: Back Pain and Back Strength by Mark Rippetoe – There are times when The Conventional Wisdom and The Reality of the Situation are at odds. Our recent presidential election provides a poignant example, as does the idea...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

lifters and coaches watch rudra deadlift at the starting strength training camp
Full house at Starting Strength Orlando and all eyes on Rudra during our most recent training camp in Florida. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
yvette sets her eyes down as prepares for her last squat at the training camp in orlando
Setting her eyes down, Yvette prepares to finish her squat set during the squat and deadlift camp at Starting Strength Orlando. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
keith starting his deadlift at the training camp in orlando
Keith traveled up from Miami to get his form checked at our squat and deadlift camp hosted by Starting Strength Orlando. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
maureen locking out a bench press at starting strength memphis
Maureen locking out a bench press at Starting Strength Memphis. Maureen trains with husband, Rad, and son David in the 4:15 PM session. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
ben wells deadlifts 315 personal record
Starting Strength Cincinnati member Ben Wells pulls 315 pounds for a lifetime PR. [photo courtesy of Adam Martin]
sen prepares to squat 315 for a pr
Sen joined Starting Strength Boston in January and is about to leave for a multi week trip to Japan. He set two PRs before leaving, including a squat of 315 lbs and press of 135 lbs both for a single rep. The best send off ever! [photo courtesy of Stephen Babbitt]
stephen coaches deadlift stance at a starting strength boston open house
Starting Strength Boston has a free Open House on Saturdays where people learn about Starting Strength and how to deadlift. Here Stephen coaches proper foot position with Matt and Bonny last weekend. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]
afton spots aubrey bench press triples at 80.5
Aubrey bench presses 80.5 lb for triples while being spotted by Afton. Aubrey is signed up for Testify's Leprechaun Lift-off weightlifting meet in March, and Afton is signed up for Testify's Strengthlifting Challenge in April. Neither of these meets include the bench press, and yet . . . they still bench. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Best of the Week

Food advice, red spots and seminar savings

Tim Coenen

First of all I'd like to say thanks for everything you do. After reading the blue book I stepped into the gym at 25 years old, 5'11, 145 pounds. 1.5 years later (with a 2.5 month break after getting injured playing soccer), I now weigh 230 and the bodyweight is still going up. My lifts went from 155 pounds for three sets of five to 420 pounds for three sets of five on the squat, 130 for three sets of five to 245 for three sets of five on the bench, 175 for one set of five to 490 for one set of five on the deadlift and 75 pounds for three sets of five to 170 pounds for three sets of five on the press. The upper body lifts are a bit low, but they are catching up quickly after I learned I need to take bigger breaks between sets. I also have long arms - I look a bit like the orangutan on your desk - so that probably plays a role as well in those lifts being on the low side.

Anyway, the questions: I recently quit my awful office job and decided to become a HVAC technician. I feel like I made the right choice switching jobs, but there are also some problems. I have trouble eating enough because of the switch to manual labor, which is costing quite a bit of energy. At my previous job I could also store a couple cartons of milk in the fridge to drink while sitting at my desk, but I don't have that luxury now. Because of that I probably dropped from getting 5000-6000 calories per day to around 4500. As you can probably tell from my starting weight it takes some real effort for me to eat enough. Do you have any advice for getting more calories while on the job (or at any other time)? I was thinking of putting some protein bars in my pockets and just eating those throughout the day, but that probably won't be enough.

Second question: Sometimes after a really difficult set (like earlier today on the squat) I get a lot of red spots on my skin around the shoulders/traps and sometimes face/neck. It doesn't look too bad and it usually goes away after a day or so. Should I be worried or is it harmless? I can include a picture if needed.

Last one: I'd like to visit a seminar, but still have to save up some money after the job switch. I also have to pay back back roughly 35,000 euros in student loans for my literature degree (I know I fucked up). Do you think it's worth saving up to visit the seminar as soon as possible or should I just continue lifting, pay off my debts, invest in some tools and a better car and come to a seminar in 2-3 years time?

Mark Rippetoe

1. If you eat enough bars, it will be enough. Or get a little ice chest for your milk.

2. That is called petechiae. It is of no concern, just some aggravated capillaries.

3. Better to make the student loan wait than improvement in your training.

Best of the Forum

Testing Neuromuscular Efficiency


Thanks as always for the informative podcast on training women. I subsequently read your article: Training Female Lifters: Neuromuscular Efficiency. Obviously neuromuscular efficiency has serious implications on programming the lifts. The less neuromuscularly efficient you are, the heavier you will need to go and the more volume at those heavier weights you will need to induce an adequate stress.

You discussed that the standing vertical jump is a great way to measure this. However, most people do not have the access to obtain an accurate measure of this. What would you recommend people do as a substitute to this? It seems to me that people should generally know how explosive they are, but people have a funny way of deceiving themselves when it comes to this stuff. I once trained someone who was in his early thirties. He's 5'7", overweight, not the least bit strong or athletic, and when I asked him what his goals were he told me with a straight face he wanted to play collegiate basketball at THE OSU (he was applying for grad school there).

One way I can think of testing this is by simply using a % of a 1RM and seeing how many reps you can get with it. So, if someone tests their max and then waits at least 10 min and then performs about 85% of their 1RM, the amount of reps they get should give you a pretty good idea (if you have good reference data). What do you think of this approach?

Mark Rippetoe

Depends on whether you're testing power or conditioning. The SVJ can be tested with chalked fingertips and a wall, much easier than a bench press reps test.

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