Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 05, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #61 – Rip proposes that no one questions the SS method more than SS coaches and staff, followed by discussion of leg length discrepancies, strength imbalances, and special populations.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

pete troupos cueing the squat
Pete Troupos provides a tactile cue to David to help remind him to drive the hips out of the bottom of the squat at the Training Camp just held in Frisco, TX. [photo courtesy of Trent Jones]

Best of the Week

Training With Arthritic Knee

Last June I broke the fifth metatarsal on my left foot and was in a walking boot until late August, into early September. I resumed my full training regimen in early October and was doing well until I developed a knee issue. I contend that it was because I remained very active while in the walking boot and I developed some bio mechanical issues. The knee became filled with fluid and I started to walk with a pronounced limp. Credit your detailed instructions on the lifts for allowing me to squat without pain. I dropped back on my squat weight and tried to stay with the program. This morning I had a pint of fluid drained from my knee and was given a cortisone shot. I have felt immediate relief. My specialist recommended avoiding deep squats. Apparently, I have quite a bit of arthritis under the knee cap. He knows that I will not quit squatting and I honestly believe your program has allowed me to be the best version of myself even with the extensive down time between the foot injury and the new knee issue. I know you are not a doctor, but your vast experience with your own body and the training of many our age makes you an authority on training with aches and pains. I want to continue to squat. Should I deload and progress my way up while rehabbing?

Mark Rippetoe

Video of your squat? there's a 95% chance that this is a form issue.

Andy Baker

I have an entire coaching practice that is almost exclusively people age 50–80. Obviously arthritis is pretty common around here. We have issues that arise often with shoulders, backs, hips, and sometimes elbows, but almost never knees. Even if everyone had perfect form ALL the time, which they don't, you'd think we'd have occasional flare ups with knees. But we truly do not.

As Rip said, knee pain from squatting almost always results from form issues. My guess is that you are either (1) letting your knees track too far forward and not getting back into your hips enough (2) letting weight get over the front of your foot instead of mid-foot (3) are squatting high with more weight than you should be using. Possibly a combo of all 3.

Usually when clients present with knee pain from squatting I'm able to trace it back to one of these issues.

Best of the Forum

Front Squats in lieu of Back Squats
  • 46 years old.
  • 220 body weight.
  • SS Linear Progression for about seven months then experimented with a couple of different programs (split routine, 5-3-1) and settled on a split along the lines of that described in Practical Programming.

I recently substituted front squats for back squats because of tendonitis that developed in my biceps. It didn’t show up until I was done with SSLP and had gotten my back squat to a 305# 5 RM. I checked my form carefully. I wasn’t intercepting the weight with my arms. I also tried High Bar without success.

The Question: What advice do you have for lifters who, for whatever reason, have decided to substitute front squats for back squats? I made the change about six weeks ago and have found there are some pluses as well as drawbacks.

Mark Rippetoe

Keep your chest up and your elbows high.


Thanks, I will. I watched your video on front squats and found it very helpful.

Do you think it's advisable to incorporate any additional exercises to compensate for the reduced posterior chain work when subbing front squats for back squats?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't think it's advisable to substitute the front squat for the back squat. So use your own judgment on the assistance exercises too.

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