Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 16, 2017

Training Log
  • Niki Sims and Michael Wolf demonstrate a couple of quick safety tips for the bench press safety.
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #40 - Chinese training rituals, training's effect on fibromyalgia, how to get a client to do their first chin up and the best barbecue in Texas
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

Palmer lifters covered a seven decade spread at the RPS Winter Warfare Meet in Newport, KY on January 14.

teenage sarah palmer 195 lb deadlift
Sarah Palmer, 15, getting ready to pull 195 lbs. (1/3)
walter palmer 440 lb squat opener
Starting Strength Coach Walter Palmer, 53, opening with a 440 lb squat. (2/3)
david palmer competition deadlift
Dave Palmer, 78, on his second attempt on the way to a new deadlift PR of 335 lbs. (3/3) [photos courtesy of Walter Palmer]

Click images to view slideshow.

Best of the Week

Squat Sets & Reps

I was wondering what the difference is in doing my working sets of squats in 5 sets of 3 reps at the same weight? I've also recently tried playing around with my sets/reps and increasing overall poundage lifted. Example:

Currently following the 3 sets of 5 I'm at 275lbs, which after a total of 15 reps equals 4,125lbs.

Now, if I do: 275 1 x 3 = 825 lbs, 280 1 x 3 = 840 lbs, 285 3 x 3 = 2,565lbs, 290 1 x 2 = 580lbs (17 reps). That is 4,810lbs overall & 685lbs more

I only ask because the lower reps & higher weight seem easier for me to handle. Mostly because I'm lacking upper body strength and my upper back seems to fatigue before my legs when doing the higher reps at 3 sets of 5. I still plan on doing 3 sets of 5, but just want a change up since I'm squatting 4 days a week.

But am I correct in assuming that lifting overall more pounds when doing more weight and close to same reps but more sets equals an overall stronger squat?

Mark Rippetoe

If total tonnage is your criterion, why not just do 35 singles with 135?


I try to keep things as simple as possible for as long as possible. One thing that has helped me personally is the mantra, "stress, recovery, adaptation." This will get more complicated as you progress, but don't miss the forest for the trees...

Best of the Forum

Lunges Impingement and Leg Press Reps
  1. If I recall correctly, at the squat the toes point and the knees get shoved out to avoid impingement. How's that when doing lunges? They are performed with a straight foot and knee, aren't they? Won't exactly this type of impingement happen here?
  2. For people who are unable to perform a bodyweight squat, Rip recommends the leg press as performed in the platform video. He also recommends 10 reps. Why is that? If we are trying to build strength, wouldn't 5 reps as done when squatting be better?
Brodie Butland
  1. The lunge is supposed to imitate a one-leg kneel...which is most natural with your thigh pointing forward. Hence your toes point forward.
  2. Necessity. How would you propose shoving one knee out and still maintaining balance?

There will be some impingement...but the lunge is a very different lift from the squat. Assuming that you even do the lunge...which as a general matter you don't have to.

I can't speak for Rip, but in my view, if someone's too weak to do a bodyweight squat, I sure as hell don't want him/her straining on the leg press. So I'd rather they do a lighter weight for 10 reps than a more maximal effort set at 5.

Adam Skillin

Get your protractor out. Tell me the hip angle at the bottom of a squat as advocated in the SS Model. Compare that to the hip angle of a lunge. That should answer question # 1.

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