Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 18, 2021

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nicole rutherford coaching the bench press at starting strength austin
Nicole Rutherford helps a member with his bench press at Starting Strength Austin. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
cassandra deadlifting before her shift
Cassandra pulling some solid deadlifts before her morning shift on Monday. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]

Best of the Week

Sightseeing in WF

Driving down for the seminar in February. Family is coming with me and they want to see the sights, eat the food and maybe do some hiking. Any recommendations?

Mark Rippetoe

None, sorry. This is not a "pretty" part of the world.

Lost and Found

I disagree. Most Texans run off and buy some ground in Colorado for the postcard "beauty" but I think the rugged, though flat to rolling, terrain of the plains has its own beauty. The problem in Texas is almost all private ground so hiking opportunities are limited.

Depending on your travel route you might consider a stop in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oklahoma for a hike. This area was set aside by presidents McKinley and T. Roosevelt and is the oldest wildlife refuge in the country. This refuge helped restore populations of Rocky Mountain Elk and American Bison to the plains. Both herds are still present on the refuge in great numbers today. Lots of trails for hiking. Stop in Meers for a burger.

Gerald Boggs

How about the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge? It's only an hour away, they can frolic with the bison and wild longhorns and there's some great hiking. I spent the summer of 90 at Ft. Sill and pretty much every weekend was spent hiking and camping.


What about the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum?

Mark Rippetoe

I forgot about that. And the famous Falls. Definite must-sees.

Best of the Forum

Taller Lifter and Back Issue
Ocael Honig
  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6'7"
  • Weight: 255-265

I ran SSLP and took my Squat to 255 and Deadlift to 320. Not anything to write home about, but I'll take it. One night after a set of Squats, I cut the training session short because my lower back started to balloon and tighten up. Several hours later I was in pretty bad shape and getting out of bed or standing up was a life-or-death struggle. Wanting to rule out spinal or disc issues, I decided to see a doctor.

Doctor wrote it off as mechanical back pain and told me to take 6 to 8 weeks off.

Friend of mine is a chiropractor (although he's never formally assessed me) and said roughly the same thing, but added I should still find a way to train and that "doing nothing" would be the worst thing to do. He is familiar with Starting Strength and casually mentioned that I should find a way to add in additional lower back or hamstring work.

I began fiddling around with arched-back good-mornings and RDLs for high sets with the bar which actually provided some relief. I don't know if this is just from the blood being pumped into the area or this is actually reinforcing the connective tissue. I would like to incorporate RDLs and GMs going forward into my training, and was wondering the best way to do that. I was thinking something like:

  • Monday and Friday
  • Squat - 5x3
  • Bench - 5x3
  • RDL or GM - 8x3
  • Wednesday
  • Light Squat - 5x2
  • Press - 5x3
  • Deadlift

Thanks for reading. Thoughts? Suggestions? Am I way out of line?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't think the additional exercises are necessary. I think your back just healed up, like backs do. I think you need to make sure your squat and deadlift form is solid, and gain some weight as you drive your numbers up.


I'm 6'6", 240 lbs (and gaining), 40 years old. I was 200 lbs when I began Starting Strength. I used to have fairly regular low back pain, but that disappeared as I got stronger. Even after reading the book and watching countless videos, my form was poor. And I knew it was poor, which led me to drive 8 hours to a seminar, where I learned my form was worse than I realized. I still struggle with keeping my form in check, which I think is part of being a tall lifter (at least for me). Point being, I would definitely get some coaching or at least video form checks.

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