Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 21, 2019

  • StrengthCon II is fast approaching. We've just updated the event listing to include vendors who will be there to answer your questions about programs and products. ​Vendors will include Starting Strength Gyms, Starting Strength Online Coaching, and our partners for Starting Strength Equipment: Capps Welding, Texas Strength Systems, and Dominion Strength Training.
Starting Strength Channel
  • Rip Coaches the Deadlift – Mark Rippetoe coaches attendees at a Starting Strength Seminar during the deadlift platform session.
  • Mark Rippetoe describes the inherent nature of shrugging during a power clean and how giving a shrug cue can be helpful in some instances.
Training Log

In the Trenches

frank sanders deadlift attempt setup
Frank Sanders sets up for a 220kg (484 lb) deadlift attempt at the USSF Championships Strength Meet held at WFAC this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
ussf championships group photo 2019
Lifters, coaches, friends, family, and staff at the USSF Championships Strength Meet. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Is Any Belt Better Than No Belt?
Jeff LC

My belt isn't going to be here for another 5-6 weeks. By that time my Squat is supposed to be just about 300 lbs x 5 reps, which is sufficiently higher than anything I have ever squatted before.

I really would like to be using a belt yesterday, but the only ones available to me in the meantime are those tapered harbinger ones, and the like.

Would I be better off using something like that until mine comes? Or should I just go belt-less until then?

Mark Rippetoe

If you need a belt, a shitty one is better than no belt.

Jeff LC

I believe that I do need a belt; but what form issues or other factors typically indicate that one needs a belt ASAP?

Mark Rippetoe

What leads you to believe you need a belt? It's pretty subjective, really. The Belt and the Deadlift


Jeff, Dominion would have gotten you a belt in days, not weeks.

Jeff LC

I guess if I'm being honest it's mostly a desire to use all the tools available to me, and because everybody says that I should use one.

I have a history of lower back pain from squatting/deadlift without proper form, and I feel the belt will help me execute with better form which increases my chances of making it through the linear progression without getting injured.

Mark Rippetoe

Buy one from Dominion and use it. And gain some weight, whydoncha?

Best of the Forum

Two Shoulder Tears, Should I Continue?

I'm 30 years old, 5'7", and weigh 180 lbs. Today I had my uncle, who is an ortho doc, look at my MRI. Turns out I have a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder. I also have a very small labral tear.

I'm certain this happened in January, though I'm not sure how it happened. The pain started one day when I was stretching/popping my shoulder a few hours after a training session. At the time this occurred in January, I had pressed 110lbs for three sets of 5 that same day. For the month of February, I did some world traveling and took a break from the novice SS program. Extreme pain set in after I began traveling.

In April I started the novice program again with A LOT of shoulder pain. I started by pressing the 45 lb bar for 5 sets of 3. I stuck to the program and reduced all pain by about 90%. Last week I pressed 122lbs 3x5 for the first time ever not knowing I had these shoulder tears. I no longer have Chronic aches and pains throughout the day, though I still have slight pain when I stretch my right arm across my torso. I've definitely lost a little bit of overall mobility. I also still have slight pain while doing the exercises though not nearly as much as I used to.

My question is: In your opinion should I back off on trying to make gains on the press or power through to the intermediate program? (Let's just assume I execute the lifts perfectly)

I've made good gains these past months, but I'm worried I could damage the shoulder further. I understand there is a separate rehab protocol that is often suggested.

In any case I'm amazed at what I've accomplished despite having the RC tear and Labral tear. I guess the human body can be resilient after all.

I'll be seeing a specialist next week to determine what rotator cuff exercises I could implement. And to see if I can try to recover 100% without any surgery.

Mark Rippetoe

Have you considered the fact that since you probably injured your shoulder doing a lot of admittedly very fashionable Mobility Work, that maybe you should just stop doing that, train the press, the bench, and the chin, and see what happens?

Will Morris

Let me get this straight: you do the novice program, get a lot stronger, relieve the chronic pain, and now the biggest impairment is mild pain occasionally.....and, you are seeking the services of a specialist to find out specific RTC exercises. Sorry bro, but I think you have already found your answer.

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