Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 11, 2022

Half Shell Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Passing the Opt-In, Heat Exhaustion, and Rip Retiring – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • Why Chalk Is A Must For Gaining Strength – Chalk is not just something Olympic weightlifters and Lebron James needs. Chalk is essential to consistently gain strength in the gym.
  • We Are Cash flow Positive – Starting Strength Gyms has just reached an important milestone after four years of intense work. Owner Ray Gillenwater discusses the long road it took to get here, as well as the future plans of the franchise.
  • Learning from Example by Scott Acosta – The barbell has been in my life for about as long as I can remember. Some of my best childhood memories are of working out with my dad. This was the original spark...
  • Why You Won't Do the Program, Part 3: Failure to Appreciate the Novice Effect by Mark Rippetoe – When you first start training correctly – doing the program as written – progress comes very quickly...
  • Weekend Archives: Starting Strength for the Obese Trainee by Nick Klemetson – Recently, reality television shows such as The Biggest Loser have perpetuated the idea that a starvation diet plus extended periods of high intensity exercise can result in...
  • Weekend Archives: Stress by Mark Rippetoe – In These Trying Times, every sentient individual is under at least a little more psychological stress than normal...

From the Coaches
  • Want to improve your deadlift? The halting deadlift can help. Phil Meggers explains what a halting deadlift is, how to do it, and why you might want to utilize the halting deadlift in your training.
  • Is your awful grip ruining your press? In this video - the fifth in Testify's series of Saturday Shorts on fixing the press - Phil Meggers discusses and demonstrates how to solve this problem in less than two minutes.
  • “One breath. Ok, here I go . . . maybe another breath. Got it, let’s go . . . well, one more breath will probably help . . . ” Good grief - knock that off. Phil Meggers discusses the errors of too much breathing and therefore too much time spent on the floor between reps, and he also explains how to solve this problem.
  • 9 Essentials for Injury Prevention in Powerlifting – Rori Alter discusses how to find the most optimal barbell technique for your body, optimal performance, injury risk reduction, and athlete recovery in powerlifting.
  • Does barbell training technique matter? Yes! Learn the 9 elements of safe & effective barbell training to help prevent injuries in powerlifting.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

gym dog rambo demonstrates how to set up for the bench press
Gym dog Rambo demonstrates an excellent bench setup for dad. As the morning class mascot for Starting Strength Orlando, he’s beginning to learn to coach as well. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
matt gemmill coaches chris through a set of presses
Matt Gemmill coaches Chris Morton through a set of presses. [photo courtesy of JD Shipley]
chris teaches the deadlift to 13-year-old samuel
Apprentice Chris teaches 13-year-old Samuel the deadlift during his introductory session at Starting Strength Cincinnati as Steven (his father and new fellow member) looks on. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
fred wagner deadlifting in independence day garb
Fred Wagner comes prepared for training on the 4th of July with some star-spangled deadlifts. [photo courtesy of JD Shipley]

Starting Strength Boston had special class times for the 4th of July holiday. Here is Eric Sousa getting patriotic with red white and blue warmup plates. We should have played marches to honor his wonderful family name. Happy Birthday America!!! [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
tony stein coaches miriam on the bench as her family cheers her on
SSC Tony Stein coaches Miriam Buehrer through a set on bench while her husband Bob and daughter Charlotte cheer her on. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
myra prepares for a pr deadlift set of five with the big wheels
Getting ready to deadlift the big wheels for her work set (a PR set of five), Myra sets her back in extension as she prepares for her first rep at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Starting Strength Tulsa's sign is installed, window graphics placed, and buildout proceeding for our opening August 22nd. [photo courtesy of David G. Heon]

Meet Results

IronFest IV – IronFest is a team competition with male/male, male/female, and female/female divisions in both open (at least one lifter under 40 years old) and masters (both lifters 40 years old or older) categories. This weekend's meet had 13 teams, and first place awards went to Brenda Pavelka and Christine Miller in the Open Female/Female division, Sharon Foster and Julie Snyder in the Masters Female/Female division, Christopher Charvat and Rob Hufford in the Open Male/Male division, and Tyler Holm and Brianne Holm in the ever-popular Open Male/Female division. Full Results

sarah jones presses in the ironfest competition at testify strength and conditioning
Sarah Jones presses 90 lb for her second attempt at IronFest IV, held this weekend at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. Sarah set PRs in the squat and press at the meet, and her teammate was her son Jack, who set PRs in the bench press and deadlift. [photo courtesy of Becky Meggers]
jeremiah presses during ironfest at testify strength and conditioning in omaha nebraska
Jeremiah Jarecke presses 192.5 lb for a PR third attempt at this weekend's Testify IronFest IV in Omaha, NE. Jeremiah competed in the Open Male/Female division with his daughter Aubrey, who set PRs in the bench press and deadlift. [photo courtesy of Becky Meggers]
sharon foster deadlifts 280 for a pr at the ironfest iv meet
Sharon Foster pulls 280 lb for a PR third attempt as she wraps up her second IronFest competition. Sharon competed in the Masters Female/Female division with Julie Snyder. [photo courtesy of Becky Meggers]

Best of the Week

AC joint arthritis considerations?

Max W

I’m a 21 year-old male with an AC joint injury. Although I don’t know exactly what the injury is, I consulted with a physiotherapist who ruled out a separation. As a result, I suspect it may be arthritis of the joint or ‘weightlifter’s shoulder’, the product of poorly performed bench pressing/power cleaning early on in my lifting journey (prior to Starting Strength). Whenever I bench with too wide of a grip or too little of an arch, I feel a grinding sensation at the top of my shoulder, and when I perform assisted dips too deep the joint feels very sensitive for a few days. The workaround has been close grip benching and cutting out dips.

My main concern is about pressing, though. I’ve recently come to greatly appreciate the press and would like to specialize in it, performing it 3-4 times a week and using the bench as an assistance exercise. So far this has resulted in my press numbers going up pretty drastically, and my shoulders feel more stable than ever. I was wondering if I should be concerned that this volume of pressing might exacerbate my AC joint symptoms over time? I cut the ROM at the bottom very slightly (the bar is still below chin level) and my AC joint feels fine, but I’m concerned that I might make things worse without even realizing it, until it is too late.

Do you think pressing will make my symptoms worse, or does the shrug also protect against AC joint irritation? Thanks & happy fourth!

Mark Rippetoe

There is an illustration in the blue book that deals with the shoulders during a press -- 2 or 3 actually. I see no mechanism by which the properly-performed press can aggravate the shoulder.

Best of the Forum

"Transgender inclusion, fairness and safety often cannot co-exist" says major review


I saw this write up on the BBC of a report by the UK Sports Councils Equality Group: "Transgender inclusion, fairness and safety often cannot co-exist" says major review

Some key quotes:

It says the governing bodies for each sport should work out their priorities, and choose whether they will focus on inclusion or "competitive fairness" - and safety if relevant - within the current format of their sport.

So for example, contact, collision and combat sports which choose to prioritise safety - or sports based on strength, stamina or physique which choose to prioritise "competitive fairness" - could create extra "universal admission" categories for transgender athletes.

It concludes "testosterone suppression is unlikely to guarantee fairness between transgender women and natal females in gender-affected sports" and there are "retained differences in strength, stamina and physique between the average woman compared with the average transgender woman or non-binary person registered male at birth".

I have to say it seems fairly sensible (even commonsensical) to me. Which these days is quite a surprise.

I don't think anyone would object to additional Open or Universal "free for all" categories.

Mark Rippetoe

We've already suggested it. They are merely catching up.

John-Riley Bush

So transgender-women versus transgender-women. Wouldn't that just be male sports?

Mark Rippetoe

The uniforms would be different.

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