Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 02, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

jordan stanton cues the spine of the scapula
Starting Strength Coach Jordan Stanton uses a tactile cue to teach Nathan bar position relative to the spine of the scapula. [photo courtesy of Mike Munroe]

Best of the Week

Stretching frequency

I am a 35-year-old desk jockey who cannot get into the low bar squat position without my palms parallel to the floor. This results in painful elbows and wrists which worsen as the weight increases. To increase my flexibility, I am using Horn's low bar stretch.

Is there a rest and recovery cycle for stretching? How often should stretches be performed in order to improve my shoulder flexibility? Is twice a day too much? If it is productive, I’d rather spend more time stretching in order to get myself in proper position and cut down on the inflammation in my elbows and wrists. Thank you for your time and wisdom.

Steve Hill

You need to not dismiss the possibility that you are doing something wrong. Review Rip's low-bar position video. Post a pic of where you are putting the bar. See a coach, if necessary. I doubt desk jockey = so inflexible that you can't attain the correct position, since I am one.

As far as stretching goes, just do the low bar stretch, as recommended in the video, each time you squat. All else being correct, this will sort itself out in a few weeks.

Espen Lund

I might add that in addition to The Paul Horn Stretch, simply hanging from the pull up bar multiple times a day has really helped my shoulders.

Eric Schexnayder

Shoulder dislocations with a broomstick helped me the first time.

Then again, so did learning to stick my chest out and pulling my shoulder blades together. If you're a long-term desk jockey, you've likely trained yourself to be comfortable in thoracic spinal flexion, so it may be difficult for you to know exactly how to get your chest up at first.


I had the same problem after an extended lay off. My right shoulder hurt so much that I couldn't get into position. I started with doing the Paul Horn stretch and hanging from a pullup bar and the problem went away after a few weeks.

Best of the Forum

Starr’s Lifts

Do you happen to know what Bill Starr's best lifts were in the squat and bench press?


These are his training lifts, I think I am pretty close on these. He lifted in 90kg class and did not start lifting late until after the service. A great cleaner.

  • Deadlift - 715
  • Squat - low 600s, no wraps or suit only Hoffman Knee Bands
  • Bench Press- mid 400s with a pause no shirt or wraps.
  • Split Snatch - 315
  • Press - 365
  • C&J - 425 Cleaned 445

His two biggest claims to fame in my opinion where he was the first active athlete to be a head coach at an international weightlifting event and he beat Bednarski once. Starr had a major influence in the fair treatment of athletes in the AAU and the York organization.

John Janecek

I sent a check and a letter to Starr for his book Defying Gravity back around 2000. I asked him a couple questions in the letter and didn’t think he would ever even see it and he writes me a page and half letter back.

His book The Strongest Shall Survive is still an all time favorite and something I base a great deal of my training philosophy on.

John Petrizzo

I was fortunate enough to buy a copy of "The Strongest Shall Survive" back when I was 17. It completely changed the way I trained. The basic program outlined in that book was the first program that I made any real progress with and it was something that I always went back to when I could get away from my college strength coach for a few weeks. It amazes me how relevant much of the information in Starr's books are over thirty years after their original publications.


"The more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to my mind when it comes to effective weight training. IMHO, it's hard to drive marketing of products containing age-old truths until the truth gets lost in all the noise and someone (like Rip & Co) comes along and makes the old seem like something new again. I've put on quite a bit of (mostly useful) weight over the last couple of months such that a couple of the younger guys at work have asked me what I'm doing, and I usually reply with something along the lines of "basic barbell training, things like the Squat, Press and Deadlift; takes about an hr three times a week." The next question typically alternates between "what supplements are you using?", "you don't do curls?!?" or "aren't you worried 'bout your knees and back?" (I'm 49 y/o). The other thing is they are usually skeptical about only 3-4 hrs. per week too: "No way! You gotta be doing the (insert some body builder name here) advanced split, or something, aren't you?" Kinda comical because the same pattern keeps getting repeated.

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