Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 20, 2020

Laser Jammer Edition

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From the Coaches

In the Trenches

smitha press lockout
Smitha locks out her final work set during the Press portion of the Starting Strength 3 Lift Camp held in Baltimore this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
emily socolinsky coaching mike in the squat
SSC Emily Socolinsky coaches Mike through this final set of squats. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]

Best of the Week

Technique practice on recovery days?

I have been doing SS for a few weeks now. It is a fantastic program, and I feel like I’m getting so much more out of my training. My routine has much more purpose.

My question is about rest days. I really enjoy working out and being in the gym. I understand the importance of recovery days, but I was wondering if it would negatively affect my recovery if I used my off days to work on technique.

If I were to get some 5 lb technique plates, would it be a bad idea to work on the lifts while I’m recovering? I figure a half hour to 45 minutes on my recovery days would be enjoyable and would be a great start to my day, but I don’t want to do it if it would slow my progress.

Mark Rippetoe

Is your technique with 55 pounds the same as your technique with work set weights? What would you be practicing?


Well, I would be doing it because I enjoy working out in the morning, not so much to perfect the technique. I guess I’m looking for something to work on in the gym that wouldn’t harm my gains, and I thought that might be something I could do. It doesn’t have to be technique.

I guess a better question is, since I enjoy being in the gym, what can I do on recovery days that will not negatively affect my recovery?

Mark Rippetoe

Just go to the gym and play cards.


Nick when the weight gets heavy or at least mentally demanding you will want nothing to do with the barbell on your recovery day. You won’t want to see the bar or even think about it. So build good recovery day habits now by resting, eating plenty, and getting a lot of sleep. Read the books. Annoy the wife. Walk the dog.


Yes, I am feeling that way today and I welcome the rest! It is certainly a change that I will have to get used to, but, really, there is a reason that I switched to strength training. I just wasn't getting the results that I wanted. My programming was all over the place. And even when I came up with a plan, I had to constantly modify it on the fly when the equipment at the gym was taken (by 'taken', most of the time that means that there was a towel on the machine but no one was around.) So, I'm convinced now that a change has to be made and I have to go all in and follow the program. If that means resting, then I'll rest.


Also the more you learn about the Stress-Recovery-Adaptation cycle the easier it is to prioritize recovery. When I finally understood how S-R-A works at the cellular level it made it easier.


I went back and re-read about this. It is making a lot more sense now. Thanks!

Best of the Forum

Could thin ankles and large feet contradict the model?

Namely, that the bar in deadlift should be about 1 inch away from the ankles and therefore over the middle of the foot. Of course, this would mostly be a case for very tall people who are underweight. I came to this scenario by messing around with a stick figure and inserting various values of limb lengths. I know they are not perfect, mainly because these models don't account for femoral external rotation and lat insertion angle. But it got me curious nevertheless.

Mark Rippetoe

This hasn't been my experience.

Michael Wolf

But even in that case, ~1 inch from the shins isn't "the model." The model is the midfoot start, not the inch away from the shins. We've found that an inch away from the shins is a really damn good proxy for the midfoot. But theoretically, if someone had very weirdly thin tibias or something, and size 21 feet, so midfoot was actually 2 inches from their shins - who cares? This would be pretty obvious and immediately recognizable and wouldn't change anything practically speaking, since saying "an inch away from your shins" still works 99.999% of the time and if it doesn't, we all understand that we're looking for midfoot and can easily correct it.

Adam Nelson

At 6'2 and (formerly!) 180#, my n=1 is that 1 inch worked just fine, despite all my theorizing to the contrary.

Mark Rippetoe

We have checked people with size 4 women's and size 17 men's, and the rule works every time.

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