Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 24, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

aleli locks out her press
Aleli locks out her press with a shrug at the top during the recent Starting Strength Seminar in Denver. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]

Best of the Week

Risking Biceps Tear in Deadlift?

Am I risking a biceps tear in my supine hand during the DL? Do I just need to cue "straight elbows" or is it something else with my setup?

Michael Wolf

I don't really know, but I'd guess you're at a higher risk than if you kept your arms properly straight. I don't have hard data on the frequency or risk of these tears, but anecdotally, it's pretty low and usually occurs at much heavier weights than this. However, most good pullers who get strong enough to do that much weight learn early on not to pull with bent arms. So there's that.

I would guess (though it's only a guess) that if you couldn't straighten your elbows and had a more acute carrying angle, that your risk would be lower because your body is more adapted to that position, but that really would just be a guess. However, it appears as if you do get your arm straight at some point in the set-up, but then bend it again. You shouldn't do that. Whether the risk is high or low, I'm pretty sure it's higher than it would be with your arms straight, and with such an easy thing to fix, there's no reason not to.


I think I've just watched one too many YouTube biceps tears videos (and yes they're pulling way more weight). I usually cue straight elbows in the beginning but then once the pull starts other things enter the mind (e.g. "Omfg this is heavy"). I'll work on focusing on the cue longer and see if that works.

Michael Wolf

If the same cue repeated over and over doesn't work for you, use another. Also, who is in charge of your body? You. Bending the elbows in the DL is not normal beyond a very short introductory period, and even then only for a small % of people. You tell your body what to do, it doesn't just move into all sorts of impossible to control patterns willy nilly. Obviously heavy loads and complicated movements make this more difficult, but almost no one who has been instructed properly bends their arms while pulling beyond a few sessions because not bending your arms while pulling is way easier, for example, than not letting the knees slide during squat or not letting the knees go soft during Press 2.0. You're in charge of your arms, you tell them to stay straight, they will. This is a pretty easy part of the movement to do right.

But if that's not enough, try: Pose your triceps while pulling.

Best of the Forum

Weighted Chins and Small Jumps
Robert Santana

I was thinking about a discussion Rip gave at the seminar where we all pretty much agreed that a chin up program typically only progresses for a couple of months. Recently, I had a lifter who has been doing them consistently since January and has maintained linear progress during this time. She trains three times per week and alternates weighted chins with 3 sets of bodyweight chins for reps every other workout. Since Chins don't require much, if any, supervision I haven't paid much attention to the load on the belt for some time now. However, I've recently learned that this lifter used her big old brain and decided to do 0.5 lb increases each weighted chin workout because she got so damned pissed that she was missing reps on them. By the time I found out about this she had added an additional 10 lbs to them doing it this way. Her body weight has stayed the same this entire time as she keeps very good track of her diet. Anyhow, in short as we've all said many times, small incremental increase work and they work well, apparently even as small as 0.5 lb per workout. Don't be greedy bastards and you will extend LP much longer. Her stats are below:

  • Height: 5'2"
  • Weight: 105 (appx 110 with everything on)
  • Current body weight chins: 17
  • Weighted: 35 lb x 5 x 3

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