Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 01, 2020

  • New Posters! We've just added two new sets of five posters to The Aasgaard Company Store. The Starting Strength Lifts showcases the five basic barbell lifts: squat, press, deadlift, bench press, and power clean. The second set features five classic Rippetoe quotes.

starting strength poster sets lifts quotes

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

Training Log
  • Who’s Stronger? Shaun Pang takes on the commonly debated issue of absolute strength versus relative strength.
From the Coaches
  • Listen to the recently launched Fivex3 Radio with Emily Socolinsky and Rebecca Fishburne.
  • Join Emily & Diego Socolinsky for a Programming Workshop held via Zoom.

In the Trenches

lacy bench press 115 starting strength denver
In just her third week at Starting Strength Denver, Lacy is already benching 115x5x3. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]
kris squatting 225 starting strength denver
Kris squats two plates for his work sets in less than three weeks.  [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Denver]

Best of the Week

A missing piece in the program?

How come there are 3 hip extension movement patterns in the program (squat, deadlift, power clean) yet not one loaded hip flexion movement pattern?

Mark Rippetoe

Because loaded hip flexion is not a natural human movement pattern.


Humans have been kicking and high kneeing stuff for quite some time... Not to mention running and jumping (high jumping in particular) where being able to flex the hip powerfully are crucial. And what better way there is to increase power then increase strength?

Mark Rippetoe

Is it your position that every movement possible for a human to perform must be trained separately for strength?


I think you should test whether bringing your squat up to 2x body weight helps your kicking and jumping. Also, I believe (perhaps wrongly) that hip flexors are quite active in the squat and likely also benefit from progressive overload, even if they are technically antagonist muscles. See “Lombard’s Paradox” for a possible explanation for this. I would also point out that many lifters experience neck hypertrophy to some degree, despite not training the neck directly. Maybe there is a hormonal mechanism for the stimulation of hypertrophy that affects muscles other than the ones maximally stimulated in a given movement? If only someone would write a book about this stuff...

Matt James

Wouldn't that get trained in the eccentric phase of the squat anyway?


Is there a way to load hip flexion based movement patterns using a barbell?

A quick internet search didn't turn up anything for me. It seems like it requires strapping something to the feet to pull it off correctly.

Mark Rippetoe

The descent of the squat is eccentric hip extension, not concentric hip flexion. But all the muscles are involved in the squat, and they all get stronger from squatting. IOW, if your squat goes from 200 to 400, your hip flexion strength goes up too. This was discussed at length somewhere.

Matt James

I'm aware of the difference, I was asking if the eccentric phase would make hip flexion stronger. I assumed that a stronger squat would carry over to stronger hip flexion as well. Probably a stupid question, sorry.

Mark Rippetoe

The hip flexors are the rectus femoris of the quadriceps, the sartorius, and maybe the tensor fasciae latae and the psoas -- not much muscle mass, because it's not a human movement pattern that is under a load very often. Look at the anatomy and tell me how much of that muscle is engaged eccentrically during the flexion/eccentric phase of the squat.


So squats make your hip flexion ability stronger, make sense. but is it optimal to train for stronger hip flexor musculature without concentrically loading them? The same way you wouldn't make someone only bench press if they want a strong back. Yes the back gets stronger from benching, but it's not the optimal way to make it strong. wouldn't you agree?


I agree with OP. I know this won't be popular but it always seemed to me like a missing part of the program was the cross body-rear delt flexion action that occurs naturally whenever one moves to scratch their balls, then sniffs their fingers. It's a natural human movement I do dozens of times every day and the program fails to strengthen this movement, putting me at risk for shoulder impingement, pectoral tears and jock itch.

Fix this.

Best of the Forum

Regarding Bros and DOMS

FIrst, let me apologize for asking this, given that you actually answered this question pretty thoroughly in your article Soreness. But I got into this heated argument in social media regarding DOMS, and was hoping you might give your opinion – as an experienced coach and known internet intellect on matters pertaining to strength training.

See, there was an article shared in a platform, which one does not matter, that in its headline posed the question "Should you get sore after training?", and which contained all sorts of misconceptions already in the one paragraph preview that was available for non-subscribers.

So, I commented on it saying the following:

"For the vast majority of people, getting DOMS is not a sign of training properly, but a sign that they have actually not trained the muscles in question while applying significant eccentric load for a while."

I.e., if you train regularly and in a sensible manner, you simply do not get DOMS regularly. This should be obvious, but I received numerous counter-comments stating that what I said was "utter bullshit", and an indication that I have never ever trained, that I am weak -- and destined to remain so as long as I hold this belief and act accordingly -- and, that "all serious powerlifters get DOMS every time they train."

So my question is twofold: How common is this belief that you should get DOMS regularly among people that are novices and looking to get strong? And have you actually encountered people who have successfully become strong while retaining this belief? I have known relatively few people who have gotten very strong, but none of them have had this belief in the end, even if they had it at the beginning. One of the commenters in the "discussion" in question claimed to be a "PT who specializes in training power lifters" and she claimed that her clients get DOMS on a weekly basis and they are competitive lifters. I found this utterly implausible.

Mark Rippetoe

The belief is obviously common, even if the experience is not. It may have to do with the way we train lifters and the way these highly successful PTs who train competitive lifters program them. I'll bet if you ask them how many times a week they train the lifts, they'll tell you 1x/week. If your lifters detrain between workouts, they might report DOMS, and they might not. If your "competitive powerlifter" program features constant variation in assistance exercises, you'll be sore. And if the person taking the report wants you to be sore, maybe you're inclined to say you're sore, or even believe you are sore. At any rate, the vast majority of people who are effectively training a program that relies on gradually increased loading, or even volume, and does not rely on exercise variation as a training variable do not get sore every week. We have the data.


Just one anecdotal example. I was out of the gym for about a month. Went in on Saturday morning. Squat, press, deadlift. About 90% of what I lifted last month. It was all easy and I felt good all day. Woke up Sunday and could barely get out of bed, my legs were so sore. Was sore all week, and walking funny, up to Wednesday. Did my lifts with 5 lbs more. Felt good. Woke up Thursday morning, not one pain anywhere.


Thanks for this answer. This is exactly the sort of argument/observation I was hoping for.

Most of the people saying "you don't know the first thing about training" etc, were people calling for pictures of my abs, pecs and biceps, as if my physique or lack thereof would somehow serve to verify a specific claim as to the metabolic and training factors contributing to DOMS. Many of the people claiming DOMS being a sign of "pushing it" had profile pictures of them in speedos and all oiled up. So perhaps there is some kind of cognitive skew, if a person's focus is on having a particular kind of look, then they are bound to have these other preferences (such as posing in speedos, all epilated and oiled up for all the world to see) and perhaps more likely also to enjoy or at least expect, a certain level of pain from training, or even (to an extent) believe that more pain is better.

The discussion in question seemed to be a data point in support of all those warnings against this sort of... persuasion.


When I started my LP I was sore for probably a week, maybe two weeks max. Ever since then I haven't gotten sore anymore. When I went away for vacation for a month and continued my LP, I was sore for about a day afterwards and that's it. If you're training to be sore all the time, you're A) Doing it wrong or B) You're into pain.

Will Morris

An appropriate question prior to ask prior to engaging in a discussion regarding DOMS is this: play stupid and ask the group, "what actually causes DOMS?" Depending on the answer, that dictates whether you insert yourself into the discussion or not.

Brodie Butland

The other thing you have to consider is what they mean by DOMS. I get DOMS after pretty much every heavy squat session. If I've been lifting consistently, it's not an issue--there's definitely soreness for two days, but it's not enough to notice. Contrast that with when I've been on a multi-week hiatus...the DOMS will be damn near debilitating for as much as three days after my first squat session back if I do the same volume I'm doing now. For example, on my last big run, I was able to hit a 470x1 squat, followed by two backoffs at 415x3. I felt almost nothing the next day. Three weeks ago, I came back after a nearly six-week layoff. I did six ramping sets of 5 from the empty bar to 315x5, and I was clobbered for two solid days afterwards.

If these social media folks' position is that everyone gets DOMS to some degree after a heavy session involving an eccentric component, then I can't really argue with that. But if by "DOMS" they mean invariably potty flop and avoiding stairs for the next two days...that is simply not normal unless someone is not training very intelligently.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.