Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 04, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

russ hopwood 405 deadlift lockout
Russ Hopwood pulls his top set of five at 405 lbs under the watchful eye of Phil Meggers at this past weekend's pulling camp in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Testify Strength & Conditioning]
natalie deadlift 205 lb
Natalie pulls a smooth 205 x 5 at the Pulling Camp at The Strength Co in Costa Mesa. [photo courtesy of Niki Sims]

Best of the Week

Healing a Hamstring Pull/Minor Tear

I have a powerlifting meet in 2 weeks time and am wondering how best to heal a hamstring injury to get the best possible healing result ASAP.

Background: 4 days ago I was squatting 365 for my first rep, and as I descended and neared parallel with the weight I felt a very sharp pain in my right hamstring. I attempted to push the weight back up but had to set it on the safeties due to the pain. I self-diagnosed myself with a grade 1 hamstring tear, as I could walk without limping, but could not squat very far down due to pain.

365 isn't that heavy for me and is a squat I normally perform easily. I was fully warmed up, had just finished a heavy deadlift single followed by 3x3 back off sets, and for my squats had progressively worked my way up from the bar to my training weight.

Post-injury I did the normal icing, anti-inflammatories, and rest. 2 days later I could BW squat to parallel with minor pain. Yesterday I could bodyweight squat to parallel with almost no pain but could still feel some discomfort.

Today, I did the following squat workout (from my log): I took a couple of Advils before I started, then applied a heat cream to both hamstrings. I did my usual 500m row warm up, being gentle as I pushed off with my legs. Then I rolled out my hamstrings with a roller.

Squats - Went slow on all descents as I initially injured my hamstring on the descent.

  • Bar - 3, felt ok but small amount of pain (didn't want to go past 3 reps on anything).
  • 45kg - 3, went ok, but slightly more pain.
  • 70kg - 3, same as above
  • 95kg - 1, pain increased, debated on going heavier
  • 120kg - 1, More pain, and didn't want to try anything heavier for fear of re-injuring my hamstring
  • 70kg - 1, thought I'd do some back off sets of 3, but it hurt enough that I called it a day.

Based on today's results, how should I best proceed to heal this injury in the two weeks before my meet? Should I squat lightly every day or second day, or rest/heal a few days longer and try another squat workout? My next squat and deadlift workout is scheduled for Tuesday.

Stats: Age - 54, 1RM squat - 475, Weight - 225

Mark Rippetoe

First, if you cut your arm, would you "roll it out" 4 days later? How would that make sense? Second, I would do an abbreviated version of the Starr, using several sets of 5 instead of the 20s of the normal approach, and using the RDL under very controlled conditions with very minimal rebound at the bottom. Squat after these. Realize that this may not fix it in time for the meet, and that there is no point in tearing up a hamstring for the sake of a sub-par total in one meet.


Thanks for the advice Rip. Much appreciated! It's an important meet for me (IPF Worlds), so I want to do everything in my power to have a good showing. However, as you stated, it's not worth re-injuring myself either, so I'll see how the healing progresses before I make the final decision to compete.

Yeah, I didn't really think about rolling and its effect on a tear either...

Best of the Forum

Worried about my nephew and his training

I have experienced good results on the program thus far leading me to realize that a lot of what I was doing before was silly bullshit. This silly bullshit was learned while in a NCAA division 1 wrestling program. So silly bullshit can be anywhere.

I have a nephew who is 10 years old. He is passionate and very gifted in the sport of lacrosse. Unfortunately our geographical location makes finding quality strength coaches fairly difficult. My brother (his father) has taken him to get a Functional Movement Screening at local gym. This was done as my brother is worried that my nephew is not explosive enough off of his first step. After doing some of my own research it seems to me that this screening is also silly bullshit.

I want to get through to my brother who has no strength training knowledge that this is silly bullshit. I must admit that I have no idea how to train a 10 year old boy. I would imagine that he should follow a linear progression when he is older and has started puberty.

But knowing my brother, I believe that if I go to him with this information and with no alternative solution (as I don't want to provide him with information from ignorance) he will simply disregard what I have to say and continue wasting his money and time on silly bullshit.

What would you recommend a 10 year old boy who is somewhat physically gifted do to develop explosion and strength? I am aware that explosive ability is mostly genetic but this is how my brother understands it.

Mark Rippetoe

Did the local gym actually perform a FMS on the 10-year-old boy?

Bill Been

This is unreal even by the standards of FMS practitioners. Ponder the absurdity of asking a ten year-old to do a close-grip push up with his hands at eyebrow level then moved outward only to the AC joint. This is one of the 7 tests. Now ponder that a key facet of the FMS is the intentional withholding of coaching and the insistence upon absolute minimum of explanation of the movement, and zero indication of the standards of the movement. Now ponder the blinding impropriety of using the results of such an endeavor to diagnose movement and motor control inadequacies and to prescribe corrective exercises to "fix" them.

You should kick your brother in the balls, tell him to let his son play the damn game (or not) or a different game (or not) and to develop like kids have been developing since God invented us, and quit pretending like there's a full-ride college lacrosse scholarship hanging on optimizing his performance in Mini Junior Tiny Tot League – because there's not. Your brother, bless his heart for wanting to do right by his kid, has fallen prey to the stupid, stupid, stupid notion popularized by a bunch or Rec League Coachdadbeasts that recruiters from UCLA are clandestinely prowling the sidelines of the Palookaville Little Kid Lacrosse Tournament.

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