Starting Strength Weekly Report

March 02, 2020

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Training Log
  • Inna Koppel discusses the fundamentals of effective communication in coaching and the interaction of Coach and Lifter to build a common language on the platform.
  • From the Archives: Getting forward on your deadlift? Watch Nick Delgadillo coach a lifter through a slightly modified 5-step deadlift setup that keeps her off her toes. This approach may help you too.

In the Trenches

iwan pulls a pr deadlift
Victoria Diaz coaches as Iwan pulls a PR deadlift at the recent Squat & Deadlift Training Camp in Woodmere, NY. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]
isabelle deadlifts for the first time
Chris Palladino teaches Isabelle to deadlift for the first time at the same event. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]
dave takes his training deadlift from 135 to 225
In 7 1/2 weeks, 59-year-old Dave took his deadlift from 135 lbs to 225 lbs. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Denver]

Best of the Week

Wildfires on the east coast of Australia

Despite what you may heard on the news these last few months Australia has not burned to the ground. We lost about 20% of the forests and national parks and about 1500 homes, mostly confined to the east coast of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. We have also had a lot of rain which has put most of those fires out. Even where I live out west we had bad smoke haze for weeks.

This is typical Australian weather, drought, heat and neglect by government agencies who did not manage the build up of years of undergrowth which meant the fires were a lot hotter this time. Also arsonists started a lot of the fires. By the way, what is the penalty for arson in Texas?

Aussies also are grateful for those folk from the US that came over to help fight the fires, three of which died in a plane crash on a fire ground. It was dangerous work.

Mark Rippetoe

Same thing here, wal. In an attempt to keep stupid people happy, the government lets fuels build up to the extent that the fires that inevitably start are far worse than they would have been otherwise. Arson is a bad felony in Texas, and everywhere else. The illegal alien who started the Spring Fire in Colorado in 2018 will never be out of jail. At least he hopes so -- several people were rather irritated with him.


Fuels management is definitely a good tool to have in the toolbox. However, ignitions coinciding with unfavorable weather (think Santa Ana/Diablo winds in California) are where you have the large conflagrations. Weather has been growing more unfavorable for stopping large fires for the last decade or more out West.

Travis Reid

Wal, I trust you'll enjoy the 'expert' weather advice such as the below coming out of the latest 'climate outlook for March-June' from our renowned 'Bureau of Meteorology';

- Both days and nights are likely to be warmer than average across most of the country for autumn, although days have roughly equal chances of being above or below average in the south.

Full report here - if you dare...


The "Green" folk have made inroads in government policy over the years, hence the relinquishing of the maintenance of fire trails and regular burnoffs of undergrowth, cattleman barred from allowing stock into National Parks to graze the grass lands. It is even so bad that collecting wood from the road side from fallen trees is an offense under local laws as this removes "animal habitats". About 500 million is the estimated loss of wildlife which may have been mitigated if regular burning of undergrowth was allowed over the years, it was a perfect fire-storm caused by drought, heat, human stupidity and criminal neglect.

One other problem is that some folk like to build their homes in bushland and sure it is nice living with the natural environment, but in Australia in the middle of summer it is a recipe for disaster, so you know what happens now -- all the insurance premiums are going to increase to cover the losses and arson should be a capital offence.

Mark E. Hurling

For all the things the Feds (do elsewhere) and Illinois Department of Natural Resources do wrong, they are in the midst of their annual controlled burns in the Shawnee National Forest and IDNR controlled state parks.

Mark Rippetoe

Thus making fuels management even more crucial. And what has changed?


Don’t disagree with active fuels management. Regarding what has changed, there is very strong evidence that vapor pressure deficit has been steadily increasing since the 70s. Dry fuels drive a non-linear increase in acreage burned, at least in California.

Mark Rippetoe

How is that measured?


Don't forget that arson was a factor providing the "spark" as it were to many of these fires.


In general, or specific methods from the study?


This quote was pure gold. The content in the link appeared to be nonsense with its discussion of "average."

"Don't cross a river if it is four feet deep on average." - Nassim Taleb, meaning the average is less important than the variability away from the average.


If you are interested, the link to the article is here.

Supplemental material describes how they calculated VPD. I don’t necessarily want to turn this into a climate change argument. Rather, it makes the point that wildfire trends are multifactorial, and reducing the upward trend is not as simple as “all we need is more burning/mastication/thinning.”

Best of the Forum

Femur Fracture, Bad Form.

I have been following a progressive overload program that includes squatting three days a week, deadlifting, OH pressing, and bench pressing for a month now.

All going so well, but I have two concerns; ten years ago I had a broken femur and I was hospitalized and I had intramedullary nailing. The fracture healed and a couple years later it was removed and everything is fine. I cannot stop but imagining that once my squats get so heavy my femur will just snap one day under the weight.

Mark Rippetoe

What specifically are your questions?

Will Morris

I think his question is this: will his femur snap in half from a heavy(ish) squat? The answer is a resounding no, unless, that is, your femur was going to snap anyways. A properly performed linear progression will likely result in your previously nailed femur to heal to a density beyond what it was when you were injured. I have had many patients with IM nails that have squatted, and a couple years ago, had one squat over 600# in competition. You should be fine.


Sorry I guess I was so excited that I can ask you a question directly.

My question is do squats put high stress on the femur that is enough to break it, especially that it has been broken before?

Mark Rippetoe

Like Will said, your femur will be Just Fine. Just out of curiosity, how did you break your femur originally? That's kinda hard to do.


I actually was just running on asphalt and out of nowhere it snapped in half. I know it is hard to believe but my doctor at the time said that this could happen because I landed heel first on asphalt on a shoes that is not designed for running plus a lot of bad luck.

Mark Rippetoe

This is difficult to believe.

Will Morris

Where did your femur fracture?

Jonathon Sullivan

That was my reaction. My working assumption would have been a pathologic fracture. Will asks a good question: Where was the fracture? And how old is OP? And does he have any other condition we need to know about?

Mark Rippetoe

Like bone cancer. Tuberculosis.


My kid's best friend just broke her femur... 5 years old, jumped off a park bench, landed cleanly on her feet and somehow broke the femur right in the middle of it. Weirdest thing ever.


I broke my femur in half in 2009- junior year of high school. It was the stupidest way to break anything let alone the largest bone in the body. I was in the first basketball practice of the season and was running a certain direction when I realized I was supposed to be running the other direction. When I went to change directions, being a clumsy 6’2” teenager, I started tripping over myself. I stumbled forward, did a somersault, and when I landed I heard a “SNAP!!” Sound which reverberated quite well off our concrete walls. Next thing I knew I was on the floor screaming I broke my leg. After surgery and like six months of healing. I was back on my feet and it’s been my strongest leg since. Currently squatting in the mid 300s and no sign of another break yet.

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