Starting Strength Weekly Report

March 25, 2019

Starting Strength Channel
Training Log
Gym Spotlight
  • Valens Strength & Conditioning in San Diego provides the highest quality personal, small group and open gym training. Mission? "To educate clients to properly execute the barbell movements as demonstrated by Starting Strength and lead everyone towards a stronger, healthier life." Don't miss their April 13 Squat & Deadlift camp.

In the Trenches

amy coaching the squat grip
Amy coaches Scott’s squat grip during the Squat Coach Development Camp at Woodmere Fitness Club last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
lesia squats at wfac
Greysteel Strength and Conditioning client Lesia gets a workout in at WFAC during a visit to Texas. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
tactile cue jordan stanton
SSC Jordan Stanton uses a tactile cue with Jeffrey B. during the deadlift round robin at Saturday's training camp. [photo courtesy of Stanton Strength]

Best of the Week

Hips in the Press

Diego Socolinsky writes:

“A common problem with the press is confusing hips-forward with leaning back. Both of them will get the head of of the way and initiate a rebound, but leaning back will make the bar rebound forward of the shoulder, rather than up and backward as desired.”

Read more about Hips in the Press

Jay Mund

Very good piece right there.

Scott Beall

Out of curiosity, how are lifters in the Olympic Press able to overcome such a long moment arm from a very large layback?

My attempted answer: They've got strong-as-shit abs and glutes.

Mark Rippetoe

They control the amount of layback. This is the point of the article.

Scott Beall

The photos [in the article] below have a large layback to my eye (granted I've never trained the Olympic Press, so my eye is biased). After I came upon S.S. in 2009, I bought the 2nd edition of "Starting Strength." I took the seminar and built my Press up to 230 lb (bodyweight at that time 215 lb) using the Press 1.5, but I can't imagine ever achieving that number or higher with the Olympic Press. Again I've never trained it so that would explain why.

But in looking at the photo (taking from a Marty's article on the Olympic Press), I wonder if I'd ever be able to overcome the forces form the moment arm from laybacks like these.

Am I largely correct in my assumption that stronger abs and glutes would be the primary muscle groups that would help a lifter overcome this kind of layback (I know this is quite off topic from our model)?


Note the position of the hips. It's called a "layback" but you can see that it is balanced by the hips moving forward.

Scott Beall

Yes, I got that. My question is of a separate issue. I am wondering about how the moment at the shoulder is able to be overcome. How is it that the torso is able to "come through" and overcome such a high amount of leverage with heavy-ass-weights?


Because those things aren't left out of the getting-strong process - not just with the press, but with the much higher forces in the other lifts - so they're nice and big and strong vs the upper limb muscles anyway.

Diego Socolinsky

Scott, Good question. If you look at the pictures carefully, you will notice that the barbell is vertically stacked right over the shoulder joint. Therefore, the moment arm between barbell and shoulder on the sagittal plane is negligible. By moving the hips forward, we introduce a moment arm between hip and barbell, which can be significant. However, the muscles that flex the hip (psoas, rectus femoris, abs, etc) are stronger than those that flex the shoulder, so they can overcome this moment arm. The glutes act by anchoring the pelvis posteriorly, so that the hip flexors that attach to the anterior aspect of the hip are lengthened, and can generate more force. The whole point of the layback (which really should be called "leanforward") in the Olympic press is to introduce a larger moment arm around a stronger part of the body, in order to reduce the range of motion of a weaker part. Hope this helps.

Best of the Forum

What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Squats

Mark Rippetoe writes:

“One of the most persistent myths in the entire panoply of conventional exercise wisdom is that squats below parallel are somehow bad for the knees. This old saw is mindlessly repeated by poorly-informed orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and chiropractors all over the world. Better-informed professionals such as productive strength coaches, weightlifters and powerlifters, and those willing to examine the anatomy of the knees and hips for more than just a minute or two know better. Here are four reasons why.”

Read more from What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Squats


Awesome article Rip. As a chiropractor I hear this anti-squat rhetoric constantly. Not trying to blow smoke, but the way you explain the mechanics of the squat and other lifts in the books has helped me tremendously with patients. I get a whole lot of practice explaining why the ortho and other doctors, yes even chiropractors, are wrong about the squat. I can hardly wait for the seminar in Atlanta in November and I look forward to meeting you!


Rip, you ever come across anyone with a history of patellar subluxation? Just last week went to the ortho ("Knee Guy" here in Dallas) because left knee was swelling a lot after squats and feels creaky. Doc said due to history of knee dislocations there is some grinding in the joint but didn't recommend surgery if there is no pain. He recommended no leg ext. no lunges (don't do anyway) and if I do squats do them for sets of 20. Then PT comes in a recommends quarter squats to build up VMO because of imbalance between VMO and vastus lateralis.


Shane1, my left patella has fully dislocated several times due to structure. Improving strength works. Fixing a mythical imbalance between parts of the quads that contract as a unit doesn't work. Strength improves most efficiently and to the greatest extent with high weights and low reps using a full range of motion. IOW, real squats with real strength training.


Thx, for the reply. This was my inclination as well after reading much on this site. However, the swelling and grinding is bothersome. Do you have this issue as well? While not painful, any idea if it could be a form issue or just unavoidable consequence of repeated injury?


I do not.

You should get someone to evaluate your squat for sure. It's easy enough to mess things up, and those with injuries generally are more likely to do this since it's tough not to guard or compensate.


I kind of figured as much, thanks for the input, stef.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.