Starting Strength Weekly Report

March 27, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

rip takes zach through the squat teaching method
Rip takes Zach through the squat teaching method during the squat camp held at WFAC the last weekend in March. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
craig 135 lb press
Craig locks out 135 lbs at the Starting Strength Press Camp held at FiveX3 Training. He will be competing in the Starting Strength Classic at Crossfit Gantry in New York City this Sunday. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]

Best of the Week

Groin pull protocol…form and depth

Tuesday, on my last set of 270, I was struggling. I should have racked it after the 4th rep. I was moving in slow motion and my form was degenerating. So of course, I took a few extra breaths and tried to get my last rep. On the way down I felt a tweak in my groin. I made it about 4 inches up and felt a sharp pain in my right upper thigh toward the rear. I set the weight on the spotter arms and rolled out from under it.   This morning (Saturday) I did 3 sets of 20 bodyweight squats with a close stance (about 12 inches apart) to make sure I could tolerate it. This evening, I started the Bill Starr protocol. 20reps @ 45, 20 @ 55, 20 @ 65. It is hard to hit depth. I hurt my knees as well with was probably good because that helped take my mind off the uncomfortable warm feeling in the adductor. As the weight increases, I am sure it will become more difficult to do this with a closed stance. Do I just keep going and open my stance only when I absolutely have to?

Mark Rippetoe

Adjust the stance to remain on the edge of your ability to tolerate it, until you're back to a normal stance.

Best of the Forum

How to get people to press?

I am a big fan of presses, but it’s almost impossible to get others to do it. Everyone "has a shoulder injury" or some BS. Is it just that they are hard and people are lazy? I have some powerlifters that workout with me sometimes and they are afraid of them as well but yet they will do seated shoulder presses in a smith machine... wtf? When did standing up and pressing something heavy get such a bad rap? Pressing seems so much more manly than benching. And I find myself worrying much more about getting my press up then my bench. I’m going to get a bodyweight press yet! I have 15 - 20 more pounds to go, then going for bw + 50. Laying down and pushing a little weight away from you or picking up something that weighs as much as you and shoving it over your head like a beast; which is really a better test of strength? Especially when you consider how arbitrary the bench is. There isn’t a way to shortcut a press.

Michael Wolf

It's true that there are no tricks to shorten the ROM in the press as there are in the bench press, but the double layback (and extreme layback) olympic press technique was a game changer in terms of the weight that could be lifted in that lift. I personally don't double layback (not as matter of principle, I just don't do it naturally and haven't taken the time to develop the technique), and am much more limited in the weight I can lift because of it.   That all said, I think Rip's work has actually made a lot of progress in fighting the lack of pressing. What's written in Starting Strength, the inclusion of the press in the Practical Programming for Strength Training programs, and his press article online, among other things, have actually reached a lot of people and you do see more people pressing than you did 10 years ago. The popularity of CrossFit, and their general lack of emphasis on the bench press, has also definitely contributed.   But you still have this entrenched position among some that presses are bad for your shoulders. I've heard physical therapists say this (and have heard it countless times from former patients of physical therapists), and there are some pretty well known strength coaches who still say this as well, or who pay lip service to it but then go on to discuss why, really and practically speaking, no one should ever do it. This has permeated the gym culture. And I think powerlifters obviously want to focus more on their competitive lift, which makes a certain amount of sense, and therefore some (many?) of them never really learn how to do it in the way that makes it such a safe and salutary exercise for the shoulders.   But to address the question that headlines your post: beyond writing what we've already written about the press, doing it ourselves, and generally discussing its awesomeness at every opportunity, how would you suggest we promote the performance of the press to get it to a wider audience? Or were you just getting that frustration off your chest?


My wife hurt her shoulder in a slip and fall at work, and was subsequently told by her sister (final year of PT school) she should never lift a weight overhead again, which was immediately accepted. Which is a shame, as I had finally gotten her to start at least pressing those tiny weighted fitness bars. Or at least tell me she was pressing them.

Michael Wolf

This is exactly what I'm talking about. I have observed thousands of hours of physical therapists or PT assistants working with patients and I have never seen a single one (other than the PTs who are also SSCs) have the patient do a correct overhead press. Or squat, for that matter, but that's a different topic. The point is, this is typical. And that's a problem.

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