Starting Strength Weekly Report

March 28, 2022

Bounty Edition


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On Starting Strength
  • A Clarification – Rip shares examples of people claiming the program isn't working for them and describes why they're not doing the program by referencing his article, which nobody reads, "A Clarification."
  • How to Position Your Shoulders for the Bench Press – Starting Strength Coach Phil Meggers demonstrates the correct shoulder position for the bench press and why it matters.
  • How to Become a Coach at a Starting Strength Gym – Ray Gillenwater and Inna Koppel discuss what it takes to become a Starting Strength Coach and current job openings at Starting Strength Gyms across the United States.
  • Starting Strength Orlando Grand Opening – Members and coaches discuss their experiences and training during Starting Strength Orlando's grand opening.
  • Optimization: It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means by Gregory Hess – On a rather regular basis I find myself reflecting on the military and collegiate fitness venues that surround me, what I hear from my professional peers, and what I have learned...
  • Weekend Archives: The Valsalva & Stroke by Jonathon Sullivan – Have you heard? They are telling us that lifting weights under Valsalva isn’t just unsafe, it may soon be illegal. Perhaps not by statute, but...
  • Weekend Archives: The Texas Method by Mark Rippetoe – There are many advantages to being a young man. The problem is that you’re young and you don’t know this yet...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

mark diffley coaches a lifter back position in the deadlift
Mark Diffley coaches Beth to set her back prior to the deadlift at the recent Starting Strength Training Camp in Austin. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Austin]
michael jones teaches hip drive in the squat
Michael Jones uses tactile cues to teach Joey how to drive his hips at the recent training camp in Mobile, Alabama.
ben squatting 345 for work sets
Ben squats 345 lb for 3 sets of 5 reps at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
tony maldonado racking a clean
Tony Maldonado power cleans with help from Jarret Beck of Starting Strength Columbus. [photo courtesy of Pete Yeh]
claudia works to dial in her bench press form
Austin working with Claudia to dial in her bench press form at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Michael Avery]
tom rack pulls 315 at starting strength cincinnati
Starting Strength Cincinnati member Tom DeVault rack pulls 315 pounds in the Saturday 7am session. Tom, who turns 63 soon, joined the gym when it opened back in November with the goal of getting strong enough to retire and make the most of his freedom. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
shreya pulls 135 in chicago
Shreya pulling 135 lbs for the first time and deciding it’s not heavy enough at Starting Strength Chicago. [photo courtesy of Chris Olsen]
lisa locking out 165 deadlift in dallas
Lisa locking out 165lb deadlift after about 3 months of training at Starting Strength Dallas. [photo courtesy of Jayne Peyton]
100 lb press pr for dan brown
Dan Brown locking out a 100# press PR at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of John Chung]
craig presses work sets at 147.5
Craig Nitchman presses 147.5 for 3x5 during training at Starting Strength Katy. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
hebert coaches ashely in the squat
Matt coaching Ashely Thomas on a 135 squat after 1 month of training at Starting Strength San Antonio. [photo courtesy of Jordan Claypool]
cody annino coaching amanda through her squats
Cody Annino coaching Amanda through her final set of five squats at this past weekend's squat and deadlift camp. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
starting strength boston spring 2022 meetup
Members and staff from Starting Strength Boston having lunch and drinks together at our Spring 2022 gym meetup. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]

Best of the Week

Compressed vertebrae


For the last few weeks I’ve had low back pain that radiates into my left hip with numbness in my left leg and foot. Chiropractor diagnosed it as compressed vertebrae on the right side of my spine. He also told me my left leg was .25 inch or so shorter than my right and he thinks squatting with a short leg caused my compression issue. Will getting my shoes shimmed and continuing to squat and deadlift help or will I make the compression worse?

Mark Rippetoe

"Compressed vertebrae" is not a diagnosis. And a quarter-inch LLD is not really a serious problem, and in fact it would be hard to measure. I think you have a chiropractor problem.


What do you suggest I do next? Work through it?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know what's wrong with it. Radicular pain and neuro symptoms indicate an L5-S1 issue with the disc. But training through it is usually your best option.

Back Rehab: A Case Study

Best of the Forum

Is it too late to start Starr protocol?


I pulled my hamstring four weeks ago while foolishly doing a 1RM following a 5RM because the 5RM felt great. For the first two weeks, I thought I had sciatica because I have pain in my backside and behind my knee so I thought it was "radiating" down the leg. A little less than two weeks ago, a Physical Therapist diagnosed it as a pulled hamstring which is consistent with the location of the pain. The PT did not think I tore the muscle. It is affecting my sleep. I can't squat or deadlift. It hurts to walk most of the time.

Question: Is it too late to start the Starr protocol? The pain is so bad I am alternating ibuprofen and Tylenol throughout the day. I have two more months left on this deployment and I want to be healthy when I leave and not lose too much of the strength I have gained following the LP and now Texas Method. Please help.

Mark Rippetoe

If you actually tore the muscle belly, it's already a scar and doesn't hurt. Your PT is full of shit, as usual. Ask him how one "pulls" a muscle without tearing it, and why it would be hurting after 4 weeks. In short, you do not have a diagnosis.


Thank you for replying. Unfortunately, the PT has redeployed back stateside and there is no new PT. Since posting, I have been more aggressive with trying to move through the ROM. This has decreased pain. I intend to do the Starr protocol with RDLs starting tomorrow.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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