Starting Strength Weekly Report

March 05, 2018

  • John Musser presents on the topic of Social Capital at the 2017 Starting Strength Coaches Association Conference.
Training Log
  • Starting Strength Case Study: Louise – Inna Koppel describes the progress of Louise, a 65-year-old with rheumatoid arthritis who began training "with the hope of improving her strength and building stronger bones."
Starting Strength Channel
  • Mark Rippetoe reads his article Squats and Your Knees in which he discusses the conventional wisdom that "squats are bad for the knees."
From the Coaches
  • Barbell Training During Pregnancy – Rori Alter interviews client Anna Marie on her 4th pregnancy & delivery as it pertains to barbell training, nutrition, & mindset.

In the Trenches

brent carter seminar coaching
Brent Carter goes over some finer details of the squat during the platform session at a Starting Strength Seminar. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Predictive Value of the Vertical Jump

At what age do you think the VJ becomes a good predictor of athletic ability?

The reason I ask is because my wife directs a youth (ages 5-14) basketball organization. Before each season she has evaluations in an effort to even out the talent across all teams. She is in her second season with this and has continued to use the same evaluations of the past, which include a variety of timed dribbling drills and shooting drills. She's relies on volunteers to collect the data and she said that the majority of the time they screw up either timing or setting up the drill consistently.

I've suggested using the VJ as an efficient and reliable way to predict basketball playing potential. I know there's a lot of skill in basketball, but my thought is that the skill will be developed during subsequent practices. I'm just not sure if the VJ is useful for evaluating younger kids. Is there a neuromuscular development issue at play here?

Mark Rippetoe

As for a specific age, I don't know. But it is widely recognized that athletic ability is identifiable in pre-pubescent children, since the neuromuscular characteristics are genetic.


Is that athletic ability completely identifiable as measured by the svj despite that person having not yet reached complete physical maturity?

Andy Baker

I've coached little league baseball for a number of years and we basically just do a randomized lottery selection for teams and it evens out pretty well. Every team has a few kids that play well and every team has a few kids that are terrible, and every team has a few kids that sit down in the outfield and make sandcastles while the game is going on.

Not telling you how to run your league, but I think stuff like this is unnecessary for kids this age. Just let them have fun and teach them the game. 95% of them won't be playing in high school anyways and likely less than 1% will ever play in college. Just keep it fun. Plenty of time in life to test and evaluate.


Thanks for your input. She and I both agree with your mindset. Unfortunately, the parents get in the way of keeping it fun! There are a lot of conflicting expectations when it comes to youth sports.

On a side note, I've noticed that parents of low-skilled kids would rather see the high-skilled kids removed from the team rather than encourage their child to practice more to get better. The "equality of results" mindset is very present in our culture.

Andy Baker

Understood. I have a 5-10 minute talk with all my parents at the beginning of every year. I find that giving them a brief overview of my philosophy on youth sports as well as my expectations for their behavior pretty much eliminates all problems from the get go. My main point of emphasis is that unless you are going to volunteer your time to help coach, then you are surrendering your right to tell me how to run practices or games. Parents are much more interested in telling you all the things you are doing wrong rather than getting their hands dirty with the kids in a 1-2 hour practice.

Best of the Forum

I have apnea, should I stop lifting heavy?

I have apnea and am wondering if I should stop deadlifting completely.

A year ago I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I'm 34 and not a big guy, 1.82m long and about 74kg at the time of diagnosis. The cause of the apnea was that my airway gets blocked by my jaw and my neck.

After a few months I was given a MRA device, a device that holds my lower jaw in place to prevent it from tilting backwards and blocking my airway.

My life improved a thousand percent, for the first time in my life I slept a whole night without waking up. I felt like Superman and decided to finally become strong, so I went to the gym and lifted heavier and ate more until I weight about 81kg.

Around this time my apnea started to return. This was caused because my MRA device wasn't doing its work properly anymore. My doctor also said that my weight gained could be causing it as well because more weight around the neck is more pressure on the airway.

I now believe I have to lose all the gains I've made. And this in turn led me to the question if I should stop doing any exercise that involves the use of the trapezius muscle, including deadlifts.

I hope you can shed some light on this. Deadlifting is my favorite thing to do in the gym.

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know what an MRA device is. My lifters with sleep apnea use a CPAP quite effectively.


I too suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, as do lots of folks.

Soft tissue closing up the airway is the issue. The top three things that make that type of apnea worse are being fat, smoking, and alcohol. Smoking makes breathing harder, and alcohol relaxes the muscles, both contribute to the obstruction. Additional fat also blocks the airway a touch.

It’s possible that you found the very borderline bodyfat level where your apnea can be fixed with an oral appliance, and you are skating right on the edge. While I’m not a doctor, logic tells me that if you get strong that won’t hamper your apnea, but if your body fat percent shoots up that might.

The program as written adds some fat to skinny folks, you might have to run a more restrictive diet and make slower gains, or get strong, deal with the apnea, and trim down later. Giving up entirely does not sound to me like the best of your available options.

If you are a back sleeper, that also restricts the airway. If you sleep on your side that will help. You can sew a small pocket in the back of a bedshirt and insert a tennis ball – that will keep you off your back while you sleep. It’s not a fancy solution, but it works for some and is pretty easy to try.

Personally I quit smoking for almost a year now, lost a bunch of fat, and I don’t drink enough to be relevant. It really quite pisses me off those things did not fix my apnea.

Walter Palmer

Anyone with a neck size over 17" is considered "at risk" for sleep apnea. NFL players, for instance, have a much higher incidence of sleep apnea than the general population. So, it is not necessarily a "fat" issue but a size issue. CPAP takes care of my sleep apnea just fine as it does with many other lifters I know.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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