Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 17, 2021

Old Time Liftin' Edition

On Starting Strength

From the Coaches
  • Where does it come from, and have you considered the source of your information? Robert Santana discusses the problem on the Weights & Plates podcast.
  • Your training log is your most important piece of equipment, and while keeping a training log isn't particularly complicated, it is extremely important. Phil Meggers covers the basic components and gives you a simple and repeatable method to get the job done.
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In the Trenches

kyoungha kim coaches the squat
Starting Strength Coach Kyoungha Kim coaches Jaeheung during Squat Training Camp held in Seoul this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
inhyuk coaches the power clean
Starting Strength Coach Inhyuk Eun coaches Jaeheung in the power clean at the pulling camp held the same day. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
group of lifters at the starting strength pulling camp in korea
Group shot of the lifters and coaches at Starting Strength Deadlift & Clean Training Camp in Seoul, Korea.
mark at the bottom of a squat
Mark at the bottom of a squat at last weekend's Self-Sufficient Lifter Camp at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
carlos locks out a press at the starting strength camp
Carlos locks out a press at the SSL Camp. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
nick teaches the starting strength deadlift method
Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo teaches lifters the Starting Strength 5 step deadlift during the SSL Camp. [photo courtesy of Rusty Holcomb]

Best of the Week

Height classes


In regards to strengthlifting, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, have you ever considered that weight classes are not ideal? For example a 220lb 5'4" man is most likely stronger than a 220lb 6'4" man for multiple reasons such as muscle mass, range of motion, and moment arms.

Why not use height classes? Wouldn't it make more sense to compare people of similar height? Then to be competitive you simply need to get stronger/gain weight instead of playing ridiculous games with weight classes and weigh-ins. I would presume that people are already somewhat herded into height classes indirectly due to needing to be competitive in a weight class (with shorter people having more options), but I think directly using height classes would solve problems in the sport. For example, kids wouldn't ever cut weight if they had to compete in height classes. The only option would be to gain weight/strength with no downside to getting too strong by accidentally moving to the bottom range of the next weight class. If someone bests you it's literally because they're stronger than you with very little room for excuses.

When competing for strength, can you really compare the dynamics of a squat between two men of greater than 1' height difference and make statements about their comparative strength based solely on bar weight?

If there is a flaw to height classes that I'm not thinking of, then my next idea would be height/weight ratio classes. Somehow it should be taken into account that a 5'4" person has a drastically different range of motion and moment arms than a 6'4" person that weight classes can't address. Perhaps a 5'4" 220lb man is more accurately compared to a 6'4" 267lb man. The ratio could mitigate the differences in range of motion and moment arms, although perhaps there would need to be more to it than just a linear equation.

Should we be impressed when a short man starves himself to lift "big weights for his weight class" when someone of the same height, but two weight classes above, is clearly much stronger?

Should we be impressed when a huge dwarf of a man competes with weaker tall people instead of tall people with similar muscle mass compared to their frame?

Mark Rippetoe

At the international level, weight classes are in fact height classes. But weight classes are pretty much baked into the cake at this point. We can't even get them to accept the idea of a weigh-out, because it makes far too much logical sense. If you really want to find out who is the strongest, just load the bar to 800 and see who can do the most reps with it. Nobody will enter your meet, but apparently that's not important.


Yea you're right that weigh-out is a very good improvement to the current situation. And it does make sense that weight classes converge to height classes as you go up in higher competition levels, but doesn't really solve it for lower levels. I guess they don't matter as much though.

I could email the head of USAPL and the Olympic Committee to tell them how stupid they are and CC you. Maybe I'll get every federation in on a mass email chain and we can sort this shit out real quick by making them aware of why weigh-outs and even weight classes are fucking dumb.

Mark Rippetoe

Great idea! Those guys have no vested interest in keeping things the way they are, so I'm sure we can get this done in a couple of weeks.

Best of the Forum

Deadlift mechanics

Robin UK

Whenever you’ve witnessed a deadlift injury occurring in your 43 years of training yourself and others, during which part of the whole movement (concentric and eccentric) do the majority of injuries occur - below the knee or above the knee and why?

Included in question are both those who exhibited form error and form correctness. I acknowledge that in the latter case, an explanation as to why the injury occurred is difficult to ascertain because sometimes “shit just happens”.

Mark Rippetoe

Back tweaks occasionally happen off the floor, and hamstring belly tears can happen on the way up, usually around the knee. But in general, a deadlift is among the safer movements in the weight room. Where did you hurt yourself?

Robin UK

I’m not hurt, I was just re-reading the mechanics of the deadlift section in the blue book for the 25+ time. I find your mechanical analyses always particularly interesting. I then re-listened to your podcast “The Deadlift - 3 Reasons” and the part where you mentioned that many world-record holders proudly walk safely away from the huge weight just lifted caught my ear again.

I was interested from a data point of view about which part of the deadlift, even if performed with correct form, was the most vulnerable to injury cause / has caused the majority of injuries. Your 42 years in the business and track record constitutes the only reliable source of good data I listen to. I was just geeking out on this muse - much time to fill during these silly times and just wanted to be aware as a preventative re. any part of the deadlift which warrants any extra attention re. injury awareness.

Mark Rippetoe

The deadlift loads the spine and the musculature that supports it (the "C" word) more effectively than anything else we have, as I noticed after both abdominal surgeries I've had. Got back to squatting a week earlier in both cases.

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