Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 24, 2021

Spring Chicken Edition 

On Starting Strength
  • Q&A Episode - Check Your Privilege – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • How to Find Your Split Jerk Stance – Starting Strength Coach Phil Meggers teaches two different ways to find your stance for the split jerk.
  • Managing Wichita Falls Athletic Club – Carmen talks about the first time she met Rip and her job coaching and managing Wichita Falls Athletic Club.
  • I’m Fat. What Do I Do? by Carl Raghavan – I’m in the weight room with a client. The newbie gains aren’t what they used to be, and my lifter is wondering what’s going on. Inevitably, the age-old conversation arises. “Are you eating enough?” I ask. The response: “I eat loads. Besides, I’m already fat"...
  • Starting Strength Olympic Weightlifting: Clean and Press Rules – What follows are the rules for the Clean and Press written by Mark Rippetoe for the Starting Strength Olympic lifting meet to be held at Wichita Falls Athletic Club on July 24, 2021. The original three lifts will be contested at this meet...
  • Weekend Archives: No Chalk Allowed! by Shaun N Jafarian – Today’s fitness industry has ushered in a new paradigm of what Americans consider a “gym.” In cities across the country the traditional small, privately-owned gymnasiums are being quickly replaced by large corporately owned “fitness center” chains...
  • Weekend Archives: The Belt and the Deadlift by Mark Rippetoe – Inertia is the capacity possessed by physical objects that makes them resist any change in their property of motion. “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest,” you know, that old saying...

From the Coaches
  • In the deadlift, your lats help you keep the bar close to your body, i.e., they are responsible for keeping the bar over the middle of your foot. Phil Meggers describes a mental picture as well as a few cues that will help you use your lats without having to think about them.
  • Phil Meggers covers the three different landing positions for the snatch as well as some advantages that go with each position.
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In the Trenches

rachele deadlifts 135 for 5 in her first week of training
Rachele deadlifts 135 for a set of 5 to end her first week at Starting Strength Denver. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]
miriam warms up as her infant daughter watches
Miriam Buehrer warms up her squat as her daughter watches at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
kujo and his family train at starting strength oklahoma city
This is Mustafa “Kujo” Koprucu and his “family pack” Lewanna and Konrad. Kujo, as he goes by here, came to Starting Strength OKC on his own and within a week his family was with him. He is getting restarted with lifting after laying off during government lockdowns and his family is starting for the first time. [photo courtesy of Phoebe Hightower]

Best of the Week

Muscle belly damage from COVID vaccine


The jab in the arm is really targeting muscle, fat and lymphatic cells in the immediate vicinity of the jab i.e the upper arm while trying to avoid leaking any of the serum into the capillaries. These cells that take in the mRNA in the shot, transform to produce spike proteins and then die. Seems like nobody is talking about how much cellular damage can occur when human cells are sacrificed to produce these spike proteins.

I’m guessing most people on this thread know better than to take these experimental drugs, but am curious if enough localized muscle damage could occur to negatively impact strength especially in the upper arm? Or will the body adapt and replace the destroyed cells with new muscle cells or make the remaining ones bigger?

Which brings up another question after researching COVID co-morbidities. With obesity being the most common comorbidity, apparently humans stop increasing the number of fat cells (hyperplasia) in the body by their early 20’s and then fat cells begin to increase in size from there as people age (hypertrophy) in order to store additional fat (triglycerides). It’s the larger fat cell size that becomes the problem with viral infections.

Larger volume fat cells have greater outer surface area and thus become more vulnerable to being infected by viruses, and the larger volume means a larger reservoir for a virus to replicate. The increased viral load from all the extra adipose tissue then overwhelms the immune system. It’s the increased amount of adipose tissue present in obese people that explains why nearly 80% of all COVID deaths have been in the clinically obese population.

But enough about that, in terms of strength training... Can the number of muscle cells in humans, similar to fat cells, increase during childhood and adolescence (have more of a hyperplasia adaptation)?

If so, wouldn’t people that start strength training in their early teens have a big advantage in terms of overall muscle mass and strength by getting a hyperplasia adaptation in addition to hypertrophy from strength training during their teenage years?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know.


While not addressing your question exactly. Andy Galpin discusses hyperplasia in general here 39.30 minutes into this video.

James Rodgers

going to leave a gaping hole in your arm.

I got Moderna shot #1 today and other than an overwhelming desire to do Bill Gates' bidding, I feel fine.

I'll report back if it messes with my bench pressing on Friday.

Best of the Forum

Left Hip Discomfort Due to Scoliosis

C. L. Lloyd

As of late, my progress on the squat has been significantly more difficult than any of the other lifts. I’m a 27 year old male that was born with three birth defects; clubbed feet, spinal bifida (which included a tethered spine), and scoliosis. The spinal bifida and scoliosis are located in my lower back (I forget at which vertebrae). I decided I would carefully but consistently strength train in order to strengthen myself for what could be a difficult aging process.

I started relatively low on the squat (95 lbs) because I had never done it. Initially, the progress was smooth and consistent. I understand the progress will slow as the weight increases and I had reduced to 5 lb jumps once I reached 155. However, I noticed that once I surpassed my body weight (about 165 lbs), my left hip began to feel notably uncomfortable.

My spine is curved such that my left hip is lower than my right by about an inch and a half. I wear a lift in my right shoe to compensate for the discrepancy in leg length. However, my hips are never evenly loaded when lifting. At the bottom of the squat, I find it increasingly difficult to drive up and my left hip often feels seriously uncomfortable when doing so. This has made increasing the weight difficult. Thankfully, I have not sustained any sort of injury and the discomfort typically subsides after several hours. I do not experience any hip discomfort as a result of deadlifting. I currently deadlift twice a week and my PR is 205 (which I set last week). I’m wondering if there is anything I can do to continue making progress with the squat while also not injuring my hip.

Mark Rippetoe

Check for this: Leg Length Discrepancy. If you have a 1.5-inch discrepancy at the floor, a lift inside your shoe is pointless. If this can't be corrected, it may be that you cannot squat safely.

David Kirkham

First off let me commend you for wanting to get stronger in the face of so much adversity. A 165 squat is a long way from an empty bar and that deserves serious respect. I wonder if you would be willing to post a picture or two of you standing on different level shims all the way up to a 2 x 4 (which is 1-1/2" wide). You could send the photos from behind to protect privacy if you want. I'd also post a video of you squatting and deadlifting. I'm quite sure Rip will respond to you. He has an AR400 exterior, but he's actually fully annealed on the inside to those who really want to learn.


If the conclusion is made that squatting isn’t safe in this situation, would you recommend any substitute for squats or just continue to do the other lifts? Subs like Leg press, belt squats, etc?

Mark Rippetoe

Heavy leg presses are not good for anybody's low back. The rest depends on the anatomy, which I don't have a picture of.

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