Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 31, 2021

Taps Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Science Fiction Movies – Rusty Holcomb joins Rip to discuss their favorite science fiction movies including 2001, Interstellar, Arrival, The Martian, Alien Franchise, Blade Runner & 2049, and The Matrix.
  • Leg Drive During the Bench – Starting Strength Coach Brent Carter gives some helpful tips on how to use leg drive during the bench press and why it's important.
  • Starting Strength Case Study - Amanda Harris – Amanda talks about how everyday life is much easier now that's she's strong from training with the coaches at Starting Strength Denver.
  • What the Hell does that Word Mean – Basic Anatomy Terms by Capt James Rodgers – Sometimes it is useful to be able to accurately describe the human skeleton and the way that it moves without sounding like a jackass. When I read Starting Strength or read through articles on the site, I will usually run into a lot of words that I do not understand...
  • Earning the SSC Certificate from Abroad by Steve Ross – [W]while the prep course is available worldwide, there are currently no coaching development or apprenticeship options available abroad, so international candidates face a steeper climb...
  • Weekend Archives: Coaching Tip for the Start of The Press – Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo demonstrates a method for helping lifters feel the proper bar bounce out of the bottom of The Press.
  • Weekend Archives: Coaching by Mark Rippetoe –Training with different coaches allows you to benefit from the different backgrounds that different people bring to the platform, and to avoid the problems that result from the same coach in the same gym coaching you the same day at the same time for months on end...

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Starting Strength Austin Apprentice Aaron Fredericks with Amelia's new gym pup Batty the Pug watching Mike Goodspeed unracking a 335 squat. [photo courtesy of Mark Diffley]
Starting Strength Boston Mini-Tour
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Starting Strength Boston is now open at 993 Watertown Street, West Newton MA. We’re next to CVS with free parking. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]
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The gym entrance is down a staircase on the lower level. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]
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It features a completely renovated facility with 9 lifting platforms, a rear lobby, and instructional room. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]
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Register for an upcoming Open House Saturday to see the facility and meet our coaching staff. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]

Best of the Week

Clean and Press Form

John Watson

Was curious as to what those with a long forearm and short upper arm ratio should do in the clean and press, as far as the transition from the clean rack position to the beginning of the press position.

I'm talking about those like myself who need to use a wider grip and close elbows, and still end up with only fingertips, or maybe less than 4 fingers on the bar in the rack position.

Is it better to catch the rack position in our hands, so as to be in a better position to press? Or catch it on our shoulders as in the power clean, and then somehow (with a quick bounce?) reposition and re-grip into a more suitable press position? Are lifters with these anthropomorphics just kind of screwed?

I realize the C&P is kind of a rare bird these days, and maybe a form model hasn't been developed for this scenario, or maybe there are enough similarities of form technique in the C&J that could just be adapted to the C&P?

Or am I overthinking it, and just pick the damn bar up and press it overhead?

Mark Rippetoe

If the anthropometry problems are profound, it may be that the clean and press/jerk are not useful to you. I'd have to see the video.

John Watson

Thanks Rip, it may well be the Olympic lifts may not be useful to me (as mentioned many times on this board) due to age; I'm 58, I'm returning to NLP after a layoff, but I felt inspired to give those lifts an experimental go after reading about the WFAC Weightlifting Challenge. Would be a little while before I got my press up to anything worth posting a video of.


How much of a problem would it be, to hold the bar as you would for the press, power clean it like that and catch it in the hands, in the start position for pressing, without having to adjust the grip at all? I figure, a weight that can be pressed should be a pretty submaximal clean, so you should be able to get away with some inefficiency.

John Watson

I think you're correct, and that's the way to proceed. I just re-watched Rip's video of Bre doing the clean and press, and it appears that that's how it's done.

Best of the Forum

Specialty Bars question


For a 50 year old intermediate woman, with upper back kyphosis, who keeps experiencing bouts of elbow tendinitis due to upper back and shoulder inflexibility in the squat, what is your opinion on the use of safety squat bars, cambered bars and bowed bars (such as the buffalo bar, bison bar etc.) to lessen the continuing and chronic stress on the shoulder situation and elbow tendon?

Obviously your first answer will be that she should improve her form and flexibility. That has been tried and efforts within reason are exhausted, so let's move beyond that.

Specifically: 1) which bar is foolish and a waste? 2) are they all foolish and a waste of time/money? 3) Any advice on how to, prior to a meet, get back under a straight bar for the competition. 4) Would switching to a high bar be a better choice than one of these specialty bars? (she really likes the feeling of low bar, notwithstanding tendinitis issues) 5) are the specialty bars all so bad and goofy that she should give up squatting and learn to love the leg press?

Really, this question should be: "For an elderly trainee who cannot back squat with a straight bar due to bony changes on the shoulder capsule, what bar is the best alternative to the Starting Strength bar?"

Mark Rippetoe

A safety squat bar is basically a high-bar squat, so I don't see the reason for the extra equipment. She'll have to try a bent bar to see if it takes enough stress off the elbows and shoulders to make a difference. Do you have access to one for her to try?


No. Unfortunately I was just going to pull the trigger and buy one, hoping to buy the least stupid option. In the past you've noted that abused and bent bars are okay for squatting and, ideally, I'd just grab one of those and have her try it out, but "these are trying times" and all that, so even bent bars are rare. I was sort of betting on the bowed bar being the best option, since it can sit at the same spot on rear delts but with reduced stress on shoulders/elbows/wrist due to the slightly lowered hand position.

Mark Rippetoe

That's what I'd do. Bent bar. And don't expect it to help her a lot. It takes a very bent bar to change the effective position of the elbows.


Just saw this thread and hoping the OP sees this in time. I am also 50 and shoulder issues prevent Low Bar Squats with a 7 foot straight bar. I've had the New York Barbell/Westside Bow Bar for years and it was great at first until my shoulder issues got worse with age. This past Black Friday I bought the Titan Yukon Bar for about $185. It's a true 8 foot Bar with an 8 inch camber. Just use some cloth tape on the smooth parts of the bar and You and Your Client will be off and running.

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