Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 06, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

competition deadlift 76-year-old
Greysteel athlete Ann Buszard, age 76, locks out a 91 kg PR at the USSF Fall Classic at Kratos Strength and Conditioning in Evanston, IL. [photo courtesy of Karl Schudt]

Best of the Week

My back loves deadlifting!

Why do our backs feel BETTER after deadlifting? You have mentioned your own experience with this phenomenon in your articles, and I definitely notice the same thing. In fact, my back may be a little achy for days if I only squat, but it immediately feels better, even great, if I squat AND deadlift during my next workout.

The only thing I can think of is a potential balance issue. Is it possible that squats tighten the front chain (e.g., quads), and deadlifting restores balance by tightening the rear chain (e.g., hamstrings)?

Furthermore, do you have any recommendations for mitigating the achy back on non-deadlifting or power clean days? Chins don't provide the same relief.

Mark Rippetoe

I think it has to do with moderating the inflammation, by mechanical mashing.


Back extensions always do it for me when my back is complaining. But I would suggest recording your squat and check if your back flexes during the lift if you experience pain.

Mark Rippetoe

My standard advice is to immediately STOP doing both situps and back extensions at the onset of back pain. [See this article]

Best of the Forum

A quick question about the Olympic press

From a strength training perspective, what is the difference between a push press and an Olympic press as described by Bill Starr in the articles on this site? From what I understand, the Olympic press done with a "hip whip" allowed Olympic lifters to press noticeably more weight while still adhering with the rules. And as far as I can tell the initial hip movement allows the bar to move off the shoulders more readily, but what is the difference between this and the push press on the bottom portion of the lift?

In the past when questions were asked about the push press, you said that it doesn't build sufficient strength in the bottom portion of the lift when the bar has to get off the shoulders. However, the Olympic press is described and encouraged by several instructional videos and articles on this site. It looks to me like they both employ different methods of getting the bar moving off the shoulders to allow more weight to be lifted compared to a more "strict" military press.

Mark Rippetoe

The push press involves the knees and hips generating the initial force off the shoulders, and the Olympic press uses the quads to lock the knees so that hip and torso movement generate the additional upward force. The Olympic press adds a second hip action as the bar slows above the head. You are free to follow the advice in the book and ignore the Olympic press material, which is of interest to some of us.

BTW, I PRed the Olympic press last night, 203.5, first real PR in years. It's not much, but it's mine.

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