Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 01, 2018

Training Log
  • Darin Deaton explains when using a thumbs-around squat grip can be an acceptable compromise in a trainee that can't conform to the model.
Starting Strength Channel
  • Seminar Q&A – Coaches discuss transitioning through novice, intermediate, and advanced programming, how to incorporate barbell training in a CrossFit gym, and what should be done about getting women interested in Starting Strength.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

The 7th Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest was a great success:

gretchen mester presses the axle
Fivex3 Training client, Gretchen Mester, second place finisher in the Master's Division, pressing the 100 lb axle. [photo courtesy of Craig Campbell]
jen sullam pulls 245x16 in one minute
Fivex3 Training's own Jen Sullam, pulling her way to first place in the deadlift event in her group, Middleweight Novice, with 16 reps in one minute with 245 lb. Jen tied for third place overall. [photo courtesy of Craig Campbell]
cassi niemann pressing the log
Starting Strength Coach Cassi Niemann, who finished in first place in her group, Middleweight Novice, pressing the log for four reps with 100 lb after one rep with the 100-lb axle and two reps with the 100-lb barbell. [photo courtesy of Craig Campbell]

Between sponsors, fundraising pages and various strongwoman raffles and fundraising events prior to the contest, Fivex3 Training raised over $20,000 for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Their goal for the next five years is to raise $100,000. 

Best of the Week

Troubleshooing the Squat Grip for Inflexible Trainees During the Seminar

I am an aspiring SSC planning on attending a seminar soon. I've got a quick question in regards to squat grip troubleshooting. I would very much appreciate any feedback you can provide!!

I've done my best to absorb all videos and articles that have been presented on the squat grip. All of the squat grip errors which you could categorize as "bad habits" seem simple enough to solve if the issue is just motor control and a lack of awareness of the correct position for the trainee. However, I'm unsure of what to do on the platform if presented with a person who does not possess the flexibility (or anthropometry?) to place the bar in a low bar position with perfectly straight wrists that day. I coached someone today with pretty damn long forearms. I could not get him into the low bar position without allowing him to go into a fair amount of wrist extension, despite widening his grip, changing the angle of his wrists, and repositioning where the bar sits in his palm. As far as I'm aware, there's no other trick if these things don't work, other than applying a long term strategy such as the Paul Horn stretch. So if I'm presented with a trainee like this at the seminar, what am I supposed to do? Do I allow him to low-bar squat with extended wrists? Do I have him squat with the bar as low on the back as he can get it with straight wrists and see if he stretches out set to set? Do I make him high bar? Thanks for helping me figure this one out.

Mark Rippetoe

Some people cannot do the low-bar squat. They high-bar. You would be responsible for correctly assessing this situation.

Best of the Forum

Lifting Pre-Tanner Stage IV: When to Add Weight to the Bar
Anthony King

Can you recommend any resources or make some comments about programming for children who haven't reached Tanner Stage IV? (For those who haven't read it: SSBBT3 states that a linear progression should not be undertaken until this stage of development.) It also says that children can start lifting for enjoyment at age six (or was it seven?). I'm wondering what should happen in the interim.

In my particular case I have a seven year old boy who likes to deadlift when I'm lifting at home. I let him do it once a week and go as heavy as he can lift (and put down) with a perfectly flat back. He only likes to do singles, so I have him warm up w/ five singles and work up to singles at his "work weight". I watch his heaviest single and when it looks "easy enough" for three singles I let him add two pounds.

I think I'm being very conservative, but I'm just using my (relatively inexperienced) intuition. If this question has been addressed somewhere in the literature or forums I've missed it. Thanks for your time.

Mark Rippetoe

There is no rule about this. You're approaching it correctly.


I cannot find this reference to Tanner stages in SSBBT3. Do you have a page number?

Mark Rippetoe

It's in PPST3, p.223.


We essentially followed the SS model when my youngest was that age, keeping loading very conservative. After the first couple of weeks I think we added #2.5/workout for squats and deads, less than that for pressing movements. In 3 months time, he was able to deadlift double bodyweight and squat 1.5X bodyweight. He didn't enjoy cleans ... so we didn't "force" them (on an 8 year old?!). He did chins instead, working up eventually to sets of about 15–20 dead hang.

He's more physically talented than me or his brother, but 7 years later I now think that his pre-pubescent SS work helped lay down neurological pathways which are still bearing fruit. His consistency in the gym has been very sporadic for a couple of years, as he's focused on martial arts. But last Spring he defeated all comers to win his school's arm wrestling tournament, while weighing in at a ponderous #135 (on a good day).

He's now at a stage to actually put on some strength and size – just turning 16. We'll see what he chooses this Winter.

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