Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 10, 2016

Training Log
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From the Coaches

Under the Bar

Sean Stangl 270kg squat Starting Strength Forum member Sean Stangl went 9 for 9 in the USAPL Boss of NorCal meet that took place on Saturday, September 24. Each of his successful three squat attempts set a new California State Record in the -93kg class. Here he is on his first attempt squat with 270 kg. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
kelly deadlifts 315 Kelly locks out 315# (PR!) in preparation for the 2016 Starting Strength Fall Classic. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
Taira Hoffman deadlifts 145x5 Taira Hoffman deadlifts 145x5 during Strength Class at Gig Harbor Strength and Fitness. She has lost 20 lbs. during her Novice Progression. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
Sean Stangl bench pressing 180 kg Sean Stangl bench pressing 180 kg (397 lb) for his successful second attempt at the USAPL Boss of NorCal Meet on Saturday, September 24. His successful third attempt of 185 kg (408 lb) set the USAPL California State Record in the -93 kg class. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
Raina Butler pulls 225x4 Raina Butler pulls 225x4 at WSC. She is training for her first meet, the Starting Strength Fall Classic this October. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
Jamie McPherson squats 125x5x3
17 year old Jamie McPherson squats 125x5x3 in week 5 of her Novice Progression at Gig Harbor Strength and Fitness. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]

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Best of the Week

Ditching power clean for more deadlifts in novice programming

In an effort to finally get my deadlift up I've decide to drop power cleans, for now, and just do deadlifts. I'm wondering if leaving out cleans for a while (3-6 months) is the thing to do, or are cleans that important to strength training that I should keep doing them?

Currently I'm following the SS Novice programming except I'm only working out twice per week max (3-5 days between workouts). My dead lift is 305 currently and it's been kind of stagnant (or at least very difficult relative to other lifts). My feeling is that I'm not deadlifting enough given my training schedule and also deadlifting every other workout leaving me deadlifting once every 7-10 days.

My squat is still going up easily at 5 lbs. each session, my presses are moving up 2lbs each session.

Recent training weights:

  • Squat 305x5x3
  • BP 220x3x3
  • OP 142x3x3
  • PC 165x3x5
  • DL 300x5x1

6'6" - 254 lb 43 year old male

Andy Baker

See if a set of 5 twice per week gets you moving again. It probably will. My guess is that at 43 y/o and 6'6" your power cleans are pretty messy. So the likelihood that they have any carryover at all to your deads is pretty low. However, if you can bear down and get that DL up to 365x5 perhaps, then you'll PR your clean without ever even training it.


Sounds like a plan. Thanks for the input!

So when you say "power cleans are pretty messy" what exactly do you mean?

Andy Baker

Form probably not all that great. I could be totally wrong. But if your timing/technique is off on a power clean it's going to seriously limit the poundages you can use and therefore the potential carryover to a heavy deadlift is all but negated.

Best of the Forum

Patella tendon pain stopping me squatting

For the past few months I had been working up my squat. I had reached about 115kg and started getting a bit of pain in my patella tendons. First in my right knee, then it moved across to my left. It was only slight, and so I pressed on to 117.5kg and then squatted 120kg shortly after.

Since then I have had pain in both patella tendons. I cannot squat. I've had 16 days off from squatting and the pain has not gone away really. I squatted 60kg on Thursday and its back as bad as it was before. I cannot squat down unloaded without it hurting now.

I bought some rogue rubber bands to use as compression and have been doing that but it’s not helped at all.

My right patella had started growing some kind of bony lump on the patella tendon join area at the base of the patella. This is slowly disappearing.

I'm really needing some help. I had been trying really hard on my squats recently and was doing really well, and now this. Even unloaded bending of the knee is now painful. I cannot run either, as the impact causes pain in both patella tendons. Feels a bit like shin splints.

It is only the patella tendon and its joint with the patella, no other area of the knee hurts at all.

Tom Campitelli

Patellar tendinopathy is the bane of several trainees’ existences. Once it starts, it can be very difficult to resolve. However, yours is not a typical presentation. Patellar ligament (more correctly) pain normally comes on slowly and can often be present for months before it really starts getting in the way. Further, if squatting is bothering it, it is unusual that a 16 day cessation did not make it feel any better.

The first thing to do is to relax. While the patellar ligament hurts and is annoying, it is not indicative that your knee is going to fall apart, or that anything terrible is afoot. You can even squat with decent form and sometimes develop patellar ligament pain. It does not happen to most trainees, but I know a few, including myself who suffer from it.

Try this:

  1. Do five days of ibuprofen, as described here. See if that knocks things down a little. You are early into this, so it may be all you need to do.
  2. Decrease your squatting frequency to once a week. Deload as needed. See if the pain subsides.
  3. Consider doing box squats. These encourage a more vertical shin and can keep you out of your knees a little.
  4. Stretch your quads, hammies, and calves three to five times a day for at least 60 seconds at a time. Might work. Might not. Try it for two weeks.
  5. Foam roll, or roll on a lacrosse ball two or three times a day focusing on the quads near the knee. Foam roll before squatting.

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