Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 02, 2017

Training Log
  • Rip and Chase show you how to do dips in a power rack and using chairs when access to equipment is limited.
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

press lockout starting strength seminar
Clayton locks out a press at the recent Starting Strength Seminar in Texas. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]

Best of the Week

How to Give an Effective Video Form Check

I'm just wondering how you guys/gals actually, step by step, approach the video form checks. I'm sure that they may differ on a case-by-case basis. E.g. If the form is so egregiously bad, much time might not be taken at all to identify what's going wrong.

But otherwise, do you pause the video to observe feet position, bar position, etc. (i.e. Setup)? How many times might you re-watch a video throughout your response? How long does a typical response take from beginning to end? Again, this is highly variable, I'm quite sure. I’m looking to get an idea of how long it takes me to do one vs a Coach, and any tips on how to make my process more effective/efficient.

Michael Wolf

You're way overthinking this. Watch the thing in full. If you felt you missed something or that something occurred that needs further scrutiny or was a close call, pause or slo-mo as much as you need. Keep your comments as brief as you think you can successfully get across the idea - if you've previously worked with the person, a cue might be all that's needed. If not, some larger explanation before a cue may be required but be concise. Focus on the top few things that are most relevant to the lift as a whole, just as you would when coaching in person.

Tom Campitelli

It depends on the lift and on the trainee. The general process I use is to take an unfocused look at the lifter as they set up and do their first rep. Most of the time, something will pop out as a form fault and then I will take a closer look at that. If someone moves well, it is also quite apparent. There are occasions when I need to watch a video a few times to really see what is going wrong, or to confirm another detail. I don't normally pause a video unless I want to really focus on a specific position in a clean or a snatch. The other lifts tend to proceed at stately enough paces that I can see what I need to see without pausing or slowing them down. I would say that, on average, it takes me four or five minutes to write a response. Sometimes less. Sometimes quite a bit more, if I feel like being verbose.

Best of the Forum

Starting Strength for Kids

I've read what has been written in Starting Strength about training children for strength. I have an 11 year old son at 70-lb who asked me about a month ago to train him. He has always been one of the smaller kids in his class and he's not had much of an appetite.

He's currently training MWF with his "A" training consisting of Squats, Bench and Dead. His "B" training is Squats, Press and Pullups with A & B alternating. His squat currently is 65-lb, bench 47-lb and dead 115-lb. His press is 27-lb and he is doing 5 sets of 3 pullups. His progression on squats has been a 2-lb increase each session while we focused on his form, but now we have increased to 5-lb per session. His deadlift is increased 5-lb per session and his bench and his press is increasing at 2-lb per session. His deadlift is starting to get quite hard for him. His deadlift to BW ratio is 1.6. I think he could hit 2X BW in the deadlift by the end of this year and stay injury free. I would like to start him on cleans but I don't feel confident to teach him although I've got the SS DVD and I myself do cleans in my program. Part of his training also has consisted of him reading and discussing your book Strong Enough and watching the SS DVD.

Should I slow down his increases on his lifts being that he is pre-adolescent and does not have the testosterone and growth hormone increases yet?

In your opinion is his program adequate or would you change the frequency or exercise routine?

BTW, he really enjoys lifting weights

Mark Rippetoe

Why does an 11-year-old kid need to be "trained"? Does he have no other physical outlets that are more fun for an 11-year-old? I feel very strongly that kids should PLAY and not train. Show him how to throw dirt clods and build forts. There will be time for this shit when he reaches Tanner stage 4.


For some kids, lifting isn't a matter of training for some other activity. It happens to be a fun activity they enjoy.

I started my son lifting over a year and a half ago when he was 12. We previously had him involved in team sports and outdoor activities since he was in preschool, but he is the kid who is weak, slow, noncompetitive and painfully uncoordinated. As he hit middle school we let him drop team sports, but we insisted that he participate in a regular sports or fitness activity. He gravitated towards a running club and weight lifting. Strength training has taught him discipline and helped his confidence, posture and coordination.

Like the OP, my son is doing squats, deads, bench, press and chins. We haven't added cleans. In contrast to the OP, we haven't been focused on adding 2 pounds every workout, just proper form and incremental improvements on reps and/or weight at a pace that gives my son regular improvements over the long haul. Adding 2 pounds per workout/3 days per week adds up very fast for an 11 year old – that is a pace of over 300 pounds in a year which clearly isn't sustainable.

Mark Rippetoe

Then for him, it is play. You have correctly observed that strength training at 11 cannot really occur, so your approach is fine, as long as he enjoys it.


I agree with Coach Rip. We (my wife and I) learned the hard way with our oldest son, who is now 19 and in college. We pushed him too hard too early in life and, while he did do awesome in wrestling - winning his first state championship in his weight class in his freshman year – and lettering in football, he ended up getting burned out by the time he was a senior. I have 2 other sons, ages 11 and 7, who participate in some sport pretty much year round. I am now an older and (hopefully) wiser dad who, while still promoting their participation in sports, lets them have fun while competing. The serious stuff comes later and there will be time to prepare for it.

I lift at home and many times they will go into my workshop and talk with me while I'm training. They ask questions about what I'm doing and I show them by having them do the lift on an old 25-lb 1" standard bar that my wife used to use. But I don't push. That will come later when they are ready.

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