Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 03, 2016

  • The winner of the September Under the Bar drawing is Adrian Greener.
  • John Musser shows how Risk Assessment can allow you to calculate risk, choose and implement counter-measures, and make choices to achieve your goals.
  • From the Archives: Rip on Recovery and Growth: you don’t get big and strong from lifting weights – you get big and strong by recovering from lifting weights.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Episode #37 - Experience: Jordan Feigenbaum and Mark Rippetoe discuss the value of the coach in being able to filter noise when interacting with readers on the internet.

Under the Bar

Jed Deocampo benches Jed Deocampo benches as Cameron Shaw looks on at the Starting Strength Pressing Camp held in Chicago on September 18. [photo courtesy of Karl Schudt]
Nicole Tribble trains her squat Nicole Tribble shows proper squat depth and hot potato shoes on her back-off sets. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
Ian presses 55x5x3 Ian presses 55x5x3 during week 2 of his Novice Progression in Gig Harbor Strength's Novice class. [photo courtesy of Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy]
Martha benches bodyweight Martha benches 125# for a single at bodyweight. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
Rebecca deadlifts double bodyweight Rebecca deadlifts double bodyweight 230x3x2 using a hook grip. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
joe becker deadlift training Joe Becker pulls 425 for 5. [photo courtesy of Black Iron Training]

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Best of the Week

Judo/LP for Masters Lifter

I'm in my mid-40s and am resuming Judo training after a 10-year hiatus.

If I train (Judo) Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon, what would be the best days to perform strength training/prowler work? My afternoons are mostly free so frequency would not be an issue (I would not be stuck to just 2 strength training sessions per week).

I know you've answered this question for the younger set numerous times, but I couldn't find where you answered it for an older trainer.

Rough stats are 45 y/o, 185 lbs, 5'7". I'm resuming linear progression (LP) after getting some coaching from our local SS coach so I've essentially "reset" and plan to be on LP for at least another 3-4 months before potentially looking at modifying programming.

Andy Baker

What type of stuff are you doing in Judo practice? Is it limited to drilling/technique work/rolling, or do you have to do a bunch of conditioning/calisthenics? (i.e. push-ups, squats, lunges, etc.)


Not much in terms of conditioning/calisthenics...more or less traditional warm up/cool down stuff. Any conditioning we do is not overly taxing by any means, but I'm a fairly fit guy.

The rest of the class is pretty basic: rolling, standup drills, mat drills and the occasional randori (sparring). Sometimes some light self defense stuff at the end (traditional ju-jistu joint locks, etc).

Andy Baker

I'd probably just run the program as is until it proves that you cannot. For instance, if Friday's workout is always a shit-show, then maybe we modify that session or rearrange the schedule. Every few weeks if you need to take a day off and just train twice that week, that is fine. If the 3x/week full body split doesn't work, then maybe we go to 4 shorter sessions per week and see if that helps you manage the workload better.

Best of the Forum

Questions about motor learning
Jayson Ball

While considering the stupidity of being exposed to the basic barbell movements for the first time by participating in a "Hero WOD," I came across a blind spot in my mental model of learning, which I hope you or others on the board can help me address.

We’ve all realized through experience that people can’t be expected to perform a complex new skill that isn’t natural playing an instrument for example – after a single exposure to correct technique. But say it’s something simple, like contraction of the lumbar spine during a squat or deadlift. How long until this is no longer a cerebral event, and instead is taken over by unconscious processes? How many repetitions before the nervous system learns the pattern and stores it in the motor areas and basal ganglia? How many repetitions before the motor neurons are firing in an efficient sequence? We can assume a hypothetical average person.

I’m curious of the physiological effects for neural adaptation in the motor neurons, basal ganglia, cerebellum, motor cortex, and the role of the frontal lobes.

Also, I’ve realized through experience that sleep has an integral part in learning new movements and skills. So linked are these that in my mind that once myself or a client is fried out on drilling a bar path their first day power cleaning, I’ll often remark that the next step in learning the movement is to get some sleep.

Where can I explore these exact mechanisms? I realize this question is very broad. Thank you for answering or pointing me in the right direction!

Mark Rippetoe

These questions are interesting. But the only one I'm prepared to answer is the number of reps question: It varies with the athlete, as you might imagine. Natural athletes learn quickly. Some people never learn, ever.


While I am in no way qualified to answer your question, I was introduced to this concept during training on how to present a firearm from a holster towards a target. I was instructed that 500 to 1000 repetitions would commit the movement to “muscle memory.” After a few weeks of daily practice, I found that I could perform the movement sufficiently without thinking about it, even while moving.

While I realize that drawing a firearm without pointing it at yourself or unintentionally at others is a more complex movement than contraction of the lumbar spine, it is far less complex than learning to play an instrument. I felt it might be pertinent to your inquiry, as it is a subject that often comes up in firearms training. It has been written about frequently in articles and texts related to civilian, combat, and police training. I have read several articles that refer to anywhere from 250 to 5000 reps, but I do not know if these figures come from actual studies, experience, or wild conjecture.


So, it's been my job for a while now to help people to perform really well on standardized tests and exams. I have done a lot of reading in the area of the best way to get people to learn material. You are certainly right that once you can see someone start to become fried the best thing for them to do is to sleep on it. What you are needing their brain to do is to form the neural connections that link/map the pieces of information to various other cues, items, memories, etc. in the brain to help maps and links form. Sleep is when the maps and connections take place and solidify.

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