Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 30, 2023

Cold Hunter Moon Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Pitch Black Forge, Paranormal Experiences, and Bow-Legged Squats – Rip answers questions live from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • Retirement Is For The Weak by David Lewis – It seems like such a bizarre idea today, but without a retirement to look forward to, you have to keep working. You have to keep making future financial plans. You have to save money and keep investing in yourself, your business, your life...
  • Joint Health & Strength Training – Ray talks with Dr. Carter about the common misunderstanding that lifting weights can destroy bones, the relative safety of lifting compared to various other sports, and the importance of maintaining a positive outlook.
  • Becoming Strong in Your 50s – 53-year-old Mike Ditson realized that lifting by himself in the garage was not yielding results due to technique issues and poor programming. He began training at Starting Strength Austin, where he received professional guidance and started making progress.
  • The Coachable Client by Diego Socolinsky – A few weeks ago I was working with a new client at FiveX3 Training. It was his second or third training session, and we were having a little friction about programming and weight selection...
  • Weekend Archives: An Initial Visit to the York Barbell Club by Ken Leistner – Though plagued with Alzheimer’s Disease, my ninety-three year old mother had enough awareness to ask, “How can you continue to write so much about the same bullshit?”
  • Weekend Archives: Recovery and Growth by Mark Rippetoe– Judging from my e-mail and the posts on my Q&A board, most of you guys are experts at losing bodyfat or maintaining low bodyfat. But you seem to have misplaced your understanding...

In the Trenches

mohammed at the bottom of the squat at brussels barbell
Mohammed hits the bottom position of the squat at the Starting Strength Training Camp recently coached by Steve Ross at Brussels Barbell. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
josselin presses big at the training camp in brussels
Josselin hits a big press at the training camp hosted at Brussels Barbell in Belgium. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
joao pulls a set of five deadlifts as steve ross coaches the lift
Joao pulls a set of five at the Brussels Barbell training camp with the help of Steve Ross' coaching. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
manny pulls 350 as the trains for a powerlifting meet
Fivex3-member Manny, pulls 350 lb in preparation for his 6th Powerlifting Meet on Sunday, November 12 in Orlando, FL. He turned 75 earlier this October. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
holly locks out a 197 lb deadlift pr
Holly sets a PR of 197 lb for a single at Starting Strength Boston’s “Day of the Deadlift” this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Stephen Babbitt]
shayon just starting a press at starting strength austin
While Shayon travelled for 6 months, he continued to train with Starting Strength Austin via online coaching. After skipping a brutal Texas summer, he's back. [photo courtesy of Ethan Bynon]
mike benches 200 lb for sets of five at testify strength and conditioning
Mike benches 200 lb for sets of five under the coaching and spotting of SSC Tyler Holm at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
martha deadlifts 200 lb at fivex3 training
Martha, age 73, pulls a casual single with 200 lb. She is competing in Fivex3’s Stronger Together Meet in December. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
robert and stephen in halloween costumes
Staff members Robert and Stephen dressed for the occasion coaching members at Starting Strength Boston’s “Day of the Deadlift.” [photo courtesy of Stephen Babbitt]
The 2023 Phoenix Strengthlifting Fall Classic was held at Weights & Plates Gym in Phoenix this past weekend. Deanna Musurlian captured lifters on the platform and director/host Dr. Robert Santana at the table.
a lifter at the bottom of a squat at the phoenix strengthlifting fall classic 2023
a lifter locks out a deadlift attempt at the phoenix strengthlifting fall classic 2023
robert santana directs the phoenix strengthlifting fall classic meet

Get Involved

Best of the Week

Microloading vs Lowering Rep Ranges


Possibly stupid question, but in reviewing both the blue and gray books, my takeaway is that generally, microloading should be implemented prior to reducing rep ranges, is that generally correct?

IE before going from say, 3 sets of 5 to 5 sets of 3 with 5lbs jumps, one would keep doing 3x5 but with ~2.5lbs jumps?

Mark Rippetoe

This is true for women, and for the press and bench press.

Best of the Forum

Overlap between bench and squat: upper back tension


I find it helpful to keep the upper back tight in the squat in a very similar way to the bench - shoulder blades together. For the squat, it provides the point of contact with the bar. For the bench, it provides the point of contact with the bench. It requires concentration at the bottom of both movements; otherwise, the upper back loosens and opens up in both movements. It is interesting that the same relative position is used in different ways for very different bar positions.

Is this correct?

Mark Rippetoe

That is correct.


The shoulder blade retraction coached in the bench is separate from the thoracic extension coached in both the squat and the bench though, right? Or is it helpful to think of pinning the shoulder blades back and down in the squat too, just like the bench?

Mark Rippetoe

The grip in the squat produces the scapular retraction, since a tight narrow grip does not permit the scapulae to abduct in the middle of a set. If this is happening, your grip is too wide.

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