Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 16, 2019

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Training Log

In the Trenches

robert santana discusses nutrition
Robert Santana lectures at the first Starting Strength Nutrition Camp held at Starting Strength Dallas last weekend. The camp covers basic nutritional concepts and the Weights and Plates Nutrition Linear Progression. [photo courtesy of Brent Carter]
victoria jaime coaches the squat
Starting Strength Coach Victoria Jaime keeps an eye on Doug during one of his warm-up sets during the 9/14 Starting Strength Squat Training Camp in New York City. [photo courtesy of Nick Law-Yue]
ryan coaches the power clean at a starting strength training camp
Ryan O'Connell-Peller coaches the power clean at a Starting Strength Training Camp held at Next Level Barbell last weekend. [photo courtesy of Jordan Stanton]
elisha graff 170 kg deadlift
Elisha Graff wins the Men's Masters Division with a 170 kg pull at the 3rd Annual Deadlift For Dogs event in support of Ruff House Rescue, which raised over $2,000.00 and sent 12 dogs to homes. [photo courtesy of Inna Kopel]
2019 deadlift for dogs meet staff
Woodmere Fitness Club's 3rd Annual Deadlift For Dogs meet staff. Special thanks to Head Judge John Petrizzo for help at the event. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
sohka and matt starting strength dallas
Gym Dog of the week: Matt Alland and his dog Sohka learning about nutrition at Starting Strength Dallas. [photo courtesy of Brent Carter]

Best of the Week

Pulled the trigger…

I just want you to know that you have done a terrible thing--getting me interested in all this Starting Strength nonsense. I have robbed my grandchildren's educational funds to purchase every book you and your partners in crime have written--started watching all the videos (may take a lifetime at my age--thanks!) and bought into the novice masters' program hook, line, sinker, and dead minnow for bait.

I made the mistake of buying a dinky little sorta-rack that nearly falls over when I re-rack my massive work squat of 80 pounds. (Did I mention, I'm an older-than-dirt novice with a bad knee?) So I found myself standing in Dick's, trying to choose between two much more substantial racks--made by separate companies. And they were probably OK for where I will get anytime soon. But for whatever reason, whenever I talked with the store clerk for the "Fitness Department", whenever he walked over from the fishing department, it was clear he didn't know his butt from a hole in the ground with regard to the equipment or its use.

So just two days ago, as I was getting ready to pick between the two, I happened across the videos you did about the SS rack and bench, respectively. Yesterday, as soon as they opened, I was on the phone with Eric at Texas Strength Systems in San Antonio, and today, I pulled the trigger and ordered:

  • The Starting Strength Power Rack
  • An extra set of bolts
  • The Starting Strength Bench
  • The SS Weight Tree (Hey, you might as well have stuff that matches.)
  • The SS Deadlift Jack
  • And an extra bar (the 1,200 pound rated model so I can do dips)

So now, I suspect I will hear you over my shoulder, shaking with anxiety over whether your rack will stand up to the pressure I am putting on it!

But seriously, I want to tell you how much I appreciate the incentive you have created in at least this one old fart to get up off the couch and put down the donuts. I admit to having had a hard time wanting to keep combining cardio (on the Concept II) and incorporating weight loss with strength gain. But now, I have abandoned the former and am two weeks into the program – and loving it.

Mark Rippetoe

You've joined the club. We should have a meeting.


Thanks, Rip. I would love to. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make the next session in lovely, downtown Wichita Falls, but your staff tells me there will possibly be another one at the home location in the Spring. So perhaps then. Best regards, and congratulations on a great profession. Just remember what our former President said: "You didn't build that business – someone had to help you."

Oso Rojo

Russ, tell the grand kids to look to their parents for college money, Grandpa is getting strong!

J.D. Shipley

I love it when we have new inductees to the club…

Best of the Forum

Stiff neck and power cleans

My neck has always been susceptible to becoming painfully stiff, the Levator Scapula (as far as I know and can feel) tighten up until i have a very limited range of motion when turning my head from side to side. It is painful, it sucks, and takes 7-10 days to clear up by itself.

However, if i do power cleans and do enough weight and reps to get a slight DOMS the next day, my neck will be completely good the next day.

Have you got any insight on why this works so well and why I need to get a slight DOMS for it to work?

I know you really don't approve of training just to achieve DOMS, but it works for me and power cleans are the only exercise I ever do this with. My personal theory is that it is the same mechanism as pin firing, that the slight inflammation associated with DOMS clears up and takes care of the stiff neck as well since it is right next to the traps.

Mark Rippetoe

No idea. You probably have a C6-7 problem of some sort, and if this approach keeps you out of the operating room, good.

Joe Tandy

If you have frequent neck problems, consider a better pillow as well. 8+ hours with your head cranked to the side can contribute to these things. A scooped-shape latex/memory foam pillow may help.


A good pillow is awesome, i used a tempur memory foam one for years, but to me it has been more of a comfort thing when it hurts than a way to avoid the neck knotting up. It will come regardless of what I sleep on. But very rarely compared to what it used to be.

Regular training has helped a lot, it is a lot more rare now. Plus the ability to initiate healing by power cleaning makes it a lot less stressful. Now I have control, versus having to wait 7-10 days for it to pass by itself.

Mark Rippetoe

Have you tried a chiropractic adjustment? The right guy can be helpful, depending on the nature of the problem – which an MRI may help determine.


Thank you guys for lots of good advice! I really like having the opportunity to get input from people with good insight in this stuff.

I have tried it a couple of times, but not with an MRI at that exact time. I took an MRI after a car crash I was involved in, that was what started this mess (the crash, not the MRI). The chiropractor I have been to a couple of times recommended me to build more muscle around my neck, he said it would stabilize it and make it less prone to cause trouble.

Mark Rippetoe

An excellent Chiropractor. Keep him around.

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