Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 17, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

ross 530 deadlift
Ross fights for a 530 lb deadlift. [photo courtesy of Craig Campbell]
teaching the barbell squat
Domenic Merlos assumes the bottom position of the squat at the beginning of the teaching progression during the Squat Camp held at Silverback Strength and Conditioning in Reno, NV. [photo courtesy of Caitlin Johnson]
ryan cueing the deadlift start
Coach Ryan uses a tactile cue with Regina K to have her move hips and chest move at the same speed as she starts the pull off the floor. [photo courtesy of Stanton Strength]

Meet Results

2018 ILF Strengthlifting Classic

Best of the Week

Barbells and squat racks – are they risky for old folks?

I’m an active male of 75 and much into your book and Sully’s book and presentation. I believe that strength is key for us old-timers and should be job 1 for seniors everywhere. Let’s avoid Sully’s “sick aging phenotype” of insulin resistance, high blood pressure, frailty, loss of bone and muscle mass, etc. I have personal experience with an 88-year-old uncle who can check off all of these maladies, plus a few.

SO we live in an over-55 development of nearly 1000 homes with an excellent lodge and fitness center – except for one thing: in that fitness center there are machines and some dumbbells, but no squat rack and no barbells.

I have been to the fitness committee with a short pitch and thought it would be fairly easy to get approval to add the equipment. But I was told no, squat racks and barbells are too risky for old folks.

They have a fitness coordinator that advises the committee.

Our community is advertised as one for “active adults” and seems to be that. People are in the fitness center and its swimming pool. There’s golf and tennis.

Questions :Have you run into this safety thing? Is it real? I’m thinking of joining the committee in hopes of educating them on the benefits of barbells and to push for adoption.

Any advice is appreciated.

Mark Rippetoe

You will probably not win this one. Best thing is to get your own rack and train in your house. They can't keep you from doing that, and when you're coaching 15 of your neighbors next year, the committee may be persuaded.

Best of the Forum

Fiber length and range of motion

This isn't keeping me up at night or making me ponder my training program, I still squat deep and do the lifts over the longest range of motion possible, but my question is the following. In the book you mention that if muscles get trained over a partial range of motion, then they will get strong only over that range of motion. This is obvious when you compare bottom bench presses to full ROM ones – the pecs do the bulk of the work without giving the triceps the chance to participate more by locking out at the top.

I'm referring more to your example in the book with leg extensions. If muscle fibers run the entire length of the muscle, from origin to insertion, then how is it possible that a muscle will only get strong over a portion of the ROM and not the whole thing?

Again, just something I was thinking about.

Mark Rippetoe

For a full-ROM movement, it would be a combination of the anatomical contributions of the various muscles that participate in the movements as the skeletal position changes, and the additive effect of the overlap of the actin and myosin filaments at points within the different muscle bellies at their respective strong positions during the movement. This is why we rely on full-ROM for the squat, so that all the muscles that are anatomically capable of contributing to the movement get worked in the part of the ROM where they can participate.

Your example of the single-joint "open-chain" leg extension is probably explained by the existence of the "strength curve" in measured efforts on the equipment, the result of differences in intra-sarcomeric overlap and mechanical advantage at various angles of attack in the ROM. Different positions within the ROM involve different amounts of actin/myosin overlap, and if the muscle is only trained at one position in isolation, the other positions of actin/myosin interaction and overlap – and therefore contractile force production – will not be trained or developed. Why an isotonic-isometric contraction performed at the specific peak of the strength curve would not strengthen that muscle belly over its entire contractile potential, I don't know precisely. We'll ask.

Jonathon Sullivan

It may clarify the question if we change the language and think in terms not of training a particular muscle or muscles, but of training a movement.

Mark Rippetoe

Thank you, Sully. I hate questions that make me feel like I'm back in ExPhys.

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