Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 18, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #54 – On management of training while under massive external stress, doctor recommendations against lifting weights, and why logical, methodical strength training hasn't taken hold in collegiate strength and conditioning programs.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

linda deadlifts after hip replacement
Linda, age 70, deadlifts 90 lbs on her first day back. She recently returned to Fivex3 Training after a successful left hip replacement. She is scheduled for a second hip replacement of the right hip in December and wants to go into her surgery just as strong as she did the first time.[photo courtesy of Craig Campbell]
coaching the deadlift
Coaches Nick D'Agostino and John Petrizzo observe work sets during the deadlift portion of the pulling camp at Woodmere Fitness Club. Next month the Club will host the full Starting Strength Seminar. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]

Best of the Week

Jelly Arms after Squats
Dalton Clark

Yesterday after my 280x5x3 squat sets (still chugging right along), I had a very strange occurrence while warming up the press. The 75x5 set felt absolutely obnoxiously heavy for what it was. It was only this set (others were fine), but it felt like my triceps and shoulders were gassed. It was substantial enough that Niki noticed and asked about what I was feeling on that set. Of note is that my work set weight for the press is 127.5 (also chugging right along) without any grinding.

Just wondering if you've ever heard of anything like this occurring. I didn't experience any tingling/pin-pricks and suspect that it is simply an ATP/energy pathway recovery thing that I shouldn't be concerned about. I don't know why it would have only started at 280 though.

Tom Campitelli

I suspect Hepatitis A. The only solution is to power wash your apartment with diluted bleach. See here for more: To curb outbreak, San Diego will power wash “fecally contaminated” city

Dalton Clark

I stripped all of the paint off of my apartment walls, removed the dry wall sections and sanitized both the dry wall and interior structural work with a 1:5 ratio of household bleach and water pumped through a fire truck. Should I also hotbox my house with a large-scale mixture of bleach and ammonia to kill any remnants? Would drinking bleach be ill-advised?

P.S. I appreciate your sarcastic way of indicating that this is beyond normal.

Tom Campitelli

Nuke it from orbit. It is the only way to be sure.


Dalton, I think Tom's right on in saying it's normal, common, expected, and also you're probably dying of super-AIDS from the future times twenty.

But I think I know what you're talking about and I'll just suggest that poor LBBS form, especially with respect to arm, wrist, and upper back position frequently results in the oft-discussed elbow pain, but also an extreme total arm fatigue like you're describing. It seems like some fairly subtle problems there can put a lot of strain on the arms – I was especially feeling it deep in the upper arm – not acute pain, but extreme fatigue that would ruin me for pressing afterwards. I'm finally seeing some progress in addressing this myself, but just go see all the usual books, coaches, and articles from SS to see if this might be the case for you.

Tom Campitelli

Before we get into over-analysis, having your arms feel strange on one warmup during the presses could be chalked up to all kinds of things and truly does not merit any concern. If his arms started feeling badly and got worse over a few workouts and were negatively impacting other things, then it might be time to do something such as adjusting the grip. As it stands now, Hep A is definitely the diagnosis.

Best of the Forum

Hamstring involvement when squatting

I'm just a bit uncertain about how much my hamstrings are involved in the squat and how it should feel. I know they control the back angle, but I don't know if I'm using them enough when standing up. I can feel my ass doing most of the work, my quads somewhat, but not too much, and my hamstring is basically tight and solid, holding it all together, but I certainly don't feel my hamstring pulling hard and working like it would during Deadlifts or SLDLs. Does that sound about right?

Mark Rippetoe

Your subjective assessment of the involvement of your hamstrings may not be reliable. They are working very hard, but not in a way that usually makes them sore.


Does that mean that if my hamstrings are the thing that always get the most sore for me after squatting that I'm doing something very wrong?

Mark Rippetoe

Quite possibly. They probably function primarily as isometric stabilizers, and if you're using enough eccentric function to get them sore, then you're probably losing back angle on the way down.


No, they aren't working in a way that makes them sore, like with SLDLs. I'm just uncertain whether I'm involving them as much as they should be. They're definitely doing something but it's not as obvious, so it's confusing me. I feel is my ass working more than anything else and it's usually sore the next day. I only just bought the book and I'm reluctant to start adding more weight until I know I'm doing it right.

Mark Rippetoe

If you are performing a movement that is only possible with the use of a muscle group moving a skeletal component through a defined ROM, then in the absence of neurological damage, you are using that muscle. For example, "gluteal amnesia" is quite popular right now. I just got another post about it. It is supposed to impair your ability to squat until you do special exercises that somehow remind your glutes what they are anatomically positioned to be doing anyway. The reality is that the nervous system manages the many dozens of muscles involved in the squat through a pattern of neurological action called a motor pathway. No single component of the pathway need be micromanaged by your conscious activity, because you can't separate the single component from all the other activity – there are too many muscles doing their jobs all at the same time. This is why we chose the exercise in the first place: we want lots of muscles working together under a load, because that is how the body works, and this is how it should be trained. The way you ensure that all the muscles are working correctly is to use perfect technique, i.e. move the skeletal components in a way that most efficiently accomplishes the task. We spend quite a bit of time in the book explaining what that means and why. Muscles move bones, so if you are moving your skeletal components in the correct way, the muscles that move them correctly – in the absence of nerve damage – are moving them, because bones don't move by themselves. The muscles are thus "working" or "firing" or "activating", whatever your PT wants to call it this week. So, when you squat, your hips extend because that's how you get back up. The glutes, originating on the ilium and inserting on the greater trochanter, extend the hips and externally rotate the femurs when they contract, because when you pull their origin and insertion closer together, that's what happens. If you keep your femurs in external rotation (abduction) at the bottom, and you stand back up, your glutes have "fired", because firing the glutes is how you extended your hips with your knees out. IF, THEN. Very simple, really. In the absence of neurological damage, hamstrings work the same way. Read about it in the excellent book you have just purchased.

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