Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 20, 2021

Discernment Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Experts are The Problem – Rip discusses the problem with outsourcing important aspects of your life to uninformed experts.
  • Three Landing Positions for the Snatch – Phil, Becky, and Barb demonstrate the three different landing positions for the snatch.
  • How to Make Yourself Disappear – Nick D and Ben G discuss the steps one would have to take to make himself disappear.
  • Personal Records by Jim Moser – If you want to set more personal records in your barbell training program, or if you want to be successful at your next weightlifting contest, this article is for you...
  • Barbell Training: All You Need by Robert Baker – This article is about the bare-bones equipment needs for restoring the health, bone density and strength to new and aspiring Master Athletes, those over 40 years old...
  • Weekend Archives: The York Barbell Series - Exhibitions by Bill Starr – Bob Hoffman was, first and foremost, a salesman. He built the financial foundation for his weightlifting empire by going from house to house selling oil burners during the Depression...
  • Weekend Archives: The Blind Lead the Willing by Mark Rippetoe – When I first started in the fitness business in 1978, I worked at the Spa International and Nautilus Training center in Parker Square. I had been fooling around in the old weight room at Midwestern for a while, I decided that I needed a more full-time job than the weekend DJ gig, and I was every bit as qualified as anybody working there at the time...

From the Coaches
  • Listen to the Weights & Plates podcast as they discuss training around sports and recreation on their latest show.
  • A common problem in the squat is that of breaking at the hips first; in other words, instead of bending the hips and knees at the same time as we start to descend, a lifter makes the mistake of breaking (i.e., bending) at the hips first followed by bending the knees. Phil Meggers discusses how to solve this.
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In the Trenches

sebastian squatting 205 at starting strength boston
Austin coaching Sebastian's sets of 205 lb. Sebastian started at Starting Strength Boston this month and also started his junior year of high school. [photo courtesy of Jason Varnum]
brianne snatches 53 kg
Brianne snatches 53 kg at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE as she continues her training for Testify's annual Christmas Classic weightlifting meet. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
cody pulling 315 for 5 in his linear progression
Cody finishes up a solid training session by pulling 315 lb for a set of five as he continues his linear progression at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
putting together lat pulldown starting strength boise
How many coaches does it take to put the lat pull down together? [photo courtesy of Rachel Fox]
rocco deadlift lockout starting strength dallas
Starting Strength Dallas member Rocco shows us his lockout AND his best bluesteel face. [photo courtesy of Jayne Peyton]
press instruction starting strength plano
Dance lesson or instruction method of the press? You decide. [photo courtesy of Matt Hebert]
phil meggers coaches livnat at the olympic lifting camp
Phil Meggers coaches Livnat during the Olympic lifting camp held at Starting Strength Denver last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
elad working on jerk technique starting strength denver
Elad working on his jerk during the Olympic lifting camp this past Saturday. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
grpup photo mark rippetoe olympic lifting camp
Rip, Phil, and lifters at the Olympic Lifting Camp at Starting Strength Denver. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
diffley coaches the bench press at starting strength austin
Mark Diffley coaches Blake through bench press at Starting Strength Austin. [photo courtesy of Aaron Frederick]

The 10th Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest was held on Sunday, September 12, 2021 and raised over $22,000 for the Ulman House in Baltimore, a home away from home for young adults with cancer who are being treated at John’s Hopkins Hospital.

anna pulls 415 lb frame deadlift
Heavyweight Open First Place winner, Anna LaGrave, pulls 415 lb for her third attempt with the Frame Deadlift event at the 10th Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest at Fivex3 Training in Baltimore. [photo courtesy of Anna LaGrave]
charm city strongwoman hoist event
The Hoist Event was the most brutal event of the contest due to the mechanics of the pull. Grip and good use of your legs was a must. [photo courtesy of William Edwards]
Tracie Beauchamp, third place winner in the Masters Division, finishes her rep in the Viking Press. [photo courtesy of William Edwards]
zercher carry yoke charm city strongwoman contest
Middleweight Novice Second Place winner, Shannon Fitzgerald, zercher carries the 215 lb yoke 100 feet in under 30 seconds in the same contest. [photo courtesy of William Edwards]

Best of the Week

Power clean increments


How do I increase weight on my power cleans? I just put them in my program recently and started to work on my form and not bending my arms while cleaning. Nonetheless I feel like my Cleans are weak compared to my Deadlifts. Can you just increase the load by a certain amount of kgs per week? I couldn't find the answer in the book. I really enjoy doing those and wanna get stronger but i noticed they don't work like the other movements - they got ridiculously heavy just by increasing 2kgs.

Mark Rippetoe

Which book could you not find the answer in?


Practical Programming. Tthere was an example by a former D1 student who executed the program with no problems and he increased the load by 5 lbs per workout, where he power cleaned. Well, unfortunately I can't do that and my power clean is not remarkable by any means - I power clean 70kgs for 5x3 but couldn't increase the load the next workout for a decent amount of time now. My deadlift is still going up every time I deadlift though. Would you switch to 5x2? What would you do sir?

Mark Rippetoe

Use your brain: take smaller jumps.

Best of the Forum

Switching to hook grip advice


So after a few injuries and now dealing with a torn meniscus from playing basketball with a couple of 12 year olds I have become more aware that at nearly 50, I probably should be a little smarter. I currently deadlift once a week and do a set of 5 with 350-370. This is not particularly hard for me but it is certainly not a cake walk. I weigh approx 215 so it is not a stellar lift by any means. However I keep hearing about people tearing a bicep tendon doing alternating grip so I want to switch to hook grip. However I find that after a week of trying I can’t do 345 more than once. I don’t want to use straps and would rather just lower the weight. My question is this. Is this reasonable? If I drop the weight to like 315, is it likely I can continue to make progress or are you always stronger with an alternate grip. I watched your 500lb deadlift on YouTube and thought you were using an alternate grip but I could be wrong. What do you personally use on a day to day basis and is this injury really that common that as an older guy I should worry about it.

Mark Rippetoe

This is ridiculous. It is not reasonable to be worried about a bicep tendon avulsion with a light weight you have done once a week for god knows how long. If you want to lower the weights, go ahead, but don't blame the potential for an uncommon injury you will never experience.


No I don’t want to lower the weight, but I have never used anything but mixed grip, and hook just feels wrong. What I may do is mess with hook grip for another week and see if I can get close to my working weight using it. I was under the impression it is a more common injury than I guess it is.


It took me a few months to get used to the hook grip. I don’t think a week is enough time. Use chalk, make sure that you are using your ring finger and pinky to hold the bar - not just your thumb and use the thumb grip on all of your warm ups too.

I found it to be very painful at first but don’t notice it now.

Nikola Blagojevic

I just switched to hook grip on the deadlift.

I read the book and watched a ton of videos on how to do it. I used hook grip on my deadlift warm ups for two weeks and then tried it for the work set. Last week I hook gripped 400 for 4 reps and switched to mixed to pull the last rep. This morning I pulled 405x5 hook grip, and it felt fine. I'm double overhand gripping my warmups to save my thumbs for the work set.

It's worth it. My thumbs are a little beat up, but these are the benefits I've found:

  • I can set my back better
  • I have no more SI joint pain after deadlifts
  • I can get a bigger breath
  • It's easier to drag the bar up my legs

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