Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 21, 2020

Do You Remember Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Gains in Translation with Hari Fafutis | Starting Strength Radio #74 – Mark Rippetoe is joined by Starting Strength Coach Hari Fafutis. Hari is a gym owner in Guadalajara and recently completed the Spanish translation of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training.
  • Learn to Use Your Hips in the Press – Grant Broggi, Starting Strength Seminar Staff Coach and owner of The Strength Co., teaches hip movement in the press during a Starting Strength Seminar.
  • Starting Strength en Francais – Le Coach de Starting Strength de Belgique, Steve Ross, parlera des concepts de base de Starting Strength à nos adeptes francophones, avec la possibilité de poser vos questions d'entraînement.
  • Strength Training with Scoliosis by Andrea Signor – When he was 9 years old, Patrick Curry’s doctors diagnosed him with scoliosis. At 10, the 20-degree curvature in his thoracic spine required bracing. By 15, his curve progressed to 43 degrees. Doctors fused his spine and placed stainless steel rods...
  • Grip Width on Pulls by stef bradford – Lifters commonly use too wide a grip in the deadlift and too narrow a grip in the clean. This can happen due to prioritizing comfort, copying other lifters, lax coaching, or rushing during setup. When both errors occur...

  • Archives: Keeping Strength in the Strength Program by Bill Starr – Strength is a much sought after attribute in the athletic community and for good reason. Greater strength gives every athlete a definite edge in any sport...
  • Archives: Training Female Lifters: Neuromuscular Efficiency by Mark Rippetoe – In a previous article I stated, “The reason why women's deadlifts don't always obey this rule has to do with the same reason women can perform a much higher percentage of their 1RM for reps, but..
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    In the Trenches

    james learns to low bar squat
    James made the trip down from New Hampshire to Connecticut to learn how to low bar squat at the Starting Strength Training Camp held this past weekend at Annino Strength & Conditioning. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
    steven prs his deadlift for a set of five at 450
    Steven locks out a solid PR set of 5 deadlifts at 450 on the platform at the same event. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]

    Best of the Week

    Can I become an athlete at 20?
    Devin Morrison

    Do you think a young kid, already a sophomore in college, could pursue high-level competition in a physical sport given his lack of an athletic history or is he more or less destined to always be second to the kid who's been simply doing it longer and wasting his time?

    Mark Rippetoe

    Depends on the sport and the physical potential of the athlete.

    Will Morris

    I became a much better athlete as I aged than I was when I was 20. I am getting very close to 40, and I am still able to run/jump/demonstrate strength at the same level or just slightly above when I was 32. That isn't the norm, but, as Rip pointed out, a lot of your question hinges on what sport you are referring to.

    Devin Morrison

    How can the physical potential of the athlete be measured, predicted, or calculated in order to get an idea - however rough - as to the potential he will have the opportunity to meet?

    The sport in question is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

    Nick Delgadillo

    Devin, there are way too many variables to consider. So much so that the answer to this question is really mostly irrelevant.

    I don’t understand why “potential” would matter in the way it sounds like you’re wanting to quantify it. If the answer is “no” or “maybe” does that mean that it’s not worth the effort for this individual?

    High potential guys can get caught by lower potential guys with ridiculous work ethic. The people at the highest levels were born to be there, but the next few tiers of “high level athletes” are not composed entirely of genetic freaks, especially in a sport like BJJ where the pipeline isn’t well defined. It would have been better if this guy started wrestling when he was 4, lifting when he was 12, and started BJJ at 16. But that’s never the case, is it?

    Right now, starting competitive BJJ at 20 years old is not too late like it may be for baseball, football, or soccer.

    I just realized you’re asking this question for yourself. The answer is yes. You can pursue high level competition. You have to be stronger and spend more hours on the mat than your competition. The less naturally athletic you are, the more hours you’ll need on the mat, and the more weight you’ll need to put on the bar. Get to work, my man.


    Read Peak by Dr. Anders Ericsson (probably spelled his name wrong) and then read Bounce by Matthew Syed. It'll get your mind right. If you mean high-level such as World Champion, then you have to treat this as a professional and practice correctly more than you ever have in your life. In my experience most BJJ places practice like this: 20-30 minutes of non-sense warm-up, the instructor pulls some technique he or she has never shown before out of their ass and you rep it for maybe 5 minutes, and then you roll and beat the crap out of each other. That is a recipe for sucking at just about anything.


    I started BJJ when I was 28 and at the age of 35 I have become more athletic at BJJ and in general. A large part of that is due to developing skill at BJJ, but also from getting much stronger, thanks to barbell training.

    There is only one way to find out what your potential is and that’s to keep training.

    Eric Schexnayder

    Julia Child learned to cook in her late 30s. It’s never too late to try your hand at a new skill. You may not be the best, but you may still be memorable, and you might enjoy yourself along the way.

    Best of the Forum

    Do a lot of people have messed up shoulders or am I just a shit coach?

    What proportion of the general public need a generally “wide” grip, in your opinion? When I say wide, I mean the first warm up set is basically touching the j hooks and the work sets are with the middle finger on the second ring of a B&R bar?

    Mark Rippetoe

    Probably 15%, mostly composed of old people. But you may still be a shit coach.



    I knew it was a false dichotomy going in, but the post title was already too long.

    Andy Baker

    If you train older clients you'll actually be surprised when someone can assume a good low bar carry without discomfort.


    Good to know.

    Many of my clients have been 30-50 year old male BJJ practitioners. As you can imagine, life and jiu jitsu has taken its toll on one or both of their shoulders.

    Jonathon Sullivan

    And I'm always pleasantly surprised when a prospective client > 60 (or even 50) can actually get into an OHP lockout position with a 10 or 15-lb bar.

    It may be 15% in genpop, Rip, but I think it's more like 40-50% in those 50-60 yo, and it goes up fast from there. I'm shocked at how many middle-aged people have shitty shoulder mobility.

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