Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 26, 2022

Eleven Edition

On Starting Strength
  • The Queen, Chimpanzees, and Gym Affiliates – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • How to Cook a Steak – Mark Rippetoe demonstrates the "Tucker Method" for cooking a steak. Known by other names in the wild, the Tucker Method is what it's called and what's used in the Contemporary Texas Kitchen.
  • 20% Better Orgasms at Age 54 – Ray talks with Andy about how becoming stronger has helped with his work and improved his sex life.
  • Going To College – Or Not by Mark Rippetoe and Nicholas Racculia – Back in the '70s, going to college was what people who wanted to be successful did, because a high school education had eroded in rigor and value...
  • Observations on Training by an Old Guy by Phil Ringman – I am 66. I don’t think of myself as an old guy, but apparently I am. When I was in my 30s, yes, I thought people in their 60s were really old...
  • Weekend Archives: Strength Training and the Firefighter by John F Musser – Many don’t understand how dark it is inside a burning house,” Brent said. “You simply move toward the glowing fire – you are stumbling and sometimes falling over what’s left...
  • Weekend Archives: The Most Important Aspect of Programming by Mark Rippetoe – If strength is the objective (and it should be for everybody), understanding the difference between Training and Exercising is fundamental...

From the Coaches
  • The Starting Strength novice linear progression does not work...forever. Phil Meggers discusses the common problem of trying to stick with the NLP too long as well as how to avoid a constant merry-go-round of resets.
  • Don't let your focal point - or lack thereof - ruin your bench. In under a minute, Phil Meggers discusses and demonstrates how to solve this problem. This is the first video in Testify's series of Saturday Shorts on fixing the bench press.
  • You've got delicate, little baby thumbs, so you don't want to use hook grip. You're terrified of the alternate grip or just don't like it, so that's out, too. What's a lifter to do for heavy deadlifts? Straps, of course. Phil Meggers explains how to use them in Testify's weekly article.
  • In this episode of the Progressive Rehab & Strength Podcast, coaches discuss some of the missing links between the theory and practical application of strength and conditioning, barbell coaching, and clinical rehabilitation.
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In the Trenches

cadets learn the squat press and deadlift at west point basic barbell workshop
Cadets learn the squat, press, and deadlift during the monthly Basic Barbell Workshop at West Point. [photo courtesy of Greg Hess]
cadets work on power cleans at west point
Cadets continue to work on power cleans in West Point Strength Development Class. [photo courtesy of Greg Hess]
steve ross reinforces the shrug to finish the press
Steve Ross reinforces the shrug to finish the press at the recent Starting Strength Training Camp held at Brussels Barbell in Belgium. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
line locks out a deadlift at the starting strength training camp in brussels
Line, all the way from Norway, locks out her deadlift at Brussels Barbell during the camp. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
chris coaches ashley through the squat at starting strength cincinnati
Apprentice Chris Reis coaches new member Ashley through the squat during her introductory session at Starting Strength Cincinnati. Ashely joins her Husband Ryan and son Hudson in the MWF noon session. [photo courtesy of Lucas Schroeder]
kyam hits a plate milestone of 135 on his press at testify strength and conditioning
Kyam hits the "plates" milestone as he presses 135 lb for five triples at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
mike minigell coaches a squat at a starting strength training camp
SSC and Marine Lieutenant Mike Minigell coaches Tal's squat at this past weekend's Starting Strength Training Camp held in Orange County, CA. [photo courtesy of Grant Broggi]
grant broggi coaches lumbar extension on a deadlift during a starting strength training camp
SSC Grant Broggi coaching Dave of San Diego, CA on proper lumbar extension in the deadlift at the Starting Strength Training Camp. [photo courtesy of Mike Minigell]
heather films her daughter's training at starting strength cincinnati
Proud mom moment! Starting Strength Cincinnati member Heather uses her break between sets to film her daughter and fellow member Bryn. [photo courtesy of Lucas Schroeder]
group photo of three members of a 9am class at starting strength boston
Starting Strength Boston recently started a MWF 9am class that’s popular with moms. Here are three of them: members Mary, Cara, and apprentice Marie. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
inna koppel takes a group picture with the starting strength chicago team at the yearly gyms conference
Inna Koppel, Head of Recruiting at Starting Strength Gyms, meets up with the Starting Strength Chicago team at the Second Annual Starting Strength Gyms Conference. Left to right, apprentice Strah Rajic, Head Coach Alex Ptacek and owner Jon Fraser.

Best of the Week

one permanently bent elbow


I am 6" 247 lbs 47 years old. I have been training the program for almost 2 years. I'm the guy that lost 200 lbs using your program and weight loss surgery and zero cardio. I'd like to continue to deadlift without straps(last 1rm was 415), but I have an issue. Hook grip is beginning to get difficult to maintain and I can't alternate grip because my one elbow doesn't straighten even close to all the way, so the bar is at an angle to my shins. Have you ever encountered this before? Any ideas or feedback you could provide would be appreciated. I've attached pictures for reference. Picture 1, Picture 2.

Mark Rippetoe

Just go ahead and use straps. That's what straps are for. Deadlift Grip Adjustments

Best of the Forum

Design flaws in the human spine?


This article – Back Pain and Back Strength – is all I could find from a cursory search, but it references the point that I don't quite understand: "So here we are, upright with a vertical spine that still wants to be horizontal, with all the problems that come along with it, and a very good reason to solve these problems."

I've seen/heard this quote mentioned many times, whilst the article touches on it a little bit, I don't think I've ever heard or read an explanation on what the problems with the human spine are in a bipedal human, compared to a quadruped human.

What exactly are the mechanical flaws that cause back pain that would not do so if we walked on all fours. I've thought about it and the spine, like all structures in the body has evolved to fulfill multiple tasks: It has to weight-bear the entire organism and provide structure whilst allowing mobility, hence the articulated vertebrae design not a single shaft of bone, it has to provide various attachment points for muscles, it has to allow for ligaments to run alongside to maintain positioning on vertebrae on top of each other, it has to protect the spinal cord as well as providing allowances for nerves to enter/leave the spinal cord. And these have various requirements at differing parts of the body, hence the need for 3 separate types of vertebrae.

The only flaw in the design that I can see is that the intervertebral discs compress over time, there doesn't appear to be a mechanism to maintain the clearance of bone on bone contact between vertebral segments. There's definitely body structures that are designed worse. All in all it's pretty good and I doubt I could design something similar.

Mark I was hoping you could point to where you've already discussed what the flaws are in an upright spine compared to a horizontal spine, or elaborate on them here please?

Mark Rippetoe

This is the main problem. As the disc degenerates and the intervertebral spacing degrades, the articular faces of the vertebral bodies respond by generating osteophytes in an attempt to re-space the anatomy, causing unpleasant problems for the nerves and associated structures.

Stop thinking of it as a design, and start thinking of it as the accumulated changes that have occurred over millions of years. This just happens to be where we are right now. Which is fine if nobody gets to be 35.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

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