Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 03, 2018

  • The 2018 Starting Strength Coaches Association Science Panel on Strength and Joint Health begins with Jonathon Sullivan's introduction to the topic starting with the anatomy and physiology of synovial joints.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • WFAC and Starting Strength Radio Ads – A collection of Wichita Falls Athletic Club and Starting Strength Radio ads run in the mid-2000s. Ad copy created and read by Mark Rippetoe.

In the Trenches

Delise Burrus pulls a PR 115 kg deadlift at the 2018 WFAC Classic. [photo courtesy of Cathy Delgadillo]
Ellis Mumford-Russell opening with a 50 kg press at the 2018 WFAC Classic last weekend. [photo courtesy of Cathy Delgadillo]

Meet Results

2018 WFAC Classic Strength Meet

Best of the Week

Programming for my skinny fat daughter

I am about to start training my 17 year old daughter who is a very good girl. She is about 5'8" and fine boned, but not skinny. She looks great in a bikini, but is soft. She, like me does not carry a lot of muscle. Although she tried everything, she was never good at sports. She does enjoy jogging around the block, but its more to stave off boredom than serious running training. I mention this only so that you understand that we are dealing with a person who is sort of weak for our size but not obese or anything weird- just naturally weak and untrained.

In the recent Gillian Mounsey podcast she mentioned higher reps for women. Do you think that they might be better than fahves for really weak women like my daughter? I am trying to help her get stronger because she wants to enter ROTC at college next year and as it stand right now, she cannot do a single pull up or pushup – I know she just needs to get stronger and doing the linear progression (LP) is the best way to do that.

However, as the recent intelligent debate over power cleans indicated (and I especially loved Sullivan's take on this in the podcast) some of what we assume as gospel in SS may not be. For example, perhaps not everyone should be fucking around with the power cleans, especially if Strength uber alles, right? So, too, perhaps, sets of ten may be better for women. I understand and agree that due to the differences between men and women, fives work great for men – and Rip's means and methods were refined primarily with men and boys, I'm sure – but what if tens are better for women due to the well understood differences, which Rip himself has identified? Again, I know fahves are great - I use them myself. I’m not looking to re-invent the wheel here. I’m just wondering if there isn’t room to argue that (as with the power clean) perhaps there isn’t some room for a deviation from the orthodoxy.

Of course, I could "try it and see how it goes." And if I was playing around with my own programming I would do precisely that. But I kind of get only one chance to help my daughter out with this and I don’t want to fuck it up.

Michael Wolf

Listen to that early part of the podcast again. She specifically mentions that that is all post LP (2:55 mark). I agree. That LP will likely be shorter, but do the standard LP first, then add the additional stuff after. Don't try to drag on the LP with endless re-sets and tricks, but run it through fully and then move on from there. I wouldn't switch her to 10s in her main stable basic barbell lifts, but there will be room for more overall volume and some assistance work once you've done the LP.

Best of the Forum

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Strength, by Adam Lauritzen

"Fundamentals are the basics, the things that we learn in the beginning of training and which apply at all levels for an entire career. In a complex world, fundamental things work reliably and consistently. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as with most martial arts and other combative human endeavors, the fundamental concept is to get in a position where your bigger, stronger tools work best and your opponent’s do not. Every submission in BJJ is designed with this in mind. Every technique in BJJ requires a push, pull, or isometric hold of joints, and these things are dependent on your ability to produce force. Strength training improves your ability to produce force. Strength is, therefore, a fundamental attribute."


I don't understand the juxtaposition of strength with flexibility in the article. It's not a trade-off in the same way as mat-time vs. rack-time in terms of recovery and time spent. A minimum amount of flexibility is required even for fundamental BJJ. If you don't have it, you need to get it. Same as with lifting weights.

I've been told I don't move like the old, fat guy I am. Credit goes to the knowledge and strength gained by following Starting Strength. I tell all of my mat friends they owe it to themselves to train through a novice LP, at least.

Adam Lauritzen

My contention(s) would be that 1. By doing BJJ you will develop the necessary flexibility for your game. 2. Flexibility as an attribute reaches a point of diminishing returns sooner than strength does. 3. Strength is not improved by BJJ in an appreciable sense, so the resource of time off of the mat would be used better by getting stronger as opposed to more flexible due to the first idea above.

I agree that there is a minimum amount of strength and a minimum of flexibility. I just think the time is better spent on strength. While flexibility is a useful attribute, it is not as useful as strength and should be prioritized appropriately when considering training off of the mat.


Well the number one way to figure out if strength matters is if there are weight divisions in competition. In BJJ competition there are, so strength is a factor. If it wasn’t, then the divisions wouldn’t exist.

Rolling with strong people is definitely more difficult. You have to be that much more technical in what you do to compensate. A stronger person is more able to punish you for sloppy technique than a weaker opponent. The opposite is true as well, if you are stronger than the person you are rolling with then you will get away with more mistakes.

There is a not trivial risk of injury when doing BJJ. You have to give a lot of trust to the person you are rolling with, trust that they will not deliberately hurt you, or hurt you because they were being careless. Injuries will inevitably happen, probably to a knee, shoulder, or the neck. So an inexperienced and strong person can be a huge risk to your own body. This may be where a lot of the dislike towards "strength" comes from. However, that’s applying strength in an ignorant fashion, applying strength in an intelligent fashion is desirable. However, inexperienced people might not be able to really make that call. You will probably find people roll with strong beginners in a very careful and conservative fashion.

BJJ is a highly technical sport, and technique is king. Strength is a benefit where your knowledge and experience closely matches the other person, but as that gap widens it is less of an advantage. Any scrawny person can choke you unconscious if they are taught how to once they have your arms around your neck after all.

It’s a balance, and time is a limiting factor. If two similar people rolled after two years of BJJ, and they both done three BJJ sessions a week, but one of them also done an additional two strength sessions a week, then I don’t think it would be controversial to say that the one doing the additional strength training would probably win. However, if those same two people faced off, and instead of the one doing no strength training and only three BJJ session a week instead done five BJJ sessions a week (so they both train five sessions in total), then I couldn’t tell you who would win. Maybe someone else could, but I can’t.

In competition though you will be matched by skill level as well as weight, so fuck it, get hench, as they say.

Adam Lauritzen

I agree, training time and consistency lead to better timing in general. A slightly bigger division 1 wrestler can be a pain to deal with even if you are a "higher belt" but eventually the higher belt wins out. But precisely as you said that's why there are weight classes in competition. I've since refined my argument with regard to competitors to be more succinct: The question isn't whether or not Marcelo Garcia can beat a 220 lb novice, he can and does. The question is "who would win Marcelo Garcia or a 50% stronger Marcelo Garcia?" With the linear progression it's pretty easy to get someone 50% stronger than they were, probably staying in the same weight class too.


This article was the difference between me starting strength training and avoiding it last January. I’m a better jiujitsu practitioner and person for it. And a helluva lot stronger. I still appreciate it greatly, especially when I’m choking out my opponent.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.