Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 05, 2016

  • Mark Cristiani is the winner of the August drawing.
  • Easy Doesn't Work - The abridged panel discussion of Morton et al. in which the authors concluded that "Neither load nor systemic hormones determine resistance training-mediated hypertrophy or strength gains in resistance-trained young men."
Training Log
  • Rip shares his thoughts on the benefits of the right shoes. Again.
Starting Strength Channel
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

hegerfeld squats at 71 Steve Hegerfeld, age 71, squats 225x5 at the Starting Strength Squat Camp held in Chicago last weekend. [photo courtesy of Karl Schudt]
legend and flat rip Jerry receives a pep talk from the Legend Paul Horn before his personal record (successful) squat attempt of 315; Flat Rip stares intently from a distance. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength and Conditioning]
jerry pr press Moments before Jerry completes a successful press lockout of 135x5, setting a personal record before he leaves for vacation. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength and Conditioning]
adrian greener 500 lb squat Adrian Greener recently hit a Starting Strength 3x5 squat plateau of 385lbs and a 1RM of 425lbs. Having just completed the Smolov intermediate program, squatting 486,000 lbs in 13 weeks, he peaked at a new 1RM squat of 500lbs. Thanks to Rip for the Bible and great online coaching tips! [photo courtesy of Adrian Greener]
diana starts strength training Fivex3 intern Christian works with Diana on her first day. Her husband and two daughters have already been training with us. Now the whole family trains at Fivex3 Training. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]

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Best of the Week

Barbeque Sauce or Not
Dr. Manhattan

Never have I read or participated in the debate regarding using BBQ sauce to compliment smoked meats. To clarify: not using the sauce for the smoking/cooking process; using it only for a condiment during consumption.

As your readership here continues to grow, I am certain the daily visitors here would be curious to hear your insights into this subject. That is, if you haven't already addressed it.

Mark Rippetoe

I don't slow smoke a lot of meat, takes a lot of time and we usually just cook steaks on the fire. I like ribs both ways, but I prefer brisket/pork shoulder with no sauce. Brent J. Carter has the definitive opinion on these matters.

Brent Carter

I agree with a no sauce stance on brisket. In my opinion if the BBQ is cooked well, no sauce is really needed. In fact, the only seasoning I put on a brisket is salt and pepper. Even a smoked turkey breast (which can be dry as cardboard if overcooked) if cooked perfectly doesn't need sauce. I think it takes away from the flavor of the meat. According to Aaron Franklin this is inline with the Czech tradition of Central Texas smoked meats and I gotta say I agree.

Outside of Central Texas BBQ sauce takes a little bit more of an active role in the BBQ. Alabama has a white barbecue that is a mayonnaise and vinegar based sauce. Eastern North Carolina has a vinegar and red pepper based sauce that works very nicely with the pulled pork they serve. Further away from the coast in NC a mustard based sauce is often found.

With that said, if your BBQ is overcooked or dry some BBQ sauce can cover a multitude of sins, but is not exactly traditional if you are going for Central Texas beef-based BBQ.

Best of the Forum

So some idiot tells me that back squats are not beneficial to athletes
Jared Dopp

So I'm in the gym at 5 a.m. on Monday lifting with my friend, who is 37 and has bad knees, to get him in shape for the Master's World jiu-jitsu competition in October. Of course I'm thinking he needs to develop a proper squat and squeeze some more years out of those knees. He does a couple sets with an empty bar just to feel it out and see where he's at in terms of flexibility, technique, knee pain, etc. The gym owner proceeds to walk in and ask what my friend is doing with a bar on his back while he has bad knees. He then proceeds to ask another guy who teaches out of there his opinion on back squats for grapplers. The response was akin to "back squat is the worst thing for all athletes because you can't fully open up your hips. The only way to open up your hips is do some sort of front load squat (front, zercher, goblet, etc.) therefore rendering back squats useless."

I didn't say anything to this because I'm not sure you can help someone who is that misguided. I guess my question is what the hell? Give me some opinions here. I won't stop back squatting until it causes me to lose a match, or I become a pussy. Whichever happens first I suppose.

Mark Rippetoe

Here is your analysis: Do squats make you stronger? Is a guy with a 500 squat stronger than a guy with a 200 squat? Does an athlete need to be stronger? Yes? There you go.

This "functional training" dogshit is annoying.

Will Morris

Back squatting doesn't allow you to fully open your hips? The most open position your hip joint can be in is 30 degrees of flexion with 30 degrees of abduction and slight external rotation. To me, that sounds a lot like a range of motion you go through when doing a proper back squat. Oh, that's not what he means? Truth is, he doesn't have a damned clue what he is talking about. Perhaps I should post an in-depth response about it being bad for your knees, but I will refrain for the time being. Just assume I know what I am talking about when I say it is among the most healthy, beneficial things you can do for your knees.


Speaking as a fellow Jiu-Jitsu guy, I don't see how an increase in strength wouldn't be beneficial. Front squats are a good exercise, but back squats are kind of THE exercise.

Jiu-Jitsu theory states that technique overcomes strength, when two guys have equal technique, the stronger guy wins. This is why we have weight classes etc.

In short, keep squatting with your friend, and good luck to him in his comp.

Jared Dopp

I'm honestly not sure what he meant by "open the hip." Perhaps the motion where you extend your hips to finish an armbar or triangle, but if you're so concerned about that why not just do hip bridges? Doesn't that motion rely a lot on glute activation anyway, and wouldn't proper back squatting develop the glutes and allow you to squeeze your legs to secure the submission? Even if we're just talking about how much it helps your base/balance as well as your drive/finishing ability during takedowns, I feel like it can only be beneficial. I mean I've won Worlds and I'm going to ADCC, and I feel like my leg strength has been a major part of that success.

My friend’s knee joints just aren't very stable because his muscles and tendons haven't been strengthened enough keep the joint stable. Add that to the pressure that jiu-jitsu/judo/wrestling can put on your knees and that's his current status. In my opinion, the only way for him to avoid knee replacement surgery is to start squatting like an addict.

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