Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 05, 2022

Reinforcement Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Vaccine Facts with Dr. Jessica Rose – Rip and Dr. Jessica Rose discuss vaccines, vaccine injury reporting, and more analysis of the VAERS data.
  • Corporate Workaholic Turned Gym Owner – Ray Gillenwater talks with the owner of Starting Strength Chicago, Jon Fraser, about overcoming workaholic syndrome and focusing his energy on himself and the gym.
  • An Argument for Arch Support by Tyler Perkins – [Y]ou will have noticed that there still seems to be some lingering confusion and mystery surrounding the human arch, arch support, orthotics, “supportive” shoes, and whether any of this is relevant or necessary to the strength trainee.
  • Why You Won't Do the Program, Part 5: It Doesn't Work Fast Enough by Mark Rippetoe – I'm not losing weight as fast as I thought I would be. This doesn't work, and it's taking too much time...
  • Weekend Archives: Barbell Training is Big Medicine by Jonathon Sullivan – For some time now, in the course of my duties as an emergency physician, I’ve had strange thoughts at the bedside of some of my patients...
  • Weekend Archives: Strength Training, CrossFit, and Functional Training by Mark Rippetoe – Strength, as you already know, is the ability to exert force on physical objects. Skill is the learned ability to carry out a task within a definable framework of time and energy...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

carlos grinds out a press at starting strength chicago
Carlos grinds out 140 for a new PR at Starting Strength Chicago. Carlos is an inaugural member of the gym. He’s been training for 6 months and is still on linear progression. [photo courtesy of Alex Ptacek]
sharon prepares to pull at 140 pound pr at ss cincinnati
Shawn prepares to pull a 140 pound PR at Starting Strength Cincinnati. [photo courtesy of Tony Maldonado]
chris reviews the start position of the deadlift with dave
Coach Chris of Stronger Physical Therapy reviews the start position of the deadlift with Dave. Dave has been complaining of knee pain for over a year. With the correct set up and execution, Dave was able to hit 370 for FAHVES with no pain! [photo courtesy of Stronger Physical Therapy]
grant in the middle of teaching the deadlift start position at a starting strength training camp
Grant Broggi coaches the deadlift start position to Nathan during last weekend's Starting Strength Camp in Greenville South Carolina [photo courtesy of Diana Broggi]
starting strength gym owner jd shipley bench pressing
Starting Strength Houston & Starting Strength Katy owner JD Shipley benches with apprentice Dan Buege standing by for a spot. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
robby rahim squats the sampler platter 310 lb
Robby Rahim squats the sampler platter - 310#. [photo courtesy of Shelley Hancock-Wells]
apprentice dan buege coaches a lifter through a set of deadlifts
Apprentice Dan Buege coaches Julia Horie through a set on the deadlift. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
jacob deadlifts as his family watches at starting strength cincinnati
Starting Strength Cincinnati member Jacob knocks out his deadlifts with the encouragement of his wife Amber and their two young kids [photo courtesy of Lucas Schroeder]
group photo of female lifters posing at starting strength houston
Starting Strength Houston ladies showing off their gains. Left to right: Diane Baker, Ronda Holladay, Maggie Wissink, Maya Mecham. [photo courtesy of John Chung]

Meet Report

Deadapalooza is the annual Testify Deadlift Festival and is conducted in a "rising bar" format. For the women, first place in the open division went to Sheri Fisher, first place in the masters division went to Sharon Foster, and the heaviest deadlift award went to Sheri Fisher. For the men, Jeff Radil swept the open, masters, and heaviest deadlift awards. Full Results

judy locks out a 125 pound deadlift in her first competition
Judy Hahn pulls 125 lb in her very first competition at Deadapalooza, the Testify Deadlift Festival, held this weekend at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. Judy is going to be gunning for "plates" at next year's event . . . and then some! [photo courtesy of Becky Meggers]
gage deadlifts five plates 495 pounds
Gage Randall locks out five plates (495 lb) at this weekend's Testify Deadapalooza event in Omaha, NE. We expect to see a mid-500s deadlift coming up in 2023 for this guy. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
sharon pulls 290 for her second personal record at the meet
Sharon Foster pulls 290 lb for her second PR of the night as she finishes up at this weekend's Deadapalooza. Sharon will be aiming for a 300 lb pull at the Testify Fall Classic held in late October. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Best of the Week

Why do power lifters and body builders on steroids occasionally…


Why do powerlifters and bodybuilders on steroids occasionally rip their tendons and are people on TRT at increased risk of tendon damage? Also what is the mechanism by which the increased rate of damage occurs amongst these groups who are on steroids?

Mark Rippetoe


Mark Rippetoe

From the paper: “The causes of AAS-associated tendon rupture are still incompletely understood. Two alternative (and not mutually exclusive) hypotheses should be considered. One possibility is that AAS use has little or no deleterious effect on tendons themselves, but merely causes massive hypertrophy of muscles without causing any corresponding strengthening of the associated tendons. Thus, the muscle may simply become too strong for its tendon, increasing the possibility of rupture in response to a sudden stress. Alternatively, it is possible that high doses of AAS, perhaps in conjunction with intense muscular exercise, may damage the structure of the tendons themselves, making them more vulnerable to rupture even in the absence of excessive stress. Evidence favoring the latter hypothesis comes from various animal studies, which have typically found that AAS exposure, usually in conjunction with exercise, led to collagen dysplasia, causing tendons to become stiffer and less flexible, with an increased crimp angle and earlier liability to failure.14, 21, 30–32, 34–39, 52 However, one human study using electron microscopy found no evidence of collagen fibril ultrastructural abnormalities in the ruptured tendons of two AAS users as compared to two non-AAS-using controls.9 Another recent study found no significant difference in maximal strain and toe limit strain in the patellar tendons of 8 long-term AAS users as compared to 8 experienced weightlifters reporting no AAS use, also arguing against the hypothesis of changes in collagen crimp pattern associated with AAS use.47 Thus the evidence for a direct toxic effect of AAS on human tendons remains somewhat inconclusive.”

A very real possibility is that men who use AAS (note that this is not the same thing as TRT) tend to do things that get their tendons ruptured. To their credit, the authors discuss the limitations of the study. You should too.

Best of the Forum

Form Creep, Physics and Elite Powerlifters


As an intermediate lifter, I feel my deadlift PR has been built on unacceptably loose form over the past 12 months. I feel I’ve been lucky to avoid injury and although achieving a PR, I do not feel physiologically in total command (muscular control) of the lift. This has bled into a psychological lack of confidence before each workout, thus adding unwanted stress to the deal.

At the expense of my ego and to my great frustration, I’ve de-loaded my work sets of five by as little as possible to regain mastery of good SS form and am re-working my way back up from there. This de-load constitutes a 15% reduction in working weight.


  1. Is this deload percentage acceptable?
  2. Am I doing the right thing?
  3. I have reduced the acceleration part of the Force = Mass x Acceleration law to groove in the pristine technique. How important do you think Acceleration is generally in this equation? (not as important as pristine technique I assume).
  4. In one of your SS Radio podcasts a few years ago, you said some elite powerlifters are not always the most explosive. What exactly do you mean?

Mark Rippetoe

Decent questions.

  1. Depends on if you're deloading from 225 or 495 – 15% of 225 is meaningless. What is your 5RM?
  2. Perhaps, but I can't see how bad your form is from here, and that is relevant.
  3. For a heavy deadlift, acceleration occurs when the bar leaves the floor, i.e. when the velocity goes from 0.0 to some positive number. Heavy deadlifts are never fast. If they are fast, they are not limit.
  4. Since it doesn't matter how fast the bar moves in the three lifts, explosiveness is not required. All that is necessary for a big deadlift is the ability to summarize sufficient force production to move the bar to lockout, since the movement doesn't depend on momentum.


  1. 5RM is 473
  2. We can assume textbook SS form
  3. Force = Mass x Acceleration vs “It doesn’t matter how fast the bar moves”

Given there’s a time element to the vector quantities of velocity and acceleration, am I correct in thinking that in practical terms under the bar, acceleration and velocity are important only up to the point at which they are SUFFICIENT to move the bar from start to finish position within the parameters of excellent technique?

I acknowledge that Physics rules all and that increasing mass and / or acceleration will result in more weight being moved. However, a practical problem I’ve found on the platform with my own training and clients is that sometimes the pursuit of increasing acceleration and velocity (eg. Hatfield’s Compensatory Acceleration) comes at the expense of pristine technique. I recall Brad Gillingham once informed his clients not to use his IPF world deadlift as the textbook technique example because it was a tad loose. Given that we are not competitive powerlifters and want to stay healthy and training for long as possible, is the following a sensible statement: “Only accelerate the bar enough to move the weight from start to finish in pristine form and let this be the sole determinant of weight on the bar”.

Egos, greed and impatience are such hard things to wrestle with. Like you wisely say, one learns a lot about oneself (and others) under the bar.

I appreciate your answers to my questions. I’m also really looking forward to your next book you mentioned recently, can’t wait to get it! When will it be available?

Mark Rippetoe

1/2: If we assume textbook form, why do you need a deload? I mean, 475 down to 405 – a warmup weight – does not allow you to focus on technique, because technique cannot be improved if it's easy because the weight is light.

“Given there’s a time element to the vector quantities of velocity and acceleration, am I correct in thinking that in practical terms under the bar, acceleration and velocity are important only up to the point at which they are SUFFICIENT to move the bar from start to finish position within the parameters of excellent technique?”

That's correct. In physical terms, you accelerate the bar off the floor, and then keep it moving at the same velocity up to lockout.


Sorry for the lack of clarity. My 5RM at 475 was the unacceptable sloppy form. The SS textbook form was after my 15% deload to 405, so you’ve answered my question brilliantly. I’ll de-load by 5% and practice grooving in pristine SS from 450 because clearly 15% was way too drastic and the movement pattern is different at this light weight.

Really appreciate your help here, many thanks.

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