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Thread: Row Substitution

  1. #1
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    Default Row Substitution

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    Hey Rip, I was just wondering about your opinion on the substitution of Rows on Starting Strength. From what I've seen its bar far the most common sub I've seen on SS. I personally used pendlay rows instead of cleans and I know it worked well for me. I was just curious to hear your opinion on it.

  2. #2
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    My opinion is that you need to learn how to clean. There are a couple of reasons why cleans might not be used: if your gym won't allow you do them, or an injury prevents your racking the bar on your shoulders, you'll have to sub something for them. The injury angle is legit, but if the gym won't let you clean but will let you row, well, somebody needs to explain that to me.

    Usually, people just feel intimidated by anything that resembles a technical exercise and just would rather not do them. This is just being a pussy, and sets a bad precedent for the management of both training and life. I think the Starting Strength includes an understandable method for learning to power clean, and just in case it's not simple enough I rewrote it for the new book so that it is even simpler. You don't really need bumper plates to do them if you don't have access, so that doesn't wash either. They are in the program because an explosive movement is a valuable contribution to power production, and they make deadlifts get stronger faster.

    So my advice is to learn how to power clean. And since you mentioned it, Glenn did not actually invent the barbell row. I don't think he ever said that he did. The standard way to do barbell rows is to pull each rep off the ground. So the actual name of a barbell row should henceforth be "Barbell Row". Please try to remember this.

    Rip

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the comments, Rip.

    As you know, I run a thread over at bb.com answering a bunch of questions about your Starting Strength program. I really appreciate your behind the scenes help on that thread. As you know, I can get in over my head in a hurry and you've always been very patient explaining things to me so that I can pass along the information to other novices.

    From your answer, I gather that there is some element of danger in the rows. I know that you don't teach rows to novices in your gym.

    Can you elaborate on the problem with rows for novices??

    David...

  4. #4
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    I've been implicitly called a pussy by Mark Rippetoe. I think I can die a happy man. Thanks for the heads up, I guess I'll have to shuffle cleans into my texas method run right now.

  5. #5
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    Rows and powercleans are great exercises. However, is it true that power cleans can be done in place of rows??

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
    Thanks for the comments, Rip.

    As you know, I run a thread over at bb.com answering a bunch of questions about your Starting Strength program. I really appreciate your behind the scenes help on that thread. As you know, I can get in over my head in a hurry and you've always been very patient explaining things to me so that I can pass along the information to other novices.

    From your answer, I gather that there is some element of danger in the rows. I know that you don't teach rows to novices in your gym.

    Can you elaborate on the problem with rows for novices??

    David...
    I've never really heard that before, any opinion Rip?

  7. #7
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    Default BB.com Rippetoe Forum

    The BB.com Rippetoe forum \ post recomends replacing with rows (which I have been doing) as it say's you need a coach to learn Power Cleans.

    Looks like somebody needs to put them right, it also mentions that you could use chin ups \ pull ups first to build up your conditioning before introducing Power Cleans. Is this bull as well?

    Anyhow I'm thinking I'm going to replace rows with light power cleans at my next workout and build it up!

  8. #8
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    Okay, you don't need a coach to learn power cleans, because we fixed things up so that you can learn them out of the book. And what exactly is the downside of trying to learn them and failing? Firing squat? The fucking bodybuilders making fun of you from the safety of the dumbbell rack? Loss of wages? Just try them before you decide you can't learn them without a coach.

    As for pullups/chinups being a necessary pre-strengthening movement for the clean, what does a movement that is primarily a jump with a barbell in the hands have to do with a bodyweight pull in the opposite direction? They are both very important exercises, neither of which depend on the other for anything.

    There is no danger from doing rows. I just consider them an intermediate level assistance exercise that should be done long after cleans are mastered. Power cleans are a terribly important exercise because they develop skill, explosion, and a better deadlift. Barbell rows are a moderately useful assistance exercise. That's why cleans are included as one of the Five exercises in SS and rows are not.

    And not many of you guys are pussies. A few of you, but not many.

  9. #9
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    i would just like to add that power cleans are very learnable if you just read SS and understand all of the main points in the power clean section. me and my friend learned it this way no problem, so it's very doable.

    i think most people just don't bother to read it because they're lazy and want to go straight to the gym and start cleaning.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by FROGGBUSTER View Post
    i would just like to add that power cleans are very learnable if you just read SS and understand all of the main points in the power clean section. me and my friend learned it this way no problem, so it's very doable.

    i think most people just don't bother to read it because they're lazy and want to go straight to the gym and start cleaning.
    Agreed. It just takes some patience and a willingness to look like a spaz the first few times you try them. Those of you that squat and deadlift in a commercial gym should already be used to the funny looks, anyway.

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