Mattress Edition – Starting Strength Weekly Report March 13, 2023

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March 13, 2023

Mattress Edition

On Starting Strength

  • Training Your Kids – Rip and crew discuss training kids, when it’s safe to teach them the barbell lifts, and when productive training can actually take place.
  • How to Add Calories to a Protein Shake – Starting Strength Coach Andrew Lewis and Josh show some easy ways to add calories to a protein shake if you’re underweight, starting a linear progression, and need to consume liquid calories along with your food.
  • Common Mistakes In The Deadlift & How To Fix Them – Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater discusses some common mistakes people make while performing the deadlift and what steps you can take to correct them.
  • Winter Swimming and Starting Strength by Wade Stokes – [A]s a masters world champion in winter swimming, I stand as proof that Starting Strength can super-charge your athletic performance, even if your sport is unimaginably unpopular…
  • The “Standing Bench Press” by Robert Santana – The debate between single-joint exercise advocates and multi-joint exercise advocates has stood the test of time. In one corner…
  • Weekend Archives: No Chalk Allowed! by Shaun Jafarian – Today’s fitness industry has ushered in a new paradigm of what Americans consider a “gym.” In cities across the country…
  • Weekend Archives: The Belt and the Deadlift by Mark Rippetoe – Inertia is the capacity possessed by physical objects that makes them resist any change in their property of motion…

From the Coaches

  • Does Getting Stronger Make You a Better Runner? – Robert Santana invites one of his clients, Olivia Miller, onto the show to discuss her training program for a 50k race she ran in February.
  • When you’ve got a cold, should you train? What about the flu? What about when your insides want to be on your outsides? Phil Meggers breaks it down.
  • What is a power snatch? How is it different from a hang snatch, hang power snatch, or snatch? Phil Meggers covers it all here in about a minute.
  • Phil Meggers discusses the problem of an incorrect (or absent) focal point when pressing as well as how to fix this problem. This is the sixth article in Testify’s series on improving the press.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

james squatting 355 for back off triples
After squatting 390 lb for a top single, James squats 355 lb for a few triples as he continues preparing for the upcoming Strengthlifting Challenge at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
nick delgadillo leads the squat session at the las vegas training camp
Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo leads the squat session at the Las Vegas Squat and Deadlift Camp. [photo courtesy of Ray Gillenwater]
ray gillenwater teaches back position in the deadlift
Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater teaches Zach how to set his back during the Squat and Deadlift Camp held in Las Vegas last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
training at a garage before starting strength indianapolis opens
In the North, you have to take advantage of a nice day when you can. The Strecker boys – future members of Starting Strength Indianapolis – lift with the garage door open on a nice day. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]
close up of nick doing pin presses inside the rack at boston
Nick has been using the pin press to help move his press higher and add some variety to his training. Here he is doing a set of 3 at 145# at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
ila hanging out in the rack between her parents sets at memphis
Ila hanging around between her parent’s sets during the 12:30 PM session at Starting Strength Memphis. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
graham reading starting strength between sets in austin
At Starting Strength Austin, Graham H. uses his rest period to study the Starting Strength movement model. [photo courtesy of Brandon Sherwood]
group picture starting strength cincinnati noon session
Coach Adam, owner Luke, and the amazing members of the Starting Strength Cincinnati Tuesday/Thursday noon session grab a quick photo during their training. [photo courtesy of David Stockton]

Meet Report

The annual Testify Leprechaun Lift-off weightlifting meet took place this Saturday (03/11/23) at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, and you can view a recording of the meet here. For the women, the Best Lifter Award (Morgard the Manatee) went to Alex Wolfe, and for the men, the Best Lifter Award went to Colin Reis. The Best Lifter Awards were determined using Sinclair points. View scoresheet.

aubrey with a 40kg snatch racked
Aubrey snatches 40 kg for her third attempt at the Testify Leprechaun Lift-off weightlifting meet held at Testify Strength & Conditioning this past Saturday in Omaha, NE. She went 6-for-6 on the day and set PRs in both the clean-and-jerk and total. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
brittany locks out a 59 kg clean and jerk
Brittany locks out her third attempt clean-and-jerk at 59 kg at the Testify Leprechaun Lift-off this weekend. This was Brittany’s first meet, she set multiple PRs, and she’s ready to do more of the same at the Testify Barbell MAYhem in May. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
geneva clean and jerks 65 kg
Geneva cleans-and-jerks 65 kg for her third attempt at the Testify Leprechaun Lift-off this weekend in Omaha, NE. Going 5-for-6 on the day, Geneva set PRs in the snatch, clean-and-jerk, and total. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Best of the Week



Currently dealing with three of my clients who have been ill-informed by their doctors about strength training.

Two pieces of advice were “Don’t deadlift more than 25 pounds”, “Don’t deadlift more than 110 pounds”. Both pieces have been ignored by my clients.

In a third case, doctor has told my client to only do moderate weights to “not cause inflammation” (she has supraspinatus tendonitis), to do “rotator cuff exercises”, and to go down on her deadlift weight so she doesn’t get sore in her hips (which – more than anything else – is a recovery issue).

Client would obviously believe her doctor more than anyone else.

I am curious to know how you’ve dealt with such situations in the past where your clients were ill-informed by doctors – and where it was challenging to make them understand the importance of building up their strength, rather than following unfounded claims by their doctors.


I think some people can be convinced if you explain that doctors give advice that first and foremost covers their own ass. If there is an established pattern that they know will keep them out of legal/professional trouble, they will push people into that pattern, regardless of how effective it is. They’re just doing what is “safe”. Of course, before explaining, you might want to cover your own ass and make it clear you’re not offering medical advice.

Other people are going to obey their doctor no matter what, 100% of the time, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Mark Rippetoe

Yes. The medical industry depends on the 105s. Can’t be helped.

Best of the Forum

10 Year Old with Knocked Knees


My 10 year old daughter has knocked knees. It is very easy to see her just standing still with feet shoulder width apart. My wife took her to a pediatric orthopedic specialist who suggested that she does some physical therapy to correct it. She is always complaining about her ankles hurting, which is why my wife wanted to take her in.

Anyways, I’m a 42 year old male who has been doing Starting Strength for about 2.5 years at this point. I’m in intermediate programming for all of the main lifts. I have done physical therapy twice for two different reasons and have come away with a feeling that they have a total lack of understanding of the strength adaptation recovery model. A physical therapist did help me with my lack of shoulder flexibility when I was starting out with Starting Strength back in the spring of 2019, which helped make it possible for me to get under the bar to do low bar squats and press with a vertical bar path. After the first couple weeks of loosening up the capsule and prescribing stretches, they moved on to giving me rubber bands to “strengthen” my supporting muscles, which was a complete waste of time and money. I did say that I wanted to stop after I had regained my shoulder flexibility, but they talked me out of it. In hindsight I should have simply said “thank you… I’m done”.

I know that Rip has mentioned over and over that we can’t train kids until they hit Tanner Stage 4, since they can’t recover like adults will and will get injured if we try to do it anyways. And that kids simply by growing are naturally getting stronger anyways. Is it possible to fix knocked knees with squats and deadlifts, once my daughter is of the right age? Or will physical therapists actually be able do something in this area and not waste our time and money? If squats and deadlifts would help, I feel like I would be competent enough to help her run through a linear progression when she does reach Tanner Stage 4. This wouldn’t cost any money at all, except a pair of lifting shoes. Just trying to figure out the right approach to correct this.

Mark Rippetoe

What did the doctor say about the cause of the valgus knees?


I didn’t take her to the appointment. My wife did a few weeks ago and the doctor said, “It is common in kids.” and did not give any reason as to the cause of it. We live about an hour and a half south of Chicago, so it was a bit of a drive getting there and my wife was not all that impressed by the doctor and said the whole appointment was very brief. We thought it would be worth the effort of going there, since the doctor is a pediatric orthopedic specialist. I have the contact information of the doctor and plan to call to see if there is anything specific written in the records, as to the cause. But, they are not open again until Tuesday.

I did have my daughter do a squat so that I could see if it is even possible to do a squat without a knee cave. You are right about kids really lacking in the ability to control the eccentric or even just about anything else in the movement. I ended up having her sit at a coffee table, where her hips are at around parallel and put her feet hip width apart with toes angled outward and then slowly stand up. For the entire motion I didn’t see any knee cave at all. But, when she is nearly standing up with straight legs you can see the knees are caved in. When she is just standing upright though her knees can touch each other, with her feet maybe 3 to 5 inches apart (I didn’t measure). I’m not starting to train her on the squat, but simply curious if it was even possible for her to squat without a knee cave.

Mark Rippetoe

It may be nothing more than abductor weakness, but if there is a bony defect it would be important to know. But as usual, pediatricians are inadequate.

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