Front Squat, OHP, Squat, Bench, & Deadlift PRs, Travis Mash Article About Mark Rippetoe And Stuff You Should Read

September 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

Best comment I've received all week:

Muscle Sphere

Anyway, last Sunday I felt a bit beat up from the previous week of squatting and deadlifting, so I "de-loaded" my regularly scheduled low bar & high bar back squats with a lighter-but-still-challenging paused, no-belt front squats this week.

Tomorrow I'm going to go back to the regular low bar/high bar volume day.

PRs This Past Week (6)

1. Front Squat: 370 lb x 1 (No Belt 1RM)

Did 350 lb x 1 before this, which was an easy PR. Decided to try 370 lb because I missed this weight a couple of days ago, and 3 plates plus a quarter on each side of the bar looks cooler.

Once I smashed through the sticking point, it felt like the bar just flew up. Nice.

Also tried a wider stance during warm up. Hips felt weird and it was a bit painful so I changed back into my narrower, hams-to-calves knee cracking stance

2. Overhead Press: 200 lb x 7 (7RM)

Wanted 8 (or 10) reps, but my upper back couldn't take it anymore.

Haven't had an OHP PR in a long time. Also gotta start tracking 7 rep maxes (in case I can't hit 8 reps).

3. Low Bar Squat: 490 lb x 4 (4RM)

Would have settled for a triple, but went for a quadruple instead. Previous 3RM was 480 lb.

4. Reverse Grip Bench Press: 365 lb x 3 (3RM)

+10 lb 3 rep max! Was thinking about going for 360x3, but 3 plates plus a quarter on each side of the bar looks better than 3 plates plus a bunch of tiny baby plates.

Second attempt at this today. Missed on the 3rd rep on the first try, probably because of experimenting with a different way of gripping the bar (having the thumbs in line with the bar instead of grabbing it normally).

Also decided to try to regular grip bench press this weight, but failed. Pain in my forearms and shoulders :/

5. High Bar Squat: 460 lb x 1 (No Belt 1RM)

Harder than I anticipated, but got it.

Missed trying a paused, no belt, high bar squat with this weight earlier.

Felt easy coming down and sat comfortably in the hole, but couldn't keep my chest up as I stood up. Got crushed :/

6. Deadlift: 500 lb x 3 (Hook Grip, No Belt 3RM)

Did 1 rep last week for a 1 rep max, and got 3 this week! Triple the number of reps...triple the amount of thumb pain.

Also warming up by hitting the heavy bag is pretty fun. Kicking the bag repeatedly seems to get rid of any hip tightness. Just have to try not to over do it.

The Travis Mash Article About Mark Rippetoe

So there was an article published on this past week (which has now been taken down) written by Travis Mash, criticizing Mark Rippetoe.

You can check it out here via Google cache.

I won't go in detail about that article, and, to be honest, I prefer not to get myself involved in internet conflicts, because we all know what happens when you argue on the internet...

But let me throw in my 1 cent about this hip drive thing people have issues with, for what it's worth:

I think the "hip drive" cue seen in various hip drive videos and criticized by many is really taken out of context. To me, it seems like he's just helping out some person learning how to squat to better utilize his or her posterior chain, and the hip drive cue fixes some problems many beginners have.

However, in the Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training DVD, under the "Squat" video, Rippetoe was cuing someone to lead with their chest up first.

Weird right?

Well, he did this because the person who was learning to squat was always leading up with his hips first, followed by his chest (basically how people perceive the Rippetoe's teaching of the squat should look like based on those hip drive videos), and the "chest up" cue ended up correcting the "hips shooting up" problem that this person had and he ended up squatting with his hips and chest rising at the same time. Different cues work for different people in different situations to get the desired effect I suppose.

Anyway, I don't want to get too much into this, but personally I thought the book Starting Strength was a pretty good book. I mean, I made my initial gains based on it. And I think my squat kinda looks like a SS-style squat, even though these days I'm trying to really lead with my chest.

I don't do SS anymore (only did it for 3 months), but I still refer to it from time to time. It has very detailed information about the squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, power clean and other stuff. I don't agree with it 100% (I suck at power cleans and reverse grip bench press FTW!), but still, it's a solid book. Also, I enjoy the video interviews and articles on the Starting Strength website, especially the ones involving Marty Gallagher.

I think that some people who have issues with SS and Rip are making opinions based on small videos rather than fully understand what's written in the book itself. He's also got that abrasive grumpy old man charm that I find hilarious, but I'm sure other people are offended by.

As for Travis Mash, I don't really know of him much, but he seems pretty awesome from what I've read. He has trained Greg Nuckols, who I've spoken to on a few occasions and received (and implemented) training advice from.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to learning what Travis Mash has to teach in the future.

Here's more on this topic written by others:

  1. Travis vs. Rippetoe, Revisited by Greg Nuckols
  2. Rebuttal to “The Truth About Experts” by Jordan Feigenbaum

And I'm sure there's tons of stuff posted on forums, but I haven't bothered to check because...well, forums.

Stuff You Should Read

  1. On Pumping Iron and Making Babies by Gina Melnik
  2. Lee Moran by Marty Gallagher
  3. Peaking – AKA how to hit PRs in meets by Greg Nuckols

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.

Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)


  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011