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16 Jun

Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls Texas…from the finest mind to modern fitness industry..the one true voice in the strength and conditioning profession..the most important podcast on the Internet… Ladies and gentlemen… Starting Strength radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you Mark Wulfe. Welcome to Starting Strength Radio. Ladies and gentlemen this is the first settlement of our..what is supposed to be a weekly podcast that we’re going to do and we are glad you’re with us today.

So I guess the first order of business is…what the hell are we doing podcasts for? And why is there not a skull on this wall? Do you have any explanation for that, Nick? You’re the producer of this goddamn thing. [Promise there’s skulls on the way – Nick] Got one on the way – skull’s on the way.

But I don’t know. I just want a skull behind me skulls are death. Right. And death’s not good. So death’s not bad ass, death is bad. I’ve had two or three friends die recently and so I’m kind of tired of that shit. So we’re not going to do any skulls now that I think about it.

But the podcast is for basically our entertainment and hopefully yours. We’ve been doing the Ask Rip thing for quite a while now and what we do on Ask Rip is completely different than what we’re going to do here. Ask Rip is where you send in your inane questions on Facebook and Twitter and where else do we take those? Have we got a Slack channel or something? No? What? YouTube? No we don’t do YouTube.

Twitter Facebook Instagram. YouTube…that would be like in YouTube comments. YouTube comments are, I’m convinced, are all written by people in prison. Because it’s obviously…if you are commenting on YouTube videos you are in the bottom three percent of society. And you, you know, I mean your friends already have questions about your intelligence. And you may not know that because you’re DUMB. But that’s what happens every time you put a comment on a YouTube thing.

We’ll have. We put our videos up on YouTube and somebody always…never fails. We put a video up on YouTube and some jackass comes in and says how am I supposed to beat off to this video? And I think they’re serious. I don’t think they’re trolling. I think they’re being totally dead-ass serious. Stop that, Rusty. That’s if that is in fact you.

So anyway the podcast is designed to be a weekly feature of our situation. And so you can expect more and we’re actually soliciting serious comment from you about this.

We would like for you to give us some ideas that you might have for topics and we’re going to discuss two or three different topics today at length. We’re not going to do Ask Rip questions where you write in nonsense but we’re going to talk about three or four different things today, two or three different things. However many we have time for and we’re going to discuss them at length, in detail. So it’ll be a completely different format from the Ask Rip things but we’d still like to have your feedback and if you’d like to see something discussed or featured or interviews suggestion or somebody we could talk to then please communicate with us through the aforementioned social media accounts and let us know what it is you’d like to see done. OK.

So first up today is Starting Strength news. We’ve recently have undertaken several different new expansion directions for the brand and everything is moving along quite well. And I wanted to give you a report on that today.

First off Starting Strength Gyms, the franchise gyms are in process right now. The first one is open Starting Strength Austin is open right now. It’s open for business. You can join Starting Strength Austin if you’re in Austin. You should investigate this.

It’s kind of north up toward 183 just off of Lamar. The gym is beautiful. It is equipped with Starting Strength equipment. Our trade dress is on the way. We are moving right along toward the absolute completion of the gym project. It is staffed by Starting Strength Coaches and Joyce Luke is the owner and they would welcome your participation. Get a hold of them through our Web site or drop by, look it up drop by. Really we’d rather you sign up online because that’s the way the thing’s designed work.

Starting Strength Gyms are going to be different in that there will be absolutely no sales that take place on the property. Sales will take place online. The gym is a place to train not not a place to sell you something. Not a place to try to talk you into buying something. Not a place to listen to you tell us that it’s too expensive or too cheap or you don’t like the color or something like that. We’re there to train. We’re there for the barbells and we’re there for the coaching. We’re there for the PRs. We’re there for you to get stronger. And that’s all we’re going to do in the gym.

When you walk into a Starting Strength Gym you’ll sign in. All of the business is dealt with on the Internet and we are going to keep track of your workouts. That’s another one of the interesting things about Starting Strength Gyms is that we track all of our participant’s information in terms of their workouts so that here in about two years we’re going to have an enormous, very useful data set that will show you precisely how the Starting Strength model starting where we are today and then adding five pounds a workout takes you in a in a relatively short period of time. In two years we will have accumulated quite a large dataset that’s going to be very useful to us in terms of showing you why you need to join our program here and it’ll be useful to you in helping you make a decision about the best way to spend your time and money in a gym. You’re getting stronger — if you understand that getting stronger is the best thing you can do with your time in the gym, then you’ll soon understand that ours is the best method to do that. And we will have…we already have the data and you already know that what we do works. But this will be a hard data set and it will allow us to market our successful product in a way that’s never been done before.

So Starting Strength Austin is open right now. And Dallas, the Dallas location which is on Greenville Avenue just south of Caruth Haven should be open on July 1st. Brent Carter, our staff coach Brent Carter, is in charge of that program and he’s already got 15 or 20 memberships sold and they’ve done absolutely no formal marketing with it at all. That thing is going to explode here pretty soon. In fact within a three mile radius — now you guys tell me if I’ve got this data right — three mile radius of that location we’ve plotted it out to do this…there are seventy thousand web site users within three miles of that location. It’s going to sell fast. And if you want to get in on this thing you need to go ahead and sign up because people sign up online and they sign up for a workout slot, a time workout slot. And the popular ones — the six o’clock right after work — are going to go quickly. There’s a finite number of opportunities available for you to train at six o’clock in the Starting Strength Gym and the ones that get there first are the ones that are going to get that slot.

And Houston I’m told today that a lease has been signed on that is that that is what he said. We’ve signed the lease to the lease has been signed and so we are in process in Houston. It’s inside the inner beltway. It’s going to be a popular location. Houston’s another big market for starting strength and the starting 3 Houston location is going to be staffed by Josh and Shelley Wells. You all know them from the boards they’re from Wichita Falls and they are exceptionally talented coaches of both the starting strength method and Olympic weightlifting and Jason Lindley our owned vanilla gorilla. The blonde ape. The the human vice the the Jag ghetto mongoose. Strength master. Jason Lindley he’s going to be on staff down in Houston as well it ought to be quite an entertaining place to train and that thing is going to explode what’s the what’s the sales link goes hot on that too so keep all that in mind.

Boston is in the Fall. Denver is in process and we’re looking at other locations across the country right now and we’ll announce those as as they become firm and we’ll talk to you guys about it on this podcast. In the meantime you can go to startingstrengthgyms.com for any questions or news. If you want to request a gym site in your area, you can do it there. If you’re interested yourself in being a franchise owner, you can inquire about information on that as well, at startingstrengthgyms.com.

Now an interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago. This is our Japanese translation of the book. It was it was out a couple of weeks ago and I’m sure our friends in Japan will correct me if I’m wrong, but the the initial print run was a thousand copies. It sold out in three days. This was completely unexpected by everybody. Apparently there’s a larger demand overseas than we had earlier anticipated. And this this is really good news. They’re getting another print run together right now that should be available possibly by the time this podcast airs on Friday. You guys that are in the other markets overseas where we have translations need to be aware of the fact that the brand is growing over there too.

Right now we have a Korean translation of both Starting Strength and Practical Programming. We have complex Chinese which is the version in Taiwan and the former colonies that is that is still the language of use in those locations. We have simplified Chinese in both Starting Strength and Practical Programming.

We’ve got a Polish translation. German translation was the second translation. Sales in Germany are quite good for both Starting Strength and Practical Programming and we’ve got one of our own people working on a Spanish translation of the blue book right now. And I don’t know when that’s scheduled. You talk to Hari about that when’s he?…no idea…you think he’s actually doing it? We have to text him and ask him and we’ll just report. Hari, are you really doing this or not? He told us he was. A Mexican representative, our man in Mexico, Hari Fafutis. He’s actually Greek, by the way. Although he doesn’t, I don’t think he speaks Greek, does he? He doesn’t. Well it’s a parenting problem. Huh.

Ok. Oh his dad doesn’t speak Greek either. He’s forgotten all his Greek. Oh god. OK.

Well anyway, Spanish is being dealt with right now. In fact you’ve read his Spanish translations on the website of some of our articles. We’ve got in fact — we had an article up on Monday, a Spanish translation, of one of our important articles. It was up just four days ago, right?.

Video?!? It was a video in Spanish. I’m so confused. I just can’t keep all this shit straight. So ah…something Spanish happened on Monday, right? Might have been tacos for all I know, you know.

All right. So anyway that’s all that’s all being taken care of and we’re happy about the Japanese situation.

Audio books. Now we’ve already got out Strong Enough which was our first audio book. And that thing, it didn’t take but like a month for that to exceed paper book sales on that particular text. All right. And audio books for Strong Enough’ve continued to smack right along real nicely. I just got through recording both Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, third edition and Practical Programming for Strength Training, third edition for audio books. I just finished that last week. Both of those will be available very soon. I’m the one reading it so you enjoy my wonderful Texas accent where everyone in the world thinks I pronounce the word F-I-V-E as “Fahve.” Because they all spell it F-A-H-V-E isn’t that the way it’s popularly construed on the Internet as I always say “Fahve.” Well I don’t say “FAHVE” in the reading of the book. So if you’re buying it for that don’t. I pronounce it correctly. I say five.

But I also pronounce the word W-H-A-T correctly which is correctly pronounced “what” not “wut.” You know that’s one of the reasons I don’t go to Brooklyn anymore. You know as I always got some shit up there about. “Why do you put an H before the W in when you pronounce the word W-H-A-T? And my answer to that is because that’s the fucking way the word’s pronounced. It’s what it’s not “wut” or “wat”. It’s what.

Hwa — slight breath before the w sound. What. All right. That’s the way I was taught. I’ve never, you know, had an authoritative correction. I just, guys in Brooklyn don’t like the way it’s pronounced. That’s not authoritative, so I’m gonna say it: What.

So I say that correctly in the book and you know you don’t like that, don’t buy the book. All right. But that ought to be out. Got any word on when he’s going to have the blue book ready? Trent, our friend in Fort Worth is doing, is preparing that for us and it should be available in a couple weeks from today. So look online. I’ll announce it on the Q and A, it’ll be announced on the Web site. We’ll probably have some kind of a…Let’s do an excerpt. Audio excerpt for that for one of the days for one of the posts during the week. Those of you that are familiar with our Web site know that we put up new content at noon every day and, ah, sometimes we’re late on Sunday’s. But, you know stef has to have a day off every once in a while. So things go up late on Sunday, but other than that our goal is noon every day, new content on startingstrength.com. And we’ll feature a verbal excerpt, an audio excerpt from one of the books on the announcement date that thing is ready so you can see how we did it and have a little free sample of the thing and those things…what’s the price of those gonna be do you think, 9.95?

I don’t know what they cost. I have no idea what they want but an audio book. 38.95? 15? 15-30 bucks. It’s based on length. So it won’t be 9.95. Cut that out. Edit that out, the nine ninety five part. It won’t be ninety five. I’m told it will not be not ninety five because that’d be dumb. Right. Strong Enough’s 15 so the blue book will be 20, 25, something like that. Are they typically about the same price as the print version. Is that typically… They’re more? The audio book is more than the print version? Right.

Is that right. Shocked face.

And you know why I don’t know that? Because I don’t listen audio books. I don’t have any audio books.

You think it’ll be out on DVD? Well you gave me that one on DVD about the nuclear program. Well you gave me that one on DVD about the nuclear program.

Nick Delgadillo:
Oh yeah.

Mark Rippetoe: That was cool. And I can listen to that the car. Just put it in the DVD player in the car. Car still have DVD players right. CD, I mean yeah CD. Did I say DVD? All right, edit that out. Supposed to be CD. I meant CD. All right. They look the same though, you know. You see exactly what the…See my problem. They look the same. Mexican on Mondays. You know.

So anyway audio books coming out soon.

Uh oh. I want to want to plug the weightlifting boot. All right. For our friend James McCue up in Spokane. First let me show you something.

See these little jewels? Those are my new White’s boots. I’ve got three pair now of White’s boots. I’ve been wearing White’s boots for about 10 years now. It’s all I wear. Because I’m wealthy. And I can afford the best. And I wear White’s boots. I’ve got three pair of White’s boots. These are my new ones. White’s boots. Those of you that are in the know understand White’s boots are a very, very high quality basically handmade boot. They are a lifetime purchase for the vast majority people of people, hell, smoke jumpers wear them for 10 years before they replace them. I mean, if you’ve been, if you guys have been paying two hundred twenty five dollars once every two years for a pair of Red Wings you’re fools, man. You’re wasting money.

You know a pair of White’s boots’ll last you 15-20 years and you’ve saved money by spending and a little more upfront as is so often the case. Right. White’s boots is making the Starting Strength weightlifting boot. It will be a low quarter, weight lifting shoe with a leather stacked heel. The net height of the heel will be five eighths. As per my design, the correctly positioned metatarsal strap es velcro. This is an all leather, sewn down vamp, weightlifting boot. I call it a boot because boot is the old term that was used 50 years ago for the footwear you used when you lifted weights. And in contrast to the old style weightlifting boot this has a flat sole. It does not have a raised heel with a gap between the thing because we now understand that one of the functions of a weightlifting boot is support of the arch. So the arch will be supported both internally because it’s made by White’s and by externally by the metatarsal strap.

These will be very very high quality high quality shoes and they probably are not going to be your first weightlifting shoe because you’re not going to want to spend this much for it, but they will definitely be the last pair you ever buy because you will not wear these out.

They will never wear out they can be resold and rebuilt as everything White’s boots makes can be. This would be a very high quality product. I don’t know what the final price will be yet, but it’s going to be somewhere between three ninety nine and probably four or forty nine somewhere in there. And don’t hold me to that. That may not be correct either, but they’re going to be about twice the money that you would spend on a on a cheap pair of Adidas or Nike’s or any of these other brands that are designed to be worn for two years and replaced. This is probably of all of our products that we have designed and and licensed over the past couple of years, this is the one I’m most excited about because my shoes are wearing out I desperately need a new pair. So I’m looking forward to these and once again watch on the website, we’ll announce when they get here. And we will keep you apprised of the price as we get it and availability. This thing’s going to be cool. Trust me.

Also need to tell you about the Starting Strength Coach prep course. Starting Strength Coach prep course is accessible on the web site under the careers tab. Now this is a course designed for people who want to be Starting Strength Coaches, professional Starting Strength Coaches. It’s designed to get you through the process in a structured way. It’s also designed for people who have access to in-person clients to coach. This is not a video-based course and if you do not have clients that you’re training in-person this course is not designed for you. This thing is a quite intensive five month process. There’s been video content that’s just designed specifically for this course that you will receive as part of your instruction. There are writing assignments, coaching assignments, and several other things that make this a very, very complete preparation for a person who is already in the coaching the strength coaching business to get through the Starting Strength Seminar evaluation process more quickly and more thoroughly. So if you’re interested in this and this is something that you feel capable of doing, go to the careers tab on the web site, startingstrength.com, and get all the details on the Starting Strength Coach Prep Course.

Seminars. Coming up this weekend in fact, we’ll be in Westminster. In fact when you see this we’ll be in Westminster, Maryland doing a seminar at our friend Beau and Angie Bryant’s gym there in Westminster, Maryland. It’s in Frederick County and it’s out west of Baltimore. Northwest of Baltimore. And. We always like going there. Beau and Angie are good people. They’ve developed a tremendous little gym there teaching Starting Strength method to lots and lots of people. They’re probably one of the best in the country in terms of outreach to their community. In terms of involving the people in their area in the Starting Strength method. And we go out there once a year and it’s a great place and if you are seeing this it’s probably too late for you to get in a car and drive over, but nonetheless I feel compelled to tell you. That’s where we have been this weekend. While you’re in fact watching this podcast.

But you have an opportunity on May the 17th, 18th, and 19th to join us in Denver at CutThroat CrossFit in Lafayette for our Starting Strength Seminar in Denver. This is probably closer to the Midwest than we’ll be anytime soon. You might want to take advantage of that opportunity.

On June 7th, 8th, and 9th we’re back in Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Athletic Club for our four times a year seminar there and we go back out to the east coast on July 26, 27, 28. We’ll be at Inna Koppel’s Woodmere Fitness Club on Long Island. And that’s far enough in advance to where you can make your plans for that right now.

So those are our upcoming books, upcoming seminar dates. And for those of you that have never been to a seminar it’s a 25 contact hour exposure to the guts of the Starting Strength program.

You do better at the seminar if you’ve already read the books and you’ll get a lot more out of it than if you just wander in and have this is your first exposure to the method. But there’s nothing else like it in the fitness industry. It is the place where we evaluate people who would like to be Starting Strength Coaches for their competence on the platform. Everybody does the lifts. Everybody coaches the lifts. Even those of you that are not interested in being coaches are going to coach lifts because you get more out of the process of learning the stuff if you have to teach the stuff at the same time. And those of you who are teachers know exactly what I’m talking about. So we’ve always done it that way and it works very well. And if you’d like to brush up on the lifts or just for your own training or if you are interested in becoming a Starting Strength Coach these are the places that go do that. So keep all that in mind.

OK. Now we’re going to kind of dive into the into the discussion we had planned for today. We’re going to talk about transgender people in sports. Yeah we’re going to talk about it. I know this is astonishing to a lot of people, but this this must be discussed and we’re going to discuss it in a in a little bit different way than it’s been discussed in the in the mainstream media recently.

First let’s define our terms so that we can get all of this, all of this correct. Transgender people are people who identify as a gender different from that gender normally associated with their physical sex at birth.

Is that a reasonable definition you think. I don’t think that is controversial in terms of the definition. The interesting definitions begin with what is a trans woman. A trans woman is a male to female gender reassignment. And a trans man is a female to male gender reassignment and this is an interesting way of manipulating the language here.

Gender reassignment surgery means gender reassignment surgery. Now a gender reassignment could be something that a person has done to themselves psychologically. And let me I’m going to operate from from the standpoint here of the of the following definitions. Gender is a psychological construct and physical sex is the biology. Now you may disagree with that and that’s fine. But those are the those are the way I’m going to be using terms today. Gender is the psychology. How you identify is psychological.

The interesting thing about this is the way the media has portrayed this controversy and it’s very it’s a very hot topic recently and we thought long and hard about even dealing with this because this is going to piss so many people off so bad. And some people have already stopped listening. I understand that and that’s probably for the best. But for those of you that are still with us we want to talk about this from a little bit different perspective.

Now, let me show you something. I’ve drawn a little graph here. How does that look in the shot…is that all right? I want you to notice that men and women lie along a continuum of physical performance. All right. There are roughly two bell curves. Now the bell curves represent the normal distribution of athletic performance in both men and women. Note that there is a peak in the middle of the bell curve. This is where average occurs, where the majority of the data lies and there at the kurtotic tails of the curve there are outliers – some people who do very badly and some people who are elite athletes. The elite athletes are on the…right hand side of the graph. I’m right left dyslexic. I’m real bad about that so I wanted to make sure of that. So the elite people are on the right and the wombats are on the left, all right, the physical idiots. We all know who we are. Those of us who are physical idiots are not afraid to admit that. And those of us who are physical geniuses, natural athletes, also know who we are.

The vast majority of us are in the middle or at the top of the bell – somewhere along the top of the bell and on the sides of the bell. And I want you to notice the overlap between the two. All right now this representation on this graph is the facts. These are the facts. OK. And furthermore you all know that these are the facts. All right.

Women in general do not perform at the level of men athletically in terms of speed, strength, or any other type of measurement. But in the middle there is some overlap. Some gifted females are better than some ungifted, untalented males. Thus the overlap. We are not pretending that this overlap does not exist. So if you’re going to construe that that’s the case that’s a straw man that I’m not interested in talking about. Because that’s not what we’re saying is is the actual case. OK. In fact there are a couple of instances in the literature where. Well let’s let’s don’t get into that until we till we get finished with some of the other facts here.

Here’s another fact. Testosterone appears in the fetus at eight weeks along. Ok I mentioned this right up front because I want to get out of the way one of the one of the straw man arguments that is that is the predominant argument in the media in this situation. What is what is said over and over and over and over and over again until it’s just nauseating and it’s repetitive ignorance of the situation is that current levels of testosterone in the body are responsible for current performance levels. This is a this is a factually incorrect statement. There are two effects that testosterone has on the human body. The first effect is that which occurs in utero. At eight weeks post conception testosterone begins to be secreted.

The testosterone secreted in utero has extremely, extremely profound effects on the resulting phenotype after birth. And I think you all know that there are differences, profound differences that result from the the concentrations of testosterone in the fetus. For example, a little boy when he’s born having been exposed to very high levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little boy tee tee. A little girl who’s been exposed to very very low levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little girl’s tee tee and we’re all aware of the fact that boys and girls tee tees are different.

This is how profound the effects of in utero testosterone are. And it is a gigantic serious mistake — although it’s a very popular mistake to make these days where we say that the differences in male and female performance are strictly a function of testosterone that is available right now, today, acute levels of testosterone in the body. Things are changed by in utero testosterone that are far more profound than just the tee tee. OK Dr. Debra Soh has done a lot of very good work dealing with this with this issue from the from the standpoint of psychology, brain development, neuroscience.

And what I’m going to tell you today is that the changes don’t stop there. There are neuromuscular efficiency changes that are the result of the in utero exposure to the fetus to testosterone. And these things are responsible for essentially all of the prepubescent differences between little boys and little girls.

Now if you have little boys and little girls and you’ve got you’ve got daughters and sons you as parents are aware of the physical differences between these kids when they’re three. When they’re two sometimes. They’re different little creatures and they have not gone into puberty and they do not have elevated levels of hormones, sexual hormones, in their bodies. Nonetheless the sex hormones that were present in utero have produced profound changes in these kids. Those of you ladies that grew up with a bunch of brothers know this already, don’t you. You know this to be true. Those of you parents with athletic little boys and athletic little girls know that there are differences between even athletic little boys and athletic little girls. But what’s also interesting is is those of you with just boys know that there are differences between the boys that are evident when they were kids when they’re little kids, prepubescent kids. One of them is more explosive than the other one of them’s quicker. One of them’s more agile. One of them plays harder. One of them hits harder than the other. All right.

These differences are attributable to the changes that are produced in utero by sex hormones and specifically by the presence of testosterone. There are of course outliers — it’s important to understand that we are not talking today about intersex people. Now people that didn’t make it this far into the discussion have already turned this off and have said that while Rippetoe’s talking about he’s ignoring that the presence of people in sports that are born between sexes and this does occur. It’s not very common but it does occur and there are chromosomal tests for this and in indisputable variations in the predominance of secondary sexual characteristics between some people. But we’re not talking about those people. We’re talking about people who are born male who decide to identify as female later on in their life.

If you are born male you are born with a more efficient neuromuscular situation. More efficient neuromuscular efficiency, more efficient neuromuscular recruitment, more efficient use of your muscles, than you are if you’re born female. This is not my fault. This is just an observation of the fact it’s borne out by all of the phenomenology. Ok.

First off we’d like to discuss standing vertical jump test numbers. Now the standing vertical jump is an interesting test that is pretty much a direct measurement of the genetic endowment for neuromuscular efficiency. What the standing vertical jump measures is the difference in the height of the upraised hand — one upraised hand when standing flat footed on the ground — and the height that that upraised hand is carried to at the top of a flat footed jump with no step. The standing vertical jump is performed by reaching down to the bottom of the range of motion that is represents the most efficient stretch reflex for the hips and legs, and leaving the ground, and measuring the distance between the top of the hand at the, at the difference between the top and the hand from the standing position to the position in which the jump carried you up in the air. In other words it is a direct measurement of your ability to accelerate your body’s mass off the ground — your body’s mass off the ground — which occurred on the concentric portion, during the concentric portion of the upward part of the jump. A counter movement jump lasts a half second and the last half of that movement pattern is the concentric part that extends the knees and the hips. And the force expanded during that concentric movement upward is the is the part of the of the movement that takes place in about a quarter of the second during which all of the force production machinery that you can recruit into contraction is recruited into contraction and the distance it carries your body mass up in the air is a direct measurement of the efficiency with which you were able to contract your muscles in a very short period of time.

This is a direct measurement of explosion and this is why the NFL includes the standing vertical jump test and its combine battery of tests. They want to know who they’re hiring. They want to know that the genetic endowment for rapid, efficient, neuromuscular recruitment of motor units into contraction that they’re hiring. They don’t hire people with a 22 inch standing vertical jump, they hire people with a 36 inch standing vertical jump. Now there are exceptions to this in terms of field position but the vast majority of professional football players have got very good vertical jumps which means they’re over 32. The average standing vertical jump for a male — and by average I mean young men in college who were tested for this sort of thing, not old guys like me but young men in college — is twenty two inches. That’s the average. In contrast the average female standing vertical jump is 14 inches.

Now, we use the standing vertical jump test because the standing vertical jump test is not really trainable. It’s very simple, there’s not any technique to learn, you just reach down and jump up. It can’t be gamed. It can’t be improved much without quite a bit of strength training, but the most important thing about this is is that even the best strength training program in the world will only improve a standing vertical jump test 20-25 percent at most and it’s far more common to see improvements of 10 to 15 percent. In other words this thing is not trainable. This thing called neuromuscular efficiency is not trainable to any significant degree. To the extent it is trainable it is improved by the increase in force production that is provided by an effective strength program. But the difference between the average men’s 22 inch standing vertical jump and the average women’s 14 inch standing vertical jump is an extremely important piece of data.

Now, if you look at the records the outstanding records for this thing the men’s record for standing vertical jump was set in a combine, in an NFL combine back I believe in 2015. Meanwhile since we looked this up I think it was back in 2015 guy jumped a forty- six inch vertical on a Vertek. I mean a real, actual, no shit forty-six-inch standing vertical jump which is insane but he did it. The only women’s record that I’ve been able to locate was a twenty-nine and a half performed by a female thrower, I believe, or a sprinter. I can’t remember her actual sport, but it was at OSU and that’s been about 15 years ago. Twenty nine and a half.

Now let’s look at these numbers. Twenty nine and a half, the women’s record, exceeds the men’s average by quite a bit doesn’t it, by seven and a half inches. OK. But if you look at her twenty-nine and a half and you compare that to his 46 what you see is roughly the same percentage between average and record in both sexes. This is explained almost entirely by the in utero changes that are produced by testosterone before birth. In other words if we give a female anabolic steroids and testosterone it doesn’t appreciably affect her standing vertical jump at all, all right. Now keep that in mind as we go through the nonsense that we’re hearing in the media these days about this sort of thing. Ok.

And furthermore if right before I leave this topic I’d like to I’d like to point out the fact that there are differences in the way men and women can recruit motor units, based on this data that I that I presented to you, indicates that there are profound differences in the way that women respond to physical stress and the way women adapt to physical stress. Now this is something I know something about. I’ve trained women for decades. And if you don’t understand as a trainer that women and men respond differently to weight training stimuli, then you’re not an effective coach. I am an effective coach and I know this and we handle them differently because we have to. Politics aside, we have to. OK.

Now let me. I’ve prepared some little copier things here for you today. And I want to start with an article here that we pulled off NPR. It ran in December about. Patricio Manuel who is the first openly transgender man — which means a female to male transgendered person — to box professionally in the US. Patricio won the bout with the male opponent in the men’s division. And this is notable because this is the only instance I have been able to find of a transgender male — transgender, a trans man, a female to male gender transition — competing in the men’s division. This is a super welterweight boxer and Patricio did in fact win this match. And it is it’s interesting to me that that’s the only one of these I could find.

Far more common, far more common, infinitely more common, are some of the following data points. The U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team back in 2014 was preparing for the Sochi Olympics by competing with boys. With boys teams. This is an article from January 12th, 2014 and one of the one of the girls on the team said “It’s very physical the guys are very fast. It’s a good way to see what we’re going to play in Sochi. This is a teenage boys team they’re practicing. This is important. They know something, don’t they. They know something.

Let’s go back in history to tennis to some tennis matches and I think most of you will remember some of these things. This is an article about four tennis matches. From marca.com. First which was the first match between Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court when 55 year old Bobby Riggs overcame Margaret Court, a much younger athlete in straight sets in 1973. This made the news back then it was a big deal.

This was a great big deal back in nineteen and nineteen hundred and seventy…when the hell was the date on this…Riggs versus King well they omit the date. I don’t remember the actual date. It’s also in the 70s because because Bobby Riggs was still full of himself. Now Billie Jean beat him in that in that match. Billie Jean Beat him in the match. Bobby Riggs was not a pro. He was a loud mouth and a funny guy, but he got his ass handed to him by Billie Jean King. OK.

More recently than that, back in 1993, Jimmy Connors played Martina Navratilova in a similar exhibition match. OK this is a…this was interesting. This was interesting because the game was played under to quote from the article “hybrid rules” as Connors was permitted only one serve for each point and his opponent Martina was allowed to play the ball into half of the doubles court. So they changed the rules a little bit because…I wonder why they did that? Because they knew what was going to happen. And in fact what happened was Connors beat her 7-5 in the first set and then 6-2 in the second set to win the match. Both of them got a million bucks. Cool.

I always liked Martina. Martina’s hot. And I just was I was always a big fan of her. And this was a good, this was a good match. And Martina great tennis player. And she’s she is …was just a groundbreaker in several aspects of her career and in social issues after she got through.

Even more recently. In 1998, Serena Williams played a German tennis player Karsten Braasch. He was ranked two hundred and third in the world. And I don’t know what possessed her to do this but she claimed apparently, she made a claim that, Serena and Venus claimed that no man no male player outside the top 200 could beat them. The 200 third ranked player in the world beat her 6-1, Serena, and then 6-2, Venus. Immediately. After. One guy played two people, same day beat, them both and this is significant.

It’s significant because she made this very interesting statement Serena said, “I didn’t know it would be that difficult. I played shots that would have been winners on the women’s circuit and he got to them very easily.”.

Now, those of you could have been paying attention to this or understand that there have been several instances of Women’s World Cup soccer teams playing high school boys and getting beat. Here’s one in Sweden. The Women’s National Swedish team played a boys team — and these are under 17 year old boys. Within 30 minutes the boys had plucked one goal from the women reading from the article now: Despite Sundhage asking (the coach) asking the boys team to take out one of its defenders and play with only 10 players on the field which they did. They took one of the players, one of the defensemen ,off of the field. They still got beat.

One of the one of the girls said “I wasn’t told about that until after the game.” She didn’t count the boys on the field during the game. They they got beat 3-0. The boys beat him 3-0. This is the women’s National Team.

The U.S. women’s team in the United States here, played in 2015 — winners of the, they were the World Cup Champions in 2015, winners of multiple gold medals — played the MLS Academy squad in Dallas, an under-15 team. And were beaten by three goals.

And the famous case in Australia just recently. The Australian women’s national team, the Matildas, lost 7-0 to an under-15 boys squad in Australia.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: Regardless of whether they won or lost though. The national team went and played with high school kids. Why? Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Yes.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: It doesn’t matter if they won or they lost.

Mark Rippetoe:
Mark Rippetoe: It really doesn’t. What matters is that they decided to do this. It matters that they decided to play a boys team under-15. The women’s National Team decided that that was a reasonable thing to go do.

They know, don’t they. They know. All right.

But. You know look I don’t want this thing to come off as me yelling and screaming at transgender people or women or men or anybody else. What I am irritated about to the point of distraction is the fact that the media and politicians, these catfish bottom feeders, are taking this situation and twisting it for political purposes. That’s what pisses me off, all right. Because once again ladies and gentlemen, you know as well as I do that men and women have different physical capacities. You know as well as I do that that is the case and this stuff right here that I am about to show you is a lie agreed upon. Those of you that are Deadwood fans recognize that as the title of the third, the fourth episode series. It applies here — a lie agreed upon.

Listen to this. Here’s a piece from The Washington Post. All right. This ran on August the 8th 2016. The IOC has decided that testosterone levels at the time of competition are the only critical factor here in Rio. Quoting now: “transgender men, female to male athletes, will be allowed to compete without any restrictions (based on the sexist assumption, I suppose that trans men could never dominate their sports). Trans women, meanwhile, [this is male to female] are no longer required to undergo gender reassignment surgery to compete in female divisions and the previously mandated to your weight after transitioning has been jettisoned.” And it’s irrelevant, for reasons we’ve already discussed. “To compete a trans woman is required only to declare her gender as female and have testosterone levels comparable to or below those of cis gendered women (cis gender refers folks whose biological sex matches their gender identity which is the opposite of transgender).” This is the IOC and people in the media will point to the..how should we say it the…”moral authority” of the International Olympic Committee to make a ruling like this.

You’ve heard of organizations being wrong before haven’t you. That happens. I think you could find a couple of instances of that taking place without having to think too terribly hard about it, now can’t you. If you don’t think the IOC is subject to politics, you’re very young. Ok.

Here is an, here’s an interesting piece from The Nation titled “Transphobia’s new target is the world of sports” by one Dave Zirin: “There’s another argument against allowing trans athletes to compete with cis gender athletes that suggests that their presence hurts cis women and cis girls,” Now by hurt do you mean injured like what happened to the girl that fought Fallon Fox in the UFC. That kind of hurt? “But this line of thought doesn’t acknowledge that trans women are in fact women.” That is that italicized in the piece “they are in fact women.”

Once again I’m not concerned with gender. I’m concerned with physical sex. Gender is none of my business, absolutely none of my business, pronouns are none of my business. Physical sex directly affects the way we train and perform as women or men. And that’s all there is to it. And all the saying it’s not true doesn’t make it true. It is a lie agreed upon. Don’t agree with it anymore. OK. Please.

“The fundamental argument of the Daily Caller and its ilk it raises this reality with the ugliest in the ugliest possible fashion sport is one of the worst domains for institutionalized discrimination against trans people. Current conversations around fairness in Sport Center on women’s sports only and are often steeped in paternalistic language around protecting female athletes.” This is an interesting sentence.

Let’s look at sports in general and we’re going to talk more about this in a minute. There are men’s and women’s divisions in every sport that is played in the world. There are men’s and women’s billiards, men’s and women’s golf, tennis. Everything in the Olympics is men’s and women’s. This is the phenomenology.

Do you seriously believe that hundreds of years of observation the hundreds of years of observation that have led there to be women’s and men’s divisions are somehow wrong now because politically we’re concerned about this? “These conversations are damaging because the underlying assumptions are inherently sexist that female athletes are always inferior to men’s athlete to male athletes so we must police women’s sports in order to protect women.” Well, they are women’s sports, right.

“Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology and especially hormones as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case.” And I’m going to read this again because it’s such preposterous nonsense. I don’t understand how the typewriter actually worked here, to actually type this bizarre, stupid statement.

“Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology.” You know the kind that results in short people and tall people and big people and small people and weak people and strong people. An overemphasis on that kind of biology and especially hormones the kind that result in a little boy tee tees and little girl tee tees in utero “as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case.” And when we say which we know is not the case you’re supposed to agree with that lie, aren’t you?

Don’t do it. Don’t agree with a lie. You know it’s a lie. See the he thing that runs through all of these things I’ve got here on the desk. All the, all these things I’ve got here on the desk I don’t really even need to read them to you is the complete ignorance, willful ignorance, of the fact that testosterone starts changing a human from eight weeks post conception all through their life. And in fact, that although testosterone is an extremely powerful hormone its greatest effects are exerted in utero. Not in adults. All of the physical sexual differences that manifest themselves in an adult have the stage set for them in utero before the individual is born. And all these people are doing are talking about current measurable testosterone levels. That is a lie.

It’s interesting to me that Renee Richards who was the first transgender athlete to really be in the news has said, reading from this article: “decades later Richards would grow ambivalent about her place in women’s sports wondering herself whether she did enjoy an advantage over cis-gender women. In 2012 she told Slate, ‘There is one thing that a transsexual woman unfortunately cannot be expect to be allowed to do and that is to play professional sports in her chosen field. She can get married, live as a woman, do all of these other things and no one should ever be allowed to take them away from her. But this limitation that’s just life. I know because I lived it.’ And it also says those who followed in her footsteps are living a different truth (an interesting choice of terms) and drawing different conclusion.

I’ve got I’ve got several other things here that I’ve. And this is easy to find online. You can go in and research it if you want to. But we’re we’re beating this to death. And and what I really want to what I really want to say is is about this. OK. The upshot of this thing is that you have heard about this more in the past couple of years because now it is politically convenient. Politicians are interested in this. And anytime that happens, things turn to shit quickly.

And this was in the news last week, headline: “234 House Democrats and two Republicans co-sponsor a bill forcing schools to let male athletes compete on girls sports teams. Every House Democrat but one who sponsored a bill co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams. And one Sarah Warbelow director of the left wing Human Rights Campaign says she praised the bill’s impact on high school sports and written testimony submitted to a House subcommittee on Tuesday. Warbelow wrote, “Opponents of equality and athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have an unfair physiological advantage over cis-gendered girls and as a result will dominate women’s competitive sports.” Warbelow wrote: Calling it not rooted in fact, not rooted in fact that biologically male athletes will outperform their female counterparts not rooted in fact.”.

A lie. Being agreed upon by two hundred and four thirty four people in the House of Representatives in the United States.

We have one Jerry Nadler: says arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out, Nadler said in his opening statement. Apparently ignorant of the fact that every organized sport in the world has men’s and women’s divisions for some bizarre reason, right Jerry? This is frankly rather nauseating.

And another one of the other things they’re saying about why this is all bullshit is because it’s not going to be true that men are going to declare themselves transgender to run over to the women’s division and compete and win and win a bunch of money and you know hundreds of billions of dollars in prize money and stuff and then run back to being a male later on. They’re all worried about that. We’re not worried about it. They’re worried about that happening. They’re saying it’s not going to happen. I couldn’t agree more. Of course it’s not going to happen.

That’s not the point. That’s not the point. Here’s the point. Your daughters and your wives and your sisters and your cousins and your female relatives who may decide they’d like to compete in a sport run the risk with this kind of an attitude about this of having scholarships and championships taken away from them by this politics.

You don’t like that and I don’t like it. And nobody likes it except the two hundred and thirty four — except this man right here. And he didn’t like it either he’s just playing along. He’s lying. He’s agreeing with the lie and it’s…this has to stop at some point or we are going to have problems with the whole idea of sports and what winning means and what competition means. And what is going to eventually happen anytime we set up a competitive venue and we decide that some people can’t compete with other people because it’s unfair.

Now probably the the most stark examples of this are sports and where in which explosive power is extremely important. Olympic weightlifting, for example, is extremely important upon neuromuscular…dependent upon neuromuscular efficiency. Men are more neuromuscularly efficient than women. If women are going to be forced to compete with congenital men, they’re going to lose. This has been demonstrated several times already. Maybe not every time, but the vast majority of the time, and exceptions don’t make this wrong, don’t make this analysis wrong.

If there is a solution to this it is the one that that we’ve come up with for the United States Strengthlifting federation. The USSF is the Federation that we’ve come up with to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift. It is not powerlifting. There are numerous extremely different sets of rules in place between strengthlifting and powerlifting. We are not powerlifters, but we’ve come up with a contest that allows people to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift and the most interesting aspect of these rules is found on page 1 of the general rules of strengthlifting. This is available at usstrengthlifting.com. .org. I’m sorry US Strengthlifting dot com is dot com.

Rule number six. divisions. Open, not men’s but open. There is an open division which consists of congenital males, transgender, non-binary, and intersex lifters. That’s the Open division. B) the Women’s division, congenital females. C) the Masters division, lifters who turned 40 years old or older during calendar year in which the event is held and the Juniors, lifters who turn between the ages of 14 and 20 during the calendar year in which the event is held. Lifters under the age of 14 may guest lift in a USSF- sanctioned event where their parent or guardian blah blah.

What’s critical here is Open and Women’s. Open is congenital males and transgender individuals and non binary individuals and intersex lifters and Women is restricted to congenital females. So in other words there’s an Open division and a restricted division.

You may enter any division that you are eligible to enter. Everyone has a competitive opportunity in the USSF. Everyone can compete in the Open division. Women can compete in the Open division. Anybody that wants to can compete in the Open division. But only congenital females can can compete in the Women’s division. This keeps things fair. This allows a competitive outlet for everyone who wants to enter a strengthlifting meet.

Strength meats are going to be very very big in the future. They’re coming up in popularity and. People appreciate the fact that you don’t ever get killed on the bench press in a strike lifting me. So as this grows in popularity more people are going to be exposed to the idea that divisions need to accommodate all of these all these circumstances that we’ve talked about so far. And I think strength lifting is ahead of the curve on this.

Give it a look if you want women to have competitive opportunities in sports. This situation is going to have to be resolved and it’s going to need to be resolved soon before a whole bunch of people get discouraged. And I would suggest that the responsibility for solving this problem lies on squarely in the lap of the people that are going to be most adversely affected

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you Mark Wulfe. Welcome to Starting Strength Radio. Ladies and gentlemen this is the first settlement of our..what is supposed to be a weekly podcast that we’re going to do and we are glad you’re with us today.

So I guess the first order of business is…what the hell are we doing podcasts for? And why is there not a skull on this wall? Do you have any explanation for that, Nick? You’re the producer of this goddamn thing. [Promise there’s skulls on the way – Nick] Got one on the way – skull’s on the way.

But I don’t know. I just want a skull behind me skulls are death. Right. And death’s not good. So death’s not bad ass, death is bad. I’ve had two or three friends die recently and so I’m kind of tired of that shit. So we’re not going to do any skulls now that I think about it.

But the podcast is for basically our entertainment and hopefully yours. We’ve been doing the Ask Rip thing for quite a while now and what we do on Ask Rip is completely different than what we’re going to do here. Ask Rip is where you send in your inane questions on Facebook and Twitter and where else do we take those? Have we got a Slack channel or something? No? What? YouTube? No we don’t do YouTube.

Twitter Facebook Instagram. YouTube…that would be like in YouTube comments. YouTube comments are, I’m convinced, are all written by people in prison. Because it’s obviously…if you are commenting on YouTube videos you are in the bottom three percent of society. And you, you know, I mean your friends already have questions about your intelligence. And you may not know that because you’re DUMB. But that’s what happens every time you put a comment on a YouTube thing.

We’ll have. We put our videos up on YouTube and somebody always…never fails. We put a video up on YouTube and some jackass comes in and says how am I supposed to beat off to this video? And I think they’re serious. I don’t think they’re trolling. I think they’re being totally dead-ass serious. Stop that, Rusty. That’s if that is in fact you.

So anyway the podcast is designed to be a weekly feature of our situation. And so you can expect more and we’re actually soliciting serious comment from you about this.

We would like for you to give us some ideas that you might have for topics and we’re going to discuss two or three different topics today at length. We’re not going to do Ask Rip questions where you write in nonsense but we’re going to talk about three or four different things today, two or three different things. However many we have time for and we’re going to discuss them at length, in detail. So it’ll be a completely different format from the Ask Rip things but we’d still like to have your feedback and if you’d like to see something discussed or featured or interviews suggestion or somebody we could talk to then please communicate with us through the aforementioned social media accounts and let us know what it is you’d like to see done. OK.

NOTE: Starting Strength News was truncated from the live transcript due to size constraints.

OK. Now we’re going to kind of dive into the into the discussion we had planned for today. We’re going to talk about transgender people in sports. Yeah we’re going to talk about it. I know this is astonishing to a lot of people, but this this must be discussed and we’re going to discuss it in a in a little bit different way than it’s been discussed in the in the mainstream media recently.

First let’s define our terms so that we can get all of this, all of this correct. Transgender people are people who identify as a gender different from that gender normally associated with their physical sex at birth.

Is that a reasonable definition you think. I don’t think that is controversial in terms of the definition. The interesting definitions begin with what is a trans woman. A trans woman is a male to female gender reassignment. And a trans man is a female to male gender reassignment and this is an interesting way of manipulating the language here.

Gender reassignment surgery means gender reassignment surgery. Now a gender reassignment could be something that a person has done to themselves psychologically. And let me I’m going to operate from from the standpoint here of the of the following definitions. Gender is a psychological construct and physical sex is the biology. Now you may disagree with that and that’s fine. But those are the those are the way I’m going to be using terms today. Gender is the psychology. How you identify is psychological.

The interesting thing about this is the way the media has portrayed this controversy and it’s very it’s a very hot topic recently and we thought long and hard about even dealing with this because this is going to piss so many people off so bad. And some people have already stopped listening. I understand that and that’s probably for the best. But for those of you that are still with us we want to talk about this from a little bit different perspective.

Now, let me show you something. I’ve drawn a little graph here. How does that look in the shot…is that all right? I want you to notice that men and women lie along a continuum of physical performance. All right. There are roughly two bell curves. Now the bell curves represent the normal distribution of athletic performance in both men and women. Note that there is a peak in the middle of the bell curve. This is where average occurs, where the majority of the data lies and there at the kurtotic tails of the curve there are outliers – some people who do very badly and some people who are elite athletes. The elite athletes are on the…right hand side of the graph. I’m right left dyslexic. I’m real bad about that so I wanted to make sure of that. So the elite people are on the right and the wombats are on the left, all right, the physical idiots. We all know who we are. Those of us who are physical idiots are not afraid to admit that. And those of us who are physical geniuses, natural athletes, also know who we are.

The vast majority of us are in the middle or at the top of the bell – somewhere along the top of the bell and on the sides of the bell. And I want you to notice the overlap between the two. All right now this representation on this graph is the facts. These are the facts. OK. And furthermore you all know that these are the facts. All right.

Women in general do not perform at the level of men athletically in terms of speed, strength, or any other type of measurement. But in the middle there is some overlap. Some gifted females are better than some ungifted, untalented males. Thus the overlap. We are not pretending that this overlap does not exist. So if you’re going to construe that that’s the case that’s a straw man that I’m not interested in talking about. Because that’s not what we’re saying is is the actual case. OK. In fact there are a couple of instances in the literature where. Well let’s let’s don’t get into that until we till we get finished with some of the other facts here.

Here’s another fact. Testosterone appears in the fetus at eight weeks along. Ok I mentioned this right up front because I want to get out of the way one of the one of the straw man arguments that is that is the predominant argument in the media in this situation. What is what is said over and over and over and over and over again until it’s just nauseating and it’s repetitive ignorance of the situation is that current levels of testosterone in the body are responsible for current performance levels. This is a this is a factually incorrect statement. There are two effects that testosterone has on the human body. The first effect is that which occurs in utero. At eight weeks post conception testosterone begins to be secreted.

The testosterone secreted in utero has extremely, extremely profound effects on the resulting phenotype after birth. And I think you all know that there are differences, profound differences that result from the the concentrations of testosterone in the fetus. For example, a little boy when he’s born having been exposed to very high levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little boy tee tee. A little girl who’s been exposed to very very low levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little girl’s tee tee and we’re all aware of the fact that boys and girls tee tees are different.

This is how profound the effects of in utero testosterone are. And it is a gigantic serious mistake — although it’s a very popular mistake to make these days where we say that the differences in male and female performance are strictly a function of testosterone that is available right now, today, acute levels of testosterone in the body. Things are changed by in utero testosterone that are far more profound than just the tee tee. OK Dr. Debra Soh has done a lot of very good work dealing with this with this issue from the from the standpoint of psychology, brain development, neuroscience.

And what I’m going to tell you today is that the changes don’t stop there. There are neuromuscular efficiency changes that are the result of the in utero exposure to the fetus to testosterone. And these things are responsible for essentially all of the prepubescent differences between little boys and little girls.

Now if you have little boys and little girls and you’ve got you’ve got daughters and sons you as parents are aware of the physical differences between these kids when they’re three. When they’re two sometimes. They’re different little creatures and they have not gone into puberty and they do not have elevated levels of hormones, sexual hormones, in their bodies. Nonetheless the sex hormones that were present in utero have produced profound changes in these kids. Those of you ladies that grew up with a bunch of brothers know this already, don’t you. You know this to be true. Those of you parents with athletic little boys and athletic little girls know that there are differences between even athletic little boys and athletic little girls. But what’s also interesting is is those of you with just boys know that there are differences between the boys that are evident when they were kids when they’re little kids, prepubescent kids. One of them is more explosive than the other one of them’s quicker. One of them’s more agile. One of them plays harder. One of them hits harder than the other. All right.

These differences are attributable to the changes that are produced in utero by sex hormones and specifically by the presence of testosterone. There are of course outliers — it’s important to understand that we are not talking today about intersex people. Now people that didn’t make it this far into the discussion have already turned this off and have said that while Rippetoe’s talking about he’s ignoring that the presence of people in sports that are born between sexes and this does occur. It’s not very common but it does occur and there are chromosomal tests for this and in indisputable variations in the predominance of secondary sexual characteristics between some people. But we’re not talking about those people. We’re talking about people who are born male who decide to identify as female later on in their life.

If you are born male you are born with a more efficient neuromuscular situation. More efficient neuromuscular efficiency, more efficient neuromuscular recruitment, more efficient use of your muscles, than you are if you’re born female. This is not my fault. This is just an observation of the fact it’s borne out by all of the phenomenology. Ok.

First off we’d like to discuss standing vertical jump test numbers. Now the standing vertical jump is an interesting test that is pretty much a direct measurement of the genetic endowment for neuromuscular efficiency. What the standing vertical jump measures is the difference in the height of the upraised hand — one upraised hand when standing flat footed on the ground — and the height that that upraised hand is carried to at the top of a flat footed jump with no step. The standing vertical jump is performed by reaching down to the bottom of the range of motion that is represents the most efficient stretch reflex for the hips and legs, and leaving the ground, and measuring the distance between the top of the hand at the, at the difference between the top and the hand from the standing position to the position in which the jump carried you up in the air. In other words it is a direct measurement of your ability to accelerate your body’s mass off the ground — your body’s mass off the ground — which occurred on the concentric portion, during the concentric portion of the upward part of the jump. A counter movement jump lasts a half second and the last half of that movement pattern is the concentric part that extends the knees and the hips. And the force expanded during that concentric movement upward is the is the part of the of the movement that takes place in about a quarter of the second during which all of the force production machinery that you can recruit into contraction is recruited into contraction and the distance it carries your body mass up in the air is a direct measurement of the efficiency with which you were able to contract your muscles in a very short period of time.

This is a direct measurement of explosion and this is why the NFL includes the standing vertical jump test and its combine battery of tests. They want to know who they’re hiring. They want to know that the genetic endowment for rapid, efficient, neuromuscular recruitment of motor units into contraction that they’re hiring. They don’t hire people with a 22 inch standing vertical jump, they hire people with a 36 inch standing vertical jump. Now there are exceptions to this in terms of field position but the vast majority of professional football players have got very good vertical jumps which means they’re over 32. The average standing vertical jump for a male — and by average I mean young men in college who were tested for this sort of thing, not old guys like me but young men in college — is twenty two inches. That’s the average. In contrast the average female standing vertical jump is 14 inches.

Now, we use the standing vertical jump test because the standing vertical jump test is not really trainable. It’s very simple, there’s not any technique to learn, you just reach down and jump up. It can’t be gamed. It can’t be improved much without quite a bit of strength training, but the most important thing about this is is that even the best strength training program in the world will only improve a standing vertical jump test 20-25 percent at most and it’s far more common to see improvements of 10 to 15 percent. In other words this thing is not trainable. This thing called neuromuscular efficiency is not trainable to any significant degree. To the extent it is trainable it is improved by the increase in force production that is provided by an effective strength program. But the difference between the average men’s 22 inch standing vertical jump and the average women’s 14 inch standing vertical jump is an extremely important piece of data.

Now, if you look at the records the outstanding records for this thing the men’s record for standing vertical jump was set in a combine, in an NFL combine back I believe in 2015. Meanwhile since we looked this up I think it was back in 2015 guy jumped a forty- six inch vertical on a Vertek. I mean a real, actual, no shit forty-six-inch standing vertical jump which is insane but he did it. The only women’s record that I’ve been able to locate was a twenty-nine and a half performed by a female thrower, I believe, or a sprinter. I can’t remember her actual sport, but it was at OSU and that’s been about 15 years ago. Twenty nine and a half.

Now let’s look at these numbers. Twenty nine and a half, the women’s record, exceeds the men’s average by quite a bit doesn’t it, by seven and a half inches. OK. But if you look at her twenty-nine and a half and you compare that to his 46 what you see is roughly the same percentage between average and record in both sexes. This is explained almost entirely by the in utero changes that are produced by testosterone before birth. In other words if we give a female anabolic steroids and testosterone it doesn’t appreciably affect her standing vertical jump at all, all right. Now keep that in mind as we go through the nonsense that we’re hearing in the media these days about this sort of thing. Ok.

And furthermore if right before I leave this topic I’d like to I’d like to point out the fact that there are differences in the way men and women can recruit motor units, based on this data that I that I presented to you, indicates that there are profound differences in the way that women respond to physical stress and the way women adapt to physical stress. Now this is something I know something about. I’ve trained women for decades. And if you don’t understand as a trainer that women and men respond differently to weight training stimuli, then you’re not an effective coach. I am an effective coach and I know this and we handle them differently because we have to. Politics aside, we have to. OK.

Now let me. I’ve prepared some little copier things here for you today. And I want to start with an article here that we pulled off NPR. It ran in December about. Patricio Manuel who is the first openly transgender man — which means a female to male transgendered person — to box professionally in the US. Patricio won the bout with the male opponent in the men’s division. And this is notable because this is the only instance I have been able to find of a transgender male — transgender, a trans man, a female to male gender transition — competing in the men’s division. This is a super welterweight boxer and Patricio did in fact win this match. And it is it’s interesting to me that that’s the only one of these I could find.

Far more common, far more common, infinitely more common, are some of the following data points. The U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team back in 2014 was preparing for the Sochi Olympics by competing with boys. With boys teams. This is an article from January 12th, 2014 and one of the one of the girls on the team said “It’s very physical the guys are very fast. It’s a good way to see what we’re going to play in Sochi. This is a teenage boys team they’re practicing. This is important. They know something, don’t they. They know something.

Let’s go back in history to tennis to some tennis matches and I think most of you will remember some of these things. This is an article about four tennis matches. From marca.com. First which was the first match between Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court when 55 year old Bobby Riggs overcame Margaret Court, a much younger athlete in straight sets in 1973. This made the news back then it was a big deal.

This was a great big deal back in nineteen and nineteen hundred and seventy…when the hell was the date on this…Riggs versus King well they omit the date. I don’t remember the actual date. It’s also in the 70s because because Bobby Riggs was still full of himself. Now Billie Jean beat him in that in that match. Billie Jean Beat him in the match. Bobby Riggs was not a pro. He was a loud mouth and a funny guy, but he got his ass handed to him by Billie Jean King. OK.

More recently than that, back in 1993, Jimmy Connors played Martina Navratilova in a similar exhibition match. OK this is a…this was interesting. This was interesting because the game was played under to quote from the article “hybrid rules” as Connors was permitted only one serve for each point and his opponent Martina was allowed to play the ball into half of the doubles court. So they changed the rules a little bit because…I wonder why they did that? Because they knew what was going to happen. And in fact what happened was Connors beat her 7-5 in the first set and then 6-2 in the second set to win the match. Both of them got a million bucks. Cool.

I always liked Martina. Martina’s hot. And I just was I was always a big fan of her. And this was a good, this was a good match. And Martina great tennis player. And she’s she is …was just a groundbreaker in several aspects of her career and in social issues after she got through.

Even more recently. In 1998, Serena Williams played a German tennis player Karsten Braasch. He was ranked two hundred and third in the world. And I don’t know what possessed her to do this but she claimed apparently, she made a claim that, Serena and Venus claimed that no man no male player outside the top 200 could beat them. The 200 third ranked player in the world beat her 6-1, Serena, and then 6-2, Venus. Immediately. After. One guy played two people, same day beat, them both and this is significant.

It’s significant because she made this very interesting statement Serena said, “I didn’t know it would be that difficult. I played shots that would have been winners on the women’s circuit and he got to them very easily.”.

Now, those of you could have been paying attention to this or understand that there have been several instances of Women’s World Cup soccer teams playing high school boys and getting beat. Here’s one in Sweden. The Women’s National Swedish team played a boys team — and these are under 17 year old boys. Within 30 minutes the boys had plucked one goal from the women reading from the article now: Despite Sundhage asking (the coach) asking the boys team to take out one of its defenders and play with only 10 players on the field which they did. They took one of the players, one of the defensemen ,off of the field. They still got beat.

One of the one of the girls said “I wasn’t told about that until after the game.” She didn’t count the boys on the field during the game. They they got beat 3-0. The boys beat him 3-0. This is the women’s National Team.

The U.S. women’s team in the United States here, played in 2015 — winners of the, they were the World Cup Champions in 2015, winners of multiple gold medals — played the MLS Academy squad in Dallas, an under-15 team. And were beaten by three goals.

And the famous case in Australia just recently. The Australian women’s national team, the Matildas, lost 7-0 to an under-15 boys squad in Australia.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: Regardless of whether they won or lost though. The national team went and played with high school kids. Why? Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Yes.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: It doesn’t matter if they won or they lost.

Mark Rippetoe:
Mark Rippetoe: It really doesn’t. What matters is that they decided to do this. It matters that they decided to play a boys team under-15. The women’s National Team decided that that was a reasonable thing to go do.

They know, don’t they. They know. All right.

But. You know look I don’t want this thing to come off as me yelling and screaming at transgender people or women or men or anybody else. What I am irritated about to the point of distraction is the fact that the media and politicians, these catfish bottom feeders, are taking this situation and twisting it for political purposes. That’s what pisses me off, all right. Because once again ladies and gentlemen, you know as well as I do that men and women have different physical capacities. You know as well as I do that that is the case and this stuff right here that I am about to show you is a lie agreed upon. Those of you that are Deadwood fans recognize that as the title of the third, the fourth episode series. It applies here — a lie agreed upon.

Listen to this. Here’s a piece from The Washington Post. All right. This ran on August the 8th 2016. The IOC has decided that testosterone levels at the time of competition are the only critical factor here in Rio. Quoting now: “transgender men, female to male athletes, will be allowed to compete without any restrictions (based on the sexist assumption, I suppose that trans men could never dominate their sports). Trans women, meanwhile, [this is male to female] are no longer required to undergo gender reassignment surgery to compete in female divisions and the previously mandated to your weight after transitioning has been jettisoned.” And it’s irrelevant, for reasons we’ve already discussed. “To compete a trans woman is required only to declare her gender as female and have testosterone levels comparable to or below those of cis gendered women (cis gender refers folks whose biological sex matches their gender identity which is the opposite of transgender).” This is the IOC and people in the media will point to the..how should we say it the…”moral authority” of the International Olympic Committee to make a ruling like this.

You’ve heard of organizations being wrong before haven’t you. That happens. I think you could find a couple of instances of that taking place without having to think too terribly hard about it, now can’t you. If you don’t think the IOC is subject to politics, you’re very young. Ok.

Here is an, here’s an interesting piece from The Nation titled “Transphobia’s new target is the world of sports” by one Dave Zirin: “There’s another argument against allowing trans athletes to compete with cis gender athletes that suggests that their presence hurts cis women and cis girls,” Now by hurt do you mean injured like what happened to the girl that fought Fallon Fox in the UFC. That kind of hurt? “But this line of thought doesn’t acknowledge that trans women are in fact women.” That is that italicized in the piece “they are in fact women.”

Once again I’m not concerned with gender. I’m concerned with physical sex. Gender is none of my business, absolutely none of my business, pronouns are none of my business. Physical sex directly affects the way we train and perform as women or men. And that’s all there is to it. And all the saying it’s not true doesn’t make it true. It is a lie agreed upon. Don’t agree with it anymore. OK. Please.

“The fundamental argument of the Daily Caller and its ilk it raises this reality with the ugliest in the ugliest possible fashion sport is one of the worst domains for institutionalized discrimination against trans people. Current conversations around fairness in Sport Center on women’s sports only and are often steeped in paternalistic language around protecting female athletes.” This is an interesting sentence.

Let’s look at sports in general and we’re going to talk more about this in a minute. There are men’s and women’s divisions in every sport that is played in the world. There are men’s and women’s billiards, men’s and women’s golf, tennis. Everything in the Olympics is men’s and women’s. This is the phenomenology.

Do you seriously believe that hundreds of years of observation the hundreds of years of observation that have led there to be women’s and men’s divisions are somehow wrong now because politically we’re concerned about this? “These conversations are damaging because the underlying assumptions are inherently sexist that female athletes are always inferior to men’s athlete to male athletes so we must police women’s sports in order to protect women.” Well, they are women’s sports, right.

“Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology and especially hormones as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case.” And I’m going to read this again because it’s such preposterous nonsense. I don’t understand how the typewriter actually worked here, to actually type this bizarre, stupid statement.

“Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology.” You know the kind that results in short people and tall people and big people and small people and weak people and strong people. An overemphasis on that kind of biology and especially hormones the kind that result in a little boy tee tees and little girl tee tees in utero “as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case.” And when we say which we know is not the case you’re supposed to agree with that lie, aren’t you?

Don’t do it. Don’t agree with a lie. You know it’s a lie. See the he thing that runs through all of these things I’ve got here on the desk. All the, all these things I’ve got here on the desk I don’t really even need to read them to you is the complete ignorance, willful ignorance, of the fact that testosterone starts changing a human from eight weeks post conception all through their life. And in fact, that although testosterone is an extremely powerful hormone its greatest effects are exerted in utero. Not in adults. All of the physical sexual differences that manifest themselves in an adult have the stage set for them in utero before the individual is born. And all these people are doing are talking about current measurable testosterone levels. That is a lie.

It’s interesting to me that Renee Richards who was the first transgender athlete to really be in the news has said, reading from this article: “decades later Richards would grow ambivalent about her place in women’s sports wondering herself whether she did enjoy an advantage over cis-gender women. In 2012 she told Slate, ‘There is one thing that a transsexual woman unfortunately cannot be expect to be allowed to do and that is to play professional sports in her chosen field. She can get married, live as a woman, do all of these other things and no one should ever be allowed to take them away from her. But this limitation that’s just life. I know because I lived it.’ And it also says those who followed in her footsteps are living a different truth (an interesting choice of terms) and drawing different conclusion.

I’ve got I’ve got several other things here that I’ve. And this is easy to find online. You can go in and research it if you want to. But we’re we’re beating this to death. And and what I really want to what I really want to say is is about this. OK. The upshot of this thing is that you have heard about this more in the past couple of years because now it is politically convenient. Politicians are interested in this. And anytime that happens, things turn to shit quickly.

And this was in the news last week, headline: “234 House Democrats and two Republicans co-sponsor a bill forcing schools to let male athletes compete on girls sports teams. Every House Democrat but one who sponsored a bill co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams. And one Sarah Warbelow director of the left wing Human Rights Campaign says she praised the bill’s impact on high school sports and written testimony submitted to a House subcommittee on Tuesday. Warbelow wrote, “Opponents of equality and athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have an unfair physiological advantage over cis-gendered girls and as a result will dominate women’s competitive sports.” Warbelow wrote: Calling it not rooted in fact, not rooted in fact that biologically male athletes will outperform their female counterparts not rooted in fact.”.

A lie. Being agreed upon by two hundred and four thirty four people in the House of Representatives in the United States.

We have one Jerry Nadler: says arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out, Nadler said in his opening statement. Apparently ignorant of the fact that every organized sport in the world has men’s and women’s divisions for some bizarre reason, right Jerry? This is frankly rather nauseating.

And another one of the other things they’re saying about why this is all bullshit is because it’s not going to be true that men are going to declare themselves transgender to run over to the women’s division and compete and win and win a bunch of money and you know hundreds of billions of dollars in prize money and stuff and then run back to being a male later on. They’re all worried about that. We’re not worried about it. They’re worried about that happening. They’re saying it’s not going to happen. I couldn’t agree more. Of course it’s not going to happen.

That’s not the point. That’s not the point. Here’s the point. Your daughters and your wives and your sisters and your cousins and your female relatives who may decide they’d like to compete in a sport run the risk with this kind of an attitude about this of having scholarships and championships taken away from them by this politics.

You don’t like that and I don’t like it. And nobody likes it except the two hundred and thirty four — except this man right here. And he didn’t like it either he’s just playing along. He’s lying. He’s agreeing with the lie and it’s…this has to stop at some point or we are going to have problems with the whole idea of sports and what winning means and what competition means. And what is going to eventually happen anytime we set up a competitive venue and we decide that some people can’t compete with other people because it’s unfair.

Now probably the the most stark examples of this are sports and where in which explosive power is extremely important. Olympic weightlifting, for example, is extremely important upon neuromuscular…dependent upon neuromuscular efficiency. Men are more neuromuscularly efficient than women. If women are going to be forced to compete with congenital men, they’re going to lose. This has been demonstrated several times already. Maybe not every time, but the vast majority of the time, and exceptions don’t make this wrong, don’t make this analysis wrong.

If there is a solution to this it is the one that that we’ve come up with for the United States Strengthlifting federation. The USSF is the Federation that we’ve come up with to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift. It is not powerlifting. There are numerous extremely different sets of rules in place between strengthlifting and powerlifting. We are not powerlifters, but we’ve come up with a contest that allows people to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift and the most interesting aspect of these rules is found on page 1 of the general rules of strengthlifting. This is available at usstrengthlifting.com. .org. I’m sorry US Strengthlifting dot com is dot com.

Rule number six. divisions. Open, not men’s but open. There is an open division which consists of congenital males, transgender, non-binary, and intersex lifters. That’s the Open division. B) the Women’s division, congenital females. C) the Masters division, lifters who turned 40 years old or older during calendar year in which the event is held and the Juniors, lifters who turn between the ages of 14 and 20 during the calendar year in which the event is held. Lifters under the age of 14 may guest lift in a USSF- sanctioned event where their parent or guardian blah blah.

What’s critical here is Open and Women’s. Open is congenital males and transgender individuals and non binary individuals and intersex lifters and Women is restricted to congenital females. So in other words there’s an Open division and a restricted division.

You may enter any division that you are eligible to enter. Everyone has a competitive opportunity in the USSF. Everyone can compete in the Open division. Women can compete in the Open division. Anybody that wants to can compete in the Open division. But only congenital females can can compete in the Women’s division. This keeps things fair. This allows a competitive outlet for everyone who wants to enter a strengthlifting meet.

Strength meats are going to be very very big in the future. They’re coming up in popularity and. People appreciate the fact that you don’t ever get killed on the bench press in a strike lifting me. So as this grows in popularity more people are going to be exposed to the idea that divisions need to accommodate all of these all these circumstances that we’ve talked about so far. And I think strength lifting is ahead of the curve on this.

Give it a look if you want women to have competitive opportunities in sports. This situation is going to have to be resolved and it’s going to need to be resolved soon before a whole bunch of people get discouraged. And I would suggest that the responsibility for solving this problem lies on squarely in the lap of the people that are going to be most adversely affected by it and that’s women athletes. There is so much, much at stake here and there is…I mean if you consider sports to be important.

And I’ll be perfectly honest with you — I’m not a sports fan and I don’t think it’s that big a deal. I’m in the business of making people strong and I’d rather make your grandmother strong than your 17 year old daughter who’s trying to get a scholarship go to college. I’m interested in in the practical aspects of strength training not the not the competitive athletics aspects of strength and I don’t really care about sports. But many of you are very very concerned about who won the game. Right.

And for those of you that are concerned with women’s participation in sports. You guys had better get this thing straightened out or you’re going to lose it. Because your daughter might want the opportunity to run in the state track meet and actually win because she’s the fastest woman in the field. And I you know I think you need to give some serious consideration to this but as I said before I think the women are we’re gonna be the ones that need to need to carefully consider what side of this they’re going to come down on and then take a stand about it because they’re the ones whose careers are at stake.

It will disappoint me terribly if they don’t do so because of fear of retribution from these pieces of shit. all right. From politicians and the media because that’s who’s the problem here.

You and I know the reality of the situation but we’re being lied to and you are being expected to agree with that lie. Don’t do it. Don’t agree with the lie. It is a lie. And you know it’s a lie. Don’t behave as though you don’t. But as I know and you know that it’s a lie.

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After introducing the podcast and giving Starting Strength news updates, Mark Rippetoe discusses the issue of trans women competing in women’s sports.

  • 00:00 Introduction to the podcast
  • 04:11 News – Gyms, Translations, Audiobooks, Weightlifting boot, Coach Prep Course, Seminars
  • 28:22 Trans Women in Women’s Sports

Transcript

Discuss in Forums

Resource List


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15 Jun

“Abs are made in the kitchen,” the fitness saying goes. But a more accurate rephrasing would be, “Abs are revealed in the kitchen.” They’re made in the gym, during your ab workouts and even total-body training. That’s where you build the muscle tissue that dieting later reveals by removing excess belly fat.

Once you’ve dialed in your nutrition, leave the kitchen and head to the gym for your workout. To help you, here are four abs workout strategies to improve your core muscles and build a scroll-stopping torso. Regardless of your current routine, these ab moves can make a big difference.

Tip 1: Use Weighted Core Exercises in Your Workout

The abdominal muscles are like everything else you train; in that sense, they’re no different from, say, your shoulder muscles. They all benefit from weighted resistance, whether from a cable, a dumbbell, etc. There’s this fear in the fitness world that using weight in your training will expand the circumference of your waist and mess with the symmetry of your torso. That’s not the case. If anything, doing weighted movements as part of your workout will make those abs pop even more when you cut down.

When done correctly, the weighted rope crunch is a great exercise for your abs workout. Your stomach works hard to contract, and the cable pulley applies continuous tension where you need it. Use your ab muscles, not your hip flexors, to crunch. Squeeze your abs hard when you pull in on this exercise. Feel that contraction fully on each crunch.

Hit your oblique muscles by crunching and dipping your shoulder to either side.

Tip 2: Lift Slowly, Lower Even More Slowly During Your Workout

You should know this by now, but it bears repeating: When training, momentum helps no one. Your six-pack is no different from every other muscle group in this respect, and if you’re trying to build, each rep counts. As you perform each rep, slow your tempo and maintain control throughout the movement. Your abs will work harder this way, leading to better results from your training.

Take that abs workout favorite, the hanging knee raise. If all your knee raises look like the beginning of a Kipping pull-up, you’re not alone; it’s easy to generate momentum and lift those legs high by swinging. Unfortunately, this kind of momentum doesn’t do much for your abs or your ab training.

Instead, start by tucking your knees to your chin, which will force your hips to lift and contract your ab muscles. Exhale at the top of the contraction to further activate your abs. Slowly lower your knees with control. Slower means you’ll do fewer reps, but each of those reps will benefit your lower abs a lot more. Only move to straight-legged lifts once you’ve mastered the bent-leg version in your training.

Want to shift the emphasis to your oblique muscles? Raise your knees to either side. Want to add some resistance? Hold a dumbbell between your ankles.

Tip 3: Focus on Stability During Your Workout

The core isn’t just about the six-pack. It’s also responsible for helping you stay upright and maintaining stability during other tasks. If you have a weak core, it will affect your training on other exercises, like the squat or even something as simple as a dumbbell curl. You need core strength to stabilize the weight before you can lift it for an exercise.

Additionally, the transverse abdominals—the “girdle” muscle that wraps around your midsection—becomes stronger and tighter through stabilizing isometric exercises, not through crunches. This means all those flailing ab exercises you’ve included in your ab training are missing the one muscle that helps tighten everything up.

Tip 3: Focus on Stability During Your Workout

Not to worry, there’s a simple solution: an exercise called planks. I don’t just mean the traditional version of the exercise, using the standard plank position. You should be working side planks into your training, too. By doing regular planks, then a plank for each side, in your abs workout, you will soon see a noticeable improvement in the look and strength of your core.

Tip 4: Don’t Forget to Vacuum During Your Workout

Any bodybuilding fan has read about the top pros getting ripped for having distended stomachs onstage. Champions from the so-called Golden Era of bodybuilding used vacuums during a workout to keep their tummies tight. After previously falling out of favor, this classic waist-slimming exercise has made a comeback in recent years among the ab routine of today’s fitness stars.

Not only can you include vacuums in your ab training, you can also do this exercise in between sets when you’re training other muscles. It’s a simple way to double-down on your ab gains, and it can be a killer superset no matter what you’re training that workout.

Perform your normal set and follow it up by trying to do a vacuum before you start your next one. With a little practice and consistency, you’ll gain better control of your waistline and your breathing. This exercise can benefit your other training and workout routines, as well.

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15 Jun

From the Archives: Putting on Your Belt

by Mark Rippetoe | April 28, 2019

Mark Rippetoe talks about the different kinds of belts you should be using and Chase demonstrates how to use the power rack to put the belt on. 

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15 Jun

“F%$& the legs, let’s bench!”

 

A common adage among the batch of men who prioritize a jacked upper body over the quads, hamstrings, and ass.

 

 

(Considering the number of men I come across with chicken legs to go along with their massive pecks and biceps, clearly, there’s something to that training style.)

 

Then along came CrossFit, or functional fitness, or whatever we’re calling it now—a crowd of posterior chain enthusiasts who have never once neglected the legs. I remember going on my first date with a CrossFit man and his first compliment to me was: “You have a good hamstring line.”

 

Certainly not what the “f%$& the legs, let’s bench dude” would have told me.

 

All of this posterior chain work, however, meant that the functional fitness folk, especially in the earlier CrossFit days, pretty much neglected the bench press entirely. Meanwhile, bicep curls were the laughing stock of the community.

 

But why?

 

Biceps matter, and not just for aesthetics. They matter for real, functional movements. Like pull-ups and muscle-ups. There’s a reason the 2013 CrossFit Games Champion Sam Briggs’ (known for her pulling strength) IG handle is BicepsLikeBriggs.

 

When I worked with gymnastics coach Louise Eberts (@louiseebertsgymnastics) to improve my muscle-ups a couple of years ago, she added bicep curls to my program and they made all the difference. Muscle-ups were never my strong suit, but they got a whole lot better once I started working on my biceps.

 

Alas, if you’re looking to build your biceps, here are five exercises beyond just traditional bicep curls that will translate to more than just looking great on the beach.

 

1. The Zottman Curl

This is kind of like a bicep curl, but with a twist. It involves doing a bicep curl as usual with a supine grip but then rotating your palms downward by flipping your hands 180 degrees at the top of the curl and slowly lowering the DB with a prone grip. This is great for not just the biceps, but also for your forearms.

 

 

 

2. Hammer Curl

During this curl, keep your palms facing your torso and raise the DB until your forearms and upper arms are at an approximately 90-degree angle. Make sure you keep your elbows close to your body and minimize cheating by keeping it at strict as possible.

 

 

3. Narrow-Grip Strict Chin-Ups

Though we often consider chin-ups to work the lats, they also have great benefits for the biceps, especially if you practice them with a narrower grip.

 

 

4. Bent Over Barbell Row

Once again, we think of rowing as being more for your lats than your biceps, but if you’re pulling, then your biceps are active. The barbell row is great for the biceps as you’ll be able to lift considerably more on this movement than with a traditional bicep curl. As you pull, think about pulling your elbows behind you and then hold for a second at the top before controlling the weight back down.

 

 

5. Flexed Arm Carries

Kind of like a farmer carry, but with a flexed arm. They’re great not only for building the biceps but also to bulletproof your joints, which will help when you get into movements like pull-ups, as they can be strenuous on the shoulder and elbow joints.

 

 

Biceps matter. Not just at the beach, but in life. So, don’t forget about them.


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14 Jun

A few years back, Kris Gethin was a dedicated bodybuilder. Today, the founder of Kaged Muscle supplements is still that—and a whole lot more.

In the last couple of years, Gethin has diversified his fitness resume to include both an Ironman and an Ultramarathon, all while keeping up his customary intensity in the gym day in and day out. Gethin is proving to meatheads everywhere that being a one-dimensional animal in the weight room just isn’t hardcore enough. The real definition of hardcore? Embracing a relentless chase of improvement in every area of life.

If you’re one of the millions who has experienced Gethin’s mentorship in his iconic programs like the 12-Week Hardcore Video Trainer or the 12-Week Muscle-Building Trainer, you know that how Kris trains and how he lives are two inseparable parts of the same project. Here’s how to prioritize your training and lifestyle to keep growing in the gym and out.

1. Overcome Plateaus with Intensity, Not Just Volume

You can’t throw a shaker bottle in the weight room without hitting someone living and dying by 3 sets of 10-12 on pretty much every movement. (Note: Please don’t throw shaker bottles in the weight room.) That classic set-and-rep scheme is popular for a reason, of course: It allows you to efficiently move from station to station, machine to machine, feeling a little burn and watching the weights climb.

At least for a while. When the weight increases stop, many lifters just try to overcome this “plateau” by doing more sets of more movements. In his popular article “Kris Gethin’s 4 Essential Intensity Booster Techniques for More Muscle,” he says a better way is to try to get more out of each movement that you do. That means trying techniques like:

  • Supersets
  • Giant sets
  • Dropsets
  • Forced reps

“If [these techniques] have a unifying theme, it’s shortening rest periods, hitting high repetitions instead of low reps, and taking my body—and yours—out of the comfort zone,” Kris says.

Yes, this will almost always make you have to drop the weight, and experience more discomfort in your nice little workout. Only outside of that comfort zone will you revive progress in a stagnant physique.

2. But Sometimes, Drown Your Muscles in Volume

The most legendary Gethin workouts have one thing in common: They burn like nothing you’ve ever thought you’d willingly subject yourself to. As the lactate pools in your muscles, you find yourself cursing Kris, cursing yourself, and pushing through every attempt your body makes to stop for rest.

Sound fun? It really is. Especially for shoulders.

Gethin challenges you to match him and Dr. Kaleb Redden rep-for-rep, set-for-set, and sweat-for-sweat in this crazy high-volume shoulder workout. “If you can’t drink your In-Kaged or you can’t pick your nose at the end of the workout, you know you’re on the right track,” he says.

7 Unbreakable Rules of Muscle Growth

3. Bulk with Food, Not Trash

When you’re a few weeks—heck, a few days—into a Gethin-designed battleground like the 12-Week Muscle-Building Trainer or the 8-Week Hardcore Trainer, your body generally starts sending an undeniable message: Feed me!

You can answer that call one of two ways: in the drive-through, or in the grocery store and kitchen. For Kris, that choice is where the diehards get separated from the pretenders.

Building muscle requires more food than the norm—that much isn’t in doubt. But Gethin is a proponent for quality calories, not spending money on foods that will get you mediocre results. No, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, in his article “4 Essential Foods for Budget Bulking,” he cuts through the confusion and spoon-feeds you truth about how to grow muscle with foods like:

  • Oatmeal
  • Rice cakes
  • Canned fish
  • Dried fruit and nuts

Yes, these foods are more than up to the task of helping you add muscle, without shrinking your bank account.

4. Live a High-Testosterone Lifestyle

Nothing will tank your results in the gym like tanked testosterone levels. But raising them—or keeping them at healthy levels—isn’t just a question of finding the right hack. It’s about gearing your choices throughout the day toward the singular goal of maximizing testosterone. This includes every aspect of the fit life, including:

  • Exercise selection
  • Workout duration and scheduling
  • Macronutrient distribution
  • Alcohol intake and other vices
  • Supplements
  • Sleep quality and quantity
  • Stress and cortisol levels

This is the big stuff that’s masquerading as little stuff. Keep a pen in hand—you’re going to want to take notes on this one—and follow Kris’ tips in “16 Ways to Boost Your Testosterone.” It’s a goldmine of nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle, and training tips to keep the king of muscle-building hormones on the throne.

5. Don’t Skip Cardio, Diversify It

Cardio isn’t something that Kris only recently came around on. He’s been advocating it daily or even twice a day since the classic 12-Week Hardcore Video Trainer, and living by example ever since. For health, body composition, gym results, and even for things like sleep quality and digestion, he swears that 30-45 minutes per day of moderate-intensity sweating can’t be beat.

Dont Skip Cardio, Diversify It

However, the ways that Kris gets his sweat have changed dramatically. Nowadays, you’re more likely to find him on a bike or trail than plugging away on a treadmill. Part of this is because he has broadened his athletic goals to include things such as distance triathlons and ultramarathons. But another part is because these activities can actually help him be a better lifter—seriously!

“There are so many benefits to endurance running that it’s a shame so many of my iron brethren don’t experience them,” Kris writes in “What Every Bodybuilder Needs to Know about Running.” “I just want bodybuilders to understand that they can experience so much more, and still be a bodybuilder.”

The same goes for cycling, as he explains in the article “What Every Bodybuilder Needs to Know About Cycling.” But be warned: In both activities, planning and technique are every bit as important as they are in the weight room.

“Your size can quickly begin to work against you, unless you have the right approach,” Kris says.

Learn from Kris’ research—and mistakes along the way—and follow the path toward “hybrid athletics” he outlines in the inspiring video series “Man of Iron.”

6. Pay For Your Holiday Sins

Most of the time, building muscle and burning fat are about doing solid work in the gym and making great nutritional decisions when nobody is watching. But sometimes, a little excess is inevitable. Kris gets it. But don’t expect any sympathy.

“Here’s my philosophy: If you’re going to splurge over the holidays, then you need to burn to pay for your sins,” Kris says.

And no, that “burn” doesn’t consist of a few sets of curls and presses. Check out Kris’ “25-Minute Holiday Damage Control Workout,” and you’ll see it means legs. And you can’t use the “I’m out of town” excuse because it’s all body weight and doable from grandma’s living room.

Bookmark that workout. Fear it. But do it.

7 Unbreakable Rules of Muscle Growth

7. Use Every Tool at Your Disposal

Gallons of virtual ink of have been spilt debating the virtues of dumbbell bench press versus barbell, machine flyes versus cable flyes, EZ-bar preacher curls versus… you get it. So here’s the deal. They all work in their own way, and over the course of a long relationship with the weight room, you can and should use them all—and plenty of other implements that you never imagined, too.

Kris brings this point home by repurposing machines daily and making them work for, well, whatever muscle group he wants. As a lifter who lives and dies on the mind-muscle connection, he knows that if it feels right, it will work. Period. A few of his favorites include:

  • Bent-over rows on a shoulder press machine
  • Decline chest press on the leg curl machine
  • Triceps push-downs on the platform of an assisted chin-up machine
  • High cable curls on the lat pull-down station

“My weight was taken” is no longer an excuse. Use Kris’ machine hacks for chest, back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, and watch a world of new options open up around you.

Credit: Source link

14 Jun

Knee Wraps and Knee Sleeves

by Mark Rippetoe | April 30, 2019

Believe it or not, there is a good reason for some people to consider the use of knee wraps or knee sleeves for general strength training. Knee compression devices are famous for their use in competitive powerlifting, since they can add quite a bit of weight to your squat by assisting with knee extension – if applied tightly enough they can store some of the force applied across the flexing knee during the descent phase and return it to the extension phase on the way up. But there is more to the story.

Some people just have shitty knees. I do, as the result of squatting incorrectly for years and lots of non-barbell-related bad decisions. Old knees can benefit from both warmth and a little compression. Warmth is provided by both wraps and knee sleeves, wraps being long pieces of elastic material wound around the knee, and sleeves being rubberized or cloth tubes that are pulled up over the foot and over the knee, like a sock. Some people are allergic to rubber or neoprene on the skin – I am, so I have to be careful about the substance of the wrap.

Wraps can be adjusted for tightness as they are wound around the knee. Knee sleeves are the same tightness every time they are used, unless they are worn over another garment or you gain a bunch of bodyweight. Both can provide warmth by insulating the knees to contain heat that would otherwise radiate away. Wraps can add both heat and varying levels of compression depending on how tightly they are applied. Both provide more compression than no support at all.

Warm knees tend to work better and feel better under a load than cold knees. Warm synovial fluid is less viscous than cold synovial fluid, and therefore flows more easily and provides better lubricity for knees ravaged by age and stupidity. Compression increases the internal pressure in the area under the wrap or sleeve, providing better stability for the structures moving in the joint during the flexion/extension cycle.

The degree of compression depends on the hoop tension provided by the wrap or sleeve. If it is sufficiently tight, the wrap itself becomes a loaded component of the joint complex – an “exoskeletal” load-bearing member of the flexion/extension mechanism. At this point, the wrap is participating in the mechanical relationship between you and the bar in a different way. For our purposes, we’d like for the wraps or sleeves to make your knees feel better so that you can lift more weight, as opposed to the wraps themselves mechanically increasing the force produced at the knees.

Used correctly, wraps or sleeves can enable the squat to become a productive exercise for an old guy again. Just be careful about getting too happy with the tension when you put them on.


Discuss in Forums



Credit: Source link

14 Jun

Most of you reading this have done the single-arm dumbbell row, and you know how effective it is for building a big, wide back.

So how did you position your body to perform this exercise? Did you use a flat bench and focus on keeping your torso parallel with the floor to hit your lower lats? Or did you lean against something a little higher to target more of the upper lats and back?

Both ways work; I’m not advocating one approach over the other. Instead, I’d like to show you how to get the best of both worlds.

The answer is an adjustable bench.

Yep, that’s it. Simple, right? Having an adjustable bench when you do the single-arm row gives you a chance to do both a superset and dropset in one. The result will be a complete upper-back blast.

How to Do It

Start by positioning the adjustable bench at an incline of 30-45 degrees, depending on your preferences. Starting with your weaker arm, row by pulling the dumbbell straight up. Focus not just on your lats but also on the rest of the upper back, including the rhomboids, rear delts, and traps. Perform 8-10 reps in this fashion.

Here’s where the drop comes in: Lower the bench angle so it’s flat. This is the second part of your single-arm row superset. Get back into position and resume doing rows, this time by pulling the weight up at an angle toward your hip. This shifts the focus toward the middle back and lower lat. Perform the same number of reps here that you did on the incline.

Now you’re going to do the same thing for the opposite side. Raise the angle of the bench back up and switch arms. Perform the same number of reps as you did the first side. When you finish here, you can finally take your rest break.

On the next set, start with the bench flat and adjust it to the incline second. This means the lower lats get the attention at the beginning of the set. Still start with your weaker side.

One More Twist

There’s one more way to do this move and see tremendous benefits in your back. You can perform reps with both sides on the incline, lower the angle, and then execute the reps on both sides with the flat bench. You might find that you can do a few more reps per side, since they have that brief period to rest while the other side is working. Next time, start with the bench flat, perform reps on both sides, and then adjust the angle before continuing!

Credit: Source link

14 Jun

Thank you, Mark Wulfe. Welcome back to the podcast. And Starting Strength Radio marches on. We are going to talk about some stuff we discussed last week, not long though, just a few little things. I’m actually more surprised that people were not showing up in defense of my indictment of the bottom three percent of you idiots that post on YouTube comments. Everybody jumped to the defense of transgender athletes but nobody took up for the bottom 3 percent.

That surprised me.

I mean I understand why you didn’t. Because it’s transparently obvious that we’re dealing here with the bottom 3 percent. If you post on YouTube comments. But you know it. I just. Your lack of compassion shocks me really. It does.

Got some comments about my little drawing last week said that it was what they say crayon that was said crayons are done with crayons? It was done with this green highlighter. So I fixed it for you. OK. I hope that clears things up now.

So let’s let’s get all this over with. We were talking about trans women in women’s sports last week and it was…actually the thing was surprisingly well received. I was I was shocked that I didn’t get a single death threat. And you know, I was kind of hoping for a death threat. You know everybody else…people in New York City and California are all disturbed when they get death threats. I think it’d be cool to get a death threat, you know.

How many, Nick, just out of curiosity how many how many handguns are in this room right now with us? Four…four handguns in the room. 13 knives? I’ve got three knives on me right now. Look motherfucker, if you get to me. I had it coming. Okay, but I’ll get you first. Go ahead and threaten my ass. That’ll be fun. All right.

Now here’s some things that were turned in this week that have that that happened since the last podcast or that occurred that I was not aware of. Since we we videoed this thing last time. There was…just in no particular order…there was an evolutionary biologist speaking at Portland State University — some of you may have seen this — where several of the students got up and walked out of the deal. Which is, you know, no doubt a tragic loss to the quality of the subsequent conversation, when this man had the temerity to say that there were physical differences between men and women. And that’s the that’s I mean, and these people were dressed up as…one I was dressed as a pirate, the other one is a is a Russian deckhand, one of them looked like a serial killer. Some guy was trying to act like he was a Vietnam vet and all of of this other shit. It was just just absolutely amazing. For suggesting (that), he was a Nazi and a fascist. They actually said Nazi and fascist.

The biologist was a woman. Yes. Yes. The evolutionary biologist was a woman.

How do you call a woman a Nazi to begin with? They’re the fair, gentle sex, right? Well, they had female Nazis. I’ve seen movies about Nazi prisons and women and stuff. There’s a whole genre of porn about that, I believe, isn’t it? It seems like I’ve seen something like that.

Calling her a Nazi and a fascist for stating that men and women are different.

Well my first observation would be that if men and women are not different then why do you want to change? Someone will have to clear that up for me. And if you were all the same. Why change?

Right and then we had some people that were interested in once again me going on Joe Rogan’s show. Look, I don’t get to go on Joe Rogan’s show you know just because he’s had this suggested to him 10000 times. I’m not going on Joe Rogan. Just leave. Let it go. Quit bothering the man about this. Don’t! Stop sending him shit on Twitter, stop sending him emails. Leave him alone. He’s busy, right?

And then somebody suggested that I go before Congress and state this so utterly obvious truth. Well you don’t get to just walk into Congress and state utterly obvious truths because if you do go before Congress and state an utterly obvious truth, they will kill you.

They don’t want you to state utterly obvious truths in front of Congress. I believe that there is a hearing going on this afternoon even as we taped this thing where a man is going to state utterly obvious truths and he will be berated for it. He’ll they will attempt to destroy his reputation and destroy his life and all of this other shit.

So you don’t go in front of Congress and state utterly obvious truths. It’s pointless because Congress, politicians, and the media are the people we talked about last week. And they are the ones that have caused all of this problem with respect to this rather simple issue. And the rather simple issue is that men and women have different physical baselines and those baselines come from in utero exposure to testosterone. We talked about this last week at length. Those of you that didn’t see it last week we have separated out a clip of all of that information that is separated from the first 20. What was it 23 minutes? 28 minutes that was Starting Strength news. And then we we put up by itself, it’s about 50 minutes long you need to go watch it. I thoroughly discussed the situation then and I don’t feel the need to revisit any of this again.

And some of you are asking me questions on on YouTube. If you want to ask me questions, you need to come to startingstrength.com. There is a thread about this issue on my Q and A — that’s where I answer questions. I will not post about this on Facebook, on Twitter, or on YouTube comments, certainly not on YouTube comments. If you want to talk to me about it, then you need to come on our website where we answer questions. This is where the discussion takes place, at startingstrength.com. It’s a moderated forum. So you come on my moderated forum and give me a death threat I’ll just edit it out because that’s just, you know, that kind of entertainment, we just don’t have time for it. So talk to us there: startingstrength.com Forums, Mark Rippetoe Q&A. And we can deal with it at that level.

Now. We didn’t really get a chance to review the literature on this and I know that for a lot of you scientist…scientis…scientism guys The Literature is the holy bastion of the truth. The literature, peer reviewed literature, is just as political as everything else in the world. And if you somehow think that the literature is sacrosanct then you don’t know anything about the literature. All right.

Here is a paper, for example. This was published in 2017 it’s a Springer publication like all of them are…Sports Medicine is the name of the journal. Actually it says it was published online in 2016, October 3rd, 2016. So it probably went into print in 2017.

This is the title of the paper: Sport and transgender people. A systematic review of the literature relating to sport participation… sport participation…and competitive sport policies. Note they are using these singular European version of the word and not “sports.” This is more lofty. Obviously when you say “sport” when you mean “sports” you obviously are credible.

OK. Let me read you the conclusion from the abstract and this is this is just fascinating. I want you to reflect on the implications this has for the literature. Verbatim: “Conclusion. Currently there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition (e.g. cross-sex hormones, gender-confirming surgery) and therefore competitive sport policies that place restrictions on transgender people need to be considered and potentially revised.”

Now let me point out a couple of things about this astonishing conclusion.

“There is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals or male individuals have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition and therefore a competitive” policy blah blah blah. An advantage over who? Why that seems to be missing from this conclusion. An advantage over who? All right. And they’re actually saying that female individuals or male individuals have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition.

What if they’re not transitioning? What if they’re just males and females not in transition? Do we have any sports without a male and female division that the highly celebrated authors of this paper — Bethany Alice Jones, Jon Arcelus, Walter Pierre Bouman, and Emma Haycraft, are not apparently not aware of the fact that there are men’s and women’s divisions in all sports. But here they’re saying that female individuals or male individual…there’s no direct evidence suggesting that they have an advantage over each other. Yet it exists.

And also they mentioned cross-sex hormones and gender-confirming surgery. Now by cross-sex hormones you don’t happen to mean testosterone do you? Do Ms Jones, Mr Arcelus, Mr Bouman, and Ms Haycraft remain unaware of the fact that testosterone supplementation for sports is illegal and against the rules of all organized sports especially at the Olympic level? Do they not understand that there’s a reason why these substances are banned? Banned substances are banned for a reason, testosterone being one of the banned substances, a cross-sex hormone?

Boys and Girls. This is why the literature is bullshit. Not all of the literature is bullshit. You know they’re probably some good physics papers, but there’s there’s just you know exercise science literature is kind of like that. It just didn’t make any sense.

Let’s see. Oh yeah. Here this is. This is an interesting. This is an interesting thing here. USAPL [note: American Drug Free Powerlifting dba USA Powerlifting] has said that they’re going to ban people who are transgender from competing. And I want to point out the fact that as I talked about last week, the United States Strengthlifting Federation has come up with a perfectly equitable way around this that doesn’t ban anyone. It doesn’t ban anyone.

USAPL since their inception has been about not PL [powerlifting] but about “drug free.” Their primary emphasis since their inception has been opposing the use of drugs and this clouds their judgment because they’re going to ban people on this basis and they do this all the time. USSF allows transgender people to compete in the Open division. It restricts the Women’s division to congenital females but a congenital female can compete in the Women’s division and anybody else can compete in a USSF meet — without being banned — in the Open division. Now I don’t know how you get more fair than that. Ok.

If you have advantages with respect to male baseline performance or you are transitioning with the use of testosterone you can’t lift in the Women’s division because that’s not fair, for all of the reasons we discussed last week. But you can lift in the Open division. Now why doesn’t USAPL adopt a different policy for their divisions and save all of this heartache? We are leading the way here. United States Strengthlifting Federation leads the way. This is the only answer to this problem and I suggest that others need to follow this lead because it’s it’s going to save everybody a lot of trouble. If you want to maintain Women’s sports. This is the only way to do it. So think about that, okay.

Now, I also note that CrossFit is going to start permitting trans women in the Women’s division of the CrossFit games. Doesn’t the CrossFit Games have a…have prize money? They do? There’s gonna be a lawsuit, isn’t there? Wonder when that’ll happen. Well, it’ll be interesting to see.

And then one more little thing before we move on here. I’ve got and we’ve been we well we’ll put these links up somewhere. Where did we put those last time? End of the…or in the transcript. Link and the transcripts go on Starting Strength dot com under podcast. So you can…if you want this stuff I’ve got on the table here, printed out, the link to it will be available.

Here’s a few things that came in over the week. Franklin Pierce University runner by the name of CeCe Telfer competed on the men’s team in early 2018 before switching to the women’s team fifteen months later. And since that switch Telfer has dominated the NCAA Division 2 competition, Division 2 competition, and led the women’s team at Franklin Pierce University into the top twenty-five for the first time ever.

It’s interesting…Telfer is one of the fastest runners in the NCAA women’s track and field division, in any division. not just D2 but D1 as well. And you know the competition and this Telfer competed on Franklin Pierce’s men’s team as recently as January 2018 again. Fifteen months ago this individual was competing in the men’s division and now the women’s team that she is on is dominating the women’s division.

But here’s the interesting thing about this article and the primary reason I saved it for you. The NCAA in 2011 published what they call an “explainer.” This is apparently like a position statement or something that is weighty, right. And they are generously explaining to us fools that it is not well-founded..”not well-founded” is the quote “to assume that being born with a male body automatically gives a transgender woman an unfair advantage when competing against non-transgender women.” Quoting “transgender women display a great deal of physical variation just as there is a great deal of natural variation in physical size and ability among non-transgender women and men.”.

Well now that’s helpful, isn’t it? So, a transgender woman is a male to female transition. And they’ve patiently explained to us that there is a great deal of natural variation in physical size and ability among humans. Both male and female humans.

Now I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate the NCAA taking their time to explain to us that there are tall women and short women and tall men and short men and big men and small men and big women and small women and athletically-gifted women and athletically-gifted men. I really appreciate the patient explanation here because prior to that you and I would not have…you know…internalized that observation.

“A male to female transgender woman may be small and slight even if she’s not on hormone blockers or taking estrogen. It is important not to overgeneralize. The assumption that all male-bodied people are taller, stronger, and more highly-skilled in a sport than all female- bodied people is not accurate.” It continues.

And once again, what a wonderful clarification this is…for you know, me and you, right. Because if anyone has the moral authority to pontificate about athletics it would be the NCAA, wouldn’t it?

Furthermore I want you guys to go look something up for me as an individual by the name of Hannah Mouncey…m-o-u-n-c-e-y…who plays for the Australian men’s handball team, but is now playing for the Australian women’s handball team and played Australian rules football between transitioning and switching to women’s handball. So this individual now plays women’s handball. There is a video of Hannah Mouncey on the field with the other women in the division. I want you to go look at that. It’s very enlightening.

And our friend Rachel McKinnon the biologically-male college professor who identifies as a transgender woman and subsequently won a women’s cycling world championship in October in the women’s sprint 35 to 39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.

Isn’t that interesting. Cycling also starts Masters at 35. Masters at 35. Oh shit, Masters ought to be 50 as far as I’m concerned, Masters ought to be 50. It’s 30 in jiu-jitsu…what in the hell?

Like the masters to after five masters nine. That’s like belts. They got purple and blue and indigo and midnight blue and all these things so that everyone can win first place. Right? You could enter a powerlifting meet — I don’t know about now, but when I got mad, long time ago because you can enter a powerlifting meet in sub-masters, Men’s, drug-free, raw, raw or geared, right? So what happened was I was announcing this meet and there were there were a hundred and twenty-five — and I vaguely remember these numbers — one hundred and twenty-five people in the meet and there were so many divisions that there were a hundred and four first place trophies.

Now I may be off a few here… a hundred and four first place trophies that I…but I was actually reading the results of this thing. Blah blah blah…First place…blah blah blah blah blah…First place blah blah blah blah blah…First place. At about seventy-five awards into the deal I said “Let me take a second here to point out the fact that if everyone wins first place, no one won first place.” And they didn’t ask me back. That was the last meet I announced in Texas. Oh God Almighty, but that was that was funny.

So anyway, Rachel McKinnon here was quoted in USA Today arguing against against requiring biological males to suppress testosterone as a requirement for competing against women. Now isn’t that astonishing she’s actually, well, Rachel is actually arguing against the requirements for biological males to suppress testosterone for competing against women. Let that soak in just a second kiddos. Quote “We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society and not be recognized that way in sports. Although she doesn’t really mention her reasoning there. McKinnon told USA Today “Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.”.

I see you shaking your head. So let me read this again. This is just this is daft and…And see once here again, they are relying on to you to just nod your head in agreement because this is such lunacy. “Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics we should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.”

In other words, why compete? Because that’s what that means. Why would there be a competition? Why have a Women’s division. And as I said last week, those of you who are interested in maintaining Women’s sports competition had better arrive at the conclusion very soon. You’re going to have to do this. We can’t do it for you. You’re going to have to be mad about it.

You’re going to have to tell people that you don’t think it’s fair and that you’re not going to go along with it and you’re not going to sit down and shut up and be sweet and kind and nice while somebody else takes this away from you. You’re not taking it away from me. They’re taking it away from you and it’s time to stand up on your hind legs and do something about it. Otherwise it’s going away. There is no other…if Rachel McKinnon’s analysis here is correct, you all are done. And this has to be dealt with now. Okay?

So that having been said, I thought what we would do today is dive in to the neuromuscular efficiency situation because it directly relates to what we’ve talked about before. Neuromuscular efficiency, very quickly, is the ability of the muscle, of the motor units of the muscle, the smallest components of the muscle of the neuromuscular system — one motor neuron and all of the muscle fibers that neuron is attached, to that it innervates. Neuromuscular efficiency is the ability to call motor units into contraction rapidly. Right.

Let’s say you have the ability to, in a very short period of time, call 30 percent of your motor units into contraction, in say, the space of a half second. That means you’re not very explosive. In contrast, if you have the ability to call 65-70 percent of your motor units into contraction in that same very short period of time, then you are what we call explosive. And your neuromuscular efficiency is higher than that of a person with a lower, with a less efficient ability to cause motor units to enter into contraction, voluntarily, right now.

This test, the test called the standing vertical jump is a very reliable indicator of neuromuscular efficiency. And briefly, the standing vertical jump test is where you measure the distance — and this is using a device called a vertex or it can be used by chalked hand on a wall. You’re measuring the difference between the test subject’s upraised hands standing flat-footed and the test subject’s height of the upraised hand at the top of a jump, at the top of a rebound-initiated stretch-reflex jump up in the air. And the the test is valuable in that the downward path the eccentric component of a of a standing vertical job or any any stretch-reflex jump takes a little bit longer than the upward phase the concentric phase, the phase that produces the knee, hip, ankle extension and therefore the phase that accelerates your body’s mass up off of the ground.

And the time in which this takes place is less than a half second. I don’t have the actual data on it but my observations of people doing this for years indicates to me that it’s probably 0.3 point, 0.35 seconds. The phase of the of the jump that actually is the part that accelerates the body’s mass off of the ground. The downward part, a stretch-reflex (And try to jump up in the air without doing this. It’s built into your nervous system into your DNA. This is just the way humans do this)…tThe downward phase which takes a little bit longer than that is…functions essentially as a signal for the more efficient recruitment of motor units into contraction during the concentric phase. So the downward stretch-reflex tells the muscles, tells the neuromuscular system, we’re about to require a strong concentric contraction to jump up in the air. So you lower yourself, stretch the muscles out, and then shorten them violently and the distance that you are carried up into the air by your concentric contraction, that thing that takes place in point three seconds, third of a second maybe, is a direct measurement of how much of your muscle mass how — another way to say how many of your motor units — got recruited into contraction in that very, very short period of time. The more motor units you can recruit into contraction in a very short period of time the more explosive you are and you can see how this is true.

Explosive ability, as it turns out, is largely untrainable, Standing vertical jumps improve by 10 to 15 percent most of the time. Exceptionally good strength and conditioning programs might generate a 20 percent increase in standing vertical jump, but no one doubles their ability to standing vertical jump. That only happens on the Internet and it doesn’t occur in real life.

0.3 seconds is not a very long period of time and if you are able to generate enough force in point three seconds worth of concentric contraction to carry your body’s own mass up into the air a distance measured at the top of the upraised hand of thirty-six inches, then you are a freak. You are an exceptional-talented athlete. That ability cannot be trained and it cannot be modified as it turns out much by anabolic steroids and testosterone either. All right. This is one of the things that happens in utero. This is part of that baseline that males acquire that females don’t. Because neuromuscular efficiency is a function of early exposure in the womb to testosterone. It changes more than just little boys’ and little girls’ tee-tees. It changes their neuromuscular machinery and makes men inherently more explosive.

Now there are overlaps, right. Where’d my new drawing go, right? See there’s overlap. See the overlap? We understand there’s overlap. There are exceptional women. There are less than exceptional men. But by and large the generalized difference in neuromuscular efficiency between men and women is quite profound. And this is evidenced by the average men’s and average women’s vertical jump. Average men’s vertical jump is 22 inches, average women’s is 14. Likewise the men’s records are forty-six and 30 respectively, forty-six and thirty. Thirty being the women’s vertical jump, standing vertical jump record. It’s quite a bit of difference. And it’s proportional to the average difference you might notice. In other words, the best woman that’s ever been tested only jumped 30 inches compared to the best man who’s ever been tested who jumped forty-six. Now I don’t know what else you need to know, okay, to make the point that neuromuscular efficiency is bequeathed to a person through things that are not their own efforts.

All right you can’t train a standing vertical jump very much. And they’ll probably somebody posting on the YouTube comments about you wanting to visit their website where they can take you from an 18 to a 36. If you don’t have anything to do right now go ahead and go to the website and you’ll find that you’re not talking about a standing vertical jump, a counter-movement jump with no step. We’re not talking about jumping up on a box, we’re not talking about jumping over a car on a dead run, we’re not talking about any of these other things. We’re talking about the largely untrainable, largely unpracticeable standing vertical jump.

So there are differences between men and women. You kinda knew that, all right, and there are going to be people that insist that there aren’t and these people are fools. Fools. And they’re liars.

If they really know what’s going on and they continue to say that, they’re liars.

Skipping ahead, we know that there are differences between men and women’s physical performance capacities as a result of that. And what are those differences and what do they have to do with training? Training men and training women, by and large, are two completely different things. All right.

Now if you’re trying to compare a 65-year-old man with an 18-year-old college scholarship female athlete that is not the kind of thing that we’re talking about here. Because once again the overlap map that I just modified for you with my green highlighter and not a crayon, shows that there are in fact overlaps. We’re not saying there’s not any overlap. Given the fact that we’re talking about averages here, when people walk in your gym, if a 28-year-old woman walks in your gym and a 28-year-old man walks in your gym what do you do differently between the two? Because this has to be addressed if you’re going to be an effective coach of strength for these two people. They’re not the same. They can’t be treated the same.

Women — and the reason for this is neuromuscular efficiency — as a general rule, women can produce a higher percentage set of five of their 1 rep max than men. As a general rule, in fact it’s so general a rule that it’s essentially always the case that a female will be able to do a five rep max within perhaps three percent of her 1 rep max. In other words, if a 28-year-old woman comes in the gym and she’s benching one hundred and five pounds for a for a max single…slow, grindey, max single. You can get her to do one. She will be able to do a set of five with 100 pounds, maybe a hundred and one, maybe a hundred and two pounds. And this is just what happens.

I’ve been in this business for 42 years and I’m telling you that this is what occurs. This is not speculation. This is the this is the phenomenon that we see and those of you women know this. You’ve observed it about your own training. You might have wondered why this is the case since your husband if he’s benching three fifty he can only do maybe 305 for a triple. It’s a it’s a different thing entirely.

The fact that he’s doing 300 and you’re doing 100 ought to tell you something. But just in case it doesn’t, measure the difference between your 1 rep max and your set of 5 and his. All right, if he’s doing 350 I’d say his set of 5 is probably no more than, oh maybe 275..280…285 at the most. His triple will be 315..310. Maybe 310 on a set of on a on a single at 350. Yours on the other hand would never look like that. It will never get that way with training either. You will always be able to do a higher percentage of your 1 rep max for set of 5 and the reason for this is that a 1 rep max for a woman and a 1 rep max for a man are two different neuromuscular events. A 1 rep max for a male is probably about a ninety-seven, ninety-eight, possibly ninety ninety-eight percen…ninety-six to ninety-eight percent neuromuscular recruitment event, motor unit recruitment event. A man might be able to to recruit ninety-seven percent of all of his motor units into a 1 rep max effort whereas for a female it’s probably somewhere between 85 and 90 and that is all.

They’re profoundly different events and this has to be taken into account because this also means that a heavy set of five for a male and a heavy set of five for a female are also…there also two different neuromuscular events. And they have different training effects on the person doing the lifting. So a heavy set of five for a male, three heavy sets of five across, represents the training of more motor units than three sets of five across for a female.

This is a material fact that cannot be ignored. Now what typically we will do is keep men on sets of five all the way through their novice linear progression, but after a couple of months when things start to slow down for females what we will do is switch to triples. We will go from three sets of five to five sets of three because sets of three represent for her probably the equivalent or close enough to it motor unit recruitment event that a set of five does for a male.

And that may not even be true, but we have found through practice that going to sets of three gets us further along in the novice linear progression, adding a little weight every workout three days a week, than it does to leave her at sets of five. She’ll get stuck in sets of five whereas she won’t get stuck at sets of three. So we one of the one of the important things that we’ll do different is move over to sets of three. This allows us to more effectively train the people who are paying us to train them.

We are responsible for knowing this. And if you don’t understand this you’re not going to be an effective coach. OK this has, so this has this kind of thing has ramifications all throughout women’s training. Three sets of five for a guy when it’s heavy is a hell of a bunch work. All right. Even five sets of three for a female is not quite as much work. Now this has some interesting implications for rest between sets.

Now why do we need to change numbers of reps. Let’s think about this clearly — sets of five are not as hard for women as they are for men. Sets are five for women are in fact not hard enough to continue driving a stress-recovery-adaptation cycle for much longer than a couple of months. When we first start out it’s just fine, but soon we need to maintain the efficiency of the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle and that’s facilitated by going up in intensity. By going from fives to threes, which are heavier than fives, and maintaining the same amount of volume by going to five sets as well.

And I mentioned rest time between these sets…when you have, say a late-stage strong novice man doing 405 for three sets of five across, his rest time between those sets might be 10 or 15 minutes. There are probably not any instances of women requiring any more than five minutes at most between those work sets. Maybe probably three minutes is a closer a closer estimate because of the fact that even a set of three is not as fatiguing an event as a set of five for a male. They’re not lifting as much weight, the weight they are lifting is not as big a percentage of their 1 rep max it’s just not as taxing, and as a result of this women should not rest as long between sets as men must do.

This also has some implications for how frequently women can train. Women can probably train more frequently than men if they need to. And in terms of training the deadlift we usually recommend that especially in the novice phase that that men only do one heavy set of five deadlifts because for men the deadlift is such a fatiguing event that more than one set of deadlifts is not productive for people in that phase of their training, that phase of their level of training advancement.

Women on the other hand can always do sets across deadlifts, 2…3 sets across does not represent the same kind of a killer stress that it would for men because once again women are not recruiting as many motor units into any contraction as men are and this is a terribly important thing to keep in mind. So there are very very important reasons why women must be trained differently than men.

Now here’s another ramification of this thing and I had to learn this the hard way a long time ago. When you are taking…you’re coaching a woman at a power meet or a strengthlifting meet or even an Olympic weightlifting meet, you have to understand that since she can do a higher percentage of her 1RM for a set of five that this means quite plainly that her first attempt and her third attempt will be much closer together than will a man’s. A male’s first attempt in general should be a weight that he can triple. A male’s second attempt should be a weight that he knows he can single easily and the third attempt should be, if if conditions permit that day, an attempt at a 1RM PR. All right. Or at least should be the max 1RM he thinks he can do that day.

For a female competitor things are or quite a bit different. I took a lady to a meet a long time ago and we’d been our training had been going pretty well and I didn’t know this at the time. I was young and dumb and I did not understand the important things I’m telling you right now. She opened her deadlift at 100 kilos, 220, and just blew it off the floor, just absolutely exploded the thing up off the floor. And I thought, Oh God Almighty, she’s going to do 242 today. So I took her up to 237, 107.5, kilos because at the time powerlifting was still mired in the two and a half kilo jump thing. And I don’t know are there any federations that have gotten enough sense to use a one kilo rule in powerlifting? I don’t think so. You guys listen carefully to this because that’s stupid. All right. I took her up to one of seven and a half for her second attempt and that thing was stapled to the floor. Wouldn’t move. Got one deadlift for the day and that’s my fault. That was my fault for not understanding that if there’s a two and a half kilo rule that women go two and a half kilo jumps only. You don’t do seven and a half kilo jumps. That’s stupid. Two thirty one might possibly. Probably not. Probably would not and probably would go on for, for a second attempt. But 237 would have never gone that day. She would have ended up with a second attempt at two thirty one and that was my fault. We should have gone 220, should have gone 100 kilos 102 and 105. That’s all we should have done. And I learned that that day something was different.

I had a another woman training in the gym with me all along about the same time as I was waking up to this effect and I wanted to see how many incline benches she could do. So we loaded, oh something like eighty-five pounds on the bar, she’s pretty strong. Because I had noticed that men would reach failure at a set of five and that and that that after that you could give that same male a forced rep or two. And a forced rep is where you help them up…with the negative and allow them to control that eccentric back down.

And I found, and still hold the position that that most men with a max set of five can control the eccentric descent of a sixth rep pretty well, but that the seventh rep is going to crash on them. Because they are fatigued and they’re used up.

I put eighty-five on the bar for her. She…I knew this was going to be all she could do for a set of five. She did five reps, tried to give her the sixth, tried a sixth, I had to help her up with the sixth. I helped her with the concentric phase of thirteen more reps and she easily controlled the descent on all 13 of those reps. And I finally just got tired of standing there and I put the bar in the rack. She controlled 13 reps on the way down where a male could have done two. This is a direct effect a direct look into the neuromuscular efficiency of the reps that had preceded in that set of five. None of them were very hard whereas for him they would have been enough to completely fatigue the system so that two forced reps would be all he could have done.

So keep all these facts in mind. If you are training women, you have to understand the profound differences in physical capacity between men and women, you have to understand the effect that these variables play with respect to your programming for them for sets and reps, for rest times and for ultimate PRs and the way you’re going to plan for new PRs and the way that all of training is is arranged. It is…these things are extremely important and it all goes back to the to the primary observation that men and women respond differently to physical stress and adapt differently to physical stress because they all have they have different baseline levels of neuromuscular efficiency and that that is not a function of current levels of testosterone, it’s a function of in utero levels of testosterone.

So yes, the IOC is wrong. Yes, the NCAA is wrong. Yes, all of these bodies that are pandering to politicians and activists are wrong. Some things are just the way they are. The sun comes up in the East, not the West, not even the Northeast. It comes up in the East, depending on your latitude. of course. And you must. You are responsible for all of this stuff because the facts are the facts and playing games with yourself and lying to yourself and lying to other people is not productive.

So that’s podcast number two. Hope you got something out of it. We’re planning on these every week and we would like for you to join us. Look at the links below. There’s an audio download. You can listen to this in the car, you can watch it here. And as always, if you’ve got any suggestions for questions you’d like addressed. And I’m not talking about “Ask Rip” questions, I’m talking about real questions not like my movies, you know, favorite color and shit like that, but actual questions. Turn them in to us and we’ll eventually get around to it. Thanks for watching this. We’ll see you next time.

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13 Jun

The incline dumbbell press is one of, if not the most effective exercise for targeting the upper portion of the chest. This move has been a staple in the chest routines of bodybuilders for many decades.

So, you may be asking, if it’s not broke, why try to fix it?

It’s not that this upper-chest exercise needs fixing, per se, but there is a way to make a good thing even better. In fact, one simple adjustment is all it takes to turn a good exercise into a muscle-growing great one.

A Minor Tweak for Major Results

The dumbbells don’t have to be in a perfect parallel position, but if you turn them so your palms face each other a little more, you’ll find that your shoulders and elbows also make the adjustment, allowing you to lower the weights farther on each rep. This gives you a deeper stretch in the upper pecs and helps keep tension on them longer.

As you press back up, you’ll also feel an even greater contraction at the top. If you stop just short of lockout and prevent the triceps from taking over, then the tension will stay exactly where you want it to: on the chest muscles.

Weighing the Benefits of a Neutral Grip

When you try this for yourself, you’ll likely have to use a slightly lighter weight than normal. Your ego will have to suck it up, though, because your chest won’t be familiar with the way you’re moving the dumbbells. So, using less resistance will help you grow comfortable with the movement.

Once you grow acquainted with this new grip and start getting stronger, you’ll notice your shoulders won’t be nearly as involved in the pressing as they were with the traditional version of this exercise. This, along with stopping short of lockout, makes the neutral-grip incline press more of an isolation exercise, which gives you better chest activation during the movement.

Applying This to Your Chest-Training Program

If you’re looking for a chest exercise that works well for your warm-up and working sets alike, try this version of the incline dumbbell press. For your working sets, begin with a set of 12 reps, followed by 10 reps, 8 reps, and finally 6 reps. Add weight as the reps decrease.

You can also use this exercise if you are looking to build up your strength on the flat bench press or incline barbell bench press. Use the lowest incline on the adjustable bench and perform 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps with heavy weight while maintaining good form. The strength you’ll gain from this exercise will transfer to whichever version of the barbell press you’re looking to improve.

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13 Jun

From the Archives: The Stiff-Legged Deadlift

by Mark Rippetoe | May 05, 2019

Mark Rippetoe and Chase Lindley demonstrate the correct execution of the stiff-legged deadlift.

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