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02 Dec

Executive Protection with John Musser; Are You a Spotter or a Panic-Stricken Rep Stealer?; Starting Strength in College Athletics; Simple. Hard. Obviously.; Intro to Pain Science; 10 Essential Quotes for the Strength Trainee; Your Gut, Your Health, and Situps; Trap Bar; Is Practical Programming all you need for life?
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25 Nov

November 25, 2019


Announcements

  • The NEW Starting Strength Poster is out! Drawn by SS:BBT3 illustrator Jason Kelly, it’s a new and updated explanation of the importance of Strength as the primary contributor to Performance and Life: See in store
Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel


Articles
Training Log
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

lala duncan coaches angel blount through the squat teaching methodlala duncan coaches angel blount through the squat teaching method
Lala Duncan takes Angel Blount through the squat teaching method during the Squat Coach Development Camp held at Fivex3 Training in Baltimore. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
michael boyle coaches eric strong at the coach development campmichael boyle coaches eric strong at the coach development camp
Michael Boyle coaches Eric Strong at the same event. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]


Best of the Week

Strength/Conditioning Combo?
PrimalFish

I was just reading over a quote of yours on why 5s are so useful, where you give the extremes of 1s and 20s as an example on both sides of the spectrum.


You end by saying: “Sets of five reps are a very effective compromise for the novice, and even for the advanced lifter more interested in strength than in muscular endurance. They allow enough weight to be used that force production must increase, but they are not so heavy that the cardiovascular component is completely absent from the exercise. Sets of five may be the most useful rep range you will use over your entire training career, and as long as you lift weights, sets of five will be important.”

I was just wondering if this means sets of 1 (more realistically sets of 1-3 only) could be used exclusively for the trainee only concerned with strength when it comes to lifting. Could a combination of only training singles, doubles, and sometimes triples, (and never 4s and 5s) produce better and quicker pure strength gains than 5s?

Also, I’d like to know how useful the “muscular endurance” you mentioned is to a lifter who just wants to be strong? What is muscular endurance really, and what is practical real-world use and translation of it? If someone could get very strong never going above 3s, what would they lack by not having the muscular endurance higher reps train?

I’m wondering if a good combination for someone who just wants to be strong and somewhat cardio-conditioned could be training exclusively with singles, doubles, and occasional triples and then running some sprints or pushing the prowler once a week or so. The shorter lifting sets would lack the cardio component I feel on sets of 5, but I feel the sprints produce a similar cardio feeling and could train that aspect. The only gap I see and am unsure about is that I see how the sprints are not really training “muscular endurance” and only cardiovascular endurance. Does this mean this type of setup/combination would leave some detrimental gap in training?

Or maybe there is something I am missing entirely in regard to volume and muscle-building that helps with strength gains that 5s are more helpful for?

Mark Rippetoe

Maybe. Try it and see. Most people train for the overall effects of the program. You may be different. Try it and see.

Seems to me that since 5s provide all the cardiovascular work you need for just walking-around health, you’d just do the 5s. But if you want to reinvent the wheel, try it and see.

Maybe you’re missing the part about the millions of people over the past 100 years who have tried every permutation of training and have concluded that 5s are the best rep-range for strength and conditioning.

Mark E. Hurling

I am currently using an old school Hepburn routine with sets of singles increasing from 6 to 10 with deload/dynamic effort/speed sets interspersed every 3 weeks. It hasn’t hurt my VO2 max any, I test in the 38-42 range which is way up in the excellent end of the scale for the 65+ geezers. My heart rate hovers in the 70-80% range during these lifting sessions. I do back it up with several other days per week of straight conditioning work as well, so it may not be an apples to apples comparison for what you are looking at. I have no idea if my age (69) is a factor in this.

Maybe getting or borrowing a heart rate monitor for some lifting sessions might give you some data to look at for yourself.

PrimalFish

Cool, glad to hear I’m not way off with this line of thinking. Gonna try it out and see. Truth be told, I just really enjoy lifting in the 1-3 rep range allot more then 5s and when I read your quote about lower reps being best for straight up force production (or strength) that’s what got me thinking about this. I go for a walk everyday anyway and don’t mind throwing in some sprints here and there to keep cardio up. So this way of training just sounds great to me. Excited to apply it and try it out.

It seems you know more about how to set up low-rep set type training then me; I have to look into this more (or experiment) and figure out how much volume I need to make progress. I’ll look into Hepburn routine. Thanks!

Zappey1

I was just talking about this the other day. The only problem when you do reps of 1-2-3 is it is hard to add weight because it is so close to your 1RM. If I’m doing a work out of 5×5 at 70% ish it is easy to add 5ish pounds almost every week for a long period. If I’m doing a work out at lets say five heavy singles or 3×5 at 95% or 85% of my 1RM it is going to be almost impossible to add any weight for more than a few weeks.

You do need a combination of both. Several weeks of 5s followed by a few weeks of 3s followed by a peaking phase. It is covered pretty well in Practical Programming.

Mark Rippetoe

Yes, if you’re an advanced lifter.

PrimalFish

This is what I don’t really understand – why are you not able to keep adding weight? I read practical programming, but I don’t think I fully grasp the concepts of volume and intensity and why they are both needed. Also, balancing workload with recovery.

I think about Rip’s famous suntan analogy – you need more stress each time for more results – and then about his quote on 1-20 reps and low reps being best for straight up force production. So if I come in and do 315×2 then my body needs to recover from that stress and make it stronger for next session where I should be able to do 317.15 or 320×2. Why do we eventually hit a wall where this cannot go on any further?. I really don’t know. Obviously you’re not gonna come in just do 1 set of 2 reps and get up to a 700 pound squat…but I really don’t know why. I think it’s because you need more volume to create more stress, but not so much that you can’t recover from it. But, I don’t really know why we need the volume and why intensity is not enough.

So my plan for now is that Im gonna just do 1 double and see if I can add weight the next session. If I can’t, I will do 2 doubles, the 3 for more volume. I want to experiment with this and do the minimum amount of sets to keep making strength gains. I’m going to train exclusively in the 1-3 rep range because I prefer it and it seems it is best for pure strength gains which is all I care about when lifting weights. I can get my conditioning pushing the prowler or sprinting once a week.

I get the feeling that I’m missing something with this line of thinking, but Im gonna test it out and see how it works.

If someone could explain why we need volume (or point me in that direction) that would be really cool. Thank you.

Mark Rippetoe

Maybe you’re missing the part about the millions of people over the past 100 years who have tried every permutation of training and have concluded that 5s are the best rep-range for strength and conditioning.

PrimalFish

I hear you Rip; sets of 5 are the best rep range for strength AND Conditioning – it’s like an extremely efficient jack of all trades rep range, nothing else needed to get both strong and conditioned for most. I see you’re not a fan of trying to separate these components, whereas I am – just a personal preference. I was thinking I could make the strength training component even more focused on pure strength gains and just do the conditioning work on another day – this only came to mind after reading your quote that lower reps are best for pure strength (but sacrifice the conditioning component – I hear you loud and clear on this). But like I said, since I personally wouldn’t mind separating them (and would even enjoy it) it is something I would be willing to experiment with. I’m gonna go with your first comment to try it out and see how it works out. Thanks again.


Best of the Forum

Training after a bend
Drmwc

I picked up a vestibular bend last weekend on a dive. It was on a conservative dive profile, so I am very likely to have a PFO. I had a week in the pot; and now I have recovered. I fancy getting back under a barbell later today. It feels wise to reset and take it easy for a week or two. Other than this, is anyone aware of any restrictions this could place on my lifting, either over the shorter or longer term?

Mark Rippetoe

You’ll have to explain to us rubes how you know that a patent foramen ovale is the cause of your decompression problems.

Drmwc

The diving docs think a PFO is very likely. I saw a few; they were unanimous.

My bend was in the inner ear. (I believe the area affected is actually the cerebellum rather than the ear fluids.) The most likely explanation for my bend is that nitrogen rich blood shunted through the PFO to the arterial blood. It’s not 100% that this was the cause; however this bend type, if there was a conservative dive profile, is highly correlated with PFOs.

I will get a test at some point.

Mark Rippetoe

I’d like to hear about why you think that nitrogen saturation has a gradient within the circulatory system. Is it being sequestered by some mechanism I don’t know about?

Drmwc

I am not an expert on decompression theory. With that caveat, my understanding is:

My dive was to 31m. I was breathing air. At this depth, the pressure is roughly 4 atmospheres. Air is roughly 79% nitrogen, so I was breathing in nitrogen at around 3.2 time atmospheric pressure. The tissues would still contain nitrogen at roughly .79 atmospheres’ pressure.

So at this point of the dive, I was on- gassing. My tissues were absorbing pressurised nitrogen. Different tissues absorb and release nitrogen at different rates. (My dive computer uses a common algorithm which assumes 16 tissue compartments, all with different half lives for absorption.)

Later, I slowly ascended. Then my tissues started to off-gas. So the tissues absorb oxygen from the blood, and off-gas the pressurised nitrogen they absorbed earlier. So the venal blood contains micro-bubbles of nitrogen from the off-gas get process.

My bend happened 40 minutes after the dive. Arterial blood at this point should come straight from the lungs, so be oxygen rich and have few (if any) nitrogen bubbles. However, my slower tissue compartments were still off-gassing, and so the venal blood was nitrogen rich.

Following the shunt, the arterial blood gas nitrogen by bubbles, all hell breaks loose and the bubbles become big.

pendaluft

It’s an interesting question. Without the PFO, bubbles formed on the venous side would get filtered by the lungs. With the PFO, they can enter cerebral circulation. Bubbles formed on the arterial side will likely stick where they form (joints, tissues) and not come back to wind up in the brain.


At least, I think so. Tough research to do and a lot of it is modelling. Sample sizes of actual subjects are usually small. Like this tiny series: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27334999

But I am interested in the question of lifting weights after decompression illness. I haven’t thought about that, opinions there would be welcome.

Mark Rippetoe

Got it. The pressure causes the gradient due to abnormal absorption in the tissues. Sounds to me like your PFO was benign when you were training before, and it will be benign when you train now. The bubbles are gone, right? Just don’t train at 4 atmospheres.

Drmwc

Sounds reasonable. I will lift later today.

Jonathon Sullivan

It’s always the sports and activities in the z-axis that get you.


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20 Nov

October 07, 2019


Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Exercise and Diet – In the third installment of our series on Type II Diabetes, Sully discusses the power of diet and exercise for metabolic disease and why there is no one-size-fits-all lifestyle prescription for diabetes.


Articles
Training Log
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

dumbell presses at the strong kids contestdumbell presses at the strong kids contest
Three young lifters compete in the StrongKids Contest at Fivex3 Training in Baltimore, MD. [photo courtesy of Juliana Molina]
carry at strongkids contestcarry at strongkids contest
A competitor at the StrongKids event hurries with the carry while the audience cheers her on. [photo courtesy of Juliana Molina]
bench press lockout seoul koreabench press lockout seoul korea

A lifter bench locks out a bench press at the Starting Strength Press & Bench Press Training Camp in Seoul, Korea this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
jeff hairston coaches bill dillenger squatjeff hairston coaches bill dillenger squat
Starting Strength Coach Jeff Hairston coaches Bill Dillinger at The Strength Co. in Orange County California. [photo courtesy of Ron Mitchell]


Best of the Week

Thinking outside the box for disabilities
Tammy

I’m a 59 yr old female with multiple sclerosis and have been utilizing SS techniques for the last 3 1/2 years. My husband and trainer (evidently you must have an incurable degenerative disease for a spouse to work) has been outstanding for helping me to achieve success for squat, deadlift, press, and bench press. I utilize bent over rows and lat pulls as well. He had always been able to approach a lift from a different perspective to trick my body into performing a lift my brain says I cannot do mostly due to balance. SSC, Phil Meggers in Omaha (60 miles away) has been very helpful as well.

Question – what can I do to help my recent (last 3 months) loss of strength in my upper body? Press is very difficult as much of my strength is lost due to maintaining my balance. Bench press has diminished as well. It took me 6 months to do a body weight squat (mostly due to proprioception issues) and now squat to depth with 115 lb. for 3 sets of 5. I lost strength in the deadlift as well at one time and now I’ve set a new PR at 155 lbs. for a set of 5 when my husband introduced rows (you would think I would face plant – go figure). I am relatively sure my brain creates new pathways which would explain the ability to achieve success over time. I train seniors and others with disabilities using your tried and true method in our home gym. If you can help me, others will certainly benefit. Any input or criticism concerning regaining my upper body strength is greatly appreciated.

Mark Rippetoe

Have you had a flare recently that would account for the loss of strength, or has this just become apparent with training?

Tammy

I no longer have relapsing remitting MS and now am the proud owner of secondary progressive MS. Loosely translated, this means I have no real exacerbations to speak of it’s simply a downhill slide. When I experienced this same decrease in muscle strength in squats my husband had me lift as heavy as I could for three sets of three and deload (80-90%) for volume. A very slow process but I was able to set new PRs. Two days of rows and one deadlift day boosted my deadlift strength. I have implemented this same routine in the bench and am seeing some improvement. This program change is not working for my press.

I believe my struggle with balance is affecting my strength to press and may be partly responsible for strength loss. I press because there is no replacement and even though balance is hard it probably helps me hold on to the balance I have for a longer duration. MS goes everywhere I go but strength allows me to captain the ship even if I don’t have control over the weather. So, any suggestions for program or exercise selection to improve or maintain press strength? We are hoping to obtain a taller power rack shortly so I can fence myself in and provide some level of safety to press. This set-up works well for another MSer I train in our gym who is shorter. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

For what it’s worth to anyone else out there with with a degenerative disease, strength training is so worth it. I suspect I have more pain because I lift but the discipline and concentration it takes to lift provides a very decent coping mechanism much better than narcotics. My neurologist is very interested in a study for this type of training. After all, 3 1/2 years ago I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs.

Mark Rippetoe

This is very important: in your situation, DO NOT DO SETS ACROSS OR BACKOFF SETS FOR VOLUME. Warm up to your workset numbers, do them, err on the side of lower tonnage/heavier weight, and stop. You do not need a lot of tonnage to get stronger, and if you overtrain this condition you will cause problems. Do not get hot/sweaty/tired, just go up to your work weight, do a set or two, and stop.

Will Morris

A data point that would be helpful would be to see how much different your strength is in a “seated, back supported shoulder press” is compared to your press. As Rip just said, I am much more in favor of training MS patients with extremely high weight for repeated singles or doubles with long rest periods. Fatigue is the enemy here.


Best of the Forum

Functional Fitness
Jabir Muhammad

Mark, how do you explain to physical therapists and strength and conditioning coaches who pontificate on the necessity to build strength in the transverse and frontal planes with, for example, landmines and lateral lunges that the most optimal way to build strength is with basic barbell movements in the sagittal plane, which develops strength that can then be expressed multi-planarly during athletic performance?

I can’t stand to see my kids performing ridiculous looking movements under the guise of “functional” fitness.

Mark Rippetoe

I have an article that will on T-Nation this Wednesday that will deal with this, among other things. Here is an excerpt:

“An interesting phenomenon, “functional training” is a fairly recent development in S&C. Derived from the practice of Physical Therapy with injured and sick patients, it primarily relies on the use of sub-maximal (light) weights moved through varying ranges of motion in the context of solving a balance problem. The term “functional” is used because it is thought to be more like normal human movement, and therefore more closely mimics the “function” of normal movement patterns than machine-based exercise. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to improve on machine-based exercises. In most cases, the ability to balance the body and the relatively light load is the limiting factor in the amount of weight used in the exercises, not the weight itself.

The theory is apparently that ipsilateral and contralateral movements are so useful in developing “the core” – the muscles that stabilize the spine – that they are therefore sufficient for the production of useable athletic strength, to the extent that heavy barbell exercises are not necessary. Apparently spinal stability is unimportant in a 600 deadlift. The athlete is instead placed in positions of inherent instability and expected to perform stably, damn the force production, damn the increase in force production, and damn the heavy deadlifts.

If it seems obvious that light weights cannot improve strength, and that practices of even dubious effectiveness when used with injured populations have no bearing on healthy young athletes, that’s because it really is. Despite this obvious silliness, many S&C programs around the country have devolved into programs that produce neither strength nor conditioning, under the guise of being “functional.”

It’s important to remember that you can fall down while squatting, pressing, and deadlifting heavy weights, and you learn not to the first day of training. But the balance problem remains as a factor to be dealt with every time you train, even as strength increases rapidly under the bar. The fact that you don’t fall down means that you’ve solved the balance problem while keeping the focus on lifting heavier weights, and therefore getting stronger while remaining balanced.”

Tune in Wednesday morning for a long, hate-filled screed about the current state of Strength and Conditioning coaching at the D1 and Pro levels.

Jabir Muhammad

You’re bang on! It really has infiltrated us from the world of clinical physical therapy. I can see the utility in progressing pathological patients from unilateral work and lighter externally loaded movements made difficult through inefficient movement patterns, but surely this needs to progress to truly “functional” training (i.e. that which increases strength) to mitigate risk of future injury by increasing the resilience of the system. And this is BEST achieved through basic barbell movements. Nevertheless, I see this same logic applied to not only perfectly healthy but athletic populations!

Looking forward to the article, Mark. Really struggling with some of the asininity on proud display by so-called “professionals.”

8odin8

I find being stronger more “functional” than being weaker, sooo…. If I can lift 500 pounds off the ground, I’m functioning more functionally than when I can lift only 200 pounds. Right?

Pluripotent

I have also noticed that a lot of the exercise recommendations health care professionals give their patients are appropriate for the very weak, sick and frail, but there is no plan to progress from that point and the implication, whether implied or implicit, is that you really don’t need to do more than that, and so we end up telling the 35 year old with back pain to do a series of stretches and isometric exercises with some light walking thrown in (which may be appropriate after the acute event) but provide no plan for advancement so the patient can eventually gain the strength so that the back pain never comes back, essentially condemning the patient to a repeat experience.

This is no less true for the whole range of patient frailty…


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20 Nov

October 14, 2019


Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • Doing Things the Right Way at Starting Strength Dallas – Coach Brent Carter and member Graham talk about Graham’s progress during his first few months training at Starting Strength Dallas including lean bodyweight increases, strength increases, and performance improvements.
  • John Lovell and Rip spend some time on the platform with the deadlift during a recent trip to WFAC in which Rip worked with The Warrior Poet on his lifts.
  • Why Train the Power Clean? Mark Rippetoe introduces the power clean before the Starting Strength Seminar platform session and explains why the power clean is part of the Starting Strength program.


Articles
Training Log
From the Coaches

  • Strength Training for ATHLETES and GRANDMAs – John Lovell (Warrior Poet Society) and Mark Rippetoe discuss the benefits of Starting Strength compared to other popular fitness programs as well as how even the oldest Warrior Poet Society member can improve mobility, strength, and maintain independence.

In the Trenches

will morris presents at the nutrition and rehab campwill morris presents at the nutrition and rehab camp
Starting Strength Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy Will Morris presents a way for lifters and coaches to deal with injuries during the Nutrition and Rehab Camp held at WFAC last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
teaching hip drive coach development campteaching hip drive coach development camp
April Incollingo teaches hip drive with George Fairley during the Squat Coach Development Camp held in Phoenix at Weights and Plates, A Starting Strength Affiliate Gym. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
ross deadlifting 233 kgross deadlifting 233 kg
Fivex3 Training member, Ross, finishes strong at the Westminster Fall Classic with a 233 kg deadlift. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]
lauren presses 52 kglauren presses 52 kg
Lauren, another Fivex3 member, locks out her third attempt press with 52 kg at the same meet. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]


Best of the Week

Instances for using pull up vs chin up
JosephBovineCumia

I understand Rip is on the side of chin-up over pull-up because it incorporates more muscles and muscle mass into the movement. But I think the benefits of a pullup outweigh its lack of biceps, at least enough to merit alternating the grips from time to time. Most importantly is grip width, I’m speaking specifically about wide-grip pulll-ups. Because the grip is wider than the shoulders, the shoulders will not be nearly as internally rotated as a chin-up. I don’t know if this is a concern of Rip’s but for people with shoulder pain or rounded shoulders (a lot of people) it might be. Additionally, pullups serve as a better assistance exercise to the deadlift because the grip width and type is most similar to that of a conventional deadlift (wide of shoulders, prone). A chin-up width would translate better for a sumo deadlift (within shoulders).

Mark Rippetoe

Is there a question here?

JosephBovineCumia

Sorry, Rip. I’m used to just making a statement and waiting for someone to prove me fundamentally wrong (on the internet). For the purpose of deadlifts, should you do pullups over chinups? Or are the differences so minute that it just doesn’t matter?

MWM

Your point about their value as a deadlift assistance exercise seems mistaken to me. If they’re valuable in that capacity it’s because doing them makes certain muscles stronger in a way which helps you deadlift more weight, not because the grip is similar. Also, I wasn’t under the impression that there is any difference in grip width between a sumo and conventional deadlift. In both cases isn’t the optimal width precisely shoulder width, allowing the arms to hang vertically from the shoulder joint? Who is pulling from the floor with a grip wider or narrower than his shoulders, aside from when doing cleans, snatches, or variations thereof?

Mark Rippetoe

Why would a supine vs prone grip in a bodyweight assistance exercise make any difference to your 500-pound deadlift? You think pullups are better because they look more like deadlifts?

Are you a high-school football coach who has been placed in charge of the weight room?

JosephBovineCumia

lmao, you can rest easy knowing I’m not coaching anyone. But that was pretty much my thought process, although weighted pullups as opposed to just bodyweight. And in my experience, it helped my deadlift, but as I wrote above it’s probably because I’m using too wide a grip on the pull. Thanks for the response, Rip

Mark Rippetoe

You are not the problem. The problem is the hundreds of thousands of high school coaches who think that their weight room exercises must look like football to be effective for football, a complete failure to understand any aspect of their task.


Best of the Forum

Questions about stretching
Gwyn Brookes

I know you recommend against stretching before lifting which makes all kinds of sense. Someone recently pointed out that you also believe stretching in general to be counterproductive to weight training. I am curious to know (if this is indeed what you believe) if you’ve come to that conclusion via observation or if there’s a physiological explanation (or maybe both, but I would love to know more about the physiology behind it). Any enlightenment on that topic would be great, or if you could point me in the direction of a book or article I’d welcome that too.

In the meantime, I’m experimenting on myself. I guess I’m a little addicted to stretching, it’s the one thing I’ve done consistently for let’s see – about 30 years. So it’s hard to give up altogether. For now, I’m just giving up stretching hamstrings and adductors, since they’re my weakest, and most flexible links.

Hopefully my squats will get better! I’ve been in intermediate linear progression for about six weeks and I’ve only just stalled on a couple of lifts (bench and power clean) but I continue to experience the squat as the most difficult lift and whenever my form fails it’s because of those weak links.

Mark Rippetoe

I don’t believe stretching in general is counterproductive to weight training, especially if flexibility is limiting the ROM of a major lift. I just think it is a waste of time if it’s not. It IS counterproductive to power production when done before a power-dependent exercise, and even badly designed studies can and do demonstrate this frequently. The stretch seems to interfere with the effectiveness of the stretch reflex component of the contraction. This probably has to do with the proprioceptors and their extension-position feedback.

Gwyn Brookes

My question was aimed at whether stretching the very muscles you need to work (and have a stretch reflex) in the major lifts was counterproductive. I was concerned about spending a lot of time negating the stretch reflex and then relying on that same muscle to produce a powerful enough stretch reflex to utilize in a lift, for instance, at the bottom of a squat.

Hip flexors aren’t useful in a squat, due to gravity. They are useful to raise your legs if you are standing (say if you need a nice high kick), or if you are dangling by your legs, they can help you raise your torso. Or, if you are lying down, they help bring your legs closer to your torso. Sorry if I am being pedantic here.

I have super tight hip flexors and spend a lot of time stretching them, and doing so alleviates a number of issues I have with my hips. But stretching my hamstrings and adductors is just a leftover habit from years of dancing and doesn’t seem so productive anymore, especially since I can’t feel any stretch reflex helping me at the bottom of my squat. So that was the basis for my original question.


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19 Nov

October 21, 2019


Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • Need to gain or lose weight? Starting Strength Coach Robert Santana and Weights and Plates intern April Incolingo explain how to get started.
  • Starting Strength Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy Will Morris presents his concept of Training Barrier Construction during the Starting Strength Nutrition and Rehab Camp held at Wichita Falls Athletic Club in October 2019.
  • From the Archives: Reversing Osteoporosis – Patricia talks about her experience training with Starting Strength Coach Shaun Pang at Hygieia Strength and Conditioning after being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Articles

  • A Matter of Perspective – John Musser discusses Progress and how perpsective is central both to assessing status and to helping people improve.
  • From the Archives: Mark Rippetoe discusses the training mistake he regrets most in Cardell and Dr. Coleman.
Training Log
From the Coaches


In the Trenches

dylan cherin and jules gonzalez at wfacdylan cherin and jules gonzalez at wfac
Dylan Cherin and Jules Gonzalez show off their best Californian impressions during the Nutrition and Rehab workshop held at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
rip coaching julia avila squatrip coaching julia avila squat
Rip works with Julia Avila on her squats while she was in town for a Starting Strength Radio shoot last week. [photo courtesy of Rusty Holcomb]


Best of the Week

SS and Jiu Jitsu
Jack Kennedy

Over the last year, I tore my left meniscus and suffered a partial tear to my right MCL (meniscus in Aug 2018 and MCL in March 2019). I finally had my meniscus trimmed Aug 2019 and a few weeks later I was ready to start training again. I’m 6 weeks into your program and my strength gains are coming baking nicely. 2 weeks ago I started training Jiu Jitsu again. My typical classes are Mon, Wed and Friday nights… the same days I lift (I lift early in the am before work). Due to some competitions coming up, many of our grapplers are in comp prep mode and we are rolling pretty hard, which means I’m pretty sore a day or two after class. Do you suggest I continue this current schedule or bump my lifting days a day back to Tues, Thurs, and Sat? I know that I’m going to be sore no matter what, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting my strength when I’m lifting. Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Mark Rippetoe

Since I have no way of knowing how hard you’re actually training, I suggest you try it both ways for two weeks each and see which works best for you. Make sure you’re eating enough.

AndrewLewis

The biggest concern here is not the soreness – further injuring a joint is. Training post-injury with people preparing for competition is not something I’d recommend. If they hurt you (even if it’s just a random fuck up), neither you nor they are going to be better for it.

I have not had a meniscus tear or repair, so I can’t specifically tell you what results you’re going to get. However, training with active competitors is grueling and injuries happen far more often as a result. When I’m injured and want to roll with someone, I make sure they understand I’m not looking to roll like it’s Worlds. If they are training for competition, they may decide they don’t want to roll with me. That’s fine.

How long have you been training jiujitsu?

Nick Delgadillo

If you can be disciplined enough to not go ape-shit on the mats on every single roll, it doesn’t matter too much when you lift. Just do the version that will keep you compliant with your workouts in the gym and try to keep your ego in check on the mat. If everyone else is in competition mode and you’re not, you’re just going to get tapped a bunch more.

Jack Kennedy

Thanks for the input… I’m not really concerned about the soreness… that’s temporary because I just got back into rolling hard after after close to a year of light rolling while injured and then recovering from the surgery. My knee feels fine now. My concern is recovery from workouts… I’ll continue with the M, W, F workouts for a few more weeks and then switch to T, T, S and see how I feel and how I’m progressing in the program.

I’ve been training for 13 years. Got promoted to brown belt last year. I tore my meniscus shortly after and my training came to a screeching halt.

Nick Delgadillo

I really think that you’re going to be perfectly fine. The advice to take it easy at Jiu Jitsu is for people with less experience rolling. You already know how to manage your stress level on the mat, so lift whenever works best for your schedule to stay compliant three days/week. You’ll move your programming along to advanced novice, and then intermediate, sooner than someone not doing Jiu Jitsu, so just progress your training variables when you need to – don’t miss lifting workouts, eat more than you’re used to, and keep adding weight to the bar workout to workout at first, then twice a week, then once a week.

AndrewLewis

Then forget what I said.

You know where you stand, and Nick’s advice is right.

Jack Kennedy

Thanks again… The eating more part is the biggest change for me, but it’s been pretty easy because I’ve been starving ever since I got back to training BJJ. Because of the knee surgery in Aug, I started with relatively light weight for most of the movements but am now getting into some challenging weights. The heavy weights plus hard BJJ sessions has me wanting to eat constantly.

BTW, started week 6 of my program today and set my working set on the press was more than I’ve ever done for a 1RM… I guess this stuff works.


Best of the Forum

Sport specificity and strength
SS-FZ

In PPST, the sport specificity section mentions that we use the barbell movements to develop strength, and strength can be ‘practiced’ in the sport that the trainee chooses.

If strength is the ability to produce force against an external resistance, and if we use the barbell lifts to get stronger, then does it follow that the more weight that someone can do in the barbell lifts the stronger they are?

If you have a power-lifter who’s just finished some squat peaking protocol, and you have a bodybuilder who squats only ONCE a month. Their numbers are: Power-lifter: Squat – 205 kg, Bodybuilder: Squat – 200 kg

Is the power-lifter really stronger than the bodybuilder in this case? I mean if both were to ditch the squat rack and go do some leg extensions/leg press/leg curl (some movement that neither of them has practised before) who do you think could do the most weight on those exercises? who would be “stronger”? Could it be that the bodybuilder is just ‘out of practice’ in his squats — and if were to increase his squat frequency he could easily surpass 205 kg (without gaining muscle mass)?

The question is this: How do you separate the practice of a barbell movement from the strength acquired using that movement if the movement is being used as a test for strength?

Perhaps muscle cross sectional area (over the entire body) is a good proxy for the ‘strength’ of an individual — all other things being equal (CNS efficiency). You’ve certainly mentioned yourself that muscle mass and strength are inseparable. Do you think this is a better ‘gauge’ for strength?

Mark Rippetoe

I have read this question 3 times, which is my limit, and I don’t understand it. You guys feel free to interpret.

Will Morris

I’d assume he is asking if utilizing an exercise that builds strength as a test of strength results in a practice-effect that would artificially make a more practiced trainee “stronger” at one point in time than someone who may be stronger but never performs that exercise…

The overall question, I suppose, could be restated as such: if Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever, could a hypothesis exist that a better basketball player did exist but didn’t play basketball…

Dalton Clark

I believe he is saying that you can’t say the powerlifter is stronger because he has trained the skill of squatting while the bodybuilder only practices it once a month – in his example.

SS-FZ

Yes as above. How can you test strength without having a certain element of specificity/practice being present?

Mark Rippetoe

Why is specificity required to test strength? Is a man who deadlifts 500 stronger than a man who deadlifts 450?

SS-FZ

I don’t know, maybe he’s just better at the deadlift because he’s practised it so much.

Why is strength tied to deadlift numbers? A man who can deadlift 500 isn’t necessarily stronger than a man who deadlifts 450. A man who deadlifts 600 may be very likely to be stronger than a man with a 300 deadlift.

Now if we get both of these lifters on different exercises – now who’s ‘stronger’? Is the 500lb deadlifter ALWAYS going to be able to exert the most force against external resistance in these newer, stranger exercises?

Specificity towards a goal is on a continuum (as described by PPST). If that goal is to dead-lift more weight, and we’re using the dead-lift as the test of strength then specificity becomes relevant to our test, does it not?

Mark Rippetoe

What is strength? This is the key to this pointless discussion.

Will Morris

I think, based on the hypothetical situation presented, the powerlifter is stronger because at those loads, the practice effect is likely negligible.

A more realistic scenario: two powerlifters are training for a meet. #1 performs a meet taper and practices heavy triples, doubles, and singles leading up to meet. #2 continues to train fives and does not do a meet taper. Given the same training weights for 5s, is #1 able to perform more on a 1Rm because he is more practiced?…

Yeah, probably. 1RMs are a learned skill.

perman

I think you’re being intentionally obtuse Rip. If the bodybuilder would beat the powerlifter on most other strength tests besides 1RM on squat, bench and deadlift, it’s not unreasonable to consider him generally “stronger” than the powerlifter. It’s not as if 1RM in those lifts is some naturally derived metric, it’s just a convenient metric that usually tells us who has higher strength. The test fails in this specific case.

Dalton Clark

The definition of strength is the ability (or capacity) to produce force against an external resistance. In order for us to test application of force against an external resistance in a way that can be compared across the population, we must decide on a particular movement pattern. Let’s say the squat or the deadlift since those two have been mentioned. Now, a part of being able to produce force against an external resistance is how talented the lifter is at moving the load/producing force in the most ideal way possible. It is impossible to separate the display of force from the practice of that display. The powerlifter is stronger on the squat than the bodybuilder in your example. Part of that is probably because he is more practiced.

Strength – in the testing sense – is limited to the movement. Someone can be stronger on the deadlift than another. Someone can be stronger on the squat or the bench or the press. The claim that one person is “stronger” than another is a generalization made from many different displays of strength in several different motor patterns that attempt to give a holistic view of their capacity.

Joe Heisey

The point is not that strength is tied to deadlift numbers, but deadlift numbers are tied to strength. Inasmuch as the increase of deadlift skill improves deadlift numbers, it only means that the muscles are being utilized properly, thus increasing force production. But even technical improvements won’t account for a weak muscle.

What you’re talking about is the ability to express that strength in unfamiliar movements (a skill deficiency). So of course a guy who’s practiced strongman exercises will be better than a slightly stronger guy who doesn’t know how to do it.

“Now if we get both of these lifters on different exercises – now who’s ‘stronger’? Is the 500 lb deadlifter ALWAYS going to be able to exert the most force against external resistance in these newer, stranger exercises?”

If they’re new and strange for everyone being tested, then yes. But by the fact of not being deadlifts or squats, these exercises will be inferior tests of strength because they artificially isolate certain body parts from other body parts and don’t test the body as a system.

Mark Rippetoe

If you want to define it as the contractile force produced by a muscle group, then the test would involve only that muscle group. Assuming we decide to test strength, this seems pretty silly unless you’re an arm trainer at Golds.

If you want to test and compare things, the tests must be of the same thing, right? I thought this was obvious.

If we are actually going to compare the strength of two different humans, we have to do it with tests upon which both agree to perform. If we are merely going to type about comparing strength on the internet in order to appear to be Speaking Truth To Power, I guess we can type about it any way we want to.


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19 Nov

October 28, 2019


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From the Coaches

In the Trenches

chris palladino coaches the deadlift lockoutchris palladino coaches the deadlift lockout
Chris Palladino works with a lifter on the lockout of a deadlift at last weekend’s Starting Strength Squat and Deadlift Camp in Woodmere, NY. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
john petrizzo coaches the squatjohn petrizzo coaches the squat
John Petrizzo coaches a female lifter on squat depth at the same event. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]


Best of the Week

Mark, what would your “World’s Strongest Man” entail?
LucaTurilli

I’m curious what you (and perhaps some of your coaches) would deem necessary to earn the title of World’s Strongest Man, if it were completely up to you? Let’s assume that it would be a contest (or set of contests), and that the title was re-earned each year, kind of like it is now. However, everything else is up to you. What would your contests look like? What events/lifts would you have? How would someone earn the title? This doesn’t mean it has to be a strongman event, just how you would award the title of “World’s Strongest Man.”

Mark Rippetoe

I would never award the title to anybody, because it’s just not interesting. Strength is quantifiable, so you have a no-straps deadlift contest, you offer a $1 million prize for the heaviest deadlift, and that’s the guy. Everything else is just entertainment.

JFord

Hands outside knees? Stiffest bar that won’t snap with the weights used?

Mark Rippetoe

All that shit.

MWM

A related question: Which feats of strength (real or imagined) do you find the most entertaining? I think aeroplane pulls are quite a spectacle. I also find one-arm barbell snatches, circus dumbell clean & presses, and barbell bent presses pretty impressive.
 
To put it another way, if you wanted to put on some kind of “Strength Circus” to wow ordinary people with the results of a sensible, systematic approach to strength training, what would you have the performers do?

Mark Rippetoe

You’ll have to ask Don King that question. Among my other shortcomings are an inability to write fiction.

Mark E. Hurling

Get out a ouija board and invoke the spirits of the Saxon brothers, Sandow, and Cyr. Those guys had the circus thing down pat.


Best of the Forum

Weightlifting with a subluxated eye lens?
threeonethree

When I was 3 years old, I was hit by a cricket ball in the left eye. It left me blind in one eye for a couple of hours till they took me to a doctor and he patched things up. When I was 12, I started wearing glasses due to the bad left eye.

Currently, I am 29 and have myopia with -3 cylinder and -1.5 spherical number in the left eye and my right eye does not need any glasses. Couple of years ago my doctor told me that i have a subluxated eye lens due to the injury and advised me against lifting heavy weights.

I am on the starting strength programme from the last one month and reached around 176 pounds on the deadlift. Can you please tell me what would be a safe ceiling for me to train?

Mark Rippetoe

Can’t tell you that because I have no experience with this condition.

EyeMD

I am an ophthalmologist with a special interest in surgical correction for dislocated intraocular lenses , as well as a novice lifter a month in to my LP (after my first try through the program ended prematurely and spectacularly with a shattered elbow, obviously sustained outside of the gym environment). Obviously, the usual caveats about online medical advice apply here, but it would be very difficult for me to envision a scenario in which a patient with a subluxed lens would exacerbate their existing condition by lifting heavy. The main issue in your eye is that there are either loose or broken zonular fibers holding your lens in place. Further zonular damage is much more likely to be induced by repetitive jostling movements (such as those encountered during running, ATV riding, bullriding, all of which I have seen cause lens dislocation in predisposed patients). Squatting, pressing, or pulling motions, given that the eye maintains a relatively fixed position, should not cause zonular injury. In fact, I would guess that reading would be more dangerous for your eye than lifting heavy given the frequent saccades generated when reading.

Mark Rippetoe

And any combat sport. MMA, BJJ, Kung Fu, Karate Chops, etc.

Dag

Agreed! That’s great EyeMD!

Given that I know less than nothing about the OP’s condition, forgive this probably dumb question. Would the pressure caused by holding breath during a heavy lift cause the OP any further issues? It isn’t uncommon to blow a blood vessel in the eye but it’s likely a different enough type of thing that it wouldn’t affect him?

EyeMD

That’s an interesting question. The Valsalva maneuver does raise episcleral venous pressure, which is why it is fairly common to develop a subconjunctival hemorrhage from heavy lifting. Intraocular pressure is directly affected by episcleral venous pressure so I would assume there is a transient elevation of intraocular pressure during a heavy lift. However, intraocular pressure does not affect zonular integrity, so it would have no impact on the OP’s condition. If the OP had advanced glaucoma, however, it would be a different story, and it may not be advisable to lift heavy in that setting.

Marvel

57 yo male intermediate lifter. October 2015 had what I thought were floaters during heavy dumbbell lift. Except it was a matrix of fog. Diagnosed with central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). The retina swells because a vein is blocked and fluid leaks through the vein wall and accumulates behind the retina, thickening it and distorting vision. Treated with Eylea injections ever 3 weeks since. The drug makes the stopped up vein stop leaking through the walls and gets the fluid out of the retina. It’s effective unless I go beyond 3 weeks for an injection. Best I can hope for is new vein will open up or therapy will continue to be effective.

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 I had emergency vitrectomy for torn retina in same eye. Day before I experienced a dark circle in peripheral vision. I am in day 3 of recovery. Doc removed all gel from my eye and replaced with fluid. Stuck my retina back with laser. Placed a gas bubble in there. I have to be face down for a week so that the bubble floats up against the retina until the laser burns heal and hold the retina (I think). The whole gas bubble trick is very slick. I get it. It will be absorbed in tissue in about 3 weeks. Can’t fly or change altitude until bubble is gone.

My doc is retina specialist and stated that I was probably prone to CRVO and retina tear by being near sighted. Agreed that strength training probably did not cause and I could resume. Got him to tell my wife that. Now THAT is a good doc.

For the vitrectomy doc made 3 holes in my eye for the tools. Sealed with “self sealing” something. One was leaky and he threw a stitch in there that will dissolve.

Going back in one week. How do I talk intelligently with doc about what I can safely do before 3 weeks? He said that the 3 weeks was necessary for the holes in my eye to heal before valsalva. Does intraocular pressure increase that much? Also, I understand from the original post that pressure in the vein is also a concern.

I want to suggest at least being able to do a shoulder stretch for the low bar squat (ref SSC Paul Horn video) . I’ve been progressing nicely on this and seems to a layman like me to be safe. Doc agreed to read Dr Sullivan’s article on valsalva, but that article doesn’t directly address intraocular pressure.

Am I out of bounds thinking I could lift something in less than 3 weeks?

Thanks for any advice, encouragement or comments.

Jonathon Sullivan

We don’t have good data on this, as on most things.

Here’s the correct perspective: your eye, and your retina, are components of your central nervous system. Your retina is part of your brain.

In the absence of good empirical or published data to contradict him, I’d go with your doctor and do exactly as he says.

You lucked out not having a worse visual outcome. Count your lucky stars, praise Buddha, light a candle, and just go with it. Three weeks is nothing. Take longer if he tells you. Your strength will come back.

EyeMD

I would echo what Dr. Sullivan is telling you. The retina is precious tissue and once it is gone it is gone. You are very fortunate to be in the hands of a good retina specialist. You are really fresh out of surgery and your eye is in a very delicate position right now. The suture that he placed to secure one of the vitrectomy ports is about half of the thickness of a human hair.

Intraocular pressure CAN INCREASE with valsalva. About two years ago I spent the better part of a night repairing the cornea of a patient of mine who decided to help a friend move two weeks after corneal transplant. While helping his friend lift a dresser he felt a sudden rush of fluid down his face, and it turned out he had broken 8 of the 16 sutures that I placed to secure his new cornea and much of his intraocular content (retina, lens, etc) was expulsed through the opening that was created. He can now only make out light or dark from that eye with no chance of more meaningful visual improvement.

So, please, please, please, take your doctor’s advice here!


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18 Nov

November 18, 2019


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Training Log

In the Trenches

anthony squats 275 low baranthony squats 275 low bar
Anthony taking 275 for a ride during the Squat and Deadlift Training Camp at Broward Barbell Center in Plantation, Florida this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
eli locks out a deadlifteli locks out a deadlift
Eli at the top of his deadlift, rocking that sweet ’stache at the same event. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]


Best of the Week

Wi-Fi Internet and Sleep Disturbance
dbm77

I wanted to post this here in case it may help some who are struggling with sleep. It will be a mix of anecdotal evidence along with minor hypotheses in consideration of my professional engineering background.

The other day, I was going to have someone move into the apartment so I switched from a guest room I was staying in to the master bedroom where the wi-fi box is located. After a nice jog (I know) I was feeling sleepy and ready to get to bed after a nice day. While almost asleep, I felt a jolt as I was on the verge of sleep and woke up, like a defibrillator. I decided it may be the Wi-Fi which was in the room so I moved back to the guest bedroom and went to sleep there while closing the door. Sleep was a bit better away from the Wi-Fi radiator (Wi-Fi radiates off of the modem). The second piece of anecdotal evidence, is that I was playing a DOS game on my computer, and when I had the Wi-Fi on, the game ran super choppy like it was overloaded, after turning the Wi-Fi off, the Dos game runs smoothly like it was supposed to. The Wi-Fi was literally frying my frail made in China laptop.

The next morning I woke up and dusted off my metric conversion textbook and to my surprise (I know it shouldn’t be) I realize that 5Gigahertz is a 5 billion cycles per second signal. I’m sure the magnitude of frequency is low, but the sheer speed of the signal wave I’m hypothesizing may have an effect upon the heart, brain and the blood, (I’m sure everything, but those are the important ones). The heart is an electro-magnetic organ, metallic in nature, run by electric signals sent by the brain. I think for me the 5G Wi-Fi may have been affecting me as I have had trouble sleeping the last 4-5 years. Since unplugging the Wi-Fi on Friday, my sleep has been decent the past 3 days. I think I’ll also post an update later on if this sustains. Additionally, I believe that the hemoglobin that transports oxygen to our cells is also affected by the 5 G radiations. Iron in our blood that carries oxygen is metallic, meaning it has its own electric field, and would therefore be affected by 5 billion cycles per second in my opinion. I’m sure it affects the brain as well, which is also a highly metallic organ, even more so now that we focus so much on education. If you look up a chart, “New Cases of Diabetes Diagnosed Among U.S. Adults Aged 18-79 Years, 1980-2009” you’ll see that in the early 90s there was a minor spike in new diagnoses (IMO the introduction of the desktop computer, but I don’t think that’s bad, we adapted and the new cases leveled off) but in 1998 the cases took off in a linear upward fashion at a pretty good slope. Wi-Fi was invented for retail use in 1997-1998. I remember that I never used it because I was a nerd, and the Wi-Fi didn’t run the games over the internet very well so we used the cable modem with wires plugged into it. But later on certainly I was exposed to wi-fi.

I believe that people are being exposed to a whole host of health issues (metabolic food cravings, inability to sleep, anxiety) due to these radio waves microwaving us. The human body is certainly electro-magnetic, that is science, and to ignore the possible effects of a FIVE BILLION cycle per second radio wave on a highly complex electro-magnetic system would be folly in my opinion. Trust me, I’m a professional engineer LOL. Either way, the main point of this post is to let people know if you are really having a hard time sleeping, maybe try turning off your Wi-Fi box. I’m not saying don’t use the internet, I’m saying wire in, take out the radio waves and see if that helps. It may help with pre-diabetic symptoms as well (which I was having). I’ll post an update a week from now if there’s any interest.

Mark Rippetoe

Fascinating.

Nockian

Ever considered the radiation output of that huge bright yellow thing, or cosmic radiation?

m s

So what? You realize that visible light is also an electromagnetic wave with frequencies on the order of hundreds of Terahertz? That’s 5 orders of magnitude greater than your little wifi signal. And visible light isn’t the only wavelength of radiation we are constantly bombarded with.

All electromagnetic waves travel at the same speed – namely the speed of light. Visible light is hitting you at the same speed as the wifi signal.

zft

If your wifi is “affecting” you like that, you better just get yourself situated in a lead box right the fuck now, lest all that higher energy, ionizing, higher intensity source of radiation that we call the sun royally fucks your shit up. Just try not to lick the walls.

jfsully

Don’t be fooled: the government wants you to think that foil hats will protect you, but foil hats actually concentrate frequencies that are reserved for government use: On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study.

I would recommend enclosing your home in a Faraday cage, sleeping in an Orgone Collector, and wearing a titanium colander on your head if you absolutely must venture outside.

Mark Rippetoe

I don’t think you guys understand: The man is a Professional Engineer.

Satch12879

I want to know why “professional engineer” needs to go to a “metric conversion textbook” to figure out that 5 gigahertz is 5 billion cycles per second.

AndrewLewis

Professional engineers don’t refer to themselves as such.

Theseahawk

A cage mainly shields against the electric field, but not the magnetic field. Plus the cage is only good for the frequencies it’s designed to shield, so best to line his whole room with a continuous metal surface so there is no potential difference and so he is completely shielded electrically. For the magnetic field, he’ll have to redirect the magnetic field with an outer skin of magnetic material with high permeability. If anything, a tedious application of Maxwell’s equations will surely give him a good night’s sleep- it always does me.

Balrog

We are talking about waves here, aka oscillating fields, not static. If one day you manage to read the equations without falling asleep partway, you will find that oscillating E and B fields are coupled together (see the Faraday and Ampère equations). If you kill the electric field, it’s going to cancel the magnetic field too.

Being a “professional” doctor of physics, not medicine, it’s a bit out of my area of expertise. But, in a case of self-diagnosed electro-sensitivity, wouldn’t an homeopathic treatment be just as effective as living in a Faraday cage to treat the “symptoms”? It would be much cheaper and more convenient, with the added bonus that any homeopathic medicine would work just as effectively regardless of whatever is written on the label.


Best of the Forum

Educating People
RJPinAZ

In one of your recent podcasts (#35, I think), you related the story of how you refused to go talk to a group of parents of high school athletes because you thought it would be a useless endeavor to try to educate the “stupid parents.” How does this square with the fact that you regularly write articles and produce podcasts on this and other websites such as PJ Media (where I first learned about SS in 2014, thanks to Instapundit), pointing out the advantages of the SS model? Clearly you believe that there is some merit in trying to convince people that the SS model works and would benefit them, or else you wouldn’t waste your time with the articles. If you think the readers of your articles could learn something, why wouldn’t the parents learn something hearing it directly from you?

Mark Rippetoe

Do you see no difference in writing a piece for the media that maybe 5% of the people who see it will read and of those maybe 20% will understand, and me personally getting in the car and driving to a meeting of parents here in Wichita Falls, perhaps 20% of whom know who I am and of those perhaps 50% willing to believe me when I tell them that their Head Coach has been incorrectly managing their S&C program? Which scenario makes the most sense for the numbers/time/gasoline/aggravation?

Christopher Anderson

Also people who are reading Rip’s articles are people who are generally interested in learning about strength and getting stronger. A room full of parents, whom the vast majority if not all of them, are not always going to be interested in getting stronger or the process. It just falls on deaf ears and blank stares, or in some cases the Dad who played college ball somewhere pipes in because he “knows” better than Rip. I know we see the advantages of Rip speaking to parents, but that’s because we are already interested in the program and in getting stronger.

RJPinAZ

Which scenario makes more sense is of course entirely up to you. I might have misunderstood as I thought the coach was trying to get the parents to see that what he wanted to do was the correct path and you were to be there to bolster that argument.

Your articles are written with extreme clarity and conciseness, which requires quite a bit of time and effort (for me, at least). In the video of your lecture “The Case for the Starting Strength Model,” you spoke, seemingly effortlessly, for over 45 minutes (without notes). Now I have no idea of the background prep that went into that lecture, but my impression is that an informal get together with the parents would be like falling off a log to you. But again, I’m not the one putting in the effort to either write the articles or give a lecture.

In any case, my larger point was that I was surprised you thought that talking to people in general was an almost complete waste of time, despite all the effort you put into writing articles that very clearly and strongly make the case for the SS model. They certainly worked on me. This of course is different than getting people to actually get under the bar and follow the program once they are there. That’s something the person doing the lifting has to actually want, as has been noted here many times.

But again, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been lifting at my gym for over two years now and am the only one I’ve ever seen squatting over three plates and deadlifting over four. Several people have commented on how they are impressed with the weights I’m moving (I know they are not much compared to most people here) and I give them a brief rundown of the SS model and how well it’s worked for me. But I still have the squat rack to myself pretty much every time I go.

Andy Baker

I did this kind of thing for years here in my local area with parents. It’s a waste of time. If you want to do local public speaking type deals (which are effective) get yourself in front of older people (50+). You’ll convert much better.

Mark Rippetoe

I spent about 5 minutes making a mental outline for that lecture, because that’s all that was necessary after 40 years of preparation. I am a very effective communicator, and people often mistake being articulate for intelligence – not the same thing. I would go so far as to say that there is nobody in this business more capable of communicating this message than I am. It’s still a waste of time, because of who I’d be trying to communicate with. Audience selection is the most critical component of communication.

RJPinAZ

Rip (and others), Thanks for the thoughtful responses (I was worried I was coming off sounding like a bit of a dick there). You are indeed an effective communicator, but if your methods hadn’t gotten me to a 440 lb deadlift at 55 years old, I wouldn’t still be listening.

Human nature is interesting.


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18 Nov

November 11, 2019


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From the Coaches

In the Trenches



Best of the Week

SS coaches numbers
Zappey1

I know numbers don’t necessarily make a good coach but it certainly does lend credibility to some of the stuff they tell you. That being said I had some questions you may or may not know the answer to about SS coaches.

  1. What is the body weight and top lifts of your strongest active coach that you know of? I’m talking all 5 lifts in lbs.
  2.  What would you say is the average years lifting for a SS coach?
  3.  What would you say (or know) is the average body weight and lifts for both male and female SS coaches?

Thanks for answering some or all of these questions if you can.

Mark Rippetoe

We don’t track that data. We just monitor coaching effectiveness, which is often inversely proportional to total, for reasons discussed elsewhere. For example, I am 63, I squat maybe 365, press maybe 150, bench maybe 250, and deadlift maybe 475. I no longer clean or snatch. But you cannot afford me as a coach, because I am perhaps the best coach of these lifts working today, despite my numbers. Lots of coaches are in the same situation.

Zappey1

That would then fall under the years experience data. If you have a coach with 20 or 30 years experience it might not matter what they currently lift. However if they have 5 or 10 years experience how much they lift could be very relevant data.

Might be some interesting data to start monitoring and tracking. For a marketing perspective to be able to say your coaches have an average for 20 year experience or whatever, and on average can lift this much could help get more people on board and ready to listen.

tallison

Marketing to *whom*, I wonder? Personally, I can really only imagine competitors being terribly interested (or impressed) with the exact numbers of your lifts, once you are talking more than upper quartile in any particular lift. “Success with customers like me” ought to be the core thing most people are looking for, I would think.

I’m sure there are times and places where specific sorts of performance experience on the coaches’ part could be relevant to specific sorts of lifters, but I seriously doubt that is a very general interest.

One would imagine that good coaches would show a pretty normal genetic distribution of the relevant physical characteristics – or, and I think there is a good argument for this that Rip has made a number of times, might be expected to skew to the less gifted side of the curve – thus making them have to think a lot harder about what works and what doesn’t in training.

This request just sounds a little disingenuous in terms of what the motivation for asking is and whether there is any good marketing thinking really involved.

Success stories, yes – the more – and the more varied – the merrier. Rigorous standards and a demonstrated understanding and ability to apply a clearly articulated model for coaches, yes. Universal performance standards for *coaches*? No comprendo.

Zappey1

I think about like a McDonald situation. When you walk into any McDonald’s and order a quarter pounder with fries you know that wherever you go it is going to be about the same quality.

If the averages of SS coaches was gathered (to includ experience) tabulated and presented hopefully it would paint a picture of an impressive average of years of experience and an above average on lift totals (world records and 1% lifters would not be impressive as they would be outliers and not the norm).

If for instance the average SS coach weighing 225 had 15 years experience could pull 500, squat 400, bench 315, press 200, and clean 225. That would be an impressive average to share. When I walked into a SS gym I would know that most coaches would have around that experience. Creating for a lack of a better term a “McDonald’s effect”.

Just an idea. There is a reason McDonald’s is so successful because you know what you are going to get. I know SS doesn’t want to be McDonald’s but people like reliability in services and products. Outlier data would not interest the general public or most lifters but averages probably would.

As far as this part I would think like a Michel Jordan for SS. Is the average person doing SS going to reach this pinnacle? No but it could still be a good marketing tool just like MJ for Nike. Because I’m wearing Nike shoes am I going to play basketball as good as MJ? No way but I still like to know his (MJ) statistics even if I’m never going to reach them. Same idea with the top lifters from SS.

stef

Zappey1, like Rip said, we don’t keep that on coaches as an updated thing because current stats of coaches don’t tell the story of how they actually coach – lifting and coaching are two different things. But you know, you could satisfy your curiosity the way that Nicholas Racculia did with his survey back in 2016: Starting Strength Coaches: A Demographic Analysis


Best of the Forum

Training for Sports… Competition vs. Practice Demands
JudoATunez

To be a successful athlete, one has to spend a great deal of time practicing and improving sport’s specific skills. Nevertheless, practicing your sport only gets you so far, as everyone else is doing the same. To get and advantage over your rivals, you have to look outside your sport to improve your performance. That’s why genetically gifted athletes, or those who are physically stronger, have an edge over their opponents.

Most sports, demand a lot of biomotor abilities, yet fail to develop these same abilities to their full potential. For instance, wrestling requires strength, but you will not get stronger only by wrestling, unless you’re a beginner. It also requires aerobic power, and anaerobic capacity, both of which are addressed during practice itself, but not developed to their full potential.

And we cannot just focus on the competition demands of the Sport. It is true that a wrestling match might only last 6 minutes, but the training process lasts the whole week, months, years… And we must develop abilities that will ensure the athlete can endure the demands of the sport, day in, and day out.

Do you think that it is useful to spend time working on traits that the sport itself already addresses, or if, outside the mats/court/track, athletes would be better off training more general abilities?

For example, for Judo/Wrestling, I think that it’s more useful to spend time getting stronger, than doing circuit training, even though circuit training might seem more “specific.”

On the other hand, a sport like wrestling demands high aerobic and lactic power. Would it make sense to address these outside of practice, or the sport itself already conditions the athlete to competition demands?

Mark Rippetoe

Yes, Judo, your understanding is clear. Train for strength, condition outside sports practice if it is actually and truly necessary, and practice your sport. That is all.

Chris Kurisko

It would be great if more people understood this. I get very frustrated hearing about kids I work with wasting their strength, talent, time, and energy doing silly things after spending hours and hours of my time getting them strong.

Rip is dead on the money. As usual.

throwman

I wrestled on the division 1 and continue to wrestle on the senior level. If you want to get better at wrestling you have to wrestle. However wrestling practices do not have to be that intense. In order to get in condition for an important wrestling tournament it only takes about 4 weeks.

It takes way more time to get stronger. I believe that it is important to work on your strength. You can do circuit work when you are already strong.

Just lift heavy, work on technique and wrestle live. That will be all you need until you are about a month or so out from an important tournament. Those should only be a few times a year though.


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23 Sep

September 23, 2019


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charm city strongwoman circus dumbbell hasafell carrycharm city strongwoman circus dumbbell hasafell carry
8th Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest Left, Fivex3 Training’s client, Michele Palopoli, presses the 50 lb Circus Dumbbell for six reps in 60 seconds.  Michele placed 2nd in the Lightweight Novice Division out of 11 women. Right, Fivex3 Training client, Laurie Pagano, carried the 150lb Husafell Stone for 250 feet, surpassing her PR in training! Laurie placed 3rd in the Middleweight Novice Division. [photo courtesy of Juliana Molina]
gila rapp locking out 250 lb deadliftgila rapp locking out 250 lb deadlift
Gila Rapp locks out her third attempt deadlift of 250 lb to win the Women’s Master’s Division at the WFC Strength Meet. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
mike minigell squats 568mike minigell squats 568
SSC Mike Minigell squats 568 lb at Starting Strength Affiliate Gym Weights and Plates. SSC and gym owner Bob Santana spots while SSC Grant of The Strength Co. prepares to check depth. [photo courtesy of Grant Broggi]


Best of the Week

Dizzy when squatting
Sturw

Doing the program. My squat is at 225 (102.5 kg). The last few workouts I have had trouble with the 4th and 5th reps in each set for the squat. I get dizzy and a somewhat loss of vision, everything is fine once I rack the bar and have a deep breath. Numbers are going up on all lifts, I rest 8 minutes between squat sets and the weight is definitely manageable. It’s not the strength that is lacking.

I have tried a couple of medium sized breaths between reps (standing with the bar on the shoulders) before applying valsalva but this exhausts me a bit to much so my technique gets poor. I have tried increasing the internal pressure ”upwards” (toward the glottis and head, more of a mental que) but no effect.

Is this common and are there any recommendations available? Is it some sort of ”oxygen debt,” loss of blood pressure? I am training on my own in my garage so this has become a safety issue since I have no spotters.

Mark Rippetoe

It is not common, because you are breathing incorrectly. Watch some videos or people doing sets of 5 on this board and do it like that.

Fatfacts24

What Rip said. Deep breath between each set. Deep. Hold the breath. Make sure you’re tight too. Do this for each rep. How long does it take for you to reach bottom position? That might be a good question too? Maybe?

JFord

As Mark says, this could be a breathing/Valsalva problem that you need to fix.

I also find that this happens much less if I make sure I’m well hydrated before and as I’m doing my work-out. I don’t know how old you are but as I’ve gotten into my 60s, I find that I’m more prone to orthostatic hypotension which is when you get light-headed (and your blood pressure drops) if you rise too quickly. There are several medical causes for why this happens to older guys but hydrating definitely helps, at least for me. There are some younger folks that have this problem too and the same fix should help.

If you have high blood pressure or other cardiac conditions and are on medications, you might wish to tell your doctor. Some drugs are more likely to cause this problem than others. There might be an easy fix if he or she can modify your medication regimen.

It also sounds like you need a full on squat rack that you can place safeties on in case you miss a rep. This isn’t a panacea but can make lifting in your situation safer.

Will Still

If you Valsalva with the air in your mouth, then the pressure goes up in your head and yeah it can make you dizzy, see stars etc. If you hold the air against a closed glottis in your lungs, then the pressure is not as great in your head and shouldn’t pose a problem. The same thing happens to me when I forget where the air is supposed to be held.


Best of the Forum

Actual Protein Requirements?
plasma1010

I’m a little confused on what the actual protein requirements are for muscle building. I hear everywhere from 0.8 g per lb to 1.7 g per lb. Now I weigh 145 lbs and my progress is good, and I’m tracking about 1 g per lb of body weight, approximately. Would there be any reason to raise this number?

Also, how important are calories, actually, in building muscle if I eat enough protein from real sources like beef ? What I”m getting at is, I eat ~ 2.000 – 2,500 from real food sources like beef (appx 1.5 – 2 lbs) a day. Why would I need more calories if my protein requirements were met?

carson

How tall are you? The standard for protein intake per day is 1 g = 1 lb of body weight. But unless you are quite short 5’4″ or less 145 lbs would make you very slender.

Adam Levine

The actual protein requirements for the human body are relatively modest. Many vegans and folks from less-rich countries are very healthy on 5% calories from protein, and it’s arguably a more healthy diet than what we suggest on this board, with great benefits to cancer-resistance, heart health, and overall longevity.

So, the real question is how much you need to build muscle as fast as you want to (I.E. be on the program)? You say your lifts are doing well and you are progressing to your satisfaction. So, don’t $*#& with it. If you start missing reps, maybe adjust up calories/protein and see if it helps.

I tossed the idea of going vegan vs. going weightlifting for the overall rate of mortality benefits. I went with weightlifting because I figured it got me happier years. A life of beans and salad isn’t for me, but it’s healthy.

Jonathon Sullivan

We have consistently recommended 1 g /lb BW/day.

Because it works.

Karl Schudt

Poking my head in from the nutrition board.

6’2, 145lbs?  You should eat more protein. And more carbs, and more fat.

Eric Schexnayder

The answers to all your questions, and more, can be found here: Practical Programming for Strength Training

Satch12879

For fun, I searched for “causes of death” for three countries that are usually touted as fitting your characterization of having diets that are “less protein rich, but healthier,” Italy, France, and India.

The leading causes of death in each of these countries are as follows:

Italy: Cardiovascular disease, lung/esophageal/tracheal cancer, and Alzheimer/dementia

France: Lung cancer, colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancer

India: Cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, tuberculosis

These are sourced from general statistics compiled by the governments of each country.

Doesn’t quite fit the narrative, does it?

Adam Levine

France: 82.4 years

Italy: 82.7 years

United States: 79.8 years

India: 68.3 years (but remember, it’s still a very poor country with major air quality problems in the cities, I mean TB is one of their leading causes of death?!?! Seriously, antibiotics…)

The benefits of a vegan diet for overall mortality are pretty statistically valid – big, big studies. That said, I don’t want to live 60 years without meat to get a few extra years at the end. That’s my choice.

Strength training also gives overall mortality benefits, and you can have the meat!

Of course, there is vegan AND strength training, but I don’t want to think about how to pull that off effectively.

Mark Rippetoe

You don’t really have a good command of this material – you’re just telling us what you’ve heard from the media and the geniuses that work for them. Poor countries have poor qualities of life for a huge percentage of their populations, caused by things like shitting in the street (like San Francisco), contaminated water, lack of access to vaccines, lack of access to adequate protein, and rampant stupidity in the public sector. TB is not caused by air pollution, and antibiotics are not terribly effective on TB. Cite the study that associates diminished mortality with vegetables and a lack of adequate protein.

Satch12879

Thanks for completely missing the point I was trying to make. And as Rip noted, your understanding of the material you cite is lacking. Mortality rates are multi-faceted in nature, encompassing all manner of inputs, including genetic and cultural makeup, relative level of industrialization, climate, political environment, etc. To cite diet as the contributing factor to these statistically small variations across western, industrialized countries, who by the way, are vastly different in many ways, you fall victim to the classic correlation/causation fallacy.

My point was that diet, specifically a less protein-rich diet, as a driver for “greater health” is cast into doubt if you look at the diseases that people are suffering from in those countries where the eating habits skew in such a way. Cardiovascular disease and digestive system cancers are exceedingly blamed on high protein, and relatedly, high fat consumption. What you see in countries, such as Italy and France, who are touted for their “healthy diets” and India which has a large vegetarian population, are populations that are dying from diseases that those diets should be preventing, but they are not.


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22 Sep

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Former Oklahoma City Thunder guard/forward Alex Abrines credited ex-teammate Russell Westbrook with supporting him last season as he worked to improve his mental health.

Abrines told Basket en Movistar (h/t Alex Madrid of Eurohoops, via Kurt Helin of NBC Sports):

“He’s a very nice guy. He helped me a lot especially in the first year. In most of our trips we did something together, watch a movie, have dinner. When I went through all this and did not travel with the team, he kept in touch. He asked me to meet him for dinner. He cared for the person beyond the player. He calmly told me what I should do noting that he would support me if I decided to leave.”

Abrines also discussed his mental health issues, which led to him stepping away from the team during last season:

“It is a different kind of pain. Physical pain is something you can see and feel. Mental pain can not be observed and can not be treated like an injured knee for example. If you don’t go through something similar, you can’t realize it. In the end of the day, money is not above everything. Until it happens, you don’t realize that you don’t give a s–t about money.”

Numerous NBA players have opened up about their mental health over the past of couple years, including Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love via the Players’ Tribune and San Antonio Spurts guard/forward DeMar DeRozan to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.

The NBA is also putting considerable resources into players’ mental health, which includes mandating that every team has a mental health professional on staff.

As for Westbrook’s reputation as a caring and helpful teammate, Abrines isn’t the only former teammate of his to offer significant praise. Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter did so on ESPN’s First Take.

He also received positive remarks from Thunder guard Dennis Schroder, ex-NBA forward Nick Collison and Los Angeles Clippers forward (and ex-OKC teammate) Paul George, per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated in a Dec. 6, 2018, piece.

Abrines and the Thunder mutually agreed to a release in February. He signed a two-year deal with FC Barcelona in July.

Westbrook played on the Thunder for 11 seasons before being traded to the Houston Rockets this offseason.


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