Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 18, 2016

Training Log
  • Niki Sims brings us Three ways to NOT get Bulky from Lifting as she tackles old myths and unfounded fears of transformations into "bulky, jacked, muscle-kitten[s]" and "rippling, veiny, skinned yeti[s]."
  • Ask Rip #18 – Rip answers a question from Milo Yiannopoulos on the correlation between low testosterone and victimhood culture.

Under the Bar

coaching jordan feigenbaum Jordan Feigenbaum coaching at the Starting Strength Camp put on by Jordan and Tom Campitelli at PTC Brisbane in Australia. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
nathan wulff deadlift Nathan Wulff deadlifts under the watchful eye of Jordan Feigenbaum at the Starting Strength Camp held at PTC Brisbane in Australia. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
deadlift after surgery A little over two weeks past surgery to improve the blood flow to his legs, Michael is back to deadlifting. With a substantial decrease in leg pain, this is the heaviest he has been able to deadlift to date. [photo courtesy of Kelli Nielson]
squat angles explanation germany Big shout-out from the Coach Rip fan community in Berlin, Germany. This is our Oly Coach explaining the well-known angle-diagram. [photo courtesy of Daniel Wölk]
granza strength training Grazyna, making strength gains in her 60s at Feral Fitness. [photo courtesy of Feral Fitness]
power clean coaching Starting Strength Coach Jay Mund works with an out of town client on the starting position for the power clean. Our weekends are often spent coaching clients from the D.C/Northern Virginia area for our One Day Clinics. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinksy]

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Best of the Week

Splitting your deadlifts into halting deadlifts and rack pulls

My last working set of 5 on the deadlift was 495x5. I am experimenting with Mark's suggestion of dividing the pull into two parts to make recovery cycles more manageable and to not interfere as much with squatting 2-3 times per week.

I believe that Starting Strength and/or Practical Programming both say that you ought to be able to do 8s with whatever your best set of 5 was on deads. I am nowhere near able to do that and in fact I am quickly realizing how weak I am off the floor. On rack pulls, however, I pulled a very easy set of 5 at 525. Should I even bother with the rack pulls or just focus on doing halting deads after every squat session?

Mark Rippetoe

Your floor pull will catch up. Make DAMN sure your low back is flat.

Best of the Forum

Program for women

I was curious if you can suggest resourceful info for female weight training.

There is a lot of information/forums on weight training for men but not much for women. I am having a hard time finding information that is designed specifically for women depending on their goals.

I am 35, weight 145lbs body fat 29%. I have been weight training for about 8 months. I see results where my body has slimmed though there is no weight or body fat change.

My goal is to reduce my body fat but I've been unsuccessful in doing so. I eat healthy and watch my calories/macros. I'm a bit confused what those should be and what my focus should be here, how much protein do I need to intake in order to lean out but not bulk?

Need I be focusing on growing in strength with more weight lifting or more cardio? Currently, I workout 4-5 days a week. My routine is upper body 2x a week, legs 2x a week for 30m followed by 30-45 min of cardio in my cardio zone. My goal is to look lean not bulky but I like the challenge of a weight.

I've been getting a bit bored lately so motivation has been lacking. When I try to research more on weightlifting for women there's lots of conflicting info as most of it is designed for body builders.

Mark Rippetoe

You seem to be confused about several significant issues regarding both training and diet. You haven't read either the books or this website's resources. Do so, and get back to us. Good luck.


There's a lovely group of women who lift and log on this forum. I have been much encouraged by them. They range in age, height, and goals. I am 35, 5'4. I am now nearly 20lbs heavier (~155-160) than my adult weight (140), yet more pleased with my figure than I've ever been while stronger than I ever believed I could be. Starting Strength, the lifting method, and Starting Strength, the lifting program, are both well worth the time and effort to learn and experience.

Will Morris

I can assure you that it is virtually impossible for someone without toxic levels of testosterone in their body to achieve large, bulky muscular development. If it were so easy to do with minimal amounts of testosterone, I'd be a huge sumbitch.


You should read Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming. They will explain the answers to many of your questions. They are worth every penny.

Then, get started on the program detailed in the books. There is no female-specific program. We need the same program, with whole body exercises, because it is the most effective, efficient way to increase strength. And increasing strength improves sugar metabolism, appearance, bone density, confidence, sport performance, balance... In fact, you could argue we need the same program even more. With a tenth of the testosterone of men, body part splits and steady state cardio? Ain't nobody got time for dat! We're starting from a handicap here! Upper/lower splits work at the start, but then, progress slows. So, you try cutting calories even more, until you mathematically can't, without being very tired and getting that skinny-fat look going on...

Which ties in to your stated goal – to lose body fat. This will be mostly determined by the composition of your diet. I agree with bluebuttons recommendation- read and understand why you can and should eat lots of protein, and fat, to fuel your squatting, pressing, benching and deadlifting. You won't bulk up (not enough testosterone.) You're providing your body with what it needs to make more muscle. Which, at rest, burns body fat anyway. And, after increasing your strength, if you decide that you'd like to drop a bit of fat weight, it's so much easier to do. Just a bit of tinkering with carbohydrate intake and it will surprise you how much easier it is compared to previous attempts with inefficient approaches. Females are being set up to fail on never-ending cycles of counting calories, low fat diets, upper/lower training, high-rep sets and jogging. Jump off the mouse wheel and you won't look back.

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