Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 28, 2015

  • Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy is this month's winner of the Under the Bar prize drawing.

Under the Bar

power snatch chase lindleyChase Lindley power snatches at WFAC as he ramps up off-season training for football. At 17 years old, Chase continues to make linear progress on his lifts while he grows, finishing last year's preseason training with a 420x5x3 squat, 455x5 deadlift, and 195x5 press. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
barbell press clay Clay Greathouse grinds out the last rep of his volume presses. Clay trains at WFAC and makes gains despite constant sabotage by his high school "strength coach". Clay will play football at the University of Tulsa next year. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
kristine one wheel squats Kristine N. hits a PR of 135x3x5 at Horn Strength & Conditioning in Los Angeles. [photo courtesy of Paul Horn]

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Best of the Week

Are there any real physical therapists left? Now we have RedCord.

Working my way back from shattering my calcaneus and was given instructions by my doc for PT to help get as much movement back as possible. The place was your standard PT place, plastic dumbbells, pilates machines and a couple treadmills...then I notice this table in the back with all these red ropes hanging above it.

It was excitedly explained to me that this is Red Cord and it was developed in Norway!! All I had to do to be evaluated was walk and maybe a couple one legged squats and then I could hop on the table to get suspended by this contraption and it will give me a deep muscle workout that would fix all my muscle imbalances. The only thing I know about Norway is that they love heroin there, and it probably snows a lot, which could lead to issues with critical thinking.

In short, I left. I'm back on the Starting Strength program and my strength is growing by leaps and bounds, but still dealing with lack of mobility and joint pain.

The question-How on earth do we find reputable PTs anymore? I'm in the greater Los Angeles area if someone can give me a referral.

Mark Rippetoe

Has there ever been an abundance of "real" Physical Therapists? I certainly don't remember hordes of them. But this is a brilliant new way for the clinic to make money after the patient runs out of insurance. Standard TRX-type bullshit.


I am an "insurance defense" lawyer. This means I represent people who get sued in personal injury cases. I am awash in PT records on a regular basis. I am convinced that one of the major reasons the PT industry is what it is – i.e., filled with garbage "exercises" – is that many, many, many people who get PT are fat, lazy, and not interested in any kind of difficult work to actually get strong. I know athletes get PT too, after an injury or whatnot. I'm fairly certain, however, that if someone did a study listing age and body-weight of every person who receives services from a PT in the United States in a given year – the results would show "middle age" to elderly, and overweight to morbidly obese as the majority of patients.

Would someone like this benefit from a program like Starting Strength? Of course. But if they don't want to do it, they aren't going to do it, and they will flock to providers who provide nonsense and sell it as being effective at, e.g., "return range of motion to normal levels," etc.

Also, PT is firmly established in the treatment plans of virtually every orthopedic surgeon, and internist, who treat people for any kind musculoskeletal issue. A lot of PI lawyers will send their clients to chiropractors. The reasons are varied. But lack of insurance and the willingness of some chiropractors to enable malingering are the most prevalent. Virtually no MD – and I've deposed over 100 in my 9.5 yr career – will say that a chiropractor is better than PT. In many instances, however – assuming an ethical practitioner – a chiropractor is a much better, and cheaper, option than going through 6 weeks of physical therapy.

If you live in LA, I guarantee you can find a good chiropractor. You should only hire a chiropractor who is in shape. I'm not suggesting s/he needs a "six pack" – but you should pick someone who lifts weights on a regular basis. You could probably get a referral from Cross Fit "box." You should try to find someone that works with people who work out with weights -- as opposed to someone who just runs a litigation mill. These people exist in decent numbers – especially in an area like LA.


I work as a physical therapist assistant at the Ohio State University, a local hospital, and have worked in nursing homes and home health. I do get frustrated at my profession and people bashing it. How a job that originally was about helping those with war injuries, polio, cerebral palsy, and other life debilitating afflictions has made its way into strength and conditioning/fitness is upsetting. I feel it has a lot to do with the decline of physical education in this country. Now we are stuck with a situation where those who are in rehabilitation are teaching fitness/strength and setting standards. This should have never come to be. I know Rip and the other SS coaches are doing their best to reverse this.

Don't even acknowledge that convoluted contraption. There are incompetent people in every profession and sadly the world of rehab has many charlatans. This is not to throw them all into the same group. There are some good ones and if it’s a chiro or PT there are people who can help. It does seem those who are skilled at ART can make legit structural changes that can get your ankle moving but you have to do your research.

I do want to set the expectation to those visiting this site and those in physical therapy. If you have general aches and pains or want to be strong DON'T GO TO A PT. Just get stronger through full range of motion and things will be good. If you have true structural deformity or neurological disease then maybe PT can help.

Best of the Forum

Dr Strangestrength:Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Silly Bullshit.

Many people on this board are survivors of the realm of silly bullshit and sometimes looking back it is therapeutic to understand why.

It has always been troubling to me, and I am not alone, that so many apparently very smart people believe in so much unproven quackery. Judges, Doctors and Physicists who read horoscopes, believe in UFO abductions, holocaust denial and invest time and money in psychic phenomena.

The reason seems to be that smart people believe in weird things is because they are very good at defending dumb ideas they arrive at for non-smart reasons. For social, cultural and emotional reasons they surrender to one pseudoscience after another and go on to defend it.

When someone finds out that the S & C coach of his favorite team is having them all do one leg balancing tricks, blind folded with a chop stick in between their toes and a spinning porcelain plates on the chopstick, it does help, I find, to think that; yes, he is a pretty smart guy, smarter than me probably, but he got caught up with this ridiculous BS because of a self perpetuating con job by marketeers and pseudoscience and instead of critical analysis he's using his intelligence to defend it.

Rip, do you think that this goes part of the way to explain why those who are objectively very intelligent, end up surrendering to fanciful concepts like "core fitness training", Nautilus, Rubber-band-everything (fill the rest in for yourself)? I think its very important that everyone understand how very smart people can be so utterly and breathtakingly wrong on strength.

Mark Rippetoe

This is really two questions: why do they not choose an appropriate level of training progression for their athletes based on an evaluation of their previous training history, and why instead to they so easily go with the current flow of convention?

  1. They don't know any better. Most of them, the vast majority, have never worked with a broad enough population demographic to realize the nature of long-term training adaptation. They work with athletic populations who are naturally talented and strong, and anything they do gets interpreted as effective. And they use programming that is irrespective of novice/intermediate/advanced levels of adaptation because they have no experience with the differences, not because they are not present in their teams, but because they are unaware of their existence.
  2. They use the latest training fads because they get paid to appear "cutting-edge" in their training, there is a lot of peer pressure to do so, and they want to advance their careers among a group of people who regard this type of shit as the professional norm.

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