Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 25, 2015

  • Adam Watson is the winner of the May prize drawing.
  • The squat section of the Starting Strength DVD is up for online viewing.
SS Coaches' Updates & Blogs

Under the Bar

chase squat 405 x 5 x 3 Chase, in a He-Man shirt, squatting 405 for 3 sets of 5 at WFAC.[photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
deadlift suzy lindenmann Suzy Lindenmann deadlifts 240 x 3. She is coming back after a quad injury, but is still much stronger than her 45 lb heavier 2-yr ago self. [photo courtesy of Suzy Lindenmann]
barbell training dr Kellner Dr.Kellner trains three days a week using the basic barbell lifts. Despite herniated and collapsed discs at L4-5 ,S 1-2 he is able to strength train pain free thanks to the Starting Strength method.[photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
brendan kennedy 500 deadlift Brendan Kennedy PRd his squat (405), deadlift (500), and was accepted into U of M graduate school.[photo courtesy of Chris Kurisko]
squat teaching method
squat first training Starting Strength Coach Diego Socolinsky works with a husband and wife for their first duo coaching session.[photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]

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Best of the Week

Senior Training

I just wanted to let you know what an amazing resource y'all have in Andy, especially for seniors. My dad just had his first coaching session with him and it was worth every penny. More, in fact. My dad had leukemia diagnosed 4 years ago, multiple vertebral compression fractures, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, multiple hospitalizations and a stem cell transplant which aged him drastically and left him pretty much the definition of sarcopenia and atrophy. Andy seamlessly and effortlessly adapted to my dad's level of strength and multiple limitations, of which there are many. It was amazing to watch. I can't wait for Andy and Sully's book for seniors. I'm going to hand them out to patients like free Viagra samples. That book will need to be ever present in every doctor's waiting room.

Andy Baker

The change is not going to come from the top down. I have no illusions about the number of doctors that are suddenly going to change their paradigm based on this book. I've always envisioned the change coming from the ground up - from the patients. We're hoping that at some point the Medical Community simply won't be able to ignore the positive impact that barbell training has on the Sick Aging Phenotype. And perhaps at that point they'll pick up the book or give me a phone call.

And the book is just going to be a small part of it. It takes a network of professionals operating in the field that are actually putting their hands on these people and teaching them something. It can't just be articles and arguments.

Mark E. Hurling

It may not be as gloomy an outlook as you think. I can remember the pre-Ken Cooper days when there was no firm measure or support from doctors and others for some quantification of aerobic fitness for the general public. But it started slow in the late 60's after I bought his first book when it came out in paperback my senior year in high school. Then jogging took the US by storm in an even bigger wave than CrossFit has. The fact that Starting Strength in general, and you in particular, have Sully on board with this could well trigger a greater response in the general public and hopefully in the medical community than you might think possible just now.

Andy Baker

Sully's credentials make him the most powerful weapon we have for the mission.

We have a few more obstacles than running does. I'm not sure that running had the same stigma that heavy barbell training does. Currently if you ask a doctor these questions, here are the likely responses:

  • Should I exercise: Yes
  • Should I do strength training: Yes
  • Should I do free weights: maybe some, but machines are safer
  • Should I do squats and deadlifts: light squats ok, but don't go down deep. Never deadlift.
  • Should I go really heavy with free weights: NO!

And the problem is that they have plenty of evidence to make their case.


I'm a doctor. There is no authority granted with an M.D. that makes you an expert on fitness, exercise, or strength training. You have to study, learn, and apply the knowledge gained. There was no meaningful teaching on any of this stuff, at least in my school (med 1985-1989). I know exercise science is full of BS studies but guess what, BS studies get published every month in hundreds of medical journals across every specialty. Asking most doctors advice on exercise or training is about as useful as asking them how to fix the transmission on your car. When I am asked and I start in on squats and dead lifts, this is so far removed from anything they have read, heard, or experienced that it usually goes in one ear and out the other. It is frustrating. Starting Strength is in my office and I've recommended many to purchase, read and we'll talk. So far, not one response. Seriously thinking about putting my squat rack, bar, and plates in the waiting room.

Andy Baker

This is well understood by those of us in practice in S&C, but I assure you that to my clients, "The Doctor’s" word might as well be carried off the mountain carved in stone tablets.

And despite the self confessed ignorance on the subject, a large portion of them don't hesitate to give advice in the area.

Best of the Forum

BMI of 25-29.9 showed the lowest rate of All Cause Mortality
Will Morris

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows with strikingly good evidence a "high BMI"(25-29.9) showed the lowest rate of All Cause Mortality. It had an even lower rate of ACM than low and extremely low BMI.

Unfortunately, I am unable to post the entire article at this time, but after going over the article, the reported stats in the abstract match up with what the article said.

Mark Rippetoe

And this comports pretty well with what we already know -- "we" meaning us cool people on this board.

Will Morris

Didn't someone once say, "Strong people are harder to kill than weak people"?

But what "we" know has now been supported by a Systematic Review / Meta-Analysis (the highest level of evidence) of 97 studies with a sample size of 2.8 million people. Then, it was published in the JAMA, but somehow, I am afraid healthcare providers will somehow lose the importance of the conclusions of this study.

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