Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 17, 2023

Obstensibly Edition

On Starting Strength
  • The DEA and Restrictions on Testosterone – Rip and Dr. Wittmer discuss the DEA attempting to impose regulations on telemedicine and restrict the usage of testosterone.
  • You Will Look Better Heavier – Rip talks about wanting what you do not have. If you want to get big and strong, you have to accumulate strength by growing your muscles. Stress, recovery, adaptation.
  • Black Belt, SSC, Engineer, Good Dude, Mark Diffley – Ray Gillenwater talks with Starting Strength Coach Mark Diffley about his specialties and successes with the SS Austin Gym.
  • The “Sumo” Deadlift: What's the Point? – The “sumo” deadlift (hereafter referred to as just sumo, to save some typing) was invented in the late 70s/early 80s as a clever way to circumvent the rules in powerlifting...
  • Bend Over When You Squat – Rip explains how to achieve the correct back angle for The Squat during the platform instruction at a Starting Strength Squat Camp held at Wichita Falls Athletic Club.
  • Weekend Archives: What Not to Do: Observations of Powerlifters Coaching Novices by Kyle Mask – After training for nearly a decade at a commercial gym in one of Nashville’s poshest neighborhoods, I firmly believed I had seen every possible iteration of tomfoolery...
  • Weekend Archives: The Phenomenology of Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe – The phenomenology related to a theory is an important step in the analysis of that theory. Another way to think about the phenomenology is...

In the Trenches

santana cues spinal extension in the deadlift at a training camp
At the recent training camp in Phoenix, SSC Robert Santana reinforces spinal extension with a tactile cue to the lifter's back. [photo courtesy of Dan Ballinger]
ray gillenwater teaches tasha the deadlift
Tasha learns to deadlift at the training camp in Phoenix as she's coached by Ray Gillenwater. [photo courtesy of Dan Ballinger]
group photo at the phoenix camp
SSCs Robert Santana & Ray Gillenwater pose for a group photo with the attendees of the Squat & Deadlift Camp at Weights & Plates Gym in Phoenix, AZ. [photo courtesy of Dan Ballinger]
kyoungha kim coaching the squat
SSC Kyoungha Kim coaches Hyung joo during this month's Squat training camp in Seoul. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
inhyuk eun coaches a pull at the training camp in korea
SSC Inhyuk Eurn coaches Hyung joo using a tactile cue during the Deadlift and Clean training camp held in Seoul this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
kyoungha kim teaches inhyuk eun to not look at a phone during coaching
Kyoungha Kim, SSC gives Inhyuk Eun, SSC a memorable lesson that looking at smart phone while coaching can be dangerous.
marie coaches a lifter on the bench press at starting strength boston
Apprentice Marie coaching Gaymarie through a bench press work set of 3 reps of 75 lb at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
jameson and otis at starting strength katy
Jameson and Otis trying to stay out of trouble at Starting Strength Katy. [photo courtesy of Shelley Wells]
jarret beck coaches the deadlift at starting strength columbus
Jarret Beck teaches young athlete Michael McGrath how to set up the deadlift at Starting Strength Columbus. [photo courtesy of Pete Yeh]
brandon warms up his deadlift
Brandon warms up his deadlift. He’s one month into his LP while waiting for Starting Strength Indianapolis to open June 12. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]
apprentices in austin practise teaching the power clean
At Starting Strength Austin, apprentices Brian Payne and Ethan Bynon practice the power clean teaching progression as coaches look on. [photo courtesy of Andrea Mates]
paul snatches at testify strength and conditioning
Paul snatches 55 kg at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. Ever the Renaissance man, Paul is fresh from competing in April's Testify Strengthlifting Challenge and is now preparing for the annual Testify Barbell MAYhem weightlifting meet, which takes place on May 6th. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
starting strength coaches at the seminar in wichita falls
Starting Strength “OG” coaches and Carmen assemble for a group photo with Rip at the April seminar at Wichita Falls Athletic Club. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
starting strength columbus members show up in the same shirt
The Friday noon crew all inadvertently arrived in their maroon Starting Strength Columbus shirts. Coach Jarret was not on the same wavelength. [photo courtesy of Pete Yeh]

Get Involved

Best of the Week

If you had to pick one upper body press...


If you had to pick a single upper body exercise to develop pressing strength, would it be the flat bench press, incline bench press, standing overhead press, or something else?

I believe Bill Starr is known to prefer the incline press to both bench and overhead in some circumstances: Thoughts on Bill Starr's Throwers Program.

I'm aware that SS states the incline press is irrelevant if the lifter is both flat benching and overhead pressing, but this leaves open the question of what happens when the lifter has time only for one movement for building pressing strength in the upper body.

Mark Rippetoe

The Program is the program.

Best of the Forum

A Novice's Ambitious (Too Ambitious/Not Ambitious Enough?) Plans


Thank you. SS:BBT was strongly recommended to me by a mentor, and I am immensely grateful for having found it. I have read and re-read the book and am doing my best to follow it to a T.

Time doing the program: 3 weeks
Age: 22
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 193lb (up from 185lb)
Squat: 185lb (up from 115lb)
Deadlift: 230lb (up from 135lb)
Press: 83lb (up from 65lb)
Bench: 156lb (up from 140lb)

As of now, my programming has been/will continue to be to train consistently, eat around 6,000 calories per day (decrease to 4,000/day in 2-3 months), and sleep 7-9 hours/night. I have already said a tearful goodbye to my once-mildly-impressive abs and am learning to embrace a bit of a tummy, which I expect to continue to nurture. I hope to focus on mass gaining until I can Deadlift 500, Squat 400, Bench 300, and Press 200, and then trim some of my fat down until I have regained a decently toned physique.

Any opening pieces of advice/encouragement/critique/good-natured personal attacks (or poorly-natured, if you must, ha!)?

Mark Rippetoe

You'll have those numbers in 7 months if you continue to gain weight -- 235 at 6'2" will have you close. But at 6'2" and 275 you can do 700/650/425/300. Think in those terms, not in physique. Outgrow that childish nonsense.

From the Coaches
  • Stress, Fatigue, and the SRA Cycle – Coaches Robert and Trent discuss some recent developments in their own training, which prompts a discussion on how stressors affect the SRA cycle, and why advanced barbell training can be deceptively simple.
  • What are CrossFitters good at when it comes to the deadlift, and how can this particular phenomenon help you improve your deadlift? Phil Meggers explains and demonstrates in this video.
  • Are you making this mistake when deadlifting? Well . . . don't. Phil Meggers helps you fix it fast in this short video.
  • Struggling with motivation to get to the gym and train? Learn why you're approaching it all wrong. Phil Meggers explains in Testify's weekly article.
  • In this episode of the PRS Podcast SSC Dr. Rori Alter and her co-host discuss what to look for and how to adjust your squat if you’re experiencing pain in order to continue to train.
  • SSC Dr. Rori Alter & her co-host discuss the three most important things to consider in garage gyms for keeping your equipment and body health.
  • SSC, physical therapist & elite powerlifter, Dr. Rori Alter shares her story of managing femoroacetabular impingement, hip labral tears, and a hip fracture without surgery on her 11 year journey of a successful powerlifting career.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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