Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 19, 2021

Network Launch Edition

On Starting Strength
  • The Big Lie and Being Self Sufficient – Mark Rippetoe talks about self reliance and the need to think about the daily necessities of life and how those needs will be satisfied if the sources you're used to getting them from are disrupted. Water collection and storage, tools to keep, food storage, electricity, and off-grid living are all topics of discussion.
  • Growing as a Coach – Starting Strength Coaches JD Shipley and Chase Lindley discuss Chase's move to Oklahoma City as the new Head Coach, his experience coaching in Houston, and how he's developed as a coach over the last year.
  • Gaining 60 Pounds in 4 Months – Starting Strength Dallas member Max discusses his progress over his 4 months training at Starting Strength Dallas, including 60 lb of weight gain and hundreds of pounds on all of his barbell lifts, with his coach, Jordan Burnett, SSC.
  • Don’t Train Your Wife by Carl Raghavan – This isn’t just a catchphrase. It’s the truth. Words of the wise, the former victims of the nuclear fallout that inevitably results from the trouble and strife: don’t train your wife or girlfriend...
  • Dogma or Doctrine? by Capt James Rodgers – A criticism of the Starting Strength method is that its approach is dogmatic, that it does not account for individual differences, and that its rigorous application of standards for the execution of programming of the lifts constitutes...
  • Weekend Archives: Maybe You Are a Special Snowflake by John F Musser – You made the decision to be strong. Perhaps your original goal was weight loss, or some vague idea of needing exercise, maybe you simply wanted to look and feel better...
  • Weekend Archives: by Mark Rippetoe Bad Advice About Higher Reps – As we get older, many of us go to the doctor more than we should. We ask the doctor about things doctors don’t really know much about, like diet and exercise...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

junko at the bottom of a squat at the starting strength seminar
Junko at the bottom of a squat at this weekend’s Starting Strength Seminar at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
adam locks out a press at the starting strength seminar
Starting Strength Cincinnati’s apprentice Adam locks out a press at the seminar this weekend. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
nick delgadillo works with an air force eod unit
Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo works with an Air Force EOD unit on the lifts and integrating Starting Strength into to their fitness program.
cody annino coaches shannon
Starting Strength Coach Cody Annino coaches Shannon during the Squat and Deadlift Training Camp held at Annino Strength & Conditioning last weekend. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
fred deadlifts at the starting strength camp
Fred made the trip down all the way from New Hampshire to have his deadlift tuned-up in Connecticut this past weekend's camp. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
selfie of a group of starting strength houston coaches
The crew from Starting Strength Houston got together a recently to celebrate Chase’s move to Starting Strength OKC! Pictured are (clockwise from the top) Tony Stein, JD Shipley, Kit Fung, Chase Lindley, and Josh Wells. [photo courtesy of Kit Fung]

Best of the Week

My Buddy Tweaked His Back Squatting For The First Time

Isaac Medina

I have a friend who, yesterday while learning the squat, tweaked his back on the last rep of the last set of 5. I had him do the "Superman" drill to help set his back in extension prior to the last set of 5. He squatted 65x5x3.

He has lymphoma and lupus, so I've been starting him off with very light weight.

He's not blaming me for his back tweak, as he said that he gets them all the time. In his own words: "Don't worry. I don't blame you. This has always been a problem. My only worry is that I will keep letting it stop me. As long as I am back in the gym to try again I will be ok. I have always used this as an excuse to not get in shape because this always happens."

He's 6', 230lbs, and super willing to get better. But now he's somewhat apprehensive towards squats.

Again, have you experienced something similar to this and how did you solve this?

Mark Rippetoe

Once again, is he doing situps or back extensions?

Isaac Medina

No sir, he's not. He hadn't done really anything prior to this except maybe go hiking, or on a jog once in a while.

Mark Rippetoe

If the guy has a history of back tweaks, they may well stop by the time you get his deadlift to 225. Hurry.

Isaac Medina

Understood. Thank you Mark.


The only thing that stops my back tweaking is regular squats and deadlifts. But initially it's a hard thing to train through when you're worried about it.

Best of the Forum

Getting 8 hours of sleep


I have a fitness watch that tells me how much I've slept, seems pretty accurate as the times it notes me being awake match up with the times I remember being awake through the night.

If I go to bed 8 hours before I wake up, I only usually get 6 and a bit hours of sleep. To actually get 8, I need to get into bed 10 hours before I wake up.

When 8 hours of sleep is recommended, do people generally mean getting into bed 8 hours before getting up and having a relatively uninterrupted sleep, or should I actually be GETTING 8 hours?

Mark Rippetoe

Since laying awake in bed is not sleeping, I'm pretty sure they mean the 8 hours spent not awake.


I believe the recommendation for 8 hours of sleep came from Henry Ford's factories when he popularized a work system based on 8 hours of labour, 8 hours of leisure and 8 hours of rest per day. So, technically the recommendation is just 8 hours in bed.

In reality, the amount of sleep you need depends on several factors and may have a large range. You should be able to feel when you are getting insufficient sleep or the time in bed is sufficient, but the quality of sleep is poor.


Not sure about the Henry Ford part, but it is definitely true that 8 hours is an estimate based on norms, and not a magic number determined to be the best for everyone. This is an estimate of sleep duration, not time spent in bed, and has been studied, and for most adults, 7-8 seems to work fine, but the normal range is more like 5-9. Some people seem to do fine with 4, and some do best with 10. Most of us know what we need, based on basic observation. If generally you are feeling well, and able to do everything you want to do, then you are probably sleeping enough. If you need to "catch up" on weekends, you're probably not sleeping enough during the week. If you sleep 6 hours, and like to take an hour nap in the afternoon, that's cool. Unless your boss has other ideas.

Basically, to get the full benefit of sleep, you should get enough (whatever that means for you) and get it on a regular schedule. If you sleep 8 hours and don't feel rested, you might just be someone who needs 9 hours, or you may have sleep apnea, another sleep disorder, or a non-sleep-related problem that is causing fatigue.

Sleep remains fairly mysterious to medicine and science in general. We don't really know why it's so important, but you die without it. Since evolution has not found a way to eliminate the need for sleep in prey or marine mammals, where sleeping can be deadly, it must be pretty darn important.

Here's the National Sleep Foundation expert panel review results on sleep duration. They looked at a bunch of studies and did their best to come up with a consensus: National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary

Bottom line: don't stress about the 8, use it as a starting point and figure out what you need. If you feel good with 6 or 7, you're not doing anything wrong. "Extra" sleep is not needed or helpful.

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