Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 23, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #64 – Rip answers questions about back pain, dinner with Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and the orangutan.

In the Trenches

bjorn nelson deadlifting
Bjorn Nelson struggling to lockout a PR 455 deadlift with the encouragement of his competitors at Stanton Strength's recent King of the Hill competition. [photo courtesy of Mike Munroe]
rebecca skinner coaches the squat
Rebecca Skinner coaches Chris Palladino during the squat platform session at this past weekend’s Starting Strength Seminar held at Woodmere Fitness Club. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
starting strength seminar woodmere group
The group shot from this weekend’s Starting Strength Seminar at Woodmere Fitness Club. Join us for the next one at this location in August. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Running it out vs. a direct transition to HLM

I've been thinking about how the novice program and HLM as an intermediate blend together. It seems to me that the "running it out" phase for the Novice LP is really just a taper in volume and increase in intensity. Once this is done, the lifter then transitions over to TM, HLM, or something like that, which is really just a higher volume version.

My question is this - why not just transition directly into HLM rather than tapering? Here is what I mean:

Week 1 - Novice Phase Ends (last week of 3x5 on the squat, bench/press, 1x5 DL)

Phase 1 -> Run out 1x5s while ramping up backoff volume (2x5 -> 3x5 -> 4x5), press drops to 5x3

  • Mon - Squat 1x5, back off 3x5 / Bench 1x5, backoff 3x5 / Deadlift 2x3, 3x5 Backoff
  • Wed - Squat Light 3x5 / Press 5x3 / BB Rows
  • Fri - Squat 1x5, back off 3x5 / Bench 1x5, backoff 3x5 / Medium Pull 4x5

Phase 2 -> Intensity top set drops down to 1-2x3, Bench goes to heavy day, press light day, close grip medium

  • Mon - Squat 2x3, back off 4x5 / Bench 2x3, backoff 3x5 / DL 3x2, 2x5
  • Wed - Squat Light 3x5 / Press 3x3, 2x5 Backoff / BB Rows
  • Fri - Squat Medium 4x5 / Close Grip 4x5 / Medium Pull 4x5

Phase 3 -> Intensity drops to a top single, DL moves to Friday

  • Mon - Squat 3x2, 2x5 backoff / Bench 3x2, 2x5 backoff / Medium Pull
  • Wed - Squat Light 3x5 / Press 3x1, 2x5 / BB Rows
  • Fri - DL 3x2, 2x5 / Close Grips 4x5 / Squat medium 4x5

Something like this. My thinking is rather than spending time tapering down, the lifter gradually goes straight into an intermediate program while still linearly progressing the top set and volume.

Brent Carter

I think this looks real damn good actually. Have in fact done something like this with a few of my folks. Worked pretty well.

Best of the Forum

WFAC New Member Experience

I have searched the threads and read the website description, finding some information on what membership is like at WFAC, but still want to know more. Would you tell us all what a person walking in the door at WFAC for the first time is exposed to? Following are some specific topics:

  • Can a new person just walk in the door sign a waiver and start or do you have an introduction to WFAC meeting? What do you cover in the meeting?
  • You provide training advice, coaching, and encouragement openly to your members. Are new members told all of this before joining? Do you offer them programs to choose from at the start?
  • Your membership is more than affordable. Are there any other programs or products that members can purchase?

This is all assuming the person actually wants to train, is going to be committed, and isn't lazy. This, however, is not the norm. I'll give you a bit of stream of consciousness pertaining to what goes on here at the gym.

Every new member is required to learn the basic barbell lifts, regardless of what it is they may intend on doing at the gym. I teach them the squat, press, and deadlift on the first day. Sometimes I may wait till the second day to teach the deadlift if I know the person is going to be pretty damn sore (I can tell). The teaching method has the same structure, but I change how I approach the individual, how I talk to them, how complicated I make my language (technical or general), and how much I want them to think about depending on my impression of the individual. This is based on their prior lifting experience, how athletic they are, how intelligent they are, how mature they are, what their attention span is, and shit like that. I can read that pretty easily, so I cater my personality to what will work best with that individual.

After this initial lesson, the gym member has a few options. They can be a regular open gym member, they can opt for personal training, or they can "join" the "barbell training group" at 5:30 PM on weekdays. The typical schedule for that training group is MWF, and typically it consists of people on the linear progression and some intermediate folks. Usually people in that training group will opt to compete in weightlifting, powerlifting, or what we used to call the CrossFit Total. I'll tailor their training to what event they want to compete in. I've had or have weightlifters, powerlifters, rugby players, football players, basketball players, softball players, and track athletes (I've coached more, but this is what we typically have at the gym).

Open gym members will get our coaching eyes on them when they need it. It takes a few weeks to get this stuff down pretty well, and usually everyone needs some coaching in the long run anyway. The persistent trainees (like our infamous Zach) will get extra help because a guy like him busts his ass, so we help them out a little more. We won't let anyone do anything horribly-ass wrong, even if we (meaning Rip or I) have to go out of our way to fix it.

The barbell training session is a group of people training together. I will watch their warm-ups and work sets. Sometimes I have to get them moving, because everyone becomes friends and they usually dick around and have fun too. It's pretty neat, too, because there will be young high schoolers becoming friends with college age students, and they all get along. We train hard, and have a jolly time doing it.

Alas! This is still Wichita Falls, and we don't have lots of traffic. The community is pretty close knit because of this, and realistically if someone is going to come in here and fuck around, we may opt to recommend they go somewhere else.

A gym member, regardless of what they end up doing at the gym, will inevitably learn about programming. This is inherent in my introduction to them, and the smart ones will continue asking questions about it. The people that have been here for 5, 10, 15 years have inevitably been subject to the epiphanies that Rip has had over the years about life, lifting, and whatever. The group of members that have been here for years are all great people and make things interesting.

I tell the potential gym members what they will get upon signing up. If someone doesn't have any clear cut goals, then a linear progression will typically be what they do. There may be some particular cases of some additional conditioning and nutritional stuff if someone wants to lose bodyfat, but all of our gym members are all squatting at least twice a week and performing the basic barbell lifts.

I've seen a 60 year old friend squat 305 for a set of five when he's tired. I've seen another friend, 47 years old, pull over 500 pounds on a regular basis just because. I've seen 60+ year old doctors bust their ass pushing the prowler because that's the kind of thing they are into on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

My point is that this gym will never be replicated. The personalities, the dedicated training, the development and sharing of knowledge, and the little community makes this place unique. Sure, it's a place to learn. Sure, it is the Company Information Center for the Aasgaard Company. Sure, it has some of the best collection of equipment to get someone strong and conditioned, but the thing is, the majority of the people walk out of the door at the end of the day leave knowing they got stronger and that they had a good time.

I can't fathom a better place to train.

Mark Rippetoe

ALL MEMBERS/GUESTS OF WICHITA FALLS ATHLETIC CLUB MUST READ THIS! Wichita Falls Athletic Club is populated by unstable, unsavory and unpredictable people. Dangers are everywhere. You may fall, be injured or die. There are hidden dangers. You could break your leg. We do not inspect, supervise or maintain the membership, grounds, building, equipment, lavatories or other features or equipment. _______

Real dangers are present everywhere. Treadmills are not sidewalks. They can be, and are, dangerous. Treadmill features such as reading racks, control switches, and railings can break, collapse, or otherwise fail catastrophically at any time. We don't promise to inspect, supervise or maintain them in any way. They may be negligently constructed or repaired. They are unsafe, period. Live with it or stay away. _______

Wichita Falls Athletic Club, in addition to being dangerous, is surprisingly poorly equipped for your comfort and safety. Bring your own first aid supplies, because we don’t provide them, and don’t know how to use them anyway. Barbells and other objects can fall from the racks down onto the platforms. This can happen spontaneously, or may be caused by other members or by the staff, who may be unqualified and/or stupid. Barbell plates can shift, move or fall with no warning. Use of helmets is advised for anyone approaching the squat racks. They cannot be purchased or rented at WFAC, so you’ll need to bring your own. But they won't save you, especially if you get hit by something big or on another part of your body. Don't think it can't happen. Even if you know what you're doing, lots of things can go wrong and you may be injured or die. It happens all the time. _______

The heating and cooling system can be dangerous, regardless of the thermostat setting. Be prepared with extra clothing. Hypothermia, heat stroke, lightning, hot coffee and tea, etc. can kill you. Rain can turn the parking lot into a deathtrap. _______

WFAC does not provide supervision or security personnel. The other people in the gym, including other lifters, our employees, agents, and members, and anyone else who might sneak in, may be stupid, reckless, or otherwise dangerous. They may be mentally ill, criminally insane, drunk, using illegal drugs and/or armed with deadly weapons and ready to use them. In addition, you may experience what you perceive to be sexual harassment, from other members, the owner, or members of the staff. We aren't necessarily going to do anything about it. We refuse to take responsibility. _______

If you lift weights or exercise in any way, using any method, you may die or be seriously injured. You may develop rhabdomyolysis as a result of any workout, either immediately following the workout or days later. This is true whether you are experienced or not, trained or not, equipped or not. If you don’t know what rhabdomyolysis is, it is your responsibility to find out. We may not explain it to you correctly. It's a fact: lifting weights is extremely dangerous. If you don't like it, DON’T JOIN. You really shouldn't be doing this anyway. We do not provide adequate supervision or instruction. We are not responsible for, and do not inspect or maintain, the facilities. As far as we know, any of them can and will fail and cause your death. _______

There are any number of extremely and unusually dangerous conditions existing on and around the gym, and elsewhere on the property. We may or may not know about any specific hazard, but even if we do, don't expect us to try to warn you. You're on your own. First aid services are not provided by WFAC, and may not be available quickly or at all. Local rescue squads may not be equipped for or trained in gym injuries. If you are lucky enough to have somebody try to resuscitate you or treat your injuries, they may be incompetent or worse. This includes doctors and hospitals. We assume no responsibility. _______

if you decide to train at WFAC, even for a day, that's your choice. Don't do it unless you are willing to assume all risks. By joining the club, you are agreeing that we owe you no duty of care or any other duty. _______

We promise you nothing. We do not and will not even try to keep the premises safe for any purpose. The premises are not safe for any purpose. This is no joke. We won't even try to warn you about any dangerous or hazardous condition, whether we know about it or not. If we do decide to warn you about something, that doesn't mean we will try to warn you about anything else. If we do make an effort to fix an unsafe condition, we may not try to correct any others, and we may make matters worse! We and our employees or agents may do things that are unwise and dangerous. Sorry, we're not responsible. We may give you bad advice. Don't listen to us. In short, join WFAC AT YOUR OWN RISK. And don’t forget about the Rhabdo. _______

Printed Name __________________________________________________ __________________________________

Signed____________________________________________ _________ Date ____________________________

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