Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 25, 2022

Turnabout Edition

On Starting Strength
  • The Porsche, Ceiling Texture, and Rip's Favorite Music – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • Physical and Digital Logbooks – Starting Strength Coach Victoria Diaz explains the importance of keeping a physical logbook and the differences between digital and physical.
  • Pros and Cons of Online Coaching – Ray Gillenwater and Rebecca Skinner discuss the benefits of online coaching and why you should find an online coach if you don't live near a gym.
  • Strength Training IS Hypertrophy Training by Robert Santana – The quest to build larger muscles is one that men have embarked on for centuries. It is obvious that the skeletal muscles’ ability to produce increasing force...
  • Pioneers by Daniel Oakes – Nobody mentions it, at least not anybody who isn't perceived as an obsessive freak. It's an awkward, alien, somewhat ugly topic of conversation...
  • Weekend Archives: Adaptation: Period, Persistence, and Prioritization by Damon Wells – The recent surge in the quest for a “well-rounded” and/or “functional” training program (and visible abs) has become the greatest inhibitor to effective training programming...
  • Weekend Archives: The Deadlift: 3 Reasons by Mark Rippetoe – The deadlift may be the simplest and easiest exercise to learn in all of barbell training. You pick up a loaded barbell and set it back down...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

laura deadlifts at fivex3 training in baltimore
Laura deadlifts 90lbs for a PR set of five at the Three Lift Starting Strength Camp at Fivex3 Training in Baltimore. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]
patrick learns how to squat
Patrick, a brand new lifter, learns how to squat at the same camp. [photo courtesy of Emily Socolinsky]
chad locks out a 275 deadlift
Chad Merrit locks out a 275 lb deadlift at Starting Strength Katy. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
joyce using a modified squat to build strength
With limited shoulder mobility, Joyce, age 79, trains with this modified squat. She hopes to build strength to enjoy a family vacation in October. [photo courtesy of Stronger PT]
tony stein coaches randle for a pr deadlift
SSC Tony Stein setting up Randle Davis' PR deadlift at 275 at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Daniel Buege]
west point cadet setting up to power clean
A West Point Cadet sets up to power clean in Strength Development course. [photo courtesy of Gregory Hess]
milo and parker guard at tetify while gym members discuss training
Brother-and-sister duo Mike and Juli discuss Juli's first day of training at Testify Strength & Conditioning as gym dogs Parker and Milo literally guard their turf. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
sanath deadlifts 185 as he trains at starting strength katy
Sanath Reddeddy with a 185 deadlift at Starting Strength Katy. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
steve and josh at wfac strengthlifting meet
Steve Van Ooteghem and coach Josh Wells at this past weekend's Strengthlifting meet held at WFAC. Steve squatted 253, pressed 149, and deadlifted 330 for the day.

Best of the Week

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


Rip, 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.


That is absolutely insane (with a positive connotation). I look forward to the journey!

Best of the Forum



How concerned should I be about having high levels of creatinine? Is it common for athletes or people who lift and train hard to have higher levels of creatinine?

My blood test results for creatinine showed 1.15 last November and 1.3 now this month. GFR: 75 and A/G: 1.99.

I do take creatine, eat healthy and train hard 5-6 days a week. I'm 27 yrs old, 5ft 9" and about 175 Lbs.

Mark Rippetoe

Who told you to be concerned about elevated creatinine levels? What has your own research revealed?


My in-laws think that balancing on one foot while doing dishes is better strength training for your ankles than a set of heavy squats. So weeding out bullshit is a valuable life skill.


1.3 is a level that may (needlessly) raise concern in your doctor, if they don’t see a lot of patients who carry a lot of lean body mass.

In short, serum (blood) creatinine is used to indirectly measure kidney function, because creatinine (from muscle turnover) is removed from the blood by the kidneys, and generally, the more/better filtering the kidneys are doing, the lower the serum creatinine will be. The confusion arises when people train and have more lean body mass than average, which leads to more creatinine being dumped into the serum by muscles. Plus, creatine taken as a supplement gets converted into creatinine in the blood as well. Both of these things increase the level of creatinine in your blood WITHOUT affecting your kidneys.

This has been studied perhaps more than almost anything in ex-phys: neither taking creatine nor eating protein, in normal amounts like you read about around here, will harm your kidneys. But the number your doctor uses to assess kidney function will be artificially increased, which might cause concern to the uninformed.

Instead of just testing serum creatinine, the more accurate test of kidney function is to test the ratio of creatinine in your urine vs your serum.

If your doctor or you are concerned about your kidney function: say you have to take a medication that can sometimes damage kidneys or you have a strong family history of kidney disease, or you're sick and appear to have poor kidney function based on other signs, you can either:

  • come to an agreement with your doctor that 1.3 is your normal baseline serum creatinine, and not to worry unless it increases beyond that.
  • request that they test serum/urine creatinine ratio rather than rely on the serum creatinine alone. This requires 24-hour urine collection, which is why it is not done routinely.
  • stop taking creatine for a couple weeks, and skip 2-3 days of training and hydrate well before a blood draw to retest serum creatinine

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