Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 27, 2020

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In the Trenches

loveland wooden gym in wisconsin
Wisconsin's Almighty governor has issued a Safer at home order, effectively closing all gyms until May 26th. Though he doesn't own a wooden car, Mark Loveland assures us that he can still get a lift in!
strength co training continues
Meanwhile in Orange County, The Strength Co. has been giving lifters alternatives to continue training at home. The new motto "Training Continues" has given way to equipping as many people with rack, stands, benches, and other weightlifting accessories as possible. Starting from a wooden squat stand in 5 gallon buckets with concrete and wooden "Gunny" bench, then moving to a welded "The MSgt" design and a shippable bolted-together version, "The Captain." [photo courtesy of Mike Minigell]
free association wish you were here
WFAC friends and family demonstrating proper "social" distancing [aka "free association"] in a free country. Wish you were here. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Essential Manufacturing

I think the Australian love affair with Chinese manufacturing is coming to a close. I do not know how the US is, but here in Australia over the years we have relinquished the manufacturing of essential services such as medical PPE and medications to the Chinese, so we have been caught with our pants down when the Chinese closed off export of these items to Australia. Not only have we given them our important industries, we have sold companies here to them that manufacture certain medical equipment which has been found on its way back to China at our expense.

We have sold them the rights to mine water from areas in Queensland when they were in severe drought, we have sold them wholly or partly our electricity grid and natural gas supplies, formed public partnerships with them for infrastructure, sold them farmlands, dairies, real estate and the list goes on. Successive Australian governments have allowed them to walk right through the front door.

I think the love affair with Chinese money is over, what we thought were great investments have cost us dearly. I think the free cross boarder travel with China is going to change, we were so stupid.


That's not exactly true is it ?

Someone surely sold their businesses to the Chinese, not "given them 'our' important industries". Presumably there is nothing preventing you starting up a business now to compete with the Chinese manufacturer ?

I have to say I would not want the Government of a western country to 'partner' in any sense with a state which does not respect individual rights. I'm glad to see Trump pulling out of the WHO and our own country considering terminating the Huwai 5G contract.


I work in the oil refining business and I can say that if China decided tomorrow that we were not getting any more steel it would be a bad day. Almost everything we buy for pipe, valves, and other basic things to keep the business going comes from China.

Hopefully this event will be a wake up call to the right people in charge. Steel mills, and other manufacturing that keeps business going, requires a lot of capital. It's not something that can be started up tomorrow if China decides we are no longer getting it. I guess we are lucky that we are not in a wartime situation.


If China were to decide tomorrow that Australia is not getting steel.... The free market would work it out and everyone would quickly realize they are actually better off paying 10% more for higher quality steel.

It looks like fear is still tangling Aus politicians. I hear tough words, but no plans for action; they are even continuing to fund the WHO, despite recognizing that it has been a negative return on investment.

Jovan Dragisic

The free market can realize, but time constraints are an issue. You can't just up your steel production capabilities to meet the demands in a week, it requires a lot of investment over a time period.


There were, back in the 1960's and 70's, Australian brand names that eventually moved to China because of the cheap labour, but you can still buy those brands here made in China of course, however the quality has gone. The Chinese have invested a lot of money into Australia over the years and a lot of our manufacturing has moved there, so now with this CV-19 thing, the door shut and things we needed we don't make anymore, we thought we could live off wheat and sheep and to some extent natural gas, which is sold to the Chinese at a discount price, the Fed had to step in and make sure the suppliers here serviced the local market first because we were running out of gas (natural that is). The party is over, we have to get back our manufacturing resources for Australians first. The CV-19 exposed weaknesses in our sustainability.

When state governments such as here in Australia want to build big infrastructure and they don't have the capital to do it they sell assets and the Chinese are happy to buy.


There will be an adjustment period, but the point is people in Aus will be able to adjust and they will be just fine until capacity can ramp up, even if it takes several years. The fear is unwarranted.

Jovan Dragisic

I’m not sure the poster you were referring to is from Australia

Travis Reid

Great points Wal - I personally was disgusted when watching an interview with our health minister, Greg Hunt, where he mentioned we were waiting on China to re-open so they could deliver us medical masks. What kind of country have we become that we cannot manufacture our own masks?! Especially in a time with so many skilled workers queuing up for unemployment benefits?


The primary obstacle to "competition" as you know or should know are our governments and the costs and complications of their onerous regulations.

It's "competition" not competition because the game is rigged and not in wal's favor or any one of us on this board.


How do you compete with borderline slave labor in a nation with no environment regulations? Maybe you could if your home government installed wage and environmental parity tariffs, but that would require having a government that didn't actively hate its own citizens. And for the Libertarian purists that would be a violation of muh free trade. Not to mention the excessively high cost of operation here with employers being forced to pay part of an employees access to the Medical Cartel and payroll/SS taxes etc.


Unfortunately for Australia, what we lost we will never get back.


Here in the USA, I don't have a lot of hope for real change. We could and we should begin rebuilding our manufacturing capabilities. It should probably be done in a very mechanized manner. Automation and technical sophistication is the only way to compete. There will be less jobs than before but they will pay more.

All this is pointless hot air though, because most Americans will go right back to buying the cheapest stuff they can find as soon as they can get it. We don't have a long attention span. And we continue to allow politicians and the media to direct our attention to made up issues that don't make us better or stronger.


Yeah well numerous folk over the years warned various governments that this could happen if China closed the shop. I think it is about time to put our own workers first and start producing what we need even if it costs more, we use to do it.

Best of the Forum

My experience with menopause

I finally hit the start of menopause and am almost 2 years into it. I get hot flashes every day, day and night. They interfere with my sleep. Otherwise it's not so bad and I continue on doing the things I normally do. I feel so much more stiff and sore than I ever have before. I'm stiff and sore all the time so I have to stretch even though I know upstairs there's a lot of antagonism about it. It helps a lot. There's no other way to walk or squat or do anything without pain without some stretching.

I have given up on the idea of breaking any new records. I spend my time working up slowly and then something in life sends me back to the beginning again. Nothing wrong with "exercise" instead of "training" I am learning, too. Exercise is helpful, not a waste of time.

Recently I got giardia on a backpack trip. I was tested for it so I know it really was giardia. If you want to roll back your strength real far, get giardia. I could barely squat 95lbs once I recovered from it.

Weakness reigns, but I keep on keeping on. As I age, I only want to need help on the toilet because I'm sore, not because I'm frail. I'm sore a lot, though.

I've provided this info for any of the coaches on here just for the demographic info that is so lacking for people my age. I have no coach. Maybe if I did they'd push me harder than I push myself. But let me tell you, hot flashes suck--I can feel a tingle that feels like a free-fall off a building just before it happens. Getting old sucks. I'm ridiculously sore all the time. I squat, dead and bench once a week. My last squat was triples at 145, deadlift was 5s at 165, bench was 3s at 65, press was the machine at 40 x 5. I also do some lat pulls, assisted pullup machine, and cable machine fuckaround stuff because why not. I can still walk 20 miles per day on my vacation when I go backpacking, so I've still got it. Not dead yet.


Sleep has been the biggest problem with my menopausal clients as well. As far as excessive soreness, that is not something I have observed.

Mark Rippetoe

Describe your diet and especially your protein intake for us.


I have not been measuring what I eat. I drink a scoop of whey protein powder for breakfast. I eat a generous portion of protein (fish or chicken or eggs usually) for dinner. Anything else is opportunistic and probably doesn't add much to the overall total. It's probably not enough but I got to a point where I just couldn't stand to eat so much chicken.

I'm not trying to win anything, just trying to stay strong enough for life and strong enough that once I break through to the other side of this menopause maybe I can have the ability to work harder then. It was pretty amazing to me how difficult the menopause made everything. Having a hot flash hit in the middle of a set sucks. I hope it goes away soon.

I have chronic soreness in my hips and can't seem to squat down very well at all. Stretching has yet to help me squat without pain even though it has helped my achilles tendinitis a lot. I have no idea where this pain even came from.

Another weird thing that has changed since menopause is that I get bruises in my hands really easily. Deadlifts will break the veins in my fingers sometimes. So I struggle with being able to deadlift very heavy.

Mark Rippetoe

You're not eating enough to support recovery from training. Until you do, you will be sore and unrecovered.


If you choose not to fix your diet, you'll have to design the training stress around the recoverability that you've constrained on the system.

Evelyn O’Donnell

I'm a 51 yo female intermediate. It sounds like your problem has much more to do with your diet than menopause. Your description of what you eat suggests that you're getting about a third as much protein as I am. My lifts are continuing to go up, slowly but surely. If I were on 50 grams of protein a day, I suspect I'd be getting weaker, not stronger. If you're anything like me, you grew up believing that "high protein" was the peanuts in your Snickers Bar, so by comparison a scoop of whey powder and a piece of fish must be enough. Not so.

I suspect that if you add another scoop or two of whey powder, and probably some other nutritious food, you'll start feeling a lot better. Personally, I need to do the main lifts three times a week, not one, but that's just me. Once isn't enough. I lift heavy once a week, then do lighter sets for volume on other days. I might benefit from some assistance work at this point, but I wouldn't just start doing "fuckaround stuff." I'd want it to be part of a thoughtfully designed program. Otherwise you're just pissing into the wind.

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