Starting Strength Weekly Report

April 06, 2020

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  • Kids These Days – After decades as a college strength coach, Jim Steel has shifted to younger lifters and is discovering different challenges and rewards.
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    Matthew Swogger tells his story of overcoming a catastrophic back injury in Swogger's Revenge.
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  • What happens when the government forces gyms to shut down? Inna Koppel shares Woodmere Fitness Club's response to keep their members' hard won health progress in The Essential Tool For Survival.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

bill starr and mark rippetoe
Rip and his coach Bill Starr in a powerlifting meet warmup area.
bre napping at the warehouse
The Aasgaard Companyis still shipping essentials, even if Amazon isn't. Put in your order and get Bre working! [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Advice on nagging injuries?
Robin UK

My lifting buddies and I are having a Skype debate and it’s getting heated. The debate is thus:

Assuming general “Art of Manliness” criteria, who is the biggest alpha?

  1. Oliver Reed
  2. Marlon Brando
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  4. Kirk Karwoski
  5. George Foreman 

My vote is with Reed. However, he comes last in physicality which two of the debaters hold in higher importance in the overall consideration than I do. It’s about systems and their display rather than specifics of the system and their potential.

Who would be your choice?

Mark Rippetoe

I have to go with Oliver Reed, based on his personality. He was truly a Man, the type we all think of as Alpha.


I met ORs son on holiday in Turkey. Had a long chat over several drinks, but he doesn't drink nearly as much as his Father-allegedly. He was a dive instructor but had sustained an injury which prevented him diving. Nice guy. Told me a lot about living with OR.

Robin UK

Reed was a GREAT actor too, very underrated due to his headline-grabbing personal reputation and non-compliance with Hollywood. He commanded the stage with lashings of brute presence and aura.

Mark Rippetoe

The 3/4 Musketeers from the 70s showcase the man's acting and physical presence, as I've mentioned in the movie thread.


Can’t believe you left Teddy Roosevelt off that list.

He used to invite strong lads over to The White House to grapple with him.

Mark E. Hurling

Reed was one Hell of a swordsman. His work with the cloak and rapier in the two musketeers movies were stunning. His last role as the retired and freed gladiator in the movie Gladiator was a good note for him to go out on.

Best of the Forum

Alpha debate
Jonne Kytola

I have some sharp, moderate pain deep in the medial/posterior part of my right knee when I go below parallel on bodyweight squats. The pain occurs when I don't put enough pressure on the outside of my feet. With squat worksets (high 300s at 200 BW, 25yo) there is no pain.

The pain is similar to what I had in my left knee over a year ago, after aggravating an undiagnosed medial meniscus tear by doing stupid shit at the gym. The left knee was scoped and cleared up later.

So, since the pain seems to be related to a meniscus but it doesn't cause problems during heavy sets, I figured I would train normally and keep an eye on it.

If an injury is somewhat bothersome in everyday life, but doesn't affect training, how would you approach it?

Mark Rippetoe

Most of us over the age of 50 work through nagging injuries that do not materially affect our training every day. So, learn to train through them.

Jonne Kytola

Thanks, I will do that!


I honestly think this is the biggest psychological benefit of weightlifting. I don't know anyone who isn't dealing with aches or pains of some sort. Most people (sadly including myself for most of my life) obsess over it and avoid activity out of fear. For those willing to train anyway, the body is not the only thing trained; the mind learns to put that shit aside and get on with our day. Then the aches and pains pass without even realizing it. The confidence gained from this is more powerful than any painkiller.


Our hospitals are full of people who refuse to do just that. When you tell them that in order to get better, they have to figure out how to move (let alone train), the response is usually something along the lines of, "but you don't understand how much it hurts!" Maybe I don't. And I certainly can't feel what others feel. But is that the most important thing? Everyone keeps telling me that we need to have compassion, and they try to set up the medical school admission process to maximize compassionate doctors (doesn't work), but which pain should I be most concerned about? The pain you are going to feel now when you finally get off your ass and do something, usually after a lifetime of complete avoidance? Or the pain that I know is coming if you don't? Death is not a nice thing for anyone, and it's especially harsh on people who never bothered to take care of themselves while they had the opportunity. Whatever you are suffering now, it will most definitely pale in comparison to the orders of magnitude greater suffering you will undoubtedly endure by not addressing it now, regardless of what your current pain may be.

David Kirkham

My dearest friend and mentor in life once told me, "If I only worked the days I didn't have a headache I wouldn't work very much."

That man works harder than anyone I know. His words stuck with me through many a trying moment in my life.

I love "seeing Jesus" on the platform. No workout is complete without me doing something to absolute, grinding failure.


After open heart surgery all I wanted to do was lie in bed; nothing I'd been through in life to that point hurt as much as I did then. Three days post-op I was told "to try to walk the hall four times today". Lifting taught me waiting to want to do things means they never get done. The fifty yard round trip was more exhausting than the eight-mile ruck I'd done two weeks before. I did five trips that day, and slept in between to recover, because that's what it was going to take, over and over, to get home, and get healthy again.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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