Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 24, 2020

Double X Edition

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • “How do I get my wife/girlfriend/mom to begin a Starting Strength novice linear progression?” Rebecca Fisburne on factors that can make a difference for the reluctant female novice.
  • Weekend Archives: John Petrizzo discusses the use of barbell training and strength development in physical therapy in Barbell Training & Physical Therapy.
Training Log

In the Trenches

chris starts her deadlift
Chris is a breast cancer survivor that ones one of the first people to sign up for our squat and deadlift camp in Minneapolis. Not only does she train herself to be harder to kill, she coaches ladies older than she is. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
damon squatting at a training camp
Damon drove all the way from Chicago to have his squat and deadlift looked at in Minneapolis this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
raimondi coaches joshua in the deadlift
Joshua pulls his final set of deadlifts while Dan Raimondi coaches during the Minneapolis camp. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]

Best of the Week

Explosiveness, Recovery, Athletic Coordination & Muscle Fiber Ratio

Can someone explain to me the Millennial resistance to buying a pair of f#$%#% weightlifting shoes?

It's not like it is 1990 and when finding the damn things was practically a quest for fire.

I ask as I've taught the basic lifts to maybe half a dozen men, and one woman, over the last five years or so. I'm certainly no great coach and haven't handled the volume of people a professional would.

But despite keeping up with their lifting the entire time I knew them only one, the lady, bothered to buy proper shoes.

It's not like they are that expensive and all of these people had jobs.

Am I just routinely dealing with morons?

And I've heard just about every possible excuse from "my Converse work fine" to "bringing an extra pair[of shoes] to the gym is too much trouble."

What is the deal with this?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't understand it myself. Every seminar or camp at WFAC, we have to have this same conversation with people who have paid us to come.


Worse than that is people who lift barefooted, in commercial gyms. Its just fucking gross.


I recently graduated but there was a gym room in college that was purposed for weightlifting and powerlifting. No treadmills or no machines.. just racks, barbells, bumper plates, and a roman chair.

That room would get pretty crowded, sometimes reaching capacity, but pretty much everyone would be wearing weightlifting shoes, save for a couple novices and one guy I can remember wearing converse.

In commercial gyms I've noticed a lot more reluctance. People, even young guys squatting and deadlifting over 400, don't want to appear over invested or something, but will still take steroids and come in with a big bag of lifting gear.

I think part of it is that in competitive WL countries there's just more homage paid to the sport, so it's all good if you want to take it more seriously, but here in the US it's like borderline antisocial to wear a pair in a commercial gym.

Dr. Manhattan

Great line.

As for reasons, consider the folks:

  1. Who eat steak well done; until they accidentally eat one medium rare.
  2. Who drive on cheap tires; until they put good ones on their clunker.
  3. Who drink Jim Beam; until they drink ANYTHING else.

Lack of experience. I posit that if they squatted in a pair, they'd rush to purchase.

Best of the Forum

People not buying weightlifting shoes

It seems like a lot of people use these abilities in an interchangeable fashion during discussion. Basically as synonyms for someone's genetic athletic potential. But I would think that they are all different attributes.

A couple examples of what I mean:

  1. A person's explosiveness can be partially reliant on his type II fiber ratio, but neural efficiency and recruitment ability has to do with it as well and I think that's separate.
  2. Does Athletic Coordination (like how fast someone picks up on how to do a clean) have to do with their Muscle Ratio or Explosiveness.
  3. I've heard alot of people say that your Explosiveness will have a lot to do with how far you will get in your novice progression. But wouldn't this have much more to do with recovery? Even if you are not explosive but you have stellar recovery, you can keep grinding at it for a lot longer I would think.

Are all these things related (having more of 1 means you will likely have more of the other) or are they separate abilities?

Mark Rippetoe

You think explosiveness and recovery are synonyms?


I do not. Hence my post.

Mark Rippetoe

Since I do not use these terms interchangeably, I'm puzzled that you asked me. Is all.

  1. Explosiveness depends on all these variables. They are separate, in that they are separate parameters, but they almost always cluster in a phenotype.
  2. Athletic coordination is not defined as how fast someone picks up on a clean. Athletic coordination has to do with how quickly an athlete can change the direction of the motion of his bodyweight. As such, it is obviously related to neuromuscular efficiency, and as evidenced by the fact that big SVJs are usually accompanied by fast cone drills.
  3. A big SVJ correlates quite well with both a high initial SQ/Pr/DL/BP/CL in the novice progression and a higher than average load upon transition to intermediate programming. This is obviously because a guy with a 38-inch SVJ is able to recruit -- and thus able to train -- more muscle mass, i.e. more motor units, than a normal guy. Recovery is a separate issue, in that guys with a 38-inch SVJ still have to recover, and sometimes they don't pay enough attention to this.

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