Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 26, 2019

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

Training Log
  • Starting Strength Athletes: Jared Nessland interviews IRT Professional Robbie Collins, revealing the impact that strength development has had on his performance.
  • From the Archives: "[Y]ou’ve seen at least one guy who walks around with horrific scabs, scarring, and bruising on his shins from the deadlift, clean, or snatch." Don't be this guy. Nick Delgadillo explains how to avoid scraped shins on the deadlift.

In the Trenches

professional barbell coach team at starting strength houston
The Professional Barbell Coaches at Starting Strength Houston - Apprentices Andrew Murrow, Tony Stein, and Chase Lindley; Starting Strength Coaches Shelley Wells and Josh Wells; and Owner/Apprentice JD Shipley. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
andrew murrow coaches at starting strength houston
Starting Strength Houston Apprentice Andrew Murrow moved to Houston from Washington to join the coaching team and finish up his work toward becoming a Starting Strength Coach. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
shelley teaches the bench press to a new lifter
Starting Strength Coach Shelley Wells teaches a new lifter at Starting Strength Houston how to bench press. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
rip coaches deadlift workshop at starting strength houston
Rip leads a deadlift workshop during the grand opening event for Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Starting Strength Radio topic suggestions
Nick Delgadillo

We’re working on a topic list for future SS Radio episodes. Post your suggestions below. Let’s see what you guys can come up with.


There are a lot of personal training gyms and a lot fail. What makes the SS gyms able to succeed where others cannot? Training philosophy aside, that would too easy an answer. What BUSINESS strategy do these facility’s need to operate for the long haul?

Ivan Stepic

Selfishly proposing Olympic weightlifting. I enjoyed the recent video series on it.

Lee F. Stewart

Programming for female lifters in proximity (or during) oestrus cycle. Not being funny. What considerations? Has there been observed changes, good or bad, in performance leading up to or during oestrus? Perhaps a female coach to attend discussion would be prudent?

Travis Reid

I would love to see episodes with Darin Deaton and Sully - I always love to hear these Doctors talk about barbell training and health.

I'd also love to hear from Ray Gillenwater, an in-depth interview about the SS Gyms project, especially now that there is a years worth of data to decipher.

Thanks Nick! I love the show. It's mandatory viewing/listening for me every week. Keep up the great work mate.

  1. What do hard nipples actually signify or portend?
  2. Trying for outstanding results in one dimension (eg, strength) creates costs in other dimensions. For example, eating to spike IGF-1 to promote muscle hypertrophy also promotes cancer cell multiplication. It’s a growth factor after all. Perhaps strength can be trained a bit slower without collateral damage via cancer or arterial insult or visceral fat loading. 
  3. Why are strong XX’s so dang cute? (This question is from an XY married to a strong XX.) Someone out there that can talk in complete sentences knows the answer. Write out the cue cards for Mr. Rippetoe.
  4. While recovering from two rotator cuff repairs this year (6 tendons total), it occurs to me that over-50 types need to get strong without the unintended consequences that go with strengthening over-50 equipment. In the wiser, grayer gym population, injures are waiting to surprise. Effective strength programming doesn’t avoid these surprises because PRs are previously undone and desirable actions that are necessarily new big stressors. I’m 66 and don’t see any way to hit another PR before I’m 68. If I were 26 and recovering to make a new PR at 28, then I later would not much miss that recovery year. But when the remaining runway is short, one must not stop accelerating to do slow and goofy things like heal.The latent injury prospects of over-50s and how to avoid realized injury needs some work by smart persons. Do it. By the way, the over-50s often have disposable income.
  5. What the heck does one do during the 15-minute inter-set rest? Write poetry?
  6.  About the hard nipple thing, I have a theory, but you can’t afford.... Nevermind.
  7. When the squat comes up with five new pounds, the sweating person cannot suppress the whole-body smile. How come?

I'd also be interested in this. It would be great to hear discussion about, for example, when it makes sense to move from a general strength training program to a weightlifting program (i.e. at the end of an NLP? at the end of the early intermediate phase?) if your long-term ambition is to compete in the sport; what, if any, extra considerations should be made with regards to particular injuries (e.g. lateral meniscus tears) due to the dynamic nature of the lifts? When if ever does it make sense to use straps, considering the high volume of pulling in a given week? What are the common pitfalls in weightlifting training (beyond an overemphasis on technique and an under-emphasis on strength)? How should you decide which weight class to compete in? Beyond bumper plates, is there any particular equipment/clothing which is especially useful for weightlifting but not general strength training?

It might also be interesting to hear Rip's thoughts on Strongman, but I'm not familiar with Strongman so I don't have any suggestions for more specific topics or questions. We hear a lot about powerlifting but not nearly as much about the other strength sports.

Erik Y

I always enjoy interviews that focus less on nuts and bolts or specific topics and more on stories and grit and the mentality necessary to actually do the work, get strong, and keep training. Would love to hear an episode with one of these guys who suffered a cataclysmic injury and kept training or used their training to get through it. Same for athletes who train or old hands in the iron game who are still at it in their eighties and nineties.


Strength and gymnastics because look how strong they are and they don't (supposedly) lift weights…


Would be good to get any guests outside of the SS echo chamber who have different training philosophies, applications and experiences good or bad.

Aaron Hutson

I’d like to hear about the importance of training atmosphere regarding training alone vs. in groups, in private vs. public and what helps to motivate individuals in any of those various situations.

Mark Rippetoe

Maybe a Functional Training guru? Maybe Mike Boyle, or a yoga teacher? Somebody who got too strong and used Pilates to become a better athlete. Outside the "echo chamber."


Exactly, yes please.

Erik Y

You’re joking, but I’m chuckling to myself just thinking about this. Not sure if it’s worth the aggravation, but would certainly be entertaining.

Will Morris

Certainly. And, we should ask PepsiCo take out a 1 minute Super Bowl ad to explain all the reasons why Coca Cola is a far superior product.


I vote for Dom Mazzetti.

Best of the Forum

The difference between weight and percentage?
Ahmed Elsisy

In your work Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition, you recommended to load progressively with predetermined weight. I want to ask, can I load by a percentage of my 1RM like 5% every workout session?, and if it possible for SS routine, what is the percentage the athlete must start with it, and how much % he will add, and when?.

Mark Rippetoe

Do you have the book? Percentages are not useful, and are not mentioned in the book.

Barry Charles

If you go up by percentage, you will get to infinity faster.


If you are just starting, how do you already have a 1RM?

Sean Herbison

Hi Ahmed. Sure, go for it. When your 1RM is 200 lbs, add 10 lbs per workout. By the time your 1RM is 300 lbs, you should be able to add 15 lbs per workout. That's not the way we would normally approach it, but try it out and let us know how it goes.

Mark Rippetoe

Yes, Ahmed, keep us posted! Everybody has an opportunity to learn this way!

Adam Skillin

Have we finally debunked all that silly nonsense about "diminishing returns?"

Adam Nelson

I've never tested my 1RM, so it's essentially zero. 5% of zero is zero. How can I add weight? Pls advise!


Since I'm fairly new to the forum and not tired of your posts yet, I'll try to respond to your question.

My opinion after many years lifting, competing, and coaching/handling lifters is that percentage based training is useless and misguided. Here’s why IMO.

1. You must begin with an accurate 1RM. The problem is that your true 1RM is never the same from one day to the next. Furthermore, it goes up and down as your training progresses. So basing your training lifts on a 1RM is like shooting at a quickly moving target.

2. Can you really even obtain a true 1RM? If you need to ramp up weight to get to the TRUE 1 RM, you are in effect pre-fatiguing the muscle prior to the 1RM test. Sure, there is probably an optimal balance of warm up / ramp up weights but it is practically impossible to determine.

What I prefer (once past the novice progression) is a volume based periodic increase. There are many ways to do this. You can use a Hepburn progression (2,2,2,2 then 2,2,2,3 then 2,2,3,3, etc). You can use a double progression (5,5,5 then 6,5,5 then 6,6,5). You can use what I use which follows this pattern (3,3,3 then 3,3,5). When the thrid set increases I add 5 lbs per each rep over 3 (or fives) for the squat, 10 for the deadlift and 2.5 for the press and/or the bench. When weight is added you start over at 3's or 5's. When your top set becomes close to an RM in intensity you would reduce intensity for one week (80 % of the last heavy week) then repeat your last week and continue. When that progression is exhausted, you would back off 10-20% and begin the progression again at higher volume (if your were doing 3's, you'd do 5's etc.) and build back up.

As for RPE, how the hell is that even accurate. IMO the only accurate method is a regular progression model using a prescribe weight increased based on achieved reps or weight.

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