Starting Strength Weekly Report

August 28, 2023

Smudge Edition

On Starting Strength

In the Trenches

amir presses 135 at starting strength boston
Amir worked all summer to get his press PR up to 135# at Starting Strength Boston. He’s heading back to school shortly to join Columbia University’s rowing team. [photo courtesy of Stephen Babbitt]
steve ross teaches the squat to the bbrfc celtic ladies rugby team
Steve Ross, SSC teaches the squat to the BBRFC Celtic Ladies rugby team at Brussels Barbell. [photo courtesy of Gabriela Dimitrova]
arpan locks out his deadlift at starting strength cincinnati
Arpan locks out his deadlift while his wife Ipsa looks on in support at Starting Strength Cincinnati. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
paul clean and jerks 76 kg for a double at testify strength and conditioning
Paul cleans-and-jerks 76 kg for a double at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
mark diffely uses a tactile cue with a lifter at starting strength austin
Mark Diffley uses a tactile cue to help his lifter set his back on the deadlift at Starting Strength Austin. [photo courtesy of Ethan Bynon]
angie and heather show up with the same shirt at starting strength cincinnati
Angie and Heather have been training together and supporting one another at Starting Strength Cincinnati for a year and half, so perhaps it's not surprising when they show up unexpectedly dressed alike. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
mahesh locks out a deadlift pr of 315 at starting strength boston
Mahesh locking out a new deadlift PR of 315 lb at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Stephen Babbitt]

Get Involved

Best of the Week

Inguinal Hernia Recovery


I had laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery on July 6th on my right side with the mesh. I know you have suggested getting both sides repaired, but I couldn’t find anyone who would do it outright. The surgeon did check my left side and said it was very strong.

Anyway, I’m a 55 year old male 5’9” and 175. The surgery seems to have gone well. At the four week point, I went back to the gym and went very light on squats, bench, and deadlift. Basically around 100 pounds for each movement, just to get a feel. On my set of fives on the deadlift, which was at the end of the work out, on the third rep I felt a bit of pain right where the mesh is installed. I stopped and left the gym. On a scale of 10, it was about a 3, but I thought I may have set myself back. It was sore for about a week and the pain has decreased to nothing, even when I press on the area with my hand.

It’s been 17 days since my “return” attempt and I’ve done nothing since. In total, it’s been six-and-a-half weeks since the surgery. I’m trying to figure out when to try again and don’t want to set myself back. I was thinking of just taking another month and letting all the soft tissue heal, body accept the mesh, etc. I appreciate any thoughts or advice you could send my way. Thanks for all you do with this forum. Your podcast kicks ass too.

Mark Rippetoe

As I understand it, 72 hours after the mesh is installed, it is sufficiently incorporated into the abdominal floor that it couldn't be removed by a surgical procedure. IOW, you can't hurt it. Now, it might hurt occasionally as adhesions break, but the mesh is there for the duration. This should have been explained to you.


The way the mesh integrates with the body was not discussed. I received a lot of paperwork indicating what I should and should not do during recovery, but it was not in there either. What you said makes sense and does not surprise me.

Best of the Forum

SRA for Brain Structural Changes

Justin Ansarfi

I have been thinking and trying to do some research on this question. Does the SRA model work for learning (physical and chemical brain adaptations)? I was surprised that I could not find any direct answers as to why the brain changes and if the learning event itself (say learning a new calculus concept) is a form of stress. All I could find is the new-age interpretation of stress as a dysphoric state. It seems like almost no one is thinking of stress in the Hans Selye definition, which is making my research difficult.

If the SRA model works for learning (brain changes) what does that SRA timeline look like? 24 hours? There must be some cyclic nature to the thing. And if learning can be considered a stress-event could there be a point where you start to get diminishing returns on time/energy invested? Could you produce too intense of a stress event (the equivalent of doing a bunch of heavy deadlifts)?

It fucking amazes my how such a simple question like this is so difficult to find answers for. Maybe all the scientists and thinkers are working on global warming….

Mark Rippetoe

If a system adapts to stress, the SRA cycle is operating. But I haven't thought about the details.

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