Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 13, 2021

Closer Edition

  • Megan and Pete Yeh are currently in lease negotiations for a gym location in Columbus, Ohio. They are actively searching for coaches and apprentices. Be the first to know about all the gym by subscribing to their early interest list.
On Starting Strength
  • The Labor Market with Ray Gillenwater – Rip and Ray Gillenwater discuss the labor market, employment, and the effect of bureaucracy on the relationship between employees and their employers.
  • Knee Control in the Squat – Starting Strength Coach Brent Carter helps fix a common error with knees in the squat.
  • iPhone vs. Android – Ben Gillenwater and Nick D discuss the pros and cons when trying to decide on which smartphone to purchase.
  • Time Between Reps by Andrew Lewis – A subtle aspect to lifting that is not frequently considered is the optimal time between reps. This is most apparent in the deadlift...
  • An Aimed Shot to the Foot: Training the Ruckmarch and the Modern Army by Capt James Rodgers – The end result for soldiers who have gone through a training program with a lot of ruckmarching is tough feet, good conditioning for low-intensity work, lower bodyweight, less speed, and less strength. But they got better at ruckmarching, so they should be better at their job, right?
  • Weekend Archives: Coming Back After a Layoff by Andy Baker – I’ve had a few conversations with clients at the gym regarding what to do after a long layoff from training. This is definitely one of those issues that almost all of us face...
  • Weekend Archives: Academic Preparation by Mark Rippetoe – The academic preparation necessary for becoming an effective coach is not being provided by the vast majority of Exercise Physiology programs in this country...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

bruce locks out a deadlift at the starting strength seminar
Bruce locking out a deadlift at the last Starting Strength Seminar of the year at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
nick and gretchen demonstrating hip drive on the squat platform
Nick Delgadillo and Gretchen demonstrating hip drive on the squat platform. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
starting strength orlando shirt group photo
Starting Strength Orlando shirt group picture. Left to Right: Inna Koppel, Carmen Phillips, Pete Troupos, Bre Hillen. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
warming up the press at west point
Warming up the press during PE262 Strength Development, West Point Department of Physical Education. [photo courtesy of Greg Hess]
victoria diaz teaches the deadlift in san antonio
San Antonio Head Coach Victoria Diaz teaching the deadlift during last weekend's open house. [photo courtesy of Matt Hebert]
peter engel sets a squat pr in boston
15-year-old Peter Engel setting a very festive PR of 225x5 in Boston. [photo courtesy of Austin Khamiss]
trisha deadlifting 215 for a set of 5 in denver
Trisha deadlifting 215 x 5 in Denver. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]
amelia pressing during her second week of strength training
Amelia getting in some presses during her second week of training. [photo courtesy of Jayne Peyton]
cincinnati 7 am lifting crew group photo
The 7am Saturday crew preparing to get after it at Starting Strength Cincinnati. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
milo demonstrates the deadlift set up in omaha
Milo of Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, gets ready to demonstrate the 5-step setup for the deadlift. He struggles a bit with getting centered on the bar. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
drawing moment arms on the board
My moment arm is better than your moment arm. [photo courtesy of David Fox]
tim herd with show off pants between sets
Between the sets Tim Herd and his pants. [photo courtesy of Aaron Frederick]
emily socolinksy squat 225 at the stronger together meet
SSC Emily Socolinsky squats 225 pounds for her final attempt at the 2021 Stronger Together Partners Meet, a fundraiser for the Music Therapy Program at Gilchrist Hospice in Baltimore. The meet raised over $5000 for the program this year. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
jenn finishes the meet with a 305 pound deadlift
Jenn Satterwhite, Emily’s partner in the competition, finishes the meet with a 135 pound bench and a 305 pound deadlift. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]

Best of the Week

Karl Popper pops RPE


More lies in this industry than Pinocchio’s play book.

Question: Why on earth do many supposedly intelligent coaches promote RPE when it fails a basic empirical falsification test?

One only needs one significant piece of evidence to obliterate an entire contention. Even for advanced lifters, the phenomenology of your brilliant point regarding hitting your workout numbers for the day despite feeling like absolute shit still pertains.

This industry which churns out such lies and / ignorance should be more robustly exposed. What’s more worrying is that the training and nutrition mythologies have duped many “experts” - for decades.

Mark Rippetoe

Because it makes them money. It allows them to sell template-type programming that doesn't have to be coached at the individual level. If a coach with, say, 200 clients a month has to handle each client on an individual basis, reviewing every workout and assigning weights for the next workout to each client individually, that coach can't work the 200 clients a month. Hand them a way to assign their own numbers based on how things "feel" and you multiply the potential income from a much bigger client base several fold. That's all there is to it. They know it doesn't work, but it's the money. Some of these people are millionaires because of this, and it is a very viable business model, even if it is not a training model. It's the Planet Fitness of the personal training industry. You lose a few serious clients every month, who figure out that they haven't made any strength progress in a year, but they are easy to replace because the idea is so appealing to inexperienced people. And that's all there is to it.


There are some “high profile” advanced lifters and coaches out there who promote RPE. I think it’s greedy and dishonourable that they do so for financial gain at the expense of many well-intentioned lifters’ aspirations (from novice to advanced) who seek progress.

More power to Starting Strength for keeping it real.

Andrew Lewis

It also allows the seller to place the onus of effectiveness on the trainee in a way that can never be verified: "the program didn't work. You used RPE wrong."

We too can say "you didn't do the program correctly", but in a verifiable way with objective metrics.

Best of the Forum

Programming question ( I have read both books)


Do you have any suggestions for additional modifications to this schedule? My schedule is based on an 8 day week because I’m a firefighter and work 24 hour shifts where the schedule repeats perpetually every 8 days. My training schedule is 1 on, 2 off, 1 on, 1 off, 1 on, 2 off, repeat. I adhere to this schedule because training on the days I’m on duty feels counterproductive seeing as I could be sleep deprived the entirety of the night, hence not recover, and training the days following my shift is difficult due to being sleep deprived. 3 weeks into NLP, 37, 5’11”, 195 pounds, SQ 250, BP 215, DL 315, 4000 calories per day. I will lose 6 weeks training in a year because 365 days/ 8 day weeks = 46 weeks. Thank you.

Example of schedule: 1. Work 2. Off 3. Train 4. Work 5. Off 6. Train 7. Off 8. Train

Mark Rippetoe

As we have told firefighters for many years, you just do what you can. It's not optimal, but that's okay.

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