Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 16, 2019

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  • The Beef Industry Episode – Jenny Johnson and Richard Lehman join Mark Rippetoe for a discussion on the beef industry and all the myths, misconceptions, and lies about beef and how it's produced.
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Training Log
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

inhyuk eun adjusts a lifters deadlift position
Inhyuk Eun adjusts a lifter's deadlift start position at this past weekend's Starting Strength Training Camp in Seoul. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
lifter shrugs into the press lockout in seoul
A lifter shrugs up into the lockout position of the press under the watchful eye of Kyoungha Kim. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
michael montfort best dressed lifter
Michael Montfort, winner of the Best Dressed Award at the Starting Strength Affiliate Gym Team Meet held at WFAC last weekend, sets up for his second attempt squat. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
erin marvin presses in competition
WFAC Lifter Erin Marvin presses for the first time in competition during the Starting Strength Affiliate Gym Team Meet at WFAC last weekend. [photo courtesy of Cathy Delgadillo]
ryan locks out a 195 press
Ryan finishes his press with 195 lbs Fivex3 Training's Stronger Together meet. [photo courtesy of Jesse Wolcott]
susan squats stronger together meet
Susan, age 69, squats 75 lbs for her second attempt. Stronger Together is her first strength meet. [photo courtesy of Jesse Wolcott]

Best of the Week

Body Pump + NLP
Robert Levy

I know very similar questions have been asked as far as balancing other activities with SS. As I begin my journey into NLP, most of the podcasts and articles I’ve read seem to indicate to do the SS work and other activities after. My apologies if this is covered in the book - I’m only 40 pages into it. If this is and the response is ‘read the book’ I accept my fate. Ha. Otherwise here goes.

Here’s my predicament: I teach a class called Body Pump twos days a week on Tuesday / Thursday. It’s endurance based lifting, really watered down stuff; basically sets of 100 reps split across different songs and exercises. I DO NOT consider this a primary form of exercise for me. As the instructor, I try to keep my own personal level of fatigue to a minimum as I am there to coach it, however, I have to teach with enough weight they it appears I am working out with them. And it does generate some level of fatigue.

The issue I have is timing NLP with my pump classes. I work up until the moment before I teach my classes, so I can’t do my NLP before teaching Body Pump. My original idea was to do it Monday/Wednesday/Friday and take Saturday and Sunday completely off. However, I feel the pump classes in between the SS sessions will be just a touch too much as far as volume and fatigue management.

I am not a complete rank novice in terms of fitness and gym exposure, but I am definitely still a novice as it pertains to SS. I’ve had a workout routine prior, but it was too broad and not focused. Even though I’ve spent years in the gym, I do not consider myself intermediate. I want to do only SS and my 2 pump classes per week. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Rippetoe

I used to kill Golden Retriever puppies for a living. I didn't really have anything against Golden Retrievers, it was just my job, so I had to figure out the best way to do it. I strangled them with my hands, because it was fast, quiet, and required no other tools that could potentially hurt me (can't have that!). I would then use the meat for protein supplementation, so there was less waste. Over time I developed a method by which each puppy could be dispatched with a combination of strangulation and a C2 fracture, so that the process only took about 10 seconds per puppy. My primary concern was that I didn't fatigue my hands, or otherwise hurt them, to the point that it affected my training. I think I solved the problem nicely.

You'll have to do the same with your Body Pump class   get a fake "barbell" to use at the front of the class, figure out a way to only do about 10% of the reps the poor fools in the class have to do with your unweighted fake barbell, and just hope no one finds out that you're making them do this stupid shit without actually harming yourself in the process. Don't worry about the deception, because it's only a job.

Hope this helps!!

Best of the Forum

Flexibility & Achiness
Randy Scheingold

Rip – Serious question here, not trolling. Been a somewhat active member of the forum for almost 4 years. Posting this here vs with my coach, as maybe this can help others. Summary stats below. I have always been extremely inflexible…can’t touch toes, etc. Over the past few years my flexibility has gotten worse. I can get a Charlie horse trying to wrestle a tight pair of boots on or get shoulder spasms trying to get a tight jacket on. Also, generally feel achy and sore much of the time. I AM FLEXIBLE ENOUGH to hit depth in my squats, to rack the low-bar position, and to get all the other main lifts done (except power cleans…long forearms).

My questions for you or the other coaches are:

  1. Are there specific stretches (or anything else) you may recommend for general health & wellness for someone in my position?
  2. I am probably 30lb to 40lb overweight at this point. I am working on it. How much do you think this could be contributing to the overall shitty feeling? 

Summary Stats:

  • Will be 43 years old in a few weeks
  • 5’6” 218lb (got a little lazy with the macros)
  • Squat – 375 1RM, 342 for 3
  • Bench – 290 1RM (few months old), 279 for 3
  • DL – 462 1RM, 396 for 3
  • Press – 202 1 RM, 180 for 3
  • Currently doing TSFOSB and am making fairly consistent gains
  • shitty vertical jump/bad genetics for strength....great genetics for consistency and hard work have made up some of the difference.
Mark Rippetoe

Overall shitty feeling in a male your age always indicates the need for a testosterone level exam. I know of no data or any reason why stretching would improve your overall health.

Geoff Bischoff

T-level testing was the best birthday present I got when I turned 40.

Bet you'll get more helpful answers at a dedicated "Men's Clinic" than at a rank-and-file endocrinologist; that was my experience.

Happy training!


When I had labs done earlier in the year the acceptable range was something like 150-650. Do you have a personal go to lower limit you look at?

Mark Rippetoe

I'd like to know exactly who 150 is acceptable to. Your mom? Pay attention to Geoff.

Geoff Bischoff

This is the answer I got from an endocrinologist. And it's not a lie: 150-650 is "normal," but when the Endo tells you that, he doesn't mean normal as in "where you should be."

He means normal as in "where the average person tests who comes in for labs to get tested." Given that most folks getting tested for T are probably getting tested because they're symptomatic, well, you can figure out the rest.

Find a doctor like my guy. When I asked him what normal was, he explained the above to me about "normal" to an endocrinologist, and then said to the effect, "Well, a high school quarterback runs somewhere between 950 and 1200; let's aim for that and see what happens."

Mark Rippetoe

And I have had lots of guys tell me that since they were in the reference range – "normal" according to their doctor – they would not be prescribed treatment. The Doctor thought the reference range was "normal". Really, lots of these people were not taught to think.


The definition of a lab's "reference range" for a given test is that range of values for that lab that 95% of "clinically normal patients" with respect to that test fall into (+/- 1.96 standard deviations from the mean). That is NOT the same as 95% of all people who take that test.

Mark is quite correct in that the definition of clinically normal or "acceptable" can be fudged with.

Greg Ruhl

Low sexual function and low libido are not typical primary indicators of low-T (despite what the commercials promote). Tiredness, achiness, and depression are much more common primary symptoms.

Mark Rippetoe

Precisely. And these symptoms respond immediately to treatment. The sexual stuff is much more complicated.

Last post about it, because we've covered it before. Go to a clinic whose function is to treat with testosterone, not a doctor whose function is to decide whether or not you deserve to make your own decisions about such things

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