Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 23, 2019

Starting Strength Radio
  • What Happens When a Lifter Gets Old – Rippetoe gets introspective as he reflects on 40 plus years of training at the age of 63.
    "Some terrible things have happened over the course of 44 years of training. And the bar is always your friend. That's where you put bad things. And it's that's that's really why I started training. And here I am 44 years later[.]"
  • Submit a question
Starting Strength Channel

  • Coach Jared Nessland shares his journey from college strength & conditioning to Starting Strength Denver.
    "If you had told me in 1999 when I started coaching that one book would change the course of my career, I would tell you that you were crazy."
  • From the Archives: Dr. Ken Leistner describes his first visit to the York Barbell Club to "watch the greatest lifters in the United States heave the weights around, and depart with a real Olympic barbell and set of plates, and one of Bob Hoffman’s power racks."
Training Log
  • Jim Steel shares real life examples of the value of strength in getting things done and living well.
  • From the Archives: Not to be confused with the stiff-legged deadlift, the Romanian Deadlift starts at the top and uses a stretch reflex. Mark Rippetoe explains how to do it.

In the Trenches

john petrizzo coaches elbow position in the squat
John Petrizzo teaches Joseph the elbow and wrist position for the squat at the recent Squat & Deadlift Training Camp held in Woodmere, NY. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]
chris palladino coaches deadlift set up
Chris Palladino coaches Matt into the proper deadlift setup position at the same event. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]
vesper martini roku gin
Vesper Martinis were the official drink of the 2019 Solstice Gathering at the Rippetoe Mountain Stronghold. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
little bjorni the akbash dog guarding
Little Bjorni the Akbash dog carefully monitors all guest activity Saturday night. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Sleep apnea episode for SSR?

Mark, my wife said I stop breathing and snore loudly while I sleep so I went to my doctor and he set me up with a sleep study.

They diagnosed me with sleep apnea and confirmed I stop breathing more than 30 times an hour. I have been given a CPAP but I find it counter productive and have stopped using it. Also, since the diagnosis I have been cleaning my nose with a nettie pot and sleeping with a humidifier regularly.

Let it be known that I work shift work so my sleeping patterns are always out of sync. However, I rarely feel tired and I never feel the need to nap throughout the day.

I have trained with weights regularly since 15 and played hockey my whole life. Now with two kids that stuff doesn’t get done as often as I’d like, so I’ve put on 25 pounds. I’m 39 now, 5’9” 225. My current lifts are 325 bench, 475 squat and 500 deadlift.

I just did a search on your boards and I will definitely get the nasal spray as you have directed and use yourself.

The reason I’m writing is because I get a lot of contradicting facts when searching sleep apnea on the internet. So with that said, may we see a sleep apnea episode on SSR to get to the bottom of this evidence?

Mark Rippetoe

Thanks for the suggestion. We'll give that some thought.


An AHI (apnea/hypopnea) index of 30 is on the cusp of moderate to severe, so you do want to do something about this. Other data of interest are how low your blood oxygen gets during sleep, and how long it stays below 90.

CPAP (or Vpap or apap, etc) is an effective treatment, but does take some getting used to. There are a variety of masks for various faces and preferences.

I use an under-the-nose mask, and I have never slept better in my life, after a few weeks of getting the hang of it. I look forward to strapping in and getting the good sleep I never knew I was missing. It’s been a life-changer, and my AHI was around 10, so mild, and was mostly hypopneas.

If other treatments don’t work, do yourself a favor and give the mask another try. Think of it this way, if somebody was coming in your room and choking you a little bit while you slept, you wouldn’t stand for that, so don’t stand for this either. It’s amazing what we can get used to in life: get used to the mask (or nasal spray or whatever), don’t get used to sleepiness and oxygen deprivation!

Will Morris

I second this entire post. For me, I have an auto-titrating CPAP (APAP) and I used a Respironics Dreamwear mask. I was able to wear it a full 8 hours the very first night I ever used it. I, too, had an AHI of around 10, but treatment with APAP has been life-changing.


I too have been diagnosed with this and like the OP I have a hard time using the CPAP. It always wakes me up, I always take it off. Periodically try it again but never lasts more than a few days. I do believe I need it. I'm always tired and my memory is crap. After reading this I'm going to give it another try tonight. Thanks.


Here’s a tip that has worked for some: unhook the mask from the machine, and wear it around while you’re awake. Wear it while you hang out and watch TV. Eventually you won’t notice it as much, like wearing glasses or a hat, and may not instinctively remove it during sleep. Just remember to take it off when you answer the door for the UPS guy. Or leave it on, it’ll make his day.


Thanks for the responses. I should have mentioned that I am a mouth breather while I sleep and have the smaller mask that covers my nose and mouth. I thought if I had just the nose mask that the air would escape from my mouth. Not to mention I’d have to change my sleep pattern by sleeping with my mouth closed. But I guess it would be worth a try considering the comments here. Thanks again folks.


Funny thing, I had the problem of opening my mouth with the CPAP on my nose and air would come rushing out, feeling kind of weird and making a lot of noise and waking me up. I thought about getting a chin strap, but within a few days it had stopped. Somehow my nasal/palate/oropharynx has figured this out for me. If I concentrate and relax, I can reproduce this phenomenon now if wearing the CPAP while awake, but it takes some effort and focus. I guess that biological systems really are adaptable! Hmmm, I recall reading something like that around here..... !

Best of the Forum

Getting the Most Out of CrossFit
Lajos Kamocsay

I am a male in my mid 40s and started crossfit about a year ago because it was (and still is) the only place I can do deadlifts in the area where I live. In the past year I found out on my own what I think your opinion on crossfit is: barbell training is awesome, but the workouts can be brutal and for my age too many reps, many times to the detriment of form.

Despite any issues, I love crossfit. I am in much better shape than I was a year ago (probably best shape ever in my life) and enjoy the small gym feel and social aspects.

My question: if crossfit is the only place I can do barbell training, can I do it in a way that is age appropriate and still beneficial without causing any harm? I know when my form starts to go... but can't stop halfway through a workout.

Do you have any advice? Use less weights? Don’t finish workouts? How to get the most out of crossfit?

Mark Rippetoe

If you are incapable of stopping a workout when you know your form has fallen apart, then you you cannot do the workout without the potential of causing harm. Thus, CrossFit cannot be done productively by you. I think Coach Glassman would tell you the same thing.


When I saw the title of the thread I could not wait to see how this would end. Remarkably restrained and understated, Coach.

Lajos buddy, there is a lot of history here, this Xfit stuff as opposed to strength Training. The bottom line here is the belief that strength is the most important “modality” for reasons too many to list. Get your deadlift up by focusing on disciplined programmed strength training, and you may be pleasantly surprised att what happens to your Murph or whatever times, let alone your daily natural activities.

Please for all that is holy do not get injured with bad form because you are doing reps against a clock.

Lajos Kamocsay

Thanks for the advice. As I mentioned above, the only gym in my area allowing deadlifts and other barbell training is crossfit.

Would you suggest setting up a power rack in my basement, getting a barbell and plates and doing strength training on my own?

Mark Rippetoe

This is the standard approach to having no place to train.


That will cost you less than a year at a crossfit gym.

David A. Rowe

Can confirm. Fully outfitted my gym with rack, bar, plates, bench and a C2 rower for the cost of 10 months of crossfit membership for my wife and I. Never looked back. Also far, far stronger in just 3 months compared to a year of crossfit. Also, probably the only place I can lift naked. I don't... but I COULD.


I also go to a CrossFit gym. Did their classes for a while, made friends with the owner and she lets me do SS in the corner on my own.

As long as I’m not interfering with the classes, it’s all good.

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