Starting Strength Weekly Report

December 30, 2019

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  • Ray Gillenwater discusses gym business fundamentals, underlying principles that make or break entrepreneurship over time.
  • Wittgenstein's Programming Lecture – Noah Milstein challenges you to think about programming that follows your linear progression from a different direction.
  • From the Archives: In Why You Should Not Be Running, Mark Rippetoe explains why strength training, not endurance exercise, should be the basis of a fitness program.
Training Log

In the Trenches

mark mcfarland teaches the press starting strength austin
Starting Strength Austin Coach Mark McFarland teaches the press to Katie during her first week of training. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
cathy delgadillo earns blue belt brazilian jiu jitsu
WFAC member Cathy Delgadillo gets her blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Red River BJJ in Wichita Falls. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Hidden Gains?

I am 33 years old, 6 ft tall, 200 lbs. I was an athlete all my life and started lifting at a very young age. However, I did not start lifting properly and using all the barbell movements until I was in high school. I ended up being strong for my age and excelled at sports mostly because I was stronger than almost everyone in my high school, even as a freshman. In high school I was around 205lbs. After High school, I stopped playing sports and stopped lifting weights. By 25 I was a very fat 265 lbs and started to develop a plethora of health problems. I decided enough was enough and started lifting again on my 30th birthday. However, I avoid the barbell movements mostly because of nagging injuries and a hurt ego. For the past three years I have mostly used plate loaded machines, pulleys, and dumbbells. I have done push, pull, legs 3-5 days a week religiously for three years. I use compound movements and progressive overload but 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps using higher volume “power building” style. I have done 3 bulk and cuts. My question is, could someone like me benefit from switching over to Starting Strength? Are there hidden gains in Starting Strength that I would not achieve otherwise? Or would I get just as strong eventually, even if it’s not optimal? I can’t tell you my barbell lifts because I don’t know them, but to give you an idea of my strength level, for seated dumbbell shoulder press I did 3 sets of 8 with 80 lb dumbbells this week.

Mark Rippetoe

Yes. Do the program.


These gains are not hidden and if you haven’t done SSNLP then you likely haven’t come close to your strength potential.

Lifelong athlete here. 195 lb functional fitness soyboy before SS, 235 lb grown ass man 2 years after SS. Still have abs, so I probably don’t eat enough to become an actual badass, but there you have it.


Gaining weight is not a problem for me. If I didn’t constantly watch what I eat I would be 300lbs by this time next year lol. I will give it a shot. I’m just curious on how I’m going to be able to add 5 lbs to the bar every workout when I have already been training for 3 years, plus the time when I was younger. I am guessing my bench would be close to 300 right now. I guess there is only one way to know for sure. I will give it try hopefully my back holds up.

Mark Rippetoe

What is your squat/deadlift now?


Haha good point! I have no idea. I haven’t tried in years. It would take some time just to learn to low bar squat and even deadlift again with proper form. I do have SI joint, hip, and back issues that bother me daily. When I was fat and out of shape there were days I couldn’t stand up. Even now leg pressing makes me hurt for days after but nowhere near like it use to. Makes me nervous but I think it’s time to give it a shot.


I had a bad back before I started. Even after surgery, I kept tweaking it for years. Now it feels stronger than ever and I don’t worry about it.

Doing this shit with excellent technique teaches you how to fix your back.

Start light with perfect technique and do the NLP. It will get heavy fast - don’t jump ahead. Just do the program.

Geoff Bischoff


After 10 years of silly nonsense in the gym (dumbbells, plate-load machines), I was stronger than the average silly-nonsense-doer. I didn't know what SS might be able to do for me, either, and was somewhat the skeptic, figuring there was no way I was a "novice." Turns out, I was definitely a novice.

Some of my introductory numbers are in an article I wrote for this website around this time last year, but the short version is, 1RMs went from (pre-SS to post-LP and Texas Method work up until now): Squat 350->440, Bench 265->350, Deadlift 395->495, Press ??->230. Sets of 5 are at 405/317.5/460/205.

Gained a bunch of muscle mass, too. Total bodyweight rise of 40lbs give or take; as always some muscle and some fat. But I feel better in my skin now at 42 than any other time of my life.

Mark Rippetoe

If you have SI joint problems, leg presses are the worst thing you can do for it. Think about why.

I see that you haven't read the book. Read the book. Do the program. Type later.

Best of the Forum

Take it easy on deadlift to focus on squat

I've been on a successful run of 4-day Texas Method since August: got my bodyweight up to around 96kg at the moment (up from 90, not stopping till at least one hundo) and all of my lifts have gone up as well. Lately though, I've been having a bad time performing on Friday, the last workout of the week, where I do intensity squats and volume deadlifts. I feel sluggish and uncoordinated, but fresh and in control every other day of the week. It's mostly the squats that go poorly. I've frankly barely made progress on heavy squats, especially compared to my other lifts which have all gone up at least 10% or more. I'm still pulling a max set of five on deadlift though, with very minor form breakdown on the last rep.

But I think me pulling a max set of five is negatively impacting my intensity squats later in the week. I'm otherwise a very busy guy, and my sleep and diet are definitely things I need to clean up. I'm committing more time to sleep and diet now to ensure that it's as smooth as can be, but I honestly need a second opinion. Should I move to 2x3 and 5x1 deadlifts to aid recovery or not?

(For numbers, my last 1x5 deadlift was 192.5kg (3 weeks ago) and I pulled 195x3x2 today since it's my first week back from vacation; that's the last weight I deadlifted two weeks ago. Squat 1x5 is 155kg and 165x1x3.)

Mark Rippetoe

Exactly much cleaning up does your sleep and diet need?


I wake up every night to go to the bathroom, so it's not uninterrupted or as much as I'd like. Sometimes I sleep 7 hours, sometimes 7 and a half (sweet spot, I think; I feel better sleeping 7 and a half), 8, sometimes 6 and a half, or even 6. Never less than 6, but often I'll have one day in the week where I only sleep 6 and a half hours. I usually only go to bed at around midnight, sometimes a bit later.

Diet is mostly good. I like my sweets a bit too much and I'm dialing that back now. I also average around 200g of protein daily, now aiming for 250g again. Total kcal is about 3800 a day right now, still gaining weight. I need to eat more veggies, too, so I've found a way to incorporate more into my diet.

Workable stuff, nothing too bad if I say so myself.

Mark Rippetoe

What would happen if you reversed to intensity squats and volume deadlifts on Monday?

Jeff LC

I literally without fail wake up every two hours to pee no matter what, every single night. Maybe, if I am EXTREMELY burnt out from an intense workout plus bad sleep the night before, I will make it through the night with only 2 wake-ups, but that is rare. Never, ever, in my adult life, have I actually went to sleep at a normal time, and then woken up 7-8 hours later without waking up multiple times to pee. Ever. It really bothers me.


I'd be more rested for the intensity squats, and possibly still get a good workout in on Friday since the squat weight is lighter than the deadlift weight. I'm willing to give it a shot.

For clarification, are you suggesting I do: lower (Mon) upper (Tue) upper (Thu) lower (Fri)? Or simply that I switch Tuesday's and Friday's workout?

I've done some Googling to no real effect. Waking up multiple times could be medical, though, anything from diabetes to kidney stones. I'm not a doctor, but I heard some doctors say it on Fox News. Take that for what that's worth.

One of the changes to my diet is that I'm dropping about 500ml of cottage cheese in favour of something with a little more bite. I'm hoping limiting my fluid intake in this way will stop me from having to go to the bathroom. Then again, some people have pointed out that urine production stops and that you only have to go because you're awake. So it's awake first, then pee, not pee waking you up. In that case, waking up is probably more stress-related. Nothing I can reasonably do about that at this time.


Any chance you have apnea, or some other kind of sleep disorder? This sounds exactly like the situation I was in before I started using a mouthpiece. I did not meet the formal criteria for apnea, but was a loud and persistent snorer.

Mark Rippetoe

Switch the two workouts.

I have been getting up to pee once a night since I was 12. I really don't think this is abnormal.


May not be abnormal, but very annoying. Short on time as is and I need half an hour to fall asleep again afterwards. I also didn't have this problem up until recently which just makes it even more annoying.

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