Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 01, 2021

Marmota Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Aerospace Science Part 2 with Scott Davison – Scott Davison returns to discuss flying, weapons, the Strategic Air Command, bombs and other cool stuff with Mark Rippetoe on Starting Strength Radio #93.
  • Putting the Bar Down After a Deadlift the Right Way – Rip shows you the proper way to put down a deadlift that avoids histrionics and the expending of unnecessary energy.
  • How to Set Up Your Safeties for Heavy Squats – Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater demonstrates how to set up your power rack so that your safeties are not too high or too low.
  • The Army’s Running Problem by Capt James Rodgers – It is a staple of Army life: groups of soldiers running together alongside a road in the pre-dawn darkness. It is something that has been a part of the Army’s culture for as long as anyone can remember...
  • Olympic Lifting and Your Linear Progression by Phil Meggers – You’re working through your linear progression, and you’re making steady progress on the squat, press, bench, and deadlift, but you’ve also developed an itch to do some weightlifting...
  • Weekend Archives: Volume and the Masters Lifter by Jonathon Sullivan and Andy Baker – In 2017, the fitness industry is vibrant, strong, growing, and changing. Much of what goes on is silly and counterproductive, but the importance of exercise for a healthy life has never been better-documented or more on the mind of the public...
  • Weekend Archives: Age and Bodyfat by Mark Rippetoe – I read the comments on these articles, you know. “Rip's a fat guy. Don't believe anything he says about fitness.” “Fit people don't look like Rip's fat ass. Run awaaaaay!!” As I sit here finishing the last of an unclaimed birthday cake...

From the Coaches
  • Phil Meggers covers how to simply and quickly perform basic maintenance on your barbell - in this case, a bare steel B&R bar.
  • In the deadlift, the bar needs to be in a close, committed relationship with your shins as you pull it off the floor, and a bar that swings away from you betrays that relationship and makes for a much harder deadlift, so if you’re struggling to escape this 9th circle of deadlift hell, try out one of several fixes that Phil Meggers provides.
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In the Trenches

sebastian breaks his final deadlift rep off the ground
Sebastian breaks his final rep off the ground at Crossfit Soul in Miami while attending our Squat & Deadlift Training Camp this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
lori learns to squat at a training camp
A long-time marathoner, Lori learns to squat during our most recent training camp in Miami. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
juan pulls his last set of deadlifts
Juan pulls his final set of deadlifts at the training camp. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]

Best of the Week

“A Time for Choosing”

I’ve just seen a video of Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” and was wondering if you had any libertarian and/or conservative books you would recommend to someone who is now interested in these topics, thanks.

Mark Rippetoe

The standard recommendations are Our Enemy The State and The Road to Serfdom. But anything by Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, and many others, will teach you what you want to know.


Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty, For A New Liberty, Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed, and Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.

Just go to and start reading.

Mark E. Hurling

A lot of Peter Drucker's works, while management oriented, have a string underlay of the Austrian School of economics, since that is where the late Herr Drucker was born and educated. He cuts through the more current (and in the context of a 70 year old guy like me that covers 30 some years) of jargon to feel good and makes his points briefly and efficiently.


Managing Oneself is an excellent place to start for anyone interested in his work.


Everyone needs to read The Law, by Frederic Bastiat. This online PDF version has an excellent forward by Walter Williams.


Thanks Rip et al, advice appreciated. I think we’re living in a world on the brink and that arrogant vengeful leftism is about to push us over the edge of the precipice. Tyranny now exists and dominates in every field of cultural, political and social life; elections are rigged and the ‘wrong’ outcomes (e.g Brexit) are undermined and attacked from within by what can only be referred to as the Deep State. Part of the push back against this is, in my view, a self educated citizenry. As a citizen of a Western nation, I see it as my duty to learn the counter narrative to that which is being pushed by big government and its apologists.


Yes and he sums up the leftist very well in “The Road to Wigan Pier.” It's amazing how nothing at all has changed.

They don't care about the working class, they are disgusted by them.

Though I should add when Orwell wrote “The Road to Wigan Pier” he still thought socialism was the answer. You should read in conjunction with “Homage to Catalonia” it's really a sad account of how these idealistic movements end up as totalitarian evil. Both are non fiction.

While you're at it read “The Gulag Archipelago” by Solzhenitsyn. It's very hard reading but if you want to learn about why communism always ends up in a pile of human bones it's a good place to start.

I also thought the movie “First They Killed My Father” on Netflix gave an horrifying but accurate account of what happens when these kind of ideologically possessed revolutionaries take over. A lot of murder.

Best of the Forum

Why is traditional chalk superior to liquid chalk for Strength Training?
Robin UK

Hi Rip, I’m eagerly awaiting this week’s podcast - always informative and highly entertaining, a highlight of my week.


1) Apart from the convenience aspect, why is traditional chalk better than liquid chalk for strength training?

2) In rank order, which of the following is best for measuring body fat % most accurately?

You might ask “Why do you care?”

Well, Starting Strength is one of the very few organisations in the fitness industry I believe to be honest and have a robustness of foundations and “core” ethos (said in the hilarious way you say it) both from a scientific and practical aspect of information relay and program effectiveness.

To the extent I care about body fat, it’s of tertiary importance to me other than I don’t want fluffiness to take over. As long as my numbers are increasing, feeling strong of mind and body, enjoying my training and feeling generally “manly”, I couldn’t give a shit about body fat. In as much as I do give a shit about it, as above, I at least want to know which is the best method to have it measured in your personal opinion. I’m a fussy Brit and don’t want to leave my body fat measurement purely open to the vagaries of mood. Despite considering myself psychologically robust, I’m still prone to having days where I believe I’m Thor when the reality might be my fluff levels have just spilled over into Homer Simpson territory.

  • Skinfold Calipers
  • Body Circumference Measurements
  • Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA)
  • Hydrostatic Weighing
  • Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod)
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
  • Bioimpedance Spectroscopy (BIS)
  • Electrical Impedance Myography (EIM)
  • 3 D body scanners
  • Multi Compartment Models (considered the gold standard)
  • The hot women on the beach who either want to stop their tanning session and come to bed with me immediately or say decline the offer.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Mark Rippetoe

These two statements would seem to be at odds. If you are true to your initial indication, the extent of your need to quantify would be either "too fat" or "not too fat", ascertainable by mirror, wife/GF, or your hands. And that would be better than all these methods, for you.

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