Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 17, 2020

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  • OK Boomer – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength fans after a special edition of Comments from the Haters.
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Training Log

In the Trenches

elsa ketchum adjusts the rack position in the squat
Elsa adjusts the squat rack position on a new lifter at The Strength Co. Elsa is a coaching intern at The Strength Co. and is enrolled in the Starting Strength Coaching Development Course. The course work combined with real in-person coaching under the guidance of four Starting Strength Coaches has allowed her to progress rapidly. [photo courtesy of Ron Mitchell]
robert santana coaches a lifter's deadlift start position
Robert Santana coaches a lifter's deadlift start position at last weekend's Squat and Deadlift Training Camp in Phoenix, AZ.
june santana supervises the phoenix squat and deadlift camp
June settles in to supervise the platform coaching by Mike Minigell at the Phoenix camp.
brian deadlifts 225 for five at starting strength denver
After only three weeks of training at the gym, Brian deadlifts 225 lb for a set of five. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Denver]

Best of the Week

Training while learning in University

I am very curious about knowing if someone who is going to the university, for getting a computer science degree or any kind of "Tearing ass" studying degree, have time to train??  Or people just "pause" their training programs until after the degree, so they can focus on it?  In my case, I am now doing a 5 point math course and tomorrow am starting to work in a paint factory and my day is almost full....

m s

I have a bachelor's in engineering and about to finish my master's in computer science. I've always trained while attending university. Although, I've also mostly skipped my classes and avoided going to the university as much as possible. Not advocating that – but I always could learn better and faster from a book than a lecture. If you value your training you have to prioritize it. Besides –  no one can productively study for 10 hours a day anyway. Taking 3 hours to go to train is a good break.


Make time.

I know engineers and CS majors love their "we don't sleep" memes, but the fact is that you should plan your schedule for lifting like you plan for sleep or eating or getting drunk. If it's important to you, you will make the time. Don't accept that "I'm getting a degree, I don't have time to train."


When I was in school for engineering I worked out at the university gym. Wasn’t perfect, but if I had a 9am class I would work out beforehand. Sometimes I got lucky and had a 2 hr gap in the middle of the day and would work out then. Usually I hit a small reload during finals but otherwise I didn’t miss any significant stretch of training during school.

Alexander Dargatz


Also, don't expect things to get any easier once you have your degree and start to work. Time is never enough.


I never had more free time than when I was in school. Full time engineering job, commute, kids, owning a house is way more time and energy intensive than 4 hours of class a day.

Devin Morrison

Get the idea of "tearing ass studying" degree out of your head. Computer Science and mathematics is as hard as you make it, and you chose it. You have ample time to train and sleep, so train and sleep. It'll make studying easy.

Best of the Forum

Buddy Rich

Can Hypnosis enhance such important dynamics as intensity, focus, consistency, concentration, mental toughness and anxiety control? Any experience with this or know of somebody who has benefited?

Mark Rippetoe

I think it's complete and utter bullshit. But we'll ask.


Depends. It isn't a simple yes, or no. Lifting itself is effectively self-hypnosis and has the added benefit of teaching focus and the overcoming of obstacles by making simple goals which are realised.

The problem which hypnosis can help with is irrational anxiety over going to the gym or, stepping out of the front door where it isn't contra-indicated by underlying psychosis such as PSD which requires professional medical help.

When I was involved in therapy I had some great results with clients, but it's very selective. Some can be helped, the hypnotherapist has to spend a few sessions to calibrate before beginning the work.

Mark Rippetoe

"Lifting itself is effectively self-hypnosis." What in the hell does this even mean? And yes, I'll bet it is very selective.

Brian Harlin

I believe there is an archive article by Tommy Suggs regarding this topic, but admittedly it’s been several years since I’ve read it.

Mark Rippetoe

Suggs' article

What is the difference between hypnosis and self-hypnosis?


A relaxed state of mind open to suggestion.

Nothing particularly. It's an absolutely natural state of relaxation. You couldn't fool yourself into the fantasy of a movie if you were not prepared to relax and accept what you see. The hypnotist just helps to induce a level of trance state, but it is the client who does the work.

In the case of a movie you are in a mild trance virtually the entire time, you might pop out of it when you hear someone rattling sweets/coughing - you know that feeling between the pleasantly relaxed state of watching a good film and the sudden feeling like that akin of being woken up as if from a nice sleep.

And by the way Rip, you have a very hypnotic voice which really comes over when you read passages of your own work and in lectures. As comedians often point out, it isn't always what you say but how you say it which has the greatest impact. Pace, pause, lead.

Have a listen to Obama's speeches - masterful examples of saying fuck all, but conveying subliminal ideas. Martin Luther King was similar. He mastered the kinaesthetic tone - note how slow, paused and deep his voice begins and then gradually rises in pitch and pace. All good orators have this very natural means of communicating - and what they are communicating of course is information. Spoonful of sugar.


You may be confusing meditation with hypnosis. That’s not really how hypnosis works.

Geoff Bischoff

The Suggs article is helpful. I'm familiar with the techniques used there, but not from the category of "hypnosis." Hypnosis as I've encountered it ... well, I think Rip's first reply said it best.

The Suggs techniques I've recently been learning in the context of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as tools for managing anxiety. Having a specific image in your head about how you intend to look, feel, and act when you encounter a specific situation is valuable mental training. I think this is true whether the specific situation being mentally trained is a drive downtown for a combat-stressed veteran, or a heavy rep under a squat bar for a healthy lifter, or a public speaking engagement for a homeschooling mom.


A good sleep is pretty efficacious I find.

I have been hypnotised many times and hypnotised others many times. Also meditated twice a day, every day for around 8 years. I have no firm conclusions about the process, except that if someone really wants to get over some irrational fear, then some 'magik' ego stroking can work-but then, so can a big stick.

I worked with a woman who wanted to go to Trafalgar Square but was terrified of birds so had avoided anywhere there might be pigeons. Having taken her history I used a mild hypnotic technique which took less than a minute. Two days later she came to see me all smiles and told me she had picked up and rescued a pigeon that she had found in her street. Yet, I fear spiders and no amount of hypnosis therapy has ever removed that fear, but it didn't stop me walking in the Amazon forest and getting within inches of tarantula, nor did it prevent me wiring homes full of house spiders, nor caving when confronted with walls absolutely covered with large specimens of garden spider that I had to brush past on regular occasions.

I watched a colleague of mine hypnotise a student therapist who was apparently very deaf. She had worn two hearing aids since she was young, but doctors had never found any physical cause for deafness. After about an hour she announced she no longer required the hearing aids at all.

I worked with several business people who had multiple failed businesses. The root of their failure seemed to be their belief that money was evil. I used a simple hypnotic script to change their value hierarchy. Several went on to become very wealthy because they then changed their behaviour accordingly having seen the error in their thinking. That wasn't the case with everybody by any means. Why didn't they just figure that out for themselves?

My sense of it is that many people have a deep seated belief in woo woo and will accept advice if they believe that some kind of magic is at work which gives them permission to alter their behaviour and make progress in whatever they have chosen to do. I can't explain medical hypnosis for anaesthesia, other than to say that pain is usually far more intense as a result of the expectation of pain than it actually is.

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