Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 24, 2020

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel
  • Where to Put Your Lifting Belt – Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater demonstrates the proper position for your lifting belt, something many new users get wrong.
  • +8 lbs, +Hundreds of lbs: Starting Strength Houston Head Coach Josh Wells talks with Z about his progress in terms of strength gain and lean body mass gain while training at Starting Strength Houston for the last 12 weeks.

  • “Yet…” – Diana’s Story of Strength – Diana describes how she learned to train under the bar to develop both physically and mentally.
  • From the Archives: John Musser invites you to take a look at your back trail
    Mark Rippetoe breaks down the Master Cue since properly understanding the use of this Starting Strength concept is the key to using it effectively.
Training Log

In the Trenches

josh wells teaches a coach the squat grip
Josh Wells helps Brynn Brewer with a lifter’s grip during the Squat Coach Development Camp held at Starting Strength Houston this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
isabelle deadlifts a set at 70 lb
67 year old Isabelle just started strength training a month ago. She came to our squat and deadlift training camp this weekend at CrossFit Soul in Miami and finished with a PR set of five at 70 lbs. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
ryan ocp coaches the press
Ryan O'Connell-Peller corrects the starting position of Jordan's press at the recent Pressing Camp held in Portland. [photo courtesy of Next Level Barbell]
andy sets a press training record
Andy sets a personal best on the overhead press with 165 lbs for three sets of five reps four weeks in his program at SS Denver. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]

Competition Report Clay Lacey sends in an update on the powerlifting performance of the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas team. He notes that they "are allowed to pull sumo at competition only" as they use the Starting Strength Method in training.

Best of the Week

First rep blues

Wonder if anyone has difficulty with the first rep of a squat set. The first rep feels so awkward, difficult and even painful in the lower back. Reps 2. - 5 feel smooth and easy. Doing heavier singles during the warm up are very difficult too. Like I mentioned it’s only the first rep then it’s smooth sailing. I have taken videos and my back angle is the same for all five reps- any suggestions?

Mark Rippetoe

Sounds like my entire workout. Learn to not care that it feels bad.

Mark E. Hurling

Life often hurts. Lifting with the intention of expanding or trying to maintain your current level of strength is an intentional act that takes the individual past the baseline parameters of mere existence.

So guess what? Your decision to accept and take up the challenge is likely to hurt or cause some hurt on you. Just wait until you get old, you'll discover just how frequently feeling hurt can be the black dog haunting your waking and sleeping hours when you train.

Get used to it.


Very well put Mark Hurling! You are so right. I want to be well beyond staving off death as Rip says or mere existence. I’m 60 with a lifetime of hard effort in multiple sports and training modalities. I was hoping for some technique or trick to fix me but perhaps I need to embrace the side effects of staying well above the baseline parameters as I age. There is always a price to be paid right? Guess I’m lucky because this truly may be my first getting old moment. Thanks for the motivation!

Best of the Forum

Practical Programming Intermediate versus Advanced Training Models

I just finished rereading Practical Programming, and I noticed that in the advanced programming section, sample progressions are shown on an intermediate program and an advanced program. Curiously, the hypothetical trainees end up in the same place in terms of strength gains at the end of the sample training cycle. I assume this was done on purpose, which begs the question: why shouldn't an intermediate trainee utilize more advanced periodization schemes assuming you end up at the same place in the same period of time? The answer could of course be that the samples were not meant to be a realistic portrait of the expected rates of progress for two hypothetical trainees, but I am curious nonetheless.


pp.178-180 if it helps.


I know what you're talking about. I think the intermediate guy is a 220 lifter and the advanced guy is 181. Make more sense?


Yes, I think so. The advanced guy's PR, while the same ultimate number as the intermediate over the same period of time, might only be a 5lbs PR because he is closer to his current bodyweight's potential. Thanks much.

Pete Troupos

If you reread page 179 it explains it. If you look at week 4 the hypothetical Advanced lifter is stronger (bold numbers). Presumably because of the previous cycle not shown. Compare the total volume between the two lifters for the first 4 weeks. Even removing the "light days" the Advanced lifter does about 66k lbs of total volume, the Intermediate about 37k lbs. TM is a soul crushing experience as an intermediate with 5x5 once per week. I'm not sure why, given the choice, you'd want to do an Advanced program that has a volume block of 5x5 three times per week to get the same result.

Does that make sense?


The intermediate and advanced lifter ended up at the same place after 8 weeks because the intermediate program helped the bigger lifter catch up to the very strong, but smaller, advanced lifter. It's implied that the two lifters did not start at the same place, which is the OP's assumption.

Do not look at the sample in isolation. Sure if both lifters decided to stop after 8 weeks then their 430x1x5 PRs are the same but if extended out to another 8 weeks the intermediate lifter will blow past the advanced guy, all else being equal (body fat %, etc).


The advanced lifter had to taper for 4 weeks to get to that weight, which is viewed as a test of strength that already exists. The intermediate can continue training the whole way through the 8 weeks without having to reduce volume to test.

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