Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 25, 2019

Starting Strength Channel

Training Log
  • “Push/Pull” Workouts: Seriously?? – Mark Rippetoe discusses the problems with trying to organize muscles as "pushing" or "pulling" – exercises only contract and the most useful exercises are too complex to be artificially categorized as a single "type" of movement.
  • From the Archives: Mike Tuchscherer explains that actually, you don't have plenty of time to accomplish your goals.

In the Trenches

coaching after surgery
Emily Socolinsky returns to coaching just one day after a meniscus root repair. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
inhyuk eun walking in a squat
Inhyuk Eun assists reracking a squat at the Starting Strength Training Camp held in Seoul this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
lifters and coaches in seoul
Group photo of lifters and coaches at the Seoul training camps. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]

Best of the Week

High Blood Pressure

I had my annual check up yesterday and was surprised to see my BP at 130/90. I do have some family history of high BP.


  • 39 years old, 6,1" 225 lb
  • Current 1RM's:
  • Squat - 390
  • Bench - 325
  • OHP - 225
  • Deadlift - 430

I have been hitting up the Schwinn AirDyne 2-3 days a week for the last month or so (coming from basically doing zero cardio), gradually upping the intensity. I will be the first to admit I need improvement here.

The PCP told me just what you would expect... lower salt, lose weight, DASh diet, etc

I've searched this forum and know all about the conflicting reports regarding salt intake, saturated fats, etc. I have a blood test scheduled for next week so I don't have any cholesterol numbers for you but I can tell you that I watch what I eat for the most part and I only drink socially.

Before I chalk this up to shitty genetics do you have anything suggestions/ideas? Am I freaking out over nothing and just need to get back under the bar?

Mark Rippetoe

So this is the first time you've had a BP come in slightly higher than normal, and you're worried. At least they didn't prescribe something. Were you sore or in pain when they checked you? When was your last heavy workout before the appt?


BP readings can vary widely, take BP readings at home over a few weeks and get a good baseline. My home baseline is 121/77 but I have measured 140/90 at the doc's office when stressed and caffeinated.

Joel Chapman

Was your arm supported when the reading was taken? Did they use an Adult X-Large cuff? Did they release the pressure 2-4 mm Hg per second? Was it a resting BP, or did they stand you up and race walk you in from the waiting room and then immediately slap the cuff on you? I could go on and on.

Mark Rippetoe

If you have an arm larger than 14 inches, the small cuff will read you high. Do not let them put this shit in your medical records.


BP readings are almost never taken correctly or with care when they are doing their intake measurements. If that was just used as a screen quick screen for high that was investigated when it showed up that way, I could forgive it, but only if those numbers were not entered in any record. You have to fight pretty hard to keep the nonsense numbers off your chart, but I recommend it.


I sat on the edge of the table, arms and legs dangling. I would say I was in a pretty relaxed state. As far as the cuff size, I think they used the larger one, there was another one that I assume was smaller hanging off the wall. They took it twice, once by the nurse and the other by the nurse practitioner.

I lifted heavy the day before and had a pretty intense cardio session about 3 hours before the apt.

I have a follow-up appointment in 3 weeks. In the meantime time going to try to clean up my diet, keep hammering the cardio, and see if that makes a difference. 

Mark Rippetoe

Great idea! Hammer that cardio! Run to the appointment from your house! Lift heavy that morning! Clean up your diet for 3 weeks! You need their approval! After all, he is a Doctor! He can't be wrong! After all, two nurses agree! After all, you don't want to have a heart attack! Because 39-year-old lifters with a 400 squat usually die of heart attacks! They fall over dead every day! With a BP of 130/90! Yep, that's the DANGER ZONE! Be afraid! Beg for medication! We are praying for you!

Best of the Forum

A Better Way to Cue the Press
Mark Rippetoe

Article: A Better Way to Cue the Press


Great description of the problem. The lift needs to move "back" in the first 1/2 inch of pressing. I'm of the opinion that once the bar has moved too far forward, in the absence of enough brute strength, the lift is lost.

Dillon Spencer

I love these kinds of articles!

I've recently talked my dad into getting under the barbell. He's in reasonably good shape for an almost 69 year old dude, but has pretty much no lifting experience. He's been "exercising" on and off for the last few years, but the barbell always intimidated him. I've been coaching him to the best of my ability, and pressing the bar forwards and failing to lock it out overhead was one of his (many) early issues. The cue I used was "head through!" and it seemed to fix it up. Obviously, cues aren't one size fits all and the end result is most important, but in the interest of getting better at this, I'm just wondering if there's something inherently better about cueing shoulders rather than the head.

Mark Rippetoe

Since you can move your head without moving your shoulders, I say so.

Dillon Spencer

Thanks! Yeah I figured it would be something along those lines. I guess I'm just having trouble picturing how someone would successfully get their head through their arms without the shoulders coming along for the ride, but obviously yield the point to those with exponentially more experience. That's why I asked! I'll try this out next time I'm helping someone out with their press. Thanks again!

Geoff Biscoff

On a PR triple today, my third rep slowed down before I expected it to, and turned into a minor grinder. I used your "shoulders" cue in my head to get through the rep. My n=1, the shoulder cue worked better than the more familiar "back back back!" cue.

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Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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