Starting Strength Weekly Report

February 28, 2022

Color Wash Edition

On Starting Strength
  • The Impact of Sex on Strength Training in Adults With Cardiovascular Disease – Rip and Dr. Abeel Mangi discuss Mangi's recent paper on the outcomes of treatment for CVD and their correlation with sex and muscle mass.
  • Jim's 600 Pound Deadlift – Ray Gillenwater and Starting Strength Denver member Jim Clair talk about how he was the first member to reach a 600-pound deadlift and how consistency in training is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Lord of the Grips – Starting Strength Coach, Phil Meggers talks about the different grip options for deadlifts and why you should switch your grip when it's necessary.
  • “Fat Loss Training” is Not Training by Robert Santana – If I had a nickel (hell, even a penny) for every time someone asked me how to “train” for fat loss I would be a wealthy man. Even wealthier if dishonesty agreed with me...
  • Weekend Archives: Heavy-Light-Medium by Andy Baker – [Two] clients, (one young, one middle aged) are using a heavy-light-medium approach to their training. Both are getting great results, but within the context of the HLM programming, they are each using two different methodologies...
  • Weekend Archives: Recovery and Growth by Mark Rippetoe – Judging from my e-mail and the posts on my Q&A board, most of you guys are experts at losing bodyfat or maintaining low bodyfat. But you seem to have misplaced your understanding of the importance of getting bigger and stronger...

From the Coaches
Get Involved

In the Trenches

older lifter
Mercedes "Merce" Hershey is 95 years young and trains in the Tues/Thurs noon class at Starting Strength Cincinnati. Here she is finishing off a nice set of rack pulls with apprentice Tony Maldonado. [photo courtesy of Marie Worsham]

joe improves his squat at a starting strength camp in indianapolis
Joe improves his squat during the Squat and Deadlift Camp put on by Andrew Lewis and Nick Delgadillo in Indianapolis last Saturday. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
andrew lewis coaches maggie at a starting strength training camp
Starting Strength Coach Andrew Lewis coaches Maggie during the Indianapolis Squat and Deadlift Camp. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

john dowdy coaches the deadlift
Head Coach John Dowdy watching intently to ensure every deadlift rep is done correctly. [photo courtesy of Brandon Kubo]
cueing the correct hip position in the deadlift
Joseph emphasizing hip height in the deadlift as the lifter is part of the way through setting up the start position at Starting Strength San Antonio. [photo courtesy of Victoria Diaz]
drew squats 150 work sets in his linear progression
Drew squats 150 lb for 3 sets of 5 reps at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. Drew is in junior high and is doing a great job working through his linear progression. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
jeff squeezing his back into extension at the start of the deadlift
Jeff focuses on setting his back properly for the deadlift at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
group picture at starting strength dallas after an ice storm
The Ice Breakers. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will keep these folks from their gains. Left to right: Mike, Russ, Hawni, Brent. [photo courtesy of Brent Carter]

Best of the Week

Loving NLP, Hating Bench Stall


Thank you for your good work. I appreciate the difference you make in my training and life.

Age 67, 5'6", 166 lbs. Discovered and started NLP 12/15/21 Missed a couple weeks due to work conflicts. Repeated previous workout to restart. All good.

After missing some reps, I changed from 1-on, 1-off to 1-on, 2-off and like that better. With 1-on, 2-off, I feel more confident entering the workout, the bar moves faster and I complete all reps, except press.

Squat has progressed from 185 to 210. Deadlift has progressed from 240 to 300. Press has progressed from 60 to 85.

My problem is the bench. I can complete 3 sets of 5 @ 145 but can't complete them at 150.

Still following the A-B program but now having switched to 1 on, 2 off, I only bench once every 6 days. That does not seem like enough.

I'm thinking about adding a bench-only day one day before and one day after each B day. This would give me bench work every other day while maintaining the 1-on, 2-off A-B schedule for the other lifts.

Your thoughts?

Mark Rippetoe

What happened when you tried 147?


Second the micro plates suggestion. They are a miracle for the pressing movements. I'm surprised you haven't needed them for the press first, but maybe you started it more conservatively than your bench. First time I did this I was not conservative about my starting bench weight, and of course, it increased the least. Where did you start off your bench?

Oso Rojo

I'll third the micro plates. I'm a few years younger at 60 but in a similar boat. I carry a set of 1.25 and 0.625 (5/8) in my gym bag. That way I can jump 2.5lb or 1.25. Microgainz makes the 1.25s and Grainger or Fastenal carry the 2" washers that make the 5/8. Progress for us old guys move slower sometimes but keep at the progress!

Marc Brainich

Fourthing it. Crucial to keeping my press moving and probably shortly my bench. Rogue makes a set down to 0.25 lbs. Hoping to get the grandkids on SS once they hit that Tanner Stage IV so I figure the really small ones should be useful

Mark Rippetoe

He's gone. Working, apparently.


Not having fractional plates, I went from 145 to 150. At 150, benched 4 reps of 5 and had nothing more on 1/10/22. On 2/3/22, benched 3 sets of 5 at 145 (easy). On 2/10/22, I tried 150 again. Benched 2 reps and had nothing more.

I then added an extra bench day as described above. On 2/12/22, (Bench only day) benched 3 sets of 5 at 145.

The fractional plates I ordered arrived. On 2/14/22, Benched 3 sets of 5 at 147.5. On 2/16/22, (A day) Benched 3 sets of 5 at 150. On 2/18/22 (Bench only day) benched 1 set of 5, 1 set of 4, 1 set of 2 at 152.5. On 2/19/22 (B-day) I abandoned the workout utterly perplexed as my squat of 220 failed after just 2 reps (and I was feeling great heading into that workout, thinking I'd hit 3 of 5 @ 220). Also my deadlift has stalled at 300.

In previous workouts, I squatted 3 sets of 5 at 215; then at 220, one set of 4, one set of 3 and one set of 3. I deadlifted 300 on 2/10/22 but every attempt at 305 since then was no lift. After the last 305 no-lift, I tried again the same day at 302.5 which was also no lift. I did not walk away from my 2/19/22 workout because I was discouraged, but because I was confused. Why are my lifts going backwards? Am I plateauing?

I'm re-reading Baker/Sullivan now to figure out where I went wrong.

Other Info:

  • I practice good sleep hygiene. Go to bed between 10:00 and 10:30 most nights. Actually in bed at that time. Rarely drink alcohol and never at home. Fall asleep quickly. Wake naturally at 6am some days and 4am others (no explanation for the difference, it just happens that way.
  • No cardio between lifting workouts.
  • I usually get 100g-150g. protein each day from protein bars, drinks and isolate powder; and more protein from food.
  • I've always hated the idea of food logging but this stalling out is a humbling experience and I think I'm going to have to learn to love it. I think my macros and calories are in a reasonable range but I guess I'll never know for sure without a food log.
  • Belly fat is growing on me. More than I've had for a long time and I do not like that. I don't care about abs but I care deeply about keeping noticeable belly fat off my body. Thinking about adding 30 minutes of steady-state cardio (spin bike) to address belly fat concern.

Back to the question you asked, Rip, trying 147.5, I hit 3x5 at 147.5 and at 150, but started missing reps at 152.5.

Mark Rippetoe

As we have explained, "microplates" can be made from washers or pieces of chain. Three bench workouts with 48 hours between them is not the program. Have fun with your training.

Best of the Forum

Weight loss


I'm 37 years old. 6'4" and 300lbs. Started the novice LP 8 months ago and made good progress despite being in CA and enduring 2 lockdowns. Currently doing:

  • Squat 440 for 5s
  • Deadlift 585 for 5s
  • Bench 290 for 5s
  • Press 225 for 5s

When I started LP I was 265 lbs so needless to say I've put on some weight. I realize you can't make gains in a calorie deficit, but Is there a way I can trim some body weight and hang on to my current strength levels?

Mark Rippetoe


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