Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 10, 2022

Raising Edition

  • The Starting Strength Gyms team welcomes our newest franchise owners, Ana Wellborn and Keith Wiessner. Ana and Keith worked together in the accounting business for years and after training the Starting Strength method and learning about the Starting Strength Gyms franchise, they decided to open Starting Strength Miami.
On Starting Strength

From the Coaches
  • The Weights & Plates podcast discusses the importance of understanding your set points to managing your expectations during weight loss as well as athletic performance.
  • In just over a minute, Phil Meggers shows you how to convert kilograms to pounds quickly and easily without a calculator. Useful for physics homework, chemistry homework, and - of course - lifting weights.
  • At Starting Strength Boise's grand opening, owner Dave Fox gets testimonials from members.
  • Phil Meggers discusses the problem of bent arms in the deadlift, which shows up in the setup for some lifters, and interestingly enough, occasionally rears its ugly head on the pull itself.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

anna deadlifting at starting strength boston to improve her marathon performance
Anna is a once-weekly member at Starting Strength Boston. She trains so that she can run faster marathons. Here she is, pulling 145x5. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
aaron smith deadlifting 400 pounds
Aaron Smith deadlifting 400. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
kendall uses the rack to put on his belt
Kendall uses the rack to help him get his belt tight enough before his set of squats. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]
paulino locking out a press at starting strength san antonio
Paulino locking out a press at Starting Strength San Antonio. [photo courtesy of Victoria Diaz]
phoebe instructs a member on the rack pull
Phoebe instructing founding member John Griffin through the rack pull at Starting Strength OKC. [photo courtesy of Colby Iliff]
tom continues his linear progression at testify strength and conditioning
Tom continues his linear progression at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, as he squats 170 lb for 3 sets of 5 reps under the watchful eyes of spotters Jeremiah and Cody. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
starting strength chicago learns operations at cincinnati
The Starting Strength Chicago team is visiting Starting Strength Cincinnati to get educated on the day-to-day of running our gym. [photo courtesy of Jon Fraser]
Starting Strength Dallas in Egypt
Starting Strength Dallas goes international. Maybe someone should start a Starting Strength Egypt? [photo courtesy of Uma Datla]
phil prs his press at starting strength denver
Phil PRs his press with 135x3 at Starting Strength Denver. [photo courtesy of Pfhol]
ray gillenwater ben gillenwater john dowdy at starting strength boise
In Vegas, we’d call that a pair of aces and a full house. (Left to Right) Ray Gillenwater, Ben Gillenwater, and John Dowdy at Starting Strength Boise. [photo courtesy of Jen Gillenwater]

Best of the Week

Applying the SS Method to Arm Wrestling


Many arm wrestlers have adapted popular strength programs to arm wrestling training in an attempt to get better at the sport. The most notable is Todd Hutchings who has adapted the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method to his arm wrestling training. As a result, he is known as probably the strongest arm wrestler in the US and has proven that Strength>Technique in Arm Wrestling.

Having successfully used the Starting Strength Linear Progression model as your present in the book for barbell training, this got me thinking that the model is probably applicable to arm wrestling training as well as the best way to rapidly accumulate strength in the foundational arm wrestling movements.

I assume you are unfamiliar with what the foundational movements are since I have heard you talk about arm wrestling here and there and you do not seem very interested in the sport. The foundational movements to train are:

  • -Side Pressure, the ability to go from the starting position and dragging your opponent in a sideways direction toward the pin pad.
  • -Back Pressure, the ability to go from the starting position and drag your opponent back toward your side of the table.
  • -Wrist flexion, the ability to curl your wrist, is mostly used for an inside move called "hooking."
  • -Wrist Pronation, the ability to pronate your wrist to put your opponent's hand at a mechanically disadvantageous position, mainly used as an outside move called "Top Rolling."

Of course, I am going to continue to train the foundational strength movements as they obviously make you stronger at everything. Still, I am wondering if you have any thoughts you can give on how to apply the SSLP method to the specific arm-wrestling movements listed above.

You advocate sets of 10 on barbell curls. Do I also need to move the amount of reps per set up on the specific arm-wrestling movements because smaller muscle groups don't respond in the same way as the big lifts with sets of 5? Obviously, the incremental weight increases would have to be much smaller than the barbell lifts. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Rippetoe

The SS method does not apply specifically to anything other than getting stronger.

The Two-Factor Model of Sports Performance

Best of the Forum

Total testosterone increased by 90% in two years


I just got my blood panel back this week with different results than I was expecting. Total testosterone was 460ng/dl with a free T of 10pg/mL.

Two years ago, I had two tests. One with total T of 243ng/dl and one at about 260ng/dl. What would cause T levels to nearly double in the course of two years? I'm going to ask the providers I'm working with, but I wanted to see what you thought. Does that seem weird to you?

I haven't been taking anything. I'm less stressed than I was at the time, but not much else is different.

Updated: I called my doctor's office to get my medical records. Here's what I've got on file.

Date - Total T
6/19/2018 - 239.6ng/dL
7/11/2018 - 476.8ng/dL
11/5/2018 - 246.5ng/dL

They don't have free T recorded for some reason. So it looks more like T has a large degree of variation - at least based on this sample.

Mark Rippetoe

As you can see, levels vary quite a bit over time. This is one of the reasons why we recommended against relying on either your levels or the reference ranges for TRT decisions.


I'm fortunate that my doctor basically said "Despite being in reference range, you're clearly symptomatic, so here's a referral to a urologist. Go get it fixed." I feel sorry for these poor men who are told "you're in reference range, so you must be fine. Go home"

John Watson

​I tested at 410 ng/dl a while back and decided not to do TRT. What influenced your decision not to go for treatment?


I got the tests because I just wanted to know what I was at. I decided not to get treatment, because I was dealing with other stuff at the time. I didn't want to double up on hormonal changes.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

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