Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 17, 2022

Nip and Tuck Edition

On Starting Strength
  • PSA and Rethinking Prostate Health with Dr. Joseph Busch – Rip and Dr. Joseph Busch discuss PSA, prostate needle biopsy, and better ways to diagnose and treat prostate issues.
  • Tech at Starting Strength Gyms – Ray and Ben Gillenwater discuss some of the tech used inside the Starting Strength Gyms and their reasoning behind using it.
  • The Close-Grip Bench Press – Starting Strength Coach Victoria Diaz describes why someone would use the close-grip bench press and how to do the movement.
  • One Year of Low Volume Training by John Petrizzo – As the years have gone by, like most of us, the available time that I have to train has become more and more compressed. I have always worked multiple jobs...
  • Summation of Forces About The Knee Equals Zero: Knee Loading In A Properly Performed Low-Bar Squat by Tom Bailey – Before I found the Starting Strength program, I was a runner and basketball player, with the resulting sore knees consistently limiting what I intended to do. I expected the same knee soreness or worse when I began to low-bar squat...
  • Weekend Archives: Performance Shooting and Strength by Justin Nazaroff – If you haven’t put in the training time, you will not magically turn into John Wick in the event you are placed in a life-or-death scenario...
  • Weekend Archives: The Novice Effect by Mark Rippetoe – We have a member here at WFAC who gained 55 pounds in 11 weeks...I weighed him and measured his bodyfat he had gained a total of 55 pounds of bodyweight and a little over 31 pounds of lean body mass...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

cindy bench presses 140 at starting strength boise
Newly minted SSC John Dowdy coaches Cindy on her 140x1 bench. She is the first member from Starting Strength Boise to grace the national leader board. [photo courtesy of Avery Martz]
deadlifts during the first week of training at testify strength and conditioning
Mother-and-daughter duo Bette and Monica complete their deadlifts as they finish up their first week of training at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
siva smiling as she locks out a press
Siva locking out a press with a smile at Starting Strength Dallas. [photo courtesy of Carl Raghavan]
petrizzo coaches a lifter through unracking and setting up his squat
John Petrizzo coaches Frank to properly unrack and set up for the squat at the recent Squat & Deadlift training camp in Babylon, NY. [photo courtesy of Chris Palladino]
okc member don locking out a deadlift
Don has recently just started with Starting Strength OKC and is already making big gains across all of his lifts. Don has suffered from reoccurring neck and lower back pain, so stepping into this gym was a big step for him. However, Don is beginning to uncover the importance that strength plays in preventing and decreasing the pain he’s lived with for so long. [photo courtesy of Colby Iliff]
victoria diaz coaching the deadlift at an open house
Victoria Diaz working with Bonnie during an Open House at Starting Strength San Antonio. [photo courtesy of Matt Hebert]
tanya and her dog poncho at starting strength denver
Tanya and her dog Poncho at Starting Strength Denver. [photo courtesy of Jen Phfol]
group picture at starting strength memphis opening day
Group picture from opening day at Starting Strength Memphis. From left to right: Bren, Scott, Phillip, Chris, Ehud, Brooks, Gretchen. [photo courtesy of John Haun]
starting strength boston staff group picture in 2022
The staff of Starting Strength Boston at the start of 2022. (Left to right) Owner Arthur Frontczak, Michael Shammas, Marie Carrigg, Austin Khamiss, Stephen Babbitt and Sean Craffey. (Center front) June Bug. [photo courtesy of Arthur Frontczak]

Best of the Week

Hiatal hernia repair?


I know you have a hiatal hernia and reflux so I wanted to get your opinion. I have a hiatal hernia and a loose LES, and have suffered from chronic gastritis as a result. The damage is only in my throat, and everything lower is perfectly fine. I assume that acid is not my issue, but rather aerosolized pepsin, as PPIs, your vitamin C fix, and any other acid remedies I've tried have had no impact. I got a referral to see a surgeon today, and will discuss a repair. I assume they might suggest a nissen fundoplication, which I will of course not do. However, I'm hoping the surgeon will be willing to just repair the hernia, and by doing so fix my reflux issues.

Do you have any thoughts on this? And if I do get the repair, do you have any advice regarding rehab?

I'm 29, 215lb, pulling over 600, squatting over 500, overhead pressing 225.

Mark Rippetoe

I've never even considered having mine repaired. It is only a problem occasionally, and I manage it by not eating chicken breast. I know two people who had the Linx implant, who have had good success with it. Do you take a lot of sildenafil?


Nope, I don't take any medications. I do have other side effects from the hiatal hernia, like nausea and lack of appetite, which gets better at night. So, for the past 10 years I've gotten most of my calories right before bed since I wanted to be big and strong. I assume that has made everything worse. But, due to doctor incompetence, I didn't know I had a hiatal hernia until recently, and haven't gotten much help other than being offered more PPIs. Today the first thing the doctor said to me was that I need to lose 25 lbs immediately (I'm only 215 at 6ft). But I got him to write me a referral to the surgeon (required in Germany), so I guess he did what I wanted.

Why does chicken breast cause you problems? I don't eat them, but I'm just curious.

Mark Rippetoe

It's dry, doesn't slide down well. A huge percentage of the population has a hiatal hernia. I would not let them do any surgery now. Manage it as you can.

Best of the Forum

Gripth width on barbell row


With lock-down 2.0 underway in the UK and gyms closed again, I am back to training in my back garden.

Weather-permitting, squats, press, deadlift and floor press are ok. Chins are out so I'm replacing them with barbell rows.

I've never trained rows before so I went back to the blue book to check on the form. I am curious as to why the recommended grip is roughly bench press width (though you do say that this can vary quite a bit) when the recommendation for chins/pull-ups is more like shoulder-width or very slightly wider. I would have imagined that the strongest pulling position for both the vertical and horizontal pulls would be shoulder width.

Am I missing something? Or does this fall into the category of "it's an assistance exercise, don't stress over the form, choose whatever grip width feels strongest, stick with it and keep increasing the weight"?

Mark Rippetoe

Because the bench press grip width allows the greatest ROM around the shoulder at the top of the row, like it does at the bottom of the bench.


Ah-ha - I can see that.

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