Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 20, 2020

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In the Trenches

jared nessland coaching the squat at starting strength denver
Starting Strength Denver head coach Jared Nessland teaches a new member the squat during the opening week of the gym. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
emily socolinsky presents strength training for older populations
Emily Socolinsky brought attention to the importance of strength to her local community through her presentation of "Strength Training for Older Populations" this past Saturday at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]

Best of the Week

How to Get Testosterone Checked
Oso Rojo

I've seen a lot of recommendations to get your T checked. But no one says how to go about it. I'm a healthy non hypochondriac who goes to the doctor when he needs one. I don't really have a doctor to go ask. I have a dentist, a chiropractor, and an ENT; I don't really think any of them would have any expertise in this area. I see a lot of doctors specializing in testosterone theory with a lot of flashy advertising. That makes me thing they are the hammer to whom everything looks like a nail. My other option is to go see the gatekeeper in my plan, but they are going to want to follow a whole bunch of other high billing paths before they ever get around to my subject.

How does a person start to get this testosterone checked?

Mark Rippetoe

Go to a Low-T clinic. They will check it there.


I requested labs from my PCP first, as it was covered by insurance. My doc wouldn't prescribe T, despite being below 300, which currently qualifies as a medical condition... but then he recommended that I go to a T clinic, which I suppose is the equivalent of consulting a specialist.

The T clinic I visited "ageless men's health" will treat anyone who tests below 450 (might need to double check that, but it's somewhere in the 400s). they didn't need an initial lab since I came in with paperwork from my PCP's office, but I believe they charge $75 for a consultation, which includes a basic lab panel to check your sex hormones. they started me off on a dose of 120mgs once per week of T and another shot with HCG, which I'm not sure of the dosage (this is supposed to prevent further atrophy of the testicles, but I don't know how well it works or if it's necessary with such a low dose of T).

I've been doing TRT for over a year and my levels are in the low 600s now whenever the clinic does a check-up lab, which they do every few months or when requested. I receive 140 mgs per week and I haven't felt the necessity to change that since i feel good, my labs look great, my bp is 120/80 and my lifts are still going up. I weighed 217 when i started and now I'm around 235.

If you don't have insurance then just go find a T clinic. I pay $260/mo out of pocket for the T and HCG injections. labs are paid for by the clinic.


If you live in an American state (i.e. not one of those that restrict your freedoms) you can order the tests online for your damn self, go to a blood draw place and get it done. The prices are listed online. It's a really good way to start taking control of your own health care decisions: educate yourself; choose your test; take the test; interpret your results; take action accordingly. All of this is possible for a speaker of english with a HS degree. The interwebs is magic!

See EG:


I could be wrong, someone correct me if this is the case, but I think just knowing your Test total is 300 doesn't mean anything. You could have 300 test and normal or high Free test, which is determined by the amount of it bounds to SHBG. Which is available to your body to use. So you need either Free test or SHBG to determine if you need T replacement. Also your Test can be normal but your E2 high and this could be the cause of symptoms attributed to low T like lower erection dysfunction. Once again, please someone correct me if I'm wrong, I'm no professional or specialist.

Mark Rippetoe

Maybe your MOAI is affecting your typing.


300 level test is fine...for an 85 yr old man.

Best of the Forum

Trumpet music

I played trumpet from grade school through high school and occasionally after that in semi-organized groups. I haven't picked it up seriously in more time than I would like to think about, but I'm now trying to get the lips back in shape again. I share your appreciation of groups like Chicago and I listened to Maynard Ferguson extensively (and saw him in concert on a few occasions) during my high school years. I have the well-known Arban's book along with a few books of etudes by Herbert Clarke and of course the classic Hummel and Haydn concertos. Aside from that, my sheet music library is pretty limited. Do you have a favorite song or technique book? Where do you get the music that you play?

Mark Rippetoe

We have had some custom arrangements made. If you're just playing by yourself, it doesn't matter much. Work on your face with long tones and by playing along with records, a highly mis-appreciated thing. We get some charts from,, and


Ah, yes, the dreaded, boring, long tones. I need to treat them like the 4th and 5th reps of a heavy squat set and just do them.

Thanks for the links, there's some interesting stuff there. I'll probably get some of those play-along sets for myself and my son, a budding high school jazz trombonist.

Karl Schudt

If your interests are in jazz, you can pick up a copy of the program Band in a Box and have it play chord progressions. It's like having your own jazz trio. You can have a lot of fun learning the blues scale and playing along with a 12 bar blues.

Other than that, Arban and Clarke are the standards. If you can play through those, you're pretty good.


Thanks for the suggestions, Karl. I'll definitely look into those. Maybe get to the point where my son and I could do duets. Many moons ago I could get through selected parts of Arban's and Clarke. These days, not so much. :-( But hey, that's what practice is for.


Coach you had an interesting comment on a recent q podcast when someone asked why the trumpet, and why now? Your comment was along the lines of you were 40 and felt like you needed something difficult to learn to keep the brain sharp and intact. So after playing now for 20 years, are u still playing for neurological reasons, for the challenge, or is it enjoyable and you love music?

I ask because It is a very compelling reason to learn a new challenging hobby in middle age.

My father has Alzheimer’s so literally anything that keeps the most amount of neurons firing Is important.

Mark Rippetoe

I still practice with some guys a couple of times a week, but I'm no longer training it like I was when I started. (See how useful our paradigm is?) Don't have the time. I just enjoy the music we make as a group, even though I can barely stand to listen to myself play.


I like the approach in Horn Technique: A New Approach to an Old Instrument better than any other I've seen. It's for horn, but the concepts work just fine for trumpet. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it's free to try out. The paperback is unfortunately POD and junky.


Stef, I take it, you're a horn player? (French) I always wondered when Mark referred to "we" when playing trumpet who the "we" could be.

Would the OP have to be able to transpose from F to Bb or does the kindle version do transposition? I'm still living in the past, reading fly specks off of dead trees. 30 years after music school, I've lost the ability to transpose in my head/on the fly.

Looks like a cool book! The Zen of Horn Playing... I'll check it out as another trumpeter.


I started playing horn in Feb.

The ebooks don't transpose for you. I don't see a need for it though 1) because you can just play it as written, maybe as written + an octave when those parts are too low and 2) part of the idea of the book is going by patterns and ear rather than being a slave to the paper. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.


Thanks Stef, I will. It's cool that you've taken up the Horn recently. I love the horn (grew up listening to a lot of Dennis Brain concertos as a kid. My sister played Horn and I tried, but couldn't get my trumpet embouchure to "behave" with the Horn's conical mouthpiece.

It's also cool that you and Mark and others are having such fun with brass as adults. Does a retired music teacher's heart good! Cheers.

Greg Ruhl

I've been getting back to playing euphonium. In addition to Arbans and Clarke, the "Brass Gym" books are good.

My main issue has been getting the embouchure muscles caught up with the core (from lifting). I can push a lot of air but the chops quickly die. I've been experimenting with a P.E.T.E. when I'm away from the horn and have seen some good progress. Of course, this does not supplant long tone work on the horn.

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