Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 01, 2019

  • Starting Strength Online Coaching is up and running. Find an online coach who can flexibly match your individual needs – video coaching, programming, competition prep, nutrition.
Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • Discovering Strength: An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Perspective – "My job has been to help patients after their injury. But what if I shifted focus and spent more of my time educating patients on the benefits of strength acquisition and its relationship to fracture prevention?"
  • From the Archives: In No Chalk Allowed!, Shaun Jafarian shares his experience and lessons learned while looking for a real strength training gym.
Training Log
  • Why Do You Lift Weights? – Robert Novitsky challenges you to consider your motivations and adopt a practical perspective.
  • From the Archives: Mark Rippetoe teaches the proper grip for the squat and addresses the misconception that the elbows should be way "up" and that the shoulder should be in over-extension for a secure and correct grip.

In the Trenches

brent carter mark rippetoe answer questions
Brent Carter and Mark Rippetoe answer questions during the pre-opening event for Starting Strength Dallas. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
attendees at starting strength dallas preopening
More than 60 attended Starting Strength Dallas' Friday evening event to check out the gym, find out more about the program, meet Rip and Brent, and demolish TX BBQ. [photo courtesy of Brent Carter]
ryan coaches the bottom of the squat
Starting Strength Coach Ryan O’Connell Peller instructs Michael to “shove your knees out!” at this past weekend's squat training camp in Oregon. [photo courtesy of Next Level Barbell]

Best of the Week

Art or Science?
Andres Onu

It's been pointed out that one way to distinguish the arts from the sciences is that if it weren't for the artist, their art would never have existed. ie. No Vincent van Gogh means no The Starry Night, ever. Whereas in science, you can be sure that eventually, calculus and general relativity would have been discovered by someone, if not Newton and Einstein.

Have you ever considered your approach to physical training in this context? Do you think someone would have eventually come to their senses and converged on the same methodology you’ve created and developed? Or is there too much creativity and “art” involved it cutting through the Silly BS that there was never a guarantee that anyone would have gotten as far as you have?

Mark Rippetoe

This is merely applied science. I am amazed that I was the first to codify this rather obvious application of biology. Nonetheless, I was. It would eventually have been done, but I don't know by whom.


Engineering, science, and art do not sit on a continuum, so to say it's either "science" or "art" is a false dichotomy.

Science is a framework for understanding and learning.

Art is the outcome of the application of a skill (ex. painting) using a specific tool (ex paint and paintbrush) onto a specific medium (ex canvas) using a specific style (ex. impressionism, abstraction, realism) to display or communicate a specific idea (ex beauty, hate, critique, information, function). In this way, art and engineering converge, with science being a tool by which the skill, tools, mediums, styles, and ideas are tested and developed.


Reminds me of a lecture Richard Hamming (he of the Hamming code, window, etc) gave at my alma mater where he said that there are *still* things to be discovered. This, to science and engineering students overwhelmed with all of the modern advancements in their fields of study.

It was an inspiring observation.


What's great about art (discussions) is that it's a direct gateway into human minds, very abstract and amorphous spaces that everyone wants to organise. Art is really the first in this human habit of preferring order over chaos, as evident in a great number of ways. Some important highlights would be the human need to recognise patterns, even where there are none. Cave paintings are a great example: there's nothing inherent about the shapes we see on the cave walls that would tell us what they are, but we identify them as representations of animals and sometimes humans. While the paintings can be true to life and are unmistakable representations of animals (which they are), they do remain symbolic: they are lines in "paint" on a cave wall ("canvas"). It's only after we identify them, in language, that they become art.

As such, I find you paint a very specific picture of art that seems very reasonable but is very wrong. Very few artists in history, or even today, would stop to consider the "specific style" or even "specific idea" they'd want to use, and a lot of those were only defined after the fact. It's very clear to us now that impressionist art came before "impressionism," a term with an arbitrary definition and arbitrary begin and end dates; arbitrary in the fact that paintings are included and excluded every so often, since there's no hard definition and new art is discovered every so often. Therein lies another misapprehension: the word "art" is by all means a loaded term, so what the last few words of the previous sentence really mean are "new paintings are determined to be art every so often."

While science is definitely a framework for understanding and learning, there's nothing about art to suggest that it would be the contrary. You'll find this is true for science, as well: science is also the outcome of the application of a skill, using a specific tool onto a specific medium using a specific style (e.g. physics, biology, ...) to display or communicate a specific idea. This dichotomy seems to me to be false in that you approached science hollistically, but art specifically. There's an obvious difference in methodology, of course, since science depends upon experimentation and testing with empirical reality. But even so, you'll find the vast majority of artists in history would not have considered their art trickery. If you were to revive one artist from every century and put them in a roundtable discussion, they would all say they painted it as it appeared to them, and at the same time concede that they were painting a picture. It's only us as onlookers or historians or theoreticians who would suggest a hierarchy of true to life artistry where impressionism would rank below realism or what have you. We identify (major) differences as they occur throughout thousands of years of art history, which of course are very much there, but invariably not quite as present as we would like to believe.

I'm glad to see Rip raise the relevant counterpoint. OP would have us believe that art relies on the artist, which certainly the Romantics would appreciate, but it seems more reasonable than true. As Rip indicates, it's not at all clear that "someone would've figured it out eventually," just like it's not clear to me that someone would have eventually figured out evolution or relativism. Maybe others would have found similar ideas and concepts to be true, but it would doubtfully have been as clear or as well conceived as Darwin's and Einstein's work. I think their past existence precludes such a view, and certainly such a reality. We like to see singular individuals behind singular ideas, though, and that's a view art has left behind long ago. To explain something like the conception of evolution, we have to account for every single detail in Darwin's life as that would have influenced his whole being and conclude that evolution had no one author. A singular one, to be sure, but not one that comprised of one man in a vacuum figuring it out. Or rather, a man in a cave looking at shapes on the wall.

Best of the Forum

Instant Onset Muscle Soreness

Not an urgent matter, but more of a curiosity. A couple of months ago I was doing squat warmups, beginning with two sets of just the bar, when after the second set my legs were full-on stiff and sore. Not so much fatigued, but more the full-on walking funny soreness like one would experience a day or two after working too hard. Despite the soreness, I completed all of my warmup and work sets (295x3x5) and everything recovered by the next workout.

Have you ever seen anything like this before and/or have an explanation for it? It was just really odd. I chose the title to highlight the similarity of the symptoms to DOMS as opposed to simply fatigued muscles.

Mark Rippetoe

Never heard of this.


Were you sick shortly before that workout? I've had a similar thing happen once after coming off a bad cold. My quads just felt sore and a bit painful during squats for the first few workouts after the illness.

Mark Rippetoe



I was well rested (Monday workout) and eating healthy, no illness either. Was limited to just the one workout. Went and checked some of the other posts (as well as mine) and it was more limited to quads. Form wise, for me, I know I was a bit forward at this time as my heels were coming up a bit; however, I had been like this for a while.


I've had this happen a few times, but usually after more time than usual between squat sessions ( a week as opposed to 2 or 3 days rest), or after tinkering with technique (widening stance width). Usually adductors. Also experienced this in the long head of my triceps during deadlifts. Weights were however at or near worksets weights.

Mark Rippetoe

I think he was already sore and didn't know it. Probably. But still not interesting.


I had a similar experience last year when on my first day back from having the flu. I squatted a weight that I maybe wasn't ready to squat and I instantly felt my quads cramp up and get kind of sore. The bar speed wasn't terrible so I kept going and finished 3 sets across, nbd, but I was shaking under the bar and the cramps were certainly an unwelcome distraction. I had eaten as little as absolutely nothing while I was ill and lost 3kg in about a day of vomitting, so I think that contributed.

I've had DOMS accrue during a workout before, too, but I chocked it up to soreness from earlier workouts in the week, like Rip says. It never impacted training or recovery and it never persisted, so I didn't bother to ask.


Most likely scenario. I had pretty much written it off as a one-off, just seeing one or two others recently made me wonder.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

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