Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 22, 2019

  • The first Starting Strength Nutrition Training Camp is scheduled for September 14 in Dallas. Join nutritionists Robert Santana and Audrey Friedman to learn how to support your training and health goals.
  • You can support this year's Charm City Strongwoman's fundraising for the Ulman Foundation at the event or directly. Find out more.
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  • Need some tough-love motivation to train? John F Musser takes you on The Tour: "Let’s go for a quick tour, there's something I want you to see. We've talked a bit about it, but it helps to lay eyes on. No, I promise, it won’t take long. We can take my truck..."
  • From the Archives: Mark Rippetoe on "coaching creep" and why it's good to get coaching from different people when it is available.
Training Log
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

stewart johnson birthday
PT Stewart Johnson celebrates his 64th birthday in his home gym, strong, useful, and head fully out of his ass.

Best of the Week

When it’s just impossible to do the program

Some stats about me: about 70kgs, 29yo, about 180cm tall. Lanky SOB, always been, trying to be serious about my lifting. Some PRs from a few years ago include 120kgs DL and 110kgs SQ (I was doing them high-bar back then). Bench was shameful so I will not post it.

I have been doing the "other novice spectacular gainzzz program" (the one with 5 sets instead of 3) for two months, not really making any progress since I was not able to defeat my at-the-time PRs (SQ 80x5 for example). Going to 3x5 is so much better for recovery and really allows me to progress better, been doing it for 3 weeks and I can feel the effects already. Anyway, here's why I am not doing the program: - I'm a seafarer. End of list.

I don't have access to the best of food or even sometimes decent food. I don't have access to a GOMAD. Sleep is a luxury, limited to 6 hours per night and 2 hours during the day (if I have no other jobs that day). When the ship is rolling, I can't really go heavy (imagine going 5 degrees left and right when you squat and then imagine going back and forth also, with no rhythm to the movements, sudden shocks and all that beauty). I don't have a power rack onboard, only the bench (which is removable and the supports can be lifted up to squat). Bumper plates are of course out of the question.

Despite all this, my lifts are respectable for someone who just started doing things seriously: SQ 95kgs, DL 105kgs, BP 75kgs, OHP 45kgs. Cleans I cannot do due to long forearms and a tight (not really huge but solid) biceps. Chins I cannot sustain more than 7 in a row no matter what I do. I used to do them weighted, worked up to around 25-30kgs for 5 reps but I am reluctant to add weight again until I can do 10 in a row.

Do you have any advice for someone in my rather unique situation? I know I should keep lifting, that part is clear, I love the program (the part I can actually do) but is there something you would change with regards to intensity/progression taking into account I am severely deficient in the recovery aspect? Should I just quit my job and focus on lifting so I can work up to my mediocre genetic limitations and then off myself 10 years down the line? But seriously, do you have any advice?


I've found that doing more volume (sets) and possibly more frequency (days) helps with getting your chins up per set. Being a long limbed lifter, I used to be stuck on about sets of 6, and I couldn't break the plateau doing just 3 sets. I added sets and workouts and slowly made my way up to one max set of 12 followed by 2 sets of 10. Messed around with weighted chins some, but didn't care much for it. Too much hassle without the weight belt and I just never placed the order for one.

That'd be my advice on that front. Not the biggest deal if you truly can't devote more time to chins to improve on them.


Whaddya know, I'm not a special snowflake after all. This is exactly my intention, Coach. I'll do what I can, when I can.

With regards to chins, that's how I do them at home. About 50 total, 30 minimum, every other day. The last sets were always 2s and 3s. Done this for two months and still can't break through the initial 7. Maybe I was just not eating enough back then. If you say that worked, I will keep trying.

Thank you for replying.


If you're already a very active chinner upper, I don't know what else to suggest. There's a couple of things that come to mind, but I don't have enough experience to pick one out as the definitive solution to the problem. I'll throw the proverbial towel in so as not to muddy the water with a bunch of maybes. Hope a smarter man or woman comes along and chips in. Good luck.

Best of the Forum

This needs to go viral. You can help.
Mark Rippetoe

I Want My Dog To Live Longer (The Greatest Wish)


Ain't it the truth.

I shed more than a few tears when I had to hold my late Weimaraner, "Smoky", in my arms as he departed this mortal coil.

Five years since and I've never really gotten over it.


I can't help but think the original words were "I want my dog to live longer than you"? But, he sanitized it for his wife after sobering up.

Jennifer Williams

That’s fantastic! Love it!

Our little guys are 12 (Westie) and 10 (Miniature Schnauzer). The 12 year old Westie, Mike, fell all the way down the staircase the other day. Talk about heartbreaking! Now we carry him every time we go up and down the stairs. He can’t be left out. Poor, little guy is getting older!


"And I don't care where his nose has been I'll let him lick my face again and again"

No truer love was e'er expressed.

John Watson

No doubt.

I wish I could figure out how to load his squat and run LP, but for now long slow walks will have to suffice to stave off sarcopenia for my 13 year old yellow Labrador. That and my #32 meat grinder seem to be helping. Who wouldn't want to stick around longer for a diet of delicious meats and organs?

This Old Man

Thank you for this. Last fall I lost my dog. He wasn't just any dog. He was my Bird Dog, and those who have them will understand. I was just as tore up as all the other old men I saw before me when they lost their Bird Dogs.

In his prime he had a nine and a half foot vertical jump. Once, in the field, I was standing at the top of a ten-foot-high cut-out bank on the edge of a creek, and he was at the bottom. I gave him the "up" command, and he jumped. He got his front feet over but not his back feet, and then started to slide back. I grabbed him by the collar and hauled him the rest of the way up. Not only was he an amazing athlete, he also trusted me completely. In spite of my best efforts he got feeble in his old age, and for the last two years of his life I had to help him get up on the bed.

I do sorely wish our dogs could live longer.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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