Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 29, 2019

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel
  • Throwback Q&A (2010) – Suggs, Rippetoe, and Wendler answer questions about powerlifting, isometric training, programming for women, and training for the military.
  • Kathy Grace signed up at Starting Strength Austin at 62 years old having never touched a barbell before. She describes her experience and progress working with Starting Strength Coaches Joyce Luke and Jarrod Schaefer.

  • Going to Where the Clients Are – Rebecca Fishburne explains how setting the example, helping to point people in the right direction, and being willing to speak their language helps open the door to strength training in a commercial gym setting.
  • From the Archives: In Tactile Cues and Coaching, Mark Rippetoe explains the importance of physically touching your trainees for professionals who coach movement.
Training Log
From the Coaches
  • Emily Socolinsky reminds us that strength comes from within and that we are training our emotions and will along with our bodies each time we get under the bar.

In the Trenches

rip coaching rick yule squat
Rip coaches Rick Yule through a set of squats at the Starting Strength Seminar held at Woodmere Fitness Club last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
starting strength austin squat training camp
Jared works on a vertical bar path at the Squat Training Camp at Starting Strength Austin this weekend while Chris and Zach spot. [photo courtesy of Joyce Luke]
jack squatting
Jack Sullivan attended the squat camp at Annino Strength & Conditioning this past weekend. He is an endurance athlete looking to get strong and prevent injury. [photo courtesy of Cody Annino]
mark coached on his press
Mark B presses 95 lbs overhead under the watchful eyes of Starting Strength Coaches Ryan O’Connell Peller and Jordan Stanton at this past Saturday's training camp. [photo courtesy of Next Level Barbell]
iggy mark rippetoe inna koppel nick dagostino
Iggy, Rip, and Inna say goodbye to Nick D’Agostino as he prepares for a cross-country move to Reno, NV.

Best of the Week

Starting Strength and the Prostate

Curious to know if Starting Strength barbell training has prostate health benefits. I am 63 and have seen a noticeable drop in frequency in waking up to pee at night and less frequency during the day also since starting a squat, DL, bench, press and row 5x5 SS type program 2 years ago. Seems there is a benefit but have never heard anyone mention it before.

Mark Rippetoe

I have no data except me. No BPH, same nighttime piss schedule for the past 50 years.

Tom Lang

I've been meaning to ask about lifting and prostate remedies – I imagine some on these boards are on alpha blockers, shrinkage meds, or have had the TURP or urolift procedures. How do these things affect your lifting?


Intense exercise tends to produce deeper sleep, maybe you are just getting a more restful night now. Sleep apnea can often involve frequent urination since you tend not to hit that deep sleep where your body really stops responding to those signals.


PRACTICAL BLADDER PROGRAMMING: I suspect that replying to this post with my N=1 (i.e. one man's experiment) experience on this topic may be a decision I'll regret, but since this forum has helped me in many ways, here it goes anyway.

First of all, I am not a doctor, a trainer, a nurse, or anything like that, what I am is an soon-to-be-sixty guy with a scientific background and a personal interest in solving this nighttime peeing issue.

What I've done is to apply some of the ideas, training approach, and techniques (stress/recovery/adaptation, progressive overload, sarcopenia/osteopenia, aging syndrome, etc.) from SS, PP, and TBBP to the much neglected muscle, the bladder. (BTW, based on an informal survey of a few people I know well enough to ask such a question, many of them did not realize that the bladder is a muscle).

Here's a quick summary of facts that I've empirically validated.

The typical bladder can hold about 12-16oz of liquid. The stimulus to pee can come from either, a relatively full bladder, or a some irritants (like coffee or alcohol) that the body wants to expel—especially if highly concentrated (e.g., a single-shot 1oz espresso can trigger the stimulus more quickly than a 6-8oz American coffee).

The stimulus, especially the first one, does not mean you HAVE to go. It's a gentle, conservative reminder to stray not too far from a bathroom. It's not a good idea to pee at the first stimulus because, over time, you will train your bladder to trigger the stimulus more and more frequently, when you are nowhere near capacity. Also, I suppose, the bladder itself (being a muscle) may "decide" to shrink a bit because it sees no need to hold a beercan's worth of liquid if most of the time it gets to be emptied when with just a few ounces.

Armed with this knowledge, I decided to apply progressive overload and push my bladder—not to "failure" but to a few more reps (in SS parlance).

NOVICE LINEAR PROGRESSION: I am pleased to report that I was able to increase the bladder capacity and thus the "time-between-sets" by at least 40% in just a couple of weeks. Which can make a difference of waking up one less time at night. I suspect that even more progress is possible and when my gains taper off I might have to switch to the Texas Method or HML strategy (just joking.)

All kidding aside, like most of our body parts and organs, the bladder and all the related "wiring" respond to stimuli. And just like our muscles and bones, the effects of aging can be slowed-down and even reversed ... at least for a while.

There it is, I am fully prepared for being made fun of and a slew of puns and jokes.

PS I should point out that many of the principles from The Barbell Prescription and Practical Programming have found their way in how to approach other areas of my life — with great results. So thank you

Ryan Arnold

I like this. Will try. Did you essentially just try to hold it as long as you can every time but not to failure? No light days right?

Best of the Forum

Utter importance of Barbell Curls

You are probably annoyed already so I will keep it short. Someone might find this amusing but this is serious business. So a quick story and a quick analysis.

The other day I had to carry a heavy ass stove. All I could do is bend at the elbows and shrug the stove. Afterwards I felt pain in my wrists which went away but it felt like tendons/ligaments.

So, the next time life asks me to carry weird heavy objects I wanna have strong wrists. Now, many would say just do your pulls and chins but those movements are done with almost vertical forearms and the movements don't require you to actively fight against wrist extension. So there is no significant moment arm on the wrist. We also avoid that moment arm on presses.

Since this is a Q&A board, is there any exercise that builds strong wrists except heavy Barbell Curls?

Mark Rippetoe

All exercises that involve holding a heavy bar build strong wrists, if the weight is heavy enough.


I know what this guy is talking about. I can feel my ulna and radius wiggling around a bit in my wrist and elbow when I carry something heavy and my forearms are parallell-ish to the floor. I've got pretty weak, lax joints. I do barbell curls as recommended by Rip - straight bar curls. I believe that they, more than other exercises, have made a difference.

Maties Hofstede

Is it the wrist or higher up your forearm?

Whenever I do curls, the moment I rack the bar it's like someone stabs a knife halfway the wrist/elbow. When I was still a “bro” and did curls regularly it would get so bad I couldn't spot a bench, or carry any heavy object with parallel forearms.

I can spot and carry anything, as long as I DON'T do the curls... just food for thought i guess.


Just the wrist.

Rip has a point. I foolishly used analogy like: you can't build strong back with shrugs since there's no significant moment arm on the hip. But you can't really train a shrug like you can train a deadlift so the analogy is flawed. Later on, if it's not causing trouble there's no reason not to curl, right?

Thankfully I'll not move the stove in a few years. Just enough time to pull 500.

Mark Rippetoe

Have you read the book? Barbell curls are in the book. Have you seen the barbell curl videos we have done? Look them up.


Yeah, and the part I remember the most is: "Since you're going to do them anyway...". Guess I was under the impression they were not important at all in any context.

Mark Rippetoe

You are under the wrong impression. They can be important, but they are usually a major diversion from actual training.


That is basically SS code for nobody has any business doing them before they’ve completed LP, right?

Mark Rippetoe

If you can't wait 5 months to do curls, you're not going to finish the LP anyway.

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