Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 04, 2016

  • The May Under the Bar prize drawing winner is Craig Martin.
  • From the archives: Rip on everyone's favorite, Abs.
Training Log
  • A Comparision of Two Start Positions v1 - This video shows the effect of a low hips start position versus a high hips start according to the standard pulling model taught as part of the Starting Strength method.
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #28 - Vitamin D milk, why dips and thrusters aren't better than presses and bench for strength training, and more.
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

Monica Rasmussen at wfac Monica Rasmussen, a masters lifter from Norway visited WFAC with her coach, Snorre Rotbæk prior competing in the IPF World Classic Championship in Killeen, TX. 1/2 [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
Monica Rasmussen at WFAC Rip worked with her on both the squat and the deadlift during her training session. Monica went on to earn a silver medal in the 57 kg, Masters I division. 2/2 [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
mune van luen 125kg squat Mune van Luen won the silver medal in the IPF Classic World Championship in the Women's 52 kg Masters I division. She is pictured at the bottom of her successful third attempt squat with 125 kg. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
Leah Lutz squatting for a silver Starting Strength Coach Leah Lutz on her way to a bronze medal in the 72 kg Women's Masters I division with a 387.5 kg total and silver in the squat. [photo courtesy of Leah Lutz]
Lauren Rymer chins Lauren Rymer completes two perfect chin-ups [photo courtesy of Nicholas Racculia]
Brandon Fandel deadlifts 300 lbs Brandon Fandel deadlifts 300 lbs like it's as light as a snowflake. [photo courtesy of Nicholas Racculia]
PT Pam presses Pam is a physical therapist and loves to press overhead. [photo courtesy of Jayson Ball]
CCSC Oly club The Olympic lifting club at Crystal Coast Strength and Conditioning train 4 days a week. Zack Wuebben (middle) is prepping for the American Open [photo courtesy of Mac Ward]

Click images to view slideshow.
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Best of the Week

A more specific aging question

I've read through all of the age related posts as well as the special populations section (Ch. 9) of Practical Programming (Ed 2 & 3). The particular question I'm investigating hasn't been quantified (much if at all) here or on other blogs. That is, what does a lifetime performance curve look like in barbell trained individuals? And, can it be used to predict or program for aging?

Have you tracked your peak performance across your (or any of your clients') entire training career? I'd be curious to see what the trend line looks like. Provided that you have only trained with barbells for strength training (versus any of the body building or cross fit nonsense), your career would be a great one to learn from.

My performance in the primary lifts are approaching what yours were at your peak of "about 12 years or so"; I'm at 220, 26 years old, and have squatted 600 for a single (in light knee wraps), benched 380 in a t-shirt and deadlifted 610 (without equipment) after 10 years of solid training (training log: Samuel Clark, Intermediate Training Log ).

With the interest in planning for a lifelong training career, I'm curious to see what the graph of someone who has journeyed to (or near) their genetic potential and started the descent. This would provide great data points for planning ballpark figures as time passes (i.e. you can expect to lose x% of peak force production/year or pound of age related weight-loss, etc.).

Moreover, I have been to numerous meets where I have met some of the kindest people (IMO) on the planet. They were all masters lifters. I am assuming many of them had picked up the sport fairly recently, therefore they could train as novices, however, I'm curious about those who had been training and competing for decades (much like yourself). How do they program their competition cycles? Do they use training devices akin to Auto-regulation (strongly espoused by Mike Tuchscherer - reactive training systems)? I can only assume provided that percentage based training tends to become unreliable under their circumstances.

Mark Rippetoe

The curve falls off after a period of time, depending on the thousands of individual variables in the trainee's history. Any advanced lifter experiences a terminal plateau, and this is almost always the result of injury. Subsequent declines in the strength curve are dependent on injury and the nature of the aging human body. Prediction based on percentages is fantasy, since injuries cannot be predicted. In short, you can't plan everything. This will become more apparent to you as you age.

Mark E Hurling

I am bumping up against my limitations as a result of age at 65. Mainly because I never learned to lift and program and train properly decades before. Which Rip, stef, Ryan, Julie, and Steve fixed for me a few years ago at age 62. I may have lost 10-30 lbs. on the big three lifts in the last 2 years, perhaps from age and perhaps from the wrong programming. But then I use my best attempts in competition as my benchmarks. I can't say I am happy about it, but I am trying to fight back to my earlier lifts (from 2012) through different programming.

My recommendation to you is to take a look at qualifying totals for National and World competitions and see how they drop based on age and weight class. As a small plug for the USPA, who introduced a drug tested division this year, compare those qualifying totals as well if you don't resort to TRT or some other PEDs to boost your lifts or your quality of life. You may find some relative solace for what is inevitable, no matter how hard you struggle against it.


Mr. Hurling, that is a great idea (I'm surprised I hadn't thought of it). Averaging the masters lifters at the upper levels under drug tested conditions would provide some good data points for building a general trend. The only disadvantage would be (as Rip mentioned) the thousands of intricate details that separate everyone (i.e., height, leverages, injuries, etc.).

Looking ahead, I know I'm going to struggle personally with competition tapers that result in great training PRs and potentially missed attempts on the platform. Albeit, this is decades out for me, it’s still an unfortunate eventuality. Still, it's better to fail having made the attempt than to not have tried at all.

Mark Rippetoe

A better approach might be to just train, and adjust your training according to current conditions, instead of planning for what will most assuredly not happen the way you planned.

Best of the Forum


So Rip, I'm sure that many of us have heard of your penchant for coffee, and your barista skills are somewhat famous. I myself enjoy a nice cup of the black stuff and a couple of years ago discovered the Aeropress, which I use to this day but without significant changes to their stock recipe. I grind beans in my burr grinder at the finest setting, put grounds in the Aeropress, I pour hot (not boiling!) water over, stir for 10 seconds, press for 30 sec, top off with same amount of H20, and enjoy.

Mark Rippetoe

I use an old Comet aluminum drip pot with no paper filter. Stef either roasts from green beans or I buy Starbucks beans, grind them in my Bodum coffee mill (which works better than either of my burr grinders) and add a little chicory I buy from Sweet Marias. Makes pretty good coffee.


On the subject of grinders, cheap burr grinders tend to be rubbish compared with a similar priced blade style grinder, however if you need a grind suitable for an espresso machine, only a quality burr grinder will do. Quality grinders typically start around the $400 mark and are obviously overkill for most other brewing methods.

As far as coffee freshness goes, usually beans have a useful life of between 3-4 weeks after being roasted as long as they are stored correctly, ie: in the dark, preferably in a bag with a one way valve to allow the gasses which are released from the beans to escape. During the first week or so the beans are generally not at their peak and can be quite acidic, but can often show surprising fresh fruity flavours.


Lately, I believe that pour-over drip coffee has become fashionable. So, rather than serving espresso drinks, small cafes are brewing single-serving cups of drip coffee. I tend to find this laughable as it's still several dollars for a drip coffee and it takes at least 4 minutes to prepare, so there's inevitably a terrible line. It's easy to giggle at these slaves of fashion as though I'm not one until I'm in a place like Blue Bottle when it's not very busy and I order a drip because I'm amused that the tasting notes mention something about lavender and when I have a sip I'm blown away, because yes, it tastes amazingly like lavender, it's a good thing, and it's amazing.

As for roasting, it's relatively easy to do. I use a 70s era popcorn popper that I got in a thrift store for $3. It uses a 120VAC fan rather than the more common 24VDC fan for later models, which allowed me to power the fan and the heating element separately and run a dimmer on the fan for more or less heat.

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