Starting Strength Weekly Report

July 04, 2022

Flank Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Free Market Healthcare – Mark Rippetoe and Dr. Keith Smith talk about the driving factors in healthcare, Medicare, and free market healthcare as an alternative.
  • Pro Tip on Step Three of the Deadlift Setup – Starting Strength Coach Steve Ross demonstrates a drill to use if you're having trouble keeping your back set on the deadlift.
  • Who is Nick Delgadillo? – Ray Gillenwater and Nick Delgadillo talk about why Nick decided to work for The Aasgaard Company, what Nick does for Starting Strength Gyms, and some of his many hobbies.
  • Why You Won't Do the Program, Part 2 by Mark Rippetoe – I know, you like to train. More correctly, you like to go to the gym. You like the atmosphere, the smell of the place, the people...
  • How to Spot the Bench – Starting Strength Coach Brent Carter teaches proper spotting during the bench press platform session at a Starting Strength Seminar.
  • Weekend Archives: Fixing Your Squat Set Up - Stop Overextending Your Low Back – Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo helps you figure out the correct set up for your back in the squat.
  • Weekend Archives: The State of Strength & Conditioning Coaching by Mark Rippetoe – This essay is about the state of the Strength and Conditioning profession in 2014, most of which is practiced in high schools, colleges and universities, and at the professional sports level. Those of you reading this in the distant future, while you drive your flying cars (please be careful), may observe with amusement that all these problems have long since been corrected...

From the Coaches
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In the Trenches

jacob watches amber deadlift at starting strength cincinnati
Jacob takes a break during his warm-ups to watch his wife Amber knock out her deadlifts. They both train together at Starting Strength Cincinnati. [photo courtesy of Luke Schroeder]
nick delgadillo teaching an explosive ordinance disposal wing at tyndall air force base
Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo led a Starting Strength workshop for the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base last week. [photo courtesy of Cathy Delgadillo]
james deadlifts 315 for five as he prepares for ironfest at testify strength and conditioning
James pulls 315 lb for a set of five as he continues preparation for the upcoming IronFest competition - a team event at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. James and his niece, Delilah, will be lifting together as one of the teams next weekend. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
taylor training her pull to improve strength at starting strength oklahoma city
Taylor Dollens is a local CPA in South Oklahoma City who has recently incorporated strength training into her busy schedule. Taylor also works out at the Club Pilates gym next door to Starting Strength Oklahoma City, but realized she needed more strength to keep up with her kids. [photo courtesy of Colby Iliff]
kimya and marin at starting strength boston
Kimya (left) and Marin (right) showing the special sisterhood that comes from getting up to train every morning at Starting Strength Boston’s 7:00am class. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
group photo of monroe family that trains at starting strength austin
The Monroes (from left Mike, Saundra and Marcus Monroe), a family of strong lifters at Starting Strength Austin. [photo courtesy of Aaron Frederick]

Best of the Week

Low T and Missed Reps


Hello, I'm 24, 6'0", and 290 pounds. I've been on the Novice linear progression for about 3.5 months now, I'm squatting 310, deadlifting 290, benching 175, and pressing 160 - problematic numbers, I am aware. I also eat around 3500 cals a day with at least 230 grams of protein - I eat 2 steaks a day. I'm usually in bed by 9 and average 9.5 hours of sleep a night, despite waking up exhausted.

I've also had chronic issues of exhaustion, mental fog, weight gain, and erectile dysfunction for as long as I can remember. After recently reading up on low testosterone and listening to related SS podcasts, I decided to get mine checked, albeit at about 4pm. It came back at 229 ng/dl, with all other blood and thyroid levels being acceptable. I have a follow up appointment next week (again, later in the day) and will subsequently schedule a second blood test earlier in the day a week or two from then; I work in surgery and have a hard time scheduling any time off.

Especially since my squat and deadlift have climbed up to my bodyweight, the workouts have been absolutely destroying me. It probably doesn't help that I lift right after I leave my very stressful job, but it often takes me upwards of two hours to complete a workout due to the rest I have to take, lest I miss reps.

However I've been missing reps regardless as of late. I've been stuck under a 310 squat twice in a row now and my last deadlift attempt of 290 was stapled to the floor. I've worked with a couple SSCs as well as posting form checks to the FB page and my form is not problematic to the point of warranting these stalls.

So I'm fairly confident in my testosterone being a potential limiting factor here, but am curious as to your opinion on this. Likewise, are there any other potential problems you could see causing these issues. Also, how should I deal with these stalls? Should I deal with them as prescribed in the book, or is there something else I ought to try.

Mark Rippetoe

Watch my podcast with Dr. Keith Nichols. Basically, it doesn't matter what your numbers are, if you are symptomatic you add testosterone. You're also not eating enough protein or calories, and you may be sleeping badly on a shitty mattress. Clean out your nose with saline and use oxymetazoline nasal spray.

Best of the Forum

Warming up taking too long


I introduced my workout partner to SS for an ACL injury rehab. With that half tucked away, she is NDTFP but only squats and deadlifts and only 2x a week primarily due to life/time constraints....and this issue I'm about to ask about. So, truly, asking for a friend.

The issue is warm ups seem to be either ineffective or taking WAY too long and we can't seem to suss out the middle road. Maybe pertinent she is hyperflexible due to Elher-Danners syndrome and also has the corresponding lack of proprioception.

She is 6'1", 220 lb. Squats are currently 5x3@165 lb. DL @185 lb

Keeping in mind we've tried a slew of warm up scheme, her basic is:

  • BWx10
  • BWx10
  • 45x10
  • 45x10
  • 95x5
  • 115x5
  • 125x5
  • 155x5
  • 160x3
  • work sets

The issue is, per her, she does not feel warmed up with that scheme and the work sets both look and feel pretty bad. She's been back and forth at this weight due to the form being so bad as we try to add more weight. We've tried 3 lb, 2 lb and even 1 lb increases and she gets pinned at 168 lb and form looks like corresponding hell. We deloaded her a couple times to no effect. But now I find an interesting data point.

Out of utter sheer frustration she did the above, and then 3 sets at 165x5 and tried a 4th set because of the observation the last reps on set three were not feeling too bad.....and she proceeded to destroy the 4th set. and 5th. and 6th. I've never seen her form and speed so good. She proceeded to do 9 fucking sets and capped it with 5 @ 170 and they were easy.

Her conclusion is only after 3 working sets was she feeling properly warmed up. And I'm having trouble arguing. The issue is that scheme is taking a fucking hour. Our last test cut that scheme in half, had her do 3x5 of her working sets....and it didn't have the same effect. She didn't feel warmed up.

What the hell are we missing? Can you suggest a better warmup scheme....or something? I feel like we are missing the forest for the trees.

A last side note, her warm ups and squat set don't seem to carry over to DL in that without way too many warm up sets, the pattern repeats. Jerky form, struggles, etc.

Mark Rippetoe

You're missing the fact that human perception is inadequate. These are far too many warmup sets. It doesn't matter what she thinks, because she doesn't have the experience to know. If she does a couple of empty bar sets, 95x5, 125x5, and 145x2, she's warm. And she's obviously not doing the program at all, so she probably needs a better coach, one who charges money so she'll listen.

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