Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 15, 2020

  • Join Starting Strength Live on Facebook this week to discuss Starting Strength en español Hari Fafutis, entrenador certificado con Starting Strength, presentará los principios y métodos básicos descritos en el libro Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training de Mark Rippetoe. Esta transmisión se llevará a cabo en español y al final habrá una sesión de preguntas y respuestas. June 20 at 1pm ET and The Starting Strength Mobile App with Mick Solomons June 21 at 8pm ET. Starting Strength app developer Mick Solomons will be talking about the basics of our app, along with some new features that have been added and ones scheduled to release soon.
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Training Log

In the Trenches

jd shipley press strengthlifting challenge
JD Shipley presses at the WFAC Strengthlifting Challenge held on Saturday. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
clint case 320 kg deadlift
Clint Case pulls a 320 kg PR deadlift during the WFAC Strengthlifting Challenge. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
wiegner squat strengthlifting wichita falls texas
Elizabeth Wiegner squats at the WFAC Strengthlifting Challenge. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Meet Results

WFAC Strengthlifting Challenge June 13, 2020

Best of the Week

3” vs 4” channel rack

In a recent youtube video, you gave a virtual tour of WFAC. In this video, you briefly mentioned that early on, you had racks fabricated with 3" channel. How have these racks performed and held up over the years?

I ask because I live too far away to buy a SS rack (Sydney, Australia), so I am going to have one fabricated, and I am considering using 3" channel.

Mark Rippetoe

The old racks were 3 x 1 channel. The new racks are 4 x 1.5 channel. The new ones are better.


I have one 4 inch rack and eight 3 inch channel power racks several from the early seventies with thousands of heavy squats and benching done in them they have held up fine I can’t see any real difference

1-1/8 inch cold rolled pins, 1-1/4 inch holes.

If I had a commercial gym like Rips and had the option, I would go with his four inch recommendation, but for a residential application the 3 inch will serve you well.

FWIW Mine are 3x 1-1/2 (5 lbs per foot). Steel channel Is available in different weights per foot and different load ratings.


I just got an SS rack fabricated with 4" channels (Metric nomenclature for the channel I used is ISMC-100, where 100 stands for 100 mm and ISMC stands for Indian Standard Medium Weight Channel. It weighs 9.2 kg per metre i.e. 6.2 lbs/ft) based on Rip's plan, but with some modifications such as 30" working depth, 2" hole spacing, bolted connections etc. I got it done through a local workshop, but I made the modified assembly and production drawings myself and I was involved in the production planning. In fact I used to visit the workshop at least once daily so that I could get involved in the fabrication too. So I can answer your question.

You may save some money if you go for 3" channels, but the savings would be marginal as the material costs would not be a large fraction of your total costs. The most expensive part would be drilling all those holes unless you are planning to drill them all yourself. Drilling costs are not going to change (or only a little, due to difference in thickness) whether you go for a 3" or 4" channel. So I would recommend 4" channels over 3" because it is heavy and rugged. In the end you want your rack to be a "piece of geology", don't you?

Tip: If there is someone who can laser drill the holes, consider the option. My workshop guy estimated that conventional machine drilling of so many 32 mm holes would be more expensive in terms of machine and man hours. So we went for laser drilling and it definitely saved some money and a lot of time.


How much did it cost?


The rack with powder coating, SS bench steel frame, four weight storage pins, two additional M30 bolt hooks, two cross bars for dips and a 5 kg kids' bar with non-rotating welded sleeves: altogether INR: 27000/-.

That would be equivalent to US $ 358 as per today's exchange rates. This doesn't include the wood for the bench.

I am now making a crude DIY rope pulley attachment for lat pull downs for my wife who can't do pull ups. It will cost another INR 1000/- (US $ 14). Got the rope idea from Rip's tour of WFAC.

My 3 piece compact deadlift platform cost is about Rs 6600/- (US $ 88) including plywood, rubber and carpenter's charges. I had to rely on a carpenter because I didn't have the tools. Else I could have cut down the cost further here.

I might have spent another INR 300/- (US $ 5) on miscellaneous stuff like some adhesive rubber pads for the dip bar.

Yea, I am getting them cheap because 1) I am doing a lot of stuff myself, including assembly and production drawings, material selection, supervision of fabrication etc. 2) Steel and labour are cheap here in India, 3) The workshop guy is an old friend who understood my passion and gave me a good deal.

Best of the Forum

Older female programming questions

I'm a 56 yr old woman, I've been active most of my life, a runner since my mid 20's who has in the last few years begun weight training. I've read SS and I am waiting for my copy of "Barbell Prescription" to arrive in the mail this week! I've been at my gym for almost 2 years now, prior to this I worked out at home, and had at one time done CrossFit for a year or so. I'm 5'3", 127 lbs and my pr's are Deadlift 170, back squat 115 and bench 90. I've gained a lot of strength from my current training, I can do full push ups, multiple unassisted chin ups and 1-2 unassisted pull ups. Now to my concern and then to my question....

My gym program is 3 times per week, each workout we focus on either the back squat, the bench press or the dead lift. The main lift is done in the middle of our 1 hour long workout. We do mini workouts before and after the main lift that I am starting to feel are intense. I guess they are starting to feel difficult enough for me that I am not enjoying them as much as I am the actual lifting part of my workout, and I am finding excuses not to go. In these mini workouts we do sleds, KB's, sprints, battle ropes, push ups, chins ups, burpees, etc. Heart is beating fast and sweat is dripping kind of workouts! I would compare my workout somewhat to CrossFit, except that we do slow things down with our main lifts and try to focus on lifting heavy.

OK...I apologize for the length, just wanted to give some background, now my question:

For me (also considering that I am still running 3 times per week anywhere from 3-12 miles per run), what does my type of training provide me vs a traditional barbell SS type of training provide? I'm not looking to lose weight, I want to be strong and keep my strength as I continue to age. Am I wearing myself out on these accessory activities, when I could benefit more with a barbell program?

Mark Rippetoe

The SS approach to strength training provides an actual long-term increase in strength. Your approach does not. What are your numbers on the primary lifts now?

  • deadlift - 155 x3, 170x1
  • bench press - 75 x3, 85-90x1
  • back squat - 95x3, 115x1 

I've been hovering in these same numbers for a year, I haven't been able to hit a PR in quite some time. I go to my gym 3 times per week, which means that I am doing each of these lifts, only once per week. I guess I could say that I am stalled on these lifts, but seeing growth in other areas (pushups, chinups, KBs).

Mark Rippetoe

Precisely. Good luck with your training.


Thank you so much! I talked to my coach yesterday and he is going to move me into a different program. It will be 4 days per week, less conditioning, much more barbell focused! I'll be sure to report back on my progress.

Mark Rippetoe

Elaine, if you are weak, and weak is your problem, why do you need to do any conditioning at all until you are stronger?


I agree, I want more barbell strength training. I have gained strength in the last 2 years, but feel I can gain more with a different program. I do feel that I don't need all the conditioning work I've been doing. My new program starts next week. I'm excited and will report back on my progress.

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