Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 17, 2019

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In the Trenches

noah hayden squatting at the wfac seminar
Noah Hayden squats during the June Starting Strength Seminar held at WFAC. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
ss dallas gym dog tully
Tully – a representative of Starting Strength Dallas – hanging out during the the platform sessions at the seminar. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
charlie barnes learns to squat
SSC Nick D'Agostino teaches the squat to first time lifter Charlie Barnes at the Squat Training Camp held in Woodmere, NY. [photo courtesy of Woodmere Fitness Club]

Best of the Week

Why are fat people strong?

There are people that never touch weights and are stronger than people who have been training. What's going on?

Mark Rippetoe

C'mon, shady. Don't just blurt out the stupidest shit you can think of.


Fat gain and muscle gain are inextricable processes.


Some people are genetic freaks. Some people are fat genetic freaks. And some fat guys were always stronger than their peers because they ate more food and grew more muscle, along with that fat. And when you discover that you are strong, you are likely to display's that strength and be more physical (thus developing more strength, even if you don't lift barbells). Physically demanding jobs and a big appetite would also make you stronger, and potentially fat. Just my unscientific theory.


So just by eating more, muscle can be created? Or does it have to do with the large skeletal frame? One guy at the gym could lift more than I could starting out. He had never done a deadlift before, but could lift 225 lbs. for 10 reps. He was fat and untrained.


Yeah my buddy did the same thing. Has never lifted weights in his life but stopped by the gym after work to give me and my lifting partner something, he saw us about to pull the 45s off from deadlifting 375 and walked up and racked it for us casually without seemingly trying. Some guys are just strong as fuck i don’t understand it

Mark Rippetoe

This, of course, is news to shady.


My dad used to refer to refer to some guys as “hard fat.” Like the neighbor who looked like kind of a slob at first glance but he could pull a tree trunk out of the ground for you if you needed him to.


We still haven't answered "why" though have we?

Some thoughts provided without evidence using gross generalizations, assumptions and poor grasp of human biology:

  • High body weight is associated with larger bones, joints and muscle size (increased cross sectional-area?)
  • A larger body weight person likely just ate more recently and has more calories to expend before a lift (ATP stores?)
  • A fat person might have less distance to move the bar

If you have 2 big fat 40lb arms being carried around all day, that's a continuous submaximal stress being applied 16 hours a day - what positive effect on strength, if any, would this have? I don't think there are any examples of competitive strength athletes using methods like weight belts or cuffs for several hours per day otherwise the best lifters would be ex-Army.


Surprisingly, no one has yet provided the most obvious and straightforward part of the answer.

Fat people are heavier. Heavy people carry more weight around day long. Carrying more weight requires more strength.

Matt James

Is this really that mysterious?

Best of the Forum

Mega dosing vitamins

I have been reading Starr's The Strongest Shall Survive. In the nutrition section he recommends mega dosing vitamins A, C, E along with taking a B-complex. Doses recommended were 5g of vit C per day and equivalent high doses of the others. He then gives examples of how lifters have made large increases in strength when megadosing vs times when they were not megadosing.

What do you think of the mega dosing of vitamins for strength gains?

Presumably this approach is less appropriate for novices as they are making fast gains already, however I am a competitive powerlifter of 6 years, so do you think it may be of benefit to me?

Mark Rippetoe

I think it works for certain people, and that there is absolutely no reason not to try it for yourself to see if it works for you.


I've heard that overdoing vitamin B can lead to muscle weakness which happens to some people on heavy carnivorous diets.

One of the most valuable to overdose on would probably be vitamin D. Well for people who do not get enough sun anyway. It is actually not a vitamin at all and cannot normally be gained from diet. It is produced in/on the skin during sun exposure.

It has important effects for growth & sports performance as well as the commonly known bone strength factor.

Mark Rippetoe

I've never heard that at all, not even once, from anybody. And there is no such thing as "Vitamin B."


I've heard of vitamin D toxicity causing muscle weakness (you'd have to take an obscene amount of the stuff over a long period of time), but I've never heard of one of the B vitamins having that effect (most are non-toxic).


This might be an interesting read about how vitamin C and E affect muscle growth in elderly and younger people. Apparently, high doses have better effects on elderly people than for younger people.

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