Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 18, 2018

  • Reversing Osteoporosis – Patricia talks about her experience training with Starting Strength Coach Shaun Pang at Hygieia Strength and Conditioning after being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Training Log
  • SSOC Case Study: Phillip Midkiff: Matt Reynolds and Joel Rasmussen focus on the success Phillip has had with his training despite a near daily 4-hour commute for radiation treatment for cancer.
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

kelly adams 330 lb deadlift
Kelly Adams of Fivex3 Training, pulls a 10 lb PR at 330 lb for her third attempt at the Pull For Pride Deadlift Meet in Pennsylvania this past Saturday. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]

Best of the Week

Strength in your elder years

Hypothetically speaking, how long into his elder years can a man continue to productively strength train? 70? 75? or even older?

I am asking shearly out of curiosity, as I am only in my late 50s.

Adam Skillin

his question has been asked lots of times, and I don't think there's a concrete answer in the sense that I suspect you're looking for it. At some point, "productive" necessarily means limiting strength/muscle loss rather than setting lifetime PRs, but there's no way to say where that point will be for a given individual. If you started at 20 and got brutally strong, it will look very different than if you let yourself go through 55 and got your start later on. There are competitive powerlifters in their 90s. Perhaps you can clarify your question? Are you asking when you get to quit lifting all these heavy barbells? I vote for never.

On a highly related note, if you haven't read The Barbell Prescription yet, you need to get on that post haste.


No, I'm not asking when to quit heavy lifting. I take it by "brutally strong" you mean the "gold standard" for a non-competitive lifter: 200+ pound strict press, 300+ pound bench press, 400+ pound squat, and 500+ pound deadlift.  Yes, I realize the difference between someone who starts training at 18, follows a right, proper program consistently throughout his life versus someone who is a couch potato throughout his entire life then starts strength training on his 55th birthday. There aren't a lot of elderly retired lifters who write about or even talk about their current strength levels: Men who were brutally strong during their competitive years, and may still may be strong today if they still train heavy. It would be very interesting how much of a decline in strength they experienced. How many still train heavy?

BTW, I am taking your advice and reading Dr. Sully and Baker’s book.

Adam Skillin

Well I'd say the guy who starts at 55 after never having been strong will peak later than the guy who starts at 16, but he'll also peak lower (all else held equal). I know Ed Coan still moves some pretty impressive weight, but not nearly as much he did in his prime. But the Coans and Karwoskis of the world are outliers anyway, so I don't know how much useful information we can get from their data points.

Best of the Forum

Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis

Chief complaint: Heel, achilles tendon on my right leg aches and hurts up to the soleus muscle calf muscle. Some aching in the outside of the sole of the foot as well, the abductor digiti minimi, if I'm not mistaken. Lingering case of plantar fasciitis that started two years ago. Deadlifting aggravates it a lot, squatting aggravates it to a smaller extent.

Injury: I'm just going to describe this in chronological order, because it's really a series of events that lead to the current injury. A couple of months ago I got a minor injury in my left vastus lateralis that I rehabbed with massage and foam rolling. Deadlifts made it worse so I avoided deadlifting for about a month until the injury was gone. I then did a set of deadlifts at 265 lbs six weeks ago (45 lbs below work set weight), and the following day my right calf and achilles were really tight and achy, a bit swollen and warm. I have had a case of lingering plantar fasciitis for a couple of years, figured it was acting up again. At the time I didn't think too much about it and chalked it up to one of those things that happen when you lift weights. Stupid, I know. Started stretching my calves before and after training sessions.

Now for the weird part. I'm not sure if this is really relevant, but I'll include it anyway because this is the way it happened, though I suspect it's a post hoc ergo propter hoc situation. Take it for what's it worth. One day I woke up coughing and sick with fever, went to the doc, confirmed inflammation by CRP blood test, diagnosed with bronchitis after stethoscopy. I got a prescription for antibiotics (Apocillin). Went home, did nothing but lay on the couch all day. Foot didn't bother me too much at that time, though the calf was tight. In the evening I took a double dose of antibiotics and went to bed. The following morning I wake up and immediately notice the foot hurts real bad. The calf and achilles are super tight, and the surrounding area is swollen and warm and borderline cramping all the time. What the hell? I don't know if the nocebo effect was happening, but every time I took antibiotics the foot would start cramping up after about 30-60 minutes. I ditched the antibiotics after a day, fever went down in a couple of days.

After that I trained normally, leaving out deadlifts. The foot gradually got better, though squatting aggravated it somewhat. Two weeks ago the foot was better, so I did a set of 220 lbs deadlifts, and the following day the foot was tight, swollen, warm and aching again. I realized this shit isn't going away and I better figure it out and start rehabbing before it gets worse. I booked an appointment with a physical therapist with specialization in sports injuries. He palpated the achilles and heel and confirmed there was problems at the insertion of the plantar fascia and achilles tendon. He recommended a regimen of 2 sets of 15-20 reps of eccentric calf raises with knee in extension and in flexion, twice a day for six weeks. No deadlifting. He asked me to consider stop deadlifting altogether.

Pain: Initially 7, now 2 at all times, 3/4 the morning after squatting. Pain is aching. Deadlifting makes it worse for sure, squatting also aggravates it. At its worst standing presses also aggravates it. Walking around is uncomfortable, but not really painful at this time. I suspect the aching in the abductor is due to trying to relieve the heel when walking, by stepping more on the outside of the foot. Rest seems to make it better, ibuprofen gives good relief. Ice packs help with swelling and aching. Pain is worst first thing in the morning, especially after squat sessions, the foot is stiff/rigid. It loosens up once I start walking around.

The way I see it this may be two separate problems - the plantar fasciitis and this new achilles tendon thing. I'm considering getting an X-ray done, if nothing than to rule out a calcaneal spur due to the lingering plantar fasciitis. Treatment regimens for achilles tendonitis I've found online recommends the following, though the use of NSAIDs is somewhat disputed:

Nonsurgical Treatment

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Calf stretch
  • Eccentric Strengthening Protocol
  • Bilateral heel drop
  • Single leg heel drop

I've seen foam rolling the calves recommended for achilles tendonitis, though I'm not sure about this. Previously I've used a lacrosse ball under the sole of my foot for the plantar fasciitis, with some success. I know I've fucked up on this one, should have started rehab sooner and gotten rid of the plantar fasciitis way sooner. I'm breaking into PR territory on the squat, but I wouldn't want to continue the linear progression at the cost of aggravating the injury further. Any recommendations on how to proceed to fix this is much appreciated.

Mark Rippetoe

There are some aspects of this presentation that might indicate a DVT. I'd have this checked ASAP.


Belated update: It turns out Rip was spot-on. Ultrasound showed that I have a blood clot consistent with DVT just below the back of the right knee. I'm on blood thinners now and will be for 3 months.

They say that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, so I look forward to setting some new PRs soon. All in due time, this gave me a good scare.

Rip: I really don't know what to say. Except thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Beau Bryant

Here's the deal that to me is pretty amazing. You needed to read well into the fourth paragraph to see anything that really jumped out as a possible DVT. It would have been pretty easy to get to paragraph three and quit reading, especially when you answer hundreds of posts every couple days. Compound that with the fact that unless you have had experience with a DVT it was still pretty easy to miss.

Not to keep sending accolades Rip's way but really this was pretty cool.

For the OP. find out why. I'm sure they have done blood work. If its genetic get your family tested. After mine a few of my close relatives tested and now take an aspirin a day. I'm sure you are seeing a Doc that will explain all this but if you have any questions let me know.

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