Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 22, 2020

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  • Looking for clearance from a physician for yourself or a client before starting strength training? Jonathon Sullivan's Dear Doctor letter frames the issue to clarify and highlight the health benefits of strength training.
  • From the Archives: Max Blochowiak takes a deep dive into the hypertrophy literature.
Training Log

In the Trenches

jake benches 275 for work sets starting strength denver
In less than 2 months at Starting Strength Denver, Jake is benching 275 x 5 x 3. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]
joe deadlifts 315 starting strength denver
Meanwhile, in the same short timeframe, Joe is already deadlifting 315 pounds. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Denver]
blake works on his squat in tampa
15-year-old Blake came from Columbus, OH with his father to attend the Squat & Deadlift Training Camp in Tampa. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
moseline trains with barbells for the first time
Moseline is all smiles after her final deadlift rep. This is the first time she has ever trained with a barbell. She came from Orlando to Tampa for our most recent camp to learn how to squat and deadlift with Starting Strength Coaches. [photo courtesy of Pete Troupos]
kyoungha kim coaches in korea
Eunyong Bae is being coached through the squat by SSC Kyoungha Kim at our most recent camp in Seoul at Eazy Strength. [photo courtesy of Inhyuk Eun]
inhyuk eun coaches the deadlift
Ikjae Lee is being coached through the deadlift by SSC Inhyuk Eun at the same camp in Korea. [photo courtesy of Kyoungha Kim]
josh wells coaches at starting strength houston
Josh Wells coaches Mandy Shipley at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
Nick Delgadillo takes lifters through the teaching method at the Power Clean Coach Development Camp held at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
coach development camp group starting strength houston
Attendees at the Power Clean Coach Development Camp held at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Houston]

Best of the Week

Julia Avila destroys another opponent.
Mark Rippetoe

Watch here

Alex Ptacek

She isn't paid enough, as is true with everyone in the UFC.


I watched that last night. Impressive! She needs to go to Fight Island next.


I was surprised she did not get a Performance of the Night bonus. Some other fighters in the prelims did. But Dana White said this time they let the fans decide who got bonuses by taking a poll on social media?

Mark Rippetoe

The bonus she's looking for is a move up to the main card. Hard to ignore her, unless they're afraid she's going to really hurt somebody.


Yeah. Fortunately, she doesn't train with barbells and puts on too much muscle. She'll lose all that speed and explosive power. Everyone knows that.

Alex Ptacek

Dana White is a serial liar, but to be fair there were several other fighters worthy of the bonus. They really need to just pay their fighters more, full stop.

She only has two fights in the UFC so she's still relatively unproven. She's probably ranked just outside of the top 15 now. She deserves a ranked opponent in her next fight.


Unless you're just leaps and bounds better than everyone, it's really hard to get overwhelming fan popularity. That's why Chael Sonnen, the Diaz Bros, and Ronda Rousey did so well. They were very good, but Chael and the Diaz Bros had some amazing sound bites and were just kind of dicks as a whole. Ronda had a "thing" which was just armbarring the piss out of everyone in round 1. Let's not forget about Roy Nelson, who's whole "thing" was just being a fat guy who KOed people walking backwards. "Say what you want about Roy Nelson, he's a great big fat guy" -Joe Rogan

Maybe Julia's thing could be "fuck your S&C coaches. They don't know shit. Here's a video of me squatting 315lb followed by a video of me knocking someone out with a knee to the face."


I have to say that I think Chael Sonnen is the consummate savvy self-promoter. Can’t stop watching old clips of him trash talking. He is the best at that. I don’t understand the Diaz Bros attraction. A couple of thugs in my opinion. As for Ronda, she gets credit for breaking ground but I was so happy when Holly Holmes knocked her out. It seems to me that the UFC is somewhat unlike other sports federations regarding the need for individual self-promotion and a substantial fan following. You have to not only be a fantastic fighter - I think some of the best athletes across all sports in the world - but be able to generate a big gate on the strength of your name. In contrast, even relatively low profile pro baseball players can make millions.

Alex Ptacek

That's largely explained by legislation, unions, and higher revenue shares. The UFC only gives ~16% of yearly revenue as fighter pay (and USADA pay is included in fighter pay). MLB is closer to 50/50. Granted it's a bigger organization with more revenue, but the disparity should not be as big as it is.


For Alex: How do you feel about how the UFC and especially Dana White treated Cyborg? I had dinner with someone a few months ago who knows her said she was treated very poorly. Until then I had admired Dana White for having built the organization.

Alex Ptacek

Yes. UFC fighters are severely underpaid. And the biggest stars are the most underpaid relative to their value.

Not very happy with it. She's not in the organization anymore for a reason. He's kind of always been a scumbag, even to his own fighters, so it's nothing new. Someone in her team released some doctored footage to try and make Dana look bad, so she lost that PR battle. Both Dana and people like Joe Rogan treated her like shit, no fake footage needed. Saying she looked like a man, etc. She's in Bellator now and I'm assuming she's getting paid more, too. But it's a less competitive organization with not even close to the same amount of eyes.

Henry Cejudo, 125 and 135 champ just retired (citing money). Jon Jones, 205 champ, is sitting out because he's not getting enough money. Jorge Masvidal, who sold out MSG last year, is also not fighting because of money. Conor McGregor's sitting out. Amanda Nunes (female 135 and 145 champ) hinted at retirement, too. If you google "UFC Antitrust lawsuit" and read up about it, you'll see how poorly they treat the fighters.

Best of the Forum

Anatomical Adaptation in the Starting Strength Program?

I recently bought your book and I'm setting up my home gym now to dive in, but I was a little curious about something. I'd read elsewhere about advanced athletes and periodisation that the first stage often involves an anatomical adaptation phase in which the connective tissues are strengthened and this is important because they get stronger more slowly than muscle and this is responsible for many injuries.

I was wondering at what point something like this may be necessary if you follow the Starting Strength program as it obviously involves extremely quick strength gains. I supposed it'd be a way off since you haven't mentioned it to my knowledge and you would need a stable 1RM, right? I believe you have to train at 40-60% 1RM for training the connective tissue. I was also wondering if you have any specific advice on this when it comes time as far as maintaining strength as much as possible while training with such light weights.

Mark Rippetoe

Why do you believe this? Does 90% of 1RM somehow not train the connective tissue?


I know training at any weight trains the connective tissue but I had read that your muscle develops faster than the connective tissue and thus leaves you more prone to injury and to combat this you train the CT as efficiently as possible which is 40-60% 1RM. I've tried to recall where I read this so I could share the link or book reference but I haven't come up with anything yet so this could be total nonsense. Thanks for the quick answer.

Mark Rippetoe

Internet nonsense, with no logical reason for it to be true. Just do the program in the book.


Muscle development might “outpace” connective tissue development if you are using anabolic steroids to dramatically accelerate your training. So maybe don’t do that.

Under normal circumstances, including a properly executed LP, muscles and connective tissue tend to get along with each other just fine, and injuries or soreness are not due to any “imbalance” between them.


I was hoping you'd say that, I was worried about how much strength I'd lose catching them up. Thanks again.


I had read that from Chris Sommer, the guy that does the Gymnastic Bodies programs.

Mark Rippetoe

It's entirely possible that a gymnastics coach is wrong about strength training.


But, but, in a T-Nation interview he claimed:

"Gymnastics training does indeed build incredible strength. For example, I was not a particularly strong gymnast, yet I was able to do a double bodyweight deadlift and weighted chins with almost 50% extra body weight on my very first weight training attempts.

One of my student's, JJ Gregory, far exceeded my own modest accomplishments. On his first day of high school weight lifting, JJ pulled a nearly triple bodyweight deadlift with 400 pounds at a bodyweight of 135 and about 5'3" in height. On another day, he also did an easy weighted chin with 75 pounds, and certainly looked as though he could've done quite a bit more. We'll never know for sure because the cheap belt I was using at the time snapped."

He wouldn't make that up, surely? :-)

Dave M

Does anyone know any studies or medical research on tendon strength adaptation? You hear stuff like this about high rep low weight, you also hear people claim that high load eccentrics build tendon strength. Would be nice if there was some actual research on this instead of just bro science.

Regarding the OPs concern about tendon strength: It is plausible that muscle bellies would strengthen faster than tendons. After all, muscle bellies REbuild a hell of a lot faster than tendons after an injury indicating a much faster rate of tissue restructuring. But even if this is true there's no reason to take time off of heavy squats, deadlifts, etc. In addition to practical experience, we know that these lifts will still be safe because the tendon loads of these lifts are much lower than the shock loading experienced during activities like rebounding after a jump.


  1. If your tendons can survive running and jumping then they can definitely survive your squat sets of 5.
  2. If you think your tendons need more time to catch up it would be more logical to avoid plyometric movements, not heavy barbells.

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