Starting Strength Weekly Report

June 06, 2022

Towing & Torque Edition 

On Starting Strength
  • Hormones with Dr. Anthony Jay – Rip and Dr. Anthony Jay discuss possible reasons for the change in modern hormone profiles for most people.
  • Strength For Postmenopausal Women – Ray Gillenwater and Inna Koppel talk about all the benefits postmenopausal women have from strength training, training pre/post pregnancy, and female culture evolution.
  • Baked Mac and Cheese – Mark Rippetoe prepares mac and cheese the Contemporary Texas Kitchen way.
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Jen Smith – Every squat presents a moment of decision. An inch above depth, the lifter has a split-second to decide between complete and incomplete...
  • Weekend Archives: When The TUBOW Doesn't Help by Jordan Burnett – I had been coaching Lauren for about three weeks. She’d been referred to me by another client and decided that she was going to take the plunge...
  • Weekend Archives: Power Clean Series – Mark Rippetoe breaks down the teaching method for the power clean in short videos designed to be easily referred to by lifters and coaches.

From the Coaches
  • Improve all of your lifts with only one cue? Phil Meggers shows you how in less than 3 minutes.
  • Warm-up percentage charts and apps are the diapers of the lifting world. You're a big kid now - it's time to put on your big kid pants. In less than 3 minutes, Phil Meggers shows you why life is better without percentages and how to do it.
  • You’re ready to squat - your lifting shoes are on, the barbell is situated on your rear delts in that snug, low bar position, and you’ve got your focal point nailed down. Now, what to do with your knees, and why is it so important? Phil Meggers explains.
  • How to Meal Prep Healthy & Delicious Food – Compliance and actually executing your eating plan is the biggest factor in meeting your body composition goals. Jordan joins the show to discuss her tips for basic meal prep strategies that can help you avoid fast food and restaurants.
  • In episode 2 of the PRS podcast, Dr. Rori Alter, SSC talks about how 7 things she learned as a business owner also apply to barbell training and coaching practice.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

jack snatches 55 kg testify strength and conditioning
Jack snatches 55 kg at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, as fellow lifters Sarah (Jack's mom) and Christine observe. Jack competed in Testify's two spring weightlifting meets this year and plans on competing in the Testify Christmas Classic meet in December. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
tomasz bench pressing 225 at starting strength boston
Tomasz benching 225lbs for a single at Starting Strength Boston. He started at 95lbs two months ago and is making excellent progress. [photo courtesy of Austin Khamiss]
greg hughes pulls 315 for a set of five
Greg Hughes pulls 315 for a set of 5. He gets to add 5 pounds next time. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
apprentices visited starting strength houston to prepare for the starting strength seminar
Apprentices from Plano, Dallas, and San Antonio visited Starting Strength Houston to participate in a mock platform session in preparation for taking the SS seminar. Jacob Thias coaches Tim Smith on the power clean. [photo courtesy of Daniel Buege]
nathan cooper coaching at the practice session
Nathan Cooper coaches Mike Deley on the press under the supervision of Josh Wells and Victoria Diaz during the practice session at Starting Strength Houston. [photo courtesy of Daniel Buege]
tony stein coaching apprentices on their platform performance
Starting Strength Houston coach Tony Stein watches apprentice Jordan Claypool set up Candace Mokwa on the press. [photo courtesy of Daniel Buege]
dan sweet pin presses 180 for a set of five
Dan Sweet pin presses 180 for a set of 5. [photo courtesy of Josh Wells]
group photo of starting strength cincinnati's 7 am MWF crew
Starting Strength Cincinnati Owner Luke Schroeder dropped in to train with the MWF 7am crew. This class continues to grow and now only has 1 spot remaining. [photo courtesy of Starting Strength Cincinnati]
andy shows off a new shirt
Andy Chowdhury shows off our new shirt. He is ready to get stronger in style. [photo courtesy of Tony Stein]

Best of the Week

high RHR


I got started recently with a 5x5 program, then found SS, read the book, also Barbell prescription, and plan to continue with SS.

However, I have one concern: I have a high RHR (average 95bpm determined via a 24h heart rate monitor). Recently I saw a cardiologist (2 actually, the first on a few years back for the same issue), who has done echo, blood tests, ECGs etc and found nothing out of place. Diagnosis: I'm deconditioned. (the cardiologists I saw a few years back also found nothing out of place)

That does not take me by surprise as I've never been sporty or fit. Still, the issue is that the cardiologist recommended exercise. I asked if lifting is ok, he said it's better to do aerobics.

Now it's not that I want to assume the doctor does not know what he's talking about. He is also someone that specializes in tachycardia, arrhythmias and so on, but I am also aware (partly thanks to the articles I read from you and others here, and on other sites), that there might be a bias towards recommendation for cardio vs resistance exercise in the medical and fitness professions. However, it is also well-established that steady-state activities such as cycling are very effective in lowering RHR, more so than lifting, I believe.

I looked at some posts on the forum, and most people I've seen complaining about high RHR mention 60!

My question is: with a RHR of 95, would it still be recommended to build strength via the SS linear progression before introducing conditioning, or would it be better to build an aerobic base via, say, cycling first.

I realize this question might be too general, or starting from a misguided point of view. But put simply, I am concerned and can't seem to think straight. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, even from official sources.

Mark Rippetoe

Let's clear up some of this confusion first. You say you have a high "resting heart rate", and then you tell us that your 24-hour average HR was measured at 95, which is not unusual, but is not the same thing as RHR. At what elevation do you live? And if imminent cardiologists have detected no pathology, what symptoms (as opposed to signs) prompted you to go to the doctor?

As an important general question, what is better about a lower RHR than a higher RHR? Is it the fact that the general public equates a low RHR with competitive endurance athletes, which are the Obvious Pinnacle of Human Physical Performance Expression, and that in this regard Doctors are quite firmly in the general public cohort? There is a huge genetic component to cardiodynamics that is outside your ability to affect. Some people have small hearts, some people have huge hearts, the demands of endurance athletics favors the genetics that allow more blood to be pumped, but that doesn't mean that a RHR of 80 is indicative of some type of inferiority in the absence of obvious problems that come with sitting on your ass all day.

Lastly, when you finally get your squat up to 365 x 5 x 3, report your HR to us at the end of the 3rd set.


I checked the results of the 24h ECG, it's max 150bpm measured at 5pm (I was probably walking somewhere, for sure not exercising), min 70 bpm (at 4am, I was sleeping), average 94. With regards to RHR, I measured it several times over several weeks, and it tends to read around 95, more if I had dinner or I just came home or moved around a bit. I live in London, so at sea level.

What prompted me to see the doctor was to have a check up to see if the fast HR was indicative of an underlying problem. There wasn't one, so I could have said case closed, I suppose.

But perhaps what worries me is that the vast majority of the people I know, including sedentary ones, have a much lower RHR, and also being aware of the fact that the expectation that a RHR above 85 is considered by the medical profession to be indicative of poor conditioning or some other issue - and also that at the population level a high HR is strongly associated with increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

Hence, my concern comes from the idea that there is something wrong and I have to do something about it. And the confusion is because the cardiologist I've seen recently said I should do aerobics and not lifting, and because I didn't want to take it at face value (in good part on the basis of materials I read here).

But thanks for your reply - I think I see what you mean and it is helpful. I will check my HR as you said, but why are you asking? Is the expectation that by the time I get to lift 365, HR it would be reduced overall?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't care about your HR, or your cholesterol level, or your blood pressure. I care about your health, not a doctor's pulled-out-of-his-ass opinion. You are a 49-year-old man with no heart disease, and if you want to lift weights, I think you should lift weights. If you want to run to satisfy your doctor, then that's what you should do. Both of these activities elevate your heart rate, but only one of them makes you stronger.

Best of the Forum

Local legend lifter passes

Lost and Found

Hey Rip I don't know if you knew Walter Thomas from Oklahoma during your power lifting days but I just learned he died recently. He was a great man and an incredible power lifter. He always found time to help clueless high school kids like me in the 60's working out at the downtown Y in OKC which was the only gym with barbells at the time. I wish I had listened more carefully.

I have no idea how many records he set even into his late 40s. I know he was totaling over 1800 at 48yo at a bodyweight of 181lbs.

Mark Rippetoe

Thanks for this. I never knew Walter, but he was one of those fine people who was always a gentleman, in every circumstance, and one of the strongest 181/198 lifters in history. I'm glad to have been in his sport.

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