Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 29, 2017

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From the Coaches

In the Trenches

patrick pr 185 kg squat
Patrick squats a lifetime PR of 185 kg at Hygieia Strength & Conditioning's 1st Strengthlifting meet. [photo courtesy of Shaun Pang]

Best of the Week

Exercise Oncology: Barbell Training vs. Everything Else

I am an exercise physiology student at Ohio State University. Recently I have become fascinated with exercise oncology and I am hoping to eventually perform research on the effectiveness of barbell training vs other types of training within this population for increased quality of life during and after treatment and longevity of survivorship. What is your opinion regarding why or why not you think barbell strength training would be more effective in this population?

Mark Rippetoe

I am working with a guy right now who was diagnosed 22 months ago with Stage IV kidney cancer, was told at the time to get his affairs in order. I told him that as long as you are maintaining bodyweight (about 270) and getting stronger, you are not dying of cancer. He has had about 4 rounds of chemotherapy, a kidney removed, trained through all of them, still has cancer, and is neither dead, weaker, or lighter. He came in one day and said his feet hurt pretty bad, and I told him that mine did too, "Get your fat ass under the bar." Doesn't feel good, but what the hell? Not dead. And he is not the first person to take this approach, which is in complete defiance of all the usual medical advice. Good luck with your project, it will be useful.


56 year old stage 4 throat cancer survivor here. Doc says it came from an HPV virus I got, most probably decades ago. Last week at my 3 month post chemo/radiation checkup, he said, and I quote:

"Right now you are where most people are 3 years out from treatment. PET scan is totally clean, I can't even see any scar tissue in your neck. Keep up the diet and exercise."

I had lost about 20 lbs from the treatment, have gained back almost 10. The more lean mass you have going into and thru treatment, the higher the chance of survival and better outcome. Several studies out there to prove this, some of the MD coaches and member can give more info if needed.

Best of the Forum

Curious – what makes upright rows “the most useless exercise in the world”?

I can think of a lot of really useless exercises, but after noticing the upright row being described as the most useless or unfortunate exercise ever invented several times in the book, I'm really curious what it is about that particular movement that elevates it to such a dubious distinction.

Is it just ineffective, or somehow dangerous, or both?

Mark Rippetoe

They teach an arm pull, which interferes with the clean and snatch, and they accomplish nothing that is not already being accomplished with the rest of the workout.

Mark E. Hurling

In my own experience, they have produced some really painful A/C joint misery as well. It seems to me that they are an effective variant of the press behind the neck or pulldown (or pullup) behind the neck that results in shoulder impingement.

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