Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 30, 2022

SW3 Edition 

  • The Starting Strength Chicago team is ready for the Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, June 18. Meet the team and learn how strength will improve your life. RSVP today!
On Starting Strength
  • The Novice Effect – Rip discusses The Novice Effect, a very important article about what happens when a previously untrained person begins to train.
  • Dealing with a Misloaded Barbell – Starting Strength Coach Byron Johnston explains what to do if you discover you've misloaded the barbell and a tip to prevent this problem in the future.
  • An Argument for Optimism – Starting Strength Gyms Co-Founder Ray Gillenwater explains how the process of training for strength is intrinsically optimistic and why that’s so important in today’s social and political situation.
  • Muscular Hypertrophy by Andy Baker – The process of muscle growth is a confusing topic for many. Clients are confused, coaches are confused, the guys that research it in the lab are confused...
  • Interpreting Failure by Andrew Lewis – The Starting Strength linear progression starts off quite easy. It's a fun time to improve technique, make rapid strength gains, and...
  • Weekend Archives: Training and the Artificial Joint by John Petrizzo – This article is intended to serve as a guide for those of you who may be considering having a joint replaced, are training with an artificial joint, or...
  • Weekend Archives: The New Fitness Industry by Mark Rippetoe – A significant event has occurred, perhaps the most significant event many of us will ever see. A complete restructuring of society is in progress...

From the Coaches
  • Stronger is Better for Cancer Recovery – Victor discovered Starting Strength from a library book and months later the Starting Strength Cincinnati announcement was made. Victor was diagnosed with cancer and lost muscle after chemo so his goal with strength training was to add the lost muscle back.
  • Why can't I do a chin-up or pull-up, and what's the first step I should take toward the goal of getting my first chin-up or pull-up? Phil Meggers explains.
  • Spotting the bench press isn't complicated, but people do it wrong all the time. In under 2 minutes of both useful information as well as some classic "bro" moments, Phil Meggers covers some basic mistakes as well as how to spot the bench correctly.
  • You’re all set to bench - your grip is pronated, your shoulder blades are pinched back, and you’re driving with your legs, but you’re still forgetting one thing. In part 3 of this series, Phil Meggers tells you what it is and why it's important.
  • Join Rori Alter for the first episode of the Progressive Rehab & Strength Podcast to learn how PRS integrates barbell training and powerlifting coaching with physical therapy to bridge the gap between rehabilitation and successful return to sport.
Get Involved

In the Trenches

tj deadlifting at starting strength cincinnati
TJ completes his last set of deadlifts at Starting Strength Cincinnati. "Cowboy", as he's affectionately known around the gym, was diagnosed with a developmental disability during childhood but doesn't let that hold him back. He trains 3 days a week and loves his time in the gym [photo courtesy of Adam Martin]
isaac squatting 315 for sets of 5 during his novice progression
After 8 weeks of training Isaac pulled 315x5 on the deadlift then decided it was time to put that weight on his back and take it for a ride for 3 sets of 5. [photo courtesy of Amanda Sheppard]
sanjay squatting during a starting strength training camp
Sanjay squats as lifters look on at during last weekend's Squat & Deadlift Training Camp held at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
group photo starting strength training camp
Group photo of the sold out Starting Strength camp in Boston. [photo courtesy of Rebecca Skinner]
kerry dahl working on his split snatch at testify strength and conditioning in omaha
Masters lifter Kerry Dahl split snatches 37 kg for doubles while being coached by SSC Phil Meggers. Kerry drove 3 hours down to Omaha, NE, to be coached on the Olympic lifts at Testify Strength & Conditioning and will be dropping in for weekly sessions. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
june bug the dog helping bench presses at starting strength boston
June Bug helping Anna try something different for her bench press warmup reps. Puppy presses are catching on at Starting Strength Boston. [photo courtesy of Austin Khamiss]
sid locking out a set of presses in beaverton
Sid locking out 130 on a set of five. Sid found Starting Strength through a friend and has never looked back. He is one of our most hardworking and committed clients! [photo courtesy of Alec Rivara]

Best of the Week

muscle mass and tonnage


A person does 3 x 5 with 180kg (sets across). Same person does 15 singles with 200kg instead of the above.

Question: Which gives him bigger (therefore stronger) muscles?

Rip says “When you program for strength, you are programming for size”. Santana says “Strength Training IS Hypertrophy Training”.

Question: Why do many coaches, including Andy Baker, sometimes prescribe for strength and hypertrophy separately?

Andy Baker on Top Set / Back Off Set programming: “This is mainly a hypertrophy based programming method. While you can certainly get stronger with this method (and even massively stronger) the way that I use this tends to be in the context of someone training for more muscle mass.”

Mark Rippetoe

Well, you got me, Henry. I don't know.


It wasn’t a gotcha question Rip, I really like your work. I was re-reading the grey book section “Training induced muscle adaptations” and can’t get my head around the industry-wide conflicts. If strength IS hypertrophy, “a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle” et al, why do separate categories and programs for power / strength and hypertrophy abound?

Mark Rippetoe

Because complexity is just so fucking cool.

Best of the Forum

Weak Squat - need help


Before I started with SS NLP I was doing weighted calisthenics and I got decently strong with it. Being able to chin up with an additional 65 kg at a Body Weight of 75kg I got a strong back (at least I like to think so).

Now I started my NLP 2 months ago and I feel like my back is helping way too much with my low bar Squat. My legs and glutes (except my calves) are my weak point anyway and I am struggling to go past the 105kg 3x5 because of my pathetic leg strength. Is there anything I can do in order to get my squat higher except GOMAD? I am already eating about 4000 kcal/day which should be more than enough and I get about 8-9 hours of sleep a day.

Right now I am weighing 82-85kg. I know you guys don't care about muscle groups - it is all about movement patterns. But I feel like my weak legs and strong back slow down my progress by a lot. Is there something I can do about it? After missing the last rep of the third set I deloaded about 10-15%. And some weeks later, when I got back to 105kgs I had the same problem.

My stats if it is needed: 102,5 kg Squat ; 150 kg Deadlift , 90 kg Bench, 100 kg Row, 65-70 kg x1 Chinup, 60 kg Press

Would love to hear your suggestions and excuse my English - it's not my mother tongue.

Mark Rippetoe

You could stop all other training for three months and just get your leg extension up to the whole stack for 5 sets of 10.

Is that what you wanted to hear?


No Sir, I wanted to know what you would do in my shoes since you're the expert. Sorry, didn't mean to trigger you.

Mark Rippetoe

I would stop relying on your feelings and do the program: Practical Programming for Strength Training

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