Starting Strength Weekly Report

May 08, 2017

  • The Truth about the Starting Strength Method – The Starting Strength Method uses the basics of biology and arithmetic, refined through logic and analysis over decades of testing and millions of hours of practical refinement to produce the most effective and efficient strength program in existence. The Starting Strength Method is essentially strength engineering.
  • From the Archives: The legendary Tommy Suggs shares his recollections of typical gyms of the fifties, sixties, and early seventies in Observing Fifty Years of Gym Evolution.
  • From the Archives: Rip coaches the press as taught in Starting Strength, 3rd edition, in Learning to Press 2.0.
Training Log
  • Kelli Nielsen explains how "[r]egardless of age, sex, shape or ability level the barbell is a viable tool for both physical and mental strength. In every way, shape and form, the iron makes us strong.
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #46 – Rip answers questions on longevity, strength and weight class sports, performance vs. long term health and Ridley Scott movies during a Starting Strength Seminar Q&A.

In the Trenches

Hygieia Strength & Conditioning is the first Starting Strength Gym outside the US. Here's a look at training and competition taking place in Singapore:

shaun pang coaching
Shaun Pang coaches the squat at his Singapore gym.
deadlifting at hygieia strength
On the platform with a deadlift.
strengthlifting meet in singapore
Strengthlifting in Singapore. [photos courtesy of Shaun Pang]

Best of the Week

Starting a “private” gym without the goal of profit in mind

I live in a town with one legit non-crossfit gym. They have all the space and equipment anyone could ask for. There's just one problem – the people that run the place are complete idiots and cheap as hell. They don't maintain the equipment at all. Those of us that are serious all have our own bars (for which they charge us a storage fee of $7 a month) because the ones they provide haven't been lubed up in probably a decade. They even cut the bathroom soap in the dispensers down with water to stretch it more. They complain about how much chalk we go through.

They tend to buy used equipment from universities in the area that are swapping out for new stuff, which is fine, but they put absolutely no effort into maintaining it. Most of the platforms have developed deep ruts/valleys so the bar wants to roll around. They tried to build a new set of platforms in a different spot, but they put down 2 layers of rubber instead of one, so all the pulling blocks, jerk blocks, and bumpers bounce around like crazy, damaging the wood so they made them "out of order" and blamed it on the members "misuse of equipment."

There's a good group of us that all train together in the evenings and we've all threatened to leave, but they get away with this sort of shit because there's no real competition in the area other than Crossfit. This led our little training group to discuss finding a small place to rent out and going in on it together. We'd have our say on equipment and keep out the idiots who come in and fuck everything up. The ultimate goal being just to break even on rent and what not.

I'm sure there are a lot of reasons why this sort of "non-profit co-op gym" would be a bad idea, but I just wanted to get your thoughts on it.

Mark Rippetoe

I know gyms that have started off as co-ops and then matured into fully-formed businesses. It's a good way to start, but it won't work long-term because of conflicts of interest. Start that way, but make it clear that you will eventually be the owner.


What conflicts of interest did you witness them running into?

Mark Rippetoe

Humans often develop divergent ideas about their priorities, especially if money is tight.


I joined a relatively new co-op several years ago. We split the cost of the equipment and warehouse rent amongst the members. I want to say the equipment investment tab was at 60k when I joined. I don't recall what the rent was. We had 20 something members and it was running about $150 a month per member. All new members had to be voted in after a trial period and there were definitely people who were voted out. We also had some real disputes over what to spend money on. For example, we had only one unisex bathroom with no shower. Some people, who worked out during lunch, thought we needed a shower. Others, like me, wanted AirDynes. The guy who started the co-op had a bar fetish and would buy new bars on a regular basis. That said, it was a very fun and enjoyable phase of life. We were a small, tight community of serious athletes, firefighters and law enforcement.

The gym did sink further in debt and membership fees were already high and Membership was not going to increase enough to offset, SO, the guy who started the co-op converted it to a Crossfit box. His thinking was that the brand name would bring more people in and allow a larger pool to choose members from. Initially, new members still had to be voted in. I didn't think that would fly as the city already had about 20 Xfit boxes. Boy, was I wrong....

Original members were carried on a different membership model and paying about $30 a month. New members were paying $95 ($50+ cheaper than the cheapest Fit box). The voting in process went away, though, people did have their memberships revoked if there were enough complaints. Original members could do their own workouts but only when a coach was present (Xfit liability). The gym moved to a Gigantic facility, like 15,000 square feet and, quickly became the most successful Xfit box in the city. New coaches came in. New rules were applied. Some people, like me, didn't feel that new rules applied to them. Some people, like me, didn't show much respect to 25 year old coaches. Some of the original members enjoyed the status of being an "OG." A few got their Cfit certifications so they could be coaches. Some of them became good coaches. Others, like me, became disenchanted. It was an interesting process to watch unfold. As Rip stated above, different priorities can and will take root. This gym went from a private club to the largest Xfit box in town in just under 12 months. It's was kind of a whirlwind. When I finally left, I felt very forced out and that the gym was glad to be rid of me.

In some sense, this idea of a "private" community gym is a lot like starting a band. It sounds fun. You're all in it together. Equals. But, maybe you start making bad decisions about how to handle publishing deals and how to properly budget for tours. Then, maybe the singer decides he wants to change the way the publishing money is handled. Maybe he increasingly isolates himself from the rest of the band. He is the one writing the songs, after all. Everyone else is replaceable. At some point, if you are the drummer, you are just begging the singer not to go solo. And why wouldn't he go solo and get some hired guns to back him? Loyalty? Psh. It could be the story of two great American rock m roll bands: CCR or The Stooges. It could also be your story should you decide to start a band, I mean gym.

Best of the Forum

Trouble making a regular routine due to field time

I'm a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army, and made it to my first active unit last march. I was given a semester long powerlifting class at West Point that practically followed your Starting Strength module. I was amazed at the progress that I made as a cadet during that semester; going from a 180 lb squat to 260 lbs, bench from 160 to 225, deadlift from 250 to 365 etc. I saw improvements in other areas of fitness that we were assessed on as well. But that was all while I had time to do it regularly, and now I'm in a unit that goes to field training exercises that are 3 days long, all the way to 2 weeks long every month, and have been since April 2013.

My real question is: should I keep up the regular 3x a week training on the weeks that I'm home, even if it means that I may do it for one week between two long field training exercises? Or would it be pointless, with me losing the benefits of that week while I'm in the field for two weeks afterwards?

If it's impossible to maintain the strength gained from such a sporadic "routine", what would you recommend that I do? I want to continue to get stronger.

I would normally do the Starting Strength program in the afternoons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As a unit we would do PT every morning, which basically is:

  • Monday: Long run (>3 miles)
  • Tuesday: Weighted circut training
  • Wednesday: Long run (>4 miles)
  • Thursday: Outdoor circut training/sprints
  • Friday: 35lb Distance roadmarch
Mark Rippetoe

Look at it this way: What happens to your gains if you do no training at all?

Heavy Drop

For what it's worth, I ran into similar circumstances when I was a platoon commander in the Marines a few years ago. As Rip implies above, it's better to train imperfectly than not at all.

For periods in which we were out in the field a lot, we were usually out from early Monday morning to early Friday morning, so I'd hit the "basic" Starting Strength workouts Friday and Sunday afternoons. For periods when we weren't going out to the field as much, I switched to the PPST Advanced Novice program on top of the morning PT we already did (generally similar to yours, Keating), which was a manageable amount of volume for me at the time because I was 24 years old and ate a lot. While this routine was far from optimal in terms of, say, getting ready for a powerlifting meet, I was pretty close to Rip's "man definition" in that my weight fluctuated around 200-220 (at 6'1"), I was hitting my squat 3x5s in the mid-300lb range, and I was hitting 1-rep maxes in the low 400s.

(Incidentally, my Marine PFT scores during this time period were in the 280s…maxed out the 20 pull-ups and 100 crunches, and ran the 3 miles in 20-21 minutes…so any young butter bars reading this should not be afraid of the effect of lifting heavy on your performance on the military's "fitness" tests.)

A few recommendations for you, Keating:

  • Your company PT schedule, when in garrison, doesn't seem too onerous for you to be doing PPST Advanced Novice programming on top of it. Remember to eat.
  • Regardless of MOS, when you go out to the field, there is heavy stuff for you to play with. The UCMJ does not prohibit impromptu strength competitions. Just don't hurt yourself, and more importantly, don't encourage your guys to do stuff that hurts them.
  • I used to get bad lower back soreness if I squatted heavy the day of / day after coming back from the field. I found that doing about 10 minutes of front planks a day when in the field largely alleviated this (hold to failure, rest 30sec, hold to failure, etc). Others' results may vary.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.