Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 11, 2019

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Training Log
  • How can you train when you have a demanding work schedule? Andrew Lewis shares the programming approach used with Shane's 7 Days On, 7 Days Off schedule to yield more than a 2.5x increase in the squat even while trimming his waist.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

chris bernhardi squat in singapore
Chris Bernhardi squats at the recent Starting Strength Squat Training Camp in Singapore. [photo courtesy of Hygieia Strength & Conditioning]
shaun pang coaches the squat
Shaun Pang coaches the bottom of a lifter's squat. [photo courtesy of Hygieia Strength & Conditioning]
don kavanaugh squat starting strength seminar
Don Kavanaugh squats during the Starting Strength Seminar held at Weights and Plates in Phoenix. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
rip and june the dog conduct a lecture
Rip and June talk about strength during the seminar in Phoenix last weekend. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
suri fineberg 325 deadlift
Suri Fineberg pulls a 325 PR for the win in womens open at the Women of Valor Deadlift meet at WFC [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
louise kramer 135 lb deadlift
Louise Kramer pulls 135 and wins for best grind at Woodmere Fitness Club's Women of Valor Meet. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]

Best of the Week

SS coaches numbers

I know numbers don't necessarily make a good coach but it certainly does lend credibility to some of the stuff they tell you. That being said I had some questions you may or may not know the answer to about SS coaches.

  1. What is the body weight and top lifts of your strongest active coach that you know of? I'm talking all 5 lifts in lbs.
  2.  What would you say is the average years lifting for a SS coach?
  3.  What would you say (or know) is the average body weight and lifts for both male and female SS coaches?

Thanks for answering some or all of these questions if you can.

Mark Rippetoe

We don't track that data. We just monitor coaching effectiveness, which is often inversely proportional to total, for reasons discussed elsewhere. For example, I am 63, I squat maybe 365, press maybe 150, bench maybe 250, and deadlift maybe 475. I no longer clean or snatch. But you cannot afford me as a coach, because I am perhaps the best coach of these lifts working today, despite my numbers. Lots of coaches are in the same situation.


That would then fall under the years experience data. If you have a coach with 20 or 30 years experience it might not matter what they currently lift. However if they have 5 or 10 years experience how much they lift could be very relevant data.

Might be some interesting data to start monitoring and tracking. For a marketing perspective to be able to say your coaches have an average for 20 year experience or whatever, and on average can lift this much could help get more people on board and ready to listen.


Marketing to *whom*, I wonder? Personally, I can really only imagine competitors being terribly interested (or impressed) with the exact numbers of your lifts, once you are talking more than upper quartile in any particular lift. “Success with customers like me” ought to be the core thing most people are looking for, I would think.

I’m sure there are times and places where specific sorts of performance experience on the coaches’ part could be relevant to specific sorts of lifters, but I seriously doubt that is a very general interest.

One would imagine that good coaches would show a pretty normal genetic distribution of the relevant physical characteristics - or, and I think there is a good argument for this that Rip has made a number of times, might be expected to skew to the less gifted side of the curve - thus making them have to think a lot harder about what works and what doesn’t in training.

This request just sounds a little disingenuous in terms of what the motivation for asking is and whether there is any good marketing thinking really involved.

Success stories, yes - the more - and the more varied - the merrier. Rigorous standards and a demonstrated understanding and ability to apply a clearly articulated model for coaches, yes. Universal performance standards for *coaches*? No comprendo.


I think about like a McDonald situation. When you walk into any McDonald's and order a quarter pounder with fries you know that wherever you go it is going to be about the same quality.

If the averages of SS coaches was gathered (to includ experience) tabulated and presented hopefully it would paint a picture of an impressive average of years of experience and an above average on lift totals (world records and 1% lifters would not be impressive as they would be outliers and not the norm).

If for instance the average SS coach weighing 225 had 15 years experience could pull 500, squat 400, bench 315, press 200, and clean 225. That would be an impressive average to share. When I walked into a SS gym I would know that most coaches would have around that experience. Creating for a lack of a better term a "McDonald's effect".

Just an idea. There is a reason McDonald's is so successful because you know what you are going to get. I know SS doesn't want to be McDonald's but people like reliability in services and products. Outlier data would not interest the general public or most lifters but averages probably would.

As far as this part I would think like a Michel Jordan for SS. Is the average person doing SS going to reach this pinnacle? No but it could still be a good marketing tool just like MJ for Nike. Because I'm wearing Nike shoes am I going to play basketball as good as MJ? No way but I still like to know his (MJ) statistics even if I'm never going to reach them. Same idea with the top lifters from SS.


Zappey1, like Rip said, we don't keep that on coaches as an updated thing because current stats of coaches don't tell the story of how they actually coach - lifting and coaching are two different things. But you know, you could satisfy your curiosity the way that Nicholas Racculia did with his survey back in 2016: Starting Strength Coaches: A Demographic Analysis

Best of the Forum

Training for Sports… Competition vs. Practice Demands

To be a successful athlete, one has to spend a great deal of time practicing and improving sport's specific skills. Nevertheless, practicing your sport only gets you so far, as everyone else is doing the same. To get and advantage over your rivals, you have to look outside your sport to improve your performance. That's why genetically gifted athletes, or those who are physically stronger, have an edge over their opponents.

Most sports, demand a lot of biomotor abilities, yet fail to develop these same abilities to their full potential. For instance, wrestling requires strength, but you will not get stronger only by wrestling, unless you're a beginner. It also requires aerobic power, and anaerobic capacity, both of which are addressed during practice itself, but not developed to their full potential.

And we cannot just focus on the competition demands of the Sport. It is true that a wrestling match might only last 6 minutes, but the training process lasts the whole week, months, years... And we must develop abilities that will ensure the athlete can endure the demands of the sport, day in, and day out.

Do you think that it is useful to spend time working on traits that the sport itself already addresses, or if, outside the mats/court/track, athletes would be better off training more general abilities?

For example, for Judo/Wrestling, I think that it's more useful to spend time getting stronger, than doing circuit training, even though circuit training might seem more "specific."

On the other hand, a sport like wrestling demands high aerobic and lactic power. Would it make sense to address these outside of practice, or the sport itself already conditions the athlete to competition demands?

Mark Rippetoe

Yes, Judo, your understanding is clear. Train for strength, condition outside sports practice if it is actually and truly necessary, and practice your sport. That is all.

Chris Kurisko

It would be great if more people understood this. I get very frustrated hearing about kids I work with wasting their strength, talent, time, and energy doing silly things after spending hours and hours of my time getting them strong.

Rip is dead on the money. As usual.


I wrestled on the division 1 and continue to wrestle on the senior level. If you want to get better at wrestling you have to wrestle. However wrestling practices do not have to be that intense. In order to get in condition for an important wrestling tournament it only takes about 4 weeks.

It takes way more time to get stronger. I believe that it is important to work on your strength. You can do circuit work when you are already strong.

Just lift heavy, work on technique and wrestle live. That will be all you need until you are about a month or so out from an important tournament. Those should only be a few times a year though.

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