Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 28, 2022

Closing In Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Electric Cars, Factory Farming, and Tapered Belts – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • How to Press Using the Rack – Starting Strength Coaches Andrew Lewis and Adam Martin demonstrate how to use the rack to press for deconditioned lifters.
  • How We Do (and Don't Do) "Sales" in the Gyms – Ray Gillenwater explains our "sales" process to a batch of new franchise owners.
  • Intermediate Programming Step 1: Define Your Goals by Nate Mielke – Eventually your NLP will end, and you will graduate to Intermediate Lifter status. An intermediate lifter is a lifter that can no longer complete the stress/recovery/adaptation cycle within 48-72 hours...
  • Aprende a Hacer Sentadillas – En este vídeo instructivo, aprenderás desde cero las posiciones y movimientos correctos de la sentadilla, tal y como se enseña en el libro Starting Strength: Entrenamiento básico con halteras.
  • Weekend Archives: The Map of Athletic Performance by Rob Miller – Training is a confusing subject. Conflicting points of view have a way of making productive dialogues a rare event. For me as a dedicated rock climber, it’s been a slow process...
  • Weekend Archives: Form Creep by Mark Rippetoe – Everybody’s ability to execute a movement pattern with accuracy and precision is subject to degradation over time. Absolutely perfect execution...

From the Coaches
  • Thanksgiving PSA: It's a Holiday, Not a Season   Once again we have entered into the holiday season, which for many people involves eating...a LOT of eating! A little bit of restraint can help you avoid digging a big hole that you have to get out of in January.
  • Breathing, Valsalva, getting tight, bearing down, bracing? It's not complicated, but lifters get this wrong frequently, so Phil Meggers explains how and when to breathe and get tight for each individual lift.
  • Only one correct grip for the deadlift? That's right, and it's probably not what you think. Phil Meggers explains . . . with a little help from Ace Ventura.
  • Not sure about the hips movement in the press? Maybe you “reach and bounce” just fine without the bar, but when you add the bar to the movement, everything turns to garbage? Phil Meggers gives a simple cue to help solve this problem.
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In the Trenches

joe locks out his deadlift at the camp in stockholm
Joe rocking some tight ‘Merica pants at the top of his deadlift at the Starting Strength Training Camp held in Stockholm this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Caroline Waight]
carl raghavan coaches daniel through a set of squats
Daniel hits depth as Carl Raghavan coaches him through his squats at the camp. [photo courtesy of Caroline Waight]
eric finishes a deadlift at the starting strength training camp in sweden
Eric at the top of a nice deadlift at the camp in Sweden. [photo courtesy of Caroline Waight]
paul taking his christmas prep seriously as he deadlifts in omaha
Green shirt, red lifting shoes, green plates, red plates . . . Paul takes his Christmas preparation seriously as he gets set to pull 97 kg for a set of five at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
david locks out a rack pull
David stands tall to finish out his 500 pound rack pull. He was the very first member to join Starting Strength Cincinnati and has now been training for a full year. [photo courtesy of Camisha Noble]
jeff pulling 395 for 5
Jeff set a deadlift PR back in April of 405# x 1 rep. Now he’s close to lifting that for reps. Here he is warming up with 315# just before pulling 395# x 5. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]

Best of the Week

Your Interview with Malcolm Kendrick


I thought the interview was fascinating and I purchased his book this morning. Without going into much detail I’ve long questioned the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. One thing to consider: 3 years ago I had a comprehensive blood draw. Cholesterol through the roof…305. LDL through the roof. LP PLA2 thru the roof. All numbers were terrible. I had two CT coronary angiograms performed and one was looked at by the author of the textbook on CT scans, Dr. Simeon Abramson. He told me my heart was perfect, arteries perfect, and zero plaque. Go figure.

Mark Rippetoe

What did he say about your numbers?


He was of course extremely concerned which got me extremely concerned. I was prescribed 20mg Crestor and I inject Repatha twice a month. My numbers now are sparkling but I can’t help but wonder how they got so bad. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll have a cardiovascular event someday with sparkling numbers. I’m on page 60 of Malcolm's book: maybe I’ll find some truth.


What was your HDL and HDL:Triglyceride ratio?

These are usually considered better indicators. In fact, if I understand what I've read correctly there is literally zero correlation between LDL itself and coronary issues, and if Dr Kendrick's theory of heart problems is correct there can't be.


Was this the same Dr? If the angiograms said the arteries were perfect and plaque free, what were the prescriptions for?

Mark Rippetoe

The numbers. The drugs treat the numbers. That is all. See where we are?

Best of the Forum

Eye pressure, lifting, and Valsalva

Barry Charles

I know this topic has come up before but I have some new experience to share and I’m anxious for more answers. I’m likely soon getting a vitrectomy to remove scar tissue (vitreous) in one eye due to lymphoma (and some minor retinal tears which have been treated). I’ll hopefully know more early in Jan.

In the meantime, of the five surgical ophthalmologists I have been treated by, four have said lifting and Valsalva are NOT a problem as it does not increase intraocular eye pressure and any blood pressure increase is transient. One said under no condition lift anything heavy, especially performing a Valsalva. Ever.

I have found one reference that claims Valsalva increases risk of glaucoma (chronic pressure increase) and several that say it decreases the risk.

My bad eye “feels” lifting a little, but doesn’t care about Valsalva or free breathing. I describe it as a tight feeling around that eye.

My question is, does anyone here know anything about this? The recovery from a vitrectomy ranges from a week or so of rest to keeping your head face down for several weeks. TBD in my case but I really want to weigh risk and reward. I’m very unhappy.

Mark Rippetoe

I know that lifting and valsalva have no effect on intraocular pressure, because of the anatomy. Look at it yourself. We'll ask about the rest.


Hi Barry, sorry to hear about the eye issues and your upcoming vitrectomy.

Intraocular pressure is independent of blood pressure, and unlike blood pressure, there is some evidence that intraocular pressure can be influenced by valsalva maneuver. However, the studies that I have seen that actually quantify the change generally show that it is a small change in pressure and is very transient, coming back to normal nearly instantaneously after the conclusion of Valsalva. It would be very hard to believe that such a small amplitude, short duration increase in IOP would be of any consequence UNLESS you had severe pre existing pathology (i.e., advanced glaucoma). Not an issue in your case from what I can see in your initial post.

Now, in terms of activity limitations post vitrectomy, a lot of it depends on what your vitreoretinal surgeon will actually need to do during the case, and he may or may not know until he actually gets in your eye during the surgery. You've already summarized a lot of it in your post, but if there is a retinal tear that needs treating or a small detachment develops, then they'll likely need to inject an iso expansile gas into your eye, which comes with significant limitations on your activity ranging from a few days to several weeks after surgery depending on the location of the tear, type of gas used, etc. No lifting during that period due to the need for constant head positioning (failing to do so could lead to postoperative retinal detachment or failure of the hole/tear to close correctly). If no gas is needed you would likely be good to go back to the gym within a week or so.

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