Starting Strength Weekly Report

November 04, 2019

  • Starting Strength Gyms is excited to announce that the first franchise gym in California is coming in 2020 - Starting Strength Los Angeles. For updates, join their mailing list: Mailing List Sign-up
Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel
  • Kinesiophobia – Starting Strength Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy Will Morris describes kinesiophobia in terms of standard rehab and physical therapy practice.
  • Starting Strength Coach Nick Delgadillo clears up your confusion on the spine of the scapula and where the bar should go on your back for the squat.

Training Log
From the Coaches
  • What happens at a Squat & Deadlift Camp? Watch this video from the last one in Woodmere, NY.

In the Trenches

patrick deadlifts 405 at day of the deadlift competition
Patrick deadlifts 405 at Starting Strength Austin's Day of the Deadlift competition. [photo courtesy of Ashley Schaefer]
bella dog corgi
This is Bella, she trains with Woodmere Fitness Club on Sundays. You can follow Bella and her adventures at @boujeebellabear. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]

Best of the Week

Why don’t more places run SS programs

Mark first let me say I'm a big fan and appreciate everything you have done for myself and everyone else over the decades.

That being said I'm always curious why more colleges, high schools, professional athletes, strength gyms, strongman competitors, etc, don't promote SS? The programs work and there is a ton of evidence to back them up. Is it because I live in WA? Down in Texas are more schools and athletes running your programs? Do you think it has to do with your opinions? I don't know it just has been bugging me for a few years that I never hear more people (at least where I live) supporting and promoting SS.

Mark Rippetoe

It's not fashionable now. Functional Training is fashionable, so that's what gets done.


Is SS more popular in TX?

I usually train in my garage but when I do go to the gym I go to a local powerlifting/strongman gym mainly to use their strongman equipment. I literally don't ever talk to or see anyone that runs a SS or a PPST program and that is the closest thing around here for a strength gym.

Is it because I live in WA? In TX are more people and "Strength Athletes" running your programs? When ever I mention it to someone they are very dismissive even though I lift more than 90% of them and have beaten them in Strongman comps.

I guess I'm asking if this is just a local thing here where powerlifters and strongman are dismissive of the programs? I find myself constantly having to defend PPST programming when I mention that is what I train with.

Mark Rippetoe

This is not a powerlifting or strongman program. Why would you expect to see them doing it?


I get SS is not a Strongman/powerlifting program but there are several programs in Practical Programming for Strength Training that seem pretty good for those purposes.

Mark Rippetoe

True. But I'm not the approved Powerlifting guy.

Best of the Forum

What to do with this shit? (Thanks, Doc.)
David A. Rowe

Situation: my dad is in his mid sixties and has spent the last few decades eating and drinking as he pleased. Shocker, his A1C began to creep up recently given that he does more far "politic’n" and far less farm work and physical labor. Well, if there's one thing that can be said about him... he never half-asses anything. In fact, overkill would be an understatement. The doc told him to diet by cutting carbs and eating more lean meats and salads. He also told him that a little alcohol would help lower his blood sugar. Keep in mind, he's been a borderline alcoholic his entire life. The only thing keeping him from going under with that has been his freakish resistance/tolerance for alcohol and every medication he's ever taken.

Now here we sit, a half a year later. He's gone from 220-230 lbs to 170. He's eating nothing but steak and salad, but has cut his steak portion down to 4 oz as his doctor told him 160 would be fantastic. Between a big accident involving a 400 lbs rock crushing his foot and a fall he took in the 80s that screwed up his SI joint (never repaired... just tons of corticoid injections with no improvement since the accident), he's convinced he'll never be able to lift... even though he spent years self employed and doing hard physical labor. His A1C is in the 5s. He's addicted to the numbers, but just a month ago could barely get through a day helping me clean out my garage and was down for two days after. Last week he almost passed out in Walmart. He's going through a handle of whiskey every 2-3 days.

I had a very hard talk with him about it, but I may have screwed up when he kept saying, "Well, my doctor says..." to which I finally replied "Well your doctor's a fucking idiot." Has a doctor ever looked up from a chart, taken a hard look at the patient and said, "My god, your body composition is horrible. Your muscular atrophy is terrible! You've got an eating disorder! You're drinking HOW MUCH?"

What the fuck do I do with this?

Mark Rippetoe

An excellent question for the board. My disgust with most members of the Fraternal Order of Gods On Earth, i.e. doctors, has grown more intense recently, and I'm convinced that most of them would do far less harm/far more good as plumbers, carpenters, or real estate salesmen. More to the point, people like your dad, i.e. the majority of people, are far FAR too willing to cede their own personal sovereignty to a bunch of people who cheated to make "A"s in undergrad. Because, "After all, he IS a doctor." And I have no idea how to make people smarter.

Jonathon Sullivan

Well, Rip's painting with a pretty broad brush here vis-a-vis doctors. I'll leave it at that, except to say I know at least one doctor who earned his fucking As.

That being said: Yes, we put too much faith in doctors and allopathic medicine...and that's not all the fault of doctors. And you know...there are other doctors out there. Perhaps another opinion is indicated?


My mother was told by a doctor that she had a better chance of surviving cancer if she became vegan. She isn't vegan, because we called her oncologist who talked some sense into her. She still insists on seeing her PCP because she's gone to him for so many years.

My brother is currently "a doctor in training" and tells me the info is worse than you'd think. You're taught how potassium reacts in the body and that it's important, but you are taught nothing of how to prescribe nutritional info to a patient.

The country is desperate for medical professionals. What do you think happens when there is a huge demand for something and no quality check on the supply? Can we really make it more difficult (and expensive) than it already is to become a doctor?


That's not remotely borderline, even if you're not using 'handle' to refer to the 1.75l bottles (and "freakish tolerance" should be as suspect as "having the wrong physical proportions to do SS"). I bet his doctor has no idea he's drinking that much.

Mark Rippetoe

I tried to apply the usual caveats, "most, majority" etc., as conscientiously as possible while still conveying the enormity of the problem: that most doctors are not particularly helpful and most patients are credulous irresponsible fools who get what they deserve. I realize this impresses most people as excessive cynicism, yet I stand by my point. If every doctor was Sully, shit would be different.

I'd like to know if the doctor asked.

Jonathon Sullivan

Yes, to be fair, you did. I'm not sure I'd say most doctors are lame...but we do have fundamental problems, as this case illustrates.


Here's the thing, American Medical education at the medical school and residency level sucks. Really really bad. They really have no idea how to make good doctors. It's all pretty much self study, which kinda works out because they select for people who are driven to begin with. You're lucky if you can find a few sympaticos along the way who can actually teach you something. On the other hand, American Medical education is also probably the best in the world.

Your story kinda reminds me of an old frail lady who got cancer and said, "This is great! I'm finally able to lose some of this weight!" Telling people to lose weight is probably not the right approach. As you can see, the weight isn't as important as muscle mass. The elderly – whether fat or skinny – who lose muscle mass are in for a world of pain. I just discharged a lady who has terrible osteoporosis, L2 compression fracture several months ago. And now L1 collapsed against that nice new kyphoplasty (this is common). She wants to go on hospice because she's too week and in too much pain to do any physical therapy, and it's probably too late for her. Her daughters (who have been camping out at the bedside telling me everything I'm doing is wrong (this is also common among daughters and wives)) actually argued her out of inpatient physical therapy. One said, "I don't care how strong her biceps are! I just want her to walk!" I had a hard time trying to explain to her that if she can't move, she will decline, not "improve with rest."

As for the drinking thing... You gotta cut us some slack on that one. Patients lie. And as you point out, if you say, "a glass of red wine might improve your blood pressure," (studies are dubious, but I'm not against it), then pretty soon, they're drinking a handle a day! Whatever that is.

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