Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 17, 2016

  • Advanced Functional Screening - Dr. William A Been, PhD, DPT, & etc. discusses advanced topics in functional movement deficiencies, including rotary stability, quad dominance, palliative sacral trailing, ventral masking, junk tissue amelioration and torque management.
Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Episode 39 - All About Whiskey: Mark Rippetoe and Matt Reynolds talk about everything whiskey. The different types, how it's made, the history, and what to avoid.

Under the Bar

april training at 25 weeks pregnant April continues her training at 25 weeks pregnant. She still squats, presses and deadlifts, modifying her weights as needed. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
emily gets stronger Emily, age 16, deadlifted 85# (5 lbs under a bodyweight deadlift). Her dance teacher told her she needed to get stronger. So she is. [photo courtesy of FiveX3 Training]
hannah coaches the deadlift Coach Hannah works with Rifky Robinson on her deadlift in the WSC barbell club for women. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
kevin whitman trains the squat Kevin Whitman trains the squat in week 7 of his linear progression. [photo courtesy of Kevin Whitman]
first wheel Lange deadlifts a plate for the first time since beginning her linear progression three weeks ago, a 40-pound increase from her first day at Horn Strength. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength & Conditioning]
marcia up to 4 rep chin-ups In mere weeks, Marcia has managed to take her chin-ups from zero, to four in one set. She is seeing progress from all angles since beginning her novice progression. [photo courtesy of Horn Strength & Conditioning]

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Best of the Week

Playing sports as a novice

During an Ask Rip series video, someone asked you if it is possible for a soccer player to follow the SS program. You said yes (but then later said that the issue is soccer players don't eat, so it makes it near impossible because they are the type of people who don't eat enough calories to do both).

However, in the book, you say that it is paramount that you get your rest in between gym days and to make sure nothing you do on recovery days makes you tired, because then it will take away from recovery.

Could you please clarify? Is it okay to lift and play sports at the same time as long as you get the calories, or should you not play sports at all?

Does it depend on the sport and the amount of time playing the sport?

Mark Rippetoe

Depends on your ability to recover. If you cannot sleep enough and eat 6000 calories a day on a program of both sports and a novice strength progression, you cannot recover.

Chris Kurisko

I have run a pretty successful after-school barbell club at my gym for the past several years. We have had many average athletes go on to have great success from the effectiveness of our strength program. However, there is quite a difference in the results of the kids who play other sports and those who attempt to train in-season.

Rip doesn't just say things because he thinks they sound cool. He has seen this stuff play out for years in the gym and I have watched the exact same things for years now myself. Kids do not eat enough to recover and grow strong. It is so bad that I often feel like I am running a support group after school because I have to ask each kid multiple times what they have eaten throughout the day. I feel like a teacher being told that the dog ate the homework most of the time. It is a major issue because the kids that don't eat enough do not make the progress they should and it is frustrating to watch them fizzle out because of it.

I could write an awful lot about this, but I will simply say that you should just stop playing sports. Just get strong. As strong as possible would be best. That is where the best results are going to be found.

But, if you won't do that, and I know that you probably won't...

Take 6 months off of all sports and run the program. Eat all of the food and lift all of the weights. Sleep as much as possible. Get as strong as possible. Once you do that start playing your sports again as a stronger human being. You will be amazed at how much more dominant you are.

I start anywhere from 5-10 novice young athletes on the program a month in my gym. The kids who do not play sports all get a lot stronger a lot quicker. They then go back to their respective sports and all of them perform much better simply because they are stronger than everyone else. I have watched plenty of my athletes go on to earn accolades like being named all state, all area, a starter, getting moved up to varsity early, or being named captain of their team after starting out very weak and undertrained.

Yes, there are some athletes that can get stronger and play sports if they eat/rest plenty, but often they are the same kids who would dominate regardless of training. The athletes who are on the fringe of being benchwarmers and starters seriously need to just focus on getting strong.

John Janecek

The BEST way to do it?

In a perfect world it would be great to have kids for an extended period of time and run nothing but a strength program, but it ain’t a perfect world so you do the best you can.

I have kids here who are in sports FIRST and I have to get them stronger, I do it all the time. It’s not the BEST way but its the way I was hired to do it. In order for a soccer player (or any non football athlete) to get the most out of my program and get stronger I'd have to see them year round and that’s a rarity. So I go on a cycle like this:

  1. School starts in August-orientation on lifts in weight room (bench, press, squat, clean, DL)
  2. Slowly, and I mean slowly, start adding weight to these few lifts. Build them up best I can in the two days a week I have them.
  3. Season starts, teams (some more than others-some never miss) start missing a day here and there, then a week, then a month etc etc...
  4. Season is over, start back over in spring but we have a "pretty good idea what were doing"
  5. Build up to end of school year, beg for them to come to summer workouts.
  6. See them in August again, repeat first step but slightly better.

Versus Football: Year round lifting, no excuses. Have kids here who’s weight room numbers would be good for a lot of college programs.

It can be done, its just like the sign hanging in every one of my squat racks that says "Being weak is a choice." All my athletes that go on to play a sport in college come back and realize how important this is.

Best of the Forum

Gym Weights vs. Meet Weights – Advice Requested

In about 4 weeks I'll be competing in my first powerlifting meet (Feb 20 / USAPL WA State Championships - 105kg). I'm hoping to get some feedback from those of you who have competed about your experience with the difference between globo-gym weights and calibrated meet weights. Is there any consensus on how variable the weight of a globo-gym 45 lb plate is? How much, if at all, did you lower your meet attempt weights compared to your gym PRs? Really, anything you'd want to share about selecting meet attempts when you've only ever lifted with globo-gym plates would be appreciated. Thanks all!


Invest in a decent scale and bring it to the gym. I've personally encountered cheapo 45s that weigh between 37 and 48 pounds. I don't really notice the weight difference with squats or deadlifts, but I very much notice with bench and press. Weigh the bar(s) while you're at it.

Bill Hannon

There should not be enough of a difference to matter, unless you're a very seasoned advanced level lifter fighting for a few pounds of progress per year. Most people get a little extra juice from competing, and what's heavy in the gym moves fast in the competition setting. I typically have my lifters open at a weight that they could handle as a triple in the gym. We have two or sometimes three attempt plans laid out ahead of time, and we adjust based on how the warmups and first couple attempts go.

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