Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 29, 2018

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel

In the Trenches

jake haber pr 315x5 squat
Jake Haber hits a PR 315x5 at the Squat Training Camp held in Woodmere, NY. [photo courtesy of Inna Koppel]
josh ennis bottom 212.5 kg squat
Josh Ennis at the bottom of a 212.5 kg squat at 2018 USSF PDX Fall Classic. [photo courtesy of Lifting Large Media]

Meet Results

Best of the Week

Programming around a regularly scheduled sport

I had originally posted back in April, asking about programming around a weekly sporting event (Monday night hockey game). I am 50 years young. In April I was working with 240x5x3 on squat and DL, 220x5x3 on bench.

I have been working on LP, but at a pace of around 2.5 lbs per week. I go up when I feel confident to go up.

I am currently at 300x5x3 on squat, 300x5x1 on DL, and 250x3 on bench. 

Generally, I work alone in a globo gym (a restraint of having a time-consuming job and a job/commute/family life to work around). Btw- in the globo gym, I went from a small fish to a larger fish on the squat rack. I know, it is all relative. Around you guys I would have gone from a small fish to a less small fish. I am the old guy lifting more than many young guys. 

Is my progress way too slow for a 50 year old guy? And ultimately what can I expect in terms of upside? 

Goal setting, I would love to have 1 RM of 400 DL, 350 squat, 300 bench. I suspect this is an achievable goal in the short term. Judging by you guys, should I set the bar higher?  What do your 50year old guys do? I am 5-10, 210, probably around 25% BF.

For me frequency seems key. I progressed really nice during a 2 week vacation where I could lift 4 days a week. Sadly, Northeast life including the commute, my family’s participation, and my sedentary career slows me down. Any suggestions?

Michael Wolf

Honestly, your progress is better than I'd have expected. I don't think LP style training usually works as long as it has for you, but if it's still working, then no need to mess with it as long as you don't feel absolutely beat down and destroyed all the time.

As for what should you expect and should you set the bar higher because "us guys" - I'm not sure who you mean, specifically? - are a lot stronger than you, I suggest reading my replies here: see previous thread.

I may sound more like a psychologist than a strength coach but ultimately you need to compare yourself today to yourself a few months ago, not to me or Matt Reynolds or Jordan Stanton. First of all, we're all 30-40, and have been lifting for many years, not 50 and lifting for a year. Second, each person's capabilities are unique to the point where Rich Pauley, who just had an article about him on the front page, got to 500x5 and 600x1 on his LP. I've also had clients run a completely proper LP and end at 185x5. Should the 185 guy have compared himself to Rich and felt a failure?

It's certainly true that when you actually train in a gym together, you feed off the energy and maybe some people push harder because of that. But purely dry statistically? No way to know. If you're a late novice, early intermediate, set goals in terms of a few months from now, and just repeat that till your progress is too slow and you have to set yearly goals. 300x5 now? Set a goal of 315x5 by end of January, or maybe 365x1 over the winter at some point. Don't look further ahead than it makes sense to, and don't look side to side at people whose potential may be much worse, or better than your own for strength. You can only make yourself better compared to yourself.

Best of the Forum

Rescuing A Classic Split Sleeve York Barbell

Rip, we spoke on the phone earlier today about the York barbell set on craigslist. Well I went ahead and picked it up and was *shocked* when I got it. You see, the previous owner had this gigantic electrical tape "padding" on it. I asked him why he would do such a thing and he said, "I don't want calluses." I started laughing at him, and then realized he wasn't laughing. I showed him my hands which have calluses all over them and he said they looked "scary."

I thought it was my job to rescue this neglected piece of equipment from the fool and bring it back to life as my *first* real barbell. After measuring it like you did in the video it seems to be 3-4 mm off center on the right side. As far as the rust/paint on the barbell would you take a steel brush and mineral spirits to it or not use the steel brush to save the knurling? Also, is there a good way to get rid of the grime in the split on each end?

It is a damn shame that people don't take better care of their equipment. 

Mark Rippetoe

The wire brush will clean out the knurl – if the knurl was soft enough for a wire brush to hurt it wouldn't be a York bar worth saving. Just brush the shit out of the whole thing, spray a bunch of WD 40 into the sleeve ends, and wipe the whole thing down with thinner, which will take the tape glue off too. Then mark the bar so that you can tell when the bend has the ends pointing down at the floor. Nice find.

Brian Harlin

I just picked up a rusty bar myself. There is no way the wire brush will hurt it. The rust was hard to get off with just the brush, so I got a roll of paper towels and filled a spray bottle with vinegar. I then proceeded to spray one end of the towel so that it would stick to the bar. Then wrapped the bar as tight as I could with the paper towel, then saturated that wrapped section with vinegar. I repeated this section (1 paper towel length) by section down the bar until the whole bar was wrapped in vinegar saturated paper towels. After this, I wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and compress the towel to the bar. After letting it sit for about 2.5 hours, I removed it all. I used the soaked paper towels to wipe down the bar, A lot of rust came off with just the towels. The rest came off quite easily with wire brush dipping in simple green as I went (but I'm sure water would have worked just as well).


When I was researching how to do this, I didn't come across a lot of information, so here is how I did it. I hope this helps the community in the future.

For this project I used the following supplies:

  • A $2.99 wire brush set for your drill from Harbor Freight
  • Wire hand brushes
  • Lacquer Thinner
  • WD-40
  • CLR (This was chosen as the least aggressive rust remover that I could find)
  • 0000 Steel Wool
  • Scotch Brite Green Scrubby Pads
  • Lubriplate 1200-2 Grease

First I used a punch to knock out the pins that were in each end holding the caps in place. On my bar one of the caps is very tight so I had to use a screw driver to pry it off. Next the sleeves just slid off. The ends of the bar were cleaned with WD-40 and lots of paper towels. I then wrapped the ends of the bars in paper towels soaked in lacquer thinner to loosen up a lot of the grease that was absorbed by the steel. It worked decently well. The holes at the end where the pin goes through were cleaned just like the holes for the caps (see below).

The ends of the bar where York Barbell is stamped were cleaned with 0000 steel wool and WD-40. I didn't want to use a metal brush on those since the stamps appear to already be fading away. If they were deeper, I would have used a metal brush to save time.

For the sleeves I used CLR and wire brush attachment for my drill. Originally, I was just using a wire hand brush, but after spending a lot of time without much to show for it I went and bought the attachment. When I looked down the sleeve it was lined with brass shavings, dirt, and only God knows what else, so I sprayed down the insides with WD-40 to loosen everything up. Then I used a piece of rebar to shove a rag down the insides a couple of times to get everything out. After the rag came out clean 2 times, I called it done.

For the middle section of the bar with the knurling I wanted to preserve the patina as well as I could. To do this I used CLR with a green scrubby pad over the entire section. This got rid of most of the surface rust and some of the paint. For the paint that wouldn't come off I used the green scrubby and lacquer thinner. For the rust that was pretty deep in there I used CLR and the wire brush on the drill at a very low speed. I wasn't able to preserve the patina everywhere, but I did the best I could.

The caps and pins were cleaned mostly with WD-40 and a green scrubby pad. This project ended up taking me two days to complete; so, at the end of the first night I put lacquer thinner in a cup and let the caps and pins soak in it overnight. That worked well - in the morning there was quite a bit of dirt floating in the water. For the holes in the caps I initially used paper towels soaked in WD-40 and used a screw driver to work them in there. After the WD-40 I repeated the process with lacquer thinner to finish cleaning out the rust.

I used my fingers to spread, what I thought was, a thin layer of lubriplate all on the ends of the bar where the sleeves would go. Rip told me not to use too much, but I did. When I was putting the sleeves on it was flowing out of the ends. I just wiped it off, spun it a few times, wiped it off again, and repeated that process a couple of times to get all the extra lubriplate worked out. I am not sure how much to use, but Rip was right - it doesn't require a lot.

Finally, I put the caps back on and lightly tapped the pins back in. I added a couple of drops of oil in the split like Rip shows in his video. If you don't know what video I am talking about spend more time on the site!

Well, I have never used an Eleiko or Ivanko bar. Actually, I have never really used an actual high-end bar - so I have no idea how well they spin. I assume if price is an indicator they spin and spin and spin. This bar didn't spin at first. I seriously mean that. It didn't spin at all. I was wanting to save up for a B&R bar, but due to a couple of unexpected events that isn't possible for me to do right now. I kept my eyes open for used gear, and I came across this gem. The bar doesn't spin forever. Though through a lot of elbow grease the bar spins pretty well now.

I am a guy that likes old things - I use old straight razors from the 1900s on occasion. This bar isn't that old, but I plan to let him get many additional years of work under his belt. 

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