Starting Strength Weekly Report

October 09, 2017

Training Log
Starting Strength Channel
  • Ask Rip #55 – Injuries that would prevent training, dealing with too much weight gain as a novice, and the elbow problem.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

315 deadlift triple
WFAC member Phil Ringman pulls a PR set of 3 at 315 during a Sunday afternoon training session. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]
225 lb deadlift triples
Kati Swanson pulls 225 lbs for two triples at Testify Strength & Conditioning in preparation for the USSF Fall Classic. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]

Best of the Week

October: Roast pork, apples, and grog.
Mark Rippetoe

Fall is my favorite time. It's not 104 anymore in Texas, in Colorado the aspen leaves are finishing up, and things are just lovely.

Roast pork recipe: Get a 6-8 pound Boston Butt (shoulder roast), salt it a little, put it in a roasting pan in the oven at 225 overnight. In the morning it's ready. Easiest thing in the world.

Apples are just coming in. Buy non-boring kinds that you've never heard of before, and eat them with yellow cheese. Quarter the apple, put a slice of cheese on it.

Grog is 1 part Pusser's Navy Rum, 3 parts water, 1 part lime juice. A man's drink for manly men.


The cheese and apple intrigues me, what's your favorite pairing?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't pair them. I just eat them at the same time. I like the driest Colby cheese I can find with any hard apple.

Best of the Forum

When to Move to Bodybuilding

I am coming to the end of my Linear Progression (Advanced Novice) on Starting Strength and am considering moving to a strength-focused intermediate program such as Texas Method, Starr 5x5, or some other regimen. Considering my focus is more towards body building (at the advanced/elite level) which of the Intermediate programs would you best recommend for me to pursue that would best lead into that? I know you are not as experienced in the Bodybuilding pursuit, but I've dealt enough with other people's BS and gimmicks, and I would like the opinion of someone who isn't going to beat around the bush, try to make a sale, or simply just give a half-assed answer (and whom I've come to very much respect for your desire to help people with the drive and dedication to succeed). I want to utilize my potential as best I can, and having someone waste my time isn't going to help.

My current plan is to complete my Novice/Advanced Novice training, do Texas Method, and then from there focus more towards a Bodybuilding type regiment as opposed to a strength/power focus. I recall in your books that you mention many people will break off into a separate direction at the Intermediate stage, or shortly after, and that is fine as your goal is for us to build a strong base.

As my intention is never to compete in lifting competitions, but merely to look big but balanced (in the sense of the Greco-Romans or earlier bodybuilders, not Ronnie Coleman/Jay Cutler-esque) I am trying to decide at what point in my lifting career/experience I should make that step, ie when have I built enough of a workable base to be able to "sculpt" it much like one would a block of marble into a masterpiece.

I will not ask you about a Bodybuilding routine as I'm sure you would not be interested in giving one after my Intermediate stage (unless you have one to offer), but do you have any individuals in the industry that you respect as a trainer or coach that is knowledgeable in achieving such goals as given above?

Thanks for your time and I again greatly appreciate your input. I know that this forum is not for Bodybuilding, but for someone how has followed your program to the best of my ability, and intends to follow strength to build a strong base, I would hope you would entertain this question. To answer the typical requirements:

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 260lbs
  • Squat: 325lbs (Three resets, last was at 290lbs)
  • Deadlift: 375lbs (Two resets, last was at 375lbs)
  • Bench: 250lbs (Have not Reset yet)
  • Press: 175lbs (Last reset was at 175lbs)

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know anything about bodybuilding, how it's done these days or who to ask. I do know that you're not very strong for your size, that the best bodybuilders are pretty strong, and that since this is the case you're probably being premature with your assessment of your readiness for a program change. I'd re-investigate your approach to your novice training and see where the disconnect might be. Andy Baker at Kingswood S&C would be a good guy to contact.


Thank you for the response and for the honesty on my current progress. I was under the assumption that still trying to milk my novice gains I was doing well for where I was at and was setting a good base for entering an Intermediate type program (TM/Starr/etc.).

I know that the Strength Standard document is not an end all be all, but I thought my progression was doing well as all of my lifts (for the prescribed 3x5 or 1x5 for deadlifts - weights I gave are not singles but the PR set weights) are greater than the Intermediate weight for singles of a 275lb male lifter. I know we play case by case and that becomes a pain in the arse for you, but could you throw me some numbers of where I should be before entering Intermediate programming based on my size? And if you are feeling up to it, where should I be at for the advanced level? I know some of this depends on outside factors, but assuming all other variables are constant, we can look at my size alone.

My plan was to hit TM (if that is the program you recommend most highly) until I at the very least get 5/4/3/2 on my lifts, and then try to milk it even further (but after that a defineable/quantitative goal is more in the grey area).

Mark Rippetoe

A guy your size should end the novice progression with 405 x 5 x 3 or something is wrong.


Typically, what are some of the things that wrong? I finished SS around a bodyweight of 240ish with a squat of 340x5x3. I ate a lot, but progress was still hard and shitty up until that point.

Mark Rippetoe

Progress is always hard and shitty after the first 6 weeks. That's why most people quit. But you're in the ballpark. Not everybody has the best genetics. But I said that a 260lb guy should be at 405 x 5 x 3 at the end of a novice progression, and that might be optimistic on second assessment. 385 is probably more accurate.

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