Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 30, 2019

Starting Strength Radio
Starting Strength Channel

  • How to Fix Powerlifting? – Mark Rippetoe on problems in the sport of powerlifting - judging, rules, policies & politics - and gives suggestions on how to leave the Circus and build it back into a better arena for competition.
  • From the Archives: In Squat Mechanics: A Clarification, Mark Rippetoe goes through the mechanics of a proper squat and how these make it an efficient and safe training lift.
Training Log
  • A Marine on Weightlifting Shoes – Grant Broggi explains why taking care of your feet - an essential skill for a Marine - is also critically important for lifters.
  • From the Archives: How do general programming considerations for novice lifters compare with those for advanced lifters? Starting Strength Seminar Staff Coach Brent Carter breaks things down during a Starting Strength Seminar programming lecture.
From the Coaches

In the Trenches

nick delgadillo starting strength coach professional barbell coach
Nick Delgadillo teaches the squat during the Boston Starting Strength Seminar held last weekend. [photo courtesy of Carl Raghavan]
rebecca skinner deadlifts at the starting strength seminar
Rebecca Skinner deadlifts during the Starting Strength Seminar held at Cambridge Strength in Boston. [photo courtesy of Nick Delgadillo]

Best of the Week

Starting Strength Culture And Dr Petrizzo

I have followed the "Starting Strength" forum for the past 9 years, and I would like to commend you on your brand as well as the aggregation of professional individuals that are associated with your website. As a dinosaur (soon to be 66 yrs old) there is very little information available for senior lifters in the way of strength training, programming, and health care that may be necessary due to injury.

Your website shines a light for a demographic that is too often forgotten about if they are active seniors (God how I hate that term) pursuing strength and health through barbells. I developed a back issue a year ago that has given me some problems that necessitated me to be introduced to the world of “healthcare” . After six months of abandoning lifting, 22 visits to PT (I know it seems like a lot) an idiot Ortho/back guy, I decided to seek some alternatives.

My diagnosis appears to be severe degenerative disc disease/ arthritis along with arthritis of the facet joints coupled with a synovial cyst. The junior commando (ortho guy) recommended surgery based upon symptoms and the MRI findings which I am sure as you know is a gold mine of information that can be totally unrelated to the symptoms. Through your website I researched all the articles on issues associated with back problems and decided to take an informed approach. I had been aware of Dr John Petrizzo through your forum (his articles) and with his work with Mac Ward in regards to the back problems he was troubled with while on active duty.

I contacted John, after suffering with symptoms due to the pathology described above for approximately six months. I felt weak and debilitated from not training, and not getting any sensible answers from the medical community. I gave John my medical background, and he said that I needed to get back under the bar. We started with air squats, and bench press with weights (plates) under my feet so as to relieve stress on the back. I did this for quite a few months reporting to John on a weekly basis.

After approximately 7 months John has guided me back to a squat of 300# 3X5 and a 1 rep BP of 250#. I know not big numbers, but to someone that quit cold at a 400# squat, 450# deadlift, and 285 # bench and 170# press at age 65 this is very heartening, and motivating. John also helped me with diet going down from 254 to 242 height 5” 10” as of this date. He also got me back to sled dragging which I like to do for conditioning. As this juncture I have not done any deadlifts or rack pulls as they seem to exacerbate the symptoms. I have been able to do ring rows. Bottom line John’s thoughtfulness and dedication to help me, and continue to help me goes well beyond what I can describe with respect to how people nowadays treat one another. In Texan terms I am not a bleeding heart, but appreciation needs to shown for those people that actually give a $#^#@ ! John Is a credit to his profession of Physical therapy, and has first class knowledge of the application of barbell training to the pathologies (musculoskeletal) that affect people's everyday lives. What a testament to the character of this individual and his willingness to extend himself to an unknown person in need of some guidance/advice.

Thank you Rip for availing yourself through "Starting Strength” , your forums, and extending that brand through "class A "Individuals such as Dr John Petrizzo. I also want to say that the other individuals that I have learned a great deal from are Dr Sullivan, Dr Will Morris, and Andy Baker whom I consider a programming guru ! Sorry for being so long winded but dinosaurs move slowly and thoughtfully.

Regards from Pittsburgh from a grateful individual !

Mark Rippetoe

Fabulous story, John. More people should approach this situation like you have.

Robert Santana

Awesome story John. The value of a clinician who understands how to handle a barbell cannot be overstated. I hope that more people come to understand this like you have.

Best of the Forum

Giving Up

When you were actually trying to get strong, as opposed to merely staving off death, did you ever have a workout or series of workouts so discouraging that you considered giving up altogether? What kept you going?

Mark Rippetoe

I don't know. But discouraging workouts fade with time, while being a pussy would be permanent.


I'm gonna type that up and tape it to the wall in the gym.

Mark E. Hurling

Not giving in to accepting being a weak fuck who had trouble getting up off the toilet.

David Kirkham

Dude. I've never had that bad of a workout. Everyone blows it. I blew my squats (again) tonight. But I PRd my press. Find a win somewhere and just keep going.

The greatest irony of all is you have to be strong to run the marathon of life. I enjoy life so I lift to keep running.

Alexander Dargatz

You have to live with your choices. Who do you want to be? Do you really want to give up without even trying? And do you really want to try half-hearted, in an alibi-workout? Can you look yourself in the eyes afterwards? How do you get self respect? Do you want to be weak or strong?

For me, it's never been a question of motivation (maybe I’m mentally deranged). For me, it's rather the opposite question: when should I be smart and rather not push through pain or overtrain? I sometimes do too much being afraid of giving up/doing not enough.

This Old Man

I used to lift with a young fellow whose goal was to deadlift 2.5x his own body weight. He was a big guy, and 2.5x his body weight came out to well over six hundred pounds. It was a significant challenge even for him.

He trained very hard, and one day while going for a PR he pulled his hamstring off his hip bone. He had to have surgery to repair it, and while he was out recovering, he came down with a MRSA infection.

He was very discouraged. He had to take several months off, maybe a couple of years, but eventually he healed and came back to lifting. I think he eventually made his goal a couple of years later.

Being stubborn helps.


What keeps me going?

About 10 - 15 years ago I could not squat my own weight but sure could run. I used to visit my grandfather as much as possible in the nursing home. His legs were too weak to walk. His case is not unique. The nursing home is a very depressing place, but also a good eye opener. I decided after one visit, I was going to do whatever is required so that my legs are as strong as possible till the day I die. I don't want to be trapped like that without doing everything in my control to prevent it from happening.


Watching relatives and friends degenerate into piles of immobile goo for no reason before dying in their 50s helps keep me going and was why I started in the first place.


If you quit because you had a bad workout, one thing is certain: when and if you finally do start back up again, your next workout will suck substantially more, because you will be substantially weaker than when you first quit.

Everyone has essentially two choices: you can experience the aches and pains from training, or you can experience the aches and pains from not training. Most people chose the latter, although it is by far the worse choice. Your body wants to do things that are hard. If you don't, it will punish you severely. If you don't believe me, go ahead and quit. See for yourself. The problem is, by the time most people figure out that they should have remained active throughout their lives, it's already too late. I have a bit of a unique vantage point here because every day I take care of people who pissed away their productive years and are now pissed off that their bodies hurt so much and there is essentially nothing I can do for them except try to help ease them into a more comfortable death. Usually, they are pissed at me, I guess because I'm there and I'm an easy target. So, if you do decide to remain inactive, at least have the good graces to not blame the people who are trying to help you when your inevitably painful end finally comes.

Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.

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