Starting Strength Weekly Report

September 06, 2021

It's September Edition

On Starting Strength
  • Q&A Episode - Drinking Stories, Cryptocurrency, and Precious Metals – Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.
  • Fixing Common Squat Errors – Starting Strength Coach Adam Fangman talks about common squat errors and how to fix them.
  • Privacy and Security – Nick D and Ben G talk about their preferences on privacy and security setup.
  • Music During Your Workout – There is an odd obsession with having the precisely correct song to listen to during a heavy lift. The timing has to be right, the volume has to be right, and the song itself has to be...
  • The Irony of "The Progressive" – If it's reasonable and progressive to allow “transwomen” to play women's sports and “transmen” to play men's sports, wouldn't it also be reasonable and progressive to drop the sex/gender divide altogether...
  • Weekend Archives: Strength Training for Golf by Nick D'Agostino – If a sport’s performance has a strength component, then training for that sport will evolve over time, driven by competition within the sport, to include strength training...
  • Weekend Archives: Cardell and Dr. Coleman by Mark Rippetoe – I have worked in the fitness industry since 1978, and have owned a gym since 1984. Since I went into business for myself, I have approached the teaching of strength training from a completely different perspective than the industry's standard model...

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scott gillins first deadlifts
Mark Diffley coaches Scott Gillins on a 135 lb deadlift at the Starting Strength Training Camp in Austin. This was Scott's first time ever barbell training. [photo courtesy of Victoria Diaz]
diaz coaches matthew squat training camp
Victoria Diaz coaches Matthew Daumas on his squat work set during last week's Squat & Deadlift Training Camp. [photo courtesy of Mark Diffley]
eric deadlifts 285 for 5 at starting strength denver
Eric deadlifts 285 x 5 at Starting Strength Denver. [photo courtesy of Jay Livsey]
starting barbell training usma corbin forum
First week of barbell training by members of the Corbin Forum at USMA. [photo courtesy of Kimberly Nagy]
loren and ladon train together at testify strength and conditioning
Husband Loren starts his training session by squatting 200 lb for triples while wife LaDon finishes her session by pulling 56 kg for a 3-rep PR at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
addy becky and milo at testify strength and conditioning
Daughter Addy explains to mom Becky Meggers that she needs to get leaned over right away as she starts her squat. Gym dog Milo concurs. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
chaitanya indukuri squatting 240 at starting strength austin
Chaitanya Indukuri squatting 240 lb at Starting Strength Austin. [photo courtesy of Aaron Frederick]
bobby hitting 315 at starting strength plano
Bobby hitting 315 this week at Starting Strength Plano. [photo courtesy of Matt Hebert]
fred pulling big wheels at starting strength dallas
Fred pulling big wheels for the first time at Starting Strength Dallas. [photo courtesy of Brent Carter]
barking cues at starting strength plano
Barking cues and looking cute in the morning at Starting Strength Plano. [photo courtesy of Christian Fox]

Best of the Week

Periodic exhaustion during LP


I am a 30 year old male novice doing LP for the first time. I have been doing the program for the last 9 weeks but have come across a strange problem. Twice now I have had workouts where I am struck by exhaustion that interferes with the lifts. This exhaustion comes on strong in one workout session and then lingers for 1-2 more.

More exactly, the exhaustion is preceded by a workout day where I can still increase the lifts by 5 pounds as normal, but on this day, the rest between the sets lengthens greatly (as much as 30 minutes and more for squats). The next workout, the real exhaustion arrives. During this workout day, doing sets of 5 across is not possible, with the number of successful reps being along the lines of 4 reps/1 rep/1 rep for the squat, 1-3 reps for the deadlift and 3 reps per set for the upper body exercises. If I try to push myself to do more reps anyway, on the forced reps the weight feels 10 kilograms heavier, muscles are limp and unresponsive, and usually I can only squeeze out 1 extra rep with terrible form like this. Furthermore, as I rest between the sets, the heart rate stays high, with it staying above 100 bpm for the squat sets and at 100 bpm for the upper body workouts. This heart rate will not go down regardless of length of rest between sets (it does go down under 100 bpm after the entire workout is over however).

This exhaustion effect struck at 6 weeks and 8 weeks after the start of LP. For what it's worth, during this time I have also been feeling generally tired as well (although not to the extreme of being fully exhausted).

Additional information:

  • Weight = 105 kg
  • Height = 183 cm (6 feet)
  • Squat strength level = 3x5 of 102,5 kg (up from 40 kg in 9 weeks)
  • Bench press strength level = 3x5 of 60 kg (up from 35 kg in 9 weeks)
  • Press strength level = 3x5 of 45 kg (up from 25 kg in 9 weeks)
  • Deadlift strength level = 1x5 of 100 kg (up from 40 kg in 9 weeks)
  • Calories = ~3800-4000 kcal
  • Protein = ~230 g
  • Rest between sets = 15 mins and longer for the squat, up to 10 mins (sometimes longer) for press and bench press
  • Sleep = 9 hours, almost never less than 8
  • Additional physical activity = I usually walk 1-1.5h a day, not really as exercise though, just as part of work or transit
  • Work = 8 hours a day, no more than moderate stress level I would estimate, especially by American standards

Mark Rippetoe

Have you had your testosterone level checked?


I have not gotten it checked, but that does seem like something I should ask the doctor to do. Should I get anything else tested as well?

Brodie Butland

Hell, get the T and everything else looked at…this is bizarre even for low T if you’re accurately reporting everything else. Prior to treatment my T-levels were in the 270s (the average levels of a 95-yo man), a couple years older than you, with shitty sleep and a 60-80 hr/wk job, and I never experienced anything like you’re describing…and I got my squat and deadlift over three plates on advanced novice during that time. I’m not saying your issues can’t be just due to low T…it might, everyone’s different…but something else seems to be going on here. Just two cents from some dude with no medical training.


I'll just get the testosterone checked out and see if that informs anything. I have no idea what else it could be. I guess it could be genetic or a chronic problem though, since I've never really been the kind of guy that had a lot of energy.

Barry Charles

Probably cancer, HIV, or both. But try drinking a Gatorade before and during (the kind with sugar) or eat a pop-tart. From another dude with no medical training.


Random question, but is it unusually hot and/or humid where you're training? I ask because it's been a super hot and muggy summer here, and I experienced what you're describing about two months ago. For me I'm pretty sure it was dehydration/heat exhaustion, because it subsided after I tripled my water and electrolyte intake.

Best of the Forum

Question on Afrin


Only tangentially related to lifting, but I remember you mentioning Afrin for helping overcome sleep issues related to shut nasal passages. My girlfriend has small nasal passages that are usually too constricted to be of much use, and it really fucks with her sleep, so I recommended she try it. She reported it was a huge help, but then her mom (a nurse) visited and saw the stuff by her bed and warned her it was "addictive". I looked up about the phenomenon myself and I'm curious, what has your experience been with this "rebound congestion" effect that's described? Have you encountered it at all?

Mark Rippetoe

I've been using it for 35 years, and I've never had any problems with it at all since I ONLY use it at night. And if I had, the equation would be evaluating the problems against the ability to sleep. Furthermore, I know of no one who ever had to knock over a liquor store to meet their oxymetazoline habit. That shit is just what nurses are taught to say in nursing school, along with "squats are bad for the knees" and "you'll catch a cold if you go outside in the winter."


Yeah, I figured it was an over scare, I was just curious as a longtime user if you ran into the issue at all. I'll try and convince her to keep using it before bed and that it shouldn't be an issue if you only use it then. Thanks.

Eric Schexnayder

Since I discovered it a few years ago, Afrin has changed my life in terms of sleep quality. Not trying to sound dramatic; it’s really been a significant improvement. My wife, also a nurse, has warned me about rebound congestion as well.

I have noticed that I only experience severe congestion at night before bed. But I had this before I started using Afrin. So even if it was a concern, I don’t think I could distinguish cause from effect if I were to stop.

Will Morris

I keep a bottle of Afrin in the medicine cabinet for when I cut myself shaving and for when one of the kids has a nosebleed. I wonder how addictive it is in these uses. Perhaps I’m creating the next generation's super criminals by exposing them to such an addictive and life disrupting drug like oxymetazoline.

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