Starting Strength In Afghanistan Starting Strength In Afghanistan

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Thread: Starting Strength In Afghanistan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Costa Mesa, CA

    Default Starting Strength In Afghanistan

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    I just wanted to shoot you an email and let you know that your strength program is getting good use in Afghanistan. I first did Starting Strength (not knowing it was starting strength) back in 2008, shortly after I started cross fitting (back before it got gay) and loved it. It was very similar to what you outline in your book, I just didn’t know what it was - it was just mandated by my college Rugby Coach. Ever since I’ve always been a believer in barbell movements, especially the squat. I've been in a couple of good and a couple of bad crossfit gyms since then which turned me off to Crossfit for the most part and just left me doing strength training. After joining the Marine Corps I was sent to Fort Sill, while there I was a member at a local Crossfit gym, where I had my best experience with Crossfit that I’ve ever had. Primarily because the coaching was good and the programming was strength based. I borrowed the coach/owner's - who you know - copy of your starting strength DVD only to find that he was in it. I went back into the gym and wanted to know where he knew you from and he told me that you were right down the road in Wichita Falls! I was 3 days a way from getting stationed in California and so I never made it down.

    Long story longer, I bought all of your books and brought them with me to Afghanistan which is why I’m writing you now. We have a decent gym on our compound so all of the marines in the platoon want to get “jacked” and as a result do bicep curls for days. But then they started seeing me in the gym squatting 400+ and pulling heavy deads and started asking questions. As a result your book Starting Strength gets passed around like a village bicycle. Marines will come in to the operations center exclaiming what they learned about the squat that they never knew before etc… All my new guys are doing the novice program and drinking every milk carton that gets delivered the compound. Not everyone is sold though, there are still the bicep boys who talk junk to the Marines that go in and just Squat/Press/Deadlift and leave - but I’ve told the guys to just hang on and we’ll see who’s stronger at the end of the deployment.

    We even have a lot of sayings regarding the squat. For example I will say, “it’s only a squat if?” and they will reply with “the hip crease is below or parallel with the patella”. Anyway, I’m sure you get thank you letters of this sort all the time but I figured I would write you anyway. I was recently reading Practical Programming for Starting Strength and was interested in your philosophy about how the Armed Forces are too endurance based. You couldn’t be more correct. And while I can’t change the whole Marine Corps, I will have you know that the Marines of the platoon I'm in believe in a deep squat and full ROM with heavy weight in everything they do! The other day one of the big huge guys with a 405lbs Bench Press came up to one of my guys and said “teach me this first platoon squat” , he’s noticing the 135lbs marines that are packing on muscle and must want a piece of the action.

    Semper Fidelis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013


    Get some!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012


    Thank you very much for your service. I used to teach Marines at Ft. Sill.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014


    Are you guys 03?? There is no way in hell we could of sustained LP while patrolling and standing post so much, or even get ahold of enough food. Well that was 2010 and 2011. It might be chill enough now

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