This is a long-winded "thank you" to Rip and all others involved in developing and spreading the Starting Strength program. You have all, essentially, given me my life back.

Working in a metal shop in my mid 20s I used to pity this older guy with fused disks because he had to do a front-squat type motion any time he had to pick something up. Even something light like a dropped cigarette. Well, eventually, I tweaked my own back pretty good and, not knowing any better, entered a cycle of de-training and re-injury that would last into my 40s. It went as follows: Hurt back, but not bad enough to go to the hospital. Stay off my feet as much as possible for a week or so. Resume normal life but do everything I could not to lift anything. Eventually hurt my back again. Repeat.

Having been in the army, a cyclist, a rock climber, a p-90x-er, and a gym-fucker-arounder-in-er, I thought I'd seen enough forms of exercise dogma that I had nothing more to learn. Then, at 42, along comes Rip and his unique YouTube presence. Initially watching for the entertainment value I ended up learned things by accident. One thing led to another and now I'm 11 weeks into a novice LP.

Adding weight to an exercise after every single session sounded like bullshit to me and, I would wager, most people. I cautiously tried it, got the results, and am now 5 workouts away from having 3 x 45 pound plates on each side of the bar when I deadlift. To put that in perspective, this is coming from a guy who used to have to stand in close to the fridge if he was going to get a gallon of milk out of it. This is coming from a guy who stepped off the back porch on to the first stair, felt a twinge, and knew he had about ten seconds to make it back in the house and lay down on the floor before he couldn't walk. This from a guy who's had several girlfriends learn not to let him carry more than two bags of groceries in! Do you have any idea how that feels when it isn't a presumption but something they have grudgingly accepted as a fact of life???

This is starting to get uncomfortably mushy and dramatic but I'm going to say a bit more anyhow for the benefit of anyone on the fence. For more than ten years I've existed under the assumption that the rest of my life was going to be a physically delicate, long, slow decline into frailty finished off by a couple of decades of watching daytime TV from one of those self-elevating chairs and wanting to slit my own throat. Now, after 3 months of mildly butchering "the program," I feel like the world of life's experiences is, again, open to me. Like my future is full of possibility. Like I could drag that goddamned fridge and all the milk, eggs, chicken breasts, and Greek yogurt in it out the door, on to the porch, and throw it over the fucking rail if it looked at me wrong. A lot of people know how it feels to think those days are long gone for them. To have a second chance at being a strong, resilient human is pretty much a miracle.

Disclaimer and safety note!!!

The instant gratification of linear progression is addictive. It's easy to start chasing numbers, get overzealous, and hurt yourself. I got greedy with squats and deadlifts and had to take 2 weeks off. (Possibly connected to form problems from trying to train with a broken big toe)

If you get hurt, just go read about Bill Starr rehab and find the materials that Jordan Feigenbaum and Austin Baraki have put out regarding pain and injury. If you catch it early and behave appropriately, then you probably aren't broken and will be fine.

Again, huge thanks, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to everyone for the massive amount of information that has been made available in the books, forums, videos, and podcasts. Someday I hope to visit mecca but, until then, I shall face west and pray 3 times per week until it stops working.