In praise of all things rippetoe-I hope he reads this! In praise of all things rippetoe-I hope he reads this!

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Thread: In praise of all things rippetoe-I hope he reads this!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017

    Default In praise of all things rippetoe-I hope he reads this!

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    I'm hoping Rip reads this on his podcast because I think once in a while he needs to hear a good news story,as much as "comments from the haters" gives us all a chuckle. Mine is "born again" type story that I think is worth knowing because it illustrates that despite the fact that the SS method is not mainstream it is making significant headway and gaining disciples.

    A bit of background about me then to give this all context- I'm a 52yr old Canadian male, happily married father of two teenagers who both lift and are athletes.I have been an aerobic athlete all my life competing in wrestling, running, nordic skiing and my one true passion is bicycle racing. I got to quite a high level in my youth before a mysterious injury that the docs had no answer for ended my career-more on that later. Physically I'm have always been what Rip would call an underweight skinny kid, well into adulthood and perhaps even now at 5'9" and 180lbs. But my sport of bike road racing dictated my build.

    I always weight trained but the methodology was flawed by using light weight with high reps and sets that did little more than make one sore ,hot and sweaty.The gym mantras ,"feel the burn", "get a pump" and my fav,"you need to make a muscle fail in order to make it adapt". All a bunch of misguided bullshit that was a monumental waste of time and energy that could have been better spent practicing the sport.I still see this same crap being taught and practiced at the gym I go to now and so many of my age group peers with weak aching backs who doing their "core workout" cross fit style to exhaustion training. Funny thing is, and I point this out to them when they make jokes about me and my training because for me,"every day is leg day"- I say to them, "but your back still hurts and gets injured yet you continue to do the same thing in gym to fix it, Why? "

    So decades pass after my mystery injury ends racing career. I'm now late 30s ,dad bod in full swing, tweak my back regularly picking up moderately heavy things like my automotive tool box (about 100lbs). I decide to get fit because I want to be active with my kids who are in diapers at this point, and one day grand kids so I start running and skiing and going to the gym.When you are sad sack anything is better than nothing so yeah I get really good at skiing Loppets and running again.In the gym my strength improves but peaks out within six weeks or so and plateaus despite variation in exercises. I am also a coach and lifelong athlete so I have good understanding how to peroidize (sp?) and I taper my gym training when required so as not to interfere with the sports performance.

    Eventually I get too beat up from running to do it and skiing happens only in winter so I decide to try and get back on my bicycle. It goes ok at first but my old mystery injury rears it's ugly head soon enough. I lucked into a really good Physiotherapist(imagine that) who is also a cyclist and very good at listening and teasing out from my medical history what the root cause of my problem was and sent me to a good doctor who also listened and made another excellent referral. I will make a long story short and compress it down to the diagnosis, Illiac artery endofibrosis. You can look it up but the crux is that blood flow to the legs is restricted and it is caused by cycling(a lot of cycling, 20,000km/yr not recreational level). It occurs in rowers and speed skaters as well due to the similar trunk flexion while performing prolonged very high intensity aerobic activity. It is an arterial injury that the vascular system responds to by growing thicker walls, internal nodules and lengthening to become tortuous enough to kink. Blood flow cannot meet the demands of the working muscles,performance is rapidly degraded. Standing upright most athletes with this will present as normal in a an examination room so it is frequently missed as a possible cause of pain and muscle weakness as was my case for decades.

    I am a competitor first and foremost-I live to race and compete in my sports. So fast forward past three arterial surgeries and I am still a bike racer ,but I am not 100% fixed so I had to make some accommodations to the kind of racing I do. I switched to track racing on a velodrome which is much shorter (nothing over 40km) and specifically I switched over to track sprint events -nothing over 60 seconds.Blood flow is not really a limiting factor for me with short stuff.Now all my races involve maximal speed over very short distances.This is a totally different kettle of fish from events lasting from one to four hours sometimes over three days in my age group.The pros do much longer stage races but I'm not a young pro-that ship has sailed.

    My training had to change drastically to be a competitive track sprinter. I had all of the ingredients from a skillset standpoint -decades of racing both road and track ensured that. I am pretty explosive and have very fast legs so I had much of the physiccal attributes required for success. I am fast "off the couch" so to speak but at the top level in my age group I am racing against ex-national team and ex-pros from actual track sprinting programs-the guys who were good at when they were young and never stopped doing it!I quickly realized that in order to get faster I had to increase force production-that was my limiter.There are specific training drills that you can and must do on the bike for strength but they are too specific to meet all the requirements.I had to get my whole body much much stronger than it currently was.

    I came across Starting Strength on the web, bought the books, watched the videos on form technique ,execution and put it all together in a well thought out training program. I got much stronger in the gym.I took my squat from 225 to 365 and my dead lift from zero to 345.I'm one of those guys whose deadlift lags my squat but I do put way more emphasis on the squat for obvious sport related reasons...But I am working on my dead lift because it is a key strength component of executing a proper standing gate start on the track. I went from 155lbs to 180lbs @ 5'9" in two years-still runt I know by your standards.

    Did the general strength training translate into real "where the rubber meets the road" speed? It worked like magic- my top end speed went from 60kph to 70kph, a huge increase and my speed endurance went way way up, which means I can now hold a top speed for much longer.Did I win? Yes a bunch of medals over the past three years at the provincial and National level. On the world stage at masters World track championships in Carson Ca, I managed in 2018 to at least qualify for the sprint tournament.Fifty guys try and only the sixteen fastest flying 200m times qualify.That's a win in my books.

    I was not born a sprinter but with Rips SS program and Practical Programming I trained my weaknesses both literally and figuratively to be a better athlete at my sport.I should mention that my equipment (bike and wheels) had stayed the same old school gear-I just focused on me, the motor rather than buying speed with a $10,000 track bike and aero wheels. Don't get me wrong if I had the funds laying about I may have, but I didn't, so I trained and built up the motor. Like Rip says, "you don't make a car slower by putting a bigger engine it". It is very satisfying to see my competitors with all the latest gear shaking their heads in sad dismay because I just handed them their asses on a 20 year old bike with spokes and aluminum rims.I try to tell them,"if you want to go faster,get in the gym and lift heavy", but it is so much easier to go buy a bunch of new gear. They continue to wonder why I just keep getting faster on the same old outdated bike!I'm sure some think I am doping.

    Now I have my friends, family and team mates lifting and the reports back are so reaffirming. I constantly hear from them now about how much better EVERYTHING IN LIFE is because I convinced them to get in the gym and do the program,YOUR PROGRAM! They play hockey hard and do all sorts of sports like I do and now they take a hit and just don't get hurt.Young guys can't push them off the puck anymore..they push back,even harder because they are stronger ALL OVER.

    My 17yr old daughter races track with me and she is also in the gym with me three times a week before school still doing linear progression. Sports performance aside, the confidence she carries in life I think has been bolstered by going to the gym because she now knows she is stronger than most guys at her high school after 3 months in the gym. I'm sure she is the only one who can do a proper chin up for more than one rep!

    My son who is 18, has been doing the program as long as I have and @ 6' tall 195lbs can pull 500lbs off the floor. He always jokes that soon he is going to get his weight over 200lbs and be a real man.I tell him to eat more,lots more but he has a super busy life with school military reserves and the social life of a teenager.Sometimes you just get too busy to remember to eat enough. I even got my wife in the gym for a couple of months with me which I really enjoyed and she did also but job schedules etc got in the way for it to continue. She like running more than lifting but does believe in the value of maintaining her strength along with muscle and bone mass.

    So there ya go Rip-not as funny to read as "comments from the haters" but if you need a feel good story that reinforces that you are doing good in the world for those that are willing to listen and do the homework under the bar-there you have it!

    Ps loved your Irish whiskey video, I'm on the same page. I am currently enjoying a bottle of 12yr Royal Brackla-give it try if you have not already, I think you might like it-I sure do.

    Brent Atkins AKA bikemanbrent

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    Thanks for the kind words, Brent. Can't read it on the podcast -- waaay to long -- but I appreciate your taking the time to write it. Good luck with your training.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Thanks for the kind words, Brent. Can't read it on the podcast -- waaay to long -- but I appreciate your taking the time to write it. Good luck with your training.
    yeah I understand it is quite a tome to get through so I really do appreciate you taking the time from your busy day to slug through it and reply.
    If you want to use any part of it at any time for anything you are welcome to edit it to suit.

    Thanks for doing what you do and I hope you keep doing it for a long time to come.


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