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A Lie Agreed Upon - Trans Women in Women's Sports

Mark Rippetoe | April 26, 2019 transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your video to text with Sonix. was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best video automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular video file formats.

Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls Texas...from the finest mind to modern fitness industry..the one true voice in the strength and conditioning profession..the most important podcast on the Internet... Ladies and gentlemen... Starting Strength radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you Mark Wulfe. Welcome to Starting Strength Radio. Ladies and gentlemen this is the first settlement of our..what is supposed to be a weekly podcast that we're going to do and we are glad you're with us today.

So I guess the first order of business is...what the hell are we doing podcasts for? And why is there not a skull on this wall? Do you have any explanation for that, Nick? You're the producer of this goddamn thing. [Promise there's skulls on the way - Nick] Got one on the way - skull's on the way.

But I don't know. I just want a skull behind me skulls are death. Right. And death's not good. So death's not bad ass, death is bad. I've had two or three friends die recently and so I'm kind of tired of that shit. So we're not going to do any skulls now that I think about it.

But the podcast is for basically our entertainment and hopefully yours. We've been doing the Ask Rip thing for quite a while now and what we do on Ask Rip is completely different than what we're going to do here. Ask Rip is where you send in your inane questions on Facebook and Twitter and where else do we take those? Have we got a Slack channel or something? No? What? YouTube? No we don't do YouTube.

Twitter Facebook Instagram. YouTube...that would be like in YouTube comments. YouTube comments are, I'm convinced, are all written by people in prison. Because it's obviously...if you are commenting on YouTube videos you are in the bottom three percent of society. And you, you know, I mean your friends already have questions about your intelligence. And you may not know that because you're DUMB. But that's what happens every time you put a comment on a YouTube thing.

We'll have. We put our videos up on YouTube and somebody always...never fails. We put a video up on YouTube and some jackass comes in and says how am I supposed to beat off to this video? And I think they're serious. I don't think they're trolling. I think they're being totally dead-ass serious. Stop that, Rusty. That's if that is in fact you.

So anyway the podcast is designed to be a weekly feature of our situation. And so you can expect more and we're actually soliciting serious comment from you about this.

We would like for you to give us some ideas that you might have for topics and we're going to discuss two or three different topics today at length. We're not going to do Ask Rip questions where you write in nonsense but we're going to talk about three or four different things today, two or three different things. However many we have time for and we're going to discuss them at length, in detail. So it'll be a completely different format from the Ask Rip things but we'd still like to have your feedback and if you'd like to see something discussed or featured or interviews suggestion or somebody we could talk to then please communicate with us through the aforementioned social media accounts and let us know what it is you'd like to see done. OK.

So first up today is Starting Strength news. We've recently have undertaken several different new expansion directions for the brand and everything is moving along quite well. And I wanted to give you a report on that today.

First off Starting Strength Gyms, the franchise gyms are in process right now. The first one is open Starting Strength Austin is open right now. It's open for business. You can join Starting Strength Austin if you're in Austin. You should investigate this.

It's kind of north up toward 183 just off of Lamar. The gym is beautiful. It is equipped with Starting Strength equipment. Our trade dress is on the way. We are moving right along toward the absolute completion of the gym project. It is staffed by Starting Strength Coaches and Joyce Luke is the owner and they would welcome your participation. Get a hold of them through our Web site or drop by, look it up drop by. Really we'd rather you sign up online because that's the way the thing's designed work.

Starting Strength Gyms are going to be different in that there will be absolutely no sales that take place on the property. Sales will take place online. The gym is a place to train not not a place to sell you something. Not a place to try to talk you into buying something. Not a place to listen to you tell us that it's too expensive or too cheap or you don't like the color or something like that. We're there to train. We're there for the barbells and we're there for the coaching. We're there for the PRs. We're there for you to get stronger. And that's all we're going to do in the gym.

When you walk into a Starting Strength Gym you'll sign in. All of the business is dealt with on the Internet and we are going to keep track of your workouts. That's another one of the interesting things about Starting Strength Gyms is that we track all of our participant's information in terms of their workouts so that here in about two years we're going to have an enormous, very useful data set that will show you precisely how the Starting Strength model starting where we are today and then adding five pounds a workout takes you in a in a relatively short period of time. In two years we will have accumulated quite a large dataset that's going to be very useful to us in terms of showing you why you need to join our program here and it'll be useful to you in helping you make a decision about the best way to spend your time and money in a gym. You're getting stronger -- if you understand that getting stronger is the best thing you can do with your time in the gym, then you'll soon understand that ours is the best method to do that. And we will have...we already have the data and you already know that what we do works. But this will be a hard data set and it will allow us to market our successful product in a way that's never been done before.

So Starting Strength Austin is open right now. And Dallas, the Dallas location which is on Greenville Avenue just south of Caruth Haven should be open on July 1st. Brent Carter, our staff coach Brent Carter, is in charge of that program and he's already got 15 or 20 memberships sold and they've done absolutely no formal marketing with it at all. That thing is going to explode here pretty soon. In fact within a three mile radius -- now you guys tell me if I've got this data right -- three mile radius of that location we've plotted it out to do this...there are seventy thousand web site users within three miles of that location. It's going to sell fast. And if you want to get in on this thing you need to go ahead and sign up because people sign up online and they sign up for a workout slot, a time workout slot. And the popular ones -- the six o'clock right after work -- are going to go quickly. There's a finite number of opportunities available for you to train at six o'clock in the Starting Strength Gym and the ones that get there first are the ones that are going to get that slot.

And Houston I'm told today that a lease has been signed on that is that that is what he said. We've signed the lease to the lease has been signed and so we are in process in Houston. It's inside the inner beltway. It's going to be a popular location. Houston's another big market for starting strength and the starting 3 Houston location is going to be staffed by Josh and Shelley Wells. You all know them from the boards they're from Wichita Falls and they are exceptionally talented coaches of both the starting strength method and Olympic weightlifting and Jason Lindley our owned vanilla gorilla. The blonde ape. The the human vice the the Jag ghetto mongoose. Strength master. Jason Lindley he's going to be on staff down in Houston as well it ought to be quite an entertaining place to train and that thing is going to explode what's the what's the sales link goes hot on that too so keep all that in mind.

Boston is in the Fall. Denver is in process and we're looking at other locations across the country right now and we'll announce those as as they become firm and we'll talk to you guys about it on this podcast. In the meantime you can go to for any questions or news. If you want to request a gym site in your area, you can do it there. If you're interested yourself in being a franchise owner, you can inquire about information on that as well, at

Now an interesting thing happened a couple of weeks ago. This is our Japanese translation of the book. It was it was out a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure our friends in Japan will correct me if I'm wrong, but the the initial print run was a thousand copies. It sold out in three days. This was completely unexpected by everybody. Apparently there's a larger demand overseas than we had earlier anticipated. And this this is really good news. They're getting another print run together right now that should be available possibly by the time this podcast airs on Friday. You guys that are in the other markets overseas where we have translations need to be aware of the fact that the brand is growing over there too.

Right now we have a Korean translation of both Starting Strength and Practical Programming. We have complex Chinese which is the version in Taiwan and the former colonies that is that is still the language of use in those locations. We have simplified Chinese in both Starting Strength and Practical Programming.

We've got a Polish translation. German translation was the second translation. Sales in Germany are quite good for both Starting Strength and Practical Programming and we've got one of our own people working on a Spanish translation of the blue book right now. And I don't know when that's scheduled. You talk to Hari about that when's he? think he's actually doing it? We have to text him and ask him and we'll just report. Hari, are you really doing this or not? He told us he was. A Mexican representative, our man in Mexico, Hari Fafutis. He's actually Greek, by the way. Although he doesn't, I don't think he speaks Greek, does he? He doesn't. Well it's a parenting problem. Huh.

Ok. Oh his dad doesn't speak Greek either. He's forgotten all his Greek. Oh god. OK.

Well anyway, Spanish is being dealt with right now. In fact you've read his Spanish translations on the website of some of our articles. We've got in fact -- we had an article up on Monday, a Spanish translation, of one of our important articles. It was up just four days ago, right?.

Video?!? It was a video in Spanish. I'm so confused. I just can't keep all this shit straight. So ah...something Spanish happened on Monday, right? Might have been tacos for all I know, you know.

All right. So anyway that's all that's all being taken care of and we're happy about the Japanese situation.

Audio books. Now we've already got out Strong Enough which was our first audio book. And that thing, it didn't take but like a month for that to exceed paper book sales on that particular text. All right. And audio books for Strong Enough've continued to smack right along real nicely. I just got through recording both Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, third edition and Practical Programming for Strength Training, third edition for audio books. I just finished that last week. Both of those will be available very soon. I'm the one reading it so you enjoy my wonderful Texas accent where everyone in the world thinks I pronounce the word F-I-V-E as "Fahve." Because they all spell it F-A-H-V-E isn't that the way it's popularly construed on the Internet as I always say "Fahve." Well I don't say "FAHVE" in the reading of the book. So if you're buying it for that don't. I pronounce it correctly. I say five.

But I also pronounce the word W-H-A-T correctly which is correctly pronounced "what" not "wut." You know that's one of the reasons I don't go to Brooklyn anymore. You know as I always got some shit up there about. "Why do you put an H before the W in when you pronounce the word W-H-A-T? And my answer to that is because that's the fucking way the word's pronounced. It's what it's not "wut" or "wat". It's what.

Hwa -- slight breath before the w sound. What. All right. That's the way I was taught. I've never, you know, had an authoritative correction. I just, guys in Brooklyn don't like the way it's pronounced. That's not authoritative, so I'm gonna say it: What.

So I say that correctly in the book and you know you don't like that, don't buy the book. All right. But that ought to be out. Got any word on when he's going to have the blue book ready? Trent, our friend in Fort Worth is doing, is preparing that for us and it should be available in a couple weeks from today. So look online. I'll announce it on the Q and A, it'll be announced on the Web site. We'll probably have some kind of a...Let's do an excerpt. Audio excerpt for that for one of the days for one of the posts during the week. Those of you that are familiar with our Web site know that we put up new content at noon every day and, ah, sometimes we're late on Sunday's. But, you know stef has to have a day off every once in a while. So things go up late on Sunday, but other than that our goal is noon every day, new content on And we'll feature a verbal excerpt, an audio excerpt from one of the books on the announcement date that thing is ready so you can see how we did it and have a little free sample of the thing and those things...what's the price of those gonna be do you think, 9.95?

I don't know what they cost. I have no idea what they want but an audio book. 38.95? 15? 15-30 bucks. It's based on length. So it won't be 9.95. Cut that out. Edit that out, the nine ninety five part. It won't be ninety five. I'm told it will not be not ninety five because that'd be dumb. Right. Strong Enough's 15 so the blue book will be 20, 25, something like that. Are they typically about the same price as the print version. Is that typically... They're more? The audio book is more than the print version? Right.

Is that right. Shocked face.

And you know why I don't know that? Because I don't listen audio books. I don't have any audio books.

You think it'll be out on DVD? Well you gave me that one on DVD about the nuclear program. Well you gave me that one on DVD about the nuclear program.

Nick Delgadillo:
Oh yeah.

Mark Rippetoe: That was cool. And I can listen to that the car. Just put it in the DVD player in the car. Car still have DVD players right. CD, I mean yeah CD. Did I say DVD? All right, edit that out. Supposed to be CD. I meant CD. All right. They look the same though, you know. You see exactly what the...See my problem. They look the same. Mexican on Mondays. You know.

So anyway audio books coming out soon.

Uh oh. I want to want to plug the weightlifting boot. All right. For our friend James McCue up in Spokane. First let me show you something.

See these little jewels? Those are my new White's boots. I've got three pair now of White's boots. I've been wearing White's boots for about 10 years now. It's all I wear. Because I'm wealthy. And I can afford the best. And I wear White's boots. I've got three pair of White's boots. These are my new ones. White's boots. Those of you that are in the know understand White's boots are a very, very high quality basically handmade boot. They are a lifetime purchase for the vast majority people of people, hell, smoke jumpers wear them for 10 years before they replace them. I mean, if you've been, if you guys have been paying two hundred twenty five dollars once every two years for a pair of Red Wings you're fools, man. You're wasting money.

You know a pair of White's boots'll last you 15-20 years and you've saved money by spending and a little more upfront as is so often the case. Right. White's boots is making the Starting Strength weightlifting boot. It will be a low quarter, weight lifting shoe with a leather stacked heel. The net height of the heel will be five eighths. As per my design, the correctly positioned metatarsal strap es velcro. This is an all leather, sewn down vamp, weightlifting boot. I call it a boot because boot is the old term that was used 50 years ago for the footwear you used when you lifted weights. And in contrast to the old style weightlifting boot this has a flat sole. It does not have a raised heel with a gap between the thing because we now understand that one of the functions of a weightlifting boot is support of the arch. So the arch will be supported both internally because it's made by White's and by externally by the metatarsal strap.

These will be very very high quality high quality shoes and they probably are not going to be your first weightlifting shoe because you're not going to want to spend this much for it, but they will definitely be the last pair you ever buy because you will not wear these out.

They will never wear out they can be resold and rebuilt as everything White's boots makes can be. This would be a very high quality product. I don't know what the final price will be yet, but it's going to be somewhere between three ninety nine and probably four or forty nine somewhere in there. And don't hold me to that. That may not be correct either, but they're going to be about twice the money that you would spend on a on a cheap pair of Adidas or Nike's or any of these other brands that are designed to be worn for two years and replaced. This is probably of all of our products that we have designed and and licensed over the past couple of years, this is the one I'm most excited about because my shoes are wearing out I desperately need a new pair. So I'm looking forward to these and once again watch on the website, we'll announce when they get here. And we will keep you apprised of the price as we get it and availability. This thing's going to be cool. Trust me.

Also need to tell you about the Starting Strength Coach prep course. Starting Strength Coach prep course is accessible on the web site under the careers tab. Now this is a course designed for people who want to be Starting Strength Coaches, professional Starting Strength Coaches. It's designed to get you through the process in a structured way. It's also designed for people who have access to in-person clients to coach. This is not a video-based course and if you do not have clients that you're training in-person this course is not designed for you. This thing is a quite intensive five month process. There's been video content that's just designed specifically for this course that you will receive as part of your instruction. There are writing assignments, coaching assignments, and several other things that make this a very, very complete preparation for a person who is already in the coaching the strength coaching business to get through the Starting Strength Seminar evaluation process more quickly and more thoroughly. So if you're interested in this and this is something that you feel capable of doing, go to the careers tab on the web site,, and get all the details on the Starting Strength Coach Prep Course.

Seminars. Coming up this weekend in fact, we'll be in Westminster. In fact when you see this we'll be in Westminster, Maryland doing a seminar at our friend Beau and Angie Bryant's gym there in Westminster, Maryland. It's in Frederick County and it's out west of Baltimore. Northwest of Baltimore. And. We always like going there. Beau and Angie are good people. They've developed a tremendous little gym there teaching Starting Strength method to lots and lots of people. They're probably one of the best in the country in terms of outreach to their community. In terms of involving the people in their area in the Starting Strength method. And we go out there once a year and it's a great place and if you are seeing this it's probably too late for you to get in a car and drive over, but nonetheless I feel compelled to tell you. That's where we have been this weekend. While you're in fact watching this podcast.

But you have an opportunity on May the 17th, 18th, and 19th to join us in Denver at CutThroat CrossFit in Lafayette for our Starting Strength Seminar in Denver. This is probably closer to the Midwest than we'll be anytime soon. You might want to take advantage of that opportunity.

On June 7th, 8th, and 9th we're back in Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Athletic Club for our four times a year seminar there and we go back out to the east coast on July 26, 27, 28. We'll be at Inna Koppel's Woodmere Fitness Club on Long Island. And that's far enough in advance to where you can make your plans for that right now.

So those are our upcoming books, upcoming seminar dates. And for those of you that have never been to a seminar it's a 25 contact hour exposure to the guts of the Starting Strength program.

You do better at the seminar if you've already read the books and you'll get a lot more out of it than if you just wander in and have this is your first exposure to the method. But there's nothing else like it in the fitness industry. It is the place where we evaluate people who would like to be Starting Strength Coaches for their competence on the platform. Everybody does the lifts. Everybody coaches the lifts. Even those of you that are not interested in being coaches are going to coach lifts because you get more out of the process of learning the stuff if you have to teach the stuff at the same time. And those of you who are teachers know exactly what I'm talking about. So we've always done it that way and it works very well. And if you'd like to brush up on the lifts or just for your own training or if you are interested in becoming a Starting Strength Coach these are the places that go do that. So keep all that in mind.

OK. Now we're going to kind of dive into the into the discussion we had planned for today. We're going to talk about transgender people in sports. Yeah we're going to talk about it. I know this is astonishing to a lot of people, but this this must be discussed and we're going to discuss it in a in a little bit different way than it's been discussed in the in the mainstream media recently.

First let's define our terms so that we can get all of this, all of this correct. Transgender people are people who identify as a gender different from that gender normally associated with their physical sex at birth.

Is that a reasonable definition you think. I don't think that is controversial in terms of the definition. The interesting definitions begin with what is a trans woman. A trans woman is a male to female gender reassignment. And a trans man is a female to male gender reassignment and this is an interesting way of manipulating the language here.

Gender reassignment surgery means gender reassignment surgery. Now a gender reassignment could be something that a person has done to themselves psychologically. And let me I'm going to operate from from the standpoint here of the of the following definitions. Gender is a psychological construct and physical sex is the biology. Now you may disagree with that and that's fine. But those are the those are the way I'm going to be using terms today. Gender is the psychology. How you identify is psychological.

The interesting thing about this is the way the media has portrayed this controversy and it's very it's a very hot topic recently and we thought long and hard about even dealing with this because this is going to piss so many people off so bad. And some people have already stopped listening. I understand that and that's probably for the best. But for those of you that are still with us we want to talk about this from a little bit different perspective.

Now, let me show you something. I've drawn a little graph here. How does that look in the that all right? I want you to notice that men and women lie along a continuum of physical performance. All right. There are roughly two bell curves. Now the bell curves represent the normal distribution of athletic performance in both men and women. Note that there is a peak in the middle of the bell curve. This is where average occurs, where the majority of the data lies and there at the kurtotic tails of the curve there are outliers - some people who do very badly and some people who are elite athletes. The elite athletes are on the...right hand side of the graph. I'm right left dyslexic. I'm real bad about that so I wanted to make sure of that. So the elite people are on the right and the wombats are on the left, all right, the physical idiots. We all know who we are. Those of us who are physical idiots are not afraid to admit that. And those of us who are physical geniuses, natural athletes, also know who we are.

The vast majority of us are in the middle or at the top of the bell - somewhere along the top of the bell and on the sides of the bell. And I want you to notice the overlap between the two. All right now this representation on this graph is the facts. These are the facts. OK. And furthermore you all know that these are the facts. All right.

Women in general do not perform at the level of men athletically in terms of speed, strength, or any other type of measurement. But in the middle there is some overlap. Some gifted females are better than some ungifted, untalented males. Thus the overlap. We are not pretending that this overlap does not exist. So if you're going to construe that that's the case that's a straw man that I'm not interested in talking about. Because that's not what we're saying is is the actual case. OK. In fact there are a couple of instances in the literature where. Well let's let's don't get into that until we till we get finished with some of the other facts here.

Here's another fact. Testosterone appears in the fetus at eight weeks along. Ok I mentioned this right up front because I want to get out of the way one of the one of the straw man arguments that is that is the predominant argument in the media in this situation. What is what is said over and over and over and over and over again until it's just nauseating and it's repetitive ignorance of the situation is that current levels of testosterone in the body are responsible for current performance levels. This is a this is a factually incorrect statement. There are two effects that testosterone has on the human body. The first effect is that which occurs in utero. At eight weeks post conception testosterone begins to be secreted.

The testosterone secreted in utero has extremely, extremely profound effects on the resulting phenotype after birth. And I think you all know that there are differences, profound differences that result from the the concentrations of testosterone in the fetus. For example, a little boy when he's born having been exposed to very high levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little boy tee tee. A little girl who's been exposed to very very low levels of testosterone in utero comes out with a little girl's tee tee and we're all aware of the fact that boys and girls tee tees are different.

This is how profound the effects of in utero testosterone are. And it is a gigantic serious mistake -- although it's a very popular mistake to make these days where we say that the differences in male and female performance are strictly a function of testosterone that is available right now, today, acute levels of testosterone in the body. Things are changed by in utero testosterone that are far more profound than just the tee tee. OK Dr. Debra Soh has done a lot of very good work dealing with this with this issue from the from the standpoint of psychology, brain development, neuroscience.

And what I'm going to tell you today is that the changes don't stop there. There are neuromuscular efficiency changes that are the result of the in utero exposure to the fetus to testosterone. And these things are responsible for essentially all of the prepubescent differences between little boys and little girls.

Now if you have little boys and little girls and you've got you've got daughters and sons you as parents are aware of the physical differences between these kids when they're three. When they're two sometimes. They're different little creatures and they have not gone into puberty and they do not have elevated levels of hormones, sexual hormones, in their bodies. Nonetheless the sex hormones that were present in utero have produced profound changes in these kids. Those of you ladies that grew up with a bunch of brothers know this already, don't you. You know this to be true. Those of you parents with athletic little boys and athletic little girls know that there are differences between even athletic little boys and athletic little girls. But what's also interesting is is those of you with just boys know that there are differences between the boys that are evident when they were kids when they're little kids, prepubescent kids. One of them is more explosive than the other one of them's quicker. One of them's more agile. One of them plays harder. One of them hits harder than the other. All right.

These differences are attributable to the changes that are produced in utero by sex hormones and specifically by the presence of testosterone. There are of course outliers -- it's important to understand that we are not talking today about intersex people. Now people that didn't make it this far into the discussion have already turned this off and have said that while Rippetoe's talking about he's ignoring that the presence of people in sports that are born between sexes and this does occur. It's not very common but it does occur and there are chromosomal tests for this and in indisputable variations in the predominance of secondary sexual characteristics between some people. But we're not talking about those people. We're talking about people who are born male who decide to identify as female later on in their life.

If you are born male you are born with a more efficient neuromuscular situation. More efficient neuromuscular efficiency, more efficient neuromuscular recruitment, more efficient use of your muscles, than you are if you're born female. This is not my fault. This is just an observation of the fact it's borne out by all of the phenomenology. Ok.

First off we'd like to discuss standing vertical jump test numbers. Now the standing vertical jump is an interesting test that is pretty much a direct measurement of the genetic endowment for neuromuscular efficiency. What the standing vertical jump measures is the difference in the height of the upraised hand -- one upraised hand when standing flat footed on the ground -- and the height that that upraised hand is carried to at the top of a flat footed jump with no step. The standing vertical jump is performed by reaching down to the bottom of the range of motion that is represents the most efficient stretch reflex for the hips and legs, and leaving the ground, and measuring the distance between the top of the hand at the, at the difference between the top and the hand from the standing position to the position in which the jump carried you up in the air. In other words it is a direct measurement of your ability to accelerate your body's mass off the ground -- your body's mass off the ground -- which occurred on the concentric portion, during the concentric portion of the upward part of the jump. A counter movement jump lasts a half second and the last half of that movement pattern is the concentric part that extends the knees and the hips. And the force expanded during that concentric movement upward is the is the part of the of the movement that takes place in about a quarter of the second during which all of the force production machinery that you can recruit into contraction is recruited into contraction and the distance it carries your body mass up in the air is a direct measurement of the efficiency with which you were able to contract your muscles in a very short period of time.

This is a direct measurement of explosion and this is why the NFL includes the standing vertical jump test and its combine battery of tests. They want to know who they're hiring. They want to know that the genetic endowment for rapid, efficient, neuromuscular recruitment of motor units into contraction that they're hiring. They don't hire people with a 22 inch standing vertical jump, they hire people with a 36 inch standing vertical jump. Now there are exceptions to this in terms of field position but the vast majority of professional football players have got very good vertical jumps which means they're over 32. The average standing vertical jump for a male -- and by average I mean young men in college who were tested for this sort of thing, not old guys like me but young men in college -- is twenty two inches. That's the average. In contrast the average female standing vertical jump is 14 inches.

Now, we use the standing vertical jump test because the standing vertical jump test is not really trainable. It's very simple, there's not any technique to learn, you just reach down and jump up. It can't be gamed. It can't be improved much without quite a bit of strength training, but the most important thing about this is is that even the best strength training program in the world will only improve a standing vertical jump test 20-25 percent at most and it's far more common to see improvements of 10 to 15 percent. In other words this thing is not trainable. This thing called neuromuscular efficiency is not trainable to any significant degree. To the extent it is trainable it is improved by the increase in force production that is provided by an effective strength program. But the difference between the average men's 22 inch standing vertical jump and the average women's 14 inch standing vertical jump is an extremely important piece of data.

Now, if you look at the records the outstanding records for this thing the men's record for standing vertical jump was set in a combine, in an NFL combine back I believe in 2015. Meanwhile since we looked this up I think it was back in 2015 guy jumped a forty- six inch vertical on a Vertek. I mean a real, actual, no shit forty-six-inch standing vertical jump which is insane but he did it. The only women's record that I've been able to locate was a twenty-nine and a half performed by a female thrower, I believe, or a sprinter. I can't remember her actual sport, but it was at OSU and that's been about 15 years ago. Twenty nine and a half.

Now let's look at these numbers. Twenty nine and a half, the women's record, exceeds the men's average by quite a bit doesn't it, by seven and a half inches. OK. But if you look at her twenty-nine and a half and you compare that to his 46 what you see is roughly the same percentage between average and record in both sexes. This is explained almost entirely by the in utero changes that are produced by testosterone before birth. In other words if we give a female anabolic steroids and testosterone it doesn't appreciably affect her standing vertical jump at all, all right. Now keep that in mind as we go through the nonsense that we're hearing in the media these days about this sort of thing. Ok.

And furthermore if right before I leave this topic I'd like to I'd like to point out the fact that there are differences in the way men and women can recruit motor units, based on this data that I that I presented to you, indicates that there are profound differences in the way that women respond to physical stress and the way women adapt to physical stress. Now this is something I know something about. I've trained women for decades. And if you don't understand as a trainer that women and men respond differently to weight training stimuli, then you're not an effective coach. I am an effective coach and I know this and we handle them differently because we have to. Politics aside, we have to. OK.

Now let me. I've prepared some little copier things here for you today. And I want to start with an article here that we pulled off NPR. It ran in December about. Patricio Manuel who is the first openly transgender man -- which means a female to male transgendered person -- to box professionally in the US. Patricio won the bout with the male opponent in the men's division. And this is notable because this is the only instance I have been able to find of a transgender male -- transgender, a trans man, a female to male gender transition -- competing in the men's division. This is a super welterweight boxer and Patricio did in fact win this match. And it is it's interesting to me that that's the only one of these I could find.

Far more common, far more common, infinitely more common, are some of the following data points. The U.S. Olympic women's hockey team back in 2014 was preparing for the Sochi Olympics by competing with boys. With boys teams. This is an article from January 12th, 2014 and one of the one of the girls on the team said "It's very physical the guys are very fast. It's a good way to see what we're going to play in Sochi. This is a teenage boys team they're practicing. This is important. They know something, don't they. They know something.

Let's go back in history to tennis to some tennis matches and I think most of you will remember some of these things. This is an article about four tennis matches. From First which was the first match between Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court when 55 year old Bobby Riggs overcame Margaret Court, a much younger athlete in straight sets in 1973. This made the news back then it was a big deal.

This was a great big deal back in nineteen and nineteen hundred and seventy...when the hell was the date on this...Riggs versus King well they omit the date. I don't remember the actual date. It's also in the 70s because because Bobby Riggs was still full of himself. Now Billie Jean beat him in that in that match. Billie Jean Beat him in the match. Bobby Riggs was not a pro. He was a loud mouth and a funny guy, but he got his ass handed to him by Billie Jean King. OK.

More recently than that, back in 1993, Jimmy Connors played Martina Navratilova in a similar exhibition match. OK this is a...this was interesting. This was interesting because the game was played under to quote from the article "hybrid rules" as Connors was permitted only one serve for each point and his opponent Martina was allowed to play the ball into half of the doubles court. So they changed the rules a little bit because...I wonder why they did that? Because they knew what was going to happen. And in fact what happened was Connors beat her 7-5 in the first set and then 6-2 in the second set to win the match. Both of them got a million bucks. Cool.

I always liked Martina. Martina's hot. And I just was I was always a big fan of her. And this was a good, this was a good match. And Martina great tennis player. And she's she is ...was just a groundbreaker in several aspects of her career and in social issues after she got through.

Even more recently. In 1998, Serena Williams played a German tennis player Karsten Braasch. He was ranked two hundred and third in the world. And I don't know what possessed her to do this but she claimed apparently, she made a claim that, Serena and Venus claimed that no man no male player outside the top 200 could beat them. The 200 third ranked player in the world beat her 6-1, Serena, and then 6-2, Venus. Immediately. After. One guy played two people, same day beat, them both and this is significant.

It's significant because she made this very interesting statement Serena said, "I didn't know it would be that difficult. I played shots that would have been winners on the women's circuit and he got to them very easily.".

Now, those of you could have been paying attention to this or understand that there have been several instances of Women's World Cup soccer teams playing high school boys and getting beat. Here's one in Sweden. The Women's National Swedish team played a boys team -- and these are under 17 year old boys. Within 30 minutes the boys had plucked one goal from the women reading from the article now: Despite Sundhage asking (the coach) asking the boys team to take out one of its defenders and play with only 10 players on the field which they did. They took one of the players, one of the defensemen ,off of the field. They still got beat.

One of the one of the girls said "I wasn't told about that until after the game." She didn't count the boys on the field during the game. They they got beat 3-0. The boys beat him 3-0. This is the women's National Team.

The U.S. women's team in the United States here, played in 2015 -- winners of the, they were the World Cup Champions in 2015, winners of multiple gold medals -- played the MLS Academy squad in Dallas, an under-15 team. And were beaten by three goals.

And the famous case in Australia just recently. The Australian women's national team, the Matildas, lost 7-0 to an under-15 boys squad in Australia.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: Regardless of whether they won or lost though. The national team went and played with high school kids. Why? Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. Yes.

Nick Delgadillo:
Nick Delgadillo: It doesn't matter if they won or they lost.

Mark Rippetoe:
Mark Rippetoe: It really doesn't. What matters is that they decided to do this. It matters that they decided to play a boys team under-15. The women's National Team decided that that was a reasonable thing to go do.

They know, don't they. They know. All right.

But. You know look I don't want this thing to come off as me yelling and screaming at transgender people or women or men or anybody else. What I am irritated about to the point of distraction is the fact that the media and politicians, these catfish bottom feeders, are taking this situation and twisting it for political purposes. That's what pisses me off, all right. Because once again ladies and gentlemen, you know as well as I do that men and women have different physical capacities. You know as well as I do that that is the case and this stuff right here that I am about to show you is a lie agreed upon. Those of you that are Deadwood fans recognize that as the title of the third, the fourth episode series. It applies here -- a lie agreed upon.

Listen to this. Here's a piece from The Washington Post. All right. This ran on August the 8th 2016. The IOC has decided that testosterone levels at the time of competition are the only critical factor here in Rio. Quoting now: "transgender men, female to male athletes, will be allowed to compete without any restrictions (based on the sexist assumption, I suppose that trans men could never dominate their sports). Trans women, meanwhile, [this is male to female] are no longer required to undergo gender reassignment surgery to compete in female divisions and the previously mandated to your weight after transitioning has been jettisoned." And it's irrelevant, for reasons we've already discussed. "To compete a trans woman is required only to declare her gender as female and have testosterone levels comparable to or below those of cis gendered women (cis gender refers folks whose biological sex matches their gender identity which is the opposite of transgender)." This is the IOC and people in the media will point to should we say it the..."moral authority" of the International Olympic Committee to make a ruling like this.

You've heard of organizations being wrong before haven't you. That happens. I think you could find a couple of instances of that taking place without having to think too terribly hard about it, now can't you. If you don't think the IOC is subject to politics, you're very young. Ok.

Here is an, here's an interesting piece from The Nation titled "Transphobia's new target is the world of sports" by one Dave Zirin: "There's another argument against allowing trans athletes to compete with cis gender athletes that suggests that their presence hurts cis women and cis girls," Now by hurt do you mean injured like what happened to the girl that fought Fallon Fox in the UFC. That kind of hurt? "But this line of thought doesn't acknowledge that trans women are in fact women." That is that italicized in the piece "they are in fact women."

Once again I'm not concerned with gender. I'm concerned with physical sex. Gender is none of my business, absolutely none of my business, pronouns are none of my business. Physical sex directly affects the way we train and perform as women or men. And that's all there is to it. And all the saying it's not true doesn't make it true. It is a lie agreed upon. Don't agree with it anymore. OK. Please.

"The fundamental argument of the Daily Caller and its ilk it raises this reality with the ugliest in the ugliest possible fashion sport is one of the worst domains for institutionalized discrimination against trans people. Current conversations around fairness in Sport Center on women's sports only and are often steeped in paternalistic language around protecting female athletes." This is an interesting sentence.

Let's look at sports in general and we're going to talk more about this in a minute. There are men's and women's divisions in every sport that is played in the world. There are men's and women's billiards, men's and women's golf, tennis. Everything in the Olympics is men's and women's. This is the phenomenology.

Do you seriously believe that hundreds of years of observation the hundreds of years of observation that have led there to be women's and men's divisions are somehow wrong now because politically we're concerned about this? "These conversations are damaging because the underlying assumptions are inherently sexist that female athletes are always inferior to men's athlete to male athletes so we must police women's sports in order to protect women." Well, they are women's sports, right.

"Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology and especially hormones as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case." And I'm going to read this again because it's such preposterous nonsense. I don't understand how the typewriter actually worked here, to actually type this bizarre, stupid statement.

"Additionally we continue to see an overemphasis on biology." You know the kind that results in short people and tall people and big people and small people and weak people and strong people. An overemphasis on that kind of biology and especially hormones the kind that result in a little boy tee tees and little girl tee tees in utero "as the dominating factor in athleticism which we know is not the case." And when we say which we know is not the case you're supposed to agree with that lie, aren't you?

Don't do it. Don't agree with a lie. You know it's a lie. See the he thing that runs through all of these things I've got here on the desk. All the, all these things I've got here on the desk I don't really even need to read them to you is the complete ignorance, willful ignorance, of the fact that testosterone starts changing a human from eight weeks post conception all through their life. And in fact, that although testosterone is an extremely powerful hormone its greatest effects are exerted in utero. Not in adults. All of the physical sexual differences that manifest themselves in an adult have the stage set for them in utero before the individual is born. And all these people are doing are talking about current measurable testosterone levels. That is a lie.

It's interesting to me that Renee Richards who was the first transgender athlete to really be in the news has said, reading from this article: "decades later Richards would grow ambivalent about her place in women's sports wondering herself whether she did enjoy an advantage over cis-gender women. In 2012 she told Slate, 'There is one thing that a transsexual woman unfortunately cannot be expect to be allowed to do and that is to play professional sports in her chosen field. She can get married, live as a woman, do all of these other things and no one should ever be allowed to take them away from her. But this limitation that's just life. I know because I lived it.' And it also says those who followed in her footsteps are living a different truth (an interesting choice of terms) and drawing different conclusion.

I've got I've got several other things here that I've. And this is easy to find online. You can go in and research it if you want to. But we're we're beating this to death. And and what I really want to what I really want to say is is about this. OK. The upshot of this thing is that you have heard about this more in the past couple of years because now it is politically convenient. Politicians are interested in this. And anytime that happens, things turn to shit quickly.

And this was in the news last week, headline: "234 House Democrats and two Republicans co-sponsor a bill forcing schools to let male athletes compete on girls sports teams. Every House Democrat but one who sponsored a bill co-sponsored a bill requiring schools to allow male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete on female sports teams. And one Sarah Warbelow director of the left wing Human Rights Campaign says she praised the bill's impact on high school sports and written testimony submitted to a House subcommittee on Tuesday. Warbelow wrote, "Opponents of equality and athletics for transgender athletes have argued that girls who are transgender have an unfair physiological advantage over cis-gendered girls and as a result will dominate women's competitive sports." Warbelow wrote: Calling it not rooted in fact, not rooted in fact that biologically male athletes will outperform their female counterparts not rooted in fact.".

A lie. Being agreed upon by two hundred and four thirty four people in the House of Representatives in the United States.

We have one Jerry Nadler: says arguments about transgender athletes participating in sports in accordance with their gender identity having competitive advantages have not been borne out, Nadler said in his opening statement. Apparently ignorant of the fact that every organized sport in the world has men's and women's divisions for some bizarre reason, right Jerry? This is frankly rather nauseating.

And another one of the other things they're saying about why this is all bullshit is because it's not going to be true that men are going to declare themselves transgender to run over to the women's division and compete and win and win a bunch of money and you know hundreds of billions of dollars in prize money and stuff and then run back to being a male later on. They're all worried about that. We're not worried about it. They're worried about that happening. They're saying it's not going to happen. I couldn't agree more. Of course it's not going to happen.

That's not the point. That's not the point. Here's the point. Your daughters and your wives and your sisters and your cousins and your female relatives who may decide they'd like to compete in a sport run the risk with this kind of an attitude about this of having scholarships and championships taken away from them by this politics.

You don't like that and I don't like it. And nobody likes it except the two hundred and thirty four -- except this man right here. And he didn't like it either he's just playing along. He's lying. He's agreeing with the lie and it's...this has to stop at some point or we are going to have problems with the whole idea of sports and what winning means and what competition means. And what is going to eventually happen anytime we set up a competitive venue and we decide that some people can't compete with other people because it's unfair.

Now probably the the most stark examples of this are sports and where in which explosive power is extremely important. Olympic weightlifting, for example, is extremely important upon neuromuscular...dependent upon neuromuscular efficiency. Men are more neuromuscularly efficient than women. If women are going to be forced to compete with congenital men, they're going to lose. This has been demonstrated several times already. Maybe not every time, but the vast majority of the time, and exceptions don't make this wrong, don't make this analysis wrong.

If there is a solution to this it is the one that that we've come up with for the United States Strengthlifting federation. The USSF is the Federation that we've come up with to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift. It is not powerlifting. There are numerous extremely different sets of rules in place between strengthlifting and powerlifting. We are not powerlifters, but we've come up with a contest that allows people to contest the squat, the press, and the deadlift and the most interesting aspect of these rules is found on page 1 of the general rules of strengthlifting. This is available at .org. I'm sorry US Strengthlifting dot com is dot com.

Rule number six. divisions. Open, not men's but open. There is an open division which consists of congenital males, transgender, non-binary, and intersex lifters. That's the Open division. B) the Women's division, congenital females. C) the Masters division, lifters who turned 40 years old or older during calendar year in which the event is held and the Juniors, lifters who turn between the ages of 14 and 20 during the calendar year in which the event is held. Lifters under the age of 14 may guest lift in a USSF- sanctioned event where their parent or guardian blah blah.

What's critical here is Open and Women's. Open is congenital males and transgender individuals and non binary individuals and intersex lifters and Women is restricted to congenital females. So in other words there's an Open division and a restricted division.

You may enter any division that you are eligible to enter. Everyone has a competitive opportunity in the USSF. Everyone can compete in the Open division. Women can compete in the Open division. Anybody that wants to can compete in the Open division. But only congenital females can can compete in the Women's division. This keeps things fair. This allows a competitive outlet for everyone who wants to enter a strengthlifting meet.

Strength meats are going to be very very big in the future. They're coming up in popularity and. People appreciate the fact that you don't ever get killed on the bench press in a strike lifting me. So as this grows in popularity more people are going to be exposed to the idea that divisions need to accommodate all of these all these circumstances that we've talked about so far. And I think strength lifting is ahead of the curve on this.

Give it a look if you want women to have competitive opportunities in sports. This situation is going to have to be resolved and it's going to need to be resolved soon before a whole bunch of people get discouraged. And I would suggest that the responsibility for solving this problem lies on squarely in the lap of the people that are going to be most adversely affected by it and that's women athletes. There is so much, much at stake here and there is...I mean if you consider sports to be important.

And I'll be perfectly honest with you -- I'm not a sports fan and I don't think it's that big a deal. I'm in the business of making people strong and I'd rather make your grandmother strong than your 17 year old daughter who's trying to get a scholarship go to college. I'm interested in in the practical aspects of strength training not the not the competitive athletics aspects of strength and I don't really care about sports. But many of you are very very concerned about who won the game. Right.

And for those of you that are concerned with women's participation in sports. You guys had better get this thing straightened out or you're going to lose it. Because your daughter might want the opportunity to run in the state track meet and actually win because she's the fastest woman in the field. And I you know I think you need to give some serious consideration to this but as I said before I think the women are we're gonna be the ones that need to need to carefully consider what side of this they're going to come down on and then take a stand about it because they're the ones whose careers are at stake.

It will disappoint me terribly if they don't do so because of fear of retribution from these pieces of shit. all right. From politicians and the media because that's who's the problem here.

You and I know the reality of the situation but we're being lied to and you are being expected to agree with that lie. Don't do it. Don't agree with the lie. It is a lie. And you know it's a lie. Don't behave as though you don't. But as I know and you know that it's a lie.

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After introducing the podcast and giving Starting Strength news updates, Mark Rippetoe discusses the issue of trans women competing in women's sports.

  • 00:00 Introduction to the podcast
  • 04:11 News - Gyms, Translations, Audiobooks, Weightlifting boot, Coach Prep Course, Seminars
  • 28:22 Trans Women in Women's Sports


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