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Strength and The Media | Starting Strength Radio #18

Mark Rippetoe | August 23, 2019

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Mark Rippetoe:
You know, they can't say it if it's not true.

Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas... From the finest mind in the 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 back to Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
If I seem less than excited to be here today, it is because we are going to talk about a rather tiresome subject that I'm not excited about having to deal with. And that will be strength and conditioning - and exercise in general -in the media.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's tiresome. It's aggravating. These people just don't seem to be getting any better over time and it just aggravates me to have to even address this, but I think it's important to arm you with a suitable level of cynicism so that when you hear the silly-ass things about what we do, you immediately recognize that they are silly-ass things and don't take them seriously. And will take it upon yourselves subsequently to express your cynicism to people you know, so that they can begin to think twice before listening to anything in the media.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is actually true of just everything in media. The whole damn thing is a propaganda organization. But especially the lifestyle sections where all these exercise pieces tend to end up. Just amazing. It just amazes me that they're still in existence.

Mark Rippetoe:
But first...Comments from the Haters! This is our favorite section of the podcast.

Mark Rippetoe:
Chris Paredes writes, "Closet homosexuals, especially Rip, aka 'bear the senior citizen.'" I don't understand that either, it's a sentence fragment.

Mark Rippetoe:
Homosexuals is how I should have to pronounced it, because I think that Chris is probably from South Carolina. "Closet homosexuals, especially Rip, aka 'bear the senior citizen.'" Do you have any idea what the hell he's talking about? This is in response to me and Mike.

[off-camera]:
I think he's implying that you're a bear.

Mark Rippetoe:
He thinks I'm a bear?

[off-camera]:
I think that's the implication.

Mark Rippetoe:
Is that what it is? All right. Well, I....

[off-camera]:
Bear the senior citizen

Mark Rippetoe:
Bear the senior citizen, OK?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hey, Rip bottom 3 percent of YouTube commenters, checking in. If what you're saying about functional training being a waste of time is true, then how come my squat went up ten pounds [Rip laughs] one sixty five to one to seventy five after squatting on a bosu ball with a kettlebell for 2 months? [Rip starts laughing again]

Mark Rippetoe:
He was the know why squat went up ten pounds in two months, from 165 to 175. I don't know trihard. Maybe that was a loading error on your part. You probably just misloaded that 175.

[off-camera]:
What was the rest of the bear senior citizen comment?

Mark Rippetoe:
That was it. The bear senior citizen...it's a sentence fragment. That's it. There wasn't anything else there. I'm looking at the whole damn thing right here. That's it. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, here is here's something from our friend, Democrats are cunts. "Functional training is a waste the same way that strength training is. Humans don't need strength in day to day life. If you want to bring up the elderly component than [sic] than aim it at elderly people instead of acting like sets of 5 is better than cardio for the obese. That it's better than heart medication or better than steroids. It's not necessary, you've turned a hobby into a life cornerstone and are complaining that other people did the same."

Mark Rippetoe:
[Laughs] Hard to argue with that.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Old news, Mark, how about some scientific evidence? Functional training helps my balance, activates sleepy muscles and makes training much more interesting. Why the hate?"

Mark Rippetoe:
See "hate" is 2019 talk for "disagreement." Anytime you disagree you're "hating." But you all knew that.

[off-camera]:
Did he type in the "ehhh.".

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no, I added that. I added that. That's what announcers do.

Mark Rippetoe:
They just say "The human will always think what they are genetically good at is the way. That's why fat people will go to a seminar by a fat guy. It's easier than making changes to your lifestyle." That's Randy Gravel commenting on, I guess, YouTube.

[off-camera]:
This is got to be the top one percent of the bottom three percent.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is the top 1 percent of the bottom 3 percent.

[off-camera]:
Getting pretty good.

Mark Rippetoe:
What's the math on that? That makes them like top one percent of the bottom 3 percent. That's like three people. In the world.

[off-camera]:
It's more like...

Mark Rippetoe:
That's a rarefied shitting thing isn't it?

[off-camera]:
It's more like two and a half billion. [laughter]

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, this is a good one. Terbyn says, "He says 'core' like a waiter in a fine restaurant would pronounce 'ketchup.'"

Mark Rippetoe:
[Laughter] Oh, shit. That's good. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's it for Comments for the Haters! for this week.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay. Now, I mean, get it out of here. All right. Now back to our topic.

Mark Rippetoe:
Today, we're going to talk about the media and exercise, strength and conditioning, this sort of thing. What we do. And the media's relationship to what we do.

Mark Rippetoe:
I think that it is absolutely accurate to say that as a general rule, as a general observation, the media has absolutely no idea about anything they're talking about. Anything whatsoever. The media doesn't even understand the media. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And when you when you get a bunch of people with four year degrees in mass comm and journalism and you get them jobs at a local news station and these people graduate eventually to regional outlets, and then finally they end up on NBC Nightly News, you have a bunch of people who are exceedingly impressed with their own qualifications while having absolutely no appreciation for the fact that they don't know what the fuck they are talking about. And they never do learn what the fuck they're talking about.

Mark Rippetoe:
They've been a bunch of places and they've been on airplanes and they've been in foreign countries. And without exception, when they go to these places to report, they are handed a bunch of shit to read and they read it and then they get back on the airplane and come home. And they don't learn a goddamn thing.

Mark Rippetoe:
It has been everybody's common experience that when they read an article or they see a news... a news report about a subject that they themselves are intimately familiar with. Let's say you you see an article in the newspaper on something like a plumbing, right. And you're a plumber, right? You read the article about plumbing and the... and you get through with the article, and by the end of the article, you are saying to yourself, "You know, there's not one single thing in that article that's actually true about plumbing, because I'm a plumber. I've been doing plumbing for 30 years and I understand plumbing intimately. And I've just read an 800 word piece on plumbing that contains no verifiable factual information. Everything about it was wrong."

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is the case for everyone who has an intimate knowledge of a subject. It is especially the case for us in this business. The sports media, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the other sports media outlets around the country and around the world lead the way in disinformation, a lack of understanding, a failure to verify and making a movie script out of what should be a simple factual report.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it's just absolutely it's insane. All of the stories follow the same formula. They start off talking about Bob Smith, who did a thing. And Bob Smith, after he did this thing, makes this observation. And then the next paragraph, they start in with their interpretation of what that thing is all about. And then they spend the rest of the article generalizing that thing to what you should do about that thing or what you should know about that thing and how this thing is important to you. And that's the formula. It's repeated over and over and over. And I just absolutely amazing how these people can stick to this bizarre format and and report things that are just patent absolute bullshit.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. Now, lest I be accused of lying to you about this sort of thing, we have a collection of little things here on the table. Now, since this is a podcast and and since I'm not going to play a bunch of videotape for you and embedded in this podcast because, you know, copyright problems in this sort of thing, I'm just going to read it's going to read to you a group of articles and I'll make some observations about these things as we go along and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

Now. Here is the first thing that I've chosen. Here's the first thing that I've chosen to point out to you. This is an article about a gym that's making NBA players "even more athletic than they already are." It's written by gentleman by the name of Andrew Heffernan, who has the "gold standard" certification, the CSCS, from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

The thing that grabs my attention first is this picture. [Picture is displayed in the video] Now we're showing you this picture so you'll you'll notice something immediately. And this is an interesting an interesting thing that the media always does. They are showing you a picture here of an emaciated, tall, insect-like individual who is apparently a basketball player, basketball players being primarily tall these days. And the man has very low body fat and visible abs. He has very low muscle mass, too, but you don't know that because you're in the general public, see, and you're not supposed to understand that more muscle mass is apparent as physical size. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
But once again, this picture reinforces what you, as a member of the general public are supposed to think about talented athletes is they all have abs. Abs equal "athletic" to the media. An athlete is always going to have abs according to the media, because that looks athletic. And the media is primarily about image now, isn't it?

Mark Rippetoe:
The media seeks to create a visual impression of everything and especially the electronic media. They show you photographs and videotape and pictures of things that they want you to embed in your little brain. And the most important thing that you can take away from the media with respect to sports and athletics is that athletes have abs. Despite the fact that that's not always the case at all. And sometimes is the case, but it's but it's the presence of abs does not also indicate the presence of athleticism.

Mark Rippetoe:
I've seen... I've known bodybuilders that were physical idiots that had razor abs, but we're barely capable of doing squats without falling down.

Mark Rippetoe:
But this is a this is a very cultivated approach by the media because they are selling you something. They're selling you an image, every time the media is in operation, they are selling you an image that you are supposed to internalize and stop questioning. And this image is no different.

Mark Rippetoe:
The story itself is functional training, basically. "Nearly half the players in the NBA spend part of their off season in an unassuming building in Santa Barbara, California looking to gain an edge. It's an unassuming building." This is important. The building is unassuming.

Mark Rippetoe:
"It's the home of the peak performance project" which is referred to as P3 because in 2019, if your acronym has a letter repeated, if there's a letter or two, if there's alliteration in the acronym, we we assign the number of times the the letter is repeated to the acronym. So we don't have to say "P P P," we say "P three."

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is this is...this happens a lot. Friend of mine had a place in Florida called Harbour City Cross Fit, which is H C C, so it became HC2. Would seem like an interesting place to save money. Anyway, that's what he did with that. But yet it was cutting edge, man. That was back in like 2010.

Mark Rippetoe:
So the NBA, of course, is... Oh, I don't know. I'm kind of prejudiced. I don't like basketball and I like to watch. It's a bunch of tall people, you know, jogging up and down a court shooting at a hoop in the air. And, you know, occasionally some athletic shit happens under the hoop down there. But I'm just not interested in basketball any more than I am in any other competitive sport.

Mark Rippetoe:
Really, that's a failing I've got. Makes it really difficult to have a conversation in a bar, you know, because everybody wants to talk about sports in a bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know what? One of the most fun things to do is, Nick? Is you go to a sports bar. You know, this is what you do. This is fun. You end up at a sports bar accidentally. Right. And the game is on, right? The game. And there's another the game on over here. And then there's a third. The game on over here.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you've got you've got guys tables sitting around that are actually interested in the outcome of the game. Right. And somebody will score or something. Right. And they' go "YEAAAAAAAH!" They'll actually get emotional and shit about what they see on the game.

Mark Rippetoe:
You join in with them. So they start screaming and yelling. You just start screaming and yelling, too even though you haven't got the slightest idea what's going on. The sports announcer goes "And he scores!" which is what sports announcers always say. "And he score!" right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And then the guys at the table go, "Yeah!" And you go, "Yeah, fuckin A right! God almighty! Yeah. How about them cowboys!"

[off-camera]:
And then you just go home?

Mark Rippetoe:
No, you just go back to your cheeseburger and your beer. But you get that, you get to have the the satisfaction of yelling and screaming in a bar and without any repercussions whatsoever. And it's just all kinds of fun. Try it sometime.

[off-camera]:
I will.

Mark Rippetoe:
You'll enjoy it. Yeah. It's a release. Just like it is for them. They get to misbehave in public because...the game. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
So anyway, these guys are in the NBA and we're going to make them more athletic. We're gonna make people more athletic at this gym in sunny Santa Barbara, California with their unassuming building. And what they're gonna do is do a bunch of stuff in there that's, you know... they've got motion sensing computers. They've got something called "moves."

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's another thing. When it exercises start being "moves." You notice this moves...

[off-camera]:
That's your generation's fault. Aerobics was move moves. All moves.

Mark Rippetoe:
The media has turned exercises into moves. If you look at any magazine, any website with that that is describing new ways to stand on one leg on a bosu ball with a dumbbell in the wrong hand and wave it around in the air. This is a "move" now and this is what the media has done to us. Moves. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
So these guys are doing moves in this unassuming building and it makes you more athletic.

Mark Rippetoe:
I would submit that if you are going to hire a man to play in the NBA and pay him millions of dollars, he needs to already be athletic and that trying to make him more athletic in his third season might be an indication that he didn't need to be hired in the first place.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I would say that it is probably true that if you've got a 25 year old professional athlete, he's already proven he's athletic and it might be better to just go and getting stronger because we know how to do that, because believe it or not, you're not going to making more athletic than he already is. But this is popular now.

Mark Rippetoe:
"It's called Po Goes, you jump repeatedly upward on both feet as if on a pogo stick, aiming to get off the ground quickly on each rep." This makes you more athletic, see? Or the single leg iso calf. Did you know that it improves sprint speed, ankle stability and flexibility? You didn't know that, did you?

Mark Rippetoe:
Course they don't tell you how much it improves your sprint speed. They just assert that it does.

Mark Rippetoe:
And you're doing some kind of isometric calf plantar flexion looking thing. Complexes... what it does "improves explosiveness and overall athleticism." Yes, you can "improve explosiveness by doing 3 to 5 1/2 squats with a heavy weight then immediately do three to five broad jumps. Do three sets of five like this resting fully between each set. The half squat, a strength move, is a great way to improve jumping performance for an NBA player."

Mark Rippetoe:
It's in the media. This appeared in Men's Health. And you know, they can't say it if it's not true. That's an important thing to remember. They can't say it if it's not true. It's what I've learned growing up.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. Yoga is a big part of Valley View football strength and conditioning program. All right now this is I don't...for some reason I don't have the source of this. It was somewhere on the Internet.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yoga is a big part of Valley View football, strength and conditioning program. Yoga. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, listen, I'm going to read you a quote from a yoga instructor by the name of Talia Walsh. She says, "Inhale roll forward through your spine to a plank. Keep shoulders over the wrists. If you need to walk your feet back make sure your hips are out of the sky if you can. We are going to flow through our vinyassa. Exhale. Swan dive hands to the floor. Walk yourself forward to a plank. Again," said Talia.

Mark Rippetoe:
Again. She said. So this is this is some pretty football specific shit.

Mark Rippetoe:
"The yoga here is geared toward reduction of injury, increased flexibility and breathing techniques to help decompress. It's working in Peckville. Valley View has won back to back District 2 for A titles for head coach George Howenitz."

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, I bring this to your attention and I want you to pay close attention to the way I read this to you. I'm not so much irritated that yoga is being taught to football players instead of strength training. And in reality, I don't know, this may go along with her heavy squats and deadlifts. I doubt it very seriously. But this is literally the way this article is written. The journalism is so bad.

Mark Rippetoe:
The person who wrote this, Steve Lloyd, does not know how to punctuate the written English language. It's full of syntax errors and it's just... it doesn't get any better. I'm not going to read any more of it to you, but it doesn't get any better.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is what I'm talking about. You got people with a four year degree in mass communications or journalism, which are not terribly difficult degrees to get. And they are now in charged with communicating to the population. And we are having our standards lowered by these people.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is this is this is just a general observation about the media. You've got you've got a whole bunch of of low end people that everybody else is actually paying attention to. And this is harmful.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is just not a this is not a useful thing to do. It is a... It's it's, you know, it's okay to write like this? and communicate like this? Well, no wonder all of the things they're telling us are vapid nonsense. Right. Because you're just you're not dealing with competent people here.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's one, here's an example: "How building more muscle can help you live longer" And this piece is by one Elizabeth Millard. And she says, "According to a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, older adults with low levels of muscle mass in their arms and legs are more likely to die early than those with more muscle. And adding resistance training to your workouts when you are younger can help build a muscle baseline that can protect you as you age."

Mark Rippetoe:
And she goes on to talk about sarcopenia and, you know, appendicular versus axial muscle mass this sort of thing. It's words she got out of the journal article that she doesn't understand. [mumbling] "Previous studies have linked mortality to visceral fat, particularly around midsection. Having weaker arms and legs can make people more prone to falls and fractures. This is especially true if they have both sarcopenia and osteoporosis." Which are hand in hand, of course.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this study, this paper, this article about a paper, which is typically what all these things are, is... a journal article will come out and the journalist will read it and decide to write a piece about it because it's easy to write a piece about another piece. And they'll misinterpret half the stuff in the piece.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I can promise you that if I was to go to the journal article that she would have screwed most of this up just because that's just what they do.

Mark Rippetoe:
But but this is just one more article in very long series of articles that says that building more muscle can help you live longer. That's what all of them say. Now, we already know that. We already know that.

Mark Rippetoe:
What is always left out of these articles is how. Resistance training. And if they illustrate this, they'll take some 3 pound pink dumbbells and just put a picture of three pound pink dumbbells on the front of this article. And that's resistance training. And no one learned anything they didn't already know. But the girl got paid for the piece.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that's just fine I suppose. I don't guess it hurts anything. Repeat over and over and over again that resistance training, something called resistance training, is good for longevity and is good for things. But they never tell us what we actually need to know is STRENGTH is what resistance training must improve if resistance training is going to be of benefit. They always omit that part of it.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I'm not quite sure why. But they're... all of these things about resistance training all have this thing in common. They're reluctant to just come right out and say you need to get stronger and you need to program that stronger into this into this approach of resistance training that you're trying to... trying to into this approach to resistance training you're trying to effect.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that stronger means more weight lifted. They won't say that. They don't seem to understand or they're afraid to say it for reasons that I'm not quite sure about.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is an interesting one. This is from Science Daily, it's on the internet. You've probably seen it linked to from several places and it continues this same tradition: "One or the other. Why strength training might come at the expense of endurance muscles."

Mark Rippetoe:
Why strength training might come at the expense of endurance muscles. If you do strength training, these people are asserting that you lose slow twitch if you strength train. And this thing was published on July 25th of this year and... the... what they call the summary, which is probably their summary of the abstract of the paper. "The neurotransmitter brain derived neurotrophic factor BDNF acts in the muscles so that during strength training, endurance muscle fiber number is decreased. Researchers are more closely investigating this factor from the group of myokines and demonstrated that it is produced by the muscle and act.. and acts on both muscles and synapses. This results... the results also provide new insights into age-related muscle atrophy.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, this is interesting in that the implication here is that endurance muscle is as important to older people as strength muscle. "Endurance muscle fiber" they name that they don't really name the other kinds. This is obviously slow twitch versus fast, which this sort of thing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why is it that they are of the opinion that endurance muscle, that slow twitch is even as important as fast twitch muscle, in terms of your daily things you do with your muscles as you get older? Is an 80 year old person in a marathon as well off during the day as an 80 year old power lifter?

Mark Rippetoe:
This is something to contemplate, isn't it? They're both 80. They're both active. Which of these two is more competent physically? The one that engages in short range of motion running, who has, you know... Tou talk about sarcopenia, an 80 year old marathon runner is fairly sarcopenic. Whereas an 80 year old lifter, kind of still looks like a human, you know.

Mark Rippetoe:
I think it's it's obviously going to be our position that an 80 year old guy who's stronger than a marathon runner is probably more useful than that's a marathon runner. But the thrust of this article is completely the opposite.

Mark Rippetoe:
They're lamenting the fact that if you get strong, you lose endurance muscles. Or something like that, and I just don't...

Mark Rippetoe:
Once again, the... And here's the other here's another general observation. And I probably should've mentioned this earlier.

There are several basic assumptions that the media makes. Abs are athletic. Right. And that exercise is counted in minutes, minutes of exercise. Now this they get this from the the the academics who far outnumber - the endurance academics that far outnumber the the lifting academics - and exercise in most journal articles are referred to as... When you quantify exercise, you're talking about minutes of exercise. Exercise is therefore presumed to be endurance. Running is exercise. In the media, a tri-athlete - the guy that swims and rides a bike and runs - hat's the pinnacle of athleticism. In the media. The marathon is the pinnacle of the expression of human athleticism, human athletic capacity, physical endurance, as opposed to physical strength is the thing the media worships above all else.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is constantly reinforced in all this pile of articles I have got in front of me. And this is you... You are subjected to this information all day, every day, whether you want to be or not. And it is not it's not useful. It's not useful.

Mark Rippetoe:
Most of you were aware of our publication of Dr. Sullivan and Andy Baker's book, The Barbell Prescription. And Dr. Sullivan spent quite a bit of time developing the case for strength training as you get older as opposed to endurance training. And I'd invite you to read that as a very thorough treatment of the topic.

Mark Rippetoe:
It has been ignored by the media. This book is very important. Everybody that's bought it and read it has had nothing but excellent things to say about this. It expands the case for strength training as you get older. And I don't think it can be argued with. I think it's... Makes an excellent case for the utility of of strength training as the best way to to to stay active as you age because it provides both strength adaptations and endurance adaptations.

Mark Rippetoe:
A person, for example, that thinks that a heavy set of five squats is not a cardiovascular event has just never done one. So they don't know.

Mark Rippetoe:
The media's emphasis is to reinforce this idea that we have to do things one foot in front of another. Repetitive, long, slow distance is to the media what is... what is the thing you need to be doing as you get older. And this article right here is just one more example of that prejudice acting itself out.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I you know, and what do we do about that? You know, I don't know. That's an excellent question. What we do about that. Maybe nothing. Maybe we don't get to do anything about it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now let's talk about a couple of articles that specifically deal with resistance training. This is an article by Aleshia Fetters - appeared on Yahoo News 16th of July. Says, "Everything you need to know about lifting barbells for the first time. Consider as your spotter, basically." This is the title of this piece.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, she does start off with a very good point. She says, "At some point, everyone who strength trains can benefit from picking up a barbell. Barbells help you perform foundational movements like deadlifts, squats, presses and rows with far more weight than you can do with dumbbells and kettlebells." This, of course, is true.

Mark Rippetoe:
And then she makes the statement or asks the question, "How to know if you're ready for barbells." It's not really a question is it? That's just a little header they've put in here. "To get started with barbells there's no requisite amount of time that you need to have spent strength training. Rather, the only thing that's 100 percent mandatory is good form." Well, we would agree with everything so far.

Mark Rippetoe:
She explains of being able to able to perform fundamental moves using your body weight, kettle bells and dumbbells with solid pain free techniques set you up for success. Oh, God Almighty, "we have to do fundamental moves with our own body weight, kettle bells and dumbbells before we move to barbells." She said, "By the time you get to a barbell, you should feel as though you're already very comfortable with the squatting, pressing, and hinging mechanics of the squat, bench, and deadlift, and you're just ready to start loading them up heavier." Someone she refers to in the article says...

Mark Rippetoe:
Why is it that we have to know all of this shit before we start barbell training? Why can't we learn that with barbells of the appropriate weight for our level of training advancement? This is not explained. The assumption is that it is just true.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. So, for example, to learn how to squat with a barbell, for example, "the squat progression would be body weight box squat." So that's a partial squat, body weight squat, so that your own body weight down to an actual squat depth and God knows what they mean about that. "The dumbbell goblet squat, the offset kettlebell squat," whatever the hell that means, "and then the double kettlebell front squat.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, how does that progression teach you how to squat with a bar on your back?

Mark Rippetoe:
The deadlift progression is similar. "A kettlebell deadlift, a double kettlebell deadlift. That should be done before you actually go to the barbell kettlebell.

Mark Rippetoe:
I would disagree. I think that if you're going to learn how to deadlift, you can do that with a barbell. You should do that with a barbell with the correct equipment. And if you're not doing it with a barbell, you're not learning the right movement pattern because it's different.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you do things with kettlebells, the kettlebell is going to be in the wrong position with respect to the rest of your body to teach you how to do this. Yet the... that this horribly conservative approach, and it's an inaccurate approach as advocated.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Chest press." They by that they mean a bench press and they want you do a bunch of stuff with dumbbells, which are far harder to do correctly than a barbell bench press. And rows...rows are treated as a dumbbell, kettlebell progression as well as overhead presses.

Mark Rippetoe:
And presses with with separate implements like dumbbells, kettlebells are far harder to do than barbells, than a barbell press done the correct way because your hands are tied together by the barbell and you have one less degree of instability that you have to learn how to deal with. A dumbbell bench press is a far more advanced movement than a barbell bench press.

Mark Rippetoe:
And then they go on to talk about different types of barbells. This is rather remedial - how to use barbell racks, many ways to hold a barbell, many ways to hold a barbell.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, I I guess I should be happy with this, but it's it's just it's just so remedial. It it assumes that I guess it assumes everybody's a runner because it just explains things from such an elementary level that it insults the intelligence of the reader. And, you know, I don't like to do that. I don't know.

Mark Rippetoe:
Maybe it's maybe it's justified. Maybe the people that get things from Yahoo news are of insufficient intelligence to just dive into a more advanced treatment of this stuff. Be better to think more highly of people than that, I think. But...

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, there's several a lot of stuff that's wrong with this, but the primary thing is that it's written from the perspective that the media writes things from. And that perspective is you don't know anything about this and neither do I. But I'm going to write some stuff down and you're going to learn. And it's just unfortunate. That's how that works.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's an article by Maggie Ryan. "Full body strength exercises burn major fat so here are 12 that trainers can't get enough of." Trainers can't get enough of these 12 full body strength exercises that burn major fat. Majorly, majorly, burn fat.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. And this is just a... this is the long piece just to take up space. It's disappointing that these things are just all over everywhere in the internet. You know, and there will be a reference to these as moves within three sentences. Let's see. Yep.

Mark Rippetoe:
In fact, here it is. Third sentence. "Intense, intense, fast-paced cardio power moves and weight lifting sessions are much better. By adding muscle to your body, you will burn more fat all of the time."

Mark Rippetoe:
Once again, a concept that has been repeated ad infinitum, ad nauseum and is, you know, basically correct. But we haven't been able to get journalists to move past this simplistic treatment, simplistic treatment thereof. Trainers can't get enough of. Trainers know things.

Mark Rippetoe:
The dumbbell split squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, and by the way, Maggie writes for Pop Sugar. A website called Pop Sugar. I guess it's pop sugar dot com. It that where that's located? That's got to be a delicious little website doesn't it? Pop sugar dot com.

Mark Rippetoe:
Dumbbell split squats. Barbell hip thrusts. A trainer by the name of Eric told Pop Sugar barbell hip thrusts. Push ups. Trainer by the name of Julia told them about pushups.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's a squat to overhead press. This is a... you know, bend your knees as if you're sitting in a chair, keeping the weight on your heels, then press the dumbbells overhead as you straighten your knees to return to standing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Kettlebell swings. Burpees. Up down planks. Farmer's carry. This one is exceptionally interesting because they want you to do a farmer's walk with a ten pound dumbbell. [Laughs] "If this is too heavy or too light, feel free to adjust the weight." Oh, God. "You walk 10 steps forward and then turn around and walk for 10 more steps."

Mark Rippetoe:
That's the instructions for this, just 20 steps. This is not as difficult as getting your groceries out of the car. Which is the current... this is the the the problem with all of these things that are being recommended.

Mark Rippetoe:
The curtsey lunge with the bicep curl, the goblet squats, the dumbbell bench press, the deadlift - which is referred to as a classic exercise for burning fat and working major muscle groups. "Equinox trainer Sylvia Nasser describes this move as dynamic and explosive, requiring core stability and coordination to engage muscles in your back, core, hamstrings, and glutes."

Mark Rippetoe:
Sylvia actually thinks that deadlifts burn fat.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. So and that's all of this.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, every one of those exercises... and this is common throughout the media... The concept of training and exercise are completely misunderstood. The concept of training and exercise are the same to these people. They think if you do the move, then you're doing whatever you need to do. Do the move.

Mark Rippetoe:
At no point is it ever discussed that a process is involved in doing this to produce the slightest amount of physical improvement. There is no discussion of the process involved in distinguishing exercising from training. And this is another one of the big shortcomings of the media.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here is one and this is the last one I can stand to show you so I will wrap it up after this....

Mark Rippetoe:
But this one is entitled "Resistance Training for Healthy Aging: The Whys and Hows." It's from medical news today dot com. Written by Catherine Paddock, PhD.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Exercise that builds muscle endurance or resistance training can help older adults to preserve their independence and quality of life." Now that's a confusing sentence isn't it? "Exercise that builds muscle endurance or resistance training." Now does she mean "or resistance training" or does she mean "also known as resistance training."

Mark Rippetoe:
She is a PhD. I'd like to know what she meant by that. Does she equate muscle endurance training and resistance training? Those are the same things? Does resistance training not improve strength? Or does... is she advanced enough to understand that muscle endurance is improved when strength is improved?

Mark Rippetoe:
I doubt that. I doubt she understands that. But the way the sentence is written is confusing.

Mark Rippetoe:
"And once again, this is a despite there being lots of evidence to support these assertions, many older people do not practice resistance training on a regular basis."

Mark Rippetoe:
And if they did, what would they be doing? According to what we have now seen from the media, they'd be doing moves with light weights without any thought whatsoever to any process applied to this, that would.. that would improve strength quantitatively over time. Because this is absolutely left out of every one of these discussions.

Mark Rippetoe:
Resistance training is paid lip service because these people are not capable of understanding that wherever you are now, you've got to go up in order to get anything accomplished, in order for resistance training to mean anything whatsoever. You have to increase the amount of resistance and you have to do it in a planned way, a programmed way. You have to train for strength. Train for strength. But they don't understand the difference between training and exercise, and they never explain it.

Mark Rippetoe:
They want "a holistic approach to the benefits of resistance training for older adults." A holistic approach.

Mark Rippetoe:
And oh, it goes on and on and...it doesn't... Ii goes on and on without saying anything. "The position statement explains how to adapt programs to meet the needs of older adults of varying levels of ability, including those who require assisted living in nursing care. The document takes the form of 11 summary statements arranged in four parts, each with a discussion of supporting evidence. For instance, Part 1 comprises three summary statements that outline the key variables of resistance training programs for older adults. Another summary statement suggests that programs should work toward two to three sets a one or two multi joint exercises per major muscle group.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, I've been reading to you for 30 seconds and you haven't learned a single solitary thing about what is in this article because nothing is in the article. This is journalism. This is journalism. They don't tell you anything because they don't know anything. Journalists need to all kill themselves. If you're a journalist, kill yourself.

Mark Rippetoe:
Put us out of your misery. OK, this is ridiculous. You people operate at a very low level and you... whatever you're being paid, it's too much. OK, from the from the entry level at a newspaper in a 20,000 market to NBC Nightly News, you people are all overpaid. You're wildly overpaid.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I you know, we've just been through several examples of why you're all overpaid. You're not doing your job. You proceed from these assumptions. You never reassess. You never provide any information. You don't even check for grammar and spelling and punctuation.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I don't see any purpose in what you do. And this is very sad because you have a lot of reach. You have the ability to to tell people the right stuff because unfortunately, people are listening to you, but you're not informing them.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're not telling them anything they really need to know. You're just saying the same things over and over. Do these moves. Here's a new move. Why, change up your moves so that you remain interested in doing this. Do resistance training because it's good for you as you get older. Resistance training is where it's at for older people. Here are resistance training moves for you to do.

Mark Rippetoe:
All the while either failing to communicate because you think it's above these people's level or not understanding yourselves, which is your fault, that any recommendations about exercise must come along with the the basic idea of how to apply this... these moves to a training program. That that is a process that starts where we are now and causes an adaptation. The application of stress at the level you are now, that's appropriate for that level and continuing increases in the application of stress so that at the end - or through the course of the process, rather - an improvement actually takes place.

Mark Rippetoe:
But improvement is not what you people talk about. The doing of the thing is what you people talk about. And you cannot be this irresponsible. You've got people's attention. Learn what it is you're talking about and then inform them that a process must take place here and that this process is necessary for any benefit to accrue.

Mark Rippetoe:
And you're not doing that. You people are not doing that. You you can count on the on the fingers of one hand how many times I have seen in the print media over the past 10 years the idea that a process must be applied to moves for them to be anything important for them to actually do anything but, you know, you know, wasting 30 minutes of a person's day.

Mark Rippetoe:
And, you know, I don't know, I don't see this getting any better. I don't... I haven't seen a trend toward improvement. I haven't seen anything that indicates to me that that people in journalism are even attempting to improve their.. the thing that they're trying to communicate to these people. And people desperately need to see this. They desperately need to hear it. They desperately need some information that you're not providing them.

Mark Rippetoe:
Telling them twelve moves does not tell them what they need to know. What they need to know is they need to be stronger than they are now.

Mark Rippetoe:
And just telling them to do resistance training. Just [mimes jabbering] words. Ridiculous.

[off-camera]:
So everybody needs to realize that it's just an unreliable source because it's not about information or truth. It's about clicks. It's all it is. It's about clicks.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. It's really the basis of all this. These people, these these people that I've talked about right here. They're hired to get clicks for their website. That's it. That's all they're doing. And they're doing that. And they're doing that. And an opportunity is being missed.

Mark Rippetoe:
They're getting paid for the number of clicks. Stop clicking this shit. You people are listening. Don't follow up on these bizarre... I get people that submit these kind of articles to me on the website every week. Stop doing that. I don't want to see any more of this shit. And you should not want to see any more of this shit either.

Mark Rippetoe:
Just quit patronizing them. Quit going to Yahoo news and to Pop Sugar and to Men's journal for these vapid articles that don't tell you anything about what you actually need to know. OK, just quit doing it. And maybe if enough ever you quit doing this, these people will stop getting paid and they'll begin to wonder why. And maybe up their game.

Mark Rippetoe:
But as of right now, they're not doing anybody any favors and they're wasting a lot of valuable electricity. So just let's bring this to a halt.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you for watching us on Starting Strength Radio. I hope you have gotten something out of this today and I hope you'll change your behavior with respect to the media as a ba... on the basis of what we talked about today.

Mark Rippetoe:
Good luck to you. See you next time.

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Mark Rippetoe discusses the media's portrayal of strength training and the best ways to get in shape, get strong, or improve sports performance.

  • 00:00 Intro - The Media & Exercise/Strength & Conditioning
  • 02:02 Comments from the Haters!
  • 07:26 Back to today's topic
  • 07:52 The Media knows nothing
  • 09:20 Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
  • 12:15 Selling an Image: Abs = Athletic
  • 16:34 Unassuming building (starting the news story...)
  • 18:29 How to have fun in a sports bar
  • 20:24 "Moves" that make you more athletic (...continuing the news story)
  • 24:22 Yoga for Football in sorta-English
  • 28:14 Writing pieces about pieces
  • 31:59 Endurance muscles
  • 35:56 Media assumptions
  • 37:31 The Barbell Prescription
  • 39:44 Resistance Training article Example X
  • 46:14 Resistance Training article Example Y
  • 51:48 Resistance Training article Example Z
  • 55:41 Articles about nothing
  • 1:00:46 Stop taking the bait

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