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Q&A Episode - Back to the Old Normal | Starting Strength Radio #58

Mark Rippetoe | May 29, 2020

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Mark Rippetoe:
You know, if you're not [BLEEP!], then you're not doing sex correctly.

Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas... From the finest mind of 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:
Welcome back to Starting Strength Radio. It's Friday and Friday is still Friday no matter what the government says. Friday is Friday. They can't change that. If they try to change that, you know, we're fucked. OK. So let's use our time wisely together, shall we?

Mark Rippetoe:
Today, we're just going to deal with your questions here to Starting Strength Radio. Those questions come into radio@strartingstrength. com. And and sometimes you guys seem to send good questions, sometimes you guys send the same shit and we throw those away and we keep the good ones. And as it turns out, the board's been kind of busy. We've been getting a lot of pretty good questions and we're going to deal with some of those today.

Mark Rippetoe:
But first: Comments From the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
And this week, I don't know what's happened. Bre, these people are so fucking lame. Can can you guys not do better than this?

Mark Rippetoe:
Look, "Rip owns two tshirts and he's had them both for 30 years."

Mark Rippetoe:
"Looking extra pink today, just as expected from the greatest."

Mark Rippetoe:
"Love Rip and SS. There was only one person in the gym who was not overweight."

Mark Rippetoe:
Goddamn. What do you mean by not overweight?

[off-camera]:
I wonder who they were talking about.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't have any idea. That was.

[off-camera]:
Was it Bre? Was it Carmen?

Mark Rippetoe:
What was this about? Was it the tour? That was the tour. Well, Bre and Carmen were both hideous pigs, right? Giant sows. Both of them. Right. Who else was in there? Phil was in there. Phil's a big, huge fat pile of shit. Who else was in there? And you and I are morbidly obese. We can barely move. You know, you must be Freck. Freck weighs one hundred and seventy pounds. He was he's a he's not overweight. Who else was in her, Phil? I can't remember who else was. Was he there?

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know. I've just I guess I've just gotten so used to looking at big giant fat piles of shit that it just I don't even let him register that there's anything wrong with that anymore, OK?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip is the kind of guy to slap his own ass during sex."

Mark Rippetoe:
I wonder how Adam knows that. I think we're projecting, Adam McCartney. We're projecting a little bit.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, this is good. "I thought Rusty was a homosexual." And then some guy says, "Man, that Bre cutie is such a snack." And then some guy says, "Uou're in luck. She's surrounded by a bunch of homosexuals off camera."

Mark Rippetoe:
Bre is surrounded by sexual harassers off camera is what she's surrounded by. Just in case there's a suit filed or something like that, I we're go ahead, we're guilty. All right.

[off-camera]:
She signed that waiver, though.

Mark Rippetoe:
She did sign a waiver, didn't you?

[off-camera]:
True story.

Mark Rippetoe:
God, I hope so. OK. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's a joke. So God goes to Adam, says, "Adam, I'm going to make you the perfect companion. One thing, though, in order to do this, I'm going to need your nose, your right arm. One of your eyes and your left ball."

Mark Rippetoe:
Adam thinks for a minute and says, "What? What can I get for a rib?"

Mark Rippetoe:
It's kind of funny. It's not really a comment from a hater, but I thought I'd just include it in Comments From the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok, big stack of stuff here on the desk today. We'll just take as many of these as we have time for. First one, kind of interesting, kind of topical: Dear Rip, I'd like to present you a snapshot of Dr. Peter Hotez. Dr. Peter Hotez's predicted model for Harris County - this is in Texas, this is Houston - daily number of cases into the summer.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay. Now, he's got a picture here of a newspaper story in the Houston Chronicle. And the projection, of course, is that everybody, by June 18th, everybody in Houston is dead of COVID19.

Mark Rippetoe:
Perhaps I have no place in questioning a scientist of his credentials, but this seems absurd to me, especially considering how every model we present... We've been presented has come nowhere close and the alarmist bell ringing hasn't helped this country in any way at all.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Let me let me point something out. All the models have been wrong. All of them. Every single one has not even been. I don't even know that you can even call them wrong. They don't even rise to the level of wrong. They're just nonsense. They're just nonsense.

Mark Rippetoe:
All of them have been nonsense and disciplines that primarily traffic in models like epidemiology and clients and climate science are prone to foolishness and abuse, because it's very easy for public policy to be enacted on the basis of models presented by scientists that no one would question.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. Now. Any time you see a reference to "the science" where where in the reference says that the science should be believed, you're dealing with a stupid person.

Mark Rippetoe:
Science, doesn't need to be believed? And if if you think you should believe science, you don't know anything about science. Okay. Science is not... Does not have to be believed. Science either makes either proves its contention or it it doesn't. And if the contention, if the hypothesis, the theory can be falsified. And all theories must be falsifiable before they're actually science.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, what would it take for me to falsify, for me to show that global warming does not exist? What would it take? Let's think about this very carefully. What would it take for me to present an argument that disproves the idea that man-made global warming is taking place? Is there a a set of facts that I can present to you that demonstrates that global warming is not taking place? If there isn't a set of facts that I can hand you that demonstrates that global warming is not taking place - in other words, if there are no facts that you will accept that demonstrate that global warming is not taking place, then we are not dealing with science, we are dealing with religion. We are dealing with belief. OK. That's just an example.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, you need to read up on philosophy of science. Karl Popper made a career of this. You should look him up. Wikipedia will be your friend. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
But a buddy of my good buddy mine recently asked me what what is what is wrong with epidemiology? Why is it not hard science? And what's wrong with it is a couple of things. Their data is shit. And from shit data, they have constructed models. And models construct constructed from shit, data generate shit.

Mark Rippetoe:
And you can do all the measuring you want. But if the measurement's not accurate and if the data being generated by that measurement is shit, then the model is going to be shit. And we have recently seen that to be the case, haven't we?

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Hello, Mr. Rippetoe, sir. A while back, you posted a video about barbell maintenance. I was wondering about the difference in maintenance between a bearing bar and a bushing bar. I was able to acquire a Chapman Power Bar with bearings and was wondering what to do. I need to do. Wondering do I need to do anything to maintain the bearings. I know how to maintain the shaft and the sleeves. Just looking for what I need to do to the bearings. Should I leave them alone as long as they're working? The spin is still pretty good. The internet is not a great place to find maintenance for these bars. Every video is for bushing bars."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, the reason why all the videos are for bushing bars is because the bushing bar predominates in the market. They're much cheaper to build and for most purposes they're every bit as good as a bearing bar. If you put a bar together with needle bearings so that the sleeve rotates very, very freely that's expensive. It's expensive to do that. And as a as a result, there aren't many bars available with bearings.

Mark Rippetoe:
The high level Olympic weightlifting bars - Eleiko, Uesaka. Those types of devices are going to be assembled with needle bearings. And you... The problem you get into oiling needle bearings is that the the the oil attracts goo. It attracts dirt and chalk dust, that sort of thing, and will eventually gum up the needle bearings.

Mark Rippetoe:
So if I were you and I had a bearing bar, I would just keep it clean. I don't think you need oil or lubricate in any way. The bearings on the sleeve of a of a needle bearing bar, they're designed to just operate flawlessly without any lubrication. That's what the bearings are for.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Not a question, but an observation you should mention... A Michael Jordan documentary. You guys know about a Michael Jordan documentary? So nobody's seen it? All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"So this guy says that Jordan could not get over a hump, lead the Bulls past the Detroit Pistons to his first NBA title until he dedicated himself and his team who followed suit to the weight room, thus enabling him to lead the Bulls past the bad boys of the Pistons and to the Bulls in his first NBA championship.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Jordan credits, this dedication to weights and the 15 pounds of muscle he subsequently added to his body with enabling him to become the aggressor and deal out physical punishment rather than take it as he had from the Pistons for the previous four years. If you're a Jordan fan, you already knew this story. Just more evidence of strength being the bases of championship athletic activity."

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, that's that's an interesting observation. But, of course, now in 2020. Here in the far distant future, where everyone's enlightened, we have something called functional training that is so much better than just getting stronger. Oh, god almighty.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, it's it's odd that we have to sit here and make an observation like this that it occurred to somebody that being stronger would make them a better performer as an athlete, then being weaker. And that the modern 2020 approach to training for athletics has nothing to do with getting stronger. It has to do with getting... What? Better at handling a 15 pound dumbbell on one foot on an unstable surface?

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't understand it. But yeah, it's interesting. But. You know, who am I to tell professional strength conditioning coach of a basketball team what to do with his team? I don't even like basketball. Really, I can't stand it. It's most boring thing we've ever seen. I'd rather watch golf I really would.

Mark Rippetoe:
I'd rather watch putt putt. You know, back black people play putt putt, too?

[off-camera]:
No they don't.

Mark Rippetoe:
They damn sure do. I've seen it happen.

Mark Rippetoe:
Give me that racism shit. We will not brook racism here. Most putt putt players are black, in fact, it's been my experience. Look, I'll tell you. Go to putt putt, see what's going on. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hello, Rip. During the squat, my back straightens too late, causing the last part of my squat to almost be a goodmorning. Any cues or tips on how to fix this?

Mark Rippetoe:
Stand up earlier.

Mark Rippetoe:
Simple enough. Some of these questions just need to be easier. So I included that one.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Should elderly people over 75 and still alive do deadlifts?" Rachel wants to know this.

Mark Rippetoe:
Look, Rachel, it very well may be that deadlifts are the only thing 75 year old people can, in fact, do. All right. They're a perfectly safe movement. We can get them down to fifteen pounds if we want them at fifteen pounds. We can get them all the way down as light as we want to. We have equipment to do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I have... I really have never trained an old person that couldn't deadlift. You know. I mean, I've got a picture in my gym over there, my 79 year old mother, my 80 year old mother, doing a deadlift in a meet, you know, three or four months before she died.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, they can all do deadlifts, the range of motion is fairly short. If they got the use of their hands, they can do a deadlift with some weight. And whatever that weight is, it can go up a pound next time and a pound after that. And then a pound after that. So deadlifts are, you know, if you're worried about deadlifts, you're worried about the wrong thing.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hey Rip, awesome podcast. Big fan. Bent my bar still using it."

Mark Rippetoe:
And you see here the [holds up image of the bar]. That's pretty bent. It's not... It's that's about as bent as number eight, the one I squat with over there. He wants to know if he can bench with this bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, you can. Here's here's the deal. When the bar is bent, it is stable in this position with the ends pointing down. Right. In other words, you got a high spot and two low spots on each end and it's stable in that position. A straight bar is stable in any degree rotation around a 360 degree axis, but a bent bar is more stable when the when the ends are pointing down.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, if you if you take a bench press out of the rack and the bar is not in that stable position, it's going to rotate in your hands. If you pick it up off the floor, it's going to rotate in your hands. But if you put it on your back to squat, it will not roll anywhere. It won't roll up. It won't roll down. So there's a case to be made for squatting with a bent bar. In fact, they sell that thing... What do they call it? The Buffalo bar that comes pre-bent.

Mark Rippetoe:
You just created yourself a Buffalo bar. Yeah. You use it. I think you probably want a straight bar to...well, you at you want a straight bar clean with for sure. You probably are going to feel better pressing with a straight bar because it's it's more forgiving.

[off-camera]:
My concern would be the fact that he's probably going to clamp that bar to put weights on it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Now, that that does need to be mentioned. Every... If you're going to use a bar that's bent like this, you're going to have to use collars on the bar for everything from 135 up. Just get used to the idea and you can't use shitty collars either because they will slide off. Those shitty plastic collars are not going to work. So you've got to get some decent collars if you're going to use a bar this bent. But they do have their uses.

[off-camera]:
But collaring while benching though...

Mark Rippetoe:
Collaring while benching is probably a dumb thing to do unless you are benching in a rack with pins. And with a bar that bent, guy might want to bench press with that bar, if he can't afford a straight bar, in the rack with collars. If pins are set at the right height for protection, it's hard to get hurt on the bench. If you're inside the rack with pins set. So that's enough talking about that.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Rippetoe, if you're reading this' which I am "I have a question. What are your thoughts on lowering the bar all the way to the chest in the bench press? I have heard from a few experts in movement, in kinesiology, that lowering it all the way down would, for most people, mean to lower the elbows far beneath shoulder level and therefore overstretch the anterior ligaments of the shoulder capsule.

Mark Rippetoe:
"That would, according to them, potentially lead to tears and permanent laxity of those ligaments, since ligaments aren't really meant to stretch. Of corse, different anatomy will vary in people like long, short arms, but this would, according to these experts in movement and kinesiology apply for the norm." And he lists the names of two apparent experts in movement and kinesiology here.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, ok. Let's look at it like this way, like this, Anders. If everybody for the past hundred years has been taken a barbell out of the rack lLowering it until the bar touches their chest and then coming back up - in other words, doing a full range of motion bench press - and during that period of time everybody gets away with it without injuring their shoulders what does that do to this theory?

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, if the phenomenology if the theory doesn't agree with the phenomenology and in this case, that theory does not. And this theory has been going around - this is machine based bullshit - about 90 degree elbows is all you need to do.

Mark Rippetoe:
We've dealt with that - I heard the same silly bullshit for 40 years. What if everybody gets away with benching all the way down of their chest and coming back up it's probably all right. You're probably OK. Do it right because everybody else is has been.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Coach, thanks so much for all that you do."

Mark Rippetoe:
You ever noticed that people are saying... Instead of "thanks" anymore when they thank you they say "thanks so much." Thanks so much. Just a new deal. Thanks so much. It's like "no problem" instead of "you're welcome."

Mark Rippetoe:
That that always bothers me. You know, waitress comes over, puts some more tea in the glass. I say, "Thank you." And they say, "No problem." Why would I have assumed there was a problem? It's just one these odd expressions that's given rise. That's become popular recently.

Mark Rippetoe:
Like when you order something in the restaurant... You guys ever noticed when you order something in the restaurant and you say, "you know, I think I'm going to have a cheeseburger. I want a double cheeseburger with three pieces of cheese, all the way, extra mustard, onions." And the waitress says, "Perfect."

Mark Rippetoe:
And then you say, "You know, hold on just a minute. Now, I may have the fried chicken." And she says, "Perfect!" Well, they both can't be perfect. Right?

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "So thanks so much for all that you do. Love the show and appreciate all great information. 53 year old intermediate lifter. While I came out of LP I was arresting about three minutes between sets as I have been progressing. Now I'm resting five minutes between my sets. While I know it is helpful to increase the amount of time I rest between sets to make weight gains, is there ever a reason to reduce the amount of time I rest between sets? Does this cause any beneficial stress or a particular adaptation? If I held my weight steady but cut my rest back down to four minutes between sets and eventually got back to three minutes and then again began increasing weight on the bar and rest between sets, would that drive a beneficial adaptation or would that just be dumb?"

Mark Rippetoe:
So Thomas, where does that shit stop? How about five seconds between sets? Would that cause a beneficial adaptation? Five seconds between sets?

Mark Rippetoe:
How about one second between sets rest, a shorter amount of time between sets than you do between reps. Why don't we try that? What kind of a beneficial adaptation would that result in? I don't know. I can't think of one.

Mark Rippetoe:
What are you trying to do? What is strength? If your doing sets of five, how do you know you're getting stronger? You get stronger when you lift heavier weights, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, how do you lift heavier weights? Take less rest between sets so that the fatigue from the previous set is carried into the next set or do you rest long enough to ensure that fatigue from the previous set, not the inability to lift the weight, but fatigue from previous set, it is not a factor in your performance of the last rep of the set?

Mark Rippetoe:
If you're supposed to do three sets of five. And you're supposed to do it with one hundred and fifteen pounds you might get away with three or four minutes between the sets, but if you're doing three sets of five with 545, I would suggest that three minutes is probably not enough time because the event, the set of five, is fatiguing enough that it takes longer than that to get over the fatigue.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, I can't even believe I'm saying this shit. How many times have we had to go over this on the website? The only reason I'm saying is because I don't think we've talked about it on the podcast. You rest long enough to not be fatigued when you start the next set.

Mark Rippetoe:
We're not doing cardio. We're not doing conditioning. Let your heart rate recover back down below a hundred beats a minute before you start the next set. Don't be stupid. If you're if you're are you in a hurry, if you're in a hurry well, go ahead. Just don't train for strength. But if you're training for strength, the most important rep is the last rep of the last work set. It that's the most important rep of the workout.

Mark Rippetoe:
So what do you need to do to make sure you get the last rep of the last work set? You rest long enough between sets to enable that to take place. And if you're only rest in five minutes between your sets, then you're not lifting the heavy weights. You're not lifting weights as heavy as you can lift them. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
So it just depends on what you want to do. If you want to do cardio. You want to do conditioning. Go ahead. But don't turn your work, your squat workout, into a conditioning workout because that's what you're thinking about. And it's bullshit. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Did I address that adequate? Everybody agree with that?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, good.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now, this next one is an injury question. "I've had partial tears..." And he says they're eight millimeters "in both my supraspinatus. Repaired about five years ago" I think he means supraspinatus tendon "I'm 60, excellent health, 185, 190. Six one. Power lifter. Three days, a powerlifts, three days a week" whatever that means "using scrupulous form learned from a qualified coach, reading your book and watching your videos. Thank you. I swim competitively nationally ranked swimmer five days a week."

Mark Rippetoe:
This guy doesn't work. This guy doesn't have a job. He swims five days a week. He trains three days a week. He must be retired, old, retired 60 year old guy. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"So all my left supraspinatus is all inflamed opinions, etc. of micro tears bother me some time. Heat, ice, rotator cuff exercises" the silly physical therapy bullshit "and not overhead pressing. I had an MRI done or a big surgeon says stop lifting heavy."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, he doesn't even tell us whether he's lifting heavy because he didn't tell us his weights on the bar. Then tells his bodyweight.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Stop lifting heavy, stop using free weights." Orthopedic surgeons says stop using free weights. "I said no deadlift, no squatting? He said no free weights. I don't get it." Yeah, those are all caps. "No free weights."

Mark Rippetoe:
Dumb ass. Did you hear what I said? I am the orthopedic surgeon and I say what do you get to do, dumb ass. After all, I am a doctor.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, shit. All right. So all this other shit. Look, Mark. Would you do me a favor and go to the website and look up my shoulder rehab video and then go to the press chapter of the book and read about shoulder impingement, about shoulder anatomy and its relationship to the press. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Do that because your orthopedic surgeon may be a very, very good surgeon, but he has no idea about barbell training. No, this is not the is unusual, is it? It's not unusual for a person to be an expert in one thing and a complete fucking moron in other things. Why I get accused of that all the time, don't I?

Mark Rippetoe:
Rippetoe, stick with lifting weights. You're fat. You're purple. Don't don't talk about stuff you don't know anything about.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, this is my response to your orthopedic surgeon.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Dear Rip. Hope this reaches you well. I found this of being swayed toward libertarianism and understand that you are a libertarian. Be grateful for learning resources."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, you know, I'm a yeah, I guess I'm probably a libertarian. I like to think of myself as a classical liberal. Now, you need to look that up. The left is taken over the term "liberal." They started that 40, 50 years ago, and they're far...The left has not been liberal in a long, long, long time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Look at definitions of terms for that. And as far as learning resources, there are a few books that you can read that kind of set you on the right path. There's lots and lots of stuff available.

Mark Rippetoe:
Anything by Thomas Sowell is excellent. Anything by Walter Williams is excellent. One of the foundation texts is Frederic Hayek's famous book, The Road to Serfdom. Ludvig von Mises, Socialism. An excellent book. Albert J Nock, Our Enemy, the State. The very famous essay called "I, Pencil" from the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education. Leonard Read. All of their stuff is is very good. It's designed as entry level material for for this type of stuff. You read around in that material and you're going to you're going to pick up on some extremely important things.

Mark Rippetoe:
I leave anything out? Well, that's that'll get anybody started. Right?

Mark Rippetoe:
I have a feeling - and maybe I'm just being hopeful here - that the way the government has handled this recent situation, the catastrophic fuckups. Catastrophic fuckups that government at all levels have made during this recent episode in the extension of Public health into totalitarianism - has just minted about 50 million brand new libertarians.

Mark Rippetoe:
This may be one of the unintended consequences of locking us all up in our houses so we can infect everybody in an attempt to not overwhelm a hospital system that had no potential to be overwhelmed. Fifty million libertarians may just have been born. And I may be optimistic, but I think lots of you. That were previously of the opinion that maybe these people do, in fact, know what the fuck they're doing have been disabused of that notion over the past two or three months and might vote differently from now on. Let's let's hope you do.

Mark Rippetoe:
Uh, let's see. That guy already had a question.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip, I've been using Starting Strength method for a while now with great success. I'm not a big guy and I've always had trouble gaining mass. Since the beginning with Starting Strength I've gone from 140 to 175." He's five eight. "My squat's gone from one sixty to three fifty five. Deadlift from 140 to 400. Bench from 90 to 200. My press has gone from 40 to 125. I'm soon to enter the police academy and will unfortunately be subjected to their antiquated training methodology, which means incessant running, push ups and utterly useless air squats. Over the six month span of the Academy. I will not have time or on or honestly the energy to properly train four days a week like I have been. Do you have a recommendation for something I can do to at least maintain my current level of strength until the academy is over and I can get back on track? I worked extremely hard to get where I am and I would like to avoid backtracking, if at all possible."

Mark Rippetoe:
Lucas, listen, man, I know what you're talking about, but we've said many, many times: there's nothing that destroys a squat faster than 100 air squats. There's nothing that'll take your strength down faster than high intensity glycolic activity like sit ups, push ups, flailing around, air squats, all this shit. OK. Nothing is more effective. Starvation is not a more effective in destroying your liftss than a whole bunch of high reps at very, very light weight.

Mark Rippetoe:
So failing your ability to at least get one squat work in a week to try to maintain your strength. And I think if you'll think real hard, you probably able to figure out a way to do one squat work out, one press workout, one deadlift workout a week. Just do one lift at a time if you have to. But if you can't do that, yeah, you're going to you're not gonna lose all of it. You never lose all of it, but you're gonna lose quite a bit of it and you won't be near as effective on the job as you would be were you able to somehow stay strong. It is interesting that these people are actively working against your ability to be effective physically as a police officer.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. So you're going to have to try to squat. Just do one a week. You know, do as much you can for once set of 5 once a week. That'll help maintain some of it. It doesn't take that long and it certainly is going to be worth it. But I would ask you that once you're a cop, please don't arrest people for trying to go to work without a mask on. Would you you do us that favor?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip, I'm very interested to hear more about your squaring frequency. If I understand correctly, you are squatting." Finally cleared that up. "Heavy once every two weeks. I get that intensity is of primary importance for those of us in our 60s, and excessive volume will crush us. My reason is this - you're squatting in the 300 while I'm squatting in the low two hundreds. I believe we're about same body weight. Is the difference in our relative strength a factor in frequency? Basically, you're stronger than I am, but we're similar in other respects. Would one heavy day every two weeks be appropriate for me? And do you incorporate any light days? And if so, how are they programmed?"

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, Barry, there's an extremely important difference between the two of us. I've been training for forty three years, and you have not or you'd be squatting more than the low two hundreds. All right. I'm a post-advanced lifter. You are still a novice. Even at 60, you probably need to be squatting a five pound increase in weight twice a week. What you don't need to do is squat three days a week and what you don't need are light days.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. There is no reason why you can't get your squat up into the mid three hundreds at your age. There's no reason at all. But you just have to you have to understand that you're a novice. And I'm not. We're not comparable in any way. In any way. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
You are a novice. You're an older novice. And you need to get the book, The Barbell Prescription. And read it and understand how we adapt training to older novices. Because I'm not a novice and you are. So, no, we're not comparable at all.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Dearest Mr. Rippetoe." Oh, he's he's from out of the country. So dearest Mr Rippetoe is okay. "From my understanding, your preferred method of conditioning training for your athletes is using your sled or prowler. Why is this better than more typical types of cardio like HIIT?" Which is the high intensity interval training. "Or long slow distance? And how is the adaptation different?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, there's several reasons why we don't use long, slow distance because it's catabolic. Running 10 miles eats up muscle mass. We're trying to get strong, not eat up muscle mass. We're trying to build muscle mass.

Mark Rippetoe:
High intensity interval training is, you know, fun and shit. And you could do some of that as long as you don't overdo it. But the primary reason we like the prowler is because we can load it to exactly the right resistance for exactly the effect we want. You can't do that with bodyweight dependent exercises. The prowler is also concentric only exercise and it doesn't make you sore.

Mark Rippetoe:
Any HIIT exercise involving an eccentric deceleration component is going to make you sore. What's wrong with 100 air squats? They make you very, very, very sore and they destroy your strength. I can't think of a better way to fuck everything up than do 100 air squats. There's no better way to destroy everything you're trying to do than one hundred air squats.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. The prowler's good because the prowler doesn't make you sore. And if the weight you got on it today was a little bit too easy, then you can go up five pounds on the prowler.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK, but you have to understand. That the way we define things, conditioning is always exercise. It's not training. Right. Look that up. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Good afternoon. What does Rip think of strongman type training and competitions? Regards."

Mark Rippetoe:
I think the strongman type training should best be accomplished with barbell training. I think that strong man competitions include a number of very specific movements that must be practiced. So I think that you train for the farmer's walk by getting your squat, deadlift, press and power clean up. I think you practice for the farmer's walk by doing the farmer's walk.

Mark Rippetoe:
Like the previous question I just I just answered. There is a distinct difference between exercise and training. We've written about that extensively. Go to the website. This website: StartingStrength.com. And look that up in my set of articles about this.

Mark Rippetoe:
Strongman competition is a is a fairly dangerous - it's a fairly dangerous sports, an excellent way to tear bicep tendon loose. Happens all the time. Tire fllips are dangerous. They're very dangerous. I understand the visual appeal. I understand. It's fun, all the stuff. But it's real, real easy to get hurt in a strongman contest. It really is. It's a lot easier to get hurt in a strongman contest than it is in an Olympic weightlifting meet or a powerlifting meet. And I don't know, that's a that's part of the appeal, I guess.

Mark Rippetoe:
But it is a it's an interesting... It's an interesting thing. That thing started back in the late 70s. If I remember correctly, the world's strongest man first only showed that. And the whole thing has grown into a very popular sport. Some great, big, strong guys doing it right now.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you don't get big and strong doing farmer's walks. You are a good. You're good at the farmer's walk if you're big and strong. So how do you get big and strong? You're train for strength. You squat. You press. You bench press. You deadlift. You power clean. You go up a little bit every workout for years and years and years until you're big and strong. And another thing you don't do is worry about your abs if you're doing strongman. You can't be worried about your abs.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. "I have a question about adjusting rep range for individuals. I heard of this thing called a neuromuscular efficiency test. If I understood it correctly, that test is meant to determine the best rep range for a specific athlete based of the ratio of slow versus fast twitch muscle fibers, muscle fibers he or she has. It goes like this. You test your one RM for each lift. You rest ten to 15 minutes and then you load 85 percent of your one RM and try to do as many reps as possible. The result you get is meant to be the best compromise between volume and intensity for a specific athlete. Most people get results between five and six reps, which correlate with your findings in Starting Strength program that five reps produces the best results.

Mark Rippetoe:
"But there are some people that get results between one and three reps. Those have very high neuromuscular efficiency or eight plus which have lowered neuromuscular efficiency. Do you think it would be appropriate modify Starting Strength program for these extremes?"

Mark Rippetoe:
No, I don't. I don't, because it's not necessary. If we take your set of five and we make it go up five pounds three days a week for three months what has happened? You have gotten stronger. Right. We know that works. We also know that eight reps will not go up three days a week for three months. And we also know that one, two, three will not go up three days a week for three months for a novice lifter the way 5s will. The reason we know that is because we've been doing it a very, very long time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hundreds of thousands of people have done it this way and hundreds of thousands of people have determined that this approach [waves paper to indicate that he is referring to the method in the question] Is not necessary. Now, it's necessary for the person trying to develop the method to sell you, but it's not necessary for you to do it. Just just do the program.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, look [holds up another bunch of paper with a wall of text] No, no, that's not that's not what we do.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Over the years, I've coached lifters of both genders." I think this person means sexes "and observed vastly different behaviors between the too in a few areas, most notably..."

Mark Rippetoe:
And we say "genders," because sex is so it is so dirty. Sex is icky. Only if it's done correctly is sex icky? Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Over the years, I've coached lifters of both sexes vastly different, notably emotional response to success and failure in the gym." That's probably a valid observation, although it's certainly not a it's not it's not true in every situation. I mean, I've seen kids, little boys get real, real, real, real upset when they missed a third attempt clean and jerk. And I've seen girls just dance off the platform like nothing was wrong, just like they should have. You know, so it's impossible to generalize that. But maybe over if you look at enough people, maybe women might be prone to being more emotional about what they do and don't get done in the gym. Bre, what do you think about that?

[off-camera]:
I'm more emotional.

Mark Rippetoe:
Are you? You get all pissed off when you miss a, miss an attempt. Well, Bre's in agreement with your observation here.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Behavioral response to correction and coaching. In other words, do women and men, can they stand to be coached equally?" Actually, I've found that most women are more acceptance or more accepting of coaching than men. Because men bring a bunch of baggage into the gym with them because they already know how to do it. It's like teaching a guy how to shoot, right? How to shoot a pistol or a rifle. Most guys think they already know. Women, usually having no experience with it, are perfectly willing to do what you tell them to do. And are a lot easier to coach in some things as a result of that. They don't bring all this bullshit in with them off the street.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Underlying motivations for doing the program." And that's an interesting observation. If you're doing our strength program, you're doing it to get stronger. Because we don't tell you that it's anything except strength. We don't we don't do this program for aesthetics. We don't tell you you're going to have abs, razor abs as a result of doing this. We don't advise you to do a cut. We don't care about what you look like. We care about how much weight you're lifting.

Mark Rippetoe:
So if you're doing that, whether you're a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, a female or a male, you're doing it for the same reason, you're doing it to get stronger. Because that's what our program is for.

Mark Rippetoe:
"And fourth, a significant decline when the load nears the lifter's 1RM. It seems males are able to lift higher loads, respectively, while a female could do two hundred for five sets of five and the next set missed two oh five for a single. This is an example, not the programming. Not to say one gender is worse than the other."

Mark Rippetoe:
One sex you mean, Brian. You mean sex. You don't mean gender. Gender is a linguistics term. Masculine, feminine, neuter. Like in German. That's where the word "gender" comes from and people use it now when they mean sex because sex is icky.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, it ought to be. You know, if you're not [BLEEP] doing you're not doing sex correctly. You're probably doing to want to take that out. Now that icky. Right? To some people. To some people that's icky.

Mark Rippetoe:
So have I observed a similar pattern. Look, Brian. Have you not read my article on on training females? Here it explains all of this. I've written about it extensively, in fact, I've written a follow up about women in ground combat derived from the principles I've talked about in training female athletes. Those are both available on your favorite website startingstrength.com.

Mark Rippetoe:
Really, the only reason I read this is because I wanted to say [BLEEP]. Oh, God, all the kids watching here. "Mama, what's....?"

[off-camera]:
They should just google it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Just Google it. Yeah. Oh, they already knew that. Oh, OK. Now they know more about it than I do

[off-camera]:
Had my kids come up and ask to subscribe to Starting Strength. No, you didn't.

Mark Rippetoe:
You don't have any business. That's an adult podcast. Well, kind of. Yes. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I just read the books in January - February and just begun my novice linear progression when the COVID19 mess started. Something that has troubled me since I started deadlifting was the cue in which you say to bend over and grab the bar without bending your knees." Hamstring flexibility poor. Barely make it midway to my shin...

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now look. This may actually need clarification when I tell you to bend over and grab the bar without bending your knees I don't mean for you to to try to do that with your knees in absolute locked extension, because you can't do that. You have discovered that you can't do that. And if you'll look in the book, the illustrations about how to set up the correct deadlift, you look on all of our instructional videos, nobody is trying to take a grip on the bar with perfectly straight extended knees. That's not what we mean. What we mean is, is don't flex the knees in order to get down to the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
Unlock your knees. Unlock the knees. As the instructions say, take your grip with unlocked knees. But don't use knee flexion to lower your hips. OK. I think this is fairly clear in the five step instructions. Don't you guys think it's fairly clear? All right. So you're just you're just doing it. You're just doing it wrong. You've misinterpreted. Look in the book. Look on the video. You'll see what we mean to do.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. Now, here's one. And the reason I'm going to read this is because this bonehead has been posting this on the forum and irritating me with it.

Mark Rippetoe:
"How come there are three hip extension movement patterns in the program - squat, deadlifts, and power cleans - and not one hip flexion movement?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Man, I don't know. Can you think of a way to weight, to load, a hip flexion movement? I know. Why don't we make one of the foundation lifts hanging from the chin up rack, aking a dumbbell in between the feet and doing knee ups. That's it. That's loaded hip flexion. How do we train that? Can we go from like a five pound dumbbell up to a four hundred and five pound dumbbell over the course of three years? And if we did that. What would have ... What will we have accomplished by doing so?

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, I'm going to try to explain this to you, but I don't think you're going to understand it. Hip flexion under a load is not a normal human movement pattern. The Starting Strength method uses normal human movement patterns under a load. But loaded hip flexion is not a normal human movement pattern.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hip flexion occurs when you walk. When you run. So concentric hip flexion occurs when you walk and run, when you're walking and running. Whereas the power being applied to the ground is being applied in the extension part of the movement, the hip extension and knee extension, part of the movement, not the hip flexion part of the movement that brings the knee forward for the next stride. That's always unloaded. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now the hip flexors are the rectus femoris, the sartorius and, oh, maybe is maybe TFL. So this major bunch of little minor bullshit muscles in the in the hips. These are not strong muscles and they're not they're not position in a way that they can mechanically generate a lot of force in flexion. Because hip flexion does not have to be particularly strong, because what humans do is extend.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now, think with me a minute. Right. I had a very famous coach tell me one time the following thing, I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but he actually thought that when you squat down that you are performing concentric hip flexion.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, think of the thinking, the misconception here. All right. When you've got 405 on your back are you actually under the impression that you have to pull yourself down into knee and hip flexion into the bottom of the squat in order to get there? No, that's not what you have to do. There's four or five on the bar. What you have to do is apply 404 to the bar and you will go down. The the eccentric phase of the squat is called the eccentric phase of the squat because the hip and knee extensors are operating eccentrically, not concentrically. Ok.

Mark Rippetoe:
In the same way that you don't have to pull a press back down onto your shoulders from the lock out of the press. It just, you know, it it comes back down by itself and you resist getting slapped in the shoulders with the same muscles you used to push it up.

Mark Rippetoe:
You understand? Does everybody understand, what I'm saying here? You don't pull yourself down. There's no active concentric hip flexion in a squat. OK. And there's no active concentric hip flexion in anything that's loaded in the whole repertoire of human movement.

Mark Rippetoe:
So, no, we don't need to train that. All the stuff that flexes the hips gets strong just by hanging around with the other muscles when we squat, deadlift, press, power clean.

Mark Rippetoe:
Was that sufficient explanation from the homosexuals sitting next to Bre in the peanut gallery back there? Nobody has anything to add to that? No. No. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well here's a guy from Tripoli says "Hi from Tripoli, Libya, to the most fascinating English speaker on the face of the planet." He's referring to me. Can you what must this guy's exposure to English have been previous to this podcast? Look up, Christopher Hitchens. OK. He may be the most fascinating English speaker on the face of the planet, I'm sorry we lost him. But you'll want to look him up.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I started lifting weights according to Starting Strength method, with some personal modifications." Of course. "And it really paid off in terms of getting stronger and more visible muscles. I am a in a novice linear regression. I have ACL completely cut playing soccer. Long time ago and not operated on it. I have no symptoms." And he wants to know if it's safe to squat with the ACL tear. "Should you use bands to stabilize the knee?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Salamah. This is covered in the book. So many people send these things in without having read the Blue Book. There's a nice illustration in the Blue Book about what the ACL does and how the hamstrings primarily reinforce the ACL. I don't have an ACL in my right knee. Haven't had for 20 years. Had a motorcycle wreck in 94. Ruptured ACL, had a graft, ruptured the graft. They've been operating without an ACL for 21, 22 years. They squat just fine. Deadlift just fine.

Mark Rippetoe:
You don't need an ACL to squat and deadlift. And the reason why is in the Blue Book is a brilliant illustration, brilliant illustration in the Blue Book that demonstrates exactly why this is. And I would encourage you to read that right now.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Dear Strength Sorcerer. My wife was diagnosed with hypermobility." Like she has a disease or something. She's hypermobile. "While this has made for some wonderful adventures in the bedroom, it also causes her a great deal of discomfort, especially in her hips. When she was diagnosed, I asked the doctor if weightlifting would be beneficial and his response was..."

Mark Rippetoe:
Boys and girls...ready. One, two, three. No! Because he's a dumbass. That's got a almighty. How it so universal? I don't understand. He went to the doctor to get her diagnosed. This wonderful woman, talented, talented, useful woman needs a diagnosis. All right. And the diagnosis was hypermobility. And his response to weight lifting was "no."

Mark Rippetoe:
"Not only did he say it wouldn't be beneficial, he didn't recommend weight lifting at all because she could become easily injured as a result. And she should only do it if she really wanted to under very close professional supervision."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, we know where she can get some of that, don't we?

Mark Rippetoe:
"This was not...this was long before I was introduced to the wonderful world of Starting Strength, but even then, his advice didn't seem right to me."

Mark Rippetoe:
You know why? Because you're not a dumbass like he is. I'm not a doctor or therapist or even a personal trainer. And that's why it made sense, why it didn't make any sense to you is because you're not a doctor or a therapist or even a personal trainer. You're not burdened with a bunch of misinformation and an absolute lack of curiosity to inform yourself either.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I'm just a guy whose wife is hyper mobile. But it seems to me if you strengthen the musculature around a joint, the joint becomes more stable and better supported. Which can could contribute to more normal function and flexibility of the joint. Anyway, can or should my wife's drink drain and could it help her condition?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. You know, flexibility's very popular. Has been for decades. But now out of California, we've adopted a new word about flexibility. Now we call it mobility. M-O-B-I-L-I-T-Y. And the assumption here is that you should have as the most incredible full range of motion around every joint in your body as you can possibly obtain.

Mark Rippetoe:
And kiddos that just dumb. People that are hyper mobile know that that's dumb. They're already too flexible. They're too mobile. You get injured at the extremes of range of motion around a joint. That's where joints get injured. Is at the extremes of range of motion. And what restricts the range of motion around a joint to anatomically normal. It's the muscle tension that controls the range of motion around that joint. A strong muscle controls hypermobility.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, if you are hyper mobile naturally, you've got some connective tissue disorder like Marfan syndrome or just you know, you're just one of these little skinny women that's just hypermobile. Well, I guess it's going to benefit you to get stronger. Of course, it's going to benefit you to get stronger because a stronger muscle can control the joint position better than a weaker muscle. Now he's got this down. He understands this.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's just distressing to me that just as a general observation, doctors are such fucking dumbassess. Just amazing. As a general rule, there are there is no more. There's no there's no profession on the surface of the Earth that is more confident in their ability to tell you the truth, and less qualified to do so than Dr.

Mark Rippetoe:
That harsh. You think it's harsh?

Mark Rippetoe:
I mean, engineers don't act that way. Lawyers don't act that way, do they?

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, a pediatrician who's had, you know, couple years of post medical school shit is perfectly capable of telling you to not train with weights because it stunts your growth. Just blurt it right out. Last one, by the way, last week.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Dear Mark, some background for the question - I'm really fat. Twenty three years old and have a BMI of 40." You might be pretty chubby. "Prior to these trying times I was on Starting Strength for only about three months, but saw all four major lifts improve progressively and lost about 10 pounds. Now in quarantine without a rack, I only have enough equipment to deadlift overhead press, barbell row, and accessory work."

Mark Rippetoe:
Boy, this quarantine sure been good for everybody. It's sure been a good idea.

Mark Rippetoe:
"My question is, should I continue to do those lifts mentioned or should I just commit to a more aggressive cut with the goal to get rid of as much body fat as possible before gyms open June, July, August, September?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Never. I sure hope you don't live in New York. You're fucked if you live in NY. You'll there never be another gym open in New York. Won't happen.

Mark Rippetoe:
"And there was an Starting Strength large caloric deficit, and I'm not sure if I should still be training, especially without a structured program, please help."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, here. What basith is his name? Basthif. You have to get a squat rack. All right. You don't know for sure whether you're going to be able to train or not in the gym because the gym may not open back up until September or until, you know, you just don't know. You have no idea what these fucking bureaucrats and these tyrants are going to do about this business that you attend. They might not allow the business, allow the business. They might not allow the owner of the gym to use his property as he sees fit. They might not allow that. And they're very powerful.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it may very well be that you have to train at home from now on. It may well be that you want to train at home from now on, because what do you think is going to happen the next time the possibility arises that some of us might get sick?

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. You're already on the way to a home gym. Just go ahead and borrow the money or spend the money or whatever you need to get a squat rack.

Mark Rippetoe:
I, of course, prefer the Starting Strength rack. There are certainly cheaper ones available that allow you to do most of the same stuff that ours does. But either way, you've got to get where you squat. I don't know how you're pressing. You're just cleaning and pressing the bar right now. All you got to the ground and that's not the best way to advance your press. So you need squat rack.

Mark Rippetoe:
You need to get some squat stands or an actual power rack or some kind of device that allows you to squat so you can train at home. Right. You'll find that the Starting Strength rack is it is a tremendous addition to the program and allows you to do all kinds of things you can't do right now. It allows you to bench partials, rack pulls all kinds of things.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're a fat guy. I understand you got to get your diet under control. That has to be done either way. That has to be done. All right, quit drinking Cokes. Ok, get out of love with the sweet flavor that sugar has provided you all the previous years of your life. Sweet is a child's preference. Grow. Learn to like things that aren't sweet. Learn to actively dislike things that are sweet. This would be easier if you do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you know, one thing that we have learned is that ff we are not in control of our environment, it's better to become that way.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, you want to make plans to train at home? If your gym is liable to be closed, then that's kind of your only option.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay, well. That's enough of this. That's enough of this shit for today. I'd like to thank our our friends here in the studio. Bre Hillen, our production assistant. We call on her production assistant.

Mark Rippetoe:
But she's assistant producer. So what's what's better, an associate producer or an assistant producer? You know, I have no idea. Somebody knows that.

[off-camera]:
The associate sounds more...

Mark Rippetoe:
Associate producer. OK. She's the associate producer. You're a producer, right? What's his ass do?

[off-camera]:
I'm a director. He's a producer.

Mark Rippetoe:
He's a producer. You're you're the director. OK. Got it. Well, whatever all that shit means.

Mark Rippetoe:
And thank you for being here with us. Starting Strength Radio will see you next Friday. Bye now.

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Mark Rippetoe answers questions from Starting Strength Radio fans - mostly about training.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:34 Comments from the Haters!
  • 05:50 SISO
  • 11:34 Bar maintenance
  • 13:54 Jordan documentary
  • 17:22 Back position control
  • 17:50 Deadlifts for the elderly?
  • 19:26 Training with a bent bar
  • 22:34 Full ROM bench press
  • 25:16 Rest between sets
  • 31:17 Shoulder injury and lifting
  • 34:49 Libertarian resources
  • 38:44 Police academy - holding strength
  • 41:50 Training for older novice
  • 43:54 Prowler/HIIT/LSD
  • 46:02 Strongman
  • 48:47 Higher/lower reps for novices
  • 51:25 No walls of text
  • 51:34 Sexes and coaching
  • 57:04 DL set up with locked knees?
  • 58:51 Why isn't hip flexion loaded?
  • 1:04:39 Training without ACL
  • 1:07:04 Strength for hypermobility
  • 1:13:06 Can't train...drop fat?

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