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Q&A Episode - Don't be at the Mercy of Anyone Pretending to be an Authority | Starting Strength Radio #37

Mark Rippetoe | January 03, 2020

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Mark Rippetoe:
In eight European nations would like to live - this is a quote - "in a world where chemical substances don't exist." [Laughter] Where chemical substances don't exist!

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:
Welcome back to Starting Strength Radio. Good Friday to you. We are coming to you not live. I'm sorry, this is not live. This is a recording. But we're recording it from our studios in beautiful downtown Wichita Falls, Texas.

[off camera]:
We are live.

Mark Rippetoe:
We are live. To us right now. We're live. This is live as it can be. You know, it's just that by the time these other people see or hear this, it will not be live. It won't be dead, but it'll be a recording. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
So anyway, today we're going to do Q&A, where you send us terribly interesting questions and we treat him seriously and actually use them for show... What would you call it? platforms for? Or platform for discussion. What am I trying to say? A springboard for the... Springboard for discussion. That's right. See I'm getting platform and springboard diving confused because my vast exposure to so many sports in my life.

Mark Rippetoe:
And so we're going to use this as a springboard, this question pile here we've got. A springboard for discussion today. But first...

Mark Rippetoe:
Comments from the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
Benjamin ZAOUI - that is all of the vowels except the E, Z A O U I. All he needs is an e in there to get the whole damn thing. The whole shooting match, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip don't listen to the haters. Yes, you're ugly and have a pot belly, but you're the man." [Laughter].

Mark Rippetoe:
All right now. Let me... all right. Bre, honey, I want to ask you honestly: Do you think I'm ugly?

[off camera]:
No.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're sure? You're not just saying that because you work for us?

[off camera]:
I'm not just saying that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I don't know.

[off camera]:
I think they should post pictures of themselves.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. You know, that's a very good point. Benjamin, before you say that Rip is ugly, maybe we need to see a picture of you, Honey. Is there a way that you can follow up on this and post a picture of your handsome, young ass on comments from the haters? Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
Tummy Sticks says - in a fairly predictable, but... the spirit of the comment is predictable, of course, but the interesting way in which it's it's characterized is is fascinating. "If the presenters physique is any indication, this is the program to follow if you want to be built like a butt plug.".

[off camera]:
[Laughter] That might be my favourite one.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know, man. That's pretty good. Pretty good. Built like a buttplug.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, and this one is.. this is the choicest one we've had in quite some time. Jk407 says, "Rip's mouth always look so moist."

Mark Rippetoe:
God, Jk do you realize that I'm not available to you, right? I'm just not available. Well, I don't know... maybe Jk is a girl. You ever thought about that?

[off camera]:
Maybe.

Mark Rippetoe:
Probably not. Girls don't think this way.

[off camera]:
Oh, they think that way, they just don't..

Mark Rippetoe:
They just don't talk to... they don't even type that way on the internet.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Well, that's Comment from the Haters! Oh God.

Mark Rippetoe:
So well this has been an interesting couple of weeks in the news don't you think? Interesting couple of weeks in the in the news with all of the... Just for historical reference purposes -- those of you watching this podcast, since we already confessed that it's a recording -- those of you in the far distant future, this thing was recorded the week that the House of Representatives decided to impeach Donald Trump and then decided at the same time not to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, making us wonder why it is we haven't recently seen one of these polls that that review periodically, time to time, Americans' satisfaction with Congress.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, God. How do you get below 6 percent? That's the last one. Last one I saw was 6 percent. 0%. Is anybody in the United States satisfied with Congress right now? I think I speak for most sentient beings by saying, NO, they're not. So that just that's the historical setting of today's... of today's podcast. Those of you in the far distant future when the sun is a red giant, billions of years from now that are watching this podcast, know what week it was in human history. An important... an important reference for historical purposes.

[off camera]:
November 14th the approval rating was 24 percent.

Mark Rippetoe:
24 percent?

[off camera]:
24 percent.

Mark Rippetoe:
As of November 14th. Where did I get the 6 percent? Maybe that's just my estimate of current satisfaction.

[off camera]:
The 6% was in June and that was no opinion.

Mark Rippetoe:
6 percent had no opinion? Well, I was just wrong on that. And I was wrrrrr... Happens occasionally.

[off camera]:
Well, in your defense, 24 percent's pretty fucking low.

Mark Rippetoe:
In my defense 24 percent is.... is not much of a percent. It's not much of a percent.

[off camera]:
Especially because that 24% is probably mentally ill.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yep. If you're satisfied with these people, your standards are low. That's absolutely true.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's something that came out yesterday that I thought was... I grabbed this last night and this is off of a column, a blog, that that's consistently good called the Volokh Conspiracy. Eugene Volokh posts this thing and he's posted this guest piece by Ilya Somin and that the title of this is "Study finds almost 40 percent of people in eight European nations would like to live" - this is a quote - "in a world where chemical substances don't exist. [Laughter] Where chemical substances don't exist. [Laughter]

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, my God. Oh, shit. This is... the reason I pulled this up is because I... You know, we here in the United States have been beaten about the head and shoulders with the idea that the European nations population is so much better educated than we are. Why they're why they're Germans. They're members of the European Union. They... their education system is far superior to this terrible system we have over here.

Mark Rippetoe:
And now, don't get me wrong, the United States education system is is terrible. It's not getting the job done. But if you've got almost of half the population of Europe that doesn't understand what a chemical substance is, then these people are not particularly well prepared to understand about GMO foods and global warming either, are they? [Laughter]

Mark Rippetoe:
Climate change. Oh, my God. Look. You people don't seem to understand that there has never been an hour in the history of this planet where the climate has not been in the process of changing. The climate always has changed. You can wonder about, you know how much CO2 is making a difference. How much water vapor is making a difference. How much methane is making a difference. How much anthropogenic causes... how much anthropogenic causation. How much anthropogenic causation there is to climate change. But the climate's always changing.

Mark Rippetoe:
I would like for the geniuses in the European Union to tell me what temperature they want it to be. What temperature should it be in July? What temperature should it be in December? Please tell me so we'll know how to make it that way.

Mark Rippetoe:
But that... 40 percent of the people they say... published in Nature Chemistry finds 39 percent of respondents in eight European countries say they agree with the statement that "I would like to live in a world where chemical substances don't exist."

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, another 30 percent, 39%, say they slightly agree or slightly disagree with this statement. Similarly, 40 percent say they do everything I can to avoid contact. You see that this is such badly written sentence... They do everything I can to avoid contact with chemical substances in my daily life.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Study's authors, Swiss academics, Michael Siegrist and Angela Bearth - a couple of cynical bastards, by the way, you'll have to admit to submit this kind of survey question to the general population. Probably designed to make everybody look like a fucking dumbass.

[off camera]:
They knew what they were doing.

Mark Rippetoe:
They knew what they were doing... because they know their population over there. You know... So they go on to talk all about this. "It may be tempting to make fun of scientific illiteracy in Europe, but we Americans are in no position to judge. Surveys in the U.S. routinely find similar ignorance in this country."

Mark Rippetoe:
"For example, some 80 percent of Americans say they want mandatory labeling of food containing DNA." [Convulsive laughter] Any time we see the stuff that the general public is participating in, it's just... And the reason I dragged this shit in here today is because I just want you people who are still with us, still hanging in here to understand that the general public is at the mercy of anybody that will pretend to be an authority on anything.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. The general public, the poor creatures, just don't know. They haven't been prepared. They don't understand. They can't understand. Don't be part of the general public. Think about things that you're told. Ok. And don't just swallow things whole. You know, it's not good for you to do that. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I've carefully read all these things, I think, yesterday afternoon. Did I see all of these, Bre? Yesterday I did, didn't I? All right. So we'll just start one at a time and take them apart.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hi. I am a UK personal trainer based in a commercial gym." Have you ever noticed that everybody in the UK is based someplace?

[off camera]:
They're not from there.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, they're based out of the UK. They always say that. I've seen it over and over and over. I don't say I'm based out of Wichita Falls. I say I live in Wichita Falls.

[off camera]:
Based out of Texas.

Mark Rippetoe:
I'm based out of Texas. No, I just live here. But everybody in the UK is based out of someplace. This guy's based in a commercial gym. It's an interesting idiom. It really is.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I usually Starting Strength method as well as the principles played out in Practical Programming. However, I can only control what happens when my client in front of me. Many of them do not workout outside of our sessions, and if they do, they do, they do not do to prescribed workout plan. So most of my clients are only getting one or two proper strength sessions a week. They're making progress, although slower than it would be with the optimal programming. How do you deal with the situation?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, and you really can't. You really can't. If you're only seeing these people twice a week at least they're getting two exposures per week to proper strength and conditioning. The problem you got is all this other stupid bullshit these people are doing while they're not in front of you, which undoes some of the progress.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, if you provide one or two proper strength training sessions a week for these people and they're training outside the gym and the thrashing around that they're doing outside the gym consists of stupid shit like a hundred air squats or forty 100 meter sprints or similar low intensity, high volume overtraining, then it's going to blunt the effects of your good program. And the only thing you can do is to ask them, please don't do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you don't have them three days a week and you can't control what they do while they're outside the gym, then you haven't got control of the program. And if you haven't got control of the program, my advice to you is just to cash the check. Just cash the check. You're doing what you can do. You have no control. You have no control. And if you have no control, you can't control the outcome. All right. So don't worry about it. Cash the check. This is part of being in the commercial end of this business.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip your thoughts on TRT" - testosterone replacement therapy - after 50 years of age. I'm 52 and enjoy lifting and life in general. I self administer approximately 500 milligrams a week of testosterone and love the boost it gives."

Mark Rippetoe:
I bet you do. Look, if you're doing 500 milligrams a week, you're just doing a bunch of test. You're not doing testosterone replacement therapy, you're just doing a bunch of test. If you want to do a bunch of test, go right ahead. I'll bet it does give you a boost, but that's way more than you need to be doing a week if you are 50 and doing testosterone replacement therapy. OK. I mean, look, if you want to do steroids, do steroids. I don't care, but don't call it TRT. Goddamn. [Laughter] Oh, man.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. More on doping. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Just curious if you have watched the Netflix documentary, Icarus." I have not.

[off camera]:
It's good. It's real good.

Mark Rippetoe:
Rusty seen it. Bre just looked it up a minute ago. I know what it's about.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I would like to know your opinion in one of the one of the claims made at the end of the documentary. 'It is impossible' This is a quote. 'It is impossible to get a gold medal at the Olympics without doping.'"

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. I don't know that it's impossible, but I do know that it's just not done. You know, this is going to come as a shock to some you more innocent people. At the highest levels of athletics, elite athletics, people that do that are not interested in fitness. They're not interested in health. They're not interested in what happens to them 40 years from now. They're interested in winning. And the fact that they are in the elite levels of the sport means they're very, very, very interested in winning. They're interested in winning to the exclusion of every thing else. Everything else.

Mark Rippetoe:
And everything else includes laws and regulations and your little proletariat version of fairness and every other concern. They're not... Their concerns are not your concerns. Their concerns are winning. And whatever it takes to win, they will do. Now, they... some of them are operating on bad information. For example, Barry Bonds took a bunch of steroids as a professional baseball player in lieu of doing his squats and deadlifts.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, this does not reflect on Mr Bond because he was relying on expert coaches, expert personal trainers. What are these guys hired for? For information about what to do. And he was told to take steroids. He's concerned with his 80 billion dollar a year salary. And so he took some steroids. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
It shouldn't come as a shock to you that at the elite levels of competition, the people that perform at that level are not motivated the way you are. They're not concerned about fairness. They're not concerned about anything except winning. They don't care if they have to go talk to John McCain in the Senate. All right. God, that would be enough to make me kill myself before it.

Mark Rippetoe:
But, you know, so that they're going to do whatever they need to do to win. And you just need to get used to the idea, because that's what's going to happen. And that's what does happen. And let's not be naive about it, shall we? Let's just enjoy their performance for what it is, the pinnacle of human physical performance. Just enjoy it for what it is and quit worrying about how that how it got that way. Just, you know, it just it got that way in whatever way it was necessary to get that way, because that's what these guys will do.

Mark Rippetoe:
They'll all do it. And if you can't deal with it, then quit paying attention to sports. All right. You can't have it your way. All right. They're going to use drugs. Get over it. Quit worrying about it. Enjoy it for what it is. All right.

[off camera]:
One thing that documentary really hit home was steroids will not make you an elite athlete. You can do all the steroids in the world, but you're not going to place with these people. These people are freak athletes to begin with and then they do steroids because they have to.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. One of the most offensive things that's ever happened was back in the 90s... back in late 80s when the Carl-Johnson or the Ben Johnson-Carl Lewis thing took place. And it was suddenly revealed to the American public that Mr. Johnson had taken testosterone, anabolic steroids in order to excel in his sprint performance.

And what was completely absent from the four week discussion of this on every news media outlet. What was completely absent from that was any mention of the fact that Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis were right there. One would win, the other would win, one would win. They're competitors, they're freaks. They're amazing sprinters. They're not like me and you. There these people are the... they're genetic marvels, they're physical geniuses. All right. They both used drugs. Because that's the last 2 percent. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
But what did the media do? The media spent four weeks teaching every high school kid in the United States that all you've got to do to beat Carl Lewis like Ben Johnson did, is take a bunch of steroids. Now, you don't think that had a significant effect? Well, you're a dumbass. All right. This is just one more way that the media fucks up everything they touch. They're evil. They're parasites. They're... they're roundworm. Stay away from them. Don't talk to the media, don't absorb the media, don't believe anything they say. Ever. Because they're pieces of shit. All right. Hope that's clear.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now let's see. "I understand that not doing the bench press is not optimal and deviates from the Starting Strength protocol. However, due to my work and personal schedule, I do not have access to a consistent spotter for the bench press. I would like to avoid the unsafe predicament benching without a spot presents. Given that consistency is one of the key tenets of your program, I would like to replace the bench press with another movement that can be progressed in a similar fashion, providing the appropriate stress needed to stimulate adaptation and be implemented without a spotter. Does there exist such an exercise that fits these criteria?" No. Or it would be in the program.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, the way to bench press safely without spotter is to do it in a power rack with the pins set just below the level of your chest, just above the level of your throat, so that if you miss a rep you can set it down on the pins without getting killed. All right. That's the first part of the process.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the second part of the process is to learn to accurately gauge the weight that should be on the bar today. All right. You have to learn when to take small jumps on the bench. And that's gonna be sooner rather than later for you heroes that want to take 10 pound jumps on the bench. You can't do it. And if you try to do it, you're gonna get stuck. And if you haven't prepared to get stuck, then you're gonna be in a in a pickle. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
A spotter is wonderful. A spotter can be either a lifesaver and a gigantic aid to your training or it can be a complete disaster. If the guy is just some bro hanging around and in Gold's and you call him over and he grabs your fifth PR rep of your last set of five, and says, "One more man. It's all you. It's all you."

Mark Rippetoe:
So, you know, I don't know. I mean, there are there are reasons to have spotters and there are reasons to correctly set the bench press up so that it doesn't kill you so that you can honestly get a PR without some jackass coming over and sticking his hands in your training. So don't regard a spotter as absolutely necessary to do the bench press. If you're using the correct equipment, you don't need a spotter.

Mark Rippetoe:
Correct equipment. I'd really think that, you know, there's not any reason at all to bench press at home without protection set in the rack. If you don't have the equipment to bench, then don't bench. All right. That should be obvious. If you if you're not in a... if you're training by yourself and you have trained by yourself and you have no equipment to bench without protection, then you can't bench press.

Mark Rippetoe:
But by the same token, having a spotter is no guarantee that you're not going to drop the bar on your chest because a spotter can't catch that in the air. Nobody can react that fast. It just... the human reaction time is not up to the task of catching a dropped bench press. That can't happen. Doesn't matter if there are two spotters. The bar will hit you in the chest if you drop it. It will hit you in the chest. Now, the spotters can maybe catch it on the first bounce, but by then your sternum is broken. Right. So it... really you need protection anyway. So keep that in mind.

Mark Rippetoe:
But to answer your question, no, if there was a substitute movement that was better than the bench or even close to the bench, it'd already be in the program. OK. Now, in fact, one of the reasons that incline is not desirable is that you can't really do a protected inclined bench. There's not really a way to set that up. You may have an inclined flat bench and set it up in the rack with pins, but it's awkward and the pins will always be in the way. And it's just, you know. So just, you know, make your plans accordingly.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. Now. "I recently read your article, Strength and Conditioning for Fencing, published in Strength Conditioning Journal back in 2000. It's an excellent article that I think all fencers should read." I do, too. "I fenced and coached for a few years when I was a younger man. I really wished I'd learned about your program back when I was involved in the sport. I'm ashamed to admit that so much of my crosstraining was unfocused and silly nonsense, particularly the idea that running really long distances would somehow make me explosive."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, that's why I wrote the article. And as far as I know, it's the only thing in literature that specifically addresses strength and conditioning for fencing in a logical, analytical way.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Are you still involved in fencing? How did you get involved with the sport? What weapons have you trained with?".

Mark Rippetoe:
So I am... I no longer fence. No. I've had a couple of severe injuries to my right shoulder. I'm right handed and I can't fence anymore. I've got no external rotation strength left in my right shoulder and there's just not any way to do it. Can't parry. All right. I competed in epee at a meet one time. I've fenced with all the weapons, and I just loved it. But my problem here in Wichita Falls is there was no one to coach me. Worked with a woman that was stationed here for a while. She was out of the base and I trained with her a little while. But back when I would have been a competitive fencer, I didn't have a coach. And I didn't have the means to travel back and forth to Dallas to train. So and there was no one to practice with. It's a fencing wasteland up here. And as a result, that never went anywhere. I think I would have been a good fencer had I had an opportunity to develop in the sport, but I didn't. And now I'm crippled and I can't do it anymore. So no, I don't. But I miss it terribly. It was fun. Really enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. But it's those days are gone. Lots of fun things I can't do anymore. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Mr. Rippetoe, first off, thank you for providing our office with the weekly Starting Strength Radio program." Well, we're happy to do that for your office. "We listen to it frequently and are amused when our other athletic trainer and physical therapist office mates are offended and irritated due to the opinions shared on the program."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I'm amused too. Because all they have to do is just believe us, me and you. And then they would be better at their job. But no, no. We got this. I know. That's what they say. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"We simply laugh and stoke the fire further. Nothing like planning Starting Strength radio in a facility that frequently uses cupping, dry needling, BRF and Indian clubs.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay, "So what are your thoughts, opinions, etc. with regards the recent court ruling dealing with CrossFit versus NSCA. I am personally an ATC and CSCS" -- that's certified strength and conditioning specialist for those of you who are not prepared to be impressed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association -- "non-SSC who teaches aspiring service academy students a fairly verbatim version of Starting Strength and do find that much of both the National Athletic Trainer Association and NSCA" -- National Strength Conditioning Association -- "what most of them promote is promote is silly bullshit." Which it is.

Mark Rippetoe:
What are my thoughts and opinions regarding the court ruling? All right. I have followed this in a very cursory fashion. I have some inside knowledge and some contacts with people that are involved in the CrossFit side. And what basically happened in this case was what happens in lots and lots and lots and lots of instances of peer reviewed research being published. And what happens lots and lots and lots and lots of the time is that it's bullshit. The data sets are forged. Yes. You forged. The conclusions were reached before the study was even proposed, and this appears to be what happened in the case of this particular suit. Look it up online. Not gonna get into the particulars here.

Mark Rippetoe:
But. The situation is endemic to professional research, not just to not just to exercise science, but to all professional research. And by professional research, I don't mean science, I mean professional research. Professional researchers and scientists are two different people. Most tenured academics are professional researchers, not scientists. And they're self serving terms in terms of the money they receive, grant writers and on the tit of the national organizations the federal government maintains for supporting scientific research. Quote unquote.

Mark Rippetoe:
There are a lot of motivations involved in this that have nothing to do with research or science. And those of you in the general public need to understand that not everything you read in a scientific journal is true. OK, that's a topic of a whole show maybe we'll do sometime.

Mark Rippetoe:
But this particular instance of CrossFit versus NSCA is probably going to end up in CrossFit's favor and it's probably going to be real bad for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. And it should be because they don't... they haven't been involved in either strength or conditioning in a very, very, very long time.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Rip, I'm a twenty four year old, six foot one, hundred and eighty five pound male." He's a skinny kid. Right. "You often talk about the underweight 18 year old, but how would someone a little older like myself approach calories? Does someone in their mid 20s have to eat more or less than someone in their late teens?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Thomas, you're a kid. You're 24. There's no difference between you and an 18 year old, you know. Now, if you're thirty eight, it'd be different, but you're twenty four. You're a little skinny, six foot one, hundred eighty five pound turd. All right. You need to eat more than you're eating right now because you know you need to gain weight or you wouldn't have asked me about it.

Mark Rippetoe:
And there's not any functional difference between your ability to gain weight and the ability to gain weight of an 18 year old. And but I will tell you, the window is closing rapidly. You'd better get up off your ass and get under the bar and start eating a bunch of food and use the opportunity you have right now to get big and strong. Because if you get big and strong right now, you'll be bigger and stronger for the rest of your life than you will be if you don't. All right. Keep that in mind. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now... "Dear Rip," I like it when people are polite. Dear, dearest Rip. "I've been getting severe pain in the inner elbow from the squats. It's gotten so bad that it completely prevents me from benching: my elbow feels like it will explode during the bench descent. I switched to doing safety bar squats for a few weeks and the pain went away completely and I thought that was the end of it. But it took just a single moderate session of regular squats with 180 kilos or so for the pain to resurface again. What can I do about this?"

Mark Rippetoe:
This is interesting for a couple of different reasons. All right. First off, if you're... what you're describing is golfer's elbow. Golfer's elbow is medial epicondylitis and tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. So if your forearms are supine, this is medial... This is lateral. So this is tennis elbow, this is lateral epicondylitis. And this is medial epicondylitis. It's called golfer's elbow.

Mark Rippetoe:
It is an inflammation of the tendon insertions of the forearm flexors. And what typically produces this is an incorrect grip on the squat. It happens all the time if you... and we've got several videos about the squat grip that you can look up on this website and we'll tell you how to correctly rip the bar to avoid golfer's elbow. All right. There's there's at least three videos about that in an article or two. So not to go into that here because I've done a much better job with it in the gym with a video about how to grip the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
What I want to point out is this: He switched to doing safety bar squats for a few weeks and the pain went away completely. The pain went away completely. But then it took a single moderate session of squats and it came back because the pain went away, but the tendonitis, the tendonopathy did not go away because tendonopathies do not heal with rest.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right now, this is one of the problems with going to your doctor. All right. Because if you go to your doctor. And you tell him that your knee tendon is hurting. He's going to say, "Well, are you squatting?" And you're going to say, "Well, yeah, yeah, I'm squatting." He is not going to say, "Well, are you squatting correctly?" He's not going to ask you about your knee slide at the bottom of squat. He's not going to ask you about any of any germane things to what has created this knee tendonopathy. He's just going to say, "Well, quit squatting." And you'll go, "Well, he is a doctor." After all, he is a doctor. He told me to quit squatting.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you're going to quit squatting, right? And for two years, you're going to have your head up your ass and you're going to not squat because the doctor told you not to squat. And one day you get your head out of your ass and you think to yourself, you know, I just am detrainted, I need to start squatting. You start back squatting. And God damned if your knee pain is not still there.

Mark Rippetoe:
It will be because tendonopathies do not heal with rest. Your tendon has changed a little bit. It's changed for the worse. But laying off of it doesn't make a tendon heal up. And this is disappointing to me too. OK. But the fact is that you cannot lay off of a tendon injury. Tendonitis, tendinosis, all this stuff. You can't lay off of it and have it heal. It won't heal up.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have to fix the mechanical problem that caused the inflammation that caused the problem and train through it and make it heal under a load, because that's the only circumstances under which the thing will regain normal morphology. And God, I... look, I want that to not be true as bad as you do, but that's just all there is to it.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you want your golfer's elbow to heal, you're gonna have to work it. The golfer's elbow protocol that we've got and the tennis elbow protocol are basically the same: you're going to do a whole bunch of chins. You're going to do repeated sets, 20 sets of two or three chins. You're going to make the golfer's elbow hurt like hell.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, you know. Usually takes about four or five workouts and then it goes away. You're going to force it to heal. You're going to cause an increase, a temporary increase, in the inflammation in the in the affected structure and that temporary increase in inflammation - inflammation being the way things heal up - causes the inflamed tendon to go ahead and go through the inflammatory cascade and heal itself up. And we've used this chin up protocol with people for a long time and it works very, very well. And to address your specific situation here, that's how you're going to deal with it. Looked at up on the website, I've talked about it several times.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK, this is David. David says, "Hello, Rip. I really appreciate the Starting Strength web site and podcast. The information's been very helpful. One thing I've not seen (maybe I just missed it) is how to fail the last rep of the squat. I have never done it. I think I have never had enough nerve to squat down with a lot of weight if I wasn't sure I could get back up. Is there a safest way to drop a heavy bar? Am I training too conservatively by never risking bailing out on a squat rep? I do train in a gym that has a rack with cross bars. I'm also 60 years old.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, this is... this is a rich field. Here. Dave, listen to me, hun. Dave, my friend Dave, buddy. You are 60 years old. There is no way for you to safely bail out of a squat whether you're in a rack or not. You're gonna hurt yourself if you bail out of a squat. Bailing out of a squat is what young lazy guys do when they are training with bumper plates on the bar in a CrossFit gym where everybody's been taught to bail out of a squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. First, don't bail out of a squat. Finish your set. Pick the weight on the bar correctly. Don't bail out of a squat. And don't give yourself permission to bail out of a squat. Force yourself to finish the set. If it's a set of five, you do the fifth rep. If you don't know that you can do the fifth rep. You know how you find out whether you can do the fifth rep? You do the fifth rep. If you get stuck at the bottom, you learn something. If you don't get stuck at the bottom and you finish the fifth rep, you learn something. Either way, you learn something. If you bail out of it, if you rack it at four, you haven't learned anything.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have got to push on heavy things. Pushing on heavy things means that at some point the bar speed is going to slow down and to you it's going to feel like what it's now popular to call a "grind." You have to do that. I'm sorry. If you want to get strong, you have to lift things that are occasionally at the limit of your ability, because that is the stress to which you adapt. If you don't ask yourself to adapt to a force production event that is at the edge of your ability, then your ability doesn't increase.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is fundamental training theory. If you never ask yourself for a limit extension of your force production capacity, then it's not going to go up. This is part of the deal. I mean, gains are easy for the first four or five months, but at some point things are going to get heavy. Things are going to get hard. That's part of this deal. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Part of the part of the deal is also you correctly deciding how much you're going to do today. It's got to be more than the last time, but if the jumps too big, you may not be able to take it. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, if you're standing inside a rack that has cross bars and you dump the bar on the on the pins, guess what happens? You just bought a barbell because you just bent the bar barbell. You don't drop the bar on the pins because it'll bend the bar. Not every bar is as good as a Starting Strength bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
You go into commercial gyms, start dropping their bars in the rack, they may ask you to leave. I would. You come into my gym and dump a bar on the pins inside the rack, you and I are going to have a serious discussion about why that occurred. And if I'm not satisfied with the answer, you get to train someplace else because your membership doesn't pay for new equipment at my gym. It pays to keep the lights on. And I don't need you in there fucking my stuff up, so I'm going to escort you out the door. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
But the key here is for you to understand how to approach your squat training. All right. It is it... you are responsible for doing hard things. And doing hard things sometimes takes gathering up your balls and going down with a rep that you don't know whether or not you can squat back up. It's part of what we do. That's part of the reason why strength training the way we do it affects not only your physical well-being, but this part [mind] too. Because the hardest part of a limit rep is here [head]. OK, it's you making up your mind to find out whether or not you can do something you don't know that you can do. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you know you can do it every time you're you're just exercising, you're not really training, you're not challenging yourself. The process requires operating at the edge of the envelope. And if you haven't got the balls to operate at the edge of the envelope, you're not going to get accomplished what you can if you do. Understand? I hope so..

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, "Hi," he says "in one of the radio podcasts Rip talked about a motorcycle accident he had and a knee injury followed by this accident." No, the knee injury occurred during the accident, it wasn't followed by the accident. That would mean I had a motorcycle wreck and during the motorcycle wreck I had a knee injury. "I was just curious to know if he had a full protection gear, full protective helmet, riding suit, knee and elbow protectors etc. I want to buy one soon, but after I saw what Rip had been through, I may rethink my decision.".

Mark Rippetoe:
No, I didn't have any protective gear on. All right. I didn't have a helmet on because I never rode with the helmet. If I was to get back on the motorcycle, I wouldn't ride with a helmet. That's not why I ride a motorcycle. I didn't have any protective gear on - no chain mail or armor or anything. A riding suit? What else did he mention here? Elbow protectors, knee protectors.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no, no, that's that's a different approach than I took to riding a motorcycle. All right. All that protective gear is if you're a track rider, that's what you've got to have on. All right. But I've had my motorcycle wreck on a kick start Harley Davidson. A straight kickstart shovelhead Harley Davidson. All right. Which is not the kind of motorcycle that you ride if you're into protective gear.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, here's here's the bottom line: If you don't want to get hurt in a motorcycle accident, don't ride a motorcycle. Because chances are very, very good that if you ride a motorcycle, you're gonna get hurt in a motorcycle accident. If you are not ready for that, don't ride a motorcycle. There's no way to make a motorcycle accident safe with a helmet or any of that other gear. Somebody pulls out in front of you and you t-bone them, you're going to get hurt. And it doesn't matter what you got on. You know, you have a bad motorcycle wreck, chances are very good that the helmet is just going to make the funeral messy... less messy if it's open casket, all right. You know, you have a motorcycle ragged seventy five miles an hour, you're just, you know. You had fun going out, probably.

Mark Rippetoe:
But motorcycles are dangerous. OK. I quit riding five or six years ago because I found that A) I was getting too impatient. I wouldn't wait anymore because I'm old and cranky. I wouldn't wait when I should've waited. I had detected my behavior change and I correctly interpreted that as not conducive to being alive long on a motorcycle and B) Everybody is texting now. Everybody's texting. They're not looking at you. They're not paying any attention to you. It doesn't matter whether you get your headlight on or not. It doesn't matter whether your head light's flashing. It doesn't matter what's going on. They're texting. And if they're texting at the wrong time, you're fucked.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. So my advice to you asking me a question like this is don't get a motorcycle. You're not... it's not going to end.

[off camera]:
It's not a matter of if you get hurt...

Mark Rippetoe:
It's not a matter of if you have a motorcycle wreck it's a matter of when you have the wreck and how bad it's going to be. That's just all there is to it. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. Now: "I am teaching my wife the main lifts. She has some scoliosis. She's seeing a chiropractor who has suggested she limit weight when lifting. I did see the recent post of world record lifter with scoliosis. Everyone is different. Told my wife we should continue the linear progression with good form until we know we should be more careful.".

Mark Rippetoe:
My thoughts are that if you've got scoliosis, then you're going to have scoliosis. Would you rather have scoliosis with a week back or a strong back? There's nothing you can do about scoliosis. You can't straighten it out. Now, some degree of scoliosis is rather common. Most people do not have a perfectly straight symmetrical spine. OK. The vast majority of people have got some asymmetry in their back. Usually it's not a problem, but if you've got 40 degrees of scoliosis out of line, you get kind of a bad situation.

Mark Rippetoe:
There will be a weight that you get to eventually in your training where you're running at the edge of that envelope talked about a minute ago. But should you go up to there? I think you should. I think you should. You ought to be able to have a nice strong back without having world record deadlifts and squats, although it has happened. Our friend Lamar Gant was a was a perfect example of a very, very strong guy with real bad scoliosis, so it's been done and it's been done all... it's done frequently.

Mark Rippetoe:
Course, the chiropractor is going to suggest that you limit the weight you lift, and I'm not saying you do stupid things, OK. But the human back is not as fragile as everybody thinks it is. And you've got scoliosis. You want it strong or you not want it strong? But you've got scoliosis. You can't do anything about that. You can't not have scoliosis, but you can have strong back scoliosis as opposed to weak back scoliosis. That would be my recommendation.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hi, Rip." Oh, this is too long. Look at this. OK, let's move on. Let me see if I can distill this. I must be able to or I wouldn't have put it in the pile. "I've been lifting six years most of the time according to Starting Strength -- great success -- twenty six years old, 6 foot 172. And but I've hit pretty decent lifts, 150 squat kilos, 190 kilo deadlift, 110 bench, 70 kilo press.".

Mark Rippetoe:
These are different... decent lifts, but I think probably the reason I grabbed this is because of this first paragraph. "I've been lifting about six years, most of time according Starting Strength methond and I've found great success" But he's twenty six. So he's been lifting since he was 20 using our method. He's 6 foot tall and weighs 172.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, he's not been using our method. No, he hasn't. Because that's not the program. If you'd been using our methods according to our recommendations for six years at 6 foot, you would weigh at least 220 and probably 240. Six years is long enough to get very, very strong, but not at 6 foot and a hundred and seventy two pounds. That's not the program. That's not the program to get strong. You need to get bigger. You're not big enough at 6 foot in 172.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you didn't do the program because the program is not just what you do in the gym. The program is how you recover from what you do in the gym. And correct recovery from what you do in the gym involves gaining body weight and you hadn't gained any body weight. You're six foot, 172 -- you're skinny. You don't look like you train. These numbers are if they're true, they're you know, you've got to you've got a 330 squat and you've got about a 400 deadlift. You know, you got a 242 bench. You got a 154 press. Now, I'm not impressed with that.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you're that strong, you know what you could be.... you could be doing at 6 foot and 220? 6 foot and 220 you're a 500 squatter, you're a six hundred deadlifter. You're a 350 bencher. You're a 225 presser. That's what you ought to be. You haven't done the program.

Mark Rippetoe:
And finally, "Can I actually build muscle at age 68?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, why would you think you couldn't build muscle at age 68? You're alive, right? Your muscles still contract, right? You get sore. You're not sore anymore. You healed up. You're 68. There's nothing about 68... now, you don't mention your height, your body weight. You don't mention injuries. You don't mention anything except the bizarre idea that age limits your ability to build muscle.

Mark Rippetoe:
So really, the question is: Can you get strong, stronger than you are now, at age 68? Obviously you can. If you get stronger, what have your muscles done? Well, they've grown. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Neuromuscular efficiency improves with training, but the same stress that produces neuromuscular efficiency also produces muscle hypertrophy. Yes, you can grow muscles. If you're getting stronger over time, your muscles are growing. They've got no other way to get stronger past a certain point. They have to get bigger. And since we know that old guys can get stronger. We know that old guys can grow muscle too.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know who told you you couldn't at that age, but guys like you who believe people like that are the reason that this this approach, this barbell training approach that we know works, has not penetrated popular culture any more than it has. You have allowed somebody to tell you what you can't do with no factual basis.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay, there's no thing about you at 68 that means that your muscles can't get stronger and therefore grow. No. So quit believing this kind of stupid shit. So that's the end of my stack.

Mark Rippetoe:
Anything else you won't talk about anything else, Rusty?

[off camera]:
You need to hook him up with the first guy that's doing 500 mgs of test.

Mark Rippetoe:
We can do that. Yeah. Get him... get him about half of that guy's testosterone and everything... everybody'll be better off. Oh, absolutely. God almighty.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, thanks for being with us today. Starting Strength Radio comes to you every Friday on your local podcast distributor and on StartingStrength.com where we post this video.

Mark Rippetoe:
Be thinking about any questions we might be able to help you with. Please try to make them literate. Please pay attention to your typing so that we don't have to decipher them. Don't send them in in Cyrillic or anything like that and maybe will answer your question on a future episode of the Q & A here at Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
We'll see you next Friday. Thanks.

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Mark Rippetoe discusses more silly bullshit and answers questions from Starting Strength fans including questions on TRT, the movie Icarus, and training questions.

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 02:02 Comments from the Haters!
  • 05:10 In the news
  • 07:52 Don't be the general public
  • 14:40 Dealing with clients don't follow programs
  • 17:34 Testosterone injection
  • 18:45 Icarus claims
  • 25:15 Replace bench press in the Program?
  • 30:07 Fencing
  • 32:43 CrossFit v NSCA
  • 37:43 24 and calories
  • 39:10 Golfer's elbow
  • 45:05 Not failing a squat
  • 51:05 When not to get a motorcycle
  • 55:37 Scoliosis
  • 58:02 Recovery on the Program
  • 01:01:02 Building muscle at 68

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