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Q&A Episode - Inner Game of Tennis, Podcast Guests and Sumo Wrestling | Starting Strength Radio #22

Mark Rippetoe | September 20, 2019

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Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgard 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. We're here every Friday and we are going to today deal with your questions on our famous question and answer format Starting Strength radio podcast. This is where you ask us interesting questions. And if we find them equally interesting, we will respond to those.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now understand that most of the questions that we that we get submitted here on our SpeakUp channel, that is accessed through my Q and I on board, we don't find interesting. Most of the time they're obnoxious or stupid or repetitive or what else? Inappropriate. Mainly just stupid. Mainly they're just stupid. So we don't deal with them. But every once in a while, as you'll see, we we have some good questions and we've got enough of those to talk about the day to accumulate a Q and A show. So we're going to do it.

Mark Rippetoe:
But first, as usual... Comments from the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Thwack Indna says, "OK, enough with the merch... leather shoes, leather belts. Rip's. Got a thing for animal skin and Gianna Michaels. We got it."

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. This one is from a person by the name of "the goal of my pole is ur hole."

Mark Rippetoe:
"Those belts must be strong to hold the guts of all you SS fatties. Hey Rip, why don't you release the SS bro for your gyno Tiggo Bitties and charge $499 dollars for them. I know you like big hairy man boobs with thick, bumpy nips. Jesus, you and Blaha are the most delusional fat boys on YT."

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't understand it myself, but once again, we're dealing with the bottom 3 percent of humanity on YouTube comments.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. So Phoreal9000 says, "Please create a different channel for your advertisements. Thanks."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, why would I do that? I mean, we want you to watch our advertisements, you know.

Mark Rippetoe:
Pollux asks, "Why are Rippetoe's nippetoes hard? Is he some kind of pervertoe?" Pervetoe, Pervetoe.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know why these people are so fascinated with my fucking nipples. I mean, you can't even see them. Here's a better question. Have you ever seen a boy with soft nipples? I haven't. But then again, I don't look at boys nipples, so I may be wrong.

Mark Rippetoe:
And Chap, of course says, "At 23:53 the expression on Mark's face just epically invites a young stud to..."

Mark Rippetoe:
I'm probably not going to read this. This one is far too bizarre for even Comments from the Haters!

[off-camera]:
So you're saying that boys' nipples should always be hard?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I mean, boys nipples have a characteristic shape and... Well, look, once again. Just once again, I'm only familiar with... I'm intimately familiar with mine and I've just noticed that they're all the same way, all the damn time. You know, I think you'll think about it. Years probably are too.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right? Well, yeah. Right, Rusty. Right.

[off-camera]:
I have no dog in this fight.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you have an opinion. Whether it's a valuable one or not remains to be seen.

[off-camera]:
I guess my nipples change with the temperature...

Mark Rippetoe:
They don't. They don't change with the temperature.

[off-camera]:
If I'm excited.

Mark Rippetoe:
I was out yesterday unloading a load of wood out of my trailer.

[off-camera]:
Rock hard nipples.

Mark Rippetoe:
Rock hard nipples. Seat pouring off of my ass just as fast as it could pour. Rock hard, little bitty pencil eraser looking nipples.

[off-camera]:
Oh, god damn.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, I know. I know. It's it's it's odd that it comes up.

[off-camera]:
It's very odd.

Mark Rippetoe:
So let's go ahead and do our podcast, shall we? And let's talk about the questions that have come in over the past couple of months. I think these some of these actually date back.

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, God. There's probably a whole website about that. She's gotten 40 pictures here of soft man-nipples. It would never have occurred to me to have Googled that. That would never have occurred to my ass. Oh, God.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, anyway. All right. All right. We're moving...

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, moving along... RealFastEnglish.com writes, "Have you given any thought to interviewing Dr. Rhonda Patrick about nutrition?"

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. And the only reason I read this is because you guys don't understand that I don't get to interview whoever I want to on our little goofy podcast here because nobody knows who we are except you. All right. Dr. Rhonda Patrick has you know, is a big name and she's not gonna come on here to talk to me. Hell, she can talk to Rogan.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hold it. Wait. There he is again. I wish he'd...

[off-camera]:
Just just do that reply with text thing, says sorry.

Mark Rippetoe:
Sorry, can't talk right now. Okay. Take care of that the easy way. He'll interrupt us another 2 or 3 times during this podcast. About every afternoon this time he calls wanting me to be on his show.

Mark Rippetoe:
And, you know, look, I already told him no. Four or five times. He's offered to fly me out. You know, buy the beer. Get the room, girls.

[off-camera]:
DMT

Mark Rippetoe:
DMT, everything else. But no, I just you know, I don't have time for it.

Mark Rippetoe:
So there it is again. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, you know, I have thought about asking Barack Obama to come on the show. Thought about interviewing him about his training program. I thought about aking Angela Merkel, the German chancellor to come on, talk about her thoughts on fitness, international politics.

[off-camera]:
We could get Arnold. Get both worlds.

Mark Rippetoe:
Arnold. We could talk to Arnold. Thought about having him on the show? Who else would be good to have on the show?

[off-camera]:
Gianna Michaels.

Mark Rippetoe:
Gianna Michaels. Well, we could talk to her. We could talk to Gianna Michaels.

[off-camera]:
She's got a lot to say.

Mark Rippetoe:
Rusty, call her. OK. Hit her up. See if she'll come in. You know.

Mark Rippetoe:
Who else? Who's that economist that writes for The New York Times? The guy that, you know, never makes any fucking sense. Said the economy was never going to recover from Donald Trump being elected president. I can't remember his name. To have him on the show. Have him on the show.

Mark Rippetoe:
How about Bill Clinton? You want to have Bill Clinton on the show? He'd be interesting to talk to about his vegan diet. How veganism has been kind to him. Could do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Well, we'll give that all some thought.

[off-camera]:
How to not get into trouble for assassinating people.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why all these people that he knows seems to be "committing suicide" all the time? Isn't it amazing that none of us has people just falling dead around us all day? I can think of several people that I'd like to just have suicided, but I don't have that power. Well, anyway.

Mark Rippetoe:
So, yeah, we've given a lot of thought to having all these people on the show, but unfortunately it's not up to us.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay. Dan asks, "Rip, do you do chin-ups?

Well, that's an interesting question. I have recently started back doing some chin-ups. I did them for years and years and years and I just got tired of the damn things, so I started doing barbell rows. And I am starting back to try to incorporate some chin-ups into my into my program.

Mark Rippetoe:
I've got some stuff that's badly wrong with my right shoulder. I was doing dips, oh, several months ago. I was doing some dips. I'd done... it was my third dip workout, first time I'd done them in a long time. I did a couple sets of just... long, extensive warm up - a couple of sets of ten reps at bodyweight. They didn't feel bad. Not bad at all. Second workout, I did three sets of 10 bodyweight dips. And then the third workout, I was on my second set of ten after a long, extensive warmup and I felt three distinct pops on the posterior side of my right shoulder. And if you examine it now, you'll find that the muscle belly where the infraspinatas should be is gone.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I'm pretty sure that I ruptured the infraspinatus and the teres minor. I think those are both gone and they were solid rupture sounds. I know what it sounds like. And, you know, the thing's stabilized. I'm back to doing benches, and presses never have bothered it, but I thought three or four weeks ago I'd start back doing some chins and I've been I've been going out like once every two weeks and doing ten sets separated by jogging a lap on the track in the back. So I just, you know, tried something different again.

Mark Rippetoe:
So, yeah, I've been doing some chin-ups and I don't ever do pull ups because I think they're stupid. Why would I want to do that movement and consciously omit the biceps from the movement? I don't see the point. Why pull up when you can chin-up? So, yeah, I'm doing some chins.

Mark Rippetoe:
Don't appear to have lost a lot of strength, but I'm I'm trying to go very slowly because I don't want another disaster to befall my right shoulder by introducing an old movement back into the program too quickly.

Mark Rippetoe:
Bill Goellner writes, "Weightlifting off and on since age 10 (my dad PE degree got on the barbell bandwagon while still in his teens). I've been fairly conscientious about the program, somewhat lax on the diet. All three books heavily highlighted. 70 years old April 2017 after... after, but not during a heavy set of squats, my S1 sciatica flared up. Present over 10 years, usually more numbness than pain. Restarted novice progression last summer. Same event in January 2019 (after not during squats). Have continued with chin ups, pull ups, benches, overhead presses, nothing for what my father called the hip girdle. I see my options as 1) cautiously restart novice progression with squat and deadlift 2) any combination or treadmill with elevation. 3) farmer's walk with dumbbells 4) stair stepper, for high intensity interval training, hip thrusts, planks, glute-ham machine ,box squats with dumbbells.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Bill, you don't mention having done deadlifts in the first part of this comment, and I'm wondering if you were deadlifting during the the first instances where you hurt your lower back.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's been my experience with sciatica... There is a there is a good way to address it with a massage. And if you can get somebody to do this for you, it's worth a try. Usually the sciatica, sciatic symptoms, flare up because the piriformis muscle is impinging the nerve as it comes out of the hip. And what I... I can I can fix the sciatica on somebody else. I can't do it on me, obviously. But I can fix a sciatica with a massage with my elbow right in the cheek of the ass, that gets down into the into the belly of the piriformis and stretches it out. It's extremely painful. I recommend bourbon prior to this, but that pretty much always fixes it. I can I can take care of a sciatica flare up with that on pretty much everybody I try to do it with.

Mark Rippetoe:
But I'm wondering if you were deadlifting while you were squatting. Find somebody to address this situation with a with a pirifomis release and see if that doesn't help. And post it on the board. Let us know. Ok.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, Carharrt wants to know, "I'd like to know your thoughts on recycling as in sorting recyclable materials such as cans, plastic, and paper. Do the Starting Strength Gyms follow any kind of recycling program? Asking for a friend."

Mark Rippetoe:
Why do all these people always say "asking for a friend "when they're not really asking for a friend?

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

Mark Rippetoe:
It's the joke? Like if if they say which works... "like my nipples are soft. How do I make them hard? Asking for a friend." "Which works better: Levitra, Cialis, Viagra. Not that I have... judy asking for a friend. I have never needed any such recreational medication like that."

Mark Rippetoe:
So this asking for a friend shit is pretty interesting. So this guy wants to know about recycling. All right. Here's what I think about recycling.

Mark Rippetoe:
I think recycling is stupid. I think that if there is a market for the thing being recycled, then there is a price attached to the recycling. For example, there is a market for aluminum. When you recycle aluminum cans, you are participating in the market for a commodity. All right. There is no market for recycling newspapers or plastic. That's why you don't get money back for recycled newspapers or plastic. Anything for which there is a market in the in for recycling that commodity, there will be a price attached that they will pay you for that commodity. And this is just simple economics.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you are recycling newspaper and plastic, what is probably taking place is your handling, handing that to the recycling people and they are throwing it away because of, you know, mandates at the government level for these things to be recycled, not because there is actually a market for it. They're not valuable. When you hear the word "valuable recycling"... value means something. Words have meaning. Value is money. You recycle aluminum cans because there is a market for it. There's no market for recycling glass because sand is very, very cheap already.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it's you know, there's so much glass that's contaminated with dye. For example, I don't think there's a market for green recycled glass like wine bottles. I think there may be a you know, they can recycle clear glass. But there are some types of glass - and I don't know the particulars on that - that are not recyclable.

Mark Rippetoe:
And and it's really there's no market for it. There's no market for it. Put it in the landfill. It's a it's inert. It's not gonna hurt anything in the landfill. But if they don't pay you for it, then there's no market for it and if there's no market for it why recycle it? Right. That's just the economics of the situation.

[off-camera]:
You know, we send our recycling to China?

Mark Rippetoe:
We send what?

[off-camera]:
Our recyclables are shipped to China.

Mark Rippetoe:
We do. We send recyclable shit to China. Well, that's certainly cheap enough to do, isn't it?

[off-camera]:
It gets trucked somewhere and then shipped to China.

Mark Rippetoe:
That sounds like... almost sounds like it might be... might have a carbon footprint.

[off-camera]:
A little bit, right? Yeah.

Mark Rippetoe:
But the real problem with it is the racism.

[off-camera]:
Of course. Of course. That's the fundamental issue.

Mark Rippetoe:
The fundamental issue with everything is the racism, right? I mean, it's America. You know. The only country on earth that still practices racism.

[off-camera]:
Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 125 million residents' recycling materials in an incinerator because that's better.

[off-camera]:
Because that's better than recycling it, right? That's better than putting it in a landfill.

[off-camera]:
The stuff that's getting "recycled" is being... half of it is being burned.

Mark Rippetoe:
Going up into the air.

Mark Rippetoe:
So what does that tell you about recycling? If you're not willing to pay you for the recycling, don't give it to them because they're going to throw it away or burn it or send it to China or South Africa or some other implausible place where people of different races exist. Because that's racist.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, now, German Hincapie, says... That may be racism too. I mean, the Germans are a race, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hello, Mark. I would like to know, what is your approach to mental training for performance purposes? Do you have any advice on how to train your mind in order to focus, visualize and perform more efficiently?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, it's been a while. I've talked about this. Let me point you to the best book that's ever been written on sports psychology. All you need to read is the first two chapters. It's called The Inner Game of Tennis. The Inner Game of Tennis. Get it on Amazon. Read the first two chapters. Those are my thoughts on how to visualize and perform more efficiently. Works every single time it's tried. It's the most brilliantly distilled thing. And I'm not going to tell you what it is because I want you to buy the man's book. And the book's written by here. Look it up for me, Bre. Yeah. W Timothy Galwey.

Mark Rippetoe:
The book is written by Timothy Galwey and it was written probably 30 or 40 years ago to classic text. It's probably in several different editions. I know he's written a version for golf, but this is like training. It doesn't matter what sport it's applied to. His method works beautifully. Buy the book. Read it and see what you think.

Jack asks, "The standing vertical jump which you often referred to as measure of an athlete's inherent physical ability." There was a period there. Jack's not a writer. "Much like the IQ of a person this value cannot be significantly increased, but it's basically the inherent makeup of that individual. However, a male being tested at the age of 18 is going to have a significantly higher standing vertical jump then he will at 68, even a superior athlete with a vertical jump of 30 plus inches at the age of 18 is going to have a horrible vertical jump value at the age of 68, yet he is the same person. So my questions are: at what age range are standing vertical jump numbers validd?"

Mark Rippetoe:
And the age range is college age people. Early 20s. That's where all the data is collected because as you get older, the data becomes less valuable because standing vertical jump, explosive ability, erodes with age. And we know this. So that's the first question.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Are there any curves showing the degradation of the standing vertical jump with age?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, probably not, because we don't test older people on the standing vertical jump. Standing vertical jump and all explosive activity becomes kind of dangerous for people doing it over the age of 50. Connective tissue composition changes, fast twitch motor units kind of erode in terms of their ability, and potential for an injury becomes more significant as you get older.

Mark Rippetoe:
"What tests can be used to determine the inherent athletic ability of a 68 year old? Does the reaction time of an individual mean anything to inherent strength ability?".

Mark Rippetoe:
He asks what tests can be used to determine the inherent athletic ability of a 68 year old. Jack, why do you care? It's lower when you're 68 than it would be when you're younger. You're not an athlete at the age of 68. Not at least in any any sense that makes it relative to anybody else. So it doesn't matter. Why do you need to know that? This is this is pointless.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why do you need to know at the age of 68 how good an athlete you would have been had you had your head out of your ass when you were eighteen?

Mark Rippetoe:
Those days are gone, Jack, give it up, man. Get interested in asking other questions because it doesn't matter. It's irrelevant when you're 68 how good an athlete you were when you were 18 or would have been when you were eighteen, because that's really what you're asking, is irrelevant. And there's no way to reconstruct it.

Mark Rippetoe:
And if there was a way to reconstruct it, what the hell are you going to do with that information? Tell everybody how good you might have been when you were in high school when you were in... when you were a thespian or a debater in the band or what? What the hell is the point? You know, help me with that. If you can respond with a logical, clear answer to that question, I'll entertain this again. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now. Okay. Jake Leuty asks, "If during a deadlift, I set the bar down a little forward of mid- foot between reps. Is it best to adjust my feet, pull the bar back over mid-foot or stand up and quickly repeat the five step setup?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Jake, if you're doing a set of five, you don't let go of the bar, okay. So you don't you don't have the opportunity. You're not going to have the opportunity to repeat all five steps by letting go of the bar. If it's really a set of five. A set of 5 are when you don't let go.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now let me point something out. Our friend Phil Meggers - we just had a video about this the other day - Phil Meggers, Starting Strength Coach up in Omaha gave us a brilliant little tidbit to use for this that we're going to incorporate into the seminars deadlift teaching progression starting this coming seminar. And it goes as follows: You're going to go through all the five steps on the first rep. And locked the bar out at the top, then you're going to look down and you're going to look at the middle of your foot. And you're going to set the bar down over the middle of the foot, letting your eyes guide the bar back down into that position. If you do it like that, your knees will get out of the way and the bar will end up in the place it is supposed to be to start the next rep. Then you lift the chest, squeeze that belly down in between the thighs, setting low back, and pull the next rep. Lock it out at the top. Look down. Place the bar back over the middle of the foot, guided by your eye gaze. If you do it like this, the bar will not roll forward and it will not be necessary for you to replace the bar back to the middle of your foot since that's accomplished on the way back down from the top. Try that and let us know how it works.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. Wichita Fails... isn't that funny?... asks, "Coach Rip, what is it? What is up?" Let me read this correctly. "Coach Rip, what is up with the plants in the front of the WFAC gym? They look like they are on their last legs. They looked drier than a cup of your chili."

[off-camera]:
Wow. That's good.

Mark Rippetoe:
It is. It's stupid, but it's inventive. All right. My chili is, you know, like not dry.

Mark Rippetoe:
"How about some care for those guys? You know, for us vegans.".

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Here's the situation, Wichita Fails. That plant, that banana plant in the front of the gym is older than you are. All right. I got that given to me in 1990. Twenty-nine years ago. That is a twenty-nine year old plant. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
When you're 29 ask God to bless you with the looks of that banana plant. OK. Because that banana plant's in damn good shape. It's been taking care of. And I'm sorry, you're not in. You know, now you know. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Now, Aaron asks, "Hi Rip, Love, the new podcast. I'm a remedial massage therapist and I'm currently studying physiotherapy in Australia."

Mark Rippetoe:
Why do the UK countries, the Brit countries call it physiotherapy instead of physical therapy?

Mark Rippetoe:
It sounds more scientific, you know, and they they get to say that they've gone to gone to see the physio. Going to the physio Wednesday at 10. The physio says, blah, blah, blah. Physios released me.

[off-camera]:
We have to say physical therapist. We have to say PT.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's hard. It's two words. And they just have physio. The physio. Physio. It's like spelling program with two Ms and an E.

[off-camera]:
Coloured.

Mark Rippetoe:
Colour. Rumor. You know, it's like the fucking Canadians. Everything is "a boot" one thing or another.

[off-camera]:
They could learn from us. I mean we get all their shit and made it better.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. We have improved upon just essentially everything.

[off-camera]:
Religion. Made it better.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yep. Yep. Gotten rid of the Anglican Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. And just now we just have, you know, the guy up front with the rattlesnake, you know.

Mark Rippetoe:
We've improved on basically every god damn thing. No you're absolutely right. I don't know. I don't know. They're just a strange bunch of people, the Brits.

Mark Rippetoe:
The windscreens that are the windshield. It's not a screen. Screens got holes in it. Right. That's what keeps the mosquitoes that screen. It's on the door, on the windows. But no, for them, it's on the car. Right. I know, there's all kind of strange things. Like the boot?

Mark Rippetoe:
That's a boot. But no, no.

[off-camera]:
What is it in Britain?

Mark Rippetoe:
That's the trunk of the car.

[off-camera]:
What? Oh, the boot.

Mark Rippetoe:
The boot's the trunk of the car. Right. The boot's the trunk of the car.

Mark Rippetoe:
And my favorite part about England is when you go in the bathroom in England and you look it in the lavatory, the hot water faucet is over here on the left hand side. And the hot... the cold water faucet is over here on the right hand side. And never the two shall meet except in the basin. So if you want warm water, you know what you have to do? You got to run it into the basin. You gotta run into the basin. Because you... scald... freeze... scald... freeze.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's like it's like running water isn't is still an odd concept to these damn people. Yeah. You know, I actually saw this. You're not going to believe what I'm going to tell you right now. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
I walked into a bathroom in the UK one time... And you walk in and there's one fixture in the middle of the lavatory. And on one side, there is a hot water on the left hand side. There's a hot water. And on the right hand side, there's cold water. So I thought modern plumbing! You know. What have I stumbled into here? Modern plumbing in the UK. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I turn the faucet on, you know, to adjust for for what would be warm water and I stick my hands under there. And you know what happened?

Mark Rippetoe:
There is a dv... there's actually a divider in between the hot water and the warm water and the cold water. So you've still you got one side of your hand is scalded and the other side of your hand is is frozen over here. And it's just... Why did they? What is wrong with you fucking people?

Mark Rippetoe:
How do you not understand about warm as a concept?

Mark Rippetoe:
It all goes back to the Plague. They're scared to plague's going to come back. Do they drink water or ddo they drink beer only?

Mark Rippetoe:
They only drink alcohol in the UK.

[off-camera]:
That's what it is.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know the alcohol in the UK. There's know... I mean we don't... You and I don't drink.

[off-camera]:
Right, they drink.

Mark Rippetoe:
They drink. They drink. Hell, stef and I went over there. Last vacation we had was in '07. We went over there to see some friends in Scotland. It's back when you could actually carry a pocket in the UK, you know. Do things that you use a knife for besides knife crime? Right. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we went over there. And these people are just fabulous people are just... wehad we had a ball with them. I've known known there for a long time.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we went over there and we we went out to eat with them a couple of nights. And this both nights just the same way. We cooked at the house. Well we went out. First thing we did, we went to the pub. We had two beers and then we came back by the store and bought three or four bottles of wine, took him back to the house. And we we started cooking dinner, had one bottle of wine the four of us. Middle of dinner, we opened a second bottle of wine. Then we had another beer. And then we had the third bottle of wine with dinner and we finished that before dinner was over with and we're cooking supper, you know. And then we had the fourth bottle of wine. So everybody, and they're four of us, everybody's had a bottle of wine by now and then we got them all whiskey out.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I'm going, you know, well, I don't really feel bad about myself anymore. I think that's that I think maybe I drink too much.

[off-camera]:
This is like Tuesday.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is Tuesday. It is. It was mid...It was Tuesday.

[off-camera]:
And then they go and play football.

[off-camera]:
God almighty.

Mark Rippetoe:
So, yeah, I mean, there's some there's some wonderful things about the UK, but. But the plumbing is not one of them.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. So back to Aaron's question about his physiotherapy. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"One of the books I own is the NSCA's Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning."

Mark Rippetoe:
I'm sorry you bought that, Aaron.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Overall, I found it to be an excellent comprehensive resource, especially the first 200 or so pages which cover exercise physiology mechanisms that aren't discussed in depth in our A&P textbooks.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, A&P is the... that's the sophomore level course and freshman level course.

Mark Rippetoe:
"However, the remaining 400 pages, which are meant to cover practical quote unquote strength conditioning are pretty much totally unhelpful. An afternoon reading t-Nation.com articles or Practical Programming would almost certainly provide more insight than what they are leaving students with in the NSCA course. I find this interesting because of how much high quality scientific information is jammed into that textbook (first part of it) - one would hope that this knowledge produced competent coaches, but as you discussed many times, it mostly does not. The same rings true for both physiotherapy and remedial massage - the education is of high quality, and yet for every good therapist there is a quack pedaling silly bullshit. This is annoying because these people undermine the professions as a whole. So question is how can the strength and conditioning courses overcome this problem and give students better practical skills - ones based on real results? Will these industries ever develop medical level standards given that so few studies on strength, pain or injury are actually controlled and well designed?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, there's so much material here. And yes, the "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning" are not the essentials of strength training and conditioning. Practical Programming is the strength is the essentials of strength training and conditioning.

Mark Rippetoe:
The text is all but useless. And yet it is guaranteed to sell over and over and over again because the CSCS certification is essentially de rigueur for people graduating with a PE degree. It's just what you do. It's just what you do your senior year. You sit for the CSCS.

Mark Rippetoe:
And these people have done a marvelous job of indoctrinating generation after generation of graduates with PE degrees that they have to have a CSCS. Yes, it's an exceptionally easy certification to get. It's a multiple choice test. I think there's a little video thing you have to pass. No coaching proficiency is actually measured.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I would say that the vast majority - and I mean by vast, I mean like way up over 90 percent of the people wandering around the street with the CSCS - have actually never done any significant amount of strength training under a bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
So much of what we do as professional barbell coaches is dependent on our own experience under the bar. It's it's the stuff that we learn by doing it. And if you haven't learned by doing it, you cannot be expected to have the skills necessary to adequately teach and coach somebody else for these things. I mean, you can't coach what you haven't done.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, you don't have to be the best in the world at it. In fact, it's detrimental to be real, real good at an anything physical, because people who are physical geniuses don't have to go through the process of learning things that those of us that just schlub through the process of trying to be as best... the best we can be. The stuff we learn in that process, there are things that we put in our tool box and teach people that we coach. But if you haven't done it at all, then all of it is theory and you're going to be wrong the majority of the time.

Mark Rippetoe:
So it is a mistake to seek out the services of a certified strength conditioning specialist because they don't know anything about strength. And if you expect that that certification teaches you or prepares you to teach somebody else how to do it - how to do a barbell squat movement that you've never known yourself and you've never even thought about before - well, you're making a giant mistake. You don't know how to teach it. You don't know how to coach it. And you're not qualified to charge anybody money to show him how to do it.

Mark Rippetoe:
So the problem with with most of this stuff is that unless you're doing these things yourself, you are not learning how to show other people how to do them, too. All right. Being a professional barbell coach is an experience based thing. It involves experience like being a plumber. Like being a piano tuner. Like being a surgeon. It involves more than just theoretical concepts and involves a vast amount of experience learning how to solve movement problems under a heavy barbell. It takes time and you cannot develop this ability as the result of being exposed to some information in school or being examined for that information you were exposed to in school by a weekend certification class with a multiple choice test and video.

Mark Rippetoe:
Our Starting Strength coach examination actually looks at your ability to coach the barbell movements on the platform, and before you can advance to the examination part, you have to demonstrate to us that you can actually coach. And this is a this is in stark difference to everything else in the industry and our people are better than everybody else's people for this reason.

Mark Rippetoe:
The education is therefore, a good place to start, but an education in this stuff is famously is famous for being not very rigorous. Right. What we recommend in terms of education is a science background. We want you to have basic science courses. We'd like for you to have general chemistry, even though we don't do chemistry in the weight room. You learn things about science in general chemistry, laboratory general chemistry. The first freshman course in college for chemistry is perhaps the most useful thing you will ever do. You need to have freshman level physics. You need some biology. You really ought to have calculus, not because you're going to use calculus, but because calculus teaches you to think logically. And if you can't think logically, you can't coach. OK. More and more specialized information would be obtained in Anatomy and Physiology ANP, the freshman course and general physiology, the junior level course. You really need... you really need that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, what's different about our recommendations as opposed to a PE degree is there aren't very many PE degrees that are actually science degrees. Maybe your school's different, but I don't know of phys ed degree or a exercise physiology degree or biomechanics degree that requires the students to have calc 2 as a prerequisite for graduating. I don't know one of those.

Mark Rippetoe:
Calc 2 is not about calculus. Calc 2 is about thinking. And if the course is easy, then easy people are going to get through it. These are washout courses. They're there as a roadblock. They're sorting mechanisms. They're there for a purpose for science degrees. And it's important to understand that part of your preparation to be an effective strength and conditioning coach may not involve strength and conditioning per se.

Mark Rippetoe:
In fact, most of the things that you are going to teach on the platform as a professional barbell coach are going to be learned by you under the bar, not from some goofball in your Phys Ed Department, because chances are he's a badminton player, not a lifter. And what you're going to learn about lifting to teach your teach your clients and your athletes is pretty much going to be what you learn under the bar yourself. And this is this is real important.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, I'm not, you know, in a position to comment on physiotherapy and remedial massage. I don't have any opinion on remedial massage because that sounds like a thing that's in the UK countries. I don't know anything about it.

Mark Rippetoe:
But massage therapy is done in the United States, usually is a as a private school kind of a thing. They take you through a little course and then you're just gonna mash around on people. And you know, it's not really what I would consider a profession. Although you can approach it that way. Certainly the better ones do.

Mark Rippetoe:
Physical therapy in the United States I've commented on several times. There's an article on the website about physical therapy wherein I question whether or not it's fraud. Physical therapy is woefully inadequate in terms of their preparation of PTs in the United States. It is it is missing completely the stress-recovery-adaptation analysis that we apply to strength and conditioning that should also be applied for the same reasons to physical therapy. Physical therapists in the United States go to schools that omit this as part of the curriculum. And if that's omitted, then you don't understand how to get from here back to here. OK. Because that slope is common to returning somebody to function and making a an uninjured person stronger. The the principles are exactly the same. And if that principle isn't taught than you don't know anything about what you're doing. Just all there is to it.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is an interesting question, too. "Will these industries ever develop medical-level standards given that so few studies on strength, pain or injury are actually controlled and well designed?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Aaron, you've got some interesting preconceived notions about medicine. I'm real sorry to tell you this, but lots and lots and lots of doctors, lots and lots of doctors are really not much further along than LVNs on lots and lots of things. Sorry. Aaron. You know, what do you call the guy that graduated last in his class at medical school?

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, I I've I've...the longer I do this, the more I'm involved in this business, and the more exposure I have to to the medical specialties, the medical professions, the less impressed I am with the standards employed by most of these people. Most doctors are trained, they're not educated. I'm not impressed with their analytical skills.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, the average IQ of the average doctors, about 115, 120. He's one standard deviation above average intelligence. They memorize things pretty well. They understand A equals B things kind of well - one from column A, one from column B - that kind of thing. You know, they can relate symptoms to diagnoses and diagnoses to treatment. You know, that's not thinking. You can get an algorithm to do that. Maybe that's what it will come to. And if it does come to that, it'll be their fault. Because that kind of approach would not be markedly worse than what we've got right now and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper, a hell of a lot cheaper.

Mark Rippetoe:
So stop worshipping the medical level standards. Ok. Get skeptical. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, Anonymous asks, "Why do you dislike powerlifting even though 60 percent of your program consists of training the powerlifting movements?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, anonymous, powerlifting the sport and the squat bench press and deadlift as exercises we use in general strength and conditioning are not the same thing. It's occurred to you that when you squat, you're not necessarily doing powerlifting? Powerlifting is going to do a meet, seeing what you can get away with on the platform to score the biggest total you can, whatever the federation's rules are.

Mark Rippetoe:
There's lots of things wrong with powerlifting. I am preparing an article on my thoughts on that right this minute and it could very well be that by the time this podcast is out, I may have that up on the website. And if you're interested in my thoughts on powerlifting and what I think is wrong with it, it'll be in that article. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, here's a question from Sheriff Eilwa. Every time I see a bizarre name like that, I want to spell it backwards. Let's see what I can do with this. This one backwards would be a WLIE. Well, that doesn't make any sense either.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. "Hi, Rip. I asked you to consider my modifications, which I can strongly defend." [laughter]

Mark Rippetoe:
All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, Blair Goltra Sr asks, "Can you suggest some auxiliary moves that would support and improve the overhead press? I'm 64 and been working the Starting Strength program for four years, have not been able to get beyond 105 lbs for sets."

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Blair, here's here's the deal with the press. All right. The press is one of these weird ass deals that's kind of not like the deadlift. It's like the opposite of the deadlift. It's real hard to overtrain the press. It's real easy to overtrain the deadlift, but it's real hard over terrain, the press. And the reason for that has to do with the fact that the press is limited by smaller muscle groups that lock the bar out at the top. And it's harder to turn overtrain small muscle groups than it is the whole system with a gigantic systemic stress like the deadlift applies.

Mark Rippetoe:
Back when the press was a contested lift - pre-1972 Olympics - the guys that were the best pressers pressed four days a week. And if you want your press to go up, you gotta press more than the standard Starting Strength program calls for. And one of the most important ways to get your press up is to do partials. That's what the power rack is for. You set the barbell in the rack at various heights that allow you to lock out heavier weights than you can press overhead, and you work the movement from varying heights off of pins in the rack as another workout for the press.

Mark Rippetoe:
During that week, if I was going to try to get my press back up, I would have to press four days a week and that would probably involve a day where all I did was press. So in terms of auxiliary moves, the pin presses - and these are discussed in the Blue Book - are your friend. And it would surprise me if you couldn't get this thing up above 105 in 2-3 weeks just with the addition of an extra workout of pin presses in inside the rack. Give that a try.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Tim asks, "I wear orthotics." Those little things you put in your shoes to reinforce your arches. "One foot has virtually no arch and the other has very little arch. Should I wear the orthotics while lifting?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, of course, Tim. You want flat feet while you.... while lift weights? What happens with a collapsed arch? You understand what happens? Your feet collapse medially. Right. And that would be pronation. All right. A collapse into pronation. Your foot should be supported so that your knees - the the thing above your ankles - is in the correct anatomical position so that when you load the the whole body, the hips, the knees, the ankles and the spine are all loaded in correct, normal anatomical position. So, yeah, you need your...your foot needs to be supported.

Mark Rippetoe:
When we finally get our Starting Strength shoes out, you're going to find a profound arch support in that shoe that just will not allow you to stand incorrectly. That's the purpose of a weightlifting shoe. And the metatarsal strap on a correctly designed weightlifting shoe should reinforce the arch.

Mark Rippetoe:
So in the meantime, yes, wear your orthotics and get some decent lifting shoes that can support your foot. Because if your foot's not supported, your ankle's not supported, your knee is not supported, your hips aren't supported. Everything's caving in.

Mark Rippetoe:
That would be varous. No, valgus, I'm sorry. I get valgus and varous mixed up. It's not enough difference in the words, I guess.

Mark Rippetoe:
So. Go to Tom's question here. "Hey, Rip. I wholeheartedly agree with you." Oh, that's so satisfying. I like being agreed with. "As to the supreme value of the big four: squat, bench, press, and deadlift - as the primary focus for general strength development. However, I'm curious about your thoughts on the loaded/ weighted carries. There's too many varieties to mention, but I am thinking specifically about the farmer's walk. They can be located... They can be loaded with the trap bar or better yet, the farmer's walk handles that would allow for linear progression just like the big four. Lastly, what do you think about strongman training? Does strongman training like Atlas Stone's, Yoke Walks, Axle Bar deadlifts, log bar clean and press, sandbag carries, etc. have any value towards overall strength development? If so, then how do you recommend incorporating them into ones training or are they only useful or recommended for the actual strongman competitor? Strongman has been receiving a lot of attention recently on social media, especially YouTube equipment more available, blah blah."

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok. It has been my experience - and I have had experience with this - that strong man stuff can't be trained in the sense that we use the term. All right. If your deadlift goes from 400 to 700 like it needs to do if you are a big giant, strongman competitor - strongman favors big men - then what happens to your grip strength as a result of the deadlift going up 300 pounds? It went up, too. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
So grip strength is in is incredibly important to carries. Now, one of the things about grip that's interesting is it's it's real easy to overtrain. Grip is - anybody that's tried to do a bunch of farmer's walks and do heavy deadlifts at the same time will tell you. So what I'm gonna propose is that the deadlift trains the grip and the farmer's walks use the trained grip, but don't actually train it because farmer's walk is for time and distance. And deadlift is for heavy load.

Mark Rippetoe:
A heavy set of five deadlift trains the grip. Two minutes farmer's walk does not, but it fatigues the piss out of it and makes it harder to train. If you'll if you'll look at our material on the difference between training and practice, you'll understand me when I say that we train for strongman under the bar and we practice for strongman with the strong man events and implements and this sort of thing. But that basic strength for strongman comes from barbell training. I think you'll find that your farmer's walk benefits more from your deadlift going up and your squat going up than it does from doing a bunch of farmer's walking.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. It's it's, you know, should be obvious that all those great big, strongman guys, the real good ones, the guys whose names, you know, are also big deadifters. And for a guy with a 900 deadlift, a farmer's walk with 400 pound implements is much more manageable. 300 pound implements, certainly.

Mark Rippetoe:
So think in terms of training and practice as far as as far as strongman is concerned. I think you'll find that this analysis is very helpful. I don't think you can train strongman. I think you practice strong man. And it's important to do. You have to know all the little tricks involved in getting through to the end of a farmer's carry. You have to know how the yoke works. You have know all this stuff in terms of the technical aspects of the of this particular expression of strength, but the strength is best built under the barbell. Those are my thoughts on it anyway. Of course, I'm sure you guys will all disagree with that because it's the internet. All right.

Ben Roberts asks, "Could you explain why ex phys studies are illegitimate and why EMG data is unreliable?" Well, ex phys studies are illegitimate because they are almost uniformly small population studies that ask the wrong questions that rely on the equipment that happens to be laying around in the lab. And they function primarily as a way to publish a master's thesis for graduate students.

Mark Rippetoe:
The classic that I like to refer to that that is my all time favorite illustration of what is wrong with all these studies is the famous study out of Australia back about 10 or 12 years ago that asked the important question "What is the difference in 1RM in bench press when performed on a bench and on a Swiss ball?"

Mark Rippetoe:
That pretty much sums it up. That pretty much sums it up. How would a question like that get past the department chairman or the or or you just your instructor? How do you how do you come up with this bizarre idea that this is actually a question that needs to be answered? That can't already being answered with common sense? I mean, if you never benched anything heavy, do you not understand that people bench well over 500 pounds? How could that be done on an unstable ball? And you know that the study, if I remember correctly, had eleven people in it. And you know, while they just did this. You need to look it up. It's classic gibberish.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it got past not only the department chair, got submitted for publication, got passed, the journal editor got passed, the review people and was published and is now in the "literature." And the literature now says that there is no difference in 1RRM hen you bench press on a bench or nn unstable Swiss ball. There's no difference in one RM.

Mark Rippetoe:
It just boggles the mind. It's a stupid question that should never been asked. It was a stupid study. The data set is all over the place. It's 11 people, n=11. What does it tell you? What? Why was this published? What in the hell is the purpose of any of this?

Mark Rippetoe:
And you'll find that this is what's wrong with exercise, science literature. It's as bad as the nutrition science literature. Nutrition science literature is bad because so much of it is self-reported. So much of the data is self-reported. What did you eat last week? Well, we know that you can't tell us what you ate last week. Hell, that's been studied enough to know that every single time you ask for self-reported diet information, you're gonna get gibberish. If the data is not... It's not even data. Yet we draw conclusions.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, I've talked about this quite a bit, but but basically it's it. It has to do with why are we publishing this stuff? Well, because we've got to get these kids through the program and they need a masters degree and you need a publication credit. So by God, that's what we're going to do. It's the publishing incentives all across commercial science are all skewed.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you're interested in this Bruce Charlton's book. Not Even Trying is the name of it. Fascinating little little review of this topic. Highly recommended.

Mark Rippetoe:
And why EMG data is unreliable. That's easy. Find me the paper that shows the correlation between surface EMG activity and motor unit recruitment. And what you find is that there is no basis for saying that surface EMG indicates anything about motor unit recruitment. Yet that assumption is the basis of a restating in which surface EMG looks at motor unit recruitment. For instance, the famous position statement from one of the NSCA publications where they draw the conclusion on the basis of 13 studies that the hamstrings are not used in the squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
Not making it up hamstrings are not involved in the squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you could draw that conclusion from the literature, then the literature is wrong.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the whole thing comes into into question. The entire corpus of exercise science literature must be questioned because of the problems with the literature. And I'm not the first one to make this observation and I certainly as hell will not be the last one to make this observation. But it's I mean, until somebody has a better way of doing this, clinical experience is far more important in terms of what we actually do as strength and conditioning coaches than anything out of the literature, which is of very, very little value.

Mark Rippetoe:
And last here, let's talk to Thomas Toilliez. I'm sure I'm mispronouncing that. But if it's you know, if it's from the internet, it's probably somebody's made up bullshit name anyway. Like you're the guy that registered for the board several years ago who used the the name monkey vomit.

[off-camera]:
You don't think that's his real name?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, I don't really care if it's his real name. I just deleted it because I'm not going to talk to somebody, you know, like donkey puss. I'm not interested in having a conversation with somebody who thinks that...

[off-camera]:
They can't help what their parents named them.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hi. I am wondering why you... why don't sumo wrestlers train with the Starting Strength method and why they don't drink GOMAD.".

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, because their coaches don't do that. You know, it was up to me they would, but it's not up to me. It's up to sumo to regulate how that thing is approached. Hell, the Japanese translation of the of the book's only been out six or eight months. It's selling very well. Maybe we'll make some progress that way. But right now, they train in the traditional way of sumo and they eat. And I've never had any of that, but I think it'd be real good. You looked for that recipe, what did they say was in it? It is chicken broth...

[off-camera]:
Chicken broth and whatever. Usually fish.

Mark Rippetoe:
And fish and whatever else the the kids in the stable that are taking care of the senior guys in the stable are cooking that night. I guess they put potatoes and pasta and vegetables and, you know, fish, chicken and whatever else they got laying around. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
It sounds good to me. It really does. I like fish based soup, you know, put too much chicken in it. God, it really sounds good. They just eat a lot of that. That's how they get big.

Mark Rippetoe:
And, you know, sumo is another example of a big man's sport like strongman. Rules of sumo dictate that a bigger man is harder to beat than a smaller man. And that's just... so the sports evolved to favor high bodyweight. And these guys do that now.

Mark Rippetoe:
Those of you that. Are interested should look up - and his bouts are online - Chiyonofuji. Fifty-five undefeated in a row, I believe was his record.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yep, he'd be 58 about now. He's he's a little younger than me. What? He died. Oh, God.

[off-camera]:
2016.

Mark Rippetoe:
How about that? He was called the Wolf. He he wrestled at a lighter bodyweight than most of everybody. He was 275-285 somewhere in there. This man was strong and explosive, just a hell of an athlete. And he didn't...

[off-camera]:
31 tournament championships.

Mark Rippetoe:
31 tournament championships. I believe his undefeated record was fifty-five in a row and the man was athletic and fast and quick and... 53 undefeated in a row. That's... I don't know, that's probably been broken since then. But at the time this guy was... And he had big traps, he was he was either genetically looked like a lifter or he actually trained with a bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
And he was impressive to all of us because of his overwhelming ability to out-power guys that were 200 pounds heavier than he was. And what an amazing guy. And he was he was kind of had a different physique than most of those guys. He was relatively low bodyfat, but he was big and strong and fast, had veins on his deltsand stuff. And this guy was impressive and...

Mark Rippetoe:
Chiyonofuji. Look him up.

Mark Rippetoe:
There's a little excursion into sumo there. I haven't followed it recently, it's just too many things to do. Too many other things to do besides recreation. I have lost track of the sport. There may be an equivalent guy out there operating right now, but he was he was fun to watch. I would imagine that a lot of his old bouts are on YouTube. Look him up.

Mark Rippetoe:
How do you spell it? So I can tell them? C H I I y o n o f yuji I have you j. UHI y. Oh, no. Fuji.

Mark Rippetoe:
So looking him up, he does not need to be forgotten. He was a he was a great athlete and an ambassador for strength around the world at the time.

Mark Rippetoe:
And that wraps it up. I'm tired of dealing with all this. You're tired of hearing me. So let's go do something else. And we'll see you next time on Starting Strength Radio. Thanks for joining us.

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Mark Rippetoe answers questions from fans in another Q&A episode of the Starting Strength Radio Podcast. In this episode, Rip discusses The Inner Game of Tennis, sumo wrestling, exercise science studies, and the athletic capacity of old people.

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:37 Comments from the Haters!
  • 06:35 Scheduling interviews with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel...
  • 10:23 Do you do chin-ups?
  • 13:09 Sciatica flare-up fix
  • 16:09 Recycling doesn't work
  • 21:04 How to train your mind for performance
  • 22:47 Vertical jump in the elderly
  • 26:25 How to get the bar back over mid-foot
  • 28:35 A young vegan and a banana plant
  • 29:57 Defects in physio (massage, PT, CSCS) prep (and UK plumbing)
  • 51:23 Powerlifting vs training the squat, bench, and deadlift
  • 52:25 Modifications for consideration
  • 53:14 How to get the Press up
  • 55:49 Should I wear orthotics?
  • 57:45 Training & practise for strongman
  • 01:02:27 Ex phys literature defects
  • 01:08:59 Sumo, Chiyonofuji Mitsugu

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