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Q&A Episode - OK Boomer | Starting Strength #43

Mark Rippetoe | February 14, 2020

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Mark Rippetoe:
"And this guy pulled up beside us and and looked up at us and he said, honey, look, look at those two assholes on that camel. And we got down to look and the camel ran away."

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, whether you're listening to this on the internet on the normal distribution channels at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning, because you just can't wait ffor what we're doing this weekend or whether it's noon and you're watching our video here.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thanks for joining us today on Starting Strength Radio. We're going to have a Q and A. One of our fabulous Q and A things that we do when you send in questions to radio@startingstrength.com. That's where we're taking our questions now is radio@startingstrength.com.

Mark Rippetoe:
But first! Let me clear my throat so that I can do the reverb correctly... Comments from the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
You probably think that's some kind of sound effects. I actually know how to do the reverb thing.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ok, so we've got some comments this week. I thought I'd just read several of them Pavloklemco says, "OK, Boomer." Adoughrain says, "OK, Boomer." Here's a guy named LionPoke. I guess they poked the lion. "OK, Boomer." SamAprile - that's April with an E on the end - says, "OK, Boomer." Patrick O'Grady says, "OK, Boomer." Helix 2020 chimes in. He says, "OK, Boomer."

Mark Rippetoe:
Man, these are good this week, particularly insulting. Nicole Nicolay, Mahoo - obviously not a native speaker - says, "OK, Boomer." Regulate ZX says, "OK, Boomer." LaserWolf says, "OK, Boomer." Glenn F says, "OK, Boomer." Burner boy says, "OK, Boomer." Henry says, "OK, Boomer." Manuel Layel says, "OK, Boomer." There's a comma. Smith springs for upper case. OKAY. And then a comma. Boomer. G. Hinkins, "OK, Boomer." HanktheFrank100, "OK, Boomer." Alex Sonier says, "OK, Boomer." Brian Gedbaugh says, "OK, Boomer." Jonathan Turner says, "OK, Boomer."

Mark Rippetoe:
And finally, Brandon Heath says, "Boomer rant." I wonder what he means by that. I don't know either. Is that like "OK, Boomer" in some kind of translation error? Yeah, churching it up. And those are Comments from the Haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay now as I mentioned, we're going to do question and answer today in today's Q and A is going to be like most other Q and As: We're going to take your questions.

Mark Rippetoe:
See our little glass? Our friend Grant Broggi got us some Wichita Falls Athletic Club rocks glasses here. This is, yeah, this is Kahlua. What else is brown like that? That rum. What kind of rum is dark brown like that?

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, God, I remember my old girlfriend, Trevea showed up with a bottle of rum one time that was that color. Had a picture of a black guy on the label. That's all I remember about it. I'm telling you, this was...

[off-camera]:
Three days later.

Mark Rippetoe:
It was, it was real sweet. It tasted real good. So that kind of shit you can drink and not know that you're actually poisoning yourself. Yeah, that was an interesting evening.

Mark Rippetoe:
Anyway. OK. Well, here's our first question. And we treat these seriously by the way. All of these. You're always treated seriously. It's not like the old... what did we used to call that? Ask Rip. It's not like the old Ask Rip format. This is totally serious here. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Guy named Travis Disltin. His name is spelled D-I-S-L-T-I-N at Travis_Shawn_D@yahoo.com asks: "Love the podcast, no bullshit. I get the picture that you're a businessman. I'd like to partner with you. I'm opening up a fudge factory up here in Iowa and I'd be honored if you were my head fudge packer. So, Rip. Would you like to pack my fudge? By the way, how much experience do you have, if any? As a fudge packer?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, Travis, I've had a lot of experience as a fudgepacker, but I'm not interested in working for you. But once again, Travis's e-mail address is Travis - that's T-R-A-V-S - underline - Shawn - S-H-A-W-N -underline D at yahoo.com. So those of you that might be interested in packing fudge for Travis should send him a video resumé.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I hope that works out for Travis. Underline. Shawn. Underline. D. Yahoo.com. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here is one: "Mr. Rippetoe can you talk on the importance of shoulder strength overhead work for throwing athletes. I think there's a misunderstanding within different communities that associates heavier overhead movements to ligament damage, especially in throwing athletes."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, Mitch, there is a pretty good explanation of why this is important in the Blue Book. Briefly, when you press overhead, what you are doing is strengthening the rotator cuff. Now, our friends in the physical therapy community have impressed upon everyone who will listen that since the rotator cuff, since three of the four muscles that are considered to be the components of rotator cuff are external rotators, they have decided that the only way to strengthen the external rotators in the rotator cuff... Those muscles, comprising the muscles that coalesce into the rotator cuff tendon on the head of the humerus, they have impressed upon us that we must do [demonstrates an artificial, isolated external rotation motion] external rotator stuff to strengthen the external rotation. And this is not true.

Mark Rippetoe:
The external rotors are not slack in an overhead press. They're tight as well because external rotation is not the only function of that group of muscles. This is a... this is an interesting function of one of the primary holes in physical therapy education, is that if we know the origin and the insertion of a muscle, then we know its function and it's possible to state that the supraspinatus is an external rotator of the shoulder. Well, muscles all basically have multiple functions in human movement, and the rotator cuff muscles in particular are interesting in that they do in fact produce concentric external rotation.

Mark Rippetoe:
For a thrower, they produce eccentric deceleration of internal rotation. You can see how that would work. If the muscle is doing this [active external rotation], then if you're throwing in this direction [demonstrates a throw] then the internal rotation of the humerus is decelerated by the external rotation.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this is true of all of the muscles in the human body. They have in reality several things that they do. But if we describe them only in terms of origin and insertion and we think of them as primarily concentric contractile mechanisms, then we end up with a rather limited view of what actually takes place. And the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder are a very good example of this.

Mark Rippetoe:
When you do an overhead press all of the muscle groups in the shoulder are in contraction. This means that the rotator, the external rotators, the rotator cuff muscles are also in contraction. And if you take your overhead press from 95 pounds up to 200 pounds, what happened to the strength of all of the muscles that were in contraction during the process of doubling your pressing strength?

Mark Rippetoe:
Three guesses. The first two don't count. Right. Everything got stronger. So in a press, what's the function of the rotator, external rotator group of the muscles in the posterior region of the shoulder? Well, they suck the head of the humerus back down onto the glenoid and stabilize the position.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, one of the hilarious things about this, this shoulder impingement and ligament damage thing, especially in throwing athlete, is that when you press overhead and you lock the movement out at the top, the scapula rotates upward and medially, pulling the glenoid, the cup, the glenoid and the acromion and coracoid processes quite literally away from the humerus so that impingement is anatomically impossible in that position.

Mark Rippetoe:
So in other words, if you hear from quasi-medical professional that overhead presses impinge the shoulder, get up and leave because they don't know what they're talking about. That's anatomically impossible. Impingement is anatomically impossible.

Mark Rippetoe:
No ligament damage can take place because the only the ligaments involved in this are the structures that hold the scapula and the clavicle together - the AC joint is held together by ligaments - and those are the only ones in that region that we need to be concerned about. And course, those are not loaded either.

Mark Rippetoe:
The load comes from the weight over the head and the load is distributed evenly across all the structures in that region. All of the structures being loaded get stronger incrementally as the load goes from ninety five pounds up to 200.

Mark Rippetoe:
A stronger shoulder is a more stable shoulder. A stronger shoulder is a more injury-proof shoulder. So no, you need to press overhead.

Mark Rippetoe:
And if you if you can articulate a response to that, I'd really appreciate hearing it because I never have heard one that makes any sense.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, your scapula floats, it moves along with everything else as it moves upward into the position to hold a press up overhead. Quite honestly, your traps - trapezius muscle group - holds up the bar over head and all of that stuff gets strong when you train correctly with barbells. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Marco from Michigan: "Love the show." He's 45, 170 lbs, 5'9. "Read your book. Been doing Starting Strength for the last eight weeks. Eight weeks ago, I deadlifted 140 and now I'm already at 240. I booked a couple of training camps with Dr. Sullivan" who's up there in Farmington Hills, Michigan our affiliate gym Grey Steel. Excellent, coach if you've got the chance, you'll enjoy training with Dr. Sullivan. "Which I'm looking forward to. Wish I'd discovered this new knowledge 20 years ago." Blah blah.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Question. I'm doing both bench and presses each workout three days a week and now I'm adding weighted chines. I'm eating and sleeping well. Is that too much given I started so late in life?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, it may be. All right. Doing both benches and presses each workout, three days a week doesn't give you a lot of time off between these pressing movements. We don't normally program them like that. We normally alternate the press and the bench. And I understand that makes some people antsy because their bench press isn't coming up fast enough.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you can recover from pressing and benching both each day, go ahead. But I think that adding weighted chins to that at the age of 45, especially at 5'9" and 170, which is not big enough, is going to end up being more than you can probably recover from.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now if you want to try this, go and try it, but my first advice to use your 5'9, 170, you need to gain about 20-25 pounds of bodyweight so that you, you know, look like you lift weights. And the added food creates an anabolic environment and maybe you will be able to recover from all that work. But I... the only thing I can tell you is try it and see, you know, why not give it a try? It's not gonna kill you. Probably not going to kill you.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Neil asks us: Big fan Starting Strength. Shut down silly bullshit. Not following the program. Woke up, all this shit. All right, this is rather long and I distilled a an interesting point out of this that I wanted to talk about: "Starting Point was not a novice such as I resistance-trained, or exercised rather, over many years, and I'm generally fit since my youth, having played soccer, running triathlon and resistance exercise in amongst these activities."

Mark Rippetoe:
You first... You don't have a correct understanding what the word novice means. Prior athletics, sports history, has nothing whatsoever to do with the novice-intermediate-advanced lifter progression. It has nothing to do with that. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
I suggest that you get Practical Programming for Strength Training third edition where this is fully discussed and learn exactly why you probably, in fact, almost assuredly are a novice. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
But this is what caught my eye: "The follow up consultation with something called DNAfit inform me that my results indicate that in order for me to gain strength and muscle mass given my specific genetics" Apparently he's been told that he's got a higher propensity for endurance because, you know, V02 Max all that shit. "Given his specific genetics, he would be better responded to higher rep range to wake up my genes as a more favorable endurance response as opposed to more traditional strength based rep ranges, fives.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, look. High reps is generally regarded as 10s, 15s, 20s. Sets of 20 are not aerobic. Sets of 20 have nothing to do with V02 max. They make you breathe harder because you're under the bar longer, but the energy system employed in a set of 20 or a set of 50 is not the aerobic energy system.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is another excellent reason for you to read Practical Programming for Strength Training because that's where all of this bioenergetic physiology is explained. I don't have time to teach it to you now. Teach it to you yourself by reading the book. Ok. But what you and they have is a misunderstanding of my biogenetics and you need to get that all straightened out.

Mark Rippetoe:
Ian writes: "You've spoken at length about the low efficacy of machines for strength training with the exception of the lat pulldown for beginners to progress to chin ups as well as the redundancy of specialized pieces of equipment such as the trap bar/hex bar. With the creation of pieces of equipment such as the reverse hyper, safety squat bar, cambered bar, etc.. have you ever given any thought to attempting to create pieces of equipment that better facilitate growth in terms of strength or is the barbell perfect?

Mark Rippetoe:
Ian, smarter people than me piddled around, tried to invent machines for a very long time. Every machine that can be invented has been invented. We are interested in strengthening normal human movement patterns and the barbell and things that are not anchored to a machine are the only things that allow normal human movement patterns to be executed under an incrementally increasing load. We're not interested in moving the way a machine wants us to move. It's a misunderstanding of what we do.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't care how strong your triceps are. I care how strong your bench press is. I care how strong your press is. I don't care how strong your quads are. I care how strong your squats are. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
So barbells work just fine. The trap bar has been discussed recently. I don't think it's a useful addition. I've explained why. And I don't feel like going over it here. You want to use a hex bar/trap bar? Go ahead. I don't care. But you don't need to, you just need a barbell. If you've got money laying around, you want to buy the damn thing, play around with it, go ahead. Just try to be stable at the top and try not to hurt your back.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Oh, P.S., your nipples are so hard."

[off-camera]:
Did it really say that?

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Yeah, it actually said that. Perfectly good question. And then, you know, relegates himself to the bottom 3 percent. He did that. I didn't do it for him.

Mark Rippetoe:
Gerald Kaufman writes...all this bullshit [holds up full page of typing]. [Pushes paper off the desk] You don't understand, Gerald. Not interested in reading that, either for my own purposes or for the purposes of the podcast. Just send me a little question. I don't want to hear where you disagree with it. It's not relevant.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. Here's one that says the question is in the subject line. And the subject line is the longest subject line in the history of email. Q & A forward: "I had my gallbladder taken out many years ago. I am 62. There were three small incisions. I can now do 265 on the deadlift. I can feel the incisions. Do you think that could be a problem going forward as I try to build up my deadlift?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Honest to God, that's the subject line of this e-mail. He didn't just say. Q &A and then type that into the body of the e-mail. He body, the body, the e-mail says "the question is in the subject line."

[off-camera]:
Is it an aol email address?

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no. It's a.. well, let me see here. Whose e-mail address is this? It's gmail. It's a gmail address. People who use gmail are supposed to be like real smart. And we people who still use aol are just, you know, Trump voters. Right. So.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. The deal is if you've had your gallbladder out many years ago. Three small incisions. Oh, look, that's all healed up. That's all healed up. I had my appendix out. Oh, God, back in 94. Long time ago.

Mark Rippetoe:
Appendix got hot. Had my appendix taken out. No, that might have been an eighty nine. Hell, I can't remember when it was. And I got sick on Tuesday. Had the surgery on Thursday. Was in the hospital for two days for some reason, they did it differently back then. And came home on a Saturday, mowed the yard on Sunday. And squatted and bench pressed on Monday. Took a week to deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe:
But but, you know, and I had an incision [holds fingers to show about a 4 inch cut]. You know, you had a scope on your gallbladder, you were fine two weeks after the surgery. Now you don't want to deadlift? Go ahead and use this as an excuse. But you know, there's no reason for that. You've been healed for a long, long time and you just have decided not to deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe:
You don't want to deadlift, don't deadlift, but don't use that as an excuse because it's stupid. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hey, Rip, what's your advice on buying a house? Is renting a good idea? Thanks for the answer and I thoroughly enjoy your podcast show. - Clayton"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, it's kind of a that's off topic, but, you know, and I don't buy and sell homes. I don't flip homes as is so popular these days. You know, fixer-upper, I don't know. I don't buy fixer uppers because I don't know how to fix anything up. And it's just one of those talents I don't possess and I'm not interested in developing so. But Clayton here wants to know about buying a house.

Mark Rippetoe:
It appears to me as though you should buy a house if you can afford a house payment right now, because it makes much more sense to be paying yourself and building equity than it does to be paying someone else to build equity, because that's what a rent house is.

Mark Rippetoe:
Somebody bought that rent house, they borrowed money, on it and you're paying it off for him. And if if you're not paying it off for him, if it's already paid for, you're just sliding money in their pocket. If you can buy a house for a rent payment, you know, unless you're just going to be in the market for nine months, maybe you're temporary it's probably less trouble to just go ahead and rent.

Mark Rippetoe:
But there's not really a reason to not own. Especially with what you can get a mortgage for now. Mortgage rates are - it's usually less than rent. Rent, I know in this market, in Wichita Falls for some bizarre reason, the rents are lunacy and Air Force people that are coming into stay in two years drive the rent market way up here. It may not be that way everywhere, but it would if you're gonna rent a house for twelve hundred dollars a month, which is, you know. And those of you in San Francisco, you poor bastards. You can't rent a closet for twelve hundred a month and hang your clothes in San Francisco in these hot coastal markets.

Mark Rippetoe:
Free needles! Just wash them real good, you know. But you know here, if you're doing that to yourself, I'm not I'm not talking to you. But let's say you're in a normal part of the country. And if the rent's twelve hundred dollars because there's a hot rent market, I promise you a mortgage payment's going to be lower than that. You need to be making one. That's only this just an economic consideration.

Mark Rippetoe:
And if you are a landlord and you are owning houses to rent to other people, if you are interested in getting a call at 3 o'clock in the morning to come unstop the toilet, you go ahead and be a landlord. OK. I'm not interested in dealing with that.

Mark Rippetoe:
I mean, how how many times do you do somebody move out of a rent house that's been in it for a couple years and you don't have to repaint the whole damn thing? How often does that happen? It doesn't. You have to repaint the whole damn thing. People don't take care of other people's property. This is a fundamental reality that you have to deal with if you're a landlord.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you're in the landlord business like a lot of people are, and you have 300 units in a market and you're making millions of dollars a year off of your rents, tou don't mind getting calls at 3:00 in the morning saying that the toilet's stopped up. And that the kitchen stove's on fire and it's your fault somehow.

[off-camera]:
You can just be like my landlord and say well, deal with it for the next four or five days.

Mark Rippetoe:
Just deal with it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why don't you buy a house, Rusty? Maybe you ought to give some thought too that.

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. "I've read that running" Ben Roberts asks "running will increase knee strength because your" There's a missing word here. "knees will adapt to the stress of running. I know this is not true, but I'm not sure how to explain it since the adaptation of knees seems logical. Can you talk about the adaptations incurred by running?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, the at... your knees will adapt to running. All right. If they can. If you... Because everything adapts to the stress imposed upon it. If you can do the middle part of the stress recovery adaptation cycle, you've got to get recovered. Most people run too much because they like to run. I understand that I used to run myself, but it tears your knees up because you're going to run more than your knees can recover from.

Mark Rippetoe:
More importantly, running - the stress imposed on the knees, in terms of running is dynamic. There's a lot of impact. You load the knees much more running than you do squatting. And it's possible to beat the piss out of your knees running where you would not do anything even approximately close to that doing heavy squats.

Mark Rippetoe:
Set of 5 heavy squats. How many reps is involved in running five miles? You know, the repetition adds up. Each one is a dynamic, loaded impact no matter what kind of shoes you wear. There's impact involved in running. If you apply the right amount of running stress or if your body weights 125 so that there's essentially not much impact stress because of a light body weight, then you can adapt to running.

Mark Rippetoe:
But the real question is this why do you want run? The perception everybody seems to have is that the only way to work your cardio respiratory system is long, slow distance and those people have never done five sets of five across squats at 405. If you do that, you will understand what you don't currently know. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I am a twenty eight year old, five foot 10 male weighs 245 background's football, powerlifting, track... been doing Starting Strength routine off and on over the years. I always come back to it after some layoff time from working multiple jobs and lack of sleep from babies."

Mark Rippetoe:
[Makes snipping motion with fingers] Something to consider.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I've squatted 575 in competition, I've benched 297, deadlift 545. What's a good number to press over head? I'm at 135 for three sets of five currently. Pressed one eighty five for triples before. Is that bad number?" No, it's not. It's not commensurate with the rest of your strength. I'd say you hadn't been training your press. Why don't you... think you your said your goal here is 225.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's probably okay, but we like to think in terms of a body weight press. For men, a body weight press is a good is a good round number. That's a good starting point for overhead press strength, okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
Another running type question. "Hello, Mark. How are you today?" I'm fine. "My name is Elisa and I'm currently serving as a canon crew member at Fort Hood. 29, five foot two, 155, 160 recently started your program, really enjoying it so far." She deadlifts two and a quarter squats 165, benches 115 only a week into the program. So these are just basically basic strength numbers that she's carrying into the program. "My question is, I'm concerned about balancing getting stronger with losing weight so I can meet the army's archaic height and weight requirements. Also concerned about how much running will affect my progression in Starting Strength program, since my unit has set a PT schedule of running two miles Monday/Wednesday/Friday and doing muscle failure on Tuesday/Thursday. Do you have any advice on what I should do to get the most out of this program while losing weight in the process?"

Mark Rippetoe:
OK. First things first. Body weight loss is diet, it's all it is. All this running and flailing around and getting hot, sweating tired is not going to drop your body fat. Diet drops your body fat. Let this penetrate everybody listening. Let this penetrate. If you need to lose body fat, you are facing a diet issue, not a training issue. If you get your running up to 60 miles a week, then that's a significant amount of fat calories burned, but you're not going to do that and neither is anybody else that's also lifting weights. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you have a body fat problem, it's a dietary situation. And I understand all this flailing around and running and shit makes you hungry. I understand that. That's the problem. One of the problems with all that activity.

Mark Rippetoe:
More importantly, this two days, two miles a day, three days a week and going to failure Tuesday and Thursday. We talked about this many times. I don't know how that makes you better at your job of blowing shit up with a 155 howitzer.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't I don't see how that makes you a better Howitzer blower upper. All right. You know, cannon crew is... that's a strength job. You got to lift shit. Move shit around. Load the weapon and all this other stuff. It's the strength. It's not running two miles. But for some reason, the military can't process this.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't understand it either. They just think it's since it's hard. It must be good. And I agree that hard is good. But, you know, getting your squat up to 405 is hard, too. Why can't that be the good part instead of all this running? Nah, you all sort that out.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip, this is totally unrelated to strength conditioning, but do you have a favorite joke. I'm always looking for good jokes and I felt like a smart man like yourself would have one or two clever jokes."

Mark Rippetoe:
Oh, oh, yeah. I got a couple jokes, you we want me to tell these jokes?

[off-camera]:
Will I have to edit them out?

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no, they're good jokes. They're good.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, here's here's a joke that I heard a long, long time ago, as will be obvious here in a minute. My sister's husband was a he was... he was a fuckup, he really was, but he always had good jokes. He came into the café one morning, about ten o'clock to talk to Daddy about something. And he told my dad this joke and this thing... He told him this stupidass joke and daddy was helpless for about 30 minutes. He was helpless.

Mark Rippetoe:
He was walking around through the kitchen, trying to get the rolls baked and everything they had to stop and lean on shit. He got so tickled he couldn't even function. And it was just as, oh, here's the joke all right.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's an Aggie joke. They were popular at the time. This is like Pollock jokes. Everybody's every region's got, you know, people they joke about like Oklahomans. This could be an Oklahoman joke, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
So these two Aggies drive their old beat up car on to a car lot. And they said, you know, we'd like to trade this in on on a little bit better car. And the car lot guy, salesman, says, "You know, why don't you think about something else here. I've got a deal you might be interested in. I've got a camel here. I've got camel. Now, let's just think about this. Camel doesn't require any gas, you know, don't have to put gas in a camel. Just give him some water every once in a while and some, you know, hay and grass and weeds and shit. And he'll eat that and he'll carry you around. Two of you can ride on a camel. He'll stop. Start. Go. Left. Right. Just like a car will. Why don't you think about that?"

Mark Rippetoe:
So the Aggies think about it for a minute and they say, "OK, we'll we'll trade you the car for the camel." So they they leave the car lot on the camel or ride and ride and the camel off down the street.

Mark Rippetoe:
And about fifteen minutes later, they come walking back into the car lot and they say, "Hey, we want our car back." And the guy said, "Well, what happened? You guys looked like you were getting along pretty well on this on this camel when you left?" And he said, "Well, this we pulled up to that - about three blocks down the light turned red and we had to stop at the light. And this guy pulled up beside us. And and looked up at us and he said, 'Oh, honey, look, look at those two assholes on that camel!' And we got down to look and the camel ran away."

Mark Rippetoe:
No, I don't know about... It's a stupid joke, but I've always remembered how tickled daddy got at that. Oh, that was funny. Look at those two assholes on that camel. Just the image that calls to mind.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a stupid fucking joke.

Mark Rippetoe:
And then there's the bear joke. All right. The bear. You heard the bear joke? You never heard the bear joke?

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, guy is up in Colorado. And he's hunting. He's going to hunt a bear. Gets his bear tag. He goes out on the weekend and he's walking around out in the woods, got his rifle, cammo, you know, real tree camo, walking around, you know, looking at bear tracks. You know, and he's he's really paying attention to ground and all of sudden on his shoulder feels this tap, tap, tap. He turns around, there's a bear standing behind him.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the bear says, "Now, you wouldn't be out here trying to kill me, would you?" And Guy says, "Well, you know what? All right. Yeah, yeah, I'm hunting bears." Bear said, "I don't like that. I don't like being, threatened like that. And I'll tell you what, I'm a do I'll give you a choice here. I'm either gonna rip you to shreds with my giant long claws" this is a big bear "or you're going to let me fuck you in the ass." And the guy says, "I don't want to die." So he lets the bear fuck him in the ass. Th bear leaves. Guy's pissed.

Mark Rippetoe:
Next week he comes back, he's going to go find the bear. So he's out hunting in the woods. He's looking around for the bear. Paying attention, thinks he's seen some fresh tracks. Tap, tap, tap on the shoulder.

Mark Rippetoe:
Bear says, "You again. You know the drill." Bear fucks him in the ass. Bear leaves. Guy's really pissed off.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hiss bear tag's still good, so he gets back out following Saturday. He's out walking around in the woods and looking at bear tracks and tap, tap, tap on the shoulder. Turns around, bears looking at him.

Mark Rippetoe:
Bear says, "I'm beginning to think you're not in this for the hunting."

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, those are my two jokes.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I have recently started experiencing lower back pain after squatting. Started happening to me around 140 kilo mark. This happens not during my time in the gym, but immediately after the workout. But by the time I pull myself out of the car, getting home, back's sore and stiff." 38 5'9". 200 pounds. Ehud from Israel.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're squatting wrong. Post a video. You're trying to stay too upright when you squat. You're not allowing your back to function the way it needs to function efficiently to support the load on the bar. You need to bend over more.

Mark Rippetoe:
I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but we've explained it a million times and I'm not going to go over it again. You think that a vertical back angle is good for your back and I'm telling you that stupid. All right, your back is loaded at an angle and both the squat and deadlift, because that's how the back strengthens. You're not allowing the back to get strong because you're carrying it at the wrong angle, yet you're asking it to lift weights that you haven't prepared to lift. You're squatting wrong. Fix your squat form. Go on the website. Read all the millions of posts about this and get your squat fixed. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, we've dealt with this a couple of times. This guy wants to know about lifting with a fever. Remember that? He got answered on Twitter. He got an answer on...what did they tell him?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, you got a fever...depends on the fever. Typically, if you've got a cold or some kind of a minor deal like that, you need to train, you know. Take alcohol, Purell kind of stuff with you so you don't get your cold germs all over the equipment. But if you've got a... because that's just the local viral infection. Local tissues. That's not a big deal. Train through a cold.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you've got the flu. If you're running a fever. If the skin on your lower back hurts, in other words. You can't train. You're systemically infected. You've got systemic inflammation. You've got a disease process going on. But much more important than that than it not being good for you, nobody at the god damn gym wants you to give them the flu. Don't go to the gym. Now, if you're at home - he does say home gym - I still wouldn't trade with the flu.

Mark Rippetoe:
You need and, you know, lay on your ass a couple of days and get over the flu. The flu can be bad and you don't try to train through a systemic fever type illness like that because it could be something worse than the flu. No, don't train on the flu. Yes, train through a cold.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, Maria: "I'm a big fan of Starting Strength recently took a trip through the panhandle of Texas and stopped by the Wichita Falls Athletic Lab just to get a picture in front of your gym. I then continued on to Amarillo. Stopped at the Big Texan for dinner. I wonder if you'd ever attempted the 72 hour steak challenge?"

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, someone who has. I knew a kid a long time ago that did that and actually finished it. He was like one hundred and fifty five pound guy. That's a four and a half pound steak. And you got to eat the steak. All of it.

Mark Rippetoe:
Maybe they should cut the gristles out? And you got to eat the salad and a baked potato and the roll. You got to eat all of that shit. And if you don't eat at all, it's about $70.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I'm sure they sell a lot of those, probably ship a lot of doggy bags at the door. Seven... four and a half pounds? That's a roast. That's not steak. That's a roast. And it's a pretty damn good roast.

[off-camera]:
I'd put my money on Chase finishing that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Chase is the only kid I know that might be able to do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Hell, I'd drive him up there. We ought to go up there and do that, you know. Drive him up there and, you know, if he doesn't finish it, we pay for it for him.

[off-camera]:
And leave him there.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Make him walk home. We'll pay for it. And he has to walk. Video it. Might not be a bad idea. I don't know if they let you do that. Let's check with the Big Texan. Video in an attempt like that since we're not a major network.

[off-camera]:
They've got a special room, and shit, don't they?

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know. I've never been in the place. I mean, in there, it's you know, it's not something that Texans do, you know?

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, you don't go to the Big Texan in Amarillo. I'm from here. I don't go to someplace called the Big Texan had them. How dumb.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know, you just have to order it medium rare and hope they know what they know what the hell they're doing. The problem with the 72 ounce steak is it's hard to get medium rare. You know, it's damned hard to do. There's there's probably just one way to do it.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I've been cooking all my steak like this recently because it's much easier to get it right. What I what I'll do is preheat my oven to five hundred. And then I'll heat up my cast iron pan and I'll sear the steak on both sides. After I sear at, I'll put my salt and pepper, whatever I want to put on it, and then I put it in the put it in the oven for between four and six minutes, depending on how many steaks and how thick they are, that I'm trying to cook at the time.

Mark Rippetoe:
And you pull that out after four to six minutes depending on... If it's thinner, obviously four minutes is right. Stick it back on top of the stove, let it rest for ten minutes and then it's perfectly medium rare all the way through. It's the same color all the way through you perfect that if you spent too much money on meat, you don't want to fuck one of them up because it's it's just stupid to do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I pretty much have quit trying to ffry a steak in the pan. Cause I'd never get it right. And ever get it right. I've either got one side with too long and then it's blood red in the middle. It's not medium rare.

Mark Rippetoe:
So you might want to try that. That may be how they do that thing up there, because I think it's got to be that thick [holds fingers apart to show about 2.5-3 inches] You know what? They probably should want to do is sear that on their fire and finish it in, heaven forbid something like that would be ten minutes, twelve minutes at five hundred degrees. Too much trouble in a commercial deal like that.

[off-camera]:
You know, you're telling me they don't use a meat thermometer?

Mark Rippetoe:
No, they're not using meat... Nobody uses a meat thermometer. No, no, no. But they don't do that. It's not the way it's done. The way it's done. I've grew up the cafe and I've worked in restaurants and nobody uses a fucking meat thermometer.

[off-camera]:
The ones I worked in did.

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, you worked in Yankee places then. Ok. Yankee places.

[off-camera]:
Missouri is Yankee?

Mark Rippetoe:
Yankee places. Yes. Oh, yes. Oh, God. Yes. St Louis. Yeah. Meat thermometer for every one of the steaks? Have you lost your mind.

[off-camera]:
They stick the meat thermometer in. And the thing he sits outside the thing and it just tells him the right temperature.

Mark Rippetoe:
You know what? You know what? Here, imagine this. The cook having some experience.

[off-camera]:
The cook is doing other shit.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, he's cooking steaks. He's cooked. You say gets 18 steaks on the goddamn brew. He sees them. He knows.

[off-camera]:
You're the guy that just discovered reverse theory, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
No, no, I've been doing this. No, that's not true. I've been doing this for a while. So it's not. I've just recently gone to it exclusively. That's what I said. That's what I'm saying.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's some guy named John. All right. And he's recently discovered what blahblah was into HIT some names I'm not interested in reading. All right. Question: "My sons and I are involved in Boy Scouts and are attending a high adventure camp the next two summers...This will be include full, two full days hike, six miles apiece...going to be at Philmont seven days, six to 10 miles a day...Thirty pound packs. At Philmont they're 50 to 60 pound packs. Both these locations are much higher elevation than Kansas City...did a 10 mile hike last summer, 12000 feet...Informed me we're not ready to do the types of hikes required by high adventure program."

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Well, that reading all of this shit. Let me let me tell you something. All right. You cannot get acclimatized to altitude in a short period of time. You can't really get acclimatized to altitude in weeks. All right. Because acclimatize to altitude means that, well, really what it means is that you get used to the to the effects of having a lower than normal lower than complete O2 saturation. In other words, here in which it falls at a thousand feet of elevation my O2 saturation's ninety nine percent. All right. Most everybody that's not compromised in some way's got an O2 saturation at 99 percent.

Mark Rippetoe:
I go up to my place in Colorado at ninety three hundred feet and I'm at 92 percent. I'm at 92 percent. Now, that is a significant amount of desaturation and it's uncomfortable.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now you sleep just fine, but walking up the driveway is a lot of trouble. It's more trouble than you think. And those of you people that are out there saying, "Rippetoe's fat. If Rippetoe wasn't fat, it be easy to walk up the driveway. I hate Rip because he's fat. He's fat because I hate him. I haven't decided yet."

Mark Rippetoe:
No, it's I'm sorry. At ninety three hundred feet, you're only dealing with 72 percent of the atmosphere. It's a significant altitude. All right. That's why you have to have oxygen and they pressurize the cabin in aircrafts. This is a significant problem. 10000 feet is where they pressurize the cabin, 9000-10000 feet is where commercial aircraft are pressurized too. And nobody's running up the aisles of commercial aircraft and, you know, altitude's a serious deal, OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
12000 feet. It's hard to walk with a pack at 12000 feet. But that having been said, what helps more? Strength training or running at a thousand feet? Think with me. Running at a thousand feet doesn't prepare you ffor 92 percent or even lower than that O2 saturation that you would acquire at altitude.

Mark Rippetoe:
Strength makes it easier to carry the 60 pound pack. So the strength training is more beneficial to you, given the fact that you can't acclimate to altitude. People that live at 10000 feet are acclimated to it in the sense that they're used to being at 93 percent O2 saturation.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. You go to 2 you know, altitude like Quito, Ecuador, that's what at 12000 feet, something like that. Those people that have been there for generations who've got bigger chests and more lung capacity, and certain other adaptations. Their H&H is higher, but they aren't above ninety four percent. You just don't mind.

Mark Rippetoe:
You can't get it done in three years. You just can't do it and it's pointless to try. However, you can't get your squat up to 405. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
So either way, you're gonna feel like shit, you know? Can you... But you're gonna feel less like shit if you're strong enough to carry the pack all afternoon cause you're stronger. So that's my input on that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, Neal says, "I lift at home in my garage with nobody available to spot me. And I always feel a little bit worried when I when I'm doing the bench press. The pinholes in my rack aren't at an appropriate height being either slightly too low or too high. As a result, I avoid benching heavy by myself and I'm wondering how valid my safety concerns are. At this point I'm wondering if weighted dips could be used till I'm able to afford a new power rack or if I should just continued to bench without collars on the bar."

Mark Rippetoe:
Neil, listen to me, hun. Why don't you shim the bench? Why don't you put a piece of half inch plywood under the bench instead of thinking that the rack is the only thing you can adjust?

Mark Rippetoe:
Start thinking in terms of adjusting the bench up instead of the rack down. You've got very fine control over the height of the bench, much finer control than you have over the holes in the rack. So think about it like that. Let's get resourceful, shall we?

Mark Rippetoe:
And he also says, "Also, how many dogs are too many?"

Mark Rippetoe:
Seven or eight. If you can't feed them, you got too many dogs. Right.

[off-camera]:
Let's acknowledge that he talked about putting collars on a bench.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Apparently, he's indicated that he does not collaring the bar on the bench. So he's not at least he's not suicidal. But.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah, that's kind of what it says here. Dips are a stupid idea. Weighted dips are a stupid idea. Can't get away from a weighted dip. Course you can't get away from weighted bench either. I don't know. Dips are just not a good deal for most people's shoulders. I just got through tearing mine to pieces on dips. Nine months ago.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right, Jiarong Li. This is apparently a New Zealander: "Dear Rip, I love your style. You're very adorable."

Mark Rippetoe:
Isn't that nice? Instead of somebody saying, you;re fat, you're stupid, you're fat. Everybody should use a trap bar. What do you know? You don't have abs. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here, she says, "You're very adorable." I'm assuming it's a she.

Mark Rippetoe:
Jiarong Li. No...L-I. I think it is a girl. I'm going to pretend it's a girl.

Mark Rippetoe:
"I can't deadlift for more than three reps on sixty five kilos because I can't hold onto the bar. The bar always slides down. Now my question is, can I use straps? I tried to hook grip. I just can't get it right. Very first frustrated. Biggest concern is can't improve grip strength if I use straps. Rock climber."

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Here's the deal. And, you know, I. And I'm going to go ahead and say that I hope you're using chalk on the bar. And the reason I have to insult your intelligence like that is because we get questions about this all the time. And people say they can't hang on to the deadlift and we'll we'll say, "Well, are you using chalk?" And they'll say, "Well, no." Like, I'm dumb, you know? Like I'm the dumbass. Right. "Well, no. Why would I use chalk?"

Mark Rippetoe:
If you're not using chalk. Maybe you should use chalk.

Mark Rippetoe:
But a secondary concern is you're a female. Twenty four. They got a female. Twenty four. She weighs one hundred and twenty one pounds. And she's a rock climber. I wonder if she also has short fingers, short fingers are the biggest handicap for the deadlift. There is an especially in the absence of chalk, you know, they the two systems work together.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have to have a non-slip grip. You have to have chalk. But if your fingers are short, you are continually going to be unable to fully load your grip the way someone who can completely surround the bar with their fingers. The leverage changes, as the ends of the fingers approach the palm of the hand. And in a in a situation where the bars sitting right here, it's constantly trying to fall out of the grip and you just can't lift as much like that.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, if that's your situation, you're going to have to use straps and you're going to have to just do all your warm ups. All of that, all of the weight, the heaviest weight you can possibly do without straps and then strap your work sets so you can continue to take the load on the deadlift up.

Mark Rippetoe:
But you should be able to continue to do all your warm ups without straps and you'll strengthen your grip more than it's strong right now by doing it like that. But folks, if y'all aren't using chalk on your pulls, you're just you're, you know. Come on. That's what it's for. I mean, we talk about it in books, Chalk's assumed. All right.

[off-camera]:
Alternate grip?

Mark Rippetoe:
Alternate grip. I'm assuming she knows about an alternate grip. Surely she knows about an alternate grip. She said she can't hook grip. So I'm assuming she's alternating her grip. If she's not alternating her grip, that's as obvious as chalk. So that's got to be... I'm going to I'm not going to tell her that. I'm not going to insult her intelligence in quite that way.

Mark Rippetoe:
So good God. Look at all this. I know. Let's record another one later. How about that? Shall we? Maybe I'll change shirts and we'll just record another?

Mark Rippetoe:
Thanks for joining us on Starting Strength Radio. We'll see you next time.

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The Boomer Episode. Rip answers questions from Starting Strength fans with a special edition of Comments from the Haters.

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:34 Comments from the Haters!
  • 06:08 Help wanted at Travis_Shawn_D@yahoo.com
  • 07:31 Strengthening the rotator cuff with overhead press work
  • 14:21 Benching and pressing each workout, adding in chins
  • 16:23 Genetics & bioenergetics
  • 19:25 Invent a new machine/device?
  • 21:46 Wall of text
  • 22:13 Longest subject line in the history of email
  • 25:00 Buy a house?
  • 29:05 Running and knees
  • 31:28 Press 225?
  • 32:45 PT and SS on cannon crew
  • 35:58 Two jokes
  • 43:00 Fix back stiffness after squatting
  • 44:24 Train with a fever?
  • 45:55 Big Texan 72oz steak challenge
  • 51:05 Prepping for hikes at altitude
  • 56:15 Adjusting bench in rack
  • 58:20 Grip problems

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