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Double-Coated Edition – Starting Strength Weekly Report November 27, 2023 Leave a comment

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November 27, 2023

Double-coated Edition

On Starting Strength

  • You’re Not Doing Hypertrophy –
    The dogma ex-phys people are still pursuing is that higher reps produce better hypertrophy than sets of five with heavy weights. Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of muscles and the amount of weight lifted is its primary driver.

  • Strength Training Will Force You to Fix (Almost) Everything by Andrew Lewis –
    Any novice who does the Starting Strength linear progression will get stronger. The duration of this progress, however, has a wide range…

  • Retirement Planning for Physical & Financial Health –
    Ray talks to John Kawauchi about a past shoulder injury, how he rehabbed with Starting Strength, financial advice for preparing for retirement, and life insurance.

  • The “Mock Meet” – Digital Nomad Style by Carl Raghavan –
    Balancing a nomadic lifestyle with a passion for strength training is a pretty unique challenge…

  • Becoming the Grandmother She Wanted to Be –
    Retired librarian Pat Ensor was dealing with chronic back osteoarthritis and significant movement pain. After five months of consistent training at SS Katy, she moves without discomfort and has no trouble playing with her granddaughter and throwing her around.
  • Weekend Archives:

    Low Bar Position Stretch –
    Starting Strength Coach Paul Horn shows a way to improve your low bar squat bar position over time.
  • Weekend Archives:

    How to Push the Prowler –
    Mark Rippetoe details the how and why of pushing the prowler for conditioning.

In the Trenches

geoff sets up to deadlift 200 kg for five
Scottish former rugby union player Geoff sets up to deadlift 200 kg for a set of five at the recent Starting Strength lifting camp in Glasgow, Scotland coached by SSC Byron Johnston. [photo courtesy of James Collinge]
paul shrugs up as he locks out a press
Paul shrugs up to finish his press at 45 kg as fellow lifters Will and Luke observe Byron Johnston coaching him through the lift. Paul is coached online by SSC John Dowdy, but came to the camp to further his knowledge and technique on the squat, press and deadlift, as well as to meet likeminded lifters. [photo courtesy of James Collinge]
group photo boston lunch
What do former Starting Strength Boston members do when they’re in town for Thanksgiving? Stop by a class and go out for lunch afterwards of course! Jeff (far left) was transferred to Maryland for a temporary work assignment, but we’re keeping a spot open for him when he returns to Boston next year. [photo courtesy of Deb Clarkston]

Get Involved

Best of the Week

Minimum Training/Knowledge?


I’d like to refer friends and family to the SS program, but I’m not a certified coach, and even if I were, I can’t travel across the country to teach them the lifts. What resources are sufficient to bring a complete and utter newbie to the point where they can begin the novice LP program without serious risk of injury? (Obviously it can’t be reduced to zero, but you know what I mean.) Do they have to buy a copy of the book and read it? Do they need to find a coach in their area who can show them how not to be an idiot? Can I just link them to your “How to Do the Lifts” playlist on YouTube?

Anything I can do to lower the barrier to that first glorious taste of a heavy, full-depth squat is (correct me if I’m wrong) a good thing. If they get to that point and don’t want more, well, you can’t fix stupid, but how can I get them to that point safely?

Mark Rippetoe

The book was designed for this. Add the videos and the online coaching option, and we have a decent system that works for most people. You can vet them when you visit, and make sure the depth and the hip drive is working like it should.

Best of the Forum

Coaching the “hard” cases


Have had several clients over the last years which I call the ‘hard’ cases when it comes to coaching them.

I give you a few examples:

Client A (female, 49 yrs): Going to depth in the squat is the problem. She CAN squat to correct depth. However, way more reps are shallow compared to below parallel. So far I have used verbal cues (“squat lower” / “Sit down lower” / “hips down” / “bounce out of the hole”), tactile cues (her hips tapping a box), paused squats, slow eccentrics so she has more time to become aware of the correct depth, and video feedback. Also having her squat inside the cage with safety pins hasn’t helped.

It is not just the last rep in each set where this occurs. She randomly goes/doesn’t go to depth in the sets.

No matter how much I yell, use other cues, or discuss the importance of correct depth with her, my coaching is either a) ineffective – or b) being ignored/not taken seriously.

Client B (female, 44 yrs): Has so far trained with me for 7 months and still has to be reminded to wear a belt in the press. The importance of a belt has been explained to her multiple times.

Clients C & D: Have trained with me for nearly a year. Still not wearing a pair of weightlifting shoes. Benefits have been explained more than once – plus they have been made aware of errors in their squat with the foot not as stable as it should be.

Frustrating moments as a coach.

Would like to hear your experiences in dealing with “hard” cases that may be of same or similar nature. I’m always looking to improve and try to find fault with myself when things don’t work the way they should.

Mark Rippetoe

It is sometimes necessary to fire a client.


Some clients benefit from being active participants in their own cueing, instead of just recipients of your feedback. For example, I make my grandma recite her most important cues before the set. Just focus on the main thing they need to fix. I might ask her “okay, first set of deadlifts – what are your reminders?” Hopefully she’ll recite the things she’s working on. “Squeeze my chest up, don’t bend elbows.”

Some people might need to write cues down in their notebooks to help them remember. Between hearing you, reciting it back and writing it down, that’s three ways to engage with the information.

The best is to address it in real time so he or she might feel the difference between their best and worst reps in real time. I know some clients are tougher cases and maybe some aren’t the right fit for your coaching style.

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