Dimensional Edition – Starting Strength Weekly Report March 26, 2023

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March 27, 2023

Dimensional Edition

On Starting Strength

  • Goal Bodyweight, Powerlifting Meet Tips, and Training Your Spouse – Rip answers questions live from Starting Strength fans.
  • A BJJ Black Belt Does Starting Strength – Recreational BJJ black belt, Eric Hardison, was getting beat on the mat by a lighter weight, high-school aged blue belt – world-class competitor, Cash Burgess. We challenged Eric to do the Starting Strength program to see if getting stronger would improve his performance against Cash on the mat.
  • Bachelor Steak – In this episode of Contemporary Texas Kitchen, Rip demonstrates a tasty way to pan-fry a skirt steak.
  • Life after the Service with Starting Strength Gyms by Inna Koppel and Jacob Pearce – “The military is really high and really low,” recounted Starting Strength Coach Jacob Pearce, formerly an infantryman in the United States Army’s 101st Airborne…
  • Big and Strong by Daniel Oakes – I’ve been reading a few books on self-defense lately, and it seems like it’s all the rage these days to teach…
  • Weekend Archives: 5 Ways to 5 x 5 by Andy Baker – Most of us recognize that doing 5 sets of 5 reps – 5 x 5 – is an incredibly powerful method of getting big and strong…
  • Weekend Archives: Bad Advice About Higher Reps by Mark Rippetoe – As we get older, many of us go to the doctor more than we should. We ask the doctor about things doctors don’t really know much about…

In the Trenches

linda white locks out a deadlift at a starting strength training camp
Linda White, in from Minnesota, locks out a 175 lb deadlift at the recent Training Camp held at Starting Strength Beaverton. [photo courtesy of Jen Smith]
staccia locking out a deadlift
Staccia Greenwell learns to push the floor in the deadlift to help keep the bar on the leg all the way to the lockout at the training camp held in Beaverton. [photo courtesy of Jen Smith]
dave pulling at pr triple at starting strength boston
Dave pulling 185 lb x 3 for a new PR. After training at Starting Strength Boston he says he’s stronger and healthier in his 60s than when he was in his 30s. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
manny rechthand benches on his way to an american record total
Fivex3 member, Emmanuel Rechthand, competed in his fourth USAPL meet in Clifton, NY on Sunday, March 19. At 74 years old and 127 pounds, he broke the American Record Total at 659 pounds with a 203 lb squat, 121 lb bench and 335 lb deadlift in his age group and weight class. [photo courtesy of Fivex3 Training]
alexis learns to deadlift at testify strength and conditioning
Alexis learns to deadlift at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE, and she finishes her first day by pulling 135 lb for a very smooth set of 5. [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
stephen pressing at starting strength memphis
Stephen knocking out a set of presses at Starting Strength Memphis. Stephen is one of the original founding members and hasn’t missed a training session. [photo courtesy of Bre Hillen]
shweta at the bottom of a squat
After an extended trip to India, Shweta has returned to Starting Strength Boston. Not only has she recovered all her former strength, but she’s setting new PRs again. Here she is squatting 140 lb x 5. [photo courtesy of Michael Shammas]
tony coaches a new member through deadlifts in her first week of training
Tony coaches Starting Strength Cincinnati’s newest member Kristen through her deadlifts to wrap up her first week of training. [photo courtesy of Lucas Schroeder]
starting strength indianapolis social meetup group picture
Starting Strength Indianapolis members and early-interest folks meet at the Ale Emporium to talk about lifting, hobbies, music, and beer. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]
Get Involved

From the Coaches

Best of the Week

Busting vessels

Roy Thomas

Male, 23 yo, 185.6 lbs, started barbell training in February of 2021.

I had a layoff (exceptionally busy, not an injury) from 12/08/22-02/02/23. During this time, I was training once a week (all four lifts). I was 218 lbs at the beginning of December and my lifts were as follows (Best sets of five, using backoffs on bench and squat, and going for 15 total reps on press)

Squat 350×5
Bench 212.5×5

Press 145×5

Deadlift 390×5

Current lifts (Post weight loss)*
Squat 300x5x3

Bench 195x5x3

Press 125x5x3

Deadlift 365×5

Within two weeks of switching to once-a-week programming I started developing ‘This’

petachiae on eyelids

on my face and around my eyes. It happens exclusively with squats. If I go check in the mirror after the first work set, they will be all around my eyes and extending into my cheeks/eyebrows. I’ve gone back to a typical M-W-F training structure and the spots have gotten much less severe and they only pop up around my eyes now. But, they pop up EVERY time I squat, even on light days (Which is a meager 270 lbs at this moment). I’ve only been able to find anecdotal evidence relating to this on the internet at large and this lovely forum. My nurse practitioner thinks this is nothing to be worried about and is encouraging me to continue lifting (I was planning on it anyway). I’m wondering if anyone has seen this before/if it is a sign of any underlying condition.

Mark Rippetoe


Up your Vitamin C and keep training.

Best of the Forum

Fried lower back


I’m 22 years old and doing the NLP. Even though I can progress, my lower back seems to be the weakest link in the chain and feels extremely sore every single time after I do squats or deadlifts. It is not painful, but prevents me from progressing the way I should be.

I read the first 3 questions and I am eating more than enough, sleeping enough and resting enough between my sets. I genuinely have no idea what it could be. I deadlift once a week, do back extensions with added weight once and power clean once.
Do you have some advice, sir?

Mark Rippetoe

Numbers? What about the pain is keeping you from adding 5 pounds to the bar and lifting it?


Around 130-140 kg squats, for fives obviously. Deadlifts 155kg for 5, Powerclean Something between 85-90 kg for a triple. I can assure you that I’m not a pussy, I always try to do the weights I have to lift but my lower back feels so fatigued that I can’t manage to complete even the first set of 5. This is really weird; let’s say I managed to do 135kg for 3×5. The next workout with 137,5kgs fails at rep number 3 or 4. This happened pretty often unfortunately, and I deloaded by 5-10% every time that happened.

I tried the light day method you explained in practical programming, where you use 80% on squats but that just made me weaker for the next squat workout. I feel like I have to squat “heavy” every workout in order to make progress but that seems impossible with being sore all the time. I know you don’t give a fuck about muscle groups, but it feels like my legs could take way more punishment but my lower back cannot.

Mark Rippetoe

Tell us about the First Three Questions. Details.


I am 22 years old, sleeping around 9 hours a night, I am resting around 10-12 minutes between sets when training squats. I am eating at least 4000 kcals a day. With 10 eggs and bread and chia pudding in the “morning” later pasta with vegetables and so on. When I do not feel satisfied, I drink half a liter of milk. Was there more?

Mark Rippetoe

If your lower back is “fried” you are not recovering. Figure out why.

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