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#118 - All Roads Lead to... Block Periodization Programming

Building on Episode #116, Advanced Programming Methods for Strength, Matt and Scott discuss the intricacies of block programming and their preferred templates. Block training is laid out in a few stages: A full cycle of block generally lasts 12 weeks, with each phase being 3-4 weeks long followed by a deload week at the end. Most lifters will train through these phases in a 4-day split model. The first phase is the accumulation phase, during which the lifter performs a lot of volume at...


#117 - Matt and Scott Answer Your Questions: Q&A #1

Matt and Scott answer your questions in the first ever podcast Q&A. Listeners submitted questions via Instagram and the boys will tackle them over the course of several episodes. This week they answer: While accessory lifts (such as chins, curls, and push ups) would not sufficiently reinforce the movement patterns in the main lifts, supplemental lifts like pin squats, tempo squats, paused bench, etc. are definitely useful for helping a lifter correct technique errors. However, it...


#116 - Advanced Programming Methods for Strength: An Intro

Matt and Scott have touched on advanced programming a few times during the show -- most notably with Andy Baker's approach to advanced programming in episode #104 -- and today they walk through their own philosophy. Advanced athletes, loosely defined, have progressed to the point where they can no longer make workout to workout, or week to week progress. Though the word "advanced" conjures an image of very strong, heavy lifters for many people, advanced trainees can vary drastically. Older...


#115 - What is RPE? And Why You Don't Need It (If You're a Novice)

Matt and Scott dive into the concept of RPE, or Rate of Perceived Exertion. Popularized by powerlifter and coach Mark Tuscherer, RPE refers to a numerical descriptor (between 1 and 10, though only 6-10 apply to training) of the difficulty of a set, as measured by bar speed. Since bar speed depends on the individual -- some lifters move the bar fast, and slow down during heavy reps, others move the bar slow all the time -- a given RPE can look different from lifter to lifter. What's important...


#114 - Accessory Lifts for the Advancing Lifter

Matt and Scott address accessory lifts and how they fit into a well-designed training program. As Matt says, supplemental lifts -- which he first discussed in Episode 21 -- are variants that closely resemble the main lifts, while accessory lifts are lighter, less stressful (but still complex multi-joint) movements that allow more advanced lifters to add small increments of stress. It goes without saying, then, that accessories become useful when more volume with the main lifts or...


#113 - Profile of a Model Client: A Chat with Sean Richardson

Matt and Scott chat with SSOC client Sean Richardson, visiting the Reynolds' household from across the pond (Leicestershire, UK to be precise). Sean is a speech pathologist by trade, and an SSOC client of Scott's. He is a model client too, demonstrating consistency, patience, and coachability in his training life. Sean also enjoys a number of hobbies in life, so he doesn't just live to train... he trains to live. He is a great example of how strength training can fit into and improve an...


#112 - Nick D'Agostino: A Skeptic's Approach to Strength Training and Physical Therapy

Perhaps the most genetically gifted (and certainly one of the strongest) Starting Strength Coaches joins us today, Mr. Nick D'Agostino. Nick has been an SSC since 2012, and will soon call himself a Physical Therapist as well. Unlike many of the coaches we have interviewed who began with the Starting Strength method and the novice linear progression, Nick was already a decently strong lifter before he discovered Starting Strength while listening to a lecture by another PT and SSC, Dr. John...


#111 - Eric Shugars: Bringing Starting Strength to the Schools

Matt and Scott bring on Eric Shugars of Westminster Strength to talk about his path to becoming a Starting Strength Coach through Beau Bryant's internship program, and how he has developed inroads with local high school sports teams. High school athletes are in a prime position to develop significant strength to apply to their sport -- they're young and physically fresh, growing, full of testosterone (the boys at least), and can handle lots of physical stress including running an LP while...


#110 - How to End Dad Bod: The Secret No One Is Talking About

Matt and Scott talk once more to frequent guest Robert Santana, RD, SSC, about a common complaint of middle aged trainees... the skinny-fat body. These trainees have a normal BMI (between 20-25) yet low muscle mass and high bodyfat. Trainees like this often come to Santana desiring a leaner physique, especially visible abs, but the path to this goal is usually longer than they realize. The fundamental problem with these trainees, which comprise a large percentage of first-time strength...


#109 - Mike Burgos: Navigating the Work-Life Balance

Scott and Matt interview Starting Strength Coach Michael Burgos about his transition from occupational therapy into the field of strength coaching. Burgos trained as an occupational therapist and certified hand specialist, but despite his dedication and commitment to helping his patients, he eventually became disenchanted with the relentless productivity culture in the field which demanded long hours -- 12hrs a day, often 6 or 7 days a week. Nevertheless, having discovered strength...


#108 - Robert Santana: Building Better Eating Habits with Online Nutrition Coaching

Our good friend Robert "Bob-tana" Santana, RD, SSC, is back on the podcast to talk more about nutrition and diet. Since joining Starting Strength Online Coaching as the head nutrition coach, Santana has evolved his approach to coaching clients to reach their body composition goals. Observing that the biggest hurdle for clients was their compliance with eating their prescribed macros, he now offers more guidance on meal planning with specific foods to show clients what compliance can look...


#107 - What (You Know) You Don't Know with John Musser SSC

Matt and Scott interview Starting Strength Coach John Musser about his career in law enforcement and high-level security detail. Musser's experience in security has taught him to be detailed and probe for things that don't fit into known patterns. Importantly, he says, you have to search for the facts you don't know, which can be uncomfortable for most people. Yet this is where Coach Musser thrives, and the same attention to detail has made him an excellent coach. Security work also...


#106 - Hypertrophy and Strength Training for the Intermediate Lifter with Andy Baker

Andy Baker is back for another episode, and today he's tackling hypertrophy for the intermediate lifter. After walking through his preferred strategies for implementing a Heavy/Light/Medium (HLM) model during the intermediate phase, Andy explains the need for most intermediate lifters to gain muscle mass without necessarily a lot of excess bodyweight. This is particularly true for older lifters, he observes, and women, who cannot metabolize a lot of excess calories after the novice phase...


#105 - Barbell Logic Extra: Angie Bryant: Strength Training for Moms

Matt and Scott interview Angie Bryant, a Starting Strength Coach, Physician Assistant, lecturer, gym owner, and mother of four. Angie is clearly a busy lady, yet she still manages to train consistently amid the chaos of juggling family and several jobs. She firmly believes that women, and especially mothers, should take time to incorporate strength training in their lives for the physical, mental, and aesthetic benefits. Angie runs Westminster Strength & Conditioning along with her...


#104 - Programming for the Advanced Lifter with Andy Baker

Andy Baker, co-author of Practical Programming 3rd Edition, returns to the podcast to talk about advanced programming. Practical Programming defines advanced trainees broadly as those having fully exhausted linear progression, no longer able to make workout to workout, or even week to week progress. Advanced trainees must make progress on longer scales, usually over months of training. Very few trainees ever become advanced, primarily because advanced trainees need some sort of goal to...


#103 - Barbell Logic Extra: The Man Behind the Memes: Pete Troupos

Matt and Scott interview the man behind the Starting Strength Instagram (and it's memes), coach Pete Troupos. Pete is a Starting Strength Coach currently based out of Dallas, TX. He is also an SSOC coach as well as the organizer for all Starting Strength lifting camps across the country, so he is well versed in the Starting Strength model and the variety of coaches in the organization. Prior to becoming a coach, Pete had a long career in retail loss prevention, where he learned to...


#102 - In Defense of the Power Clean with Dr. Sully

We talk about the Big 4 lifts all the time, but Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training 3rd Edition covers five lifts, the fifth being, of course, the Power Clean. The Power Clean is the only lift in the basic Starting Strength repertoire that trains a lifter's power, or their ability to recruit strength quickly. Power is essential to most sports and athletic endeavors, and thus is very important for the developing athlete. Lately the Power Clean has become Starting Strength red-headed...


#101 - Barbell Logic Extra: Gillian Ward Discusses Hypertrophy for Women and the Power of One

Gillian Ward returns to the show to talk more about her training philosophy, her approach to training women after the LP phase of training, and how she has developed her mindset for approaching difficult athletic tasks. In her previous show, Episode 99: Defying Expectations... and Gravity, Gillian talked about her world record 1,190 pushups performed in one hour as well as many other spectacular feats of strength and athleticism. Early on in her career, she discovered that focusing on the...


#100 - The Science of Joint Health and Strength Training with Dr. Sullivan

Dr. Sully returns to the podcast to talk about the effect of strength training on joint health, the efficacy of various types of protheses, and improving joint health for Masters lifters. Sully presented on this topic at the 2018 Starting Strength Coaches Association along with the other members of the science committee, including recent guest CJ Gotcher. Literature in the field reveals that joint health and diseases such as osteoarthritis are complicated in nature, and it's clear that...


#99 - Barbell Logic Extra: Gillian Ward: Defying Expectations... and Gravity

Gillian Ward is definitely the best athlete we've had on the show, and likely the best athlete we'll EVER have on the show. Her athletic accomplishments are as varied as they are extraordinary: she holds the Guiness World Record for most pushups in 1 hour with 1,190 pushups, she placed 3rd at the Crossfit Games in 2008 (after only doing Crossfit for a little over three months), she has her IFBB pro card, and has competed at a high level in gymnastics, strongman, powerlifting, and Olympic...