Mutchkin Edition – Starting Strength Weekly Report January 29, 2024

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January 29, 2024

Mutchkin Edition

On Starting Strength

  • Gay Bar with Carl, Chase’s Deal, and Equipped Powerlifting –
    Rip answers questions from Starting Strength Network subscribers and fans.

  • Rose-Ann Gets Strong at 99 by Michael Shammas –
    I want to share with you the story of Starting Strength Boston’s oldest member, Rose-Ann. She turned 99 years old on September 18th…

  • How to Make a Sandwich –
    Rip and stef show you how to make four delicious sandwiches: ham and cheese, pimento cheese, roast pork, and fish salad.

  • Going To College – Or Not by Mark Rippetoe and Nicholas Racculia –
    Back in the ’70s, going to college was what people who wanted to be successful did, because a high school education had eroded in rigor and value since…

  • How to Video Your Lifts for Form Checks –
    Starting Strength Coach Andrew Lewis explains how to film your lifts for coaches to check your form.
  • Weekend Archives:

    Elbow Tendonitis: How It Occurs and What to Do About It by Jordan Burnett –
    Elbow tendonitis is one of the most common and pervasive injuries that serious lifters can experience at some point during their career…
  • Weekend Archives:

    The Power Clean Series by Mark Rippetoe –
    A new series on learning to do and coach the power clean! Mark Rippetoe breaks down the teaching method for the power clean in short videos designed to be easily referred to by lifters and coaches.

In the Trenches

tyler prepares to snatch 60 kg
In preparation for the upcoming Testify Leprechaun Lift-off weightlifting meet in March, Tyler sets up to snatch 60 kg at Testify Strength & Conditioning in Omaha, NE. Tyler is kind enough to help out at many of Testify’s meets, and this time, he’s jumping in as a competitor too! [photo courtesy of Phil Meggers]
andrew lewis coaches ryan through the starting strength deadlift teaching method
Ryan pushes the floor away to deadlift the bar off the ground during as Andrew Lewis coaches him through teaching method at the Deadlift and Power Clean Training Camp held at Starting Strength Indianapolis this past weekend. [photo courtesy of Adam Kacius]
brian racks a power clean at the pulling training camp at starting strength indianapolis
Brian racks an apparently humorous clean at the Deadlift and Power Clean camp at Starting Strength Indianapolis. The bar is held by the shoulders, not by hands like in a press. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]
ryan holds his arms straight as he jumps as he learns to clean
Ryan demonstrates straight arms during the jump of the power clean during the teaching progression at the Deadlift and Power clean camp at Starting Strength Indianapolis. [photo courtesy of Andrew Lewis]

Get Involved

Best of the Week

Benzodiazepines and Gains


I have a friend and I’ll give numbers.

He started an NLP at 5’6″ and 140lbs with starting weights:

  • Squat: 135 lbs 3×5
  • Bench: 95 lbs 3×5
  • Press: 65 lbs 3×5
  • Deadlift: 135 1×5

1 month of NLP and eating ~4000 cal per day and missing 0 training days, and getting 7.5-8.5hrs of sleep every night, and resting 6-8 minutes between sets.

  • Body weight: 154 lbs
  • Squat: 185 lbs 3×5 (stalled at 185 twice)
  • Bench: 125 lbs 3×5
  • Press: 97.5 lbs 3×5
  • Deadlift: 225 lbs 1×5

This gentleman was stalling at squats at 185 every time he got to that weight, on the 4th or 5th rep.

Is it normal to stall this early on the squat at that low of weight given these numbers, and given that he was eating 4000 cals, 200g protein, sleeping 8 hours per night, and resting 6-8 minutes between sets?

This gentleman was also on benzodiazepines every day. Have any of you had experience with lifters taking benzodiazepines, and if so, are they responsible for potentially killing gains on the squat?

Mark Rippetoe

Valium every day??? Why?


He was told by a ‘Board Certified Doctor’ that he needed to take it due to ‘Anxiety’ at age 19.

He is in the process of tapering off of it, but I am just curious if you guys have any experience with any lifters taking benzodiazepines. They are pharmacologically similar to alcohol and I have listened to your episode on alcohol.

Alexander Dargatz

They are not really pharmacologically similar. Ethanol and Diazepam just have some overlap in their effect on the GABA-system.

My question would be what the daily dosage was, schedule, and the duration of the medication. Prescribing benzos for anxiety is not a good idea, though it can be argued that for a short time intervention in a critical situation it is okay. I never prescribe benzos in an outpatient setting, and certainly not for anxiety, which is better treated with behavioral therapy (learning to deal with it).

Higher doses of benzodiazepines can certainly affect your strength gains, mainly via affecting your ability to train hard. Drug effects include reduced drive (not just hip drive, though I’d bet the willingness to get out of the hole is affected, too), drowsiness, reduced alertness, increased frequency/probability of muscle cramps, sleeping disorders (yes) and reduced coordination. With long term medication it gets worse and includes a host of psychiatric symptoms.

On the other hand, if he just took a couple of mg/day for a couple of weeks, his issues are more likely to be related to his primary diagnosis (or other).

Mark Rippetoe

The guy needs TRT, not valium.

Best of the Forum

BPH and The Busch Center


There are no words to express my gratitude for your podcast with Joe Busch, MD, last year. As luck would have it, his clinic (The Busch Center) in Alpharetta, GA, is about 10 mi from me, and this past Tuesday he treated me for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). I cannot say enough about Dr. Busch and his staff. They were wonderful. I’m in recovery mode now – taking lots of drugs and supplements, drinking lots of water, icing, compression socks, catheter in place for two weeks, etc., etc.

I’m now 72, but I started having issues with frequent urination when I was around 54. However, at the time, I did not have the presence of mind to speak to my doctor about it, and therefore, I just lived with it.

Three weeks ago on the morning of July 4, around 1am, I was hit by a freight train, so to speak. I could not urinate; and the days and nights since then, leading up to my treatment with Dr. Busch this week were, hands down, the most miserable days of my life – three trips to the ER (one in an ambulance), one trip to a urologist, three visits with nurse practitioners, and four…FOUR…catheter insertions. To say my urethra was abused and angry does not scratch the surface, and I was given morphine before the fourth insertion – it didn’t really help.

I’m leaving out the details for now, but I welcome any questions and will share any info that might be helpful to others facing this.

Mark Rippetoe

I’ve heard from other people about how much they appreciate Joe and his staff. Glad we could help.


Four insertions – ouch! Can you elaborate on the meds you’re on? Proscar?


On my first visit to the ER, the ER doc prescribed Flomax.

Sidebar: for this visit, they inserted a Foley catheter, drained, and removed. The catheter should have remained in place per Dr. Busch and every other medical professional I encountered in the next couple weeks.

Eight days later, the Urologist doubled my dose of Flomax.

Eight days later during my first visit with Dr. Busch, he told me to drop the Flomax, use Alfuzosin instead, and alternate Tylenol/Ibuprofen. This combination allowed me to get by without a catheter until I came back for the procedure.

Before/after the procedure, I’m taking Bactrim, Cefdinir, Alfuzosin, Tylenol, AZO, Zinc (100mg), Vitamin C (1000mg), Magnesium (500mg, for constipation).

Hope this helps.

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