Starting Strength Podcast: Coronadoom & The Price of Panic with Mark Rippetoe

Starting Strength Podcast:  Coronadoom & The Price of Panic with Mark Rippetoe

I spent an enjoyable hour and a half raving and ranting with Mark Rippetoe about the coronadoom.

“Rip” runs the Starting Strength program, which I think is terrific, and which I’ll describe by quoting the site:

Barbell training is simply loaded human movement, and the Starting Strength System makes use of the most basic movement patterns that work the entire body as a coordinated system, gradually increasing loads that make the whole body stronger, in a logical, understandable, time-tested manner — the way athletes have gotten stronger for millennia.

Starting Strength is not a list of new exercises from the fitness magazines designed by Physical Therapists for injured sedentary people. It is not a way to use the newest machines in a corporate health club. Starting Strength is a systematic approach to the classic barbell training method of improving Strength — the most critical characteristic of successful athletes and healthy useful people.

This isn’t for “body builders”, but everybody, any age, any shape. There’s nothing healthier than muscle. Go to his site to find out all about it.

I wasn’t asked to say any of this, by the way, but I’m glad to do it. And I hope some of you are able to take advantage of what SS offers.

On to the doom!

Rip came up with a term I told him I’m stealing, and that’s modelists in place of scientists.

I’ve said it a hundred times, and I know I’ll have to say it hundreds more, but every single model ever, of any kind, only says what it is told to say. Model building is a core practice of science, yes. But discoveries are not made by models. Discoveries are put in models.

How many papers has we disassembled, mostly from the so-called soft scientists, that purported to make some discovery via a model, perhaps “confirmed” by a wee p-value? I’ll tell you how many. A lot. Indeed, most of these papers are opinions masquerading as opinion.

Doesn’t mean the opinions are always wrong. But it doesn’t mean they’re right, either.

With many more to come. We saw in the last coronadoom update a new “study” that “discovered” masks work. It made this great finding by starting with the assumption masks work. It therefore could not have discovered masks work.

This is the same everywhere, but this is the first time we’re all meeting the brutal consequences of this form of scientism.

Give a listen.

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  1. Sheri

    Knowing how the internet likes to rewrite history, I started my research on masks at the beginning of Covid. It’s fascinating to see how the “results” suddenly changed to match whatever the government wanted the results to say. Kind of like climate change. One thing we are getting is all kinds of “new math” and “new science” that makes sure the answers are in line with the dictator rulers we stupidly elected. One day people will wonder why we lied and called this math and science, assuming we survive this massive loss of intelligence. We will be compared to the “primitives” of the stone age.

  2. JohnK

    I’m subverting the thread away from ‘modelists’ (what a spot-on name!), and that is despicable and wrong and completely unjustified and I will be punished with eternal punishment for it, and I did it anyway, for two reasons. (1) dear Matt opened the door. (2) I can’t take any more coronadoom right now. I just can’t. Matt has far more stomach for that battle than I; kudos for him, Bronx cheers for me. He should by all means continue! But I just can’t at the moment.

    Matt is right that “There’s nothing healthier than muscle.” However, the most important muscle to load is the heart. Loading the heart at 85-95% of maximal heart frequency for 2-4 minutes with rest intervals (High Intensity Interval Training “HIIT”) can increase or maintain or at least minimize the decline of heart stroke volume, which is the only way to increase, or at least minimize the decline of, VO2 max, the measurement of “Cardiorespiratory Fitness” (CRF) which is the single most important predictor of future health:

    A growing body of epidemiological and clinical evidence demonstrates not only that CRF is a potentially stronger predictor of mortality than established risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but that the addition of CRF to traditional risk factors significantly improves the reclassification of risk for adverse outcomes.

    [ Importance of Assessing Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Clinical Practice: A Case for Fitness as a Clinical Vital Sign: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. ]

    So unless you’re already about on death’s door, the famous 10,000 steps a day doesn’t do much for you, because it’s not loading the heart muscle sufficiently — not even once. (I try not to blow my top every time I go to Kaiser for something like getting my eyes checked and I’m always asked how ‘long’ I ‘exercise’ per week).

    As Mark Rippetoe explains over and over, you really have to load a muscle or group of muscles– work them hard — to get improvement. Same with the heart muscle.

    Moral: for the average person, by all means lift, but lift so you stay plenty strong enough to do HIIT.

    Bonus tip: Try the “Fitness Calculator” and get your estimated current CRF by proxy (plus information on the HUNT study) here. The HUNT researchers use of statistics is no better, but no worse, than the sad current norm, but they don’t just model, they try things out, too.

  3. Sheri

    At least the Fitness Calculator didn’t tell me I was dead.

  4. Dean Ericson

    A lot of fun listening in on these two guys discussing the doom and other stuff. The interviewer is a drawling deep-voiced Texan who sounds like he rode to the studio on a horse and doesn’t take bullshit off any man. Smart, and well informed, too. It seemed to end way too soon. Would love to sit down with these guys over a bit of whiskey. The best Rx for doom.

  5. Amateur Brain Surgeon

    Dear JohnK Thank you for that link.

    VERY helpful

  6. Bruce

    SS is a good program. So is Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 and the classic Bill Starr routine used by football players.

  7. Dean Ericson

    Speaking of Texans, there’s a lot of video out there today of the Biden campaign bus being dogged by caravans of Trumpers flying flags overwhelming the scanty China Joe supporters so much so that the Biden campaign scrubbed the rest of the scheduled Texas stops. Funny as hell. Way to go Texas.

  8. Sheri

    Dean–The FBI is investigating. Guess it’s terrifying to have really big trucks following you and surrounding you. The Democrats never seem to mind people crawling on cars, breaking windows, threatening drivers. I guess it’s the big trucks that make it illegal.

  9. Joy

    Wow doesn’t Mr Briggs sound normal and happy! Nothing like the artwork.

    @ one and a half minutes, nearly gave up, goodness me. ..
    Wound to “the voice”

    Of course people don’t need to wear masks while running.
    That is very silly.
    Nobody anywhere has instructed people to wear masks outside. Have they? Maybe over there

    (now listening as I type).

    You’d have to construct a scenario of a really strange nature to make a case for outside use of masks, possibly involving camels.

    Inside? Different matter. Depends on many factors most of which are fairly obvious at this stage having to do with potential for high density of virus given the ‘individual types’ and the air flow/volume (ventilation of the room).

    No argument about the definitions of case fatality/infection fatality or that the number of positive tests is made of many double counts and the rest.

    However we have Briggs saying what medical professionals are doing regarding cases.
    What medical professionals are doing is treating patients based on the clinical presentation.

    Policy makers are very far removed from what is happening in clinics. What happens feeds back to policy makers via the scientists and bean counters. It’s not a single direction flow of information. The media makes that kind of claim. As if every body has to do what “science says’.
    There’s a lot of assumption an mechanism that’s going into the word ‘Science’ in that example.

    As for the conclusions of the man about 1% and then Briggs 5-12% reparatory disease, may be a fact regarding death rate but unfortunately that’s not the contention here. Nor for the ones working at the coal face.

    To claim that the spread is not preventable, as if flu and pneumonia are not preventable is also completely wrong. Your argument forgets that action IS being taken all the time to help prevent infection spread. Sensible people wash their hands, for example. Sensible staff take care not to catch or spread disease. Without that the rates of death would be much higher.

    There’s a complete blind spot on the side of those denying a problem here that action IS taken and always IS.
    Sorry, but I’ve just got to the part where the radio jerk talks about RTA. Just childish amateur rubbish. Sorry.

    Don’t let me ever hear an argument from the deniers about quality of life or euthanasia after the kind of assertions we hear on this podcast about dying elderly people. Just unthinking I’m afraid, utterly inconsistent on part of the denier.

    Fine, but you’re claiming to be a Christian.
    ‘Valiant’ is not the word I’d use. Quite the opposite.

    Life is of infinite value in my reckoning.

  10. John B()


    I DID warn you about the “radio jerk”.

    I don’t think he helped Briggs’ cause and Briggs ultimately didn’t help himself

  11. Joy

    John B, you did but I took it as a recommendation!

    REAL cowboys don’t lift weights.
    Why bother with squats? Prr’ticul’y if you’re gonna’ spend all that TARM on a horrrss?

    It’s a recipe for anterior knee pain, especially the way the cowboys ride their horses

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