Mark Rippetoe is an American strength training coach and author. He has several decades of experience as a strength coach, is a former powerlifter, and a current gym owner. He is best known for his book Starting Strength, which is the most highly recommended book for barbell training. Below is a collection of our favorites quotes from him. Within his witty words contains much wisdom all lifters can learn from!

“If every day of your life you are told by authority figures that the Earth is flat, you will be scared of falling off the edge whether you want to be or not. ”

(A guy asks if hack squat is useful since his college does not have any squat racks only squat machines)
Rip: I recommend that you change colleges.

“You guys that worry about eating clean are actually merely bodybuilders looking for justification for your obsession with abs. You cannot get big and strong on 3000 kcal/day. And you cannot eat 7000/day and eat perfectly “clean”.”

“On resting in between reps: It varies with the length of the set. 5s or fewer get a breath to reset. Longer sets might take 2 breaths. During the last few reps of a true 20RM squat, just do what Jesus tells you. Trust me, if you do an honest 20 rep program, at some point Jesus will talk to you. On the last day of the program, he asked if he could work in. ”

“I don’t read around the web much, because I’m old and busy, and just haven’t got time. If I’m on the Internet, I’d rather be looking at porn. ”

“Baby mammals drink milk, and you sir, are a baby mammal. ”

“Girls don’t like big pecs! they like money and “this”!(as he indicates with his hand mid thigh on the leg) ”

“You must wear socks or workout pants on the Dead Lifts. We don’t want your DNA on the barbell.”

“Any idiot can get on a treadmill and watch TV and then take great pride in the fact they’ve ‘exercised. ”

“When a guy (Alex) asked what to do about his balls hurting after squats…
Alex, buddy, you’re on your own here. Unless we get some other input. My balls haven’t hurt since 1973, when I learned how to finish what I started. ”

“There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pu**y. ”

“There is no substitute for milk. Sorry. ”

“Pierre, if you are eating 5500 calories a day, then I am a female kangaroo with a Sonic Drive-In franchise and a heroin habit. ”

On steroids:
“There are no shortcuts. The fact that a shortcut is important to you means that you are a pussy.”

“On the possibility of a failure to deadlift resulting in stroke:
Deadlifts that are too heavy to pull generally don’t take very long; the bar just kinda lays there. So if trying to move immovable objects was dangerous from the standpoint of stroke, the history of the human race would be littered with stupid people’s corpses. ”

“On not calling “The Press”, “The Shoulder Press:”
We just call it the press, because how could you press without the shoulders? You can leg press… but that’s gay. ”

“But then again, those who argue against squatting and deadlifting on the same day may just be pu**ies. ”

“Now I also know that you’re supposed to ‘listen to your body’, but my brain says ‘don’t be a pu**y, and just lift the ****ing weights’, and that’s just what I do. ”

“Newb: Got any good ab exercises?
Rip: Got any better questions? ”

“Go home and tell Mom that you’re a man now. ”

“If you want to look like some Abercrombie model, then find another program and enjoy your nice, easy training style. If you are serious about adding muscle to your frame, then get under the damn bar and make it happen. ”

“The deadlift is more functional in that it?s very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy **** up off the ground. ”

“I recommend against a wooden squat rack, for much the same reason that I recommend against a wooden car. ”

“You can’t make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there. ”

When asked if masturbation or sex hinders strength:
“Yes, it does. Never do either. Ever. Not if you want to be strong like bull. ”

“It is not necessary to bump the shins with the bar, or dig a ditch in the shins on the way up. Good control of the weight is necessary to avoid this, and it should be avoided or sores get established on the shins that will be a problem for a long time – every time the trainee deadlifts he will break the sore open and make a big mess on his socks or worse, the bar”

Anyone who says that full squats are “bad for the knees” has, with that statement, demonstrated conclusively that they are not entitled to an opinion about the matter. People who know nothing about a topic, especially a very technical one that requires specific training, knowledge, and experience, are not due an opinion about that topic and are better served by being quiet when it is asked about or discussed. For example, when brain surgery, or string theory, or the NFL draft, or women’s dress sizes, or white wine is being discussed, I remain quiet, odd though that may seem. But seldom is this the case when orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or nurses are asked about full squats.


“If you had to choose between wearing no shoes or running shoes to lift in which would you pick?”

Rip’s response: “That is like asking me to choose between stabbing myself in the eye with a fork or burning the roof of my mouth with extremely hot pizza. Can’t we just avoid both?”


My opinion about barbell rows is as follows: **** barbell rows. Really. **** them. Stop wasting time worrying about barbell rows and get your deadlift up to 500. By then you’ll have your own opinion and you won’t have to worry about mine.


My program is 3x/week barbell training until the strength gains produced by linear progression are exhausted. That’s it, the whole program. Adding a bunch of other stuff in, or even adding a little other stuff in makes it NOT MY PROGRAM, because it fundamentally alters your response to the stress. Do what you want, of course, but it won’t be my program if you do it your way.


Opinions are like phasers — everybody ought to have one.


(A thread from someone worried about learning/doing power cleans by himself)

Usually, people just feel intimidated by anything that resembles a technical exercise and just would rather not do them. This is just being a pussy, and sets a bad precedent for the management of both training and life. I think the Starting Strength includes an understandable method for learning to power clean, and just in case it’s not simple enough I rewrote it for the new book so that it is even simpler. You don’t really need bumper plates to do them if you don’t have access, so that doesn’t wash either. They are in the program because an explosive movement is a valuable contribution to power production, and they make deadlifts get stronger faster.

Okay, you don’t need a coach to learn power cleans, because we fixed things up so that you can learn them out of the book. And what exactly is the downside of trying to learn them and failing? Firing squad? The ****ing bodybuilders making fun of you from the safety of the dumbbell rack? Loss of wages? Just try them before you decide you can’t learn them without a coach.


“…what should my ideal body weight be for this program? Have you made a table for this, or what do you recommend?” – trainee

“Your ideal bodyweight as an ectomorph at 6′ 0″ will be 214.378 lbs. There. Happy? And if you lose or gain a pound, I will have you killed. It is important to be ideal..” – Rip


(A guy gives a very detail problem of bowel trouble while squatting and ask if Rip or his trainees had similar problems)

Jesus, Andrew, I could have gone a long time without having to hear about this. The obvious fix is to take a newspaper into the bathroom and not to come out until the whole thing is read. Just before you train. Works for me every time.


If nothing is wrong with your shoulders, benches are fine. But when someone asks me about rotator cuff injuries, I assume they’re not asking for their cat.