Back To School

Two weeks ago I got to spend the weekend with the “godfather” of strength training.  Mark Rippetoe, better known as Rip, put on a strength clinic here in L.A.  30 hours of squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, and power cleans.

The Godfather Of Strength

To say Rip is a character would be a massive understatement. Rip is a cross of Bill Parcells, who has won multiple Super Bowls as a coach, and Steve Jobs. Like Bill, you better have some thick skin because he'll gut you like a fish in front of everybody as I got see a few times.  He also has some Steve Jobs in him. Like Jobs was to technology, Rip is to strength training, he is light years ahead of the majority of us in the fitness community.

Weight = Strength

Rip has been in the strength world for over 40 years and has coached world record weight lifters, NFL players, and even cyclists. He has built a system that incorporates physics, using the greatest amount of muscle mass use over the longest effective range of motion, and loves to argue why his philosophy is the best.

My first real interaction with Rip was on Saturday morning after he and the class watched me finish up my last set of heavy squats. He said to me, “Good looking squats, do you know what you are doing wrong?”  Having read and watched all of his books and videos I knew exactly where he was going.  “Erik, you are too damn skinny! A guy your height needs to weigh 245 lbs., you need to go put on some weight.  Do you know why that’s a problem?”  I replied, “Yes, Rip because I’m at a mechanical disadvantage.”  “Fix it”, he said and walked away.

Knowledge Is Power

Rip’s personality, politics, and general demeanor are for a select few, but what I couldn’t deny was his expertise, experience and the opportunity to learn from the best.  While I have no intention of putting on 45 lbs. at this point of my life, the amount of material that I’ve learned because of him was truly expansive. I’m extremely grateful for the knowledge gained and I’ve become better at my job because of his work. 

Thanks Rip, it was an unforgettable weekend! 

Image Credit: The Guardian


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