Mark Rippetoe Quotes on Strength and Life

These Mark Rippetoe quotes will help you understand the human body, human condition and weightlifting in greater depth.

“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”


Mark Rippetoe or “Rip” was a competitive powerlifter for ten years, retiring from competition in 1988. For the next 10 years he announced most of the powerlifting meets in North Texas, while coaching lifters and training the members of his gym, the Wichita Falls Athletic Club, for strength and athletic performance.

He retired from powerlifting involvement in 1997, to focus more on Olympic weightlifting.

He pioneered the starting strength program, a hugely popular and effective training protocol centred around the squat, bench and deadlift.

Both a great athlete and a highly respected coach, Mark Rippetoe is additionally an inspiring, honest and intelligent writer.

Use the following Mark Rippetoe quotes to get motivated and improve your life, health and training.

Build strong shoulders now


“If your expectations are always those of someone content to live without physical challenge, then when it comes time for mental, moral, or emotional challenge you fail to meet it because you are out of practice.

Meeting and overcoming obstacles are skills that can be honed, as opposed to talents with which we are born.


The best way to prepare for the inevitable shit that life occasionally hands us all is to live in a way that prepares you for it. If you can treat personal tragedy like a heavy set of 20 squats, you’ll do better than someone who has never met any challenge.

Intentionally placing yourself in the position of having to complete a task when you don’t know if you can is the single best way of preparing to be in that position unintentionally.”

“A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up.”

“Humans are built to move. We evolved under conditions that required daily intense physical activity, and even among individuals with lower physical potential, that hard-earned genotype is still ours today.

The modern sedentary lifestyle leads to the inactivation of the genes related to physical performance, attributes that were once critical for survival and which are still critical for the correct, healthy expression of the genotype.

The genes are still there, they just aren’t doing anything because the body is not stressed enough to cause a physiological adaptation requiring their activation.

The sedentary person’s heart, lungs, muscles, bones, nerves and brain all operate far below the level at which they evolved to function, and at which they still function best.”

“People seem to have acquired the idea that they have the inalienable right to stroll through life without either having sweated, picked up anything heavy, worked hard, or eaten less than they wanted at every meal.

This approach is, of course, wrong. And it has resulted in a lot of expensive, unattractive, and entirely preventable problems amongst people who seem puzzled about why things aren’t going well.”

“Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not.”

“the reality of millions of years of adaptation to a ruggedly physical existence will not just go away because desks were invented.”


“Exercise is the stimulus that returns our bodies to the conditions for which they were designed.”

“You do not need to do many different exercises to get strong – you need to get strong on a very few important exercises, movements that train the whole body as a system, not as a collection of separate body parts.

The problem with the programs advocated by all the national exercise organizations is that they fail to recognize this basic principle: the body best adapts as a whole organism to stress applied to the whole organism.

The more stress that can be applied to as much of the body at one time as possible, the more effective and productive the adaptation will be.”

“Humans are not physically normal in the absence of hard physical effort.”

“Remember: lifting more weight is not always the same thing as getting stronger.”

“Our primary concern is that doing it [lifting] wrong is also inefficient, so we’ll do it right because that ultimately allows us to lift more weight and get stronger, and safety will be a welcome side effect.”


“There is no easy way to do a deadlift—not involving actually picking up the bar—which explains their lack of popularity in gyms around the world.”

“The deadlift also serves as a way to train the mind to do things that are hard.”


“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.”

“A squat cannot be performed on a Smith machine any more than it can be performed in a small closet with a hamster. Sorry.

There is a gigantic difference between a machine that makes the bar path vertical for you and a squat that is executed correctly enough to have a vertical bar path. The job of keeping the bar path vertical should be done by the muscles, skeleton, and nervous system, not by grease fittings, rails, and floor bolts.”

“Squat stance is a highly individual thing and will vary with hip width, hip ligament tightness, femur and tibia length and proportion, adductor and hamstring flexibility, knee joint alignment, and ankle flexibility. Everybody’s stance will be slightly different, but shoulder-width heels, with toes at 30 degrees, is a good place to start.”


If you want to learn more about Mark Rippetoe check out the starting strength website (link). Here you can also find his books Starting Strength, The Barbell Prescription and Practical Programming for Strength Training.

Feeling inspired? Learn how to expand your training with these Tricep, Bicep, Back and Shoulder exercises.

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