“Hey! You’re already suffering from a lot of back pain. So don’t be crazy and start doing squats and deadlifts!”

“Trap bar or sumo deadlifts will be better for someone who has a bad back.”

“If you have a weak back, avoid these exercises. Instead, do (insert random exercises with machines and rubber bands).”

Actually, these warnings don’t stop with lifting weights. Some sources also ask you to avoid running, road biking, high-impact activities, lifting weights, etc.

If I could list all the “dangerous” activities, we’ll be left with watching TV and scrolling through social media.

Do you want to live like that?

Do you want your activities to be limited to what people think is “safe” for you?

When I was 15, I was diagnosed with some imperfections in my lumbar spine. My doctor told me to stop playing basketball, not to carry heavy stuff, and avoid any high-impact activities.

And I complied for 10 years. Because when a person of authority told me to stop doing it, I blindly followed his advice because I didn’t know any better.

And I believed what the doctor said was true because I had a series of back pain. Some days hurt more than others.

Then because of a series of fortunate encounters, I came to realise something.

The cure for my weak back is a strong back.

And to have a strong back, you need to let it work, experience some tolerable stress, and keep challenging that back a little more each time.

If this is too radical for you, it’s not.

This logic is true for almost every single thing in life.

If you want to develop your knowledge, you go to school and get educated. Then, you start learning something simple and gradually to a more complex topic.

You want to play the violin. So you look for a violin lesson and start the process of learning. On the first day, you will not play Paganini. Instead, your first song will probably be Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Solve the issue instead of running away from it

Again, a cure to your weak back is to make it stronger.

You don’t avoid school if you want to be smarter.

You don’t avoid violin lessons to be better at playing the violin.

Don’t avoid the squat and deadlifts if you want a better back, a stronger body, and a robust physique that allows you to run more, jump around, and do silly stuff with your kid.

The only way is to let it work!

Fast forward to another 6 years.

My episodes of back pain have been reduced to almost none.

Each episode is less intense.

I am “more functional” without doing any “functional training.”

Being stronger allows me to function better in my daily activities.

Give getting stronger a shot, and maybe you can start running again, doing things that have been at the back of your mind for years, starting a new project, or whatever you find enjoyable.

Let me end it with this.

“A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong.”

― Mark Rippetoe, Starting Strength

C’mon people! It’s as simple as doing your squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and bench presses. So what are you waiting for?


My interest in fitness started when I was around 19 years old. Being overweight for most of my growing up years, I decided to do something about it. After months of not being able to achieve the desired results, I began poring through books and articles about training and nutrition. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field, and got better results when the the newly discovered knowledge was applied. After 1 year of persistence and hard work, I lost 24kg and felt fantastic. The sense of achievement motivated me to pursue a career in working with people to help them achieve their own fitness goals.

After achieving my weight loss goal, I tried a variety of training programs for a few years, looking for a new goal to train towards. After aimlessly moving around from program to program, I chanced upon a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, written by renowned strength and conditioning expert, Mark Rippetoe. Little did I know that this book was about to change my life and coaching career.

At that point, I had experience training with barbells and was relatively familiar with it but never have I come across any material that gave such explicitly detailed explanations of how to perform the barbell lifts. I devoured the book and modified my lifting technique and program. In just a few months, I was pleasantly surprised by how much stronger he had become. I now had a new goal to work towards – getting strong.

With full confidence in the efficacy of the Starting Strength methodology, I began coaching my clients using this program and got them stronger than they ever thought was possible. The consistent success my clients achieved through the program cemented my confidence in Mark Rippetoe’s teachings. I then decided to pursue the credential of being a Starting Strength Coach and I’m currently the first and only certified coach in Singapore and South-East Asia

In my 9 years of experience, I have given talks and ran programs at numerous companies and worked with a diverse group clientele of all ages with a variety of goals. Today, I specialise in coaching people in their 40s, 50s and beyond because it brings me a great sense of satisfaction to be part of the process of improving this demographics’ health and quality of life by getting them stronger.