Starting Strength

  1. Starting Strength

    Alright, here is one of my favorite workouts for beginners. It was originally made by Mark Rippetoe, go to a youtube search for more details on him. The title of this workout is also the title of his book, I have read it and it's a great book with significant information.

    Here is the routine.

    The Workouts
    The Schedule
    In the Starting Strength routine, there are two workout schedules to follow, and I have listed them below. You will pretty much alternate workouts every other day. Take a look at the schedule below to get an understanding of what to do when:

    Monday: Workout A
    Wednesday: Workout B
    Friday: Workout A
    The following week, your schedule will look like this:

    Monday: Workout B
    Wednesday: Workout A
    Friday: Workout B
    As you can see, we are alternating workouts every other training day. Now, you don’t have to train only on Monday/Wednesday/Friday; you can, for example, train Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday instead. The key thing to remember here is that you should train 3 times a week non-consecutively as to let your body recover for a full day after your training day. After one week of training is over, you take two days off and then start the next week of training.

    If you’re new to weight lifting, stick to this workout routine and don’t change anything. Training more often per week does not mean more results (in fact, you can hinder your progress if you over-train).

    The Exercises / Lifts
    Here’s a list of the exercises associated for every workout along with their appropriate Sets and Repetitions. These exercises are placed in order, so always follow them accordingly and never do one before the other just because you feel like it or else you will be ruining the whole point of this routine. The numbers next to the exercises are Sets X Reps. If you don’t know any of these exercises or how to execute them properly, look into getting a copy of the book for your own sake.

    Workout A
    Squats: 3 x 5
    Bench Press: 3 x 5
    Deadlift: 1 x 5
    Dips (weighted): 2 x 5-8

    Workout B
    Squats: 3 x 5
    Press: 3 x 5
    Barbell Row: 3 x 5
    Pullups: 3 x 8

    Every Workout / Assistance Work / OPTIONAL
    Weighted Sit-ups at a 45 degree angle on decline bench: 3 x 5
    Weighted Hyper-extensions: 3 x 8

    Do not add, remove or substitute ANY of these exercises or else you will be wasting your time. These are key exercises to increasing strength in any individual in the shortest amount of time. No other exercises out there come close to the efficacy of the ones listed above. Adding more exercises to this list is considered over-training. Removing any of these exercises just because you don’t like them means you have already handicapped yourself for gaining the most amount of strength. Please do not mess with this routine or else you are seriously wasting your time. You might as well quit now if you don’t believe in Mark Rippetoe.

    As you can see, there is no “bicep curls” or any direct arm work involved because your arms will be indirectly trained over time. I have seen my arms personally grow at their peak just by following the Starting Strength routine and I haven’t done any direct bicep work. Why? Sometimes indirect work to a muscle is the best way to train it as opposed to targeting it directly. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that these days and they choose to ignore it. Just give this program a month of work and you will see your arms get sore without you doing a bicep curl.

    Lastly, the weighted sit-ups and hyper-extensions are optional. If it gets in the way of progressing on the five core lifts (squats, deads, power cleans, shoulder presses, bench presses) then stop doing them.

    What You Need to Know
    Proper warm-ups are always required for proper strength training. You should do a minimum of 3 warm-up sets before you start your heavy sets. If you are unsure how to warm up, take a look at my warming up page.

    Never increase (or “ramp”) your working/heavy sets. If you start doing 150 lbs of squats, then you do it 3 times for the remainder of your exercise workout (this is called “sets across”). Do not increase in weight once you have started your heavy set. Leave the increase for the next time you do squats. This goes for any exercise: proper technique is always more important than the amount of weight on the bar.

    Somewhat Acceptable Substitutions
    Honestly, you should stick to the above exercises, but you can substitute a few of the exercises with the following options. You should know that you’re much better off doing power cleans than barbell rows. As coach Rippetoe has said many times, “My opinion about barbell rows is as follows: f*** barbell rows. Really. F*** 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.”

    Replacing Power Cleans: you can do Pendlay Rows (3 x 5) and Chin-ups ( 2 x 8 ) as a replacement.
    Replacing Dips: Decline Dumbbell Bench press with your hands’ palms facing each other.
    Additions to the Workouts
    I’m quite confident to say that these additions will never come handy on this program, but should the need arise, you can add the following exercises to your weekly routine on Fridays only (or the last training day of the week). If you are just starting out new on this program, do not do these until 3 weeks into the routine. Trust me, these are really unnecessary and only here for the few people with exceptions.

    Parallel Bar Dips or Inline Skullcrushers (2 x 8-12)
    Barbell / Dumbell / EZ-Curls: (2 x 8-12)


  2. looks good but with westside barbell u can add way more volume.

  3. This routine is intended for beginners to help them apply to a foundation of strength. Westside is more towards intermediates.

  4. That's a good starting routine. I like how it balances general movement patterns for the upper body: bench press (push) balances rows (pull); shoulder press (push) balances pullup (pull).

    I would add some calf work.

  5. It is a very good program for a beginner because it gets them working very hard with basic movements. Rippetoe has a track record of putting 30+ lbs. on people in a relatively short amount of time provided they really follow through with eating enough.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by chim_chim View Post
    That's a good starting routine. I like how it balances general movement patterns for the upper body: bench press (push) balances rows (pull); shoulder press (push) balances pullup (pull).

    I would add some calf work.
    I like the way you think. Yes, if you're doing benches you should do rows to prevent shouldre imbalance, not too many people recognize this and the issue is vastly growing from bench enthusiasts that mirror train.

    I added the row in, Rippetoe had the power clean but I find them irrelevant to strength training seeing they train the IA muscle fibers which are for endurance. Strength training, with the name in mind it's obviously the moral of the program itself, is about educating the primary motions of the body. The power clean, is nowhere near a natural movement, especially in comparison to the row which is one of the most highly recognized natural movements.


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