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Advice on Beginner Strength Programming?

I’ve very inconsistently tried lifting for the last few years, and now I want to focus on getting stronger. All of my lifts have a 1RM of less than 135. I try to keep good form, but any time I get close to even 85% of my max I seem to always have form breakdown or I need to break up a rep set (say 8) into multiple parts (like 5, rerack for 20 s, 3)

What novice strength programs do you recommend, and should I restart with the bar?

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Look up the article ‘Helping a Friend Get Stronger’ by Jim Wendler.


I was going to make a suggestion, but it’s covered in Step One of the article V3lvet suggested. So, yep.


Welcome to the forums. You’ll find plenty of members here willing to help with form if you post a video. That should help you a lot.

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Welcome and good work so far.

I think a video would help, and while I haven’t read that article posted earlier, maybe you should dial the weight back if you run into these issues.

I don’t think every session have perfect form or perfect progression from the last time, so just enjoy the process and stick to the basics for now.

Yeah x3 with give SS a short run 6-8 weeks/until plateau then start running through programs off this site like this…

read a bunch of Dan John articles also for overall training knowledge

First ever program I run was madcow 5x5. Absolutely loved it and made great strength gains. Probably a tad too advanced if your still really new to lifting though.
Pick a program and start with weights you know you can handle with perfect form, whether its sets of 5 or 10. Then just work up from there, nothing wrong with a bit of form break down when the weights get heavy as long as it’s not all the time.

Thanks all for the advice already. Here’s some more context that may be helpful:

I’ve tried for years to lift and get stronger but programs have either been muscle/bro split type or I’ve just been too inconsistent and not giving a program time to breathe.

I’m pretty interested in the 5/3/1 programs but they seem a little more advanced for me at the moment. SS seems like a great, if albeit kind of boring, program. Probably trying to find something that would split the difference.

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A few questions

Did you see that article @RampantBadger posted? It’s my go to program when recommending something to a beginner. Hits all the bases & leaves room for a day to play around with arms & calves or whatever.