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Bill Starr Modification

Hi guys,

33 years old, 5’10 and 200lbs, just tested for my 1rm’s:

Flat Bench-290
Hang Clean w/o dropping into a squat-235

Im planning on doing the classic Bill Starr 5x5 program, bench/SQ/Clean for 3 days 5x5 (heavy, light, medium) and debating adding to it.

Maybe over head press or deadlifts under protocol as the other 3? Or maybe just adding 3x of dips/pull-ups till failure after I finish my 3 exercises.

Has anyone done anything like this before? Will I burn out if I add to this?

Goal is to get stronger and look good post covid

I would add upper body lifts similarly to how its laid out in the Texas Method, eg

Monday 1:
1- Squat Heavy
2- Bench Heavy
3- Clean Heavy

Wednesday 1:
1- DL Light
2- Press Light
3- Clean Light

Friday 1:
1- Squat Medium
2- Bench Medium
3- Clean Medium

Monday 2:
1- DL Heavy
2- Press Heavy
3- Clean Heavy

Wednesday 2:
1- Squat Light
2- Bench Light
3- Clean Light

Friday 2:
1- DL Medium
2- Press Medium
3- Clean Medium

Adding a few sets of pull-ups and dips at the end of the session will be find

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So you’re anti just doing


5x5-3 days a week? I’d burn out?

I wouldn’t recommend it, no

You’d be fine on squat and dead lift. But your bench will burn out after 6-8 weeks.

Texas or @j4gga2 's modifications will work fine.

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Sounds more powerlifting than weightlifting. No competition lifts specifically. I think being strong in general guess a long ways, and this should help. I would add in accessories.

I had a question about the original Bill Starr program, and figured you’d be the man to ask.

I know it calls for benching, squatting and power cleaning 5x5 for three days a week, and I understand why those exercises were chosen.

My question though, is if strength and power development was the primary concern, why not add deadlifts? I know that after doing the 3 above mentioned exercises, he’d have us finish with a few assistance exercises (hypers, sit-ups etc) for a few sets. Why not replace that with a 4th “big” exercise?

You should search around a little bit.

Bill Starr wrote a couple articles specifically about about deadlifts and at least one all about military pressing. He talks about the lifts and how to work them into his/your program.

There is also a 4 day program (Hopkins 2000 Upperclassman Summer Lifting or something like that) with more lifts and more assistance stuff.

He also wrote an article called “Tailoring Your Program” where he just talked about his training style in general.

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I ran the Bill Starr 5x5 ages back


Incline bench/squat/bent row


A few dips/chins at the end of each session. Fun, made progress, no burnout.