T Nation

Starting, Starting Strength


#1

I am convinced this is the best program for beginners. After reading much of Rip's work, you can completely understand why everything is laid out the way it is. The progression in weight, the rep/set scheme, the frequency, the calorie surplus. Type in "Rippetoe pdf" on google... Read for a couple hours, and I bet just about everyone would want to do this program.

I knew I had to start this program when Rip made the point that this program is all about general adaption and pushing your genetic limits. He had an example of a guy with a squat in the mid-300's, and he got himself into the 500's running this program. It has more to do with where you are in your progression of adaption versus how strong you already are. If you're small and weak, you have a ton to gain and running starting strength for a good year will get you where you need to be. It all makes so much sense when you read through his stuff. If you don't feel like reading his books on pdf, look up his articles, "The Novice Effect" and "A Clarification".

I'm currently 6'1 175 pounds. I have a good 40 pounds to gain before I need to think about anything else. My numbers are also pretty low, so prioritizing strength is exactly what I need to do.

Here's what I am going to do for next 9 months:

A
Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Deadlift 1x5

B
Squat 3x5
Press 3x5
Cleans 5x3

A-B-A/B-A-B style. 3x/week.

As far as assistance goes, my rule is only do what I feel can HELP me. Don't do anything that will stall your progress on the important lifts. Remember this is assistance, "don't major in the minors."
Chins, dips, rows and some beach work is what I limit myself to. Nothing more than a few sets after all my main work is done.

The key for anyone that is "small" starting this program really is what you do outside the weight room. You have to eat to get your strength up. For someone like me that is underweight, weak and also lanky, there is no way my pressing will be able to progress without adding weight. You can't be scared to add some body fat either... Abs don't matter for the next year. Get bigger and stronger from your legs through your back and over your shoulders. Losing a few pounds of body fat is easy anyways. Especially if you're a natural skinny.

The first 12 months of a program like this is your biggest room to make some crazy adaptions. Rip claims guys can gain 30-40 pounds in the first 6 months and make HUGE strength gains like going from a 135 3x5 squat to a 315 3x5 squat in 6 months. I like.

I'll update this little log every couple weeks, just to keep track of my progress, but also to use this thread as a open forum for anyone else that is starting this program, or anyone who has any questions on the programs. I've read most of Rip's published work now.


#2

If this program appeals to you and you think that you would be consistent over time in making it work for you, then you should do it. There is a Training Logs subforum if you intend to start a detailed log. Good luck.


#3

Good luck with the program. It sounds like you believe in it and are ready to put the work in. I did a similar set/rep/progression scheme in my first 9 or so months of lifting and I got a helluva lot stronger on it.

Have you purchased the actual Starting Strength book yet?


#4

I started on Tuesday after floundering around. Similar to you, I'm 6'1" and was 184 pounds when I started - been pounding the food for three days trying to grow. I also started with some ridiculously low weights - have a training log in the category. Look forward to following you and hearing your insights to compare with my own.

Good luck.


#5

Have both the PDF of Starting Strength and Practical Programming, as well as multiple articles. I also have Beyond 5/3/1 as they have many similar principles.


#6

I didn't realize Rippetoe sold the book in .pdf format. Was it significantly cheaper? I like my paperback copy. It pretty much lives next to the crapper.

It is definitely an entertaining and informative read. I never ran the program but the explanations and illustrations in the book really helped me figure out my squatting style.


#7

I just went and looked at your log and it's funny... We both have done the same thing (beginner's syndrome).I started with 5/3/1, and as a beginner I was thinking too much about the %'s and possibilites with the PR sets, Jokers, FSL, BBB, all the different templates and combinations, etc... I know Wendler says anyone can run his program, but I honestly believe it takes time and expirence to perfect his principles. I think once my strength and size get to an intermediate level and I become consistent in the weight room, I'll spend years with 5/3/1. But for now, it was too much thinking. I went to Mass Made Simple, becuase Dan John is in the same group as Wendler when it comes to the no-BS training. MMS was less thinking, and I liked having the same 5-6 lifts every day. I also really liked the clean and press. This is probably as close as you can get to Starting Strength. I thought about it and re-read Practical Programming again, after I read it about 6 months ago and everything clicked this time. I realized I only need to think about 2 things for the next year.

  1. Add weight to the bar as often as I can on my main lifts, consistently, and...
  2. Eat like I'm trying to gain 2 pounds a week, conistently.

The first year of consistent training is the greatest time for adaptation and growth. It can be rapid. Rip says he gets guys that add 200 pounds to their squat in 6 months, as well as 40 pounds.

I don't need to think about exercize selection, sets, reps, %'s, templates, frequency, all ths shit. Get in the gym 3x a week, add weight to your 3 lifts, and eat like there's no tomorrow. It's as simple as it gets, and that's what beginner's need.

You mentioned you started low. I actually don't know where Rip says to start. I think I've read for many people they just start with an empty bar and move 10 lbs/workout.


#8

It's a free PDF file. I actually read te FAQ pdf which may have been the most helpful.

You really could get away with just reading his article, "A Clarrification", as it sums up everything you need to know about how to do the program correctly.


#9

Rippetoe's giving his book away for free now? That's unusual for an author.

I've already read the whole book a few times and I'd suggest the same for any beginner intent on running his program. You will get much more out of it than you will an FAQ.

Also, if you're doing the program correctly, you won't be doing rows, chins or dips anytime soon. He's pretty specific about that in the book, but I'm not sure what the FAQ says. The world won't come crashing down if you do some rows, but the assistance work you describe is not part of Starting Strength.

Good luck in your quest for strength.


#10

I got the kindle version of it. Cheaper than the paperback.

Definitely a book on training.


#11

Google "Rippetoe pdf" and a bunch of his stuff pops up. Starting strength seems to be a pretty open program. He didn't try hiding it or anything, because it's no secret.

The rows, dips, chins and curls are suppossed to be added a couple weeks into the program. I've been in and out of weight training for a couple years now and I'm 21. I probably will just follow his advice and not add any of it for a few weeks, outside of the chins. I get a set number of chins every workout, usually 25. It's been huge for my back/lats/shoulder girdle.


#12

I've read a ton of your advice on here and I know you're a big 5/3/1 guy. For my needs of basically needing to gain a shit ton of weight as well as strength, how do you feel about a Staring Strength style for at least my first 9 months of trying to get stronger/bigger?

I would love to get to these numbers:
BW 175 to 215
Squat 1rm 235 to 325
Deadlift 1rm 245 to 430
Bench 125 to 215
Press 95 to 185
Chins be able to rock out 20 no kipping pure pullups


#13

Ahh I see now. My search terms were messed up. I googled "purchase starting strength pdf" and didn't see anything. I see that you can, indeed, find the 2nd edition quite easily with your search terms. I'm not quite so adept as you are at finding pirated content, but I still cling to antiquated notions of not stealing things just because I can.

Putting aside our ethical differences, I wish you success in whatever methods you employ.


#14

That is an accurate review of the book. I was big on kindle for a few years but after two devices have shit the bed on me I'm back to building my collection of hard copy books.


#15

Yeah, the kindle was a cool idea but I never use it any more. I got the kindle app, so I can browse stuff on my phone, but I still prefer something physical that I can dog ear and highlight and make notes.

I have so many ebooks in my computer I have never read that I probably would have made it through by now if they were hardcopy.

On that note, if you want a good Rippetoe bathroom reader, look up "Mean Ol Mr. Gravity". He basically just printed out his forums in an organized format. Definitely not something to read cover to cover, but great to pick up and flip through.


#16

I believe the young man is under the impression that Mr. Rippetoe intended it to be shared freely and is unaware of any copyright violations. The book has been uploaded in violation of copyright laws and ethically, should not be used.


#17

I believe you are correct.


#18

Appreciate the comment. To clarify, I'm not a big 5/3/1 guy; I like any program built around sound principles and logical progression. I recommend 5/3/1 mainly because I've actually run it, and I feel unethical recommending a program if I haven't personally run it, but the Cube Method, Juggernaut Method, Westside Barbell for Skinny Bastards, etc etc, are all based around good principles.

I am not the biggest fan of Starting Strength, but I think Jim Wendler's recommendation to run it for 3 months just to get the movements sorted out before moving onto a more sustainable program isn't the worst thing in the world (you can find his recommendation on his blog, under the title "2016 – Help a Friend Get Stronger"). My experience personally has been that a variety of rep ranges is necessary in order to get bigger and stronger, and that sticking with one rep range while adding weight constantly is a better approach for peaking rather than building.

I would personally avoid intentional overeating. Instead of using nutrition to drive increases in numbers, I use increases in numbers to drive nutrition. When I want to gain weight, I train more (up the volume and conditioning work) to increase my appetite and capacity to eat food, rather than eat more food in an attempt to see if it will make my numbers rise.


#19

Sounds like you've got a good plan. Best of luck mate. Start a log in the Training Log section.

For the record, I kind of agree with you about SS vs 531. I mean, I absolutely think 531 is better, but SS is more tailored to beginners so can be a better option. It's along the lines of a big grunting V8 truck is better than a plain old Focus, but if you've only been driving for six months you'll be better off in the Focus.


#20

If he really cared about his books being assessed so easily, he would do something about it. He probably knows and doesn't care.