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-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.