T Nation

Starting Strength Questions


Couple Questions on these workouts

Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift
**2x8 Dips (if you cant do these or no assist machine then do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press with your hands Facing each other)

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Standing military press
3x5 Pendlay or Bent Rows (or power cleans)
**2x8 Chin-ups (recommended mainly if doing the cleans)

Question 1

I'm obviously a beginner and I don't have great form. Can I do Hack Squats instead of the regular Free Weight Squats? (Incline Squats)

Question 2

As for deadlifts, can I use a cable machine to simulate a deadlift?

Question 3

Doesn't seem like a lot of time in the gym with just these exercises. Any need for extra exercises or is the program just fine like it is. Looks like a great program to fit my needs. Going to add a lot of interval cardio also to lose some poundage.

Thank you,



Also I have a protein shake that I'm gonna start Drinking. contents are as folows

110 Calories
1.5g fat
45 mg cholesterol
4.5g carbs
20g protein
and a shit load of vitamins.

your thoughts?

  1. Why don't you take this time to learn the Squat? With my experience in teaching my friends to lift, they learn quicker and have better form with the Front Squat as opposed to the Back Squat.

  2. Why can't you just deadlift? A "cable deadlift" is just something that I can't imagine would be as nearly as worthwhile as a regular deadlift.

  3. I have no experience with this program so I don't know what a day feels like, but I'd imagine if you were lifting with any sort of intensity there wouldn't be much else you would wanna do.


To all your questions: NO! Learn proper form on all lifts, do them, and get out the gym when you're done! As for your protein shake...read all this:





I don't believe that's the Starting Strength plan in it's purest form. Power cleans are mandatory, rows are not.

What's an incline squat? Is it a machine? One priority of Starting Strength is to teach you the basic lifts, so, do your back squats. If technique is an issue, start light, and if possible, try to get video of your performance so we can critique it here.

A cable deadlift will be nowhere close to simulating a barbell deadlift. Again, learn the basic movement. After all, the subtitle of the book is Basic Barbell Training.

With general warm-up, and warm-up sets, it'll be plenty of time. If you want to spend more time in the gym than is necessary, offer to clean up the locker room in exchange for a discount on your membership. :wink:

Meh, it seems fine for a shake or two throughout the day, depending on what type of protein it is (whey, casein, soy, etc.) and what you plan to mix it in.


Bah I just can't get over the embarrassment of looking like an idiot doing squats


We've all been through this! The real idiots are those who don't try and learn to squat properly! C'mon boy, it's time to get under the bar!


yeah man, strap on a pair and learn to squat, you'd be missing out on one of the best exercises if you didn't. At the moment i'm having to train at home and cannot do back squats (have to do lunges etc), and i really miss doing them, even though their hard.


About 8 weeks ago when I started that exact same program I couldnt squat for shit. I went from an 85x3x3 to 225x3x5 Now none of my shorts from last summer fit and my pants are all getting too tight in the thighs.

Learn the squat, the squat is your best friend.


If your avatar is an accurate respresentation of your physique...

1) Put some pants on next time you're anywhere near a camera.

2) This is probably not the program for you.

The squats and bent rows / pendalays may cause you to injure your back, and if that goes out, you could be bed ridden for months!

I congratulate you on deciding to change your physique but please consult a personal trainer at your gym for a more appropriate program.


It's not, its a pretty common internet meme image.

Like hours on a treadmill to blow out the knees, and a bunch of isolation exercises which won't provide much in the way of muscle growth or metabolic stress?

Anyone who's in shape enough to walk is in shape enough to learn how to squat with an empty bar and gradually add weight. Hell, start with bodyweight squats and work up from there if really needed, but avoiding squats is just plan stupid.


Don't listen to this dumbass OP.


No, don't do this, OP.

Pretty much the same story here. 8 weeks in and jeans that did fit me 8 weeks ago have all had to be replaced

Do your back squats
Do your deadlifts
Do your power cleans
Grow a pair
Do more squats


Question 1. Take the time to learn the squat. The benefits later will outweigh anything you feel now. Read the book's chapter on the squat, know it forward and backward and then squat. Adding 15 to 30lbs a week to your squat means you will only be embarrassed for a couple of weeks.

Question 2. Dude, don't be that guy. Same thing as the squat, take the time to learn it and it will be worthwhile. Deadlifting heavy weight in a gym will get you the best looks from others. It is worth it just for their expressions.

Question 3. Reread the book and double check your program. Power cleans had no substitute in the program. As for the time spent, after a couple of weeks of adding 5 to 10 lbs to each lift between every workout, you will need some warm up sets and they will add to your gym time. After a few workouts then add your dips and chins.

Word of advice, go easy on the intervals at first. Might want to go easy on all cardio at first. I say this because you are going to be sore from squatting the first few times, don't be afraid to wait to add the extra intervals or even steady state until your body has gotten over the initial shock of lifting.


Love you all, especially ninja boy. We'll see what happens. and no I look nothing like that picture. Just need to get in shape


First day out of the way. Woke up and had 4 Breakfast tacos with potato egg and cheese. Then I had some tuna and more tuna and some almonds. All water all day.

Went to the gym and was a bit nervous so I took it easy. Warmed up on the cardio machine for 5 min then did freewieghts.

BarbellCurl 3x8 95 lbs total
Dumbell Press 3x12 30 lbs total
Forearm Curls 3x12 30 lbs total
Dumbell Chest Press 3x12 30lbs total

5 min cardio cooldown

Protein shake.

Gonna hurt tomorrow


Decided to not do SS anymore I see. Must still be too much squatting.


Too shy to do it. Still working on the courage part


Stop being shy. Honestly,the workout you did is more embarassing then SS, even if you only used the bar for squats. I promise you the weight equipment won't judge you, and if you care about anyone else in the gym, you need to change your focus.


stop being a pussy and do it.