T Nation

Starting Strength


After years of lurking it's time,

Worked out off and on since high school, but like many work, booze, and fun seemed to take over. From my senior year of college and about a year after graduation I was up to about 183, decently low body fat, and many of my lifts were the highest they had ever been (bench ~185, dead ~315, squat ~225(not very respectable I know). The following year I spent way too much time whitewater paddling, skiing, traveling, and working to hold down a decent gym schedule. This was followed by my first year in medical school, no gym access, a strict budget and I dropped about 30 lbs.

So here I am, second year of medical school, most of the weight is back feeling like I owe it to myself to set some reasonable goals. I got a 6 month membership at the local Y and have been working my but off forcing myself to eat through the stress. I really wanted to try to stick and commit to a single program and after quite a bit reading here on the site (in addition to my years of lurking of course) I selected the Starting Strength Program. Considering myself essentially a beginner with some experience this seemed to be a logical choice, emphasis on full body movements, simplicity, and a sense of progression.

Currently two weeks in. Below I've detailed where I started for workout's A and B and then where I am currently at. I tried to start low and work my way into full capacity.

Started at... 172lbs
Squat 3x5 @ 185
Bench 3x5 @ 155
Dead 1x5 @ 225
Dips 3x5 (currently bodyweight since i'm lacking chains)

Squat 3x5 195
Standing Military Press 3x5 105
Bent Rows 3x5 95
Lat pulldown (sadly again no chains so i wanted to pick something with adjustable wieghts)

Currently at...174lbs
Squat 3x5 @ 215
Bench 3x5 @ 165
Dead 1x5 @ 295
Dips 3x8 (currently bodyweight since i'm lacking chains)

Squat 3x5 @ 215
Standing Military Press 3x5 @ 120
Bent Rows 3x5 @ 115
Lat pulldown 3x5 @ 185

I guess my two main goals are
1. increased strength overall
2. catch up on my back

Any suggestions, words of advice? I've been trying to take the back slowly as I feel it is really underdeveloped. I figure if I really focus on form and work my way up like the the program suggests it should be fine. Anyone suggest the cleans as opposed to rows and pull downs?

Got a number of pics, wheels included, just gonna have to see how easily they go up.







try again


fuck sorry for the duplicates!






You got a bit of arm's in there?
I know some people talk about isolation arm work being usless, but from what I have noticed it helps. alot


Looks good. It would be advantageous to switch out lat pulldowns for pull-ups. Do you have some tubular webbing and a carabiner? Maybe you could start by holding a DB between your feet.
Also, you might look into getting the book - it goes over the lifts very thoroughly, in case you feel you could use some technical pointers.
Keep eating, and good luck.


As previously stated i think pull ups (if you can do them) in place of lat pulldowns would be more beneficial.

Also i feel as though there's not enough work per muscle group. legs- basically just squats and deads, what about quads? calves? shoulders- just military press, what about rear delts, medial delts? back- just lat pulldowns, deads, and bent over rows... what about 1 arm DB rows? T-bar rows? chest- upper chest, lower chest?

I think its an ok program to start off with and kinda get your feet wet, but if you feel as though ure back is lacking shouldn't you put more back work in?

i personally do a 5 day split, where each muscle group gets its own day.

also what's your diet look like?


So again, I switched out weighted pull up due to lack of a belt (I used to be able to do pull ups with a 45 hanging). But I like the webbing idea, maybe I will swing down to the hardware store, as I agree pull ups are better than lat pull downs. I just get bored going for reps if I don't have a weight.

Vinnie, I agree that the program is pretty simple, but I think that is the way Rippetoe intended it to be. I have been throwing in some accessory work but nothing too consistently yet as I'm still trying to feel out how the program is working for me. Unfortunately a five day split isn't something I can commit to every week due to my workload at school, and I really wanted to select a program that I could consistently stay on, as I feel this is something I have really lacked over the past few years.

As for diet, probably the hardest with my scheduling. I usually shoot for four to six meals a day, spacing in protein shakes, and currently about a half gallon of 1% milk a day. My proteins come mostly from chicken, ,beef, cans of tuna, beans, eggs, whey, milk, quinoa, and almonds. Most of my carbs come from fruits and vegetables and beans, occasionally I make pasta or rice. Although I definitely throw in some eggs sandwiches, pb&js, yogurt, and nacho chips on a semi daily basis. Right now I know I just need to eat, i just get burned on days when the alarm goes off and I'm already late to be at the hospital/class/exams.

Thanks for the thoughts guys, I appreciate it.

Aut-x-rs, I thought about picking up the book, as I ruled out power cleans because I don't think my form is good enough to really make some serious gains. But I'm currently limited to how much time I have and more importantly how much money. I will have to see if the library has a copy.


Squats up to 225 last night!


keep going man, sounds like you've got everything down. SS got my squat and dead up to 300+ How long are your trainning seesions at the mo?


Hey man, that's awesome, it seemed like there are a number of people that this program helped really get their lifts up there. I always thought that being so tall I would never squat 300, but it seems like it might be possible... My workouts are currently about 30 to 45 minutes and starting to feel a little short. Why do you ask?


30-45mins main stuff will give you 15-odd mins to bring up anything you want, biceps, triceps, calves etc. it always confuses me when people say that SS et al is crap for beginers. who do you think will gain size faster on a BB split? a kid who has technique etc and can squat 300lbs? or a guy who has spent a year worrying about his V-taper when he cant even pick 300lbs of the floor?


You make sense but...

Why does he have 15 odd? Minutes to bring up other bodyparts...

Also a 'kid' who can squat 300lbs and a kid who can lift 300lbs off the floor is a lot different from each other. Also any 'kid' who is squatting 300lbs is going to be pretty damn big anyway in my opinion. If he is incredibly strong than he could be 150lbs and be pretty big looking but most likely he will be closer to the 200lbs mark or more and will be close to his natural genetic potential.

So who really can benefit more from a bodybuilding split?

It's whoever is following the programme the best, eating the best and supplementing the best.


Totally agree man. I think people just like to think that what's working for them at the moment is best for everyone else. This seems to be a good fit for me right now, at least with regards to my goals and level of experience. Gonna work hard at it and see where it gets me in six months or so.


Woop! There is now a weight belt for pull ups. So much nicer than the lat pulldown