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Where to Start for Starting Strength

I am currently 18 years old, about 180 lbs with the following lifts: squat-190, bench-180, deadlift-305, press-115. I’ve been following the 5/3/1 beginner program since I like the all out set and the variety of choosing my assistance, but I know I can make much faster strength gains on starting strength. I’ve read the book at the library but don’t want to just jump into the program like I have in the past and end up finding the weight too heavy and stalling. So I was wondering what phase to start at and what weight to use for proper form and still be able to increase weight next workout. Oh and for power cleans I can do 5x3 with 135 but I’m sure id benefit from lowering it a bit. Thanks in advance to whoever replies.

Switch to the 5’s Progression, with First Set Last for back-off sets.

-It’s got the sets of 5.
-It’s got the weekly linear additions to your weights.
-It’s scripted, and based off the training maxes you already know. You don’t need to figure anything out, or get accustomed to the new program. You can start having productive training sessions from day 1 with no guess work.


I’ve thought about it but I know wendler even suggest starting with ss and I like the power cleans to build explosive power

You increase intensity faster on SS that doesn’t mean you are getting stronger at a faster rate. Intensity isn’t the only overload variable and it isn’t necessarily the best either. So choose a program you can slaughter, not one you think works the fastest.

You can jump and throw for explosiveness. I do agility drills with jumps and they work wonders.


I play pickup basketball so I do a bit of sprinting, jumping, and throwing. I just know wendler suggest starting with SS and I like how it’s set up.

I’m just gonna get a training max of 90% of my lifts and put it into a 5rm calculator and work from there

Do this -will make you bull strong.

If reeeally must do a rippetoe routine do Texas method

Never read beyond 5/3/1 so can you explain 5’s progression and I don’t think I’m experienced enough for Texas method

Try this then, -great template with it all laid out…

Look at the thread
"5’s PRO + FSL Setup" from Wendler forum, November '15. Kingbrady asks Jim to verify the percentages and the progression.

If you jump into Starting Strength with super light weights, and do 3 sets of 5, adding 5 pounds each session, you’re going to spend awhile lifting too light. At some point, you’ll add enough weight, so your sets are “just right.” But then you’ll quickly add weight, trying to progress. You’ll race through the productive training weights, and soon be training too heavy. All your beautiful smooth lifts degrade into ugly grinds.

The 5’s progression is set up to keep you in that productive training zone. It’s not too light to get a good workout. Its not too heavy to do the lifts properly. Its not so much volume that it’s impossible to recover from.

It will allow you to “switch up” your training, without completely abandoning the work you’ve done up to this point.

So you can run the 5’s Pro for 2 cycles, or 6 weeks. Then deload for a week.

Save a couple bucks a week during this 7 week period.

At that point, resume “regular 5/3/1”

Hopefully, the Jim’s new book will be out by then.

Yea it looks pretty good other than the assistance work, I’m not one to do tricep push downs or curls since chins and dips got me plenty of pussy. The main reason I want to start SS so much is the frequency of squatting since I’m only at 190 and I feel embarrassed getting under that. My goals are only strength, and the Texas method is actually something I’ve planned on trying because it looks so fun.

So if I decide to do 5’s pro should I go BBB? And is the FSL for the first lift or second lift

As someone who competes in strength sports and had a goal of being strong, I have only ever seen weak people avoid direct arm work.


You can use the 5’s setup, with the 5 sets of 10 for “back off” sets.

Or you can Do 5 sets of 5, reps with the weight you used for your 1st set. That’s why it’s called first set last.

I plan to use 5x5, for more “practice.” Lately, I’ve been doing high reps with light weights. Sometimes the higher reps get a little sloppy. With the back off sets of 5, I should really be able to focus on razor sharp technique.

I just have no need for them as a beginner, the simple pushing and pulling movements work wonders. I’ve tried direct arm work in the past and nothing worked liked dips and push-ups, and chin-ups will always be the best for biceps.

I will have to bow to your experience on the matter I suppose.

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So something like this would be good?

Squat 5’s pro
Deadlift 5x5 at 65% for week 1

Bench 5’s pro
Press 5x5 at 65% for week 1
DB row

Deadlift 5’s pro
Squat 5x5 at 65% for week 1
Back extensions

Press 5’s pro
Bench 5x5 at 65% for week 1

Yes, that setup would allow you to train , or “practice” your squatting (well, each main lift) twice per week.

A different way would be
Squat 5s Pro
Squat 5x5 at 65%

I’m going to do it this way, so I can focus on 1 lift per day.

There are also plans where you use a more full body approach. But I’m not physically ready for that.

I’ll probably do that too so I can enforce good form, appreciate it

Oh and what training max do you use, I was thinking 90% of real max since its still fairly light for me