Subj: The Starting Strength Routine for building muscle, gaining size and getting strong.
“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” – Mark Rippetoe
Weight training is the most popular hobby in the world.
It yields tremendous benefits for physical health and overall well-being.
If you want to learn how to lift weights and build muscle then Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” is for you.
Starting Strength is a beginner weight training program meant to build muscle and functional strength.
It was created by legendary powerlifter and all-around badass, Mark Rippetoe.
Like Mr. Rippetoe, The Starting Strength program is no-bull shit and straight to the point. It’s a very efficient and effective program that anyone, at any age can use.
Starting Strength is a linear strength program. Linear programs have you increase the weight you lift over time. Every workout has you lifting heavier that the previous workout. Adding 5, 10 or even 2.5 pounds each time you train adds up to a lot of weight week after week. Your muscle mass should also increase as the amount of weight you lift increases.
Starting Strength is Not Just for Young “Beginners”
It doesn’t matter if your 18 years old or 98, the Starting Strength program helps trainers build muscle and gain strength quickly.
Starting Strength is the perfect routine if you’ve never touched a weight before or want to get back into weight training after a long break.
Young trainers with build a foundation of muscle that will last a life time with Starting Strength. You will get stronger and gain muscle size.
Older folks will get into great shape by gaining muscle, losing fat, building cardiovascular and respiratory strength, and improving bone strength (very important as you age), and increasing joint mobility.
Strength training is the best way to get healthy and fit. Physical strength and lean mass is a good indicator of overall health and vitality (if you’re natural).
Weight training benefits include:
- Improved circulation
- Better breathing
- Better sleep
- Fat loss
- Improved metabolism
- Increased energy levels
- Better Overall Sense of Wellbeing
All of which can be achieved using Starting Strength.
Using Progressive Overload to Build Muscle
Progressive overload is the gradual increase of weight used during workouts. Using the same weight week over week will not yield results.
Increasing the weight used during trading results in incremental (progressive) muscle and strength gains.
You must add weight each subsequent workout because your body adapts quickly to the weight.
When under excessive stress your muscles become damaged and ‘micro-tears’ form in the muscle fibers. These micro-tears are repaired and reinforced by your bodies natural recovery process, making you stronger than before. This is why recovery is so important – it gives your body time to rebuild bigger and stronger muscles.
Starting Strength Routine Benefits
Simple and Straight-forward Training
The entire Starting strength has only six exercises. 3 exercises are performed each workout and Workouts are performed three times a week. Workouts are typically an hour or less.
All you need is a barbell and some weight plates to start training.
Starting strength is effective because it focuses on using natural body movements. Our bodies are designed to sit in the deep squat position.
Small Time Commitment
1 hour a day, 3 days a week to get huge results. # hours of vigorous weight training a week is enough to improve your health, physique and your life.
Starting Strength Barbell Training Routine
The concept of weight training for muscle strength and size is simple: The weight resists your body’s movement forcing your muscles to grow stronger to compensate.
Each exercise is executed though the entire range of motion, ensuring maximum muscle activation and superior muscle growth.
As your muscle get stronger they require more intensity to tear. This is why progressive overload is important – you must continue to add weight and intensity to your workouts in order to keep gaining strength.
Follow this program to a ‘T’ for best results. It’s common for beginners to make impressive strength gains in a few short weeks with Starting Strength.
Every exercise is a compound barbell movement. Compound movements are also called multi-joint movement. Multi-joint movements are just what they sound like: multi-joint movements require two or more joints to bend in order to complete the movement.
Compound lifts are deadlifts, squat, front squat, dips, pull-ups, bench press, should press and power clean.
Two Simple Workouts – There are 2 basic workouts in this program, ‘A’ and ‘B’, and they are done in an alternate fashion.
Stick to the program and try to add weight to each exercise each workout. Don’t miss a workout for 12 weeks.
Be sure to warm up before each workout. A proper warm up is 3-4 sets of an exercise before you start your ‘working sets’. Use a light weight and do 10-20 reps to warm up the muscles and break a little sweat. Then gradually add more weight until you’re ready for your working sets.
Warm up example for squats: if you squat 225 pounds for your working sets your warmups sets should look something like this:
- First Warm-up = 95 lbs x 10 reps
- Second Warm-up set = 115 lbs x 10 reps
- Third Warm-up =135 lbs x 8 reps
- Forth Warm-up set= 185 lbs x 3 reps
Follow that format for all your alter lifts as well.
- Squat 3 x 5
- Press 3 x 5
- Deadlift 1 x 5
- Squat 3 x 5
- Bench 3 x 5
- Deadlift 1 x 5
A workout schedule is 3 times a week. The workout schedule is one day on and one day off. So, it looks like this = Monday = Workout A, Wednesday = Workout B, Friday = Workout A. take the other days off to recover and maybe do some cardio or ride a bike.
This routine can be followed for as long as necessary. Some people do Starting Strength for 4-5 months when they first start out. Others keep doing it for years. It’s an effective program that can be used for a long time.
After you can deadlift more than you can squat, you will introduce the power clean into the program. You’re new workout routine will look like this:
- Squat 3×5
- Press 3×5
- Deadlift 1×5
- Squat 3×5
- Bench Press 3×5
- Power Cleans 5×3
After some time with this method you will notice your body gaining muscle. Your chest will pop out, your back will get wider and your arms will get bigger.
When your back is strong enough you can add pull-ups/chin ups to the routine. Pull ups are done with your palms facing you, chin ups are done with your palm facing away. Both pull-ups and chin ups work your back and shoulders and arms. Pull-ups activate more bicep and chins activate more forearm muscles.
If you do add pullups/chins, just alternate Deadlifts and Power Cleans for Workout A to make room for all the exercises. A starting strength routine with pull-ups looks like this:
- Squat 3×5
- Press 3×5
- Deadlift 1×5/Power Clean 5×3 (alternate each workout)
- Squat 3×5
- Bench Press 3×5
- Pull-ups/Chin-ups 3× rep maximum, do as many as you possible can. (alternate each workout)
The verity ensures that you are constantly challenging your muscles so they continue to grow. The new movements add muscle in new places and build more functional strength.
The starting strength program can take you through your first year of weight training and beyond. Just make sure you are constantly pushing yourself to train heavier that the previous workout.
A few key points to remember with the Starting Strength Program:
Don’t miss a workout. make a commitment to yourself and stick to this program for as long as it takes to reach your goals. (8-12 week minimum).
Workout as hard and heavy as you can – always try to lift heavier than the previous workout.
Take a rest day in-between workouts – You can run swim, walk, hike or bike these days instead. And take the weekends off. bodyweight training can be done these days.
Safety is #1! – use perfect form at all times! an injury will set you back. Don’t be afraid to lower the weight to achieve proper form.
Diet and Nutrition Tips for the Beginning ‘Starting Strength-er’
When I first started weight training I made a huge mistake:
I didn’t eat the right way to make muscle gains. Most of my diet was crap: pop-tarts, waffles, school pizza, and Ramon noodles.
I didn’t get nearly enough protein to maximize my potential. Don’t make the same mistake. Make sure you eat well to build muscle and keep your strength and energy up. Get a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in your diet.
Beef, steak, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, tuna, cottage cheese.
Make sure you get protein from animal sources as these sources provide a complete protein profile.
Lentils, pasta, whole-wheat bread, rice, oatmeal, grits.
Each unrefined, unprocessed carbs. Avoid simple sugars. Cut out soda-pop from your diet entirely.
Healthy Fat sources:
Whole eggs, grass-fed butter, olive oil, nuts, almonds, coconut oil.
Don’t shy away from healthy fats. Your body needs fat to produce growth hormones and protect muscles, joins and other body tissues.
You must eat enough protein everyday to recover from your workouts. try to get a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Get just enough calories to fully recover from your workouts in order to stay lean.
Nutrition is Number One criteria for gaining muscle, strength and energy. Don’t over look it.
So there you have it, that Starting Strength routine for building a foundation of muscle that will last a lifetime. This program will get you started on your road to fitness and better health.
For a more in-depth look at the Starting Strength routine, take a look at the book that started it all:
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe
Get Started with Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Program today!
Here are items you need to build your own home gym. Set up your own ‘Iron Paradise’ in your basement, garage, barn or spare bedroom.
Atlas Power Rack for Squats and Pull-ups