Rip's Starting Strength


HST Expert
As predicted by some members, obviously because of  ownership, was considered an excellent value for money, 2nd edition at 30 Dollars.

You bet, I just recived it now, it rocks big time, and I just started reading it, wow, 50 odd pages on the squat alone, covers absolutelly everything and...a no-nonsense approach.
A good amount of us HST vets have first starting reading this book! It's definitely a great read... I read through Squats and Programming already, and now I am halfway through the Bench portion. I am relearning the Back Squat, and I must say that this process is a tough one!
I think Starting Strength is a great book and I wish it was available 20 years ago. I actually wish I would have waited until the second edition was released before I bought my copy. I'll probably end up picking up a copy even though I have the first edition. Even then it is worth the cost of both books!
Bulldog, just give your first copy away as a gift (which is what I did) or bung it on eBay and get yourself the 2nd Edition. It's worth every penny. No excuses!
wow... you know what, I must have this book, and I also must build my strength with it ! it's still in time !
(Krieger @ Jan. 23 2008,12:29)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">wow... you know what, I must have this book, and I also must build my strength with it ! it's still in time !</div>
Form first, then strength second grasshopper.
I believe mine is a first edition and it has proven invaluable.
To give you an example, this book taught me how to position my THUMBS~! in a way that has enabled me to squat safely for the first time in years of back problems.
I just received the 2nd edition. I am going through it page by page and reevaluating my forms. I was taught the squat form by various heavy lifters or so I thought. I am reworking my form to be like the one in Starting Strength. I had to cut my weight down to get the form correctly and already am starting to notice how much more sore I am. I only have one problem the way he describes the grip and position of the elbows. I have no flexibility at all trying this form in my arms to lift my elbows up and keep my fingers on top of the bar. The grip form is suppose to keep the wrist straight, but because my lack of flexibility it hurts my wrist than any other form. I know he mentioned over time you will gain flexibility. The point where I am at now, I see it taking a lot longer. Any suggestions? Stretches to help speed up the process?
Start doing shoulder dislocates with a broom handle or piece of PVC pipe; use a hand-spacing that's wide enough not to cause any discomfort. Warm up with a lot of reps. Keep elbows locked and pass bar from in front of thighs to behind back at butt level. Once you are comfortable with a particular hand-spacing move your hands a little closer and repeat the process.

You'll eventually reach a sticking point where it's difficult to pass your arms overhead. Don't let one arm go back first and then the other; keep the bar moving straight over your head. Go slowly at first until you feel comfortable increasing the speed of the movement.

Over time you should be able to gradually reduce your hand-spacing. Always warm up by starting with a wide hand-spacing. Do about twenty to thirty reps every time you change hand-spacing.

Be sure to actively shrug your shoulders as the bar travels overhead. This will prevent any nerve impingement and get you used to the feeling of shrugging when you are pressing out overhead—something you should always do.
Last edited:
Thanks for the advice.
I squatted the other day and notice that my lack of flexibility causes my hand to be bent backwards at a painful angle. if I keep the bar higher on my back it helps me established a better grip b/c it requires less flexibility.
This is sort of a bump, but I would like your thoughts on the progression that Mark Rippetoe thinks is reasonable, both in terms of bodyweight and weight on the bar.

First, he suggests to stay on the program for 3-9 months. Let's pick the squat as an example, say a trainee stays on it for 3 months, and chooses conservative weight increments. First workout 3*5*85 lbs (Mark's example), first 3 weeks 10 lbs gains = 3 weeks * 3 trainings * 10 lbs = 90 lbs, 85 + 90 = 175 bs. Then 2 more months 5 lbs per training = 2 months * 4 weeks * 3 trainings * 5 lbs = 120 lbs, 175 + 120 = 295. That is 3*5*295 lbs or 134 kgs after only 3 months of training, with an estimated 1RM of 332lbs/151kgs. This seems a bit excessive for only 3 months of training to me, I know pretty experienced and buff trainees that are around this level. What to you think?

Second, I think his BW progression ideas are based on endomorphs. BW wise, I am 6.2 and 198 lbs, and my genetic max according to the weight trainer calculator is a lean 220 lbs. However, after reading some posts on his forum, Mark would say I look unhealthy at my current weight, to drink a galon of milk a day (GOMAD) and beef the **** up to 240-250 lbs. As I already gain easily on 3700 kcal, the GOMAD approach would make me very fat, and would be a waste of money IMO. Moreover, I would not gain another 20 lbs of muscle on the short span of his program, so the extra calories will not contribute to my goal.

Am I selling myself and other trainees short, or are Mark's predictions unreasonable?
Starting strength is really only useful for beginners. Intermediate lifters aren't going to progress the way he expects.