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Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 2nd Edition

Mark Rippetoe, Lon Kilgore · 6 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training is the new expanded version of the book that has been called "the best and most useful of fitness books." It picks up where Starting Strength: A Simple and Practical Guide for Coaching Beginners leaves off. With all new graphics and more than 750 illustrations, a more detailed analysis of the five most important exercises in the weight room, and a new chapter dealing with the most important assistance exercises, Basic Barbell Training offers the most complete examination in print of the most effective way to exercise.
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A good starting point: Liam Rosen's "Beginners' Health & Fitness Guide":

If you want to understand what's what in fat loss, Alwyn Cosgrove's "Hierarchy of Fat Loss":

TL;DR: fat loss is about diet. Yes, diet. Strength training builds/retains muscle, so do it. HIIT cardio helps some, steady state cardio a bit as well. But really, it's mostly diet.

If you want to understand more about this, you could look into starvation literature. On a reduced-calorie-only approach, about 25% of your weight loss comes not from fat but muscle. Which is among the key reasons diet-only approaches fail. Among exercises, it's strength training which builds muscle, not cardio, which is why a running-only exercise approach won't get you ripped either.

This is also a major reason why I find the emphasis on "weight" loss in both mainstream and medical literature immensely frustrating. What really matters is the relationship between two tissue types, subcutaneous fat and skeletal muscle. They're gained and lost through very different mechanisms, and play very different roles in body function. Confounding both as "weight" is an immense disservice.

For a plan putting this together, there's The New Rules of Lifting, or for the gals, The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Exercise plan, diet, lifting, cardio, a ton of info on what goes into fitness. and

If you want a simpler, and IMO more effective beginner's program, Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength:

That's based on a classic 5x5 lifting program. It's simple. It's effective. After the first few weeks, it's pretty brutal. But for a novice trainee there's hardly anything more effective.

Free weight strength training is one of the greatest things you could do to improve your health.

The program to which you refer ( seems to be a slightly different spin on Mark Ripptoe's legendary Starting Strength program (

If you are serious about improving your strength and health in general, buy Mark's book ( It is probably the best $30 investment I have ever made.

NB: I am in no way affiliated with Mark Rippetoe. I simply have incredible respect for the man.

You can also find lots of videos of Rippetoe coaching on youtube. I still recommend buying his book, but you can convince yourself that he's sane first.
+1 on Starting Strength. It helped a lot with my form.
His book Practical Programming is also good if you want a slightly more advanced take on the subject. It still has a chapter going over this beginning workout and why it makes sense. Even though most people don't need the advanced training programs, it's damn interesting to read about the science behind them.

Starting Strength is a good resource for learning proper weightlifting form and routines.

There is also a wiki covering some of the material with videos:

Weight lifting 3x a week for a little over an hour each time. Going to the gym can be daunting if you have never done it and/or don't have a buddy. "I don't know how to use the equipment", etc. I read Starting Strength and afterwards felt confident enough to get in there and try it out.

Strong Lifts follows the same philosophy as SS, but has modified the workout some. The stronglifts site does cover nutrition (calorie/protein intake) to some extent, which SS does not.

I would do some research on your own first before starting a routine. There is a lot of controversy as well as misinformation about the topic.

I have been following stronglifts for about 6 months (sticking to simple free weight exercises and short reps).

My friend, who has been working out for much longer, has been doing the usual mix of machines and an overly creative mix of free weight exercises (the type personal trainers love to show off).

Being about the same body type, I've progressed much faster then he has. I've also found it easier to stick with it because I have a well researched workout plan that is dead simple.

There's a starting strength dvd set that's much more accessible then the book which I highly recommend when you starting lifting the heavier weights where proper form is really important. I learned the hard way after having lower back and shoulder pain, which is gone now that I know how to lift properly and started doing dynamic stretches.

I lift weights 3 days a week, first following the program laid out in the book Starting Strength and more recently following "The Texas Method" as described in Practical Programming for Strength Training by the same authors.

More recently I've started following the Zone Diet and doing a medicine ball workout 3 days a week (lifting MWF, med ball TuThS). Google "med ball 400".

After a year of that I'm starting to look like a heroic Greek statue (my wife likes that), I feel awesome, and my productivity is through the roof. All in 30 minutes max per day (with one day a week off).

I bike around town, walk a lot, and run occasionally. I find that the strength training makes running and fast cycling easy when I do it.

If you're interested in starting a lifting program I would recommend "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe.

It includes a good starting program for beginners which is built around the deadlift, squat and bench press.

And to answer the most common questions about Ripptoe's program:

No you can't remove the deadlift/squat/bench from the program and have it be effective. You can use dumbbells instead of barbells - however for beginners this is not ideal, it will complicate things. No, you don't need to do 100 sets of biceps curls, the bench is more than adequate for building arm strength. You have to eat to put on muscle mass.

When I began working out I did an ad-hoc version of this and it worked great. Lift heavy, not quite to the point of failure with compound lifts and eat well.

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