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Practical Programming for Strength Training, 2nd edition Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: The Aasgaard Company; 2nd edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982522703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982522707
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Common Sense brings the Popular Mythology of Strength Training down a couple of well-deserved notches." --Mike Lambert, Editor Powerlifting USA

About the Author

Mark Rippetoe is the author of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, Practical Programming for Strength Training 2nd edition, Strong Enough?, Mean Ol' Mr. Gravity, and numerous journal, magazine and internet articles. He has worked in the fitness industry since 1978, and has been the owner of the Wichita Falls Athletic Club since 1984. He graduated from Midwestern State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in geology and a minor in anthropology. He was in the first group certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a CSCS in 1985, and the first to formally relinquish that credential in 2009. Rip was a competitive powerlifter for ten years, and has coached many lifters and athletes, and many thousands of people interested in improving their strength and performance. He conducts seminars on this method of barbell training around the country.

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Customer Reviews

This is by FAR the best book I've read to date on the topic of strength training.
Mark in LR
This book is well written, with very good and detailed explanations based on research and science rather than gym "bro science".
Great book for any individual or coach that wants to learn to program for strength training.
Jared Pearson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

334 of 344 people found the following review helpful By Home Theater Family on December 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book and frankly, this is a book that needed to be written. I have a significantly long training and coaching history, and most consider me to be well read and very aware of the subject and material.

Most books fall into two categories:

1) Your basic commercial garbage and gimmicks that while not always horrible range from overly simplistic to downright ignorant (most anything at your local bookstore and certainly this is mirrored in poor quality on the newsstand)

2) More advanced texts on the subject most of which are hard to find in addition to being beyond what most people are able to digest and be able to apply (Siff's Supertraining as well as the Russian works translated by Bud Charniga and others)

There is really no place for someone without a lot of experience and exposure to go to and learn real training and programming from the ground up. This book is unique in the respect that it provides what are considered very advanced topics and implementation in a book intended to be digestable for someone who is not an experienced coach or expert on the subject. That's not to say this is written at the idiot level, it's an in-depth read, but nothing that interest, motivation, and general grasp of the English language can't easily make it through.

On to the book.

To understand programming and organization, it's necessary to understand the responses to training, the constraints imposed by the body and how both change with the developing lifter or athlete. The authors provide all of the relevant systems and physiology including very thorough explanations of periodization and dual factor theory.
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146 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Lyle Mcdonald on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Most books on periodization are theoretical tomes that present lovely models, charts and graphs but leave the reader at a loss to put it into a practical training format.

Enter Practical Programming. Written by Lon Kilgore and Mark Rippetoe (with contributions from Glenn Pendlay), the authors of the excellent and highly recommended Starting Strength, this book presents an easy to read and practical approach to programming for strength training.

Written in an easy to follow style, using easily understood charts and graphs where necessary, Practical Programming maps out training from novice to the most advanced levels of training. Sample workouts, progressions, in addition to troubleshooting tips are all provided.

The book starts by covering physiological fundamentals of training, recovery, adaptation. This isn't a typical jargon filled book, the concepts are clear and presented for maximum understanding. This all provides the basis for the individuals chapters on programming.

The section on novice trainers picks up where Starting Strength left off. A basic routine around a handful of primary movements (squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press) is set up based on repeat sets of 5's. Explanations for how to progress weight, what to do when the trainee stalls and everything else a novice needs to now is present here. The novice stage may last 3-9 months for the typical trainee.

In the intermediate section, a number of training models are provided. The intermediate needs heavier loading to make progress and rather than focusing on workout to workout improvements (like the novice), they start thinking in terms of weekly loading. Pendlay's Texas method (with one volume day, one intensity day, and one light day) is described in detail.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Oavde on May 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
I can't add anything much to the other 10 reviews, all giving it 5 stars. I'm sure they have all covered it all, already.


It should be your number one purchase ahead of all other training gear. Ahead of gym memberships, ahead of a bar and plates. Get this.

And number 2 is "Starting Strength" by the same authors.

You absolutely must read and LEARN what is in this book before wasting time reading the other rubbish out there in books, on websites, by countless authors making things more complex than they need be.

This book is gold. If you could send it back in time say, 20 years it would be worth its weight in gold. It would be priceless back in the days of muscle beach. Back then, good information was hard to get hold of unless you met some of the great trainers. Today, information is everywhere, but the quality of info. is sometimes dubious.

Get this book first and use it as your guide.

Hope that has convinced you. It really is better than all other books on the topic, if you are trying to decide between this and anything else, get THIS FIRST. You will thank me that you did.

Good luck.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Operator on January 10, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After almost sixteen years of lifting I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the subject. I've been put through pure physical hell in various law enforcement academies, at both the state and federal level. I've been a hard core CrossFit devotee for the last almost three years. I thought I knew a thing or two.

I was wrong.

It took about five minutes on the phone with Mr. Rippetoe after reading this book to completely convince me I was wrong. I thought after all my time in the gym I was already at Intermediate level and could jump on in and swim in the deep end. That notion was disabused quickly. No, I was informed, you need some more core Novice work.

I swallowed my pride, sucked it up and asked him for the workout he thought I needed. Page 155, I was told. "Well," Mr. "Rip" said, "change it this way," which included me adding back extensions and power cleans.

"Well," I said, "I've not really done power cleans that much and have no training in them, just been doing them how I think they should be done. Any suggestions? You know anyone in my area who could teach me?"

"Hell," he said, "I'm less than two hours away from you. Come see me Saturday."

So I did.

I spent two hard, grueling, demanding, wonderful, difficult, sweaty, mind-blowing hours in Wichita Falls, TX learning how to power clean. True to expectations I'd been doing them all wrong. I still wasn't doing them close to right when I left his gym, making the long drive home, already starting to stiffen, but I was a sight better than when I got there. Bad habits are hard to break and I had instilled some whoppers. Through it all Mr. Rippetoe was a patient, thoughtful, intelligent and articulate coach. He picked on little things, wanting precision.
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