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Starting Strength (1st edition) Spiral-bound – July 1, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


You can't go wrong with the basics because the basics work. Getting stronger and bigger is hard work and STARTING STRENGTH is the beginner's Bible on how to do the basics and get bigger and stronger the correct way, the efficient way, the safe way. --Dr. Ken Leistner

This is, without question, a superb book. Guys, where were you when I was fumbling through the squat and the deadlift ten years ago, falling over and smashing the bar into my shins? This straightforward book contains an immense amount of practical information about several basic lifts: squat, bench and overhead presses, deadlift, and the power clean. Each chapter examines a different lift in great detail (the squat section alone is about 50 pages), explaining everything from the biomechanics of the movement to how to teach it to others. I thought I knew just about all there was to know about these lifts, but I was mistaken. The authors' knowledge is encyclopedic and their treatment of the subject exhaustive. Lifts are literally explained from head (looking forward) to toe (curl them up and drive through heels). Along with explaining correct exercise technique in meticulous detail, the book is full of handy little tips such as looking for shirt folds on the lifter's back to ensure that spinal extension has occurred, using strategically placed duct tape to get wrists into the proper position (no word, though, on how to get it off without some unpleasantness), or how to troubleshoot common form problems. The book concludes with a chapter on training programming so that coaches and lifters can begin to develop training programs based on their own needs. I would call this book an absolute must for any beginner as well as any coach. The practical advice is excellent. --Krista Scott-Dixon, Women's Weight Training

Anyone interested in teaching these major multi-joint lifts should find these chapters most helpful no matter what level of trainee you are instructing. The coaching tips are outstanding, and the photos and line drawings are excellent. The final chapters cover administration and the misconceptions about youth training. These are some of the most interesting in the book and contain a lot of wisdom from both academia and the school of hard knocks. If you are looking for a hard-core instructional text on the basic lifts spiced with humor and years of in the trenches experience, you will enjoy Starting Strength. --Dan Wathan, NCSA Strength and Conditioning Journal

About the Author

Mark Rippetoe, CSCS is the owner and general manager of Wichita Falls Athletic Club and Performance Sports Conditioning. He has 25 years experience in the fitness industry and 10 years personal experience as a competitive powerlifter. He has coached athletes in barbell and strength sports since 1980. He was in the very first group to sit for the NCSA's Certified Strength and conditioning Specialist exam in 1985, and has been continuously certified since then. He was certified by USA Weightlifting as a Level III Coach in 1988, and currently holds the Senior Coach certification. He has coached numerous national level competitors, and many thousands of people interested in improving their health and strength.

Lon Kilgore, Ph.D. is a professor of kinesiology at Midwestern State University (USA) where he teaches exercise physiology and anatomy. He holds a senior faculty appointment in Exercise Science at Warnborough University (UK). His career as an Olympic-style weightlifter began in 1972 as a means to improve his wrestling performance. His wrestling career ended after high school, but weightlifting continued and he has had many national event podium appearances over his 30 plus years of competitive experience. His coaching efforts began in 1974 when he took five athletes to the AAU Junior Olympic Nationals and since those early days he has remained active in coaching national and international caliber weightlifters. He also did a three year stint as a NCAA DII strength coach. He is currently Chair of the Sports Science Committee and a coaching course instructor for USA Weightlifting and a member of the Board of Certification for the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.


Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 248 pages
  • Publisher: The Aasgaard Company (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976805464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976805465
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,946,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More 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. He won the 198-pound weight class at the Greater Texas Classic in 1982, and placed in state- and regional-level meets for the next 6 years, retiring from competition in 1988. For the next 10 years Rip announced most of the powerlifting meets in North Texas, including the 1995 APF Nationals in Dallas. He retired from powerlifting altogether in 1997, to focus more on Olympic weightlifting.

Rip acquired a solid background in coaching the Olympic lifts as a result of his coach, Bill Starr, using them in his powerlifting training. Further experience with the Olympic lifts came with exposure to the coaching of Tommy Suggs, Jim Moser, Dr. Lon Kilgore, Angel Spassov, Istvan Javorek, Harvey Newton, Mike Conroy, John Thrush, and many fellow lifters. Rip obtained his USWF Level III certification in 1988 at the USOC's Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with Mike Stone, Harvey Newton, and Angel Spassov on faculty. His USAW Senior Coach certification was achieved in 1999 at the OTC with Lyn Jones, John Thrush, and Mike Conroy. He was invited, as an Olympic weightlifting coach, to the Olympic Solidarity course at the OTC in 2000. He taught both the USAW Club Coach course and the Sports Performance Coach course with Dr. Kilgore from 1999 through 2005. Rip served as the president of the North Texas Local Weightlifting Committee of USAW from 2004-2011. He coached and participated in the coaching of James Moser, Glenn Pendlay, Dr. Kilgore, Josh Wells (Junior World Team 2004) most of the national and international-level athletes on the Wichita Falls Weightlifting team, which was hosted and coached at WFAC from 1999 through 2006, as well as the collegiate weightlifting team from Midwestern State University through 2010. Rip still actively coaches the sport on a daily basis at WFAC, and the power clean and power snatch at our seminars around the country every month.

The Starting Strength method of training novices is a distillation of Rip's experiences over three and a half decades as a competitive powerlifter, Olympic weightlifting coach, and gym owner. From its inception in 1984, every new member at WFAC was taught the basic barbell lifts as a part of their membership at the gym, and the application of the basics of powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting to efficiently meet the needs of the general public form the basis of the Starting Strength method, as detailed in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I have been lifting weights for almost 40 years. I have a couple dozen books on weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding which I have read and reread and used in the gym. This is one of the top 3 must-have books for the weightlifter. I bought it over a year ago, and it taught me things about technique that I did not know. For instance, I've always been a very strong bench-presser, but this book taught me that my hands were in the wrong position. Just a slight adjustment, as demonstrated in the book, has taken the pressure off my wrists.

Age has reduced my strength somewhat over the last 5 years. But the excellent explanation of technique in this book enabled me to bring my deadlift weight to within 20 pounds of my top weight from 35 years ago.

But probably the single best part of the book is the extensive instruction on the squat. I'd given up on the squat, using leg press only, for the last 20 years because I kept injuring my lower back. But this book has helped me make some major adjustments in squat technique, from position of elbows (back), to position of bar on the back (lower), to proper flare of the knees (wide). After practicing technique with light weights for a few sessions, everything clicked into place. I've now been squatting injury-free for over a year.

If you think, like I did, that you know how to perform the major lifts, unless you've had coaching or have read this book, you probably don't.

I recommend this book unreservedly, for young and old weightlifters.
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Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This book is simply amazing and appeals to a wide audience. This is evidenced by all the 5 star reviews and to my knowledge no reviews marked lower. I was skeptical that it could really be that good, but it exceeded by expectations in every respect.

This book contains very detailed instructions on how to correctly perform the core lifts of the squat, dealift, press, and power cleans. It explains how to do them correctly, why they work, contains good references, excellent diagrams and all the fine points you need to know collected all in one place.

If this book has a real fault, I haven't found it. It is dense with material and as far as I'm concerned worth it's weight in gold. If you are even thinking of performing squats and dealifts without it, I would recommend it as cheap insurance that you get these lifts EXACTLY right.

In addition, Starting Strength is humorous and easy to follow. He takes a swipe at orthopedic surgeons who have never been inside a gym to lift weights or don't understand the biomechanics of proper exercise technique and then goes on to cite the number of powerlifters who do this regularly without any significant back injuries compared to the general population.

This is a must buy for anyone serious about weightlifting. It is particularly useful to hard-gainers, people getting into weight lifting and seasoned lifters who are skeptical of the value and safety of core movements as the basis of building mass.
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Format: Spiral-bound
I thought I knew how to bench. Nope. I thought I knew how to squat. No way. I thought I knew what an overhead press was. Negative.

I have been lifting since college (I am now in my late twenties, so about 10 years). Only after I read Starting Strength can I say that I am confident with the big 3 barbell lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.

This should be mandatory reading prior to setting foot in a real weight room.

Thanks Mark Rippetoe.

Oh, I increased my bench press by 25lbs in one month too.
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Format: Spiral-bound
This book was not only extremely informative, but easy to read! The author's writing style is entertaining. The information included has helped me improve my own performance as well as the perfomances of those I train with.
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