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232 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Art of the Barbell
I'd recommend this book for just about everybody who lifts weights. Beginners can greatly benefit from it to learn good form right off the bat. Experienced lifters might also want to check it out because, a) there's always more to learn, and b) your form might not be as good as you think it is.

So what's the book about anyway? Well, the Cliff Notes version...
Published on December 15, 2011 by weekend warrior

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172 of 195 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed book, but with its shortcomings, as well
There is a lot to say about this book. Some will love it, and others will be bewildered by it. Hopefully this review will enable you to make a more informed decision before buying it.

Pros:
* The author has a very fine grasp on anatomy, and when he explains the lifts, he goes into great detail in his explanations to tell you why you should lift in one way...
Published 20 months ago by JOSHUA S GOLDSTEIN


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232 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Art of the Barbell, December 15, 2011
I'd recommend this book for just about everybody who lifts weights. Beginners can greatly benefit from it to learn good form right off the bat. Experienced lifters might also want to check it out because, a) there's always more to learn, and b) your form might not be as good as you think it is.

So what's the book about anyway? Well, the Cliff Notes version is that its a book on how to lift weights PROPERLY using a barbell. A few details:

-the book spends a lot of time discussing the details of all the basic barbell exercises, such as the squat, the bench press, the deadlift, the press, and the power clean. As you might have guessed, the book devotes a whole chapter to each movement. For instance, the squat is discussed on pages 8-63, while the bench press is discussed on pages 66-102- I give you the page numbers to show you how in depth the book goes into each exercise

-you'll learn a lot of details that are often times neglected, such as grip, and the placement of other body parts that are indirectly used during an exercise. As an example, the book spends about 4 pages discussing foot placement during the bench press exercise.

-the book is filled with pictures and diagrams. In fact its hard to find a page that doesn't have one picture or diagram on it.

-the book does also cover "useful assistance exercies" as well, such as chin-ups, dips, rows, barbell curls, etc.

The book ends with a nice section that talks about a lot of "miscellaneous" things, things such as the order of doing exercises, warm-up sets, nutrition, soreness and injuries, etc. As you can see, this is a pretty detailed and comprehensive book, a book I think all weight lifters, beginners and experienced, will get a lot out of. Also, weightlifters with bad shoulders should check out Bulletproof Your Shoulder.
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268 of 287 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written on strength training., December 27, 2011
I've been championing this book for years now and my feelings haven't changed - this is THE book for strength training. I received a copy of the 3rd edition a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of re-reading the book. Not only is the book clear and logical but it is entertaining. This is the book you should buy your kids when they want to start lifting. This is the book you get your husband when he realizes he is way too fat. This is the book you buy yourself when you are done conforming to the ridiculous fitness trends of circuit-circus training and trendy chrome gyms.

This is the book that you buy when you want results.
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214 of 241 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbell training is a MUST for everyone who lifts, March 15, 2012
This review is from: Starting Strength (Kindle Edition)
If you lift weights, you should read this book. Barbell training is a MUST if you want to get big and strong, and proper form is absolutely crucial to not only make gains, but avoid injury. Even if you're an experienced lifter, you might be surprised at how many things you're doing wrong to some degree in terms of form, and how much your strength and growth is boosted by correcting these errors in forms.

What you'll find in this book is an in-depth analysis of the major mass-building exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, shoulder press, and power clean. Truth be told, if you consistently lifted heavy and intensely with these exercises and nothing else, you'd wind up stronger and looking better than 90% of the guys in the gym.

I liked that this book went over often-neglected aspects of the lifts like grip, general body alignment, foot placement, and more.

The book has many pictures, so you'll never get confused as you try to imagine it all in your head.

The book also goes over other exercises that are worth doing, and it gives a bunch of general health and fitness advice such as how to warm up properly, what is proper nutrition, how to deal with soreness and injuries, and more.

Read this book if you lift weights or are planning on it. You will learn things that most guys will never know about how to achieve a strong, big, aesthetic body.

P.S. I recently finished another great book on working out, which is called Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (The Lean Muscle Series). This book espouses many of the same principles as Starting Strength and has a bit more information on how to properly diet for building muscle and losing fat, how to do cardio properly so you don't burn up your muscle, which supplements are actually worth buying and which aren't (this has saved me a lot of money), and more.

Good luck!
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172 of 195 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed book, but with its shortcomings, as well, March 29, 2013
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There is a lot to say about this book. Some will love it, and others will be bewildered by it. Hopefully this review will enable you to make a more informed decision before buying it.

Pros:
* The author has a very fine grasp on anatomy, and when he explains the lifts, he goes into great detail in his explanations to tell you why you should lift in one way vs. another. For instance, he advocates arching your back hard when performing a bench press to increase the angle of the attack of the pecs. Likewise, he spends a GREAT deal of time explaining that the arms should NOT hang plumb in a deadlift, since, if the shoulders are forward of the bar, this enables the traps to be perpendicular to the humerus and maximize the force of their isometric contraction. You need not be concerned with these particular details while reading this review, but be aware that Rippetoe will spend considerable amount of time talking about them.

* Rippetoe is extremely thorough. He talks in great length about every aspect of the lifts, including stance, breathing, grip, neck position, and so forth. Each small aspect of the lift is expanded in great detail, with large discussions about why altering that aspect might adversely affect the lifting efficiency or safety.

Cons:
* There are not enough illustrations to adequately demonstrate all the body parts and their relationships that Rippetoe speaks about in the text. There are many *photos*, but you need *illustrations* for the muscles and ligaments. For instance, I have several times read the section on shoulder impingement in the chapter on the bench press, but the one or two illustrations do not, in my opinion, adequately demonstrate this. You may say, "Yeah, but who cares? I just want to know that there is a problem of shoulder impingement," but if that's the case, you do NOT need the extremely lengthy explanations in this book or most of the illustrations in the first place. In other words, this book would be overkill for you.

* Rippetoe is often thorough to the point of beating a dead horse. As an example, he spends no less than a full page of text telling you that you should never bench press with a thumbless grip, when he could have condensed all of that text to, "Never bench press with a thumbless grip. IN ALL CASES, for your safety and maximal strength, wrap your thumb around the bar." If he really felt that he needed to support his case, he could have expanded the text to a paragraph, perhaps, but the amount of text for this one point is really enormous.

* It's unnecessary to caption a drawing of a guy using plate rebound to deadlift with, "If you do this, you're a p---y." When you talk or write like that, you sound like a meathead. Rippetoe is quite knowledgeable, so I won't label him a meathead, but he flirts with the title when he goes overboard when doing things like that.

* While Rippetoe explains many things, there are certain subtleties that are not addressed. For instance, he makes it very clear that the point of weightlifting is not to be big and pretty but rather to become functionally strong, and this is one of the reasons why you do not use plate rebound when training for the deadlift; the point of doing the exercise is to get stronger, not to cheat yourself out of work that makes you stronger. But if that's the case, why do we use the viscoelastic stretch and bounce at the bottom of a squat? Wouldn't a "true" squat be done from dead stop at the bottom, like one might have to do if loaded in real life from a squatting position? After all, in real life, when does one load himself, dip, and then come up? Another example of a lack of explanation would be why one arches during a bench press. Yes, there's a better mechanical advantage, but you're also shortening the range of motion--generally a cardinal sin in Rippetoe's book, because you're "cheating." If we don't believe in shortening the range of motion in other exercises, why is it acceptable in the bench press? In real life, if I had to lift something (say, in the event that I was stuck under something), perhaps I wouldn't be able to arch my back, so don't I want to train for real life, as in the deadlift and other lifts?

All in all, I enjoy this book, but I think it's important for people to get more than the glowing reviews that people always give Rippetoe. I am not a personal trainer, but I regularly lift, and I use Wendler's 5/3/1 system for my programming.
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88 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version of Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training Ed 3, February 10, 2012
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This review is from: Starting Strength (Kindle Edition)
Length:: 3:48 Mins

Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training 3rd edition is the culmination of 35 years of experience in the gym, teaching seminars, and lifting by Mark Rippetoe. The text provides a logical approach to lifting that is detailed and understandable to the those with the most cursory knowledge on training with a barbell.

The Kindle version is an excellent companion to the text. I have not come across another e-Pub with better graphics. The text to graphic links remain true throughout the text - providing the reader with a flow and understanding that is not lost in the e-Pub.

Additionally, the Kindle has a "In the Gym: Quick Reference" that assists the user with quick navigation to the parts of the book specifically helpful when training in a gym environment.

In my opinion, the Kindle version is a must have companion to the text - or if the reader prefers - an exceptional alternative to the printed version.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great How-to book on weight lifting, February 21, 2013
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This review is from: Starting Strength (Kindle Edition)
45 year old fat, lazy computer geek here. I've never done any exercise on my own; just what I was forced to do (PE, basic training). This year, I decided it was time for a change (pulled something in my back getting out of my tv watching chair at home). At first, was planning on getting a Bow Flex. Hey, they look all cool and futuristic (geek). Then I did some research. Oh, maybe it's not the best. Maybe a more traditional machine of weights and pullies is the way to go. Oh, free weights are better; work lots of muscle groups at once; even better. So, how to use free weights? I had some dumbbells lying around; never did much for me other than making my arms sore for a few days. Finally, someone told me to get Starting Strength. Hey, it's not just exercises but the whys and the hows of how exercise effects the body. And it has science and research in it as well! Ok, totally geekiness out on this, breaking out old anatomy and physiology textbook. A, it's about training the body. I knew about muscle memory and how it works for musical instruments and coding.

Anyways, this book is the real deal. No big claims and fancy models on the cover; just the how's and whys of strength training. And for a complete novice, with no gym and no trainers, it is perfect. Besides all the movements, has lots of info on equipment and specs and setup; just the thing any geek likes when going into acquisition mode. Results are great too. I'm sleeping better, I'm stronger, wife has noticed muscles under the fat and man, I just feel good. After 6 weeks, getting close to squatting my own weight (225 lbs) and can already dead lift it. I have no idea why I've feared exercising all these years but really wish I could go back in time to my 12 year old self and throw this book down on top of all the D&D books. Anyways, for $10, it's worth it.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best resource on barbell and strength training available today., November 24, 2011
The 3rd Edition of Starting Strength is excellent. Immediately, the most striking aspect of this re-write are the illustrations. They are incredibly well done and illustrate the concepts in the text seamlessly. They alone are worth the purchase of this book.

This book is a quite dramatic improvement (I use that word with hesitation as the other two editions are also very, very good) over the 2nd edition in content, look and flow that comes with such a deep understanding of the material being presented. There's a logical progression in the writing and principles in the book that make this much more than an instructional manual on performing barbell lifts and programming strength training. You will understand the why's of correct barbell and strength training which is what makes Starting Strength different from any other book on strength training available.

This book is written and designed for you. It's not a manual describing the coaching and training methods of elite, genetically gifted professional athletes, but flawlessly describes exercises and programs to get stronger, bigger, and to become a more useful human being; whether on the athletic field, in combat, or in everyday life.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!, January 12, 2012
I've been lifting for years and have made great gains: 195-205 lb body wt. BP 410+ raw, DL 575+ and SQ 595 not the best but decent for me :) I have a pretty good understanding of the lifts and mechanics; However, when I had technical questions on technique or body mechanics to figure something out I came up empty while trying to find training or info in this regard. Finally I found this book (heard of it on Madcow's 5x5 page) which I believe explains in great detail the main lifts and many others. I believe if you are looking for technical data on the core lifts that this book will serve you well. I am buying another book as a gift as I write this. I bought a hardcover of this book.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WORTH UPGRADING from 2nd or 1st Edition, January 5, 2012
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I had the 2nd edition of SS (as well as the DVD) and I'll be honest the book wasn't as helpful to me as the DVDs.

This version however, is much much better. Not only are the new drawings and photos a great asset, even the new paper it is printed on is better.

If you have the 2nd edition and are considering upgrading it is well worth it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start strength training today, December 7, 2011
By 
Walter Nissen (Livermore, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Starting Strength is so popular among geeks as well as athletes because it teaches not just the conclusions but the axioms and reasoning on the way. This book will let you in on a secret: 90%+ of the people in the weightlifting section of the gym are not interested in getting stronger, and have almost no idea how to get that way. They may seem intimidating from a distance, but once you learn the purpose and mechanics of weight training, you will know more than most trainers about strength. Also, you will laugh at the gruff pronouncements of the author.

This book is dedicated to helping you coach yourself or (preferably) a partner to correctly perform five fundamental exercises to maximize overall strength: squat (the heart of the program), deadlift, power clean, bench press, and military (overhead) press. If you follow the program you will lift weights three times a week for about two hours a session. You will also (at least if you're a weakling like me) be working your muscles much harder than you have in your life. If you don't have that kind of time and energy, at least you'll be making more progress than you would with a blizzard of machines. The whole idea is continuous incremental progress, so be prepared to write down your lifts and to do structured warmups. If you're not the type to keep track of how you're warming up, and how much you can lift at the most, this is not the program for you. You would be better off getting a good trainer (not someone with a name tag reading "Joey," who will help you "firm those arms!").

Note that the title is "Starting Strength," not "Starting Conditioning." While there is definitely an aerobic component, you will not lose weight, and you will not get aerobically conditioned. That said, the program applies equally to men and women, and, despite the emphasis on rapidly developing muscle mass, really is aimed at beginners. Otherwise it would be "Intermediate Strength." I had never picked up a barbell, and started on this program more or less as a lark, yet weightlifting is one of the most exciting things I have ever done, and this book (skip the 2nd edition, it's great and all, but the current edition is complete) is the gateway.
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Starting Strength
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
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