213 of 223 people found the following review helpful
By far the best training book I have read,
This review is from: Starting Strength: A Simple and Practical Guide for Coaching Beginners (Paperback)I am a physician and a trainer. I came from a middle distance running background. After medical school I continued to run but of course never got to the point where my fitness was at the level that it was when I was competing in college. I started adding strength training using mainly Olympic Weightlifting. While I was certainly gaining strength, it was not happening as fast as I would have liked. About 5 months ago I purchased Starting Strength. The book is very detailed, but unlike most books on training, it does not put you to sleep. It holds your interest through the plain language, and often funny, explanations of what should be done and also why it should be done.
I used what I learned in the book to modify my training, and I saw results fast. Lifts such as the Deadlift that had been giving me problems based on the form training I got from other sources improved quickly. My leg strength improved rapidly as I began squatting correctly. I did not focus on the bench press as much as the other lifts, but my strength there improved as well. Exercises that were not directly related to the training found in the book, such as pull-ups, also had big improvements. One of the biggest improvements to my performance was my improved running speed. Although I was spending less and less time running, and more time on strength, both my distance running and my sprinting have improved dramatically. The explosive speed that I had back in college has returned. It is amazing what doubling your leg and back strength can do for your overall fitness. I am in the best shape of my life.
I have also used what I learned extensively when I train other people. I have yet to come across a problem with form that is not addressed in the book along with a method of fixing it. I am also able to tell my clients why they should do something so that they understand the importance and will remember it. By using the cues that I learned in the book, I am able to see someone on the far side of the gym doing something that could be unsafe and correct it before there is an injury. I can't express enough how much reading the book has improved my confidence in my ability to train strength movements. So far I have not been at a loss at how to correct a problem. There is always a drill available that can be used to effectively address an issue. This book also increased my appreciation for the slow lifts and encouraged me to emphasize them more when I train other people. The short and long term results have been fantastic. Every day I fix someone's form on a squat or deadlift and have people say things like: "It is so much easier this way. Is it allowed?"
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who trains any type of athlete, including distance events, and to anyone who is interested in improving their athletic abilities or even just their basic functionality. It is true when the authors say, "Physical strength is the most important thing in life."
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2008 8:45:29 PM PST
Ron Galt says:
Physical strength is the most important thing in life? Really?
Posted on Dec 14, 2008 3:22:23 AM PST
L. Cook says:
In full, the author's statement is more like this:
"Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not .... This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up."
Although even that is a little abbreviated.
I tend to agree with Dr. Jones and the author.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2009 1:37:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2009 1:39:05 PM PDT
I agree. I know the book says that and I remember being surprised when I read it. Unless physical strength includes physical health. Although I would much rather be weak and healthy than physically strong and have HIV.
As L. Cook says, I think the author's statement is poorly-worded, and what he means is that the physical body, being healthy and strong, is more important than anything else, such as monetary success, etc.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2009 7:52:59 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 28, 2010 7:04:34 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2010 3:29:30 PM PDT
Christopher Bonds says:
I would add that strength being "most important" thing does not mean it's the "only" thing. It's easy to slip into that error. I tend to agree with the comment, for this reason: Our bodies evolved to help us survive through child-rearing age, but not longer. Prehistoric life expectancy was probably in the 20-30 year range. Modern people are in the curious situation of living longer (because of advances in nutrition and medicine as well as outsmarting predators) and exercising less (because we don't have to run long distances and hunt down gigantic mammals for food). Age and lack of exercise weaken the body and dull the mind. Weight training doesn't just build muscle, but the neurologic system as well (which includes the brain.) Physically strong people tend to be more alert, energetic, and have better concentration, not to mention stronger bones. They can also get around without mobile chairs, walkers, and so on. Physical well-being is something I didn't fully appreciate until I started to lose it. The great thing is that it's never too late to start! I was 65 when I started lifting and cardio, I'm 67 now and I'm hooked.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2010 2:50:59 PM PDT
Heikki Anttila says:
I do not agree with that statement either. BUT I have no problem learning from people I don't fully agree with. I am happy learning lifting from top teacher in lifting even if we have philosophical differences...
Posted on Feb 24, 2011 8:30:36 PM PST
Jan Ragon says:
i just heard about riptoe and i'm just curious if he actually has some kind of regimen in the book.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2011 5:38:08 PM PDT
Gunnar Karl Gunnarsson says:
He should rather say "Physical strength is important to everyone" even to these intellectual/spiritual people.
I don´t get the point he is trying to make, yeah people get happy when they hit a new PR in the squat but that always happens when we accomplished something.
You could just as well say "parenthood/girlfriends/money/jobs/d
Also "a strong man is generaly more happy than a weak man" here we can change out strong/weak for rich/poor, handsome/ugly, popular/loner and pretty much anything else.
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