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Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 2nd Edition Paperback – October 21, 2007
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Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore is now out in a 2nd edition. Unlike some 2nd edition books, which merely include a new preface in the way of revision, this is a majorly substantial update and expansion of what was a great tome to begin with. The material in the original, 2005 edition is included, but there are lots of new graphics and additional chapters of valuable material beyond the initial release. Another subtle, but important difference, is that the focus of the book has been altered, from being coach-focused to being lifter-focused. Throughout the book, there's an encyclopedia of practical tips you can put into your training program -- right now -- and see improvement almost immediately, and -- significantly -- you will understand why it helped you. This attitude, which is reflective of the broad experience and insight of the authors, will serve this book's readers for years to come. Five key exercises are covered, squat, bench, deadlift, press and power clean, as well as assistance exercises. For each, there is in depth explanation of rules, recommended equipment, and the elemental points of proper lift performance. Some of the graphics are simply the best we've ever seen when it comes to illuminating the real essence of a given lift. (one example: a clever 'yin-yang' representation of the relationship between the power clean and the deadlift... another example is the photo series showing the value of squatting with a board in front of your shin). If you have the first edition, you won't be sorry you got the 2nd. If you get the 2nd edition, you'll wish you hadn't gone 3 years without the first one. --Mike Lambert, Powerlifting USA
I was able to check out the new greatly expanded edition of Starting Strength from Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore, a book which I have wholeheartedly endorsed since it was first published and could not recommend more strongly. Essentially the new edition makes the book a complete reference for someone involving themselves in weight training (rather than a work more geared to coaching). It goes well beyond the comprehensive coverage of the core lifts that made the first so useful and gives a remarkably complete picture. Between this and Practical Programming - that's a near totally complete resource that will likely serve 99% of people for their entire training career. I'd recommend this book to anyone involved in weight training from a brand new novice in the gym for the first time to a refer and see improvement almost immediately, andence manual for a fairly seasoned coach. I know I've said a lot of positive stuff in the past about Mark's work but really - take a look at my site and what I've tried to do...Mark essentially wrote the books that I'd have written had I the time and did about as good a job as I think anyone in the world could have (and certainly better than I could have managed). Very impressive stuff. --Madcow, 5 x 5 Training page
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Don't listen to the BS magazines that push fake workouts endorsed by steroid freaks that will say anything for a buck. Don't waste your time with the whole slew of Men's Health products that will have you doing ten thousand reps per week only to make no gains.
If you want to get bigger and stronger, you MUST do several if not all of the lifts explained in this book. Nothing builds better legs and butts than squats. The bench press is a staple chest exercise that, when combined with dumbbell presses, builds big, powerful chests. The standing press builds strong shoulders that look like cannonballs. The deadlift is one of the best overall mass building exercises, and it builds your entire back, legs, and traps. The power clean is one of the toughest lifts you can do and works just about every muscle in your body.
This book shows you the proper form for all these exercises in amazing detail. This is CRUCIAL because bad form can lead to injuries (but proper form will completely prevent them). Remember, heavy weight lifted with poor form is NOT worth it (while the guys doing it think the heavy weights makes them look cool, their poor form actually just makes them look like idiots).
The author gives you a workout program in the end of the book built around the five compound mass builders with target sets and reps, which is a great strength-building program.
If you lift weights, you owe it to yourself to buy and read this book. Your workouts--and results--will never be the same again.
Another great book that espouses these concepts but also goes over proper dieting, cardio, and supplementing (and debunks a bunch of BS), is Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (The Lean Muscle Series). I highly recommend it.
Although I enjoy Rip's dryly authoritative, often very funny, writing style, which describes lifting form in extreme detail (something like 60 pages of text devoted to the squat alone), there's no getting around the fact that it's very hard to learn correct lifting form from a book. I therefore strongly recommend picking up his Starting Strength DVD as a companion. In it, Rip coaches lifters of various ages and sizes. As you study the book and the DVD, shoot some video of yourself lifting to compare, and maybe post it on the Starting Strength forum for a critique.
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training
Note that a 3rd edition is now available. From what I've seen, it has a lot of new text (including information on the snatch), a lot of the CrossFit stuff that he has since largely disavowed is gone, and there are better photos and illustrations.
Despite the 5 stars, it's not perfect. The book really needs a summary page for each lift. There's a lot of information that's good to know but not really necessary when you're just trying to do the lift. The actual technique could easily be condensed to a page for each lift. A look at the starting strength forum will only confirm the neanderthal stereotype of weight training but it's not part of the book so no deduction.
The explanations of the lifts are very detailed, but he is very good about providing summaries at the end of explanations as well, making this useful both the first time that you walk into the gym and are trying to remember the coarse movements for each lift, and afterward when you're trying to fix your form.
This won't be the *only* strength-training book you'll ever need, but I can't imagine what a better *first* book would look like.
And just remember: if you're going to waste money on lifting gloves, make sure that they match your purse. :-)