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Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition Paperback – November 11, 2011
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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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Bench was 195lbs for 5 reps and is now 245lbs
OHP was 115lbs for 5 and is now 155lbs
DL was 315lbs for 5 and is now 455lbs
BS was 285 for 5 and is now 365lbs
and all still climbing..
Update: My Squat is now 415lbs DL 505lbs
As an added benefit, I am not constantly hurting myself with bad form and having to take time to heal and thus lose gains. Also, I don't hurt when I get up in the morning. All this with previous C-Spine, knee and nerve damage injuries from three combat tours to Iraq.
I have two words of caution for anyone buying this book and getting into lifting for the first time.
1) Please don't treat this book like the Bible. Rippetoe is a fantastic, must-have resource, but it's annoying to talk to someone who thinks everything in this book is completely, absolutely infallible and there's no other way to lift.
2) This book was written to coach you through the barbell portion of your training. He doesn't have much in the book about mobility and injury prevention. This is fine if you are a young, spry high school or college athlete, but most of us aren't. I would suggest getting a copy of Becoming a Supple Leopard or something and staying keenly aware of your form and what your body is telling you about joint health and overall flexibility. When you're first starting out it is easy to gain strength faster than flexibility and mobility, and if you're working out mostly by yourself or with another beginner, you might still manage to hurt yourself. I got pretty far into the squat training and realized I was developing a shoulder problem. I caught it early and was only out for a month, but it could have been worse. I still work really, really hard to keep that joint mobile enough to keep squatting heavy with good form.
Every aspect of barbell training requires complete attention to detail and constant evaluation so improvement can continue. If you follow along with this book you're going to quickly get strong enough that you can do real damage if you aren't careful. So be careful and enjoy getting truly strong.
The reason I give 4 stars, though, is due to the author's way of communicating his belief system; many times in the book, Rippetoe will dismiss alternative exercises or forms of performing an exercise out-of-hand, without providing any reasoning, only harsh words. Such discussion may come off as authoritative to some, but it can feel a bit like promoting intellectual insulation.
I found a Starting Strength coach and started the program. I've been on it for about 5 months (albeit with a very irregular schedule) and have had excellent results. I started with squatting with an 11 lbs. bar and last workout I squatted 210 (3x5) - (see the attached picture). My deadlift started around 65 lbs. and I'm now at 220 (1x5). The other lifts are coming along well too. In real life this translates into a better overall appearance and physical stability. I'm making progress to being much healthier and stronger.
The book is packed with useful information. For a beginner like me it's too much to take in at first. But I read, do the lifts, then read some more and it all begins to sink in. The book describes in detail the correct way to do each lift and progressively increase the weight. Following these techniques (maybe with a coach) it's possible to gain strength without injury.
This is the only weight training book I've read. While there may be other good books I'm glad that Starting Strength was the first one I've read.
Mark Rippetoe provides an irrefutable argument that the best exercises we should use in the gym are barbells.
1. The exercises we choose from should use many muscle groups
2. The exercise takes us through the full range of motion
3. The exercise allows us to lift the heaviest weights possible (with good form of course)
As a personal trainer It's a shame that this information is neglected in most standard textbooks of the subject.
If you're going to buy one book to become a stronger version of yourself and not waste time then make it this one. You won't regret it.