Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Starting Strength” as Want to Read:
Starting Strength
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Starting Strength

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  8,149 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training is the new expanded version of the book that has been called "the best and most useful of fitness books." It picks up where Starting Strength: A Simple and Practical Guide for Coaching Beginners leaves off. With all new graphics and more than 750 illustrations, a more detailed analysis of the five most important exercises in the we ...more
Kindle Edition, 3rd edition, 347 pages
Published November 7th 2013 by The Aasgaard Company (first published 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,149 ratings  ·  435 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Starting Strength
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone thinking of joining a gym
Shelves: reference
As an engineer, I like knowing how something works before trying it. So when I wanted to get "fit" I embarked on a internet-wide search for the best resources online. This book was overwhelmingly recommended by many people through many different and diverse internet forums. With such endorsements I HAD to buy it. Now, if you heed the people in any gym, they will tell you that learning to lift weights with a book is useless and you shouldn't do it. Well you MUST buy and read this book.

Mark Rippet
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been lifting weights on and off since the eighth grade, and I was under the impression that I have been using good technique for most of that time. I considered myself quite knowledgeable about form, safety, and proper biomechanics. I was wrong. This book is clearly the work of two whip-smart men who've devoted decades to the teaching of weight lifting. It is funny, well-illustrated and written plainly. This is not to say that the material has been diluted for easy consumption; plan on (r ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health
After a year of doing the main exercises regularly (2-3 times a week) (except the power clean which I've only started recently), I'm not exactly a buff ripped machine... but I'm definitely much stronger than when I started, and you can see muscles in my arms where there were never any before, so that's pretty sweet. It's great to go help a friend move and not feel winded at all by the boxes and sofas that leave the friend panting (nor do I worry about my back, after a year of doing squats & dead ...more
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with human anatomy
Starting Strength is a great resource for anybody interested in getting stronger. And as the author notes, everybody should be so interested: "Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem - it is a thing we must do anyway, a thing without which there will always be problems. Exercise is the thing we must do to replicate the conditions under which our physiology was - and still is - adapted, the conditions under which we are physically normal."

The book contains detailed descriptions of five bas
Bryan Murdock
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tone changes from sentence to sentence, from insensitive meathead ("...if you insist on using [gloves], make sure they match your purse") to PhD anatomy and kinesology ("The supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, and the teres minor attach various points on the posterior scapula to the humerus, and provide for its external rotation..."), it's overly repetitive in some cases, in other cases important pieces of information are only mentioned once, buried in obscure sections of the book. It is howev ...more
Adam Marquis
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I enter the gym I see 20 guys and a couple of women doing 22 different things - wildly different. Everyone has their own philosophy about what gets the body stronger, and everyone believes they are right because it is so easy to add strength to a novice.

Starting Strength was the first, well, ANYTHING I'd read about fitness that didn't seem like it was propped up mostly by dogma and anecdotal evidence. Sensible assertions are made in the book, and they are backed by either training experienc
...a life is like iron. If you make good use of it, it wears out; if you don't, rust destroys it. So too we see men worn out by toil; but sluggishness and torpor would hurt them more.
                         - Cato the Elder


Here's the first paragraph of this fitness book, stronger writing than you'd ever expect:
Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not... Whereas previously our physical strength determined how much food we ate
David Dennis
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to the fundamentals of strength training (NOT bodybuilding...there is a big difference) that has served this middle-aged guy well in terms of improving health, energy, eliminating lower back pain, etc. That being said, a few things to keep in mind:

--Rippetoe's program was developed primarily around high school and college athletes. Rippetoe himself says the demographic is 18-35 year olds. If you're not in that demographic, some things will need to be changed.

--If you're not
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been lifting weights half-assedly for years, using bits and pieces of techniques I've picked up watching other people and vague memories of classes in high school and college. Suffice to say, Starting Strength is a huge eye opener. I ripped open the package as soon as it got delivered and spent about 6 hours just devouring it like I would a good thriller. It feels like it's granted me an epiphany, and I'm sitting here wondering how/why I wasted so much time over the years doing isolation ex ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'll start by saying that I'm not currently on the Starting Strength 5x5, but doing something very similar in the Stronglifts 5x5 program. Swap out the Power Clean for the Barbell Row for me. This book was a great introduction regarding barbell strength training and a must for anyone getting into weightlifting.

While it did go into extreme detail into the biomechanics of each move, it also provided a lot of guidance in terms of cues and also how to safely execute each movement. This will be a bo
Hayel Barakat
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: رياضة
Bible for Squat, Deadlift, power clean and bench press
Cristian  Morales
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Some thoughts on this:

-This training method has been the greatest source of general well being I've come across in my life.
-This was an excellent revision of the 2nd edition.
-Paid special attention to Press, Deadlift and Injury chapters.
-I've been visiting a physical therapist for early injury detection, but the fact injuries are "the price we pay", as Coach Rip says, makes me weary.
-I may stall progress on squat just for other stuff to catch up. Press and Power-clean are way behind.

"There are
Daniel Roy
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, fitness
I picked up this book after nearly every credible Internet on fitness recommended it (including the incredibly helpful 4chan /fit/ sticky), and I can definitely understand why they did. I've seen it called the "bible on weightlifting bio-mechanics," a description I don't find hyperbolic in any way.

If you're looking for a no-bullshit, straightforward book on lifting weights for fitness, then this is your jackpot. Be warned; this stuff is as far removed from the "miracle fitness cures" being peddl
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not."

The opening sentences of this book sound ridiculous, until you find out that many age-related conditions (lower metabolism, higher body fat %, stooped posture, difficulty carrying groceries, etc) can be prevented or even reversed by strength training. I am not making this up - look up "sarcopenia" for more info.

I'd heard overwhelming amounts of praise for this book from both friends and Interne
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome! Rippetoe's writing is frank, humorous and easy-to-understand. I'm not new to weightlifting but this book is gold for how deeply it goes into the form of different moves as well as offering basic suggestions about programming, building your gym, etc. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in weightlifting and does not have a coach yet. Even if you don't do the program, you will gain a wealth of knowledge about correct form and it's biomechanical advantages! So interesting!
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty phenomenal. This was my second time reading it. I had previously read a few chapters, before I started lifting any weights.

After having been lifting for a little while, I thought this book was helpful for fixing long running minor errors in form for various barbell exercises. In that, this book is really worth taking a look at if you've incorporated lifting seriously in your life in some capacity.

There's a lot of very specific and technical training material, that helps to bu
Attila Szabo
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It gave me an overall picture about strength training. The programming part is a bit short but the Rippetoe has a book about it. I really recommend this book anyone who is lifting and would like to understand the movements.
Nasos Psarrakos
I wish I had read this book when I first started working out. It would have made such a difference to my training and I would so much progress earlier. MANDATORY for everyone working out.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the de facto book that anyone should pick up the moment they even begin to develop an interest in weightlifting. Not only does it help simplify things for beginners by introducing them to simple (yet structurally complex) lifts to learn, but it also helps them avoid months of ineffective training methods that are often sold by popular fitness magazines and bodybuilding websites. Instead of messing around on the circuit trainers, isolation machines, or any other form of snake oil exercise ...more
Lucian Neag
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book for everyone interested in or planning to start weightlifting. The books describes in great detail all the main exercises, common problems and misconception regarding this sport. It was very motivating to read while starting weightlifting and completely changed my gym program.

If you start weightlifting, skip and read the last chapter about programming part and how to build your own gym room at home. Also, try to skip as little as possible, even if you find it boring sometimes, be
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starting Strength is the best book written about barbell training. It goes into a lot of detail, with a ton of illustrations, and pretty much addresses any barbell training related question one could have (elbow pain during squats? Check. What kind of notebook to use as a workout journal? Check). Starting Strength is one of those books that needs a goodreads option of "read multiple times, and still refer to on a weekly basis".

Note that this book discusses the necessary major lifts, and optiona
David Readmont-Walker
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great foundation knowledge for serious ironcruncing
Brian Chun
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The knowledge that I’ve gained in this book is so vast, so informative and critical and detailed that I wish I could go back in time into my overweight teens age self and bitchslap myself into the teachings of Mark Rippetoe about the proper structure, body mechanics and techniques of every exercise and its corresponding body part. Highly recommended for beginners in weightlifting.
Cowboy Kubrick
I was iron deficient for most of my life without even realizing it. And no, I'm not talking about blood iron levels. I'm talking about weights. Those heavy lumps of metal I've come to cherish.

Put simply, the exercises and methods in this book work. I'm so thankful to have been recommended it. It really is helping me develop physically and has patched a self-esteem that was pretty low. Having struggled with exercise motivation for years, I now greatly look forward to it.

I don't think there would
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
A great instructional book, like a cookbook, can and have an deep impact on one’s life and be as enjoyable to read as a novel, play, or biography. So too can the fitness book, or at least it could be. Most books on fitness, like most popular cookbooks, are chasing fads using celebrities, pseudoscience, and an overall strategy of not just catering to the lowest common denominator, but throwing an all-you-can-eat buffet of idiocracy.

A great instructional book must be essential. This means it cuts
Cristian  Morales
Duré como el triple leyendo esto por hacerlo con un acento sureño, pero bueno, here´s the review:

Remember that part of the The Avengers, where Captain America says: "There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that."?

Well, Coach Rip´s book is something like that. The reasoning behind his training method just feels right. It´s like saying "Yes, sir" or "Thank you ma'am", or opening a door for a girl.

His method is reasonable, logical, described in a very clear way, not o
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robert by: Spezzy
It took longer than I expected, but I finally completed this book this evening. Despite the time, this was an excellent read!

I learned of Rippietoe from a discussion board I used to visit. I became fascinated with his approach to strength training, which seems almost designed specifically for me . . . although I know better than that.

He is direct, but backs up his ascertains with solid reasoning. He takes the time to fully explain what he states. That is the primary reason for the length of time
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is unlike ANY book that I have seen (not read) in the category of fitness/exercise/training/bodybuilding books. This point, depending on your exposure to fitness industry, can be a huge turn-off or an eye-opener (I belong to the latter category myself). Heavily focused on mechanics and kinetics of movement, and bent more towards quality than quantity, it delves DEEP into details of mechanics of 5 major exercises that the author proposes are essential for building strength:
1. Squat
2. D
Alex Montalto
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: exercise
This is a very in-depth look into barbell training. Rippetoe explains the biomechanical aspect of barbell training in a wonderful way, though this may not be to some people's liking. There were times I felt myself zoning out during the more technical sides to each exercise. One thing I really did like was his no-nonsense approach to routine management. Put simply, if the athlete isn't going to be fully dedicated to the process then they will not see the full benefits from training.
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone keen to start a fitness regime and considering the use of resistance training (i.e. training with free weights). Mark Rippetoe uses a straight-talking, no nonsense approach to explain the science behind strength training that is at once concise and extremely persuasive. Detailed instructions are provided for each of the 5 barbell exercises considered by the author to be fundamental to all beginners seeking to become fitter and stronger through the use of weights.

As an acti
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength
  • The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40
  • Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
  • Beyond 5/3/1: Simple Training for Extraordinary Results
  • Strength Training Anatomy
  • Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
  • The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised
  • Scientific Principles of Strength Training
  • Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder
  • Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World
  • Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength
  • Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning
  • Advances in Functional Training: Training Techniques for Coaches, Personal Trainers and Athletes
  • Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body
  • Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
  • The Muscle & Strength Pyramid - Nutrition
  • The Art of Lifting
  • The Leangains Method: The Art of Getting Ripped. Researched, Practiced, Perfected.
See similar books…
Mark Rippetoe is an American strength training coach and author. He has published a number of books and peer-reviewed articles. He has a BSc in geology with a minor in anthropology, but no degree in exercise science. He has several decades of experience as a strength coach, is a former powerlifter, and is currently a gym owner.

Rippetoe was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he now resides. He obt

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our l...
15 likes · 2 comments
“A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. 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.” 26 likes
“The deadlift also serves as a way to train the mind to do things that are hard.” 13 likes
More quotes…