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Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  8,960 ratings  ·  480 reviews
Starting Strength has been called the best and most useful of fitness books. The second edition, Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, sold over 80,000 copies in a competitive global market for fitness education. Along with Practical Programming for Strength Training 2nd Edition, they form a simple, logical, and practical approach to strength training. Now, after six ...more
Paperback, Third Edition, 347 pages
Published November 11th 2011 by The Aasgaard Company (first published 2005)
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Jul 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
It occurred to me, after chasing a one eyed raccoon through a pumpkin patch while drunk on Jack Daniels, that each stride I took was a sub maximal force production event predicated on a physical existence which I had long neglected. As afferent feedback surged through the live wire of my spinal column, reducing motor neuron excitability (i.e. voluntary motor unit recruitment is reduced from the plyometric load inflicted by the sudden lateral movements necessary to track the clever beast through ...more
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
...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
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
David Dennis
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 هايل بركات
Bible for Squat, Deadlift, power clean and bench press
Best introduction to strength training I’ve seen
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
Peter Derk
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this entire thing. Like 350 pages. And when I say I read it, I don’t mean like you read a cookbook, skim it, try some of the recipes. I mean I read every word, including the captions on pictures and diagrams.

This is easily the most comprehensive, scientific text about strength training I’ve ever come across. This is not like that Supple Leopard stuff with the flowery prose, and it’s not like a listing of different exercises that get cobbled together to make a book. This is 350-page book t
Oct 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read and just what I needed recovering from a back injury... really enjoyed the structure and the author's approach to barbell training.

Similar but very different from another good resource Becoming a Supple Leopard (love this title). Simpler and more focused on just the core lifts, less visual (Supple Leopard has a million pictures), less accessories, less recovery-based, more narrative- and anatomy-based which is important because you can't see yourself when barbell training - and i
Daniel Roy
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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! ...more
Sandy Maguire
This is a terrible book with great advice in it. Skip to the chapter on motivation and programming first, and then skim each of the exercise sections for "things to make sure you don't do wrong." Easy. Done. ...more
Sep 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be read by everyone who wants to get stronger. Or considers going to the gym. The detail level in which each exercise is explained is stunning. I have done weightlifting for a few years in my teens, but never heard explanations even close to this. Also, it should serve as a great myth buster for those, who considers group workouts in gyms training (not exact quote from the book):
"Exercise and training are two different things. Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a wo
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this for my Kindle, but wish I had the hard copy, it would be easier to flip back and forth and reference other pages and photos. Content of the book is great. I didn't think I would be able to improve my lifting by reading about it, but his instruction is so specific that I think it will work. Great explanations about why things are the way they are. ...more
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
Christian Anderson
Excellent book for weight training. Extremely detailed.
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fitness
Wish I read this book earlier. Much recommended!
David Readmont-Walker
Great foundation knowledge for serious ironcruncing
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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

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“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.” 31 likes
“The deadlift also serves as a way to train the mind to do things that are hard.” 16 likes
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