Mark Rippetoe Starting Strength

Mark Rippetoes Starting Strength is one of the best programs for gaining strength and build muscle. It is especially great for new lifters since it provides an easy to follow template with only a few exercises per week.

Starting Strength Workout Overview

Here is the workout routine you will follow 3 days per week.   You will be alternating the workouts week by week:

Week 1

  • Monday – Workout A
  • Wednesday – Workout B
  • Friday – Workout A

The following week

  • Monday – Workout B
  • Wednesday – Workout A
  • Friday – Workout B

Repeat the workouts week by week following the above example.  Do not add more workouts during the week.  You will be lifting heavy compound lifts that will workout your whole body each week.  Your body will need the extra days to recover.

The Exercises

Workout A

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Squats 3 5,5,5 90+ seconds
Bench Press 3 5,5,5 60-90 seconds
Deadlift 1 5 90+ seconds
Dips 2 5-8 60-90 seconds

Workout B

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Barbell Squats 3 5,5,5 90+ seconds
Overhead Press 3 5,5,5 60-90 seconds
Power Clean 3 5,5,5 90+ seconds
Chin-ups 3 8,8,8 60-90 seconds

Assistance Work

You may be asking yourself where is the isolation or arm exercises in this workout. Since you are doing compound exercises, all muscles will be hit during the workouts. There is no need for any assistant or additional exercises.

Do not Change the Workout or Customize It!

Too many people like to change or customize a workout because they think it will work better for them. The starting strength workout has been tested with great results, so there is not need to change something that works!

Abdominal work is ok to perform. Hanging leg raises and weighted sit-ups would be recommended.

Weights to Use

Be consistent with the weight you use each set. Do the same weight for each set. So if you do 100 lbs for the first set, do it on sets 2 and 3.

Every week make increase your weights by 2.5%. So if you do 200lbs during week one. you would do 205 lbs the next week.

Warm up Sets:

Be sure to do 3 warm up sets before your first exercise.  You do not need to do warm ups for every exercise.  Warmups should be about 50% your max and work your way up to your working set weight.

Example for working out using 200 pounds as the working set:

  • 100
  • 135
  • 165

Substitutions to the Exercises

Some acceptable substitutions for the exercises in each workout:

Some quality links related to starting strength:


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