Mark Rippetoe, owner of Wichita Falls Athletic Club and one of the authors of Starting Strength.

Starting Strength Edit

Starting Strength is the ideal beginner routine for everyone who wants to be fit, athletic and have a solid base in strength for future lifting, whether the goal is mass, aesthetics or strength.

The routine was published in the Starting Strength book, by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore.

The original routine consists of 5 exercises, seperated into 2 workout days, named A and B.

The routineEdit

Workout A Workout B
Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5
Bench Press 3x5 Press 3x5
Power Clean 5x3 Deadlift 1x5

The routine is followed uses A-B-A on first week, and B-A-B on the next, three days a week on either:

Mon-Wed-Fri , Tue-Thu-Sat , Wed-Fri-Sunday , Sun-Tue-Thu or whatever. The first is the most popular.

When to stop?

If you are adding weight to the bar, you still have place for improvement, and should still stay on the routine. This time is usually between 2-6 months. Can easily go longer than that. Don't think of it as a beginner routine, think of it as the most efficient way to train at your current level - because it is, as long as you're able to add weight from session to session.

"Hurr durr t-rex mode, too many squats herp derp."

No, with this routine, you’re adapting to the squatting form every workout, so basically not every squat is going to make your legs XBOX HUEG. But anyway even if they become disproportional to your upperbody, you can move on to a routine that’ll fill your upper body after doing SS.

Just a side note, Olympic Weightlifters train the squat 6 days a week.


Mark is adamant that people doing cardio while doing Starting Strength are not doing Starting Strength at all since it is not included in the original program. He recommends aganst it. However, if you're trying to lose fat, either on rest days or post-workout would be fine. Don't do it prior to work out, as it might mess with your performance. Don't do HIIT, and read The Worksheet on this wiki for why.You could do it on rest days, but make sure it doesn't mess with your recovery. Best is post or none if you're a skinny fucker trying to bulk.

I am 12 and what is this?

If you are young, you can still do this routine, it isn’t bad for you, and will not stunt your growth. Many weightlifters started when they were even as young as 12. And Arnold started when he was 15. He doesn’t look small now, does he? Teens can add just as much weight per workout, if not more.

Power Cleans are useless durr!!!

Power Cleans are there to give you explosive power, which is necessary/adviced for following stuff:

  • Sports like American football, rugby etc.
  • Increasing vertical jump
  • Athleticism
  • Explosive power
  • Olympic lifting(durr)
  • Strength

Power Cleans aren't known for mass giving purposes, but they're pretty popular. For some reason, especially among Asians.

They are only there to assist the big 3: Squat, Bench, Deadlift. This is especially true for the deadlift.

If you don’t have access to bumper plates you can still do them, Mark explains:

If you still don't want to do them, for whatever reason(the usual reason is because they are a pain in the ass, or because they might not give a body as balanced as one with a horizontal pull would give), look at the variations of SS below and choose something simple. Rows are a great exercise, but not really a substitute. It's quite unfortunate how Cleans aren't a substitute for rows either.

What to eat?

Everything. This routine is especially useful when done on a calorie surplus. If you don’t know what that is, READ THE FUCKING STICKY!

Stalling on SS

This is an example of a stall on SS:

You're adding weight every workout.

Next workout you're meant to increase weight to 305(hypothetical number) lbs.

Next workout, say on monday, you try to squat 305lbs, you can't complete 3x5.

So on wednesday, you try to squat 305lbs again. If you fail again..

You try to squat 305lbs on friday. If you failed at all three attempts, you have stalled.

Now you have to DELOAD. So how do you do this?

You multiply the last weight that you could do 3x5 with 0.9

So it's 300lbs x 0.9

And you get 270lbs. Or whatever it is in your case. You get that weight, and start again with is. And keep adding weight as normally again starting from 270lbs. 5lbs every workout. It's the same with every exercise, except it will take longer to notice if you have stalled or not since you aren't doing it every workout.

You will feel like shit, but will get much stronger and gain shit load of mass.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – Starting Strength is a linear progression routine. If you can do 3x5 on a workout, means you have to add weight the next workout. That’s it. Add weight every workout. That’s the whole point of it, that’s why it’s good.


- The Kethnaab VariationEdit

Practical Programming:Edit


3x5 Squat

3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)

Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps


3x5 Squat

3x5 Press / Bench Press (Alternating)

1x5 Deadlift


3x5 Squat

3x5 Bench Press / Press (Alternating)

Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

- Onus Wunsler Beginner Program:Edit

Workout A

3x5 Squat

3x5 Press

1x5 Deadlift / 5x3 Power Cleans (Alternating)

Workout B 3x5 Squat

3x5 Bench Press

3x10 or 5x10 Back Extensions (unweighted if progressing to GHR, weighted if not)

Chin-Ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Workouts A and B alternate on 3 non-consecutive days per week.'

- Wichita Falls Novice Program:Edit


Squat 3x5

Bench press/press 3x5 (alternating)

Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps


Squat 3x5

Press/bench press 3x5 (alternating)

Deadlift 1x5/Powerclean 5x3 (alternating)


Squat 3x5

Bench press/press 3x5 (alternating)

Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

Do whichever one you want. But my advice is start with the original one, after getting sick of deadlifting every other day, do Practical programming, and after it get’s easy, do Wichita Falls Novice Program to introduce Power Cleans into your routine. You can do rows during Practical Programming, but do them before chin ups and/or pull ups. You could do Kroc rows on Mon and Chest supported rows on Friday. Keep the chin ups and the pull ups as it is. Don’t do pull ups or chin ups on both days.


Please note that some of the stuff mentioned above are only MY opinions. It’s really up to you.

For more info read the extensive Starting Strength wiki from head to toe

And I highly advice you to buy the book Starting Strength, read it and act accordingly. You could also read Practical Programming by Mark Rippetoe for more info on programming routines, and general knowledge about lifting. This routine is a very good one, and anyone can take advantage of it.

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