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Starting Strength

Written by admin, Sunday, January 16th, 2011 in Q&As

A lot of my gym bros swear by the Starting Strength program. Is it really that awesome?

Yes and no.

First off, Starting Strength is basically the bible of weight lifting — it teaches everything you need to know to become a pretty decent lifter. Starting Strength can be kinda intimidating in its specificity, but that’s the beauty of it — it has virtually everything you need to know about important lifts. You should be doing pretty much every exercise in Starting Strength (even power cleans, though some consider those a sort of weight-cardio hybrid). Even if you don’t have access to the book, you should at least familiarize yourself with the phenomenal Starting Strength Wiki.

There are some drawbacks to Starting Strength. Starting Strength-influenced workouts typically over-emphasize squats and lower body work. Guys who get started on SS-influenced workouts sometimes end up disappointed when they realize that the core of their muscle growth — which occurs in the legs — is not as aesthetically pleasing as they would have gotten with other programs. In other words, while SS-inspired lifters may end up becoming wonderfully skilled at Olympic lifts, some become disappointed at their decline into “T-Rex mode” (big thighs, small upper body) as opposed to what they want (which is more like a stereotypical body builder). Arguably, a pure SS-based routine would be more suited to power lifters/olympic lifters rather than typical aesthetics guys.

In any case, the ultimate decision is up to you. If you go to the gym predominantly for a decent workout and/or aesthetics, a purely Starting Strength based workout might be a little bit inappropriate for you — consider looking up other programs with a little bit less focus on squats and a bit more focus on general hypertrophy/health. Keep SS in mind and constantly use it as a reference, but don’t use it as your only resource. If you’re interested in getting ridiculously huge, don’t care much about aesthetics, or have an interest in olympic lifting, consider focusing more on a Starting Strength-esque workout (these are excellent).

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