Starting Strength is a classic, one of the best barbell-based training books ever written. Now there's a new-and-improved edition that raises the bar even higher.
People who want to get bigger, stronger, and more athletic frequently approach me for training advice and instruction. After all, most of us agree that "strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general." (A little Mark Rippetoe morsel for you.)
I wish I had time to train each of these people. I'd love to pull them into a gym, put them under a bar, and guide them through the fundamentals of resistance training. Unfortunately, this approach isn't usually possible. For most of these "help-me-get-bigger" brothers, the best thing I can do is recommend a book. Time after time, I recommend the same one: Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.
The Gym Bible
Never heard of it? Extract yourself from the crazy claws of your favorite biceps curl machine and listen up. Starting Strength teaches you everything you need to know to properly program and perform full range of motion barbell exercises, which are the best functional expression of human skeletal and muscular anatomy under a load. Simply put, your favorite isolation exercise ain't squat compared to the squat. If you're not performing barbell compound exercises, you're not getting the most from your strength workouts.
As Coach Rip says about the deadlift, it's more functional than almost any other exercise because "it's very hard to imagine a more useful application of strength than picking heavy $#!^ up off the ground."
The big problem with barbell training, however, is that the majority of people don't know how to do it correctly, even if they've been training for years. Because every aspect of bar movement is controlled by the lifter, barbell training requires an investment in time and education. Starting Strength addresses that issue. Luckily, readers have just been blessed with the recently released Third Edition, and it's fantastic.
That's right. Turn your back on those machines. Coach Rip said grab that bar.
Under The Book
The Starting Strength program is one of the most popular programs in America, particularly in high school and college weight rooms. It also has an incredibly high rating on Amazon, having garnered 90% or more 5-star reviews.
The only complaints with previous editions of Starting Strength were that it needed better pictures and editing. Welcome to the Third Edition. Without reinventing the wheel, it comes with a new look, new photos, excellent illustrations, and updates in the program based on the experiences of thousands of athletes in the four years since the last release.
If you're new to weight training, this program is one your best possible investments. Furthermore, if you have been using mainly machines or doing calisthenics, not having mastered squats, bench presses, deadlifts or cleans, then Starting Strength will set you straight. Rippetoe's instructions are simple enough for a novice to understand but detailed enough for a strength coach's arsenal.
The program stresses the basics of effective compound exercises and weight progression with an emphasis on flawless technique. It is appropriate for anyone looking for a solid foundation in strength, muscle, and power. Starting Strength teaches you to train the body as a complete system, not a collection of parts.
"Exercise is the stimulus that returns our bodies to the conditions for which they were designed. Humans are not physically normal in the absence of hard, physical effort. 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 substitute cave-man activity." (Rippetoe 1)
Precision Makes Perfect
Starting Strength puts a very heavy emphasis on lifting correctly, with over 200 pages dedicated to mastering the five most important movements: the squat, press, bench press, clean, and deadlift. You may have thought you knew how to squat, but until Mark has taught you how bar position effects torso angle, lower body joint relationships, why your knees keep caving in, and why you shouldn't look up when squatting, you'll basically never know.