"Starting Strength"(Book)

Just wanted to let everyone know that the book “Starting Strength” by Mark Rippetoe (with Lon Kilgore) may be the best book I have ever read on exercise technique. Anyone who trains athletes NEEEDS this book in their library. It is to lifting technique what CFTS is to Speed training. It is easy to understand, has the most useful tricks and diagrams I have ever seen and is even funny at times. It goes over the squat, powerclean, bench, and deadlift with a few other useful sections.

Thanks Quik! When you say it (and everyone else on the forum) them it must be great!

how can i get it i men link please

Startingstrength.com has Chapter outlines and page excerpts.

Book ex EliteFTS


Starting Strength: Book Review
By Jim Wendler
For www.EliteFTS.com

We have a review process at EFS. Every product that we sell has to be reviewed. Many times it’s done by sending out products to the EFS Q/A staff or Dave and I review it ourselves. We don’t want to sell anything that we don’t believe in.

One of my jobs is to review books and DVD’s. I have a ton of books that I’ve read, some much better than others, but most have at least a couple of really good things that stand out. Sometimes this can get tedious and some of the same stuff is rehashed over and over again. But the book Starting Strength is by far one of the best books that I have read in a long time.

I received a copy of Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe (with Lon Kilgore) about a month ago for review. Like usual, I put it in my in-box and was in no great hurry to read it. I have to admit that I’ve been a little skeptical of books and other things as they tend to capitalize on a current trend and though they have value, it’s not always a “lifer”.

After a brief skim of this book, I yelled over the Great Wall of EFS (this is the large partition that separates my desk from Dave’s) and told The Captain, “Dave, this is one of the best books I’ve seen.” As I looked over the various chapters and the depth that it goes into, my first thought was that this book should have been written 50 years ago. This is probably the most complete book on coaching lifts, how to perform lifts correctly and how to give cues to help lifters. It briefly goes over other things such as programming, nutrition and weight equipment. But the meat of this book revolves around coaching the squat, bench press, deadlift, press, and power clean. If you have any interest at all (and you better have) on coaching lifts correctly, this is the book for you.

Rippetoe’s comments on coaching in the first chapter are by far one of the best things I have ever read. It reads, “There are two key elements to coaching complicated physical movement: knowing what the movement looks like when it is done correctly, and understanding what the athlete experiences when the movement is done correctly.” He also points out how important it is for the coach to have first hand knowledge of performing the lifts.

The chapter that deals with the squat is over 50 pages long and goes over such details as head position, wrist position, knee tracking, hand position, low and upper back position, angle of the feet and breathing. Not only does it tell you how to do the squat, it will teach you how to COACH the squat. There are also a ton of pictures that will help you as a coach to see how things are should and shouldn’t look.

The bench press, overhead press, deadlift and power clean all go in the same amount of detail. This kind of depth is critical if you want to learn how to be a better coach. Mark briefly touches on programming, nutrition, gym set up and a few other topics. But what is the point of learning programming if most of your athletes can’t even do the most basic lifts correctly?

I should point out that, other than selling the book at EliteFTS, I have no financial interest in Starting Strength. I have never met or talked to Mark Rippetoe so I can’t say that I’m doing this article as a favor to a friend. Who knows; maybe Mark and I could be good friends or maybe we would hate each other. But whatever the case may be, he has done a great service by writing this book.

If you have a young child or are a coach of junior high or high school athletes; get this book. Get them lifting correctly before someone has a chance to screw it up. If you are coaching collegiate or professional athlete; get this book. It’s never too late. If you are a personal trainer, training the “average” person; get this book. It will give you coaching cues and allow you to teach the fundamental lifts that most people should do for overall strength training.

The bottom line is this: this book should be owned by just about everyone. It’s a shame that this book hadn’t come out sooner. In an age where complexity and overcomplicated training has become the norm, this book is a breath of fresh air. I honestly believe that this book, more than just about any other book on lifting weights or training, should be in everyone’s bookcase, office or gym bag.

I have just finished reading squats chapter, and I have few comments…

I found very interesting info on p.52, regarding hip flexors strain when doing deep squats (due relaxing hams — and knee forward slide at the bottom). I had some simptoms of strain, and was wondering where did I get it, becuase I wasn’t doing anything to hip flexors — this explains the mechanism, altought I still don’t understand how hams relaxation allows knee to slide forward… I think it is more of weight shift to toes etc

I have just returned from the gym and tried a low bar position squat style presented in the book…
…it sucked! My shoulders were pounded by doing only 105kgx5!!! (my PB is 150kg butt to ground)
Maybe I lowered the bar too much, but I think it was below spine of scpulae, as shown in the book… Anyway, the pics in the book sometimes show a little higher position, and sometimes little lower.
My wrist we hurted too…

I wonder will I shoe this teaching method with kids… I have great success with box squats… They teache great hip drive…

Any comments?

What was he width of your hands Duxx?

I see a lot of Olympic style squats high on the traps with the hands closer together. And with powerlifting the bar is lower on the upper back and hand width is spaced to the collars (especially with the bigger guys).

Now that I think about it, I remember hearing Louie Simmons talking about biceps tendonitis? It may not have been that, but some type of problem the biceps could have with squatting with a short width.

Altought I don’t know what colars are, if you have the book near by, I squats same as the guy on the pics… My pinky is allmost touching the first ring (this is narrow). When you look from the back it form a good “W” letter…
I used to squats with bar on traps and narrow grip…
The position Rip proposed is somewhere in the middle… Bar is lower, grip is slighty wider!
Anyway, I will play more in the gym with this style and tell how it was…

How is your flexibility in your chest/front delts and your forearm flexors?

This will play a huge part in how deep you can let the bar drop down your back.


Look at the biggest plate to the left. Right to the right of it, the part of the barbell with the biggest diameter. I call them the collars.

Aha… I am far from it!
I try using it more… maybe I am familiar with the Oly style more, so I get a hard feeling accustoming to this one…
Anyway, how do you guys squats?

I will try to post a picture… if I find a camera!

The bar position I agree is a little weird how he says “below the traps”. Also keeping the wrists straight like he shows with the tape I find impossible to do. Im also not so crazy about having the athletes look straight ahead of slightly down. I have had more sucess with having them look up a bit.

Thaks quik!
I found keeping wrist straight pretty paintfull later… but I think I should allow a little “adaptation time” — anyway, my 7th vertebrae also hurtes when I squated for the first time due poorly developed muscle bulk (traps)… We will see how the things are going…

Anyway, how do you guys squats?

Is that you John?

It seems you are holding the weight on your arms… Gotta check other angles… Your elbows (in this low bar position) should be kept higher behind… And the wrist are flexed too, (and should be straight)

picture taken from Starting Strength book!

Yes it is and it isn’t.

Thanks on the pointers. …where’s you’re pic? :stuck_out_tongue:

You will have my pics on wed… I just asked my friend to get digital camera… We will picture squat and clean… I will put some “home made” movies too :smiley:
kiddin’ offcourse

Power Clean

It seems like I am extending my head too much… I wasn’t aware of this!!! I should be soon posting a clip (poor quality)
I think that DKB is present… But I will wait your analysis guys…

High Bar Squat

LOW Bar Squat

I don’t think I have lowered it too much in this set… but look at the arms width… it is lowered for 1-2inches

Front Squat

Bench Press

High Bar

Low Bar

I don’t know bout how much of a pull you’re getting on the cleans. I was always taught to have a big pull all the way up to the top of my chest. Unless you’re just missing a pic demonstrating this. But ya, just an observation.