Starting Strength

(91 reviews)
Starting Strength is of the world's most popular novice strength training programs.
Program Description

Buy the original Starting Strength book on Amazon for the most comprehensive program guide.

This program focuses on core compound lifts of squat, clean, press, bench, deadlift and chin-ups. The goal of this program is to add weight each and every time you lift, taking advantage of The Novice Effect that allows you to do so.

The program is split into 2 different days - Day A and Day B - with the days alternative every other week. For example, week 1 will be A/B/A, week 2 will be B/A/B, week 3 will be A/B/A, and so on.

Read the full program guide below.

Program Overview
CoachMark Rippetoe
LevelBeginner, Novice
GoalPowerbuilding, Powerlifting
EquipmentGarage Gym
Time Per Workout45 minutes
Days Per Week3 days
Program Length4 weeks
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Phase 1
Program Length
4 weeks
Days Per Week
3 days
Default Days
Mon, Wed, Fri
Variation Description
  • Perform this phase for up to 4 weeks
Week 1
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Week 2
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Week 3
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Week 4
Day 1
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 2
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Overhead Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
Day 3
ExerciseSetsReps
Squat (Barbell)3
5
Bench Press (Barbell)3
5
Deadlift (Barbell)1
5
What People Are Saying
4.1/ 5
Glen D.Man, 41
4 weeks complete
1 year of prior experience
More than expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
Marginal modifications
This worked a treat for me!! I've just turned 41 and really am a newbie when it comes to the gym and workout programs!! I only started going to the gym the second week of January and followed this program!! As expected all my lifts went up!! I started squat and deadlift at 60kgs and finished both at 140kg for 5!! Didn't do a 1RM. Both over head press and bench started at 40kg and finished at 65kg and 80kg, again no 1RM!! So for the 4week program this definitely worked for me but again I am a newbie and progress was expected but didn't expect it to move so quick!!
9 days ago

Starting Strength Program Guide

The program is split into 2 different days - Day A and Day B - with the days alternative every other week. For example, week 1 will be A/B/A, week 2 will be B/A/B, week 3 will be A/B/A, and so on.

This program has 3 phases. We recommend those new to strength training start in Phase 1 and for those with some strength training experience can start in Phase 2 or Phase 3.

Determining starting weights

  1. Start with the bar

  2. Add some weight

  3. Perform a set of 5

  4. Continue adding weight. Do another set.

  5. Stop when the bar speed begins to slow. This is your starting weight.

Rest time

  • 2 - 3 minutes if it was easy

  • 5+ minutes if it was hard

Stalling and hitting plateaus

If you do not make progress for 3 consecutive workouts in a row, decrease weight by 10% and continue progression from the reduced weight