Starting Strength

So I finally got around to reading Starting Strength.   The short review is I HATE myself for only getting around to reading it now.

Now I’m a meat and potato kind of guy as far as my exercise selection goes.  I like to keep it simple and get my clients proficient at the basics.  And far and away, this is one of the best books I have ever read detailing the technical fine points of the big lifts that are staples in every program I write.

I don’t review every book I read because a lot of what I read is not going to interest or be of particular value to my beloved general population that makes up the bulk of my readership.  I wanted to briefly endorse Starting Strength for two reasons:

1) Trainer friends, if you haven’t read it, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO ORDER IT.  Seriously.  Right now.  Go.

2) From time to time, I encounter guys who want to get bigger and are disenchanted with the often awful workouts in the popular muscle magazines, but are either logistically or financially unable to hire a trainer.

Gentleman, look no further.  You will find no better introduction into the world of lifting iron and developing strength and muscle than this book.  And with all due respect, just because you’ve been training for several years doesn’t mean you won’t find a lot of value in following the simple workout template.

If you’re not as big as you want to be, you’ll probably benefit by working on strength for a while, particularly if you’re not very strong yet.  Bench pressing 135 pounds for 8 to 12 reps isn’t going to make you huge “bro.”  If your strength (and consequently muscle growth) has plateaued, there’s value in ditching dedicated hypertrophy work for a while until you’ve got a good base of strength.

I HATE myself for not having read this book sooner.  Not only is it a very well written book, but the authors definitely made me laugh aloud on more than one occasion with their good humored snark towards those who don’t understand, respect, or appreciate the traditions and customs of quality time with barbells.

Certainly there are little technical things here and there that I don’t find appropriate for all populations, but all in all, this book is a MUST READ for anyone who trains people professionally and for all serious strength enthusiasts.


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