starting strength program routine

Looking To Build Strength? We’ve Got A Free Starting Strength Routine For You!

If You’re Already Familiar With Starting Strength and Want To Check Out The Free Program, Click Here

Never heard of the Starting Strength program? Starting Strength is brought to us by the renowned author, trainer, researcher and much more… Mark Rippetoe. Mark has been coaching, studying and teaching about strength training, Olympic lifting and powerlifting for many years. He took all of his knowledge when it comes to building strength, particularly in novice lifters, and packaged it in one of the best selling lifting and strength training books ever written.

The book that Mark wrote is called Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training. Currently, on its 3rd edition, it has become the defacto standard for strength building. Focused on helping novice lifters and even some intermediate lifters master the craft.

Who Is Starting Strength For?

The Starting Strength program has long been touted as being for beginner lifters. This isn’t necessarily true. While the program is a great tool and starting place for newbie lifters and it does take advantage of newbie gains, it can also apply to those who are not new to lifting.

Many lifters lack structure and guidance, this is exactly what this program will provide you with. While following this lifting program, you will have a schedule, a clear path and be required to track your lifts.

As a result, you will get a body transformation that you’re seeking. Whether that’s to look better on the beach, significant other or to become stronger.

How Does Starting Strength Benefit You?

strength building benefitsStarting Strength doesn’t just make you stronger at lifts. It will make you a better individual, a better human.

Benefits of Getting Stronger

    • Stronger Body = Stronger Mind
    • Avoid injuries in and out of the gym
    • Stronger Bones
    • Better balance and stability
    • Improved body composition
    • Healthier body = less doctor visits

Having strength and all of the benefits that come along with it doesn’t just help in the gym, they help you in almost every area of your life. Helping to make you the best that you can be.

Principles Of Starting Strength

All great workout programs should be built on principles that guide the program and the person following them. They should be clear and concise. Starting Strength has 3 main principles that will help you understand what makes it such a great and easy to implement a strategy for building power and strength.

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#1 – Apply Stress, Proper Recovery, Overcome Adaptations

Stress – We must apply adequate stress to our body to build strength. As someone looking to build strength, you must push your body, make it uncomfortable. This can be done by doing the core movements under load.

Recovery – After applying stress, you must allow adequate time for your body to recover and be prepared for the next workout. If you don’t rest between workout sessions and allow recovery time then your following workouts will suffer. You don’t build muscle while you’re in the gym, muscle is built during recovery and sleep.

Adaptations – Now we must incrementally increase the loads to prevent our body from becoming adapted to the weight being used. This is the heart of the program, increasing the loads in a smart way. Our body is smart, if you keep lifting the same weights over and over, your body is prepared for it. You won’t get the response, like strength gains or muscle growth that you expect.

#2 – Exercise Selection – Multi-Joint Movements

The next principle is based on exercise selection. The biggest bang for your buck will come from multi-joint movements, also known as compound exercises. This is because these types of exercises will allow you to add weight the easiest. Adding weight increases strength obviously but these movements will allow you to build total body strength without having to do too many different variations of movements.

Exercise Examples

    • Barbell Squat
    • Deadlift
    • Benchpress
    • Chin Ups
    • Power Clean

#3 – Exercise Form

While all of the other principles discussed here are important, form is arguably the most important factor. Having proper forms keeps you safe and uses the muscles appropriately. Therefore providing you with the gains you’re seeking while also keeping you in the gym by preventing injury.

Check Out The Video Guides At The End Of This Article For Proper Technique And Form


The Free Starting Strength Program

Starting Weights

It is going to take some time for you to find the weight you need to begin with. Your weight should be challenging and not too light so that the exercises are done easily. Also not so heavy, therefore not being able to complete the required sets and reps.

Workout Frequency

Below you will see workouts listed as A or B. These workouts are designed to alternate but you will be in the gym 3 days per week. Be sure to allow at least 1 day in between the workouts for recovery. So, for example, you could do your workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You will need this recovery time as you progress through the program. Recovery is important to the overall results and enjoyment you will receive from the program.

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Increasing Weights Lifted

Initially, when starting the program you will likely be able to make larger weight increases, such as 10lbs from workout to workout. As you progress in the program, you will need to reduce these weight increments to 5lbs. When you become more advanced and the weight increases greatly over time, your increments will be micro in size such as 2.5lb increases.

Phase 1 Will Last Usually 1-3 Weeks

Phase 1 
* These sets do not include warm up sets
Workout Day A
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Deadlift1 Set x 5 Reps
Workout Day B
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Deadlift1 Set x 5 Reps

Phase 2 Should Be Used For Multiple Weeks And Possibly Months. Start Phase 3 When You’re Having To Use Micro Increases Of 2.5lbs On All Lifts

Phase 2 
* These sets do not include warm up sets
Workout Day A
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Deadlift1 Set x 5 Reps
Workout Day B
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Power Clean5 Sets x 3 Reps

Phase 3 Is Your Final Phase Before Reaching Advanced Novice. You May Use 1 Day As A Lighter Weight Recovery Day As Your Lifts Should Be Fairly Heavy At This Point

Phase 3 
* These sets do not include warm up sets
Workout Day A
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Deadlift1 Set x 5 Reps
Power Clean5 Sets x 3 Reps
Workout Day B
Squat3 Sets x 5 Reps
Bench Press3 Sets x 5 Reps
Chin Ups3 Sets x 10 Reps
Progress to weighted chin ups for 3 Sets of 5 Reps followed your 3 Sets x 10 Reps with bodyweight

Video Workout Guides

Deadlift Technique and Form Guide

Bench Press Technique and Form Guide

Squat Technique and Form Guide

Power Clean Technique and Form Guide

What’s Next In Starting Strength?

You can head over to the Starting Strength official site and visit one of the many seminars they’re doing. If you enjoy strength building and helping others, you could also consider becoming a Starting Strength coach as well. Details for coaching can be found on their site as well.


Hi, I’m Adam!

I started my fitness journey in 2015 and haven’t looked back. I was about 30 pounds overweight, fat, lazy and not motivated. Via a series of unfortunate life events and feeling like I was lacking structure in my life, I decided to join my local gym. I dove head first into researching workouts, what worked and what didn’t along with supplements and anything else fitness related. I’ve never felt better!

Along my journey I also found out that I have low testosterone, that of an 80 year old man. 

With all of the fitness and and TRT research I’ve done, I figured it would be a great idea to start a blog and share that knowledge. Don’t hesistate to leave feedback or reach out with any question you may have via my Contact Me page.