Books You Should Read: Starting Strength

by Chris on October 14, 2011

Starting_StrengthI am a huge bookworm. I’m always reading at least one book, often multiple at the same time, and as a strength coach a large majority of the books I read are health and fitness related. I’ve read probably hundreds of training related books over the years from a variety of topics and levels. Recently I got the chance to read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore.

Let me start by saying that I wish I had read this book 10 years ago. Almost everything you might want to know about getting started with barbell training is in there. I’ve written many times about the benefits of simple barbell exercises and that’s what this book is all about. The book covers the big movements that are essential for building muscle and getting strong: the squat, bench press, deadlift, press and power clean. In addition to those exercises a few really excellent assistance movements are covered as well. All of the exercises mentioned in the book are covered in full detail including the setup and execution as well as common problems with their performance.

If you’re new strength training this book is a golden reference to get started. Had I read this when I was 13 or 14 just getting started in the gym I would be a whole lot stronger today. Even if you’re not new to training this book provides an excellent reference for learning proper technique and execution of the important lifts.

And for the strength coaches out there who may have years of experience I will say this: read it anyway. And if you read it a long time ago, read it again. I just read this book for the first time and I feel that I have an excellent foundation in barbell and strength training. However, reading Starting Strength gave me some new insight into coaching cues that I hadn’t thought of and refreshed old coaching cues that have gotten rusty.

Pick this book up. It’s a great read.


Sven August 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm

It’s a great book, indeed. But do you agree with all the squatting cues (such as elbows way back, look down, focus on driving the hips up and not trying to lead with the chest…)?

Chris August 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm


Some of the cues I agree with and use, others I don’t. I’ve developed my own squatting style over the years based on what I’ve found works. I’m planning on putting together a squat article & video soon, so keep your eyes open for that.

Sven August 13, 2012 at 7:40 am

Cool, I will!

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