The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Starting Strength

    Starting Strength:



    Starting Strength (SS) is both a book by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore and a routine that was spawned by the principles expounded in the book. This is not meant to be a substitute for the book, which is an invaluable resource for form descriptions and troubleshooting. I highly recommend that your purchase a copy of Starting Strength for your personal library. A Starting Strength DVD illustrating proper form is also available.

    The SS routine is designed for novice weightlifters. Whether you are a novice has nothing to do with how long youíve been lifting or how much you can lift. A novice is simply someone who can continue to make linear progress from workout to workout. Linear progress is the fastest way to get strong, so it is best to milk this method as long as you can.

    The Routine:


    There are many variations of SS floating around out there, but all of them focus on making linear progress on five of the most important barbell lifts. The following is the routine most people refer to as Starting Strength:

    Workout A (sets x reps):
    Squat 3x5
    Bench Press 3x5
    Deadlift 1x5

    Workout B (sets x reps):
    Squat 3x5
    Standing Barbell Overhead Press 3x5
    Powerclean 5x3

    **This does not include warm up sets, which are an important part of any workout.

    The routine has you in the gym three times a week, alternating workouts every other day. For instance, your first two weeks could look like this:

    Week 1:
    Monday: Workout A
    Tuesday: Off
    Wednesday: Workout B
    Thursday: Off
    Friday: Workout A
    Saturday: Off
    Sunday: Off

    Week 2:
    Monday: Workout B
    Tuesday: Off
    Wednesday: Workout A
    Thursday: Off
    Friday: Workout B
    Saturday: Off
    Sunday: Off

    The pattern would simply repeat thereafter.

    How to progress:


    You progress by adding weight to the bar every single time you are in the gym. The amount of weight you add to the bar will vary depending on a number of things including: sex, age, weight, diet, experience, etc. General guidelines for a healthy man would be to add:

    ē 5-20lbs to the deadlift
    ē 5-15lbs to the squat
    ē 2.5-5lbs to the bench press, overhead press and powerclean (Most gyms do not have weights that allow you to progress in 2.5lbs increments, so you will have to experiment with microloading. Visit you local hardware store and get creative with chains or washers in order to make smaller weights.)

    Big jumps will be easiest for complete beginners. As you progress on the routine your progress will slow and it will be necessary to make smaller jumps. It is better to be overly conservative than overly aggressive with your increases.

    Once you are unable complete the prescribed reps for a couple of workouts in a row you will benefit from a deload. Decrease the weight of your work sets by approximately 20lbs and work your way back up, restarting your progress.

    Depending on your experience, you should be able to progress on this routine for several months. Once you are no longer able to complete the prescribed reps and increase the weight from workout to workout, even after a couple of deloads, the routine has run its course and you are no longer considered a novice weight lifter.

    Rippetoe form videos:

    Squat
    Video


    Deadlift
    Video


    Press
    Video
    Last edited by Jorge Sanchez; 08-27-2009 at 01:00 PM.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    FAQ:

    How do I know what weights to use when starting SS?

    It is best to start conservatively. Start with a weight that is challenging but allows you to complete your prescribed sets and reps with good form.

    Iím a bodybuilder/powerlifter/competitive hockey player/etc. Is Starting Strength right for me?
    If you can continue to make progress from workout to workout, yes. As a novice, a generalized routine such as SS will help to develop a strong foundation and give you some valuable experience under the iron. Once you advance past the novice stage, it will be appropriate for you to specialize your training based on your goals.

    Iíve been lifting for six months/a year/five years/etc. Is SS right for me?
    If you can continue to make progress from workout to workout, yes. Linear progress is the fastest way to get strong so you should milk it for as long as you can.

    I bench/squat/deadlift/curl/etc. 225lbs. Is SS right for me?

    If you can continue to make progress from workout to workout, yes. Linear progress is the fastest way to get strong so you should milk it for as long as you can.

    I donít care about getting strong; I just want to get big. Is SS right for me?
    If you can continue to make progress from workout to workout, yes. If you eat enough, you will get big using SS. You need to get stronger to get bigger.

    I donít know how to squat/deadlift/overhead press/powerclean/bench press, how can I learn?
    The best way to learn any lift is to have an experienced coach (and no, most personal trainers donít count). Failing that, Starting Strength the book has very detailed instructions about how to perform the lifts.

    I donít know how to powerclean, can I replace them with rows?

    Many iterations of SS have rows in place of powercleans. If you do not have a very good reason not to (ie: injury), you should learn how to powerclean. That said, it will not be hugely detrimental if you replace powercleans with rows.

    SS doesnít look like very much. Can I add reps/sets?

    If you are going hard on every exercise, SS is more than enough and is very challenging. If you find things are too easy, add weight, not sets or reps. The exception to this is the powerclean, where you can add further sets across since the limiting factor is usually technique and not strength.

    SS doesnít look like very much. Can I add exercises?

    If you are going hard on every exercise, SS is more than enough and is very challenging. That said, it would be acceptable to add a small amount of exercises at the end of a workout as long as it doesnít interfere with your ability to recover in time for the next workout. If you are going to add exercises, dips and pull ups should be at the top of the list; curls and tricep extensions should be at the bottom. If in doubt, err on the side of fewer exercises.

    I have the first edition of Starting Strength. Should I buy the second edition?
    The second edition of Starting Strength includes more pictures and a chapter on accessory lifts. Buying the second edition is not strictly necessary, but it has more info.

    Should I buy the first or second edition of Starting Strength?

    The second edition of Starting Strength includes more pictures and a chapter on accessory lifts. Buying the second edition is not strictly necessary, but it has more info.

    What should my diet be like while Iím following SS?

    You will be able to make the best progress while bulking (eating more calories than you burn) on SS. A popular recommendation, particularly for skinny guys, is to drink a gallon of whole milk a day on top of your regular diet. You can maintain or cut (eat fewer calories than you burn) while on SS, but your progress will suffer.

    Can I do cardio while Iím following SS?

    Yes. Be sure that any exercise you do outside of the gym doesnít interfere with your ability to recover in time for your workouts. Also, if you are trying to gain weight, be sure to eat more to make up for any calories you burn while doing cardio.

    I've finished SS. What next?
    You'll need to progress to a more complex and specialized routine. It is important to determine what your goals are and how best to achieve them. Some good intermediate routines include the Texas Method, Madcow's 5x5 and a Westside template, just to name a few.

    How quickly should I perform the lifts?
    As fast as you can without sacrificing form.

    How long should I rest between sets?
    As long as it takes to recover from your previous set. The goal of this routine is to lift more weight and complete all your reps/sets, not finish the routine in a set amount of time.

    How do I perform a proper squat?
    Sensei's SquatRx series has lots of useful info on squat form: http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=100067



    If you have any questions or can think of any common questions that are not addressed in this post, please post them so I can add the answer to the FAQ
    Last edited by Jorge Sanchez; 05-27-2009 at 07:40 AM.
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  4. #3
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Sticky!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Great post Jorge.
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  5. #4
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    Hey George,

    I had this questions before. What I dont understand is why people do 5x3 for the power cleans. I have the book, and it says you should do 3x5 for the power cleans. He mentioned something like you use less weight on them, so you do more sets, but Im just following the program by the book. Im just questioning, if people found it more effective to change it to 5x3. Thanks in advance.

    Sorry I was doing sets x reps
    Last edited by Brian999; 05-18-2009 at 06:23 PM.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian999 View Post
    Hey George,

    I had this questions before. What I dont understand is why people do 3x5 for the power cleans. I have the book, and it says you should do 5x3 for the power cleans. He mentioned something like you use less weight on them, so you do more sets, but Im just following the program by the book. Im just questioning, if people found it more effective to change it to 3x5. Thanks in advance.
    Hey Brian, thanks for your question. I'll have to refer back to the book on that, but do you happen to know which page that is mentioned on?
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  7. #6
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    Yes, on page 292 he says you should do 3x5 for the power cleans, and on 293 he says "the power cleans can be done with more sets across, since the weight is lighter relative to the squat and deadlift, and the limiting factor is usually technique, not absolute strength". I thought people changed it up because the had a strong power clean or something. I did power cleans today . I have the second edition book btw.
    Last edited by Brian999; 05-18-2009 at 06:23 PM.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian999 View Post
    Yes, on page 292 he says you should do 5x3 for the power cleans, and on 293 he says "the power cleans can be done with more sets across, since the weight is lighter relative to the squat and deadlift, and the limiting factor is usually technique, not absolute strength". I thought people changed it up because the had a strong power clean or something. I did power cleans today . I have the second edition book btw.
    Thanks. The 5x3 is reps x sets, which is what I have written. He says you can do more sets across for powercleans, but I don't see where he suggests lowering the number of reps. I'll add a note to the FAQ about adding sets/reps for the powercleans, though. Thanks for pointing that out.
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  9. #8
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    Whoops I typed it wrong I mean 3x5, typed it wrong on my other posts. This is exactly from the book:

    Squat: Working set 5x3
    Bench Press: Working set 5x3
    Deadlift: Working Set 5x1
    Press:Working set 5x3
    Power Clean: Working set: 3x5

    Reps x sets here

    I always confuse the reps and sets. I have the book in front of me now and this is whats on there. I doubt my book has a typo. Check it out page 292.
    Last edited by Brian999; 05-18-2009 at 06:22 PM.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Sanchez View Post
    Can I do cardio while Iím following SS?
    Yes. Be sure that any exercise you do outside of the gym doesnít interfere with your ability to recover in time for your workouts. Also, if you are trying to gain weight, be sure to eat more to make up for any calories you burn while doing cardio.
    When is a time that "doesn't interfere with your ability to recover in time for your workouts?" I've only been running for 5 weeks (so right now I'm running about 2 miles, 3 times a day, and building up) and I just started the SS program today. My priority right now is building muscle (I'm basically a tall stick right now), but I want to keep running because it makes me feel good, and for overall cardiovascular health. If running is going to interfere with building muscle I'll stop, but if I can do both without them negatively affecting each other that would be ideal.

    It seems like there's no real good time to run since I'll be doing squats every other day. When would be the ideal time to run with this program, and will running about 3 miles, 3 times a week hinder muscle growth (assuming I eat enough)?
    Last edited by bizbob; 05-18-2009 at 06:28 PM.

  11. #10
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    I honestly wanted to do 5x3 for the power cleans, but people say not to f with the program, so I've been doing exactly as it says. I cleaned 135 today, and trust me I was burned out after all those sets.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian999 View Post
    Whoops I typed it wrong I mean 3x5, typed it wrong on my other posts. This is exactly from the book:

    Squat: Working set 5x3
    Bench Press: Working set 5x3
    Deadlift: Working Set 5x1
    Press:Working set 5x3
    Power Clean: Working set: 3x5

    Reps x sets here

    I always confuse the reps and sets. I have the book in front of me now and this is whats on there. I doubt my book has a typo. Check it out page 292.
    Well yours must be different than mine, because it says 3 sets of 5 reps in the table on pg 292 in mine. I've checked about 5 times now.

    Quote Originally Posted by bizbob View Post
    When is a time that "doesn't interfere with your ability to recover in time for your workouts?" I've only been running for 5 weeks (so right now I'm running about 2 miles, 3 times a day, and building up) and I just started the SS program today. My priority right now is building muscle (I'm basically a tall stick right now), but I want to keep running because it makes me feel good, and for overall cardiovascular health. If running is going to interfere with building muscle I'll stop, but if I can do both without them negatively affecting each other that would be ideal.

    It seems like there's no real good time to run since I'll be doing squats every other day. When would be the ideal time to run with this program, and will running about 3 miles, 3 times a week hinder muscle growth (assuming I eat enough)?
    If you can keep adding weight to the bar, odds are you're not interfering with your ability to recover.

    That said, long distance running can be very catabolic and you're burning precious calories that could be used for muscle building. I would recommend looking into HIIT as a good substitute.

    When you run is pretty unimportant. Don't do it immediately before your workout and you'll be fine.
    Last edited by Jorge Sanchez; 05-18-2009 at 06:59 PM.
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  13. #12
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian999 View Post
    I honestly wanted to do 5x3 for the power cleans, but people say not to f with the program, so I've been doing exactly as it says. I cleaned 135 today, and trust me I was burned out after all those sets.
    I know everyone says not to mess with the program, but doing 5 sets of 3 reps isn't going to ruin your progress. I'd stick with it, but if you have your heart set on 5x3, go for it.
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  14. #13
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Yea 3 sets of 5 reps is what it says. I think 5 sets of 3 reps would be better for cleans.
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 05-18-2009 at 07:33 PM.
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  15. #14
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    Im not trying to make you switch it Jorge, but I took this quick vid of the page with my phone since I sound like an idiot trying to say it says 3x5. Since people are saying it says 5x3, Im curious to weather or not my copy is wrong. Also on page 301 it says to do 3x5 for the power cleans as well. ZenMonkey- do you have the second edition, maybe Rippetoe switched it in the other book? My book is the second edition and it has an orange cover.




    The vid is kind of bad, sorry its from my phone.

    Last edited by Brian999; 05-18-2009 at 09:37 PM.

  16. #15
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    The vid is very bad actually, but at the end you could kind of see the 3

    Last edited by Brian999; 05-18-2009 at 09:41 PM.

  17. #16
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    It's 5x3 sets despite what the book says (which would be an error if it says 3x5). After reading Rip's forum every day for over a year now, he makes it clear that the program calls for 5 sets of 3 for power cleans.

    The reason being is because power cleans are so form dependent (even more then squats, deads, etc...), and any more then 3 reps at a time would be affected by fatigue.
    Last edited by brihead301; 05-19-2009 at 06:44 AM.
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  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Sanchez View Post
    Once you are unable to increase the weight for a couple of workouts you will benefit from a deload. Decrease the weight of your work sets by approximately 20lbs and work your way back up, restarting your progress.
    important point! I think people stop SS way too early usually because they don't try this tactic (and thus miss out reaping more gains).

  19. #18
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    Bri is right - my brother just got back from training with Rip and he explicitly told him 5x3 for cleans.

  20. #19
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    Thanks for the sticky. I was originally going to do Rows but think I'll try powercleans now.

  21. #20
    Crikey, its a 30 foot ape! Kong's Avatar
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    Finally a SS sticky! Now i don't have to keep posting the StartingStrengthWiki link all the time!
    Current 1RM's - Bench 264lbs (Target 308lbs)/Squat 396lbs (Target 352lbs)/
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  22. #21
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian999 View Post
    Im not trying to make you switch it Jorge, but I took this quick vid of the page with my phone since I sound like an idiot trying to say it says 3x5. Since people are saying it says 5x3, Im curious to weather or not my copy is wrong. Also on page 301 it says to do 3x5 for the power cleans as well. ZenMonkey- do you have the second edition, maybe Rippetoe switched it in the other book? My book is the second edition and it has an orange cover.




    The vid is kind of bad, sorry its from my phone.

    I never thought you were an idiot or were making it up. It is odd that they're different, though, given that I also have the 2nd edition. Clearly it says five sets of three reps in yours. Given the anectodal evidence I'd tend to think yours is correct. I'll change it now.
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  23. #22
    Sack Up! mcdonough9395's Avatar
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    Nice!
    Confidence ... Its The Food Of The Wise Man ... But The Liquor Of The Fools.

  24. #23
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    Im waiting for my copy of the book to arrive. in the meantime hopefully those who have the book can feild some questions.
    Should the exercises be done slowly? I read someone else commented they should be done 'energeticcally'. I would have thought if form is so important slowly would be the go.
    ?

  25. #24
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    Do the lift as fast as you can without sacrificing form. Don't intentionally lift slowly.
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  26. #25
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    So Im about to start SS. Im 61 kgs and have my diet sorted out for 1000 over maintanence. Im 12 % bf.

    If I stay on track with diet and sleep etc and lift hard in good form increasing weight each workout. How should things be looking after 2 months? What should I expect to gain?
    I figured maybe putting on 10 kilos over two months maybe 3 of that being fat. What should I expect?

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