This is really embarrassing for me, but I gotta put it out there.
It’s no secret that I’m big on simple, old school strength training. That just makes it even more odd that I’m only just finishing up Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. Many years ago I wanted to get it, but got Practical Programming instead. Now I know that’s the wrong way to do it.
Starting Strength is really one of the first books you should read on strength training. But for some reason it’s a bit like the Bible – nobody has read it, yet everybody has an opinion on Rip’s teachings. Especially the “hip drive” part.
Rip puts it very clearly in the book though: the hip drive does NOT mean you change your back angle.
Instead of cueing “chest up” or something similar, Rip uses the hip drive. Why? Because an exaggerated chest up-position kills the power from the posterior chain. That simple.
You may not agree with the style Rip teaches the squat, and you may want to squat with a different (higher) bar position. That’s fine. I still believe you should read this book (multiple times) as it does a great job of explaining in detail the physics of lifting.
Something as simple as explaining WHY it’s safe to squat deep. Most people who train seriously know it, but if somebody you coach ask you why – you better have a better answer than “because I say so” or your coaching career is gonna be real short.
Rip has a reputation for saying “YNDTP” (You’re not doing the program) and being very set in his ways. I guess it’s got a lot to do with the retardedness of people on the internet. If one guy asks you if he can “run a little on the side” and you say “sure, you can run 2-4k on saturday at an easy pace” before you can drink a gallon of milk, he’s out there running 10k 4 days a week. Afterall, the basic program outlined in the book is not a “for life” kind of program. It’s an all-or-nothing assault on weakness and lack of bodyweight. Oh and Rip actually recommends that people with 20-25% BF control their carbs and eat a paleo-type diet WITHOUT the gallon of milk. The milk part is only for the skinny folks.
And you know what? It’s pretty good advice. If you can stay on a linear progression for just twelve weeks you’re gonna add 90 kg to your squat. You NEED tons and tons of calories to make that possible.
Starting Strength is not just a great book. It’s a great philosophy on how to approach strength training. Start off by going all-in on building a foundation. Disregard your abs – they’re easy to dig out again later. Keep adding weight and pushing your bodyweight up until you’re at ~20% bodyfat.
Stick to the linear progression as long as you can. Then dig deeper, eat more and stick to it a couple of weeks more. COMPLETELY exhaust the linear progression. Then reset and go at it again. Six months of basic barbell training is the best gift any training can give themselves when they’re starting out.
Everything is easier when you’re strong(er) and big(ger). Getting lean is easier, playing sports is easier, conditioning is easier and getting laid is easier.
What’re you waiting for?
Get the book here: Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and get started. It’s NEVER to late to start over.