What is Starting Strength?


The Starting Strength program is based on the best selling book, “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training” by Mark Rippetoe. The methods in this book outline the most effective and efficient way to perform the barbell lifts. The program has been applied to people of all ages and we continue to see the positive effect it has on their mind and body. The Starting Strength System makes use of the body’s most basic movement patterns – barbell exercises that involve all the body’s muscle mass – utilized over the longest effective range of motion and loaded progressively, to force the adaptations necessary for increased strength.

Unlike other popular exercise protocols, Starting Strength is a training system – a long-term process designed for getting stronger over time, not a random collection of exercises that just make you hot, sweaty, sore, confused, and tired today.

Seniors and older adults

There is no better program. As we age, we experience rapid decreases in muscle and bone mass. This results in loss of strength, balance, and mobility.  And it slows the metabolism.  A correctly structured barbell program, like Starting Strength, can reverse this trend and add quality years to your life.

“Strength training can slow, arrest, or even reverse many of the degenerative effects of aging: loss of muscle and strength, brittle bones, floppy ligaments, dysfunctional joints, and the decline of mobility and balance. Instead of losing muscle and replacing it with fat we can retain or even add healthy functional tissue. We can think of this as a “Physiological 401K”: saving strong muscle, hard bone, and full mobility for your future. Research makes it clear that even the very old can get stronger, improving their health and quality of life.”

-Dr.Jonathon Sullivan: The Barbell Prescription


For athletes, it is the foundation for building strength, size, power and speed.  You can’t run fast, jump high, or throw fast if you are WEAK.

Method Overview

The Starting Strength program revolves around learning and practicing the basic barbell lifts including the Squat, Press, Bench Press, Deadlift, and for athletes the Power Clean. Learning and practicing these lifts will develop the foundation for all future training to follow.

A common misconception about the Starting Strength program is that it is a “powerlifting” or “bodybuilding” program. It is not. Powerlifting and bodybuilding are highly specialized competitive sports and we understand that the majority of our clients have no interest in either.

The Starting Strength program is a basic strength & conditioning program that is appropriate for all novice trainees.

The video below is an explanation of the model by Paul Horn, Starting Strength Coach and owner of Horn Strength & Conditioning in Los Angeles, CA