Why I think starting strength is the best beginner strength program

February 24th 2018

Approving Starting Strength

Original Photo Credits to

In 2013, I recently enrolled in college and was looking to gain some strength. I was playing basketball for 11 years and decided at the time that strength training would supplement my basketball training.

After doing my research, I decided to do starting strength. I occasionally lifted weights in high school and did one year of a bodybuilding style program. But this program appealed to me.

You can purchase the latest version of Starting Strength below:

Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition - Get your copy here

Or get a summarized version here.

Keep in mind that the book is very detailed and provides a lot more explanation than any online resource.

Nevertheless, here are 3 reasons why starting strength is the best beginner strength program

  1. Simplicity
  2. Straight-forward
  3. Time Efficient


Three times a week. Alternate between two sets of workouts - workout A and B. 3 exercises per workout.

It really does not get any simpler than this. 3 compound movements that are put together per workout to achieve great results.


If you fail, you either get 3 tries to make it or you reset and 90% of the missed weight next workout.

That is it! There are no other variables to decide on the workout. It is 3 sets by 5 reps. Hit the total 15 reps and move up in weight next workout.

Time Efficient

Since the workout is simple, there is no need to waste time doing other accessories. Granted, there are variations of starting strength but for most variations, there is no time wasted on accessories.

All of your time will be spent on training compound movements. As a result, you are saving time by always training multiple muscle groups, resulting in faster progress.

My Experience

So in Jan 2014, after recovering from the flu, I started running the starting strength program.

My beginning numbers were:

  • 155 lbs back squat
  • 85 lbs overhead press
  • 95 lbs power clean
  • 145 lbs front squat
  • 215 lbs deadlift
  • 145 lbs bench press (no pause)

In May 2014, my numbers were:

  • 275 lbs back squats for 5 reps
  • 120 lbs overhead press for 3 reps
  • 280 lbs deadlift for 3 reps
  • 170 lbs bench press for 5 reps (paused)
  • 12 pullups

Midway through the program, I took out cleans and replace them with pullups. Also, I replaced the front squats with only low bar back squats.

Running this program for 5 months taught me a lot. It helped trained my mind and forced me to learn what my strengths and weaknesses were.

That being said, you will eventually realize the program?s weaknesses. One of which is as follows:

Unsustainable forever

If you can improve each workout for a month, try doing so for 6 months. A year. 2 years.

Eventually, we slow down progression to allow our bodies to recover enough. This is one reason why weekly and monthly progression programs exist.


Every program has its strengths and weaknesses, otherwise why would there be so many different programming styles. However, starting strength offers way too many pros to neglect. Give it a try and commit to it as if it was the best program.

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