Starting Strength

Starting Strength is a beginner’s strength training program designed by Mark Rippetoe to prepare a novice lifter to lift heavy things. Rip has written an excellent training book detailing the lifts you need to perform and the methodology behind the program, which is very simple: increase weights in a linear manner while maintaining impeccable technique. If you want to learn about the slow lifts and power cleans and snatches, you can ask us for help, but we also suggest you buy and read Rip’s book. Even if you feel you are an advanced lifter, we strongly suggest that you begin this program with very light weights, as light as an empty bar, and focus on perfecting your technique before you add weight. Since you will be squatting three times a week, and adding 5 pounds every time you lift, you will be squatting significant weights in no time. If strength is your goal, we suggest you follow this program and ONLY this program for quite a while, and supplement your diet with lots of extra food, or whole milk if your system can tolerate it.


Row 500m at an easy pace or bike a half mile before every single workout. This is not optional. This coupled with mobility work and your warmup sets should be enough, but judge for yourself if you need more time or movement prep.

Work set rep schemes:
Back Squat: 3 sets of 5 reps (3X5 – Monday Wednesday Friday)
Press: 3 sets of 5 reps (3X5 – Alternating days with bench press)
Deadlift: 1 set of 5 (1X5 – Monday)
Bench Press: 3 sets of 5 reps (3X5 – Alternating days with press)
Power Clean: 5 sets of 3 reps (5X3 – Wednesday)
Power Snatch: 5 sets of 3 reps (5X3 – Friday)

Once you have done this program for some time and are used to the workload, you can supplement your lifting with one extra bodyweight strength element, to be performed after your lifts. We recommend pullups or inverted rows, dips or pushups, or handstand work.

How to use the spreadsheet:
Your workload on this program is meant to follow a linear progression. As such, if you complete all of the asigned work sets while maintaining perfect position and technique, the next time you perform those lifts you will add 5 pounds. Simply enter your starting weights for week 1 in the yellow boxes in Column A. The spreadsheet will calculate 3 warmup sets and shows you the number of reps for each set. Enter the number of reps completed for each ‘work’ set in the yellow boxes under “Reps Completed” and the spreadsheet will calculate your warmup and work set weights for the next time you are scheduled to perform that movement.

RUCF Starting Strength Template

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