Woody's Training Tips

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The gains made during the first months of training as a novice are envied by seasoned lifters. This program will help someone starting out in strength training get used to doing major gym movements, and pile on a load of strength and muscle in the process.

Taken straight from a bodybuilding blog:

Program Basics

There are 3 "Starting Strength" programs presently.

The "original novice program", as written in Starting Strength, is as follows:

Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Standing military press
3x5 Power cleans

You train on 3 nonconsecutive days per week.

So week 1 might look like:
Monday - Workout A
Wednesday - Workout B
Friday - Workout A

Week 2:
Monday - Workout B
Wednesday - Workout A
Friday - Workout B

If you choose Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday or Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday as your workout days, the planets won't get knocked out of alignment, so don't sweat this one, as long as you get in 3 workouts on 3 non-consecutive days each week. NO, YOU CANNOT TRAIN 2 CONSECUTIVE DAYS, so don't ask.

In Practical Programming, due out the 1st or 2nd week of December 2006, Rippetoe recommends that a set/rep scheme of 5x3 (5 sets, 3 reps, instead of 3 sets, 5 reps) can be performed on the power clean, and is possibly advantageous, especially once power clean technique improves.

He also allows for replacing the clean with the bent row, with certain technique caveats (again, see the Exercise section in this write-up, as always, check the Table of Contents) He prefers the power clean, but in many cases, the power clean is not safely performed, or is impractical.

This is the format that I have used and recommended for the majority of peeps new to weight training. I suppose we can refer to it as "Kethnaab's novice program adjustment"

Workout A
3x5 Squat
3x5 Bench Press
1x5 Deadlift

Workout B
3x5 Squat
3x5 Standing military press
3x5 Pendlay Rows

Essentially, the programs are the same. Day 1 is a squat, a press, and a heavy pull from the floor. Day 2 is a squat, a press, and a lighter pull from the floor. Simple, easy, basic and effective.

All sets listed are "work sets" in the format "sets x reps per set". The nomenclature does not include warmups (discussed in Section V - Specific Routine Questions - look in the Table of Contents). All sets are done with the same weight (known as "sets across" - look in Table of Contents, Section VIII for further info). You should be working quite hard by the last set of each exercise, but ALL exercises are done with perfect technique (look in the Exercise section of the Table of Contents)

What? Were you looking for some incredibly complex training program? 3 exercises per day, 3 times per week? That's it????

Considering all the discussion on this program, you may have been expecting it to contain intricate details and incredibly complex variables, and all you get is a full body workout, 3 days a week?

Yup, it's that simple. These are the 2 base programs that everyone should start with. Pick one that suits your abilities/goals.

End of plagiarism.

I would recommend adding 2.5 - 5kgs to your legs exercises, and 1 - 2.5kgs on upper body exercises as soon as the prescribed amount of sets and reps becomes easy (insert also easier/comfortable/not hellish). You may find that you can do this session on session, week on week, or month on month. Regardless of the progression, as soon as you are unable to lift the weight for the full amount of sets and reps for three sessions in a row - you will need to perform a 'reset' on the weight used.


Using the above program as an example, I have been working hard and my 3 x 5 squat has reached 97.5kg.

On Monday during workout A I decide to have a bash at 100 and get the following results - set 1= 5, set 2= 4, set 3= 3. This counts as strike one.

On Wednesday I try again. set 1 = 5, set 2 = 5, set 3 = 4. Strike two.

Friday comes and I am amped to crush this weight. set 1 = 5, set 2 = 3, set 3 = 5. Strike three. Time to reset.

After 3 strikes at 100kg, I reset my squat weight to 90% (90kg) and begin the linear process of adding weight again.


Monday 3x5 @ 90
Wednesday 3x5 @ 92.5
Friday 3x5 @ 95

and so on until hopefully I break through the iron ceiling and am smashing 240kg back squats for fun.

Research is king - if this kind of thing sounds like your glass of vodka - do some investigatory work online and read up how others have got on with it. There is piles of information waiting to be discovered thanks to our friend Google.

Where next?

5/3/1 Program How to Build Pure Strength. This program (developed by Jim Wendler)is a very simple and effective


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