Rippetoe’s Starting Strength is one of the most popular strength gaining programs ever made. We have decided to launch a series of downloadable training PDFs which includes all the best programs ever made so that you can simply download and print them off. All PDFs are designed to be simple to follow, clean, professional and high quality.
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Starting Strength is a classic and one of the best barbell-based training books ever written. Starting Strength (SS) devised by the brilliant Mark Rippetoe has grown a tremendous reputation over last decade or so for being able to help you add on plenty of poundage to each major lift. It’s important to start with the basics and there isn’t a simpler yet more effective strength program out there than SS.
As a rugby player, you want to become bigger, faster and stronger. If you look as strong as you are big then you will become a formidable force for the opposition to overcome. Increasing size alone isn’t feasible it’s important to increase strength, speed and power at the same rate to become a complete player. SS can also be used by anyone looking to improve their overall strength on key compound lifts. SS is one of the most popular training methods used in American Colleges and High Schools; this is mainly due to the effectiveness of the program and how simple it is to follow.
Mark Rippetoe has a strong opinion that if you are not using a barbell in your strength program, you are probably missing out on optimal results. Coach Rip is a huge fan of the big five exercises – Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Clean, Press.
The big problem with barbell training is that the majority of people don’t know how to do the lifts correctly; luckily for you there are plenty of guides on YouTube from Mark Rippetoe himself. We recommend you check out his videos after reading this training program to make sure you start the program using correct form.
The program is split into “Workout A” and “Workout B”. You will train 3x a week and before each session a warm up will be done. When warming up it’s essential to keep the reps low, this is to make sure you’re not fatigued before the working sets. Make sure all muscles you are working are warm so that you can decrease the risk of injury. An example of a warm up set before doing bench press would be the following:
Warm-Up 1 – the bar for 8 reps 2 sets
Warm-Up 2 – 40kg for 5 reps 2 sets
Warm-Up 3 – 50kg for 5 reps 1 set
Warm-Up 4 – 60kg for 3 reps 1 set
Warm-Up 5 – 70kg for 2 reps 1 set
Working-Set – 90kg for 5 reps 3 sets
The table above is an example of someone who would usually do 90kg to 100kg for their working set. If you do for example 50-60kg for your working set, warm up using the bar and then 30kg, 35kg, 40kg, 45kg then working set. Make sure you increase the weight slowly so that you get the muscle ready for the big three sets.
You will alternate “Workout A” with “Workout B” so for example week 1 would look like this:
Day 1 (Monday) – Workout A
Day 2 (Wednesday) – Workout B
Day 3 (Friday) – Workout A
Week 2 would look like this:
Day 1 (Monday) – Workout B
Day 2 (Wednesday) – Workout A
Day 3 (Friday) – Workout B
It is essential that you increase the weight EVERY SESSION. Progressive overload is key in SS so adding as little as 0.5kg every session will go a long way in 8 weeks. Make sure you understand that minor progress is better than no progress at all.
Diet and Supplementation
Many users of the SS program advocate GOMAD (Gallon of milk a day) we do not advocate such a drastic diet. As a rugby player or a general gym goer, looking good is an important aspect of weight training and so is athleticism. Adding unnecessary fat can be problematic, as it would decrease your performance. The lean approach is a far more effective, long-term strategy. You need to make sure you are getting enough protein in, 1 – 1.5g per pound of bodyweight is the optimal range. Additionally, you need to ensure that fats are at least 40g per day for optimal hormone production and the rest of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Many people have different carbohydrate intake, some people need a high amount while others don’t. Adjust accordingly and make sure you figure out your caloric maintenance for the day. By doing this you can add 500 calories on top of your maintenance, this will ensure you will be in a surplus and gain muscle mass and strength. It simply isn’t feasible to try to cover all aspects of nutrition here so check out the nutrition section on the website for more in-depth details.
Supplements don’t play a major role in this program but it would be beneficial to consume a whey protein shake post workout and some BCAAs before or intra workout. This will ensure optimal recovery times, as you will be squatting 3x a week you will need to recover as quickly as possible! Other beneficial supplements are multivitamins and fish oils, multivitamins will make sure your body has adequate vitamins and minerals for cell function whilst omega 3s will ensure your joints are lubricated and will improve your general well being.