What Is The Best Rippetoe Workout?

What is the best Rippetoe workout? There seems to be relatively little about this method of training on the Internet. Our forum members share what they have found about this beginner training program right here!

TOPIC: What Is The Best Rippetoe Workout?

The Question:

Have you ever heard of such a training method? Trying to keep up with the latest methods for lean muscle growth can be a daunting task. This method is gaining in popularity and has shown great promise for beginner and intermediate bodybuilders.

What is the best Rippetoe Workout?

What are the differences and similarities between Rippetoe and other methods (Pyramid, Rest Pause, Circuit, HST, Negative Reps, etc.)? Be as descriptive as possible.

Who would benefit the most by using the Rippetoe training method?

Bonus Question: Who created the Rippetoe method and how long has it been in use?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

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Honorable Mention: Best Regards View Profile

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Honorable Mention - Dallas68
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Have you ever heard of such a training method? Trying to keep up with the latest methods for lean muscle growth can be a daunting task. This method is gaining in popularity and has shown great promise for beginner and intermediate bodybuilders.

What Is The Best Rippetoe Workout?

Beginners will find Rippetoe's starting strength a great workout structure. This is possibly one of the best because of the amount of mass being gained by his trainees around 20-40 pounds in a good 3 months. Mark's program does focus on the core mass lifts which are compound in nature to build maximum muscle because of the recruitment of many muscle fibers to push out every ounce of energy you have in every set and every repetition.

The Starting Strength method is layered out as such. (Note this is directly from the forums, can't change a perfect layout. Will adjust where necessary for perfect coherence.

MATTA114'S Write Up

Authors Note: This workout was originally posted on the Bodybuilding.com Forums by the following member: MATTA114. It is based on a program from the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe & Lon Kilgore.


Week 1:

      • Monday - Workout A
      • Wednesday -Workout B
      • Friday - Workout A

Week 2:

      • Monday - Workout B
      • Wednesday - Workout A
      • Friday - Workout B

Etc. For the actual workouts read below:

Workout A:

    • 3x5 Squat
    • 3x5 Bench Press
    • 1x5 Deadlifts
    • **2x8 Dips (if you cant do these or no assist machine then do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press with your hands Facing each other)

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout A.

Workout B:

    • 3x5 Squat
    • 3x5 Standing military press
    • 3x5 Bent Rows (or power cleans)
    • **2x8 Chin-ups (recommended mainly if doing the cleans)

Note: This doesn't include warm-up sets (**)Means this is OPTIONAL

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout B.

Assistance Work:

Most people cant get it through their head that compound lifts also work your arms plenty and always insist on direct arm work. As quoted by Madcow2,

"Don't **** with this. Every bodybuilder seems to have
Attention Deficit Disorder and an overwhelming desire
to customize everything."

If you are one of these people note that you have the option of doing the dips and chins which give PLENTY of arm work. Abdominal work is fine to do also if needed.

I recommend weighted decline sit-ups and/or Hanging Leg Raises at 2x8-10.


As for the weight, make sure that you use the SAME weight throughout the sets. For example if I do the first set if Squats with 200 pounds then I do the other 2 sets of squats with 200 pounds.

Every week make it a goal to increase each of your lifts by 2.5%. Meaning if I lifted 100 pounds for my Bench Week 1 then Week 2 I would try for 102.5 pounds. If I did 200-pound squats Week 1 I would try for 205 pounds in Week 2. Sometimes you will be able to do more but don't mess with your form just to lift more.

Warm-up Sets:

Before all your working sets it is best to do a few warm-up sets. Specifically for your first lift. You don't have to do the whole thing for the other lifts but definitely the first.

What you do is you ramp your weight up to your working sets.

For Example:

      • 2x5xbar (sets x reps x weight)
      • 1x5x85
      • 1x3x125
      • 1x2x155

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Warm-Up Sets.

And the working set weight would be 175.

If you are lifting you're working sets fewer than 150 I would cut out the 3rd warm-up set of 1x5 because it won't be needed.

The Lifts:

**Used references and quotes from Madcow2 and Bodybuilding.com**

Barbell Squat:

These should be full range Olympic style squats. Use the full range of your body - that means as low as you can go which for almost everyone is past parallel. If the top of your thighs aren't at least parallel it's for sh!t. If you think this is bad for your knees going low, you and whoever told you that are relying on an old wife's tale.

Anyone who knows the human body will tell you that below parallel is MUCH safer on the knees whereas parallel and above put all the sheer right on them and doesn't allow proper transfer of the load to the rest of your body (this is how your body was designed).

Rest a barbell on the upper portion of your back, not your neck. Firmly grip the bar with your hands almost twice your shoulder width apart.

Position your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes should be pointing just a little outward with your knees in the same direction. Keep your back as straight as possible and your chin up, bend your knees and slowly lower your hips straight down until your THIGHS ARE AT LEAST PARALLEL TO THE FLOOR. Once you reach the bottom position, press the weight up back to the starting position.

To be honest ATG (@ss to the Grass) squats work the best IMO. What you do is you go ALL the way down until your hamstrings touch your calves and keep the same Olympic squat form.

Barbell Deadlifts:

Each rep is deweighted fully on the floor. No touch and go. This is called the 'dead' lift because the weight is 'dead' on the ground. You can touch and go warm ups but that's it.

This is a complicated exercise so here is Bodybuilding.com's detailed instructions on this lift.

Flat Barbell Bench Press:

Lie on a flat bench and firmly position your feet flat on the floor a little more than shoulder width apart. Keep your back flat on the bench! Using a grip broader than shoulder width, hold the barbell above your body, then lower slowly to the middle of your chest. Without bouncing the weight off your chest, drive the barbell up over the middle of your chest until your arms are straight and your elbows are locked. Lower the bar down slowly.

Standing Barbell Military Press:

Standing overhead presses. Supporting weight overhead is a fundamental exercise and stimulates the whole body. Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm's length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

Bent Barbell Row:

Raise barbell to your chest with your hands shoulder width apart. Lock your legs and hips. Keep your elbows in, slightly under your bar. Press bar to arm's length overhead. Lower to your upper chest or chin (depending on what is comfortable).

Power Clean:

This is also a very complicated exercise so here is Bodybuilding.com detailed instructions on this lift.


Hold the chin-up bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you) with your hands about 6-to-8 inches apart. Pull yourself up and try to touch either your chin or upper chest to the bar. Return slowly to the starting position. Do NOT swing back and forth! Using this grip works more of your biceps than your back or lats.


Using the parallel bars, grip the handles and push yourself up to your starting position. With elbows close to body and hips straight, lower body until shoulders are slightly stretched. Push body up in same posture and repeat. You can bend and cross your legs or keep them straight.

The Diet:

If you are bulking, which is what people usually do on this program, you need to be eating like there is no tomorrow. 3000-4000 calories a day. Make sure you get 1-to-2 x your bodyweight in protein (in grams) and more than that in carbs. Mark Rippetoe also suggests that you drink up to a gallon of milk a day and plenty of water.

Your bulk could be clean, but it's hard to do so. I suggest just going all out and getting any protein you can get your hands on. For example lean grilled chicken and egg whites is best but if you want to gain that muscle fast then ground beef, steaks, whole eggs, cheeses etc is great. Eat a lot of oats, pasta, wheat bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, etc.

Make sure you get a huge breakfast. Mark recommends 4 huge meals a day with breakfast being the largest. Make sure all your meals have plenty of both carbs and protein!

Also look into getting a PWO shake for post workout to get some carbs DIRECTLY into your system when you're done lifting. Then an hour later eat a meal. It's also good to eat a snack before bed. Just remember to get big you need to eat big because eating is 90% of your muscle gains.

Good luck and above all have FUN!


Other Methods:
What Are The Differences And Similarities Between Rippetoe And Other Methods (Pyramid, Rest Pause, Circuit, HST, Negative Reps, Etc.)? Be As Descriptive As Possible.

The similarity is that they are all unique programs designed to focus on maximum muscle recruitment, some being more vicious than others.

  • Pyramid sets confuse the muscle and allow heavier weights.

  • Rest pause teaches the body to stay actively stretched for longer periods than usual.

  • Circuit training is for people who are more readily active for fitness and not bodybuilding. Circuit training has a cardio component in it.

  • HST is for strength.

  • Negative reps are also another method to shock the muscles by focusing on the second movement in the exercise.

Rippetoe's methods could easily incorporate some of these into the program to create an even harder schedule.

Who Would Benefit?
Who Would Benefit The Most By Using The Rippetoe Training Method?

Beginners as said before will enjoy the gains made through hard work and becoming used to the conditioning involved. Athletes could garner large gains from this program by using the exercises which are mainly to focus the core and power to their chosen sport. Veterans could focus on bringing up certain aspects of their physiques as well with the program.

Who Created The Rippetoe Method?

Mark Rippetoe, hence the name, as well as Lon Kilgore. Both have impressive backgrounds in conditioning, training, Olympic lifting etc. - these are men to trust in.

Honorable Mention - Best Regards
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

So you want to learn about the Starting Strength program. Unfortunately there is only one Rippetoe program, which is called Starting Strength. And it is not one single "method" of training. It's the basics of the basics. The program focuses on increasing on the big lifts as often as possible, which the beginner would benefit from. Well, not only the beginner, but the weight trainer who has never followed a solid program before (no, the routines published in Muscle & Fitness are not solid routines).

No matter what your level of experience is however, your goal will always be to increase the weight on the big lifts. But the Rippetoe routine would be the best way to take full advantage of the "newb gains." Now before I start explaining the program I'd like to point out, this is not the latest and greatest new training method.

As a matter of fact full body 3x a week used to be how everyone trained. Then steroids got into the mix and pro bodybuilders found they could get big by doing these body part split routines and then starting publishing thing about it to the mainstream world, who does not take steroids. See where I'm going here?

Rippetoe-type programs are nothing new. They're just new to the U.S. bodybuilding world, who just so happens to be the least knowledgeable community out there on the muscle-building subject. Hopefully me saying that won't cost me a place. But it's the truth.

Other Methods:
What Are The Differences And Similarities Between Rippetoe And Other Methods (Pyramid, Rest Pause, Circuit, HST, Negative Reps, Etc.)? Be As Descriptive As Possible.

Ok you've got it totally confused with pyramid, rest pause, circuit, HST, and negative reps. None of these methods are applied to the Starting Strength routine. And HST, Hypertrophy Specific Training, is a routine of its own. It has nothing to do with Rippetoe.


The Starting Strength is your basic, 3x per week full body that focuses entirely around one exercise, the squat. You will do 3 sets of 5 on the squat, 3 times a week. Yeah, it may seem like a lot at first, but your body will adapt to the workload. The squat is the absolute mass builder.

You cannot beat this exercise. It will put muscle on your body faster than any other exercise as it uses more fibers than anything else. Here's a basic outline of the program:

Workout A:

    • Squat - 3x5
    • Bench Press - 3x5
    • Deadlift - 1x5

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout A.

Workout B:

    • Squat - 3x5
    • Overhead Press - 3x5
    • Power Cleans - 3x5 (can be substituted with rows)

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Workout B.

You'll set it up where you're doing:

      • Monday - A
      • Wednesday - B
      • Friday - A
      • Next Monday - B, and so on.

And you can obviously do it Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, or whatever. As long as the days are nonconsecutive.

A Pretty Basic Program:

As you can see it's pretty basic. Yeah, no isolated exercises. Trust me, if you want the smaller muscles to grow fast, the answer is not to do a bunch of isolated exercises. Think about bench for example. If I add 50 pounds to my bench press, not only will my chest have gotten bigger; but so would have my shoulders and triceps. Big time. And no, not just the front head of the deltoid. The entire head.

That's how the body grows. It adds muscle to the system as a result of the central nervous system getting stronger. And that would include every muscle responsible to help move the weight. Not just the muscles that "feel the pump." I know this may be difficult to many of you who love your arm training and feel sore the next day.

Some people on these boards would say it'd be acceptable to add in some chin-ups and dips. That would be fine you could add in two sets chins at the end of A day and/or two sets of dips at the end of B day. But if you do this you must add in absolutely no more arm work, even if it kills you.

I know there's a lot of you with tiny calves and really, really want them to grow. I understand. However it is unnecessary in this particular program. Think of what I said before, if I add 100 pounds to my squat, do you honestly think there is the slightest chance that my calves will have not exploded?

As a beginner, it won't take as long as you think to add that much to the squat. If you're more advanced but have never focused on linear progression (which is what increasing the weights consistently is called) your lifts will still go up a lot quicker than you think.


The Starting Strength book goes in depth explaining each exercise. Fortunately you all have the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Guide. The explanations in it are pretty clear and accurate. The only concerns would be that in the book, he specifically says that squats should be performed all the way, @ss to grass.

As far down as you can go. You'll find your glutes and hamstrings getting a lot more flexible as well. And also, the deadlift is deloaded every rep. Meaning, you let the weight go on the ground, wait a second or two, then perform the next rep.

As for the power clean, I know a lot of you couldn't possibly imagine not doing any back work (assuming you choose not to do the chins). So in the bodybuilder version of this, you may substitute rows for this. This is mainly aimed so we don't get a bunch of teens hurting themselves trying to do power cleans.

Power cleans are a difficult, complicated exercise. Hell, they basically have a sport of their own, Olympic lifting. The point is, if you have experience with this exercise and are careful, more power to you. Do them. But if not just do regular rows, which would be the second best thing. Better that than get yourself injured.

Abdominal work is also acceptable. I like to do 2 sets of weighted sit-ups after every workout. But just listen to your body. Nothing is written in stone. Just don't go overboard with it.

Don't mess with the program. I believe a member on this board named Madcow2 put it best,

"Don't **** with this program. Every
bodybuilder seems to have ADD and the overwhelming
desire to customize everything."

It's true. Just follow the program as written and focus on linear progression.


One more think I'd like to point out is diet. This is pretty much self-explaining. If you're going to get big you have to eat big. Period. No ifs, ands or buts. You must have a caloric excess for this program to work. And don't worry about fat if you're already skinny.

Rippetoe would have his high school clients needing to gain weight drink a gallon of whole milk a day. And they didn't get fat. If you're having to watch your weight, then just be careful in what you eat and eat cleaner. But you can't be afraid of food or else you'll overtrain faster than you know.

Who Would Benefit?
Who Mainly Would Benefit From The Rippetoe Program?

Well, it was written originally for raw beginners. But that was before the musclemania world bastardized everything. Now I think it would work great mainly for beginners and intermediate lifters who have been following BS routines their whole life. The easiest way to decide is to simply look at your max lifts. Are they sh!tty? Are they really good.

Well if they're really good, great job! You've done everything right up to this point and would benefit more from advanced methods of training. But if they're fairly low or average, try out the Rippetoe program. It can't hurt anything. If you're too advanced to the program, you just won't be able to increase long on it. Simple as that.

Just stay on the program for as long as you increase consistently on the main lifts. Typically this will last 3-4 months for the raw beginner. But like I said, nothing's written in stone. As long as you're increasing, you're not overtraining. You're increasing!! If your body was overtraining it wouldn't be getting stronger.

Who Invented The Rippetoe Method Of Training?

Well the obvious answer is Mark Rippetoe. However like I said this has been around forever. Rippetoe himself published this book in the 70s after years of coaching experience. But the basic linear progression methods emphasized in the book have been around forever. It all started with the Greeks when they would train with freakin' rocks and whoever could lift the biggest rock over their head was the biggest and strongest.

The point is, this is nothing new. Don't mistake this as some get-big-quick scheme created by a big company while they make big bucks from it. There's thousands of great trainers out there that put their clients on this program, regardless of their goal (bodybuilding, powerlifting, sports training, etc.)

Best regards with your training! And I hope you've gotten at least something out of this article.