Postcast Transcripts

Book Review – Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe and Andy Baker (transcript, unrecorded)

Hey, this is Kevin Driscoll for The Rusting Barbell Blog Podcast – Volume 2, Episode 6 April 16th, 2018.  A podcast about weight training; power lifting; Olympic lifting; book review and article review, all with a focus on functional training with barbells. Please note, you should consult a professional regarding the exact mechanics and form of any exercise discussed. Remember to always consult with your doctor, health care professional, personal trainer, or coach before starting any exercise routine or trying any exercise discussed in this podcast.

Today’s topic: Book Review – Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe and Andy Baker

Softcover?: Yes

Copyright: 2013 as the 3rdEdition

Pages: 257

Table of Contents: Yes, pretty thorough.

Bibliography: None.  However, there are citations throughout the book pointing you to additional sources of information and reading.

Index: Thorough

Having stumbled across Bill Starr’s “Original 5×5 Training Routine” and having a general knowledge that Mr. Starr was very friendly with Mr. Rippetoe, I got the impression a lot of Mr. Rippetoe’s programming is based on Mr. Starr’s but altered, edited, adapted to specific populations through years of hands on training and coaching at Mr. Rippetoe’s gym.  I could argue Mr. Rippetoe could pen a doctoral thesis based on the years of research and study of strength gains made by client and gym members under his guidance.

The book is a superb supplement to the Starting Strength publication discussed in an earlier podcast.  It has a great deal of scientific back ground and appears to be written for coaches interested in getting certified in the Starting Strength method of barbell training. For the novice, weight lifting book collector, or someone just interested in either starting or changing his or her programming yet trying to do so with an intelligent plan, this is the book.

At first, one, including myself, might be tempted to skip over all the scientific stuff but you can’t climb to the top without using the steps.  The sections on adaptation, strength as a foundation of performance, and physiology of adaptation might be slow reading and little too much info, but they provide the needed information for the reader to understand and put the pieces all together once the chapters on program basics and discussions about specific training levels and special populations come along.

The photos presented in the book certainly supplement and support the manuscript but if the reader is looking for exercise descriptions and explanations, this isn’t the book.

I spent a lot of time on Chapter 5, Training Program Basics.  Having been a 10-8-6-4-2-1 (pyramid) trainee for so many years, it was a wake up call to learn the 5×5 method is certainly more conducive to strength training.  Mark points out using the pyramid method properly would leave the trainee “exhausted” by the time he or she got to the maximal end of the lifts.  Thus, it is more likely (and true for me, anyway) that the trainee would get stuck at the 1 rep maximal lift for a very long time.

The book also discusses training day frequency, workout order, exercise variation and warm up.  Solid information even as a refresher for myself.  I have to admit, I am still skeptical about the 3 day split version but the years of research speaks for itself.  Now, the rest of the world recognizes the 3 day split to be Mon Wed Fri (Tues Thurs Sat) or some similar version.  Oddly, the 2 day split is actually four days, Mon Tues and Thurs Fri. Usually the 2 day split is the push / pull training method (maybe something like squat, bench, and press on one day and deadlift, power clean, bent over rows on the second day.  My version of the 3 day split is Squat / Bench on day 1, Press / Row on day 2, Dead / Power Clean on day three,  one day after the other, resting on day 4 and starting again on day 5 – which is really day 1 all over again.

I was particularly interested in the Heavy Light Medium program on page 165. This is a Bill Barr derivative.

I’m not sure where I fall in terms of the trainee catagories.  Considering I have to admit I have never fully cycled through all the Novice charts, I can’t consider myself an Intermediate even though I’ve been lifting since the fall of 1980.  At 54 years of age I find myself gravitating towards the chapter on “Older Lifters”.  I was drawn to the 1 day on / 2 day off cycle with A/B workouts.  A day being squat 3 sets of 5, bench 3 sets of 5 and deadlift 1 set of 5.  B day being squat 3 sets of 5, press 3 sets of 5 and power clean 5 sets of 3.  Then again, there is a Mon Wed Fri version using ABA on week one and BAB on week two.  But, enough about me.

There isn’t too much about supplemental exercises and considering this is about programming for strength training, that material is not really suited for this book.  However, in the intermediate and advanced programs there are different exercises introduced into the training models.

Remember, consult your doctor and exercise professional prior to starting any workout or trying any exercises discussed in this podcast.

This is Kevin Driscoll for The Rusting Barbell Blog Podcast.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s