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  1. #1
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    Why the traditional Rippetoe/SS program sucks balls.

    I hope this does not degenerate into a split versus full body debate. That has been done to death a million times. In this thread I am going to address why I believe in SS and higher frequency training, but also why I believe that the traditional SS route is not optimal. I will endeavour to make this a logical post.

    Preface - Results speak loudest
    When people I coach ask me for diet advice, I flat out refuse to give it to them. Why? Because I sure as hell am not lean enough to be giving out diet advice. The same applies for everything you do, and the training advice you take. I know big legs, big squats, big deadlifts and strength training. I don't know how to sculpt your rear deltoid, and until I have an awesome pair myself, you would be an idiot to take my advice. I don't take advice from people weaker than me, or who are not where I want to be.

    Let's be honest. How many people have we seen finish Rippetoes and look awesome? I'm hard pressed to find any. Even Rippetoe himself posted this one horrendous looking chubby guy as his flagship lifter and justification for the program... hardly convincing, and rightly so.

    Now the question is, is this because full body training is flawed? Absolutely not. I simply think SS criminally neglect important training aspects in an over zealous attempt to 'simplify.'

    Now, I'll break things down into various justification.

    1. Why higher frequency for the beginner.
    Typically this applies to the weak, under conditioned and skinny or fat/weak guys. People with a comprehensive need a slightly different approach. For simplicities sake, we will stick to the skinny 130 pounder.

    People need to break out of this false paradigm of 'split versus fully body' and various stupid **** like 'gh release from squats make your arms bigger.' This type of thinking belongs in the early 2000's when fat guys who lift weights got on the internet and started justifying why they look like ****.

    The issue at hand is FREQUENCY. How many times a week are you performing movements. For the absolute beginner this is extremely important. Why? Because the more often you perform a squat, bench, dead, press etc, the faster you teach your CNS to activate what you have. This is crucial for laying the foundation for the rest of your career.

    By far my best body part are my legs, and what did I do? Squat a ****load, and often. Prior to injuries I would squat more often in a month than most people will in 2 years of training. This has incredible results, and it's because of the same reason splits seem to work. I know that seems weird, but think how much VOLUME I get training at high frequency. Doing 60+ reps a week at 90% of 1rm is going to do things to your legs that not even the most intense 20 set leg session will.

    So, this is why the principle behind SS works so well. It just gets people training often, and training heavy. Any beginner I train does a modified SS, but until 6 months I won't have the results to show you all. I will detail my modifications later.

    Results speak loudest.

    2. So what's wrong with the current SS set up?

    Current SS program is

    ABA, BAB week to week.

    A
    Squat 3x5
    Bench 3x5
    Rows/cleans 3x5
    2x8 chins*

    B
    Squat 3x5
    MP Press 3x5
    Deads 1x5
    2x8 dips

    *Optional

    a. It's too easy at the start, 3x a week for an absolute beginner is a joke. If we take a typical 5lbs increase starting at 85lbs, and a 15lbs increase a week, then getting to 225 3x5 takes upwards of 10 weeks... too long imo. I have two guys who are hitting rock bottom 2 plates after 4 and 6 weeks. And if you're doing a super high calorie diet you simply get fast whilst wasting 3 months getting a barely passable standard.

    (Before you all nit pick about this, take on the general idea, don't start bitching about the specific numbers)

    b. Poor exercise selection.

    We typically see people come off Rippetoes with tiny rear delts, relatively weak upper backs. Some people choose to powerclean which is absolutely idiotic. It takes far too much technical prowess to get a powerclean to adequately work the upper back. So people are pressing OH and flat benching 3x a week with literally no rowing movement. Some are smarter and do BB rows, but I believe the beginner lacks coordination to properly do rows in a way that combats the internal rotation from the pressing. Also, the chin ups are treated as optional when they should be mandatory, cause squatting works those lats... right?

    Furthermore, the back squat 3x a week is also not optimal. I believe that the session B should instead have a front squat once the beginner is able to squat over 135lbs. I'm a huge believer in teaching front squats early, but as I said, I need my guys to get the results before I'm 100% convinced. As the program gets more challenging, having the different squat will help alleviate much of the stress and anxiety people being to feel around it.

    c. Too much 'don't curl idiocy.'
    I like to think in general, the internet lifting world has grown up from its infancy. Yes, we get it, people curl in the rack and you want to make yourself feel better by ripping on them. STFU.

    Direct arm work is NOT an issue on SS, and should be entirely descretionary depending on your mood for the day.

    3. So what do we do instead

    a. Train more often! I advocate a minimum 3x a week, but how often are beginners, once the initial soreness subsides after the first week gunning to train more. To which fat unconditioned idiots always cry 'overtrainig.' Let me make this very clear. Someone who can't squat 225x5 is physically incapable of overtraining. You simply do not have the CNS recruitment to overtrain. So, instead of sticking to the A B A, B A B, format, train as often as you feel like it. If you can go 6 days straight alternating the two workouts, all the power to you, if you are starting to feel to beaten up, drop back to 3-4. Either way, just train MORE often. You need to stop thinking session to session, and instead sit back and realise how much more volume you will complete over a 6 month period training 4x a week instead of 3. That's a 33% load increase just from doing one extra session.

    b. Be smart with the exercises.
    Don't powerclean. Try and do rows, but most importantly you MUST do the chin ups, Preferably widish grip and overhand, following workout A. If you are feeling good, do DEEP dips for workout B. I also have no issue if the beginner does something like cable rows after the chin ups. SS is extremely negligent of the upper back.

    c. If you want to curl. do the ****ing curls for ****s sake.

    [b]What should it look like instead[b]

    The two days:
    A
    Squat 3x5
    Bench 3x5
    Chins 15-20 total reps, add weight or use assisted.
    Rows 3x5 SUPER STRICT.
    Optional: Cable rows, 3x8 bicep work, 3x8 rear delt flyes, do this at your own discretion. If you don't feel like it, don't worry

    B
    Front squat 3x5
    MP 3x5
    Deadlifts 1x5
    Optional: 15-20 reps of dips, 3x8 tricep work

    Training frequency:
    I prefer people not to think about training on the exact say, I simply suggest a minimum of 3 sessions. If you are feeling good, are eating lots and recovering well, trying and train more. Sometimes people have bad days, feel tired, stay up pate to finish assignments, and some days you wake up ready to squat Jupiter.

    DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO TRAIN MORE. SIMPLY ADD OR DEDUCT SESSIONS PER A WEEK AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION DEPENDING ON HOW YOU FEEL.

    LIKEWISE, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO DO THE OPTIONAL WORK, JUST JUDGE IT ON THE FAY


    I think on this program, most people will get where they want much faster after having built a fantastic base. I strongly dislike SS in its original template, and believe this not only better, but more fun. This also addresses the imbalances we see so often coming out of Rippetoes.

    I wish to state one more time, for the beginner I think higher frequency is the absolute best to get those rapid changes. If after 3-5 months things slow down significantly, do whatever you want. Upper/lower, a full blown 5 day split, whatever. Either way, I think the work capacity you develop from training like this will aid you in whatever your goals are.

    I also just turned 19. I feel old.
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  2. #2
    Bitch Beater musclefreak69's Avatar
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    i agree, but what i see happening too often is some beginner try to modify rippetoes themselves and end up doing it completely wrong
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    Quality post mate.
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    Originally Posted by musclefreak69 View Post
    i agree, but what i see happening too often is some beginner try to modify rippetoes themselves and end up doing it completely wrong
    So because someone is adding maybe 1-2 exercises that are going to keep them healthy in the long run is going to end with them messing it up?.

    get the **** outta here.
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    Registered User babylover's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    So because someone is adding maybe 1-2 exercises that are going to keep them healthy in the long run is going to end with them messing it up?.

    get the **** outta here.
    DO NOT START THIS ****. PLEASE.

    YOu took that post out of context. Do not turn this into a flame fest.
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  6. #6
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    Fully agree with this

    People are so brainwashed and anal "DO IT EXACTLY AS IT SAYS OTHERWISE IT ISN'T SS BLAH BLAH"

    Get a grip.
    ☆ S:255/B:210/DL:355 ☆

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    DEADLIFT: 400

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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    So because someone is adding maybe 1-2 exercises that are going to keep them healthy in the long run is going to end with them messing it up?.

    get the **** outta here.
    thats actually not what i said at all. can you read? i agree with everything in the op's post

    but too many beginners end up adding way too much isolation and ruining the program.


    and what do you mean keep them healthy? lol just because you dont know how to lift and injured yourself doesnt mean that will happen to everyone
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    Registered User T_O_R's Avatar
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    So you're saying you as a 19-year old have more knowledge on this subject than Mark Rippetoe who has 20+ years of experience in coaching lifters?

    Also, SS is not a bodybuilding program, it is designed for STRENGTH. Did you ever try it?

    I agree with the part about powercleans, they shouldn't be done unless you have a coach to watch you, but rows work as a substitute.
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    Originally Posted by T_O_R View Post
    Also, SS is not a bodybuilding program, it is designed for STRENGTH. Did you ever try it?
    Dude OP is a powerlifter, giving a different angle on SS, im sure he knows what hes talking about.
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  10. #10
    Registered User babylover's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by T_O_R View Post
    So you're saying you as a 19-year old have more knowledge on this subject than Mark Rippetoe who has 20+ years of experience in coaching lifters?

    Also, SS is not a bodybuilding program, it is designed for STRENGTH. Did you ever try it?

    I agree with the part about powercleans, they shouldn't be done unless you have a coach to watch you, but rows work as a substitute.
    Mark Rippetoes best deadlift is 584 in competition @ 220

    Mine is 638 @ 220.

    I know what I'm talking about.
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    Originally Posted by musclefreak69 View Post
    thats actually not what i said at all. can you read? i agree with everything in the op's post

    but too many beginners end up adding way too much isolation and ruining the program.


    and what do you mean keep them healthy? lol just because you dont know how to lift and injured yourself doesnt mean that will happen to everyone
    Obviously you know ****all about lifting, by healthy i mean keepin the rear delts balanced in comparison to the front delts which your not going to get if your doing 2 pressing movements and 1 pulling movement.

    which is why OP has added exercises in, pretty good common sense you retard.

    go back to sucking rippetoes left nut you dogmatic twit.
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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    Obviously you know ****all about lifting, by healthy i mean keepin the rear delts balanced in comparison to the front delts which your not going to get if your doing 2 pressing movements and 1 pulling movement.

    which is why OP has added exercises in, pretty good common sense you retard.

    go back to sucking rippetoes left nut you dogmatic twit.
    I appreciate your sentiment, but this tone does not help.
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    Good thread. What do you think about Madcows?
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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    which your not going to get if your doing 2 pressing movements and 1 pulling movement.

    .

    lol ive never isolated my rear delts and my shoulders are not imbalanced

    also i didnt realize it was unhealthy to have a slight muscle imbalance when a ton of people have muscle imbalances.

    lol, just go to sleep
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  15. #15
    Registered User babylover's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by donaldtheduck View Post
    Good thread. What do you think about Madcows?
    I think it's an excellent program. Has similar issues with SS that I found, but I agree with the principle.
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    Originally Posted by musclefreak69 View Post
    lol ive never isolated my rear delts and my shoulders are not imbalanced

    also i didnt realize it was unhealthy to have a slight muscle imbalance when a ton of people have muscle imbalances.

    lol, just go to sleep
    "lol ive never isolated my rear delts and my shoulders are not imbalanced"

    nice logic

    So you didn't realize muscle imbalances are unhealthy? lmao

    don't worry i'm going don't want to ruin this thread that will benefit people in the long term.
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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    "lol ive never isolated my rear delts and my shoulders are not imbalanced"

    nice logic

    So you didn't realize muscle imbalances are unhealthy? lmao

    don't worry i'm going don't want to ruin this thread that will benefit people in the long term.
    lol you cant explain my statement other than by saying "nice logic"


    btw have you ever tried shutting the fuck up? it might benefit people in the long term
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    Great read my friend, and if you want test subjects to further back your reasoning, I am more than willing to stop the traditional SS and start up your program. I always get bored half way through my workouts doing SS because of the simplicity and redundancy. In addition to that, I also feel as though more frequency would be more beneficial because some days after a good workout I feel even better and ready to go again even harder.

    Thank you for this post bro.
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    Originally Posted by ving320 View Post
    Great read my friend, and if you want test subjects to further back your reasoning, I am more than willing to stop the traditional SS and start up your program. I always get bored half way through my workouts doing SS because of the simplicity and redundancy. In addition to that, I also feel as though more frequency would be more beneficial because some days after a good workout I feel even better and ready to go again even harder.

    Thank you for this post bro.
    Would LOVE for you to start this. Please take pics etc, but I think this would benefit you much more. The more test subjects I can get, the better.

    I'm opening my own gym in just over 6 months, so the more results I can get the better.
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    Originally Posted by babylover View Post
    Would LOVE for you to start this. Please take pics etc, but I think this would benefit you much more. The more test subjects I can get, the better.

    I'm opening my own gym in just over 6 months, so the more results I can get the better.
    good luck with your gym man! and finally someone who has the balls to explain the problems with the rippetoe program.
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    Originally Posted by babylover View Post
    Would LOVE for you to start this. Please take pics etc, but I think this would benefit you much more. The more test subjects I can get, the better.

    I'm opening my own gym in just over 6 months, so the more results I can get the better.
    Pm me back and just explain what you would like me to do for this. I'll do my best to follow it to the T.
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    Originally Posted by TheDukeOfPuke View Post
    problems with the rippetoe program.
    for the record there are problems with every program because no single program is perfect for every individual
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    Originally Posted by babylover View Post
    I think it's an excellent program. Has similar issues with SS that I found, but I agree with the principle.
    go on....?
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    Originally Posted by iLiftNoodBrah View Post
    go on....?
    Not that bad.

    As I said, BB rows are not eh best thing imo, need to do some kind of vertical pulling movement. Middle squat session would be better if it was a front squat...

    but 1x3 barbell rows? really?

    Also same issues as with ripps if powercleans are used.

    Deadlifts will take care of the brute back strengthening.
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    well i didn't bother reading the entire post. but i wanna say like someone else did that the SS rippetoe program is not something to start with if you're looking to make bodybuilding gains; it is for strength. in my opinion doing deads, squats, and benches on different days and adding supplementing exercises is much better for bodybuilding purposes because it allows you to more effectively train all the muscles in the body.
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    Originally Posted by ARod44 View Post
    well i didn't bother reading the entire post. but i wanna say like someone else did that the SS rippetoe program is not something to start with if you're looking to make bodybuilding gains; it is for strength. in my opinion doing deads, squats, and benches on different days and adding supplementing exercises is much better for bodybuilding purposes because it allows you to more effectively train all the muscles in the body.
    For the beginner. It doesn't.

    If you'd taken the same time to read what I wrote, instead of typing up your post, you would have at least been exposed to my reasoning.
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    Great post babylover! I'd also be willing to act as a test subject for what you proposed.

    You can see some of my background info here:
    forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=135546051
    (I dont have enough posts to post full links apparently >_<)

    So perhaps I'll be the test subject for the big slightly chubby guys haha
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    I think you titled this post to get lots more views. But in the end your article does little to prove why the program "sucks balls". Instead a more appropriate title would be "How I would improve Starting Strength", though I'm not even sure that would be right because you didn't quite complete that objective either.
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    I think you titled this post to get lots more views. But in the end your article does little to prove why the program "sucks balls". Instead a more appropriate title would be "How I would improve Starting Strength", though I'm not even sure that would be right because you didn't quite complete that objective either.
    Thank you for the criticism.

    After carefully reading your critiques, I have now been able to rethink my position and perhaps may amend my views in some regards.

    Thank you SO much for your contribution to the discussion, I appreciate it.

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