The Starting Strength Model
I basically train all beginners with the Starting Strength model descriped in Mark Rippetoe's international best-selling book. The program is essentially the most effective way for someone to get strong. The book is for beginners and is ideal for an 18 year old athlete, but can be utilized in some form by almost anyone.
The program is very basic. You lift three days a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are the best options. You focus on 5 basic barbell lifts. The Squat, the Press, the Deadlift, the Bench Press, and the Power Clean. The program also includes chin-ups and some form of back extensions. These body weight exercises complement the barbell lifts nicely.
A big part of the program is learning how to properly execute each of the major lifts. No where else will you find the level of detail and explanation that is written in SS:BBT. You just won't. The teaching method is incredibly refined. At this point it is down to a science. Every weekend Rip is somewhere around the country teaching his methods and it is constantly evolving and improving. If you are following the Starting Strength model you are going to get stronger.
The other major thing that seperates the Starting Strength program from most other programs on the market is that it focuses on training. Training is different than exercise. Basically, training is focused on a goal. Each workout is part of a process and larger plan. Exercise is just getting hot and sweating while doing a bunch of different, random exercises with no plan in mind. Training is much more effective.
What makes Starting Strength a training program is the fact that it is based on linear progressive resistance. Progressive overload is a basic concept in strength training, but in my experience it is largely misunderstood and rarely utilized. The Starting Strength model is built almost entirely on the concept of linear progression. Once you learn how to properly do each lift you add weight to the bar. That is the program. It is over when you can no longer add weight. It works well.
Many, many people come into my gym barely able to squat up and down correctly without a bar. After a few months they are doing squats correctly with hundreds of pounds on their back.
The Starting Strength model works. You should definitely consider trying it. At Black Iron Training we have a track record of implementing it with people from all walks of life. There is a way to modify it for folks who are older, who have had a history of injuries and/or health issues, and for people who may not be able to dedicate a lo