advanced novice programming

The Advanced Novice's Guide To Starting Strength

Starting Strength Coach Grant Broggi explains how to change up your programming for your barbell lifts as you get to the end of the Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression.


Maximizing Your Novice Linear Progression: Beyond the Basics

 If you've hit a wall with your Starting Strength program and are unsure where to turn next, you're in the right place. Let’s break down some advanced tips to extend your gains and set new personal records.

Understanding the Plateau

Many lifters find themselves at a crossroads, believing they've maxed out their novice gains. However, before you leap into the complex world of intermediate programming, let's explore some strategies to squeeze more juice from the novice phase. Remember, consistency in hitting the big lifts, showing up three times a week, and incrementally challenging yourself can lead to significant progress.

Tip #1: Introduce a Light Squat Day

If you're squatting heavy three times a week and starting to miss reps, it might be time to adjust. Introducing a light squat day, particularly in the middle of your weekly routine, can aid in recovery while still allowing for progression in your heavy sessions. An 80% load of your heaviest day is a good benchmark for your light day. This adjustment not only aids in recovery but ensures you're still on track to make those gains.

Tip #2: Modulate Your Deadlift Frequency

Deadlifting heavy multiple times a week can be just as taxing as overdoing the squats. Reducing the frequency of heavy deadlifts can prevent burnout and foster continued improvement. After incorporating a light squat day, position your heaviest deadlift session to complement this change, allowing for a more balanced and sustainable approach to your lifting routine.

Tip #3: Keep Pushing Yourself

A common hurdle many face is the mental aspect of lifting. If you haven't genuinely pushed yourself to the limit, it's challenging to know where that limit lies. Failure teaches us our boundaries and how to push past them. So, if you're early in your lifting journey and find yourself shying away because the weight feels too heavy, remember why you started. Embrace the challenge, and don't be afraid to fail—it's all part of the process.

Tip #4: The Novice Phase Can Be Revisited

Just because you've completed a novice program in the past doesn't mean you can't benefit from revisiting it. Taking a break from training doesn't automatically elevate you to intermediate status. Restarting the novice linear progression can help you regain lost strength and set a solid foundation for more advanced programming down the line.


Before you complicate your training with advanced programming, consider these tips to extend your novice progression effectively. Adjusting your squat and deadlift routines, pushing through mental and physical barriers, and understanding the value of revisiting the basics can lead to significant gains. If you're looking for personalized advice or need someone to review your form, our Slack channel is always open for form checks and advice. Keep training hard, and remember, progress is a journey, not a destination.If you found this helpful, don't forget to like and subscribe for more strength training insights. Until next time, keep adding weight to the bar and pushing your limits.

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