what to do when stuck on Starting Strength

When You Stop Making Progress On Starting Strength

In this clip from The Okay Podcast , Starting Strength Coach Grant Broggi talks about what happens when you starting missing reps and find hit hard to make progress when you run the Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression.


When You Stop Making Progress On Starting Strength: Navigating Beyond the Novice Linear Progression

Starting Strength's novice linear progression is celebrated for its simplicity and straightforward approach to gaining strength. However, as many lifters find, the real challenge often begins when progress stalls, and the weights that once moved easily become seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The Simplicity of Starting Strength

The program's beauty lies in its simplicity. Initially, new lifters grapple with mastering the lifts' execution. Over time, the focus shifts from the complexity of form and technique to the intricacies of programming. A common pitfall for many is becoming too fixated on the pattern of adding weight to the bar for every session, leading to frustration when progress stalls.

The Reality of Progress

It's a common scenario: a lifter successfully squats a new personal best, only to find themselves unable to add the expected weight in the next session. This moment, often perceived as failure, is actually a sign of progress. Adding any amount of weight and completing more reps than before is a clear indication of getting stronger, even if it doesn't fit the expected progression pattern.

Stuck? Or Just the Beginning of a New Phase

The term "stuck" might not be entirely accurate for lifters who find themselves unable to add weight in the way they used to. Instead of seeing this as a setback, it's an opportunity to reassess and adjust the approach. This might mean changing the program or focusing on collecting reps at new weights, even if it means deviating from the standard three sets of five.

Moving Beyond Three Sets of Five

As lifters progress, the strategy of adding weight to the bar for three sets of five might not always be viable. Instead, focusing on accumulating reps at new weights, even if it means adjusting the sets and reps, can lead to continued progress. This approach encourages lifters to celebrate every increment of progress, no matter how small.

Embracing the Challenges of Intermediate Training

Reaching a point where progress in the Starting Strength program slows down is not a sign of failure but a testament to the hard work put in. It signals a transition from the novice phase to the more complex world of intermediate training. This phase requires a nuanced approach, including reassessing sleep, nutrition, and rest, to continue making gains.


The journey through Starting Strength's novice linear progression is just the beginning. When progress stalls, it's not the end but an invitation to explore new strategies and approaches to training. By embracing the challenges of intermediate training, lifters can continue to make gains and enjoy the process of getting stronger.


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