I first learnt about Rippetoe's 3x5 program, but the Power Clean seems risky for me for the moment, so I looked for something similar and found Mehdi's Stronglifts. But after one or two sessions of Mehdi's workout, I felt the need to add Pull-ups (well, equivalently, Cable Pulldowns) and more recently, some forearm work. It seems to be working well for me, although it is still too soon to claim to have any result.

But a few minutes ago I have found the origin of both Rippetoe and Mehdi workouts. It was Reg Park who invented the 3x5 (or at least he made it popular) back in the 50s. The most surprising fact is that Reg Parks original workout is almost identical to my modified version of Mehdi with Pull-ups and forearms. See for instance here

Now, my question is: is there something "wrong" with the original Reg Park workouts and therefore the need of Mehdi/Rippetoe? What are the improvements of Mehdi/Rippetoe with respect to the original Reg Park workouts?

  • @Mephisto Ok, comment removed - but my point wasn't so much wrong name for an exercise, as it was along the lines of machines being a poor substitute for full-body exercise. Rather than pulldowns, I'd think that pullups (assisted, if necessary) would be more effective.
    – G__
    Jun 10 '13 at 16:15
  • @Greg, oh, you're absolutely right. The pull-down machine is only a temporary surrogate, until one is strong enough to attempt real pull-ups. Yes, the machine is not as good as the body exercise.
    – Mephisto
    Jun 11 '13 at 7:56
  • (A month before), You were right, and now I am recovering from a tendonitis in the upper biceps tendon and in the infraspinatus shoulder tendon, all because of using too much weight with the stupid pulldown machine!
    – Mephisto
    Jul 12 '13 at 11:12

Starting Strength and StrongLifts have the goal of strength, and to a lesser degree athleticism. Reg Park's workout was for bodybuilding prep, which has a large degree of overlap with strength training for the beginner.

Removing things like calf and forearm work from Reg Park's workout allows more focus on the remaining elements.

  • Thanks, +1. Do you agree with taking out chinups from Reg Park's workout, as both Mehdi and Rippetoe actually do? I always thougt it was a very important back exercise and that the target lats portion cannot be addresed with other exercises like a barbell row. What do you think?
    – Mephisto
    Jun 9 '13 at 21:11
  • 1
    @Mephisto I love chin-ups but omitted them from my workouts when I was doing Starting Strength because they aren't in the program, I wasn't as good at designing programs as Mark Rippetoe, and my goal was to gain strength and athleticism by following the program. If my goal was bodybuilding, I'd do something more like Reg Park. But there are a lot of good exercises, and no program can do them all. These days, I make my own programming, and that includes pull-ups. It depends on your goals. Jun 9 '13 at 21:57
  • 1
    Isn't one of the SS variants with alternating pull-ups/chin-ups? Maybe from Practical Programming or such?
    – VPeric
    Jun 10 '13 at 11:51

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