Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review: Starting Strength DVD

Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training (DVD)

By Mark Rippetoe
The Aasgard Company, Feburary 2009
1 disc
Run time 147 minutes
$22.49

The Starting Strength DVD is a video companion to Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training.

The menu layout is simple - choose any of the five basic lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Power Clean, Press) and it launches into the appropriate section. There isn't any time wasted with excessive music, intros, or ads.

The presentation is also straightforward. Each section features of a variety of lifters, of different ages, both sexes, and different strength levels. Mark Rippetoe speaks primarily to them, giving them specific instruction on how to set up and execute each of the lifts.

The technique descriptions are extremely easy to follow. You can watch as lifters make setup errors, correct technique errors during instruction, and adjust their form. It's easy to see what is a good rep with good technique and a poor rep with poor technique is when it's happening in front of you. The explanations by Mark Rippetoe are clear. You can see how different body shapes affect the technique of the lifters. The instructions are done in small sections, so you don't get a huge collection of cues and then watch a few good reps. Each issue - breathing, hand position, back positioning, etc. is handled in turn.

The video is most useful if you've read the book, but the book isn't required. I found it very useful to act as a coach for my own lifts. I was impressed at how well the audio alone works as a form of cueing. I could watch the video, then re-play the specific lift while taking myself through the lift. I could rely solely on the audio to provide cues to correct my form or keep me lifting correctly.

The video is well shot, but there are times when Mark Rippetoe is speaking to a different camera than the one selected for the footage. Other times, there are changes in brightness during shots or switches between lifters as the shot angle changes. This can be a bit distracting when you're first viewing it. On multiple views, this fades as you come to expect it. But still it distracts you from the content a little bit and it would have been nice if this didn't come up. All in all a minor issue, and one that doesn't reduce the value of this product.

Rating:
Content: 5 out of 5. It's as useful as the Starting Strength book, and works well in tandem or separately. Everything from proper form to common and uncommon errors are covered, and you miss out on nothing critical.
Presentation: 4 out of 5. The audio is clear, the video is clear and techniques are easy to follow. But the changes of lifters, brightness shifts, and looking at the wrong camera are distracting.

Overall: If you've got any interest in expanding your knowledge of the basic barbell lifts, buy this DVD. It's very cheap for a training product, it's well put together, and even if you've seen all of the public video clips of Mark Rippetoe it's useful. Highly recommended.

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