What to Do After Starting Strength Program- [Advanced Training]

Fitness has become the new way of living a happy healthy life. And there are a lot of opportunities out there to get fit and healthy. But wrong moves could make your life worse instead of happy. 

This is why strength programs are becoming increasingly popular. Starting strength is one of the basic and beginner-friendly strength programs among many. But eventually, you have to move to the next advanced program. 

So, what are some other advanced strength programs out there? What to do after starting strength

There is no shortage of advanced strength training programs after SS. There are programs designed for intermediate-level trainers like Wendler 5/3/1. And there are more advanced strength programs such as Westside barbell conjugate. But probably the best one after starting strength is Reg Park’s 5×5.

So, we will tell you all about strength programs that you can do after starting strength. But before that let us see the SS program at a glance.

Starting Strength Program

Starting strength is a strength program designed by experienced coach Mark Rippetoe. Primarily it is a linear program centered around five major lifts. By linear, we mean that increasing your strength with time adds weight progressively. 

The basic idea on which Starting Strength exercise lies is progressive overload. This means that getting stronger without injuries increases loads eventually after every session. And the major goal to achieve is consistency and momentum instead of lifting heavier loads. 

In addition to that, SS makes you focus on proper form. Being able to lift heavier loads is no good without proper form. Also doing exercise with proper form keeps away injury and doesn’t waste your time. 

coach Mark Rippetoe
Coach Mark Rippetoe, image source

Check out the major foundational lifts of SS below.

  • Back Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Strict Press
  • Power Clean

These five lifts not only make up the foundation for SS by Mike. But for every starting strength program out there.

What Does SS Look Like?

Starting strength program consists of five exercises divided in two sessions. And these exercises are alternated after two weeks. Let us see it more clearly through a table.

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Week 1Week 2
Day 1Squat 3×5Bench 3×5Deadlift 1×5Squat 3×5Overhead Press 3×5Power Clean 5×3
Day 2Squat 3×5Overhead Press 3×5Power Clean 5×3Squat 3×5Bench 3×5 Deadlift 1×5
Day 3Squat 3×5 Bench 3×5Deadlift 1×5Squat 3×5Overhead Press 3×5 Power Clean 5×3


You might have noticed that every day a session starts with squats. The reason is that coach squat sees it as a warm-up exercise. Though it doesn’t look like a warm-up being maximal intensity and all.

SS is best for those who want to take a very simple approach to get stronger. And this is also probably the best barbell introductory training for beginners and young athletes. 

So if you are done with your conditioning and strength, you need more advanced workouts with added loads. Let us examine what strength program to start after starting strength.

Reg Park’s 5×5

This exercise was designed by the popular Mr. Britain Reg Park. Reg Park was an icon of physical culture back in the day. Not to mention he was the ideal bodybuilder and role model for Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Reg Park uses many routines but his most popular was 5×5. And it was most popular for a reason. Reg Park’s 5×5 is not just simple but also very effective. We have listed this one to do after SS because it’s suited for both beginners and intermediates. 

Reg Park’s 5×5 consists of 3 big lifts focused on barbell lifts. And it is divided into two workouts. Let us see those two workouts. 

Workout A

  • Back Squats 5×5
  • Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups 5×5
  • Dips or Bench Press 5×5
  • Wrist or Reverse Curls 2×10
  • Calves 2×15

Workout B

  • Front Squats 5×5
  • Rows 5×5
  • Standing Press 5×5
  • Deadlifts 3×5 
  • Wrist or Reverse Curls 2×10
  • Calves 2×15

Alternate Workout Example

  • Week 1: W.A, W, B, WA
  • Week 2: WB, WA, WB
  • Week 3: WA, WB, WA

First two sets of Reg Park’s 5×5 are warm up. So let us suppose you are doing a 150lb bench press. Then you would have to perform 90lbs in the first set of five for 5 reps.

Similarly in the second set of five, you would use 120lbs to target 80% of 5 rep max. And at last, the third and final three sets are working or stabilizer sets. You would do 3 sets of 5 reps with 150lbs weight. 

For the sake of clarity, check out below.

  • 5×90  (90lbs)
  • 5×120 (120lbs)
  • 5×150 (stabilizer set)
  • 5×150 (stabilizer)
  • 5×150 (stabilizer)

After that you start working on progressive overload rules. That means you simply add 5lbs more. And then your bench press would look something like this.

  • 5 x 90 + 5lbs
  • 5 x 120 + 5lbs
  • 5 x 150 + 5lbs
  • 5 x 150 + 5lbs
  • 5 x 150 + 5lbs

You are allowed to rest for 5 minutes between each set. Furthermore, exercise only 3 days a week to allow faster and more effective recovery. And remember that there is no fixed starting weight.

In addition to that you should start with loads you know you can lift for 5 sets. Let your muscles and system adapt to the training as you progress over time. 

There are many logical strength training programs after SS and Reg Park. One of them is Wendler 5/3/1. But 5/3/1 for beginners may not be appropriate. Instead, I suggest the Westside barbell conjugate method as the next logical step after Reg Park. 

Westside Barbell Conjugate

This strength program was originally designed by scientists in the 60s. But many don’t know that because Louie Simmons popularized it. This is why many think it was developed by Louie Simmons.

Westside’s Conjugate method is primarily designed to build strength. And this strength building is done through varied workout routines. Besides building strength, the conjugate method also enhances muscular endurance and strengthens weakened areas. 

There are basically three major exercises and four training sessions each week in the Conjugate method. Check them out below.

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Probably the best thing about the Conjugate method is that it lets you identify your weaker areas and target them. Furthermore, it allows you to pass your worries and limitations and constantly improve your abilities. 

In addition to that, Conjugate Method’s variations allow you to repeat the same movement with slight differences. Not to forget that it is paired with some accessory exercises which directly improve weaker spots. Your variation of main and accessory lifts will change continuously. 

Conjugate method sessions are divided into four types as follows.

  • Maximum effort upper body
  • Maximum effort lower body
  • Dynamic effort upper body
  • Dynamic effort lower body

Let us see each of them in detail.

Maximal Effort Method

This method uses heavier loads to build high threshold muscle bulk. Let us see this in each of the lifts.

Max Effort Bench Press

  • Incline bench press
  • Plank
  • Chest supported T-bar row
  • Tricep skull crusher
  • Bicep hammer curl

Max Effort Squat

  • Partial box squat
  • Reverse hyper
  • Barbell rollout
  • Banded pull-through
  • Glute hamstring raise

Max Effort Deadlift

  • Snatch-grip deadlift
  • Stiff-leg deadlift
  • Leg extension
  • Lat pulldown
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift

Max effort method basically starts with any of three lifts (bench press, squat, deadlift) as the main lift. The remaining workout is accessory training which works the muscle used in the main lift for volume. 

Dynamic Effort Method

This is done two times each week to build fast twitch muscle fibers. The maximum force is used with submaximal loads to recruit motor units. Each variation is done for 3 consecutive weeks to increase volume. 

Let us see this in 3 big lifts.

Dynamic Effort Bench Press

  • Close-grip bench press
  • Dumbbell hammer curl
  • Dumbbell floor press
  • Bicep curl
  • Standing overhead press

Dynamic Effort Squat

  • Box squat
  • Dumbbell Romanian deadlift
  • Weighted straight-leg raise
  • Belt squat
  • Abs rollout

Dynamic Effort Deadlift

  • Block deadlift
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Rack pull
  • Reverse hyper
  • Leg curl

Now let us see an example of how a week of the conjugate method looks like.

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Max EffortSquat or DeadliftMax Effort Bench PressDynamic EffortSquat or DeadliftDynamic EffortBench Press


Conjugate method is not for fat loss or conditioning; instead, it is designed to build raw strength. This is why it is not advised for beginners and only advised for pros. Intermediate trainers are also allowed to do it if they are sure enough about their strength. 

The conjugate method is more advanced and so your recovery time also increases. So, you don’t become a gym rat and only give 4 to 5 hours of training per week. The rest of the time you rest and eat healthy. 

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Final Verdict

So if you have completed your starting strength program then it’s time for Reg Park’s 5×5. Reg Park’s is the best choice after starting strength. And 5*5 is suitable for beginners as well as intermediates alike.

After that one can move towards more advanced strength training like the westside conjugate method.


What weights should I use in Reg Park’s 5×5?

This is similar to SS and SS has a pretty flexible and easy starting point. Simply start with just the bar, do 5 reps, add weight, and do 5 reps again. Repeat it until you feel it slowing down. With increased loads, your body will no longer need workouts to recover.

Can I Add Accessories to the SS program?

Yes, you can, however, it is not recommended. Because the trainee is not experienced and efficient and hasn’t adapted yet. So, the best things to do would be basic stuff. And these should be repeatedly done to develop motor strength and pathways. 


Now you know what to do after starting strength. And It’s Reg Park’s 5×5 which is the next best program to start. Because it’s best suited for intermediate trainers. 

For more advanced and pro trainers, the most suitable choice is westside’s barbell conjugate method. Intermediate trainers, if sure that they have enough strength, can also reap benefits from the conjugate method. 

But I won’t go into the Conjugate method right after starting strength SS. 

Well then, next time!

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