Stronglifts: How Much Weight to Start With (iPhone)

The Stronglifts app calculates your starting weights for you the first time you use the app.

  • It asks for your gender, age, weight, height, and strength level. 
  • It then recommends you starting weights so you have several weeks of good progress without getting extreme soreness or failing reps.

You can easily ignore the recommendations however and start heavier by changing the weight.

Why The Starting Weights Are Light

A common question is why the starting weights are so light. Why not start heavier?

We could start with your current best. But you're going to add 2.5kg/5lb each workout on the bar, on every exercise. If you can add that to your max right now, it's not really your max. So, you have to start lighter than your max so that you can at the very least:

a) complete all the sets/reps without failure

b) progress for a few weeks before you start to miss reps.

Consider also that you will Squat 3x/week on this program. Starting too heavy the first workout will make legs sore. This can make it impossible (mentally and/or physically) to Squat again 2 days later with 2.5kg/5lb more on the bar. People who start too heavy usually get so sore they have to skip workouts in week one already. This is not a good start.

Plus, what's the rush anyway? Do you have a competition in 12 weeks? Probably not. Starting your Squat with 20kg/45lb heavier is only speeding up your progress by 3 weeks. Meaning: you get to 100kg/220lb three weeks faster on paper. In reality: everyone's progress slows down after a while. One year from now it makes no difference whether you started with 20kg/45lb less or more. You could start with the empty bar, and it still wouldn't make any difference.

These are the benefits of starting lighter:

  • Less soreness, especially the legs. Your body can get used to the high Squat frequency (3x/week)
  • Less likely to miss reps in the first weeks. You progress every workout, adding weight, which is more motivating.
  • Since the weight is light, you can focus on proper form - executing the lift correctly. This pays off once the weights are heavy.

If the weight is really too light the first workout, bump it up by 5kg/10lb the next workout. Do that for a few workouts, then go back to 2.5kg/5lb. You can do that from the workout screen (tap the weight - change the weight/increments there)

For more information, read these articles on the website:

How To Calculate The Starting Weights Again

Go to home - edit - reset starting weights

  • Enter your estimated one rep max (how much you can lift for one rep, you can calculate that using the 1rm calculated based off rep x weight x RPE done)
  • Enter your on-ramp - how many weeks you want it to take before you break your previous best. The default is 4 weeks, but this is fairly aggressive. 8 weeks will start the weights lighter, but you have more room to progress.
  • Enter your increments - how much weight to add each workout

You will see your starting weights at the bottom. Just tweak things until you have something that you like. Then start.

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