Starting Strength Weekly Report

January 25, 2016

  • Jenni Pertuset is this month's Under the Bar winner.
  • In Women in Service, CJ Gotcher outlines an effective training template for women looking to fill the more physically demanding combat arms roles.
  • From the archives: College strength coach Jim Steel brings The Truth as he sees it.
Training Log
From the Coaches

Under the Bar

deadlift starting strength camp Kylie McQuire at the start of the deadlift during the Starting Strength Camp in Sydney. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
deadlift finish aaron Aaron O'Donoghue finishes his deadlift while the peanut gallery looks on. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
squat lecture jordan Jordan discusses the finer points of the squat at PTC Sydney during the recent Australian tour. [photo courtesy of Tom Campitelli]
squat teaching method Chris Kurisko coaches an early set at Saturday's Squat Training Camp at Black Iron Training. [photo courtesy of Spencer Irvin]

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Best of the Week

When to offer advice
Beau S

In a podcast interview with Tom Campitelli about his journey to becoming a Starting Strength Coach, you mention that as someone gets stronger, he naturally becomes an informal coach because others begin to approach him for training suggestions. I’m wired as a coach by upbringing and personality, and would love to help others get stronger, but I am also convinced that someone who knows a little is often more dangerous than someone who knows nothing. Based on comments you’ve made, it seems you agree.

In your experience, how much training does someone need under his belt before he becomes useful in offering advice to others, and is there any way to accelerate or optimize this process (e.g., by studying certain things)?

Mark Rippetoe

I'd say that when you have finished a novice progression you're in a position to report on your findings. That's more help that most people ever have a chance to obtain.

Best of the Forum

Advice for an aspiring coach/non-prof

I am a 28 year old Marine veteran (proud to have served and humbled by the company I kept) who recently began the Starting Strength program with my wife. With the gains we have seen mentally and physically in our time we feel like strength training is our new ancient Chinese secret. It is beyond effective, especially when compared with other popular and previously attempted workout programs, systems and services. In retrospect, even our gains during our time spent with Crossfit in its various iterations over the years boiled down to barbell training with progressively more challenging weights.

On a personal level, though, strength training has helped me manage my PTSD and other service connected disabilities on an amazing level. Getting under the bar awakens that warrior spirit that my transition to the civilian world squelched, and gives me new purpose and clear targets to aim for. I feel, deeply, like many more veterans and disabled veterans (actually, EVERYONE) could benefit greatly from the power and personal improvement that comes from strength training; however, I am currently a novice at best.

I do not expect easy answers, but rather a critique of my current course and any suggestions you might offer.

  1. I am currently the coach for my wife and I- not out of hubris, but because it's either me or no one. I have friends who are becoming interested, but I only offer to help on the condition that they understand I am a novice at best. I intend to do my best to improve as quickly as possible with my own experience so that I can help them in an adequate fashion, but am I getting ahead of myself? Is there a better way to learn proper coaching without potentially risking others?
  2. I have been consuming (and re-consuming) your first book, and continue to break into programming with Practical Programming and Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 outline before I must move onto intermediate/advanced programming. Do you have any recommendations?
  3. Ultimately, if I can reach a level of adequacy as a coach, I would like to open a non-profit gym to offer free strength training to veterans and disabled veterans to help them help themselves. I believe that strength training would offer focus and physical well-being that could be a stepping stone to better overall health and success in life. I do not want to rush into it half cocked, though. Do you have any suggestions on the subject? Any areas of research I might consider?
Mark Rippetoe
  1. You are learning the way all good coaches learn. Keep notes, learn to turn your results into data, learn from the data. If you hurt anybody, give them their money back.
  2. Read everybody's stuff, just so you'll know what's being written and thought about. But be critical while you do. If it makes no sense, has no basis in logic, lacks effective analysis, or consists entirely of an appeal to authority, don't be afraid to say so.
  3. You're in luck. All strength training gyms are non-profit. The gym will develop as a natural consequence of your training and coaching experience. You'll know when it's time.

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