The Atlanta Starting Strength Seminar provided a superb opportunity to learn new skills and improve upon existing ones. The source material was well represented by presentation, discussion, demonstration, practice with corrections, and an opportunity to coach others. It was reasonably priced and I recommend it to any one who wishes to get stronger.
This posting is my impressions of the content, the delivery, and the coaches. Other than Mark Rippetoe, no coach or trainee will be mentioned by name. I am not sure of Rip’s protocol; however I know name dropping is almost always a bad idea. Of course, comments from anyone who attended are welcome.
The method of instruction followed what many consider to be a progressive adult learning model. Rip and his people created an environment for us to learn in and facilitated the process. Teaching others is the best way to reinforce material and that was very apparent during the training.
Having the source material already available in the form of books, articles, a DVD, the forums, and on line videos was a huge benefit. The class room presentations clarified many things I did not fully grasp. The presentations in the class rooms were not easy; however Rip delivered them with a lot of humor, plenty of examples, and always encouraged feed back and questions.
The class room sessions were followed by time under the bar. The training involved each of us coaching another student, with Rip’s coach and often Rip himself, providing guidance. Below are some brief impressions concerning my time under the bar.
The squat is the most important, so that is what we did first. My coach immediately spotted several things concerning my form. Feet too wide and toes not out far enough seemed to be the most serious. The correct form became comfortable quickly, and earned me a compliment from Rip that I very much appreciated. I have been squatting for 35 years, and on about the second set of five while being coached at the seminar, I was squatting better.
My coach for deadlifts made three quick corrections to my form, feet too wide, toes not out far enough, banged up starting position. Those corrections made a tremendous difference, and have helped relieve some of the odd little lower back pain I experience from heavy deads. Please indulge me while I repeat that, his coaching resulted in less pain in my back. Once again, a few corrections and I am lifting better than ever.
For press I had the same coach as I had for deads. That was my first experience with the new style of pressing recommended, and I needed some help. Superb directions from the coach got me to a point where I was more in line with the Starting Strength model.
My powercleans were a disaster, no…lets try that again, my powercleans were a DISASTER. Bent arms, banged up rack, elbows wrong….a disaster. My coach methodically addressed each problem in order of importance. After much patience from the coach and all my fellow trainees, especially the gentlemen assigned as my trainee/coach, I was able to manage a set of three with decent form, which included the very mysterious second pull. I have now incorporated powercleans into my routine, (using the hook grip, they help with keeping your arms straight you know…).
My coach for the bench identified bad elbow position, and feet too far under me. I also experimented with taking a breath between each rep, and it seemed to help. With the coaching support, and plenty of encouragement, I went a touch heavier than I had planned, and it all worked out well.
Additional class room presentations were delivered several times through out the weekend, and the section on programming answered a few questions I have carried around, and resulted in changes to my programming. The seminar ended with an extremely funny question and answer with Rip.
During the seminar I had the opportunity to work with, drink with, coach, and be coached by many of the other trainees and coaches. It was a diverse group of people, there were some exceptional athletes in the crowd, a wide range of really talented people. Watching how they addressed the bar, how they lifted, how they coached provided constant opportunities to learn. Everyone was encouraging and helpful. It was an honor to train with them.
So, changes because of the seminar. I am back on the Texas Method; I believe I have some mileage to get out of it. I added power cleans to my program. During squats and especially deadlifts, I find myself saying, “toes out just a little more than what is comfortable” quite a bit.
Go to the seminar and become a better lifter, a better coach, laugh a whole bunch, and learn about beer, bourbon, and all the good things in life.
Thanks for the great write up!
p.s. Who is this?
One of these days I'll have to get off my ass and come to these events.
I had a great time at the Atlanta seminar as well and learned so much. It was definitely worth it. I still have a lot to work on, but at least I know what needs to be done in order to improve.
It's a shame the Toronto event is still five and half months away, but reading this gives me hope. Thanks for sharing your experience Shadeone.
I had a great time at this seminar as well. I found a lot of things I had been doing wrong. It took some time to adjust, but I started getting the hang of most of the movements.
I really enjoyed the classroom lectures over the course of the weekend. Maybe it's the engineer in me that geeks out on it, but the derivations and logic for each of the lifts really made a ton of sense.
I do wish I had been more prepared for coaching the platform sessions though. I was really nervous being under the spotlight and trying to teach a new procedure and cues for a familiar movement and apparently it showed. I really would have been curious to see what the exam portion would have been like. Hopefully I'll find some opportunities to improve on coaching these techniques and be able to try again another time. I also want to incorporate the SS program into my BJJ training.
Tamara and Steve, you guys win ok? I'm gonna try the whole get as strong as I can thing instead of worrying about my weight class for now!
Thanks again to all the coaches that were there.