USA Weightlifting Coach Cert vs Starting Strength Cert vs CrossFit Weightlifting Cert USA Weightlifting Coach Cert vs Starting Strength Cert vs CrossFit Weightlifting Cert

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Thread: USA Weightlifting Coach Cert vs Starting Strength Cert vs CrossFit Weightlifting Cert

  1. #1
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    Question USA Weightlifting Coach Cert vs Starting Strength Cert vs CrossFit Weightlifting Cert

    • phoenix arizona seminar date
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    Hello. I'd like to know if anyone has taken Rip's Starting Strength course and perhaps either the USA Weightlifting Coach certification or the CrossFit Weightlifting cert. How do they differ? How are they similar? What did you like or dislike about any of them? How are each recognized in the fitness industry?

    Ultimately, I would like to be a CrossFit coach but I would like to go above and beyond what the CrossFit courses offer to be a better coach. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    We'll ask for comments from the board.

  3. #3
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    If you're asking this question, I don't think you will pass the "starting strength" course.

  4. #4
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    I'm writing this on my phone, so I'll try to keep it short. It will likely also include bizarre typos.

    I have and maintain both my USAW L1 Sports Performance Coach and Starting Strength Coach certifications.

    The USAW seminar was 14 hrs over 2 days. The student:instructor ratio was like 20:1. I don't know what their guidelines are for this, but there were 40+ students and 2 instructors. During the entire 9 hours of platform instruction I had about 10-15 minutes of total time with an instructor. The 5 hour lecture portion was pretty meh. I don't remember specifics. The seminar ended with a multiple choice test which took me about 10 minutes to complete. Disturbingly, there were people in my class who took an hour or more to finish.

    I maintain my USAW L1-SP by paying like $20 a year and taking a 10 question multiple choice test which you would have to be brain dead to fail. I was the 65,000th USAW-L1; you will be the 300,000th. (Numbers are completely made up; but seriously like 40 people a week are becoming USAW-L1)

    The Starting Strength Seminar on the other hand was 25 hours over 3 days. The lecture portion is incredibly detailed and explains every single detail of lifting with science. The ratio is like 4 or 5:1. You get an instructor watching and providing feedback on every single rep of every single lift.

    To become a Starting Strength Coach, you actually have to have demonstrated your ability to perform and coach the lifts during the platform portion of the seminar. Most attendees are not invited to take the test. The test itself is ~7 essay questions which will require you to write 30-50 pages to answer effectively. To maintain my certification I have to pass a test at least once every 3 years, document 150+ hours of coaching yearly, optionally publish an article on the SS website, as well as attend both an annual coaches conference and a SS seminar every 3 years. In short, my heartbeat alone is insufficient to maintain my credential. Last I heard (Oct. 2014) there were <150 SSCs; we want this number to grow, but with 0 compromise in quality.
    David Abdemoulaie, SSC
    Chicago Strength & Conditioning

  5. #5
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    Thank you David. That was very insightful and helpful. I've suspected that the Starting Strength certification was top notch. I didn't know that the USAW cert course is just as bad as the CrossFit L1 course with a 20:1 teacher-student ratio. That's what I'm trying to avoid here. I'm looking for the education - not just the piece of paper.

  6. #6
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    DJK, I have not passed any of the certifications, however I did attend and participate in the Starting Strength Seminar this year and can compare what I saw and learned against 31 years of S&C training. If you want to be a better coach some day, go for the Starting Strength Certification. All the SSC's I worked with were excellent and the materials and attention(with hands on coaching and lifting) is well worth the money. I can not say the same for other coaches with other certifications that I have worked with over the years. As far as how its recognized in the industry... who cares? (In the long run I think being an excellent coach will take you further than any particular cert) Go for it.. you will not regret it.

  7. #7
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    They give away the USAW certs (for money of course). You'll have to actually earn the Starting Strength credential.

  8. #8
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    My only experience is with the SS certification, so I will only speak to that. You will not pass. I learned an incredible amount over a very exhausting weekend, but nothing will burn that knowledge into your head more than the many hours it will require of you during the two grueling weeks in which you will have to pass the written exam. I did not pass, but I now deeply understand concepts of which I previously only had surface knowledge.

    I'm a better lifter and coach for it, and since I am not a full time professional coach, that carries much greater value for me than the credential. If you attend a seminar, you will be a better lifter and coach. If you go for the credential, you will be even better regardless of the outcome. That is, if you really try.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sking1001 View Post
    If you attend a seminar, you will be a better lifter and coach. If you go for the credential, you will be even better regardless of the outcome. That is, if you really try.
    Yes. I've been and bombed twice, the first time badly, the second time not as badly. I'm better for both the experiences. More importantly, my lifters are better for my experiences.

    My lifters have not got similar benefit from the various KB and WL certs I've done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobi View Post
    As far as how its recognized in the industry... who cares? (In the long run I think being an excellent coach will take you further than any particular cert)
    This is correct. It's amazing how word gets around. If you get interested in a field, you quickly learn who the competent people are.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2015
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    So what I'm hearing is that it may take a few attempts to pass this exam after repeating the seminar? Sounds like a good challenge! Thank you for all this insight.

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