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Thread: Lexington Level II Seminar Review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Lexington Level II Seminar Review

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    I attended the SS Level II Seminar in Lexington, KY in May 2014. It was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend going. It's $795 but some of the best money I have ever spent.

    I didn't have any intention of becoming a certified coach when I went to the seminar since I have no coaching experience. I did pick up a few cues that will be useful and I have helped my wife a bit with her lifting.

    I started Starting Strength a couple of years prior to attending the seminar and slowly tried to figure stuff out on my own based on the books and the DVD. I was not doing the program – not eating enough, had poor form, etc. I remember struggling to squat 225 at one point. I got better, but never realized the value of in-person coaching until I went to the seminar. I wish I had gone to a seminar from the beginning – things would have gone much smoother for me. I wouldn't have gotten injured as much and I would probably be a lot stronger today.

    On to the seminar. I left work early and drove straight to the seminar (2+ hours). I walked into the room and Rip was sitting in a chair right in the middle talking to the seminar staff. He just kind of stared at me when I walked in. Luckily Stef came over and got me checked in.

    I was pretty fortunate in that there were only eight students at the seminar. One of them was a guy who missed the lecture portion of a seminar at WFAC due to ice/snow, so really only seven for most of the weekend. I'm guessing this wasn’t the turnout that Rip and Stef had hoped for, but the small session size was great. Most attendees were somewhat local but one guy came in all the way from Sweden.

    The lecture session from Rip on Friday night was very detailed. Everything he explained had a sound basis in physics, just like in the books. He paused every so often to give people a chance to ask questions and offer alternative theories about what was being presented.

    Saturday was a long day. A mix between practicing/coaching the lifts and theory. Seminar attendees coach each other but there is also a platform coach there. If you're not proficient in coaching or the person you’re paired up with isn't either, don't worry too much since the platform coach will make sure the appropriate feedback is provided.

    I got plenty of advice on how to improve all of my lifts. Coaching in real-time is so much more effective than posting form checks online or watching your own videos. The coach gets to walk around and observe the movement from different angles during the set and you get real-time feedback so you can make adjustments from rep to rep.

    I did not come prepared for the day in terms of food. Stef sent out a general information letter before the seminar which included a recommendation to bring enough food for a long day. I didn't have the time I thought I would on Friday to pick up food before the seminar and was pretty beat after the lecture and a long week of work, so I didn’t go shopping on Friday night. I tried to have a big breakfast at the hotel but the food was terrible so I ate less than normal. I don’t think the last squat set happened until around 12:30pm. You end up doing warm up sets and three work sets (3x5). On my third and final work set I started feeling lightheaded after 3 reps and had to rack it early, which was pretty embarrassing. At the end of the day when we were pressing I was getting terrible quad cramps. My point here is just to make sure you bring enough food because it's a long, taxing day (12 hours). Rip scolded me for not being prepared and told me to get my shit together for the next day. I went to the grocery store and stocked up for the evening and the next day. Lesson learned.

    Sunday we covered the power clean and bench press. Karl Schudt was the coach on the platform I was working on for the power clean. Up to this point I think I had maybe power cleaned 155 but pretty much gave up on it. Rip said he wanted me to power clean 200 (based on what I had deadlifted the prior day, I think). I worked up to sets of 185. I had significant bar crash and didn’t manage to resolve that issue. Karl was extremely encouraging and pushed me to commit to the lift. Rip had me attempt a bunch of pulls at 185…I racked some of them but never quite got them right. At one point Karl, understanding that I'm a quiet, reserved guy, tried to get me fired up by saying something to the effect of, "Nick [Klemetson] thinks you’re a pussy! Remember that for the next set." Also, Rip growled at me from across the room to try and get me to growl back and be more aggressive.

    Besides the lectures on how to perform and coach the lifts, there were a couple of other classroom sessions. Stef lectured on adaptation theory and programming. Rip walked us through videos of powerlifters and weightlifters to give some examples of good and bad form and also to show how strong weightlifters can set records even with poor technique (e.g. Leonid Taranenko's 266kg clean & jerk).

    The Q&A session was excellent. With such a small group we had plenty of time for questions. In-person Q&A is good because for things like injuries you can show/explain a lot more about where the pain is and have a real-time dialogue.

    Anyhow, if you're wondering how the seminar has actually helped me, my lifts have all seen improvement in both technique and strength. This is in less than 4 months, after a small reset.

    Squat: 380x3x2-->435x1x5 and climbing
    Deadlift: 405x1-->465x1
    Press: 175x1-->185x1
    Bench: 285x2-->300x2
    Power Clean: I must admit, I haven't been practicing

    I've started a log and have improved my nutrition a bit. Rip told me I needed to gain weight – that I have the frame to carry a bodyweight of 300# (218# at seminar, currently around 230#). Still working on that, obviously. Logging helps in keeping me more accountable and I also get valuable encouragement and advice from the community here.

    I can't emphasize enough how awesome the seminar staff were. Rip, Stef, Brodie, Karl and Walter were all very supportive in addition to being knowledgeable and proficient in coaching. I'm so grateful for their help.

    The entire weekend is extremely well organized and you can tell that tons of thought has been put into the content. The end product is truly world-class. At $795 it is a bargain. Get yourself to a seminar ASAP!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Waverly, IA


    Quote Originally Posted by manveer View Post
    At one point Karl, understanding that I'm a quiet, reserved guy, tried to get me fired up by saying something to the effect of, "Nick [Klemetson] thinks you’re a pussy! Remember that for the next set." Also, Rip growled at me from across the room to try and get me to growl back and be more aggressive.
    I should point out that Karl manufactured this out of thin air. I said no such thing!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    Oh, that fucking Karl. He is a psychologist.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Klemetson View Post
    I should point out that Karl manufactured this out of thin air. I said no such thing!
    You were thinking it. I could tell.

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