In November 2014, I went down to my old stomping grounds of Champaign-Urbana, IL for a Starting Strength seminar. This is a brief retrospective of my experiences.

Without going into too much detail about the seminar itself, I will just say that it was life changing in two ways.

1.) I improved my form and understanding of the physics on all 5 lifts we performed.

2.) I gained incredible insight into a great means of teaching the lifts, which I am seeing potential uses for in my line of work as a teacher.

The material we were presented was very familiar, but somehow made more sense than ever before. For me it was the use of real physics that blew my mind. I studied Electrical Engineering at U of IL and was looking to find a hole in the physics explanation. Instead, I found myself enlightened on a level I didn't think would happen. I now understand the lifts much better since having the lifts explained to me in physics.

The instructors at the seminar were also incredibly helpful. I was super impressed not only by them but by the other attendees. Everyone was very respectful and open to listen, learn, and share. It made me realize just how much more there is to know about weight lifting. That's a good thing.

What has happened in my training since then?

Hip pain? Gone!

After 2 years of dealing with pain in my right hip, it was nearly gone after just one session at the seminar. Years of bad habits and a conglomeration of 'tips' from different sources had my squat all out of whack. The hip pain was obviously from incorrect form. It took until my second to last set before I finally started to get my body to comply. After getting my 5RM on squat during the seminar (245 lbs at 215 lbs BW), my hip was already feeling my amazement!

The following week I started a fresh run of Starting Strength. In the months leading up to the seminar I was mostly running and lifting light weights in an effort buy time until I could find help for my hip.

Rippetoe was right, "you squat wrong it fucks things up. If you squat correctly, those same fucked-up things will unfuck themselves."

I'm not surprised my hip felt better with improved form. I was, however, amazed by how quickly it happened. A year later and the hip pain is basically just a memory now. My squat went from 245 5RM to doing 3x5x365 just over 3 months later, and with little to no hip pain.

Also, I now have a vastly improved posterior chain. My hamstrings feel alien to me. I sometimes have a hard time believing they are my legs. Now that I understand the physics, I can better manipulate my body and have a sense for how to make corrections to myself and others.

The other lifts?

All my lifts got much stronger. All my lifts were approaching all time PRs. Once my increases slowed down too much on Starting Strength, I moved on to 5/3/1 and after 4 months on that program I would say I was at or above my personal records on all the lifts.

Value Proposition

When first debating on going to the seminar, the price was a factor for me. I don't currently make much money, so $800 or whatever it was seemed like a lot for a weekend-long seminar. In retrospect, I had nothing to worry about. The money has paid for itself many times over.

It has been my best year of training in my life and no supplement on the market could make me understand the lifts like the seminar accomplished. No surgery could have fixed my hip and made it feel as good as it does now. No doctor could have told me I was doing something wrong in my squat which was leading to pain. No quick fix would have worked unless you consider 28 hours of instruction a "quick fix".

It is also the gift that keeps on giving. I continue to reap the benefits of what I learned at the seminar and I hope to break all my old PRs in the second half of my 30's.

Thank you

I want to give my sincere gratitude to the staff that worked the seminar. It has truly improved my life a lot. I hope to pass as much of that knowledge onto my students who join my weightlifting club at school. Just yesterday I worked with two girls new to weightlifting. I can't wait to start getting more people strong and improving lives the way that seminar has done for me.