I'm a 37 year old novice who started training last October. Even with the guidance of the excellent Starting Strength book, I made many mistakes, having had no prior background with the lifts. Working out alone provided no feedback on technique, and frankly I have little natural sense of what is going on with my posterior in the squat and deadlift. After painfully straining my lower back during descent on a deadlift, I decided to get some professional help.

Using the Starting Strength Coaches directory, I discovered my good fortune to have a coach only 15 minutes away in Bedminster New Jersey: Adam Skillin. He asked solid preliminary questions to assess my age, level of experience, current strength, progress to date, goals, and programming before setting up an appointment to meet. Since then, Adam's assistance has consistently exceeded my expectations.

Within the first session he identified and corrected numerous form issues. On the squat, he fixed up my back angle (too vertical with a low bar position) and stance problems. With the deadlift, he diagnosed the reason for my previous injury, where lagging knee movement caused a non-vertical bar path and extra strain (moment arm) on my back. He even went above and beyond what we had planned for the day to look at my power clean rack problems (very long forearms), suggesting the power snatch as an appropriate alternative.

After working on these basic issues, we had a follow-up session to iron out additional kinks. This started with a video review where he pointed out problems, frame by frame. We proceeded to squat corrections to get better depth without dive bombing, reducing knee slide, and grip changes to work around a sometimes painful shoulder mobility problem that benefits from an asymmetrical grip. We wound up with a full run through the power snatch, working on reducing a tendency to press, and dropping lower into the rack position.

Adam's ability to assess and adjust on the fly made these sessions very efficient and well-paced with tangible results. In between live sessions, his online coaching has provided valuable analysis, tips, and encouragement with problems or form questions.

In short, Adam has proven to be both a technical expert on the lifts and an experienced and patient coach, helping me to progress with improved form and without injury. I'd strongly recommend him to anyone in the New Jersey area who is interested in getting the best possible personal coaching with the Starting Strength program.