I have been plugging away at the SS novice LP for a few months on my own after a 6+ year layoff from weight training of any kind. I had some experience with the main lifts from running Stronglifts 5x5 (whoops) in college, but after such a long layoff I had completely detrained and was essentially starting from scratch. I've made reasonable progress on my own but was having some technique issues with the squat and press, and had also been struggling mightily to teach myself the power clean. Northern New England apparently being a barren wasteland for SSCs, I contacted Michael Wolf of Wolf Strength and Conditioning in NYC.

Coach Wolf was very responsive and helpful in determining what type of session I should book to give the most attention to my problem areas at a price I could afford. Driving ~5hrs each way from New Hampshire, it was important that I get the most out of my session as I wouldn't be able to pop in on a regular basis. I ultimately decided to go for a 2-hour private session with the hope of covering the squat, press, and power clean. Coach Wolf runs his strength and conditioning program out of Solace New York (CrossFit Solace), and say what you will about CrossFit but these guys had some seriously nice facilities... After a brief introduction and overview we got started with the squat, where he immediately had me widen my stance by about an inch. He also quickly noticed that I was dipping my chest a bit at the bottom and gave me some cues to get me bracing much harder than I wanted to. I responded well and had otherwise good squatting mechanics, so we were able to move on to the press after working up to a moderately heavy set of 5. He walked me through a proper press setup, getting my elbows in closer than I was used to and my upper body more bunched up and tight. I immediately felt more stable and balanced with this setup, particularly at the lockout. We then worked on the hip bounce, which mostly amounted to me needing to be more deliberate and aggressive with the movement while keeping tight. After a quick check to make sure my deadlift technique was OK, we spent the remainder of the session working on the power clean basically from the ground up. The coaching here was considerably more effective than anything I had tried to do on my own. He widened my grip much more than I realized was necessary, which helped me keep the bar close and actually get into a proper rack position for a change. We went through the standard power clean progression, and built up to the full movement at a speed where I could most effectively work on my timing. Much like the press, I left the session with greatly improved mechanics and the somewhat simpler need to work on timing and explosiveness.

Between sets we had some discussion about how my LP has been going. Wolf has coached hundreds of people of all athletic abilities through their novice LP, so he was able to give me very helpful feedback about my progress and programming without the inherent bias of someone who mainly coaches more advanced or competitive athletes. He gave me some great tips on how to handle stalls/deloads as the novice phase winds down, and some final tweaks that could help get a little more out of my LP. Being my first time in the city, he was also happy to give me some restaurant recommendations including an excellent barbecue spot that my girlfriend and I enjoyed later that evening. Overall I had a very positive experience with Coach Wolf and would happily stop in again if I need more technique work in the future.