Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

Is the Starting Strength Seminar Right for Me?

by Mark Rippetoe | December 31, 2019

phil meggers teaches bar position at the starting strength seminar

Probably. If you are of average intelligence or better, interested in getting stronger, or interested in learning more about the SS method for purposes of professional development, the Starting Strength Seminar is well worth your time and money. The consensus of the overwhelming majority of the attendees is that it is the best fitness-related educational product on the market. If you are trying to obtain the Starting Strength Coach certification, the seminar is where the evaluation process begins. But if you're just considering the certification, or if you're only interested in improving your own training, the seminar is still something to seriously consider. 

The SS Seminar is 25 contact hours, from 5pm Friday until 7pm Sunday. The lecture component comprises about 15 of those, with about 10 hours under the bar (thank God for lunch!). All 5 lifts are dealt with in detail, with coaching from both staff coaches and the other attendees utilized as a critical part of the learning experience. Everyone learns by both lifting and coaching the lifts, and the material is reinforced by experiencing both sides of the platform. We work up to heavy sets on all 5 lifts, so that the application of the method is not merely theoretical. The last set of squats, deadlifts, and cleans is performed “around the room,” so that everybody gets to see everyone else lift – a wide variety of correctly performed lifts by people of different anthropometries, thus solidifying the concept of the lift's model across the variety of human proportions. 

The platform sessions at the seminar are the laboratory for barbell training education, the place where new ideas for teaching the lifts are tried, and either successfully adopted or redesigned and improved. SS Seminar platforms are where the hips-driven squat, the mid-foot pull, squat, and press, the Press 2.0, and the most effective method ever used for teaching the Power Clean were developed and perfected. The thousands of SS Seminar attendees over the past 15 years have been the guinea pigs we have shamelessly relied upon to help us hone the execution and teaching methods of the main barbell exercises, to the point where they can be taught effectively and efficiently to people across all demographics – since literally all demographic groups (except children) attend our seminars, we've had no choice.  

The lectures are in-depth discussions of the theoretical material introduced in the books and videos, from the basic physical science, mechanics, and physiology, to their specific applications in both programming and under the bar. The latest thinking on advances in our training model is first presented at the SS Seminar lectures – in effect, they are the product development labs for the most effective approaches to barbell strength training in the world. Seminar attendees have been instrumental in the development of the most useful concepts in strength and conditioning pedagogy since 2006, having been the first to participate in the discussions of the Two-Factor Model of Sports Performance, the Training/Exercise model, and the only unified theory of the floor pull in S&C. Questions and comments from our attendees help us clarify and refine the new ideas in the queue. 

One of the most productive parts of the weekend is the famous Q&A session, the last thing we do on Sunday afternoon. It is both informative and very entertaining. 

This distinguishes the SS Seminar from all the other products in the fitness education/certification market. At every seminar, we have people from all over the world in attendance – every inhabited continent has been represented, with an average of 3 overseas attendees at every seminar – evidence of the value people place on the experience. Our average attendee review rating is 4.8/5.0, with an occasional complaint about the air conditioning or the absence of free food. 

The Starting Strength Seminar is not right for you if you already know everything about barbell training, or if you are injured to the extent that you cannot perform the basic movement patterns of the barbell exercises. Participation on the platforms is mandatory, since we teach through performance, but your current strength level is irrelevant since you are attending in order to improve it. If you wish to attend and not lift – if you are injured but still want to observe and get the lecture material, or if you have been to a Seminar and want to reinforce the material before attempting to pass the SSC evaluation – an audit option is available at a lower price. We do several per year here in Wichita Falls, and we're on the east and west coasts and in the mid-west throughout the year. See the web store for details. 

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