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Starting Strength in the Real World

Is the Starting Strength Seminar Right for Me?

by Nikki Burman, SSC | May 28, 2019

coaching the start of a pull at a starting strength seminar

You see the Starting Strength Seminars advertised all the time, and you hear people talking about them. But you may be wondering if it's the best thing for you. “It’s a decent amount of money – am I going to really benefit from it?” It depends on where you are in your journey.

Are you completely brand new to training with barbells? Or have you been doing this a while, currently going through your novice linear progression (NLP) and maybe even reading Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training? Or is your goal to become a Starting Strength Coach (SSC), having read all the books, watched all the videos, listened to every podcast, read every article, transitioned into intermediate programming, and having been coaching clients regularly?

Scenario 1: You just started training with barbells and are really enjoying it. In hopes of learning more, you consider signing up for a Seminar, but aren’t too sure about the financial commitment. While I don’t want to discourage you from attending because you will learn more at a Seminar, it may be a little overwhelming. There is a lot of information thrown your way – hope you enjoy physics! But there are other options. Real-time in-person coaching is excellent to experience, so if there is an SSC in your area, I highly recommend doing a session to receive one-on-one coaching. If there is not one, receiving online coaching from Starting Strength Online Coaching is the next best thing.

A third option is attending a Starting Strength Training Camp. They are only one day versus 2 ½ days, and they cover the main barbell lifts separately. Less time is spent on the lecture portion, with more time spent on the platform being coached by an SSC. You leave knowing exactly what you need to work on, while learning the basics of the covered lifts and programming.

Even though the full presentation of the Starting Strength method may be a bit much if you are just starting out, attending the seminar is still a great option if you don’t have a coach or training camp scheduled nearby and you want to get off to a good start with learning the lifts.

Scenario 2: You are in the process of completing your NLP and are reading The Book. (If you haven’t, you should.) Going into the Seminar with a strength and knowledge base helps you retain more of the information. It is a long weekend regardless of your level of training or coaching advancement, but you benefit more after already doing the thing yourself. You also coach another attendee on all 5 lifts – everyone learns best while teaching the material themselves. The SSC on your platform is there to guide you along, guaranteeing everyone receives proper coaching. The ultimate goal at the seminar is to receive feedback on your lifts, ensuring that you are training with proper technique, effectively and safely. This stuff isn’t easy – if it was, everyone would be doing it.

Scenario 3: Your goal is to become an SSC. Yes, you should to go a Seminar. The question at this point is, should I opt in or not? Opting in means your intention is to pass, and you spend the extra money to be evaluated. The answer is, most likely not. I highly recommend just attending your first time, enjoying the experience and learning as much as you can while receiving feedback from Staff SSCs. Opt in the second time, after taking their feedback to heart and coaching as much as possible, and knowing exactly what to expect from the weekend. If you have access to clients to coach, sign up for the Starting Strength Coach Prep Course before opting in to be evaluated. For a more intensive exposure to the actual mechanics of coaching the lifts – as final preparation for passing the platform evaluation – attend a Starting Strength Coaching Development Camp.

SSCs recommend that everyone read all the books and watch all the videos, but we understand that doing so isn’t the norm. The intention is to have as many people as possible experience the benefits of barbell training, and there are plenty of resources out there to help you be more successful. Anyone would benefit from attending a Starting Strength Seminar, but I recommend looking at all the options and deciding what is best for you. In the end, it is hard to overvalue the amount of material covered and the quality of the coaching you receive.

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