Seminar Course Information

Starting Strength Seminar


The Starting Strength Seminar is the first of its type in the fitness industry. Led by Mark Rippetoe, the SSS teaches the methods of basic barbell training detailed in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training. This method deconstructs the five basic barbell exercises down to their elements in skeletal and muscular anatomy, and then derives a system for performing and coaching them based on the biomechanics of the loaded human body moving in a gravitational framework.

The Starting Strength Seminar is an intensive exposure to all the information from which the Starting Strength system is derived. The 3-day format allows for an in-depth exploration of the theoretical basis of the system, as well as a thorough under-the-bar practical session for each exercise. The basics of coaching, biomechanics, lifting efficiency, and safety are developed into a logical and effective system of barbell training that forms the best possible foundation for any strength and conditioning program.

The Starting Strength Seminar offers different levels of completion. Attendance at the seminar provides an educational experience in barbell training that is absolutely unavailable anywhere else in the fitness education market. Competence in the system will also be evaluated by the staff on the ability of the participant to demonstrate understanding as both lifter and coach in the practical sessions, as well as an exam that can be taken after the seminar. The attendee that passes the examination and has shown the ability to apply efficient mechanical analysis and to adequately coach the Starting Strength method is granted the Starting Strength Coach designation.

It is recommended that the candidate come prepared with a background in weight training, a working knowledge of muscular and skeletal anatomy, familiarity with the foundational texts, and a willingness to communicate effectively.


Background reading:

A good foundation will allow you to learn more during the seminar. This is true even though theory and teaching methods are updated continually and are significantly advanced from the current published foundational texts (Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, Practical Programming for Strength Training). It is recommended that you be familiar with these, as well as the Active Hip 2.0 and The Novice Effect articles available at Reviews of basic skeletal and muscular anatomy may also be helpful.

Course Schedule and Requirements

Program Schedule:

  • Friday, 5-9 pm :: Coaching, Strength Training Theory, Biomechanics
  • Saturday, 8 am - 8 pm, with a 1-hour break :: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press
  • Sunday, 8 am - 7 pm, with a 1-hour break :: Power Clean, Press, Programming, Q&A

Physical prep:

Please do not make good training during the seminar difficult by depleting your reserves and creating extreme soreness with ambitious and/or silly workouts in the week leading up to the seminar. Excessive volume is the main enemy here. Please use common sense. You will be working up to relatively heavy sets on each lift as your form allows (~85-90% of 5RM for squat/press/deadlift/bench press and 90-95% of 3RM on power clean).

The Starting Strength Seminar offers one level of completion for learning and practice at the seminar:

  • Attendance certificate: The seminar can be completed by attending and participating in all sessions. All attendees who complete the course will receive an evaluation of their platform performance as a lifter and a certificate of attendance. Completion of the Starting Strength Seminar with the Attendance Certificate qualifies the attendee for personal trainer insurance with Sports & Fitness Insurance. Currently, the course description and attendance certificate can be used to receive CE credit from many organizations, depending on their specific requirements for CE-eligible programs.

The Starting Strength Seminar also offers completion as a Starting Strength Coach:

  • Starting Strength Coach Requirements:
    • A. Must be at least 18 years of age.
    • B. Must elect to be evaluated as a coach at the beginning of the seminar. The cost for opting in for coaching evaluation is $200, paid Friday at the seminar by cash, check, or credit card.
    • C. Platform performance :: The coaching staff evaluates each attendee on their ability to demonstrate basic competence in each lift as well as to effectively coach each movement. Coaching is evaluted according to the criteria discussed in the coaching lecture:
      1. Understanding of the model of the lift
      2. Use of the teaching method
      3. Ability to identify deviations from the model and provide direct, concise, appropriately-timed and prioritized cues to effectively correct movement errors in real time.
    • D. Oral exam :: In the weeks after the seminar, an oral exam will be administered to those who have completed the course and passed the platform performance evaluation. The oral exam tests the ability of the attendee to integrate an understanding of the theoretical model on which the Starting Strength method is based, basic physiology and anatomy, and strength training programming. Course material, foundational texts, general science, as well as practical experience are sources which the attendee is expected to draw on to provide detailed answers to each question. 
    • E. Written/oral remedial exam :: The oral board examiners may allow make-up exam to follow up with promising candidates who required extra study in specific areas of the initial exam.
    The attendee that meets all of the requirements above, has shown the ability to apply efficient mechanical analysis based on the material taught in the seminar and to adequately coach the Starting Strength method is granted a Starting Strength Coach certificate.


[Note that the steps 3-5 below apply only to those attempting to earn the Starting Strength Coach designation.]
  1. Attendance certificates are distributed at the completion of the course on Sunday to all those who meet this requirement.
  2. Platform evaluations of lifting are distributed by email by midnight Tuesday following the course to all attendees. 
  3. Starting Strength Coach Oral Exams will be scheduled for those who have completed the course and passed the platform assessment as both a lifter and a coach.
  4. The Oral Exam is delivered by video conference to the candidate. Three examiners will administer the exam and evaluate the candidate.
  5. Starting Strength Coach Exam results for those attempting the Starting Strength Coach certification are given via phone. The attendee that passes the written examination and has shown the ability to apply efficient mechanical analysis and to adequately coach the Starting Strength method is granted a Starting Strength Coach certificate. These are mailed out following the notification of results.

Seminar preparation