Matt and Scott discuss the content and format of the Starting Strength seminar, an intensive weekend full of lecture, technical analysis of the lifts, and practical coaching on the platform. The seminar is the culmination of the content presented in SSBBT and Practical Programming, combined with the platform segments where attendees get lots of reps under the eyes of a Starting Strength staff coach while themselves teaching others how to lift. Rip’s philosophy is that teaching helps you learn best, so every lifter is required to teach another lifter how to perform the lifts. This is one of the things that makes the Starting Strength seminar unique in the fitness industry.
Of course those seeking to become certified Starting Strength Coaches must attend a seminar AND pass the platform test there. Those that opt-in to be evaluated as a coach will be watched closely by a staff coach to determine if they have the coaching experience, knowledge of the model, and platform presence to teach all of the core lifts at a high level. The platform test is the first step toward becoming an SSC (but not the only step, there is a written exam to pass after the platform is passed), and the pass rate is very low — 10% or less — because of the high coaching standards in place. As Scott says, attendees pay a high price to be at the seminar, and they need to get their value. If a prospective coach is not performing at the level of the staff coach presiding over the platform, then the platform coach will step in and ensure the lifter is getting the coaching he deserves.
At the end of the day, we recommend that every serious lifter attend a Starting Strength seminar, as there is so much to learn by taking a deep dive into the model over an intense weekend. While all the information is contained elsewhere in the books and articles on the SS website, the seminar presents an opportunity to engage with it in a focused manner, and interact with the staff coaches and Rip himself. Likewise, the platform portions offer the chance to get in-depth coaching on all your lifts, as well as the opportunity to observe different staff coaches work the platform.
That said, get some training under your belt first. If you haven’t worked with a SSC, go do that, get your form down, and train for a while. Then come over to the seminar. It’s a big weekend with a TON of information that may be hard to swallow if you are totally new to the Starting Strength method.
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