Karl Schudt is our resident philosopher, interlocutor/agitator, advocate for Online Great Books, and he has one heck of a bench press. He answered some questions so that we can get to know a little bit more about the man behind the goatee.

What is your professional background and when did you become a Starting Strength Coach?

I have a few engineering degrees, but didn’t really work in that field very much. I fell in love with books and got a PhD in philosophy. I’ve taught philosophy and humanities for twenty years at the university level. I’ve recently given that up to become a full-time coach. I became a Starting Strength Coach in 2012.


Why did you become interested in coaching people?

I became interested in coaching people because I saw what it did for me. My chronic lower back pain vanished within two weeks of starting. I was amazed! I started coaching my wife (mistake) and my mom (not a mistake), and gave it away whenever I could. I managed to pass the platform at the seminar in 2012, and decided that this is what I wanted to do. Sully says that coaching people is the most “doctory” thing he ever does, and I think it’s the most “teachery” thing I’ve ever done. I make a bigger impact on people in two hours in the gym than I ever did in a semester at college.


Do you have a coaching specialty or work with a particular demographic?

I don’t really have a specialty, but I like people who are mature adults. They listen better and are more likely to stick with the program.


Tell us about the gym or facility you coach out of. Where can people find you online? 

I train people out of Chicago Strength and Conditioning, owned by fellow SSC Dave Abdemoulaie.  You can find me at chicagosc.com, on Facebook, or via instagram @karlssc. I train people at the gym in Chicago and also out of my garage in Tinley Park. I’m also on the seminar staff for Starting Strength.

I also coach a number of clients online with Barbell Logic Online Coaching.


You also work for the Online Great Books program. Can you tell us about what it is and what you do for them?

The Online Great Books program is a way for ordinary people to get the classical education that they should have gotten. We read great books, which means books that have stood the test of time and have contributed in significant ways to the cultural conversation we’ve had for the last three thousand years. We read them, and then we talk about them in seminars conducted via technology. It’s great fun and I’m tremendously excited. It’s more important than ever that people be able to think for themselves, given the barrage of images and words that we are subject to every day. If you don’t have your own ideas well thought out, you will be prey. But, besides that, it’s really fun! Come join us! I run seminars and do whatever else Scott Hambrick (the founder) needs me to do.


What is your favorite lift and why? What is your PR for that lift?

Squat is my favorite lift because it’s terrifying. Bench press is my best lift, but it’s boring. Squat: 562 in a meet, 585 in the gym. Bench: 440 paused at a meet, 460 in the gym.



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