T Nation

Starting Strength Coaches

Why do Starting Strength Coaches come off so arrogant? People go to them for help and usually get a douche response, How does this help novices? Opinions on this?

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They teach you to give direct feedback. It can come across as blunt but they believe that is better than letting something go uncorrected or being ambiguous/wishy washy.

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Wait, what do you mean by “Starting Strength Coaches”? They are giving out certifications now? Is this an SNL skit?


They have for years.

I guess many people who take their certification just see Rippetoe’s word as gospel and discount everything that’s not in line with his publications, at least that’s been my impression.


every motherfucker gives out certifications now. You can get certified by CT Fletcher!


When’s Blaha going to start doing this? I wanna be a certified bum.


have you googled it? I’ve not, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he already has.

Anybody want to get Yogi certified?

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Depends on what that certification process entails…

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well how bad do you want it?

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I’m not sure…I’m debating how poor I am in financial-worth versus how poor I am in self-worth…tough call…

What specific interaction have you had that gave you this impression?

Being a douche doesn’t help novices, but that’s not a trait exclusive to Starting Strength coaches.

According to the SSC site, the average Starting Strength coach is in their late-30s with about 9 years of coaching experience behind them, and the overwhelming majority already have another training certification. So they’re not exactly newbs who’ve taken Rip’s advice as law. They’re, much more likely, established trainers adding to their toolbox.

Also, from what I’ve read about the certification process, the first step of the cert is demonstrating practical knowledge in the gym regarding technique with the basic lifts. If they pass that, then they take a written portion. That’s different than most other certs, and probably helps to weed out textbook-only trainers who don’t lift and trainers who don’t know how to apply what they’ve learned.


I too wish to be a certified master in starting strength.

But only starting strength. None of that middle or end strength stuff.


I asked a few legit questions on Mark’s forum and Direct messages over Facebook with some of his coaches, I know they must hear the same questions but that’s part of the business. I really like his knowledge and his approach to getting strong but being helpful especially to people who are novices should be the top priority.

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I’m currently working on my Ending Strength certification. The course is pass/fail, and unfortunately, everybody passes.


In the scheme of things does it really matter? Pre internet guys were learning to get BIG and Strong with nothing more then some monthly Muscle mags…trial and error and critical thinking skills along with learning from other guys in real life whom were seeing results.Now everybody wants to be spoon fed…


A’ight, I am by far not the expert, but since I have been banned on the Starting Strength Facebook page, have run a SS NLP, have hired and been coached by an SSC, have attended a SS Pull Camp, I guess I may have some experience that is relevant here.

Starting Strength does certify coaches. You have to attend a SS seminar and be invited to sit for the test based on your ability to perform and coach the lifts during the seminar. The test is constructed response - essays - and it is lengthy. I’ve heard that many write as much as thirty pages in response to seven questions.

Many Starting Strength Coaches hold other certifications, such as CSCS. My coach, John Petrizzo, is a CSCS, and holds a PhD as in Physical Therapy (DPT) and is a tenured professor at a local university in Exercise Science. He is also a beast.

His wife, Rori Alter, is also a SSC, and a DPT. She is also a beast.

At my gym, I met her, and Nick D’Agostino, also a SSC. At Pull Camp, I met Pete Troupos, Brent Carter, and Michael Wolf, all SSC’s.

For the most part, they were all good peeps, with the exception of Brent Carter, who suffers from small man’s disease.

On the other hand, I am a member of the SS forum on their website, After the Fahves on Facebook, and SS on Facebook (I only got banned under one of my screen names - take that bitches).

And, with respect to social media, SS people all suck balls. They are very dogmatic, arrogant, condescending, and, if I didn’t mention it before, they suck balls.

A typical response to any question is, “did you read the book.” Which, of course, isn’t very helpful. I did read the book, but I either didn’t memorize it, or I struggled with understanding it, and asking if I read the book is just a shitty way of establishing superiority, something that many of the admins and SSC’s seem to feel the need to do.

Most of the time the responses are; eat more, shove your knees out, nipples to the wall, imagine a flashlight coming out of your ass pointing to the wall, eat more, the bar is too high, eat more, you’re not doing the program, eat more, and eat more.

My take is that the admins on the forums aren’t busy enough to spend their time coaching clients so they spend a lot of time on the web. The guys that are actually making money coaching, and are good coaches, are not on the web. Petrizzo, Alter, Wolf, Leah Lutz, those peeps, you never see them in the webz. They have a bunch of wannabe douchebags doing admin work terrorizing newbies asking questions, and, they suck balls. The dudes at Westminster Strength in Maryland are particularly bad, as is Joe Jaloszynski.

I’m actually surprised that Rippetoe lets these fuckwads tarnish the brand, but I suspect he’s got an exit plan. He’s turned a lot of the shit over to Wolf, Jordan Feigenbaum, and Austin Baraki. Wolf is okay, helped me a lot with my DL and cleans, but Feigenbaum and Baraki are know it all MD’s that are extremely patronizing. And, more interested in getting rich than actually helping - they have a concierge medicine service as new MD’s and Feigenbaum is shilling his own supplements - Gainzz or some shit like that.

So, the books are solid info, but the rest of the brand is, for the most part, a bunch of fucking assholes that have jumped the shark.

Just my .02



The seminar is close to a grand.

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That was a fantastic post. Thank you for writing it.


It’s all about that After Strength do’. That Second Cumming…

I have always greatly appreciated your guidance and questioning, and I am nowhere close to your league with respect to experience of time under the bar, but honestly, that’s just scratching the surface. I could rant for days about that shit.

And, I guess a lot of my rants would be motivated by my desire for it to be better than it is. I really like SS. I thought my NLP experience was great, I thought the book was great, I thought Practical Programming was great, and, as you know, I think Rip is great.

I love Petrizzo, and from my limited experience, I like Rori, Wolf, and the rest of the SSC’s I have met.

But man, the fucking dogma, ridonkulous.

I posted a form check here and in Starting Strength’s FB page and the quality of feedback was very telling. Suffice it to say that there was a lot more encouragement and constructive criticism on T-Nation than there was on the SS page. You actually tweaked my valsalva and that made a huge difference.

The dicks in the SS forum asked whether or not I had read the book, which, of course, I had. And, I read pretty good - I fucking teach English. Maybe those guys are just that much smarter than I.

So, yeah, I feel pretty informed about all of the SS experiences. Most of them were good, but the social media pricks are, well, pricks.