Starting Strength Coach

Starting Strength Coaches have demonstrated the ability to apply efficient mechanical analysis based on the Moment Model of Barbell Training and to adequately coach the Starting Strength method.

Candidates for the Starting Strength Coach credential are evaluated in practical sessions at Starting Strength Seminars. Those who demonstrate ability to coach the movements must also pass an oral exam which further tests their knowledge, experience, and application.

Coaching requires practice and experience and cannot be mastered through a weekend exposure. For more on coaching and the development of this ability, see: (Article) | The Science of Verbal Cues: Turning Words into Action — (Video) | The Coaching Eye


  • Foundational Texts
  • Training Experience: Effective coaching requires personal familiarity with the movements you will coach. Time under the bar is essential. Successful SSC candidates typically have progressed through late novice and into the intermediate stage.
  • Coaching Experience: There is no substitute for coaching experience. The ability to see and correct movement in real time requires practice and confidence. Working with lifters of varied experience, athleticism and backgrounds will develop both your skills and your ability to effectively interact with a range of trainees.

Starting Strength Coach Development Program

The Starting Strength Coach Development program offers three components to help prepare you as a coach. These components work best when coaching is mentored directly by a Starting Strength Coach, but can also be used by those learning independently.

  1. Apprenticeships: Apprenticeship programs at Starting Strength Gyms are integrated into Starting Strength Gym operations. Apprentices train and coach at a Starting Strength Gym as they complete the Coaching Prep Course. Find an Apprenticeship

  2. Coach Prep Course: The Coach Prep Course provides structured coursework to develop skills in all areas – theoretical background, coaching, and lifting. It does this by:
    • Providing a guided course of study that requires working with concepts and answering questions in written form
    • Requiring completion of weekly coaching assignments
    • Requiring candidates to keep a current training log
    • Support and active discussion with Starting Strength Coaches and as well as peers

    The course is open to apprentices, interns at affiliate gyms, and others that are actively working to become professional coaches. Find out more

  3. Coaching Development Camps: Coaching Development Camps are events designed to improve your ability to coach the barbell lifts. This helps fill the gap for coaches who do not have direct, real-life supervision as they learn to coach. It is also a way to get an assessment of coaching ability and find out if you’re ready to challenge the SSC evaluation or not.


Platform: At Starting Strength Seminars, the staff evaluates each candidate on their ability to demonstrate basic competence in each lift as well as to effectively coach each movement. Coaching ability is evaluated according to the criteria discussed in the coaching lecture at the start of the course:

  • Understanding of the model of the lift
  • Use of the teaching method
  • Ability to identify deviations from the model and provide direct, concise, appropriately-timed and prioritized cues to effectively correct movement errors in real time.

Oral exam: In the week after the seminar, an oral exam is scheduled for candidates that have passed the platform exam. 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 during the exam.

Maintenance of Certification

The SS Coach credential expires 2 years after the year of certification. Renewal requires that Coaches meet biannual education and coaching practice requirements. The MOC program is designed to ensure that SSC is actively coaching, is current with updates to coaching theory and practice, and is exposed to ongoing study in addition to contributing and participating in the Starting Strength community.