So the Starting Strength seminar in Atlanta this weekend was pretty awesome. It LONG weekend though. The seminar ran from 5-8:30 on Friday, 8-8:30 on Saturday, and 8-6:30 (I left at 6:15, I"m not sure how much later it actually ran) on Sunday.
It seemed to follow along with the book almost exactly. It had a thorough discussion of the physics and anatomy of the lifts on Friday night and prior to each lift throughout the weekend. My engineering side totally geeked out on that. Rippetoe has his own perspective on a lot of the lifts. It's probably accurate to call it "Old School." He doesn't have a very high opinion of current Olympic or Power lifting training (and needless to say CrossFit either). He made a good case for his reasoning that I found myself agreeing with a lot of it.
In short, being stronger makes you better at almost every physical endeavor. To do that efficiently and effectively, a movement should use as many muscles as possible to move the heaviest weight possible. Based on this, Rippetoe uses the Squat, Deadlift, Press, Power Clean and Bench Press. All of these are movements I've down before in CrossFit but his set up and style of these are slightly different. I found it challenging and frustrating to adjust my muscle memory movement patterns to these new methods. I think it was made more difficult because the movements are similar instead of brand new.
The seminar consisted of classroom lecture over the physics and anatomy involved and used this info to derive the methods for the lift. The recurring theme to all of these lifts was the vertical bar path. Any time you are lifting a barbell, it moves because you are applying more force than gravity. In order to be efficient with this, the Force you apply should be in the same vertical line as gravity. Any variation from this introduced moments or horizontal movement that must be account for at some point in the lift (which can then cause fail reps or even injury). During the practical portion, we were graded on our ability to perform the technique as well as coach another member in our group. The coaching was frustrating for the same reasons the movements were. I knew them the way I knew them, but not as Rippetoe wanted them taught. So my confidence was a little shaken during this portion, but I think I did ok. Having someone watching me coach and judging didn't help my nerves either...
Since I was being graded and I was having some issues with adjusting to new techniques, I ended up erring on the conservative side of things for my weights
On Saturday, I worked up to 3 sets across of 245 (if I remember right) on Squat and a set of 5 of 275 Deadlift. For Press, I did 110 for 5 I think.
On Sunday, I did a triple power clean at 165 and a set of 5 at Bench press at 175.
I was slightly sore each day, but probably had more to do with sitting in a folding chair when we weren't on the platform. Overall, it was the best seminar I've been to yet. I felt that it had way more depth and information than either the CrossFit Level 1 or the USA Weightlifting Level 1. I wish it counted as a more official certification than it is (I still have to pass an exam which I will talk about shortly...), but it was definitely worth the money and the trip.
The last part I have to do is a written exam in order to be certified as a Starting Strength Coach. Now, this cert won't add any special letters after my name like a CPT or CSCS will, but it will provide a sort of seal of approval to associate with my trainer resume. If I did sufficiently well enough on the Platform portion of the seminar, I will get an e-mail at 6pm tonight with the exam. It's 7 questions in essay format that I have to complete by Sunday at midnight. Rip told us the exam should take around 7 hours!!! He said they should be graduate level responses to the questions. For a comparison, the CF and USAW certs had multiple choice tests with like 50 questions on them. I finished each of those in like <20 minutes. So I am a little intimidated by this one. Again... I wish this were a more officially recognized certification for the effort I'm about to put into it, but at least I will know that I have a thorough understanding of the movements and can teach them appropriately.
As for the weekends food, I did good except for my dinner Sunday night. Friday morning was an omelette from American Roadhouse in Atlanta. Lunch was some brisket and green chile soup at Taqueria del Sol. I also snacked on some of Yeah Burger's sweet potato fries before heading to the cert. Dinner was at my favorite Thai restaurant in Atlanta, Panita Thai Kitchen. I had a basil beef dish that was really spicy. I had it with rice (sorry!), deal with it. Saturday, I had some egg and sausage from a chick-fil-a breakfast sandwich. I tossed the biscuit. It barely held me over but I was able to snack on some bison jerky I got from the Dekalb Farmer's Market. Lunch was FarmBurger for a lettuce wrapped grass fed beef burger w tomatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and bacon with a side of some delicious sweet potato fries (I love these things...). For dinner everyone at the cert went to Gordon Biersch, a micro-brew restaurant in Atlanta. It sucked... I got a burger, no bun, with a side of veggies. The burger was TINY and the veggies were squash and zucchini in a small bowl. Not filling at all! When I got back to my buddy, Maurice's, I had and apple and some almond butter to snack on (I missed almond butter from the farmers market dearly). Sunday I had two egg mcmuffin eggs for breakfast. I snacked on another apple and almond butter and some more bison jerky. Lunch was another trip to FarmBurger with the owners of CF John's Creek. They were really cool people and even picked up my lunch! I had another burger and sweet potato fries but this time with a fried egg instead of the bacon. I was running late to the airport and had to run through security to catch my flight. The only thing in the T gates near United is a Burger King. I was exhausted from the weekend and didn't want to mess with it so I just got a TRIPLE whopper and ate the whole thing, bun, mayo, ketchup and all... I didn't feel any adverse effects from the bread, I didn't feel sick. nothing. I don't even suddenly have cravings all over again. I was back on the wagon Monday morning. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, some of Erica's pork tenderloin dish for lunch with a salad and her deviled eggs... It was all really good. After jiu jitsu I had some of the pork taco recipe she made. That was delicious too... I like when she cooks.
On a completely different topic, my old gym BTB posted an article about why grains are bad stuff. Here is some more info on why we try to eliminate grains:
Why no grains?