Frequently Asked Questions


Membership and Training

How much is membership?

See our Membership page for more info.

What’s the format of the gym?

The Starting Strength Gym model revolves around small group training sessions to ensure that each trainee gets dedicated coaching and programming. The group format brings the cost of coaching down to make training with a coach three times a week more affordable. Sign up for a timeslot that works best for you. Get a guaranteed space in the gym at your designated training time. Show up, warm up, squat, press or bench, and deadlift. Finish by checking in with your coach to plan your next training session.

Do I need to commit to a time slot?

To train with a coach 3x/week, yes. This ensures you have a guaranteed space in the gym at a time that’s convenient for you. If your schedule does not permit training on a consistent schedule, 3x/week, you may want to consider Private Coaching once per week.

Do I need to train three times a week?

Yes, Starting Strength Gym members are committed trainees that train on a set schedule, only missing sessions due to travel, injury, illness, or another unavoidable reason. The process of training differs from exercise because it is planned in advance to achieve a pre-defined outcome. That plan is referred to as programming, and programming needs to be completed on a consistent schedule for it to be effective. Trainees commit to either a M/W/F schedule or a T/Th/Sa - at the same time each day to ensure that there’s adequate time for recovery.

What equipment do I need to get started?

For day one, you’ll simply need shorts or pants that don’t impinge your range of motion - so that you can perform a full depth squat. If you wear shorts, wear long socks to cover your shins for the deadlift. You’ll also need a 100% cotton t-shirt and hard-soled shoes.

I want to train, but none of the available sessions match my schedule. Are there any other options?

Our small group training sessions are on a fixed schedule, but please let us know if you prefer another time slot. If we get enough inquiries, we may add more availability. Otherwise, contact us for Private Coaching options.

Facility and Equipment

What is a Starting Strength gym like?

All of our gyms are designed exclusively for training and every training station has everything you need and nothing else. Each gym has top-quality equipment, including beautiful, custom training platforms equipped with our proprietary power racks. The barbells, power rack, benches, and plates were all designed by Starting Strength founder, Mark Rippetoe. A Starting Strength gym is a beautiful place to do serious work.

What kind of equipment will I find in a Starting Strength gym?

All gyms are outfitted with 45lbs bars (20kg), 33lbs (15kg), and 22lbs (10kg). Each platform has our bare steel, c-channel power rack, perfect for anything and everything you need related to strength training. Our red oak butcher-block bench is plain and perfectly designed, made 10" wide (versus 12") to keep you honest on your bench setup.

Becoming a Coach

How can I become a coach?

Review the Become a Coach page and then use the form there to tell us about your experience and goals.

I’ve been a strength coach or personal trainer for years. Is the certification process different for me?

Our training process is rigorous, and everyone goes through all the steps because our method is deep, broad, and specific. Your experience may serve you well but have a look at “The Process” on the Become a Coach page.

Why should I become a Starting Strength coach? What’s so special about SS?

Our coaches are the best trained, best paid coaches in the industry. We maintain strict standards, and constantly reexamine them, so you’ll always be coaching the most effective training program in existence.

Online Coaching

How does online coaching work?

Once you’re setup with your coach, you’ll get individualized programming, you’ll upload videos of your work sets to TrueCoach, your coach will review and offer detailed feedback, then your coach will plan the next workouts accordingly.

What equipment do I need?

You need a power rack, an Olympic barbell, a bench, a lifting belt, lifting shoes, a log book, and a set of plates to accommodate all your ever-increasing barbell loadouts.

Will I have to commit to a long-term contract?

No. Just like with coaching programs in our gyms, there are no long-term contracts and you can stop anytime.

Will I be able to visit a Starting Strength gym for hands-on coaching sometimes?

It is certainly possible. There is a visit fee, but occasional in-gym training under the direct guidance of a coach can provide a positive boost to your training. Ask your coach about this.

Nutrition Coaching

How do I get nutritional coaching?

Review the Nutrition Coaching page and then use the form there to tell us about your concerns and goals.

Owning a Gym

I’m interested in opening my own Starting Strength Gym, is that possible?

Yes! Details on gym ownership can be found on the Own a Gym page.

First Timers

What if I’ve never trained before? What if I have very little strength? Am I too weak to start?

Starting Strength is for everyone. Even if you’re detrained, sedentary, and/or unathletic, you have a baseline of strength that can be established and built upon.

I’m new to barbell training, old, injured, unathletic, and/or otherwise worried about strength training. Can I do Starting Strength?

Most everyone can do Starting Strength, or a modified version depending on your specific situation. Fill out the contact form and tell us about yourself so we can provide you with more detailed feedback.

What weights do I start with?

Starting weights are dependent upon the baseline that your coach will help you establish during your introductory session. Older or sedentary trainees may start by squatting something as light as a broomstick. Athletic trainees, or those with barbell experience, may squat hundreds of pounds on their first day. The goal is to find a baseline where you can safely perform the lifts and progress from there.

What can I expect on my first day?

On day one you will learn to squat, press, and deadlift in line with the Starting Strength model. You’ll establish a strength baseline for each of the lifts. From there, you’ll sign into the digital logbook app and work with your coach to plan your programming for the next training session. For trainees that have been coached by a Starting Strength Coach before, you can join a group training session on day one, based on the schedule you signed up for. You’ll arrive at the gym, change into your lifting shoes, grab a rack, we’ll assign you a lifting partner, and then you can start your warm up. Let your coach know when you’re ready for your last warm-up and each of your work-sets.

What’s the difference between strength training and regular exercise?

Training differs from exercising in that it is the most direct route towards achieving a goal. Training is the carefully planned and executed process of intentionally becoming physically better than you are now. Exercising is merely performing physical activity for its own sake, in an unplanned way, with no thought about an ultimate goal. At best, it may improve your overall health; at worst it can be unproductive, or even dangerous. Since we are all limited in the amount of time we can dedicate to fitness, training is a far better use of time than exercising.

How does the program work?

See our How it Works page to learn more.