What's the best way to find a good coach for weight lifting in my area?

The trainers in my gym seem to be very big & strong, but not experts in form, or at least not know (at all) how to teach it. I've gotten much more from this forum and from the Starting Strength book. But I'd really like a good coach, so I can fine tune my form while I go higher.

The Starting Strength Coach Association didn't have anyone available in my area.

I don't need someone for every day - just occasionally to help with my form. What's a good way to find a coach?

UPDATE: I see that there are many other coach certification programs around, like ACE NCSM etc, and some of these do have people listed in my area. So, based on certifications, is there one which I'd expect can do good barbell training in the Starting Strength method?

2 Answers 2


The first step is determining if there are any gyms that specialize in the type of lifting you are after. If there is a power lifting team that trains in that gym, or if it is a gym that is known for where competitors lift, typically they will allow coaches to train there without hiring one of the gym's personal trainers. In my area, I would have to travel pretty far to do that. Another option is a Crossfit gym. While Crossfit has a reputation for sacrificing form to have what seems like a million reps of a barbell exercise, that does not mean that a local "box" wouldn't have qualified instructors. They will be better than personal trainers at most commercial gyms.

Starting Strength teaches a 100% Raw power lifting style for the big three: squat, bench, deadlift. It adds two more main lifts to your repertoire: overhead press and power cleans. Of these, the only one that might require the most hands on help would be the power cleans. When looking for coaches, keep in mind what it is you are trying to learn.

A less expensive, and still perfectly valid approach is a form check video. Most phones have a video camera built in, and hand held video cameras are also fairly inexpensive. They let you take a look at your form afterwards and make corrections. If you still feel there is a need for an outside opinion, you can post a form check video to a forum that specializes in strength training.


You are overlooking possibility of online coaching. "Barbell Medicine" has reasonable programs and group/personal coaching, maybe even someone in your area. They also put out a lot of free materials on youtube/podcasts, so you can learn tons yourself.

To answer question about "how to find good coach": you'll have to talk to bunch of people. You are looking for someone who

  1. teaches self-reliance, so you are not depended on them
  2. uses science in their method and able to provide references to published studies
  3. has experience with lifting and with coaching (non necessarily a champion of powerlifting, but should be reasonably strong)
  4. had experience working with people like you, and able to provide references (for example, if you are over/underweight, or not an freak athlete)
  5. doesn't scare you by saying things like "sugars kill" or "bread will give you cancer" or "with that form you'll destroy AC joint". Humans are fairly robust animals, so you'll not gonna get your joins blown out by doing X, Y, Z.
  6. hopefully, know that pain comes from brain, not from some mechanical damage, and will be able to guide you to learn how to manage pain and injuries (which will occur naturally)

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