When you walk into the West Chester studio of Starting Strength Cincinnati, you’ll see nine identical racks and platforms and screens with plans for the day’s workout. If you’re used to a gym with lots of machines, you might be surprised. However, the coaches, apprentices and owner Luke Schroeder are practitioners of a formula for strength training that works every time, and it’s at the center of their work.
“It all began with a book, Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, by Mark Rippetoe in 2005,” says Luke. “It discusses why strength is the single most important physical adaptation we’ve got, and how it helps us do everything else better in our lives.”
The book takes that principle and develops, in deep detail, how a certain set of exercises with the barbell—the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press and the power clean—make the body work as a system in a way that builds strength throughout the body, not just in isolated body parts.
When Rippetoe’s book gained recognition as the definitive guide of its kind, he and other gym owners began using it as a manual for coaching people who wanted to get stronger. Now, official Starting Strength gyms are popping up all over the United States, with Starting Strength Cincinnati as the ninth gym of its kind to open.
Workouts at a Starting Strength gym are programmed and coached. You start with an introductory session where the credentialed coach teaches you the form and technique of movements that you’ll use, while establishing baselines of strength. Coaching sessions are typically three times a week, each session attuned to where you are in your strength journey.
Starting Strength is shown to work for all ages, male and female, and you’re likely to see that diversity in a given group coaching session.
“Strength training is especially important as we age,” says Luke. “A lot of our clients are in the 65 and older category. There’s a 97-year-old woman who trains at Starting Strength Boston. In that age group, with 90 days on our program, the 65+ groups are stronger than the 18-45 age group is on day one.”
The Starting Strength coaching credential is the most rigorous in the industry, with studies in human physiology, physics, how to coach the lifts and how to develop the individualized programming. It culminates in challenging final exams that test both knowledge and effective coaching.
In the process of an intensive thrice-weekly workout, friendships form in the gym, driven by the excitement of seeing progress.
“It really becomes a community, since while there’s nothing in here that’s dangerous, strength training can be hard, and there’s a bond that comes with doing things that aren’t easy as a group,” says Luke.
The Starting Strength pricing strategy is simple, with a structured rate per session, billed monthly. They avoid cancellation fees, joining fees and contracts because they fully believe their results will keep clients coming back. Starting Strength Cincinnati breaks down the key parts of fitness while building up strength and relationships.
Through January, the grand-opening discount is $24 per session for the 3-times-per-week program. Register online for their open houses, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., to see the gym and meet and observe the team. Cincinnati.StartingStrengthGyms.com