Mark Rippetoe is the author of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, Practical Programming for Strength Training 2nd edition, Strong Enough?, Mean Ol' Mr. Gravity, and numerous journal, magazine and internet articles. He has worked in the fitness industry since 1978, and has been the owner of the Wichita Falls Athletic Club since 1984. He graduated from Midwestern State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in geology and a minor in anthropology. He was in the first group certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a CSCS in 1985, and the first to formally relinquish that credential in 2009. Rip was a competitive powerlifter for ten years. He won the 198-pound weight class at the Greater Texas Classic in 1982, and placed in state- and regional-level meets for the next 6 years, retiring from competition in 1988. For the next 10 years Rip announced most of the powerlifting meets in North Texas, including the 1995 APF Nationals in Dallas. He retired from powerlifting altogether in 1997, to focus more on Olympic weightlifting.
Rip acquired a solid background in coaching the Olympic lifts as a result of his coach, Bill Starr, using them in his powerlifting training. Further experience with the Olympic lifts came with exposure to the coaching of Tommy Suggs, Jim Moser, Dr. Lon Kilgore, Angel Spassov, Istvan Javorek, Harvey Newton, Mike Conroy, John Thrush, and many fellow lifters. Rip obtained his USWF Level III certification in 1988 at the USOC's Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with Mike Stone, Harvey Newton, and Angel Spassov on faculty. His USAW Senior Coach certification was achieved in 1999 at the OTC with Lyn Jones, John Thrush, and Mike Conroy. He was invited, as an Olympic weightlifting coach, to the Olympic Solidarity course at the OTC in 2000. He taught both the USAW Club Coach course and the Sports Performance Coach course with Dr. Kilgore from 1999 through 2005. Rip served as the president of the North Texas Local Weightlifting Committee of USAW from 2004-2011. He coached and participated in the coaching of James Moser, Glenn Pendlay, Dr. Kilgore, Josh Wells (Junior World Team 2004) most of the national and international-level athletes on the Wichita Falls Weightlifting team, which was hosted and coached at WFAC from 1999 through 2006, as well as the collegiate weightlifting team from Midwestern State University through 2010. Rip still actively coaches the sport on a daily basis at WFAC, and the power clean and power snatch at our seminars around the country every month.
The Starting Strength method of training novices is a distillation of Rip's experiences over three and a half decades as a competitive powerlifter, Olympic weightlifting coach, and gym owner. From its inception in 1984, every new member at WFAC was taught the basic barbell lifts as a part of their membership at the gym, and the application of the basics of powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting to efficiently meet the needs of the general public form the basis of the Starting Strength method, as detailed in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and Practical Programming for Strength Training.