Mark Rippetoe, the founder of Starting Strength, played football and then focused on powerlifting from 1979 to 1988. At a body weight of 220 pounds, his best lifts include a 611-pound squat, a 396 bench press, a 633 deadlift, and a 275 power clean.
In 1997, Rippetoe focused on coaching weightlifters at the Wichita Falls Athletic Club and saw several of his lifters compete internationally. From 1999 through 2005, Rippetoe taught courses for USA Weightlifting, and he was in the first group of coaches to be certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a bestselling author, and his Starting Strength franchise is expected to expand to 100 gyms within the next five years.