I’m Ray Gillenwater, the Co-Founder of Starting Strength Gyms.

If you are brand new to barbell training, already started your Linear Progression, or have just finished, I can work with you to ensure you’re progressing as quickly as possible.

The first step is a detailed consultation so that I can fully understand your goals, availability, commitment level, and training environment.

Next, we’ll schedule your first workout to determine your current level of training advancement and to get a baseline of your current lifting technique.

From there, I will build a program based on your recovery capability (sex, sleep quantity/quality, nutrition, age, and health status), physical limitations (if any), and personal preferences.

Based on your specific situation, you’ll be lifting 2-4x per week, with 1-4 exercises per day. I’ll provide weekly programming and we’ll make adjustments as necessary to maximize progress and to ensure that your form is as close to perfect as possible. I’ll ask that you record one set from each of your lifts and submit them to me for review. Expect a detailed reply to each of your submissions within 48-hours, or before your next training session, whichever is sooner.

I enjoy working with committed, coach-able trainees that enjoy learning and making progress. If that’s you, send me an email, let’s schedule a phone call, and we’ll discuss all of the above in detail. Phone consults are free, so if you’re not in need of regular coaching and would like some general advice on your training, feel free to get in touch.

-Ray Gillenwater, SSC


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8 Reviews

  1. Chris Paez
    Chris Paez
    June 24, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    I’ve been a life long martial artist in Muay Thai; and never have I thought I needed strength training until I met Ray. Ever since I started this training program it has given me the power/strength/confidence to really gain that competitive edge in Muay Thai. Not only that, but Starting Strength has given me a whole new outlook on the meaning of strength and the benefits it has not only for combat sports, but for life in general.

    Being a smaller person my striking game has always been as technical as can be. Having the better technique will always be more efficient as a smaller guy in the ring. I was always in a caloric deficit trying to cut an absurd amount of weight. I thought by increasing my food intake and adding barbell training will only make me slower. Boy was I wrong.

    Once I started incorporating Starting Strength and getting coached by Ray, my game has taken on a whole new level. My posterior chain (hip extensors) have gained so much control and strength that I have slowly changed my style to be more aggressive and comfortable being the one sitting in the pocket. I have noticed my power skyrocket in all forms of my striking including knees and feeling strong in the clinch. Ray has helped me gain a solid 10lbs of muscle mass which has moved me up a whole weight division, and win a IAMTF title of Western California for Wck Muay Thai. I can’t stress enough how much Ray has helped me get stronger and battle ready for competition. He really pays attention to detail and will find ways for you to understand the technique. I really recommend coaching by Ray as he is as passionate and technical as they come.

  2. David J Fox
    David J Fox
    October 12, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Ray has great attention to detail, celebrates wins, gives constructive & relatable feedback, and is fun to work with. His intuitive approach to tailoring my program to my needs as well as ensuring I stick to the program makes for a seamless experience that has improved my training quicker and more consistently than I could have done on my own. Great job Ray, and thank you!

  3. John Haun
    John Haun
    October 12, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Don’t underestimate the value of being coached. Ray’s coaching has not only led me to my own personal PRs, its also helped me become a better coach to my friends and family. His meticulous feedback and programming provide the information and actions I need to continuously improve. Starting Strength is the most effective means of gaining strength I’ve experienced in 25 years of training … And Ray coaches it like a champ!

  4. Thomas James
    Thomas James
    October 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Ray is very observant, patient, encouraging, and effective as a Starting Strength Coach. He instinctively knew how to distill important form concepts into memorable cues I still use two months and many workouts later.

    I’d recommend him to anyone – he’s a professional coach that clearly loves his craft.

  5. samir zina
    samir zina
    October 13, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve been working with Ray for a couple of months now. This was a few weeks out of my NLP. My lifts are now near perfect technically, thanks to his deep understanding of the lifts and his ability to communicate issues and cues even in a non face to face platform (online). I definitely recommend any lifter who is struggling with form or has hit a wall in training, to reach out to Ray.

  6. Yousef
    March 31, 2021 at 7:11 am

    It has been 2 weeks since I have started working with Ray and I can honestly say that I have yet to come across a trainer who demonstrates the high level of professionalism, attention to detail and care to the trainee as much as Ray does… It is too soon to give an honest review about the program, so I will do that once I complete my novice program. But for now, suffice to say that I’m very comfortable knowing that I’m in good hands with Ray and starting strength.com.

  7. Toomas Kolk
    Toomas Kolk
    November 3, 2021 at 6:11 am

    I worked with Ray for 9 months. Being a “seasoned” lifter with 24 years of weightlifting history (though varying in intensity) including strongman sports with a fair share of injury baggage I had arrived at a point where I needed to re-focus and re-start.
    Ray helped me (100% online as I am from Estonia) to learn the correct form of low bar squat. I couldn’t really squat heavy for years due to my knees and upper back. That changed with the low bar squat.
    I totally re-learned the press and also fixed several issues of the deadlift.
    I managed to overpass my personal bests that I made 11 years ago and do so in correct form and without kneestraps 😆.
    We set goals, planned and adjusted along the way and it was exactly what I needed in that period of my training “carreer”.

  8. Mark Parrett
    Mark Parrett
    December 5, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    I came to Ray after having stalled out on my program and dealing with repeated injuries. I was a pain in the ass to coach for a while, but after dealing with my form issues while also helping me to become a more coachable person in general, I saw huge benefits in trusting Ray’s program and coaching. I really appreciated Ray’s candor in all areas of our regular back and forth. Unfortunately I ran into a health situation that meant I had to take time off from heavy lifting, but unlike every other time I’ve done that, I’ve been able to return to my previous strength so much faster than before I had worked with Ray because I was no longer doing stupid stuff and getting hurt on the way back to form. My short (8 month) time with Ray legitimately set me up for another decade or two of gains despite coming to him worried that I might be done moving forward in my lifting.

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