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We get a lot of questions about what it takes to be a weightlifter on TSS Barbell: We have athletes varying from college students to military officers to stay-at-home moms and even a nurse practitioner. We don’t require that our athletes compete on a national level; Bringing us home medals isn’t a requirement either. We don’t offer discounted programming because you’re a more talented weightlifter than the guy or girl on the platform lifting next to you. We do ask that every member gives us 100% of their effort the moment they walk in the door to warm up and that weightlifting is a priority.  We require that members are uplifting and supportive of their teammates. Most of all, we require that our athletes have goals and they stay in communication with their coaches to achieve them. Below is what we consider our “Team Standards:” We have created these standards to facilitate an environment that we feel best represents our culture and what we believe in.



  1. Register and compete in at least two meets on the team schedule per calendar year.


2. Pay for programming and coaching on time via Square or cash. Keep card information up to date on Square.


  1. Complete all programming as written unless discussed with Brittany, Fernie or Jilly BEFORE or during training sessions (not after the fact) on the days of the week we have written in the program. Not completing programming as written is a three strike policy: We will sit down and discuss why you decided to work off programming after the first incident: Examples of “working off the programming” include engaging in strenuous training that has not been previously discussed with us, such as intense conditioning workouts or maxing out above the prescribed work. If it is discovered you have worked off the programming a second time after our discussion, your membership will be suspended. We will resume writing programming when you agree that you can and will to the best of your ability follow your program and sign a written commitment agreeing to following our training protocol moving forward. If the commitment is found to be broken a third time, the member will be asked to leave the team without refund.      **We have included more information below about what it means to “work off programming.”


  1. Record results and important information regarding training in Google Drive each week before 10:00 PM on Sunday.


  1. Attend Practice (on time) at least once a week. This rule only applies to our in-house lifters, not our semi-remote or remote athletes, although attending is highly encouraged.


  1. Clean up after Practice (wipe plates, wipe bars, sweep platform).


  1. Come to coaches with questions via email or during Practice when the coach is not directly coaching. If you have many questions, attend Weightlifting Therapy on Thursdays at 6:30 PM: You have an hour window to ask our coaches questions regarding weightlifting or competing.


  1. Be respectful of all teammates and coaches. Be encouraging, supportive, and positive. If your attitude is more negative than positive, you are not upholding the standard.


  1. Act appropriately during training and competition. An example of acting inappropriately would be bar slamming 75% of your max and/or flicking off the bar.


  1. Respond to all questions pertaining to your name on the team whiteboard or in the WHITEBOARD Google Doc if you are remote. The WHITEBOARD Google Doc is located in the same Doc as our team Meet Schedule.


  1. Keep personal issues personal and outside of the gym: There are exceptions to this standard, like after Practice if you need to talk to one of our coaches one-on-one or you’re just having a really bad day and you don’t realize it until you pick up a barbell. However, we have a zero tolerance policy for members who knowingly come into the gym and bring personal matters from outside the gym onto the platform. If you find yourself in a rough spot and you need to talk to one of us, call us so we can help you get back to a more positive mindset to train or so that we can refer you to our team therapist.


Meeting the standards above are the bare requirement to remain a member of TSS Barbell. For some individuals looking to join the team, those standards may be daunting and it will deter those individuals from joining. Here is what our “best” athletes do to separate themselves from the rest:


  1. Participate in most or every event (home meets, away meets, team dinners, etc.) and encourage their teammates to do the same.


  1. Volunteer for all team-related activities (Weightlifting For Free Day, home meets, etc.)


  1. Show up early to Practice to be ready to train when Practice starts.


  1. ALWAYS elevate the mood of teammates who may be having a bad day with encouragement or support.


  1. Clean up or assist teammates in cleaning up their platforms above and beyond the basic requirements.


  1. Email Jilly, Fernie or Brittany questions or issues that need resolved if they are questions/issues that require us to stop coaching during Practice and conduct research to answer them.


  1. Ask Jilly, Brittany or Fernie for private coaching outside of Practice to reach your goals.


  1. Create goals that are challenging, but achievable. The athlete continually shares these goals with their coach so that we can help in any way we know how to reach them and write effective programming for each athlete.


  1. Demonstrate personal growth as a result of participating in TSS Barbell. A good example of this is wanting to learn more about the coaching process and enlisting Brittany or Jilly to assist with the process. Another example would be a new member with a negative attitude who transitions into an experienced member who is positive and eventually elevates the moods of other members.


Working Off Programming

Working off the program is blatantly disregarding the program and choosing to 1) Engage in other strenuous weightlifting work in place of what is written, 2) Engaging in excessive conditioning (Hero-Type CrossFit workouts, CrossFit competitions, Spartan Races) in place of what is programmed or 3) Not completing the workouts at all without discussing reasoning with your coach, or 4) Maxing out movements that have not been programmed as maxes without your coach’s consent.

Requirements for the military branches, attending GPP class even though it was not programmed, occasionally pushing training back a day (but completing the days in order as written as discussed with your coach), adding in more body building or accessory work, dropping into the occasional fitness class with a friend are ALL acceptable and are NOT examples of working off the programming.

Most members of the team are learning to be weightlifters. Experienced weightlifters have more say in adjustments to their programs. Every member of our team has hired TSS Training, LLC to achieve a specific weightlifting goal. This rule is for individuals who are not used to being held to a standard and prefer more choice in their workout activities and use programming as a guideline. These individuals may prefer to make their own programming choices instead of leaving them up to the coaches they hired for this very purpose and thus do not require our coaching services, nor do they necessarily need to be a member of our team.

For those athletes mentioned above and those athletes alone, we have the strictest rules around programming. Our standards are in place to keep you healthy, to monitor your progress and to ensure that you reach your goals. If you have a concern regarding your programming, we are always available to talk so we can modify programming to better fit your schedule and your needs. What is not allowed is significant modification to the program without coach’s consent.

Weightlifting is not an inherently dangerous sport, but engaging in any form of strenuous strength training needs to be monitored and programmed safely (we carry insurance for this very purpose). If any athlete puts themselves and thus our business at risk, it is our responsibility as coaches to have a discussion with the athlete and outline the reasons as to why following their program is so important.

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