I started training with Ryan about 4 months ago, following the programme propagated by Mark Rippetoe, USA – and it has been one of my best decisions I made this year!

I am 58 and have been interested in weight training for a long time, following this and that programme, with varying success, and have been keeping reasonably fit through running and working on my Elliptical. I never had someone to really explain and show to how to ‘do things properly’ and this probably why I needed a disc operation a few years ago!

I was attracted to the Starting Strength programme through one of the three textbooks covering Starting Strength, called ‘The Barbell Prescription’ and that really hit the mark for me as someone with a medical background; its written by one of Rippetoe’s strength coaches and a physician and the medical evidence laying out the benefits of barbell training convinced me so – after some hesitation I gave Ryan a call!

I wanted to learn from someone who really knows what he/she is talking about, a professional, not a half-baked (teenage) personal trainer who has passed one of the myriad of ‘fitness certificates’ but basically knows little more than an informed layperson – and Ryan is currently the only certified Starting Strength coach in SA, having passed the vigorous training and exam process in the US.

The programme starts very slowly, much emphasis is put on getting the form for the basic lifts right (squats, deadlift, overhead press, bench press) but progresses steadily, kg by kg every time you train and it will get heavy sooner than you think. All the way Ryan is there for you, watching your every move very closely, gives you instant feedback, videos your form and tells you exactly what to do, how much weigh to put on etc. He is really good fun to work with, easy going but honest in his criticism, very encouraging and motivating and pushing you; you will lift weights safely/in good form that you could never have believed you could and/or were too scared to try!

Make no mistake though: training is hard, exhausting (you will sleep well!), sometimes you don’t feel like training at all – however, I am much stronger than I used to be (nothing compared to really serious lifters!), feel better overall and my back is great! Those heavy deadlifts seem to be doing my lower back good!

I can only strongly recommend Ryan; it’s not cheap but you are working with a professional (just look at his CV for his credentials!) and I think it’s money well spent, for your health and wellbeing.

NB I just signed up two of my kids to train with Ryan as well!

Dr Jurgen Stahl, MD, PhD, FRCPA,FRCPath


I am giving Adelaide Strength Training with Ryan Burnell a 5 star recommendation.  

Over a 12month period Ryan’s personalised programming took me through from novice to intermediate lifting. I went from squatting 0kg (not a fan of the squat) to a 1RM @ 95kg and a PR of 100kg deadlift.  

The Starting Strength programme required dedication and commitment.  Ryan’s professional approach and sense of humour was greatly appreciated as training days can be a true challenge.

There were days I did not think I could get out of bed and face the weights but Ryan always made himself available, offering words of encouragement and inspiration to help me get up and push through even the most unmotivated of days. 

Had I been at a slightly different life stage I would have continued on to competitive lifting with Ryan as coach but as a soon-to-be 50yo female I have to focus on other priorities.

Training with Adelaide Strength Training has given me the confidence and skills to be able to walk into any gym and train hard even when I am surrounded by testosterone.

A side benefit from my physical strength training was developing greater mental strength and self-awareness.  This helped me to make one of the most difficult and life-changing decisions I have ever had to make.

I encourage anyone considering strength training to go for it.  I strongly encourage women to take up strength training.  I love feeling and being strong! 

Strength training with coach Ryan Burnell has been a truly positive and awesome experience.  I cannot give any higher recommendation.

Renate Schultz BAppSc (OT )


Ryan's training and program have been great. It's really helped me get in to the gym consistently and enjoy my time there. The in person sessions allowed me to learn each of the exercises in depth so I could go out and do them at my own leisure. The feedback and programming has been really helpful too in letting me know how to improve on form and allowing me to just go in and do each exercise without any prior preparation.

I would highly recommend Ryan to anyone looking for anyone looking for help with strength training



I sustained a back injury (herniated disc L4 - -L5) late December 2019. Any gains made in 2019 were lost over the Christmas period and I was feeling pretty low to be honest.

"Rehab" was my word for starting again and I began researching The Starting Strength Program by Mark Rippetoe, a US based training regimen with Barbells being the basis of the program.

To my surprise I discovered there was a Starting Strength Coach in Australia. You actually have to be certified to teach the SS program which involves passing an Instructor's course in the US. No mean feat apparently!

Unfortunately Ryan was in South Australia and I was in NSW:(.  Anyway after speaking with Ryan about distance coaching I decided to give it a go. I really needed to get stronger to help my back and SS seemed a way to do that.

Fast forward to June 2020 and I am Stronger!!.  My back is improving all the time and things are progressing well despite COVID 19.

Ryan is an excellent Coach who seems to genuinely care about me, the client.  OK we aren't face to face but his feedback from the videos I send is the next best thing and always inspires me to do better next time. I particularly like our chats on the phone and would consider these an essential part of the remote learning scenario.

Make no mistake the work is hard but the rewards if you put in the effort are definitely there.  So if you want to get stronger  contact Ryan for a chat. 

Bloody Pullups!!

Mac Dalton - athlete of aging  64yrs


I have been a chronic sufferer of non-specific lower back pain since my early 20s. Massage, rest, stretching, physio, clinical pilates, training "core" strength, pain killers, standing desks, I've tried them all. They all help, but only in the short-term. After suffering a crippling bout of pain that put me in an emergency department, I knew I had to do something different. Looking back now, the cause was simple. I was weak. I didn't realise it for nearly two decades because I was a fit and active individual. I went to the gym three to four times a week to lift weights and rode mountain bikes for many years. It turns out I didn't know what real strength was. 


I eventually stumbled across the Starting Strength method by Mark Rippetoe in my late 30s when researching strength training for the back. The method seemed very simple and effective, but contradicted a lot of advice from the various health professionals who had treated my back pain. They would often warn me of not "overdoing it" at the gym and to be very careful with heavy squats and deadlifts, preferring high rep, low weight, and usually single leg work. Deadlifts were discouraged. However, none of this advice was working. I needed to try something different, so I decided give the Starting Strength method a go. 


After stumbling around for a few months on my own, my progression through the novice phase stalled. I knew I had technical issues to address in my lifts, but I had no idea how to fix them. That's when I came across Coach Ryan Burnell and Adelaide Strength Training. Ryan was the only accredited coach in Australia. I opted for the online coaching option as I was located in Melbourne.  


Getting a coach was a turning point in my training. Coach Ryan immediately started addressing my technical issues and corrected my programming to get me back on track. I'm now in my third intermediate cycle, post novice linear progression, and I am still hitting new PRs. I've never been stronger and I expect to continue getting stronger for many years to come. Coach Ryan is a great support. I have someone watching my form and effectively programming my training based on my goals. He is also a very friendly and supportive person and more than willing to have a good chat about strength training and life. 


My back has never been better. I do get niggles from time to time, but I know how to manage it. Basically, keep lifting! I haven't been to a doctor, physio or ED since lifting heavy. I have the Starting Strength method and Coach Ryan to thank. If you want to get really strong in the most effective, efficient and safe way possible, give Adelaide Strength Training a go. 

James B. - B.App.Sci (Psych)(Hons) PhD (38, Melbourne, VIC)


As a detrained office worker I found Ryan's coaching to be excellent, he took me from lacking confidence back to greatly increased strength and mobility. His expert knowledge, combined with great coaching and insights into what would work for me made all the difference. I would highly recommend, especially for any women who are nervous about weight training.

Margie Fixter BSc (Ag)(Hons) MA (Change Management)