The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™

The Mad Monk of Power Lifting
An Interview With Louie Simmons


Louie Simmons knows strength. To most bodybuilders, strength is a fringe benefit to weight training. A means to an end. To power lifting guru Louie Simmons and his disciples, strength is the end, the beginning, and everything in between.

Louie owns and works out at the Westside Barbell in Ohio. This is not your ordinary health club. It's more akin to a dark and dank torture chamber. Its members are warriors. A squadron of strength with one ultimate quest: lifting more weight. Nowhere in sight are there treadmills, neon lights, or even a leg extension machine. Only iron, and lots of it. It's a safe bet you won't see too many of its inhabitants flexing their calves in the mirror. This is a place where only the most serious of elite strength-training athletes come to push the boundaries beyond what any mortal man (and woman) would consider unfathomable. Some of Louie's personal bests in the major lifts defy belief. He has squatted over 800 pounds and benched over 600 pounds, at the age of 51! He is the only man over 50 to accomplish such a feat.

Mention things like "going for the pump" or "training instinctively" to Louie Simmons and you're sure to get a glare from his steely eyes that would turn your blood cold. To Big Lou, training is a science. Pure and simple. But unlike so many of the pseudo-science pundits that espouse their concepts by presenting unnecessarily complicated (and often contradictory) information that sounds more like it was meant to subjugate than enlighten, Louie provides clear cut, practical training advice that has proven itself in numerous case studies. Even if your goal is not so much strength, but increased muscle, there comes a time when the stone cold facts toward more growth means lifting weights that are heavier than you've ever lifted before. In this exclusive interview for Testosterone magazine, powerhouse Louie Simmons shows you how it's done.

NM: Louie, let's start by telling the readers a little about yourself and your training facility.

LS:

NM: Unbelievable! These are all clients of yours?

LS:

NM: What are the basic principles of your strength-training methods?

LS:

NM: And all movements are fast and explosive?

LS:

NM: Seated? That's a new one!

LS:

NM: Good mornings are an excellent movement that you rarely see anymore. A related movement is the hyperextension, and I understand that you invented a "reverse hyperextension" machine?

LS:

NM: Explain the "kneeling squat."

LS:

NM: Many of the exercises you employ contain unorthodox movements throughout their execution. I would imagine that moves like squatting on your knees or seated good mornings must be seen in order to be executed correctly.

LS:

NM: Some people's body types are better geared for heavy training. Do you have any examples of people who may not have been too strong to start out with, but showed considerable improvement using your methods?

LS:

NM: What is the biggest mistake people make when trying to obtain more strength in a lift like the bench press?

LS:

NM: Are there any supplements that you've found to be helpful in your strength training?

LS:

NM: What is your stance on the use of steroids?

LS:

NM: Do you cycle?

LS:

NM: After reading this interview, I'd venture to guess that a lot of our readers will want to get in touch with you or, at least, have a consultation over the phone. Is there a number where you can be reached if someone wants you to work with them?

LS:

NM: 925?! That's amazing!

LS:

NM: Lou, at age 51, you are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

LS:

NM: I hope we can do this again. And the next time we speak, I'll be expecting your numbers to be even higher [jokingly]!

LS:

After our interview, Louie returned to his beloved domain of pain to join his legion of supermen. His is an imposing, almost menacing figure: 242 pounds of raw power dressed in oversized shabby sweats that evoke the image of a mad monk overseeing some select cult. As he lurks among the catacombs of the gym, one gets the feeling that he looks upon its members with an almost parental pride.

If you're ever in the area of Westside Barbell in Ohio and are curious to take a look around its premises, I would recommend that you approach it with extreme trepidation. This is a brotherhood of very dangerous people, and they don't take kindly to sightseers. Unless you are able to hang with the big boys, you're not welcome. But if you hear screams of agony and the thunder of tonnage crashing to the ground, you're probably in the right neighborhood.

© 1998 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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