Louie Simmons Seminar Summary as told to CriticalBench.com by Bob Vastine - February 2009
DEAR Critical Bench:
I and my coach Blair Morrison spent 2 days at the SuperTraining Gym in
Sacramento with Louie Simmons. SuperTraining is run by Mark Bell, a
"student" of Louie's and a very good lifter. Mark has assembled a great
team at ST Gym, including Camillo Gutierrez, whose Midtown gym shares the
space, close to California's capitol building.
For those who don't know him, Louie is immensely personable and
approachable. He uses a few notes to outline his famous system and relys on
demonstrations and intense audience participation.
The first day he showed us how to squat, (demonstrating the box squat); how
to deadlift (demonstrating the sumo lift and its variant, a stiff legged
sumo), and bench (demonstrating kettlebell presses). He used one segment to
talk about plyometrics and training for track.
Sunday, the second day, we spent in the gym doing the three lifts with
We used bands, chains, boards, cambered and other specialty bars. We
attached kettlebells to the bar to benchpress, and experienced the oscillation effect this
creates, which Louie claims is good therapy for the shoulders.
Louie stresses, above all else, VARIETY. You lift at least 4 times a week,
two days max effort and two days dynamically, focusing on your competition
lifts and accessory movements. While keeping to this schedule you always
rotate different movements. He said he seldom deadlifts off the floor -- he
recommends saving it for contests. In training for the contest use other
similar movements, and ALWAYS, on max effort day, train for a record with
Louie stresses the importance of lifting in a team environmeNt: there is tremendous energy and reinforcement in this. It makes hitting records in training a lot more likely. I wishhad a team like this is Washington. The guys who work alone soon stop coming to his Westside Gym.
I got the world record in the APA two years ago for the bench press.But
lately I've been stuck and my lifts have actually decreased. Louie showed me and Blair
the way to get unstuck: stop the flat bench presses! Reduce reps to get
your max lift as in a contest, vary the movement (reverse bands, boards,
floor presses, dumbells, inclines, declines, etc., etc.), and vary the
Louie's dictum is that the bench is mostly an arms movement. He
wants us to work our triceps bigtime. My bench mentors are Scott Mendelson
and Jeff McVicar. We never changed the grip and always benched flat and
nobody suggested the bench is built on the arms.
This was an exciting two days, and tiring. Louie talks fast, has a great
brain for stats and pours forth his vast knowledge rapid fire. You really
have to pay attention and it's worth every minute. Kudos to Mark and
Camillo and the guys at SuperTraining for a great event.
vastine at uscsi.org
Bob Vastine Deadlifts 420
Bob Vastine Deadlifts 450 LB World Record IPA Nationals - Nov 2008