Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has produced a host of world- and national-champion powerlifters, and the top lifters at his gym in Columbus, Ohio rival the top lifters in any country. He’s one of the world’s foremost authorities on strength training, and at CrossFit Powerlifting Certs he’ll share his knowledge with our community.
Despite the fact that he’s looking to produce specialists, Simmons has a training philosophy that’s very similar to the CrossFit methodology: he forsakes linear progression for constantly varied, high-intensity movement. Simmons has his athletes train both for absolute strength and for speed, and he avoids the overtraining usually associated with regular maximum-effort sessions by constantly rotating exercises to keep his athletes fresh.
“Everybody’s got a method of training, right?” Simmons asks. “I use all methods of training. There’s not one method I don’t use. I take full advantage of everything ... .”
The key to Westside training is max-effort days and dynamic-effort days. On max-effort days the athlete tries to break a PR for a single on a particular movement, while on dynamic-effort day the athlete works on speed by training with a low percentage of his or her 1RM for a movement. Simmons also integrates other methods as needed, and anyone looking for proof of his success just needs to look at the records posted on the wall of Westside Barbell.
Additional reading: Squatting Outside the Box by Russell Berger, published Apr. 11, 2009.