posted on March 28, 2022
I began working in the strength game in the late 1990’s. Back in that time there was little on the internet to learn about training. My introduction to one of the greats, Louie Simmons began in that time period. I remember buying Powerlifting USA every month to read Louie’s monthly article. Back in those days I spent most of my reading time with Louie, Charles Poliquin, and Fred Hatfield. These men made me questions everything I thought I knew.
Louie’s Unique Approach.
As I aged I have learned to use a different language when speaking to people. Louie was Louie and he never changed (this in many ways a compliment). While his approach could be brusque, he respected you. I remember as a young lifter calling Louie’s home (he listed his home number on all of his articles), and Doris would hand Louie the phone, Louie would take his time to share whatever ideas, knowledge, and experience that he possessed. I was finally able to meet Louie in 2002. It was at an IPA meet (I forget where it was), I missed a bench attempt and Louie came up to me and gave me a few pointers. He still didn’t know who I was, but clearly he wanted me (and everyone) to succeed. The only time I ever bombed out of a meet Louie was the only one who gave me white lights (must have misplaced his glasses, cause I was high on my squats).
From that first meeting until today I would get a call every few years with an invite to train at Westside Barbell for the day. Louie would always welcome me with open arms and he would spend just as much time with me as he did with some of the best lifters. It was amazing to see a man who was willing to invest the same amount in all lifters.
Here is a short list of inventions or ideas that Louie brought to lifting.
Final Louie story to end this blog. When my wife was hired to edit Louie’s books she would call me into her office and say, “What is this guying talking about?” I’d ask to show me the issue. He would have a subtitle saying bench press, then the first sentence would be akin to, here at Westside Barbell we have 8 men who squat over 1000 lbs. I’d say yeah that sounds good. Of course being type A Erica would yell at me and say, “it doesn’t make sense.” I’d have to explain that anyone who reads Louie will understand. She would shake her head and walk away not happy. The point is Louie was a complex man, and with that he didn’t not think, or see the world the way most humans do. He truly changed the world of strength training. He will be missed. I will leave you with a few Louie quotes.
“Normal people will accomplish normal things.”
“Don’t be afraid to fail or look like a fool. These are necessary milestones on your way to the top.”
The hardest thing for a human being to do is change. You have to be willing to change. Dinosaurs didn’t and they are gone. If the athlete doesn’t change or adjust, he is gone.”
“Weak things break.”
“Not being willing to try is the beginning of the end.”
“Don’t have 100 dollar lifting shoes and a 10 cent squat.”