If you build it, they will come. If you beat them, they will talk.
Westside Barbell is essentially what would happen if the Hell's Angels traded in their Harley Davidsons for squat racks and chalk. It is a collection of some of the strongest and scariest people to ever walk the earth. The atmosphere inside the cement block walls has been described as a prison yard weight pile. Fights and cussing are part of the charm, as are tattoos and facial hair. The environment is brutal, and wears quick on lifters with thin skin. Every day at Westside is dog eat dog.
Each member of Westside is individually chosen and invited by the gym's founder, Louie Simmons. If Louie believes that you can add another world record to the gym's collection: you're in. If you miss workouts, show up late, or fail to perform at meets: you're out. Only the strong need apply. Only the determined last.
The documentary that was never supposed to happen.
It took many hours of discussion and arm twisting to convince Louie Simmons to allow our crew to tell the story of Westside Barbell. Even then, the film was put on hold and nearly cancelled several times over. But after 3 years, the film is almost complete and ready to be released.
Over the course of the documentary, we spoke to lifters from across all generations and eras of Westside, as well as powerlifting greats like Ed Coan, Donnie Thompson, Larry Pacifico, and Gerry McNamara who witnessed Westside's rise firsthand, as well as coaches and athletes from Crossfit, MLB, NCAA, NFL, UFC, Track & Field, and Olympic Weightlifting.
This documentary promises to be the strongest and most comprehensive film on strength ever assembled, and we can't wait to share it with the world!
The old man.
Louie Simmons is the godfather of powerlifting. As a lifter, Louie posted elite totals for 38 years and was a top 10 lifter for 33. At the age of 50 he became the oldest man to bench press 600, and at 53 he became the first man over 50 to squat 920 while weighing only 242 lbs. He did all of this despite twice breaking his back (1973 & 1982) and even being pronounced dead on the operating table (1991). He lifted competitively from 1966 to 2011 before injuries finally succeeded in sidelining him at the age of 63.
Over the years, Louie has developed and pioneered many techniques and systems which have not only shaped powerlifting, but have made their way into professional and collegiate sports across the world.