In this episode of Rust and Iron®, we visit one of the most intense training environments in the world, Super Training Gym.
Founded by Mark Bell, Super Training Gym is oftentimes referred to as “the strongest gym in the west.” Prior to opening his own gym, he spent years studying and training under the legendary Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell.
In this video, Mark shares some of his favorite tools, odd exercises, and more.
Mark’s best “geared” lifts in competition include a 1,025-pound (465 kg) squat, an 832-pound (377 kg) bench press, and a 738-pound (335 kg) deadlift.
Mark is also the inventor of the patented Slingshot, a device utilized to assist a lifter in maintaining proper bench press form, while also allowing the lifter to use more weight or perform more reps.
I traveled to Sacramento for a full tour of Super Training Gym, which has been named one of the “Best Gyms in America” by Men’s Health magazine and also was awarded “Powerlifting Gym of the Year” in 2009.
Selected Links from the Episode
Connect with Mark Bell
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Super Training Gym
Bars (numbers indicate exactly what is found at Super Training Gym)
4x Rogue Ohio Power Bars – general bars for any barbell exercise.
4x Rogue Westside Power Bars – general bars for any barbell exercise.
2x Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bars – For deadlift use only. This is a thinner bar with no knurling in the middle and it’s more flexible.
4x Texas Squat Bars – A thicker, longer squat bar designed to withstand 1,000lbs+.
Mastodon Squat Bar – Another thicker, longer squat bar, also designed to withstand 1,000lbs+.
Safety Squat Bar – This bar sits higher on your shoulders, which alleviates pressure off your shoulder and places more emphasis on your lower back.
Cambered Bar – A curved bar that alleviates pressure off your shoulders and changes the typical path of movement.
2x Buffalo Bars – A slightly curved bar that alleviates pressure from your shoulders while providing a similar feel to a straight bar.
2x Duffalo Bar – Chris Duffin’s version of a Buffalo Bar.
Axle Bar – A thicker bar that challenges your grip to add more difficulty on pressing exercises.
Hex Deadlift Bar – A hexagon shaped deadlift bar with neutral grip handles. This changes deadlift position and places less strain on your lower back.
Eleiko Power Bar – A general bar for any barbell exercises.
2x Texas Deadlift Bar – This is for deadlift use only. It’s a thinner bar with no knurling in the middle and it’s more flexible.
Okie Deadlift Bar – Also for Deadlift use only. Similar to the Texas bar, it’s thinner with no knurling in the middle and it’s more flexible.
Elite FTS Football Bar – This bar offers a variety of grip angles for pressing exercises or accessory work.
Curl Bar – Think arms–this is for biceps and triceps movements.
2x Neutral Grip Bars – Designed for pressing exercises, as well as biceps and triceps movements.
Texas Bench Bar – This is specifically used for competition for the bench press.
2x Rogue Monster Racks – A multi-function rack that works for a variety of uses and lifts.
Rogue Mono Squat Stand – A slim, mono-lift like stand designed for squatting.
3x Elite FTS Mono Lifts – This rack allows the squatter to use heavier weights without having to walk the weight back from the rack.
Elite FTS Power Rack – A multi-function rack that works for a variety of uses and lifts.
3x Competition Elite FTS Benches – This bench meets all powerlifting meet specifications and requirements.
Elite FTS Adjustable and Mobile Bench Platform – For bench press and other upper body accessory work.
Rogue Dip Apparatus – Attaches to Rogue Monster Rack for dips.
Rogue GHR – To work your lower back and abs.
Elite FTS 45 Degree Back Ext.– Designed to target your lower back, spinal erectors, and glutes
2x Westside Reverse Hypers – Used to target your glutes and lower back after your main accessory work.
Sorinex Back Attack – This piece of equipment works similar to good mornings, but it places your body in a fixed position.
Precor Cable Tower – This cable machine allows for multiple exercise options by adjusting to different heights and angles and provides many different pulley attachments.
Pit Shark Belt Squat – This mimics a squat but with no upper body strain.
2x Rack Supported Mobility WOD Rollers – These foam rollers will help you fix problem areas on your body that are tight or causing pain.
2x Mobility WOD Super Novas – One of our favorite pieces of equipment for body work.
7x Rogue Barbell Stands – These hold up the barbells in the gym.
7x Rogue Weight Trees – Used to store all of the plates in Super Training Gym.
Rogue Rings – Used for muscle-ups, pullups, and rows.
Rogue Boards – Used for bench press board presses
Rogue Standing T-Bar Row – For targeted back work and pulling strength.
30x Rogue Bands – For accommodating resistance on any exercise.
30x 20lbs Chains – For accommodating resistance on any exercise.
Deadlift Platform – Where you can deadlift and use bands safely.
50x Sling Shots – Overloading and injury preventing bench press tool designed by Super Training founder Mark Bell.
4x Elite FTS Adjustable Boxes – For box squats.
4x Spud Inc. Ropes – Used for accessory and cable movements.
2x Spud Inc Belts – For belted squats.
Concept 2 Rower – For HIIT Training and cardio.
Rogue Training Bumpers – Allows you to drop the weight from an elevated position without causing damage to the floor.
Rogue Competition Bumpers – High-quality weights that are calibrated to the exact weight.
Custom Super Training Dumbells– From 5lbs to 150lbs
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18 Replies to “Rust and Iron, Episode 2: Powerlifter Mark Bell”
Very cool. Loved the personal touch of Tim being in the gym and asking every imaginable question. That is what the first video was missing. Well done.
Tim, loving this new feature!
Is there any chance of a tour of Coach Sommer’s place, or an MMA gym(Dave Camarillo maybe?)?
I need that reverse-hyper in my life right about now.
Now, if you could only have one, what would it be?
I’m thinking the Mobility WOD Super Nova, but if cost was no object, I really like the concept behind the Pit Shark. Being self-taught from 4HB and online resources, having something that helps ensure safe lifts at high weights would be awesome.
8:30 First time I’ve seen something like this. This is funny.
Mark Bell obviously loves what he does and teaches us so much in 40 min. I enjoyed all of it. The episode was humorous, educative, not cheesy, not show off, educative and inspiring. Thank you.
Love Mark’s slingshot – very useful tool for overloading on the bench!
Tim – whats the best place for finding your “all” feed, is tim.blog RSS the best bet? Is R&I a spin off project? Love the comprehensive snapshot of the equipment list here.
Definitely interesting but kind of the polar opposite of coach Sommer’s more aesthetic and graceful ideas of gymnastics and dancer-like fitness.
Thanks for taking the time to talk about this, I feel strongly about it and really like mastering more on this subject. If feasible, as you acquire experience, would you mind updating your blog with much more information and facts? It is very helpful for me.
thanks for new inspiration.
Really enjoyed this episode! I enjoyed Mark explaining the tools at the gym, showed how they could be used, and stressed that changing your grip changes how the muscles are being worked (example was the lat bar exercise).
Awesome episode, I really enjoyed seeing all the tools Mark uses for his training. I think it would be really interesting to see the Awaken Gymnastics Gym in Denver on this series. Could be a cool contrast to Mark’s power lifting gym and lots of people combine weightlifting with bodyweight stuff these days. Definitely cool to get an insight look. Another suggestion I have is Robb Wolf’s Norcalsc gym. Just some ideas 🙂
Reply great episode. Loved the family culture that holds the gym together.
Big fan of Mark Bell, he makes some awesome products. Thanks Tim!
Very impressive. Super Training Gym looks like what all other lifting gyms aspire to be. Doesn’t hurt that Bell himself is the man behind it. Great interview.
That was super cool to watch!
The gym setting is top notch, would love something similar to it in Nigeria.Tim 👍
Mark Bell is the MAN. His slingshot is the core foundation of pretty much the most popular program on my powerlifting site [Moderator: link removed.]. However I am curious what really happened between him and silent mike. He never really said much about it but he has always been a class act. Supertraining gym will always have my support.