“Multiply your muscle and multiply your hustle.”
– Mark Bell
Mark Bell (@MarkSmellyBell) is the founder of Super Training Gym in Sacramento, which is often referred to as “the strongest gym in the West.” Prior to opening his own gym, he spent time studying training under the legendary Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell.
Mark is no stranger to the iron. His best “geared lifts” in competition include a 1,025-pound squat (465 kg), an 832-pound bench press (377 kg), and a 738-pound deadlift (335 kg). Mark is also the inventor of the patented Slingshot, a device used to assist in maintaining proper bench press form while also helping use more weight or perform more reps.
Mark now has an entire line of products and is spectacularly successful. In this episode, we cover a lot, including:
- Mark’s most important lessons for building strength.
- How to avoid injury and breakdown.
- Lesser-known training techniques that nearly everyone overlooks.
- How Mark became a millionaire by offering his gym memberships for free.
- And much, much more.
We recorded this interview while touring his facility in Sacramento, looking at some crazy equipment that you can see by visiting tim.blog/supertraining.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another episode about fitness and strength training? Listen to this interview with Jerzy Gregorek. In this episode, we discuss flexibility, strength, muscle gain, and fat loss at any age (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Mark Bell:
- Rust and Iron, Episode 2: Powerlifter Mark Bell
- Power Magazine
- Bigger, Stronger, Faster
- Prescription Thugs
- Westside Barbell
- Maximal Effort Method — Circa 2009 by Doris Simmons, Westside Barbell
- The Repetition Method by Doris Simmons, Westside Barbell
- Future Method Bench Press Setup, Rogue Fitness
- Stall bars
- SlingShot Hip Circle
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Fuck Your Elbow, Mark Bell
- MIKE O’TREN YOU ARE NO LONGER MY FRIEND!!!, Mark Bell
- COAN The Man, The Myth, The Method: The Life, Times & Training of The Greatest Powerlifter of All-Time by Marty Gallagher
- Conventional or Sumo Deadlifts: What Is Best for Your Leverages? Omar Isuf
- Ed Coan 887 Deadlift
- The Journey of Ed Coan — The Greatest Powerlifter of All Time, Mark Bell
- Konstantinovs Deadlift 426 kg (939 lb) Raw, no belt
- Hook grip
- Strength is Never a Weakness mural at Super Training Gym
- Officially Licensed Groucho Marx Glasses
- Ribera Steakhouse
- Duffalo bar
- Geisha Roller (Thompson X-Wife)
- Mark talks about his new gym location and his free membership business model. [05:49]
- The benefits Mark has enjoyed since making his gym free. [08:53]
- What Mark’s gym schedule looks like. [12:50]
- Lessons learned from Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell. [14:55]
- Advice for new lifters who want to take an “accelerated learning” approach. [21:53]
- Five exercises for an athlete of another discipline who is new to powerlifting. [26:46]
- Lesser known assistance exercises Mark finds valuable for deadlifts, squats, and bench press. [30:26]
- The real value of Mark’s SlingShot (and a few bench press techniques). [33:30]
- “Idiot-proofing the bench press.” [38:38]
- Helpful bench press tips and warmups. [39:47]
- How your warmup can be a diagnostic tool. [41:48]
- Mark’s favorite bench press warmup. [45:27]
- The background of the “fuck your elbow” shenanigans. [50:59]
- The feud vs. Mike O’Hearn. [55:14]
- On Ed Coan, “the greatest powerlifter of all time.” [58:45]
- Techniques learned from other legendary powerlifters. [1:06:32]
- “Strength is never a weakness.” [1:08:59]
- Why it’s sometimes dangerous to emulate techniques of top performers. [1:10:35]
- As he’s gotten older, has Mark added anything to minimize the likelihood of injury or spinal issues? [1:12:54]
- Sometimes sleep is the most important technique. [1:17:11]
- The first person who comes to mind when Mark thinks of success. [1:20:16]
- The power of not taking oneself too seriously. [1:24:10]
- Recent purchases that have had the most positive impact on Mark’s life. [1:25:57]
- What would Mark’s billboard say? [1:29:19]
- Parting thoughts. [1:32:27]
- Louie Simmons
- Mike “Mad Dog” Bell
- Chris Bell
- Jerzy Gregorek
- Muhammad Ali
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Jake Bell
- Mike O’Hearn
- Ed Coan
- Bill Kazmaier
- Dorian Yates
- Dmitry Klokov
- Konstantin Konstantinovs
- Pavel Tsatsouline
- Jon Bones Jones
- Dan John
- Ronnie Coleman
- Jesse Burdick
- Laird Hamilton
- Tim O’Neil
- Christopher Sommer
- Sheldon Bell
- Bo Jackson
- Michael Jordan
- Rosemary Bell
- Groucho Marx
- Chris Duffin
- Donnie Thompson
- Danny DeVito
Posted on: July 12, 2017.
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Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.