“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.
You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.
- 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:
Super Training Gym | HowMuchYaBench.net | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
- 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
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
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13 Replies to “Inside the World of SuperTraining – Mark Bell (#252)”
Tim, been meaning to ask: How do you reconcile Art De Vany’s anti fat philosophies with those of Dom D’Agostino and Peter Attia? Sorry if you’ve already discussed this.
Fascinating Tim. I love how Mark gained millions by being generous. I have seen this theme play over again and again, and also have experienced some sweet financial rewards for giving stuff away for free. All about our energy.
Hi Tim: Love your podcast and your books. I really enjoyed the podcast with Mr. Bell and love his spirit of generosity. I was listening with my 14 yo daughter and caught her reaction when Mr. Bell referred to our modern lack of fitness as ‘girly.’ (girly jobs, girly sitting around – I’m paraphrasing) I looked at her and she had her nose wrinkled up and looked at me with a scowl. For so long, girly is a dig, a synonym for weak. I told her, that was a poor choice of words and that there was nothing ‘weak’ about these girls. FYI, I’m a 2x Ironman finisher and my girl is a fierce skilled equestrian… among other badass skills. I just couldn’t let it go. Thank you for bringing the best of the best to me every day. Susan
BTW, I haven’t had a change to listen to the entire podcast.
thanks for that comment. I was hoping someone would say that.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster – I knew I knew I recognised Mark Bell from somewhere – it’s the documentary directed by his brother Chris Bell. A great watch for anyone interested in this topic and the use of anabolic steroids as performance enhancing drugs. Yet to give this podcast a listen but it’s on my playlist! Thanks Tim
Are there transcripts for your podcasts?
Please do a follow up on Body Tempering with Donnie Thompson or Chris Duffin. I use it frequently with patients and it is great. Plus both of those gentlemen are rehab geniuses.
Tim, I know you’re a big fan of language so I wanted to let you know that the ‘p’ in “iliopsoas” is generally considered silent. The word comes from “iliacus” and “psoas”, two separate muscles that combine into a common tendon on the thigh bone.
These pronunciations are plastic, but I hear these emphases most often.
The psoas, as you know, can really influence the back. You can even use one of them at a time to help correct rotational asymmetries. Iliacus, working with the abdominals and glutes, can influence hip position and might be something worth addressing if you have hip issues.
Your’s in health,
Lance Goyke, MS, CSCS
Maybe your only fan with a master’s in Anatomy
This is one of the all time best podcasts to date on the Tim Ferriss show. Marks attitude at approach is first class and I have saved this one to listen to again and again. If you are an entrepreneur you can take a lot out of this one podcast amongst many others. Seriously well done both Mark and Tim. Awesome podcast.
What happened to all the video that was supposed to be posted from Tim at the gym doing the examples?
I love the idea of the free gym membership to attract people who want to be part of something and aim for great outcomes, put in the effort and train with the best… very speculative!
The guy is a man mountain and his experience in body building must be pretty up there with the best in the world.
Hey Tim, I saw you were using the New Balance Recharge Slides in your 5 Bullet Friday email. If you haven’t checked them out, give the Oofos flip flops out. They feel really nice, and they place your posture into a recovery position, so they are great after going on a run or any sort of stressful lower body workout. I paid way too much for mine, but I don’t regret it!
Has anyone seen any video of the bench press warmup to unstick shoulders and get more internal rotation?