I’m originally from New Jersey, so every time I make a trip back home, I always make it a point to drive up to Derby, Connecticut to train at Gleason Performance Training. Owned by Ryan Gleason, Gleason Performance is one of my favorite places to train. It is home to some of the best powerlifters and strongmen and women in the country, with notable elitefts team members like Carlos Reyes training there regularly and Vincent Dizenzo stopping in occasionally.

Ryan started Gleason Performance Training with the initial intent of focusing on high school and collegiate athletes, and he has sent many high-level athletes to the next level. But somehow the shift at GPT went from team sports to powerlifting, and now to strongman. With almost 55 powerlifters and about 20 strongmen training there—most under his programming—Gleason is housing quite an impressive group of athletes.

Finding Strength: Reflexive Performance Reset

When it comes to equipment, Ryan makes sure that his athletes have everything they need. His facility has an impressive array of elitefts racks and benches, turf, stones, deadlift platforms, weightlifting platforms, jerk blocks, and many other tools essential for optimal training.

Ryan is also extremely knowledgeable about training. You can always find him on the floor making sure his athletes' questions are answered and keeping them working hard. Often times when I’m there, we’ll talk for hours about training and the current state of strength sports. We often throw ideas off one another and I always leave learning or thinking of something in a new light.

While on my most recent visit, I also had the chance to meet and interview Cate Olsen, a strongwoman who is relatively new to the sport. Cate has already made a name for herself by setting the American Log Clean and Press record early on in her strongman career. Although the record has been surpassed since she set it, Cate is focused on making a big impact in the strongman arena. What was most interesting about talking to Cate is that she doesn't come from an athletic background like most people you meet in the sport — but once she started, she was hooked.

Gleason Performance is definitely worth the time to make a visit if you’re in the area. The doors are always open to new visitors and Ryan is always willing to chat and answer questions. I look forward to seeing more strongman competitors and events happening there in the future.