These are your questions. You asked—we answered.

Dave answers a question from one of elitefts™'s very own team members, Steve Pulcinella, regarding what he thinks of those well-known athletes he has met in the Iron Game.


Steve: Okay, we have a question that came to us from Glenolden, PA. Someone named Steve Polch-i-nelli says, "Ask Dave his impressions of some of the characters, team members, and great lifters you've seen and trained with over the years. Come up with a list of names, and make sure my name is on the list." So, um, we're going to start out with Louie Simmons.

Dave: Is this like one of those 'what's the first thing that comes to your mind type of deals...'

Steve: Or give people an impression of these people since you've met them—up close and personal.

Dave: Um, Louie taught me how to train. You know, before Louie, I knew how to work out. I knew how to program. I knew certain methods of training. Louie showed me, you know, other methods of training which I think are invaluable, and especially when it comes to strength development and programming. Louie, without a doubt, out of the three decades of training—I trained with him for 14 years... and I should probably clarify when I was at Westside, I trained with Louie. I mean, we all had... we all trained as a group, but when you would break it out and you'd do your speed benches, your speed squats, or whatever it's going to be... you had 'your guy' that you worked with. Usually we squatted in groups of two, three at the most. Louie was the person that I trained with pretty predominantly, unless one of us was injured throughout the whole 14 years. So, without any doubt or hesitancy, he was by far the most intense and best training partner I've ever had because he knew when to push hard, he knew when to back off. You know, and I knew kinda with him how to push him and when to try to get him to back off as well. So I could speak about Louie forever, so in one word it's just respect. So I'll just leave it with that.

Steve: Okay, Matt Kroc.

Dave: He's nuts. Um, that's mental strength to the point of being detrimental. Matt is somebody that, you know, if I was programming for or had to train, I know for a fact that I would have to spend more time dialing him back than trying to push him forward. The guy has a true passion for training and a passion for training hard, which is undeniable. The guy also has a big heart for giving back, which is one of the reasons why he was one of the earlier, and one of the longest, sponsors we've ever had. So... I want to say that he's crazy and he's nuts, but it's done in a predictable way to a point. He gets really close to that edge, and a lot of times he's stepped over it. But if he didn't, that wouldn't be Matt. So, that would be Kroc... I could say so much on him. I could speak a half hour on every one of these assholes, but I'm trying to keep it short.

Steve: Harry Selkow.

Dave: Experienced. That guy has more knowledge and experience than people are actually aware of. He's extremely modest. You know, he answers a ton of questions and he answers them directly. You know, he doesn't answer them to try to impress anybody or to try to promote a product or try to do whatever. He's just answering the question as it is. But he's been around a long time. He's worked with... probably one of the few people that I can say that has probably actually worked with over 1,000 people, and that's a claim that you see made a lot of times: "has trained a 1,000 people." You gotta, I mean, you gotta look at how many hours that really is, and how many people that really is. For that statement to be thrown out as often as it is, the first thing that I think of for most people when they say that is 'oh, you have a high attrition rate, which means you suck.' You know, Harry's just been around that long because he's so frickin' old and worked with so many teams that he probably has been close to that number. So his experience is VAST in many disciplines of training.

Steve: Jim Wendler.

Dave: Um... I would say experience as well, but more than the experience with Jim is the ability to think simply. You know, and that's not a negative comment. He can take... Jim has an ability to take complex training principles and simplify them to a point that a third grader would get it and be actually able to apply it. And that's one of the reasons he's had such great success with his book and his training principles. I know for a fact what Jim's training education is. It's well-rounded and very fast and very detailed and in-depth. So it's not like he's one of these guys that's writing all of these simplified techniques because they don't know any better. He knows way, way, way more but is condensing it down into the most simplified manner for the population and demographic that he's working with. I'm a person that, if you can tell from the videos, is too wordy. It takes me five paragraphs to say what Jim can say in one sentence. So that is his rate-ablility that will keep him in the industry forever.

Steve: C.J. Murphy.

Dave: He's also been around forever. Once again, experienced in many strength disciplines. A lot of respect for C.J. because he hasn't had it easy. He's not one of these guys that—and this is an attribute that I look for in a lot of coaches, and a lot of trainers, and a lot of people I go to for advice—I really don't want to hear what the person has to say, who's a powerlifter, that totaled pro in two years. I don't want to hear what the guy has to say, you know, who turned pro in bodybuilding in his third show. These are genetic freaks that are going to be able to get to the bottom level of the top tier pretty much any way, with any thing. Alright, now, I will change that and say I will listen to the guy who's at the top level of that top tier because it's... for a genetically-inclined person for a sport, it's relatively easy to get to that pro level. To become a master at that pro level—that takes hard work, determination, overcoming adversity, and a lot of other things. Otherwise, they wouldn't be there. That guy I listened to, that guy that just kinda stumbled there by accident, I don't even want to listen to him. On the other side, you get people that have had to work for every pound that they get. You know, every pound that they put on a lift. And when they do put five pounds on a lift, something happens and the next thing you know they're 50 pounds back down under where they were. So they gotta fight their ass off to get back to where they were, put on five more pounds, and then put on that five more pounds again. C.J. is one of those guys. He has been busting his ass, using what he has to his greatest ability. And those guys like him—Todd Brock and there's a lot of other ones like that—they have to work... I'm not... they don't have to work harder, but they have to work so much smarter, and they learn so much more because it's never been easy. When it's easy for these other guys, they don't really learn shit. Maybe they can toss around some buzz words and sound like they know what they're talking about, but they really don't know shit because they've never overcome adversity. And over my thirty years experience, it's usually those people that as soon as they get their first injury, they're done. You know, they move on to a different sport or they're just done completely and they never work out again. So C.J. is somebody that I think, you can really learn a hell of a lot from. That's a person that you don't want to look at and say, "well he only lifts this..." Well, you want to look at him and say, "holy shit, this is why he only lifts that and it took this long..." And very, very, it's very underrated as far as a strength coach goes and in the strength industry.

Steve: Tell people your thoughts on Steve Goggins.

Dave: That man's a legend, man. I've followed Steve, and Matt had a Powerlifting USA cover of him on my wall when I was in high school. You know, Steve's gonna think this is crazy—that I'm a stalker or something. But I mean, his eyes were bugging out of his head and they were all red. It was at some record breakers meet. But I always liked Steve even before I didn't know him because from what I read and what I'd always heard about him, he's always been a person of very high integrity. You know, I like that military background, and I knew—I trained— with somebody named Doug Nostrant that used to train with Steve when Steve was in the military—training on a military powerlifting team—and only had great things to say about Steve. So a lot of Steve's training and influence is actually what I was doing when I was in college and was working, and now to have him as a part of what we're doing and part of the team is an honor to me to be able to have him. I think that his knowledge is, once again, very untapped. I think he knows more than he actually knows that he knows. And I've seen him do things, just tweaking and giving advice to other pro lifters in warmup rooms, that has ended up changing, you know, adding 50 to 100 pounds to their lift. And it's just the simple things that he sees that everybody else would miss. Foot placement, hand placement, where their hips are throughout the lift—just little tiny things that you pick up when you do this shit for 30-some years. He's another one kind of like me, you know, he's beat up. And he's still trying to find his way—how he can keep doing what he loves doing. So I have a lot of respect for him for that as well. Great respect for Steve as well.

Steve: Two more. John Meadows.

Dave: John's nuts too. All these people you're asking me about are little nuts. So I like to surround myself with people who are crazy. John I knew when I was at Westside a little bit. He did come in and train for one, maybe two, meets in the time that I was there. I didn't know him all that well because during my time when I was at Westside, it was... I like to kind of put it together as saying that we were... it was a sport. We went in, we trained, and we left. There wasn't, for me, there wasn't a whole lot of sitting around bullshitting and all this other stuff... it wasn't family hour. It was time to train. So we went in and we trained. So I never got to know John all that well back then except for what his squat looked like. I knew he had big quads and he squatted close, and we could never get him to squat wide enough. So, you know, I know what all his weaknesses were on his lifts. His hamstrings weren't strong enough, he was falling forward, he needed to get his stance out, his elbows weren't tucked enough when he benched... I could tell you every weakness he ever had, but I couldn't tell you a thing about the guy other than that. Over the last couple of years, I've gotten to know him a lot better because he's been doing my programming and training with me out here. The guy is extremely intelligent. You know, years ago, when I did a seminar with Mel Siff, I had a discussion with him in regards to bodybuilding, and Mel made a statement that bodybuilding's not that complicated. All you have to do is just blast the muscle, make it sore, feed it, and let it recover. And that's all you need to do. And it made sense, and I had an understanding of that. But then wouldn't everybody be jacked? You know, so it's a little more complicated. John's approach to bodybuilding is more cerebral and more thought out than anybody else I've ever seen in the bodybuilding sector with programming. Usually it is just—and you've been around bodybuilding programming for a long time—it's just a hodge-podge of this is what so-and-so has done... kind of what Mel said: going there, drill it, and do it. There's not a whole lot of thought going into it, there's not a whole lot of waving programming. John's manipulating volume, he's going to start manipulating density, he's even going to start manipulating intensity to a certain degree. So very intelligent, and that's not even getting into the nutritional side as well. Probably the most intelligent bodybuilder from a training perspective that I've ever met.

Steve: And our last one is Steve Pulcinella.

Dave: Steve. Steve's funnier than hell. Steve's another guy that, once again, has been around for a long time. I think his knowledge is untapped. And all these guys that have been around for a long time are people that I consider being the BEST at what they do as far as coaching and helping other people get stronger. Not one of them really know or understand what they know and what their value and what their real worth really is. You know, they all think that their value and their knowledge is less than what it really is. And Steve is one of those that I try to work with... you know, "you got to get more information out there." He knows so much about Strongman, highlands, and powerlifting, and even bodybuilding because his brother and being in the gym for his whole life. And I did get him to do an eBook, which was a huge accomplishment, but there's so much more in him and a lot of these other guys that it's kind of one of my personal missions to be able to try to get them to get that out... and they know it, and if you sit down and talk to them over dinner or talk to them over the phone, it's just, there's just knowledge bombs dropping left and right. They just don't know how to format it in different means to be able to get that information out. Steve is just a wealth of knowledge as far as... and also funnier than hell. So you combine those two, and it's a great thing.


 Stay tuned for more episodes.

In this episode, Dave discusses his impressions of several familiar names he has met through the Iron Game.