Louis Simmons (October 12, 1947 – March 24, 2022) was an American powerlifter and strength coach. He is known for developing the Westside Conjugate training method and applying it to weightlifting and other sports, as well as inventing several weight training machines. Westside Barbell is a private, invitation-only elite training facility in Columbus, Ohio, founded by Simmons.
Simmons has publicly defended the use of performance-enhancing drugs to achieve strength goals and muscle growth, including his own use of anabolic steroids since 1970, saying in a 2016 podcast for Joe Rogan, “I Taking anabolic steroids in January 1970. So what’s this, 2016? I never left them.” “Look, drug use isn’t against the rules. It’s against the law to get caught.”
Simmons is one of only five lifters to reach the overall elite level in five different weight classes. He is an elite member of various weightlifting organizations.
Simmons has competed in powerlifting for over 50 years. By age 50, he had squatted 420kg, benched 270kg and deadlifted 327kg. For nearly four years, he reached elite level in five different weight classes.
Despite Simmons’ views on performance-enhancing drugs, Simmons’ weightlifting students continue to cite his methods as the foundation of their training long after they have left his gym. Simmons has also worked as a strength consultant for college and professional sports teams, and his training method is reflected in the CrossFit Weightlifting Certification program. His articles on training methods appear regularly in the acclaimed American Weightlifting Magazine. Simmons owns Westside Barbell, a private gym in Columbus, Ohio. Membership is by invitation only.
Louie developed and popularized a training system, sometimes called conjugation, named after the Westside Barbell Gym. The system is known for its guidelines on exercise selection, periodization, and the use of resistance bands and chains in strength training. The Simmons method has been used to train athletes in a variety of sports that rely on strength development, including weightlifting, track and field, martial arts, and soccer.
Simmons claims he developed and invented specific barbell exercises to address weaknesses in competitive sports.  Upper and lower body routines are frequently rotated (at least every three weeks) on the principle that training the same routine for too long will be counterproductive. The training system emphasizes various specialized exercises. Various weightlifting can be performed, such as good morning instead of squats. Competitive weightlifting can be modified by increasing or decreasing range of motion, such as by squatting on low or high boxes, bench pressing with limited range of motion, using planks to shorten strokes, or deadlifting blocks or pins in a power cage. Traditional barbells can be replaced with special barbells such as arched bars, safety squat bars or Swiss bars.
Load specific exercises designed to increase both strength and speed each week. Twice a week “maximum effort” classes, one each for the upper body and lower body, require maximum weight training in the specific exercises above. Dynamic hard work twice a week, one for the upper body and one for the lower body, with sub-maximal weight training but with as much acceleration as possible on the upward portion of the movement. With alternating ME and DE classes, the Conjugate Sequence system is designed to replace traditional Western strength training cycles in which only one quality such as hypertrophy, speed, or strength is developed in any given week . This is in stark contrast to the conjugate sequence system used by Soviet athletes, which trains one major motor skill at a time while maintaining the rest.