We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.ย Learn more.

Debating with your friends whoโ€™s the best Powerlifting coach?

Louie Simmons, Boris Sheiko, or Ed Coan?

Here is our list of the best Powerlifting coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Powerlifting Coaches:

  1. Louie Simmons
  2. Boris Sheiko
  3. Ed Coan
  4. Dave Tate
  5. Jim Wendler
  6. Marty Gallagher
  7. Chad Wesley Smith
  8. Bill Starr
  9. Fred Hatfield
  10. Mark Bell
  11. Greg Nuckols

#1 Louie Simmons

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Developed Westside Barbell training methodology; numerous powerlifting records
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1970sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: Elite powerlifters at Westside Barbell
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Louie Simmons is renowned in powerlifting for his Westside Barbell training methodology, integrating max effort, dynamic effort, and repetitive effort training days. He has coached numerous powerlifters to achieve elite status and records.

Simmonsโ€™ contributions to powerlifting literature and education are significant, with his methods widely adopted and adapted in strength and conditioning programs worldwide.

Despite his influence, Simmons’ style is not without controversy, but his impact on powerlifting and strength sports cannot be denied, attributing to his philosophy of constant innovation and adaptation in training methods.

#2 Boris Sheiko

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Coached several world champion powerlifters
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: Russian powerlifting team, numerous international competitors
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: Russian

Boris Sheiko is a legendary figure in powerlifting, having coached numerous Russian and international champions. His systematic and detailed programming, characterized by high-frequency, sub-maximal lifting, is followed by powerlifters globally.

Sheikoโ€™s influence has spread internationally through his seminars and written programs, shaping the training regimes of countless powerlifters seeking precision and discipline in their training.

His legacy transcends borders, with Sheikoโ€™s methodologies forming a foundational template for many powerlifting coaches and athletes who respect his technical approach and attention to detail.

#3 Ed Coan

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Over 71 world records in powerlifting
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1980sโ€“Present (as an athlete and coach)
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: x
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Ed Coan is often referred to as the “Greatest Powerlifter of All Time” due to his numerous world records and unparalleled performance across multiple weight classes.

After his competitive career, Coan transitioned into coaching, where he leverages his experience and knowledge to help other lifters achieve their potential.

Coanโ€™s approach emphasizes perfecting technique, building strength intelligently, and developing a championโ€™s mindset, making him a revered coach among powerlifters.

#4 Dave Tate

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Founder of EliteFTS; accomplished powerlifter
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1990sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: Powerlifters and strength athletes worldwide
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Dave Tate, founder of EliteFTS, a company dedicated to strengthening the powerlifting community through equipment, education, and coaching, is a respected figure in powerlifting circles.

With years of experience as a competitive powerlifter himself, Tate imparts knowledge that melds practical strength training with the mental aspects of the sport.

Tate is known for his no-nonsense coaching style, prolific writing on powerlifting strategies, and commitment to developing the sport at all levels, from novice lifters to seasoned competitors.

#5 Jim Wendler

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Creator of 5/3/1 training program; respected powerlifter and strength coach
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 2000sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• ๏ธโ€Athletes Coached: Strength athletes and powerlifters at all levels
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Jim Wendler is best known for creating the 5/3/1 training program, a popular program that prioritizes simplicity, consistency, and long-term progression in strength training.

As a former powerlifter, Wendler has successfully transformed his competitive experiences into coaching insights that resonate with a broad range of athletes.

Wendlerโ€™s contributions to the strength community include numerous books and articles, focusing on promoting an effective and sustainable approach to building strength.

#6 Marty Gallagher

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: IPF World Champion coach; storied powerlifting career
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• ๏ธโ€Athletes Coached:: past U.S. National Team members, special forces operatives
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Marty Gallagher, an IPF World Champion coach, has coached elite powerlifters as well as U.S. special forces teams, emphasizing direct, hardcore, minimalist training styles.

#7 Chad Wesley Smith

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Founder of Juggernaut Training Systems; elite powerlifter and coach
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: World-class powerlifters, Olympians, and athletes from various sports
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Chad Wesley Smith has established himself as both an elite powerlifter and a prominent strength coach through his Juggernaut Training Systems platform.

Under his guidance, athletes across a spectrum of sports have achieved significant success, owing much to his holistic approach to athlete development that encompasses strength, speed, and overall athletic performance.

Smithโ€™s innovative coaching methods and educational content have influenced the powerlifting community significantly, contributing to the sportโ€™s growth and the improvement of athlete performance at all levels.

#8 Bill Starr

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Considered one of the forefathers of strength and conditioning coaching
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1960sโ€“x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• ๏ธโ€Athletes Coached: Collegiate and professional athletes across multiple sports
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Bill Starr is a legendary figure in the world of strength and conditioning, having introduced and popularized many foundational strength training concepts used by athletes worldwide.

Although more associated with strength and conditioning in general, Starr’s methods have profoundly influenced powerlifting training.

Starr is celebrated for his contributions to the development of periodization and for his emphasis on the basic compound lifts that are central to any effective powerlifting program.

#9 Fred Hatfield

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Co-founder of the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA); multiple powerlifting titles
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• ๏ธโ€Athletes Coached: x
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Fred Hatfield, also known as “Dr. Squat” for his formidable achievements in the squat, left a lasting mark on powerlifting and sports science.

Alongside his personal lifting records, Hatfield co-founded the ISSA, which has helped educate thousands of fitness professionals across the globe.

#10 Mark Bell

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Creator of the Slingshot; powerlifting record holder; fitness entrepreneur
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: 1990sโ€“Present
  • ๐Ÿ‘• ๏ธโ€Athletes Coached: Powerlifters, general strength enthusiasts, and recreational lifters
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Mark Bell has transitioned from a competitive powerlifter to an inventor, coach, and mentor within the powerlifting community.

His invention, the Slingshot, is a supportive training device that has become ubiquitous in gyms for its ability to allow lifters to handle heavier loads and train around injuries.

Bell’s influence extends through his coaching, motivational speaking, podcasting, and social media presence, playing a significant role in making powerlifting accessible and enjoyable.

#11 Greg Nuckols

  • ๐Ÿ† Achievements: Founder of Stronger by Science; prolific powerlifting content creator
  • ๐Ÿ“… Years Active: x
  • ๐Ÿ‘• Athletes Coached: Powerlifters, strength competitors, and strength enthusiasts
  • ๐ŸŒ Nationality: American

Greg Nuckols established himself as an authority on strength training through his evidence-based approach and in-depth analysis of powerlifting performance and training methodologies.

His articles and resources on Stronger by Science are highly regarded for their scientific rigor, practicality, and accessibility, making him a trusted voice in the community.

Stay motivated and informed by subscribing to the best powerlifting YouTube channels.


Who is the greatest Powerlifting coach of all time?

Louie Simmons is widely considered the greatest Powerlifting coach, having developed the Westside Barbell method, profoundly influencing strength training.

Who was the most successful Powerlifting coach?

Louie Simmons, founder of Westside Barbell, is the most successful Powerlifting coach, with athletes setting numerous world records and winning many championships under his guidance.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning โ€˜realโ€™ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments