Even if you’ve never tiptoed near the shrine of powerlifting, you’ll find something to love in Lauren Michele Jackson’s obituary of the iconic Westside Barbell founder. And if you have? The same — plus you’ll leave wondering why the writing about strength sports can’t always be this lyrical.
The place became a home for big bodies with troubled pasts who were joined in their commitment to pushing and pulling stupid amounts of weight. Simmons has described the psychology of the place in terms of the movie “Shogun Assassin,” in which a young son joins his father on a bloody path of vengeance. “That’s what this gym is: a journey into Hell,” he explained in the 2019 documentary “Westside vs. the World.”