Joe Sullivan: Bending Bars & What Powerlifters Won’t Tell You

Joe Sullivan is a champion raw powerlifter who speaks his mind on everything from online trolls to bad gym etiquette. Joe joins us to talk training, his favorite powerlifters to watch this year, and an incredibly close (and internet famous) brush with disaster due to equipment failure. 

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Joe Sullivan and host David Thomas Tao discuss:

  • Training through and around illness (1:44)
  • Joe’s real-talk tips for gym etiquette (4:09)
  • Why deadlifts don’t really start at 135 (8:20)
  • Planning ahead for training during travel (11:43)
  • The famous bar-bending incident and Joe’s close brush with disaster (12:04)
  • Negativity and trolling in social media (18:20)
  • The ONE thing Joe would change about powerlifting (21:34)
  • Differences in lift standards (23:00)
  • Joe’s personal standards for the three lifts in powerlifting (26:00)
  • The national and international lifters Joe pays the most attention to (29:14)
  • The most underrated powerlifters in 2020 (32:10)

Relevant links and further reading:


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

 If you have somebody hits a 2100-total in the SPF or the RPS or the APF or the IPA or, whatever, could be legit as fuck, could have clean fucking lifts, because that guy actually walks with his head high, or that lady walks with her head high and has integrity, or you could have your best friends in the judge’s chair and all your lifts could look like dog shit.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao. This podcast is presented by

Today, I’m talking to elite powerlifter Joe Sullivan. Joe has made his mark as one of the best powerlifters competing today. He has lifted as a 198, 220, and 242-pound lifter. He’s also a prolific coach and is never shy in giving his thoughts on how to improve the sport of powerlifting for lifters and fans alike.

In our conversation, we chat powerlifting federations, lifting standards, and the scary equipment failure that turned Joe squatting into a viral social media sensation.

Also, I just want to say we’re incredibly thankful that you to listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the “BarBend Podcast” in your app of choice. Now, let’s get into it.

Joe Sullivan, thanks so much for joining us today. One thing we were talking about before we began recording was the fact that you are coming back from a sinus infection. I’m very curious, as an elite-level powerlifter, how illness impacts your training. Is it something you work to train through or do you just take time completely off if you’re sick?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

It really depends on where you’re at in your training cycle. I kind of got hit at the worst possible moment because I’m less than two weeks out right now. I got sick about a week ago, so there wasn’t really the option to basically like, “I’m going to take a week and a half off,” because then, it would sort of destroy any purpose of the peak that I was in the process of.

I basically went to an urgent care as quickly as possible, hopped on antibiotics, and bumblefucked my way through the training just because I felt really bad.

I had to move it around obviously. I was flying to Boston for Thanksgiving, and I was supposed to bench that day. I was like, “Fuck that. I’m not doing this.” I put a gap time between getting sick and training next.

I put it off till Thursday, but then I fit all my stuff in. I was hammering DayQuil, hammering the antibiotic. I’m still not feeling all that great. If you’re far away from a meet, don’t be an asshole, don’t go to the gym, don’t get everybody sick, and you’ll feel better if you sit and hydrate and chill.

But, if you’re close to a meet and it’s one of those instances of do as I say not as I do. If you’re close, and you can’t really afford to miss stuff, then blast some Afrin, take some antibiotics, and suck it up.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Just a disclaimer, Joe as far as I know is not a certified medical doctor. This is all… [laughs]


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Not at all. This is not medical advice. This is meathead advice. This is if you’ve got to get it in, do what you can, but also go to the doctor. Also get on antibiotics and run the full course. Don’t help the world end by play any time soon, super bugs and whatever else there’s going on.

David TaoDavid Tao

I love what you said about getting sick early on in a peaking cycle or in your training. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t bring that sickness into the gym when you’re training around other people.

What are some other components of gym etiquette and training etiquette that you wish people would abide by in order to not be assholes in training?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

 I lose my fucking mind over this shit, and I talk so much shit about this because I think the people that don’t rerack their weights or don’t put stuff away that they get out…My mom and dad raised me to put stuff back where you found it and leave things better than when you got there.

When I go into gyms, and I see the fucking two boards all over the place, weights not unracked and everybody loves to put the hundreds on leg presses and then leave them there. Who else uses leg presses a lot? Hundred pound fucking girls.

What are they supposed to do when they have to bicep curl their body weight because some lanky tall fuck left it on there not thinking, because they’re like, “Well, it’s on a rack? That’s not a big deal.”

Pick up after yourself, because if you don’t pick up after yourself, I assume that you don’t know how to wipe your own ass, or you don’t brush your teeth every day. I think that you’re a piece of shit.

Pick up after yourself. That’s the biggest thing. Have some level of consideration for other humans.

I’m one of the strongest guys in whatever gym that I go to, but that doesn’t mean that I can do whatever I want. We all pay the same amount of money for a membership no matter where you’re at. We all pay the same amount of money for a day pass. That means we’re fucking equals.

That goes even further to say we’re fucking equals as humans, but that’s from a consumer standpoint, we are all just fucking customers, so it doesn’t make you any better than anybody else. Pick up after yourself and have some fucking common decency for your other human people that share the fucking space with you.

David TaoDavid Tao

Nothing has ever annoyed me more than stubbing my toe on a big, thick metal plate that someone left out that I wasn’t expecting to be where it was.

The level of fury if you’re going in for a squat session or doing some sort of lifting and you stub your toe, and your training is impacted because someone left a dumbbell or a plate out, that’s a different level of anger that I had never experienced before. It’s way up there.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Because it’s that anger that this shouldn’t have happened. There was no reason for this to occur. I’ve been there too. At this one gym that I go to — because I go to a couple of different spots in Columbus — but it’s really jam-packed.

It’s great for accessory days, go in, get a pump, actually isolate the muscle because they’re a Hammer Strength-sponsored gym so they have all the Hammer Strength ISO equipment, which is fantastic.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, it’s great. It’s hard to find that full range too.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Oh, my God, dude. It’s fantastic. It’s awesome, but the problem with it is they probably have half the space than what they actually need.

I’m not generalizing, I’m not being an asshole, but it seems to me the bodybuilders think it’s OK to leave one plate on machines because the whole thing..You leave one plate on the deadlift bar because everybody starts at 135. That’s not always the case, and that’s not always the case with machines, but people will do that.

There have been so many times where I will be walking, and I’ll clip my elbow on one of the plates or not see it and just walk into it. Nobody else is in the gym or there’s no business for it to be loaded, and I’m like, “God fucking damn it. I’m going to frisbee this through a fucking window.”

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] I also hate that deadlifts start at 135. This might get me in trouble in the lifting community. The deadlifts start at 135. I’ve seen world record holders, it could be in the sport of weightlifting, warming up on cleans and snatches. It could be in the sport of powerlifting, warming up deadlifts.

People grease the groove with an empty barbell all the time, elite-level lifters. It’s not even that, OK, yes, maybe you leave some weights on the leg press because most people can leg press 95 pounds, two 45-pound plates on the sled.

But I’ve had some knee injuries, and I’ve had to do rehab utilizing a leg press. I don’t want any weight on it. I’m just trying to get some movement in.

It’s not just like, “Oh, if you’re not strong enough to do this, you shouldn’t be on the equipment.” What if you’re doing rehab? What if you’re a very good lifter — not that I ever was, but what if you’re a very good lifter just working on movement patterning. It matters. People use this stuff and they don’t necessarily use it at max loads.


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

That’s the thing. People don’t have any consideration for their fellow humans anymore and it makes me lose my goddamn mind because people don’t think. They’re like, “Well, everybody’s got to do this.” What if this motherfucker comes in and they don’t have a leg but they want to deadlift?

Are you going to tell him, “Start at 135”? No, fuck you and shut the fuck up. Put your goddamn plates away. It’s fucking easier and it avoids an argument, so put your fucking shit away.

David TaoDavid Tao

 I do have one question, and this is about equipment consideration and utilizing equipment and understanding the space. You’re very strong. That’s why we’re talking today. That’s why you’re known in the sport of powerlifting, besides your sterling personality and movie star good looks.


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Thank you.

David TaoDavid Tao

No exaggeration on anything. When you walk into a gym, especially if you’re traveling, you’re going to be one of the strongest guys in the gym at this point in your career. Awesome. That’s great. You’re also going to have weight requirements above and beyond what many people are using, even if you’re going to 80 percent on back squats.

You’re going to be loading more weight on that barbell than probably anyone else in the gym has loaded that week. Do you have to give gym owners a heads-up?

What are some things you do as a very strong elite-level powerlifter to be considered of equipment noting that you might be loading six plates on the side of a barbell, which is something that equipment is probably not used for on a regular basis?


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

I’ve done different things in the past, but generally, if I know that I’m traveling somewhere, because training is a very big deal for me, I will scope out the area before I’m training. In terms of planning and locations and stuff, I’m a very type-A personality guy.

If I’m traveling home to my parents’ house, which is in Michigan, I will be like, “OK, I am letting them know I’m going to train this day, at this place. It’s going to be an hour’s drive, so I’m going to allocate four hours for this. This is what I have to do.”

It’s planning. Proper planning helps performance whatever the fuck that alliteration saying is. I’ll reach out to the gym. I’ll scope out the gym and see whether or not it’s powerlifting oriented. I did that in the past and thought this might be why you were bringing it up.

Are you familiar with the bar bending incident?


David TaoDavid Tao

I was going to get to that. You’re two steps ahead of me.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

The bar bending incident. We’ve all seen that. I did all things that I had stated. I contacted the gym, made sure that they had the proper equipment. When I got to that gym, somebody was the individual owner of the squat bars and the deadlift bars and had previously or shortly before I got there ended their gym membership and took all of their bars with them.

Then I asked the manager or whoever it was, the employee that was there. I was like, “Am I going to be OK using this barbell to squat with?” He told me, “Yes, I would be.” I loaded up the way and we’ve all seen the video. The bar failed.

I will do everything that I said, like traveling. I will still prioritize training. I’ll still reach out to the gym, make sure they have what I need.

I own some barbells. Through my years of training, I’ve purchased barbells just to have. I will throw a kabuki squat bar in my car, or Duffalo Bar because I own both of them.

If I need to get my training in and I have to use one of them, I would rather just rely on myself than have to count on a gym to have one, because I thought that gym would have one, but then I got there and they didn’t. Then it almost ended up killing me. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

For those who might not be familiar with this video…By the way, it’s kind of fitting that we’re talking about this bar bending incident on the “BarBend” podcast. It’s a pretty famous video in powerlifting. You’re squatting, I don’t even know how much weight, but give us the rundown.

The bar starts bending massively in the middle of a back squat. You’re able to come out of it alive and not just salvage the lift, but come away from it uninjured after this massive equipment failure.

We’ll actually embed the video of this in the podcast listing on Give us a rundown of exactly what happened for those who might not be familiar with that video.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

I think it was Huntington, West Virginia or Charleston, West Virginia, I don’t know. I was there to coach at a powerlifting meet. I’m like, “All right. I’m going to go get my training in.” I was in prep for the 2018 US Open, I believe it was. I think I was supposed to do two triples in sleeves at 695 or 705, I can’t remember.

I was loading the weights. I hit 585 and it moved OK. There was appreciable bar whip, but it wasn’t anything outside the realm of normal that I had experienced, like squatting on an LA fitness bar or anything like that. It was pretty wimpy, but I’m like, “OK, this is what I have to deal with today.”

Then I load 675 on the bar. As I walked the way it out, I feel that whip and I’m like, “OK, it’s whipping pretty bad. This is going to be weird.” I squat down and I come up. As I’m coming up, in my head I’m like, “What the fuck is going on? Why does this feel so heavy?” It felt horrible and I’m like…

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re moving up and the weight wasn’t?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Yeah. There’s a point in the video where I’m extending my legs. My body is being extended, but then the weight is lowering to my side. I don’t even know what you would call that physical sensation. It was one of the worst feelings in the world. It was accommodating resistance times a thousand, essentially.

I bring it up and I’m like, “Well, that was a dog shit rap. I don’t know what the fuck happened.” I can tell that the bar is whipping hard. I’m calling it at one like, “Today’s going to be a fucking back down day. I’m not going to be able to do this shit.” I rack one side and then I look over to the other side and the weight is actually at my hip.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Shit. The bar’s bent at like a 45 degree angle.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Yeah. It turned into a pyramid, a triangle of a bar. The angle was so sharp. As I was looking down at it, I was like, “What the hell am I going to do?” I wanted to rack the way and I got the one side racked but then the opposite, I’m just like, “There’s no way.” I was going to have to shoulder press it off me and there was no way that that was happening.

I stand there and I swear a little bit. Then I jumped out from underneath it. It looks like I’ve punched my way out of it because I didn’t know what else to do. Then the weights fell and the bar is bent like crazy. I was like, “Well, fuck. That’s a wash of a day and that’s going to be one hell of a video.” Then I washed it and I was like, “Wow, that was something else.” That was it.

David TaoDavid Tao

What ended up happening? What was the gym’s reaction? [laughs] Was there anyone around at the time?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

There was only that one other employee and this gym actually doesn’t like me at all. There was a thing on Facebook. I’m not going to name the gym because everybody knows who it is. It’s not hard to figure out who they are.

They called me a liar on Facebook and said that I willingly used that bar and chose not to use a Texas squat bar that they had in the gym. The gym owner said, “What, are you calling my manager a liar?” Because I said in this Facebook comment thread because I didn’t even think anything of it.

I didn’t badmouth this gym. It’s a fine gym. It just didn’t have the equipment that I thought it would have. I really don’t give a fuck any further than that.

It wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t my fault. It was just a shitty thing that happened, but I said that this manager or the employee said that I’d be cool on this bar which is what he did. I used it and it bent.

Then on a Facebook thread, randomly, EliteFTS posted this video and they said that I was a liar and that I chose to use this barbell, rather than a Texas squat bar that they had.

Somebody linked the comment thread to me and I’m like, “No, I didn’t. Why would a powerlifter with, at the time, 9 or 10 years of experience choose to use an inferior barbell when he knows that he is competing with a Texas squat bar? That doesn’t make much sense. The logic doesn’t follow. I’m not saying that your employee is a liar, but I’m saying he’s misremembering.”

I said all this in a very professional manner because that’s how I operate on the Internet. I know everything gets screenshotted and we all get talked about when we don’t want to be.

Then the owner called me a piece of shit and a liar. I was like, “OK, we’re done here.” That basically shows their character and I’m just like, “Well, all right. I’m out. Guess I’m just not going to go to that gym if I’m ever in West Virginia again.” [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Don’t you love the warm, fuzzy feelings that the strength community gives you sometimes?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Man, I’m like, “Did you people not get fucking hugged as children? What the fuck is going on?” My parents are fantastic, but my dad scared the fuck out of me when I was a kid.

He put the fear of fucking God in me and so did my grandfather. He had fucking hands like catcher’s mitts. He fucking hit me and I’d fly across the fucking room. I don’t understand. Why does everybody got to be so angry? Why can’t we have fucking conversations?

Dave, if we were sitting, having a conversation, I could disagree with every goddamn word that you were saying or I could say, “Man, you’re fucking stupid.” This is dumb.


David TaoDavid Tao

These are both true things by the way. These are both true things.


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Same for me though. I’m a fucking idiot, but the difference between that and other people is that having the fucking capacity to sit down and have a fucking conversation about it.

That’s where you make change, that’s how you get better, but everybody in this fucking sport or in this society or whatever the fuck it is, they’re all like, “No. Fuck you. You’re disagreeing with me, so you’re attacking me. Fuck you. I’m not going to fucking listen to this.”

Then they lose their fucking minds, and everybody gets blocked, and it’s all fucking stupid.

David TaoDavid Tao

Besides this attitude, besides the negativity on online… [laughs]

This is something that BarBend’s fitness editor, Jake Boly, who is a competitive powerlifter and I have talked about on the BarBend Podcast is about the negativity and trolling in social media in strength sports. Not just powerlifting but weightlifting, Strongman, CrossFit.

Besides that, if there’s one thing you could change about the sport of powerlifting in the United States, what might it be?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Unification of lifting and lifting standards. With the recent stuff going on in untested powerlifting…There’s tested powerlifting and there’s untested powerlifting. Tested powerlifting is USAPL. It is 90 percent USAPL powerlifting.

There’s been people leaving just because of political drama bullshit, whatever. Most of the individuals who complete drug tests will compete USAPL because it is the largest pool of competitors and it is the most professional of competitions where it is closest resembling an actual sport. That’s why people go there.

I say unification because then we look at untested powerlifting and it is a broken, splintered whatever. It’s gotten better in the past years because the USPA is actually starting to pay their top athletes. They’re paying for trips to Worlds based on Wilks scores, which is huge.

It’s pulling more people towards it, but there are still competitions where judging is lax, where it’s just different.

There is no standardized method of powerlifting. It’s walked out, mono, 2-meter wraps, 2.5-meter wraps, 3-meter wraps, no limit on wrap length, toes-up-benching, head-up-benching, sync it like no-start command, fast-press commands, the judging on deadlift, the judging on everything, the judging on depths on squat. There is no uniformity and there is no real standard.

A big thing that I would wish would change would be some level of unification like the USAPL has. It is a monopoly and I fucking hate the USAPL because of some of the capitalistic like, consumerism, fucking money-hungry type stuff that they do, but you have to think if something ever gets that big, it’s the whole too-big-to-fail motto or mindset.

If something gets that big and pulls in that much revenue, that’s generally how shit goes. The bigger a corporation gets, the more money that they pull in, and the more money that they pull in, the more money they need to pull in to survive because their actions increase 10-fold or whatever the fuck.

I just wish that something similar would happen in untested powerlifting. I am pretty much exclusively competing in USPA and other larger invitational-style meets that don’t have Federation loyalty, because right now the USPA is the best option for professionalism, and consistency, and rewarding, and caring about their lifters.

Like I say, lift to your own standards, absolutely. Just have some semblance of integrity and you’ll be pretty OK. I just know if I hit a 2100-total in the USPA, that’s a legit as fuck 2100-total.

If you have somebody hits a 2100-total and the SPF or the RPS or the APF or the IPA or whatever, could be legit as fuck, could have clean fucking lifts, because that guy actually walks with his head high, or that lady walks with her head high and has integrity, or you could have your best friends in the judge’s chair and all your lifts could look like dog shit.

You don’t really know, and that it’s a good thing about the Internet because then we can watch that stuff, but that’s not always guaranteed or either. I would just rather have this sport be an actual sport as opposed to just Internet hobby that we like to post on the Internet for validation.

David TaoDavid Tao

When you talk about lifting to your own standards, you personally…This is something that everyone has opinions that I’d say evolve over time, but you’ve been in the sport for about a decade now, if not a little longer. What are the standards that you aim for on your lifts?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Just squats to depths, locking your knees out. Just making it look clean. I understand that. I tend to think in terms of the tie goes to the runner like the tie goes to the lifter. If the judge is unsure, give it to the lifter, but also that’s putting the onus and responsibility on the judge themselves.

They need to be familiar with the rulebook. Depth is not ambiguous. Almost every rulebook has the same definition of depth out there. People are always like, “Oh, hip crease, hip crease, tip-crease, hip crease. You can’t see the hip crease. You need to see the hip crease. It’s about the hip crease.”

Show me a goddamn rulebook that fucking talks about the hip crease. There’s one or two maybe. What the fucking verbiage is, it is “the top of the quad at the hip must be lower than the top of the quad at the knee.”

That is breaking parallel. That is the definition of parallel. That is deeper than a lot of people fucking think, and that sucks because it makes squats fucking harder.

Guess what? If you’re lifting in a fucking organization that has a rulebook, you fucking follow the goddamn rules because that’s what you signed up for. It’s just, “Make your shit clean.”

I don’t understand. I don’t know. I don’t understand how people can feel good about some of the shit that they get white lights on. I don’t know if that makes me conceited or have a big ego because I’m both of those things. I’m fucking sure.

It’s like have some fucking pride, have some integrity and respect for yourself because, if some of my squats looked like the squats that passed a couple weeks ago, I’d be fucking ashamed of myself. I wouldn’t want to post that shit, and even if I did post that shit, because I’m a competitor, I don’t know if I would be like, “Oh, it was a bad lift. Give reds. Disqualify me.”

I don’t know if I would do that, but I don’t put myself in that position because I’m not going to go to those fucking meets where it’s fucking lax judging.

David TaoDavid Tao

We can say international. It doesn’t have to just be US. Who in the sport of powerlifting these days, you as a fan and competitor, do you really enjoy watching on the platform?


Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

I can go international?

David TaoDavid Tao

You can go international. I was going to say domestic, but go international. Powerlifting is an international sport. You’re competing internationally. Go international.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

I can do both. Internationally speaking, I always pay attention to Yury Belkin because he is the gold standard of 220 lifting, 220, 230, 240 pounds guys. He is the gold standard. He is the goat right now, and it’s amazing to watch.

I don’t want to say you never know what you’re going to get with him, but he doesn’t upload his training to social media. He stays very quiet, and he could walk into a competition and hit goes three for nine and not have a great day one month. Then a month and a half later, he could go eight for nine and total 2300 at 220.

It’s fun to watch, and it’s very exciting, because I don’t want to say that it’s unpredictable, but it’s nebulous because he doesn’t post a lot about it on social media and you always know that he’s going to go where he needs to go and hit what he needs to hit to win. It’s always fun watching him.

Plus I still chase him because I still remember. I wake up fucking sweating in the middle of the night from having memories of 2017 when I could have beat him. I was the one guy that could have done it.

I fucking got 804 above my knees, and then my hands opened up. If I would have hit that I would have won.


David TaoDavid Tao

He’s your boogie man.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Yes, he is. He’s fucking Bobby [inaudible 30:54] or whatever the fuck it his.

David TaoDavid Tao

John Wick reference there. That’s what I was going for. [laughs]

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Yeah, exactly. Yury is a blast to watch. It’s always incredible.

Then domestic, there’s a lot of great lifting going on right now. Powerlifting, it’s really fun to be a part of right now, and there’s some really amazing lifters out there.

This is my level of cheesiness, but I love watching really anybody. Anybody that reacts emotionally to anything, that’s my favorite thing in the world because I’ve always been a very empathic person.

If somebody locks on a deadlift and hits a PR and they start smiling or jumping up and down and they’re happy, they just have that relieved look on their face, and then somebody runs off and hugs them, I’m like, “This is literally the greatest thing in the world.”

If I could melt that feeling down and inject it into my veins I would do it. That’s probably what heroin is, but don’t do heroin.

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] Sage advice from powerlifter Joe Sullivan. Heading into 2020, because we’re recording this at the end of 2019, this podcast might not go live until 2020. This is my last question in this realm. Who do you think is one of the most underrated and unwatched powerlifters heading into this next year?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Underrated and under watched? Trying to think. Two people, and this is off the top of my head, so nobody get offended. I don’t know.

I’m only saying this because I’ve been in close proximity to both of them. Matt Sohmer, he’s planning on doing the showdown meet, which is the new tribute. It’s all sleeves.

I saw him compete at the North American championships in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I believe he hit 2200 total in sleeves or something crazy at 275. He’s knocking on the door of the all-time squat record in sleeves that’s held currently by Dennis Cornelius.

He’s an incredible lifter. Just seeing him lift in person was insane because he missed his second…His second squat buried him. He got out of the groove, and it dunked his ass. I was like, “There’s no way, no way he’s going to come back and get it.”

I think he called the same way or even went up slightly. I don’t know, but I was like, “There’s no fucking way that he’s doing this.”

He goes out there, and he fucking smokes it. It moves faster than his opener. I’m like, “That was disgusting.” He’s got this second gear that he can turn on when he needs to. I think if he were to be able to develop that a little bit further or focus it, the dude would be unstoppable. I want to call him a kid, but he’s 24 or 25. He’s not that much younger than I am, but Matt is fun to watch. It’s fun to watch. I hope I get to share the platform with him at that showdown meet.

Secondly, Chad Penson. He’s crazy strong. I think he hit a 2000 pound total at 198 at Boss of Bosses, and I don’t think he’s showing any signs of stopping. He’s a house.

He’s two inches shorter than I am and about as wide at 198. He’s got a strong squat. He’s got a strong bench. He’s got a strong deadlift. I don’t really know the dude, but just seeing his lifting and seeing him grind out his last deadlift at Boss of Bosses, you can tell with some people. You see, and it’s like they’re wired a little bit differently or they got something else going on.

David TaoDavid Tao

He has that it factor that you need to do something insane like this.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Yeah, basically. That’s the whole thing with Matt. He has that second gear that he can turn on when he needs to, and if you can tap into that and use it willingly when you want to, that’s a scary thing to be good at.0.                                                   

David TaoDavid Tao

 Joe, where’s the best place for folks to follow along with your training and your competitions?

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Probably on my Instagram which is @joesullivanpowerlifter. I’m not creative. It’s very simple. I also keep a training log on under the athlete training log section because I’m a sponsored athlete by them. I upload basically everything that I do in the gym because I’ve been uploading lots of my training on Instagram.

I’ve been using it more for educational purposes and my own coaching because I enjoy doing that. I feel like I get more fulfillment out of that than I do my own training or posting my own training.

I actually just had a website built for me. It’s called so if you are interested in my coaching or contacting me, that’s the way to go.

I’m also probably going to get a training log up on there, but I don’t know how to do that with the whole logistics of it yet. I will figure it out. It’s 2019. I’ll have it done by 2020.

David TaoDavid Tao

Awesome. Joe, thanks so much for joining us today. It was a pleasure chatting.

Joe SullivanJoe Sullivan

Hey. Thanks, David. I appreciate you guys having me.