Legend Visits Elma's STA Sports Performance

Legend visits Elma’s STA Sports Performance
Friday October 24, 2014 | By:Aaron Garland | Sports

The reputation of STA Sports Performance has grown strong to the point that the owner of “The World’s Strongest Gym” paid a visit.

Louie Simmons, the renowned strength and sports training coach who runs Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio, appeared at the Elma elite training facility Oct. 11 to host a seminar on the techniques and tactics he has initiated and introduced to the world.

The appearance of Simmons, who rarely travels for occasions such as these, was special to STA. Owner Ben Woods, who runs the facility located on the campus of Sahlen’s Sports Park on Seneca Street with his wife, Chelsea, and his staff of four other coaches, applies the systems Simmons was instrumental in popularizing to his clientele.

And his customer list is quite extensive. STA trains dozens of professional athletes — NFL, CFL, MLB and U.S. women’s national soccer players included — all the way down through collegiate, varsity, JV, modified and youth athletes.

“Everything we do is based around the individual, results-driven,” Ben Woods said. “The way we train our athletes is similar to the way our coaches and ourselves train because we feel it is the best method to develop optimal performance. Hence the reason why we had Louie Simmons come out and coach. He is the pioneer of a lot of these methods and produces some of the top athletes in the world.”

In all, thousands have walked through the doors of STA just in the last 28 months. STA opened in June 2012, growing out of a 700-square foot building space on Olean Road in East Aurora by October of that year, when it graduated to the training center inside Sahlen’s. Woods’ working area has stretched considerably, as the facility is now 4,500 square feet.

And with the expansion, STA has established a high amount of deference in the training industry. So much, in fact, that Simmons, who has written hundreds of articles, hosts webinars and houses the strongest male and female lifters in the world at Westside Barbell, made a rare trip outside Columbus to share his acumen at STA.

The six-hour seminar, which had around 50 attendees, saw Simmons speak in lecture format for the first half. He talked about the processes he endorses to get bigger, faster and more explosive, answered questions and broke common myths associated with strength training.

After a lunch break Simmons got even more interactive, educating the audience on proper squatting, deadlifting and benching techniques. He also taught the appropriate ways to use conditioning equipment, like sleds.

“It was an awesome turnout,” said Woods, who said DI, II and III coaches took in the session, in addition to a Buffalo Bills’ strength and conditioning coach, high school coaches, gym owners, lifters and collegiate and high school athletes. “We covered a lot of different topics in training and strength and conditioning.”

Woods received a positive, vibrant reaction from Simmons’ appointment at STA. Many savored the scarcest of opportunities within the training realm, going home with tangible and inner keepsakes in the form of shaking Simmons’ hand and posing for photos with him.

“Every single person that I talked to about the seminar absolutely loved it,” Woods said. “Just being in the same room as Louie was such a cool thing for so many people. They soaked in the information. It’s one of those things where he talks and you have to rewind it five different times just to hear every little point he made because there was so much valuable insight.”

Among the individuals in awe, topping the list may have been Woods. His center has become prominent to the point that, in just a short time period, a world-famous strength coach thought a jaunt there would be worthwhile. It certainly was for Woods.

The prestige of STA was put on the map as pro stars began piling in to receive the “triangle of domination” routine — receiving physical training, comprehensive nutrition tips and the mental fortitude needed for a great attitude — that Woods advocates.

Abby Wambach, the all-time leading goal scorer in U.S. women’s soccer history, former UB football players James Starks and Naaman Roosevelt of the NFL and Drew Willy of the CFL and conference champion sprinter at Kent State, Wayne Gordon, a Sweet Home grad, have all, or still do, work out at STA.

It’s been part of Woods’ lifelong dream. He has involved himself with training since a young age.

Woods would use the exercise machines and weights in the home gym his father set up in the basement of his childhood home on a daily basis. His grandmother bought him a training book when he was 12 years old.

Growing up in an athletic family — two of his sisters received DI track scholarships — Woods himself made an impression in sports.

From 2004-08 he attended UB, where he earned a degree in human performance and exercise science while starting 46 straight games as a punter and kickoff specialist on the football team. He spent time in training camp with the Cleveland Browns, too.

Woods prioritizes individualization with each of his clients, who collect one-on-one attention from coaches. That produces the results he strives for, and brought a legend to his neck of the woods. It was a fitting setting for Simmons to be in.

“You read all about him,” Woods said. “You read all his training articles, you read all of his info and insight and interviews in magazines that when you actually meet him in person you are star struck as an individual. This guy lives what he does, lives what he preaches. Everything is results-based with him.”

STA offers its service to anyone, and can be reached at (716) 544-4824 or by email at


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