Dave Tate Biography

Dave Tate is a big name in the powerlifting world, and fitness world, recording a 935lb squat, a 740lb deadlift and a 610lb bench press.

Dave’s not just exceptionally strong, but his expertise is also appreciated by the community, writing 100+ articles for websites like: T-Nation, Powerlifting USA and Men’s Fitness.

First Set of Weights

dave tate 15
Dave Tate, age 15. Photo credit: Elite FTS

In 1981 Dave Tate’s uncle bought him a set of weights and a book on lifting by Joe Weider. He set the weights up in his garage and used to train with his neighbour, performing every lift in the book for several hours per day.

Perhaps understandably, his neighbour became disillusioned with following a nonsensical workout routine and gave up…which incidentally must haunt him today! Imagine getting bored of playing street football with Cristiano Ronaldo when you were a kid, then turning on the tv to see him playing for Real Madrid. Okay, maybe that’s a little hyperbolic, but you get the idea. This guy was Dave Tate’s first training partner, but he walked away.

Dave’s dad decided that his son needed a little more structure and nurturing, so introduced him to the Findlay Barbell club while Dave was just 13 years old. The experienced lifters took Dave under their wing and gave him a simple progressive overload training program that he followed for six months until his first powerlifting meet.

He stuck with the Findlay Barbell club throughout his high school years whilst also wrestling and playing American Football. Their training cycle was 12 weeks long and would follow a simple routine. For the first few weeks they would lift weights for eight reps, then progressively lower the reps until they were performing two reps per set, then one, then they would peak for the meet.


In 1988 Tate finished high school and decided to dip his toe into bodybuilding; training in proper gyms (compared to the Findlay Barbell club that was just squat rack, bench press, and deadlifting). After failing to win his first bodybuilding competition, he started training at Hardbodies Gym in Toledo. Eventually he won a bodybuilding competition, but decided that his heart truly lay in the world of powerlifting.

He returned to powerlifting in 1991 and experienced his most injury-prone few years and was very frustrated in the lack of progress. He decided to team up with Louie Simmons at the legendary Westside Barbell Club, and although he initially disagreed with Simmons about – well, everything…he finally saw the light and never looked back.

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Monster Lifts

While training with Simmons, Tate managed to reach elite at three different weight classes, and managed a 930lb back squat, a 610lb bench press, and a 740lb deadlift. He stayed with Westside from 1993 to 2005, and you could say that it was during these years that he made a name for himself.

In 2006 Dave decided to give powerlifting a rest, his body was broken and the enjoyment he had for the sport was diminished. He had a lot of functional issues that stemmed from old injuries and the toll that deadlifting, squatting, and benching can have on your body.


He had established his business EliteFTS in 1998 and was a well-known writer and authority in powerlifting and general fitness. Anyone who has read his work will recognise his unique writing style within a couple of paragraphs (expect a lot of swearing, and then double it).

Now Dave could focus on rehabilitating his body, and rediscovering his love for lifting. Today, Dave is still a major player in powerlifting, and his business has gone from strength to strength. It’s amazing how a well thought out present in your teen years can shape your whole life. We doubt that Dave would change a thing.

Dave Tate Videos


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Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw | Writer

Steve Shaw is the original founder of Muscle and Brawn, an experienced powerlifter with over 31 years experience pumping iron. During competition he’s recorded a 602.5lb squat, 672.5lb deadlift and a 382.5lb bench press.

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