On January 2, Coach Karl Schudt joined Chicago Strength & Conditioning as our newest coach.
Karl is tremendously qualified and we are thrilled to have him. Karl has been a gym rat for most of his life, has seriously trained the classic barbell lifts for seven years, and has coached others for five years. Karl is a Starting Strength certified coach and is on the permanent staff for the Starting Strength Seminars offered by Mark Rippetoe.
As a competitive powerlifter, Karl has set several Illinois state records, and his best lifts are 585lbs in the squat, 456lbs in the bench press, 562lbs in the deadlift, and 270lbs in the press. This past April, Karl set the state record for the squat for lifters age 40-44 in the 242lb class, and set the all-time record in the state for the bench press.
Karl focuses on perfecting the form of the lifts so that the lifter can get stronger quickly and safely. Once the lifts can be performed, they will be programmed in the simplest and most efficient way possible, so that the lifter gets strong fast. A number of Karl’s clients have doubled their strength since working with him, usually within two months of beginning strength training.
Even though he loves powerlifting, Karl is more excited about introducing you to barbells and helping you make your life better.
Indeed, Karl’s passion for barbell training came about not from the desire to be a competitive powerlifter but when he was seeking a cure for his back pain.
Karl’s lifting journey started in high school with Nautilus machines and then continued in college as he started doing the “bro” lifts, getting pretty good at the bench press. After college, he mostly abandoned lifting in favor of running and exercise with various ineffective machines. Karl was weak, a fact that he had to learn painfully.
When Karl’s son, John, was born, Karl found that carrying him around gave him debilitating back spasms. Not one to be physically incapable of carrying his child, Karl started deadlifting in 2009 and his back problems have vanished. Now in his 40s with five children, Karl has no back pain. As Karl says “I wasn’t imbalanced or suffering from a pathology. I was just weak. Barbell training changed my life and I want to help other people get the same benefit.”
Karl does not spend every spare moment in the gym; he is a true renaissance man. He has a background in both engineering and in the liberal arts. He holds two engineering degrees, a doctorate in philosophy, and a master’s degree in theology. He teaches philosophy at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, which he loves but the most meaningful teaching he ever does is coaching people to get stronger.
Karl’s love of philosophy and other nerdy things tends to come out in the gym. He has analogized lifting to concepts created by Socrates and Aristotle, likes to talk about strength in terms of dungeons and dragons characters, and was heard referencing Sisyphus at the Chicago S&C holiday party.
Welcome to the team, Karl!