T Nation

Dr. Mel Siff

If you haven’t already heard, Dr. Mel Siff passed away recently. He was 59 and while it is not confirmed, a heart attack is suspected.
I had just recently inquired about his “supertraining” book and was looking forward to learning more about him and his teachings. He had also been one of the speakers at the SWIS symposium in Toronto.
Sounded like Mel was one of the good guys from what I’ve heard.
Anyone have any stories about Mel that they would like to share?

I might be wrong, but isn’t Sif the guy Ian King calls Mr. Poison Keyboard? And isn’t he sort of known as a caustic old fart who attacks every other training expert out there?

Again, I may have him mixed up with someone else.

The loss of Dr. Siff hit me hard, he was such an inspiration to me. Mel Siff was the greatest mind in the fitness industry bar none, and it’s a DAMN shame that he never received the credit he deserved. Mel shot from the hip and didn’t distort facts for his own personal gain, and that’s why companies and “experts” shied away from him. I’ve conversed with Dr. Siff over the years through e-mail, and have nothing but positive words for him. A lot of folks in the fitness world will trash Dr. Siff because he exposed their faults and bruised their egos. It’s too bad that ego’s kept Mel Siff from being recognized by the masses. People will say Mel just answered questions with questions and didn’t have any practical advice to offer, and to that I say…duh. Dr. Siff was a scientist not a fitness guru. I’d liken Dr. Siff to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, he told the facts, and didn’t put a spin on them, and that upset people. Mel Siff was my greatest inspiration in getting into and staying in the strength and conditioning industry. He was a man with strong convictions, and wouldn’t back down from those convictions to anyone. Mel was an intelligent, honorable, and compassionate man and he will be sorely missed. If you ever read any negative things about Dr. Siff, take them with a grain of salt, because he probably just bruised someone’s ego. This industry will be hard pressed to ever find someone like Mel Siff again.

Dr. Siff was a great thinker, briliant and all but was known to be a little weird. Dave Tate could tell you some interesting stories.

A good man, who loved what he did and maintained his passion for science and teaching others. He left a great mark and will be missed.

In faith,

Coach Davies

TEK, you are correct in that King calls Siff poison keyboard. But you must understand that as Nick Kelly eluded to, King wrote a couple of articles that were questionable scientifically, i dont know if it was because he was simplifying it for a particular audience or what. Anyway, as often happens with the Supertraining group, someone sees an article and sends it in to see what everyone thinks. Dr Siff sees all the errors and corrects them for the group. Now if you dont take criticism well, have an ego, or dont like being told to give data to backup your thoughts then Dr Siff is not likely going to be your best friend. He has been criticised for being overly picky even pedantic. The reason for this is that he is simply too smart. Siff doesnt attack other training experts, if what they write is b.s or unsubstantiated however he simply shows why. He is the most intelligent person that i have ever had the privilege to communicate with, reading his work/emails to myself/the group was truly a humbling experience.

By the way, his work forms much of the the basis for both Louie Simmons/Dave Tates westside barbell program and Jay Schroeders program that helped to develop Adam Archuleta. Westside openly declare his book Supertraining " The best book ever written on the topic of strength and conditioning. This book is a must have for any athlete or coach". Im pretty sure that it is referenced in a couple of Poliquins books as well. It is also referenced in many articles on this site.

You should definetly go and have a look at the comments made about Dr Siff at the Lair of the ice dog forum. they are posted under ‘Big Loss’.

Not only was he supremely inteligent but also generous. A quick anecdote to finish, I had an assignment to do for university (im studying medicine) once and couldnt find any information on this study that i needed. I emailed the Supertraining group asking if anyone knew anything about it. Dr Siff without me needing to ask emailed the author of the study for me. I went from having a gaping whole in my assignment due to lack of information of this study to having personal comunications discussing the study between myself Dr Siff and the Author.

He spent many hours everyday monitoring, and providing information, writting for the supertraining group, he did this all for no charge…

Anyone that says he was a caustic old fart that attacked other strength training experts did not understand him fully.

Please go read the comments about him at the Lair of the ice dog forum.