Ironclad Performance has been a dream of mine for many years now. I fell in love with lifting weights at a young age and nothing was quite as gratifying to me as sharing my passion with others.

My journey into lifting began when I was 14 when my Dad got a weight set for the basement. To this day I remember the first squat workout I did–it was two days before I could walk down stairs again and I was hooked. My love of lifting drew me to strength sports as I began competing in strongman and eventually powerlifting where I earned spots at the NAS national championships as both a lightweight and heavyweight athlete. The more I learned about how to get stronger, faster, and better the more I wanted to learn, I was fascinated with how the body adapts. I decided to follow my love and pursue a degree in kinesiology.

Ben Tipton, Head Strength Coach, at NAS Strongman National Championships 2010

I studied kinesiology at Purdue University as an undergraduate student and at Texas A&M University as a graduate student. In grad school I truly developed as a coach, thanks in large part to the wonderful mentorship of Coach Raychelle Ellsworth who taught me what it means to be a great coach. As a graduate student I had the opportunity to coach in the athletic department as well as had the honor of coaching the Texas A&M Powerlifting team that went on to win the men’s collegiate championship only a year after I moved back to Chicago. I finished grad school with an internship in Northwestern University’s sports performance department where I had the opportunity to learn from and work closely with some more truly elite coaches who broadened my skillset and knowledge even more. My love for performance coaching only grew as I had more experience working with athletes. As I write this I’m compelled to take a moment to reflect on the coaches who mentored and taught me at Texas A&M and Northwestern. I am incredibly grateful for all I’ve been taught, from the technical to the human aspects of coaching and all the little lessons in between.

I walk in the footprints of giants.

Ben Tipton, Head Coach, Deadlifting a Car at Strongman 2010
Ben Tipton, Head Coach, Deadlifting a Car during a Strongman competition

Although much of my life has been influenced by lifting and the pursuit of excellence in that field, through either competition or education on the topic, construction has influenced my professional development greatly. After high school and throughout college I worked in construction as an Ironworker. Working construction has proven to be invaluable education; I’ve learned a lot about what hard work means, how to problem solve, and what it takes to put a building together. Although work in the construction field may not seem particularly relevant to the story of a coaching company, my ironworking background is a part of who I am and it influences how my wife and I built our company.

Ben & Alycia Tipton, Founders, Ironclad Performance
Ben & Alycia Tipton, Founders, Ironclad Performance

The most valuable lesson I learned from construction is that every movement should be purposeful, meaning that everything is done as efficiently as possible with the end goal in mind. I’ve taken this lesson to heart and applied it to what we do at Ironclad Performance, which is provide the coaching and leadership that allows our clients’ physical performance to progress as efficiently possible, making sure that every movement has a purpose.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved showing people how to lift and sharing something I’m passionate about. I think movement is one of the greatest blessings we have been given; there is something innately joyful about running full speed or straining successfully against a heavy weight. It’s an honor to help athletes develop to their greatest potential and what inspired me to start Ironclad Performance.


Ben Tipton, Founder