Arnold Write Up – Part Four – Thank You

By: Brian Carroll

Let’s get one thing out of the way as I wrap this thing up – you cannot train multi-ply powerlifting, much less train and compete at a high level, without having a great team around you. Keith, Tony, Adam, Filipe, Brandon, Marc, Brandon, Chad, Jason, Ria, Jamie, Jennica, Tuesday, Zane, Allison, Danny, Beth, Byrd, Scott, Chelsea, Nicole and everyone that gave or lent a hand or helped in any way this weekend (or any weekend of competing prior), I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


We had a great group of handlers that really, really took it to the next level and who were actually a serious force in helping many people throughout the entire weekend. Scott busted his ass helping everyone and keeping them on point. Ria had done just the same with running around and getting things for everyone, as always. Tony, Adam and Keith were my main guys handling me and were all over everything! Zane was there for the little things and to keep me calm – the girls Ria, Beth, Allison, Jennica, Chelsea, Jamie, Tuesday were ALL so much help with pictures, video, food and ice runs and just about anything else that you can think of. Hell, even my Mom and her BF Kieth came to support! Pretty cool.

This weekend was a bit chaotic in many ways and it was hard to chat with everyone as well as watch EVERYONE lift. However, I can say that I was able to see everyone do at least 3 lifts no matter what session they were in, so that was pretty cool. I’m so proud of everyone – make sure to read all the logs about the weekend. Many PR’s made, battles won and new friendships started – just like any weekend when you are a part of such cool group as I’m lucky enough to be!

Even Dr. Stuart McGill came to see me lift and win. Afterwards, he had written the following on the Facebook wall:

“After working with back injured athletes for 30 years, I have to rank Brian’s performance yesterday as the most triumphant return to sport I have known. Only the highest level of professional athlete could have risen from massive and multiple injuries over the past two years the way he has. I thank Brian Carroll so much for teaching us all.”


Here is part of Dr. McGill’s diagnosis in May of 2014:

Medical Imaging:

“The images were very revealing and in fact are very consistent with his pain patterns and performance. There is substantial fracturing of the endplates of the L4, L5 vertebrae and the sacral plateau. This is accompanied with edema across all of these endplates. This has resulted from substantial compression. These will compromise compressive load bearing – the edema can be considered a bone bruise accounting for continual background pain exacerbated by more load. This has led to posterior disc bulging at L4/5 and L5/S1 that has probably been exacerbated by repeated flexion under load. The bulges appear to by “dynamic” from clinical assessment. It is difficult to predict if these will settle or become more sensitive – our experience suggests they could go either way. Subsequent movement patterns and training will heavily influence this. S1 also has a substantial fracture into the body. Again, all of these fractures may progress into bony callouses if given time and load relief. These are not uncommon in powerlifters, although if they were in the general public would be alarming. Brian will know in a few months how he is responding”.

Opinion and Suggestions:

“My opinion is that Brian has substantial trauma to the lower lumbar spine from compression and bending. There are multiple pain sources suggesting that surgery will not take the pains away. Substantial vertebral and sacral fracturing and disc flattening has led to instability at these sites. The joint micro-movements coupled with poor gross movement patterns have compressed and sensitized nerve roots – specifically sciatic roots on the left side at the l4 and L5 levels. I have discussed the future with Brian and propose the following plan. Stage 1 is intended to reduce pain and focusses on stabilization and spine sparing engrams. The nerve and pain sensitivity should also reduce such that the trigger levels will be raised to a higher level. Phase two will then add some auxiliary mechanics and consider hip mobility. These must not be mixed up. Then, decisions regarding resumption to training will be made. If athletic training is considered, then stage 3 will be directed at balancing his body to reduce the weak links, and optimize his powerlifting performance in a staged, periodized, injury conserving way. I must emphasize that his injuries are substantial. If I had not seen lifters recover before I would urge him to retire – from a health perspective this would be the most rational suggestion. He realizes the elevated risks of resuming elite competition. Resuming training with continuing radiating symptoms would be very unwise”.
Never stop working to become better than you were no matter what. Always try to improve if not possible physically but mentally as well. Get smarter and make more intelligent choices BEFORE you are forced to!

I am so proud of everyone and their PR’s, placing’s and many who have battled back from some serious crap over the years! There are far too many to name, but I am so proud of all of you and cannot wait to see you in May!



  • Huge thanks to Rudy from Overkill for always taking care of me and helping adjust some things, even last minute. Rudy knows his gear as good as anyone I’ve seen, and he’s been correct more than I’d like to admit when it comes to adjustments and dialing things in.
  • Thank you to GamePlan for their support over the last few months and giving me some great supplements.
  • Special thanks to Chad Towery and Fitmeals ( for his continued support. This was ONE of the key elements that helped me stay within striking distance of 242. I used Fitmeals for the last two meets and have never felt better. I encourage ANYONE in the JAX area to consider contacting Chad!
  • Captain Jacked – Al, thank you for your support over the last year of knowing you. You and I will be doing big things over the next couple of years, I just know it.
  • Thank you to Adam Driggers and the whole team Samson crew for their support over the last 12 years. Tony and Keith work great together and are truly the best at what they do.
  • Thank you to my Wife Ria for putting up with me, being so dedicated and tolerant of my “stuff” and always being there for me no matter what. I can be a complete jackass at time when I get stressed and focused. She really knows how to keep me sane! I don’t know how many more times I want to put her through meet prep, but I’m going to make sure I space the times out very well.
  • Once again, to Adam and Filipe for a high pressured-success in perfectly crunching numbers in a pressure-cooker of a situation and coming through for me. They came through in a HUGE way and had me pull EXACTLY what I needed for the win and no more. I’m always preaching about the minimum necessary to make gains and to achieve goals, and this is exactly what they did!
  • Zane Geeting has always been there for me as a friend and very helpful over the last 7 or so years. It was awesome to see him back on the platform and hitting PR’s!

Not to take away anything from the rest of the 10/20/Life team at all (love all of you) but the ‘core’ team came up to bat for me last year when we started this and it has meant the world to me. I had a rough year in many ways, but in the same vein, a great year as well. This was one of learning, growing and building a business. I’ll do this in (sort of) alphabetical order:


Adam Thank you for all of your help, leadership and belief over the years. I am so grateful in many ways and will never leave Team Samson. It is one of the coolest and best things to happen to me. It was awesome to see you leading everyone throughout The Arnold weekend. Thanks so much for having my back.

Allison You didn’t want to keep a log, but you have believed in me from the start and continued to even when most people thought I was done. Thank you for your close friendship and jokes! I’m proud of you PR’ing as usual. And about your deadlift – I think we fixed it. Waaahhh

Beth Thank you for the help in seminars, the support over the years and helping get word out about my program. You’ve been one of my best friends and advocates for 10/20 and that means a lot, especially when it was new and not many knew or believed in it, or even me. Congrats on coming back and taking second overall after taking 10 weeks off and getting ready for this meet in ONLY 10 weeks! I knew you could do it!

Chad You are destined to do great things and I’m very glad to see you are getting healthier. Your friendship and support means so much. Big things coming and can’t wait to see what do!

Chris Thank you so much for your belief and support of my coaching and programming for the last 3 years. It really means a lot and it has been awesome seeing you mature as a lifter.

Clint Thank you for all that you’ve done as a training partner. You’re a great friend and a level head to speak to and get advice from. I can’t wait to see you healed up and back. Rocky 4 this time, BRO.

Daniel You’ve been a great supporter to me for a long time – the longest of anyone besides Zane Getting. Both of you have been there to help me out more times than I can count. Damn, Dan – 1500 to over 2k! Thank you!

Jason Pegg Thank you for the encouragement and razzing to get out on my own, especially after Bob passed. Thanks for your honesty, support and belief! The first time we talked on the phone, I took an ambien and talked to you for 3 hours and still have no idea what we talked about. Do you?

JB Thanks for being a great training partner and for your friendship. All of you have been so helpful with this deal and I really appreciate your help. I’m very glad you moved to Jax and decided to train with us.

Jordan You took Chads word and came on and supported me from the very start. I really appreciate you believing in me! And let’s put some muscle on you!

Scott Thank you so much for doing this with us and being so cool about everything. You have been so helpful to me and the rest of the crew. Especially at The Arnold weekend!

I did NOT achieve all of my goals at this meet and missed my main goal of 2700 for the WR total, but here is what I did achieve.

  1. Finished in 1 piece.
  2. Won the same meet that stopped me from finishing last year.
  3. Made more lifelong friends in the process.
  4. 3 (albeit small) PR’s.
  5. Another top 1-3 placing like every year for the past 12.

To me, this is a HUGE win – more than just what you see on the surface.

Thanks for the support!

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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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