Dan Dalenberg | XPC Arnold Classic | Prep Thoughts

A week from today I will start contest prep for the Arnold. I will be using a very slightly modified version of the 10/20/Life combo template, adding 1 week to it to make for a 12 week prep. I’ve got a number of things at the front of my mind heading into this meet.

  • Stay healthy. Avoid pec injuries and no stupid mistakes that result in injury.
  • Stay focused on my own training and what I am capable of.
  • Don’t celebrate until the meet is over.
  • Avoid distractions right before the meet and do what I need to do.

Staying Healthy

2013 was a huge year for my bench press. I managed to break the 500 pound barrier  and it seemed progress was going to keep going. I had some huge training sessions leading into the XPC raw finals in spring of 2014. Unfortunately, I got hurt. Nothing serious just a strain. Then, I decided to do a bench only meet that summer just for fun. Another strain.

Every contest prep I have done I manage to strain a pec! A 500 bench isn’t going to cut it anymore. I have managed to stay right around 475-500 but I need to be better here. My off season addressed this by staying away from lots of straight weight, full range work. I feel good but have to keep that rolling.

I also need to not get hurt doing something dumb. I managed to strain my psoas as the result of not having enough help in the gym last summer. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was a mistake I made that could have easily been avoided. That kind of stuff could put me out of the meet. I can’t afford to do that again.

Worry About myself

Leading into the Atlantic City Europa I was very focused on what it would take to win. I was keeping too close of an eye on the guys that I knew would be tough competition. I was making decisions and basing my expectations on what others were doing, what I thought they might be capable of. This was stupid. I think it is important to know what your competition is doing, but don’t let it influence your own decision making. Important lesson learned.

Don’t Celebrate

Anyone who has played any sport has probably heard something like “play until the whistle blows.” You haven’t won until everything is completely over. This past summer I had a great contest prep and felt invincible. In the warm up room, I felt like Ironman and weights were moving effortlessly. It made me overconfident, cocky. I was completely convinced I would do what I set out to do, rather easily.

Confidence is great. A little cockiness is expected from a good athlete. But I was celebrating before the meet was over. I need to stay focused on the task at hand.


I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to the day before a meet. I know exactly what foods I want to eat and when I want to eat them. I have a schedule basically figured out that I really like to stick to. In Atlantic City I ended up worrying too much about what everyone else was doing. At the Arnold, I plan on taking advantage of seeing all my friends but at the same time sticking to my usual plan and getting done what I need to do.


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Daniel Dalenberg

Dan Dalenberg is a pro level raw and equipped powerlifter with elite totals in the 220, 242 and 275 class. Best official raw meet lifts include an 804 squat, 507 bench press, 715 dead lift and 2006 total. Best equipped lifts include an 950 squat, 715 bench, 735 deadlift and 2400 total at 242. Dan has been training under Brian's guidance using the 10/20/Life methodology since late 2010.
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