Dan Hentges-Friends of PRS Relentless Meet Write Up

BY: Dan Hentges/Friends of PRS

It’s been almost two weeks since I competed at Relentless Minnesota.  Without a doubt, it was the best meet I’ve had to date.  I’ve spent some time thinking about that very thing and trying to figure out how to put into words what made this meet so special (other than the obvious of being there for the kids and seeing my Relentless family).


I ended the day going 8/9 and totaling 1189 at a body weight of 191.  Not spectacular numbers by any means.  But I am 100% happy with them….ok, 99%.  That one missed lift still pisses me off.  I went into this meet with a goal in mind of hitting 400/300/500 and totaling 1200.  I went 402/286/501.  Close, but I’m a number oriented kind of guy and missing something I put on paper just doesn’t sit right with me.  On the flip side of that, I’ve accepted it due to one simple fact – I’m a handful of months away from being 40 years old and didn’t start training seriously until I was 35.  And in those 4 years I’ve experienced more than a handful of injuries.  For me, the enjoyment is in the process and I’m having a blast getting better each and every week.  I’ll leave the big numbers to those that have a lot more experience and time under bar than me.

Dan and Harrison Relentless MN (1)

When it came to putting together my meet prep, I combined the template from the 10/20/Life book along with some input from my friend and training partner, Jay Ashman, and some of the other guys from Team PRS to make what I think was a great plan of attack.  And, for the most part, prep was going perfectly.  Around 3 weeks out I woke up the morning after pulling heavy and felt something incredibly wrong in my lower back.  I could barely put my shoes on and sitting in a chair for more than an hour was just excruciating.  I had to alter my remaining weeks a bit along with making several trips to my chiropractor and getting deep tissue work done.  I knew it was just going to be a game time decision on every lift I took that day. 

Luckily, Jay made the trip to Minnesota to help handle me at the meet.  I couldn’t be more thankful for his help.  I was able to get his honest advice during the meet and was able to sit back and only think about my lifts.  I didn’t have to worry about a thing.  This helped me put the issues I was having with my back away and just focus.

Once I started warming up for squats, everything was actually moving well.  My back wasn’t bothering me, and everything in the warmup room was moving fairly quickly.  My squat has always been my worst lift.  I just have never felt comfortable with it and I’ve always struggled even with minimal weight.  I worked up to roughly 80% and called it good.  I opened up at 336, which is funny because my best meet lift prior to was 335.  So no matter what I was hitting a meet PR on my opener.  It was easy, as an opener should be.  3 whites, moving on to my second.  I called for 374.  My second attempt was up, and it felt more like an opener.  3 whites, time to make a decision for my third.  Jay and I both agreed to stick to the plan and called for 402.  My setup felt perfect and I walked it out smooth.  The squat itself was pretty tough, but I got 3 whites and was happy that I successfully hit the first goal of the day and even happier with the fact that 402 gave me a 67 pound meet PR.  There was quite a bit of down time before the bench flights started, so I went to get some food and met up with my wife to watch the videos of my squats. 

Dan Relentless bench

I ate some food, I got more fluids in me, and started getting things ready for my bench warmups.  It didn’t take long for my back injury to remind me it was still there.  Once I set up my arch to do some reps at 135, I felt a sharp pain shoot through my back and into my hips.  Great.  I’m not one to bitch and moan about stuff like this, so I just threw on more Equiblock and just did my best to block it out.  I opened up at 264.  The only thing I remember was thinking I didn’t hear the press command since it felt like I was holding the bar on my chest for a long time.  No, the judge just had a slightly longer pause than I’m used to.  No big deal, still got 3 whites.  Jay called 286 for my second.  The unrack felt light, the pause felt ok, and it was a smooth finish to 3 whites.  286 gave me a 16 pound meet PR.  303 was the call for the third…time to go for goal #2.  I was starting to get a little antsy well before I needed to worry about where I needed to be.  Jay told me to sit down and just started talking about things that had nothing to do with lifting.  From what I remember, we talked about the shoes he was bidding on at the silent auction.  We laughed and made a few jokes and that put me at ease for a while.  When I was about 5 out, he told me it was time to focus.  I approached the bench, got set, lowered the bar, and fired….for about 3 inches before the spotters took it.  I just didn’t have it.  I walked back to the warmup area to get my stuff and told Jay, “Well, no 1200 today.”  His response was golden, “So?  It’s one lift, now you can relax and have fun.”  I left for more food and more time with my wife and Hope Kid’s family.

When it was time to warm up for deadlifts, I did another round of McGill Big 3 to try to save what was left of my lower back.  My warmups felt so-so.  I didn’t have a lot of pop off the floor, but I didn’t have any pain while pulling, so I was determined to stick with my plan.  My opener was set for 440.  The lift was easy, 3 whites.  Jay and I decided on 474 for my second.  My setup felt a little off.  I didn’t get as tight as I wanted and just wasn’t all that fired up.  Regardless, 474 was a clean lift.  Before I could even grab my headphones off the table, Jay told me he already picked my third.  For a second, I figured he chose something lighter since I just wasn’t having an easy time with my pulls.  I sat down and relaxed for a few.  He sat down next to me and asked, “If you were going to pick your third, what would it have been?”  I answered, “501.  That’s what I came here to pull.”  “Good, that’s what you’re going for.  Get your head right.”  It felt like an eternity before I was next in line.  Then I got the coach speak.  Those of you that know Jay know he’s a pretty calm guy in his coaching.  He doesn’t get crazy and even when he competes he’s very internal.  He looked me dead in the eye, punching the table with every third word or so, “This is what you came here for.  Forget everything else.  No back issues, no missed lifts, no bullshit.  Go get this pull.  You ARE strong enough.”  The only thing I remember from that lift is the bar stopping twice – once below my knees and once just above.  I have never grinded a lift like that.  Ever.  But when I put the bar down I turned around and saw 3 whites.  I was instantly overcome with a crazy amount of emotions.  And yes, I hugged everyone as I’m a bit of a hugger.  That was a great way to end the meet. The 501 pull gave me a 56 pound meet PR and my total was 144 pounds better than my last meet.  I’ll take it. 

Dan Relentless deadlift

Now that the highs of the meet are gone, I’m focusing on improving a few things before I prep for my next meet.  I honestly believe I have found a training style that works for me; one that gives me a way to prep, a way to deload before you’re forced to, and a way to have an off-season to focus on bringing up your weak points.  The customization of the template allows me to be honest with myself and with my training.  And the results speak for themselves. 

Dan and Jay Relentless MN

I could go on and on thanking people, but this has gone on long enough and chances are most of you checked out a long time ago.  But I’d like to thank everyone on the PRS team that helped me out with answering the questions I had about the template, about fine tuning my meet prep, and for the kind words after my meet was over.  Brian and his gang are a great group of men and women and offer a ton of knowledge and I appreciate the content they’ve put out there for guys like me to use.  I started using this system last November, and the results speak for themselves. 

Thank you also to my friend and handler, Jay.  If you don’t think having a skilled handler makes a difference, you’re wrong.  Jay did a phenomenal job keeping me relaxed, focused, and on the right track every step of the way.  I honestly believe that was a huge key to me having the day I had in Minnesota. 

Until next time. 


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