Going Into The Arnold – Meet day – Part 3

By: Brian Carroll

As I had mentioned in part two, I truly believe that I did not properly take in to account the time frame of an afternoon weigh in. It certainly cost me some extra time by being so dehydrated and not making the most of my time when putting the weight back on. I slammed as much fluid as possible and ate copious amounts of food. The issue was going to bed and waking up early followed by not being able to force as much food in the morning vs. a full day of eating and relaxing. I will need to take this into account next time and stay up late so I can eat all night and sleep in the next morning. It’s all part of the game, always learning!


Byrd and I were in the second flight of day 2, so we arrived at the meet around 11:30am. We started warming up around 2pm just as the first flight was about to go on. I felt good and was ready to get the job done. I had a few good laughs with Chuck Vogelpohl, among others than I’ve known for a long time, and we were set to get started. There were a ton of greats and former greats at this meet; both as competitors and as spectators. It was really awesome to see everyone this weekend!

My briefs fit slightly loose but I did not have time to worry about any details; and quite frankly nobody cares if your gear is too loose.

I took the following warm-ups and was ready to take my opener:

  • 135
  • 250
  • 350
  • Briefs on 
  • 550
  • Suit on straps up
  •  700
  • 825
  • Full gear with wraps
  •  930; and I was ready to open at 1020

As I started to warm-up, I noticed that several people were coming into the backroom and hanging out. I then saw Brandon Crabill and he said to me, “DUDE, it’s packed out there. They all came toward the end of flight one and are waiting for you guys to squat!” I looked out and saw, what I know now, was about 700 people packed inside of the auditorium and loud as hell!

I was toward the bottom of the flight with my opener and was waiting for my turn. Squat went as followed:

  • Opener – 1020 – Smashed
  • Second – 1065 – Easy again
  • Third – 1100 – Miss. I didn’t keep the proper upper back tightness, which was my fault and I can only blame myself.

I had a little bit of a break, but not for too long before the bench. I ate a few things (though more like grazed) and slid my shirt on, far too easily I might add, and got to business.

Everything felt really good and my warm-ups went like this:

  • 135
  • 225
  • 315
  • Shirt on 
  • 500
  • 600
  • 720

Headed out to stage to open with 765 and felt very strong with everything.

Opener – 765 – Easy, but felt off.

Second – 800 – Miss, hit a wall and couldn’t finish.

Third – 800 – Miss, same as second attempt.


I was NOT happy with how bench had gone, but it’s how a meet works sometimes. I REALLY wanted my third class with an 800 bench, but it was not to be this time around. I simply didn’t execute and now I was in a position that I didn’t want to be in, especially consider I had left 70lb on the squat and dead.

At subtotal:

Chris Janek bombed.

Tory bombed.

Chuck was off on bench.

Graalfs only hit his opening bench.

Marshall weighed in at 300lb, and is never a threat.

Byrd missed a few lifts and was out of the hunt.

Jake was close, but not really in the running after bench.

Matt Minuth was winning both outright and by formula as he weighed in lighter at 235lbs. It was now between Matt and I for the overall win.

I iced the shit out of my hands. Actually both Byrd and I had to because it looked like we had a catcher’s mitt for both hands. This worried me quite a bit  and I knew I would have a difficult time pulling big with them in this condition. I ate as much as I could, took a shot of Pump pre-workout and got to work.


There was more than a bit of confusion as far as when flight 2 would start. Needless to say, this almost gave me a stroke with the uncertainty of it all. This was the only issue I had throughout the ENTIRE day and it went back and forth about 3x as to when we were to start.

So I started warming up, and here is what it looked like:

  • 315
  • 500
  • 600 – Done and ready for my opener.

At this point, I was feeling pretty good. The anxiety about when the flight was to start, as Zane would agree, was making me crazy. Without exaggeration, I almost lost my shit over this entire ordeal. Luckily I have a great group of team mates and they calmed down as I got ready to take my opener of 720lbs.

Opener – 720 – Smashed it.

We then started to really crunch numbers and had originally called for 800. Although Adam and Filipe figured with formula that if Matt pulled his second  attempt at 735, but missed his third attempt, I would win with 780. In order to try and secure the win, that is what Adam entered into the table.

Second Attempt – 780 – Easy, but swollen hands definitely came into play here.

As of this moment, I was winning the meet and decided to watch Matt’s third from just over the side judges’ shoulder. Matt damn near pulled 755, but as he was approaching lockout his legs went soft and he couldn’t get his shoulders rolled back. He got the down signal, but I knew it was clearly not good from the side. The judges saw it the same – no lift.

As a result, I had won my class and the overall but didn’t get too excited quite yet, I still had shit to do. We didn’t celebrate, nor did my team say anything because I still had one more lift to do! I went out to pull 800 anyway as I was on a mission. I set up tight and solid, though as the bar was coming to my knees my left leg straightened out and I lost my balance back and dropped the weight. Instead of trying to catch myself and potentially twisting a knee, I plopped straight down and then took out a spotter behind me as I tumbled back like a mummy wrapped turtle.

I heard people celebrating to my left but I was too busy laughing at myself and overhead Matt’s group thinking they had won. I didn’t even bother asking what the deal was and went back to the warm-up room 100% confident in my handlers calculations and went about my business packing my shit up.

End result was:

  • First in the 242 class
  • First in the overall heavyweight with a 1065 squat (2lb PR) 765 bench and a 780 deadlift (9lb PR) 2610 total (10lb PR)

I had left A LOT out on the platform, but I got the job done regardless. That made me especially happy considering how the 2014 Arnold turned out. I missed my goal of 2700 by a few lifts, but I will absolutely be back. This is STILL the goal and will remain this way!

Stand by for the 4th and final segment of this series and I thank all who made this possible.



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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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