On July 25, Daniel Bell competed for the first time in a multi-ply equipped powerlifting meet and finished with a 2,667 pound (1,209.5 kg) total. If you’ve been following Bell’s career as a lifter, then you likely wasn’t surprised by how well he performed. The Illinois native has been racking up big totals in any form of competition he enters. That includes totals of 2,518 pounds (1,142 kg) in wraps and 2,487 pounds (1,228 kg) in sleeves. There’s no other way to say it: The man is one of the strongest in the sport, and he is far from done.
Fans that are new to the sport and learning of him for the first time have been curious about how he got started, how he trains, and what he has planned for the future. BarBend was able to talk with him about that and more in this interview that sheds a little light on how he got where he is today.
BarBend: Thanks for talking with us, Daniel. Let’s start at the beginning of your lifting journey. What got you into training and why is powerlifting your sport of choice?
Bell: 2010-2013 I was on a good tear losing bodyweight going from 390lbs to 240lbs. So the gym was a good part of my lifestyle. A few training partners of mine and I jumped into a charity push/pull event and a few guys there talked me into doing a meet with a little guidance. My first meet February 2014, I had a 1906 total at 308. Then that put me at top ten in the country, so I was interested in beating that. I’ve always been a pretty competitive person. It’s been one hell of a roller coaster since then. The powerlifting community really got me hooked. A majority us are like-minded, good hearted, helping people. Most of us have the same goal in mind to be the best. I really felt for once like I fit in.
When did you realize that you had the potential to compete at an elite level?
My first 2200 pound total was a huge milestone for me physically and mentally. It actually put me at the top of the 308 class at the time. Right then I knew I had a chance of being one of the best ever.
What is your training approach? Do you follow a conjugate method or linear?
Through the years I’ve found what works for me as my strength has rose, I’ve changed a few movements and removed a few movements also. I’m really big on the basics. I’m more linear when it comes to peaking as far as weight wise and linear rep wise when I’m not peaking.
Are there any major differences between your offseason training and when you’re preparing for a meet?
The only two big differences I’ve changed is removing a secondary lower day and an overhead press day. So now I might add them as secondary movement on my main movement days. Also with moving the heavier weight, I’ve had to increase the recovery time especially when peaking.
What forms of recovery do you use to stay strong when in prep mode?
Time is big for me because I have a labor intensive job. The biggest factor I’ve used is time out of the gym and of course staying away from the straight bar to ensure good shoulder health.
You competed this past weekend and totaled 2,667. How did you feel about your overall performance?
As most know it was my first multi-ply meet. It was definitely exciting and a great learning experience. I knew the squat was going to be big but didn’t factor how much it was going to take out of me for the pulls. I went into it with a pretty open mind and not expecting an elite performance. I said prior I would be happy with anything more than 2518, so yeah I’m pretty happy but not satisfied.
Do you prefer to compete raw, equipped, or are you a fan of both?
Raw is where I started and where my heart is. There is quite a bit more factors for failure when it comes to equipped lifting. It’s almost scary at times but the thrill keeps me interested. I have a few more accomplishments I want to take care of raw before I turn full boar towards equipped lifting.
What are your long-term goals in the sport?
I want to be untouchable, or feel a little more comfortable with my totals. Sure, 2518 and 2485 are great numbers and a feat within themselves but I know there are a few guys who are one perfect day away from them.
Who else is involved in your prep and training? Do you work with a coach or nutritionist or is it all you?
Moving from Illinois to Florida last year a lot has changed for me training wise, and having a crew that has kept me accountable and hungry has changed my powerlifting life like crazy. Seth and Meana Albersworth, Daniel Tinajero, along with more have kept a keen eye on me ensuring I’m safe and smart. Our entire training “family” at Perfect Storm Training Facility have all had a great impact on my recent accomplishments along with many from CTX in Orlando. Ed Coan and I have built a great friendship over the last 3-4 years and I can always trust his honest opinion.
Thanks again, Daniel. Any idea when you will compete next?
September the big WRPF showdown meet in New York in sleeves. Then again in November in wraps.
Featured Image: Instagram/dbell_74