KIRTLAND – Darrel Dryden enjoys the burn – and the sheer competition – of pumping out massive iron.
When the Kirtland Central athletic trainer, 43, visited some of his power-lifting buddies in July 2017 up in Spearfish, South Dakota, where he previously worked as the head strength and conditioning coach at Black Hills State University, he tallied some giant numbers. The group persuaded Dryden to compete on a larger platform.
Initially reluctant due to his work schedule, Dryden went at it and shined at some meets, including the United States Powerlifting Association championships on July 27, in Tucson, Arizona.
He qualified to compete internationally, and now he’s wrapping up his training for the International Powerlifting League World Championships Oct. 19 in Leipzig, Germany.
“I’ve been on a trek ever since to get the best numbers that I can get,” Dryden said.
Zeroing in on the world record
When he decided he was going to compete, Dryden looked at all the numbers and where the top performers stood.
“I’m an extremist. When I said I was going to compete, I started looking at numbers,” Dryden said.
He soon discovered he hit the world bench press record for his classification (the age 40-44, 181.5-pound Masters Level I weight class competitors) at 385.5 pounds while in Tucson.
The world record for the three combined categories measured (squat, bench press and dead lift) is 1,547 pounds, which was set in 2016, and Dryden said he’s currently just over the 1,500-pound range going in.
“I’m knocking on that door,” Dryden said. “I will break it.”
Dryden said if everything lines up right for him, and that his central nervous system is physiologically ready for the strain involved, he expects to hit his goals for the squat (535 pounds), bench press (407-415 pounds) and dead lift (600 pounds).
“It’s the total (score) that wins it all,” said Dryden, the 11th-ranked competitor in the world.
‘I’ve been a competitor all my life’
Dryden’s been strength training since he was 7-years-old. As the years went by, he grew to love the grind of finding out what he can handle and how far he can push his body.
“I’ve always been in a strength facility,” Dryden said. “I’ll reach (goals), destroy them and move on to some new goals. I’m a competitor, and I’ve been a competitor all my life. I just love the atmosphere. You put a guy like me in pressure, and I make it happen.”
Getting locked in
Dryden said the IPL World Championships will be his first true test, but the constant training to refine his craft is his guide.
While staying cognizant of his progress and how the leadership will shape up, he will keep striving for that next big result. That’s his driving force.
“My hunger is what keeps me humble because I always have to go to work. With the work ethic that I have and the determination that I have, I just have to be smart in how I approach it,” Dryden said. “Hopefully, I have the best (personal records) that I ever had.”
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.