2014 Arnold Pro Raw Challenge

2014 Arnold Pro Raw Challenge

Mar 4, 2014

I guess I’ll start this off with how the past few months leading up to this went. 99% of you don’t know this but in Dec my mother broke her hip. This was/is a devastating thing to happen to anyone. 3 days later my dog  Duke died. At this point I had no drive at all to move or eat let alone train for a big meet like the Arnold.  I spent hrs on end at the hospital not realizing how long I was there, which meant I wasn’t eating and I would go home and train on an empty stomach. For the next month and a half I was debating on if I was calling it quits or not. I had a workload put on me that my body wasn’t use to over night. After a few weeks of crappy eating and sleeping my body finally cracked. Hip/quad/IT band strain, then I slipped on ice while shoveling and pulled my groin and lower back. It was like God slapping me in the face and saying ” YOU… SHALL…. NOT…. PASS!!” I was so mentally and physically fried at this point that I wanted to quit lifting  PERIOD. I thought to myself, Why do I do this? I don’t get paid, No one knows who I am outside of this sport. I spend thousands of dollars for WHAT! I remembered the one thing that started this journey so many years ago. Long before I even touched a weight, years before I new what Powerlifting was. I always wanted to be the strongest man in the world. I can’t remember not wanting that. I knew as a kid that this is what I was going to be, because if I was stronger than everyone, then no one could ever hurt me or my family. I wanted to be so strong that my enemies would run in fear of me and the one’s that dared to stay and fight would die under my god like power that I would possess. I knew That I would not do the numbers that I wanted but it didn’t matter. I remembered it was always about the fight. The fight is what kept me hungry. The fight is what kept me sane. I know I will display my true strength one day and when that day comes I might actually find peace.

The day of:

I weigh in at 104.4  and start to look at the flights. I start to warm up and I can barely squat my body weight. Then before I know it, I realize I’m way behind on time. The flights were moving very fast. I was suppose to finish my warm ups with 530 and open with 562. That did not happen. I racked 495 and heard that I was in the hole. I walked from the warm up room onto the platform and did 67 more lbs in 30 sec. THAT SUCKED but good lift!  The pain was so bad at this point I could barely walk. I jumped to 589  on my 2nd and 3 whites. On my 3rd I went for 617 which I thought I would get but I had nothing out of the hole because of the injuries. Needless to say I was upset. The bench went OK. I opened up with a 391 and destroyed it. 2nd was 413 and that was easy as well. 3rd was a 429 but I missed because I simply didn’t have enough training under my belt. I ran out of gas from lack of muscle endurance. On to the Deadlift. This is my worst lift and with the day I’m having and all the injuries I had to pull a miracle out of my ass in order to get on the podium. Opened with 501 to make sure I was in it. 2nd was 551 and as I go up to lift, the platform was higher on one side so I asked them to move the bar  over. They didn’t, I got mad a killed it!! 3rd attempt. Very important. At this point I thought I was in 7th so I went for 578 and without realizing it, I just secured 3rd place with a 1580TL. Very cool. I didn’t know until Melissa told me. Before Melissa confirmed it another lifter came up to me and congratulated me on my 3rd place finish. I was so upset and thought he was making fun of me. So while he was shaking my hand I said ” F@#K YOU!!” I later apologized lol. Overall I had a very bad training cycle, bad meet and still placed 3rd against some really strong guys. I guess I can’t complain about having a bad day and getting 2 PRs while getting on the podium. Thanks again to Melissa and Cydney for all your help. Thanks to Iron Authority for being Awesome.

Until next time I will leave you with something for the ones that never give up because they  have no choice.

We are the ones that push through the mud no matter how thick or deep it may get. We will keep driving forward until our muscles rip off the bone because we have no choice. We are the ones that sift though the darkest night, searching for what needs to be done, with no fear of what’s waiting for us in the pitch black, because we have no choice. We are the ones that keep moving forward with the world on our shoulders, knowing that the next step will shatter our bones but we keep going, because we have…no …choice. We are the ones that would rather die with honor than live in shame. For those of you that have no choice, I want you to be proud of your seemingly impossible journey through life, because it made you indestructible and fearless of anything put in your way. I want you to know that anything put in your path  will fall because you are hardened by this war others call life. You are a warrior, now show your scars proudly and let the world know you are going to live and die on your own terms, no matter what it throws at you. You are not alone. You may do things that most would never do but that’s what makes you part of the “ones”. Always remember ” THE ONLY THING STOPPING YOU IS YOU!!!”

video of the lifts http://youtu.be/fBD7Z-1Cemc

Want to get seriously strong? just click on the BRICKHOUSE viking on the right.

-Jack DiBenedetto- CPT, CSCS





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  1. Armand /


  2. Debra /

    Excellent article written by my excellent son! As Moms, we feel guilt for everything! It comes with the title: Mother. Being the main reason for Jack’s severely interrupted training cycle killed me because this was one thing I could not fix! We’ve always had to be a strong 3 person family, and these last few months have definitely been a true test. Placing 3RD among such fierce competitors and obstacles is a remarkable feat, and NOT a surprise to me, Jack! With that said; 5 DAYS OFF IS BORDERING ON LAZY!! GET TO BRICKHOUSE!! CRANK UP THE PLASTER CRACKIN’ METAL!! LOAD THAT BAR!! TRAINING HAS OFFICIAL BEGUN!! AGAIN!!

  3. Gregory Johnson /

    You could have fooled me with the numbers you put up, saying that you had a bad cycle! Seriously, you fought and earned your way into 3rd, super motivated by your dedication towards improving yourself in the face of injury and hardship! Keep up the hard work, I’m gonna do the same!

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