American Dan Harrison – The Powerlifter’s Strongman

Dan Harrison American Strongman - Deadlifting
Deadlifting Dan

American Strongman Dan Harrison is a  6 foot 1 inch, 348lb Strength Machine. He is a top strongman who doesn’t train the

Dan Harrison American Strongman - Deadlifting
Deadlifting Dan

Strongman events much, preferring to train the static Powerlifting lifts.  He is also a very accomplished Powerlifter.

Phil Burgess: I read that you first started Strongman training with the legendary Odd Haugen. Whats Odd like to train with?

Dan Harrison: Odd was a perfect fit for me, in that his style is like mine. Quiet and extremely intense.  He has all of the best, coolest equipment you could imagine and his garage is a literal playhouse of pain!

I have spent many long weekends in there beating myself into oblivion.

Odd is very intelligent and thoughtful, and has formed more of my personality and character, more than anyone could ever understand.

Phil Burgess:  You use the Westside training method, can you explain what this is, and what it involves?

Dan Harrison:  Instead of the standard powerlifting 16 week pre-meet routine that everyone has always done, Westside emphasizes maximum explosive speed and limit strength all in the same week so you are constantly improving the most important parts of each powerlift.

Yes, most of the old time greats did standard Western progressive overload, and the guys destined to be the best rose up to be the best.

Westside is a way to turn a turd into a ruby. It can take a very average lifter and blow their lifts up to levels that they never could have imagined.

I never, ever thought I would squat 800lbs raw, yet this year my goal is to take 900lb to hell and back.

I had never thought I would deadlift 900lbs, but I pulled 925lbs a year ago.
CLICK on the PICTURE to find out more.

Phil Burgess:   You train the static powerlifts predominantly to prepare for a strongman competition, so when do you introduce the strongman events into pre-competition training?

Dan Harrison:  A month before a competition, I will add in a day or two of event work just to fine tune technique and to get a quick feel of the events before the show.

Dan Harrison - Strongman Comp
Chalked Up and Ready for Battle

Although 99% of the time it is like riding a bike, but it never hurts to get a quick run-through before the actual show.

I will also take extra time to train an event that I have never done before, such as Block Press last year at FitExpo. I couldn’t press the 105kg block at first in training! I found my technique and at the show I pressed the fourth block (135kg) and only just missed the 145kg one.

Phil Burgess:  What do you love the most Strongman Events or the Powerlifting Lifts?

Dan Harrison:  I can’t stand most strongman events. I love absolute power.

I compete in strongman because I love seeing how my static power translates into strongman events after having spent years developing event technique.

Putting power and technique together is proving to be an awesome combo.

Phil Burgess:  Who do you respect the most in the worlds of Strongman, and Powerlifting?

Dan Harrison: In Strongman, Odd Haugen, because he has been a mentor, friend, father figure, and I even lived with him for almost a year!

Powerlifting, it has to be Ed Coan.  He is the man and he likes me too!

Phil Burgess:  What are your best lifts in the Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press?

Dan Harrison: In a RAW meet my best lifts are:

  • Deadlift 777lb
  • Bench Press 468lb
  • Squat 860lb

In the gym, I have done some huge and ugly deadlifts with straps and hitching (strongman style) over 900lbs.

I have also benched 500lb in the gym a few times, too.

Phil Burgess:  Are you a professional strongman or do you have another job?

Dan Harrison: I’m an ASC pro strongman, but I work night patrol security.

My work is relaxing as I work alone and in the dark of night.

To relax, I love eating at buffets with friends or just laying on the floor (usually one follows the other) 🙂

Phil Burgess: What is there to do in the town where you live?

Dan Harrison:  I live in the middle of beautiful Orange County, California (specifically Irvine).

This city does its best to keep nasty people out so there aren’t really any bars or clubs. Lots of great dining and parks/lakes.

Phil Burgess:  What supplements do you use?

Dan Harrison:  I can’t live without: Creatine, Fish Oil, Whey Protein, Vitamin C, and a good multivitamin.

Phil Burgess: What is your best result in a Strongman competition?

Dan Harrison:  I was very happy winning my pro card in 2010 since it was by a 0.5 point margin and it was an extremely difficult weekend for me emotionally.

My girlfriend had died 4 weeks before the show so I was hell-bent on winning the show for her…

Dan Harrison -  Powerlifter
Deep Squat Dan

Phil Burgess: What one thing do you think would improve the sport of Powerlifting the most?

Dan Harrison: Lets get rid of the BULLSHIT GEAR that has ruined the sport. Belt, wraps, chalk, that’s IT.

Get rid of the 2 ply diapers, half squats, monolifts, and abolish the fraudulent powerlifing federations.

Phil Burgess:  What are your goals for 2012? I see that you may be entering the Sin City event to qualify for the Giants?

Dan Harrison: Not sure about Sin City III because I am focused on my powerlifting meet on March 25th.

I will definitely be attending America’s Strongest Man this year. It will take place in July in downtown Manhattan!! How cool is THAT?!?!

Phil Burgess: Last question…What is the funniest thing you have seen in a Powerlifting meet or a Strongman comp?

Dan Harrison:  When guys come into the show with a big mouth bragging about how they will beat everyone, then they go take a dump on everything and get last place!!

Seen it way too many times. Hilarious….

Thanks Dan and have a great 2012..

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  1. Excelent interview! Being a powerlifter/strongman myself I agree with almost everything that was said here. Dan is an excelent athlete.

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