Who is Derek Poundstone?
Derek Poundstone is a former American Strongman and Powerlifting champion. During his stellar career, he solidified himself as one of the strongest men on the planet, taking first place in numerous Strongman titles between 2008 and 20013.
Poundstone was born in Woodbridge, Connecticut on September 28, 1981, and is 38 years old today, weighing 330 pounds at a height of 6’1″.
He grew up for the first ten years of his life in Spain and Italy.
Derek started his athletic career as a powerlifter and became a Connecticut State Powerlifting Champion in 2004. By the time he started competing in Strongman competitions, he held 4 National Powerlifting records. He went from Powerlifting to Strongman competitions and that is where Poundstone achieved worldwide fame as one of the most successful strongmen of his time.
In 2009 and 2010 he took first place in the Arnold Strongman Classic. And he won the title of America’s Strongest Man three times between 2007 and 2010.
Today, Derek is a police officer at rank Sergeant in the Naugatuck, Connecticut Police Department and is the owner of the Poundstone Performance Training Center in Waterbury, Connecticut. Poundstone and his wife Kristin are personal trainers and promote local Strongman competitions.
3 Most Tragic Derek Poundstone Injuries
1. Back Injury
On October 27, 2006, Derek injured his back deadlifting. The injury was so severe that his doctors told him that he would never lift again because of his spinal disc herniation and spinal cord hemorrhage.¹
For an average human being, this type of back injury is potentially disabling and would put the nail in the coffin of any future deadlift training. But, Derek Poundstone pushed himself to train smarter and to never give up. Miraculously, he eventually returned to not only compete, but also to win the majority of his Strongman titles after this terrible damage to his spine.
“Spinal disc herniation is an injury to the cushioning and connective tissue between vertebrae, usually caused by excessive strain or trauma to the spine. It may result in back pain, pain or sensation in different parts of the body, and physical disability”.¹
2. Torn Bicep
On March 5, 2013, at the Arnold Classic in Australia, Derek tore his right bicep attempting to lift a 540 pound atlas stone.
3. Torn Quadriceps
Derek tore his quad muscle a couple of weeks before the 2010 World’s Strongest Man contest. Poundstone had hoped to defeat Zydrunas Savickas, the winner of the 2009 World’s Strongest Man, but was now not even sure it was possible to compete.
In 2009, Derek placed 4th after Brian Shaw in 3rd place and Mariusz Pudzianowski who took the silver.
Again, after his doctors told him that it was impossible, he did enter the 2010 competition and despite his torn quad, Derek managed to take 9th place.
Even more shocking is that the next day, he won America’s Strongest Man for the third time in four years.
In 2015, he also tore his quad in training on this 700-pound squat:
Derek Poundstone came out of retirement to compete in Ultimate Strongman Team World Championships in 2017.
One clear lesson for anyone who squats or deadlifts is that you must respect them both. While the deadlift is a ‘simple’ compound movement, it is also a dangerous movement and requires precise attention to technique and form. The same holds true for the squat.
Another lesson is to never attempt your 1 rep max. This deadlift that almost killed Powerstone’s career was the most he had ever lifted. Some of the greatest strongmen in history like Hermann Goerner who’s strength will leave you speechless, still never deadlifted his max.
Unless you are a competitive powerlifter, there is no reason to ever attempt your 1 rep max. Train between 50 percent of your 1 rep max for a warm-up and work your way up to 75 or even 95 percent of your 1 rep max. Gradually add weight.
Poundstone’s body took quite a pounding during his Strongman career. But, they were not in vain. Derek Poundstone’s valiant efforts to come back every time from the worst injuries you can imagine can inspire you to never accept defeat. You can succeed in transforming your body from fat to fit. Even if you have tried a million times, as long as you still have your strength in you, do not lose hope. Be a warrior for your health and fitness as Derek was for his Powerlifting and Strongman passion.
If you need to lose weight, use this simple diet plan to lose 20 pounds in 3 months. And repeat it till you reach your ideal weight for your height. To build muscle, start with this beginner deadlift workout routine and 12-week deadlift program. Just the deadlift alone can dramatically change your body.
As long as you have your body, even if you are obese, do not despair, your body will do the magic if you let it. At the least, learn from Derek Poundstone to never give up.