Daniel Shook

Meet Daniel Shook.

Daniel’s lifting story begins with a $60 bottle of booze….

He answered some questions for us:


Are you a Michigander?

Yup, born and raised.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Midland, MI. Went to Bullock Creek High School then moved to Battle Creek for a little while and now we are back in Freeland.

How did you get into powerlifting and how old were you?

This is an interesting story. One evening I was up from Battle Creek and myself and a couple buddies (who were into lifting at the time) were at Witchcraft having a beverage. One of them (fellow USAPL lifter Sean Paisley) bet me a $60 bottle of whiskey I couldn’t bench my bodyweight within 1 month of lifting. I weighed 260 lbs at the time and really had never lifted for any consistent amount of time before. I probably lifted for a couple months in high school, maybe a month or so in college and that was about it. I accepted the bet and my dad always had been a strong guy and always had weights around so he let me take the weights down to battle creek so I could pursue this bet. I knew nothing of programming or even how to lift at this point but on the very last day of that month I benched 260 lbs for a single. Sean splurged a little bit and spent $70 on the bottle and I haven’t stopped lifting since.

How long have you been an active powerlifter?

That bet took place in 2015. This is my 3rd year of lifting. We started actually squatting and deadlifting late 2015 so I’d said I’ve been powerlifting since October/November 2015.

What is your personal best squat, bench and deadlift?

Squat: 612

Bench: 385

Deadlift: 623

Do you hold records?

Fortunately and Unfortunately the 2nd strongest man in the state is in my weight class and we train together. Good part is, he’s good for pushing me. Bad part is, he’s been at this a while and holds all the records I believe… If he doesn’t, he will come years end.

What is your favorite lift and why?

The lift i’m most comfortable with is squatting. Bench is probably my favorite though because it’s the easiest on my lungs even though it’s the most painful (compound fractures on the same elbow two times is not recommended for pain free benching).

How many hours a week do you train?

We do a lot of chatting while we are training but I do 4 days a week 2-4 hours per session.

Do you train with a partner?

I am very fortunate to have a good group of dudes that come out and train most evenings. We usually have 4 people in the gym and on good nights we may have 6 or 7.

Where do you train?

I have built a small gym over the years with a little help from some of the guys. A lot of competition specific equipment (combo rack/platform/Ohio Power Bars/etc). It’s called the Iron Oasis. It’s a private gym that was created because I wanted my own environment. I didn’t want the rules, music, or equipment used in public gyms. I wanted a place we could do us however we see fit with good equipment. That being said if you want to come out and train hit me up on Instagram and we can figure out a day/time you can come lift with us. More people the better!

Do you follow a specific training method/regime?

I pay Joey Flexx for coaching and he follows/implements the RPE philosophy. It seems to work well for me and he’s a solid coach with plenty of success in coaching.

Do you have other hobbies besides powerlifting?

There are few things I put before powerlifting but the main one is definitely my family. Outside of that I have just taken up screen printing shirts for the gym (thanks Alex!), I am out on weekends in the trails a lot with my Can am x3 (side by side), especially when my wife and son want to go! Also I enjoy a video game from time to time.

Do you follow a specific diet?

I rarely restrict my eating/diet… I should really start… Nothing like hearing/saying that over and over.

What is your opinion on cardio?

Something I should but don’t incorporate into my training. Also we live in Michigan and sadly it’s only nice outside like 3 months out of the year which makes me want to do it even less.

Have you been to nationals?

This year. I qualified at States in Dec. 2017 with a 1609 total. Hoping for my Wilks’ to be close to an Arnold qualification.

What is your greatest powerlifting achievement so far, in your opinion?

#1 would be creating an environment for like minded people to come and smash some weights and have a good time.

#2 Would be squatting and Deadlifting 600+ in the first 2 years of lifting weights.

What do you find the most challenging/difficult in your training?

Leaving my little dude for a while to train is a real bummer sometimes. Also dealing with chronic and consistent elbow pain while benching. Bench generally requires the most volume and frequency for growth but bench is by far the most difficult and painful lift for my elbow.

How soon before a meet, do you begin preparing?

12 week preps seem to work well. Off season is generally taken less serious but usually somewhere between 8-12 weeks we start pushing.

How do you choose an opening attempt weight?

If you are capable of looking back at your training and being unbiased enough to set realistic 3rd attempts you should take 89%-93% of those for your openers. The range allows for how you feel on the day.

What are your powerlifting goals?

My goal when I started was to total 1500 lbs. I remember saying I will consider myself strong when I can total 1500 lbs at a meet (I still don’t). After my first meet I realized I had met that goal and it’s time to set new ones. I would like to go compete at the Arnold. I would also like to hit a 500 wilks at some point. We’ll see.

How do you think we can grow powerlifting in Michigan?

What I’ve noticed from the few meets I’ve attended is the powerlifting community exists, but it needs places to thrive. It needs more specific gyms where people can get together and do their thing. We need more interesting/fun events at gyms. I see some really cool people 2-3 times a year now because of meets. It’d be awesome to see those people more often. I brought a deadlift bar to a local public gym one time and we ended up having 8 or 9 people come over and deadlift with us… Just because one person brought a bar. It was a blast. The sport needs these things to grow. Instead of everyone going to a public gym with headphones in not talking to anyone around them we need a place for community and culture. Someday I hope to open a small powerlifting centered gym that will sustain itself financially that people can come, hang out and progress together at.

What tips do you have for first time lifters?

Take your time to learn how to lift. Don’t push for a max every week or two. Do some research. Pick a free program and follow it. See how it works for you. See how your body responds. Watch youtube videos about technique and practice but also understand everyone lifts a little different. It may not look the same when you do it but sometimes that’s ok as long as you understand what you are doing and why you’re doing it. Powerlifting isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. In 2 ½ years I still have tons to work on, that’s just how it goes. Enjoy it and realize it’s ok that sometimes you won’t want to lift, sometimes it’s work. Do the work.

Alex is the best! I added this because I know she won’t say this about herself but she puts on the best meets in the state, no doubt about it. I haven’t known Alex for long but she’s been awesome in helping me learn how to screen print and enjoy my time competing.

If you want to come lift, DM me on Insta at: that_almost_strong_guy