Rocky View County teen Luc Dahlman is extremely good at picking up heavy weights and setting them down in a controlled, fluid motion.
As evidence of that fact, just look at his results at the 2023 Canadian Powerlifting Union National Championships in Richmond, B.C. last month, where the 17-year-old Madden resident finished first in the sub-junior (U19) division with three personal-record (PR) lifts in the squat, bench press, and deadlift categories.
Dahlman set three PRs to claim gold in the competition on Feb. 15, completing a 200-kilogram (kg) squat (441 lbs), a 135-kg bench press (298 lbs), and a 240-kg deadlift (529 lbs).
“I thought it was a great showing from myself,” he said. “I came into the meet with a less-than-optimal prep period. I was battling through some injuries and got sick a couple of times. So to come out on the day and set three new PRs felt great.”
The Grade 11 student-athlete attributed his strong showing in Richmond to what he called “uneventful” preparations on the day of the competition, with no hiccups or adversity.
“My weight cut went perfectly – I was able to hit my weight with a kilogram to spare,” he said. “Going through warm-ups and my attempts, everything just worked. I didn’t have any massive grinding final attempts. My attempts were selected well and everything went as planned.”
Dahlman has been competing in powerlifting since he was 14, though he said he'd started working out in gyms and lifting weights a few years before that. Previously a baseball player, he said he came to prefer the training aspect and spending time in the weight room, which made him gravitate toward powerlifting.
“After a while, I kind of fell in love with that so much that I decided to switch over to powerlifting and essentially make that my sport,” he said.
He lives near Madden in northwest Rocky View County and is a Grade 11 student at the Edge School – a private school in Springbank for elite-level student-athletes, who require flexibility in their academic schedules to accommodate a heavy training and competition calendar. This is Dahlman's first year at the school, after previously studying at the Calgary French International School.
“I love it,” he said. “The flexibility, for one, is great. But it’s a great group of people who want to see you succeed. Everyone is pushing each other every day.”
While most Edge students are members of one of the school's sport-specific programs (the hockey, dance, or soccer programs, for example), Dahlman's status as a powerlifter is a slightly different scenario. As Edge doesn't have a powerlifting-specific program, he instead is a member of the school's Fitness Academy. As part of this group, a two-hour period is carved out every morning for Dahlman to be in the school's gym, working on his powerlifting.
“I have a powerlifting coach, but he’s actually in Winnipeg, so we do most of our stuff online,” he explained. “But I’m super close with Ross and Joel in the Duckett Performance Centre [at Edge School]. Even though they don’t necessarily coach me in the sense of writing my program, they are always looking out for me, helping me, and seeing what they can do to help keep my training going as it should.”
Thanks to his first-place finish at the recent nationals in B.C., Dahlman said he earned a spot on the Canadian national powerlifting team that will compete at the world powerlifting championships in Romania next September.
Before that international trip, however, he said he has two other events on his calendar to train for – a provincial competition in Calgary in early June, and the western Canadian championships in early August, which will be held in Brandon, Manitoba.