Elite #33 Andreas Gallagher
Andreas "Luigi" Gallagher From regular gym guy, to underachiever to flirting with an all time top 10 total Andreas Gallagher had quite the varied career at Diablo. When he joined he just wanted to get a little stronger, maybe check out powerlifting as he had heard about the club. I don't remember what his lifts were, or if he even knew how to squat, bench and deadlift. In fact much of Andreas' first few years he managed to fly just under the radar.
After his first year he was competing regularly but I wasn't satisfied with his commitment or progress. I remember one morning I was "thinning the herd" as I used to call it. This meant I was letting people go who I felt weren't living up to the standards of the club. I headed towards Andreas and Steve Flaming saw what was coming and intervened. Great save on Steve's part. I don't know what he said to Andreas but it bought him some time to find his way.
Bit by bit he got better. Finally taking things more seriously and filling out his frame he got his squat over 700. His bench was his favorite lift though, thats what he was becoming known for at the club as he was close to getting 600. I vividly remember a meet where none other than the legend Kenny Patterson (one of the all time greatest benchers and of Westside Barbell fame) kept saying to me "that fat little Italian kid of yours sure is a good squatter." I remember asking Kenny, "you mean bencher?" And he replied, "no, squatter." That to us was oddly hilarious as Andreas (who we called Luigi because he did indeed look like a squatty little Italian fellow) was Irish and to us not a good squatter at the time. That would change.
The turning point was about a year later when he was going for his first 700 bench in competition. This was supposed to be the day he would make an elite total. He had 700 2/3rds of the way up and his wrist dislocated leading to a compound fracture of his ulna. I thought he was done. He had endured quite a bit to get to this point and I figured breaking his arm in such a fashion would be the end.
It was the end but only of his old persona. This is where Andreas became someone different. He was back in the gym that Monday, two days after the break. With his arm in a cast he showed up for bench day so I made a plan for him. On bench days he did a variety of 1 arm presses, rows, raises, curls. On the lower body day we did belt squats, squats with the Safety Squat bar with no hands, tons of abs and basically anything that didn't involve the broken arm. His training was more focused and serious than ever.
Fast forward to 1 year almost to the day and he comes back and made the 700 in a meet. It was the first time he had it on the bar since the break. We had stuck to the plan in training and saved that lift for the meet and only if he felt it was there. He got his elite that day and proceeded to build on his success. He continued forward squatting in the 800s, then the 900s then over 950 and pushing for 1000. I forced him to do crazy conditioning with me as I felt he wasn't in the shape necessary to go farther. He went from a softish 277 to a much denser 292. His bench broke over 800 in the gym. His pulled climbed to over 750. He had become not a good lifter or an elite lifter but a great lifter. I felt that he was closing in on a monstrous 2700 lb total which at the time would have earned him a spot on the all time top ten list. What a turn around! Unfortunately he never put it all together on the platform but he did make outstanding official lifts of 955 squat, 727 bench and 755 deadlift. So close yet so far as is often the case in powerlifting.
Andreas moved out of state after his last meet with Diablo. He bombed in the squat with 1000. I thought that day might yield 1050ish. He didn't have the chance to go for that big bench and pull that day and wasn't able to sustain that level in his new training environment. Regardless, he had a great career and from humble beginnings and a slow start reached and competed at the highest levels