SA powerlifter pulls more than his weight

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

For one Office of Special Investigation special agent/athlete perseverance and resilience are tangible skillsets.

This past January SA Logan Dwyer, of Detachment 303, Travis Air Force Base, Calif., suffered a completely dislocated right shoulder on his wedding day.

Just one month after the traumatic injury he not only competed, but exceled, by finishing second in the 163 pound weight class at the Powerlifting America 2023 Classic Open Nationals in Austin, Texas.    

“I was really happy to have made it through the competition,” Dwyer said reacting to his runner-up performance. “I was smart about how far I could push my body after injury, but with the help of family, friends, and the expert coaches around me, I managed to stay in the competition and even come away with a deadlift personal record when I could have easily dropped out.”

For the record, the Columbia, S.C. product successfully executed lifts of 169.4 pounds in the bench press, 286 pounds in the squat, and the personal record of 379.5 pounds in the dead lift. All are best lifts since the devastating shoulder injury in January.

For powerlifting devotees, each athlete gets three attempts at each lift, and the highest attempt is what counts towards the total. Each lift is judged as good (white light) or bad (red light) by three judges.

“I successfully lifted all nine attempts, 27 white lights, a technically perfect day,” Dwyer recalled.

The Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at the University of South Carolina, got into powerlifting while looking for new ways to stay fit during the lockdowns in 2020.

“I purchased a home gym and wanted to find some concrete goals to pursue,” he explained. “Travis AFB put out flyers for an informal base-wide powerlifting competition, and I signed up. My whole Detachment (303) came out to support me, and I’ve been looking for new competitions ever since. My next was a local public safety powerlifting meet, where I competed and networked with local LEOs (law enforcement officers) and firefighters. After that, I started lifting in the U.S. affiliate to the International Powerlifting Federation, Powerlifting America.”

Dwyer’s training regimen for an event leaves nothing to chance.  

He follows a long-term training program based around daily undulating periodization, where the effort and stress in each if his four weekly workouts varies depending on personal levels of energy and recovery.

"In the immediate lead-up to the competition, I squatted twice a week, benched three times a week, and deadlifted twice a week, working up to low-rep, high-weight singles,” Dwyer said. “All the while I’ve been working with military physical therapists at Fort Belvoir, (Va.) powerlifting physical therapists online, and expert competition coaches for gameday prep.”

It’s been a successful recipe.

He’s competed in five sanctioned meets so far: one in California (Gold medal), one in Pennsylvania (Gold), one in Ohio (Gold), one in Maryland (Bronze), and the Nationals in Texas (Silver).

As one of OSI's two forensic science Master's degree students at George Mason University in Virginia, Dwyer sees a correlation between powerlifting and being an effective special agent.

“There are certainly transferable skills and mindsets. I think to distill it down to the meditation of lifting or to enhanced physical aptitude would be short-selling the culture that exists at the higher levels of powerlifting,’ he said. “Powerlifting, at least the way I do it, is self-driven, with self-set goals and a need to keep oneself accountable to fitness programming, both in terms of sticking to one’s lifts and not overshooting them based on ego or other internal and external factors.

“That kind of drive lends itself well to some of the proactive work and long term planning which have translated into success with my last counterintelligence assignment, where the team I was on won a national level award. And while powerlifting is an individual sport, and you want to best your competitors pound for pound, kilo for kilo, it differs from other direct competitions in the way competitors support each other. Even if your competitor is pulling a deadlift to beat you, you still cheer for them, because you understand the effort they are putting in and want them to succeed as well.

“That kind of supportive competition, driving others to do their best while you do yours and without abdicating your own desire to win, fits well in my time with OSI, where the success of one unit over another is not a zero-sum game, as long as both are putting up their best.”

What’s ahead for the SA/athlete?

“I’ve already signed up for a state championship in April, and I have my eye on a regional championship in the fall. My primary goal is to return to my pre-injury levels of strength, and have a more competitive showing at next year’s nationals,” Dwyer said.