A WORLD-recording holding strongman is set to compete in the prestigious Arnold Schwarzenegger event which features the best strength athletes from around the globe.

Dale McPherson, owner of 3D Strength Gym in Darlington, has recently returned from a European qualifying event for the Arnold Strongman in Barcelona – becoming the first man in his weight category to lift four times his body weight.

He said: "I did a 360kg deadlift, and I weigh 88kg. The event was a qualifier for the man Arnold event in Ohio, USA, in March 2020. The Arnold Strongman competitions attract the best in the world and you have to qualify at two other events before you can attend.

"Me and a couple of other guys from my gym are going, which is amazing considering it is a small gym. We have a very good reputation in the North, and we have a lot of men and women training with us."

Mr McPherson has been strength training since he was 16, and said with owner the gym he has turned his hobby into a job.

He added: "We have a lot of girls and women training here. There is a misconception that weight training will make you really big and bulky but that's not the case.

"You have to eat a lot in order to get big, if you manage your diet you stay very trim.

"I manage my diet carefully to stay in my weight category.

"Strength training is a bit of a niche sport but it is growing, for both men and women.

"At the Arnold Strongman events, there are disabled categories too so it just shows that anyone can do it."

Mr McPherson said he was looking forward for the opportunity to compete in the USA.

"People come from all over the world to watch and compete – it is the biggest in the world.

"I competed in events in Australia and Europe to qualify. But the audiences in the USA will be huge – around 15,000 – so it is nothing like anything I have experienced before."

The Arnold Sports Festival will take place from March 5 to 8 in Columbus, Ohio.

For information on the gym, visit 3D Strength on Facebook.

"There is a lot of cardio workouts involved too, which a lot of people don't realise.