From injured British Army soldier to champion powerlifter: Indy Dhillon

From injured British Army soldier to champion powerlifter: Indy Dhillon

Bristol based army veteran Indy Dhillon has gone from serious injury to international champion, taking home gold at an international powerlifting meet in Canada last month, despite only taking up the sport to help rehabilitate muscle problems in his back.


Dhillon, 28, started powerlifting for rehabilitation after injuring his back during his 6 years of British Army service in Electronic Warfare and signalling with the Royal Corps of Signals. During the first 6 to 8 months post-injury, he was unable to run or even walk for long periods.

Despite this, the squaddie rapidly took to the sport and developed as a strength athlete. He quickly joined the Army Powerlifting Union where he could train 3 times a week, going on to break multiple military records. 

The sports seemed to do the trick with Dhillon's back: he swiftly broke (and still holds) the records for the highest deadlift, squat, and total in the 100kg and 110kg weight classes for BOTH the army AND the combined armed forces – a total of 12 records.


Not content with military records, since leaving the Army Dhillon began competing in national competitions, and upped his training to an intense sounding 4 days a week, he says: “I train four days a week for at least four hours a day but make sure I have three rest days where I do minimal exercise to ensure I am properly rested”.

His first British national in 2016 saw him come third overall, while his performance at the English Powerlifting Associations All England Championships in Manchester earlier this year got him selected to represent the UK at the Commonwealth Championships, held in Canada last month.

Dhillon did not disappoint on the international stage, winning three gold medals for his massive 325kg deadlift, 300kg squat, and 765 total, as well as silver for a 165kg bench press. All hugely impressive numbers for an athlete in the -105kg weight class.

Watch Dhillon tell his story below:

Talking about pre-competition nerves, Dhillon, who normally listens to metal before a competition, put some of his success down to a change to his pre-lift music – to classical: “Doing this made me feel more relaxed this time around. There were no expectations from my coach or from myself which really helped with my nerves on the day.”

World championships

Dhillon has already set his eyes on future victories: “I’m in my rest period now, but with my new coach I’m already looking forward to training for my next competition, which will hopefully be at the British Championships in 2020,” he said, after which he hopes to get a spot on the Team GB squad at the IPF World Championships in 2021.

With his record of wins so far, if he makes the squad he'll definitely be one to watch.