Dennis Wolf reflects on his spinal injury, comeback, and the struggles of his attempted comeback at the Arnold Classic 2018.
In what can perhaps be called a previous era, Dennis Wolf was one of the standout competitors at every major bodybuilding show he competed in. He was a consistent top 5 at the Mr. Olympia and many had hopes that one day he would rise up to earn a Sandow trophy. All of that changed in 2016 when a spinal injury required surgery and put him out of commission. He took a year off to recover and then made a comeback at the Arnold Classic 2018. He placed 12th. In our GI Exclusive interview, Dennis Wolf details how the injury changed his life and led to the “worst prep ever” during his comeback.
Injury can be a major issue for any athlete. This holds true for bodybuilders, who often spend their days training hardcore to achieve unprecedented amounts of muscle. While some serious injuries allow for a comeback, a spinal injury is one of the worst things that can happen to any bodybuilder.
Sadly, this is exactly what happened to Dennis Wolf. While he did attempt to recover, he didn’t look like his former self when he returned to the stage. This ultimately led to him placing 12th at the Arnold Classic. There was a time previously where he would easily land in the top 3 or even win the whole show.
While many fans were supportive of his comeback regardless of placing – it was obvious that his career was coming to a close. Dennis Wolf never returned to the stage after that and has since been focusing on coaching, repping supplement companies as a sponsored athlete, and promoting his own bodybuilding shows.
But we never really got an answer as to what exactly caused Dennis Wolf’s spinal injury. Nor did we get deeper insight into his mindset during his comeback prep. That’s why we connected with Wolf via video chat to catch up and ask him to reflect on those troubled times.
Dennis Wolf explains that the doctors were never able to give a specific reason for the injury. He claims that odds are he had a small spinal injury that continued to get worse due to heavy training for years until it became a bigger problem. But there was no specific accident or single moment that led to the injury.
He also reflected back on his contest prep for his Arnold Classic 2018 comeback. To make a long story short, he admits that he was not in the right mental place to truly come back to full form. But he made a commitment to his fans and wanted to see it through.
“Honestly it was the worst prep ever.” Dennis Wolf further admits during our interview. He continues:
“Because I wasn’t mentally ready. So I like I said I was doing it more for the fans because I promised. I couldn’t pull out because, you know, I always, you know – bodybuilding is my life. Or was my life. Or still is a little bit, you know? But if you’re used to be, you know, going through preparations without any issues… but then you see in the mirror, and then, you’re not seeing the same person anymore. And that was my problem.”
While his spinal injury certainly overall affected his ability to push his body, it seems that the bigger obstacle was his mental state. He didn’t see the same physique reacting to his training like he used to. That can play huge mind games on yourself – which is what seemed to happen to Wolf.
You can watch Dennis Wolf’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.