Powerlifting Spotlight: Sean Breard

What’s your name?

Sean Breard

Where are you from?

Little Elm, TX

What got you into powerlifting?

I got the opportunity to play football in college. I ended up having to take a medical withdrawal and drop my scholarship because of some major lung problems that kept me off the field and out of the gym (mostly in bed) for nearly a year. After I got back to Texas and eventually got healthy, I was 6’5″ and 195 lbs. Having previously been at 250 and way stronger/more athletic, I felt terrible about myself. I had been studying KNH in school and always had an interest in anything related, so it made sense to start working as a personal trainer once certified. Fast forward a few years, I was working for the same gym as a fitness manager and was not fulfilled with just being healthy and mildly muscular; the motivation of getting back up to par was gone since I had accomplished that. I always used strength as a tool for myself and my clients; using bigger weights and higher work capacity over time to raise people’s caloric maintenance and make dieting more effective and sustainable. However, up to this point, I hadn’t considered making it my primary goal. Looking for something to throw myself at, I considered bodybuilding (or whichever specific category I would fit into) and powerlifting. I have lots of respect for those who step on stage, but I chose to be a race car rather than a show car, if you will. With that said, I think that bodybuilders and powerlifters undervalue each other’s principles and training styles, and could both benefit tremendously from fixing that. Powerlifting just made sense to me; the results are easily tangible (I can squat X weight for X reps, couldn’t do that 3 months ago), I have a medium to release anger, and it can be seen as a lifelong project… how strong can I get by the time I’m 40? That’s 16 years of work from now. I started training for the purpose of powerlifting in September 2015.

What’s your favorite and strongest lift?

The deadlift, hands down. It’s primal; how much can you pick up? It’s also the most functional of the big 3 lifts and arguably the biggest indicator of overall strength. It is my strongest lift as well – best conventional is 680 and sumo is 675. Perhaps a rocket scientist could figure what my next max attempt will be.

How does your height affect your powerlifting?

It’s hard to say. Moving a weight a further distance makes for a longer recovery than for a shorter person. But this is the body I’m accustomed to so I don’t have much context. I don’t know what it’s like to be short and move things through that kind of ROM, perhaps things equal out more than we think. I find that leverages are more important than height. Lamar Gant (old school) and Cailer Woolam (current) are examples of people with great deadlift leverages. A short torso relative to height means that you have a shorter lever to hang weight from. That shorter lever makes it easier to keep things in place and avoid spinal movement. Longer arms relative to height simply shorten your range of motion; if my arms were 2 inches longer, I’d lock out 2 inches lower. That also gives you the ability to have a more upright starting position in the deadlift, a definite advantage. Combining those leverages with intelligent, hard training makes for crazy deadlift strength eventually. Short-armed people have a great chance at being big benchers, and short femurs can be of great help on both squats and deadlifts. But regardless of good/bad leverages for any given lift or height, I don’t think it should be an excuse to perform poorly on anything. Being tall is no excuse to squat high or be weak. Having short arms is no excuse to avoid deadlifts.

What keeps you motivated?

Numbers. It’s easy to powerlift for long periods of time because goals are very tangible. Specific lifts or total, it’s all numbers. I think having specific goals is one of the biggest motivators, regardless of what those goals are. A physique competitor may be motivated by perfecting a pose that’s weak for him. Once he gets it down, he moves on to the next problem or goal and that’s his motivation. Mine might be a certain number on bench, or fixing a technique problem that holds my squat back. If you find something you love doing and set specific goals, motivation will never be an issue.

What kind of short-term and long-term goals do you have?

Short-term (within a year to year and a half) I’d like to weigh 285 or so, be relatively lean, and total as close as I can to 2000 with a deadlift at 780-800. Eventually, because of my height, I’ll need to be bigger to be competitive on a national/world level. That means weighing 310+, again pretty lean, and totaling over 2200 (an example might be 775 squat in sleeves, 550 bench, 875 deadlift)

How much strength do you draw from your mustache and short shorts?

At least 34%. In my defense, longer shorts get all tangled up and annoy me on lower body days. And I can’t grow a beard, so I do what I can.


Sean Powerlifting

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