Interview With Powerlifter "Sgt Rock" Brent Howard by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
Brent Howard is becoming a big name in the world of powerlifting and a dominate force in deadlifting competitions. Maybe, you know Brent from being on the Cover of Monster Muscle Magazine, as he has appeared on the cover of Monster Muscle Magazine a number of times! Brent has also inspired many great lifters around the world including lifters that you might be familiar with such as Damian Osgood. Not only is Brent constantly inspiring other fellow powerlifters and making headlines in the powerlifting world but he's also becoming known as one of the most interesting and well respected men in the game of powerlifting. In this interview here at Critical Bench, we will talk to his superior deadlifting athlete and man of honor! We bring to you none other than the great deadlifter himself, Brent "Sgt. Rock" Howard!
1) Critical Bench: Brent, it's great to have you with us. Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Brent Howard also known as Sgt. Rock. People often wonder where the nickname "Sgt. Rock" came from. Well, I got the name Sgt. Rock from boot camp. Back during boot camp we had a swim qualification and I would jump into the pool 20 times off a 30 foot platform and I discovered that I couldn't float! So, since I couldn't float they said that I was a "freak of nature, and the only recruit ever that couldn't float. They then went on to say "you are a ROCK, and you are built like one, or at least you think you are, so you will now be known as ROCK.
I started powerlifting as a young teenager in 1986, won the ANPPC 3 lift teen nationals in 1988. I won a 3 lift Maine APF title in 1999, was down over 100 pounds going into the DL and pulled 710@215 to win on BWT.
2 time APA/WPA World Champion and current world record holder
4 time open WABDL World Champion, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, current world record holder
2 time WABDL Law Fire World Champion 1999, 2001
Best Lifter WABDL Worlds 2001 and 2003, donated trophy to NY Fireman in 2001
I have guest lifted at several Maine APF and APA contests, as well as WABDL at Riverfest several times, as well as WABDL Alki Beach in Seattle.
I am currrently sponsored by Universal and lifted in "The Cage" at the Arnold Classic performing a 705 DL raw, stiff legged 525x5 sumo with no belt, 410x5 bent rows totally raw, then db shrugged 125x20 with no straps.
Contributing editor to Monster Muscle the Magazine as well as a moderator on their forums.
Moderator over at the Extreme Forums.
Certified judge in WABDL and APA/WPA
Sponsored by Inzer Advance Designs, Universal nutrition as well as Head Blade.
I grew up in the small town of Farmington, Maine. I went to the local university, University of Maine at Farmington. I joined the USMC and served honorably from 1995-1999 attaining the rank of SGT. Duty stations included 8th and I in Washington DC supervising the VIP Gate at evening parades, as well as working at HQMC/Pentagon.
I worked at the local Sheriff's Department both as a full time Corrections Officer and as a Full time Patrolman, and still hold certifications in both fields and work part time as a Deputy Sheriff.
Rottweilers are my passion, along with helping out all of the lifters that I can and of course training for contests.
2) Critical Bench: That's an impressive resume. You have seen and been through a lot in the world of powerlifting. What have been some of most amazing stories thus far in your powerlifting quest?
1. My first show ever was the Maine states in 1988 when I was a young teen lifter. Willie Guimond pulled 730@220 that day, along with several other great lifts. I told myself I would break that one day, it took me several years but I was finally able to do it a few years back with 733@220.
2. Meeting my now good friend Eddy Coan
3. Tearing BOTH pecs and still coming back
4. Watching James Henderson bench over 700 raw, and bench 660 plus with a lady on each leg on the platform
3) Critical Bench: What are your top 10 tips for a bigger deadlift?
1. Do not overtrain
2. To get a big deadlift… DEADLIFT!!
3. Don't train the regular deadlift with over 5 reps.
4. Never use straps
5. Utilize the stiff leg deadlift
6. Don't neglect upper back work.
7. Train abs with weight
8. Master the deadlift suit
9. Train the lower back directly with rev hypers, goodmonrings, etc.
10. Don't overtrain! !
4) Critical Bench: What goes through your mind before attempting a new
deadlift personal best?
I'm a machine! It's do or die! I have a hurricane going on inside of me! My mechanics are automatic now after years of pulling, so I think of how it will feel when I stand up with the weight!
5) Critical Bench: Tell us about your deadlift training routine? Give us your weekly workout schedule?
I do the following rotation:
- One week of SLDL's off a block for 5 reps
- One week of rack heavy rack pulls
- One week of regular DL's
- One week of no pulling, or some cleans
I used to sometimes do a heavy DL, then heavy stiffs, heavy racks, then 15 sets of upper back almost every week. I spoke with the Kaz about this very subject one time. He stated he would do high bar squats for 615x25 reps, then heavy DL's, then racks, and agreed its just too much. I focus more on one major pulling movement per workout and usually only one top set. I will take a week off when stale from pulling without feeling guilty. I do much more core and ab work now as well, so I push it as much, actually more than when I first started, its just in fewer sets and exercises.
As for my whole workout routine:
Monday is Chest day, mostly machines with close grip bench at the end, followed up with some arm work
Tuesday is leg day, sometimes box or high bar squats with lots of leg machines, core and ab work
Wednesday is upper back day, mostly machines for 15 sets
Thursday is delt and arm day, nothing fancy here
Friday is off day
6) Critical Bench: Tell us about your diet and supplementation?
7) Critical Bench: In 10 years from now what do you think the world record
in the squat, bench press, and deadlift will be? (make a prediction with the
use of both raw lifting and gear lifting?)
The deadlift is least effected by gear. My good friend Andy Bolten will be the first man to deadlift 1000lbs.
8) Critical Bench: I'm going to make a statement that relates to the
deadlift, tell me what comes to mind..
Freakiest deadlift you have seen--
ALL OF EDDY COANS!!!!
Best deadlifter ever--
EDDY, Lamar and Andy.
deadlifting with a blind fold useful or non useful--
I never tried it but I close my eyes anyhow.
What's your biggest deadlift inside secret---
I am experimenting more with bands. There are no real secrets in the deadlift, it's more of a mental game.
more of a functional lift the deadlift or squat?-why?
Hmm..define functional? In day to day living I feel bending over and lifting over and lifting would come into play more so the deadlift would benefit you, but hey I am partial.
9) Critical Bench: So, Brent, What are your future goals? short term and
Deadlift 800lbs as asap, win the WABDL Worlds again. If I can find the right contest and timeframe I will squat 1000, but it's just not important as I can't bench heavy anymore with 2 torn pecs. My main goal is to stay healthy, keep winning, and get over the 800lbs barrier then cruise up to 900lbs.
10) Critical Bench: How has the deadlift changed your life and how has the
deadlift changed you as a man?
I like to think I have helped the "one lift" deadlift guy get more respect/spotlight. I have guest lifted all over the Country to do the deadlift only. It has given me the opportunity to help others which is most important to me, and to make many new friends and travel to some great places.
11) Critical Bench: when your training career is over how do you want to be
As a showman! Someone who gets the crowd rocking and thrives on it! I want to be remembered as someone who helped all he could all the time. As a Christian, a good friend and a great deadlifter!
12) Critical Bench: Well, I think you have that reputation already! Hopefully this interviewed inspired many future powerlifters and here at Critical Bench we wish you all the best! In closing, is there anything else that you would like to say or people to thank?
I would like to thank all the fans, all the lifters that appreciate the old school lifters and their elders. I would like to thank all the great lifters who have helped me! There are too many people to thank!
Critical Bench: Brent thanks for giving us your time and taking us into your powerlifting world. Best of luck in the future, not that you need it.