Interview With Powerlifter Drew Sheffield of NGBB Elite As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - April 2008
DREW SHEFFIELD...I train with him at NGBB and and he has came a long way as a lifter and as a person. You wouldn't of figured that someone that was built to do long distance running would be squatting 848 and deadlifting near 700. Drew is the example that not just genetic freaks can be powerlifters and not just anyone can be a powerlifter...sometimes it takes more than just strength alone to be one and drew has proven that...also he's prove that if you BELIEVE, you will BECOME...
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview, Drew, please introduce your self.
My name is Drew Sheffield, I'm 21 years old, and student at The Georgia Institute of Technology. I recently totaled 2017 at the GA State APF Championships, which was my first Elite total.
Critical Bench: Congrats. How long have you been into powerlifting?
I started lifting weights my freshman year of college in the spring of 2005 and lifted in my first meet in the Spring of 2006. I went 8-for-9 finishing up with 440/270/501.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
I come from a long line of distance runners so I naturally followed suite as a child and went on to be the captain of my high school Cross Country team. I also played soccer, ran track and wrestled in addition to a short stint as a 2nd string cornerback/free safety on the JV team.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
The big names of course! Local guys like Jon Grove and Steve Goggins. It was great to live so close to such accomplished lifters. Also the legends of the sport like Vogephol, Coan, Kaz, Capt. Kirk, etc.
Critical Bench: How long have you been at NGBB? How did you hook up with them?
I've been training at NGBB since 2006 after I lifted in my first meet. One of the members, Jon Gordon, offered to handle me at the meet and then invited me to start training at the gym.
Critical Bench: How has training there benefited you thus far?
My total has skyrocketed, putting over 800lbs on it in about two years. I also actually look like I lift weights now, I was "skinny-fat" when I started lifting there.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in powerlifting?
Do lots of volume and stick to the basics. I'm still at a level where I can make gains with lots of compound movements, so chances are they are too. Also, volume in addition to eating enough food is what makes you grow and get stronger. Now don't gain weight to fast and become sloppy but you may have to increase your BF 3-4% to get stronger.
Critical Bench: Is the bench your favorite lift out of the three?
NO! I actually used to despise benching and hated that part of my training, having long arms and no muscle mass made benching difficult. When I finally started eating enough and put the work in to build the mass it is now a bearable part of my training. I actually prefer the deadlift, it's the true test of total body strength.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
Balancing your life outside the gym with your training, I'm young and still live on campus so it can be hard sometimes but I normally take 3-4 weeks after a meet and let it all hang out. That normally takes care of my urge to party until after the next meet.
Critical Bench: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who do what we do? The difference between a workout and a training session.
A workout is something you do if you want to lose 5lbs for your wedding. While a training session is something you do in search for that elusive 1000lb squat or Mr. Olympia title.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a powerlifter? How does it affect you outside of the gym?
All of my friends and family think I am crazy, but they are probably right. It actually motivates me to become even more of a freak.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they set up?
Very simple, I do a lot of compound movements and lots of volume. I have a squat day, high rep bench day, deadlift day and heavy bench day. I have two bench days because my bench sucks and my upper body is under muscled. I spend one day focusing on building muscle mass then later in the week I concentrate on getting stronger. As far as my squat training I normally work up to a heavy single or triple then drop back down and do some rep work. I then finish the session of with stuff like straight leg deadlifts, front squats, glute-ham raises, reverse hyper work and some ab work. For the deadlift I do a lot of good mornings and then some accessory work focusing on getting my back stronger and bigger. A strong back is very important in Powerlifting. In fact I do back work on 3 out of 4 of my training days.
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get their lifts up?
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
Yes, I totally changed my training up since the meet I did in April. I started doing more bodybuilder type training in order to add some mass and spent more time making my back stronger.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear are cheating?
That is like asking if fake boobs are cheating, so no. The shirt doesn't lift the weight for you, but I also feel you can't compare a shirted bench to a raw bench. As the old saying goes it's like comparing apples to oranges.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning the equipment?
If you expect to perform well you must spend some time in them to learn the gear. Also, surround yourself with others who lift in gear and are more experienced then you are.
Drew Sheffield's 672 LB Deadlift
Critical Bench: How do you feel about some of the big lifts that were done this summer (especially at the PRO-AM)? Do you think the standards went up?
I was not at any of the big meets but some people I know were at the Pro-Am so I can't make any judgment calls but my friends told me the judging was fair and consistent. Judging is never going to be perfect due to the human element involved but I just want it to be fair and consistent which has been happening as far as I know.
Critical Bench: What was your nutrition like prior to your last competition?
I ate like it was going out of style. Taking classes and working makes it more difficult (although not impossible) to eat clean and make healthy decisions. I'm on a meal plan at school and have sweet talked our chef into hiding me extra food in the back of the fridge. I basically make sure I get enough protein and calories, everything else just falls into place.
Critical Bench: Any ideas on how you're going to make your trek to a 2200 total? What changes are you going to have to make to get there?
I need to add some more mass and just get stronger overall. I think my main weak points are my triceps, shoulders, forearms/grip and hips. As you can see that is a lot of weak points so I just need to get in the gym and SFW.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
Jon Grove and the rest of the lifters at North Georgia Barbell, without them I would still have a 1200lb total.