Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
June 4, 2023
Interview With Bodybuilder Sean Calder
by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com

Part 1… Who is Sean Calder?

Bodybuilder Sean Calder With an athletic career ranging from minor league baseball to pro football, Sean Calder now has his sites on an IFBB pro card. Reigning from Oregon, he has terrorized his state, including victories in the Oregon Coast Bodybuilding Championship Overall, Western Oregon Bodybuilding Championship Overall, Oregon Ironman Natural Overall, as well as the coveted 2004 "Mr. Oregon" Overall title! Not surprisingly Sean's reign of terror has become contagious as his victories have exceeded Oregon and covered the ABA California Bodybuilding Championship Overall, the Washington Ironman Natural Overall, the Northwest Bodybuilding Championships heavyweight as well as the Emerald Cup championships in the heavyweight division. Last year however Sean broke the top 10 in the heavyweight division in the NPC National Bodybuilding Championships, making him one of the world's favorites for entering the pro ranks! This great athlete has also made several other impressive accomplishments outside of bodybuilding, including serving his country as a desert storm/ shield veteran, being a part of the U.S. Army Reserve and working in the medical field for over 12 years.

Part 2…How Sean Calder's Bodybuilding Journey Began

Sean Calder was discovered at a local gym in his hometown of Corvallis , OR when he was home from his first active tour of duty in the military services. While in this little gym Sean was approached by a guy who seemed to think he had the genetics it would take to train to be a competitive bodybuilder. Sean accepted the challenge presented to him on one condition, that this guy would assist him through the whole process of getting ready for a bodybuilding contest. The challenge was on! Three months later, Sean stepped on stage for the first time in his life and guess what… he won the first show he ever competed in! "I must be on the right track with this," Sean thought to himself!

Shortly afer Sean dominated competitions and started making headlines in the world of Bodybuilding..

Part 3... Sean Calder's Bodybuilding Contest History

· 2006 11th place heavyweight NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships

· 2005 1st place Heavyweight NPC Los Angeles Bodybuilding Championships

· 2005 11th place heavyweight NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships

· 2004 9th place heavyweight NPC National Bodybuilding Championships

· 2004 "Mr. Oregon" (OVERALL TITLE)

· 2003 Emerald Cup (1st place heavyweight division)

· 2001 Northwest Bodybuilding Championships (1st place heavyweight division)

· 2000 NPC Team Universe (light heavyweight top finisher)

· 1999 ABA USA Bodybuilding Championship (2nd place)

· 1999 Washington Ironman Natural (OVERALL TITLE)

· 1998 ABA California Bodybuilding Championship (OVERALL TITLE)

· 1996 Oregon Ironman Natural (OVERALL TITLE)

· 1992 Western Oregon Bodybuilding Championship (OVERALL TITLE)

· 1990 Oregon Coast Bodybuilding Championship (NOVICE OVERALL TITLE)

Sean stands at 5'8", competes at 220-224lbs with 1-3% body fat.

Part 4... Sean Is Respected By Top Notch Bodybuilders

To quote bodybuilding champion Jerome Dinh:

"Sean Calder has to have the craziest most muscular I have ever seen. Such mass, separation, strations, and symmetry.. That is what I call inspiration and that's exactly how I want to look one day!!"

Part 5...The Critical Bench Interview With Sean

Bodybuilder Sean Calder 1) CRITICAL BENCH: Critical Bench is here with Sean Calder right now. Sean, explain the rush that you get when you are competing in a bodybuilding show?

Sean Calder: I would not exactly call it a rush anymore after 16 years of doing this. It's more like business. I have a job to do and it's to give my best performance and let the judges decide the rest. When you go through a proper diet and training prep all you're looking forward to is a glass of water and some junk food. I suppose it's a rush winning at first but the real rush is to know that you've laid everything out there, done your homework and in a short period of time you can return to a somewhat a world of normalcy. But let's face it bodybuilders by nature are far from normal.

2) CRITICAL BENCH: Very experienced mindset! So, Sean, for those who haven't competed tell us what it has been like for you competing at various shows?

Sean Calder: Competing at the National level is frustrating. Often times it's not the best body that wins. It's very political. But, that's the sport, if you can't accept it you should not be competing at that level. Let's put it this way…national level bodybuilders are expected to be very well conditioned no matter what the weight class. I have found often times more so then at the professional level. They're not necessary bigger just tighter and leaner. That means harder dieting and more use of diuretics, or should I say abuse? Anyways you step up on stage after months of prep and your time is of making the top fifteen cut is literally decided in about 90 seconds. If not you pack your bags and start thinking about what could have you had done differently to get maybe a better look.

3) CRITICAL BENCH: So, Sean what are your favorite things about being a bodybuilder that makes you want to compete despite the politics?

Sean Calder: Eating healthy, staying well informed on the latest hype when it comes to supplementation and it's practical application, networking with fellow enthusiasts, a sense of mutual understanding of the suffering process endured by properly trained bodybuilders during contest prep. Also training and growing in the offseason!

4) CRITICAL BENCH: You have achieved a lot in the sport of bodybuilding. What would you say have been the biggest highlights in your bodybuilding career so far?

Sean Calder: One, the admiration and recognition of fellow bodybuilders. Two, developing a body I never knew I had the potential to build. Three, always the end product when you step up on stage. Four, all the photo shoots and magazine articles. Five, and the most important, who I have had the ability to impact in a positive way with my involvement in the sport.

5) CRITICAL BENCH: How does your bodybuilding lifestyle affect your family?

Sean Calder: My wife, well I used to coach her, so she's supportive. She hates to see me suffer, but, she understands what is necessary in order to win. Other family members they really don't take the time to try to understand. See, most people can't even fathom why someone would put themselves through a process like this. It's like asking Lance Armstrong why would you ride your bike up that hill in the fashion you do when you can drive your car? It's a mentality that only fellow extremist in other sports might understand. I don't concern myself anymore with justifying why I do it to my family, because they will never get it.

6) CRITICAL BENCH: Understood. What adversities have you had to face in bodybuilding or in life? How did you overcome them?

Sean Calder: I suppose it's all about perceptions when it comes to adversities. The real obstacle is self doubt. A good bodybuilder who has faced not only winning but losing always must overcome their worst enemy, themselves. I learn to do that by doing my homework for contest prep. Once I arrive I let whatever expectations I have go and simply do the best I can. I have no control over a subjective panel of so called experts (judges) and their opinions on what the ideal physique is.

Sean Calder Bodybuilder 7) CRITICAL BENCH: What are some of the most important lessons that the weights have taught you?

Sean Calder: You are never as strong as you think you are. You control the weight; the weight does not control you. Weights are a tool in the arsenal we have to develop the best body we can and to live a long healthy life. There are many great techniques none of which are right or wrong to reaching your goals in the gym with weights

8) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your .. 1 tip for all the bodybuilders out there so they can become a great bodybuilder instead of just another weight lifter?

Sean Calder: DIET is everything. There is no off season. KNOWLEDGE is king! Never accept that you have learned everything there is to know about the sport.

9) CRITICAL BENCH: What is your stance on steroids and what supplements do you take?

Sean Calder: I do not take a stance. It's an individual's decision. If they decide to do so, then they must accept the consequences that come with it and not blame what happens on the drugs. No body forces them to take them. We are adults and we should be able to make our own decisions of what we put in our bodies and also have to live with the outcome whatever that may be. My supplements of choice right now, are glutamine, a good protein powder, arginine, antioxidants, and good multivitamin, vit c, vit e.

10) CRITICAL BENCH: How is your off season training different than your on season training? And give me Critical Bench readers some info about how you get so shredded just before a contest as a lot of big guys have trouble getting under 5% body fat..

Sean Calder: I mainly focus on core movements for my training, better known as compound movements. I believe that great physiques are not only developed by great genetics, a clean diet, proper rest and recuperation, and proper supplementation, but also intense resistance training focusing on compound movements. A sample of core movements include, but are not limited to:

Quadriceps: Squats
Hamstrings: Stiff-legged deadlifts
Back: Deadlifts or rows
Chest: any sort of flat, decline, or incline press
Shoulders: Dips (although they hit the chest and triceps hard also)
Biceps and Triceps: due to their anatomical origin and insertion, any core/compound movement that works the back could also be included as a compound exercise for biceps. Any compound movement that works chest or shoulders could also be included for triceps.

Notice abdominals and calfs are not included. I will explain that at a later point.

My training itself hits one muscle group a week with the "illusional" muscle groups hit twice a week. The illusional being lateral and posterior delts, quads, and back width. An example of a training week would look like this:

Sunday: Heavy Back
Monday: Biceps and Chest
Tuesday: Shoulders
Thursday: Back for width
Friday: Quads and Hamstrings
Saturday: Lateral and Posterior delts

Abs are usually very other day done in AM, and calfs, well, I train them whenever. Calfs have always been a genetic strong point so I'm not really consistent with training them.

Cardio is three times a week 30-60 min in the off season done usually in am with abs.

Sets and reps are never set, nor is the weight. Sets generally are 3 sets per movement, not including warm ups. Reps range from as little 6 to as many as 20+. If I walk through the door of the gym and I'm feeling strong then reps are lower and my rests are longer in between sets. Reps are also generally lower the larger muscle groups, with the exception of quads. If I'm not feeling strong then I implement advanced training techniques, such as super setting and focus more on the 'burn'. Total sets usually range from 18 working sets total for legs, to 8 total for biceps. Total sets for the other muscle groups are relative to their size and fall somewhere in between the two aforementioned. Weight is all relative. I don't concern myself with that so much anymore.

Bodybuilding Contestant Sean Calder This is my training regimen in the off season. For contest prep I simply add more cardio and implement more posing and isometric contractions in between sets.

That's it!! Not as flashy as some, but it works for me and those I train. Often simplicity is the answer to your problem.

As far as getting my body fat low, I think of myself as a bantamweight. That is I don't have the size so I have to be ultra shredded. Until I reach that I keep pushing. I don't view myself as being that big, so, I have to compensate with conditioning.

11) CRITICAL BENCH: EVERYONE, GIVE SEAN'S WORKOUT PLAN A TRY! Sean, that was a very impressive routine you gave out. This could help thousands! So, Sean what are your future goals?

Sean Calder: To become a pro in the sport and and sort of guru when it comes to counseling, coaching, and guidance of top athletes.

12) CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any stories that you would like to share?

Sean Calder: Umm, not bodybuilding related. Some seemingly near death experiences on stage?

13) CRITICAL BENCH: Bodybuilding is intense no doubt about that. Glad you have overcame such experiences and rose to the top. When your bodybuilding career is over how do you want people to remember you?

Sean Calder: I want to be remembered as a mentor who set the example for his past, present, and future athletes. An athlete who never took his genetics for granted. Someone who followed his own pathway and not one of the sheep in the sport.

CRITICAL BENCH: Anything else you would like to say?

Sean Calder: I would like to thank all the coaches from childhood and adolescence who were not only my coaches but my father figures and mentors. I would like to thank my brother who taught me what it was like to truly believe in one person. I would like to thank Pat Downing from Downing's Gym in my hometown who inspired me as an adolescent and throughout my bodubuilding career. And lastly, all those great athletes that I have coached through the years who reminded me by example of how far the human body could be pushed.

To learn more about me check out http://www.seancalder.net


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