Interview With Powerlifter Shawn O'Halloran As told to CriticalBench.com by Curt Dennis Jr. "The Brute" of Planetrage.com - June 2008
Critical Bench: Hey, thanks for doing this interview, Shawn, Please introduce yourself.
First off Curt thanks for the interview, my name is Shawn O'Halloran. I am 43 years old, married to my wife Vicki and have two sons Gabe 11 and Liam 8.
Critical Bench: How long have you been into powerlifting?
I've been lifting heavy my whole life but really only competing seriously since 2003.
Critical Bench: Tell us about your childhood and how you got into powerlifting?
When I joined football in high school we were introduced to a weight program and I was hooked right then and there.
Critical Bench: Who did you look up to when you were coming up as a powerlifter?
Even though I didn't compete a lot in my earlier years I loved the strongman like Kaz.
Critical Bench: What would you say to a novice lifter or to a lifter who's just starting out in powerlifting?
You have to develope core strength and don't go crazy on the gear until you have developed a good base.
Critical Bench: Do you have a favorite out of the three or is it all 3 lifts?
The bench is my favorite, might be because it comes so natural.
Critical Bench: What are the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?
The lifter who stays the healthiest is going to go the furthest; injuries are the biggest road block.
Critical Bench: Tell everyone here the difference between someone who wants to look "pretty" and someone who does what we do?
The difference between a workout and a training session. Body building is altogether different, breaking down the muscle for bodybuilding opposed to strength training and not tearing it up as much so you can continue to get stronger. When you put together a training cycle for Powerlifting you have a set time and you periodize to peak for game day. A few bad sessions and you can easily get injured or peak too soon. For bodybuilding if you decide to give it a little extra in these same workouts it would not affect your game day nearly as much if any at all.
Critical Bench: What would you tell a powerlifer if they are trying to get to the next level in the sport?
Do you believe that powerlifters' have a lifestyle of their own? You need to look after your nutritional side of the game, I see far too many who think its funny getting sloppy looking just to lift more. Having healthier eating habits will help you in both strength gains and overall health. Don't get me wrong we all have a cheat day once a week, you just need to shut it down before you eat a whole pizza.
Critical Bench: How driven would people say you are about being a powerlifter? How does it effect you outside of the gym?
Its pretty well known that after my family my training is second, it's a wonderful feeling seeing your boys be proud of the old man when your approached on the street and congratulated.
Critical Bench: Do you believe in training in the methods of Westside Barbell?
They didn't work the way I wanted them to, I'm more of a full range lifter without all the bands and chains.
Critical Bench: What are your workouts like? How are they setup?
I bench 3-4 times a week, squat once and deadlift twice. On the bench there are two heavy and 1-2 light depending on how the body feels. The other two lifts I do full range raw lifts until I am a month out and then I break out the equipment. I realize I could probably put kilo's on my total if I practiced more in the equipment but I like what im doing… its right for me and what I want to accomplish.
Critical Bench: What would you suggest to someone on how to get stronger on all 3 lifts?
Be consistant, patient and don't over train. If you are missing a rep you are overtraining.
Critical Bench: What drives you as a lifter?
I just want keep beating my own personal bests; it's my goal one day to have 20 IPF world records. Currently I hold the 125 & SHW master 1 records for the bench in the Powerlifting.
Critical Bench: Was your training any different prior to your last meet?
I just try to stay within my own means until the gear comes out, at that point we've picked our openers and work towards making them work at the meet. So no my training wasn't much different.
Critical Bench: Do you think using bench shirts/gear are cheating?
It's the rules, if you want to lift without them go lift in a federation that is raw. I'd like to go lift in a 100% raw meet one day and take a shot at a 600 lb bench but the calendar is pretty full and I try to keep a few weeks holidays for my two boys and my wife Vicki during the summer.
Critical Bench: What is your view on training in equipment and learning them?
As stated earlier I only do a 4 week training cycle with the equipment before a meet.
Critical Bench: What do you think is the reason for all the big numbers as of late like Kennelly's 1070 and Frankl's freakish total or Hoornstra's raw strength?
Has strength training evolved? These guys are all freaky strong, theories and training methods have evolved so much as of the last few years. I cant believe these guys lift in the shirts so often and they can stay injury free. Specific training for the shirts are the biggest factor in my mind. I'll likely never bench 800 in a shirt as I cant see letting my raw go all to pot.
Critical Bench: Do you think the standards went up in the sport?
As in every sport you have to evolve with the way the sport is going, do I think the equipment is out of hand. Yes I do, will I use it if the rules say you can… yes I will.
Critical Bench: What is your nutrition like now?
I eat pretty clean for the most part, the cleaner I eat the more I use supplements. I try and eat every 2 hours to keep the body working and the metabolism going full throttle. I'm very conscious of not letting myself go, extra cardio is inserted in my training when I feel I need it.
Critical Bench: What changes are you going to have to make to go to the next level?
I don't think I can do any more than I have in the past, just be patient and try to stay healthy.
Critical Bench: Is there anyone you would like to thank right now?
I would like to thank my family for all the support they give me and also I would like to thank my trainer and coach Dennis Dickau from Launch Pad Systems.