USAPL-NY would like to spotlight some of the stand-outs in the state. We will feature a new lifter each month, and ask them some random questions to get some insight into what makes them tick…..
This month’s featured lifter is Sean Noriega.
My name is Sean Noriega. I am a sophomore in college at MIT. I hail from Long Island in New York and compete in powerlifting at 83 kg in the junior division. I hold the junior and open NYS records for Squat (255 kg), Bench Press (170 kg), Deadlift (287.5kg) and total (707.5kg).
A little about Sean
Home City: Dix Hills
Schools: Half Hollow Hills West High School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Question and Answer time!!
USAPL-NY: What got you interested in Powerlifting?
Sean Noriega: Since I was a little kid, I was always fascinated with strength. My dad was a bodybuilder and we always watched World’s Strongest Man on ESPN every December. I played baseball all my life and was always the strongest kid on my team, but when high school rolled around, strength training needed to become a primary focus. I started lifting for baseball and ended up falling in love with the squat and deadlift. The rest is history.
USAPL-NY: Where was your first meet?
SN: My first meet was about 10 minutes way from my house. It was a local IPA meet.
USAPL-NY: What have you learned since that first meet?
SN: So much, I can’t even begin to name them all. The first and most important one is how to program and peak properly. Being a novice, you can pretty much do anything to get stronger. Now it is so much more fine-tuned to make sure you are spot on come meet day. Another thing I learned was attempt selection. Back then I picked an opener as something I’ve tripled and then went based on feel after that. Now the process is more calculated. Most important thing I have learned for meet day is staying hydrated and keeping a level head. I came out guns blazing every attempt in my first meet and burned out pretty quickly. Now I am much more level-headed and spend time eating, drinking and focusing up between attempts, and let it all out when I need to.
USAPL-NY: What goals do you have for the future?
SN: My goal this year is to place top 3 in the Junior 83kg division at Raw Nationals. I will have a ton of competition, but if I can stay healthy and endure a solid training cycle with my coach Joey Franzo, then I think I have a good shot. Long term, I would like to be on the world stage at IPF Worlds and eventually be a contender for the 83kg class.
USAPL-NY: What is your favorite lift and why?
SN: My favorite lift is the squat. It has historically- although not anymore- been my strongest lift, but it is still so exhilarating for me. The adrenaline rush I get when I am underneath the bar is unlike anything else. You have to channel everything in you to stay tight and keep gravity from stapling you. There is no better feeling than grinding out your third attempt squat.
USAPL-NY: What is your least favorite lift and why?
SN: Bench Press. Although I have made a ton of progress on it in the past year (325 to 380 lbs.), it is just a less athletic and aggressive movement. The fact that you are laying down combined with the fact that my bench press relies heavily on technique creates a more calm and meticulous attitude toward the lift.
USAPL-NY: Do you follow a specific training program? And if you do what is it?
SN: Yes. I have a coach Joey Franzo with whom I have been working for the past year and a half. We utilize block periodization and a higher volume/frequency style of training, specifically when prepping for a meet.
USAPL-NY: Do you lift as part of a team? Who are they and how did you become part of that group?
SN: Yes. I lift as a member of Team Joey Flexx. Joey Franzo founded the team and coaches numerous lifters at Barbell Brigade as well as dozens of others across the country. I found Joey on Instagram, and I think what lured me in about him is that his coaching services weren’t spammed and so self promoting like some other people’s. He was humble, honest, and displayed so many videos of his clients lifting, and it was clear how proud he was of all of them. I don’t know what made me go with him, but I had a hunch that he was a sincere and passionate guy. I could never look back. He is an incredible coach and one of my best friends.
USAPL-NY: What advice would you give any new lifter young or old?
SN: Find a program and STICK WITH IT. I am not saying just any program; ask friends who are knowledgeable and direct to reputable sources, but a huge problem with people who are just starting out is that they are constantly switching back and forth between programs and lose consistency. Trust in the process and you will progress. Testing strength repeatedly does not build strength. Many novices get bored with training cycles and constantly want to max. While this may work in the short run because you are still growing more efficient at the movement patterns and gaining muscle more quickly, it will NOT work in the future and could lead to development of bad motor patterns or even injury. Make sure you are doing the lifts properly, there are plenty of lifters on youtube and social media who have content explaining the proper mechanics. Do not be afraid to ask for help. People in the lifting community love helping people get better and if you are too proud to ask for a helping hand, you may be limiting yourself.
USAPL-NY: Tell us something about you that others in the PL world don’t know about you?
SN: I used to play baseball until my freshman year in college and acted for several years in dramas..