Powerlifter breaks 'beefcake' stereotype

  • 22/05/2013

Palmerston North's Hayden Pritchard is proof not all weightlifting stereotypes are true.

Far from communicating in grunts, the World Championship-bound powerlifter is a scientist.

Pritchard uses his knowledge to his advantage, but mixes it with some old-fashioned methods. Pritchard and his training partners use the garage for lifting weights. Pritchard is a human performance lab manager at Massey University, but prefers his garage to flash gyms.

"I think some of the guys call them 'shiny land'," says Pritchard. "You want to feel comfortable working out here. But when you're doing this sort of lifting it's not about comfort, it's about pushing yourself and stepping up to the next level."

It's a far cry from the technology the 24-year-old uses at work. But he does use his first-class honours in sport and exercise science to perfect training plans and techniques.

"I've gained a lot of wisdom from my exercise physiology, learning how the body adapts and how to change volume and intensity in order to get that peaking correctly for the meets," he says.

It'll come in handy as he prepares for June's Raw Powerlifting World Champs in Russia, where he hopes to come top eight in the under 93kg class.

Last year he was the Oceania champion at under 83kg and recently set personal bests, deadlifting 277.5kg, squatting 260kg and benching 150kg.

Training partner Jono Parsons and women's heavyweight world champion Sonia Manaena make up the team.

Parsons, who also studied sport and exercise science, is in the junior under 120kg class. He plans on bettering his Oceania champs lift and breaking his category's deadlift world record.

"My best on that day was 310kg," says Parsons. "I've done a little bit more in training, so hopefully unless it gets broken again before then anything over 320kg, we'll take it."

Regular drug testing ensures the only assistance they get comes from braces and fellow competitors, further breaking stereotypes.

"You expect these guys to be big and strong and nasty, but they're actually all friendly and helpful and supportive," says Pritchard.

It's a culture that spreads to Pritchard's garage as he mixes the old and new school in search of success.

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source: newshub archive