Unchained Fitness is delighted to present your with our colour contributor, Sean Brennan. Sean goes by the nickname “Maxer”, because he performs only to the maximum every time he’s in the gym, or in the ring (I can speak from experience having trained with him for years). Sean offers a fantastic insight into how to train with great physical and mental intensity, and for this reason we are delighted for him to pass on the best of his training tips to our readers here. You will be reading a lot about his training programmes for developing strength and explosiveness here.
I have always been a sports fanatic, and from an early age played everything I could. I mostly sank my teeth into soccer and gaelic football before starting professional wrestling at 15. Without a doubt scoccer and gaelic football prepared me physically and co-ordination wise for pro wrestling – Sean Maxer Brennan
How do you know Kieran from Unchained Fitness?
I meet Kieran from our old gym back in Ireland called Naas Health and Fitness, which more often than not was like a social club more than a gym. From there we became great friends and would often socialise over a few pints of Guinness.
What are the athletic qualities it takes to be a wrestler?
Firstly in wrestling before anything else, fitness is crucial. On days we would normally do an hour to an hour and a half of cardio, involving full body workout ranging from thousands of hindu squats to hundreds and hundreds of push ups. The reason for this is to get the body used to fatigue and to push through that barrier, becuase in the last minute of a match if you cant lift an opponent overhead for a safe slam, you will injure yourself and more importantly your opponent. We also teach rolls, dive rolls, flips, cartwheels, handstands etc. despite what some people’s image of pro wrestling being two fat guys rolling around in underwear, it is one of the most athletic sports, especially now more than ever and these are just some of the basics people need. Like any sport co-ordination is crucial.
What is your personal fitness philosophy?
People ask me for advice all the time or give me advice that they’ve been given by somebody who has never trained athletically a day in their life. Training wise I always say just be consistant, a training programme is of no use when days are being missed. Sports wise, set goals, work with a good coach who has experience to help reach these goals. Also watch the best, study from the best of today and past for tips and motivation.
Due to its physical nature, wrestlers often incur injuries. Can you tell us about your injuries, and how you have managed them mentally?
Again the perception of pro wrestling is somewhat laughable, however even though the outcome may be pre-determined, once the bell rings the action is 100% full on. Every time a match is over you feel like being tackled by the whole team of Dallas Cowboys. I have been lucky enough in my career to avoid serious injuries, although as we speak I have a torn right rotator cuff. I have known others with everything to blown out legs, torn biceps, torn eye lids to a broken neck. For me injuries are the worst thing about any sport. Sports athletes don’t want to sit at home not doing some sort of training and being out of action. The thought alone of the work that they are going to have to do to get back to the previous level they were at is always on the mind. The one thing I say to anybody injured is that in any sport injuries will occur, it’s unavoidable. The time out injured must be spent staying positive, do the rehab and get back on tack as soon as the injury allows to heal. Above all else stay positive, injuries will happen to us all.
You have travelled the world in training and competition. Is there a big difference in the training philosophy in Ireland compared to Japan for example.
I was lucky enought to be trained by Paul Tracey and Fergal Devitt. Two guys who travelled the world wrestling. In the later years Fergal had moved to Japan in 2005 and became one of the best wrestlers in the world if not the very best. So I was very lucky to have been thought the Japanese style very early. So in our gym we kept training the same way ever since. The Japanese style. The Japanese style is full on, as they say in Japan strong style. The kicks are full on, the elbows forearms and the whole in ring product. In training is extremely difficult, but the one thing above all else the Japanese look for which in any sport is crucial……..heart. They don’t care if a genetically gifted athlete walks in and does three thousand squats, they look for the one guy who is struggling and who never quits.
You were invited to compete in Japan full – time. Can you tell us a little about that experience, and what did you learn from it?
Japan for any pro wrestler is the ultimate experience and the level to get to. It’s treated as a sport, and has the utmost respect from the Japanese people. It has thought me to stay sharp, stay fit and be on top of my game. The wrestling itself is the best in the world and rightly so. The wrestlers give 100% each and every night and are some of the best athletes I have had the pleasure of working with.
Great athletes, are they made or born?
In professional wrestling, I look for the following athletic qualities: power, strength, conditioning, flexibility and co-ordination!
All these qualities intertwine with one another for an overall product in contact sport, such as wrestling, football, boxing, rugby etc. I have wrestled with the very best wrestlers in the sport and each one has these physical attributes in abundance. They did not aquire these traits over night, they were born with them. However not everyone are genetically gifted, and even the best have to hone their skills and perfect their craft. Like any sport and in my experience it takes years to perfect these skills. Day in day out training and practise. Their is no simple answer only consistency with perfecting your craft weather it be on the tennis court or in the gym.
Aside from physical qualities mental preperation is just as important. For me being mentally prepared is just as important than in ring training for weeks prior. If I know I’m not in the zone like any other athlete this is when injuries occur. If I do not give 100% to each and every movement, likewise to a rugby or Football player, injury will occur. Room for error will be left. Also walking away from a loss on the court or in the ring or on the pitch is just as important how you get over this defeat and come back stronger. I know if I have a bad match or if I make the minor of mistakes in a match I will grill myself for days. It’s only natural. But it’s the strength and heart of the athlete who comes back stronger and better than before. This is the making of elite athletes.