West York Police Officer Sean Hightman recently set a weightlifting world record for his weight class, bench-pressing nearly 12 times his body weight.
The 179-pound York County officer lifted 785 pounds to set the bench-press world record.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen this time,” he told The York Dispatch. “My warmups went amazing, though. Everything fell in place.”
At the same time, Hightman received the Champion of Champions award — the highest prize at the event — at the 2022 International Powerlifting Association Pennsylvania State Championships for his feat.
Hightman, 35, lifted 2,100 pounds in total for his three lifts. He also deadlifted 570 pounds and squatted 745 pounds.
Hightman has balanced his passion for weightlifting with a full-time career as a police officer, spending countless hours in the gym.
The officer was overjoyed with his achievement.
“It’s a monumental achievement; it’s my first time,” Hightman said. “I knew I was close to setting a record.”
Hightman began his weightlifting journey in the 10th grade. He was only 98 pounds and 5 feet, 3 inches tall, but his competitive spirit was fierce.
His mother took him to a gym called Chaillet’s Private Fitness, where he met trainers Mark and Ellen Chaillet, who taught him how to lift.
“Sean has been coming here to the gym for a while and is a great athlete and a great wrestler,” Ellen Chaillet said. “I’ve watched him get stronger and rise to the top. He’s one of the best that we have.”
After pursuing strength training and wrestling for a while, it was in college when Hightman met the man who would perfect his bench-press technique — former powerlifter Jeff McVicar.
McVicar taught him how to carry weight under extreme pressure, as well as how to work with different types of equipment like shirts and belts to improve the bench-press.
“He doesn’t question anything. He just knows my background as a professional powerlifter, and he does just does as he is told,” McVicar said. “He has the ability to be an excellent student. He wants to learn, and he is willing to try about anything.”
His recent success has only motivated him further.
“Very few people can say they achieved that,” he said. “It makes me more motivated to keep pushing myself and make the number higher.”
His weightlifting hobby has also helped him in his profession as a police officer.
“I am not a big guy, but it gives me an advantage of controlling someone a lot larger than me if I have to,” he said.