• North Shore Barbell

10 Questions with Carli Dillen

Updated: Mar 5

10 questions is a blog series hosted by North Shore Barbell aimed at giving exposure to some of New Zealand's top powerlifters & coaches.

* This edition of "10 Questions" was written during Level 3 lockdowns in New Zealand.

Carli has been one of New Zealand's top powerlifters, regardless of weight class for a number of years and is the current NZ record holder in the 63kg class for squat and total. Representing New Zealand a number of times, including 4 raw world championships, Carli most recently placed 8th at the 2019 Classic World Championships in Helsingborg Sweden - a class absolutely stacked with talent.

As well as being a great competitor, Carli works with and coaches a number of lifters herself and can often be seen with a large contingent of athletes at meets around Auckland.

Best lifts in competition:

145kg Squat / 80kg Bench / 177.5kg Deadlift | 402.5kg Total at 57kg

160kg Squat / 90kg Bench / 185kg Deadlift | 435kg Total at 62.6kg

Visit Carli's OpenPowerlifting profile for more information on his lifting history.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi my name is Carolina, but most people call me Carli. I was born in the Netherlands, but NZ has been my home since 1990.

I’m 37 years old… It sounds a lot older than I feel or act to be honest. Powerlifting keeps you young! I’ve convinced myself that my best years are still to come (when I finally enter Masters) so I’m even a bit excited about getting older.

I’m a full time in-person and online coach, focusing mainly on Powerlifting, Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition.

How did you start lifting weights, at what age and why?

My background before Powerlifting was 17 years in a martial art called Taekwon-Do, with lots of flying kicks, fast-paced stand up sparring and more. We did bodyweight conditioning but gym training was not yet a regular thing. In 2005 I had my first ACL reconstruction and rehab was not going well. I actually packed up my bags and flew to Europe after one very frustrating year of unsuccessful rehab. I needed a change of scenery and to try and fix my knee to be able to get back into training let alone the National Team. A good friend of mine was shocked we had no strength and conditioning in our training programme and taught me how to lift. I vividly remember my first ever deadlift session with him, December 2005 at the University of Limerick.

What drew you to Powerlifting specifically?

Fast forward a few years to 2013, I’d represented NZ at 4 World Champs for Taekwon-Do and won Gold Medals at 3 of them, but I was literally having knee surgery at a frequency of every 2 years… I’d also been doing CrossFit since late 2008, so I’d been training squats and deadlifts, not so much bench. I also got into Olympic lifting and competed in that for 2 years, but the impact forces of Taekwon-Do, CrossFit and Oly lifting was too much. I was spending more time taking anti-inflammatories and sitting with bags of ice on my knee than actually training.

My orthopedic sp