10 Questions with Jamie King
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.
Jamie is a multiple-time New Zealand champion across various divisions, current NZ & Commonwealth record holder and former World record holder. Among other things, he is known for never having physically failed a squat in his life.
Best lifts in competition:
300kg Squat / 165kg Bench / 318kg Deadlift | 775.5kg Total at 92.6kg
260kg Squat / 147.5kg Bench / 307kg Deadlift | 712kg Total at 82.4kg
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I'm Jamie Peter King (JPK) and I'm 26 years old. I grew up in sunny Invercargill, which seems to be strongly correlated to being a top male powerlifter in New Zealand. I now fulfil the stereotype of a young male in Christchurch lacking hair (albeit forced upon me by nature of inherited male pattern baldness). My professional career (yes, powerlifting is not and never will be professional - stop living a lie) is as a power electronics engineer designing solar inverters and energy solutions at the Christchurch research and development branch of an American company called Enphase Energy.
How did you start lifting weights, at what age and why?
I first started lifting weights in my final year of high school at 17 as an outlet for feeling alone and bullied throughout school. My first year was mainly comprised of messing around with machines, curls and not many compounds. Slowly I was introduced by the magnificent (for 2011) online resource of bodybuilding.com to the glorious movement of squats, with my first squat session involving 80kg for 5 sets of 5 reps. Ironically, I recall thinking after 2-3 sets "Damn, these are pretty taxing and make you quite puffed. I don't know why I'm doing this and if it's worth the effort."
Nearly a decade later and I'm still having the same thoughts on sets of 5s. Later on that same year I worked my way from the squat rack to deadlifts, where I found to my delight that thanks to my freakishly relatively long arms (my fingertips touch my kneecaps when I'm fully standing), I was naturally good at them. On one of my first sessions, I pulled 180kg weighing about 66kg. Furthermore, deadlifts looked cool, you felt powerful doing them and they weren't as taxing as squats.
At this point, I reached a crucial fork in the road. Pleased with the visible results of weight training, I could have then taken the Tim Lambesis route of steroid abuse and bodybuilding, eventually culminating in solicitation of murder blamed on said steroid abuse, or I could have chosen the masochistic yet high paying sport of powerlifting. Predictably for those who know me, I chose the latter.
What drew you to Powerlifting specifically?
The ability to input measured exact amounts of work and obtain equivalent measurable results as output, while being able to control a significant proportion of the environmental conditions to your advantage. My previous sporting backgrounds were in white water kayaking, ice hockey and field hockey, the former of which had a large degree of environmental factors influencing your instantaneous capabilities and enjoyment, while the latter two were team sports which did not mesh well with my independence. Being naturally strong in at least one lift (deadlift for me), definitely helped generate momentum behind my commitment to powerlifting in the first couple of years. Choosing attempts based upon your ability to predict outcomes of your performance under a given weight to a certain level of confidence is another exciting aspect.