10 Questions with Jason Clarke
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.
Jason is one of New Zealand's most well-known powerlifting coaches and works with a number of the countries top lifters both in person at North Shore Barbell and online through his coaching service Precise Powerlifting Systems. As well as this, Jason is an active competitor in the 93kg class and works on the Auckland Powerlifting Association committee, helping put together competitions throughout the Auckland region.
Best lifts in competition:
222.5kg Squat / 155kg Bench / 290kg Deadlift | 667.5kg Total at 92.4kg
Tell us a bit about yourself
Kia Ora, my name is Jason Clarke, I'm 28 years old and reside in Auckland and always have. When life hasn't been turned upside down by a global pandemic I spend my days facilitating North Shore Barbell as one of the co-owners and coaching powerlifters online through Precise Powerlifting Systems, which essentially consists of me talking to myself/my computer for 6-8 hours a day.
How did you start lifting weights, at what age and why?
I started lifting in a gym at the age of 15 (13 years-ish ago) in order to gain some muscle and strength to perform better on the rugby field. Although the first few years of going to the gym were just random non-sensical training sessions it did bring me to the realisation that I enjoyed what I was doing in the gym far more than playing Rugby. Albeit maybe not the best training regime for some of the earlier years, I have pretty much gone to the gym 3-4x per week ever since I joined, with maybe a few months off here and there.
What drew you to Powerlifting specifically?
Funnily enough from my early exposures (west side etc.) I had always thought powerlifting seemed a little bit egotistical and overly dramatic until in ~2013 I read a copy of 5/3/1 which was left in the staff room of a gym I was working at. Initially I was a little sceptical of undertaking the programme but I had gotten a little sick of training for aesthetics so I though "fuck it, I'll give it a shot". I really enjoyed the way that 5/3/1 was structured in the sense you were essentially competing against your prior weeks rep work to best your E1RM, which was more than doable as a beginner.
From there, the objective nature of the sport and clear progressions/regression of strength have been what has kept me in powerlifting. Additionally striving for "optimal" technical proficiency is something I believe has kept me looking forward to each session with things to work on, albeit to my detriment at times. The community is definitely something that draws me to the sport and makes it more enjoyable, however, I think I would still train for powerlifting even if the community didn't exist.