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  • Writer's pictureNorth Shore Barbell

10 Questions with Joseph Whittaker

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

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

Joseph Whittaker is one of New Zealand's strongest Powerlifters, regardless of federation. With NZ's biggest ever raw squat (in knee sleeves) and total under his belt and numerous records within NZPF & WPNZ, Joe is truly a powerlifter you should be following!

Best lifts in competition:

383kg Squat / 232.5kg Bench / 350kg Deadlift | 965.5kg Total at 136kg

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


Tell us a bit about yourself

Better known as Joe I’m 34 from the winterless north Whangarei, I’ve been in the painting trade for 20 years now as an industrial spray painter.


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

I started lifting weights for the first time end of 2012 after tearing my right calf for the 6th time in pre-season for rugby 🤦‍♂️.

Joe squatting at the World Powerlifting Shanghai FIBO Expo 2019 - He won best lifter at this meet.


What drew you to Powerlifting specifically?

To be honest it was a poster I seen on the wall at the gym I was training at, I got in touch with some local lifters and went and gave it ago!

From the first training session I was hooked and well I guess the rest is history.


Who or what are your biggest influences when it comes to lifting and anything related to it?

Reuben Simanu. When I looked up the records in my weight class his name was all over them, I reached out to him and he became not only my lifting mentor but a close friend, the thing that stood out the most when talking to Reuben was how humble he was talking about what he had achieved in the sport of powerlifting

Joe's mentor and close friend, Reuben Simanu.


What’s your best lifting memory or moment?

Would have to be setting the biggest classic/raw squat record and the biggest drug free total in NZ powerlifting - classic/raw or equipped.

The squat was 330kg when I first broke it and now sits at 383kg and the total at 965.5kg

Joe's famed 383kg Squat at NZ Record Breakers 2017


What has been your biggest lifting fail?

Bombing out at worlds 2018 it was the hardest thing to come to grips with but then was one of my biggest lessons I’ve learned in my journey to achieve my goals.


What are your goals and what do you want to achieve as a Powerlifter?

Current goals:

#1 Total 1000kg raw as a -120 or SHW

#2 dropping down a weight class to the -120kg

#3 take the world record squat and total


What do you think that we can do in NZ to make Powerlifting more popular and grow participation?

Keep pushing the positives about lifting and the community that’s involved and keep pushing drug-free sports.


What is your “guilty pleasure” exercise?

Leg extensions. I get rather sadistic with them and I’m quite happy to sit on the machine for as many sets of 20 double or single leg or alternating between both 😂


Kiss, marry, kill - Squat, Bench & Deadlift and why?

Kiss; Bench, Marry; Deadlifts it’s the long game and of course, kill squats.


Thanks to the team at NSBB for asking me to be apart of their bio, everyone keep training hard and keep up the good fight building the wonderful sport of powerlifting!

Make sure you're following Joe on Instagram @whittakerpowerlifting


After some new Powerlifting Gear and live in Australia or New Zealand?

Head to and use the code NSBB2021 for 10% off A7 Equipment

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