Hello! I am Court, girl boss at and head coach of, Aotearoa Strong Gym.
I’ve been competitive powerlifting for over 6 years. I’ve competed Nationally and Internationally. I have held numerous New Zealand records, won a National title and at the World Champs placed 3rd.
My best lifts are a 182.5kg squat, 105kg bench press and a 190kg deadlift in the 82.5kg class.
My sporting background is varied, I tried lots of different sports but struggled to find one that worked for me. I played tennis for many years, hockey and gymnastics. In my twenties I was training regularly at the gym but was in the cardio rut; back to back aerobic classes on very little food saw me frustrated with my results. After the birth of my daughter I struggled with Post Natal Depression and after hearing the benefits of weight training I decided to step off the treadmill and into the squat rack.
Being new to the sport and unsure of what I was doing I was confused by lots of well meaning but conflicting (and sometimes poor) advice. Although I made great progress and continued to PR at the gym I was plagued with a back injury that refused to go away. Over the last 2 years I’ve worked with some of NZ’s top sports doctors and physios and have successfully rehabbed what was considered an injury only able to be fixed with surgery. This process has helped reaffirm to me the kind of coach that I am and what lifters should be expecting from their coaches.
The most important thing about powerlifting is moving the weight safely; this starts well before you even get under the bar. Breathing and bracing is one of the most commonly skipped parts of learning to powerlift and even the most seasoned lifter can upskill in this area. I don’t believe that there is one ideal way to perform a lift. As a coach you should be able to look at your lifter and help them to move the weight the safest, most powerful, and most effective way they can. One style of lift does not fit all!
I’ve got a keen interest in programming and I like to challenge the normal and accepted programming styles. Science is advancing and challenging our ideas of programming and your lifting can and should be positively challenged by these advancements! Recovery is often fluffed over in training programs but things like you personal life, your hobbies and your work should be factors in your programming. As should injuries and areas of weakness. The body is amazing, it can move weights and function in everyday life with weaknesses and injuries, but it’s not happy doing so. A happy body is a strong body, you don’t want to suffer through back pain and the like and you shouldn’t have to!
Now I can talk all about how I see myself as a coach but the real deal is what my lifters think! You can read what my team has to say about my coaching here.
Here’s some footage of my top lifts at the GPC World Champs. My squat was a 2.5kg PB and my deadlift was a 12.5kg PB!