Rio 2016



It was a great honour and privilege to be Australian Weightlifting Section Manager and Head Coach at the Olympics in Rio

It was interesting to compare London 2012 and Rio 2016 - London for me felt a bigger event not only from the coaching experience but also in the size of the venues, crowds and in fact every other matter. However I enjoyed watching sports in Rio more as the smaller venues enabled you to be closer to the action.

It was great to have the support of Shane and Jacquie while as I was there and the two athletes  Tia and Simplice represented Australia with great honour, now forever to be Australian Olympians.

2016 Rio Olympic weightlifting results


Rio 2016 Olympic Games Qualification Team Classification - 2016 Oceania Championships






To say it was an emotional and tense week at the Oceania championships was an understatement !

The coaches, team manager and athletes worked very well as a team to secure our two Rio nomination slots and also gave the Rio contenders the best chance under the circumstances to contend the sole male and female Australian Olympic Games nominations.

Full results






Tia had a very successful championships and secured the sole Rio nomination slot and broke the QLD Snatch record with an 85Kg snatch at 58kg and was the 3rd best female of the championships on Sinclair this gave her also the top female Australian Sinclair ranking this year.

Damo was very very close to getting ahead of Simplice to go to Rio but just missed 217kg on the jerk in an amazing display of competition lifting,  it was very tough on all concerned with the decision being so close (2 reds to 1 white) - but taking a positive out of this he is very close to the old best total and injury free

Mitch was also very close to 143 snatch at 85 (just losing behind) which would have been a new Qld record - he was a lot more relaxed at this major event than last time - I was just so proud that he has made it back to represent Australia after such a frustrating time last year with injury.





Australian International



The club hosted the Australian International at the end of March being an Aus team Olympic Qualifying Event and also last qualifying comp for a few major  internationals it was a major affair !
As usual Ian did a great job of running the comp and the club did a great job helping the QWA.

In the 58 Class
It was great to see Jess back in her first major competition since the Glasgow Games with her total going back up with each comp

In the 69 Class
Ebony did a PB Snatch of 81 and just missed getting 100 CJ with a elbow wobble - but that was enough to get a gold medal
Tessa for her first major competition did very well going for 6/6 and PB's in all lifts to grab silver in a close battle

In the 75 Class
Amie has been strugging with a knee issue which is on the mend but she still managed a PB snatch - by 4 and total by 3 - she is a great platform lifter and dedicated trainer and deserves these PB's

In the 75+ Class
Erin was also in great form also getting 6/6 and PB's in all lifts to get a bronze

In the 69 Mens division
Guyan did a PB CJ of 133 and equal PB total after some big PB's a few weeks ago

In the 77 Mens division
Ryley was very close to a 121 snatch PB but was down overall on total due to focusing on the Crossfit Opens
James was trying to Qualify for World Juniors - he had already done the qualifying total in Dec but I wanted to improve on that in this comp
He had a terrible run of training and sickness leading up to the event and the warmup was not great but managed to do 110 (second go) and 142 to do a kg over the qualifying total a VERY gutsy display of platform lifting.
Josh Mak who has come back from a back injury and also is studying hard in year 12 put in a solid 5/6 on the platform

In the 85 Mens division
I agonized about the starters for Mitch for a whole week - he had just managed 140 in training the week before but that was after missing as heap of snatches 133 upwards - 130 was his comp PB
but he would need 301 to be selected for the Oceania's so he had to get 140 to have a chance as 161CJ was going to be near limit.
I decided to see how the warmup was going and then start on 130 if all was ok - he went 130, 136 (new Qld record) 140 m then 156 , 161 for 3 Qld records  - 2 snatch and 1 total and a 11kg PB.
it was just an awesome display of lifting and great to see after a terrible second part of last year with injury.

In the 105+ division Damo was going for 385 to get ahead of Simplice for a number 1 Rio slot.
Unfortunately it was not his day - he missed his opener on 160 and his second attempt was back but fine and then he just dived under 165 and missed it - we decided to just go for 180 CJ to get a total in so he could get back into training ASAP
Jax has had a lot going on at the moment and his training has suffered  - he still managed a very respectable 286

Australian International Results Book


With major competitions like this it can all become rather stressful at times - luckily we have people like  these two lovely ladies at the club that  remind me to have a laugh and enjoy the sport :)



Crossfit Opens

A lot of the people I  coach have been taking part in the Crossfit Opens this month and its been great to follow their progress
Here is the custom leaderboard

There is a great article on Tia on the Crossfit Games site

“It was my first time actually going to the gym (Cougars) and I got to experience watching one of his athletes train,” Toomey said, describing watching Damon Kelly, ninth- and 16th-place finisher at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London, respectively. “I was in awe of just watching him and how fast he was with just moving the barbell, and how composed he was.”

“As soon as I left that gym that day, I was like, ‘Wow, Shane, I thought I'd try for (the Olympics in) sprints, but I really want to give the weightlifting a go,” she continued.


Angie and myself and some club members watched Tia do 16.5 at Reebok Crossfit Gold Coast - it was great to see her in action !!







In 2008 I was very lucky to go along to the first Crossfit Level 1 in Australia, it was very inspirational to listen to Greg and the other trainers

One of the best concepts I like is Greg discussing virtuosity and its something a need to remind myself as a coach, and this not only applies to the novice but also to the advanced lifter struggling with a point sometimes you need to go back and simplify the movement  to gain long term progress....

"In this 2005 open letter to CrossFit trainers, Coach Greg Glassman discusses the importance of virtuosity, defined in gymnastics as “performing the common uncommonly well.”

Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.

What will inevitably doom a physical training program and dilute a coach’s efficacy is a lack of commitment to fundamentals. Rarely now do we see prescribed the short, intense couplets or triplets that epitomize CrossFit programming. Rarely do trainers really nitpick the mechanics of fundamental movements.

I understand how this occurs. It is natural to want to teach people advanced and fancy movements. The urge to quickly move away from the basics and toward advanced movements arises out of the natural desire to entertain your client and impress him with your skills and knowledge. But make no mistake: it is a sucker’s move. Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client’s rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness.

There is plenty of time within an hour session to warm up, practice a basic movement or skill or pursue a new PR or max lift, discuss and critique the athletes’ efforts, and then pound out a tight little couplet or triplet utilizing these skills or just play. CrossFit trainers have the tools to be the best trainers on earth. We want virtuosity!!"

Greg Glassman



Year in review and World Championships,Pune,National Clubs, All Schools, Michael Keelan Shield, Australian Opens

Looking back on 2015

When I look back on 2015 its been a good year for the club with lots of new talented lifters joining  and lots of new juniors, while more long term members have kept on improving. The committee and especially Jimmy, Tony and Erika have brought different skills that both Angie and myself do not possess to Cougars and its really helped improve the club spirit.

For me its great to see that a lot of club members get together outside the club to enjoy themselves and also have a lot of fun together while training - after all that's why we do it don't we?

Also there has been a lot more discussion on lifting on social media (thanks to Martin and Leo and others) and the internet in general which is great for the sport and its good to see the AWF is getting out Ma Wenhui, former Head Coach of the Chinese national women’s team to work with us in January.





2015 World Championships in Houston



It was a great honour to be selected as a coach for the Australian Team for the 2015 World Championships.
I really enjoyed being at the event from watching the great lifting to being in the training hall to coaching out the back it was a great experience and one I shall treasure for a long time.
The team performed very well with everybody getting some sort of PB and Jenna getting 6/6.
Tia  did a PB snatch, CJ and total as a 58 and 4/6 lifts and had a good crack at 112 CJ and handled her 2nd major international very well


Commonwealth Championships Pune



Damo, James and Ryley lifted at this event
It was great to see James pip Aydan yet again and also Ryley do 5/6 in his first international



National Club Championships


Cougars winners of the National Club Championships
Ebony PB Snatch and Total by 2kg
Erin PB Total by 1kg
Harry PB Total by 4Kg
Jax PB Total by 3Kg
Guyan PB Snatch CJ and Total by 9Kg
And Damo 6/6 and his best total since the Games of 370Kg



All Schools Championship



St Lauries provided a great venue for the all schools and there was lots of good lifting and battles on the day
Alex Loft Pb Snatch, CJ and Total of 6Kg
Angus  PB Snatch of 6Kg
Eamon  PB Snatch CJ and Total of 22Kg
Harry PB Snatch CJ and Total of 4Kg and best U17 lifter
Jett PB Snatch Cj and Total of 4kg and best U15 lifter
Josh M PB snatch of 4Kg
Lincoln PB Snatch CJ and Total of 5kg
Matt PB snatch CJ and Total 11Kg
Michael PB Snatch CJ and Total of 11kg
Tashaun PB snatch CJ and Total of 6Kg


MK Shield


The MK results were combined with the Open results to deliver this years winners Ebony and James
The stand out performance was James Norman who did PB snatch of 5kg PB clean and jerk of 5Kg and PB total of 10Kg and A grade at 77 and qualified him to go to World Juniors in Georgia next year - I am glad I misunderstood what his PB snatch was in training :P
Alex Loft PB snatch PB CJ PB total 5kg
Celeste PB snatch PB clean and Jerk PB Total of 8Kg
Dan PB snatch PB CJ PB total 6Kg
Dave with some peer encouragement :) PB snatch PB CJ PB Total 12Kg
Eamon PB Snatch 2Kg
Lochlan PB Snatch PB CJ PB Total 6Kg
Paige PB Snatch PB CJ PB total 7Kg
Peter PB Snatch PB CJ PB total 9Kg
Quyen PB Snatch PB CJ PB Total 23Kg
Rowan PB Snatch PB CJ PB Total 6Kg
Stephen PB Snatch PB CJ PB Total 10Kg

Australian Opens



This event turned out to be much more fun than I thought it would be and its great to have another BW event on the calendar.

The stand out performance was from Tia who was due to start on 80Kg but missed 75kg 3-4 times in the warmup I took her down to 78, and  then 76 having only been successful with 70Kg out the back but then she proceeded to get 76,80, and 83 for a new PB ! - on the Clean and Jerks she started on 102 4kg above her previous starter at 58Kg and then jumped 9kg to 111kg and got that lift to move her into number 1 ranking position for the Rio Olympics with 1 more event to go also a Qld CJ record of 111kg and Total Record of 194Kg at 58Kg. She then cleaned 113 and missed the Jerk behind.  If anything demonstrates her toughness it is this competition.

Leanne PB Snatch CJ and Total 6kg 165kg at 69Kg and a swag of National masters records
Ebony PB Snatch  PB CJ  PB Total by 4kg  - 180Kg 69
Erin PB Snatch PB CJ PB Total 2Kg - 167 Kg- 75
Jax PB CJ 7Kg 169Kg PB Total 4kg 299Kg
Guyan PB Snatch, CJ Total 2kg 218Kg at 69Kg


2015 Nationals

Detailed Results

Qld Won both the Senior and Junior Team Female Shields and was in 2nd Place in both the Male Senior and Junior Team Shields
Erika (coached by Angie) won best Female and was the first Australian female to do a double bodyweight CJ of 106Kg and Leo Lark (coached by Craig)  won best Junior Male

Mary Barter- National Senior Champion 48Kg - 1kg PB CJ and Total
James Norman - National Junior and Senior Champion 69kg  - 2kg PB snatch 3kg PB total
Josh Mak 6th Junior  69Kg
Ashley Adams 9th 85Kg
Kris Corrie 10th 85Kg 2kg PB total
Ebony Gorincu - National Senior Silver Medalist 1kg PB Snatch
Nanda Stoltz - National Senior Bronze Medalist
Leanne Knox 5th  - Masters 40-44 Snatch CJ and Total Records
Lydia Olsen - National Junior Champion 75Kg
Luke Gardner  - National Senior Silver Medalist 94kg
Regan Hams - National Senior Bronze Medalist 105Kg 1kg PB CJ and Total
Damon Kelly - National Senior Champion 105+Kg  and 2nd Best Overall lifter
Jackson Solofa 4th 105+ 2kg PB Snatch and Total

Video Interviews
Damon Kelly
James Norman
Mary Barter





The majority of people tend to only see the fabulous outcome that a successful person has achieved throughout their life.  These achievements blind us so that we often are not even aware of the huge efforts that were necessary to make these accomplishments possible. 

The next time you see a successful person you could try to direct your focus to the necessary efforts that this person had to make in order to achieve his accomplishments. If you are willing to make similar commitments and efforts you have the chance to become as successful as them.





2015 Crossfit Games

Congratulations to Tia Clair Toomey, Shane and CoachRx on her second place at the Crossfit Games and Rookie of the Year and also the first Australian ever to get a podium finish

Listen to her interview about the games







In Memoriam

Thanks to Robert Kabbas for this article


Should you wear lifting belts

This is from Physio/CrossFit Box Owner/Coach/Lifter  - April King

“Should you wear lifting belts? Wrist wraps? Hand guards? Knee sleeves?
These are questions I am regularly asked by my CrossFit clients so I thought I would write a quick blurb about the first one (the weightlifting belt).

The short answer (in my opinion) is definitely yes but I'm sure you'll find others who don't agree. Nonetheless, here is what I think and why.

If you are squatting, pressing or deadlifting >80 to 85% of your 1RM you should consider putting on your belt because it will help to:
a) increase intra-abdominal pressure
b) support the lumbar spine in a compressive way
c) give feedback regarding your spinal posture during the lift.

The way I see it, at heavy weights, it makes sense to support your body in every way you can to minimise or reduce the risk of injury. But please note, wearing a weightlifting belt will not:
a) take over the job of your "core musculature", i.e. your deep spinal or deep abdominal muscles or
b) make you stronger

So putting on a belt does not mean that you can suddenly increase your weights and lift heavier. You actually have to get stronger to do that, because despite the advantages it might give you, it is not a guarantee against hurting yourself. “



Some people are buying Creatine Hydrochloride, its a waste of money according to Dr Greg Haff, creatine monohydrate is a better product - you can calculate dosage on this page -



Harry - Commonwealth Youth Games

Congratulations to Harry on making the Australian Team for the Commonwealth Youth Games


Tia Crossfit Games 

Great interview with Tia-Clair Toomey in WodLife

Tia-Clair Toomey will be competing at the Crossfit Games
The CrossFit Games will start at Hermosa Beach California on Wednesday, July 22 - You can watch on ESPN via Foxtel or the Crossfit Website
All the best to Tia and her Crossfit Coach CoachRx


Thanks Brisbane Barbell for the photo!

2015 Pacific Games

15 years ago I interviewed Mike Keelan one of Australia's best coaches and coach educators and asked him what he most enjoyed about being a coach and he said "Seeing the success of his athletes" - now at the time I did not really feel the same myself, it was not why I enjoyed being a coach.

But now as I warmed up Mary Barter at the Pacific Cup trying to hide from her the tears in my eyes from the emotion of just thinking how far she had come in now representing Australia at this event I really understood what he meant - and it was a great feeling !



Mary with here 4 Silver Medals in the 48




Tia-Clair Toomey with her 4 silver medals in the 58




Mitch with his very gutsy 125 snatch to secure Bronze



A special moment of the Games for me was chatting to Chief de Mission - Dual Olympic gold medalist -   Malcolm Page
It was interesting to hear his journey in his sport and his views on improving the sport in Australia. - Malcolm's a unique
and special person and it was a privilege to meet him.


Australia won both overall Senior Team cups




The full results can be found here




Qld State Championships - a great 2 days of lifting


It was just a great State championships with lots of close battles and some awesome lifting !!

Maria Barter Gold 53  - PB Snatch and Total
Georgia Gaffney 58 Gold Junior Bronze Senior  - PB Snatch, CJ and Total by 7kg
Tia-Clair Toomey Gold 63  - PB Snatch and Total
Leanne Knox Silver 63
Nanda Stoltz Gold 69  - PB Snatch, CJ and Total by 13kg
Ebony Gorincu Silver 69 - PB Snatch, CJ and Total by 4kg
Emma Zawila 69 Gold Junior Bronze Senior PB Snatch
Lydia Jayne Olsen Gold Junior 75 - PB Snatch, CJ and Total by 6kg
Lucy Graham Gold 75+

Best Junior Female - Georgia Gaffney


Harrison Gaffney Gold Junior
James Norman 69 Gold - PB CJ
Josh Mak 69 Silver Junior  - PB CJ and Total by 3
Mitchell Delbridge 85 Silver
Shane Orr 85 Bronze PB CJ and Total by 6
Luke Gardner 94 Gold
Liam Hadfield Bronze 105 PB Snatch and Total by 3
Damon Kelly Gold 105+
Jackson Solofa Silver 105+ - PB Snatch, CJ and Total by 11kg

Best  Senior Male - Damon Kelly

Full Results


Thank you Brisbane Barbell for the great photos !



World Juniors and National Masters

Congratulations to James Norman 69Kg who at his first World Juniors in Poland did  6/6 lifts and
PB Snatch 103 by 1kg
PB Clean and Jerk of 135kg by 5kg
PB Total by 6.

Its a mark of his character how James has come back from a flat period in his career to pull out such a performance on the world stage.

Great photos by  Gregor Winter (All Things Gym)

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National Masters

Congratulations  Leanne Knox who at the National Masters won a gold in the 40 to 44 category and was best lifter in the 40-45 category and overall best female lifter of the event !!
She now leads the Nationals masters rankings which contains an impressive number of QLD athletes - Also thank you to Linz and Jenny  who did a great job with the coaching in what can be a VERY hard coaching gig !



Tia-Clair Toomey and Andrea Miller Crossfit Pacific Regionals 2015



Angie and myself headed to Woolongong to watch Tia-Clair Toomey and Andrea Miller and Andrea complete at the 2015 Crossfit Pacific Regionals.We had great seats right next to the competition area and really enjoyed  watching the individual events.

My heart was in my mouth wondering how Tia and Andrea would go snatching directly after the handstand walk - I was hoping that they had not bitten off too much in their weight selection - but they nailed their 80Kg lifts with Tia doing a "competition PB". and tied for second place in that event.


I started working with Andrea in 2012,  her Crossfit coach Rudy Nielsen  was very supportive in her working on an weightlifting program and she was unfortunate to miss out on a NZ Commonwealth Games Weightlifting Team slot in 2014.

She did very well at the event and came 8th overall even though her preparation had not been the best and an inner ear issue effected her on some events, she is  one of the unluckiest athletes I have worked with and I hope things turn round for her as she is such and kind and hard working athlete with a great supportive partner - Regan Hams.


My association with Tia started in Oct 2013 after the Again Faster Semper Paratus Comp when I started helping her the technique and weightlifting programming.

After she competed at the Commonwealth Games Trials in 2014 I really felt that it would help if she had a specific experienced Crossfit coach, I suggested a few names and she chose Coach Rx. We all met as a group for the first time at Cougars in 2014 and starting planning along with her partner Shane how we would work together.

After the 2014 Crossfit regionals her niggling back pain started to become really bad and a scan identified a stress fracture in her back.
We got the physio Andrew McGough  to then plan her 12 weeks progress back to full health with CoachRx programming just enough to allow the healing to occur and prevent her going mad with boredom :)

She then starting working on mainly a weightlifting program with some input from CoachRx until the end of 2014 when she made her first Australian Representative spot at the Pacific Cup in New Caledonia.

Then CoachRx took over the programming up to the Regionals with me making a few suggestions on what I would like in it.

As Shane said after her 3rd place at Regionals its been a team effort and it been great to work with CoachRx and Shane and Tia.
Above all its been the huge commitment from Tia  to do the 6h drive from Gladstone for coaching and to give up her shift work job so she could focus on being an athlete.

Without a supportive partner like Shane who also now is a great technique coach I do not think it would have been possible.

July is now going to be a huge month -  she is off to PNG to compete as part of an Australian Olympic Committee Team in the Pacific Games and then a few weeks later off to represent the Pacific region at the Crossfit Games