Olympic Weightlifting Coach

Jo Taylor

Olympic Weightlifting Coach


• Cert 3 & 4 in Fitness

• Australian Weightlifting Federation/Sports Power Coach Level 1

• 7 yrs experience in Olympic Weightlifting and National Competitor

• NZSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor

olympic weightlifting and strength coach

Growing up, I was always a really active kid. My parents had me skiing pretty much as soon as I could walk. I also did gymnastics and I loved to dance, trying all the different kinds I could. In my late teens, I decided to try pole dancing. The level of strength you need to get good at pole dance led me to start lifting weights in the gym. I dabbled in a bit of bodybuilding and Powerlifting and then I discovered Olympic Weightlifting.

Olympic Weightlifting requires strength, explosivity, coordination, and mobility. I loved everything about it and was instantly hooked. Since then I've competed for the past 7 years and took part in one national Olympic Weightlifting competition in Australia.

Pursuing my love of skiing led me to become a New Zealand qualified ski instructor and teach for a ski school in Japan. This sparked the decision to become a qualified Personal Trainer, something I had considered for a long time, and an Olympic Weightlifting Coach. I wanted to follow my passion for training and teaching so pursuing a career in the fitness industry made complete sense for me.

I now coach a mix of Olympic Weightlifting and general strength training and I love to see people get strong and learn something challenging and exciting.

Jo's Faqs

What are the main olympic lifts?

There are two lifts - the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk which both go overhead using different methods. In competition, you get three attempts at each of the two lifts, with the goal of trying to get the best combined total weight you can. 

Do you need a coach for olympic lifting?

Olympic Weightlifting is a highly technical sport, so yes it’s really important to seek out a coach. A coach will be able to guide and teach you the technique, watch and provide important feedback and correction. A coach is really important in the sport as there is a high level of skill involved and it can be done incorrectly very easily, learning bad habits early on can be hard to get out of down the track. If anyone wants to progress and learn correctly then a coach is the way to go.

Is weightlifting good for weight loss?

Weightlifting absolutely has its place when weight loss is someone's main goal. Whilst cardio is really important in a weight loss journey, we also want our body to be strong and develop lean muscle mass for our overall health.

What's the difference between weightlifting and powerlifting?

The two sports often get mixed up. Powerlifting is a strength-only sport. It consists of three compound lifts - bench, squat, and deadlift. In competition, you get three attempts at each lift. The weights don’t go overhead in Powerlifting as it does in Olympic Weightlifting. Powerlifting moves very heavy weights slowly whereas Olympic Weightlifting is a speed and strength sport, it’s explosive.

Do the olympic lifts build muscle?

Among building speed, coordination, strength, and mobility, yes Olympic Weightlifting builds muscle. However, not all weightlifters will end up looking like a bodybuilder as hypertrophy is not the goal. But we do want to build strong muscles to help support ourselves under some big weights.

Can I get injured olympic lifting?

With any high-performance sport, there’s always the risk of injury. It can put a lot through the joints, but we are talking about elite athletes. Someone learning and training Olympic lifting as part of their fitness regime should have a coach, have good programming, warm up well, and do mobility work, then there is a lower chance of injuries occurring.

What are the main benefits of weightlifting?

Olympic lifting reinforces spinal postures, it teaches balance and coordination. It builds a strong back, legs, and core. It is not instant gratification, it takes a while to make progress and master the movements, so the sport teaches you patience. 

I also love that it's the body working as a whole rather than training separate muscles and body parts.

Is weightlifting good for beginners?

Before anyone starts learning Olympic Weightlifting, it is really important to do two things: have familiarity with the barbell, and go through a strength-building phase. These are important foundations to have before learning the technical lifts. So I definitely wouldn’t recommend learning the Olympic lifts if someone has not yet mastered a squat and deadlift.

How long does it take to learn weightlifting?

Weightlifting is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a highly technical sport so therefore it takes time to get good at it. But learning it is also a lot of fun and challenging. If you’re consistent with it then you can learn in a few weeks but it takes a long time to master it and lift heavy.