One of Glencore’s Ravensworth Mine’s Open Cut Examiners (OCE) has just lifted nearly a tonne of weight. It wasn’t with a digger though, he used his human strength.
Max Jones recently won the Global Powerlifting Committee (GPC) Australian Nationals title and secured an Australian record.
The 30-year-old lifted the biggest total in the competition, 925 kg which comprised a 217.5 kg Bench Press, a 322.5 kg Deadlift and an Australian record 385 kg Back Squat.
Max has been powerlifting for five years after injury spelled the end of his rugby union career.
“I was playing in Sydney for the last five years of my footy career but each year I started to get pretty severe injuries. I had a knee and an ankle reconstruction pretty close together.
“I went back and played, then had a shoulder reconstruction and then in my last year of playing I copped a cork in my thigh and it developed into compartment syndrome which is very rare in itself, let alone for a guy in his 20s.
“That’s when they discovered I was an undiagnosed haemophiliac.”
So, Max gave up football and started lifting.
Even Max will admit he was a little arrogant when he started, entering himself into a novice competition even though he didn’t know what he was doing.
He reached out to Leroy Scott for some assistance and that coach still trains Max to this day at Hunter Strength and Performance at Beresfield.
“I entered my first sanction meet after training under Leroy for a while, did my first official competition in the GPC and won, so I competed at the Sydney Cup and at Nationals.
“I’ve always been strong, to be at this level though has taken me five years and I am still tweaking my technique.”
This year the 2023 GPC Nationals were held on Max’s doorstep in Newcastle in August.
At the competitions, athletes must accumulate the biggest total weight from a bench press, back squat and deadlift. The competitor that lifts the most in their weight category wins.
That’s where Max lifted his 925 kg total.
It’s not just the pleasure of being strong that Max gets out of powerlifting, there are well-being benefits too.
“I’m a huge advocate for mental wellness, I’m nearly an accredited coach with Polaris Coaching based in Newcastle – we give people the right tools to regulate the right emotions to deal with whatever life throws at them.
“I joined them about a year ago on my journey, then after a couple of months I wanted to give back to them.”
What he’s learnt at Polaris has also helped Max in his job at Ravensworth.
“I love being an OCE and I’ve worked hard to get it. I was a shot firer to start with and then I finally got to use my degree in engineering, then I got my OCE ticket and Ravensworth is my first OCE gig which is fantastic and they’re very supportive.
“I have big aspirational goals to go to senior management so I want to start studying for my Mining Engineering Manager’s qualification next year. I won’t quite have the eligibility yet because of my time served as an OCE, but at least I will be prepared.
“I think you should act like the position you want.”
When it comes to his powerlifting goals, Max just wants to go heavier.
“I want to get that world record squat which is 400 plus kilograms, so I would be the first Australian in the 110 kg weight class to do it and I want to get a 1000 kilo total which would put me in the top ten in the world of all time.”
Whatever Max does, it’ll be worth the weight…