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Silverman Snatches Silver at Weightlifting Champs

November 2008

Silverman Snatches Silver at New Zealand National Weightlifting Champs

A perfected ‘snatch’, ‘clear’ and ‘jerk’ enabled Phillip Silverman to take out silver in the Olympic Super Heavy Weights (Senior) category at the New Zealand National Weightlifting Championships held Saturday 25 October at Auckland’s Millennium Stadium.

A competitive weightlifter and Exercise Science Tutor at Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), Phillip explains Olympic Weightlifting is a bit different from standard weights. “There are specific moves called the ‘snatch’, ‘clear’ and ‘jerk’ and there is a greater focus on speed and technique.”

According to Phillip the sport is often misunderstood, and it’s benefits under represented, “as people often think it involves a lot of strength training, but often what people don’t associate with the sport is the speed involved. For example, testing has revealed that weightlifters have comparatively faster movements than sprinters over 30m.”

Phillip has been involved in the sport for more than 18 years, discovering an interest in weightlifting at a young age. “I first approached the YMCA at the age of 11, but was told I was a bit too young, and I should come back in a few years. So I waited then picked it up when I was 16,” said Phillip.

He spent years training in the Hutt Valley and went on to represent New Zealand in the junior world champs in 1994 and at the Commonwealth Games in 1996, placing 6th. He has since travelled to Indonesia, Australia and Samoa taking part in international competitions.

While passionate on the subject, his commitment to the sport was tested for a time, when working long hours as a film set builder. “It came to the point where it was the job or the sport”, said Phillip, “luckily I found a way to do both”. Phillip undertook a Diploma in Exercise Science Studies at WelTec in 1996 and worked in health and fitness roles where his weight training was encouraged and supported as an area of professional expertise. He then went on to complete a Masters in Health Science (Rehab).

In 2004 Phillip returned to WelTec, this time as an Exercise Science tutor specialising in resistance training and exercise therapy. He speaks positively about the future of the health and fitness industry and the opportunities it provides for graduating WelTec Exercise Science students.

“The health and fitness industry is growing both in size and variety, there’s a huge range of roles out there that people don’t even know about. We’ve had students who’ve gone on to work in the fields of nutrition, physical conditioning, personal training, community health and assist with physio therapy and sports physio - and from all accounts they’re doing really well out there. ”

“We hear great reports back from gyms and other industry employers. Employers have told us that they appreciate the combination of theory and hands on training our students have. Thanks to the practical component it takes them less time to come up to speed when entering the workforce.”

“The work we do is also significant to the future health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Trends such as an aging population and increasing rates of child obesity means the health and fitness industry will have an important role to play in improving the quality of life of Kiwis in the years to come.”


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