Arthur Interviews Trevor Naughton

Arthur talks powerlifting, hard work and hard rest with Trevor Naughton


Arthur: Trevor, delighted that you agreed to do this interview and I’m very excited to hear what you have to say. However, not everyone reading this will know you or your background so can you fill me in on who exactly is Trevor Naughton?

Trevor:I am the owner of cork strength and performance centre, head coach for the cork city powerlifting club (and a powerlifter myself although not near the level of those that I train) as well as strength and conditioning coach for the cork admirals American football team and various individual athletes from different backgrounds.

Arthur: Tell me about the gym you run, Cork Strength and Performance Centre? How does it operate and who is it suitable/unsuitable for?

Trevor: The cork strength and performance centre is I believe adequately described by its name. It is a facility with the aim of improving strength and performance, we are very focused on improving health through strength.

We have two main fields of focus in the gym. The first is performance based strength for athletes and the second being rehabilitation and prehabilitation for athletes and the general public, we work very closely with physios to ensure that post physio we get people back stronger then they were before and ensure that repeat injury is less likely.

I'm not going to pretend that it's a gym suitable for everybody, put simply everyone is welcome but the gym is for those with goals of health and strength if you want to be stronger, healthier and move better we are the place however on the other side if you want to lose weight look good and go to the gym so you can tell people you've been to the gym we are likely very unsuitable, there are hundreds of trainers and facilities who make that their market, but that's not us.

The clientele vary quite a bit with men and women from 16 to 60+ with different goals but everyone has one thing in common, they are in the gym to be better not to look better.


Arthur: Tell me about your career in Powerlifting as both a competitor and a coach?

Trevor: I've only been powerlifting for 4 or 5 years and was a competitive lifter as a junior (mostly due to the much smaller pool) , though I was never particularly great by any stretch of the word. As a coach I have brought many up far beyond my level, we have had many national and international records in various classes as well as numerous top 3 finishes across all classes.

Arthur: As a coach what do you see are some common issues with a lot of lifters in their training? Be as detailed as you like here?

Trevor: If you are easily bored you might want to skip this part.

There are a lot of mistakes I see regularly, I'll start with beginners. When they start there is an endless quest to find the magic exercise and program that will have them be a top level lifter in 6weeks and so they keep jumping from program to program and waste a lot of valuable time; when it comes to training the basics will be the best place to start,  if you want to be stronger and better at powerlifting just practice and train the power lifts, squat, bench and deadlift once we have them consistent and safe with good form start adding weight and additional exercises but know that there is no exercise better to bring your squat up than the squat and when it comes to programming know that almost all established programs work but give it time, in 2013 I gathered as many training logs as I could get my hands on to find what were the most common routes to progress (unfortunately I didn't learn much)  but what really stuck out is that if you keep changing you will never get enough momentum to improve, if you start lifting you'll get stronger if you are consistent in how you train you will make a lot of progress.

On the other side we have the experienced and advanced lifters.

They make as many but very different mistakes it's hard to let go when something has worked for so long but if you do what you've always done you'll get what you always got, that works in two ways if you are making progress with a specific style of training and programming then keep it up and don't try to fix what isn't broken. Now if you stop making progress on something that has worked for so long then you will need to make changes (watching someone repeat smolov because it worked really well first time round is heartbreaking when they keep trying but make no progress,) if something has worked chances are it still can but adjustments will need to be made; change of assistance work or volume is where I usually go first, small changes each and every time to measure progress.

Now that is the programming mistakes, lifting mistakes are just as common at all levels.

First is breathing and it's a quick fix. When you are lifting stop gulping air in to your chest, we use air to increase pressure and protect your back breath into your belly, use that to get tighter. Breathing out can really help but not when it's done improperly, if you breath out as you are moving a weight it should be short, sharp and tight, you should still have a large amount of air in when you've finished a rep.

The next is bracing, kind of hard to get across in writing but put basically if you can't take a punch in the gut while squatting or deadlifting without getting winded your abs are too loose, brace for a punch and for the love of all the lifting gods stop sucking your abs in this is not how you engage the abs it is how you injure your back just stop it...... Please!


Arthur: You are also a national referee for the IDFPA Trevor. What are some common mistakes you see in (particularly new) competitors on the day of a meet? Any advice you would give to new competitors before their first meet?

Trevor: Forgetting commands is the main issue for new lifters I've seen as a referee, as a coach it's cutting in to their first competition, don't go in cutting weight, you will be strongest at your walking weight.


Arthur: What are your plans for the near future, either in Powerlifting or in your business endeavors?

Trevor: At the moment I have one main goal and that is to create a collective of coaches and lifters and coaches that are all about learning and improving lifting in Ireland that is why we have the Irish Training Exchange it is my major goal and focus for 2016.

I have a few lifting goals but they are my own.

I aiming to have as many as lifters as possible competing at the wdpf world full power this year.

Arthur: I ask this one a lot but I think it has to potential to offer a lot of good information and perspective from experienced people. Are there any mistakes you have made in the past (in training, coaching or business) that if you could go back in time and rectify what would they be?

Trevor: That is a list too long,  I'll go for my main issues I've run into, as a lifter remember to rest don't rush, powerlifting is a unique sport in that you can compete in it for as long as you like, age is no deterrent so don't rush take your rest, I've torn my pec and I'm left with a hole in my chest, and I missed out on 14 months of proper training just because I was too stubborn to pull back and go lighter after the initial tear. The other important part of training is hard work,  the next is hard rest, it took a very serious and almost career ending injury to learn that, I'd heard it thousands of times but never really paid attention.

When it comes to business, don't wait for the right time but don't rush in either, there is no right time just make sure to think it through be prepared and go for it,

Arthur: Any final thoughts or closing comments?

Trevor: It's never too late to start lifting and there's never too little time to train! You can make time you can find the space.