Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

How powerlifters tick: Interview with Clifton Pho, Canadian powerlifter 66kg weight class

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Dec 2, 2019 8:22:23 AM

Image result for clifton pho powerlifting

Interview with powerlifter Clifton Pho from Canada

Clifton's current best total is an impressive 640.5kg, so almost 10x his own bodyweight in the -66kg weight class. Even though he got injured in the past he takes it as an opportunity to grow and learn. He is currently finishing up his doctorate to hopefully have his own clinic one day. I got introduced to him via Avi Silverberg who runs powerliftingtechnique. Clifton is involved there. Great to see someone young and positive like Clifton reaching for his dreams. Learn more in his interview.

Subscribe for free


First Name - Clifton
Last Name - Pho
Weight class - 66kg
Raw total - Best comp squat - 218kg
Best comp bench - 142.5kg
Best comp deadlift - 285.5kg
Best total - 640.5kg total

What are your goals

From a lifting perspective, the current goal is to just get back into it. I've been dealing with some chronic issues for a while now, so the first step is to get back into training regularly and hopefully compete in the near future. Much like any other powerlifter the goal is to get stronger, so making some progress and setting some PR's would be nice. Outside of that, I'd like to start my own clinic one day and be able to help others recover from their injuries and improve their performance.

What are your plans

Plans right now are to just continue training and building back my load tolerance slowly. I told myself when I moved to Toronto for school that I was going on a "4 year rehab plan", so I'm really in no rush. Another thing would be to obviously graduate from school but I also plan to keep learning outside of school to be the best practitioner I can be.

What are your biggest challenges

As you may have guessed, "injuries" and "pain" are the biggest challenges. These two words are a very loaded topic, but in short to combat this is a matter of being smart with my training. This includes smart progression of load, knowing when to dial it back, in conjunction with working on some rehab, seeking help from other people and staying positive. 

By when do you want to reach your goals 

I would like to do a meet next summer (2020) when I'm back at home in Edmonton. Long term wise would be to compete at Nationals 2022 if Edmonton does indeed host it. As for school, I'm set to graduate in 2022 as well so that should be a fun year. 

How did you overcome your biggest plateau 

Experimenting. Whenever I got stuck somewhere, I would try to dissect the reasons why, and implement strategies to get better. A-lot of it had to do with changing my mindset and preconceived ideas/biases, and the only way to do that is to keep learning from a wide variety of sources.

How will you fix your biggest weakness 

My biggest weakness is probably something called imposter syndrome. By keeping an open mind and continually learning, I can be confident that I am doing my absolute best both as an athlete and as a future health care professional. 

How will you improve your biggest strength 

My biggest strength would probably be my ability to self regulate and adapt my training. I'm constantly learning new things about my own body, so I should be cognizant that what worked in the past may not work today and to adjust accordingly. I can always be and do better.

Why did you decide to pursue a doctor of chiropractic and not some other discipline?

I always knew I wanted to help people, and powerlifting has solidified that passion as I went through my own fair share of "issues". However, in order to do that I needed a license to practice and a Kin degree just doesn't cut it. In my opinion, it never mattered to me what profession I decided to pursue. Whether I went into chiropractic, physiotherapy or even athletic therapy, it boils down to how I choose to practice as an individual and not where I went to school. As for why chiro in particular? It was something I could go into right away, had a good scope of practice and I got to stay in Canada.

What will you do when you reach your goals 

Have another "LIFTON BBQ" of course! But really, there are always more goals to hit and it's more about the process than anything else. Regardless, I will be sure to celebrate the victories along the way no matter how big or small. 

What happens if you don’t reach your goals 

Well, I'll probably still have a BBQ... but I would just go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate. Either way, I chose this path because I enjoy it. I told myself a while back that the day I don't have fun when I step on the platform is the day I'll stop.

Topics: Interview