Marius Hardiman Olympic Weightlifting Champion Interview

Interview With Olympic Weightlifting Champion Marius Hardiman

Marius Hardiman is an Olympic Weightlifter who has, over the course of his illustrious career, won numerous British titles and medalled at several prestigious international competitions.

Having since retired from competitive weightlifting, Marius is now the owner and head coach at Oxford PowerSports (OXP), a weightlifting club based in Oxfordshire.

In his interview with Gymtalk, we discuss Marius’s career in weightlifting, his training philosophies, and what it takes to become a champion.


Marius Hardiman

Hi Marius, thanks for chatting with us today.

To get things started, can you tell us a little bit more about how you got started in Olympic Weightlifting?

I was playing cricket at a sports and social club in 1982 and was fairly undersized at the time.

It was decided that to improve my strength and size I would attend a gym that was part of the club, Morris Motors WLC.

When did you decide to start competing in Olympic lifting?

What did you weigh when you first competed?

As I had asked for help within the weightlifting club, it was expected that I would return favour by competing for the club.

I would have weighed about 48kg at that point, with a snatch of 35kg and a clean and jerk of 47kg.

How did you train at first? 

My first years would have been mainly technical work.

I was pushed reasonably hard on squats and pulls.

And there was lots of work in overhead positions – snatch balance, for one.

Up to the age of 15 I would also cycle the 10 mile round trip three times per week on my BMX.

After that I would cycle five times a week, again on my BMX.

Who inspired you as a young lifter?

We didn’t have the internet to inspire us at this point; we only had our local lifters: Andy Patterson, Andy Saxton, and a man called Gary Langford.

You would set these people in your sights and try to better them.

Once on GB squads you had different targets as there were lots of talented lifters.

You would work your way through different platforms to get to the top boy platform.

Well, that’s the way I saw it anyway.

I remember watching Guenchev clean and jerk 202.5kg at 67kg in 1988 and I thought that was amazing.

It still is one of the heaviest ever triple bodyweight lifts.

Also, Steinhoffel and Guidikov with their battle in 1988 was pretty cool.

What were the highlights of your lifting career?

And what were your all-time best lifts?

That would be the five British titles – the senior ones in particular.

It was much harder at that level.

Also, any competition where I got the six lifts in (twice).

In some of the international competitions you lifted out of your skin, only to be eclipsed by special people like Pablo Lara.

I also jerked 188kg at the silver Dragon in Cardiff and was named supreme champion.

My bodyweight was 81.9kg at the time.

The likes of Botev and Vlad had also won that title.

I paid my coach back that day!

How often did you train when you were at your best?

We trained six times a week.

We all had jobs, so twice daily wasn’t often considered, and I always rested on Sundays.

Marius HardimanTell us a little bit more about your training methodology.

Well, we trained extremely hard, in a tough environment, and were closely monitored by a coach.

Repetition and sets were the rule, and we completed roughly four to five exercise per evening, always squats!

We worked through eight to twelve week cycles, in a linear fashion, and only held back if we were looking tired.

What is your approach to nutrition?

Don’t eat shit, just eat.

What drives/motivates you?

Winning, when I was competing.

There is nothing better than winning!

All lifters know how good it feels to succeed over the bar, and if I can help people do that, well that’s rad.

How did you transition from being a competitive Olympic Weightlifter to a coach?

I never wanted to be a coach.

My coach moved back to Australia and pretty much left me as the “go-to” person in the gym.

I accepted a few people to train, thinking that they would gradually disappear.

However, I now look after around thirty people and I also help other coaches do the same!

How has the sport changed since you retired?

The media has changed, but lifting a bar is relatively the same.

It’s a challenge, but I think we need to just stick to the bar.

Is there a particular body type that generally is better suited for Olympic lifting?

Generally shorter people favour lifting.

There are plenty of good taller lifters though.

Cholakov is 6’7” and it doesn’t seem to be a problem for him!

Marius HardimanIn your opinion what are the most important attributes for an athlete to have if they wish to become a successful weightlifter?

The ability to work hard for long untested periods, cool under pressure, courageous, trusting, and a good listener.

What advice would you give to youngsters who want to get involved in Olympic weightlifting?

Go to a weightlifting club.

Oh, and turn off the internet for the first three months!

What kind of training activities do you start your young lifters on in their adolescent era of strength training?

They are progressed through all assistance exercises related to the two big lifts.

We also add in some plyometrics and things like hyper extensions and military press are standard.

Tell me a common problem you see when beginners first start out with the clean?

Soft position in the bottom of clean and sloppy elbows.

And the snatch?

Issues with the arm bend.

GT: And the jerk?

Dropping too fast in the down phase of the drive, so the bar lands on them on the way up.

I must say, I’ve seen so many issues I find it hard to answer the previous three questions.

I don’t like to think of them as problems, we need to just find a way getting rid of them.

Do you prefer snatch or clean?

Which do you find easier to teach?

Snatch is the best looking lift by far.

The clean and jerk is easier to teach, although both need a good coach.

People tend to do things they like and are good at if left alone.

What to you is the most challenging aspect of Olympic Weightlifting?

I think self belief is quite challenging for most people.

Although Ilya Ilin, the Kazakhstani two time Olympic champion, certainly doesn’t suffer from this!

It makes quite a difference as you can imagine.

Getting some people to believe in themselves is a skill for definite.

Any favourite athlete in the Olympics?

Favourite Olympic Weightlifter?

I liked Mo Farah in the London Olympics and I think he’s a real nice guy.

For lifters, I thought Aukhodov was pretty promising, and we are just about to see why in the next few years.

I saw an interview he was in and thought he was a very positive role model for the young.

Have you ever competed in any strongman events?


If I’m being honest it looks too much like hard work.

I can’t get my arms round a 110kg stone let alone lift it!

My friend Ben is a strongman.

He works real hard, and it’s tough on the body, that’s for sure.

Finally, how would you like the world of Olympic Weightlifting to remember Marius Hardiman?

That I paid a little back.

That just about wraps it up Marius, thanks very much for your time!

You’re welcome.

Stay strong!

Connect with Marius and Oxford PowerSports

You can learn more about Marius and Oxford PowerSports at the website or on Facebook and YouTube – all are packed full of useful Olympic Weightlifting training tips.

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