Catching Up With 23 Year Old Australian Powerlifting Phenom Cameron McKenzie

Cameron John McKenzie isn’t your typical 23 year old. On the normal day he’s a full time personal trainer who studied exercise science. What makes McKenzie anything from typical is his strength and the amount of powerlifting records he holds.

Every week we continue to see McKenzie crush new feats of strength in his training, like this 370kg (814 lb) deadlift.

To say 2016 has been an eventful year for McKenzie is an understatement. He’s set new records, won competitions, and broke way too many personal bests to count.

He’s had such a great year the IPF ranked him 5th in the world for the Men’s Open 120kg class and 26th in the Men’s Wilks.

With such a great year behind him at a young age, I thought it was only fitting to reach out and gain a better understanding of who McKenzie is, and what his next moves for 2017 entail.

Jake Boly: Can you give a little background about you are and what do you do out of the powerlifting world?

Cam McKenzie: My name is Cameron John McKenzie, I’m 23 years old. I’m a full time personal trainer holding a Bachlor’s of Exercise and Sports Science. Soon, I’m going to commence my Doctorate of Phsyiotherapy.

JB: You have some strong numbers; what are your current personal bests?

CM: Raw

  • Squat: 325kg (715 lb)
  • Bench: 200kg (440 lb)
  • Deadlift: 363kg (798.6 lb)
  • Total: 888kg  (1,953.6 lb)


  • Squat 365kg (803 lb)
  • Bench 230kg (506 lb)
  • Deadlift: 342.5kg (753.5 lb)
  • 907.5kg (1,996.5 lb)

JB: What are some records you currently hold?

CM: All records are IPF or IPF affiliates.

120kg raw weight class

  • National Junior squat, bench, deadlift, and total record
  • National Open squat, deadlift, and total record
  • Oceania Junior squat, deadlift, and total record
  • Oceania Open deadlift and total record
  • Commonwealth Junior squat, deadlift, and total record
  • Commonwealth Open deadlift record
  • World Junior deadlift and total record

120kg+ raw weight class

  • National Junior squat and deadlift record
  • National Open deadlift record
  • Oceania Junior squat, deadlift, and total record
  • Oceania Open deadlift record
  • Commonwealth Junior squat, deadlift, and total record
  • Commonwealth Open deadlift record
  • World Junior deadlift record

JB: That’s a crazy list of records – what initially got you into powerlifting?

CM: I got into powerlifting through a long string of events. I got badly bullied in primary school and high school. I started working out in my bed room at the ages of 15-16. At this time I was overtraining and severely under eating day in and day out.

I slowly became interested in bodybuilding, then acquired my first gym membership after I got my drivers license at 17. Once I began eating properly, I put on 25kg in one year, which led me to my first bodybuilding competition at 18.

It was through this competition I met a number of powerlifters who invited me to train with them to add extra mass/size in my off-season. During this time, they convinced to compete in my first powerlifting meet and I was bitten by the iron bug. From that point on…I’ve have never looked back.

JB. That’s awesome – strength sports have such a great way of leading people to new passions within this niche. Do you have any tips for someone wanting to improve their big three?

CM: There’s so much I’d love to dive into and tell people. To keep it brief…I believe developing and perfecting technique, smashing plenty of volume, and building mass through power building are keys to improving the big three.

JB: Do you have a quick tip for someone looking to crush a new max, specifically a deadlift?

CM: Personally, I love to get myself as worked up as I can through loud music and ammonia.

JB: What powerlifting goals do you have for 2017?

CM: I would like to break the Open Men’s Deadlift World Record, and if I compete at Classic Worlds, I would like to podium in total. In addition, I aim to gradually improve throughout the year at both lifting and as a person.

One of my favorite parts of my interview with Cam – besides how welcoming he was – was how bodybuilding led him to his love for powerlifting. That’s something so unique in strength sports that’s unlike any other competitive setting.

Strength sports have the ability to connect and lead athletes down different roads that suit them best. In Cam’s case, he met the community and sport he’s developed a love and passion for, which he may not have found otherwise.

Feature image from @camstrength Instagram page.