David Ester Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert

David Ester, Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert

David Ester (Sergeant, US Army Retired) is an expert in weightlifting and fitness facility operations. As an International level USA Weightlifting (USAW) coach, his expertise spans the full scope of strength and conditioning, including athlete assessments, skills progression, training programming, and injury prevention. As the owner and operator of his own gym, David has extensive experience as it relates to the inspection, use, safety, and maintenance of fitness equipment and facilities. David applies his expertise to forensic casework involving fitness equipment and facilities, personal training, strength and conditioning programs at schools and commercial facilities, and sport-specific training.

David Ester - Weightlifting & Fitness Facilities Expert

David served in the US Army 101st Airborne for six years, retiring as a Sergeant. In that position, he participated in the Army’s Warrior Leader Course (WLC) and the 101st Elite Tactical Athlete School at Fort Campbell in KY. The skills, discipline, and experience that he gained during this time would lead him to pursue competitive weightlifting and to become a certified USA Weightlifting (USAW) coach. He has operated his own weightlifting gym while coaching all ages and levels of experience, progressing athletes from complete beginners to Team USA competitors. He has experience in nearly all types of fitness equipment and machinery, including rowers, bikes, kettlebells, dumbbells, bands, balls, etc., as well as saunas and other amenities commonly found at fitness facilities.

In addition to the accolades Dave received during his military career, he has trained multiple international weightlifting champions with medals from the Pan American, Rogue International, and American Open competitions, among others. Dave is also a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s National Team Coach Leadership Education Program (NTCLEP), a committee comprised of elite coaches from each Olympic sport. He is US Safe Sport certified, and sits on the governing board of the Illinois State Weightlifting Organization.

Coaching/Training/Operations Experience

Elite Coaching:

  • Through strength building exercises, train, instruct, and coach individual and small groups of athletes to excel in their sport and compete at local, state, national and international competitions including the Pan American Games.
  • Develop individualized personal plans for each athlete and coordinate sport medicine and psychology as part of these plans
  • Conduct individualized conditioning training, and safety practices in the fundamentals of weightlifting, skill progression, strength, endurance, agility, competition, and safety practices
  • Complete annual certification/testing and implemented practices for the prevention of sexual abuse consistent with the Safe Sports Standards
  • Develop procedures and practices for the prevention of abuse within the sports facility and while travelling with athletes to various competitions
  • Trained in Elite Tactical Athlete coursework in military

Fitness Facilities:

  • Create policies and procedures for fitness centers and responsible for ensuring consistency by all staff including coaches, athletic trainers, personal trainers, and physical therapists
  • Responsible for training coaches, athletic trainers, and personal trainers in private and commercial gyms
  • Conduct strength and conditioning coaching to include preventative safety practices for athletes at a variety of levels in numerous sports
  • Responsible for ensuring a safe and effective training environment for athletes and trainers in fitness centers including layout and positioning of equipment
  • Through USAW contract with Lifetime Fitness, instructs and certifies individuals in commercial fitness centers to become trainers
  • Work with physical therapists, and physicians to prevent/rehabilitate injury to athletes
  • Develop training plans for national and international level lifters and athletes of varying ages and abilities
  • Own and operate fitness center serving members aged 7 to 80
  • Develop, implement, enforce, and evaluate policies and procedures regarding the safe usage of all gym equipment in the fitness facility environment
  • Supervise employees, personal trainers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, consultants, and athletes on the proper usage of equipment
  • Instruct and supervise coaches, athletic trainers, personal trainers, and athletes in the importance of “spotting” associated with weightlifting
  • Responsible for supervising and training of military personnel at the team, squad, and platoon levels at military post fitness center
  • Initiated, implemented, enforced, and trained staff in safety protocols regarding minors in both fitness center and while travelling with minors
  • Knowledge of developing and implementing Emergency Response Plans in fitness centers, competition sites, and camp settings

Gym Equipment and Maintenance:

  • Maintain training equipment
  • Inspect, clean, and document gym equipment on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis
  • Identify unsafe equipment and coordinated the repair or replacement of unsafe equipment prior to usage
  • Train gym personnel to identify unsafe equipment and follow protocols for taking equipment out of service, the method on how to do this and the process used to notify owner/operator of unsafe equipment
  • Ensure equipment is used in a safe manner through programmatic and accountability strategies to include training, spotting practices, regular and ongoing inspections, implementation of ‘out of service’ protocols, and supervision of athletic personnel
  • Develop, implement, and enforce policies and procedures regarding the safe usage of all gym equipment in the fitness facility environment
  • Maintained gym equipment in a large fitness center on military bases
  • Procure, assess, and purchase, new and used equipment
  • Broker sale of used equipment to other parties

Weightlifting: (Local, State, National & International Levels)

  • Equipment preparation
  • Oversee effective governance of the weightlifting state organization
  • Ensure that athlete safety rules, policies and procedures comply with the requirements of the USOPC, US Center for SafeSport, USDA and USAW
  • Oversee the financial reporting process, communications with Local weightlifting clubs, and USAW’s legal and regulatory compliance program at the state level
  • Approve and sanction all local Weightlifting Competition
  • Train and educate assistant coaches on best practices for developing athletes from youth to master’s level
  • Supervise assistant coaches in all their duties as employees of the club
  • Instruct USAW coaching courses to public, commercial gym coaches/trainers

Strength Conditioning:

  • Train athletes, athletic trainers and personal trainers in strength building skill progression strategies
  • Create and develop curriculum for strength and conditioning classes for athletes at a variety of levels in numerous sports Instructed students on the use of physical assessments, periodization techniques and proper exercise progressions
  • Instruct coaching courses and techniques to public, coaches, and trainers at commercial gyms
  • Develop multiple Division 1 athletes

Personal Athletic Training:

  • Certified as a USAW instructor and international coach
  • Board Member of the Weightlifting State Organization Board
  • Coaching Certification Course Instructor
  • Proficient in Army Filed Manual on training and fitness
  • Trained to provide emergency assistance and support through emergency medical services under highly stressful situations

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

2022 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony toward the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving elite coaching of minors and adults; international and U.S. coaching events, fitness facilities operations, practices, guidelines, training, and employee management; gym equipment; weightlifting, strength conditioning and personal athletic training.

USA Weightlifting (USAW)

Course Instructor

2021 to present
  • Conducts course instruction based upon USAW curriculum
  • Advise course participants on managing a safe training environment, proper exercise execution, rules of the sport, and program design
  • Administer subject matter evaluations to all course participants to determine proficiency in course material
  • Plan and organize instruction in ways that maximize student learning
  • Mentor and advise new coaches on techniques, tactics and principles of world class coaching
  • Instruct coaches on Multi-Sport Athlete Development
  • Provide strategies on effective coaching communication
  • Ensure participants understand USAW policies for SafeSport, athletic development and anti-doping
  • Provide ongoing mentorship to coaches as they progress through their career

Illinois Weightlifting State Organization (WSO)

Elected Board Member

2021 to present
  • Oversee effective governance of the weightlifting state organization
  • Ensure that athlete safety rules, policies and procedures comply with the requirements of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), U.S. Center for SafeSport (SafeSport), U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) and USAW
  • Oversee the financial reporting process, communications with Local weightlifting clubs, and USAW’s legal and regulatory compliance program at the state level
  • Approve and sanction all local Weightlifting Competition

College of Lake County

Adjunct Faculty

2020 to present
  • Create and develop curriculum for new strength and conditioning classes at the college
  • Develop and prepare course syllabus based on curriculum and university guidelines
  • Instruct and educate students on principles, philosophy and execution of strength and conditioning training
  • Prepare, administer, and grade weekly assignments, as well as in class exercises and participation
  • Maintain meeting notes for departmental meetings to discuss course curriculum, pending goals, and upcoming events
  • Instruct students on the use of physical assessments, periodization techniques and proper exercise progressions

Forza Weightlifting Club

2016 to 2023
Club Director, Head Coach, Owner  2019 to 2023
  • Develop and implement long term training plans for national and international level lifters and athletes
  • Develop individualized yearly training plans for all age groups and ability levels.
  • Ensure a culture of high performance and achievement within the club
  • Train and educate assistant coaches on best practices for developing athletes from youth to master’s level
  • Supervise assistant coaches in all their duties as employees of the club
  • Establish new and improved tactics, techniques and procedures for athletes and coaches
  • Coach athletes in all National and International meets
  • Oversee and schedule maintenance and service of all club equipment
  • Establish and monitor accountability measures for all club business on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis
  • Monitor, supervise and evaluate employee's ongoing performance to meet expectations of Club
  • Conduct educational clinics for coaches and athletes outside of the organization on the principles of safe and effective training, long term athletic development, as well as proper usage and maintenance of equipment
  • Ensure that all club members and coaches are compliant with policies and procedures that comply with the requirements of the USOPC, SafeSport, USDA and USAW
  • Procure, assess, and purchase, new and used equipment for the facility
  • Broker the sale of the facilities used equipment to other parties

Assistant Head Coach  2016-2019

  • Coached and conducted team practices
  • Assisted in the development of a yearly athletic training plans for athletes of all ages and ability levels
  • Coached athletes in Local and National events
  • Organized, scheduled, and supervised travel to local and national level meets for all age levels, while implementing safety practices in compliance with USAW, USOP and SafeSport
  • Ensured the head coaches vision of a high performance and world class organization, which provided expert coaching, superior training, and excellent facilities management was implemented
  • Recruited new membership and succeeded in tripling the size of the club from 12 members to 36

CrossFit Lake Villa

Head Weightlifting Coach

2014 to 2016
  • Developed the first weightlifting club at the facility
  • Organized, planned, and implemented weightlifting and sports performance training for the club
  • Conducted all coaching of athletes for the club
  • Planned, organized, and coached club and individual athletes at USAW sanctioned meets
  • Advised Head CrossFit Coach and ownership on Weightlifting for CrossFit Program
  • Procuring, assessing, and purchasing, new and used equipment for the facility

Antioch Fire Department

Fire Fighter

2013 to 2014
  • Maintained fire station building, vehicles, grounds, and related equipment, by completing preventative maintenance schedules
  • Provided fire suppression and prevention in structural, as well as wild land environments
  • Provided emergency assistance and support through emergency medical services under highly stressful conditions
  • Prevented fire damage by conducting surveys and inspections for hazards, enforcing codes
  • Advised and trained crew on proper fitness training program

US ARMY

NCO, Unit Trainer & Instructor

2008 to 2013
  • Two Combat deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), 2010-11, 2012
  • One deployment to the Republic of Korea in support of ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty
  • Responsible for health, training, accountability, and professional development of soldiers, including comprehensive field training, technical training and extensive experience in combat safety patrol and security details
  • Managed and maintained operation inventory of government property and equipment
  • Prepared, implemented, and conducted weekly schedule unit training while communicating with unit commander regarding budgetary issues, and inventory control results
  • Served as platoon and company combative instructor
  • Served as platoon and company fitness instructor
  • Advised, mentored, and trained Afghan Border Police on organization, accountability of personnel and property, professionally developing and motivating subordinates in preparation to assume responsibility
  • Worked with team to establish training practices and standards for Afghan Border Police
  • Provided essential input and experience to key leader engagements with high-ranking Afghan officials
  • Served as a member of platoon leadership for combat operation, as well as conduct combat operations

Professional Credentials

  • USAW International Coach (supersedes both USAW Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications)
    • USAW level 1
    • USAW level 2
  • U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Coaches Leadership Education Program (NTCLEP)
  • USAW Instructor Certification
    • Lifetime Fitness Personal Trainer Instructor via USAW Instructor Certification
  • USAW Referee Certification
  • USDA Coach Advantage Anti-Doping Certification
  • US Safe Sport

Education

A.A., Arts, College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois

Continuing Education

  • USOPC National Team Coaches Leadership Education Program (NTCLEP) (one of three elite weightlifting coaches selected for this prestigious program and the youngest)
  • Perform Better Functional Training Summit-2017, 2018
  • USAW Coaches Symposium 2018 (Open only to certified Weightlifting coaches, in good standing with the national governing body, USAW)

Other Certifications

  • Instructor Certification School Eagle Tactical Athlete Program, Army 101st Airborne (Air Assault), 2011
  • Warrior Leader School - Superior Level - Army First School of Leadership-2011
  • Department of the Army - Foreign Security Forces Combat Advisor School – 2012
  • Department of the Army-Level 1 Combative Program, 2009
  • USOC American Athletic Development Model Certification
  • Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy-Fire Academy Graduate

Committees

Member of Illinois State Weightlifting Organization governing board

Professional Memberships

USA Weightlifting (USAW)

Achievements

Coaching

  • 2017 Masters National Champion 90kg Class
  • 2018 American Open Series 3 Gold Medalist 64kg Class
  • 2018 American Open Finals Silver Medalist 90kg+ Class
  • 2019 Masters National Champion 87kg Class
  • 2019 Pan American Championships Bronze Medalist 64kg Class
  • 2019 Pan American Games Silver Medalist 64kg Class
  • 2019 American Open Finals Gold Medalist 87kg+ Class
  • 2020 University Bronze Medalist 109kg Class
  • 2020 American Open Series 1 Gold Medal Clean and Jerk 64kg Class
  • 2019 Rogue International Weightlifting Challenge 87kg+ Gold Medalist
  • 2020 U-13 National Champion 36kg Class
  • 2021 American Open Series 1 2021 Silver Medalist 64kg Class
  • 2021 U-13 Silver Medalist 45kg Class
  • 2021 American Open Finals Bronze Medalist 64kg Class
  • 2022 American Open Series 1 U-13 Gold Medalist 49kg Class
  • Coached Heaviest Bodyweight Clean and Jerk by a Women in USAW History
  • Coached 28 Athletes to and in, Youth, Junior, U-25, Senior, and Masters National Championships
  • Coached 7 Athletes to represent Team USA Internationally

Military

  • Army Meritorious Service Medal, 2015
  • Army Commendation Medal, 2012, 2013
  • Army Achievement Medal, 2009
  • Good Conduct Medal, 2011
  • NATO Medal
  • Attained Rank of Sergeant

v. 06/14/23

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