Use it or Lose it

by Thom Van Vleck

I like to lift weights, but I also “LIKE” weights. I have some antique stuff in my gym but I am not a collector. Everything in my gym is there for training. It if breaks, so be it, but I don’t like to have things around just to collect dust.

One of my favorites, is a complete Jackson Barbell set I have. There is a long story on how the Jackson Weightlifting Club had a set, lost it, then got it back. It is also a story that is not quite finished as I am still trying to find a pair of 2 1/2lbs plates to complete the lost set (that’s a big hint for anyone out there who knows where I could get a couple!). Oh, and in case you thought maybe the maker of Jackson Barbells was a relative of the Mom’s family and the JWC family….the simple answer is “not that I know of” but he’s certainly a brother in iron. Just a happy coincidence.

I also have collection of Jackson advertising. Most of which I have framed in my gym, but some socked away for when I have more wall space.

The new Jackson Adjustable Dumbbell Sets

The above is a nice example. I really like the “capital exercise” that was chosen to illustrate the benefits of owning a set of Jackson “Dumbells” (I also like the way they spell Dumbell). At any rate, It might be a good exercise to try as I see Al Myer’s has a “two hands anyhow” coming up in his Dino Gym meet on January 16th, 2010!

I like the old stuff as well as the new stuff. When I wrap my hands around the oly bar from the set my Uncles ordered in 1957….I’m inspired. You know that there’s a basement somewhere with a dumbbell set just like the one above and it’s just rusting away, long forgotten. I won’t knock guys who collect stuff, I can understand that, but to me, it was made to be used and my stuff will get used until it falls apart….but considering how Andy made his stuff…I may fall apart long before that happens.

A USAWA Christmas Carol

by Thom Van Vleck

My father in law, Bob Baybo, came up for a visit from St. Louis today. He is 70 this year and still in great shape. He lifts, bike rides, scuba dives, he has lots of interests that keep him active. Back in the 60’s and 70’s he was a bodybuilder. He entered a couple of small contests, but 4 kids to take care of meant it was more of a sideline than his goal in life.

Before that, he played a lot of baseball, even ending up with a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals. He retold that story today for my kids, his eyes still twinkled at what he called his best day ever on the field. He said his glove was like a vacuum, he hit everything that was thrown at him, and didn’t miss a throw, but alas, it was not to be and he went about the business of the rest of his life after a few more tries at the big time.

He ended his story with “no regrets”. Maybe some dashed dreams, but he felt like he did his best, he played his hardest, he did the best that he could but time and circumstance weren’t in his favor. Then he talked about a trip he has planned for 2010. It will involve a grueling hike and physical challenges that a man half his age would probably cringe at.

I try to live that way. I lift as hard as I can, when I can. I don’t shy away from a chance to display my skills, and I try to go after my dreams while I can because life will soon enough take the opprotunities away. We all seem to reflect on our past at the end of the year. I think that is good. We should count our blessings, share stories, love and laugh.

We should share in the present. Tell stories, share a few laughs, maybe a tear or two. Be there for one another, show support, let others know you are there for them.

And soon, the New Year comes. The future. New goals to chase, new dreams are born, and new stories to be made.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the members of the USAWA! Now is the time to reflect on your past, share your present, and plan for the future!

What is the “Right Way”?

by Thom Van Vleck

I had the privledge of doing an article a few years ago that included Al Oerter. Many know that Al won 4 Gold medals, breaking the Olympic record each time. No one has dominated the Olympics quite the way Al did and just before he passed away he granted me an interview and I did a story on him for Milo magazine. In the process, we corresponded for some time afterwards and talked training many times. For my article, I requested and received several good photos of Al. I asked specifically for one of him training and this is the one I he sent:

Al Oerter bench pressing off a chest pad.

I liked the photo for a lot of reasons and sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. You will note that he has a 50lbs scale weight on the end of the bench. This was to help keep the bench down as Al said he always benched very dynamically….or should I say the “ol’ bounce and heave” or “cheat bench”. You will note the pading on his chest. He told me it was to cushion his chest as he really slammed the weight down and then drove his hips as high as he could to complete each rep. He also told me he used a weight light enough to explode off his chest and he also told me that this was his intended purpose. Being a thrower, he wanted to be explosive, so he took the most undynamic of lifts and turned it into something very dynamic. In other words, he cheated on purpose.

Very often we are told the “right way” to do things. The reality is that our bodies adapt to what we throw at it and if winning a bench press contest is what you desire, then you want to train that way. Al Oerter had other goals in mind and trained the lift for his own purpose. My point is, there are many “right ways” to do any lift, the only thing wrong would be to do it in a way that does not make you stronger in the way you want to be.

The Jackson Weightlifting Club and Paul Anderson

By Thom Van Vleck

A lot has been said about Paul Anderson over the years. He has become an almost mythical person with often fantastic feats of strength to his credit. Paul was the 1956 Olympic Superheavyweight World Champion, this is well documented. He then became a professional strongman and traveled all over the nation, and world, next couple of decades using his strength talents to spread a Christian message. Often, exactly what Paul lifted and how he lifted it has been the center of debate. Paul rarely lifted in anything close to contest conditions and his weights could rarely be verified. Often, his lifts were exaggerated by enthusiastic fans and few of the hundreds of exhibitions he did were well documented. No one can say exactly what Paul did or didn’t do over the course of his entire career.

However, two of my Uncles did see Paul when he was in his prime. I consider them to be reliable sources and I recently talked to them again to get the “straight scoop” on what they saw and their impression of Paul.

Wayne Jackson met Paul in February of 1967 Monroe, Iowa. Paul was preaching and performing after an Olympic Lifting meet held there that day. The meet was over and Paul came out and talked for about 30 minutes. Wayne said Paul would have been 34 years old, and that Paul said he weighed 375lbs. Wayne was always good at guessing people’s bodyweight and he thought that was pretty accurate. He also said he’d guess Paul was 5’8” to 5’9” tall. He said that Paul started lifting after he finished talking. Wayne said that if he warmed up, he did not see him do it and that it was impossible for him to have warmed up after the speech he gave. Wayne said that Paul did no warm ups, just went straight to the weight and lifted it. He said that Paul used the bars and weights used in the contest and Wayne felt certain of the weights he lifted. Wayne was always a master at glancing at a bar and telling you how much was on it and was meticulous about things being accurate. He said Paul did the following lifts and feats:

1. 755lb Squat, below parallel, barefoot, swimming trunks, t shirt, belt only.

2. 700lb deadlift

3. 370lb Power Clean and Press followed by a 390lb power clean and press (Wayne said he did a slight squat on the clean to catch it and did not hold the press at the top, but pressed it in a strict fashion).

4. Drove a nail thru a board with the nail wrapped in something using arm strength.

5. Back lift with volunteers in the audience, Wayne said he could not recall them mentioning the weight, but he’d guess there were 20 teenage boys and girls on the table.

6. Finally, the last feat was Paul skipped rope and did all kinds of moves with the rope. Wayne called it “real fancy footwork like boxers did”. He said he was amazed how fast and nimble Paul was and this impressed him as much as the weight lifted.

Phil Jackson met Paul twice. The first time was in April of 1968 at a Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He said that Paul had on a black outfit, tight and stretchy like wrestlers wore and the letters “PA” were embroidered on breast of the shirt to one side. Paul did a side press with a 225lb Dumbbell for 15 reps. Phil said that Paul didn’t lock out each rep, but that he had each rep to arms length and felt he could have locked them out had he wanted to. Paul blew up a hot water bottle, drove the spike through a board and did a back lift. He said he got to sit on the table when Paul lifted it and that there were a lot of young people, mostly teens on the table. He guessed there were about 2000lbs total. He said Paul lifted it easily, and then twisted from side to side with it. Afterwards, Phil had his wife take a picture of him with Paul.

Phil requested a private meeting with Paul and was granted it in the study of the Church after the show. He said Paul appeared very tired and when Phil tried to tell him how much he admired him Paul said, “Admire me for what I say and not for my strength”. They sat and visited and while Phil is a devout Christian and felt secure in his own salvation he felt Paul was uncomfortable talking about his own strength and much preferred to talk about his Christian faith. He said in hindsight Paul probably thought he was being sent someone who wanted to become a Christian and not just a fan. Phil said he was not “put off” by Paul at all, though.

Phil offered to help him load his gear into the truck and trailer Paul had. Paul refused help and said he loaded and unloaded his own gear at all times. Phil said he went and sat in his car across the street and watched Paul load his truck. He said that he was amazed at how strong Paul looked and how thick his shoulders, back, arms and in particular his neck were. Phil said he was in “Awe” of Paul and had never seen anything like him up to that point in his life. He said that the next time he was impressed by someone that looked to be on Paul’s level was when he met Joe Dube, which would have been about the time Dube won the Superheavyweight World title in 1969. Phil saw Paul speak at a Church in Atlanta about 3 months later. Paul did no feats of strength, just delivered a message while wearing a suit and tie. Phil said the suit and tie made him appear even bigger.

Both of my Uncles were devout Christians before and after meeting Paul Anderson, but both stated they were inspired by his words and his lifting. I recall in the 80’s, just before Paul passed away there was a big event held in, I think, Florida that honored him. I wanted to go at the time, but could not afford it and could find no one that wanted to split costs. Now I wish I would have made that trip even if I begged, borrowed, or stole the money to do it. I have that picture of Paul with Phil hanging in my gym and consider Paul an honorary member of the JWC.

Round 4 – Yesterday versus Today

Yesterday’s 242# & SHW Classes versus Today’s 105k to 125K+ Classes

by Al Myers


Results:

Lift Yesterday Today Winner
Deadlift – One Arm 455# – Joe Nanney (1961) 562# – Frank Ciavattone (2000) Today
Deadlift – Heels Together 670# – Lou Greenlaw (1982) 650# – Al Myers (2004) Yesterday
Deadlift – Middle Fingers 350# – Ken McClain (1984) 400# – Kevin Fulton (1999) Today
Deadlift – One Leg 305# – Bill Clark (1963) 309# – Al Myers (2005) Today
Hack Lift 650# – Wilbur Miller (1963) 620# – Ed Schock (2002) Yesterday
Jefferson Lift 650# – Wilbur Miller (1963) 617# – Bob Moore (1992) Yesterday
Hand and Thigh Lift 1150# – Steve Schmidt (1986) 1910# – Joe Garcia (1997) Today
Neck Lift 470# – Steve Schmidt (1986) 805# – Joe Ciavattone (2005) Today
Harness Lift 3000# – Steve Schmidt (1986) 3500# – Steve Schmidt (1988) Today
Hip Lift 2135# – Steve Schmidt (1986) 2515# – Frank Ciavattone (2007) Today
Back Lift 2610# – Steve Schmidt (1986) 3050# – Steve Schmidt (2009) Today
Clean and Press 330# – Wayne Jackson (1971) 276# – John Dundon (1997) Yesterday
Clean and Seated Press 280# – Wayne Jackson (1983) 275# – Brian Meek (1988) Yesterday
French Press 135# – Wayne Jackson (1981) 140# – Joe Ciavattone (2009) Today
Bent Press 220# – Bob Burtzloff (1984) 105# – Mike McBride (1998) Yesterday
Bench Press – Feet in Air 465# – Gary McClain (1980) 441# – Brian Meek (1989) Yesterday
Bench Press – Hands Together 265# – Callie Dealy (1982) 310# – Dave Beversdorf (2009) Today
Front Squat 470# – Terry Stephens (1979) 507# – Brian Meek (1989) Today
Snatch – One Arm 170# – Bob Burtzloff (1982) 171# – Bob Burtzloff (1987) Today
Continental to Chest 363# – Bob Burtzloff (1987) 358# – Frank Ciavattone (1992) Yesterday
Jerk – From Rack 407# – Clay Oliver (1986) 397# – Clay Oliver (1987) Yesterday
Clean & Jerk – One Arm 253# – Bob Burtzloff (1983) 175# – Bob Burtzloff (2004) Yesterday
Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm 145# – Bob Burtzloff (1985) 143# – Chad Ullom (2007) Yesterday
Zercher Lift 505# – Bill Davis (1979) 529# – Bob Moore (1992) Today
Steinborn Lift 460# – Al Robbins (1967) 430# – Chad Ullom (2007) Yesterday
Cheat Curl 253# – Ray Bradley (1979) 260# – Antoniano DelSignore (2003) Today
Pinch Grip 210# – Jim Easley (1981) 200# – Matt Graham (2002) Yesterday
Crucifix 110# – Steve Schmidt (1985) 140# – Eric Todd (2005) Today
Pullover – Straight Arm 126# – Steve Schmidt (1985) 132# – Al Myers (2009) Today
Pullover and Push 474# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 474# – Bob Burtzloff (1987) TIE
Clean & Press – Behind Neck 220# – Bob Burtzloff (1984) 251# – Ernie Beath (2009) Today
Clean & Press – Heels Together 300# – Wayne Jackson (1983) 300# – Brian Meek (1989) TIE
Deadlift – Dumbbells 520# – Wilbur Miller (1984) 480# – Al Myers (2009) Yesterday
Clean & Press – Dumbbells 240# – Ken McClain (1986) 240# – Ken McClain (1987) TIE
Pullover and Press 165# – Ed Zercher Sr. (1963) 352# – Al Myers (2007) Today
Bench Press – Roman Chair 210# – Bob Burtzloff (1985) 250# – Dave Beversdorf (2009) Today
It was close – but Today’s Lifters pull out the WIN!


Final score in Round 4 – Today 19 wins, Yesterday 14 wins, 3 ties.

So overall – Today’s Lifters win 3 Rounds to Yesterday’s Lifters winning 1 Round.  Does this review comparison really answer the  question, “Are today’s lifters stronger than yesterday’s lifters?”.  I still can’t say that for sure because Today’s lifters do have a few advantages that the lifters before us didn’t have – such as better bars and equipment to compete with, a better understanding of proper training learned from those before us, and more opportunities to compete than they did.  I do think this study showed that several lifters from the past would still be great in today’s lifting world.  In all rounds, Today’s lifters dominated the Heavy Lifts which definitely helped in margin of victory but if taken out wouldn’t have changed the outcome.  I found this study to be very interesting – and was glad to see “the numbers” of several oldtime lifters that I have only heard about.  ANYONE making these lists are/were truly great lifters.  I welcome any comments from those who have memories of these past lifts/lifters.  I think it is very important to keep track of the history of our sport.  We have to remember that those before us paved the way for what we have today. If it wasn’t for interest in All-Round Weightlifting 50 years ago – we may not even have All-Round Weightlifting today!!

Round 3 – Yesterday versus Today

Yesterday’s 198# Class and 220# Class versus Today’s 90K, 95K, and 100K Classes

by Al Myers


Results:

Lift Yesterday Today Winner
Deadlift – One Arm 352# – Clay Oliver (1985) 410# – Don Verterosa (1989) Today
Deadlift – Heels Together 600# – Stan Frenchie (1986) 605# – Ed Schock (2003) Today
Deadlift – Middle Fingers 335# – Daryl Johnson (1980) 309# – Bill DiCiccio (2003) Yesterday
Deadlift – One Leg 270# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 295# – Eric Overfelt (1989) Today
Hack Lift 700# – Stan Frenchie (1986) 615# – Ed Schock (2002) Yesterday
Jefferson Lift 700# – Stan Frenchie (1986) 605# – Ed Schock (2001) Yesterday
Hand and Thigh Lift 1225# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 1620# – Joe Garcia (1995) Today
Neck Lift 500# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 676# – Joe Ciavattone (1992) Today
Harness Lift 3325# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 3515# – Steve Schmidt (1991) Today
Hip Lift 2515# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 2525# – John Carter (1994) Today
Back Lift 2805# – Steve Schmidt (1987) 2912# – Steve Schmidt (1992) Today
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells 500# – Clay Oliver (1985) 332# – Chuck Urbanski (1995) Yesterday
Clean and Press 280# – Ron Sisk (1965) 231# – Drue Moore (1997) Yesterday
Clean and Seated Press 253# – Don Gleneski (1987) 245# – Phil Anderson (1988) Yesterday
French Press 185# – Homer Lewellan (1962) 125# – Randy Smith (2009) Yesterday
Bent Press 175# – Bruce Stresnider (1962) 110# – Robert English (1998) Yesterday
Bench Press – Feet in Air 385# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 480# – Tony Succarotte (2004) Today
Bench Press – Hands Together 250# – Rocky Proctor (1984) 225# – Mike McBride (2004) Yesterday
Front Squat 380# – Leonard Friesz (1963) 441# – Tim Bruner (1989) Today
Snatch – One Arm 154# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 171# – Thomas Incledon (1999) Today
Continental to Chest 358# – Phil Anderson (1987) 380# – Phil Anderson (1989) Today
Jerk – From Rack 350# – Leonard Friesz (1963) 331# – Don Venterosa (1993) Yesterday
Clean & Jerk – One Arm 187# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 154# – Don Venterosa (1995) Yesterday
Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm 120# – Clay Oliver (1985) 120# – Ed Schock (2002) TIE
Zercher Lift 460# – Stan Frenchie (1987) 500# – Phil Anderson (1988) Today
Steinborn Lift 365# – Ray Wells (1974) 375# – Steve Schmidt (1989) Today
Cheat Curl 245# – Homer Lewellan (1962) 235# – Phil Anderson (1988) Yesterday
Pinch Grip 198# – Kevin Fulton (1983) 170# – Doug Fulton (1999) Yesterday
Crucifix 104# – Steve Schmidt (1983) 100# – Bill Spayd (2001) Yesterday
Pullover – Straight Arm 135# – Steve Schmidt (1984) 110# – Tony Succarotte (2004) Yesterday
Pullover and Push 441# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 446# – Phil Anderson (1989) Today
Clean & Press – Behind Neck 220# – Jimmy Lott (1978) 198# – Terry Grow (1994) Yesterday
Clean & Press – Heels Together 237# – Ron Sisk (1986) 254# – Tim Bruner (1989) Today
Clean & Press – Dumbbells 200# – Bob Burtzloff (1986) 200# – Ed Schock (2004) TIE
Pullover and Press 314# – Steve Schmidt (1984) 281# – Robert English (1998) Yesterday
Bench Press – Roman Chair 200# – Steve Schmidt (1985) 100# – Lewis Heater (2009) Yesterday
Yesterday’s lifters finally WIN one!!

It was close, but Yesterday’s Lifters get 18 wins to Today’s Lifters 16 wins, with two ties.  Now the overall score is Today 2 wins – Yesterday 1 win.  Tomorrow’s round will be the final round – with Yesterday’s 242# and SHW Classes battling Today’s 105K, 110k, 115K, 120K, 125K, and 125K+ Classes. Some really BIG NAMES will take each other on in this one.  Yesterday’s team will include guys like Wilbur Miller, Bob Burtzloff, Steve Schmidt, Wayne Jackson, and Clay Oliver versus Today’s team of Frank Ciavattone, Joe Ciavattone, Bob Moore, Chad Ullom, Mike McBride and others.  Yesterday’s team needs this win to say that Yesterday’s lifters are just as good as Today’s lifters.  I can’t wait to see how this turns out – as it appears Yesterday’s team is stacked with a lot of great talent.  Come back tomorrow to the USAWA Daily News for the final results -  and the answer to that long asked question.

Round 2 – Yesterday versus Today

Yesterday’s 165# & 181# Classes versus Today’s 75K, 80K, and 85 K Classes
by Al Myers


Results:

Lift Yesterday Today Winner
Deadlift – One Arm 317# – Ray Esquibel (1987) 441# – Bob Hirsh (1995) Today
Deadlift – Heels Together 570# – Sid Littleton (1986) 560# – Bob Hirsh (1995) Yesterday
Deadlift – Middle Fingers 350#- Bill Broadnax (1981) 235# – Dale Friesz (1995) Yesterday
Deadlift – One Leg 160# – Ray Esquibel (1987) 260# – Abe Smith (2001) Today
Hack Lift 600# – Sid Littleton (1985) 670# – Bob Hirsh (1997) Today
Jefferson Lift 580# – Sid Littleton (1986) 702# – Bob Hirsh (1996) Today
Hand and Thigh Lift 1000# – Kevin Hale (1986) 1350# – Bill DiCiccio, Jr. (1994) Today
Neck Lift 450# – Ed Zercher III (1987) 605# – Dale Friesz (1995) Today
Harness Lift 2300# – Rick Evans (1986) 2060# – Abe Smith (2005) Yesterday
Hip Lift 1900# – Sid Littleton (1987) 2030# – Bill DiCiccio, Sr. (1997) Today
Back Lift 1265# – Ed Zercher III (1987) 2200# – Tim Pinkerton (2005) Today
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells 410# – Sid Littleton (1985) 515# – Bob Hirsh (1995) Today
Clean and Press 285# – Robert Burnett (1967) 220# – Abe Smith (2004) Yesterday
Clean and Seated Press 210# – Dave Hahn (1962) 220# – Bob Hirsh (1996) Today
French Press 190# – Jim Charlton (1981) 121# – Bob Hirsh (2001) Yesterday
Bent Press 115# – David Lloyd (1975) 90# – Dennis Mitchell (1990) Yesterday
Bench Press – Feet in Air 352# – Ronnie Kinnamon (1984) 364# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Bench Press – Hands Together 275# – Ronnie Kinnamon (1984) 250# – Lon Beffort (2005) Yesterday
Front Squat 360# – Dennis Turner (1979) 380# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Snatch – One Arm 135# – David Lloyd (1976) 160# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Continental to Chest 264# – John Haynes (1987) 353# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Jerk – From Rack 315# – Swede Salsbury (1963) 353# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Clean and Jerk – One Arm 155# – David Llyod (1976) 160# – Barry Bryan (1991) Today
Swing – One Dumbbell 110# – Ray Webb (1984) 120# – Abe Smith (2004) Today
Zercher Lift 475# – Rick Evans (1986) 504# – Bob Hirsh (1995) Today
Steinborn Lift 325# – Sid Littleton (1982) 340# – Dan Wagman (2006) Today
Cheat Curl 255# – Dave Hahn (1962) 220# – Drue Moore (1995) Yesterday
Pinch Grip 205# – Tim McClain (1981) 160# – Matt Kucera (2001) Yesterday
Crucifix 130# – Joe Southard (1963) 90# – John Monk (2002) Yesterday
Pullover – Straight Arm 90# – Dick Hamilton (1963) 110# – Bob Hirsh (1996) Today
Pullover and Push 315# – Alense Barber (1986) 364# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Clean and Press – Behind Neck 200# – Wayne Gardner (1975) 209# – Bob Hirsh (1997) Today
Clean and Press – Heels Together 195# – Chester Words (1984) 248# – Barry Bryan (1990) Today
Clean and Press – Dumbbells 150# – Ray Webb (1984) 200# – Abe Smith (2006) Today
Pullover and Press 225# – Carles Allen (1984) 287# – Bob Hirsh (1996) Today
Bench Press – Roman Chair 185# – Kevin Hale (1985) 135# – John Monk (2006) Yesterday
Final Score of Round 2
Today’s lifters 25 wins to Yesterday’s lifters 11 wins.


Today’s Lifters win in a landslide Victory!  It seemed for Today’s lifters that Bob Hirsh dominated (9 wins total), and in his weaker lifts Barry Bryan took over (8 wins).  Yesterday’s Lifters were lead by Sid Littleton (5 wins) – who made up about half of the wins for Yesterday’s team.  This list is an ALL-STAR lineup and everyone on it deserves recognition – after all I picked the BEST out of more than one weight class.

Now Today’s Lifters lead by a 2-0 margin over Yesterday’s lifters.  Can Yesterday’s lifters win the next two rounds in the battle of the heavyweights?  Or will Round 3 be just more evidence that Today’s lifters are stronger than Yesterdays lifters?  Round 3 brings out the 198# Class and 220# Class for the Yesterday’s Lifters versus the 90 K, 95 K, and 100 K Classes for Today’s lifters.  Tomorrow’s battles will include these famous all-rounders going head to head – Stan Frenchie vs. Ed Schock, Bob Burtzloff vs. Phil Anderson, and Steve Schmidt vs. Steve Schmidt.  This Round will be somewhat different than the previous two – as you will see a few lifters playing for both teams.  Anyone want to put out any bets???  I got a feeling this is going to be a real BATTLE!!

Round 1 – Yesterday versus Today

Yesterday’s 148# Class and Below versus Today’s 70K Class and Below
by Al Myers


Results:

Lift Yesterday Today Winner
Deadlift – One Arm
319# – Randy Joe Holden (1985)
369# – John McKean (1993)
Today
Deadlift – Heels Together
500# – Glen Terry (1985)
452# – Bob Hirsh (2004)
Yesterday
Deadlift – Middle Fingers
255# – Art Tarwater (1961)
245# – Colby Howard (1999)
Yesterday
Deadlift – One Leg
215# – Robbie Porter (1983)
235# – Bob Hirsh (2004)
Today
Hack Lift
550# – Glenn Terry (1986)
550# – Bob Hirsh (1991)
TIE
Jefferson Lift
540# – Edwin Stitt (1986)
634# – Bob Hirsh (1994)
Today
Hand and Thigh Lift
850# – Glenn Terry (1986)
1108# – Roger Lynch (1991)
Today
Neck Lift
405# – Jim Borwick (1987)
600# – John Monk (2000)
Today
Harness Lift
1800# – Glenn Terry (1986)
1805# – John Monk (2000)
Today
Hip Lift
1200# – Edwin Stitt (1986)
1640# – Bob Hirsh (1993)
Today
Back Lift
800# – Larry Blatt (1986)
1305# – John Monk (2000)
Today
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells
440# – Robbie Porter (1984)
377# – John Monk (2005)
Yesterday
Clean and Press
220# – Guy Gronniger (1967)
176# – Chris Waterman (1997)
Yesterday
Clean and Seated Press
165# – Fred Yeargood (1977)
165# – John Monk (2000)
TIE
French Press
125# – Fred Yeargood (1974)
77# – Chris Waterman (2001)
Yesterday
Bent Press
80# – Fred Yeargood (1985)
72# – Dennis Mitchell (1998)
Yesterday
Bench Press – Feet in Air
290# – Glenn Terry (1985)
270# – James Longo (1990)
Yesterday
Bench Press – Hands Together
155# – Robert Johnson (1984)
240# – John Monk (1999)
Today
Front Squat
308# – Brent Pierce (1984)
315# – George James (2006)
Today
Snatch – One Arm
150# – Gordon Strain (1931)
127# – Chris Waterman (1991)
Yesterday
Continental to Chest
308# – Brent Pierce (1987)
325# – Chris Waterman (1996)
Today
Jerk – From Rack
260# – Willie Wells (1958)
281# – Chris Waterman (1997)
Today
Clean and Jerk – One Arm
170# – Gordon Strain (1931)
132# – Pete Zaremba (1997)
Yesterday
Swing – One Dumbbell
135# – Gordon Strain (1927)
90# – Pete Zaremba (1996)
Yesterday
Zercher Lift
430# – Edwin Stitt (1986)
408# – Bob Hirsh (1993)
Yesterday
Steinborn Lift
250# – Glenn Terry (1985)
325# – John Monk (2002)
Today
Cheat Curl
160# – Fred Yeargood (1974)
180# – Jason Groves (2002)
Today
Pinch Grip
115# – Wayne Smith (1980)
100# – Colby Howard (1999)
Yesterday
Crucifix 70# – William Nicholson (1982)
90# – John Monk (2001)
Today
Pullover – Straight Arm
90# – Dick Hamilton (1963)
100# – John Monk (2004)
Today
Pullover and Push
264# – Randy Joe Holden (1987)
297# – John Monk (2006)
Today
Clean and Press – Behind Neck
165# – Fred Yeargood (1977)
183# – Bob Hirsh (1992)
Today
Clean and Press – Heels Together
176# – Robbie Porter (1984)
182# – Chris Waterman (1991)
Today
Clean and Press – Dumbbells
160# – Robbie Porter (1984)
155# – John Monk (2006)
Yesterday
Pullover and Press
135# – Art Tarwater (1962)
265# – John Monk (2005)
Today
Bench Press – Roman Chair
150# – Glenn Terry (1995)
135# – Kyle Achenbach (2006)
Yesterday

Today’s lifters win over Yesterday’s lifters!!


The final score is:  Today 20 wins, Yesterday 14 wins, 2 ties

At times it seemed close, but due to John Monk (9 wins), Bob Hirsh (4 wins) and Chris Waterman (3 wins), this trio beat the Yesterday lifters by themselves.  Today’s dominance in the Heavy Lifts appeared to be a big factor in the win.  I’m not sure why Gordon Strain’s records were in the record list (before the Mo Valley listed started), but they were so I used them in this comparison.  Gordon Strain’s lifts would be great compared to Heavyweight lifters!!

Tomorrow will be round 2 of this epic battle.  It will be Yesterdays 165# Class and 181# Class versus Today’s 75 K, 80 K, and 85 K Classes. Yesterday lifters include a lineup of big names such as  Ray Webb, Sid Littleton, and Joe Southard versus Today’s lifters of Bob Hirsh, Abe Smith, and Barry Bryan.

Will Yesterday’s lifters tie up the score?  Or will Today’s lifters win another one?  Tune in tomorrow to the USAWA Daily News to find out…..

Are Today’s Lifters Stronger than Yesterday’s Lifters?

by Al Myers

That is a question worth finding an answer to!!  But how do you “really know”?  Rule changes, drug use and today’s equipment allowances make it near impossible to answer this question using Powerlifting Records.  In today’s “geared” Powerlifting it is as important to learn how to maximize your equipment to it’s potential as to get stronger.  That is an art in itself that has nothing to do with actually getting stronger.  New advanced bars and rule changes have definitely helped Olympic Lifters today – so it is hard to use Olympic Lifting as your model.

I am going to undertake this challenge of answering this question using All-Round Weightlifting as my data source.  After all, not much has changed in All-Round Weightlifting over the last 50 years.  We have never allowed any gear besides a lifting belt, no one can say we are drug users as we test regularly and more than any other organization at meets, and our rules have not really changed any.  Sure – some may say the “judging was more strict in the old days”, but I have watched old videos and I feel not much has really changed with officiating. After all,  Bill Clark was judging THEN and is judging NOW!!

Thanks to Frank Ciavattone for providing me with the old Region IV Missouri Valley Odd Lift record List so I have something to compare today’s lifts with.  This Record List covered the States of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri.  This was also the Region that Odd Lifting was most contested in – under the direction of Bill Clark.  This Record List was established in 1961 and went to 1987, at which time the USAWA was formed and the USAWA Record List started.  So we got 26 years on the Old Record List and 22 years on the New Record List.  Sounds like a good matchup to me!   There are some difficulties in setting up this comparison however – as in the “Old Days” weight classes were in pounds and today they are in Kilograms.   But I have devised a plan for comparison and it goes like this:

Group 1.  Compare best record mark in the “Old” 148# Class and below to today’s 70 K Class and  below.
Group 2.  Compare best mark in the “Old” 165# and 181# Class to today’s best record in the 75 K and 80 K Classes.
Group 3.  Compare the best record in the “Old” 198# and 220# Classes to today’s best record in the 85 K, 90 K, and 100 K classes.
Group 4.  Compare the “Old” 242# Class and HVY Class records to the best record in today’s 105 K, 110 K, 115 K, 120 K, 125 K, and 125+ K classes.

This give 4 body weight groups to compare in rounds.  I will pick lifts that were done in the “Old Days” as some of the newer lifts we have today were not done then.  All together – I have come up with 36 lifts to compare so this will be an extensive study. So come back tomorrow to the USAWA Daily News for the First Round of this Comparison!!  I’ll see if I can answer that age-old question, “Are today’s lifters stronger than yesterday’s lifters?”

Dale Harder’s Strength & Speed Newsletter

by Al Myers

Dale Harder's Strength & Speed Newsletter

Are you like me and get NOTHING out of reading today’s muscle mags?  Most of the information in them I don’t believe anyhow – usually an article about one of TODAY’S top bodybuilders and his “secret program”. Somehow I doubt this bodybuilder would actually tell his competition his “secret program” in a magazine thus giving his competition an edge over him. I also get tired of the rampant commercialism in these magazines about all the special supplements that a lifter should be taking. How healthy is taking handfuls of pills everyday if they are not medically needed?  If you got rid of all the BS in these pump-up mags, they would be reduced to one page of useful information.

However, there are still some GREAT newsletters and magazines available for the hard core strength athlete.  One of these is Dale Harder’s Strength and Speed Newsletter.  This is a MUST READ for any lifter.  Dale is an amazing strength historian and writer, and produces an information-packed Newsletter every two months.  In it you find every page is interesting, and it contains no ads trying to sell you the latest nutritional gimmick. Dale has covered numerous All-Round Weightlifting Events and All-Round Lifters in the past in his Newsletter.  Also, in his Newsletter you will find coverage of Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting, Strongman Competitions, Highland Games and even interesting strength trivia.  Dale loves statistics and it shows in his Newsletter.  You often get rankings and comparisons of different strength feats. Plus, Dale has written several strength books that are a MUST BUY.  I have always considered The Super Athletes by David Willoughby as the book that contains the  greatest accumulation of strength history (which was published in 1970). Well, Dale Harder is the modern day David Willoughby and if you put all of his writings together in one publication it would surpass Willoughby’s book.

Take the time today to give yourself a Christmas Present and subscribe to Dale’s Strength and Speed Newsletter. Better yet – buy a couple of his books at the same time.  I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

Matt Graham – The USAWA’s Grip Sensation

by Al Myers

Matt Graham pinch gripping Two York 45's in one hand and lifting the Inch Dumbbell with the other.

Roger Davis inquired last week on the USAWA Discussion Forum about the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip.  There has been some differences in “the name” of this lift between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).  This has lead to some records that have been put in the IAWA Record List that probably shouldn’t be there. I am not going to go into detail here regarding that discussion (check out the USAWA Discussion Forum if you are interested in this).  But the discussion lead to the phenomenal lifting of Matt Graham, of Liberal, Kansas, and his great 540# Deadlift on the Fulton Bar, done with a overhand grip at the 2001 SuperGrip Challenge, hosted by Kevin Fulton.  This is a remarkable lift, and possibly could be the highest of All-Time done in this fashion.  Matt hasn’t competed recently in any USAWA meet, but I would like to take today to highlight some of his amazing grip feats.  Several of his grip lifts done in the USAWA are the tops in the USAWA Record List.  I had the opportunity to train with Matt a few times, and he competed in my Dino Gym Challenge several times.  Matt is trained by an USAWA lifting legend, and a great grip master himself, Bob Burtzloff.  I have witnessed Matt doing several grip feats that just left me shaking my head in disbelief!!  I have seen him “snatch” the 50# Blob with one hand, close the #3 COC gripper three times in a row, and pinch grip two 45# plates and lift them high enough to place them on top of a tall barrel.

Matt is built to be a great grip lifter.  He is 6′7″ and weighed around 325# at one time (now he’s a little lighter).   He has very long fingers, and an even larger thumb in proportion. His fingers are long enough that he can Hook Grip a 2″ bar!  Not many people can do that!  Several of his grip feats are well-documented.  He competed several years at Kevin Fulton’s SuperGrip Challenge in Litchfield, Nebraska and won many of them – and he was judged by a couple of very qualified officials – Kevin Fulton and Bill Clark.  Matt is indeed the “real deal” when it comes to grip power!!

Matt Graham’s USAWA Grip Records

600# – Deadlift – 3″ Bar
455# – Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip
540# – Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Overhand Grip (with Hook)
225# – Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm
344# – Deadlift – Two “Inch” Dumbbells
200# – Pinch Grip

Still not convinced that Matt is the USAWA’s Grip Sensation?
Then check out this video evidence.


YouTube Video – Matt doing a 600# Deadlift with 3″ bar.

YouTube Video – Matt doing a 540# Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Overhand Grip using a Hook Grip.

YouTube Video – Matt deadlifting two Inch Dumbbells at the same time.

YouTube Video – Matt taking the Inch Dumbbell overhead with only one hand using a knee kick, outside on a windy day.

YouTube Video – Matt doing a 192#  One Arm Clean and Jerk with the Fulton Bar.

Maybe I can convince Matt to make a “comeback” at this year’s USAWA’s Grip Challenge, hosted by Ben Edwards in February?

Records Race

by Al Myers


After the recent activity of several record days and meets, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the USAWA Records Race between Denny “Prez” Habecker and Art “Man of Steel” Montini.  After Worlds, Denny was holding a slight lead over Art for most current records held in the USAWA (4 records).  It is still very close, but Denny has increased his lead over Art.  These two are WAY AHEAD of the rest of the field, and I have a feeling the battle between the two of them will continue for quite some time.  I have expanded the list from the TOP TEN to the lifters who hold over 100 USAWA current records. I’m going to call it the CENTURY CLUB, which seems appropriate since most lifters in it are approaching that age!  To date, there are 20 lifters who hold over 100  USAWA records. Special recognition goes to Scott Schmidt – the most recent addition to this elite group of lifters.

Century Club


1.   361  Denny Habecker
2.   350  Art Montini
3.   225  John McKean
4.   216  Bill Clark
5.   214  Noi Phumchona
6.   207  Dennis Mitchell
6.   207  Frank Ciavattone
8.   204  Joe Garcia
9.   201  Bob Hirsh
10.  195  Al Myers
11.  171  Howard Prechtel
12.  138  Dale Friesz
13.  137  Jim Malloy
14.  134  Ed Schock
15.  123  John Monk
16.  118  Mary McConnaughey
17.  114  Chris Waterman
18.  110  Joshua Monk
19.  106  John Vernacchio
20.  106  Scott Schmidt

Congratulations to JIM MALLOY – who just recently passed the USAWA Rules Test. Jim has now joined the ranks of a LEVEL 2 Official – which includes passing the Rules Test and having the experience of officiating in over 25 USAWA/IAWA competitions.  I want to point out that all certified officials (both level 1 and level 2) have the same authority as officials. “Level 2″ just distinguishes those who have completed both avenues in becoming an USAWA official.  I know there probably are individuals who have met the “experience requirement” to be on the list (as a Level 1 Official) and are not listed there. I have no way of knowing who these are if I am not told, especially if these individual’s involvement happened many years ago, before I got involved in the USAWA. Most old result sheets didn’t list who the Officials were even.  If this is YOU , and you have officiated in over 25 USAWA All-Round Competitions in the past,  and want to get involved again in the USAWA as an Official – PLEASE let me know and I’ll gladly put you on the list. The USAWA would LOVE to get you back into the fold!!  The “experience” route was developed in the Rule Book as a “Grandfather Clause” so those very qualified and experienced officials would not have to “start over” in getting certified as an USAWA Official. After all, these individuals have already “earned” their official status the hard way – by sitting in the judges chair for many, many hours.  The purpose of the Rules Test is about certifying NEW officials.

The JWC’s Apollon Wheels Replica

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck, of the JWC, takes the Apollon Wheels Replica overhead at the JWC Training Hall

Al had told me for years he was wanting to make some Apollon’s Wheels and he finally made them! The best part was he made two sets and gave one to me as a contribution to our Strongman Evangelism shows.

Lifting Al’s version of the Apollon’s Wheels were like lifting history. But that did not change the fact they were formidable pieces of equipment!

My strategy was to do an over and under grip on bar and continental it to the belt. Then, I switched to a double overhand grip and popped it in the air. I had to let go of the bar, as it will not rotate (and you don’t want it to rotate on you as it could build so much momentum it could throw you over backwards or break your wrists). Then drop under the bar and regrip it in a “rack” position. Once here, it was just a matter of completing the push press. I was so excited that once I got it overhead I did a 360 degree turn with it at arms length.

If you travel to my gym or Al’s, the Apollon’s axle is a must see!

Friedrech Wilhelm Muller

by Dennis Mitchell

A classical picture of Friedrech Wilhelm Muller (better known under his stage name of Eugen Sandow).

Friedrech Wilhelm Muller was born April 2, 1867, in Konigsberg, East Prussia. His father was a German army officer and his mother was from Russia. He also had an older brother who was a professor at the University of Gottingen. Friedrech was an excellent student, and even though he described himself as a delicate child he grew to be quite proficient as a gymnast and was a good all-round athlete. His parents had hopes for him to enter the clergy.

After his father retired from the military, he went into the jewelry business. He would take young Friedrech with him on some of his business trips. It was on a trip to Italy, when Friedrech was ten years old, that he saw the sculptures of the Roman athletes. It was from these that he first desired to get physically strong and have a well developed body.

Even though his father had been an officer in the German Army, Friedrech left East Prussia to avoid military service. He could never return or he would have been arrested for avoiding his military obligation.

He made his living by being an acrobat in the circus. It was on his second trip to London, England that he met Professor Louis Attila. Attila saw Friedrech’s great potential and coached him, and taught him how to perform as a professional strongman. He learned so well, that Attila and he traveled together performing strongman acts in various theaters, music halls, etc. It was at this time that Attila thought that Friedrech should change his name, as was the custom of most strong men performers. One story is that he took his Russian mother’s name Sandov, ( the V being pronounced as a W) and became Eugen Sandow. They had a very popular and successful strongman act. After a while Attila returned to his gym in London and Sandow continued to perform alone.

Florenz Ziegfeld saw Sandow performing his strongman act a circus side show and hired him for his own carnival show. After a wile it became apparent that people were more interested in Sandows muscles than how much he could lift, and a “Muscle display performance” was added to his show.

There was a very popular strongman act in London at that time by the name of Samson and Cyclops. At every performance they would offer one hundred English pounds to any one who could duplicate the feats performed by Cyclops, and one thousand English pounds to any one who could beat any of Samson’s feats. Sandow returned to London and with Attila watched several of their performances. When Attila felt the time was right Sandow accepted their challenge and defeated them both. Sandow was not only a very good showman but was also a very strong and capable lifter, and his reputation was made.

In 1894 Sandow once again joined with Florenze Ziegfeld and performed at the World’s Colombian Exposition, in Chicago. The only exhibit more popular than Sandow was “Little Egypt”.

Sandow was married in 1894 to Blanch Brooks Sandow. They had two daughters.

There were many different claims made as to Sandow’s measurements. I will list the ones taken by Dr.Sargent of Harvard University: height, 5′7.25″, expanded chest,47″, waist, 32.75″, thigh, 23″, upper arm, 17″, and he weighed 180 pounds.

There were many conflicting claims about his strength. He did have an official bent press of 269 pounds and an unofficial lift of 280 pounds.

Sandow’s greatest contribution was that he inspired many people to be physically fit, and taught that the average person could improve their strength and the development of their body. He ran the Sandow Institute of Physical Culture and also published Sandow’s magazine of Physical Culture and British Sport.

Eugen Sandow died on October 14, 1925. Again, there were various accounts of what caused his death, but the one generally accepted was he broke a blood vessel in his brain while lifting his car out of a ditch after an accident.

John’s B-day Record Day

by John McKean

Nature threw us one of its usual December curves with snow squalls on Saturday, which kept some away, but Sunday was sunny and clear, though cold! Art & I arrived early and weren’t sure if anyone would show up when the gym was still empty at 8:30, but we had a surprise official turn up for a workout – young Bill DiCioccio, veteran of most USAWA meets during the 90s. Then Big Ernie Beath, now at 400 pounds, “crowded” the gym all by himself! He and his mom & dad had driven their van up the previous day to slowly traverse any weather problems; traveling slow through the mountain areas, his dad said the drive from Maryland took almost 11 hours (normally 5). Then Scott & Cathy Schmidt bounced in from Cleveland – didn’t even see white stuff on the way over! Denny Habecker had given us frantic phone calls the evening before as he was almost snowed under in Lebanon, but made the drive on Sunday in record time!

Big Ernie was anxious to start and began as everyone else was just getting settled in. The drive & weather set him back just a bit, as he could “only” manage a rack jerk of 406 pounds!! He tried 426 three times, but had trouble holding the lockout!! Well, he may have been tired, but that lifting sure woke the rest of us up!! Ernie also did an EASY rack push press of 386. and a dumbbell side press of 154 that looked more like a strict stance DB press!! Denny, Art, and Kohl Hess, a promising new teen who Denny brought over, did the postal meet qualifying lifts under official judging, and set a few records while doing so! Of course ole Art ,just had to throw in a few extra lifts for records, as did the always smiling Scott Schmidt (probably smiling because his rolling barbell after the set down almost nailed me twice!). Even this old man, though not quite my birthday yet ( on the 15th I turn 64; all gifts freely accepted!!!), managed to lose the “return from retirement” rust to post a few new marks!

We managed to get done at about 12:30, so it turned out to be a very efficient session. Everyone was so enthused about the ” BIG WORKOUT” at the club, that Art & I have agreed to conduct several more throughout the calendar year. Heck, the gym is fairly vacant on Sundays, and it doesn’t cost us anything !! Besides EVERYONE does their best lifting with the shared adrenaline flowing through the air (or is that smell just our gym mold, some of which is almost older than Art??!!), and our new record certificates are already a hit! See ya all there at upcoming meets!

FOR FULL MEET RESULTS:

John’s Birthday Record Day

(and National Postal Meet Qualifier)

Ambridge VFW Barbell Club, Ambridge, PA

December 6, 2009

All lifts listed in pounds except as noted

IAWA International Officials: (3 judges on all lifts)

Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Scott Schmidt, John McKean

Results:

John McKean – 174.5 lbs., 63 years old, 60+ 80K Class

Ciavattone Deadlift                    335

One-Arm Hack (L)                     175

One-Arm Hack (R)                    215

One-DB DL (R)                         225

Hack Lift – 2″ Bar                       275

Art Montini – 181 lbs, 82 years old, 80+ 85 K Class

Clean and Press – 2″ Bar          65

2 Hands Anyhow DB/BB           60

Clean & Push Press                 80

Zercher                                     158

Ciavattone DL                           200

Denny Habecker – 200 lbs, 67 years old, 65+ 95 K Class

Clean & Push Press                148

Zercher                                     215

Ciavattone DL                          290

Scott Schmidt – 262 lbs., 57 years old, 55+ 120 K Class

Clean & Seated Press-Behind Neck             75K

Clean & Seated Press                                   80K

Vertical Bar DL – 1 bar, 1″,  (L)                      92.5K

2 Hand (1 bar) 1″ Vertical Bar Deadlift          150K

Kohl Hess – 264 lbs., 15 years old, Jr. 14-15 120 K Class

Clean & Push Press                130

Zercher                                     215

Ciavattone DL                           290

Ernie Beath – 400 lbs., 28 years old, Open 125+ Class

Jerk From Rack                             406

Push Press From Rack                386

Overhead Squat (Arms Ext)          251

RH Side Press DB                        154

LH Side Press DB                         134

Alternate Grip Clean & Press        225

Reverse Grip Clean & Press         225

Goerner Deadlift Meet

by Al Myers

Group Picture at the 2009 Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Al Myers, and Rudy Bletscher

Only three lifters attended the Goerner Deadlift this year – and all were representatives of the Dino Gym.  However, despite this small turnout, the competition was fierce for the overall.  I was able to pull the win out over my good friend and training partner Chad Ullom.  This was my 4th Goerner win – which is the most by any individual in the history of the Goerner Deadlift.  It has taken me several years but finally my finger deadlifts don’t let me down at the end of this meet! They still have a long ways to go though, but they are not near the embarrassment they used to be for me (like the time Mary Mac beat me in poundage on ALL the finger deadlifts at this meet!).  Chad had an outstanding performance – by far his best ever in this meet. I looked back at the results of past Goerner meets and Chad posted the second highest adjusted points of All-Time, with my adjusted points this year being the highest. So any other year Chad would have won – and this says a lot since many great lifters have lifted in the Goerner Meet throughout the years. Outstanding deadlifters such as Rex Monahan, Kevin Fulton, and Mike McBride have all lifted at the Goerner in the past. Chad’s One Arm Deadlift has been really improving lately (he got 410# with his right at a record day a few weeks ago) and he was hoping to go over 400# again, but had balance issues on his last pull, causing him to miss it.  He then tried for a record 445# One Arm Deadlift and had it up high enough – but just couldn’t hold it long enough to satisfy Bill’s two second count.  Give Chad some more time with this lift and I think you will see him pull over 500#!!  Rudy again turned in a solid meet.  At 74 years old, Rudy is very muscular for his age – and he doesn’t even spend much time training with weights. Most of his training involves doing bodyweight exercises – like pushups, deep knee bends, and situps.  He can still quickly drop to the floor and pound out the pushups!   He does the work around his farm the “hard way” and in return, reaps strength the old-fashioned way. I’m talking about such things as carrying buckets by hand, cutting down trees with a hand saw, and hand loading bags of feed – tasks that most farmers use mechanical assistance for. But it has paid off for Rudy – and I only hope when I’m his age I can be in the shape he is now.  I enjoyed getting to meet James Hockemeyer, of Fulton Missouri,  who came to watch this meet and to see Bill. James is an old Olympic Lifter/Powerlifter and has been a supporter of the Strength Journal for years, but has never tested himself in the All-Rounds. I was glad to see Tom Powell there.  Tom always shows up to load at Clark’s meets.  This time, he brought his step-son along to help also.  Loaders often don’t get thanked enough – so I brought along a Dino Gym T-Shirt for Tom as a token payment for all his efforts!  Thanks again Tom!!

I could go on and on about this meet, but I’m going to cut it short.  This has always been one of my favorite meets for a lot of reasons – and many thanks goes to Bill Clark for hosting it.  When the meet was over, I told Bill that I will always make sure the Goerner Deadlift continues, and when the day comes that he is ready to pass it along to someone else, I will be ready take it.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, Missouri
December 5th, 2009

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official: (One Official System) Bill Clark

Loader:  Tom Powell

Lifts:  Deadlift – Heels Together, Jefferson Lift, Hack Lift, Deadlift – 2 Bars, Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm (right and left), Deadlift – One Arm (Right and Left), Deadlift – Reeves, Deadlift – Index Fingers, Deadlift – Middle Fingers, Deadlift – Ring Fingers, Deadlift – Little Fingers

Results:

Lifter Age BWT DL-HT Jeff Hack 2 Bar
DL -NT, Right
DL – NT, Left
DL – Right
Al Myers
43 254 550 550 500 590 250 250 365
Chad Ullom
37 230 495 500 475 500 225 185 365
Rudy Bletscher
74 219 275 225 225 270 155 155 175


Lifter DL -Left
Reeves DL-MF
DL-IF
DL-RF DL-LF Total Pts ADJ Pts
Al Myers
365 335 305 225 225 155 4665 3672.29 3819.18
Chad Ullom
385 305 300 225 225 100 4285 3550.12 3550.12
Rudy Bletscher
175 185 135 135 115 65 2290 1947.19 2628.71


All lifts and bodyweights were recorded in pounds.
No records were set on extra attempts.
BWT – Bodyweight     Pts – Lynch Points    ADJ Pts – Age adjusted Lynch Points

The Dino Gym’s Replica of the Apollon Wheels

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's Apollon Wheels Replica

The Apollon Wheels have a mythical attraction to them.  What makes a better Challenge Barbell than TRAIN WHEELS!   I have  heard  the stories of Louis Uni (Apollon) lifting these giant  Train Wheels is his performances, and can only imagine how impressive he must have looked doing it. I only wish there were some pictures of him lifting them!!

Several people have made replicas of the Apollon Wheels (AW).  I have seen lots of pictures of them. What I don’t understand is why most replicas don’t resemble the original Apollon Wheels in the slightest.  Just look at the pictures of them and you will see what I am saying.  Most have rims that are way wider than the original Apollon Wheels. The hub design is not even remotely the same with some. Some replicas are plated with shiny chrome. The spokes are even turned wrong in some!  Sometimes I question whether they even used the original’s AW measurements! Most replicas that have been made look much bigger than the original AW.

I have wanted to undertake this project for quite some time – ever since I read in MILO several years ago (September 2004) an article  about the Hollie Brothers  and their quest in making an Apollon Wheel replica. They did it right, and tried to make a replica as close to the original as possible.  I had decided then, that when I took on this project, that would be my goal also.  Several design issues immediately became a problem.  First, only a “handful” of measurements have been recorded for the original AW and published. I read all the resources and tried to use what I considered the most accurate information.   I have several pictures of the original AW – and had to extrapolate from these pictures  and estimate some measurements – like the length of the gussets and width and diameter of the hub.  The one thing I did NOT want to be the same with my replica as the original AW was the weight.  The original AW weighed 366# (or 365# as some sources report).  I did not want to make it that heavy.  I don’t need any more heavy doorstops!  I wanted to make a replica that I could lift and train with!  So I decided my design weight goal would be around 250 pounds. The final weight of my AW replica turned out to be 240 pounds – which is ideal.

This project turned out to be a big success.  I was very pleased how my Apollon Wheels Replica turned out.  It’s nice to have something like this in the gym – when new lifters join their eyes are immediately drawn to this huge 2″ bar containing railroad car wheels as the plates.  It’s at that time I ask, “Have you heard the story about Apollon and his Challenge Barbell?”

The Apollon Wheels

by Al Myers

Norb Schemansky lifting the Apollon Wheels

The Apollon Wheels were made famous by the legendary French Professional Strongman, Louis Uni AKA Apollon, in the late 1800’s. Apollon used these in his strongman stage shows and billed them as the UNLIFTABLE Challenge Barbell. The Apollon Wheels were an old set of railroad car wheels connected by an axel. The Apollon Wheels weigh 366 pounds (total weight). The diameter of the Wheels are 26 inches and the diameter of the axel is 1.93 inches. The width of the Wheels are 4 inches wide and the length of the axel is under 6 feet (several sources report different lengths).

Who has lifted the original Apollon Wheels?

Besides Apollon himself, only three individuals have ever lifted the original Apollon Wheels. The first to lift the Apollon Wheels was Charles Rigoulet on March 3rd, 1930. Rigoulet, a Frenchman, was a World Weightlifting Champion and is credited with the first 400 pound Clean and Jerk in history!!! The next to lift the Apollon Wheels was John Davis, of the United States, on September 13th, 1949. Davis was also a World Champion Weightlifter and was the first man to Clean and Jerk 400 pounds under official meet conditions. Norb Schemansky, of the United States, was the third to lift the Apollon Wheels on October 17th, 1954, just one week after winning the World Championships. After Schemansky had the Wheels to his chest – he jerked the Apollon Wheels three times in a row!!!

Several modern day strength athletes have lifted Apollon Wheels replicas, but only these three lifters (or 4 if you count Apollon) lifted the original Apollon Wheels overhead. Today, the Apollon Wheels reside at the Musee National du Sport (a museum) in Paris, France.

Meeting Tommy Kono

by Thom Van Vleck

Tommy Kono and Thom Van Vleck

It is not often you get to meet a living legend, but earlier this year I did just that! I was at the Arnold Fitness Expo for the first time in my life. I got to meet a slew of legends, current stars, and I’m sure some future legends. This included Frank Zane, Lou Ferrigno, Phil Pfister, Derek Poundstone, even Arnold himself as well as many others. But I have to say, the one that I saw that literally gave me the biggest thrill was Tamio “Tommy” Kono. Growing up in a weightlifting family, Tommy was like a mythical legend to me. I expected to see Arnold there, as well as many others, but I didn’t know Kono was going to be there so when I literally ran into him in the hallway while talking to my wife on my cell phone…..well, my heart jumped in my throat and I literally hung up on her as I ran to him like some star crossed teen seeing a teen idol. At least I didn’t scream!

Some might wonder who Tommy Kono was. Well, let me tell you about the man that was voted the “Greatest Weightlifter of the 20th Century”. He represented the U.S.A. in the 50s and 60s. Tommy Kono is the only lifter to have world records in four different weightlifting classes from 149lbs to 198lbs. He won a Gold Medal at both the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games, and a Silver Medal at the 1960 Olympics. He was world champion from 1953 – 1959 and set 21 world records. He was the Pan-Am Games champion in 1955, 1959, and 1963. In 1976, he coached the United States’ Olympic weightlifting team in the Montreal Games. He was also a successful Bodybuilder, winning the Mr. Universe title in 1955 and 1957. Of Japanese descent, Kono was born in Sacramento, California, on June 27th, 1930. Kono’s family was relocated to Tule Lake internment camp during World War II. Tule lake camp was in a very isolated area in the desert in northern California. Sickly as a child, the desert air helped Kono’s asthma. It was during the relocation that Kono was introduced by neighbors to weight training . After 3 1/2 years they were released and he finished high school at Sacramento High. In the 1970s he moved to Hawaii, where he has lived ever since and in 1993 he was elected to the International Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

Tommy was extremely cordial and allowed me to have my picture taken with him and a copy hangs with pride in the JWC gym. He made a glowing comment that I must be a champion myself and commented on how big and strong I looked as he sized me up. I was very impressed by him and he lived up to my lofty expectations. Tommy is a legend in the truest sense.

In Memory of Bob Cox

by Al Myers

Bob Cox, a longtime USAWA lifter from Cleveland, passed away last May.  Bob was very involved with All-Round Weightlifting in Ohio and participated in several All-Round Meets throughout the years.  He will be missed by everyone.  Dennis Mitchell sent me his obituary, which I would like to share here.

Robert P. Cox, age 84, passed away May 8, 2009.  Beloved husband of Shirley (nee Peterman), loving father of John (Sherry), Joyce Acord (Dennis Riggleman), and the late Dale, dear grandfather of Heather Cox (deceased), James Cox, Jessica Acord, Shayna Cox, Steven Acord, great-grandfather of four, dear brother of Marilyn, Doris, the late Barbara and Marjorie.  Memorial contributions may be forwarded to Lakewood Presbyterian Church, 14502 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 44107. Inurnment Thursday, May 14 at 12:30 p.m. at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. A memorial Service will be held at Lakewood Presbyterian Church, Friday, May 15 at 11 a.m.  Friends may call at the Busch Funeral Home.

Bob Cox currently holds 63 USAWA Records – with most of them set when he was over the age of 70!

Here are a couple of videos of Bob Cox from the 2000 IAWA World Championships – which was held in Mansfield, Massachusetts:

YouTube Video – Bob Cox performing a Continental Snatch
YouTube Video – Bob Cox performing a One Arm Deadlift

Odds and Ends

by Al Myers

Membership Renewals

As of now, all individual memberships and club memberships need to be sent to me and not to Bill Clark.  Memberships run for the calendar year (first of January to end of December) and are required to participate in any USAWA event or competition. Make sure to fill out, sign, and send in the Drug Waiver with your membership application.  I will be keeping a current membership roster on the website.  This membership roster will replace membership cards.

Rule Books for Sale

The USAWA has Rule Books available for sale. Contact me if you want one.  A Rule Book costs $30 which includes postage.  Make checks payable to the USAWA. The Rule Book is available for free on the website – but by the time you print one out and use up half a color printer cartridge and get it bound you will have about this much money in one.  The USAWA is selling these Rule Books AT COST!!

USAWA National Postal Competition

Don’t forget the month of December is the month to do the National Postal Competition.  John Wilmot is hosting this postal event again and lets make it a big success for him. I have heard that awards will be sent to the winners this year for it!! What a good deal – no charge to enter and possibly win an award!! Entry forms are available in the event calendar.

Ullom gets “dropped” by the Shoulder Drop

Last weekend at the JWC Record Day, Chad Ullom apparently misunderstood the rules for the Shoulder Drop.  He thought not only the bar must drop – but the lifter as well!!   Check it out in this video – YouTube Video

USAWA Daily News

I want the USAWA Daily News to be for EVERYBODY!  If you have an interesting story, training article, or just want your voice to be heard please write something up and send it to me. I’ll include your story in the Daily News and even give you the credit!

Bill Clark’s Column in the Columbia Daily Tribune

As most of you know, Bill Clark writes several weekly columns for the Columbia Daily Tribune.  Recently, he wrote a column about his involvement with weightlifting during the last 50 years in Columbia, Missouri. Very interesting!  To read it – Click Here

The USAWA on Facebook

Chad Ullom has created an USAWA Facebook page for the purpose of everyone contributing their pictures from various competitions to it.  This will allow everyone to “share” pictures. There are already over 100 pictures on this Facebook Page.  To see this Facebook page – Click Here

USAWA Video Page

I am currently working on developing a website page that will contain videos of various All-Round lifts.  I plan on making it available when I reach 25 videos – and I’m not there yet.  I need help!!  Please send me any videos or links to a videos so I can put them on this page.  The videos must be of official USAWA lifts that are done according to USAWA rules.

Website Registration

Please take the time to register for the USAWA Website. You do not need to be an USAWA member to be registered for the site.  This is my “e-mailing list” for direct emails concerning the USAWA.  You also need be be registered with the website to have access to the Membership Roster and the USAWA Discussion Forum.

The Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift

by Al Myers

Al Myers performing a One Arm Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift with 170 pounds at Clark's Record Day.

One of the lifts I did last weekend at Clark’s Record Day was the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift.  I wanted to do this lift to point out a mistake that was made in the new Rule Book and found by Dale Friesz.  Despite the extensive review process of the new Rule Book, I knew mistakes were still possible and here is one.  Thanks Dale for finding it!

The Rule for the Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells should be this:

The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2″ in diameter.  No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The maximum diameter of the plates used is 18 inches.

Previously, due to a typo, it stated that only 11 inch diameter plates could be used.  This typo happened  because the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift does require a maximum diameter of 11 inch plates, and the rule for this lift is close to the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift in the Rule Book.  Once again, copy and pasting created a problem for me!!  The reason for the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift requiring maximum 11″ plates is because the original Inch Dumbbell was a globe dumbbell, and the rule was written to best simulate the original Inch Dumbbells size using a plate loaded dumbbell handle.  This mistake will be corrected in next years updated Rule Book.

Now for the story on how the Fulton Dumbbell got its name….

Back in the early 80’s at a odd lifting meet in Liberal, Kansas, meet director Bob Burtzloff included a thick-handled dumbbell deadlift in the contest.  This dumbbell had a smooth 2 inch diameter handle.  Wilbur Miller, the “Cimarron Kid” and Kansas lifting legend,  was the hands on favorite to win this event.  Wilbur has huge hands with long fingers and was very rarely beaten in any lifting event that involved grip strength.  But this day was one of those rare days – when a young farm boy from Nebraska by the name of Kevin Fulton pulled off the upset! Upon Fulton’s winning – Bill Clark announced that this lift would be forever named the Fulton Lift.  This eventually lead to the naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar along with the Fulton Dumbbell.  As for Wilbur – upon the finish of the event he went back to the warm-up area and proceeded to pull more on this lift than he did in competition.  He went home knowing that he may not have won the event on this day,  but with the satisfaction of knowing he would next time!

The Mighty Hermann Goerner

by Dennis Mitchell

Hermann Goerner at age 36. This picture was taken around 1927, when Goerner was in his weightlifting prime.

Hermann Goerner was born April 13, 1891, in Haenichen, Germany. At birth he gave no indication that he would grow to be one of the worlds strongest men, and he eventually reached a weight of 245 pounds at 6′ 1′. He had 18.25 inch biceps, 16″ forearms, 27″ thighs, and an expanded chest of 52″.

Hermann Goerner started lifting weights at the age of ten, though never stated what got him interested in lifting. By the age of fourteen he had grown to five feet six inches tall and weighed 185.25 pounds, and could swing with a straight arm a 110.25 pound kettlebell. He participated in running, jumping, swimming, and acrobatics along with boxing and wrestling. He also enjoyed playing the piano and was a good billiards player. He continued swimming throughout his lifting career. At age eighteen he was working as a stove fitter. He had developed a fine physique and supplemented his income by posing for artists and sculptors.

He gained some local recognition, in 1911, by winning both the Middle Germany and the Brandenburg Province weightlifting championships. In 1912, he won a National contest in Berlin. Like many strongmen of that time he formed a trio with his brother Otto Goerner and friend Otto Brauer. They performed throughout the cities of middle Germany. Their act consisted of lifting, supporting feats, and juggling kettlebells. In 1913, at the age of twenty-two, he took third place in the German Weightlifting Championships. At that time five lifts were contested – the one hand snatch, the one hand clean and jerk, the two hands press, the two hands snatch, and the two hands clean and jerk. In 1920 a match was arranged between Hermann and Karl Morke, who was then world heavy weight champion. Hermann was out to redeem himself after his third place in the German National meet. Again the five lifts were used, plus a sixth lift of the lifters choice. Morke chose the squat and Hermann chose the dead lift, the lift that he was most noted for. Hermann totaled 214 pounds more than the champion. In 1922 Hermann turned professional, where he earned far more than he did as a stove fitter. In that year he also married Elsie Jwifel. The two of them performed with the Pagel’s Circus and traveled through South Africa. In the late 1920s, with the help of W. A. Pullum, he performed in England.

Hermann is best known for his one hand dead lift of 727.25 pounds. This lift has never been equaled or surpassed by anyone else since. He also did a 793.75 pound two hands dead lift using an overhand hook grip, not an alternate grip like what is used by most deadlifters today . He was outstanding in many lifts, too numerous to list here. He had a “Challenge ” barbell of 330 pounds that had a thick 2.75 inch diameter bar that he would clean and jerk at every performance. He was exceptionally good at curling, having done 242.5 pounds in strict form. In spite of being badly wounded in the first world war, in which he lost an eye, got shrapnel in his legs, and for a time was a prisoner of war, he did these remarkable lifts.

Hermann Goerner passed away in 1956.

JWC Record Day

JWC Record Day puts the “Record” in Record Day

by Thom Van Vleck

JWC Record Day Group Picture. Left to Right: Tedd Van Vleck, Josh Hettinger, Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck, and Chad Ullom

On November 21, 2009 we had a fun day of lifting at the Jackson Weightlifting Club training hall. This was the first USAWA contest at the newest USAWA member club. JWC members Josh Hettinger and myself, Thom Van Vleck, took on Dino Gym Members Al Myers and Chad Ullom.

My two oldest children, Morgan and Dalton also got in the action. Morgan is a USA Weightlifting member who just entered her first Olympic lifting contest just weeks prior and is now ranked in the top ten in her age and weight group in the US Weightlifting rankings for 2009. JWC members Tedd Van Vleck and Wayne Jackson were also on hand to cheer and coach.

Thom Van Vleck performing a 300# Reeves Deadlift

There were 90 total records broken with some amazing lifts along the way. Chad only had a short time to lift and was primed for a big day so we let him loose on the weights. He did not disappoint. I’m not sure if I was more impressed with his 475lbs Continental to the belt or his One hand Deadlift with the right hand with 410lbs! He did 375lbs with the left hand along with a Hack lift of 510lbs and a Steinborn of 410lbs beating the record of the legendary Bob Burtzloff. He also hit a Hack lift – Right Arm of 285lbs and even threw in a PIPER SQUAT with 125lbs for good measure.

Al broke 21 total records with 10 open records and 11 master records. Josh Hettinger got in the action and was game to try 16 different lifts eventually, setting Open records in 9 of them. Josh also hoisted the “Circus Dumbbell” loaded to 170lbs to top the best Dino Gym record of 165lbs in that event continuing the friendly rivalry between the JWC and the Dino Gym. This is a special Dumbbell that is loaded on the inside and has a 3” handle. You can two hand clean it, but then must press it, any way you wish, to arms length overhead.

Chad Ullom performing a 510# Hack Lift

Dalton and Morgan Van Vleck had a friendly sibling rivalry in the Deadlift with a 12” base. Morgan showed she can still lift more than her little brother with a 140lbs effort to Dalton’s 130lbs. Dalton sure gave that 140lbs a try!

I started out the day only competing in my second USAWA meet ever. I had lifted in an “odd-lift meet” back in 1979 held by Bill Clark and while I had attended a few over the years had failed to join the fun. I recently took the judges test and while I passed it nothing beats experience in learning the fundamentals of a proper lift. So, I wanted to use this opportunity to try as many lifts as possible. My enthusiasm got the best of me and I ended up with 46 records by the end of the day! It was just so much fun, I couldn’t stop. Al finally convinced me to stop as his stomach was well past empty and he wanted to enjoy the big steaks I had promised him. About an hour later, when the adrenaline of the meet wore off, I FELT like I’d broken 46 bones, not records!

Many jokes were told, stories told and retold, and I ended the day convinced I had to host another meet again. My first love is still the Scottish Highland Games, but I could see really enjoying the cross training advantages of the All-Round lifting. Thanks to all who came and get-well wishes to my training partner and friend, Brian Kerby who was supposed to be at the meet but was in the hospital ill. He is now at home recuperating and should be 100% again soon.

Grandpa Jackson's Anvil - The Centerpiece of the Jackson Weightlifting Club

FULL MEET RESULTS:

JWC 1st Annual All-Round Challenge
November 21st, 2009
JWC Training Hall, Kirksville, Missouri

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

USAWA Officials: Chad Ullom, Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck
(Chad Ullom used the 3 Official System and all others used the 1 Official System)

Loader:   Tedd Van Vleck

Results:

Al Myers Age 43     40-44 Age Group

120kg Weight Class (Actual weight 260.5lbs)

Bench Press – Left  Arm = 95lbs

Bench Press – Right Arm = 115lbs

Abdominal Raise = 45lbs

Pullover – Bent Arm = 145lbs

Clean & Jerk – Dumbell, Right Arm = 130lbs

Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 130lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell,  Left Arm = 80lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 80lbs

Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 100lbs

Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 120lbs

Press – From Rack = 205lbs


Chad Ullom Age 37 Open Age Class

110kg Class (Actual weight 237.0lbs)

Deadlift – Left Arm = 375lbs

Deadlift – Right Arm = 410lbs

Continental to Belt = 475lbs

Hack Lift = 510lbs

Steinborn Lift = 410lbs

Hack Lift – Right Arm = 285lbs

Snatch – Left Arm = 125lbs

Piper Squat = 125lbs


Morgan Van Vleck Age 12 Female

45kg Class (Actual weight 94.0lbs)

Snatch – From Hang = 41.5lbs

Continental Snatch = 41.5lbs

Deadlift – 12” Base = 140lbs


Dalton Van Vleck Age 10

35kg Class (Actual Weight 75.5lbs)

Deadlift – 12” Base = 130lb


Josh Hettinger Age 29 Open Age Class

125+ Class (Actual Weight 336lbs)

Shoulder Drop = 100lbs

Lano Lift = 45lbs

Curl – Reverse Grip = 185lbs

Pullover -Bent Arm = 165lbs

Clean & Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 130lbs

Clean & Jerk – Dumbbell,  Left Arm  = 130lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 110lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 110 lbs

Finger Lift – Right, Middle = 125lbs

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm = 225lbs

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm = 225lbs

Snatch – Right Arm = 135lbs

Snatch – Left Arm = 125lbs

Bench Press – Right Arm = 95lbs

Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 100lbs

Circus DB (3” handle, two hand clean, one hand press) = 170lbs


Thom Van Vleck Age 45  45-49 Age Group

125+ Class (Actual Weight 288lbs)

Finger Lift – Left Thumb = 30lbs

Finger Lift – Right Thumb = 30lbs

Finger Lift – Left Middle = 111lbs

Snatch – On Knees = 100lbs

French Press =  65lbs

Curl – Reverse Grip = 135lbs

Curl – Cheat = 185lbs

Continental Snatch = 185lbs

Continental to Chest = 245lbs

Continental to Belt = 360lbs

Deadlift – Stiff legged = 225lbs

Pull Over – Bent Arm = 95lbs

Deadlift – Reeves = 300lbs

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm = 135lbs

Deadlift – Left Arm = 135lbs

Deadlift – One Leg, Left = 135lbs

Deadlift – One Leg, Right = 135lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 80lbs

Side Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 80lbs

Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 80lbs

Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 80lbs

Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 100lbs

Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 100lbs

Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm = 80lbs

Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm = 80lbs

Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 80lbs

Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 80lbs

Clean & Press – On Knees = 135lbs

Press – From Rack, Behind Neck = 135lbs

Jerk – From Rack, Behind Neck = 225lbs

Push Press – From Rack = 225lbs

Miller Clean & Jerk = 95lbs

Clark’s Gym Record Day

The Missouri All-Round Double-Header

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards performing a 235# 2" Vertical Bar Deadlift

I had one of the most fun weekends of weightlifting I have ever had this past weekend. It is not very often that I get the chance to do TWO different meets in the same weekend. On Saturday, Thom Van Vleck hosted his first ever All-Round event at the JWC Training Hall, which is Thom’s private gym. I have been to Thom’s gym several times before so I know the history of his gym – but this time was extra special since I actually got to compete there! Representing the Dino Gym was Chad Ullom and myself, and representing the JWC was Thom and Josh Hettinger. Thom’s brother Tedd was there to help load and to provide comic relief. Thanks Tedd for everything you did to help us – but next time I am going to talk you into lifting! I’m not going to go into everything Thom has in his gym except to say that the JWC Training Hall is filled with about anything an all-rounder would want, and has more autographed pictures on the walls than any gym I have ever been in!! The “environment” of the JWC Training Hall inspires you – you feel like the great lifters and throwers in the pictures are watching over you while you lift as you try to perform up to their expectations!! Chad Ullom came ready to go – and started this record day off with some UNBELIEVABLE lifting. Chad went up to the 110K class and set several very impressive records including a 475# Continental to Belt (the top ALL-TIME in the USAWA), a 510# Hack lift, a 375# One Arm Deadlift – Left, a 410# One Arm Deadlift – Right, and a 410# Steinborn Lift (breaking Bob Burtzloff’s 20 year old record). I also should note that Chad had another commitment on this day and had to leave early – so he did all this in a little over 1 hour!! After Chad left, the rest of us just looked at each other and wondered how we could top that! Next, Thom got two of his kids involved – Morgan and Dalton. They each did a few records. I was very impressed with their efforts. Josh Hettinger isn’t a newcomer to the USAWA. He lifted in one of my Dino Challenges a few years ago and it was great to see him back in action. I made Thom a Circus Dumbbell (it has a 3″ diameter handle and is very big, with 12″ diameter ends). When I brought it into the JWC Training Hall I announced that the Dino Gym Record with this DB was 165 pounds (taken to chest with two hands and then taken overhead with one hand). Josh is a pressing machine and said, “then load it to 170#”, which he made it easily. So for the time being , the JWC has a record better than the Dino Gym (but THAT won’t last long haha). Thom’s Uncle Wayne Jackson was there to watch – and after Josh pressed this massive Circus DB – Uncle Wayne said, “seeing that made coming worthwhile”. This was quite a compliment to Josh as Uncle Wayne was a great presser in his day, having done over 300# in the Olympic Press. Josh did several other impressive records as well. Thom was “a man on a mission” when he started breaking records. He must have broke or set over 50 USAWA records! Finally, I was getting worn out judging him and hinted that he didn’t have to do ALL the lifts in the record list today and maybe it would be better if he “saved” a few for another day! I could tell Thom was disappointed hearing this as I think he had planned on doing 100! (Plus I knew he promised to grill me a BIG steak for supper and it was getting late and I was getting hungry!). This record day was a first rate event – and Thom even had medals for everyone who broke records. Thom and the JWC are a great addition to the USAWA and this was a great kickoff for them!

Al Myers performing a 370# One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift

The next day (Sunday) Thom and I made our way south to Columbia, to participate in Bill Clark’s Record Day. I always enjoy going to Bill’s gym – it takes you back in time. Most of Bill’s equipment and weights have been in his gym for years – and would be “collector’s items” on ebay. There are not very many gyms nowadays where you can train on York Globe Dumbbells and then load your bar with Milo plates!! His platform is made out of solid oak planks that have withstood the years of dropped overheads. There is no shiny chrome equipment around – just rustic equipment with names like “Hospital Harry”. The gym has no A/C and minimal heating. Any thing that needs lubrication is rubbed down with axle grease. Truly a Hard Core All-Rounders paradise! I was glad to see Ben Edwards already there when I walked in the door. Ben was polishing off the record list in one of his favorite lifts – the Vertical Bar Deadlift – both 1″ and 2″. Bill was judging him hard – there were no quick down commands!! Ben finished off with a 235# 2″ One hand VB deadlift – the best of ALL-TIME. Ben next took on another one of his favorites – the thumbless grip deadlift. He came into this record day with a best of 250#, set in 2003, which had him at the number 3 spot ALL-TIME. I decided to join him on this lift, mainly to “push him a little” as he was gunning for the top spot held by Mike McBride at 266#, set in 2005. We both started at 235#, which we both got easily, and kept adding 10# until we both hit our MAX at 275# – tying the two of us for the BEST ALL-TIME. This was the highlight lift of my weekend – and I hadn’t even planned to do it. This is by far more than I have ever done in this lift and it was done under the strict judging of Bill Clark. Ben is a great competitor and friend and “friendly competitions” like this bring out the best you. We concluded the day by gorging ourselves at the bunk of the Golden Corral – A Clark’s Gym Post Meet Tradition!!

Bill Clark stepped up to the bar to pull this 135# Index Finger Deadlift after a couple of record day participants (names withheld) missed this lift.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Clark’s Gym Record Day
November 22nd, 2009
Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official (1 Official System Used):  Bill Clark

Loader:  Tom Powell

Records:

Ben Edwards -  215 lbs, 34 years old

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Left Hand = 315 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Right Hand  = 255 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″ = 410 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, Left Hand = 235 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, Right Hand = 210 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″ = 366 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells = 310 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 275 lbs.

Al Myers – 255 lbs, 43 years old

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 370 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 330 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells = 480 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 170 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbell, Left Arm = 170 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells = 310 lbs.
Hack Lift – Left Arm = 235 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 275 lbs.

Thom Van Vleck – 288 lbs, 45 years old

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 240 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 240 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells = 300 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 115 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbells = 230 lbs.
Hack Lift – Left Arm = 145 lbs.
Hack Lift – Right Arm = 145 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Middle = 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Ring = 145 lbs.

Charles Rigoulot and his Challenge Barbell

by Al Myers

Charles Rigoulot and his Challenge Barbell

Charles Rigoulot was born in a small town close to Paris, France in 1903.  He started to lift weights at an early age and soon became one of the strongest weightlifters in France.  Rigoulot was a specialist in the quick lifts, and excelled at the Clean and Jerks, Snatches, and Swings. He was also great in the One Handed Snatch.  So it is only fitting that Rigoulot would build a Challenge Barbell to give him  “an edge” in these lifts.  His Challenge Barbell was a special made bar that contained shot-loaded globes on the ends. The bar was over 8 feet in length and was exceedingly springy. Rigoulot mastered the technique of using this “spring” to enhance his lifts – much like the Olympic lifters of today do on the “new-age” Olympic bars.  His challengers could not easily adjust to his Challenge Barbell flexing and rebounding, and often lifted less on it than if they were lifting on a rigid bar!!

Getting Kids involved in Strength

by Thom Van Vleck

Ethan Van Vleck Supports the Weight of the Moon on his Back

It is so important to give kids positive outlets for their energy or they will find the negative things on their own.  We all train for different reasons and often for many reasons.  Fame, health, competition, pleasure are just a few reasons to choose from.  But I think the most important is to be a good role model and make an effort to teach a new generation about the importance of strength and what it can do for you.
I tell my kids bedtime stories, just like many fathers do.  But my stories often are about famous strength legends, like Milo, Hercules, Samson, and Atlas as well as contemporary legends like Saxon, Sandwina, and many others.  I want to instill my kids the idea that weight training and achieving strength is important for many reasons.  If they can stick to it, they will learn to stick with many challenges that will come in life.
Recently I had the honor of inducting Al Myers into the RMSA Hall of Fame and my family went along for the trip. For me, this included doing two strongman exhibitions and competing in a full Scottish Highland Games with my family present.  It was a real family affair with Al and his family there along with us.
During our trip to McPherson, we traveled as a family to the Kansas Cosmosphere.  If you are a fan of space travel, this is a great place to go.  While there, we walked by a replica of the moon and before we knew it, my youngest son, Ethan, scrambled underneath and pretended to groan as if lifting a heavy, heavy weight.  This drew the attention of many people there and some laughter followed as Ethan refused to move until a picture was taken!  He came over to me afterwards and I gave him a “high five” and he said, “I lifted it just like Atlas lifted the world”!

As our generation ages, we need to instill the same love for the iron game into our children that we have.  It won’t just “happen”, like our own developed abilities, it takes “workouts” and effort.  We need to bring kids along with us to our meets and explain to them what is going on and make it fun so they will want to do it!  I work every day to keep and maintain my children’s respect.  Ethan insists he will someday be as strong as me and you know what, I believe he will be stronger!

Bob Burtzloff – The USAWA’s BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk

by Al Myers

Bob Burtzloff performing a One Arm Clean and Jerk in the early 1980's. Bob is doing this outside his house in the pasture in South-Western Kansas. The bar is loaded with 10 Kilo bumpers for a total weight of 231 pounds. As you can tell, the ground is not exactly level.

As I promised last week on the USAWA Discussion Forum, I am featuring a story today on Bob Burtzloff from Liberal, Kansas.  As some of you know, Bob is my brother-in-law and one of the pioneers of All-Round Weightlifting.  He was competing in All-Round Weightlifting (or Odd Lifting as it was known then) before the USAWA was even an organization.  Lifters like Bob are the reason we have an organization today.  If it wasn’t for lifters competing in this sport before it organized – there may not have been an USAWA!!  The USAWA started in 1987, but Bill Clark was hosting Odd Lift Meets long before this.

But back to today’s story on Bob Burtzloff.  Bob was a true all-rounder – excelling at several different types of lifts.  However, one of his favorite lifts was the One Arm Clean and Jerk. Bob was a very accomplished Olympic Lifter in the state of Kansas. He won several State Championships in Olympic Lifting so it was only natural for him to be great in the One Arm Clean and Jerk.  His best official One Arm Clean and Jerk was 253 pounds, but I know he had done up to 275 pounds in training. Most guys can’t do this much in the Two Handed Clean and Jerk!!

There are two very different and distinct techniques for doing an One Arm Clean and Jerk – and Bob was the master of both.  The most common technique is to side clean the bar prior to the Jerk.  The other technique is to One Arm Clean the bar in front, much like a regular Clean.  This is very difficult to do as the rules state, “In receiving the bar at the shoulder, the bar must not make contact or rest on the shoulder or chest opposite to the lifting arm.  The center of the sternum is the line of lineation.” Very few have the ability to do this while maintaining control of the bar.  Bob also had a “stunt” he would do in the One Arm Clean and Jerk.  He would first side clean the bar with his right arm, Jerk it overhead, lower it back to the shoulder, and then TOSS THE BAR over his head and catch it in his left hand dead center. At that point he would Jerk it overhead with his left arm before returning the bar to the platform. And I’m not talking about him using light weight on this – in 1988 at the IAWA World Championships in England Bob did this with 220 pounds!!  Everyone in attendance was shocked and in disbelief!! I have witnessed Bob doing this several times in the past and can attest that it is just one of those things you have to see to truly believe.

Bob retired from All-Round Weightlifting by 1990, but he has made a few appearances at All-Round Meets since. In 2004, Bob competed in my Dino Gym Challenge and did a 175 pound One Arm Clean and Jerk which is the All-Time BEST in the USAWA Record List.  Bob was the BEST before the USAWA and is STILL the BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk!!!

TOP USAWA ALL-TIME ONE ARM CLEAN and JERKS


1.   175 Pounds  Bob Burtzloff
2.   165 Pounds  Matt Doster
3.   160 Pounds  Barry Bryan
4.   160 Pounds  Joe McCoy
5.   154 Pounds  Al Myers
6.   154 Pounds  Bill Spayd
7.   154 Pounds  Don Verterosa
8.   145 Pounds  Mike McBride
9.   138 Pounds  Dennis Stahnke
10.  132 Pounds  Bob Karhan
10.  132 Pounds  Ed Schock

Special BonusYouTube Video of Bob Burtzloff doing a One Arm Clean and Jerk from an Odd Lifting meet in 1986. It appears the weight on the bar is over 200 pounds.

Bob Burtzloff setting the Best One Arm Clean and Jerk Record in the USAWA. This was done at the 2004 Dino Gym Challenge with a lift of 175 pounds.

The Challenge Barbell of Hermann Goerner

by Al Myers

Hermann Goerner lifting his famous Challenge Barbell. This photograph was taken in Cape Town, South Africa in 1923.

Hermann Goerner had a Challenge Barbell that only he could lift.   It had solid globe metal ends, connected by a 2-3/8″ diameter shaft, and weighed 330 3/4 pounds (150 Kilos).  It was said the Goerner could lift his Challenge Barbell overhead anytime – day or night – for over 20 years.  He didn’t even need warmups to do it – and often hoisted his Challenge Barbell overhead in street clothes.  This really demonstrated the strength of Hermann Goerner’s hands – as most other challengers could not even pick it off the ground. Goerner would use a power clean to get the barbell to the shoulders, and then put it overhead with a push jerk.

Source:  Goerner the Mighty by Edgar Mueller

IAWA Finger Lift Challenge

International “Tough Guy” Finger Lift Challenge

by John McKean

On a gorgeous Pennsylvania Fall day, IAWA president Steve Gardner and his always charming wife Karen convinced their American hosts, the equally charming USAWA first couple, Denny and Judy Habecker, to travel to Ambridge to challenge a not-so-charming pair, Art Montini and John McKean, to an impromptu finger lift team meet. Steve had the great idea that a friendly visit to the VFW “cave” would prove more sociable if we actually lifted something while amidst our usual spirited conversation (it’s rumored that Art only speaks in grunts if something heavy is not in his hands!). We were honored that Steve and Karen would spend some of their three-week American vacation with us at the Ambridge gym!

Steve set up three teams – the two ladies were the female team, Steve & Denny were the “presidential” reps, and Art & I were the Ambridge grunge boys! (Well, Steve had nicer team names!). So we agreed to do the index finger, ring finger, and middle finger ring lifts. We had a lot of laughs and some very sore fingers!! Karen and Judy did some very impressive pulls, with their efforts threatening to make the rest of us look bad at the onset! But in the final tally, ole 82 year old Art Montini was the star of the show, with quick effortless pulls of very heavy, record weights; the guy seems to feel no pain!

After the lifting and Steve’s meticulous tallies of scores, Art showed us an amazing little home cooking restaurant on one of the side streets of downtown Ambridge. The food was as amazing as the lifting and the magical day we shared as all-round “brothers (and sisters) of Iron”! With the sun just retreating over the hills of the Steel Valley, Steve, Karen, Denny, and Judy headed back to Lebanon, content with a good day’s work!

FULL MEET RESULTS:

IAWA Tough Guy Finger Lift Challenge

Louis Attila, The Professor

by Dennis Mitchell

A Classic Picture of Louis Attila, The Professor

Louis Attila, whose real name was Ludwig Durlacher, was born July 2,1844 in Karlsruhe Germany. He was a well educated young man having studied with Professor Ernst, in Berlin. He played the piano and had mastered five languages. The significant change in his life came when he saw the Italian strongman Felice Napoli perform. Many strongmen at that time made their living by performing in theaters, music halls, and the circus. Young Ludwig became Napoli’s student, and learned all about the strongman profession. Staging, costumes, posing, showmanship, and performing. It seemed that there were two types of strongman shows. One where the performers were truly very strong and impressed the audience with lifting and supporting heavy weights, breaking chains and horse shoes. etc. Other strongman acts depended more on showmanship and staging, than on strength. Ludwig learned his craft well and worked with Napoli for a time, but in 1863 at the age of 19 he set off on his own. It is not clear how long he worked by himself as after a time he teamed up with “Valerie the Female Gladiator“. He also toured in both Europe and America. Ludwig, who now called himself Louis Attila (he took his name from the leader of the Huns), is also credited with inventing the Roman Chair, the shot loading globe barbell, the “Human Bridge” stunt that later became a regular part in many strongman acts. He was also the inventor of the Bent Press and was the first person to do 200 pounds in this lift. Other than lifting Attila was a very good all round athlete, and excelled in track and field and swimming. Although being only 5′ 4″ tall he had a very good physique,weighing 175 pounds with a 46″ chest, 17.5″ neck, 16.5″ calves, 25″ thighs, and a 36″ waist. His career was very successful and he performed in the capitals of Europe to standing room only crowds. In many of the cities where he performed he was asked to help and give advice to people on how to exercise. In approximately 1886-1887 he began to cut back on his strongman shows and opened his first gym in Brussels. It was at this gym that he first met Friedrich Muller, who is better known as Eugene Sandow. Attila was credited with discovering Sandow and coached him, and also performed with him. However this is material for another article. Attila opened another gym in London, and because of his success as a performer and his knowledge as an instructor he was very successful. Over the years he had many of Europe’s royalty as clients. Attila immigrated to New York City in August of 1893. New York had a large German population and he felt opening a gym there would attract them, having a German speaking owner. He also said that New York was full of office workers who were in need of rejuvenation. He named his gym, “Attila’s Athletic Studio and School of Physical Culture”. He was very successful and was the first to use weight training to help athletes improve themselves for other sports, particularly boxing. One of his students was boxing champion James J. Corbett. He was also among the first to encourage women to engage in muscle building workouts. He ran his gym until his death, March 15, 1924, at which time his son-in-law Seigmond Klein took over.

Lift Profile – the Jefferson Lift

by Al Myers

Bob Hirsh has the top All-Time USAWA Jefferson Lift with a lift of 702 pounds.

The Jefferson Lift goes by many names – it is also called the Straddle Deadlift, while others refer to it as the Kennady Lift (which is not technically correct).  The Jefferson Lift is basically just a deadlift done with one leg on each side of the bar. It is one of the more popular All-Round lifts, and often is done at major competitions. It was included this year as part of the World Team Postal Championships.

Rules for the Jefferson Lift:

This lift is also known as the Straddle Deadlift. The rules of the Deadlift apply except that the bar will be lifted between the legs, with a leg on each side of the bar. The lifter may face any direction and feet placement is optional. One hand will grip the bar in front of the lifter while the other hand will grip the bar behind the lifter. The bar may touch the insides of either leg during the lift. The heels are allowed to rise as the bar is lifted, but the feet must not change position. The bar is allowed to change directions or rotate during the lift.

Videos of the Jefferson Lift from the 2000 IAWA World Championships

YouTube Video – Rex Monahan

YouTube Video – Kevin Fulton

Habecker Returns from Gold Cup

by Al Myers

(Denny Habecker, the USAWA President, just returned from the Gold Cup in Scotland. He was the only lifter from the United States who competed this year. Congratulations to Denny for his fine lifting and representing the USAWA at this prestigious event. The following is Denny’s report of the 2009 Gold Cup)

Denny Habecker doing a Clean and Seated Press at the 2009 Gold Cup

I just returned home from Scotland, where I lifted in the 2009 IAWA Gold Cup.

I felt the meet was a great success! David McFadzean and the Castlemilk Gym Club always put on a quality meet. It was great seeing some people I haven’t seen in quite a while. Steve Angell, Andy Tomlin, Frank Allen, are a few of my good friends that have come back from injuries or surgeries It was also good to see so many new people, that I hadn’t met before, on the platform. The lifting was of a very high quality as might be expected of a Gold Cup. Some of the lifts that impressed me the most were Mark Haydock’s 323.5 Kg. Trap Bar Deadlift, Steve Angell’s 300 Kg. Trap Bar Deadlift, Andy Tomlin’s 140 Kg. Middle Fingers Deadlift, and James Gardner’s 147 Kg. Dumbell Deadlift. James very nearly succeeded with 167 Kg. . He just couldn’t get it quite high enough on his second and third attempts. There were a lot of impressive lifts done at this meet. I was just glad to be there and share the platform with so many outstanding lifters.

I hope next years meet at Frank Ciavattone’s brings out as many lifters as this one did.

Denny Habecker

Performance Strongman – Part 2

by Thom Van Vleck

Brian Kerby "picking up girls" Strongman Style

We began to do Strongman shows for Bible Camps and Youth Groups in the local area. Soon, word spread and Brett Kerby and then John O’Brien joined our efforts. We all developed special talents and skills and soon had a show that I believe rivals any group in that’s out there in term of the quality of feats we perform!

To date, we have done over 250 shows to an estimated 25,000 people since 2003. Over 100 of these have been large productions that involved hundreds of spectators. Some are smaller, what we call “gym bag” shows where we just come in and do a handful of feats in a smaller venue. The JWC is not just about evangelism work. That “strongman” part is only a short part of the 80 plus year history of the club. In the past 15 years we also put on many secular events. We have held over 25 Highland Games events, 10 strongman contests, helped the local Irondogs at Truman State with a dozen or so powerlifting meets and Olympic Lifting meets, as well as helping train local lifters. Two of our members, Bill Leffler and Jim Spalding, are multi Masters World Champions in Scottish Highland Games. Not even mentioning the past JWC teams and their accomplishments as well as their own roll in All Round history. That’s another story!

Now, the JWC will be hosting its first USAWA meet after becoming a member club earlier this year. The first of what I hope is many. It just seems a natural fit since so many USAWA lifts have their roots in the history of the first performance strongmen and women. I know that we, the JWC, are looking forward to being a part of the USAWA!

Brett Kerby bending a 5/8" bar with his teeth

Performance Strongman – Part 1

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck breaking bricks using the "Double Forearm Break Style"

Many USAWA members are aware of our own Steve Schmidt’s career as a performance strongman, AKA “Strongman Steve”. He travels around doing strongman shows that often mirror his lifting efforts in the USAWA meets he competes in. As a matter of fact, I’d say that had it not been for Steve’s efforts to become a top USAWA lifter, his strongman career might not have ever happened! USAWA member Eric Todd, who has also joined the JWC for our shows at times, also does performance Strongman shows.

There are two other USAWA members that also have a strongman career as a part of the “Jackson Weightlifting Club”. This includes John O’Brien and Thom Van Vleck. After the “JWC All-Round Challenge” on Nov. 21 the other two more members of the JWC team should also be USAWA members, Brett and Brian Kerby as they are slated to compete in that contest.

The USAWA has a rich history and connection to being what I call a Performance Strongman. Many of the old timers like Appollon, Saxon, and Sandow travelled around earning their living performing, not competing. Today, guys like Steve, Eric and the JWC members do it for other reasons.

John O'Brien using grip pressure only to blow up unopened cans of soda

While just a few of the JWC members do performance strongman shows, they do it to spread the word of Jesus Christ. We are Christian men who believe that God has given us a talent and that we are to use that talent for Him. We are a non-denominational group that often also delivers secular messages such as being anti drug, staying in school, and being good citizens. But we never sacrifice our core message.

Brian Kerby and myself, Thom Van Vleck, are the core members of the JWC evangelism effort. We have been brothers in the Word and Iron since our teenage years and always shared a love of the iron sports. We finally had a chance to go and help Randy Richey and his strongman evangelism team, Omega Force, at the US Strongman Nationals in St. Louis. We ended up being a part of the show and were soon offered to travel with them overseas. Brian and I realized this would not be possible with our family, church, and job obligations and soon realized that God wanted us to share our talents locally.

IAWA Gold Cup

The 2009 IAWA Gold Cup – A Great Success!

by Steve Gardner

2009 IAWA Gold Cup Group Picture

There were 25 lifters taking part in this years Gold Cup World Record Breakers Tournament, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland. All of the hard work and effort put in by this years promoter David McFadzean and his support team at the Castlemilk Gym Club, was repaid in fine style as the 2009 event was a great success. The list of impressive records that were broken and set was of a very high standard, with several new lifters taking part and giving a good account of themselves too! A big welcome into the IAWA family goes out to: The Hughes trio, sister and brothers, Nicola, Robbie and Chris, and also to Alan Higgs and Tom Moffat, they all lifted well. It was nice to see Frank Allen back in action, and also Steve Angell on impressive form. People were pleased to see Karen Gardner perform her first lifting since her Cancer operation a year ago, and Agnes Mcinally who is slowly returning to form after her problems too, Agnes says she has found a new incentive in the sport: helping to coach new lifter Nicola Hughes. Denny Habecker from the USA never fails to delight us on the platform, and he too is recently back from a hip operation. Mark Haydock lifted the heaviest ever trap bar deadlift at 323.5 kilos much to the delight of a heavily pregnant Mrs Haydock (soon to deliver). All in all it was a really nice day, a good competition in a great atmosphere. Well done again to David and his team on a job well done!

FULL MEET RESULTS:

IAWA Gold Cup 2009

Castlemilk, Glasgow, Scotland.       Saturday 7th November

Promoter: David McFadzean (assisted by members of the Castlemilk Gym)

Lifter                                      Class   Div      Lifts

Steve Gardner                         125+    M50+    R/H Ring Finger Lift  80k – L/H Index Finger Lift  75k

Frank Allen                              90        M65+    Pullover at arms Length  45k

David McFadzean                     100      Open     R/H Dumbell Deadlift 105k

Bill Wright                                80        65+      R/H Dumbell C+Jerk 35k

Karen Gardner                         80        50+      R/H Mid Finger Lift 40k  -  R/H Index Finger Lift 40k

Nicola Hughes                          90        Open     2 inch bar Straddle D Lift 107.5k  -  L/H Zercher 60k

Chris Hughes                           70        J18/19   2 inch bar Straddle D Lift  155k

James Gardner                         95        Open    R/H Dumbell Deadlift 147k

Robbie Hughes                         60        J14/15   Trap Bar Deadlift 135k

Agnes Mcinally                         65        M50+     2 inch bar Straddle Deadlift 90k

George Dick                            125+    M60+     Steinborn Lift 115k -  Front Squat  110k

Graham Saxton                       110      M45+     Steinborn Lift 137.5  -  2 inch bar Hacklift 202.5k

Chris Ross                              95        Open      L/H Middle finger Lift 102.7k

Mathew Finkle                         70        M40+     2 inch bar Hacklift 120k

Alex Rigbye                            95        Open      2 Hands Thumbless Deadlift 142.5

Tom Moffat                             95        Open      Trap Bar Deadlift 260k – 2 inch bar Straddle D Lift 230k

Steve Angell                           110      Open      Trap bar Deadlift 300k

Joshua Haydock                      70        J18/19    Trap Bar Deadlift 182.5k  – Front Squat  105k

Mark Haydock                         125      Open      2 Hands Thumbless D Lift 200k – Trap Bar D Lift 323.5k

Denny Habecker                      90        M65+     Seated C+ Press B/Neck 60k – Trap Bar D Lift 160k

Alan Higgs                               95        M50+     Trap Bar Deadlift 190k

Andy Tomlin                            95        M40+     Middle Fingers Deadlift 140k

Steve Andrews                        70        M50+     R/H Zercher 100k – L/H Thumbless D Lift 66k

Karl Birkinshaw                       85        Open      Reflex C + Push Press 62.5k – Bwt Reps DLift 83k x 41 reps

Graham Always                       110      Open      L/H Bench Press 32.5k

2 Man Lifts:

David McFadzean and Chris Hughes    (Open 100k Class)     2 Man Hacklift 280k

Mathew Finkle and Robbie Hughes  (Open 70k Class)    2 Man Straddle Dead Lift 250k

Andy Tomlin and Chris Ross (Open 95k Class)  2 Man Straddle Dead Lift 350k

MC Recorder: Steve Gardner  Assistant: Judy Habecker  Drug Testing: Frank Allen

Referees: Frank Allen  Steve Andrews  Denny Habecker  Andy Tomlin  Agnes Mcinally  David Mcfadzean  Karen Gardner  George Dick  Graham Saxton  James Gardner

Granddad’s Tall Tales were not so Tall After All

By Thom Van Vleck

Katie Sandwina and her husband Max Heymann

When I was a kid, my granddad told me stories when I would spend the night. He was a great story teller and often, I fought sleep to listen to them. The topics were many, but since he had an interest in weightlifting, he often told me of strongmen of his day or before.

On one occasion he told me of a woman named Katie Sandwina. What I recall from his stories was she was 6’3” tall and 250lbs. She could carry a 1000lb cannon on her shoulder, lift her husband overhead with one arm, clean and push press 300lbs, and she never lost a wrestling match against a man. He told me that she once beat Sandow in a lifting contest.

Many years later, I read an article in an old Iron Man magazine on Katie and found that much of what he told was TRUE. Here are some of the things I have found out on Katie.

Katie Brumbach was her real name and her parents were circus performers Philippe and Johanna Brumbach. Both were large people and her father was said to have a 56” chest. In her early years, Katie performed with her family and her father would offer one hundred marks to any man in the audience who could defeat her in wrestling. It was claimed no one ever succeeded in winning the prize and it is also said Katie met her husband of fifty-two years, Max Heymann when he tried to beat her in a wrestling match and she knocked him out! They were married for 52 years….maybe he was afraid to leave! It was said that when Katie was just a teen she was over 6ft tall, 187lbs, and had 17” biceps and 26.5” thighs and was even larger after that. From what I can tell, she would feign modesty when asked for her dimensions. Perhaps it was modesty, or showmanship, but I do know that an Iron Man article on her listed her at 6’3” and 250lbs, confirming my grandfathers claim.

Brumbach took the stage name “Sandwina” after defeating the Sandow during her show. She offered a cash prize to anyone that could outlift her and Sandow took the stage. Katie lifted 300lbs over head and Sandow only managed to lift to his chest. After this victory, she adopted the stage name “Sandwina” as a feminine derivative of Sandow. I sometimes wonder if these sorts of things are staged by the strongmen to give each other credibility, but at any rate, it is agreed the event happened and it launched her career.

Sandwina worked in the Ringling Bros & Barnum & Baily circus until she was at least 60, possibly 64. One of her standard performance feats was lifting her husband (who weighed 165 pounds) overhead with one hand. She performed many other feats, such as bending steel bars and the pull apart with four horses. She would hold carousels of 14 people on her shoulders and support a half ton of cannons on her back. In between all of that, she also bore a son, Theodore Sandwina who not surprisingly became a large man and was a champion boxer.

There is no doubt Sandwina was quite a strong woman and many of her feats were real or at least close to the claims made about her. She may have been the strongest woman of all time!

Mark Mitchell – New USAWA Official

by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell performing a 505 pound 12" Base Squat at a Record Day at Clark's Gym in 2002. This is the best 12" Base Squat of All-Time in the USAWA. Mark also has the USAWA All-Time Best lift in the Reeves Deadlift, with a record lift of 400 pounds.

Mark Mitchell, of the Dino Gym, just recently passed the USAWA Official’s Test. Mark has been lifting weights for over 25 years. He competed as a 3-lift Powerlifter for many years, but now competes mainly in Powersport Competitions. Powersports is an off-shoot of powerlifting that includes the Curl, the Bench Press and the Deadlift. These events are done without the use of supporting equipment (with the exception of a belt) and are Drug-Free competitions. Mark has been involved in officiating USAWA events in the gym for several years, and has even judged at the National Championships in 2006 and 2009. Mark has competed in several USAWA events throughout the years – mostly postal meets and record days. Mark started weight training many years ago in Columbia under the coaching of Bill Clark – so he has been exposed to All-Round lifting for a long time!! Mark has always been a tremendous squatter and holds the Dino Gym Squat Record with a lift of 810 pounds.

Welcome Mark to the recently growing crew of USAWA Officials!

G.W. Rolandow’s Challenge Barbell

by Al Myers

The Rolandow Challenge Barbell now resides in the York Barbell Museum.

G.W. Rolandow was a Swiss born strongman who came to the United States and became an American citizen in 1896. He lived his entire life in New York City. His Challenge Barbell had a thick handle, and weighed 175 pounds empty, but 299 pounds fully loaded. He was able to Bent Press his Challenge Barbell fully loaded – and lifted it in his nightly strongman performances. The Rolandow Barbell was purchased by Professor Attila, and later owned by Sig Klein. Sig Klein often used it when he was demonstrating the Bent Press.

Sig Klein demonstrating a Bent Press with the Rolandow Barbell.

This was written by Sig Klein shortly after lifting the Rolandow Barbell in 1937.

“It was Saturday, April 10th, on my thirty-fifth birthday that I lifted the Rolandow Bell again. It went up on my first attempt. So pleased was I with this accomplishment that I have not up to this present writing lifted this weight since. I have never tried to lift more in the Bent-Press than 209 pounds. It seems that no matter how much weight I would ever lift again in the Bent-Press, I would never again have the pleasure or satisfaction that I derived when I first succeeded with this ponderous weight. This was in 1937. It was about this time that I published “How to Bent-Press”, feeling that such a booklet was needed for the thousands of weight-lifters whose interest I had now aroused in this lift.”

Siegmund Klein, A man of Two Eras

by Dennis Mitchell

Siegmund Klein was a well-rounded strength athlete and early day bodybuilder.

Siegmund Klein was born on April 10, 1902, in Kronisberg Germany, also known as West Prussia. His family moved one year later to Cleveland Ohio. He still has family living in the greater Cleveland area. Siegmund was never a 97 pound weakling and was a sturdy healthy child. His father was a strong and muscular man, and Siegmund said he got his desire to be strong and well built from his father. At age 12, his first set of dumbbells were two discarded iron weights used to counter balance the raising of windows. He got his first set of real weights when he was 17, and trained in his secret attic gym. Siegmund was a true All-Rounder, not only doing the standard lifts but the odd lifts as well. He was a physique man, an excellent poser, and muscle control artist. He was an admirer of Professor Louis Attila, the man who invented the Bent Press. The Professor died before Siegmund could meet him. However he did meet his widow and with her permission took over running the gym which was located in New York City. He also married their daughter Grace. He eventually opened his own gym. His gym was a show place known through out the weightlifting world. It was equipped with the old time globe barbells and dumbbells.

Sig Klein was also a very accomplished tumbler and hand balancer. Klein owned and ran one of the most popular gyms of all-time in New York City for over 50 years.

He is credited with inventing some new equipment – the “Feet Press Machine, The Iron Boot, and the ‘In-Klein’ Board”. Somehow he managed to be friendly with the two barbell super powers – Bob Hoffman’s York Barbell Club, and Joe Weider’s IFBB organization. He wrote articles for both organizations and was not only written about in their magazines but his photographs were on their magazine covers. He also was on the covers of Iron Man, Vim Magazine, LaCulture Physique, and Macfadden’s Physical Culture Magazine. He even published his own magazine, The Klein’s Bell, from June 1931 to December 1932. After that he wrote for Hoffman’s Strength & Health magazine. He was inducted into Joe Weider’s Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2006. At a body weight of between 147 to 150 pounds he did the following lifts: Strict military press 229.25 pounds, strict press behind head 206 pounds, one arm snatch 160 pounds, one arm clean and jerk 190.5 pounds, crucifix 126.75 pounds (total), alternate dumbbell press with two 100 pound dumbbells for ten reps, a bent press of 209 pounds and a side press of 174 pounds. He also did 10 reps with 300 pounds in the deep knee bend. Notice that I did not say squat, as in his day they were done on your toes, not flat footed. The Association of Old Time Barbell and Strongmen began with a birthday celebration for Siegmund. It was so well received that they have been meeting yearly since then. Siegmund Klein passed away May 24,1987. The end of an era.