Articles from November 2009



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.

The Life of a Physical Culturist

by Al Myers

Sig Klein was one of the prominent Physical Culturists in the United States in the early 1900's.

Yesterday’s story of Thom climbing the mountain in Scotland got me thinking. First – Why would Thom do something like that? Thom is a guy with no experience in mountain climbing. He took no gear and items that may be needed for survival. He is obviously not built like a professional hiker. And top of all this – he took on this formidable adventure by himself!!

Well, the answer “crazy” first comes to mind.

But truthfully, I understand why he did this. It is all about seeing the physical challenge in front of you, setting a goal, and then having the mindset to make it happen. You “trust” that your training will carry over and allow your body to be able to “rise to the occasion” and achieve whatever physical obstacle you may encounter. You have confidence in your body that it will not let you down.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately about Old Time Strongmen and one term that is always brought up is the term “Physical Culturist”. Just what does this mean? Physical culture is more than weightlifting, more than running or walking, more than being able to throw a hammer far, and more than being able to pick up a big stone. It is the combination of all of the above – plus living a lifestyle that allows the body and mind to grow and develop both physically, mentally and spiritually. This sums up Thom Van Vleck. Thom living the life of a Physical Culturist prepared him for this challenge.

The Old Time Strongmen knew something about training that modern day weightlifters have forgotten. The Oldtime Strongmen’s training focus was based on not only developing strength, but maintaining good health and fitness. Today, everyone has to specialize in order to excel in any type of lifting – whether that be Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting or Bodybuilding. I understand that. But much is lost and sacrificed in order to achieve a high level of performance in these specific lifting sports. Living the life of a Physical Culturist requires one’s training to be well-rounded. I have been there and made those mistakes myself. When I was heavy into powerlifting and could Bench Press over 500 pounds I thought I was strong. But take me outside of my comfort zone of pressing a weight while lying on a bench, I found that other things suffered. At that point in time I couldn’t even play softball with my daughters because my shoulders were to tight to throw a ball. My cardio fitness was very poor – just walking short distances would tire me out. After all, I didn’t want to do any other training on my legs besides squats because I feared it might adversely affect my recovery time and my squat wouldn’t improve. My flexibility was terrible. I had trouble bending over and tying my shoes. I could deadlift over 750 pounds, but I knew that I couldn’t spend the day picking up rocks in a plowed field all day long like I could when I was a kid. My health was suffering. I was weighing close to 300 pounds (more than my frame could take) and was starting to have problems with high blood pressure. Gaining body weight was always the answer when I would hit lifting plateaus. I had become a prisoner to my own training.

These things are what lead me to All-Round Weightlifting. I want my training to be more than just about strength. I want to live the life of a Physical Culturist, just like the Old Time Strongmen did. Now I go on ten mile bike rides with my wife. I spend time playing catch with my daughters. When I go hunting, I can walk all day long now and not get tired. I have lost about 50 pounds body weight and my blood pressure is under control. My approach to training has changed completely – thanks to All-Round Weightlifting!!

To the Top of Scotland

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck at the Top of Scotland

On a recent trip to the Scottish Masters World Championships I decided to take a day and do some mountain climbing. My grandfather had a copy of the famous painting “Monarch of the Glen” when I was a kid and the Cairngorm Mountains are the back drop that inspired the painting. I decided, to honor my grandfather, I’d climb that mountain! And, to honor my friend, Al Myers, I wore my Dino Gym cap when I did it.

It was a 9 hour grueling hike for a 300lb, 45year old weightlifter with a bum hip. The weather turned typically bad….really bad and it turned into a real adventure. But an adventure I’ll never forget and one I’m writing a much longer story about that I’ll share when it is done. I made it to the top of the 2nd and 5th tallest Mountains in Scotland. Ben Mcduibh was thought to be the tallest mountain in Scotland for centuries and traditionally is still thought of as the tallest (it falls short by a mere 30ft). Many legends surround it, it’s said to be haunted, and you will find primitive stone “forts” that the highlanders used centuries ago when they used the Mountain tops to signal each other in times of invasion.

The picture is at the top of Mcduibh because when I made it to the top of Cairngorm, I was dealing with freezing rain, winds gusting 70plus mph, and fog so thick you could barely see! I made it, just barely!

My trip to the York Barbell Museum

by Al Myers

A Bronze Bust of the founder of York Barbell - Bob Hoffman

Following the IAWA World Championships last month, I got to do something I have always wanted to do – go see the famous York Barbell Museum in York, Pennsylvania.  It only took Chad and I a hour or two to make the trip from Lebanon – and it was worth it!  The museum contains the entire history of York Barbell, photos and equipment of Old Time Strongmen, and the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame.  We met up with Mike Locondro, who is the retail manager of York Barbell, and got insight into York Barbell beyond that normally seen by a normal museum tour.  As some of you know, Mike has competed in USAWA competitions in the past and was very good, placing 10th Overall in the 1993 & 1995 World Championships.  He was very gracious to us and gave us a tour of the York Gym, which is off-limits to the general public.  He spent over two hours visiting with us.  Chad and I thought we must have been receiving special treatment because we were All-Rounders, but the truth is Mike is just an outstanding salesman and treats all customers that way.

Chad posing with the full-size sculpture of Eugen Sandow

Now back to the York Museum – I can’t even start to describe everything that we seen.  A highlight for me was seeing the Travis Dumbbell, which Warren Lincoln Travis used in many of his strength shows.  It weighs 1500 pounds empty!! It seemed much bigger to me than the prior impression I had of it from pictures.  The York Museum contains the Challenge Barbells of Eugen Sandow and G.W. Rolandow.  Just getting to put your hands on a barbell with so much history is an amazing feeling.  The museum has the Challenge Dumbbell of Louis Cyr.  It weighs empty 202 pounds and fully loaded with lead shot weighs 270 pounds.  Cyr could easily take it one handed and Side Press it.  These are just a few of the museum items – there is much more!! The museum details  the complete history of York Barbell, and tells the story of how Bob Hoffman built York Barbell into a weightlifting empire. If you ever get the chance to go to the York Barbell Museum – make sure to give yourself at least a half day to see it all!

But give Mike a call first – and tell him you’re an All-Rounder.