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.

The Challenge Barbell of W.A. Pullum

by Al Myers

W.A. Pullum and his famous Challenge Barbell

To win the 100 pound offered in connection with this challenge, the man taking it up had first to lift overhead in the “One Hand Anyhow” style this barbell loaded to a poundage equivalent to 1 1/2 times his own weight, after which a kettlebell representing a third of the barbell poundage had to be lifted overhead with the other hand.

This “double-bodyweight” feat of W.A. Pullum was performed  twelve times a week at music halls.  The Challenge, however, was never accepted.

Source: How to Use a Barbell by W.A. Pullum

Hall of Fame Biography – Howard Prechtel class of 1993

The Life of Howard Prechtel

by Dennis Mitchell

Howard Prechtel and one of his favorite lifts - the Hip Lift

Back in the late 1940’s Howard Prechtel was competing in Olympic Lifting. At that time it was the only way to compete. However, his real love in lifting was the odd lifts. That was what the All-Round lifts where called then. As power lifting became more popular he competed in that also. With the organizing of All-Round lifting Howard was in his true element. He still competed in both Olympic and Power lifting, while competing in All-Round meets, setting many National and World records. Besides competing he was active as a referee and meet promoter for both National and World meets. He organized the Gold Cup Record Day, which has become an annual event. For many years he held the Buckeye Record Day every February. He has been both the National and World President. Howard is also known for his ability as a “Bone Setter”. Though he had no formal training, he learned his skills from a fellow lifter who was a medical professor, and taught him the art of manipulation.

Howard Prechtel in his earlier days competing in Olympic Weightlifting

Here are some of Howard’s lifting accomplishments. At age 52, he did a Harness lift of 1,910 pounds for 22 reps in 30 seconds. At age 57, he broke Warren Travis’ record set in 1927, by lifting 1,111 pounds 5,460 times in 3 hours and nine minutes. What lift? The Travis lift! At age 62, he did a Roman Chair sit up with 908 pounds. At age 70, he did 105 reps in 75 seconds with 1,102 pounds, in the Travis lift. Other than his lifting accomplishments Howard was a decorated Marine in the second world war, where he served for four years in the Pacific. He took part in several invasions and was wounded twice. He seldom talked about this except that it was very horrible and it was best left in the past.

Al Myers Inducted into the RMSA Hall of Fame

by Thom Van Vleck

Al Myers receiving the RMSA Hall of Fame Award Picture Left to Right: Thom Van Vleck, Al Myers, and Chad Ullom

I recently was contacted by Greg Bradshaw of the Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletes (RMSA) and asked if I would do the honors of inducting our own Al Myers into the RMSA Hall of Fame. They asked that I do it at the McPherson Scottish Highland Games in McPherson, Kansas. Al was the Athletic Director of this games for many years and built it into one of the premier Scottish Games in the Midwest. In 2007, Al hosted the Scottish Masters World Championships in McPherson. I presented a speech for Al and in it are things I think you should all know about him and that his involvement in Strength Sports goes far beyond the USAWA. Al has had quite a career as an athlete and going into the RMSA Hall of Fame (there has been only 6 inductees in over 30 years) is a just reward for a great athlete and friend.

The following is my speech:

We are here today to honor Al Myers and induct him in the RMSA Hall of Fame.

Al is a veterinarian and his family includes his Wife – Leslie of 23 years, and three daughters – Emily, Katie, and Molly. Al has always counted on their support.

As a competitor, Al started in the Highland Games in 1987 at the age of 20. He retired in 2005, after 19 years of competition. During that time he competed in over 200 Highland Games and over 100 Powerlifting Meets. Al competed as a professional Highland Games athlete for 10 years, from 1990 to 2000. He held the American Record in the 16# Sheaf toss in 1995, with a height of 35 feet (which is when I first met him). His best throws in the Highland Games were 16lb Sheaf 35 feet, 20# Sheaf 31 feet, Open Stone 48 feet, Bramaer Stone 38 feet, LWFD 81 feet, HWFD 41 feet, 16# Hammer 130 feet, 22# Hammer 108 feet, and WOB 15’11”. Al’s favorite and best event was the Caber Toss – an event he always placed high in. He has won over 100 Caber Competitions in his Highland Game career. Al was a 6 time Rocky Mountain athlete of the year – from the years 1991 to 1996 and held several RMSA records. As if this weren’t enough: Al also had a whole other athletic career in powerlifting. He was a 12 time state champion, 3 time collegiate National Champ and 7 time National Champion.

You would think the guy might want to take a break, but Al has continued on in another sport: The United States All-Round Weightlifting Association. He just recently was awarded Overall Best Lifter at this past year’s National Championships. He has won 6 All-Round National Championships since “Retiring” from the highland games, and was the Overall Best Lifter in three of these. He has won 3 All-Round World Championships, and was the Overall Best Lifter in the 2006 World Championships, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland. At the awards banquet following this competition he wore his Kilt to honor Scotland and the Scottish Games.

But Al was NOT just an Athlete. He was the Kansas representative to the Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletic organization for over 10 years. He was responsible for introducing many new throwers to the Highland Games and helped in getting new games started in other areas (including mine). Al has spent countless hours training new throwers at his gym, the DINO GYM, which is fully equipped as a Highland Games training complex! He has promoted several training Games at his place through the years to help build interest for the Highland Games athletics.

Today, even though he is retired as a thrower, Al is still very involved in coaching and promoting games. He just recently promoted the very first Highlander Nationals – which is a combination of Highland Game events and Strongman events.

But perhaps more importantly to those here today, he was the first athletic director of the McPherson Highland Games, and performed in that capacity until 2007. In his last year as athletic director of the McPherson Games, he hosted the Masters World Highland Games Championships.

Now, you might be thinking at this point that Al is Ten feet tall, weighs two tons, eats hammers and nails, and can take a shot gun blast standing…..his hammer actually travels faster than a speeding bullet, his run up on the Caber can derail a locomotive, and his WOB could clear the Empire State building……and those are his warm ups….

But joking aside, the reality is, Al is one of us and never made any of us feel any less. Scottish games are built on kith and kin, friends and family. Athletes used to participate knowing that the next day they might be called to fight side by side. Al very much embodied that friendship and made all of us that came after him feel like part of the highland games family. Al’s impact goes far beyond what I’ve talked about today. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition and it’s a standard that I know many of us here want to maintain. Thanks, Al, and may God continue to Bless you and your family for many years to come.

A Big Thank You to Bill Clark

by Scott Schmidt

I spoke to Bill Clark in early September to confirm his receipt of my membership check. At the end of our conversation, when I said “See you in Lebanon” and he replied “No you won’t, I’m done”, I felt the air go out of the balloon, because one of the Icons of the Strength Sports was stepping down. I’m certain Bill will receive many tributes and accolades for all the effort he has put in to keeping the games strong people play alive. But I wanted to send my own recognition, so the folks out there who have relied on Bill to keep things going, will realize, it’s time to step up, and bring their leadership qualities to the table, so our whole organization can continue to thrive and prosper.

Bill Clark had a vision to promote the competitions of Olympic Weightlifting and All Around Weightlifting for many years. If it wasn’t for Bill Clark introducing the Masters program to Olympic Weightlifting back in the 70’s, and bringing the All Around’s in by the late 80’s, I’m certain many of us would have missed a lot of fun memories and achievements in our lives.Being able to succeed at the tough sport of moving iron brings a lot of good qualities to your life style. When you consider all the people who have been influenced by the good things Bill has promoted, I think the man deserves a whole lot of credit for his efforts.

So, in summary, thanks a ton, Bill

ADIOS to the Strength Journal

by Al Myers

“Adios” was the lead story headline for the latest Strength Journal, which I received yesterday. And with this – I mean the last Strength Journal. Bill Clark has published the Strength Journal for over 20 years covering news from the USAWA, but over 50 years including other strength news. I read this last Journal with great sadness, as I’m sure most others did as well. But as Bill said in this last Journal, “All things must have a finish. That’s this letter.” I owe Bill Clark a great deal of gratitude for getting me started in the All-Rounds. I clearly remember my first time meeting him several years ago. I was winding down my powerlifting career and just wanted to see “what this all-round lifting was all about”. So myself and several of my training partners headed to Clark’s Gym in Columbia on a cold December day to try out a record day on Saturday, followed by the Goerner Deadlift Dozen on Sunday. Bill knew we were coming and greeted us at the door (he also knew we were Powerlifters) and one of the first things he said was for us to look at the sign by the door. It had the Gym Rules which spelled out NO WRAPS and NO DRUGS ALLOWED. Bill is one to get right to the point. I knew right away that this was my type of gym and that I was welcome!! Immediately I found out what all-round weightlifting was all about – and I was very intrigued. Steve Schmidt was there that day and was going for a repetition Back Lift record. I had no idea at the time the importance of the record he was breaking. I do now – it was the greatest Back Lift repetition record of All-Time. I also met Tom Ryan that weekend. Tom helped us tremendously – and showed us the proper way to do these strange new lifts that we were trying for the first time.

Bill immediately put us to work breaking USAWA records. Of course we were just focusing on bench press type lifts at first, until Bill said, “I have never seen that much bench pressing in Clark’s Gym before.” I soon found out that All-Round Weightlifting was much more – when Bill brought out the ring and challenged us to Finger Lifting. I thought later that this must have been his way to test us – to see if we really had what it takes to become All-Round Weightlifters. We maxed on every finger of each hand and Bill made us go all out. After all – He WAS!!! I left that weekend with several sore fingers but knowing that this sport was for me – thanks to Bill Clark. I would like to know how many lifters Bill has introduced to All-Round Weightlifting – I’m sure it is more than I could count.

The Strength Journal has been the backbone of the USAWA since the start. It will not be the same not receiving any more of them in the future. In the past when I found a Strength Journal in the mail – I would open it up right away – even before looking at any of my other mail. I would like to think that I could maybe talk Bill into writing a few stories for the USAWA Daily News in the future. But I know Bill has said in the past that he would never put anything on the internet – and Bill is a man of conviction so I believe I probably won’t be successful in this endeavor. But I will keep trying to change his mind on this so hopefully we can read the words of Bill Clark again.

Bill, I know you probably will never see this, but THANK YOU for everything you have done for the USAWA. THANKS for the many years of publishing the Strength Journal. THANKS for the leadership you have given to our organization. And most importantly – THANKS for getting me started in this great sport of All-Round Weightlifting.

Challenge Barbells

by Al Myers

John Conner, of the Dino Gym, lifts the Dino Gym's Challenge Barbell. This Challenge Barbell weighs 585 pounds and has a 2.5" diameter handle. When John did this - he deadlifted it for three reps!!

Every gym or club should have a Challenge Barbell.  There is nothing as inviting as a heavy, already fix-loaded barbell that just sits in the corner of a gym just daring someone to lift it!  The lifting of a Challenge Barbell becomes an issue of pride among gym members – everyone wants to be part of “the list” of those who have succeeded. It gives great motivation to those who haven’t yet – and inspires their training to keep improving, until the day comes when they are successful in lifting the Challenge Barbell.  The overwhelming sense of accomplishment is felt when a Challenge Barbell is lifted – knowing that you have have overcome the challenge laid out in front of you.

Most Old Time Strongmen had some sort of Challenge Barbell or Challenge Dumbbell that they would use in their show acts. It usually was specifically made to emphasize their strength in a particular lift. They would flaunt this Challenge to other strongmen – and when others would fail with it give themselves a “pat on the back” and proclaim themselves as the strongest!!  Often these Challenge Barbells would be made in a way that made them difficult to lift without practice on them – thus giving the owner a tremendous advantage. Most Challenge Barbells were poorly balanced, or had hand spacings that weren’t optimal for other lifters.

I am going to be doing stories about several Challenge Barbells of famous Old Time Strongmen over the next few weeks. If anyone has a Challenge Barbell in their gym or club, please send me the details and I will run the story of it right here, in the USAWA Daily News.

IAWA Age Adjustment Changed

by Al Myers

The long standing debate on whether the age adjustment should be changed was resolved this month at the World Council Meeting held in conjunction with the IAWA World Championships. This discussion started last year at the World Meeting, which was held in England, by Wilf Chapman of Australia. Wilf felt that the older lifters were not being compensated adequately by the age adjustment. After discussion, the membership felt that this needed to be looked into further before any changes would be made.

Steve Gardner and Graham Saxton of England, and myself of the United States, conducted separate studies on the age adjustment. Both of our studies supported that the age correction formula that has been used is very inadequate for lifters over the age of 65. These studies were presented to the membership at the Meeting this year, and finally, this issue has been resolved! The USAWA and the IAWA(UK) have always used different age correction formulas, but the IAWA has previously used the USAWA formula, which gives 1 percent per year starting at the age of 40. The IAWA(UK) gives 1 percent per year starting at age 36 and then 2 percent per year starting at age 66.

What was agreed upon by the membership was a compromise of these two correction systems. Now for IAWA competitions, a lifter receives 1 percent per year starting at the age of 40, and at the age of 66 receives 2 percent.

Now my opinion..

I truly believe that for our organization to grow we must always tilt the formula to allow a strong young lifter to beat a strong older lifter. Best lifters should be decided by the weight lifted and not by a formula. However, the previous system didn’t even allow the older lifter (over the age of 65) to even be in consideration. Contrary to what those on the “other side” of this argument (not wanting to see any changes) might say – this small change will not let older lifters easily beat young lifters!! Just look at the studies and the numbers and you will see what I am saying. Giving a 70 year old lifter 36 percent adjustment is still not much compared to what they really should be getting if we want complete equality (the studies showed that 90 percent correction is needed for a 70 year old). By the way, these studies were done using data from the USAWA and IAWA Record Lists which provided over 20 years of data collection!! I base my opinion on numbers and statistics and not “gut feelings”.

I was also glad to see the age correction adjustment still starting at the age of 40. This seems logical to me – as it is the time a lifter enters the Masters division and becomes eligible for Masters age group records. Now I hope that the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) will come together on this and both adopt the IAWA system for age correction. Unification on this would be a good thing for the IAWA.

Delaware Valley Postal

Results of the Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet

by Al Myers

John Monk performing a One Arm Hack Lift at Worlds.

The Best Lifters of the latest Postal Competition are Men – John Monk, Jr. and Women – Kari Landis. Congratulations to Kari and John on their victories!!

This Postal Meet was directed by John Wilmot. Postal Meets provide great opportunities to compete without ever leaving your own gym. All you need to do is complete the lifts, under USAWA Rules, and send in your results. However, certain things need to be followed in order for your lifts to be official and eligible for records. For this Postal Meet, I didn’t receive any information whether the lifters had their lifts judged by Certified Official/Officials or not.

The following is from the Rule Book:

Section V.4. of the Rule Book states:

Records may be established in any USAWA sanctioned competition or event provided that one certified USAWA official is present to officiate and approve the lift. If three USAWA officials are used to judge the lift, the lifter must receive the approval of two.

Section V. 12. of the Rule Book states:

All results submitted for records must include the names of the certified officials that judged the record lifts.

The new Rule Book became effective August 1st, 2009. There are several things that are outlined in more detail than in the previous Rule Book. This is one of those things – that is why I am bringing attention to it now. The website is now the source of meet information for the Records Chairmen (Joe Garcia of the USAWA and Chris Bass of the IAWA). It is my responsibility to make sure the proper and correct information is available to them – so they will know if lifts are eligible for the Record List or not. Emphasis is now being put on having Certified Officials if you want a record. Regarding Postal Meets and Record Days, I will list in the results the name/names of the Certified Officials present for each lifter, and whether the One or Three Official System was used. Remember, only one Certified Official is needed for USAWA Records but three Officials are needed for IAWA Records (Or just two if both deem the lift good).

This is the time to take the Rules Test and become an USAWA Certified Official!

FULL MEET RESULTS:

2009 Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet
September 1st – 30th, 2009

Meet Director:   John Wilmot

Lifts:  Bench Press Feet in Air, Squat 12″ Base, Deadlift Heels Together

Lifter and Certified Official/Officials:
Kari Landis – John Monk
John Monk, Jr. – No Certified Official
Denny Habecker – No Certified Official
Dennis Vandermark – John Monk
John Wilmot – No Certified Official
Bill Crozier – No Certified Official
Nate Shelly – No Certified Official

Results:

Lifter Age BWT Class Bench Squat Deadlift Total Points
Kari Landis
27 175 80 95 100 225 420 405.85
John Monk, Jr.
43 175.5 80 280 390 425 1095 1098.83
Denny Habecker
66 190 90 176 222 281 679 793.77
Dennis Vandermark
56 205 95 210 250 290 750 773.78
John Wilmot
62 210 100 150 225 325 700 749.07
Bill Crozier
72 224 105 160 210 260 630 704.25
Nate Shelly -extra lifter
20
154
70
215 275 300 790 827.13


BWT – bodyweight in pounds
Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.

Best Lifters:    Women – Kari Landis   Men – John Monk, Jr.

WHERE’S THE BEEF? At Future USAWA meets!

by John McKean

John McKean and Ernie "Beef" Beath

His online handle is “Beef” and at 6′2″ and 390 pounds, big Ernie Beath sure fits the billing! The polite and pleasant 28-year-old strongman from Cambridge, Maryland, and I started e-mailing sometime back, and I was simply astounded over his reported training poundages. It was only natural that the pressing variations he favors be verified for the world by doing them in sanctioned USAWA events, and he was most anxious to acquire official verification. So Ernie traveled over to Ambridge for Art’s annual Birthday Bash Record Day, and wasted no time doing a perfect world record rack push press with 381 pounds. It was so easy that we talked him into a 401 pound attempt, which was almost locked out, perhaps simply a victim of first meet jitters! But he’ll try over 400 at our December 6 meet (We’d like a big turnout guys!!! Come on over!) and will take a shot at a huge JERK from the rack, where’s his gym best is over 450!!

Ernie is a home trainee, and has developed his training concepts almost entirely on his own. He found out early on that he could make best strength gains with heavy singles, so goes almost to top limits on a variety of lifts (2 or 3 per session, 4 times per week on average) every workout. He really enjoys pushing big weights overhead, doing things like the above mentioned presses & jerks from the rack, clean & press behind the neck, and even strict presses while seated flat on the floor. However, he’s not too keen on flat benches or lying down to lift, ever since a training accident with 700 pounds in the partial close grip bench press cost him an eye (after the hospitalization, he bounced right back to the heavy lifting that means so much to him!).

Ernie Beath and a 381 pound Push Press from Rack

A true all-rounder, Ernie has always done “variations” from standard lifts, even without knowing about us in the USAWA, such as Zerchers, squats with the bar held overhead in snatch position, various close stance deadlift forms, and high pulls/continental types. An unusual move that both Ernie and I are trying to get established as an official IAWA lift is the bent over row in both strict and “power” forms. The Beefster hauls in over 500 pounds in this back strengthening, total body movement. Again he relegates this typical bodybuilding exercise away from its normal roots by pulling exclusively with heavy singles!

Another unique aspect of Ernie’s training is his use of heavy chains over the barbell. Quite often, for jerks, presses, and front squats he’ll place a 60 pound chain over each end of the bar. And on “good” days he has a pair of 100# chains! Of course the lifts start with lesser weight, with much of the chain linkage on the ground, but by lift’s end, ALL that unwieldy weight comes together! Ernie claims a regular 400# jerk with a barbell, for example, seems so easy and balanced in comparison to one with his heavy, awkward chains!!

We are fortunate to be witnessing just the beginning from this youthful behemoth ! A most welcome newcomer to our USAWA fraternity, I’m sure Ernie’s name will soon be all over the record book!

My Interview with Frank Ciavattone – Part 3

by Al Myers

Frank Ciavattone has done a Neck Lift with 808 pounds!!

Al: What have been your favorite All-Round lifts? What records have you set that you are most proud of?

Frank: My favorite lifts were the three Ciavattone lifts, One hand deadlift and the Necklift. They all seemed natural for me. As for records, my favorite’s are one arm Hacklift right hand 402 1/5 lb’s, one arm Deadlift right hand 562 1/5 lbs, one arm Ciavattone lift right hand 331 lbs, Neck lift 808 lbs, Hand and thigh 1610 lbs, and a Hip lift of 2515 lbs.

Al: What advice do you have for new All-Round lifters?

Frank: Stay away from any artificial way of getting ahead. Hard, hard, hard work is what got me to do the best I could without jeopardizing my number one thing in my life, FAMILY. Keep your priorities in the right order. This formula keeps everyone happy and supportive.

Frank Ciavattone's favorite lift - the one arm deadlift.

Al: What is needed in the USAWA for the organization to grow?

Frank: Get involved in your particular region or state. Do the best of your ability and either promote, coach, run a meet or like I do every year, go to schools and promote our drug free sport with a talk of how you can be a World Champ without drugs. Then show them some feat of strength they may never see again. If everyone did this instead of complaining the USAWA would be that much stronger!!!!!!

Al: Do you have any other thoughts about All-Round weightlifting that you would like to mention?

Frank: The sun does not shine for everyone in most sports, as it does not shine for the same in Olympic lifting, Powerlifting, or Strongman events. But I’m sure if you tried the USAWA you will find that the sun does shine on one of our 100+ lifts. So give our sport a try. I have also met some of the most caring athletes, friends and families out of any other sport I have participated. Thank You for this opportunity.

Al: Frank, thanks so much for participating in this interview. It is always a pleasure getting to visit with you.

My Interview with Frank Ciavattone – Part 2

by Al Myers

Frank Ciavattone was the first American to ever lift the Dinnie stones unassisted. He performed this amazing feat in 1995.

Al: I know you have promoted several All-Round meets throughout the years. Could you tell me about some of the most memorable meets you have promoted?

Frank: I have run National and World competitions in both Allrounds and Heavy Lifts. The most memorable Allround meet was definitely the 1st one in 1993, in my home towns of Norwood/Walpole, Mass. All in one meet I had my family, friends, the towns people, and all the lifters from other countries. They were also like friends and family. With that combination it was a week of comradeship, competitiveness, and support. The rest was a true celebration of what this sport is by bringing a half dozen countries together as human beings. This is a time I will always cherish in my heart. As the Heavy Lifts go, I would have to say Winning the Outstanding Lifter Title at the 2005 World Heavy Lift Championships in front of my home towns Norwood/Walpole, Mass. I was in the 275lb. class. I gave the award to my daughter Domenique. That was a Hallmark moment for me.

Al: How many times have you competed overseas at World Meets? I know when you where in Scotland you became the first American to ever lift the Dinnie Stones without straps. Could you tell me the story about your success in lifting the Dinnie Stones?

Frank: I have lifted overseas in 6 World Championships and 1 Millennium Gold Cup for a total of 7 trips. The Dinnie Stones story got started by Willie Wright and his team wanting me to go north and give them a try! They offered to take time off from work and take me. For this I said yes and would give it my best shot. Well after lifting in 2 day competition with 10 lifts at the 1996 World Championships, and the 9th lift being a 507lb. right hand- 1 arm deadlift, I was beat. After the meet we all got ready for the banquet, which anyone who’s ever lifted in Scotland know their banquets are right up there with the best of them. Well around midnight Willie informed me that the mini-bus was leaving at 5 a.m. sharp, tomorrow morning with about a 4 or 5 hour drive. The next day everything goes on schedule and we arrive there with a full mini-bus. I never saw the stones in person before but have to say I was overwhelmed at them. They were both chained to the wall, and it was drizzling out. Everything had a film of water over it, and the marble size piece of chalk I brought was disintegrated. So I found an area not so wet and dug my hands through the dirt to dry them up and it helped. At this point I picked up the little stone right and left, then I did the same to the big stone. Well now I thought I did it. They all yelled NO – do the 2 stones together. Since they were chained to the wall I decided to keep my 2 feet together since the stones were close to the wall. It was hard for me to straddle them and definitely too tight to have one on each side. So finally on my 1st. attempt I reached down and slowly stood up, and stood there while Willie Wright gave his down signal. I was in another world as I felt like I could not put them down. I got an IAWA World record certificate and the honors of being the 1st. US citizen to lift up the stones without straps or other assistance. Also to be one of few to lift them feet together. I am not sure who the others are. The truth to all this is I lifted them fatigued, never seen them before, and never trained to lift them. No excuses – just got of the bus and within 5 minutes lifted both of the ground. I did it my way!!!!!!

My Interview with Frank Ciavattone – Part 1

by Al Myers

Recently at the World Championships I got the great honor of getting the opportunity to compete with Frank Ciavattone again. It has been several years since Frank has been able to compete because of various injuries, with the last one being a hip replacement. Frank is a true Pioneer in the Sport of All-Round Weightlifting and contains a wealth of information. He is also the ultimate sportsman by demonstrating that a big man can be very strong without the use of drugs, showing that strength comes from within, and displays the unselfish attitude of always helping out his fellow competitors.

Frank Ciavattone performing a One Arm Hack Lift at the 2005 USAWA National Championships. I'm standing behind him watching and learning. Frank has the top USAWA lift of All-Time in this lift at 402 pounds.

Al: Where do you current live and what do you do for a living?

Frank: I live at 204 East St. E. Walpole, MA 02032. I am a self-employed Excavator Contractor two-thirds of the season and a Heavy Snow Remover the remaining time.

Al: When did you first start weightlifting and how did you get started?

Frank: I started to lift after I received a 75lb. weight set for Christmas in 1966. My uncle Ralph (my godfather) was a bodybuilder in the early 1950’s. He actually placed 5th in the 1951 Mr. Boston Contest. Plus my dad was a Marine during the Korean War and was a Power Shovel operator (steam shovel). Running this type of equipment makes you strong. I remember how big, calloused and strong his hands were. No doubt they were my inspiration.

Al: What got you started in All-Round Weightlifting?

Frank: I trained for many years (1971 to 1988) with my coach Joe Mills of The Central Falls Weightlifting Club in Central Falls, R.I. Joe trained some of the best Olympic lifters in the country and the world, such as Mark Cameron and Bob Bednarski. Joe did this with respect and honesty. I was always very close to Joe and he knew I would never make it as a World champ in Olympic lifting. He suggested to me to work the lifts that I could out lift all the other lifters from the club in and go for the best there ever was. His only suggestion was stay around 275lbs. or less. I never ever got the drug speech from him as he knew my family and how we were raised and the rest is history. I also had some tremendous help from Bill Clark, John Vernacchio, and Howard Prechtel. I met Bill at the 1984 American Championships in Conn. He told me how they do Allround lifting in Missouri and sent me newsletters to see the records and THEN another sparkplug lit. I’ve got all his newsletters ever since. I basically was a charter member in 1988 but due to a personal problem could not go to England. John & Howard gave me endless phone time on educating me how to do a lot of the lifts before upcoming contests. I can not leave without mentioning Frank Gancarz and Ed Jubinville (both deceased) who played a big part in making me feel Allround lifting was just as important as life itself! To these MEN I truly admire and respect and I thank them from the bottom of my HEART!

Legacy of Iron – a Novel by Brooks Kubik

Book Review by Al Myers

Legacy of Iron

I just finished reading what I consider one of the most informative, entertaining books regarding weightlifting that I have ever read!! It has been over ten years since Brooks Kubik wrote the classic training book Dinosaur Training. I read Dinosaur Training at least once per year and find new information in it each time. In fact, the book Dinosaur Training inspired me to name my gym the Dino Gym. Dinosaur Training outlined my training approach exactly – and when I was reading it for the first time I would constantly nod my head and say, “Yes – I agree – That’s how I train!!” Brooks Kubik did me a big favor – now there is no need for me to ever write a book describing my training – Brooks Kubik already did it!!!

Back to Review of the Legacy of Iron..

Brooks Kubik does a great job of combining a fictional novel and factual information regarding training and famous weightlifters from the 1930’s. The story centers around the life of a young lifter, by the name of Jim Miller, who was beaten up as a young kid by the local bully, and in response, started weightlifting. The time frame the novel occurs in, as Kubik refers to, as the Golden Era of Weightlifting. This was the time Bob Hoffman and the York Barbell Club was producing weightlifting Champions like John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Gord Venables and many others. The Legacy of Iron mixes weightlifting history and a suspenseful story line that keeps your attention throughout the entire book.

I HIGHLY recommend that you order a copy of the Legacy of Iron – I promise you will not be disappointed!! I admit that I was slightly let down when I finished the book and on the last page it said, To Be Continued. I wanted to read more!! But then I found out that Brooks Kubik already had the sequel out, Legacy of Iron – Clouds of War!! I immediately ordered his second book (yesterday) and can’t hardly wait until I get it. My advice for you is to order both of them at the same time so you can immediately start reading the second book after the first book and not have to deal with the frustration of waiting for it like me!!

USAWA Business

by Al Myers

USAWA on Facebook


Chad Ullom, the new USAWA Vice President to be, has developed a group Facebook page for the USAWA.  Chad already has several pictures from various all-round weightlifting meets on it. It is set up in a way that anyone may put pictures from competitions on it so everyone can enjoy them. Thanks Chad for getting this started.

Heartland Armwrestling


Mary McConnaughey has recently registered her club, Heartland Armwrestling, as a club member in the USAWA. Mary has competed in several All-Round meets in the past and always brings several young competitors to the meets.  I always enjoy it when Mary is at a meet I’m at because she encourages all the lifters non-stop.  Just don’t challenge her in the Finger Lifts or she’ll beat you!!  Welcome Mary and Heartland Armwrestling

Rule Books Available


I have several Rule Books printed up and available for sale. They are $30 each (including shipping) and contain color pictures.

Hot Water Bottle Video


A few weeks ago I covered a story in which Thom Van Vleck, of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, blew up a Hot Water Bottle. Now I have a video of him doing it – which was taken at the McPherson Highland Games on September 26th.  To see the video – Click Here

JWC All-Round Challenge


Thom Van Vleck and the JWC are hosting their first ever All-Round Weightlifting competition on Saturday, November 21st, 2009.  It will be a record day. For those who have not been to the JWC Training Hall, make a point to attend this event. The JWC is a club filled with history, much of which is prominently displayed on the walls of the gym.  You will also be intrigued by the collection of Old Time Weightlifting equipment – such as old Jackson and York plates.

Correction on Team Postal Results


When the scoresheet for the IAWA World Team Postal Competition was double checked, an error was found in the scoring. This mistake resulted in a big change – making the Hastings Warriors of England the Overall Team Champions. The team of the Hastings Warriors included Nick Swain, Phillipe Crisp, and Sam Hills.  This was the only mistake – all the other results are the same. Congratulations to the Hastings Warriors.

Clark’s Gym Record Day

David Beversdorf and the
Best Roman Chair Bench Press of All-Time

by Al Myers

David Beversdorf, of Clark’s Championship Gym,  has been training a lift that most other all-rounders want to avoid – the Roman Chair Bench Press.  This past weekend, Dave was the lone entrant at a record day held at Clark’s Gym. Last spring David performed a 215 pound RC Bench, which was the top mark of All-Time in the USAWA, until now. At this Record Day he upped that to 250 Pounds in the Roman Chair Bench Press. Dave said to me in an email, “Got 250 on the Roman Chair Bench. Had to double it because in the excitement I forgot to wait for the press command the first time.” All I can say is WOW -  I have trained the RC Bench myself some and can tell you from experience it is a lift that puts unbelievable pressure on the lower back. Dave obviously has a very strong back to go along with his tremendous abdominal strength.  If Dave did 250# for a double  – he may soon be upping this record again!

But there is more!  He did several other presses for records – such as a 310# Hands Together Bench Press, 405# Alternate Grip Bench Press, 380# Reverse Grip Bench Press, 130# Left Hand Bench Press, and a 160# Right Hand Bench Press. After all this, Dave still tried to go for the Feet in the Air Bench Press record but said, “he was out of gas”. Truly a great day of pressing for David Beversdorf!!  David wanted to make sure to thank Bryan Mann of the MU Strength Team and James Foster of Clark’s Gym  for spotting and helping him.

YouTube Video of David’s Record Roman Chair Bench Press


With the rise of Dave Beversdorf and newcomer Ernie Beath in All-Rounds – I’m glad I’m not a SHW!!! Now that is a competition I would pay to see – Dave versus Ernie in a Press Off!!

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Clark’s Record Day
Columbia, Missouri
October 11th, 2009

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official (1 official system used):  Bill Clark

Results:

David Beversdorf   296 pounds BWT, 44 years old
Roman Chair Bench Press  250#
Bench Press – Hands Together 310#
Bench Press – Alternate Grip 405#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip 380#
Bench Press – Left Hand 130#
Bench Press – Right Hand 160#

Art’s Birthday Bash

Wonderful Lifting at Art’s Birthday Bash

by John McKean

Caveman Art Montini - He's been lifting weights for over 60 Years!

On a gorgeous,crisp Fall day, ole Art Montini turned 82 ;rare when the annual meet falls exactly on the old boy’s actual birth date,but it happened this year! And,as usual, Art was at the gym setting up at 6:30 AM & trying to keep flys off the donuts and cake that he treats us to each year! His first “customer” was newcomer, 28 year old Ernie Beath from Maryland, all 390 pounds of him (Art immediately tried to hide the donuts,but Earnie turned out to be an amazingly light eater!). Actually Earnie arrived the night before with his parents in their spacious motor home ,and in need of a place to park for the night. Art knew that the Ambridge police chief was a long time member of our gym so Earnie & family got to park in the safest spot in town, the police station lot (as Earnie’s mom bragged, “Our first arrest!”)!

After the group from Cleveland arrived and USAWA prez Denny Habecker made it in from Lebanon, we were set to go. Amazing athlete Dennis Mitchell immediately decided to chisel up his 77 yr old abs a bit more and embarked on a marathon Roman Chair situp session; he broke his former record by 5 reps with a steady ,perfect grind-out of 525 reps in 38 minutes!

Then Art Montini showed us an amazing teeth lift with 128 # -of course we teased him that he should get extra credit for the lift because he’s lifting with just his one remaining tooth (kidding,of course, he has a full,natural set. Years of good Italian food must yield strong,durable chompers!!).

Denny Habecker did 5 good records,following a 4 1/2 hour morning drive. Since he did things like a reverse curl,one arm deadlifts, and odd grip presses, we all figured that long sessions at the steering wheel must be great arm warmups!

Scott and Kathy Schmidt made their annual appearance, and we always enjoy their good cheer and smiling faces, with Scott displaying his usual olympic lift perfection on moves like the continental and the push press.

Of course, a huge (and I mean HUGE!) surprise and treat for us all was watching the very first all-round contest of the aforementioned Earnie Beath (who,not too unexpectantly , goes by the nickname “Beef”!). Earnie had been emailing over the past few months and expressed interest in getting official credit for his pressing ability; I was fascinated with his ultra heavy training methods and the lifts he modestly admitted to. Despite meet nerves and some travel fatique, Earnie showed rock solid power in the push press from racks- he went through attempts of 315 pounds, 361, and 381 as easily as I can push press a bare bar (maybe easier!!). He actually tried a fourth attempt at 401 and only missed at the very top of the lockout!! All his records this time were in pressing moves, including some he’d never tried before,such as the reflex and alternate grip. Believe me, this young man is nowhere near his potential yet, and now has the incentive of USAWA competition to spur him on! A most welcome addition to our USAWA family!

And as the lifts were all done just before 1 PM,Art & I threw them all out of the gym so we could rush home to watch our Superbowl champion Steelies beat Detroit. A most productive birthday for Art!

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Copy of o9 bash meet

55 New USAWA Records Set at World Championships

by Al Myers

Kohl Hess set 7 new USAWA Records in the 14-15 year old age division, 120 kg Weight Class at the World Championships

Despite the low turnout of lifters at the 2009 IAWA World Championships, a large number of USAWA records were set.  This exemplifies the high quality of lifters present at this meet.  Along with USAWA records set – a large number of IAWA World records were set.  These records can be found on the IAWA(UK) Website, which is updated by the IAWA Records Registrar Chris Bass. In the battle for most USAWA Records of ALL-TIME, Denny Habecker has increased his total to 345 records, but Art Montini is gaining ground as he increased his record total to 343.  Will the new ALL-TIME Record leader change after the record day at Art’s Birthday Bash this past weekend?

Warren Lincoln Travis and the Back Lift

by Al Myers

Warren Lincoln Travis Back Lifting. His best Back Lift was 4240 pounds.

Discussion this past week on the USAWA Discussion Forum involved discussing our favorite Old Time Strongmen. One who was brought up was Warren Lincoln Travis. I have always been a fan of Travis – he always did his own thing and didn’t follow the crowd of other strongmen. He obviously was most famous for his Hip Lifting, Harness Lifting, Back Lifting, and Finger Lifting. These lifts were not exactly the fortes of other strongmen. I would have to say that Warren Lincoln Travis is the reason that we do the Heavy Lifts in the USAWA today.

Travis would always challenge other lifters to contests involving Total Poundage. With his specialty on the Heavy Lifts and the large amount of weight that he could lift this way – he never found any takers!!

I recently found this video of Warren Lincoln Travis Back Lifting (Thanks to Abe Smith!!). On his platform, he used people as weight. Unbelievable!! Watch how he twists his body when he has his Back Lift locked out. This video can be viewed using Windows Media Player. Plus – watch how he likes to reward himself after a hard workout. This is classic!!!

Video of Warren Lincoln Travis Back Lifting

Art’s Birthday Bash is Tomorrow!!!

by Al Myers

Art Montini doing a Clean and Press - Behind Neck at the 2009 IAWA World Championships

Art Montini, who is turning 82 this weekend, always celebrates his birthday by hosting a weightlifting meet. This is the 19th year for Art’s Birthday Bash! What a great birthday present Art gives himself – he gets to lift weights and set a few records in the process.  The meet is tomorrow  so it’s still not too late to make it.  This meet is a record day – which means you pick the lifts and records you want to break!!  It’s YOU against the USAWA Record List!!! Art puts a maximum limit of 5 records per lifter.

Art’s Birthday Bash is held at the Ambridge VFW Barbell Club.

Minutes from the IAWA World Council Meeting

by Steve Gardner

Picture left to right: IAWA President Steve Gardner, Meet Directors Judy and Denny Habecker

IAWA World Council Meeting

Held at 4pm on Saturday 3rd October 2009 – Lebanon PA. U.S.A.

Present: England: Steve Gardner Karen Gardner Mark Haydock Josh Haydock Roger Davis and John Kavanagh Scotland: George Dick USA: John Vernacchio Al Myers Chad Ullom Dennis Vandermark John Monk Frank Ciavattone Art Montini Bill Spayd Scott Schmidt Howard Prechtel Bob Geib Dennis Mitchell Denny Habecker

Apologies: Frank Allen (UK)

The Meeting was chaired by IAWA President: Steve Gardner

A discussion on the minutes of the World Council Meeting held in October 2008 at Burton on Trent, England, revealed two points that were due to be re discussed:

The Continental to the Belt

There had been a request for the lift to be considered as two different lifts … performed using an Olympic style pull…alternativley using a Zercher style. Dennis Mitchell reported that the Technical Committee were unanimous in their recommendation to the meeting that the lift be left as it is. This was reasoned as being a lift performed in the ‘Continental’ style meaning anyway or how. After further discussion on the matter a vote was taken, it was felt that part of the excitement of the lift was the fact it can be done in different ways. The proposal to the meeting being that the lift be left unchanged and just one lift …this was carried unanimously.

Age percentage for Master Lifters at the World Championships

It was suggested in 2008 that maybe the age percent allowance for Master lifters is not sufficient. A study was conducted by Steve Gardner and Graham Saxton from the UK and also by Al Myers from the USA. Both camps agreed that the current allowance sees the Master lifters fall away from the level playing field, after 60 to 70 years of age, and quite significantly after 80 years of age. Many different ideas and proposals were discussed, in the end a proposal was formulated that everyone present seemed happy with. The majority of the Technical Committee were present and also in agreement, and the proposal was passed. Proposal was that percentage starts at 40 as at present but at 66 years of age the lifter gets 2 percent per year instead of just 1 (only for those years over 66). It was noted that if it is felt in the future that this system does not work, we are at liberty to change back or change otherwise.

International Venues

The World Championships for 2010 is already set as Glasgow, Scotland in early October

Promoter is George Dick

George proposed the lifts for the competition to the meeting, and they agreed and passed:

Day One – 2 Hands Clean and Push Press / 1 Hand Barbell Snatch / Cont. to Belt / Steinborn

Day Two – Cheat Curl / 1 Hand Dumbell Press (opp Hand)/ Trap Bar Deadlift

The Gold Cup for 2010 – A proposal was made for Frank Ciavattone to run the event in Boston

In early November. Frank said he would look forward to arranging the competition – All agreed to sanction the application BUT there would be no heavy chain lifts without prior consultation with Frank

The World Championships for 2011 – A letter of application was received from the Australian IAWA group via Justine Martin to run the Championships in late September. The Promoter would be Peter Phillips. After discussion the meeting accepted and sanctioned the proposal.

The Gold Cup for 2011, an application was received from Steve Gardner to run the event in early November in England, if another venue in England was nor forthcoming. All agreed and sanctioned.

Any Other business

Dennis Mitchell informed the meeting that he had received a letter from Bill Chapman, asking that at future World Championships could two best overall Masters awards be given, one for under 60 years an one for over 60 years. It was discussed and agreed that promoters can do this if they wish, but our current situation is that it is up to the promoters as to which awards they feel inclined to present, and is not mandatory.

Dennis Habecker appealed to lifters within the IAWA organization to be mindful of sending in entries for competitions before the said entry deadlines, so as to assist the meet directors to be able to run the competitions.

There being no other business – The President: Steve Gardner,thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.

World Championships

by Al Myers

Overall IAWA World Champion Mark Haydock 230 Kilogram Zercher Lift

“What we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality”, said IAWA President Steve Gardner at the World Council Meeting Saturday night. This quote really summed up this year’s World Championships. There may not have been alot of lifters present – but the competition was intense. Mark “Haystack” Haydock captured the 2009 Championship’s Overall Best Lifter on his last successful lift of the competition, by doing a monstrous 230 kilogram Zercher Lift!! This puts him in a small group of lifters who have exceeded over 500 pounds in the Zercher Lift throughout the history of the IAWA. The top four places were really close and decided by under 30 adjusted points. This competition had lifters of all age groups – from 15 year old Kohl Hess to 81 year old Art Montini. Denny and Judy Habecker did an outstanding job of making this event a special occasion for everyone. They even invited the lifters to their house Saturday and Sunday nights after the competition for food and refreshments. We were entertained by George “the Magician” Dick with his many card tricks. I am still scratching my head on the one where the card passed through Chad and ended up stuck on the glass on the shelf behind him. Denny and Judy know how to run a smooth meet. Everything went according to plan and both days finished in good time. The banquet was fantastic with a wide selection of food. Everyone left on a full stomach!! Steve Gardner worked the microphone and score table, and like always, kept the meet running efficiently. John Horn spent 2 full days loading and spotting and definitely deserves a big pat on the back. It takes people like John, who do the work behind the scenes, to make a meet successful.

Frank Ciavattone pulling a Ciavattone Grip Deadlift

It was a real pleasure getting to see Frank Ciavattone again. Frank has just recently had a hip replacement and wasn’t fully ready to compete in a meet yet. But Frank is a great Champion and made it to this meet to show support to the IAWA!! When he pulled his last Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, a lift named after Frank because of his amazing gripping power, he dedicated it to Karen Gardner in her battle in overcoming cancer – it was an emotional moving moment. Karen is the “First Lady” of All-Round Weightlifting and everyone has the utmost respect for her. It has now been 30 years since Frank has been cancer free himself.

Howard Prechtel and Bob Geib

Another great surprise this weekend was the return of Howard Prechtel. The meet about stopped when in walks Howard and Bob Geib!!! Howard spent many years as the IAWA President and has done as much through the years for the USAWA as anyone. Howard seemed to really enjoy himself at the meet, and even picked up a loaded barbell a couple of times. A person may forget a lot of things in life – but you never forget how to lift weights!!! Welcome back Howard!! Also – thanks to Bob for bringing Howard to this meet.

Group Photo of the IAWA World Championships

I had a great time – got to see alot of old friends, and even made a couple of lifts that I had to push myself on. Thanks again to Denny and Judy for hosting this Championship and I’m already looking forward to Scotland in 2010!!

Top Three Individuals at the 2009 IAWA World Championships Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Mark Haydock, Al Myers

FULL MEET RESULTS:

2009 IAWA World Championships
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
October 3rd & 4th, 2009

Meet Directors:   Denny and Judy Habecker

Lifts on Day 1: Hack Lift – One Arm, Clean and Press Behind Neck, Straight Arm Pullover, Deadlift                         -Ciavattone Grip
Lifts on Day 2: Snatch – One Arm, Pullover and Press, Zercher Lift

Officials (3 official system used):  Karen Gardner, Frank Ciavattone, Al Myers, Dennis Mitchell, George Dick, Art Montini

Loader: John Horn plus others

Scorekeeper:  Steve Gardner and Judy Habecker

Emcee:  Steve Gardner

Results:

Name BWT Class Age Division Hack C&P Pullover Deadlift Snatch
P&P Zercher Points
Mark Haydock ENG
122.9 125 34 Open 145 R
105 57.5 227.5 80 R
157.5 230 764.3
Al Myers USA
114.7 115 43 M40+ 150 R
90 60 210 70 R
160 190 763.1
Chad Ullom USA
104.3 105 37 Open 140 R
90 55 205 70 R
145 200 749.7
Roger Davis ENG
81.6 85 39 Open 117.5 R
80 45 185 60 R
120 170 738.4
Denny Habecker USA
86.1 90 67 M65+ 90 R
65 32.5 140 35 R
95 95 661.1
John Monk USA
79.8 80 43 M40+ 100 R
75 47.5 122.5 50 R
125 137.5 658.2
Bill Spayd USA
107.9 110 35 Open 110 R
90 55 200 60 R
120 170 655.2
Scott Schmidt USA
119.7 120 56 M55+ 100 R
92.5 40 182.5 40 L
92.5 115 598.5
Art Montini USA
78.2 80 81 M80+ 60 R
32.5 27.5 105 20 R
60 77.5 588.9
Josh Haydock ENG
66.9 70 19 J18/19 72.5 R
55 25 132.5 37.5 R
70 137.5 582.1
John Kavanagh ENG
94.3 95 21 Open 80 R
82.5 30 170 52.5 R
105 140 577.1
George Dick SCT
127.4 125+ 60 M60+ 102.5 R
60 30 175 40 R
90 120 559.7
Dennis Mitchell USA
72.1 75 77 M75+ 50 L
20 20 90 15 L
35 85 484.4
Dennis Vandermark USA
92.5 95 56 M55+ 75 L
30 130 22.5 R
60 110 442.0
Kohl Hess USA
118.8 120 15 J14/15 82.5 R
42.5 27.5 120 30 R
60 80 394.4
Frank Ciavattone USA
127.0 125+ 54 M50+ 90 R
20 15 182.5 20 R
25 20 321.3


BWT are bodyweights on day 1. All lifts are in kilograms. Points are age and bodyweight adjusted.
All lifters except Bill Spayd weighed in the second day for records. All lifters were in the same bodyweight class as Day 1.

Extra Attempts for Records:
Dennis Mitchell -  Hack – One Arm 50 R, Straight Arm Pullover 22.5, Deadlift Ciavattone Grip 98
John Monk – Snatch – One Arm 55 R, Straight Arm Pullover 50
Kohl Hess – Clean & Press Behind Neck 45, Straight Arm Pullover 28.5, Zercher Lift 92.5
Denny Habecker – Pullover and Press 98
Mark Haydock – Straight Arm Pullover 61

Best Lifter Awards:

Josh Haydock – Junior 18/19 70 kg Champion and Best Junior 18/19
Kohl Hess – Junior 14/15 120 kg Champion and Best Junior 14/15
Dennis Mitchell – Masters 75+ 75 kg Champion and Best Master 75+
Art Montini – Masters 80+  80 kg Champion and Best Master 80+
John Monk – Masters 40+ 80 kg Champion
Roger Davis – Open 85 kg Champion
Denny Habecker – Masters 65+ 90 kg Champion and Best Master 65+
Dennis Vandermark – Masters 55+ 95 kg Champion
John Kavanagh – Open 95 kg Champion
Chad Ullom – Open 105 kg Champion
Bill Spayd – Open 110 kg Champion
Al Myers – Masters 40+ 115 kg Champion and Best Master 40+
Scott Schmidt – Masters 55+ and Open 120 kg Champion and Best Master 55+
Mark Haydock – Open 125 kg Champion
Frank Ciavattone – Masters 50+ and Open 125+ kg Champion and Best Master 50+
George Dick – Masters 60+ 125 kg Champion and Best Master 60+

The Mystery of Arthur Saxon’s Death

by Al Myers

Arthur Saxon (April 28, 1878 to August 6, 1921)

Arthur Saxon was an old time strongman who never left any questions about what weight he lifted – his lifts where often weighed and people who questioned his strength were silenced. Saxon preferred barbells and dumbbells in his strength shows and never performed show acts that included trickery or slight of hand. Even when the famous Scottish Strongman Donald Dinnie questioned whether Arthur Saxon could do what he said he could Arthur sought out Dinnie and preceded to prove himself by lifting on Dinnie’s equipment. He bent pressed 340 pounds using Dinnie’s weights!! Donald Dinnie became a believer that Arthur Saxon was a strong as he said he was.

However, despite living a lifting career that never left questions unanswered – his death was quite different – and clouded with mystery.  I have read three different accounts of how Arthur Saxon died – and I don’t really know which one is correct. All sources seem to be reputable. I am sure these accounts are debatable – and if anyone knows more on this please email me so we can discuss it.

Story 1: After WWI, Arthur resumed putting on Strength Shows by himself.  The war had caused the Saxon Trio to break up. Times were tough and Arthur continued to put on show after show to make ends meet. Due to his long hours and poor working conditions, he developed pneumonia but declined medical attention.  He continued to put on performance after performance until eventually the pneumonia overcame him.

Story 2: Arthur was at the height of his career.  During one of his strength shows, he was doing a support lift where he was supporting a heavy wooden bridge that a car was driven over. Apparently, the wooden bridge broke and the car and several people fell on him causing great injury. He was in the hospital a long time, and had operations where “iron bolts” were driven in at several places. He never fully recovered, and died from pneumonia as a complication of his weakened condition.

Story 3: Arthur was married to an English girl that he met while putting on his strength show tours throughout England.  However, he was in Germany while she was still in England when the war started. After the war, circumstances arose that prevented Arthur and his wife from being reunited. This caused Arthur to go into a deep depression, and on a cold winter night, he went on a drinking binge.  The police found him the next day, lying in the street dead. The cause of death was given as pneumonia.

Which story would you like to believe?
My pick is Story #1 – a mighty strongman never quitting until his dying breath!!

Which story is true?
Who knows. Even the whereabouts of Arthur Saxon’s  gravesite is unknown!!

Arthur Saxon died at the age of 43 – the same age that I am now. This is the reason that I am honoring Arthur Saxon at my 2010 Dino Gym Challenge by hosting the “Arthur Saxon Pentathlon”.

IAWA Team Postal

Individual Results from the IAWA World Team Postal Competition

by Al Myers

Rick Meldon - Top Individual at the World Team Postal Competition

Along with figuring Team results, the meet organizer Steve Gardner, also figured individual results from the IAWA World Team Postal Competition.  The individual winner of this postal competition was Rick Meldon, England, of the Sunbury Club. Congratulations Rick!!! Rick’s team also won the Team Title – making him a double winner.  Rick Meldon has been winning championships in the IAWA since the IAWA origin, starting with his first overall best lifter victory in 1990.  He was the Best Master Lifter , Best Open Lifter, and the Overall Best Lifter in the 2008 IAWA World Championships held in Burton, England on October 4th & 5th, 2008. At this meet, he was crowned “Champion of Champions”. The Meet Director, Steve Gardner, had invited all the previous Overall Best Lifters to this meet to compete against each other to decide who was the Champion of Championsl!  Rick has won two other Overall Best Lifter titles at the IAWA World Meet, in 1992 and 2004. Rick has more Overall Best Lifter titles at the World Meet than anyone else in the history of the IAWA.

Top Individuals in the Postal Competition

1.   Rick Meldon, England        432.5 pts
2.   Al Myers, USA                   379.5 pts
3.   Steve Sherwood, England  369.5 pts
4.   Nick Swain, England          349.4 pts
5.   Steve Andrews, England    346.8 pts
6.   Chad Ullom, USA               329.4 pts
7.   Peter Phillips, Australia      324.1 pts
8.   Graham Saxton, England   321.3 pts
9.   Phillipe Crisp, England       312.5 pts
10. James Gardner, England    298.9 pts

These point totals were calculated using bodyweight adjustments, age adjustments, and applying the Blindt Formula.  For those not familiar with the Blindt Formula, it involves multiplying each lift by a factor that is supposed to bring all lifts to the same weighted value.  Every lift has a different factor.  The intended purpose of using the Blindt Formula is to keep the heavier lifts from being a bigger part of a lifter’s total than the lighter lifts.  The Blindt Formula has not been used recently in any USAWA competitions.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

A word from the Organiser:

This postal competition was organised as a ‘Fun’ team event, for teams of three, but also with the flexibility to allow individual lifters to join in to see where they rank amongst the other lifters. We had lifters from England, USA and Australia taking part, and from the ages divisions of Juniors 13 + Under through to the Masters  75+. Well done to all who took part, I will organise another competition for next year with four different lifts. Please see below that the results are figured first as teams and then as individuals. Best Wishes and Happy Lifting – Steve Gardner


(3 Teams comprised of only 2 members, but there were also 3 individual lifters, so the individuals were added to those teams as ‘guests’ to round things up into teams of 3.)

Pos.     Team                                      Team Members                                             Amended Points

1          Hastings Warriors 1 (Eng)         Nick Swain   Phillipe Crisp  Sam Hills                        963.6

2          Sunbury1 (Eng)                       Rick Meldon  Tom Meldon  Tom Chantler                   961.3

3          Dino Gym (USA)                      Al Myers Chad Ullom   Darren Barnhart                    931.8

——————————————————————————————————————-

4          Haven Hotshots (Eng)               Steve Sherwood   Tom Allsop  Stewart Brookes        920.8

5          Powerhouse Gym (Eng)            James Gardner  Jon Eccleshall Graham Saxton          890.9

6          Belmont WA (Australia)             Peter Phillips   Samuel Trew   Nic Porter (Guest)       808.1

7          Old and Done (USA)                 Jim Malloy   Scott Schmidt  Bill Crozier                     745.3

8          Granby Grippers (Eng)              Steve & Daniel Andrews  Karl Birkinshaw (Guest)     735.1

9          Hastings Warriors 2 (Eng)          Steve Shah   Ed Shortle  Gordon Fairey                   703.4

10        Haven Heroes (Eng)                  John Kavanagh Dave Moreton  Peter Lee (Guest)      674.4

11        Sunbury 2 (Eng)                       Jeff Luther  Trevor Evans  Nick Sayce                       598.8

Individual Amended Totals – Ranking of all lifters

(After Bodyweight, Age and Blindt Formulas are applied)

1          Rick Meldon               (Eng)               432.5

2          Al Myers                     (USA)             379.5

3          Steve Sherwood          (Eng)              369.5

4          Nick Swain                 (Eng)               349.4

5          Steve Andrews           (Eng)               346.8

6          Chad Ullom                (USA)              329.4

7          Phillipe Crisp               (Eng)              326.3

8          Peter Phillips               (Australia)       324.1

9          Graham Saxton           (Eng)              321.3

10        James Gardner            (Eng)              298.9

—————————————————————

Individual Amended Totals – Rankings Continued

11        Scott Schmidt                                   294.7

12        Sam Hills                                          287.9

13        Tom Allsop                                       285.4

14        Tom Meldon                                     284.8

15        Steve Shah                                      281.5

16        Jonny Eccleshall                               270.7

17        Stewart Brookes                              265.9

18        John Kavanagh                                262.0

19        Jim Malloy                                       260.9

20        Samuel Trew                                   250.8

21        Tom Chantler                                  244.1

22        Dave Morton                                   241.9

23        Ed Shortle                                      237.2

24        Nic Porter                                       233.4

25        Darren Barnhart                              222.9

26        Jeff Luther                                      210.5

27        Karl Birkinshaw                               210.1

28        Trevor Evans                                  210.0

29        Gordon Fairey                                 184.7

30        Nick Sayce                                      178.3

31        Daniel Andrews                               178.2

32        Peter Lee                                        170.6

33        Bill Crozier                                      189.7

Individual Class Winners and Positions – World ‘Open’ Postal 2009

Juniors13+U

Daniel Andrews          J13 +Under  55k Champion

OPEN

Stewart Brooks           Open 70k Champion

Nic Porter                   Open  75k  4th

Nick Sayce                 Open 75k   6th

Jonny Eccleshall          Open 80k   2nd

Karl Birkinshaw           Open  85k  5th

John Kavanagh            Open 90k   3rd

James Gardner            Open  95k Champion

Phillipe Crisp               Open  100k  Champion

Gordon Fairey              Open  100k  2nd

Chad Ullom                 Open  105k  Champion

Samuel Trew               Open  105k  2nd

Tom Chantler               Open  125k Champion

Masters 40+

Nick Swain                  Open  90k  Champion  and  40+  90k  Champion

Al Myers                     Open 120k Champion  and  40+ 120k Champion

Darren Barnhart          Open 125+ Champion  and  40+ 125k Champion

Masters 45+

Steve Andrews            Open 75k Champion  and   45+  75k Champion

Rick Meldon                 Open 85k Champion  and   45+  85k Champion

Sam Hills                     Open 85k 2nd   and      45+  85k  2nd

Tom Allsop                   Open 90k  2nd  and      45+  90k  Champion

Graham Saxton            Open 110k Champion  45+  110k Champion

Masters 50+

Dave Morton               Open 75k 2nd   and   50+  75k Champion

Jeff Luther                  Open 75k 5th    and   50+  75k  3rd

Ed Shorttle                  Open 75k 3rd    and   50+  75k  2nd

Tom Meldon                Open 85k  3rd   and   50+  85k  Champion

Masters 55+

Steve Sherwood          Open 80k  Champion  and   55+  80k  Champion

Peter Phillips               Open 110k Champion and   55+  110k Champion

Scott Schmidt              Open 120k  2nd  and  55+  120k  Champion

Masters 60+

Steve Shah                  Open  85k  4th   and  60+  85k  Champion

Trevor Evans                Open  85k   6th  and  60+  85k  2nd

Masters 65+

Jim Malloy                   Open  115k  Champion   and 65+  115k Champion

Masters 70+

Bill Crozier                  Open 105k  2nd  and   70+ 105k Champion

Masters 75+

Peter Lee                    Open 85k  7th    and  75+  85k  Champion

Individual Lift Rankings

(After Bodyweight, Age and Blindt Formula is applied)

Squat Rankings

1          Rick Meldon               240.5               139.2

2          Al Myers                    272.5               128.8

3          Phillipe Crisp              240.5               120.3

4          Peter Phillips              210                  114.7

5          Nick Swain                 200.5               113.4

6          Steve Sherwood         160                  108.0

7          Tom Meldon               170.5               104.9

8          Chad Ullom                220                  104.4

9          Steve Shah                155.5               101.6

10        Steve Andrews            145                  97.8

————————————————————-

11        Scott Schmidt              182                  96.4

12        Graham Saxton           190                  96.3

13        Tom Chantler              210.5               94.4

14        Sam Hills                    155.5               92.1

15        Darren Barnhart          210                  90.1

16        Tom Allsop                  150                  85.1

17        Jim Malloy                   137.5               83.7

18        Samuel Trew               170                  79.3

19        James Gardner            150                  75.8

20        Ed Shortle                   105.5               70.1

21        Nic Porter                    115                  67.6

22        Jonny Eccleshall           120                  66.3

23        Trevor Evans               95                    65.3

24        John Kavanagh            127.5               64.5

25        Dave Morton               95                    63.3

26        Bill Crozier                  92.5                 62.7

27        Gordon Fairey              125.5               61.8

28        Daniel Andrews           62.5                 60.8

29        Stewart Brookes          95                    58.4

30        Karl Birkinshaw           100                  53.6

31        Nick Sayce                  85                    49.4

32        Peter Lee                     60                    49.1

33        Jeff Luther                   70                    48.2

Pullover and Push Rankings

1          Rick Meldon               180.5               117.8

2          Nick Swain                 153                  97.6

3          Steve Andrews           127.5               97.0

4          Al Myers                     170                  90.6

5          Chad Ullom                160                  85.6

6          Steve Sherwood         110                  83.8

7          Phillipe Crisp              140.5               80.1

8          Graham Saxton          135                  77.5

9          Tom Meldon               110.5               76.7

10        Jim Malloy                  105                  72.1

————————————————————

Pullover and Push Rankings Continued

11        James Gardner            120                  68.4

12        Sam Hills                     100.5               67.1

13        Stewart Brooks           95                    65.8

14        Tom Allsop                 100                  64.0

15        Scott Schmidt             105                  62.7

16        Jeff Luther                  77.5                 60.1

16        Dave Morton               80                    60.1

18        John Kavanagh           100                  57.0

19        Peter Phillips               85                    52.3

20        Jonny Eccleshall          90                    56.0

21        Steve Shah                 70.5                 51.9

22        Trevor Evans               65                    50.4

23        Samuel Trew               90                    47.3

24        Ed Shortle                   60.5                 45.3

25        Karl Birkinshaw           70                    42.3

26        Tom Chantler              80.5                 40.7

27        Nick Sayce                  60                    39.3

28        Nic Porter                    55                    36.4

29        Gordon Fairey              65.5                 36.3

30        Peter Lee                     39.1                 36.0

31        Daniel Andrews            31.7                 34.8

32        Bill Crozier                  42.5                 32.5

33        Darren Barnhart           65                    31.4

Straddle Deadlift Rankings

1          Steve Sherwood          200                  96.5

2          Rick Meldon                 230.5               95.3

3          Al Myers                     250                  84.4

4          Peter Phillips               210                  82.0

5          Sam Hills                    190.5               80.6

6          Chad Ullom                235                  79.7

7          James Gardner           220                  79.5

8          Jonny Eccleshall          200                  78.9

9          Graham Saxton           200                  78.4

10        Phillipe Crisp               210.5               76.1

————————————————————

11        Nic Porter                    180                  75.6

12        Tom Meldon                 170.5               75.0

13        Steve Shah                  160.5               74.9

14        Steve Andrews             155                  74.7

14        Stewart Brooks            170                  74.7

16        Samuel Trew               220                  73.4

17        Nick Swain                 180.5               73.0

18        Darren Barnhart          235                  72.0

19        Ed Shortle                  150.5               71.5

20        Scott Schmidt             182                  68.9

Straddle Deadlift Rankings Continued

21        Tom Chantler             210.5               67.4

22        John Kavanagh           180                  65.1

22        Karl Birkinshaw          170                  65.1

24        Tom Allsop                 160                  64.9

25        Jim Malloy                  137.5               59.8

26        Dave Morton               125                  59.5

27        Bill Crozier                  100                  55.7

28        Peter Lee                    90                    52.6

29        Gordon Fairey             140.5               49.4

30        Jeff Luther                  100                  49.2

31        Trevor Evans               100                  49.1

32        Daniel Andrews           62.5                 43.5

33        Nick Sayce                  100                  41.5

One Hand Clean And Jerk Rankings (L or R)

1          Steve Sherwood (R )   52.5                 81.2

2          Rick Meldon   (R )       60.5                 80.2

3          Steve Andrews  (R )    50                    77.2

4          Al Myers  (R )             70                    75.7

5          John Kavanagh (R )    65                    75.3

6          James Gardner  (R )    65                    75.2

7          Peter Phillips (R )         60                    75.1

8          Tom Allsop     (R )       55                    71.5

9          Jonny Eccleshall (R )    55                    69.5

10        Graham Saxton (R )     55                    69.1

————————————————————

11        Stewart Brooks (L )     47.6                 67.0

12        Scott Schmidt (R )       55                    66.7

13        Nick Swain (R )           50.5                 65.4

14        Chad Ullom (R )          55                    59.7

15        Dave Morton (R)         38.6                 58.9

16        Nic Porter (R )            40                    53.8

17        Jeff Luther (R )           33.7                 53.1

18        Steve Shah (L )           35.5                 53.1

19        Samuel Trew  (L )        47.5                 50.8

20        Ed Shortle (L )             33.0                 50.2

21        Phillipe Crisp (R )        43.0                 49.8

22        Karl Birkinshaw (L )     40                    49.1

23        Nick Sayce (R )           36.2                 48.1

23        Sam Hills (L )              35.5                 48.1

25        Jim Malloy (R )            32.5                 45.3

26        Trevor Evans (R )        28.7                 45.2

27        Tom Chantler (R )       40.5                 41.6

28        Daniel Andrews (R )     17.6                 39.2

29        Bill Crozier      (R )      25                    38.8

30        Gordon Fairey (R )       33.0                 37.2

31        Peter Lee (R )              17.6                 33.0

32        Darren Barnhart (R )    30                    29.4

33        Tom Meldon (R )           20                    28.2

Techniques for Pressing a Barrel

by George Jowett

There are several interesting ways of raising a barrel from the ground to arm’s length overhead. One way is by what Swedish athletes term the “slow hang” position. That is, you lift the barrel off the ground slowly to the position as shown in Exercise 5. There you pause a moment and with a snap move to the position in Exercise 6 and from thence to the shoulder as in Exercise 7(a), and to arm’s length overhead as in Exercise 7(b).

Another method is to pause as in Exercise 5 position and then in one movement sweep to the shoulders. This can be changed to sweeping the barrel from the ground to arm’s length overhead or to the shoulders only. Another movement which will stimulate powerful forces is to pause at the point shown in Exercise 5 and then in one movement sweep the barrel to arm’s length overhead.

Apart from the manner in which other muscles in the body will respond, the grip and the arms will obtain tremendous development through these exercises. You will not have to do much of this training before you will feel the results on the grip and in the arms. Man for man the old-time strength athlete was miles ahead of the present day athlete for grip. Rarely did one see a strength athlete of those days without a powerful and splendidly shaped pair of arms. The reason why we do not see so much grip and arm stunts today is because most of the crop of modern strength athletes are incapable. If they were equal to the tests they would perform them. A strong man is only bounded by the limitations of his own strength.

You should study carefully the illustrations accompanying these barrel exercises. I took great care when posing for them so that every detail would be caught by the artist. The finger grips and the hand positions are the most important, but overlook nothing. The stance of the legs, the position of the back and the distance when leaning back. The positions of the elbows are very important. Study them and you will find that progress will come faster to you in every way.

Credit: Molding a Mighty Grip by George Jowett, published in 1930

Bed of Nails

by Al Myers

Thom first got "comfortable" on the bed of nails, and then I asked him, "Do you really want to go through with this?"

This past weekend at the McPherson Scottish Highland Games in McPherson, Kansas my friend Thom Van Vleck and I did a noontime performance that was reminiscent of a classic old-time strongman show act – laying on a Bed of Nails!! Thom laid on the bed of nails while I broke a block of cement with a sledgehammer that was placed on his body! Thom is blessed with a thick hide, which is the only explanation how someone could actually endure something like this. When he approached me with this idea – I quickly volunteered to be the hammer man. I know now that Thom must really trust me as a friend – after all he didn’t even know if I could swing the 8# sledgehammer straight!! We warmed up “for the big event” with me striking the sledgehammer on an anvil, which was on his chest, a few times just to make sure I wouldn’t miss! (Truth be known – we didn’t even practice this beforehand which further questions our sanity). I knew I would have to make a pretty hard swing if the block was going to break – and I sure didn’t want it not to break and then having to make more than one swing!

The show turned out to be a big success! Afterwards, several spectators came up to “check out” the bed of nails to see if it was real. It was – Thom didn’t even take the points of the nails!!

I took a steady aim, brought the sledgehammer up, and then WAM!! - the block busted into many pieces!!!

Barrel Pressing

by George Jowett

Matt Tyler, of the Dino Gym, pressing a 205 pound keg (the modern version of a barrel) overhead for reps in a recent workout.

As I have remarked in this book, barrel lifting was very popular with the old-time strength athletes. For developing the fingers, hands, wrists and arms, there is nothing any better. Apart from this, barrel lifting is great for general body building. Of course, a barrel is not the handiest thing in the world to have around the house, but if a person is sincere in his search for great strength and muscular development he will always find a way to practice .

The difficulty lies in getting the barrel to the shoulder, therefore it is very necessary that the exercise be first practiced with a small nail keg or an empty regular-sized barrel. If you employ a regular-sized barrel you will find it easier to manipulate it if you will pull the barrel in close to the body, then back, and thus aid in the upward movement by allowing the barrel to roll up the body to the shoulders. From this point push the barrel to arm’s length overhead. This, in addition to developing great strength, will teach you equilibrium in lifting objects overhead as nothing else will.

Credit: Molding a Mighty Grip by George Jowett

History of the USAWA – What happened 5 years ago?

by Al Myers

(It is amazing how fast time goes sometimes – and 5 years does not seem like a long time.  The following is a summary of the USAWA September news that happened in 2004, as taken from the Strength Journal published by  Bill Clark. )

USAWA News from September, 2004

Joe Garcia, representing Clark's Gym, pulls a fire truck at the Mid-Mo Strongman Competition.

Ciavattone Best at Heavy Lift Meet


Frank Ciavattone was the best lifter at the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships, which was held in Lebanon, PA and directed  by Denny and Judy Habecker. This was a big event for Frank, as it marked his 25th anniversary of beating colon cancer. This meet was attended by 13 lifters!!  Frank finished the meet with a 1902# Hip Lift. John Vernacchio was on hand to officiate.

Mid- Mo Strongman Competition


Clark’s gym hosted their first-ever strongman competition. Helping Bill Clark in the promotion was Demetrius Davis, Sam Huff and Joe Garcia.  These events were selected – clean and push press,  burlap bag hold,  medley consisting of carrying an anvil,  a farmer’s walk, and a tire flip, bus/fire truck pull, and a stone load.

Steve Schmidt at the Knox Fair


Steve Schmidt made his second appearance at the Knox Fair in Knox, Indiana  to put on a teeth pulling performance. Steve pulled a Mack truck, weighing 18,700 pounds, with his teeth down a 50 foot course on the main street of Knox.  He also put on a bending performance – bending bars over his head and nose.  Steve even bent a half-inch bar, 4 feet long, over his lower teeth!!

Is The IAWA Age Adjustment Fair??

by Al Myers

A topic that will be discussed at this year’s World Meeting at the World Championship will be the age adjustment. This was brought up last year and an IAWA committee was formed to investigate it and present a recommendation to the meeting this year.  The membership will be called on to vote on this, whether to make a change or keep things as they are.

This subject is very interesting to me as I hear arguments from both sides. Young lifters think the older lifters get too much adjustment, while the older lifters don’t feel like they get enough.  Formulas are always hard to develop and make completely fair as there are so many variables to consider.

I did a study of my own on three lifts.  I want to emphasize THIS IS NOT THE IAWA STUDY. It is merely a study which I did to satisfy my own curiosity on this subject. I think it is important that I have this information in hand in order to make an informative vote. I just collected some numbers and did a few calculations.  I am not doing this to try to “sway votes” one way or the other.  I just wanted to see what “the numbers” really show in regard to decreased lifting performance with age.

Study of the Age Adjustment


Objective:  To collect information from age group USAWA records, make USAWA and IAWA(UK) age corrections for comparison, and determine what correction for age group records are needed in order for the age group records to be the same as the overall records.

Design: I collected information from age group USAWA records in three lifts – Bench Press Feet in Air, Hack Lift, and the Zercher Lift. I picked these three lifts for these reasons: they  evaluate all areas of overall strength -pressing, pulling and squatting, and the data base for these records was full in regard to records in all weight classes and age divisions. I calculated an average of all weight class records within an age group so bodyweight adjustments would not be a factor in this study.  I utilized this formula to determine what correction is needed in order to adjust to the average of the Overall Record.

Correction Needed = (Overall Record – Age group Record) / Age Group Record


Assumptions: I used the USAWA and IAWA(UK) age correction for the top age of each division despite the record may have been set a younger age within the division. The record list does not provide that data.

Results:
All Records listed in pounds.

Bench Press Feet in Air


Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 353 353 353 0%
40-44 280 294 305 26.1%
45-49 268 295 306 31.7%
50-54 246 283 293 43.5%
55-59 228 274 274 54.8%
60-64 209 261 270 68.9%
65-69 194 252 268 82.0%
70-74 167 225 247 111.4%
75-79 141 197 223 150.4%
80-84 116 168 195 204.3%

Hack Lift


Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 538 538 538 0%
40-44 465 488 507 15.7%
45-49 401 441 457 34.2%
50-54 382 439 455 40.8%
55-59 330 396 409 63.0%
60-64 320 400 413 68.1%
65-69 321 417 443 67.6%
70-74 304 410 450 77.0%
75-79 242 339 382 122.3%
80-84 168 244 282 220.2%

Zercher Lift


Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 452 452 452 0%
40-44 372 391 405 21.5%
45-49 352 387 401 28.4%
50-54 339 390 403 33.3%
55-59 331 397 410 36.6%
60-64 296 370 382 52.7%
65-69 280 364 386 61.4%
70-74 246 332 364 83.7%
75-79 204 286 322 121.6%
80-84 180 261 302 151.1%



Summary:

Age Group
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Data Range
Data Average
Overall 0% 0% 0% 0%
40-44 5% 9% 15.7% – 26.1% 21.1%
45-49 10% 14% 28.4% – 34.2%
31.4%
50-54 15% 19% 33.3% – 43.5%
39.2%
55-59 20% 24% 36.6% – 63.0%
51.5%
60-64 25% 29% 52.7% – 68.9%
63.2%
65-69 30% 38% 61.4% – 82.0%
70.3%
70-74
35% 48% 77.0% – 111.4%
90.7%
75-79 40% 58% 121.6% – 150.4%
131.4%
80-84 45% 68% 151.1% – 220.2%
191.8%

As you can clearly see, the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) age corrections do not keep up with the performance decrease with increased age for these three lifts that where selected from the USAWA Record List.  No calculations were done to determine the statistical significance of this study.

What’s the most painful lift in the USAWA?

by Al Myers

I have done most of the lifts in the USAWA by now (out of a list of close to 200) and after a tough workout last night doing the Zercher Lift and waking up today with several new bruises – I was thinking – What lift is more painful than Zerchers?? Well, I have got to put my vote in for a lift that seems innocent enough but will leave you shaking your hand in pain – the Little Fingers Deadlift!!! I think my problem with this lift is that all the pain is focused on one little body part and not spread out over a larger area!! The Little Fingers Deadlift is always the last event in the Goerner Deadlift – but I always wish it was the first event so I could get it over with! It doesn’t matter what weight is on the bar – it always HURTS!!

I even think Bill Clark might agree with me on this -especially when the bar "pops out" and immediately you feel the burning sensation of your little finger's flexor tendons snapping back into place!!

So – email me your vote and I’ll keep a tally.

By the way, I don’t think Ben Edwards will be voting for the Little Fingers Deadlift. Watch him in this YouTube Video doing a Little Fingers Deadlift of 160 pounds with ease. I can’t believe anyone actually trains this lift! But that is the beauty of all-round weightlifting – there’s a lift for everyone.

The JWC Perspective on Team Nationals

by Thom Van Vleck

John O'Brien (of the JWC) loading the last stone at the NAHA Nationals to secure his first place finish!!

John O’Brien and I have trained together for about 6 years now. John is one of my partners on our Strongman Evangelism team and since we are similar height and strength, we figured this would be a good event for us.

Believe it or not, I last competed in an “odd lift” meet nearly 30 years ago. I have helped with USAWA meets and even helped coach John in his USAWA efforts over the years, but I was so focused on my Highland Games career I just hadn’t had the right time to do a meet. Well, having just finished the NAHA Highlander meet the previous day, I had no excuses so John and I joined in. I soon realized what I was missing out on!

Team lifting puts a premium on team work. You have to match your partner’s efforts while applying your own maximum effort into the lift. Timing is everything. A lesson learned on the first lift of the day, the Two man one arm Snatch. John and I can both power snatch around 225lbs…..but it ’s a whole new ball game when you have to do it together. We managed 215lbs. On the other lifts, the Straddle or Jefferson Lift, the thick bar Ciavattone grip deadlift, and the Bench Press Feet in Air did not require split second timing, but still you had to lock out together.

I don’t think at any point John and I felt we were a threat to Chad and Al…..they had been training for this event while John and I had not. We just might have to put some more effort into it for next year and see if we can catch Al and Chad napping. We did manage to beat them on one lift, the BP with Feet in Air with our age handicap, but to be honest, their last attempt looked easier than ours.

It is a lot of fun to walk up to a bar loaded to 850lbs and think that you are going to lift it. Even if it’s a two man lift, seeing all those plates rise up is a real adrenaline rush. I know we were too tentative on this lift and next year I see 1000lb as a real possibility.

I think the best part of All around lifting is the fun of trying new things and having so many ways you can set a record. You get sore in ways that regular training will never make you sore. You also learn how to “lift on the fly”. What I mean by that is that many guys train a limited number of lifts and their strength gets very specific. In other words, a powerlifter will get very strong on the Bench, Dead, and Squat, but they ever find themselves in need of tapping into that strength outside their usual training range of motion, they’ll find themselves coming up short. All around does just that, it trains you to be all around strong.

At any rate, it was a blast. I look forward to the Dino Gym/JWC rematch next year. I plan on bringing more than one team of lifters to take out the Dino Gym crew once and for all! Anybody going to stop us! It was great fun, how lifting should be.

Blowing Up a Hot Water Bottle

by Al Myers

Thom getting ready to blow up water bottle.

I got to see firsthand someone blowing up a hot water bottle this past weekend. At the conclusion of the Team Nationals, Thom Van Vleck (President of the JWC) amazed us by blowing up a hot water bottle in 31.62 seconds!! This takes tremendous abdominal strength and chest/lung capacity to accomplish this feat. This was the first time I had ever seen this performed – although I have heard about others having done it for quite some time.

What does this have to do with All-Round Weightlifting?

Well, for one thing all-round strength comes in many forms and sometimes not always involves lifting some sort of implement, like a barbell or dumbbell. Second, the Old Time Strongmen often performed similar feats to this (that required some sort of “special” strength) that were done purely for show performances to impress the crowds. And there is nothing as showy as watching a water bottle constantly expanding with each breath to the point that it explodes!!! Bob Hoffman, of York Barbell, wrote many articles about doing exercises that developed lung capacity and chest expansion. He would even do deep breathing exercises in between his workout sets to help in developing a larger chest.

The water bottle is about ready to BURST!

Take this as a challenge – all you need to do is buy a hot water bottle and start blowing!! A few cautions though – don’t inhale on the bottle when it is expanded or the water bottle pressure may damage your lungs and be sure to wear eye protection!!

More Coverage of the Dino Days

by Al Myers

GROUP PICTURE

NAHA Nationals – Class Winners

Lightweight    Justin Cantwell, Kansas City
Middleweight – Mark Wechter, Oregon
Heavyweight – Matt Vincent, Louisiana
Masters – John O’Brien, Missouri

Part of this past weekend Dino Days activities involved hosting the 2009 NAHA Nationals. NAHA stands for North American Highlander Association. This organization offers competitions that are a cross between Highland Games and Strongman Competitions, in which events are selected from both.   It was well attended with 22 athletes competing.  We had great weather and I think everyone had a great time!!  The Dino Gym had several gym members competing – Chad Ullom, Ryan Batchman, Matt Tyler, Jesse Landes,  and Darren Barnhart.

NAHA is possible because of the efforts of D.J. Satterfield and Richard “Vince” Vincent. These two guys are “for the athletes” and do everything possible to make sure that their competitions are fun and well ran.  Elite Nutrition was the official sponsor of this event, and among many things, provided $1000 in CASH as prize money!!!   I also need to thank fellow gym member, training partner, and Kansas NAHA State Chairman Scott Tully – he was the “man behind the scenes” that made this whole event happen!!!

For full event coverage – Check out the NAHA Website

Team Nationals

Team Nationals – The Dino Gym versus The JWC

by Al Myers

Front row (left to right) - Al Myers and Chad Ullom Back row (left to right) - John O'Brien and Thom Van Vleck

The Dino Gym and the JWC squared off against each other as the only two entries in this year’s USAWA Team Nationals. The Dino Gym Team consisted on Chad Ullom and myself,  while the JWC Team consisted of Thom Van Vleck and John O’Brien.  Team Dino Gym took the early lead and held on for the Overall Win – but there were no losers in this event as both teams were in different weight classes and divisions.  Several difficult lifts were contested this year that required the teams to work well in unison. The meet started out with the Team One Arm Snatch.  Performing an One Arm Snatch by yourself is difficult enough – but it is twice as hard when doing it as a Team.  Both lifter’s lockouts have to be in perfect synch with one another – or the weight will shift to the lifter with the slower lockout and make it impossible for that lifter to finish the lift. The next lift was the Team Deadlift with the Fulton Bar, done with a Ciavattone Grip.  Again, both lifters need to pull with the same speed and style because if the bar doesn’t come up even, the weight shifts to the lifter on the low side and you will lose your grip. The Team Bench Press – Feet in Air had to be the most difficult (and unnerving) lift in the entire competition.  Balance was a big factor in this lift, and not only did it require total confidence in your team partner but the other team as well. After all, we had to spot each other!!!  Both Teams could have done more in this lift.  The meet ended with the Team Jefferson Lift.  The Team Jefferson Lift is much easier together than you would originally think. By positioning your feet “opposite of each other”, the bar comes straight up and doesn’t want to twist.  Several new USAWA Team Records were set today and much fun was had by all in this “friendly” competition.  In fact, Thom and John wanted a rematch – and Chad and I accepted. So there will be more to come involving the Dino Gym versus the JWC.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Team Nationals
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
September 20th, 2009

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Lifts:  Team Snatch – One Arm
Team Bench Press – Feet in Air
Team Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip
Team Jefferson Lift

Officials (3 official system used):  Scott Tully, Al Myers, Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, John O’Brien

Scorekeeper:  Scott Tully

Dino Gym Team:
Al Myers -  43 years old, 255 pounds BWT
Chad Ullom – 37 years old, 232 pounds BWT
OPEN DIVISION & 120 KG WEIGHT CLASS

JWC Team:
Thom Van Vleck – 45 years old, 293 pounds BWT
John O’Brien – 40 years old, 280.5 pounds BWT
MASTERS 40-44 AGE GROUP DIVISION  & 125 KG PLUS WEIGHT CLASS

Results:

Team Snatch Deadlift Bench Press
Jefferson Total
Points
Dino Gym
235 606 575 1000 2416 1897.8
JWC
215 518 575 850 2158 1600.0


All lifts recorded in pounds.  Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.


Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

I did not receive a correct answer for this week’s Quiz of the Week.  The USAWA lifter who currently has the most USAWA records is our one and only USAWA President Denny Habecker. Denny has been setting records since the USAWA Record List started and is still going strong!!! Denny currently has 341 records, but is followed very closely by Art Montini who has 337 records. They both lead the rest of the pack by over 100 records!!!

Denny Habecker added more records to the Record List at this year's National Championships

Top Ten ALL-TIME USAWA Record Holders

(number of current records listed first)


1.    341   Denny Habecker
2.    337   Art Montini
3.    221   John McKean
4.    217   Bill Clark
5.    214   Noi Phumchona
6.    208   Joe Garcia
7.    204   Dennis Mitchell
8.    201   Bob Hirsch
9.    199   Frank Ciavattone
10.   171   Howard Prechtel

The Entry Deadline has PASSED for this year’s IAWA World Championships hosted by Denny Habecker in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  Any entries at this point require special permission from the Meet Director – so contact Denny and hope that space still exists!!

USAWA Records in the Gardner Lifts

by Al Myers

These are the current overall weight class USAWA records for the Half Gardner and the Full Gardner. John Monk is the only USAWA lifter to have lifted his bodyweight in the Half Gardner – which he did at the 2001 Gold Cup. John has a best Half Gardner of 165 pounds and a best Full Gardner of 111 pounds. These are the top marks ever done in the USAWA.

Half Gardner


Weight Class
Lifter Pounds Lifted
60kg Mike O’Brien
71
65kg Izzy Mabrey
88
70kg John Monk
154
75kg John Monk
70
80kg John Monk
165
85kg John Monk
143
90kg Denny Habecker
99
95kg Ed Schock
110
100kg Chad Ullom
121
105kg Bill Spayd
126
110kg Jason Weigle
143
115kg Ralph Cirafes
99
120kg Kevin Fulton
122
125kg Frank Ciavattone
132
125+kg
Frank Ciavattone
96


Full Gardner


Weight Class
Lifter Pounds Lifted
60kg Mike O’Brien
45
65kg Barry Pensyl
65
70kg John Monk
111
75kg John Monk
110
80kg Abe Smith
95
85kg John Monk
110
90kg Tim Piper
68
95kg James Foster
65
100kg Bill Spayd
100
105kg Ed Schock
110
110kg Mike McBride
95
115kg None
None
120kg None None
125kg Demetrius Davis
70
125+kg
Bill Rogers
70

Rules for the Gardner Lifts

by Al Myers

(The following are the USAWA Rules for the Full and Half Gardner Lifts, taken from the USAWA Rulebook)

D11. Gardner – Full

The first part of this lift is to perform a Half Gardner according to the rules of the Gardner – Half. Once in the finished position on the platform of the Half Gardner, an official will give the command to rise. The lifter must not rise before the command or it will be a disqualification. The rules of the Gardner –Half apply to the rise as well. Once the lifter is standing upright, with the bar motionless at arm’s length overhead, the feet parallel and in line with the torso, an official will give a command to lower the bar. The bar may be in any degree of rotation when overhead. The bar must be returned to the platform under control by the lifter to complete the lift. It is acceptable to use both hands to lower the bar.

D12. Gardner – Half

The lifter may put the bar overhead into the starting position by any method, except upending the bar. This may be done using a One-Arm Clean and Jerk, One-Arm Snatch, pushing the bar overhead in one hand using both hands, putting the bar overhead with two hands and then moving it to one hand, etc. The bar is gripped in the center. The start position is when the bar is held motionless overhead with a straight arm, the lifter’s body upright with legs straight, and the feet parallel and in line with the torso. The non-lifting hand must be free from the body. Once in this position, an official will give a command to start the lift. The lifter will then lower the body to a lying position on the lifters back on the platform by any method, ending with the bar held at arm’s length overhead. The lifting arm must remain straight throughout the entire lift. When the lifter is in the lying position on the platform, the shoulders, legs, hips, head and non-lifting arm must all be in contact with the platform. The bar or plates must not make contact with the platform during the lift. The bar must be under control at all times. The non-lifting hand may be placed on the platform for support during the lift. The bar is allowed to have a slight tilt to it during the lift, as long as the lifter has the bar under control. The bar is allowed to rotate during the lift and may be in any degree of rotation when the lift is complete. Once the lifter is in the proper position lying on the platform, with the lifting arm straight and the bar motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift. The lifter may use both hands to lower the bar or spotters may assist in removing the bar.

The GARDNER LIFTS

by Al Myers

James Gardner doing a Half Gardner at the 2008 IAWA World Championships. James is the master of this lift which carries his name - and successfully lifted 176 pounds at a bodyweight of only 87.5 kilograms in front of IAWA Officials.

After the article regarding the Turkish Get Up (TGU) last month, I received a couple of emails from All-Round lifters reminding me of the similarities between the the Turkish Get Up and the Official IAWA and USAWA All-Round Lifts – the Gardner Lifts. Steve Gardner presented this lift to the IAWA World Council Meeting in Cleveland in 1995 for new lift approval, and the council not only approved the lift but named it after him!!!! In fact, there are two Gardner lifts – the Half Gardner and the Full Gardner.

However, there are some differences between the Turkish Get Up and the Gardner Lifts. In the Gardner Lifts, the lift starts at the top, while the TGU starts lying on the floor. The Gardner lifts allow only the use of a barbell, while the TGU allows the use of any implement – bar, dumbbell, or kettlebell. The Half Gardner Lift ends when the lifter is lying on the platform on his/her back, with the bar held in a single, straight arm overhead under control. In a sense – the starting position for the Turkish Get Up. In the Full Gardner Lift, once a Half Gardner is completed, the lifter receives a command to “Get Up” and return to the standing position with the bar overhead. So – part of the Full Gardner involves doing a Turkish Get Up. This sequence of lifts is easily summed up with this formula:

Full Gardner = Half Gardner + Turkish Get Up

These lifts are more difficult than just standing and lying down with weights. There is technique involved with steps taken in lying down and standing that helps in making these lifts easier to perform. It is important to first learn the “steps” and then follow the same step pattern each time. These lifts also involve flexibility – especially with the shoulder. It is a good lift for any age. I was amazed by Art Montini at last year’s World Championship when he did a Half Gardner of 39 pounds – and Art is over 80 years of age!! Most guys his age have difficulty getting out of bed and tying their own shoes. Art is living proof that weight training is indeed the “fountain of youth”!!!