Goerner Stroll

by Al Myers

Bob Burtzloff participated in the Goerner Stroll at Kevin Fulton's SuperGrip Challenge several years ago.

This will be the last event in the Oldtime Strongman Competition at the Dino Gym Challenge.  It is based on a unique stage act performed by the Oldtime German Strongman Hermann Goerner.  The name of this Oldtime Strongman Event was not pegged by me – I have heard mention of the Goerner Stroll for many years!  How did it get named?  Maybe it was the stage feat in which Hermann Goerner would carry two large suitcase onto the stage – one in each hand.  Once in the middle of the stage he would sit both cases down and out climbed two young gals in each one!  Or maybe it was that memorable day at the training hall in Leipzig in 1920 where he picked up two bars, one in each hand weighing in at 663 pounds together, and proceeded to walk across the gym!  Either way, Hermann deserves the credit for this feat!!

The Rules for the Goerner Stroll

Two barbells will be used.  The lifter must pick up both barbells at the same time, one in each hand, and walk (or run) a distance of 1 rod (or 16.5 feet).  The starting and finish lines must be marked.  The plates on the bars must be behind the starting line at the start, and finish entirely beyond the finish line at the end.  The weight selected on the bars must not be changed during the attempt.  Both bars must be loaded to the same weight.  A one minute time limit is allowed for the attempt.  If the bars are set down or dropped between the  starting and finish lines during this 1 minute time limit, the lifter may start over, but MUST restart at the starting line.  Strapping the bars to the hands is NOT ALLOWED.

Dinnie Lift

by Al Myers

Al Myers demonstrating the Dinnie Lift.

This feat of strength is based on Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones.  The Dinnie Stones have received much publicity over these past few years, and most definitely, qualifies as an Old-Time Strongman Event.  However, some modifications had to be made to make this feasible as a event.  First of all, we will not be lifting stones but instead weight loadable Vertical Bars that mimic the pick-height of the Dinnie Stones.  Ring handles will be attached to the top of the Vertical Bars.  To keep to the standard of the Dinnie Stones which weigh 321 pounds and 413 pounds each, one Vertical Bar must  be loaded to not  more than 75% of the other. Again, the rules for this lift will not be very “technical” as the end result of actually picking them up is the desired outcome.

The Rules for the Dinnie Lift:

Two weight loadable Vertical Bars with ring handles attached are used in this lift. The maximum height from the  floor to the top of the lifting rings is 21 inches.  One Vertical Bar’s weight MUST not exceed 75% of the other.  Any style of lifting may be used.  The lift ends when the lifter is upright and motionless. The lifter may have the Vertical Bars at the side, or may straddle them.  A time limit of 1 minute is given to accomplish a legal lift. The weights may be dropped within this time limit, and the lifter may reset and try again.  An official will give a command to end the lift. Lifting straps of any kind are NOT allowed!

Saxon Snatch

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Tyler Cookson performs a Saxon Snatch.

Another lift contested at the Dino Gym Challenge will be the Saxon Snatch.  This was a popular strength feat done by the Old-Time German Strongman Arthur Saxon.  Even though Saxon was best known for his Bent Pressing and Two Hands Anyhow, he was quite a grip specialist.  Often in his strength shows he would demonstrate his grip strength by snatching a wooden plank, with both hands or just with one.  It is reported that he could one-hand Snatch a 90 pound 3 inch thick wooden plank!  Saxon had abnormally long fingers and hands for his size, and did several other grip feats to back up this claim.

We are going to honor this great grip feat of Arthur Saxon’s by including it as our “grip lift” in the Dino Gym Challenge.

The Rules of the Saxon Snatch:

A wooden plank, of 3 inch thickness, will be used as the apparatus.  The plank will be able to be loaded with plates to any weight desired.  The rules of the Snatch apply.  The plank must be gripped with an overhand (knuckles facing away) pinch grip. The lifter will have a time limit of 1 minute to accomplish a legal lift.  If  the plank is dropped or not deemed a legal snatch, the lifter may repeat as many times as desired within the time limit.

Band Set-Up for Squat Training

by Al Myers

Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, reps out a set of 8 with Band Squats (450 pounds on the bar, plus 150 pounds added band tension at the lockout).

John McKean’s recent USAWA Daily News story about how he uses bands in training got me thinking about one of the biggest uses of JumpStretch Bands in the Dino Gym.  Bands are VERY beneficial in adding resistance to many different exercises – but I believe the best exercise they “assist” is the squat.  This is nothing new as Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has been preaching the benefits of bands for many years now!  However, we have a band set-up for squats that is very unique, and something I would like to share with other lifters. First of all, there are two DISTINCT ways bands may be attached to a squat bar.  One is overhead, where the band tension is added at the BOTTOM of the squat.  The other is at the base, where band tension is added at the top of the squat, or at lockout.  Both have there uses, but after experimenting with both set-ups I prefer the bands to be attached LOW, so as you ascend out of the bottom of a squat the bands stretch and give you added resistance at the lockout.  I think it is best for the bands to go completely “slack” as you hit the bottom squat position and “kick in” immediately after initial ascent.  I like the feeling of “pushing against” the bands instead of the bands “pulling you up”.  I feel good squat technique is ENHANCED when “pushing against” the bands.  By the weight on the bar being lighter in the bottom position, it allows you to maintain good form in keeping your hips back and shoulders up.  By starting in the correct position, you are better able to maintain good form throughout the rest of the squat. Another reason I like the bottom attachment is that it just doesn’t seem right to me to use bands to make an exercise easier!

The top 3-prong hook band attachment, which has three different bar attachment points to adjust band tension for lifters of different heights.

Much has been written about what is the best tension at the top position, or lockout.  I feel around 25% added resistance (compared to bar weight) with bands  is about right.  This can be accomplished with two Blue JumpStretch Bands, one attached on each side.   Others have different opinions on this.  When I designed a band attachment set-up for the Dino Gym Monster Cage, several things I wanted to achieve.  First, I wanted an easy set up that could be changed quickly between lifters who may be of different heights while maintaining the same band tension at the top end for everyone.  Second, I wanted a band set-up that would “roll” out with the lifter as they set up for the squat to make band squatting safer.  Most band attachments on cages have a distinct concrete points where they attach, which makes setting up for the squat difficult. Third, I wanted to make the band set-up to achieve a 150 pound “overload” at the top position (approximately 25% increase since most of the guys in the gym squat over 600 pounds).   I spent a little time thinking of these problems, and designed a set-up that solves all of them! We have been using this band attachment set-up for several years now and couldn’t be happier!

The bottom band attachment. Notice the roller the band attaches to that "rolls back" as the lifter sets up for the squat.

The bottom attachment problem was solved by attaching the bands to a roller that “rolled back” as the lifter steps back with the bar on the back.  The problem of attaching  the bands to the bar was solved by designing a 3-prong hook which could easily be “looped” over the bar next to the inside sleeves not interfering with hand placement.  It can easily be changed between lifters. Our Monster Cage has bar hooks that adjust with hydraulic jacks so each lifter can have an optimum start height.  This allows all gym members, regardless of height, to be able to work out together.  We can change the bar height and re-adjust the band hookup in less than 30 seconds.  The length between each three-prong band hook was initially based on the heights of three gym members – Lon at 5′7″, myself at 6 foot, and Scott at 6′5″.  Lon uses the bottom hook, myself the middle hook, and Scott the top hook.  Each hook set-up yields EXACTLY 150 pounds added band tension at the top!  It couldn’t work out any better than that!!

I hope these ideas will help others in properly setting up a band attachment for their squat training.  If anyone has more specific questions, please contact me a amyers@usawa.com

All-Round Approach – Part 2

by John McKean

Positioning for a band/bar deadlift. Notice the stepping on bands to yield initial tautness. Also note the thick bar for increased grip strength development.

Recently, a friend from England named Eddie Quinn used his long years in martial arts to develop an amazing, condensed self defense system that he calls THE APPROACH (http://the-approach.com/).  Eddie has asked me to create a strength routine that would benefit his many students around the world. Of course, I’d like to share it with our all-rounders as well!  I can think of nothing better than a few key all- round lifts using my minimum equipment oriented, energy conserving band/bar moving isos.  I’ve included some photos to show how I place the bands over a barbell and how to anchor these strands of stretch rubber by merely stepping on them.  Originally Mr. Quinn requested I make a DVD of the actual lifts, but my grubby face and strained expression would probably scare off any and all future students – we have much better looking all rounders demo-ing these mechanics in our ever growing library of You-Tube videos here on site!

Midway into the pull. Note that band tension will increase resistance toward lift completion. Fight this - try to ACCELERATE!

So, Eddie, here are the lifts to search, off to the right of this main page: JEFFERSON (for all important thigh and hip drive, to thrust in with authority on an opponent), BENT OVER ROW (immense straight in pulling power development to rip an attacker right off his feet), CLEAN AND PUSH PRESS (explosive arm thrusting via leg drive, for major league hammerfists and elbows), and 2” THICK VERTICAL BAR LIFTS (absolute best for gripping strength, when you need to hold-on, to literally tear a limb off!).  For each lift, place a medium strength rubber band (I suggest Jumpstretch.com “mini monster bands”) over the bar and perform a set of three reps, adding a bit of weight to go to a second set of two. Do this every other day, starting with relatively “easy” weight at first – you won’t FEEL fatigued, but it sure takes a toll on the musculature and requires 48 hours recuperation.  Be dynamic for each rep (which should be done as singles with slight pauses between each attempt) by starting with control and power then accelerating throughout the movement (try to “beat the bands”).  When the weight becomes too easy, be progressive and add just a bit more – over time this builds way up, with genuine functional strength developing that sticks with you for a lifetime!

Bands doubled and affixed to a Jump Stretch base stand.

Oh, by the way, this routine is not limited to martial artists.  Every wrestler, football player, track man/woman, and all rounder can experience huge gains with this 15 minute workout! And a quick, intensive strength workout leaves plenty of time for an athlete’s main skill development training. Just as Eddie Quinn preaches economy of movement for optimum personal protection, gym time should also hammer directly to the core of your power base.

All-Round Approach – Part 1

by John McKean

Bill March pressing 390# in strict style.

During the 60s renowned York Barbell Club weightlifter Bill March set national and world press records, won major Olympic lifting championships, took a Mr. Universe title, and was even invited to pro football tryouts.  At his most efficient, Bill completed his actual daily power rack lifting in 24 SECONDS!  His York teammate, Lou Riecke, did similar isometric routines, total training time of less than a minute, to break a world snatch record.  Later, Lou took his methods to the NFL as one of the first pro strength coaches – he helped a then mediocre little team known as – AHEM – the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl rings!  In this same time period, a rather large teenage track & field star named Gary Gubner used short range rack moves to build such phenomenal strength that he established world indoor records in the shot put AND earned himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team.

Unfortunately power rack routines didn’t quite stick.  Sessions seemed over before they began, movement range was too short, lifts were way too intense when done correctly, and, for the vain, no “pump” created.  Well, they did work very well for me, but even I got bored (and you guys know what a slug I am!).  So, some years ago (long after my original heavy weight power rack experiments) I started placing rubber flex bands over the barbell, did full range all round lifts thus “handicapped,” and termed them “moving isometrics.”  Like Bill March’s short range isos, momentum and acceleration were thwarted to yield solid, pure push through every inch of an exercise.  Yet the bands encouraged more SPEED and finish (actually, “pushing through” the top rather than “braking,” which somewhat discourages total effort).  Best of all, maximum results came from band/bar lifts that were NOT total, all out, explode-your-arteries, max weight killers.  In fact, from my findings, these work best with a comfortable barbell weight of 60-70% of one’s best single.  Even now, as “early middle age” (65!!!) approaches, these moving isos are giving me substantial gains on most lifts.

Coming Tomorrow

Part 2 of the All-Round Approach of properly using band resistance in your training.


by Al Myers

I'm enjoying my workouts in the Christmas Spirit!!

On behalf of the USAWA, I  wish everyone a Merry, Merry  Christmas!

Dino Challenge Fundraiser

(Webmaster’s Note:  A silent auction will be conducted at the Dino Challenge Oldtime Strongman Contest in January, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.  This groups efforts are very noble, and by having this auction we may be able to help them just a little.  Lots of GREAT THINGS will be in the auction – from some of the Dino Gym’s unique pieces of equipment to donated items from the Dino Strength product line.  There is no entry fee for the Challenge, but plan on bringing some money for the auction.  Fellow Dino Gym member and training partner Mark Mitchell has shared information with us regarding the compassionate vision of the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. – by Al Myers)

by Mark Mitchell

The Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter was formed in February 2007 by Molly Reusser. Her initial intent was to spearhead a group of animal lovers who wanted to pet some dogs but was she in for a big surprise-she had not met Laura Mitchell,Julie Coble,Shannon Kingsley and Trish Hayden yet!! Laura and I have been going to an animal rescue ranch in Kanab Utah called Best Friends for several years to volunteer taking care of some 5000 plus rescued dogs,cats,horses,donkeys etc… combined and we knew how a first rate shelter should be operated. Now,we had a chance to do some of the same things with animals in our own back yard!  Of course,my wife and friends never do anything with half effort and we immediately jumped in to socialize the dogs and cats in the Salina Shelter and pushed hard to get them adopted locally.

Then, we started looking at the figures regarding euthanized former pets and we were astounded. What could we do to change those numbers?  Group member Julie Coble went out on a mission to help solve this. What she found has become a big lifesaver for some 500 dogs just this past year. It is called the Rescue Waggin and it is operated through Petsmart charities. Now,one would have thought our local animal shelter staff would have fallen all over themselves, thanking Julie for this wonderful idea and jumped right on our band wagon(our volunteer group,though working hand in hand with the animal shelter staff,is a separate entity). Alas,no. We were met with big resistance. Did this deter us? No,it did not. A few of us decided to pool our own money together,adopt several dogs we selected,drive a rented cargo van to Denver or Boulder Colorado to Dumb Friends and the Boulder Humane Society and pay transfer fees there because we had heard dogs get adopted in huge numbers from these facilities(Rescue Waggin now takes our dogs to Boulder). We spent thousands of dollars each for quite some time.

Finally,the powers that be saw that we were not a threat and that our intentions were good. It also did not hurt that we,as volunteers,agreed to do all of the work regarding bringing the Rescue Waggin to Salina(we are the only shelter in the nation that uses volunteers to coordinate the Rescue Waggin operation). And what a work load it has been!!  From getting volunteers trained and certified to be behavior specialsts,contracting with local vets to do the health checks to coordinating all of these efforts with the Rescue Waggin personnel(that would be my dear wife Laura’s role!!)  But it has been worth all of the hassles!!  Think of it.  Five hundred great lives and wonderful pets spared and matched with loving families in Colorado just this past year!

Our volunteers put in long hours. We are not just about the Rescue Waggin. We still provide love and care to the dogs and cats who do not qualify for transport. We are involved in fund raisers,special adoption months,hay bale giveaways for all of our outdoor furry friends. The list goes on and on. Our group is amazed and gracious that the Dino Gym has selected us for charitable contributions at the Dino Gym Old Time Barbell Challenge in January !

The Dino Gym in the Year 2060

by Al Myers

Big Al in 2060 (ha-ha)

I fumble my way into the Dino Gym for another workout. I can’t believe it has been over 70 years since the first weight was lifted in the Dino Gym, and I’m still at this obsessive behavior of lifting weights. And especially now, because the sheer thought of getting stronger is a distant memory, only stirred when my wrinkled hands grab a weightlifting bar and stimulates the thought of a long ago personal record. But besides the passage of time, and the fact that I just had my 94 birthday, not much has really changed in the gym. We still lift on all the equipment we acquired back at the turn of the century, and the same guys are still the core gym members. Tuesdays nights have become legendary in all of our minds, as this has always been the day that we have our heaviest workout of the week. These workouts come and go, but there are will always be those that I will never forget.

As has been the custom, I am always the first one to get to the gym. I like to do this because it gives me time to “clear my mind” and focus on my workout goals of the day without distraction. That is the one thing that I HAVEN’T lost – the passion to lift weights and the joy that comes with succeeding in this ongoing battle, despite the weights I lift are less than my warm-ups 50 years ago. I start my routine, and after several pops and crackles in my back, I finally get my lifting shoes on. I consider that my first stretching exercise. As I’m looking at the pictures on the gym walls, I think about the good ole’ days, and in walks my longtime training partner Chad. Chad is still one of the youngsters of the gym at only 88, and walks without a limp. I’ve always been envious of Chad’s natural abilities, and even more now that I refused to get that hip of mine replaced, and got to use a dreaded cane to move around while Chad walks like a youngster. On top of that, I see now the benefits of Chad keeping his head shaved all of his life. I counted my hair the other day and finally my age outnumbers my hair follicles. Ever ambitious, Chad is ready to start lifting! I say, “let’s warm up with some light benches”. Unbeknownst to Chad, I like to start our workouts out with the bench because that is one lift I can still get him on. I have always been able to sucker Chad into anything. I lie down on the bench and crank out 5 solid reps with the bar. I once told myself that when I could no longer bench the bar it would be time to hang it up. I’m not so sure about that anymore, as the bar seems to be getting heavier with time. “Chad, give me a hand so I can get off this bench before I fall asleep”. As you get older, workout partners take on new roles besides just spotting you on a heavy set, you rely on them to help you up when you fall down, and with simple tasks like helping you put on your lifting belt.

Next in comes part of the Salina crew – Mark, Darren and Scott. Mark is the elder of the gym, and soon will be the first gym member over 100. At least he has the Super Masters Class to look forward to and the many possibilities of new age group records. Mark in the old days was the biggest of all of us, but now he barely tops 200 pounds. His wife talked him into liposuction many years ago and now he has the slimmest abdomen of all of us. He even has a handful of dark hair still left on his head. He doesn’t look a day over 70! Darren is the next one in the door, banging his walker on the doorframe to announce to all of us that he made 4 whole workouts this month! Like THAT is something to be proud of, but some things NEVER change. However all those years of pacing himself with his workouts has helped him in the end, because besides his four archilles tendon reattachments he is still in pretty good shape. Scott brings up the rear. I remember the day when Scott was the first in the gym among the Salina guys, but now he is the last one in, and walks like a zombie on a caffeine overdose. I told him years ago that strongman was going to eventually tear him up, but he wouldn’t listen to me, and he kept competing until he destroyed every joint and muscle in his body. I have always admired Scott’s tenacity about training, and marveled at his will to push himself through pain and continue to lift. But he has paid the price for it! I have lost count of his joint replacements and back fusions. “Where’s Chuck?”, I comment to the guys. “Oh, he’s not going to make it this week, but I did see him squat 200 pounds last week”, said Darren. I think to myself “that’s Chuck, a gifted lifter who can still squat big weights and miss Tuesday night workouts”. I have always wished I had his squatting ability. Finally in walks Big John, and he’s sweating profusely. “That walk from the car was a killer!”, he remarks. He huffs and puffs a few times as he collapses on the bench. Even after all these years he still doesn’t realize that his conditioning is his biggest nemesis! I look at him and ask how his cardio training was coming along. Big John replied, “well, I hope to only use a quarter of tank of oxygen tonight”. “That would be an improvement, all that oxygen you use makes me light headed”, I respond.

The crew is finally assembled for the workout. It’s time to get started. I declare to the group, “tonight’s gonna be a big night for us, we got that All-Round Postal Match with the JWC to do, and we haven’t let them beat us in over 70 years, and I don’t want it to start now!!”

All-Round Lifting, Jungle Style

by John McKean

John McKean "places his best foot forward" in setting up for a dumbbell deadlift using the modified T-Stance.

Big bellied and bubbly, the kindly, bespeckled old timer reminded me of a favorite uncle. Indeed, he chattered on endlessly and always treated me as a long lost, cherished relative. But, as a large man, he always stood kinda funny — his rear foot constantly at a 45 degree outward angle with the front foot’s heel jammed at its center, toes pointing directly at you. Seemed narrow and uncomfortable, oddly insufficient to balance a 280 pound person. Yet, I learned later that if he ever moved that front foot toward anyone while angered, that individual would become an instant corpse! You see, this absolute MASTER of the Indonesian martial art of Silat was once written up in a major magazine series entitled “The Deadliest Man on the Planet.” And, as I was informed from his senior students, during his covert assignment by our government during WW2 many U.S. enemies, as their final sight on earth, witnessed the lightning like speed and deadly power behind that stance!

The proper foot placement for the T-Stance. It may be used for any lift that requires the heels to be together.

So, years back, from training this art and experiencing firsthand the balance and channeled strength afforded by its modified “T -stance,” I adjusted it to experiment on certain all-round lifts. Surprisingly, the unusual footwork gave superior performance in the heels together press, and as the beginning stage (before slight foot opening for position) of the Jefferson and one arm Hack, among others.

Recently I played around with the one arm dumbbell deadlift in preparation for the Boston Gold Cup meet, and found my Indonesian stance was IDEAL for that awkward lift. The problem with the big plated dumbbell pull is that the DB handle is too far out from your body, thus thwarting initial power, and twisting uncontrollably as it ascends up the thighs. So I began with my right foot jammed in between the plates, shin almost touching the bar. The foot was at the best angle I could achieve, tho not quite 45 degrees. My left foot would begin at the outward plate, a few inches from the approximate center of my inner-DB foot, then I would advance it a bit to allow room for the pull. I discovered that my arm was afforded an absolute straight down position for a perfect initial deadlift pull, and that it rested within my right thigh so as not disturb the direct path of the big dumbbell (the weight, not me!). Just a bend of my legs yielded all power from hips and thighs, rather than stress and twisting of the lower back – really, more of a squat than a deadlift.

The tribesmen living within the highland jungles of West Java, where my Silat mentor was raised and taught, knew a thing or two about pinpoint balance and exacting body positioning for exerting maximum power. In their dangerous environment they HAD to! We in all-rounds can also certainly experiment and adapt our own individual structures as a means to stand solidly and “kick butt” on the record book!

2011 Nationals Venue Set

by Thom Van Vleck

Historic Rieger Armory, location for the 2011 USAWA Nationals

I have reserved the Rieger Armory for the 2011 USAWA Nationals and I couldn’t be more pleased with the location.  It is a classic building built in 1938 that has a lot of character and history (I know what you are thinking….that means it’s OLD, but it has been very well kept up and has been the location of hundreds of major functions here in Kirksville over the years).

It is named for Col. James Rieger who is a local war hero.  He served in WWI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Purple Heart as well as numerous other medals for leading  the 138th Regiment in a brutal attack that caused the German defenses to fall back all across the front lines.  He was nicknamed the “Hero of the Argonne” and one of his men famously said in an interview that went national, “…there wasn’t one of us that wouldn’t go to Hell for him”.   The War Department donated a German Howitzer captured in WWI to Kirksville that is in Rotary Park and Col. Rieger was later tapped to return to France at one point to locate and document American soldiers buried  there.  He was given pieces of a stained glass window from a bombed out French Church that was incorporated in the First Baptist Church here in Kirksville as a token of appreciation.

Just as importantly, it is a great place to have a weightlifting meet.  Centrally located in town, you can see Truman State’s campus and the town square from Rieger.  It has a large indoor area that used to house the National Guard artillery unit in town (now a Combat Engineer unit).  It also has a large kitchen with plenty of tables and chairs for our banquet and a stage for a first class awards ceremony!  I hope everyone will try and make this.  More info to come so stay tuned! It is located at 500 S. Elson St. in Kirksville.

National Postal Meet Reminder

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson lifts 656 pounds in the 12 inch base Deadlift in the 2010 USAWA National Postal Meet.

I just want to remind everyone that the deadline for the 2010 USAWA National Postal Meet is the last day of December.  If you only do one postal meet – do this one.  The USAWA Postal Meet Director John Wilmot picked three lifts for this meet that ANYONE can do – 12″ base deadlift, heels together clean and press, and the cheat curl.   Make sure you include the signatures of the officials that judge your lifts.  For postal meets, you may use someone who is not a certified USAWA official and your lifts will still count for placings.  However, lifts MUST have a certified official in order to set a USAWA Record (and THREE certified officials for a IAWA record).  This information is recorded on the result sheet.

The USAWA Postal Meet Series has been a big success these past few years.  John Wilmot deserves the credit for this.  He really believes in Postal Meets as a way of encouraging participation.  And I agree with him!!  All you have to do is do the lifts in your own gym – and it doesn’t even require any expense!!!  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

This year I am going to recognize an OVERALL Postal Meet Champion.  The scoring for this will be very straight-forward.  You will receive points for EACH Postal Meet (of the four) you compete in throughout the year.  If there are 10 competitors, first will receive 10 points and last will receive 1 point.  If there are only 5 competitors, first will receive 5 points and last 1 point, etc.  The National Postal Meet will be worth double points.

There also will be awards for the winners in the National Postal Meet – and you get ALL THIS FOR FREE!!!

Goerner Deadlift

by Al Myers


2010 Goerner Deadlift Participants: (left to right) Mike Murdock, Al Myers, and Rudy Bletscher

The tradition of the Goerner Deadlift continues!  After a postponement and a change of locations, the Goerner Deadlift has added another year to it’s rich history.  Bill Clark graciously let me reschedule it at the Dino Gym after he cancelled it because of low entries, and only one entry was added as the result of the postponement.  That one addition was Mike Murdock.  So, overall the Goerner this year only attracted 3 lifters, which is still a pretty low turnout for a meet of this caliber. Rudy Bletscher and myself were the other two lifters.

Rudy Bletscher pulled a 265# Heels Together Deadlift.

Because of lack of available weekends left in December, the meet occurred this past Tuesday night.  We started at 6 PM – which is a pretty late start for a meet that has 13 lifts!!  We kept after it at a fast pace, and by the time we finished at 10 PM all of us were starting to feel the effects of the aches and pains in our backs from the multiple deadlift attempts!   The real heated battle was between Rudy and Mike.  Both of these guys are over 70 years old and are two tough characters!  Together they teamed up at the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals last September  to become the National Champs in Two-Man lifting in the 70 year age division. Who can forget their 2-Man Trap Bar Deadlift of 585 pounds at that meet???  Both these guys are great pullers – so I knew this was going to be a close battle between them.  It was “nip & tuck” till the finger lifts, then Rudy’s experience with the Finger Deadlifts showed and he pulled out a tight win over Mike, and gathered second place overall.

My highlight of the meet was FINALLY officially registering a 400 pound plus One Arm Deadlift!  I have worked for this for very long time, and this NIGHT was the NIGHT!  My 405# One Arm Deadlift broke the record of 402# held by Kevin Fulton in the 40 year age group/115 kg class.

I want to thank Bill for allowing me to host the Goerner Deadlift this year, and to Rudy and Mike for showing up to make it a competitive event.


Goerner Deadlift Dozen Plus One
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
December 14th, 2010

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials (one official system used):  Al Myers & Mike Murdock

Lifts:  Deadlift – Heels Together, Jefferson Lift, Hack Lift, Deadlift – 2 Bars, Deadlift – Right Arm, Deadlift – Left Arm, Deadlift – Right Arm, No Thumb, Deadlift – Left Arm, No Thumb, Deadlift – Reeves, Deadlift – Middle Fingers, Deadlift – Ring Fingers, Deadlift – Index Fingers, Deadlift – Little Fingers


Rudy Bletscher – 75 years old & 220# bodyweight

Mike Murdock – 70 years old & 234# bodyweight

Al Myers – 44 years old & 244# bodyweight

Lift Rudy Bletscher Mike Murdock Al Myers
Deadlift – HT 265 265 551
Jefferson Lift 198 198 551
Hack Lift 198 154 551
DL – 2 Bars 220 265 551
DL – Rt Arm 154 154 405
DL – Lt Arm 154 154 353
DL – Rt, NT 132 132 220
DL – Lt, NT 132 132 200
Reeves 185 185 280
DL – MF 135 115 234
DL – RF 95 45 140
DL – IF 140 95 140
DL – LF 45 45 95
Total 2053 1939 4271
Adj. Points 2367.96 2084.65 3602.44

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds. Adj Points are adjusted points corrected for bodyweight and age.

Joe Ciavattone – Level 2 Official

by Al Myers

Joe Ciavattone is now a Level 2 USAWA Official.

Joe Ciavattone Sr., the owner of Joe’s Gym,  has just passed the USAWA Official’s Exam which upgrades him from a Level 1 USAWA Official to a Level 2 USAWA Official.  Level 2 is the highest level of official certification attainable in the USAWA .  This gives Joe LIFETIME CERTIFICATION as an official.  To be eligible as a Level 2 official, an official must have knowledge of the rules (by passing the Rules Exam) and experience officiating (by serving as an official in over 25 USAWA competitions).  There are currently only 11 Level 2 Officials in the USAWA, which makes Joe part of an elite group!

Congratulations Joe!!!

Cyr Press

by Al Myers

Sam Cox, of the Dino Gym, takes a 150 pound dumbbell overhead one handed. What makes this even more amazing is that Sam only weighs 200 pounds!

One of the very popular strength feats done by the Canadian Strongman Louie Cyr was pressing his famous dumbbell one handed.  We are going to honor Cyr and this strength feat by including it in the Old-Time Strongman Competition at the  Dino Gym Challenge.  As with the other strongman lifts in this competition, there are minimal rule restrictions.

The Rule for the Cyr Press:

Any dumbbell with a handle diameter between 1 inch and 1.5 inches is allowed.  The dumbbell may be brought to the shoulder in any manner, but must come to the shoulder before going overhead.  This includes using two hands. Once at the shoulder,  the dumbbell is taken overhead with only one hand anyhow.  The other arm/hand is not allowed to touch the lifting arm during the overhead portion. The feet are allowed to move. If the lifter misses with one arm, the dumbbell may be switched to the other arm during the attempt, but the arm used must be selected at the shoulder.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed for the attempt.  The dumbbell may be set down or dropped during the attempt.  If the overhead portion of the lift is missed, it may be restarted at the shoulder. Once the dumbbell is overhead motionless with arm straight, the legs straight and feet in line with the torso, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The only role of the official is to be awake at the end of the lift to give the down command!!

Apollons Lift

by Al Myers

Thom Van Vleck, of the JWC, training on his 245# Apollon Wheel Replica.

It’s about time I start highlighting the rules of the events that I plan on having in the Dino Gym Challenge on January 15th, the VERY FIRST strongman competition sanctioned by the USAWA.   Again – this strongman comp will be quite different than modern traditional strongman comps as this one will be based on feats of strength performed by OLD TIME STRONGMEN.  The first event that I am going to profile is the APOLLON’S LIFT.  This event is based on the old-time strongman Louis Uni, aka Apollon.  He made famous the Apollon’s Wheels – a 2″ axle connecting two railway car wheels.  The entire apparatus weighed in at 366 pounds!  David Willoughby made this feat well-known when in his book, The Super Athletes,  he listed it as one of  the “Five famous weights and the men who lifted them.”   Well, I don’t expect anyone to lift a replica of the original 366# Apollon’s Wheels so we will use a lighter set-up.  I do expect this event to be held to the basic dimensions of the original Apollon Wheels so a 2″ axle will be used and a higher bar height will be allowed (since the diameter of the original AW was 26 inches).  The rules for this lift will be very liberal since the object of this strongman feat is to “get it overhead in any fashion”.

The Rules for the Apollon’s Lift:

A 2 inch diameter axle (or Fulton Bar)  will be used as the bar for this lift.  The maximum starting bar height is 12 inches measured from the platform to the bottom of the bar.  Any method may be used to take the bar to the shoulders or overhead.  The bar or plates are allowed to retouch the platform during the lift.  If the bar is placed down or dropped, the lifter may try again as many times as he/she wants within the time limit.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed.  Once the weight is overhead, with arms’ locked, legs straight,  and the feet in line with the torso,  an official will give the command to end the lift.

All other general rules of the USAWA will apply.  Each competitor will get three attempts of their choosing with the best one counting towards their total.

Australian All-Round Website

by Al Myers

ARWLWA President Peter Phillips was the Overall Best Lifter at the 2007 IAWA World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Recently the All-Round Weightlifting of Western Australia has launched a new website.   It has their up to date schedule, meet results, photos and even some preliminary details of the 2011 World All-Round Weightlifting Championships, which they will be hosting on November 19th and 20th, 2011 in Perth.

Website for All-Round Weightlifting Western Australia Incorporated

The current officers of the ARWLWA are:

President:  Peter Phillips

Secretary:  Justine Martin

Vice President:  Samuel Trew

Treasurer:  Robin Lukosius

Registrar:  Samuel Trew

Goerner Deadlift

by Al Myers



The Goerner Deadlift has been rescheduled!!!  Bill Clark has sent me a letter giving me permission to reschedule the Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One at the Dino Gym sometime this month.  The problem is that the month of December is getting away from us!!  I want to keep the annual tradition of the Goerner Deadlift alive, but we are out of weekends in December.  On the weekend of the 18th, Dave is having his record day and then after that we are into the holidays.  So after mulling it over trying to find a  date for it, I have come to the conclusion that only one day is workable  – December 14th. I plan to hold the Goerner Deadlift  in conjunction with the Tuesday Night workout at the Dino Gym!!

Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One

Time:   Tuesday Night, December 14th, 5:00 PM

Location:  Dino Gym

Entry:  No entry fee or entry form,  but you MUST notify me ahead of time if you plan to attend

World Wide Row

John McKean

Recent work on the bent over row shows good effects on the 65-year-old upper back of that chubby little rascal in front who we know as John McKean!

John Grimek, our FIRST USAWA Hall-of-Famer (I was there when Howard Prechtel nominated him!) once wrote that the bent over row is a lift where huge poundages are possible, because the movement employs the arms, shoulders, lats, lower back, hips, and thighs. Big John also stated that the row is the absolute best heavy exercise for building the biceps, as well as the upper back. I once met a young super-heavyweight at a power meet who took Grimek’s advice seriously – the lad ONLY trained the heaving row for biceps, and a few bench presses for the triceps. Without exaggeration, his well formed upper arms had to have measured 23 inches!!

Famed writer/lifter Terry Todd did a photo filled article of his deadlift training for winning one of the first National powerlifting contests – yep, the huge poundage-heaving ROW was given prominent mention as his major assistance exercise. Terry was rowing with over 450, as I recall; those pictures left a lasting impression on my young mind! Even today the row is king in building other ALL-ROUND lifts!

We in the USAWA have instituted the bent over row as an official lift during the past season. First to “test” it was Al Myers’ crew, who raved about the dynamic feeling to pull big weight and the genuine enthusiasm for officially performing this grand old exercise! As Al mentioned, it is a natural, basic exercise that we ALL started our weight training with, and requires a unique direction of pull that no other lift fulfills! Later, big Ernie Beath (who really was the one instrumental in pushing for the inception of this barbell keystone as official) and I rowed for records at Art’s Birthday Bash (I think one END of Ernie’s bar was more than I managed!!). At this point in time, world-wide, the IAWA has adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude, but I think our more carefully conceived, clearer version of the rules should tell how simple and direct the bent over row is as a lift.

USAWA Rule for the Bent Over Row

The lift will start at the lifter’s discretion with the bar placed on the platform in front of the lifter. The lifter will grip the bar with an overhand grip with the palms of the hands facing the lifter. The width of grip spacing and feet placement is of the lifter’s choosing, but the feet must be in line with the bar. The body must be in a bent over position at the waist. The upper body must not straighten past 45 degrees parallel to the platform at any time during the lift or it is a disqualification. The legs may be bent during the lift and upon the completion of the lift. The bar is lifted to touch the abdomen or torso by bending the arms. The bar must touch the abdomen higher than the belt, or the navel if a belt is not worn. It is a disqualification if the belt supports the bar at the abdomen upon the finish of the lift. The lift ends by an official’s command when the bar is held motionless at the abdomen or chest.

Not only can our All-rounders benefit by direct effort applied to rows, but many who would come to us for weight training programs will make huge strides in OVERALL strength by utilizing the row as a LIFT.  As such, of course, we can draw these athletes into our fold to display prideful gains on a weightlifting platform!!  But these big bent over pulls can certainly serve wrestlers, martial artists, track and field athletes, football players, etc. I, for one, would love to see some of these new guys at our record day meets! Of course, it won’t hurt our image, either, to start associating IAWA lifters with that huge, old time “V” taper derived from concentrated, high-powered rows!

Anchor Press

by Al Myers

Chris Anderson pressing the two 100 pound Dino Gym Anchors after a hard day of Strongman Competition.

This past weekend Scott Tully and the Dino Gym promoted the NAS Winter Strongman Challenge at the Dino Gym.  It was a great day of competition!  Fourteen  very strong guys participated in 5 events – the log press, 18″ deadlift, incline log press, farmers hold, and a keg load  (more info and pictures will be on the Dino Gym Facebook Page).   After the competition I had a challenge waiting for Chris Anderson.  I can always get Chris to “give a go” at any challenge I have waiting on him at the gym!  Last year, he conquered shouldering the GIANT PILL, a 250 pound steel air compressor tank which is shaped like a pill.  Of course I have it painted with a slick black paint to make it a little more challenging.  He did it easily.  This time I had something even more challenging waiting for him.  I recently made two 100# anchors, of which I attached ring handles.  The “test” is to take both of them overhead at the same time, and then pose for a picture.  Chris easily took them to his shoulders, but had some difficulty taking them overhead.  The balance of pressing them is a real challenge as they want to wobble all over the place (and gouge you in the back!).  On Chris’s first try he missed, but then he came back to MASTER this challenge.  I was quite impressed!!

Membership Drive

by Al Myers

It’s now December and the  time to start sending me USAWA membership dues for the 2011 year.   I already have a couple – from Jim Malloy and John Wilmot.  I will start the 2011 Membership Roster soon – so if you want your “join date” to say January 1st beside your name – you have a month to get it done!   Membership dues are still the same at $25 per year, with USAWA  membership running from the first of January till the end of December.  No longer will there be any “rollover” memberships like there has been in the past.  I will be very firm with this.  Dues are our only means of financial income for our organization and I take that very serious.  Also – $25 per year is a bargain!

A couple of important things to consider when filling out your membership application:  make sure you list the club you are affiliated with because this is important in the calculation for club of the year, and make sure you include the
SIGNED drug waiver.  If not – you will be tested at EVERY EVENT you attend (just kiddin’).  The drug waiver is part of the application and your membership will not be active until I receive it.  If you forget, I will remind you and it will cost you another stamp.

For 2010, the Dino Gym had the most registered USAWA members with 13, followed by the JWC and Clark’s Gym with 6.  Habecker’s Gym was next in line with 5 members.  Overall to date, we have 61 members.  Next year I would like to see us over 100 members.

The Membership Application is located on the upper left column of the website under “USAWA Information – Forms and Applications”.   You might as well send it in now as it doesn’t get any cheaper if you wait!!

Run up the Flag

by Thom Van Vleck

The United States Flag flies with pride above the Dino Gym on top of a 40 foot Flag Pole.

I remember the first Highland Games/strongman contest I promoted. I remember putting a huge amount of work into it and wondering if anyone was going to show up and thinking, “Well, if nobody shows, then I won’t do it again”. The meet started at 9:00 and at 8:30 NOBODY was there! Then by 9:00 there were 27 throwers and about 50 spectators! I remember feeling relieved!

My point, many of us promote meets of different levels. I have never met a meet director that has not gotten fed up at some point. It’s a damn thankless job and everybody has a criticism and a gripe…..usually behind your back. You can charge an entry fee and give a shirt, award, maybe lunch, and let them destroy your equipment and they will act like they are doing you a favor showing up and they feel like you are going to retire on the immense wealth brought in by their entry fee.

However, the reality is that MOST guys appreciate the effort. MOST guys understand and get it. What some of us need to remember is that holding a meet year after year is like raising the flag every morning. Just because there’s nobody there to salute it doesn’t mean that nobody cares about whether it came up or not. Believe me, when I was in the Marine Corps, Marines always had flag duty and I was on it often. It was the one duty I volunteered for. Get up before dawn, put on your dress blues, get shined up, do the silent march down to the flag pole, go through all the rituals of doing it…..and most often there was not a soul around to see it. But it was a must that everyone know its up and there and waving in the wind to greet the day because if it’s not, then it becomes more and more likely it won’t be there the next day and then the day will come when it’s gone forever!

Recently, Bill Clark, who has “run the flag up the flagpole” more than anyone in the USAWA cancelled the Goerner meet. Quite frankly, the guy has done his share. Just like there’s a Marine running that flag up at the bases in Pensacola, Florida, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and San Diego, CA. I took my turn, now it’s somebody else’s. That flag gets run up because it has a deeper meaning, and it means a lot to those who believe in it. The USAWA is NOT the USA, but it means a lot to those involved in it and somebody ought to run that flag up, otherwise accept defeat.

I know someday I won’t be running the meets I run for lots of reasons (my demise being the most likely at this point)…..but maybe somebody will grab that flag and run with it. Like I grabbed the JWC flag from my Uncle’s and ran with it.

Dale Harder’s Latest Book

by Al Myers

Dale Harder's Latest Book

I just received the news from Dale Harder that he has a new book available – Strong  Stronger Strongest.  I have greatly enjoyed all of Dale’s books to date, and plan to buy this new one to add to my collection.  In this book he covers biographies of over 150 of the strongest men in history.  A couple of his previous books that are my favorites are: Strength,  and Strength and Speed.   Dale covers EVERYTHING strength related and doesn’t pick favorites. You get it all!!  In his books Dale has references to All-Round Weightlifting in several areas.  You may even see YOUR name in one of his books. Order instructions are listed in the promo above.

Goerner Cancelled!

by Al Myers

I just got confirmation that Bill Clark has CANCELLED the Herman Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One that was scheduled for this coming weekend.  Word came to me about this news from Joe Garcia.  I had made plans to attend, along with Rudy Bletscher, and we had notified Bill ahead of time about our intentions, but apparently two competitors is not enough to open the gym for!  I don’t really blame Bill for cancelling this meet at the last minute, as I understand his frustration in not having (or having low numbers of) lifters show up for his gym meets.  After a while it makes you discouraged when you go to all the work of planning a competition only to have no one show their appreciation by attending.

The Goerner Deadlift is one of the longest established meets in the the USAWA.  Bill Clark first promoted it in 1995 in his gym, and the meet was won that first year by longtime USAWA member Dale Friesz.  Since then it has been won 3 times by Rex Monahan and myself, and twice by Mike McBride and Kevin Fulton.  It has been cancelled once before, in 2007, due to ice.

Superior Strength for Athletes through All-Rounds

John McKean

John McKean, at 64 years of age and in the 80 kg class, performed a 120.9 kilogram One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup last month. This is the best One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift in the USAWA Record List, regardless of weight class, for lifters over 60 years of age.

Fierce looking, amazingly muscular, and sullen , the 181 pound powerlifter sat alone in a corner of the Ambridge VFW gym during one of our 1960s powerlifting meets. Nobody was crazy enough to disturb the thick thighed monster as he death-stared the warmup platform. Except me, of course; the resident nut! Surprisingly gracious and talkative, the young (but already bald & fu-manchu mustashed), record setting squatter explained his very basic leg routine -simply work up in singles from a power rack’s parallel pin position, starting dead stop at the bottom (eliminating rebound or “stretch-reflex”), going to an absolute limit, once per week. I’m sure this eventual all time great altered his approach over the years, yet not long ago I heard he became the only master lifter over 50 to set an official squat of over 900 pounds!

A similar power rack approach was taken by legendary Paul Anderson. In a story by Terry Todd, who witnessed the training, mighty Paul had 1050 pounds situated on a below parallel pin position (so low, recalled Todd, that he himself couldn’t even squeeze himself under it).  Anderson easily got himself up from this dead stop bottom position, many singles during training, figuring such easy work (for HIM!!) would allow a “regular” squat with 1150-1400 pounds!!

Olympian Russ Knipp, who the astounded Russians called one of the strongest pure pressers and squatters they had ever seen, described to me his “2/3 squats”.  Again, these were performed from dead stop in a position just a hair above parallel.  Just over the middleweight bodyweight limit, Russ used to do these for 5 sets of 10 with 515 pounds -and not even pushing it, as they were supplementary exercise for his olympic lifting! Russ told me after this “overload” work, any regular squat always felt easy & he never had trouble getting up from low 400+ pound cleans!

Of course, based on progress by these true giants of lifting, I, at my powerlifting best – an awkward, small boned, unmuscular little 165 pound geek- discovered that rack bottom-start squats took my stalled contest lift of around 450 up to a state record 555 in amazingly rapid time. And this was before super suits, big belts, wraps, and all the other “aids” were around.

OK, enter All-Round lifting -we have LOTS of quality lifts that build the same core strength in dead start fashion, as did the rack pin squats, without the need of a bulky, space consuming power rack station. Think about it – our Jefferson, trap bar deadlift, dumbbell deadlifts, Zercher, and others start with no momentum -on the floor- and work the same important core muscles. If modern athletes would simply adopt a few of our sheer strength movements, they would be WAY ahead on FUNCTIONAL power, as opposed to trying to mimic modern powerlifting’s super-duper suited/wrapped, enhanced quarter squats and steel spring shirted, assisted bench presses.

As a long time secondary teacher, I always cringed at the ridiculous weight training that high school and college football, wrestling, and track coaches offered to their athletes. Many times coaches that I knew would simply go to the internet and select bodybuilding style programs, as they themselves had no real experience (and their coaching egos would NEVER have them ask an actual weightlifter!!). I heard of one school’s “strength- coach” who had senior football players do nothing but curls(!!!!), and another who trained female soccer players, but not allow anything heavier, ever, than 3 pound dumbbells!  Equally upsetting were the athletic departments that would tell the youngsters to just do the powerlifts on their own -yep, more quarter squats, bounced bench presses, deadlift injuries, and the ever present assistance gear that easily conned kids bought on their own!

It seems to me that we in the USAWA could maybe initiate all-round contests or, at least, seminars, on high school & college campuses to demonstrate the superiority of our “old time” training methods.  Certainly we could really help athletic programs that could use REAL strength training for their students, and, who knows, our base of competition oriented lifters could expand tremendously!

Would you like your records?

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia, the OFFICIAL USAWA RECORD DIRECTOR,  has notified me that he will provide anyone’s individual records to them if they want them.  This will allow you to see what USAWA Records you actually have!  Joe has worked hard on the Record List lately and has it completely up to date.  Please contact Joe directly at jgarcia@usawa.com to request your list.

Joe also sent me a listing of the prior  USAWA events which contain OVER 100 USAWA Records.  Of course, this is the records still on the books.  Very likely more records were set or established at the time, but have been broken since.  We have no way of identifying the number of records SET at the time of these old meets.  Just like the old saying goes “records are meant to be broken” – once gone they’re gone.  But it is still very interesting in seeing which events have the most.  To date, over 100 USAWA Records are in the Record List from 9 competitions – and very fitting the number one competition is the 1995 IAWA World Championships in Eastlake, Ohio directed by Howard Prechtel!

USAWA Events with Over 100 Records

1.  151 Records – 1995 IAWA World Championships in Eastlake, Ohio

2.  139 Records – 1991 IAWA World Championships in Collegeville, Pennsylvania

3.  125 Records – 2003 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio

4.  119 Records – 2004 USAWA National Championships in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

5.  119 Records – 2005 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio

6.  113 Records – 2002 IAWA World Championships in Lebanon, Pennsylvania

7.  111 Records – 1999 USAWA National Championships in Ambridge, Pennsyvania

8.  109 Records – 2010 JWC Record Breakers in Kirksville, Missouri

9.  106 Records – 1990 USAWA National Championships in Akron, Ohio

Christmas Extravaganza RB

by Dave Glasgow







18 DEC.-2010 1330 HRS.







Habecker’s Gym is Leading USAWA Club

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker (left), leader of Habecker's Gym and Art Montini (right), leader of Ambridge BBC relax together prior to this past year's National Championship. From the looks of this friendly picture, it's hard to tell that their clubs are in a heated battle for the 2010 USAWA Club of the Year.

As most of you know, one of the new programs I developed last year was the USAWA Club Award Program.  I did this for the main reason of encouraging club participation in the USAWA, with the hope that clubs will become more actively involved.  I really believe the future success of the USAWA lies with clubs.  The many lifts we do are difficult to learn and it takes someone who is experienced in All-Round Weightlifting to be able to mentor and teach others, which happens in a club environment.  It also takes a clubs support to be able to host and promote competitions.  I know I couldn’t put on the meets I do at the Dino Gym if it wasn’t for the support of the gym’s membership.  These guys provide “the muscle” needed to make a meet setup successful.  Often all the work they do is “behind the scenes” – but they know how much I appreciate them!!

I am VERY PROUD to say that this year MORE CLUBS are registered as “member clubs” of the USAWA than ever before in the history of the USAWA.  We have 10 clubs registered!  This makes me extremely happy – because I feel that the promotion of club involvement is working.  So I created a Club Award Program to recognize the clubs that are the most involved.  It is a very straight-forward points program and the points can be calculated directly from information available on the website. The previous year’s winner is not eligible the following year, but is responsible for giving out the award to the next year’s winner at the Annual General Meeting in conjunction with the National Championship.

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1. One point awarded to the club for EACH USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application. This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.

2. Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup. Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.

3. Three points awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.

4. Four bonus points awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

Club Award Points to Date (TOP FIVE)

1.  Habecker’s Gym – 26 points

2.  Ambridge BBC – 19 points

3.  Frank’s Barbell Club – 17 points

4.  Clark’s Gym – 16 points

5.  JWC – 12 points

The TIME is not up yet!  Clubs STILL have till the end of the year to add points to their total.

Howard Prechtel – The Supreme All-Rounder

(WEBMASTER’S NOTE: The following was written about Howard Prechtel by Bill Clark in the February, 1990 issue of the Strength Journal.  It is  the BEST STORY I have ever read concerning the life and lifting career of Howard Prechtel.  It is worth sharing again for those who missed it the first time.)

by Bill Clark

Howard and Noi - an uplifting couple.

An All-Rounder is a person who gets a thrill out of lifting anything that isn’t attached – and some things which are.  Possibly no individual in the USAWA more truly personifies the all-round mentality than Howard Prechtel. The 64-year old Cleveland native has been picking up iron for 45 years and seems to be enjoying it more now than ever before.  Training is even made easier by coaching Noi Phumchaona, his wife and fellow all-rounder.  That’s them in the picture.

When Howard lifted at John Vernacchio’s Valley Forge open last November 11th and finished off the day with his exhibition of the Travis Lift, it was simply another chapter in the rather amazing saga of Howard Prechtel and the iron pile.  Howard was born in Cleveland and grew up there, dropping out of school to join the service when he was 17.  He fought at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima and was awarded two Purple Hearts for wounds that eventually were the reason he’s still lifting iron at the age of 64.  After war service, Howard returned to Cleveland, bounced from job to job for a decade, went thru a marriage, and wound up in a hospital with shrapnel from an old war wound threatening his future.

Along the way, Howard had become intrigued by strongmen, such as Warren Lincoln Travis and Louis Cyr.  At age 31, Howard started to work on the things the old-time strongmen did.  Now, 33 years later, he’s still at it.  At the Valley Forge meet, Howard banged out 108 reps in the Travis Lift with 1027 pounds in 75 seconds.  When Travis was at the top of his game, he did 100 reps with 1000 pounds in 75 seconds.  And he was far short of being 64 years old.  That effort, which was done under careful scrutiny headed by USAWA President John Vernacchio, currently is not an approved USAWA record – but the effort is on the table – not dead.

It also is the extension of a remarkable lifting career.  Howard’s efforts have been aimed at three Travis specialties – the Roman Chair Sit-Up, the Hip Lift, and the Back Lift.  He also has returned to Olympic lifting and has captured national and international honors.  He’s lifted in two world masters meets and numerous national competitions. Howard’s record surge goes back to 1961 – not long after his stay in the hospital.  He came up with a one-hand effort of 1020 pounds in the Hand and Thigh.  That was on January 12th, 1961 – more than 29 years ago.  In November, 1963, he broke the mark of Travis which had defied those who tried… he hip lifted 1025 for 105 reps in 75 seconds.  It was 16 years before Howard would beat the mark again.  In May, 1979, he did 108 reps with 1109 in 75 seconds. That effort remains his personal record.

In the Roman Chair Sit-Up, he started in 1973 with 713 pounds and today has raised the mark by over 200 pounds to 932.  His efforts in the Back Lift border on the frightening.  Travis had done 1000 pounds for 3000 reps in 101 minutes, and a total of 5,000,000 pounds in three hours, nine minutes.  In 1980, Howard did 3547 reps with 1070 pounds in 85 minutes to erase Travis from the books with 3,795,290 pounds.  Then, in June, 1982, he made 5460 reps with 1111 pounds in three hours, nine minutes to obliterate Travis’ mark with 6,066,060 pounds.  Travis had done 1000 pounds for 5000 reps in the same time period.

Who knows what Howard will do next.  He still keeps an active schedule as an Olympic lifter.  After all, he was third in the 198-lb class Olympic Trials back in 1956 and loves the overhead lifts.  Plus – he has Noi to train in those lifts as well. He’s become a leader in the USAWA, both on the platform and in the meeting room.  He’s the chairman of the Ohio chapter of the USAWA and a member of the USAWA board of directors.  he holds 60-64 age group records in the bench press feet in the air (90 kg), RH C&J (45 kg), Continental Clean (100 kg), RH deadlift (100 kg), Hack lift (127.5 kg), Hip Lift with traditional bar (648 kg), Jerk from Racks (90 kg), Neck Lift (115 kg), Two-hand DB press (62.5 kg), Two-hand Military Press with BB, heels together (72.5 kg), Pullover and Pushup (82.5 kg), RH Snatch (45 kg), Front Squat (127.5 kg), Steinborn Lift (92.5 kg), and Zercher Lift (137.5 kg).

Howard’s sincerest hopes for 1990 are that repetition records will be approved by the USAWA and that his mark set at Valley Forge will be accepted by the USAWA as a true record.  If the rep records become a reality, look for Howard to load up the back lift again and see if he can get 7,000,000 pounds next time.  If he does, you’d best bet on Howard.  The barrel-chested, short-haired military determination of the 17-year-old fighting a man’s war on Guadalcanal has not diminished one bit.

Gold Cup One

by John McKean

Howard Prechtel as a young man, sitting and relaxing as he poses for a picture with over 1000 pounds on his back!

Howard Prechtel phoned me to describe, in his typical factual but low key manner, his idea for a meet where IAWA World Champions would strive to set individual world records in their favorite lifts. He was most pleased to inform that the Wide World of Sports was VERY interested in TV coverage! Of course a large Gold Cup would be awarded to each successful contestant in this “World Champions Record Breakers” meet (in later years , Gold Cup meet was easier to say & inscribe on trophies!).

Soon, all lifters were wildy excited about this concept, and planned to travel to Cleveland( Lakewood), where the meet venue was a large High school, famous for its legendary football teams, and other athletics. However, as Howard later told me, with a bit of mirth in his normally somber tone, one prominent US lifter wasn’t too thrilled. Seems this specialty lifter had not ever entered or won a World Championship, but, in his own ,rather unhumble opinion, was very worthy of competing ( a legend in his own mind !) in this unique record day event. He phoned, more than once I believe, and pleaded, begged, and implored Howard to let him appear before the TV cameras! But Howard was always very principled, and held his ground – ONLY legitimate world champs would grace the stage!

Another famous lifter was quite excited to demo his skills to a televised international audience. But, though “sparse” of hair,had a bit of vanity to him and often wore an absurdly thick , wavy brown wig when out on the town. So, in preparation for his network debut, he had his wife, a professional hairdresser, dye his sidehair to yield a perfect, flowing brown tone to exactly match the shade of the 6″ muffet that was to be pasted to the top of his bare skull.Only problem was, our boy fall asleep during the dying process, the extra time converting his remaining real hair to jet black!! The hair piece had to remain at home, and fellow contestants had to bite their lips to suppress chuckles when they saw their newly done old pal, the darkest haired chrome-dome in history!

During the meet, everyone marveled at Howard’s organizing skills -the weight set up & appearance of the large auditorium was spectacular! The Gold Cups on display lit up the room to create added excitement & atmosphere of a truly important, historic event. The only disappointment, and it really seemed minor at the time due to everyone’s enthusiasm with the lifting, was that the filming crews never showed.

Spectator involvement may have been the largest ever -as mentioned this was a Saturday at an athletic based high school and most student athletes were there for Saturday training. These kids didn’t even mind sharing their spacious weight lifting room with competitors; they were thrilled to see real competition style lifters warming up beside them. One of the bigger football players , a nice,polite young man, couldn’t help himself but ask my (then) 12 year old son,Rob, what he could possibly be lifting in what was deemed by them a virtual “professional” weightlifting contest. When Rob described his intent to do a hand and thigh with 800 pounds, the senior linebacker almost fainted! And when Rob went off to lift, EVERY athlete crowded in to watch a grade school child pull a hard fought 800 ! In fact, Rob was so intent on this performance that he apparently broke tiny blood vessels in his cheeks and was red faced for a week!!

In this, and following Prechtel meets, lifters were supplied every comfort and convenience by Howard. He was, indeed, a Bob Hoffman of all-round lifting, and even looked like the ole “Father of Modern Weightlifting”, with a similar beneficial demeanor! We’ll miss ya, Howie, your meets and your character were pure quality, and your hard work & dedication to promoting them will forever remain as “golden” as your cups!

Other Tributes to Howard

by Al Myers

I was truly impressed with all the comments made about Howard.  It shows what a great man he was and the  positive influence he had on so many people.


Howard Prechtel passed away 9/11/10 Those who had the privalege to compete on the same platform would know he was a great guy, a true lifter of iron, wounded badly in WW2 he had shrapnel in him his whole life. An early mover in USA all round w/tlifting, he invented the Gold Cup World Record Breakers, he was IAWA Int…. Pres. before myself, I was proud to have known him and followed in his footsteps! Steve Gardner

A Great man and friend.Frank Ciavattone

Makes me sad to hear he passed! He was a great guy and teacher! Howie you will be missed greatly! RIP!Cara Ciavattone Collins

True gentleman.always there to help you rip howardAndy Tomlins

I was saddend to hear of Howard passing away..He was an outstanding lifter and a wonderful mentor to all in the IAWA, he will truly be missed and never forgotten..a kind and gentle soulLori Ciavattone

I am very sad to hear the news. He was a star, gentleman and friend. I will not forget him.Graham Saxton

This really made me sad. I always referred to him as ‘Uncle Howie’ as he seemed like that favorite uncle that everyone has. Even though he wasn’t a chiro, how many of us did he adjust over the years at the meets with good results? He also reminded me of Jimmy Stewart, with his gentle, polite manner, and kind of deliberate thoughtful way of talking with you. I’ll always remember him and his clodhopper shoes when he went out on the lifting platform. You always felt good after being around him. Rest in Peace, Howard. Joe Garcia

I first met Howard at the 1993 IAWA World Championships in Boston. He came up to me after my first continental snatch and gave me some pointers, and went on to help me throughout the meet. He came over to England for the Gold Cup that year in Burton England. He used to have a disabled girl come and watch him train her name was Becky Summers. He said she had more grit and determination than anyone he had ever met. Sadly she passed away, and Howard created an award in her honour “The Becky Summers true grit award” I remember him telling everyone about her at the awards ceremony, then to my utter surprise awarded me the Becky Summers true grit award. That meant SO much to me. This great man, a war hero, a world champion weightlifter and founder of the IAWA Gold Cup, thought me worthy of this award. This trophy to this day is one on my most prized possessions. I went on to meet up with Howard at every World Championships and Gold cup For around the next ten years, and he was always one of the first lifters i looked for when i arrived at the venue, to both greet him, and also have him adjust my neck. To this day no one has ever crunched my neck as good as Howard. I have been deeply saddened all day today at the news of Howard’s Passing. He was a mentor, father figure, hero, and out and out great man in my mind. - Steve Angell

I met Howard back in 1991 at the worlds and was very impressed with him.At every meet I attended he always helped me out with any adjustments it would take in a 10 lift meet if you know what I mean.Well my story that holds allot of value to me is in 1999 I had knee surgery from a falling off a piece of Heavy Equipment in November and with extensive physical therapy I was able to lift in the 2000 Nationals in May, well my knee was still bothering me and I went anyway I could only go about 80% out a 90% bend.When I got to the meet I had told Howard how nothing was working and he said no problem come over here and stand in front of the wall and put your hands to the wall and push your knees back to stretch out my hamstrings and repeat a few times well I’ll tell you the pain was gone and in a few weeks I was felling great.I straddle deadlifted 501lbs and allot more great lifts and it ended up being one of my best meets for personal records.I use his method all the time and have past it on to other people with knee problems with great results.He was a great mentor and friend and will be missed by all.He was always great to me and my family and the USAWA and appreciate everything did for all of us in the organization.  – Joe Ciavattone Sr.

I first met Howard in 1948, and my first impression of him was “The gentle giant”.  I’ve always thought of him in this way. - Dennis Mitchell

I will always remember Howard’s friendly smile, and how he helped me and many other lifters feel better by giving them those miraculous adjustments before they lifted. It was great to see him last year at the world’s. He was truly at great lifter and a great man. -  Denny Habecker

Howard at the 2009 Worlds

by Al Myers

At the 2009 IAWA World Championships, Howard couldn't "resist the urge" to go to the lifting platform one more time!

One of the BIGGEST SURPRISES of the 2009 IAWA World Championships in Lebanon, PA was NOT any of the lifting, but the unexpected appearance and attendance of Howard Prechtel.   Most of us had not seen Howard in several years, and we were not aware ahead of time that he was even going to be at this meet.  But in WALKS the PIONEER of the USAWA, Howard Prechtel, which took all of us by surprise!  It was a joyful reunion!  Special thanks HAS to go to Bob Geib for bringing Howard to this meet and making it all possible.  For several of us, that was the last time we got to visit with Howard.  I spent alot of time watching him throughout the day – and the ENTIRE TIME he had the biggest smile on his face.  It was obvious to me that he was enjoying himself immensely, as I’m sure it brought back many great memories to him from his days on the lifting platform.   His Grandson Melvin Cooler commented in the latest Daily News story about a quote Howard made to him, and it ringed so true at this time, ““I have forgot about alot of things in life, but I never forgot how to lift weights.”

Howard is one of three men (in my opinion) that shaped the early days and foundation of the USAWA.  Howard’s influence on our organization will ALWAYS be there – and without a doubt he will go down as LEGEND in our organization.

Thoughts from Howard’s Grandson

Dear USAWA community,

I am Howard’s grandson and I would like to thank all of you that have recognized Howard’s achievements throughout the years.  His life was weightlifting.  A man on a mission with 110% dedication.  It was very difficult to talk to Howard without mentioning something about lifting.  Howard was injured in WWII on the island of Iwo Jima and started exercising while in the hospital recovering doing repetitions with a broom stick.  As you can see he went from lifting a broom stick to breaking many world records. When I was 15 years old, he said, “son if you want to be the best, you have to believe that you’re the best and work harder than every other sob out there. No one is going to give you anything. You’re going to have to sweat for it.”  I am 49 years old now, and while visiting him in the nursing home in Cleveland in 2008 he told me the same thing again.  He also added, “How is your lifting going”?  I said, “Granddaddy, all you ever talk about is weightlifting.” He said, “I have forgot about alot of things in life, but I never forgot how to lift weights.”

At 85, he was determined to get back into competition and back into heavy lifting.  He said, “I have to get the hell out of here.  I have to get to the gym, gotta grab some heavy stuff.”  I said, “you really need to slow down.” He said, “that’s the problem, I don’t have time to slow down.”  He was still trying to exercise in the nursing home although the staff was not too happy about him bringing weights into the home for obvious reasons.

Again, thank you all so much for your support. I know that Howard was so proud of this organization and what you have achieved.  When you think about winning competitions, breaking records, or just being the very best at your skill, you better think about Howard. He gave everything he had to the very end!!

Very Sincerely,

Melvin Lynn Cooler

Tribute to Howard

by Scott Schmidt

Greetings, All

You may have just read the sad news on our Website that one of the Icons of the USAWA, Howard Prechtel passed away November 9th, 2010. Al Myers asked that we share our experiences with Howard. This is my response.


Scott Schmidt

Tribute to Howard

As a tribute to Howard Prechtel, I would like to offer a few words to describe his accomplishments, and his influence on my weightlifting career.

I knew Howard personally for over 20 years. I knew of his presence for over 30. He was a legendary Cleveland, Ohio strongman. Another fellow athlete and good friend, George Yanoscik always would speak of Howard’s’ fantastic feats in the all round type events as we trained on the Olympic style lifts. To hear some of his feats, such as 900 pound Roman Chair sit ups, or repetition Travis Lifts for multi-million pound results was incredible.

After years of hearing these great stories about Howard’s abilities, as good fortune would have it, George was finally able to introduce me in person to Howard. From that moment on, I could clearly see what a genuine hero Howard was. He gave me so much help in so many areas of training to get strong, and also how to avoid and recuperate from injury.

Howard had learned the “secrets” of the chiropractic techniques that could get you back to normal as soon as possible. Over the years, he ‘adjusted” thousands of patients, including medical doctors from the Cleveland Clinic! If that isn’t a testimony to his ability to heal folks, I don’t know what better endorsement there is!

In addition to his enormous influence on the sport of All Round Weightlifting, putting on countless meets, instituting the Gold Cup, and setting countless World Records, Howard was also a World Class Master Olympic Weightlifter. During his years of competing, he was only 1 title short of being elected into the US Masters Weightlifting Hall of Fame with 9 victories. He could have easily achieved ten and more, but his ability to travel to compete became limited primarily due to financial concerns. In my opinion, he certainly deserves the recognition.

In closing, I will share one quick demonstration of how Howard enabled me to win when I was injured. Back at the 1991 Masters Pan American Weightlifting Championships, I came prepared to compete, but an old back injury flared up upon arrival at the venue. I tried with no avail to sleep it off, but the morning of the meet, I had decided to tell the meet director, USAWA Hall of Famer John Vernacchio, I had to withdraw. But before I did, I ran into Howard and explained my problem. In a Milli-second, he said “Lie Down” . I did. And you know what? He fixed me to almost 100% in a few moments. I was able to succeed with about 90% of what I came to pick up, and was able to take home my first Pan Am Title. That story along with many others is why I want to pay tribute to the memory of a Great Hero, and I will be forever grateful to my personal friend, Howard Prechtel.

May he rest in peace.

The Amazing Howard Prechtel

by Al Myers

One of Howard Prechtel's favorite lifts was the Hip Lift. This picture will forever grace the page for the rule of the Hip Lift in the USAWA Rule Book.

This week is a sad week amongst the USAWA – with the news of the death of Howard Prechtel.   I have invited the membership (especially those who knew Howard personally) to share some stories about Howard.  I think this is the best way to deal with the loss of one of the true pioneers of the USAWA – by sharing stories that reflect how Howard influenced our organization and us as individuals.

I will go first (and I’m expecting MANY MORE to follow). I have only been involved in the USAWA for 10 years, and have met Howard only a few times, but each visit was memorable.  When I became involved, Howard was winding down his days of active competition.  I will say this – Howard has made a big of impact in our organization!!  Besides being a great lifter (who often would do things other lifters would not even think of attempting), he was our leader.  Howard served as President of the USAWA from 1993 to 2007. That’s 14 years out of our 24 year history!!  Howard also served as President of the IAWA.  He promoted countless meets – including big meets like the 1994 USAWA National Championships and the 1995 World Championships in East Lake, Ohio.  Howard was the originator of the Gold Cup, and had the vision of developing this competition into a WORLD CLASS event that would allow lifters to “showcase” their best lifts in the spotlight of a prestigious World competition.   Howard was a “lifter’s lifter” as I’ve heard the many stories about him utilizing his ability and understanding  of anatomy and the human body  by “providing adjustments” on meet days to lots of lifters, which undoubtedly helped many lifters achieve the lifts they wanted that day.  Everyone liked Howard.  I have corresponded with Howard though letters and he ALWAYS answered the questions I had.  One of Howard’s favorite lifts was the Travis Lift.  He not only established the the maximum record in it at the time (1815# at a record day in Ambridge in 1990), but he established many repetition records in it.  His letter advice helped me my design setup for the Travis Lift.  Now, in his honor, I plan to make the Travis Lift a big part of my training this coming year.

Howard STILL has many records in our USAWA Record List.  I just did a quick count and he still holds 171 USAWA Records.  Some of his BEST USAWA RECORDS are:

Lift Record Age BWT Location
Clean & Jerk, Right Arm 99 60 105 88 IAWA – Lecester
Clean & Press, DBs, HT 150 70 100 95 Art’s Birthday Bash
Clean & Press, Heels Together 182 65 110 90 Nationals – Akron
Continental to Belt 314 70 95 97 IAWA – Collegeville
Curl, Cheat 154 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells 344 70 105 96 Buckeye RB
Hand & Thigh 1050 65 105 91 U.S. Inlands
Harness Lift 2218 65 105 93 Gold Cup
Hip Lift 1550 65 110 Ambridge, PA
Neck Lift 408 70 100 98 Nationals – Mansfield
Pullover & Push 243 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Roman Chair Situp 738 65 110 Valley Forge, PA
Snatch, Right Arm 99 65 105 91 IAWA – Collegeville
Steinborn 259 65 105 92 Nationals – Walpole
Travis Lift 1815 65 105 Record Day – Ambridge
Zercher 331 65 105 91 Nationals – Ambridge
Zercher, Left Arm 220 70 100 96 Gold Cup

All of these records were established when Howard was OVER 60 years of age!  Can you imagine what his lifts would have been in these lifts if he had done them in his 20’s and 30’s??  Truly remarkable records – many of which will NEVER be broken!  The USAWA is a much better organization because of Howard Prechtel! He will not be forgotten.

Howard Prechtel has Passed

by Al Myers

Howard Prechtel's Obituary

I just received the sad news that longtime USAWA leader and All-Round weightlifter Howard Prechtel has died.  Howard was known by everyone in our organization and was greatly respected by all that knew him.  His funeral will be tomorrow, November 23rd, at 11:30 AM.  I know several of us have memories and stories about Howard and how he has impacted our lifting careers.  Please send me these stories,  as I would like to dedicate this week  to Howard by features about him in the website’s Daily News.

Max Sick (Maxick)

by Dennis Mitchell

Maxick demonstrating his "muscle control".

Max Sick was born on June 28, 1882 in Bergenz Austria.  As a youngster he suffered with lung trouble, rickets,and dropsy.  At the age of ten he made his own weights and started working out.  His parents were against weightlifting and destroyed his weights.  In order to keep working out Max started doing muscle control exercises.  He was very successful and to this day is remembered mostly for his muscle control ability.  Although Max, who later changed his name to Maxick, claimed to have developed his very fine physique and strength using only muscle control, he did some very excellent lifting, leading us to believe that he trained quite a lot with the weights.  He was capable of a continental and jerk with double body weight.  Maxick stood 5′3.75″ and weighed between 145 and 147 pounds. Some of his other lifts were:

Right hand military press – 112 pounds

Right hand snatch – 165 pounds

Right hand swing with dumbbell – 150 pounds

Right hand jerk (two hands to shoulder) – 240 pounds

Two hands military press – 230 pounds

Two hands clean and jerk – 272 pounds

Two hands continental and jerk – 340 pounds

He was also a very good gymnast and hand balancer, and was unbeatable in “Finger pulling” beating men who weighed over two hundred pounds.  Maxick was also a very good business man.  He wrote many books on muscle control and was business partners with both Monti Saldo and William Bankier (Apollo).  His muscle control courses were still being sold into the 1970’s under the name of Maxalding.  Maxick died in Buenos Aires in 1961, where he ran a gym and health studio.  He was active even on the day that he died.  That morning he had been wrist wrestling with a friend and then rode his bicycle home.  He was later found lying on his back with a note under his heal, that stated,  “My heart is beating rather slow, I feel extremely cold, I think it will be over soon. Remember the infinite is our freedom manifested through our consciousness”.  Dated, May 10, 1961 22 hours.

Joe Ciavattone Sr.

by Al Myers

Joe and his sons at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup displaying their Championship Trophies. Pictured left to right: Jonathon, Joe Sr., and Joe Jr.

One of the very exciting things that I accomplished at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole, Massachusetts was interviewing Joe Ciavattone Sr. for his USAWA Hall of Fame Biography.  Joe was inducted into “the hall” in 1996.  One of my goals for this website was to  give recognition to ALL USAWA Hall of Fame members by including biographies on each of them.  So far I have 16 bios out of the 22 HOF members.  The ones I still need are for Ed Zercher, Noi Phumchaona, Chris Waterman, Bob Hirsh, Rex Monahan, and Bill DiCioccio.

I had a great time visiting with Joe and his involvement throughout the years with the USAWA.  His passion for All-Round Weightlifting is evident when talking with him – and just watching him get excited when his sons pulled out big lifts at the Gold Cup was a highlight for me.

The blog below contains Joe Ciavattone’s  USAWA Hall of Fame Biography.  Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Biography – Joe Ciavattone Sr., class of 1996

Joe Ciavattone Sr. at the 2000 USAWA National Championships performing a 661# Neck Lift, before he set the All-Time USAWA and IAWA Neck Lift Record of 804.5 pounds in 2005.

Joe Ciavattone Sr. was born July 9th, 1968 in Norwood, Massachusetts.  He has lived in Norwood his entire life.  Joe has worked in construction throughout his working life, and is currently a construction foreman and heavy equipment operator.  He has several construction licenses, including a hydraulic, tractor trailer, and supervisor’s license.  For the past 6 years Joe has been busy working on a 200 house subdivision site.  Joe has been married to his wife Debbie for 18 years.  They have four sons – Mike, Marc, Joe Jr., and Jonathon.  They have lived in their house since 1994, which is also the home of Joe’s Gym.  Joe’s Gym has a very nice set up of weights and equipment needed for all the USAWA lifts and general weight training.  A big part of Joe’s training now is involved with coaching and training with his sons.

Joe Ciavattone at age 15 competing in an Olympic Weightlifting Meet.

Joe started weight lifting at the age of 4 in his parents shed with his brother Frank, another USAWA Hall of Famer.  They are the only two brothers in the USAWA who are both in the USAWA Hall of Fame.  They trained together whenever possible.  As Joe got older, he started competing in local Olympic Lifting meets throughout the New England area.  He became involved with the USAWA in 1990 at the Strongest Man in New England Contest which was sanctioned by the USAWA.  Joe continued to compete in Olympic Lifting until 1995.  Some of the competitions he competed in were the Bay State Games, Salam Open, Atlantic State Open, Holyoke Open, and various AAU Junior Olympic Meets.  He also competed in the Junior Olympics in 1987 in Syracuse, New York.  He trained in Rhode Island under the great coach Joe Mills.  Joe still comments that was one of the best lifting experiences of his life.  During this time in his training, he perfected the Split Clean and Split Snatch under Coach Mills which has helped his weight training through today.  At that Junior Olympic Weightlifting Meet, Joe placed third as a teenager, which he feels was a testament of his quality training.  Joe played football for 5 years, including 8th grade and throughout High School.  He was Captain of his High School football team.  He started Varsity as a Junior and Senior at the Center position and was Honorable Mention for State as a Senior.  Since then, he has still been involved in football and has been a youth coach for 16 years, from 1987 to 1995, and from 2004 to 2010.  He is very proud to have coached two teams to the Youth Superbowl with a record since 2004 of 41-15.   Joe also coaches weightlifting at his local High School for athletes involved in the football and baseball program at his gym, Joe’s Gym.  Joe remarked, “I’ve always enjoyed coaching football and weightlifting over the years as all the knowledge I have gotten in lifting in the USAWA from good friends here in the US and England.  The knowledge of competing and training that I have gotten has made me the coach and champion that I am today.”

Joe Ciavattone pressing the famous Ciavattone Train Wheels in 2000.

Joe made sure to mention his brother Frank and credits him for getting him involved in lifting at a young age. Frank  encouraged him to pursue Olympic Lifting, and eventually persuaded him to get involved with the USAWA.  The mixture and variety of the various All-Round Lifts fit Joe perfectly as it allows him to get all forms of lifting within one organization.  Today, Joe trains mostly at his home gym, Joe’s Gym.  Since he is busy with work and family, it is the best fit for his schedule.  It also allows him to spend time with his sons, as they train for weightlifting and football.

Joe has been involved as a meet director within the USAWA.  Some of the competitions he has promoted include the 1997 New England Strongman Championship, the Ciavattone Classic, the Norwood Record Breakers Day, Joe’s Gym Record Breaking Day, the Norwood Championships, the New England Championships, Gardner’s versus Ciavattone’s Postal Meet, and the Ciavattone versus Fulton Postal Meet.  His gym has recently been very active in the USAWA Postal Meet Series.

Joe Ciavattone Hack Lifting 454 pounds at the 1998 World Championships in England.

The Neck Lift is the lift that Joe is most proud of.  He has held the World Record in it in four different weight classes and breaking such barriers as 700 pounds and 800 pounds.  He holds the All-Time Neck Lift Record for the USAWA and IAWA with a lift of 804.5 pounds.  The other lifts he likes are all the varieties of Bench Presses within the USAWA.  Joe currently has a unequipped Bench Press of 375 pounds.  The Ciavattone Deadlift is also a favorite, and he feels it is a true test of hand and leg strength. When asked what initially interested him in the USAWA, Joe replied, “I like the many different type of lifts and training different lifts for competition, which makes this sport very interesting to me.” When asked if there were any meets that meant the most to him, Joe replied, “In 1998 I went to the World Championships in Leicester, England.  I had trouble in training for the Hack Lift, and only was getting 300 pounds in training, but got 454 pounds at the meet.  Training for a year as well as saving money to go over seas was hard, but was well worth it to bring home a Gold Medal.  The second meet was the 2005 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships where I Neck Lifted 804.5 pounds for the All-Time Record.  The third meet would be the 2005 Gold Cup in Maui, Hawaii where I saved up money to take a weeks vacation with my wife and break the World Record in the Reverse Grip Bench Press of 300 pounds.”

Joe’s resume of Championships is quite long.  He has been World Champion  5 times, National Champion 6 times, and has won 3 National Heavy Lift Championships.  He has also competed in 6 Gold Cups. In 1998 at the USAWA National Championships in Mansfield, Massachusetts, Joe was the Best Lifter of the entire meet!

Joe is a perfect example of someone who can lead a balanced life and still be a Champion Weightlifter. He spends a lot of hours at work, yet still finds time to be involved with his son’s activities, and not just in attendance, but actively involved as their coach and supporter.  On top of this, Joe always helps out as an official at meets and attends as many meets that he can.  You can count on him supporting the USAWA through participation in Postal Meets at Joe’s Gym.  In closing, Joe remarked, “Being part of the USAWA is a very important part of my life because of the friends I have made, and the competitions are always of the highest quality.”

Scott Schmidt’s Hall of Fame Induction

by Al Myers

One of the historic events that occurred at the 2010 Gold Cup in regards to the USAWA was the Official Ceremony in which Scott Schmidt was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.  The USAWA Hall of Fame Award is the highest honor in the USAWA.   It recognizes outstanding achievement as a lifter, and leadership qualities that are exhibited within the USAWA.  Scott is the PERFECT EXAMPLE of a Hall of Famer – and it was my honor to be able to give his induction speech at the banquet.  I am going to include it here so those who were not in attendance will know WHY Scott was the latest member of the USAWA Hall of Fame.

Scott Schmidt (left) receiving the USAWA Hall of Fame Award from USAWA Awards Director Al Myers (right).

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Scott Schmidt – by Al Myers

It is my honor to be able to give this speech in recognizing Scott Schmidt as the most recent member of the USAWA Hall of Fame. I first met Scott at the 2005 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio, and I could tell right away that he was someone who took his weightlifting serious. I have to admit – I was somewhat intimidated by him at first. He was all decked out in his official warm-ups, and carried himself like someone who came to the meet to do business. This was just the start of our friendship. Since then, I have had the opportunity to compete with Scott at several meets. I have developed great respect for Scott and his enthusiasm he has for All-Round Weightlifting. He always has his “game face” on during competition but at the same time he is always giving encouragement and support to the other lifters.

Truthfully, I have to say it is about time Scott is inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame. Our Hall of Fame program has been dormant for the past several years. We should have honored Scott with this award before now. He now becomes the 22nd member of this very prestigious fraternity in the USAWA which represents the highest award the USAWA has to offer.

It’s time I tell you a little about Scott and why he is so deserving of this award. Scott was born on November 15th, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. He has lived in the Greater Cleveland area his entire life. He has been married to his wife Kathy for almost 33 years, and they have two children, Alan and Heather, and one grandson Joel. He has spent his entire working career in business, and currently he is selling Natural Gas and Electric service to commercial accounts. Scott also does a lot of volunteer work for his church, Unity Lutheran of Cleveland. He has been President of the Church Council for 12 years. His other athletic pursuit is golf, which he does at least once per week. Believe it or not, Scott is a pretty good golfer as well as weightlifter, and often scores in the low 80’s. Last year he received a plaque for his first Hole in One!

Scott started lifting when he was 14 years old. His first competition was in 1967. Scott started his competitive lifting career as an Olympic Lifter and has compiled a very impressive resume of achievements. He has won the Ohio Open State Championships 10 times, the Ohio Master’s State Championships 18 times, American Open four times, 2 National Master’s Championships, and 4 American Open Masters Championships, along with 4 Pan American Masters Championships. He has placed in the top 5 in all four of the World Championships he has been in. In 1993, he missed winning first place in the World Championships due to one missed snatch! Scott has set over 50 Open and Masters Ohio State Records through his Olympic lifting career. On top of ALL THIS, his club, the Schmidt’s Barbell Club, has won 25 team titles!

Scott was first introduced to the USAWA by Bob Karhan, a past USAWA Champion. Scott’s first USAWA competition was in 1992 at the USAWA Winter Fest, a winter all-round meet which was held at the Ambridge Barbell Club. Since then, Scott has been a regular at USAWA meets and always a top competitor at our National Championships. His specialties are overhead pressing and jerks, gripping events, and the heavy lifts – notably the Hand and Thigh and the Hip Lift. Back in 1996, he was the first man in the USAWA to Clean and Push Press over 300 pounds. He is member of the “century club” – a designation I have given to USAWA lifters who hold over 100 USAWA records. There are ONLY 20 lifters in this club, which is another accomplishment that warrants Scott’s outstanding involvement with the USAWA. In All-Round Lifting, Scott has won 10 National Championships and 8 World Championships. He has participated in the Gold Cup 6 times. He has placed in the top TEN among all competitors 4 times at the USAWA National Championships, with his best finish being 2nd overall at the 2008 Championships.

Scott – you are the perfect example of the type of person and lifter all others should strive to be like. You have been a leader in the USAWA. You support your fellow competitors. You demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship. You have supported local competitions as well as being involved in the major competitions. It is my honor at this time to officially present you the award that you have spent 20 years working towards. You have more than earned it.

Appreciation Response – by Scott Schmidt

First of all, let me say it is an honor to be here at the Gold Cup Banquet with the privilege of being inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame. After many years of effort, it was truly a warm feeling of accomplishment when I was chosen this summer to be recognized by our members to join the Hall of Fame. When I consider what the folks who are in the Hall have done, I am indeed humbled by this award. In addition to all the feats of strength they have preformed, one incredible common bond is the camaraderie they all share. I believe all our top performers enjoy helping assist others succeed as much as they enjoy winning themselves. That quality is what makes me extremely grateful to join the Hall.

I also feel this is a great aura to have in our organization to in-cent new members to join the USAWA as well.

In summary, I wish to sincerely thank all of you responsible for allowing this ceremony to take place. All of our voting members. All of our USAWA executives. All of our Hall of Famers. My entire family for their years of support. And most of all, I thank God for enabling me to share all these wonderful strength experiences with such an outstanding group of competitive athletes, and good hearted human beings. Especially Al Myers, who organized the Hall of Fame election process, and Frank Ciavattone and his family, who volunteered to put a ton of effort into holding this fantastic Gold Cup event and banquet.