Articles from February 2010

Take the Time to Become an USAWA Official

by Al Myers

One of the exciting things about the membership voting to pass the new rulebook at last years National Meeting was the development of an USAWA Certified Officials Program which was included in the new rulebook. The USAWA has never really had an system for certifying officials before this. Several things have been tried through the years to develop an Officials Program but nothing ever took hold. Mainly it consisted of anyone who wanted to judge a meet was considered an official. Sure, at the 2006 National Meeting, the membership voted to develop a test that must be passed in order to be an official. But this turned out to be an optional requirement because meets were still being contested and records being set with Officials who didn’t take or pass the test. Only a handful of people took the test. Nothing really changed. A few years before this, a system was developed where there would be regional official’s chairpersons, who had the “duties’ of certifying officials in their area. But again, no guidelines were given to the Chairpersons in how to go about implementing this so it died about as quick as it was started.

Why didn’t any of these previous Official’s Programs work?

My opinion is this. They were either too extensive and time demanding that it wasn’t worth it for someone to go “through the program”, or the program didn’t have any backbone. What I mean by this is that having a program is all fine and dandy, but if there are not repercussions for NOT going through the program, why do it? Afterall, if you can still be an official and not go through the program, what good is the program?

I don’t think anyone would argue with me about the importance of having a system in place of certifying officials versus not having one. Everyone wants their lifts to mean something in competition, and having a certified official in competition passing your lifts lends to credibility. Now what people will argue about is what is required in an Official’s Program, or how it is implemented. Luckily this has all been sorted out by the membership agreeing on our current Officials Program, by voting in favor of it, at the last National Meeting. The new Official’s Program is far from perfect, but at least it is something to start with. I think it is best to start small and grow, rather than start big and fail. There are obvious things that need to be added to it as it develops through time, but those hurdles can be jumped as we come to them.

I know one of the arguments against this new Official’s Program is “passing a test does not make you a good official”. I absolutely agree. It is only part of being a good official. I think THREE things make up a good official: 1. Knowledge of the rules, 2. Experience, and 3. Judgement Skills. (and their importance is probably in that order). Passing a rules test only tests your knowledge of the rules. Experience only comes with hours of sitting in a judges chair and learning from your mistakes. This can be somewhat measured by the number of meets one has officiated. Judgement skills is the hardest to evaluate, but is a very important characteristic of a good judge. It can truly only be evaluated by a practical exam in which a master official “judges” a judge. Many other larger lifting organizations require this in their Official’s Programs. We are far from that! We all know each other and it is hard enough to be impartial judging each other lifting, let alone finding someone to judge our judges in a practical exam. That person would have to be someone with a very thick skin who didn’t care in having any friends after wards. Practical exams would never work at this time – it is hard enough just talking individuals into taking the short 100 question rules test!

I want to highlight some of the requirements of the Officials Program.

All of these come from the Rule Book.

VII.8. There will be two levels of certified USAWA Officials

Level 1 – The official has passed the USAWA Rules Test OR has the experience of officiating in 25 or more competitions or events.

Level 2 – The official has passed the USAWA Rules Test AND has the experience of officiating in 25 or more competitions or events.

VII. 10. The USAWA Rules Test will consist of 100 open book questions regarding rules within this rulebook. To pass the test, an applicant must score over 90 percent.

VII. 11. All sanctioned USAWA events must use certified officials, and the officials must be willing to sign a meet document proving their involvement in the competition or event as an official.

V. 4. Records may be established in any USAWA sanctioned competition or event provided that one certified USAWA official is present to officiate and approve the lift. If three USAWA officials are used to judge the lift, the lifter must receive approval of two.

The authority of a Level 1 Official is the same as that of a Level 2 Official. Nothing in the rules say otherwise. It is only a designation that shows that Level 2 Officials have achieved both of the criteria required. The experience criteria is the USAWA way of having a “Grandfather Clause” to allow those older, seasoned officials not to be asked to take the test. But to maintain integrity in our program the 25 meet experience requirement must be adhered to. I would hope that even those meeting the experience criteria would still take the Rules Test, and by doing so, would show support to this new Official’s Program and set a good example for others to take the test. Rule V.4. will be adhered to from now on – so if you want a record in the future you must have a certified Official judge you. You may notice that there are not any time limits imposed on Officials to re-certify. This is one thing that will need to be looked at by the membership in the future.

The Rules Test has been rewritten this past year and is much shorter in length. If you have ANY understanding of the rules you should be able to complete it in 2-3 hours. All of the essay questions have been removed. The test is open book and ALL answers can be found in the Rule Book. All the test really achieves is guaranteeing that a Official has LOOKED at the Rule Book, and hopefully will know where to go to find the answers to any judging question. This system couldn’t be any easier – so to say it is too hard to become an USAWA Official is just not true. If someone doesn’t have three hours to give to take this test only tells me that they are not really that interested in becoming an official. You don’t even have to be an experienced lifter to take and pass the exam! Maybe someday our organization will grow to a point where we can have Level 3 Officials, whereas a Practical Exam would be required, but for today I would just hope that everyone would support the program that is in place – so we can TRUTHFULLY say that we have a Certified Official’s Program in the USAWA.

World Team Postal Competition

World Team Postal Competition
“IAWA World Open Team All Round Weightlifting Challenge 2010″

USAWA President Denny Habecker and IAWA President Steve Gardner at the 2009 IAWA World Championships.

by Al Myers

Our IAWA President Steve Gardner has just released the details of the World Team Postal Competition. Last year it was a great success – with 10 teams and 33 individuals entering! Steve has picked new lifts for this years competition. The lifts this year are – One Arm Barbell Snatch, Two Hands Pinch Grip, Feet in the Air Bench Press, and the Ciavattone Grip Deadlift. I always felt one of the reasons lifters lost interest in the prior World Postal Championships (before it was hosted by Steve Gardner) was because the same lifts were contested year after year. However, I competed in it every year to show my support. But one of the main things that attracted me to the All Rounds was the variety of lifts and I was starting to get bored with this meet because it was the same meet year after year. So I’m glad to see Steve “mixing things up” with the lifts in this new World Postal Meet. It also changes the dynamics of the meet – because different lifters are stronger in different lifts. When the same lifts are done every year, the same lifters win every year. Changing the lifts every year will enhance the excitement of the outcome of this World Postal Championships!

There is no entry fee for this meet. Everything is done over email and the website, with practically no expenses incurred. Another problem with the prior World Postal Meet was the expense of sending everything through the postal service, and the money spent on medals and plaques for the winners. There was never enough income through entry fees to offset the expense of hosting it. Steve sends nice certificates to the winners via email, allowing the recipients to print them out if they wish at their own expense. This is a great opportunity to compete in a “World Meet” without ever leaving the confines of your own gym. Steve has done a great job putting this meet together, and has organized it in a way that should have continual success. One thing I want to point out is this is an IAWA competition – thus THREE OFFICIALS are required instead of one. These officials must be Certified USAWA Officials. The information page and the entry form for this meet are available on the Website Event Calendar. Steve has given plenty of notice on this meet – so put the dates on your calendar, organize your team, and get ready to TAKE ON THE WORLD!

Ledaig Heavy Athletics

by Dave Glasgow

Dave Glasgow and Larry Traub represented their new USAWA Club, the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, at the Grip Challenge last weekend.

Al wanted me to write a history of my club. I told him that the history of my club would be more like a readers digest version as I have just put the ‘club’ aspect of it together. I will try not to bore you all too much.

I started on the iron hi-way when I was in high school. While in college, I really got interested in weight training with my buddy and roommate, Larry Traub. We both got married and moved on, but both continued with the weights.

In 1976, I bought a set of York Olympic weights. (as a side note, this was the largest purchase my wife and i had made up until that time) Now friends, how many wives would have sit still for that kind of deal?? What a girl I have. She has always been supportive of my lifting and throwing endeavors. (thanks, Gunner!!) I set up shop in my great uncles basement and that was the start of the “club”. I have had NUMEROUS training partners over the years, none that stuck to it very long. The location for the weights have moved SEVERAL times and now resides at our farm, which, following a trip to Scotland, I named LEDAIG, which is Scottish Gaelic for “safe haven/harbor”. At the urging of my great friend and confidant, Thom Van Vleck, I just recently named my training facility the LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS. The ‘heavy athletics’ being due to the fact that I am HEAVILY involved in the highland games. (I lift to throw, not lift to lift.)

However, the one constant over these past 35 years has been the relationship with my ‘bestest friend’, Larry Traub. We would see each other about once a year and do our ‘obligatory’ yearly workout together. But, from the outset, it was clear that he was a much more accomplished lifter than I. Regardless, any time we got together, the majority of the conversation was about lifting. So, when I told him about the USAWA, he was immediately interested!

So, there it is!! We are a two man club! We live eleven hours away from each other, but because of the “brotherhood of the iron”, and the wonders of modern communication, we will compete together as we did as college kids decades before.


USAWA Club Challenge

by Al Myers

Multi-talented John McKean loves to fish when he's not lifting. He even wears weightlifting T-Shirts for good luck!

John McKean, of the Ambridge VFW BBC, has announced a new, exciting meet for this year – the USAWA Club Challenge. It will be held on March 13th, at the Ambridge Barbell Club. It seems very appropriate that one of the oldest USAWA Clubs (the Ambridge BBC have been a registered USAWA Club since 1993) is hosting this Club Challenge. In the recent years club membership in the USAWA has declined, but at one time club membership was the backbone of the USAWA. The early USAWA bylaws even had stipulations in them that changes in the USAWA would only happen by votes of the clubs, with each club having a voting representative at the National Meeting.

John McKean has always been a “major player” in the USAWA. His resume of involvement goes on and on. He has been a National Meet promoter, a USAWA Hall of Famer, multiple National and World Champion, distinguished writer of numerous articles promoting All-Round Weightlifting, and a foremost leader in the USAWA. Now, he is taking on the challenge of rejuvenating the Club Membership program in the USAWA. I feel club membership is the “secret” to stimulating growth in membership in the USAWA. One of the problems we face in attracting new members to our organization is the understanding of the multiple lifts. Potential new lifters look at all of our lifts with confusion. We have over 200 lifts to learn while Olympic Lifting has only two and Powerlifting has three. But by being part of a club, new lifters have the opportunity to learn from the experienced All-Rounders. A club environment gives new lifters confidence to give All-Round Lifting a try. This only starts by those “who have been around” being leaders, and inviting new potential lifters to be part of their group. I would like to see the day return where lifters are proud of their club, and when they compete they wear their club’s T-shirt with pride.

This meet will be a club challenge – with each club having three members compete together side by side with their total points being added up for a Team Score. This meet is not about individual scores, and individual rankings will not be recorded. Clubs that enter need to be registered with the USAWA, but at only $10 per year to register as a club, it is truly just a token membership fee. Clubs may register the day of the meet. There is no entry form or entry fee, but each club must contact John ahead of time to enter. The details of this can be found on the event calendar.

This is one of the most exciting new events that has happened in the USAWA in recent years. Let’s all join together and make this Club Challenge a great success so that it will continue for years to come – and THANKS to John McKean for making it happen!!!

Coney Island’s Iceberg Club Lives On!

by Thom Van Vleck

Yes, it was cold!!!!!

On February 13, 2010 I plunged into the icy waters of Thousand Hills Lake as part of the Polar Bear Plunge Charity Fundraiser. The Lake was iced over with 12” to 14” of ice and they had to clear it out with a backhoe just so we could swim. The temperature was in the 20’s and with all the ice and snow….I felt like a polar bear, only I didn’t have a nice, warm, fur coat!

The fundraiser was part of a school effort. A.T. Still University fielded a team and we raised over $4000, part of $25,000 raised overall for Special Olympics. A.T. Still is an Osteopathic Medicine school with a history of “whole person” health. The Polar Bear Plunge was fitting as it has a history not as some masochistic ritual, but for health benefits.

The event reminded me of Vic Boff and the Iceberg Athletic Club in New York City. I first heard of Vic from my grandfather and about their “Polar Bear Club”. I also read about Vic when I was a kid in the 60’s and 70’s when I perused my Uncle Wayne’s Ironman Magazine collection. I recall an article or two that mentioned Vic and the Iceberg Athletic club taking their winter dip in the ice cold Atlantic Ocean on the beaches of Coney Island. They would then lie around in the snow touting the health benefits of ice cold bathing.

You might think that there would only be one group that would take a winter plunge in icy waters. But you would be wrong. There were several in the New York area and their history is as murky as the cold Atlantic and often bitter feuds have come over beach turf and who’s been around the longest. There were major groups fighting over turf in the 90’s: the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the Arctic Ice Bears, the Arctic Icebreakers, and the Iceberg Athletic Club.

The slowpoke at the left is me.....I took my time!

Bernarr Macfadden was a physical culturist who started the ritual of “winter bathing” on Coney Island. Around 1903 Macfadden started the “Coney Island Polar Bear Club”. He believed that a swim in the ocean in winter had great health benefits. However, the club I remember most is the fabled Coney Island Iceberg Athletic Club. By most accounts it was organized in 1918. This was the one I remembered my grandfather talk of and perhaps its most famous member was Vic Boff. They are the only club that actually has a physical address. It is 3046 W. 22nd St. Brooklyn, New York, but a phone number I found is now disconnected. I have since found out they are no longer….or are they. I’m researching as you read this as they might still be hanging in there! I have contacted several people who are telling these wonderful, rich stories of a “sport”.

I am in the process of researching this interesting topic. There were numerous clubs I have found, some have been around nearly 100 years, such as the L Street Brownies in Boston. I hope to put a comprehensive story together on this topic. The fact is, it is a part of weightlifting and strongman lore. Now, I have taken the plunge and I feel a part of the legacy. I can say this; whether it is good for you or not, it will definitely wake you up!

2010 Grip Challenge

by Ben Edwards

The 2010 Dino Grip Challenge started on time, as Al mentioned already, and it ended 3 hours later – which is an unofficial record as far as I know for grip contests. Most that I have competed in have been anywhere from 5 hours to nearly 8! A shorter contest is much more competitor-friendly and allows more time to do after-contest feats and record attempts. And more time to drive back to wherever the competitors call home.

Before listing who the competitors were, I want to mention the competitors who had planned on competing, but couldn’t make it for various reasons. Kevin Fulton, Mary McConnaughey, Nick Zinna, and Josh Dale. You were all sorely missed!

I’m going to list some thoughts and observations on each competitor, starting with 1st place and working my way to 8th place. The placings were age-adjusted and also used the Lynch formula, as is standard in USAWA competitions. I like the age adjustment and use of the Lynch formula in competitions because it lets many different ages and weights compete against each other on what I believe is fair footing.

1st Place: Andrew Durniat is fast becoming a legend in the grip strength world. His accomplishments are too numerous for this meet report. Simply put, he is the 2009 Grip Champion and the US Kettlebell Champion.

He stayed the night before the contest with me and my wife, Carrie. I really enjoyed getting to chat with him and pick his brain on everything that I had planned on asking him – and a few other things that popped into my head as we spoke. He’s very friendly, has a quiet demeanor, is extremely humble and generous with his time and help, and he pays close attention to the relevant details of anything relating to strength.

I expected a mindblowing performance from Andrew and was definitely not disappointed! He won every event except for the Deadlift – Fingers, Little. He went on to pull 25lbs over my event-winning performance on an extra record attempt! His loss in that event was only due to inexperience with choosing his attempts on a lift that he had never even attempted before the contest.

With all due respect to my fellow competitors, it quickly became apparent to me that this contest was really a case of who was going to be 2nd after Andrew! He won $100 cash for his 1st place finish!

Andrew did so many record-breaking lifts that it’s hard to pick the one that most impressed me. One that really strikes me as unbelievably strong is his 308lb Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm! That lift was 33lbs over the previous all-time record that Al Myers and I co-owned. Andrew also pulled it to full lockout – in front of his body, which I always found to be harder than straddle style – and then paused it with plenty of strength to spare. Phenomenal lift!

Andrew is an incredible addition to the USAWA membership pool. He brings a passion for strength sports and a vast in-the-trenches knowledge of many training methodologies from his personal training experience. He also generously gave out some of his great personalized shirts after the meet. I love collecting shirts from contests and from strength friends, so thanks Andrew!

2nd Place: Larry Traub was an unknown to me. He turned out to be a “sleeper” in this competition. Someone who most competitors probably wouldn’t have predicted would get 2nd place since it was his first grip contest. It definitely wasn’t Larry’s first strength competition though! He is an elite powerlifter with terrific deadlifting strength. Larry put that hard-earned horsepower to work and plowed through some heavy lifts. Along the way he set many age-group and weight class records. Larry is in very good shape and Al can attest to the fact that I had no idea Larry was 56 years old. I was very surprised since I thought he was somewhere around 48-50 years old.

He was a joy to talk to and a quick learner on the grip lifts! His homemade wine that he generously set out as an after-contest refreshment was well received. I liked the picture of Larry and his wife on the label too. Larry won $50 cash for his 2nd place finish!

Larry’s 203lb Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm was really an exceptional lift! His bodyweight was only 2lbs more than that. And it was his first time doing the lift! He has an incredible future in USAWA competitions.

3rd Place: I won 3rd place after age and bodyweight adjustments were calculated. My performances consistently netted me 2nd place in each event, sometimes tied with others, and one 1st place. My Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm performance really let me down, but I was very pleased to pull 175lbs on the Deadlift – Fingers, Little. An attempt at 200lbs on that lift left me with a sore tendon for my effort. I forfeited the $50 cash prize to the 4th place finisher.

I enjoyed showing a few competitors with no experience with the Deadlift – Fingers, Little how to efficiently set their fingers on the bar and what to do with their other fingers and wrist position to maximize their poundage. I think I was the only one there that had consistently trained that lift. I needed all the experience I could get because Andrew and Chad pushed me all the way to the 3rd attempt.

4th Place: Chad Ullom is a great all-round lifter and Highland Games competitor who I’ve competed with before this contest. His hand strength on the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2,” was much higher than he anticipated. And that’s an understatement! I heard him say that he might open with 120lbs. I told him that I estimated he would pull around the 200lb mark. He surprised himself by lifting an outstanding 212lbs on an extra record attempt! Someone coined the nickname, “Chad – I Don’t Train Grip – Ullom,” since Chad remarked during the first part of the contest that he doesn’t train grip. I think it rolls off the tongue nicely!

Chad is always very entertaining and quick to share tips or knowledge on any lift that he’s familiar with.

5th Place: LaVerne Myers is Al Myers’s dad. LaVerne (and Rudy!) has a great sense of humor and endured my wife’s comical remarks and catcalls throughout the 3 hours of competition. He has big, strong “farm hands.” I used to work for some farmers and they all had the same type of powerful hands that LaVerne has.

He had some really solid lifts but I was most impressed by his fantastic 6lb Weaver Stick – Forward! That performance (although LaVerne’s was an extra record attempt) tied Andrew’s event-winning performance!

6th Place: Dave Glasow performed very well and seemed to enjoy the grip lifts even though he had little experience with them. His 209lb Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm was the 3rd highest (tied with Chad) of the contest! I wish I had more time to talk to Dave and Larry about lifting in general. They are both very knowledgeable and have a knack for picking up very quickly on any new lifts.

7th Place: Rudy Bletscher is incredibly nice and my wife had a great time teasing and harassing him throughout the contest. We both enjoy talking to Rudy and have seen him at several contests since 2005.

He always seems to perform better than he thinks he will. I enjoyed seeing him do some lifts that he didn’t think he was going to get initially. In particular, the Deadlift – Fingers, Little was one that he really had to grit through the discomfort to pull the solid 70lbs that he worked up to! He originally thought that the 44lb bar would be his max on this lift. He added quite a bit to that original estimate. During everyone’s attempts he good-naturedly teased me and asked why I picked this lift to be in the contest. I jokingly replied that it was because I hated everyone! I think some of the guys probably thought that was true, but of course it wasn’t. I just thought it would be a good test of pain tolerance and grip at the same time.

8th Place: Jason Payne is a friend of mine who is a very strong armwrestler. He hasn’t trained grip specifically for a long time and has lost a lot of weight, but gained a lot of fitness in the process. He’s always bull-strong regardless of how much he weighs. He was inexperienced with a few of the lifts, but quickly figured them out and dialed his form in for the next attempts.

His 176lb Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm was very impressive since it was a lift he had never done before. It takes great balance and a strong grip to get that bar to come up evenly and then hold it at the top before the bar peels the fingers back and races back to the platform.

Jason really shined in the after-contest feats demonstration and record breaking session. He really excels at kettlebell feats and it was entertaining to watch him do flips and other exercises that required great control, strength, timing, and dexterity.

Dino Gym Record Day

Records Fall at Dino Record Day

by Al Myers

Dino Gym Record Day Participants Front left to right: Chad Ullom, Molly Myers, Al Myers Back left to right: Dave Glasgow, Darren Barnhart

This past weekend was the weekend for the Dino Gym’s double header – the Grip Challenge on Saturday and the Record Day on Sunday. Five lifters made it to the Record Day yesterday – two of which competed the day before, Dave Glasgow and Chad Ullom. The youngest lifter to compete was my youngest daughter Molly. She picked a diverse group of lifts to set records in – from dumbbell lifts to squats and deadlifts. Her highlight was pulling a 185# Trap Bar Deadlift. Chad Ullom came with his eyes set on upping his One Arm Deadlift Records. He accomplished his goals – 413 pounds with the left and 419 pounds with the right. Darren Barnhart did some great One Arm Dumbbell Deadlifts and also put up the highest mark of ALL-TIME in the Rectangular Fix at 132 pounds. He had more in him! Darren and I went head to head in the Dumbbell Walk – with him edging me out 100 pounds to 95 pounds. Both of our marks exceeded the previous Dino Gym Record. My highlight was finally getting an official Roman Chair Benchpress of 200 pounds. Dave Glasgow made it to his first record day – and did he go to work! He first demonstrated his great flexibility by doing a DEEP Overhead Squat of 160 pounds. He mixed in some overhead lifting with One Arm Clean and Jerks and One Arm Snatches. Dave is willing to try any lift in the USAWA. He picks up on the lifts very quickly. His years of throwing in the Highland Games obviously help him tremendously – as Dave is very athletic for a 50 year old. As Dave often says, “I lift to throw, not throw to lift.”

Overall, this has been a great weekend of competitions. I want to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to lift this weekend at the Dino Gym.


Dino Gym Record Day

Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

February 14th, 2010

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (3 officials used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom, and Darren Barnhart


Molly Myers (Female, 11 years old, 130 pounds bodyweight)

Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm 30#

Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm 30#

Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm 30#

Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm 30#

Squat – 12″ Base 100#

Deadlift – Trap Bar 185#

Chad Ullom (38 years old, 240 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Left Arm 413#

Deadlift – Right Arm 419#

Miller Clean and Jerk 121#

Scott Lift 254#

Rectangular Fix 100#

Good Morning 230#

Gardner – Full 100#

Darren Barnhart (42 years old, 295 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm 305#

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm 305#

Dumbbell Walk 100#

Rectangular Fix 132#

Al Myers (43 years old, 253 pounds bodyweight)

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm 175#

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm 165#

Dumbbell Walk 95#

Scott Lift 254#

Rectangular Fix 100#

Bench Press – Roman Chair 200#

Dave Glasgow (56 years old, 251 pounds bodyweight

Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm 198#

Squat – Overhead 160#

Squat – Front 265#

Steinborn Squat 242#

Clean and Push Press 176#

Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar 198#

Scott Lift 154#

Maxey Press 170#

Push Press – From Rack 210#

Good Morning 135#

Clean and Jerk – Left Arm 100#

Snatch – Left Arm 100#

Dave Brown

by Al Myers

Dave Brown becomes ONLY the fourth person to ever pick up the Dino Gym's Inch Dumbbell Replica.

This past week the Dino Gym had a surprise visitor for our Tuesday night workout. It was my old friend Dave Brown, who was on vacation and decided to “stop by” and pay me a visit. He picked a good day – because Tuesday is our BIG NIGHT in the gym. This a big DEAL for the Dino Gym – having a STRENGTH CELEBRITY join us for a workout. It has been a few years since I have seen Dave – but he is still as big and strong as he used to be. Dave stands 6′3″ and weighs a little over 350 pounds – but carries his weight very well. His build reminds me of Paul Anderson when Paul was in his younger days. Dave has been a top level professional Highland Game athlete for 15 years. Before this, he was a record setting amateur athlete with the 28# and 56# weights for distance. Dave now resides in Redding, California and works as an engineer for a timber company. He is married to Shauna, and they have two children, a son Taylor (10 years old) and a daughter Arabella (2 years old).

Dave currently holds the WORLD RECORD in the 56# weight for height with a toss of 20′1″, which he set in 2006. I remember when I started throwing in the Highland Games (over 20 years ago) and athletes would “talk about 20 feet” in the WOB with anticipation that maybe someday someone would top that mark. Much like Olympic Lifters talking about a 600 pound Clean and Jerk. It seemed like an impossibility at the time, but the hope was always there that a SUPERMAN would come along and make the impossible happen. Well, that SUPERMAN is Dave Brown. Yet, Dave is as modest as they come. I have known him for close to 20 years and he is the same guy now as when he first started throwing. I remember many years ago when Dave was a 19 year old kid living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was just starting in the games. Dan DeWelt commissioned me to “come down to Tulsa” to put on a Highland Games Clinic for new throwers, as I was the only Highland Games Pro around in the Midwest in those days. That was the first time I met Dave, and when we got to the weight over bar and he was matching me throw for throw – I knew he was going to be something special someday in the Highland Games. For a couple of years Dave would drive to my place so we could train together. He started going to more games. It wasn’t long before Dave turned professional and we were seeing and competing with each other several weekends a summer. And then it wasn’t long before Dave was far surpassing ALL of my throwing distances!!

I introduced Dave to an All-Round lift I knew he would excel with - the One Arm Barbell Snatch. In his first workout ever he snatched an unbelievable 170 pounds!!

Dave is a “student of the game”, and when mixed with his amazing genetic ability and work ethic, has accomplished things that others just dream of. I really believe if Dave had decided on focusing on another sport besides the

Dave has tremendous squatting ability. Here he breaks a Dino Gym record in the Zercher Harness Squat to a 15" box with a lift of 515 pounds.

Highland Games he would have been just as successful. In 1998, he tried Strongman Competition and with minimal implement training won the NAS Heavyweight Championships! And this was against seasoned Strongmen. I wonder what his Strongman career could have been if THAT was his focus? Dave also has a WORLD CLASS grip without working on it much. Many years ago at a Pro Highland Games in Arlington, Texas I will never forget him closing the #3 COC grippers with ease. This was in the days when that was a BIG DEAL! Carl Braun brought along a #3 gripper to “Challenge” Dave over our noon lunch break. I don’t even know if Dave had ever seen one before – but while he was sitting there with a sandwich in one hand and the gripper in the other he SMASHED it shut! Then he switched hands with the sandwich and #3 gripper – and did it again with his other hand! I’ll never forget how nonchalantly he did this! It just wasn’t that big of deal to him at the time. World renowned Strength Historian Dale Harder has been measuring athletes grips with a Baseline Dynamometer to get a very accurate reading of gripping strength. He has done this for over ten years now and has tested 1000’s of athletes. To date, Dave has the HIGHEST Dynamometer reading of ALL-TIME with a squeeze of 122 kilograms. Now THAT’S a firm handshake! It’s a shame Dave never gave football a try. With his size and agility I’m sure he would have had a lucrative pro career as an Offensive Guard in the NFL.

I only wish Dave would have planned his vacation so he could have made it to today’s Dino Grip Challenge. He would have been a MAJOR FORCE in the gifted lineup of grip-masters that are entered in this meet. Hopefully, the USAWA will see more of Dave Brown in the future.

Dino Gym Grip Challenge

by Al Myers

Group Picture of the athletes at the Grip Challenge Front Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Larry Traub, Ben Edwards, Jason Payne Back Left to Right: LaVerne Myers, Dave Glasgow, Andrew Durniat, Rudy Bletscher

I knew this meet had the potential of being a major “grip showdown” – but the record lifts that were done even exceeded my predictions. Andrew Durniat, of Wooster, Ohio made his comeback to the USAWA and lived up to the hype by not only winning every event but setting ALL-TIME USAWA records in 4 of the 5 events. Andrew has competed once before in the USAWA, at the 2008 USAWA National Championships in Columbus, Ohio. It was at that meet that his great gripping ability became known. In the One Arm Deadlift, he did 440 pounds with his left and 429 pounds with his right to set overall weight class records! Andrew is the 2009 US Grip Champion and by his performance today, he left no doubters as to why he is the best! A quick run-down of his highlights today – first he did 250 pounds in the one handed 2″ Vertical Bar Deadlift, followed by 308 pounds in the One Armed No Thumbs Deadlift. If this wasn’t enough he broke the UNTOUCHABLE record in the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift of 344 pounds held by Matt Graham, by lifting TWO Inch Dumbbells weighing 180 pounds apiece, for a total weight of 360 pounds. Next up was taking out Kevin Fulton’s ALL-TIME record in the Little Fingers Deadlift by becoming the first USAWA lifter to lift 200 pounds. Andy has been invited to lift in a major grip competition next month held at the Arnold Classic. In this competition he will be going up against TEN of the best grip men in the World.

Meet Director Ben Edwards Awards Andrew Durniat his Cash Prize

Pulling in a surprising second place was USAWA newcomer Larry Traub of Georgetown, Indiana. Larry is a member of the newest club in the USAWA, the Ledaig Heavy Athletics. Larry has had a story book career as a drug free powerlifter, and has won several National Championships. Larry is 56 years old, but doesn’t look much over 40. I’m hoping that he has caught the “All-Round Bug” and we will see more of him again in the future. Larry is a fabulous deadlifter, and I can only imagine how great he would do in a more traditional All-Round meet.

Third place was held down by the Meet Director Ben Edwards. Ben put in solid lifts in every event. On top of this, he ran one of the most organized All-Round meets that I have seen. From start to finish the meet was done in three hours, and it started ON TIME. Ben gave back all of the entry fee money and then some in prize money. First place received $100, second place $50, and third place $50. Being the great guy Ben is – he forfeited his winnings and passed them along to the fourth place finisher Chad Ullom. Chad had a great meet. He left two BIG extra attempt records off the scorecard – 212 lbs. in the VB and 165 lbs. in the Little Finger Deadlift. These two lifts would have given him 60 more pounds on his total. Fifth place overall went to my father, LaVerne Myers, in his very first weightlifting meet. In the last event, he tied Andy for the best lift of the day in Weaver Stick with a lift of 6 pounds. Dave Glasgow made it to his second All-Round Meet in less than 30 days, and was very consistent in all the lifts. Rudy Bletscher was the oldest competitor in the meet, but pushed hard on all the events. I was glad to see Jason Payne make it to another All-Round meet. Jason saved his BEST performances for after the meet. He did some HUGE hub lifting and block pinching after the meet was over. He even demonstrated his kettlebell routine that involves “tossing” a 70 pound kettlebell and catching it over and over.

This was a great competition. It is exciting to see new faces in the All-Rounds. I want to thank Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully who helped me judge. By the success of today’s meet, I’m sure Ben will want to host this meet again next year.


Dino Gym Grip Challenge
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
February 13th, 2010

Meet Director:  Ben Edwards

Officials (3 official system used): Al Myers, Mark Mitchell, Scott Tully

Loaders:  Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell

Lifts:  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar,  2,” 1 hand; Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm; Deadlift – 2 “Inch” Dumbbells; Deadlift – Fingers, Little; Weaver Stick – Forward


Lifter BWT Age 2″VB DL-NT Inch DL
DL-LF Weaver Total Points Adj Pts
Andrew Durniat
225 31 250 R
308 L
360 165 6 R
1089 912.36 912.36
Larry Traub
205 56 187 R
203 R
230 110 4 R
734 646.87 756.84
Ben Edwards
220 34 230 L
220 R
240 175 5 R
870 737.85 737.85
Chad Ullom
235 38 182 R
209 R
240 135 4 R
770 630.71 630.71
LaVerne Myers
244 65 177 L
176 R
180 80 5 R
618 496.43 625.51
Dave Glasgow
252 56 157 R
209 R
200 70 5 R
641 506.65 592.78
Rudy Bletscher
222 74 112 R
154 R
140 70 2 R
478 403.43 544.63
Jason Payne
252 44 182 R
176 R
200 60 3 R
621 490.84 515.38

BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are bodyweight adjusted Lynch Points.  Adj Pts are adjusted points for age correction.

Extra Attempts for records:

Chad Ullom  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, one hand:  212 lbs. R
Chad Ullom  Deadlift – Fingers, Little: 165 lbs.
Andrew Durniat  Deadlift – Fingers, Little: 200 lbs.
LaVerne Myers   Weaver Stick – Forward: 6 lbs. L

The Weaver Stick

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards training the Weaver Stick.

I saved the most interesting lift for this last story covering the lifts that are in this weekend’s upcoming Dino Gym Grip Challenge.  The Weaver Stick is one of the most perplexing and misunderstood lifts in the USAWA lineup of lifts.   Bill Clark once told me that “judging the Weaver Stick is more subjective than judging depth in a squat.”  I definitely agree!  I will be the Official Judge in this competition, and I will make sure that everything is done right and all competitors will be judged equally and fair.  The most subjective part of judging the Weaver Stick is making sure that the lifting arm remains straight at the side with elbow locked.  With just a little bend at the elbow, other muscles can be pulled in to play, and much more weight can be lifted. The Weaver Stick is a leverage lift that tests the ligament and tendon strength of the wrist, primarily above the thumb.  It is surprising how little weight can be supported this way.  John Grimek many years ago set the World Record in the Weaver Stick at 11 3/4 pounds.

The Weaver Stick is named after George Weaver of Brooklyn, who popularized it in the early 1940’s. However he didn’t really invent it.  Many years before this Paul Von Boeckmann of New York City found that he had a “special knack” for this type of lifting and had a early version of the Weaver Stick made out of a broom handle.  He won several bets with his ability to lift it with weight attached by a rope on the end of it.  George Weaver based the measurements of the Weaver Stick from Von Boeckmann’s broom handle, and the regulation Weaver Stick length of 36 inches was born. By the way, Paul Von Boeckmann was VERY GOOD with the Weaver Stick and is credited with a forward lift of 11 1/2 pounds. When he was over 60 years of age he could still do 9 1/2 pounds!!  The Weaver Stick has also been contested backwards – meaning you face away from the Weaver Stick.  Slightly more weight can be lifted this way.  However, at this meet you must perform the Weaver Stick in the forward manner.  I would say a great lift is anything over 6 pounds, with most lifters capable of between 4 and 6 pounds if done correctly.  Occasionally in the gym we have pulled out the Weaver Stick to “play around” at the end of workouts.  I am always surprised by what guys lift. You can never predict.  I don’t think there is any correlation between overall body strength and ability with the Weaver Stick.  It is a humbling feeling to fail with 5 pounds when you can deadlift over 500 pounds.  The great Warren Lincoln Travis is said to have been only able to do 4 1/4 pounds with the Weaver Stick.  The top lift ever done with the Weaver Stick in the USAWA is 7 pounds.  This was accomplished by two lifters – Tom Ryan and Mark Mitchell.

The Rules for the Weaver Stick

“A Weaver Stick is used for this lift. The Weaver Stick utilizes a wooden broomstick with these dimensions. The handle is 5 ½ inches in length. The junction of the handle and the rest of the Weaver Stick may be marked with tape, or with any material that is raised to provide a distinct separation between the handle and the rest of the stick. This marking is ½ inch in length. At a point exactly 36 inches from the end of the marking, or 42 inches from the end of the handle, a notch is made in the stick to allow a cord to be attached to it. This cord may be of any length.  Weight is tied onto the end of the cord. The Weaver Stick must rest on a flat lifting surface with the weight hanging free. The lift will begin at the lifter’s discretion. The lifter will take a position alongside the Weaver Stick, and grip the handle of the Weaver Stick by one hand, facing the length of the stick. The lifting hand and arm must remain straight with elbow fully locked, and must not be in contact with the body during the lift. The lifting arm must remain at the lifter’s side throughout the lift. The heel of the hand must remain on top of the Weaver Stick. If the hand twists under the stick during the lift, it is a disqualification. The non-lifting hand must not touch the lifting arm, lifting hand, or Weaver Stick during the lift. The lifter’s body must be upright with legs straight at the completion of the lift, but the legs may bend when picking up the stick. The Weaver Stick must be lifted entirely clear from the lifting surface while maintaining the stick parallel to the floor. If the end of the stick containing the weight dips to any degree, it is a disqualification. If the lifting hand moves to a position in front of the handle marking during the lift, it is a disqualification. Once the Weaver Stick is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift. Records are also kept for the Weaver Stick with the lifter facing backwards, away from the length of the stick.”

The Deadlift – Fingers, Little

by Al Myers

I pulled 155# in the Little Fingers Deadlift at the last Goerner Meet. Notice I have my eyes shut as I'm focusing on "pleasant things".

You can’t have a USAWA grip competition without at least one finger lift in it!   The USAWA has two types of finger lifting events. One type is using individual fingers of one hand, and by use of a ring attached to a loader, lift the weight from the platform utilizing just ONE FINGER.  The second type, which is type being contested in this competition, is using the same finger of each hand and deadlifting a bar from the platform. TWO FINGERS are used in this lift.  Ben picked the most sensitive fingers of the hand, the little fingers, to be contested in the Dino Grip Challenge.  The rules for this lift are very straightforward.

Rule for the Deadlift – Fingers, Little

“The rules of the Deadlift apply except only the little fingers of both hands may be used. The little fingers of both hands may grip the bar in an alternate manner.”
I wish I had some compelling advice on this lift – but I don’t.  It will hurt and you will probably tear flesh or injure a flexor tendon.  This lift requires MIND over BODY – and it is best to just “block out” the excruciating pain of the lift by focusing on “pleasant things”.  The Little Fingers Deadlift  hurts more than ALL of the other finger lifts.  I have theorized it is because all of the weight is focused on such a small area. It hurts like hitting your finger with a hammer, but the pain lasts longer.   Last year on the Discussion Forum it was voted as one of the most painful lifts in the USAWA.  But All-Round Weightlifting is NOT for sissies – so come to the Dino Grip Challenge and take on the Little Fingers Deadlift!!

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, 1 hand

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards doing a 235 pound Vertical Bar Deadlift - 1 Bar, 2", One Hand. This is the top All-Time record in the USAWA.

This lift was introduced to the USAWA several years ago by John McKean of the Ambridge Barbell Club.  Initially it was performed with a 2″ Vertical Bar in each hand, with the lifter completing the lift by standing up with the weight like a normal deadlift.  The first recorded meet this lift was done in was 1998, at Art’s Birthday Bash.  John McKean first introduced it as a One Hand Lift in 2003 at the Jump Stretch Record Day. Since then the popularity of the 2″ One Handed VB Lift has grown. The first big meet it was held in was the 2004 National Championships, in Youngstown, Ohio.  The Vertical Bar has a length limit of 18 inches.  The reason this became the USAWA standard length was because the original VB was the sleeve off of an Olympic Bar, measuring just under 18 inches.  The USAWA rules on Vertical Bar lifting are quite different than other grip competitions. The big thing to remember is the bar must become completely motionless at the completion of the lift, including any rotation.  Another USAWA rule I want to clarify is that in any One Handed lift the same hand must be used throughout all of your attempts. You can’t save “thy strong hand” for “thy hard lift”.

Rules for the Vertical Bar Deadlift

H18.  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1”, One Hand

The setup for this lift requires a Vertical Bar, which is a bar of one inch diameter with a maximum length of 18 inches. A collar or plate must be tightly fastened or welded to the bottom so plates may be added to the bar.  No knurling is allowed on the bar. The lifter may straddle the weight or have it placed to the lifter’s side. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar.  The forearm is not allowed to touch the bar. The lifting hand must not touch the body during the lift, but the weight may accidentally touch the legs provided it does not aid in the lift. The non-lifting hand may be braced on the leg or body during the lift, but must be free from the body at the completion of the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The body must then straighten, lifting the Vertical Bar from the

platform. The legs must be straight and knees locked at the completion of the lift, but the shoulders and body do not need to be erect. The lifting hand must be above the level of mid-thighs at the completion of the lift. Any rotation of the bar must be completely stopped. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

H19.  Vertical Bar Deadlift -1 Bar, 2”, One Hand

The rules of the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1Bar, 1”, One Hand apply except a two inch diameter Vertical Bar is used.

The Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells

by Al Myers

Matt Graham performing a deadlift with an Inch Dumbbell Replica in EACH HAND at the 2005 Dino Gym Challenge. Will this be matched at the Grip Challenge this coming weekend?

The name of this lift is slightly misleading.  At first glance, one might think that “2 Inch” refers  to one dumbbell with a 2″ diameter handle.  But what it really refers to is TWO dumbbells that have handle diameters the same as the famous Thomas Inch Dumbbell. This lift was introduced to the USAWA at the 2005 Dino Gym Challenge.  Several years ago IronMind Enterprises sold an Inch Dumbbell Replica. This replica dumbbell had a handle diameter of 2.47″ and weighed 172 pounds, with spherical iron heads.  The handle is smooth (no knurling).   Anyone who can pick up the Inch Dumbbell with only one hand has WORLD CLASS grip.  The Dino Gym has one of these replicas, so come prepared to “Give it a Try”.  I will have the camera ready if anyone actually gets it picked up.

The Rules for the Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells

“The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2 1/2” in diameter. No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The plates must be firmly attached by collars so no rotation of the plates will occur during the lift. The maximum diameter of the plates used is 11 inches.”

The Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards, the Dino Grip Challenge Meet Director, set the All-Time Record in the Deadlift - No Thumb, One Arm with a lift of 275 pounds at Clark's Gym Record Day last November.

This week I’m going to run stories describing the lifts that will be in this coming weekend’s Dino Grip Challenge.  Like I said earlier, the USAWA has several lifts that are grip oriented, but not necessary traditional grip events that are held in other grip competitions. All of the events in the Dino Grip Challenge are official USAWA events.  Ben Edwards has picked a good variety of lifts.  The competition will be scored according to USAWA format.  This means that the weight lifted in each event will be added up for total weight lifted, and then adjusted for bodyweight using the Lynch Formula followed by age adjustment.  Age adjustment starts at the age of 40, with 1% being added per year.  There are two divisions in this competition in which awards will be given – under 200 pounds bodyweight and over 200 pounds bodyweight.

Rules for the Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm

“The rules of the Deadlift – One Arm apply except that the thumb of the lifting hand must not be covering the bar. The thumb may lie alongside and touch the index finger and bar under the bar or be held in the air not touching the bar.  The thumb must not be touching the top of the bar.”

The bar must be raised to a point where both ends of the bar are above knee level, and then held motionless until the lifter receives the down command.  This lift tests the strength of the fingers’ flexor tendons and the ability to hold the fingers in a “locked” position on the bar.  My advice on this lift is to pick your attempts wisely, because this lift goes from being easy to missing the lift by sometimes as little as a 5 pound jump.

History of Past USAWA Officers

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz at the 2009 Heavy Event Nationals

Thanks to the work of the unofficial USAWA Historian Dale Friesz, the website now contains the history of the past officers of the USAWA. Dale has been a very active lifter since the beginning of the USAWA, and has been an integral part of past USAWA National Meetings. Dale deserves a pat on the back from the USAWA for taking time during his vacation to get this project finished. Thanks Dale! Below is the listing of the Past USAWA Officers since the origin of the USAWA in 1987, courtesy of Dale Friesz.

Effective January 1st, 2010 (elected 6/20/2009)

PRESIDENT: Denny Habacker, PA




Effective July 7th, 2007 (elected 7/7/2007)

PRESIDENT: Denny Habecker, PA




Effective January 1st, 1993 (elected 11/27/1992)

PRESIDENT: Howard Prechtel, OH


Frank Ciavattone, MA

Art Montini, PA



Effective January 1st, 1989 (elected 1/22/1989)

PRESIDENT: John Vernacchio, PA




Effective January 1st, 1987 (appointed 11/29/1986)



Ben Edwards – Meet Director of the Dino Grip Challenge

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards, of the Dino Gym, FINALLY closes the Dino Gym's OLD #3 COC Gripper. This was one of the very early COC grippers and noticeably much harder than other #3 Grippers. Ben was certified as closing the #3 COC gripper in May of 2005, and has been working on closing this #3 gripper since. He held the handles together for several seconds. He is only the third person to ever close this gripper - and many have tried. Congratulations Ben!!

When Ben Edwards asked me several months ago if he could sanction a USAWA Grip Meet at the gym, I didn’t hesitate in answering YES.  It has been a few years since the USAWA has had a grip  competition on the schedule – with the last one  being the Supergrip Challenge hosted by Kevin Fulton 5 years ago.  The USAWA is loaded with grip events, several of which never get contested in competition.  I really feel the beauty of the USAWA is with the great diversity of lifts – and ANY lifter should be able to find a niche. Meets like this exposes new lifters to the USAWA who might not have otherwise.

Ben has picked a good lineup of lifts – from the Weaver Stick to the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift.  From what I have heard, this meet may have a GREAT turnout.  Ben is still taking entries so get your entry sent in to him!   Over the next week I will be running stories on the lifts that will be contested at the Grip Challenge.

Guinness Record Set by Steve Schmidt

by Al Myers

Last weekend at the Zercher Meet in Columbia, Missouri, Teeth Lifting Superstar Steve Schmidt found ANOTHER Teeth Lifting record to break.  This one was a Guinness World Record for repetition Teeth Lifting.  Steve did 50 reps with 100 kilograms (220 pounds) in one minute. His record performance was judged by Bill Clark.  The previous record was 24 reps, set on August 22nd, 2005 by Georges Christen of Benodet, France. Every repetition was lifted a minimum of six inches, which was confirmed by the weight touching a rope positioned at this height.

Steve holds all the best Teeth Lifting records in the USAWA – both with his hands supported on his legs and with his hands behind his back.  He uses a leather bit attached to a chain that attaches to the weights.  Steve also has pulled heavy trucks and trains with his teeth.  Bill Clark wrote a column about Steve’s amazing record yesterday in the Columbia Tribune.  Bill summarized this event way better than I can – so Click Here to read it.

Below are links to a couple of other newspaper articles covering this momentous occasion. And by the way Steve, the USAWA is very proud of you!

KOMU Article Columbia Tribune

Bill and Dolores Clark Awarded the Columbia Value Diversity Award

by Al Myers

Bill Clark

Recently, Bill and Dolores Clark were awarded by the city of Columbia the Columbia Values Diversity Award.  This is a great honor for Bill and Dolores, and a well earned award.  In a recent column in the Columbia Daily Tribune by Janese Heavin, in which she writes about this prestigious award she said, “Bill Clark doesn’t necessarily set out to promote diversity when he writes his columns for the Tribune.  No, Ol’ Clark just tells it like it is, even if that ruffles some feathers.” Her column can be read here. Mayor Darwin Hindman used Bill’s own words from his acceptance of the Peacemaker Award in 2004 to make the Values Diversity Award, “I have long followed the personal philosophy that conflict resolution must begin with communication. Once communication is achieved, only then can there be understanding. With understanding comes compromise and peaceful resolution. It works in sports officiating, in politics, in government, in business, in marriage, and in life.”

If there was a Values Diversity Award for weightlifting, Bill would be the first one to receive it. Bill broke the gender barrier when he first introduced women’s weightlifting.  This was at a time when weightlifting was a MAN’S sport and the public opinion was that women shouldn’t be lifting weights. Bill was also very integral in bringing Masters weightlifting to the forefront. He promoted some of the first Master’s Weightlifting Meets at a time when most lifters thought the old guys should just give it up, as weightlifting should only be for the young, strong lifters.  Bill Clark went against the grain, and in return, has given thousands of athletes lifting opportunities they might not have had.  Bill Clark has always been ahead of the pack as a humanitarian, and is greatly deserving of this award.

Bill’s Columbia Daily Tribune Column in recognition of this award

Date For Nationals

by Al Myers

2010 National Meet Director Denny Habecker

Our USAWA President and this year’s National Meet Director Denny Habecker has announced plans for this year’s Championships.  Denny has planned a two day National Championship, like it used to be several years ago, on June 26th and June 27th, 2010.  It will be held in Lebanon, PA  at the same venue site as this past year’s World Championship. This is an outstanding venue site that has plenty of room for lifting and warming up.   Denny continues to be the driving force in the USAWA, as this is his THIRD National Championships he has promoted since 2000.  He has picked a GREAT selection of lifts for this meet, with a little something for everyone.

Remembering Chuck Ahrens

by Al Myers

The most famous picture of Chuck Ahrens, from "The Super Athletes" by David Willoughby. In this picture Chuck Ahrens is muscling out a 75 pound girl on one arm at Muscle Beach, California, on August 1957.

Word has come to me that the great Muscle Beach legend Chuck Ahrens has passed away earlier this month. This was reported on the IronMind Website by David Shaw. I have not been able to find an obituary, and don’t even know what day he died on. But I want today’s story to be about REMEMBERING Chuck Ahrens and what he has done to promote weightlifting. During the late 1950’s Chuck was a mainstay on Muscle Beach, and created a mysterious legend of super strength without ever competing in a competition. He was a huge man – with very wide shoulders measuring 26 5/8″ across. Some people said he had a bigger upper body than Paul Anderson. He often wore long sleeve shirts and long pants when working out and very RARELY ever displayed his huge 20 inch plus arms. He didn’t like his picture to be taken. Chuck didn’t train much on legs, and spent most of his time training his arms, shoulders and chest. In researching this piece on his lifting accomplishments – I found so many differing reports about what he lifted that it is hard for me to report anything with accuracy. So instead, I am going to list some of these “reports” that you may take any way you want:

- Triceps Press with 345 pounds

- Crucifix with pair of 150# Dumbbells

- One arm dumbbell press with 320#

- Bench Press 400# for 28 reps

- Clean and Press pair of 205# Dumbbells

Chuck Ahrens left the muscle scene by the early 1960’s. It has been reported that he hurt his shoulder and discontinued weight training after that injury. Not much has been reported on him since. But he did something very few others did – he created a legacy with his strength feats that other lifters would talk about and debate in their gyms for years to come. Thom Van Vleck told me that he remembers his Uncles discussing Chuck’s lifts in the early JWC Club – both skeptical and in awe of him. Chuck Ahrens inspired many lifters to “take on the impossible” and get stronger. As Thom said, “Ahrens was probably the most famous lifter that never actually lifted in a meet.” From what I have read about Chuck Ahrens, it is obvious to me that he was a very humble and private man and most of his “lifting stories” were propagated by others, who had the privilege first hand of getting to see him lift amazing poundages. Chuck Ahrens will go down in history as a HERO in the weightlifting world and stories of him, hopefully, will continue to be told.