Articles from July 2010

Improvements to the USAWA Officials Program

by Al Myers

Level 2 USAWA Certified Official Frank Ciavattone officiating at the 2010 USAWA National Championships.

One of the big changes this past year in the USAWA was the development of an Officials Program.  This started at the 2009 Annual Meeting with the approval of the new improved Rulebook that outlined the new Officials Program, and by electing Joe Garcia as the Officials Director for the USAWA.  Improvements were made to the Officials Program at the 2010 Annual Meeting last month.  I am going to describe and explain the USAWA Officials Program so everyone will be more knowledgeable of it.  Everything I say here is outlined in the Rulebook or on the website.

The USAWA has two levels of Certified Officials – Level 1 and Level 2.  Level 1 has been split into two subdivisions – Level 1 Test Qualified and Level 1 Experience Qualified. The Rulebook (Section VII. 9) explains these two levels as follows:

There will be two levels of classification for Certified USAWA officials.

• Level 1 Test Qualified – The official has passed the USAWA Rules Test.

• Level 1 Experience Qualified – The official 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.

I want to emphasize that ALL OFFICIALS (Level 1 and Level 2) have the same authority as a Certified USAWA Official.  Nothing in the Rulebook says different.  It is simply a classification that details HOW one became certified.  These classifications are recorded for each official in the “Officials” section of the website and are kept up to date at all times.  To become a Certified Official (if you are not Experience Qualified) requires taking and passing an Open Book Exam of the USAWA Rulebook.  It must be sent to the Officials Director Joe Garcia for grading.  You must score over 90% correct answers to pass.  Once you pass, Joe informs me to list you on the website as a current official. All of this is detailed in the “Officials” section and the Rules Test is available in several different formats, so hopefully, one will work for you to  download.

One of the big changes to the Officials Programs is adding time limits to the Official Cards.  The membership agreed to a 3-year Officials Card before re-certification is required. The new Rulebook (available August 1st on the website) will have this information in it.  Section VII. 12 and Section VII.13 have been added to the Rulebook, as stated below:

12. Once an official has passed the Rules Test, the Officials Director will issue an Officials card that will be valid for 3 years from the date the official passed the test. Level 1 Test Qualified Officials will be required to retake the Rules Test after 3 years to maintain Certified Official Status. Level 1 Experience Qualified Officials will receive an Officials card that is valid for 3 years and will be automatically renewed unless the official has been inactive as an official during the previous three year period, in which a new Officials Card will not be issued unless the individual makes a written request to the Officials Director. Level 2 Officials are exempt from recertification, and are issued a lifetime officials card.

13. An individual must make a written request to the Officials Director in order to apply for Level 1 Experience Qualified Certified Status or to show proof of officiating experience in order to change their level of certification.

Level 1 Experience Qualified Officials were developed originally as a “Grandfather Clause” to allow those VERY experienced qualified officials not to have to take a Rules Test.   These officials have always been the backbone of officiating in the USAWA and have proven their worth as a good official.  However, now, if they have not been active as an official for 3 years (and officiating ONLY ONE meet in this time keeps them active) they will be dropped from the list and must make a written request to Officials Director to regain Certified Officials Status.  I think this is very reasonable.  Why keep someone on our Officials List if they haven’t been contributing to the USAWA as an official?? Also, if someone IS Experience Qualified and hasn’t been officiating for several years, requiring a written request from them to become active as an official again in the USAWA doesn’t seem out of line to me. It’s not much to ask of them to drop Joe or me a short letter or email about their intentions of wanting to officiate in the USAWA again.    Joe and I  have no way of knowing who is “Experience Qualified” without someone telling us and giving us proof.  Most old meet results in the Strength Journal didn’t list the Officials.  Truthfully, I really don’t understand why Level 1 Experience Qualified Officials don’t want to take the Rules Test and become Level 2 Officials.  Lots has changed in the Rulebook and I’m sure they would learn something new as well as giving support to our new Officials Program.

Another new addition to the Rulebook involving officials is adding the minimum age of 16 years. Section VII.2 states The minimum age for a Certified Official is 16 years of age. Much debate arose at the meeting when this was discussed.  Some felt like it should be a higher age requirement.  Myself, I think 16 is a good minimum age to be an official.  Afterall, I’m meeting kids on the road that age when I’m driving!   I still think that at big meets (like Nationals and Worlds) more seasoned officials should be used.

I am pleased how the USAWA Officials Program is going.  We started it last year with a simple system,  and as time goes we are adding more requirements to make it better.  I feel the reason the USAWA Official Programs have failed in the past is because they were too complicated and required too much to start with.  They failed before they had the time to succeed.  We still have a long ways to go before we have a great Officials Program – but at least we have SOMETHING.   So as of now to become a Certified USAWA Official – all you have to do is take and pass a test!

James Splaine: Lightest to ever Lift the Dinnie Stones?

by Thom Van Vleck

At 144 pounds, is James Splaine the lightest man to ever lift the Dinnie Stones?

In 2006 I got a chance to lift the Inver Stone.  I’m a descent stone lifter and just took it for granted that as long as I was injury free, I could lift the Inver Stone, which I did.  After that (and a beer and a shot of scotch at the Inver Inn) we headed to the Potarch Inn, home of the Dinnie Stones just a few miles down the road near Kincardine O’Neil.

Recently, there was a story  in the USAWA Daily News on Steve Angell lifting those stones 20 reps in one day.  An amazing feat.  I am not a grip master, but I have a good grip, and the Dinnie Stones were not within my capabilities.  Partly due to the fact that I’m a “palm” gripper.  Which means I grip things like that, such as the  Highland Games implements in my palm. To be able to get your hands in the round rings, especially the smaller ring, you have to be a good “finger” gripper, or have the ability to get that ring down in your fingers and hang on.  I simply could not do it.  Even with straps, they felt like a real load!!!

Recently, I was reading through an old Iron Man magazine (back when Peary Rader published it and it was the best magazine out there for strength training and news….even if he did have a lot of bodybuilders on the covers…at least back then they were strong!).  I have tons of them and even though I’ve read through them many times, you will find things that catch your eye that you didn’t notice before.  It was issue # and I came across a David Willoughby article.  I really enjoy the old Willoughby articles on old time strongman feats.  I had recalled reading this one before as it talked about lifting block scale weights (a favorite of my granddad Dalton Jackson).  It was all about different types of  grip strength and while it was ALL great reading, the Dinnie Stones were fresh on my mind after Angell’s fantastic feat.  It was then I noticed a picture of a small man lifting the Dinnie Stones.

I have to admit, there’s probably a reason I don’t remember this picture.  The guy in it was listed at 144lbs and he looked like it!  His name was James Splaine and he was listed as being from Aberdeen and it’s his son, Jim, on his shoulders.   Being a big guy,  I have a bad habit of ignoring anyone that’s not a heavy weight.  But this guy was doing a “heavy weight” feat of strength and it was only after I had lifted these stones did I now appreciate  the feat of strength in the picture.

Now, I need to mention a couple things.  I have seen claims of lifting the Dinnie Stones….with STRAPS!  Inside the Potarch Inn, where the stones reside, is a hallway with photos of Donald Dinnie and stories on the stones.  There’s a photo of a local guy lifting them with scale weights strapped on for a combined with, I think, over 900lbs.  But if you look at the photo, the guy is using straps!  I use straps a lot in my training, but I never compare a strapped lift to one that is just grip.  They are two different things.  Another thing, you will notice in the photo of James Splaine, how he’s got the rings down in his fingers.

Willoughby claims in the caption that Splaine was the lightest man ever to lift the Dinnie Stones. I’m not sure if anyone lighter has done it since (let alone with his son on his shoulders!).

Updated Rulebook and New Bylaws

by Al Myers

The USAWA Rulebook 4th Edition

The updated Rulebook (Edition 4) and new Bylaws are now available on the website.  Both can be found in the header line of the website.  This section also contains a document titled “2010 Rulebook Changes/New Approved Lifts”.  This is the new information added to the previous Rulebook (Edition 3).  I included this so if you already have a previous Rulebook and don’t want to buy or print off a new one you could simply just add these pages to your Rulebook.

I  added some new pictures to the Rulebook (the print-off doesn’t have these).  So if you want to see who made it you’ll have to open up the new Rulebook and have a look! The Rulebook is now 91 pages long, contains rules for all 164 Official lifts, and contains 94 pictures of 55 lifters.  The new USAWA Bylaws are also available now on the website.  These new bylaws were prepared this past year by the Bylaw committee of Joe Garcia, Tim Piper, and myself.  They were approved by the membership at the 2010 Annual Meeting. These new Bylaws replaced the non-functioning bylaws that were originally written in 1987, which were  never updated to reflect how the USAWA has evolved in the past 20 years.  The new USAWA Bylaws reflect how our organization has been functioning in recent years.  The only “new thing”  in them is the formation of a 5-person Executive Board that will govern the USAWA throughout the year.  Membership will still have final say on the majority of issues, and decisions made by membership vote at the Annual Meeting will continue to make the ultimate decisions on issues.  Please take the time to look over the bylaws on the website.

I will have “hard copies” of the Rulebook for sale again.  These copies will also contain the Bylaws.  The book will sell for $30 (including postage).  Let me know if you want one.  I am only going to print off copies for what I have orders for to prevent unnecessary carry-over.  I plan to have a printing by the end of August and again the first of the year.

Dino Strength

by Al Myers

Contact Dino Strength for all your weightlifting needs!

It is exciting to announce the latest business venture from the Dino Gym.  Scott Tully, of  the Dino Gym, has started a business catering to weightlifters in regards to lifting equipment, supplements, and weightlifting accessories.  His business is named Dino Strength.  Scott has been involved for several years in a similar business, but now has taken it to the “next level”.  All of the products sold by Dino Strength will be tested extensively by the members of the Dino Gym.  Scott will ONLY sell products that have been tested on “real weightlifters”!  This is to insure that you will be pleased with your purchases. Also, when you call and talk to Scott you will be talking to an expert and not someone just taking orders who doesn’t have a clue how to put a weightlifting belt on!

Below are a few comments from Scott, link to the Dino Strength website, and Scott’s email address.

I am proud to announce the startup of a new business and website. specializes in Belts, Supports and Wraps, and will be adding some exciting new equipment as well as nutritional supplements in the near future.  Most of the products have been designed and redesigned over the last 2 years, making sure that we have put out the best products for the best prices on the market.  All products are in stock and will ship within 2 business days.  If you have any questions contact us through our site or email me direct at

Scott Tully

The USAWA Hall of Fame Program

by Al Myers

Finally, the USAWA has revived the USAWA Hall of Fame Program.  This has been a long process that has taken over one year to accomplish.  This process started at the 2009 National Meeting when the ad hoc committee of Denny Habecker, Dale Friesz, and Dennis Mitchell was established to investigate and make recommendations on the Hall of Fame Program at the 2010 National Meeting.  Upon hearing the committee’s suggestions at the 2010 meeting, the membership voted to allow the newly elected Executive Board to “iron out the details” and once every Executive Board member was in agreement, the new Hall of Fame Program would be implemented immediately.  Well, I’m proud to say that the Executive Board has already accomplished this task and the USAWA once again has an active Hall of Fame Program. Thanks needs to be given to the committee that worked tirelessly in providing different choices of Hall of Fame Programs to the membership at the meeting, and to the Executive Board of Denny Habecker, Chad Ullom, Scott Schmidt, Dennis Mitchell and myself for working through the final details.    The Board looked at every aspect of this new program, and discussed each point extensively so the best program possible would be implemented.  The new Hall of Fame Program criteria is laid out very clearly, and is a very simple system.

This New Program is different in some ways than what was used before.  In the early days of the USAWA,  Hall of Fame nominees were selected and voted on by the membership at the National Meeting.  No specific criteria was required to be nominated, just a nomination from someone at the meeting.   In 1997, the USAWA decided to go to a points system for Hall of Fame induction.  The committee of Chris Waterman, Frank Ciavattone, Denny Habecker, and John Vernacchio were put in charge of developing this system.  Once it was developed and accepted by the membership, Chris Waterman was designated as the official person to oversee the program.  Part of his responsibility was keeping track of everyone’s points as they applied to the Hall of Fame criteria, and once 1000 points were reached, he would present that individual for Hall of Fame induction.  Chris Waterman did an outstanding job of keeping track of everyone’s points with this tedious system. It required him to accurately record and maintain a list of ALL members and their HOF  points at all times. The problem arose when he retired in 2003 and the USAWA did not delegate someone else to take over his duties of maintaining the Hall of Fame Program and thus the program “died” until now.

In the new Hall of Fame Program, an individual may be nominated in one of two ways – either on Merit or on Honor.  To be nominated on Merit, 1000 points must be reached.  Twelve categories are laid out in the Nomination Form in which an nominee may accrue points.  These categories include such things as participation in National and World Meets, placing in the top five at National and World Meets, participating in other meets such as local meets or postal meets, serving the USAWA as an officer, being a Meet Director, being a Club Founder, and even  points are awarded for current USAWA records held.  It pretty much covers everything!  One of the differences from the previous point system is that with the new system it  is harder to reach 1000 points.  Less points are awarded in the different categories than before. Another big difference is that the New Hall of Fame Program will rely on the membership to make nominations, instead of just one person “keeping track of everything”.  I think this is important in that it will allow the Hall of Fame Program to self-perpetuate, by being independent of one individual or a committee.  The second way of being nominated is on the basis of Honor. No point criteria is required to be nominated this way.  This allows the USAWA the ability to award Hall of Fame Membership to someone the organization feels  deserves it, who  may not have been involved directly with the USAWA.

I am very pleased with the development of this new USAWA Hall of Fame Program.  I like it’s  simplicity. I like how “clear cut”  and specific it is in regards to the point criteria. I like how it relies on the membership for presenting nominees.   It also allows  an individual to monitor their own points in pursuit of the highest award the USAWA has to offer, and by this, provides a “source of inspiration” to all USAWA members.

The new Hall of Fame Nomination Form is found under the section “Forms and Applications”, or you can view it here at HOF Nomination Form.

Meet Reminder – The World Team Postal

by Al Myers

IAWA President Steve Gardner taking a big squat down deep!!

This is the time to start thinking about “getting your team around” for the World Team Postal Meet promoted by the IAWA President Steve Gardner.  Last year this postal meet was a huge success for the IAWA.  For those of you that are new to the USAWA, the IAWA (International All-Round Weightlifting Association) is the international organization the USAWA belongs to.  The IAWA oversees the international competitions such as the World Championships and the Gold Cup.  This IAWA World Team Postal Meet gives us (the USAWA) the opportunity to compete in a World competition without ever leaving the confines of our own gym!  There really is no excuse not to enter this one.  The format is for teams of three to enter, but Steve has opened it up to individuals as well to enter.  The results will contain both  the placings of the 3-person teams and the individual rankings.  So, even if can’t find two other team members, compete and send in your results. I want to remind you of some “differences” between this meet and other USAWA meets:

1.  You MUST have two USAWA certified officials (who both pass your lift) judge your lifts instead of just one official.

2.  You are allowed FOUR attempts instead of the typical three attempts allowed.

3.  Scoring age adjustments will be done according to the IAWA age allowances, which is slightly different from the USAWA age allowances.

All of the lifts Steve picked for this postal competition are easy to perform without much specific training.  All you got to do is line up a training day where everyone in your group can be present, and DO the lifts!  The specific entry information is located in the section “USAWA Future Events “.  The deadline for submission is the last day of September.

One Tough Character – Mike Murdock

by Al Myers

Mike Murdock, at 70 years of age, performing a record lift in the Bent Over Row with a lift of 205 pounds.

Last weekend at Dave’s Highland Games and Record Day, one person really stood out to me.  That person was Mike Murdock.  Mike is 70 years old and I know very few guys his age would have been able to withstand the rigors of last weekend.  Dave picked the HOTTEST DAY of the summer for his weekend affair, and for those not familiar with the Kansas heat, don’t know what heat really is.  It topped 100 degrees F (and with high humidity) on both days and EVERYTHING was done outside, including the lifting.  Mike was there for both.  He threw the entire day on Saturday and then returned to set a few USAWA records on Sunday.  It didn’t seem like it fazed him one bit!  Saturday night after the games, I asked Mike if he was coming back the next day, and he said, “Yep, and I’m going to be the first one to set a record in the Bent Over Row!”  (this was in response to my BOLD statement last week in a story where I said I was going to be the first).  Well, Amber Glasgow beat both of us to it the next day when she set the FIRST record in the Bent Over Row with a lift of 115 pounds.  Of course, I remarked to Mike how he  felt not being the first and he replied, “It’s ok, at least it wasn’t YOU!”  That’s the spirit I like in All-Round Weightlifting between competitors!  Everyone giving each other a hard time, but at the same time truly wishing your competitors the best of luck.  Mike has been a long-time supporter of the events I have held at the Dino Gym.  He is always there, and when he’ s not competing he’s helping out in some way.  Mike Murdock is indeed ONE TOUGH CHARACTER!

Also, congratulations to Mike Murdock for becoming an USAWA Official.

New Lift – the Turkish Get-Up

The starting position for the Turkish Get-Up.

by Al Myers

This is the only new USAWA lift approved at Nationals that I haven’t highlighted yet with a story.   It is a very unique lift in many ways.   The Turkish Get-Up  is NOT really a new lift as it was a favorite with old-time strongmen, and has been around forever.  It at times was called the “One Arm Get-Up”, and often trained by lifters that also specialized in wrestling, gymnastics or hand-balancing. Guys like Sig Klein loved it.  I first heard of the Turkish Get-Up several years ago when I read Brooks Kubik’s book Dinosaur Training.  In it he described the benefits of this exercise – how it strengthens the stabilizer muscles, improves flexibility, and  increases core strength.  The book mentions the old-time strongman Otto Arco and how he could do a Turkish Get-Up with MORE than his own bodyweight.  That is impressive!

During the rise from the platform, the lifting arm must remain straight.

We have two similar USAWA lifts to the Turkish Get Up – the Half Gardner and Full Gardner.  However, the Turkish Get-Up is a different lift in a couple of ways.  The TGU starts on the floor – the Gardner lifts start standing.  The TGU requires the use of a dumbbell or kettlebell – the Gardner lifts require use of a bar.  It is the “missing link” to the Gardner Lifts. I have mentioned this before but I am going to repeat it again.  This formula “sums” up these three lifts:

Full Gardner = Half Gardner + Turkish Get-Up

Last weekend at the Ledaig Record Day, several of us got to be the first ones to put a Turkish Get-Up record in the USAWA Record List.  This included  Dave Glasgow, Amber Glasgow, Chad Ullom and myself.  The TGU is a very popular exercise for trainees outside of the All-Round crowd.  Just “goggle” Turkish Get-Up and you will see what I am talking about.  The Cross-Fit trainees love this exercise!  But now since the TGU is an official lift of the USAWA, we are the ONLY weightlifting organization that maintains records for it.

Chad Ullom demonstrating the steps of a Turkish Get-Up with a 70 pound kettlebell at the Ledaig Record Day.

The Rules for the Turkish Get-Up

A dumbbell or kettlebell is used for this lift. The lift begins with the lifter lying on his/her back on the platform holding the implement in one hand above the body with a straight arm perpendicular to the platform. Once in this position, an official will give the command to start the lift. The lifter must rise to a standing position, holding the implement overhead with a straight arm throughout. The lifting arm must stay perpendicular to the lifting platform. The lifter may use the free hand to brace against the body or the platform during the execution of the lift, but must not touch the implement or the lifting arm. The implement may rotate in any direction. Once standing with the implement overhead, the implement motionless and the lifter’s feet in line with the body, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The Turkish Get-Up will be included in the updated USAWA Rulebook coming the first of August!

A New Lift – The Foot Press

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow, Newcomer of the Year for the USAWA, performing a Foot Press with 1050 pounds at the 2010 Dino Gym Challenge.

Last January at the 2010 Dino Gym Challenge, I presented a meet in Arthur Saxon’s memory which I called the Arthur Saxon Pentathlon.  The meet contained five of Arthur’s favorite lifts.  Only one of the lifts in this meet was not an official lift of the USAWA – the Foot Press. This lift was popular with other Old Time Strongmen such as Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and Milo Steinborn.  It was often performed in their Strongman Shows, usually with people from the crowd sitting on a plank resting on their feet to provide the weight needed to complete the stage act.  The USAWA does not have a lift similar to it.  I would consider  the Foot Press as the “Heavy Lift” version of the Leg Press.  This lift can be done in pretty much any gym that has a Vertical Leg Press or Back Lift Apparatus.  It was a “big hit” at the Dino Challenge as an Exhibition Lift, and because of that I presented it to the USAWA to be approved as a new official  lift. I was glad the membership approved it at the National Meeting.

Our mission statement states, “The USAWA was formed to continue the long standing tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and many others. We strive to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting, which in the past has been referred to as “odd lifting”. Many of the lifts we perform are based on stage acts or challenge lifts of old-time strongmen.”  The Foot Press is an excellent example of a lift that fits our mission statement!!

Rules for the Foot Press

An apparatus is used in which weight is loaded onto the feet only while the lifter is laying on his/her back on the floor/platform with the legs vertical and perpendicular to the floor. The apparatus used must allow the weight to rise without providing any leverage to the lift, but may be guided in a tract. It is also acceptable to use a plank resting on support platforms. The lift starts at the lifter’s discretion. Hands may be placed on the legs or any part of the apparatus, but must not be used to push directly against the weight being lifted. The hands may remain on the legs throughout the lift, and upon the finish of it. The weight lifted must clear the supports and be held motionless, at which time an official will give a command to end the lift.

The Foot Press will be included in the 4th Edition of the USAWA Rulebook that will become effective August 1st, 2010.

Trivia on the Foot Press: Arthur Saxon best reported Foot Press was 3200 pounds.

Newcomer of the Year – Dave Glasgow

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow (on left) receiving the USAWA Newcomer of the Year Award from Al Myers (on right) at the Ledaig Record Day.

I was very glad to see Dave Glasgow promote his first USAWA event, the Ledaig Record Day, this past weekend.  It also gave me the opportunity to “officially” award him the USAWA Newcomer of the Year Award, which was announced at the USAWA National Meeting last month.  I have known Dave a long time through the Highland Games.  He has attended several competitions (both Highland Games and All-Round Events) held at my place throughout  the past years.  And now, I FINALLY got the chance to make it to his place for a competition.  I now know where Rainbow Bend is located  (but don’t expect a GPS to get you there! ). Dave hosted a weekend affair, with a Highland Game competition on Saturday and the Record Day on Sunday.  Both days were a huge success. The Record Day had 7 competitors, which is the highest attendance at a record day since February of 2009.  Dave and the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club are a great addition to the USAWA.

The Hoffman/Paul Formula

by Thom Van Vleck

Ok, so we’ve been overload on the formula’s lately, but I was perusing one of my old Ironman mags last night and came across a story.  This was the April-May 1974 issue and on Page 43 there’s a story on the “new” Hoffman/Paul Formula.  The original Hoffman formula was used for years in determining the best lifter at Olympic lifting meets.  As the weight classes expanded (the original gap was 198lbs to Heavyweight, then a 242 class was added, and a 220lbs class) there was evidently a need to alter the formula.  This article talks about the new “Hoffman/Paul formula” being accepted at a recent AAU convention.  Some professor named Joseph Paul had “improved” upon the Hoffman formula and evidently was given second billing to Hoffman with this second version.  Who knows, maybe he came up with the original!

No one is credited with writing the article so I have to assume Peary Rader wrote it.  In the article he makes a comment that the new formula was unchanged from the old thru the 198lb class, but changes were made above that.  I’ll assume to make it more “fair” as the old formula may have been found to be flawed relating to heavier lifters as the article says the new formula was the result of the new weight classes.  Interestingly, the author notes that no formula can be completely fair, but this one is an improvement.

I do know that Lyle Schwartz once commented that he developed his formula when it was determined that the Hoffman Formula, for whatever reason, did not work as well with the powerlifts and more specifically, the bench press.  I also recall Schwartz stating the Malone formula was a better indicator for women and that when comparing men to women, it was basically a factor of men being 30% stronger on average, but women generally carrying more bodyfat across all weight classes seemed to be an issue in coming up with a reliable formula and comparison.

It is also interesting that the “improved” Hoffman formula ends at 260lbs and that for ever pound after that you were to and 1 point to the coefficient.  Again, the conspiracy theorist in me feels like the little guys are always out to shaft the big guys because they can’t lift as much.  But you have to admit, adding a “point” per pound after that would have to cause some issues once you hit 350lbs or even more.

In highland games at the Masters World’s this year they are using the decathlon scoring system which is based on percentages of the world record.  This is the first time they are using this system and it will be interesting to see if it changes the results.  But I would almost bet that it would be like Al’s analysis recently, you might see one or two changes but the vast majority will remain in their same placings.  This has not stopped a heated debate that has already arisen regarding the pros and cons of the decathlon system.

My intent is not to point out flaws, but just offer another piece of the formula history here.  Sounds like even in the earliest days of the formula format, everyone knew it wasn’t perfect, but still could be a decent indicator of who the better lifter was.  I have been reading more on how Schwartz developed his formula, but have had to dust off the old stat class book from college…..and that will be for another day and might end up more boring than Al’s article on the formulas!!!

Ledaig Record Day

Results from the Ledaig Record Day

by Dave Glasgow

Group Picture from the 2010 Ledaig Record Day. Pictured left to right: Mike Murdock, Dave Glasgow, Scott Tully, Amber Glasgow, Darren Barnhart, and Chad Ullom. Not pictured because he was taking the picture, Al Myers.

Seven strength athletes thumbed their noses at high humidity and higher temperatures to battle gravity in the first annual Ledaig Heavy Athletics record breakers day. This event was the first hosted by the Ledaig (pronounced ‘led-chig’) Heavy Athletics club, Rainbow Bend, KS., one of the newest clubs in the USAWA.  It will not be the last time this club will hold an event!

Meet Director Dave Glasgow looking over the Record List.

A total of 46 records were established, some new, some old. Leading the charge was Chad Ullom, long time veteran of team Dino Gym. His nine records showed an overall strength that tells what a well rounded strength program can do for it’s practitioner.

Close behind in the record race was the venerable Al Myers, who tied with Dave Glasgow, with eight new records for the books. It was because of Al’s persuasion that this event was staged. Thanks, Al!  Al’s knowledge of the lifts and lifters of the past really added to the event! Very informative!

Next came Darren Barnhart, who set seven new marks and pulled a most outstanding 300# in the Bent Over Row, one of the newest lifts in the USAWA.

Close behind was the USAWA’s newest member, Amber Glasgow, who had six records.   Her Turkish Get Up and Over head Squat being the highlight of her record day. Good job, tink!!

Mike Murdock showed us, again, that age is no restriction to being strong.  Mike set 5 records that will be tough to break! Great job, Mike!

New USAWA member Amber Glasgow, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club, made her mark in the USAWA Record List.

Rounding out the ‘record race’ was Scott Tully, who put three marks up that were most impressive. His nonchalant effort with 245# in the Maxey Press  was very attention getting.  There is more in the tank , for sure! Outstanding, Scott!

It should also be mentioned that five of these lifters, Chad, Mike, Al, Amber and Dave, were all coming back from the day before, when they participated in the Ledaig Highland Games, where searing temps and brutal humidity ruled the day.  Needless to say, there were some tired folks come Sunday afternoon!!

Finally, I would like to thank those who came to this gathering.  Most came some distance to participate and I am very appreciative of it! Please, plan to be at this event next year, as it has become, now, and annual event!!


Ledaig Record Day
Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club
Rainbow Bend, Kansas
July 18th, 2010

Meet Director:  David Glasgow

Officials (three certified USAWA officials were used on all lifts):  Al Myers, Scott Tully, Chad Ullom, Dave Glasgow, and Darren Barnhart

Amber Glasgow – 31 years old, Female, 140 pounds, 65K Class

Bent Over Row: 115 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 35 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 35 pounds
Turkish Get-Up: 35 pounds
Push Press – From Rack: 100 pounds
Squat – Overhead: 85 pounds

Scott Tully – 34 years old, 341 pounds, 125+K  Class

Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 95 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105 pounds
Maxey Press: 245 pounds

Chad Ullom – 38 years old, 238 pounds, 110K Class

Bent Over Row: 275 pounds
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 185 pounds
Judd Clean and Jerk: 155 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 95 pounds
Turkish Get-Up: 70 pounds
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar: 250 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 165 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 165 pounds
Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 95 pounds

Darren Barnhart – 42 years old, 290 pounds, 125+K Class

Bent Over Row: 300 pounds
Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 95 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 180 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 160 pounds
Maxey Press: 160 pounds

Al Myers – 43 years old, 258 pounds, 120 K Class

Bent Over Row: 255 pounds
Turkish Get-Up: 53 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 165 pounds
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 165 pounds
Maxey Press: 190 pounds

Dave Glasgow – 57 years old, 250 pounds, 115 K Class

Bent Over Row: 225 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 75 pounds
Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 80 pounds
Turkish Get-Up: 53 pounds

Mike Murdock – 70 years old, 232 pounds, 110 K Class

Bent Over Row: 205 pounds
Push Press – From Rack: 130 pounds
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 275 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55 pounds
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55 pounds

For a complete listing of records from the Ledaig Record Day – Ledaig Record Day 2010

Close Enough to Get the Job Done

By Thom Van Vleck

As I read Al’s recent story on the history of formulas several things come to mind. First, it made me think of a “formula” I used to use to calculate my one rep max. (.0333 X weight lifted X reps) + weight lifted = one rep max. I swore by that, but the reality is that it just gave a “probable” one rep max and obviously has a lot of flaws (such as going high reps not being a strong an indicator). I can’t remember where I got it, or why I came to “believe” in it…..but I did and used this to calculate contest openers and goals. I believed it was right and somehow that made it a good formula. But how often did it work? Not work? How often did I stop at that max and validate my own belief and not try more?

The reality is that the FIRST lesson I learned in Physics 101 in my freshman year in college was that every measurement is flawed. The real question is: “Is it close enough to get the job done!” I recall doing an experiment where we measured a long metal rod, then heated it and cooled it and got different measurements. We then discussed the nature of matter and that it’s made up of atoms which are dynamic, etc. Finally, the instructor took the rod and bent it and said, “Now, how far apart are the ends and how do you measure it, point to point, or along the length”?! Formula’s are like measurements, NO formula would be perfect. But his real lesson was, is your measurement “close enough to get the job done”.

I was at a ball game last night and there were two umpires. At one point, one called a guy safe and the other over ruled him and called the baserunner out. I thought the base runner was safe from my vantage point. There was a groan from the crowd….but the game went on. There was a recent major league game where a picture had a perfect game into the last out and the ump blew the call and the pitcher lost his perfect game. Television revealed his error, but the flawed call was upheld….because that’s the rule! The umpire makes the call and “calls it as he sees it”. Just like judges at meets calling depth on squats, or knee kick on a strict press. If we want to compete, we accept those human failings. The real question becomes: Are they good enough to get the job done?

Then there is the equipment. Recently, Dave Glasgow got us started on the subject of how much barbells weigh. I had actually weighed ALL of my stuff and come to realize that a 45lb plate rarely weighs 45lbs. I have a set of Ironman 50lb plates that are unmilled and they weigh 57.5lbs!!!! I should point out that they were sold that way, back in the day you could get cheap weights if you would be willing to take them “unmilled” or milled to the exact weight. However, I have milled plates and they are off, too. But not nearly as much. However, they are “close enough to get the job done”.

So, we have a flawed formula, developed by flawed people, using flawed equipment, in a flawed world. We can’t have perfection so to me, the real question is: Is it accurate enough to get the job done. I think one thing Al’s article showed was that the formulas do seem to have some decent reliability. There is some variability. I doubt there’s been a lot of testing on the validity of these formulas, so where are we?

Here is where we are at in my opinion. The USAWA is an organization like no other. I think we should continue to use the formulas but I hope that we would be open to having contests that don’t use them. I would think ideally, we do both. If I competed in the Nationals and I lifted more than anyone in my age group and weight class….I’m the winner. I also get the added BONUS of being ranked in an overall. We need to look at the formulas as a way to add another layer of competition to the meet. We either accept they are “close enough to get the job done” or we don’t compete.

Dave Glasgow and I compete in Scottish Highland Games. This is a unique sport like the USAWA. There is no central governing body and often meets are open to having their own rules and standards. For example. the Braemar Stone event (like a shot put) will have stones that vary 10, 20, even 50lbs in weight from meet to meet. Or in some meets you can spin and throw the Weight Over Bar, and another meet may only allow to throw from a stand. Each style will fit different athletes better, giving advantages and disadvantages. This is often debated and Dave delivered the best quote on it I can recall (which he said he actually got from Mike Smith), “You know the rules, either go and throw or stay home, don’t complain about it”.

Maybe someday, we’ll have so many lifters, the formula’s will be more like the “best lifter” award stuff, but right now we need them to make the meets more competitive. Otherwise, just lift in your gym and go buy a trophy. I have a buddy that owns a trophy shop and he’ll help you out….as a matter of fact he told me he makes trophies for non existent contests all the time! Or lift in the USAWA and have a good time and don’t expect perfection from a formula, like you don’t expect perfection from a judge, weight, or weather man!

Middle Atlantic Postal Meet


by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell, of the Dino Gym, performing a 220 pound Reverse Grip Curl in the Middle Atlantic Postal Meet. This is the top ALL-TIME Reverse Grip Curl in the USAWA Record List.

Meet Director: John Wilmot

Ending Date: June 30th, 2010

Lifts: Jerk – from Rack, Curl – Reverse Grip, and Hack Lift – One Arm

Lifters using certified officials:

Al Myers:  Officiated by Mark Mitchell, Darren Barnhart, Scott Tully

Scott Tully:  Officiated by Al Myers, Darren Barnhart, Mark Mitchell

Darren Barnhart:  Officiated by Al Myers, Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell:  Officiated by Al Myers, Darren Barnhart, Scott Tully

Kohl Hess:  Officiated by Denny Habecker

Lifters using an official who is NOT certified:

John Wilmot:  Officiated by Kay Wilmot

Denny Habecker:  Officiated by Kohl Hess


Lifter Age BWT BWT Class Jerk Curl Hack Total Points
Al Myers 43 254 120 kg 300 200 352 – R 852 697.52
Scott Tully 34 341 125+ kg 300 176 264 – R 740 526.07
Denny Habecker 67 185 85 kg 175 75 200 – R 430 514.35
Mark Mitchell 49 365 125+ kg 240 220 135 – R 595 465.28
Darren Barnhart 42 295 125+ kg 210 132 264 – R 606 456.71
John Wilmot 63 213 100 kg 145 125 130 – R 400 428.10
Kohl Hess 15 288 125+ kg 185 75 200 – R 460 391.46

BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are total points adjusted for bodyweight and age.




New Lift – Bent Over Row

by Al Myers

Al Myers training the Bent Over Row.

Another new lift that was approved at the 2010 National Meeting by the membership was the Bent Over Row.  This lift was proposed by John McKean of the Ambridge VFW Barbell Club.  The Bent Over Row  is an ole’ fashioned training exercise that has been part of training programs for years – but NOW is an official USAWA lift so it can now be done in competition and contested for records.  I was glad to see John propose rules for it that are consistent with how the lift is usually done in training.  The Bent Over Row is a tremendous upper back exercise.  John had this to say about the Bent Over Row when he proposed it as a lift to the USAWA, “This lift uses a combination of legs, hips and back.  It is a true all-round movement! This is an absolutely GREAT exercise certainly deserving its due as a very heavy weight, total body, competition lift.”

We do not have a lift even similar to the Bent Over Row in our extensive list of Official Lifts. I like to see lifts like this get approved – lifts which are basic movements and not just some “trick lift”, “gimmick lift”,  or a lift with a slight deviation of another official  lift (which isn’t really anything new).

The Rules 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.

I will definitely be doing the Bent Over Row at the Ledaig Record Day this weekend, and hope to be the FIRST one to set an official USAWA Record with it.  The Bent Over Row will be included in the updated USAWA Rulebook which will be available the first of August.

Who Holds the Oldest Record in the Record List?

Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

Who holds the oldest record in the USAWA Record List?


This should be an easy quiz – all you have to do is look through the USAWA Record List and find the answer.  It shouldn’t take long – since there are  just slightly over 9000 records to look through! I only need the name of the lifter who has the record (not the lift or exact date the record was set).  So if you want to guess – go ahead!!

Winner receives a new USAWA Patch.

Rules:  Only one entry per day.  First correct answer sent to me at wins.

We have a winner!

Dave Beversdorf, of Columbia Missouri, correctly gave the correct answer to the Quiz of the Week.  The answer is Steve Schmidt, who on September 20th, 1987 performed a 270 pound Pullover and Press with wrestler’s bridge at a record day in Clark’s Gym.  Steve was in the 100 kg weight class.  That is a record that will probably withstand the “Test of Time” – no one has came close to it since!  Dave also pointed out the OLDEST COMPETITION  to me that is in the Record List.  On October 11th, 1987 records where recorded from the Backbreaker Meet that contained such legendary names as Bill Clark, Ed Zercher I, Ed Zercher II, and Ed Zercher III.

My Ford 8N Tractor

My tractor looks "almost" like this one, just add rust, dirt, and dents!

by Thom Van Vleck

Yesterday I picked up my recent purchase.  A Ford 8N tractor.  This particular tractor was purchased in 1948 by a really good friend’s grandfather.  I’ve “known” this tractor my entire lift and after being in his family for three generations he has sold it to me.  I like to think it’s because he knows I’ll take care of it and treat it well…..and I’ll use it!  I got  several attachments as it has a PTO (Power Take Off: a shaft that is driven by the motor that can spin and power the attachments) and a three point hitch (a hydraulic lift that attaches those extra implements to the tractor).  I got a post hole digger, a blade, two brush hogs, and a hoist that amounts to a wedge that can be put on the end of the tractor to haul loads and lift heavy things….kind of a powered hand cart!

Now, here’s the thing, at this point you may be wondering what tractors have to do with strength and is this just a way for me to rub in my good fortune of getting a “new” (if you can call a 63 year old tractor new) toy.  Well, I might be bragging a little, but there is a point.  When I got it, I spent about three hours driving it around, getting a feel for it.  The first thing I noted is that it had what we called “Armstrong Power Steering”…….or basically no power steering at all!  You get an arm workout driving this thing around!  It’s been so long since I had anything without power steering I forgot what a job it can be.  Then I remembered that each back tire has a separate break so you can make a tight turn easier by only braking the inside tire. Then I decided to try and figure out all the attachments.  I figured it would be fairly easy, back the tractor up, hook up the hydraulic driven 3 point hitch and away we go…not so easy.  I would have to shift and move stuff to get the hitch to line up and the post hole digger had to be put on end…..and that thing weighed 200lbs easy!  But I wanted to get it all down so I worked away until I had them all figured out.

At this point, I had a really good sweat going. I ended with the blade.  I figured I’d get a little work in and blade my drive.  The blade wasn’t getting enough of a bite as it wasn’t heavy enough.  It has a place to put weights on so I went and pulled out 150lbs of old block scale weights I have and loaded them on and that did the trick. I use a tractor fairly regularly that belonged to a guy that was leasing part of my property for cattle.  But since he retired last year, him….and his tractor…..are gone so this purchase was a must.  The difference is that newer tractor is a lot less work!

I had been around 8N’s and other classic small tractors on jobs years ago pulling stumps, large stones, etc.  I had forgotten what a workout it can be just operating one.  Kind of like a power lawn mower…way easier than the old push types (like we had when I was a kid) but still a job to push around the yard a hundred laps!!! I like hard work, I actually like to do about an hour or two of hard work before a work out.  Warms me up better than anything else and gets me going.  I can see me using this tractor a lot and in the process this “work saver” will work me out in new and different ways and warm me up for bigger and better workouts.  Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than to get a little work done, have a killer work out, and then take a shower, have a big meal, and then bask in the accomplishments of a good day!

Ernie Beath – The Patriotic Highlander

by Al Myers

Ernie Beath and his 201# record in the French Press at the 2010 USAWA Club Challenge at the Ambridge VFW BBC. This lift was performed in front of several seasoned officials, one of which is John McKean located to the right in the picture.

I really enjoy watching YouTube Videos of weightlifting.  Some are quite entertaining, some clearly show how you shouldn’t lift weights, but occasionally you will find one that demonstrates a strong lifter that KNOWS how to lift weights. I especially like to follow YouTube Videos of lifter’s I know – and one of my favorites  is by USAWA member Ernie Beath.  Ernie is ALWAYS putting up big weights in some kind of lift.  Last spring I got to witness first hand at the USAWA Club Challenge Big Ernie setting the best French Press of All-Time in the USAWA with a lift of 201 pounds.  Well, in one of his latest videos he is hitting a French Press with 230 pounds!  His YouTube Account is called the PatrioticHighlander – or just check out his amazing videos by clicking here:  PatrioticHighlander

History of Formulas used in the USAWA

by Al Myers

When you KNOW it's time to blame the formula!

This past week on the USAWA Discussion Forum a lively debate got started on the fairness of using Formulas in comparing athletes for overall placings. The USAWA is unique in doing this compared to other lifting organizations which prefer to just give awards for different divisions or classes.  Sure these other organizations might use a Formula to award a Best Lifter, but the USAWA uses a formula to determine the overall ranking of every athlete in the competition, from the top to the bottom.  No OTHER organization does this!!  We now use the Lynch Formula to make the “handicap” adjustment for bodyweight differences and use a Age Allowance Percentage for Junior Lifters and Lifters age 40 and above.  I am NOT going to give my viewpoint and opinion on the fairness of using formulas  in this article, as that is better left for the Discussion Forum.  Instead, I would like to review the history of formulas used in the USAWA, and give insight to how these different formulas were derived.

The main All-Round competitions that occurred prior to the USAWA (1987)  were “odd lift” meets promoted by Bill Clark out of Missouri.  These meets were contested under the direction of the Missouri Valley Weightlifting Federation, the Region IV division of the USWF.  The formula used at that time to determine rankings was the Schwartz Formula. Numerous old Zercher Meet results verified this. The USAWA really began in the summer of 1987, with the first official records recorded for the USAWA in the fall of 1987.  At this point the USAWA adopted the use of the O’Carroll Formula for bodyweight adjustment and it was used extensively in the USAWA in 1988.  The Zercher Meet in 1988 used the O’Carroll Formula.  The National Masters Weightlifting Program started using the Sinclair Formula at this time, and even used a unique formula developed by Joe McCoy that adjusts for bodyweight AND age at the 1987 National Masters Olympic Lifting Championships directed by USAWA Hall of Famer John Vernacchio. It was called the Sinclair-McCoy Formula and ONLY applied to Olympic Lifting totals.  The FIRST USAWA National Championships directed by John Vernacchio in 1988 used the O’Carroll Formula. I did find a few old USAWA meet results from the late 80’s where the Sinclair Formula was used for All-Round Meets.  The Sinclair Formula was developed by Canadian mathematician/weightlifting enthusiast Roy Sinclair.  He used the weightlifting results from the Olympics as his data base to determine the coefficients for his formula. Another interesting formula brought forth from the IAWA in the early 90’s was the Blindt Formula, developed by British lifter Adrian Blindt.  It didn’t correct for bodyweight, but for the lifts involved.  Each lift had its own factor.  The idea was this would make it more fair, in example, to compare a lift where lots of weight can be lifted, like a Hip Lift to a lift where much less weight is lifted, like a Press.  This formula was never used in the USAWA, but was used in some IAWA competitions.  I remember it was used in the IAWA World Postal Meets promoted by the Australians a few years back.

However, by the early 1990’s most all USAWA results started using the Lynch Formula, which we still use today.  The Lynch Formula was developed in 1988 by Ian Lynch, a lifter from England. The Lynch Factors (or coefficients)  have not changed since its inception.  I know this because I found an old Lynch Chart from the early 90’s and compared it to today’s Lynch Chart and it’s the same.  No updates and no modifications.  Recently, we have been faced with a problem using the Lynch Formula, and that problem is the highest bodyweight factor on the Lynch Chart is 150 kilograms.  It is not uncommon nowadays to get a lifter that weighs over 330 pounds, and we have no way to correct for them!  In the past when this happened the meet director would either  “estimate” a Lynch Factor for them or just give the athlete the highest bodyweight correction on the chart. I don’t think EITHER of those solutions are acceptable – and thus I began to try to find the “original Lynch Formula” so the chart could be extended for higher bodyweights.  I inquired several places and couldn’t find any leads.  Finally, thanks to Tom Ryan and our IAWA President Steve Gardner, Ian Lynch was located and I could go right to the source of the Lynch Formula!  Unfortunately, the exact formula and method of reproducing it has been lost.  However, Ian Lynch was very helpful in sharing some details and information on why the Lynch Formula was developed and used in All-Round Weightlifting.  The Lynch Formula is very similar to the O’Carroll Formula with the differences being that the Lynch Formula is slightly more favorable for lighter lifters. In a sense, it “leveled out the curve”  on the light end of the  O’Carroll Formula.   Both the Lynch and O’Carroll Formulas were derived using body factors whereas the Schwartz and Sinclair Formulas are based on Olympic lifting performances or World Records for Olympic Lifting.  I think this makes the Lynch Formula more applicable to All-Round Weightlifting. It sure doesn’t make sense to me to use a formula based on the two Olympic Lifts, and then expect it to correlate to over the 200 lifts we do in All-Round Weightlifting!  Ian Lynch had this to say about the development of the Lynch Formula from the O’Carroll Formula considering body factors , ” The O’Carroll Formula assumed all lifters non-muscular weight was constant, ie bones etc. That didn’t work well particularly for lighter lifters.” That must have been the reason for the points being adjusted slightly in favor of lighter lifters.

Just out of curiosity I “recalculated” the results of last year’s World Championships using the Sinclair and O’Carroll Formulas.  This is how it would change “the top ten”:

Lifter BWT Lynch Pts. Sinclair Pts. O’Carroll Pts.
Mark Haydock 122.9 764.3 1005.2 771.1
Al Myers 114.7 763.1 978.5 768.6
Chad Ullom 104.3 749.8 936.2 758.9
Roger Davis 81.6 736.6 896.9 737.0
Denny Habecker 86.1 661.1 805.3 661.9
John Monk 79.8 658.3 802.1 658.4
Bill Spayd 107.9 655.3 825.0 659.1
Scott Schmidt 119.7 598.6 779.3 603.6
Art Montini 78.2 588.9 718.3 589.1
Josh Haydock 66.9 582.2 724.6 565.7

This group of lifters make up an interesting data base for this comparison, because lifters of different body weights are represented (from 66.9 kgs to 122.9 kgs).  Not much changes in the placings between the three formulas being applied except for Bill Spayd.  He placed 7th overall using the Lynch Formula, but would have been 5th using the Sinclair Formula. You can really see how the Lynch Formula favors lighter lifters compared to the O’Carroll Formula.  Just compare Mark Haydock (at 122.9 kgs) to Josh Haydock (at 66.9 kgs). Mark’s Lynch Points are LOWER than his O’Carroll Points while Josh’s Lynch Points are MORE than his O’Carroll Points.  John Monk, at 80 kilograms, has the bodyweight that gives the same points using both the Lynch Formula and the O’Carroll Formula.  The Sinclair Formula MUCH favors heavier lifters.  Just look at the top four placings where the bodyweights of the lifters decrease with each placing. It is  pretty close using the Lynch Formula, but with the Sinclair Formula the point gap widens much more with each subsequent placing.

This doesn’t answer the long debated notion that “formulas are not fair”, but I hope that it provides some insight to how the formulas work and why we use them in the USAWA.

Missouri Celt – Thom Van Vleck

by Dave Glasgow

Thom Van Vleck shortly after his childhood accident.

It was hard for me to imagine, when I first met him, the behemoth of a man standing in front of me, was once a skinny, frightened, wheel chair bound youth of 11. However, there he stood!! His story, although far from being finished, is an inspiration to us all and hopefully, a model for the youth of today.

Thom van Vleck started in the iron game, literally, by accident. A speeding car traveling in excess of 70 mph struck the bike riding youth; throwing him at least 150 feet, leaving him with multiple fractures, internal bleeding, head trauma and a prayer away from dying. The hospital he was transported to was certain there was nothing they could do for him. Fortunately, Thom’s mother “wanted a second opinion.” The second hospital was able to stabilize him and, eventually, turn him around. (Ironically, that hospital, the A.T. Still School of Medicine, in Kirksville, Mo., is the where Thom plies his trade as a clinical psychologist for the students that attend the school.)

Although he was alive, the outlook was bleak. There was talk of brain injury, impairment with ambulation…..the list went on. Little did those who prognosticated doom and gloom know that inside that broken and battered little body was the heart of a fighter. After nearly 4 months in traction and a year in a wheelchair, he was able to walk, with help. This was only the beginning.

Thom Van Vleck (left) and Dave Glasgow (right) at the 2003 Galloway Highland Games in Kirksville, Missouri, which was promoted by Thom.

Luckily for Thom, he had a tremendous support system. A mother, who worked tirelessly; a grandfather, with an undying love and faith; two uncles, that were known for their strength and perseverance and the “big man” above. It would be the two uncles, Wayne and Phil Jackson, who introduced Thom to the wonderful world of weight training. They shared their love and passion for the iron and Thom was quick to grasp the idea that the weights could make him whole again.

Fast forward a few years, the trim, athletic boy became a man, courtesy of the United States Marine Corps. College and graduate school followed and he became the first in his family to gain an advanced degree. But, always, there were the weights. Everything from Olympic lifting, power lifting, to what he called his granddads “fruitcake” workouts, if there were weights involved, he was there. And, as before, his uncles were there to encourage, instruct and badger him to larger totals and loftier goals; be that in the iron game or life.

For those of us who know Thom, we know a man who is honest, trustworthy and, to use an overused phrase, genuine. What you see is what you get. No pretense. No agendas. He is thankful for his loving (dare I say, longsuffering!) wife and family. He is a student of the iron game and is constantly rubbing elbows with the elite of the weights and interesting folks that make up that vast world both past and present. His stories are interesting and engaging; his recollections spot on.

Thom has been active in just about every level of strength and weight training/lifting you can imagine. He has also transformed himself into a force to be dealt with on the Highland Games circuit. He has, also, organized outstanding competitions so that others could enjoy his passion with him.

It was at the McPherson highland games of ‘99 that I first saw Thom. I did not meet him as he was in the “youngster class” of A’s. It was not until the next ‘season’ that Thom and I were ‘introduced’! What an introduction!!

We were at Steve Scott’s north Kansas City recreation park doing one of the many games that Steve put on at that facility. Thom was judging the ‘geezer’ class of which I was a proud member. Although Steve had hammer cages, an errant #22 hammer of mine broke through the fencing and clocked Thom on the ankle. It went so far as to ‘tattoo’ his sock pattern into his ankle. It was not broken but, he was done for the day. I can safely say we have been friends since that day.

Thom is a rather complex guy. He ran, unsuccessfully, for state representative. He is an elder in his church. His work involves counseling students at the medical college in Kirksville. He is the former world record holder (age group) in the weight over the bar. And, as stated prior, he organizes strength contests and highland games throughout the year.

But, of all these things, he is proudest of the strength evangelism shows he puts on with the brothers Kerby and John O’Brian, all of Kirksville. Together, they have spread the gospel behind bone cracking demonstrations of skill and strength that never fail to make spectators ohh and ahh. Following one of Thom’s ‘mini’ shows at the McPherson Scottish Festival, a good friend of mine, who has traveled the world, looked at me, ‘pop-eyed’, and stated, “I have never seen anything like that before in my life!!” I might add, he is very hard to impress!!

Thom Van Vleck set many USAWA records at the JWC Record Day, which he promoted last year at the JWC Training Hall on November 21st , 2009

Over the years, we have exchanged countless emails/phone calls and dined with each other every chance we got. It never ceases to amaze me his knowledge of people and events in the strength world. In these conversations there are three subjects that are ALWAYS mentioned. The weight game, his family and his faith! Not necessarily in that order.

Thom has no greater joy than that of his family. His wife, Kelly, supports his efforts and willing helps out at his competitions. She is a very special, understanding individual. He is thankful for her and has told me on more that one occasion how lucky he is to have someone such as her to allow him to pursue his interests. Rounding out this team is a daughter and two sons of whom he, rightfully, boasts on at any opportunity. And, from what I understand, the apples are not falling far from the giant tree!! The legacy of the Jackson/Van Vleck name will continue. I have NO doubt!

Oh, and one last thing. Thom is an author. He has written many, many articles for MILO. His forte is writing about the “old school” guys; John Ware, Al Feuerbach, Al Oerter,… the list goes on. He has the ability to bring these icons of throwing and strength down to a ‘human’ level and make them more like ‘everyday guys’ to us common folk.

He also writes, quite extensively, about the history of his family in the weight world and the proud tradition that has been passed down since 1928. These stories are a wonderful testament to a family legacy that continues today and, from all outward appearances, there is no indication that it will end anytime soon.

So, if you are ever in northern Missouri, have some time, you may want to make the trek to that big, two story house on the hill near Greentop. You may not know him at all, but that doesn’t matter. Just knock on the door, introduce yourself and you will leave with a new friend and a whole list of stories from the man with a truck load of them. Thom van Vleck, the multi-dimensional weight guy!

Thom Van Vleck to host 2011 Nationals

by Al Myers

Thom Van Vleck giving the Rules Meeting prior to a Highlander Games he was promoting last spring.

Thom Van Vleck, of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, was awarded the bid at the Annual National Meeting to host the 2011 USAWA National Championships.  The meet will be an one day affair on Saturday of  the 4th weekend of June, 2011.  The meet will be in Kirksville, Missouri. Thom is also planning on having a National Record Day the next day (Sunday)  for those who want to attend.  The Awards Banquet and the Annual National Meeting will be held Saturday evening, following the competition.

Thom and the JWC have been a great addition to the USAWA this past year. Thom hosted his first official USAWA competition last November – the JWC Record Day. Thom and the JWC competed in several USAWA competitions throughout the year.  Thom is a “seasoned” meet promoter with vast experience.   He has hosted an annual Highland Games in his hometown of Kirksville for many years that routinely draws over 50 athletes.  Thom always puts on a “top level” competition and knows how to treat the athletes to a “fun time”.  However, Thom is not really a newcomer to All-Round Weightlifting.  One of his first weightlifting competitions he competed in was an “Odd Lift” meet held by Bill Clark over 30 years ago.

I think it is important to “rotate” locations that the National Championships are held each year  to encourage local participation in Nationals for those athletes that are limited in traveling. The last time Nationals was held in Missouri was 2001, in which Bill Clark and Joe Garcia hosted it in Columbia. This location is the perfect “center point” of our membership.  I fully expect next year’s Nationals to be very well attended, and exceed participation over what we have had in the previous several years of Championships. Take the time right now to put this weekend on your calendar and plan on attending!

New Lifts – The Chin Up and Pull Up

by Al Myers

Pull Ups have always been a popular training exercise, as illustrated by this picture of Franco Columbo in Arnold's book Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

Last spring, Dave Glasgow asked me why the Chin Up and Pull Up were not All-Round Lifts.  I didn’t have an answer for him.  It would seem logical that two of the oldest exercises known to man should be included amongst our All-Round  lifts.  We have over 200 lifts and I can’t  imagine why these two had been left out.  Early day All-Rounders often performed exercises involving body weight movements, and the Chin Up and Pull Up  were usually part of their training program.  So I told Dave to propose them for new lift approval, write the rules for them and hopefully, the membership would vote to accept them. I was glad to see this happen at the National Meeting, as they were accepted. These two common exercises can now be listed in the USAWA Rulebook and Record List alongside other more obscure lifts like the Zeigler Clean and the Scott Lift.  Now records can be established officially in the Chin Up and Pull Up. Bill Clark once told me that one of the purposes of the USAWA is to provide an official competition for a lifter to perform a lift in which he/she specializes in that is not available in other organizations.  Well, I can tell you this  – the Chin Up and Pull Up have been contested from the playgrounds to the prisons for decades.  It is about time an organization wants to oversee them as “official lifts”.

Practically ever gym has a Chin Up bar, and most lifters have trained these two lifts at least at some point in their life.  Dave had these words to say about these two lifts in drumming up support for their approval, “The Pull Up/Chin Up has long been a staple of the strength community and is a valid test of upper body strength.  The basic Pull Up is an exercise that involves multiple muscles of the upper back and arms to work in coordination with one another in order for the exercise to be executed.”

The Rules for the Pull Up

The crossbar used shall be a straight bar with a diameter between 1 inches and 2 inches. The width of hand placement on the crossbar shall be at the discretion of the lifter. The lifter may use any platform necessary to reach the crossbar. The bar is to be grasped with the palms facing away from the body. The weight shall be affixed to the lifter by way of hanging the weight on a belt attached to the waist of the lifter. The lift will begin on command from an official when the lifter is hanging at arms’ length from the crossbar, motionless, and with feet completely off the floor or any support. The lifter must then pull the body to the crossbar to a position where the point of the chin is above the crossbar. Once motionless, the lifter will receive a command that ends the lift. No “kipping” (the motion of excessive kicking of the legs to obtain a mechanical advantage) is allowed. The weight of the lifter is NOT to be included in the total weight lifted.

The Rules for the Chin Up

The rules of the Pull Up apply, with the exception that the palms of the hands must be facing toward the body of lifter.

Both of these lifts will be added to the 4th Edition of  the USAWA Rulebook, which will be available August 1st.

Chin Up Trivia: John Davis, at a body weight of 177 pounds, did a Chin Up with 171 pounds of extra weight attached to him in 1938!

Charles Batta

by Dennis Mitchell

Charles Batta

Charles Batta, whose real name was Charles Estienne, was born August 17, 1866 in Lille France. It was evident even as a young boy that he had unusual strength. Batta never wanted to be a competitive weight lifter. His ambition was to be strongman performer, and he started his career at age fifteen performing in local cafes. His earnings came from the donations of the patrons. He later joined a troupe of traveling athletes. It was not an easy life, and there was no guaranteed income. They traveled by wagon from city to city performing at fairs and celebrations. He considered this to be his apprenticeship. He was quite successful and became quite famous as a strong man. This, however, made some of the bigger and more experienced performers envious of his success. One performer became so angry that he broke a chair over Batta’s head. Batta’s earnings progressed from the spectators donations to a salary of one franc per day, then to 25 francs per week, and by the time he was nineteen yeas old, to 50 francs per day. Again his success had the disadvantage of enraging one of his fellow performers, a giant of a man named Lepi who forced Batta into a fight. Batta was never a person who would back down from a fight or a challenge. He beat Lepi so badly that he was never bothered by any other performer. While performing in Brussels at the Alcazar Cafe Concert, he was earning 70 francs per day. On day while the performers were at dinner, Louis Attila walked in with one of his pupils who was seeking employment at the Alcazar. While waiting for the manager to return Attila’s pupil started to demonstrate the strength of his grip, using chairs and other objects at hand. He stated that no one could duplicate his feats of hand strength. Batta took the challenge and duplicated all of his lifts. Attila’s pupil did however go on to become quite famous under the name of Eugen Sandow. One of Batta’s demonstrations was, while seated, to hold his hand, palm down about one half inch over an upright needle. A forty four pound block weight was placed on the back of his hand. He would hold it there at arms length for about eight seconds, and then stand up still holding the weight at arms length. Though primarily a performer Batta could one arm snatch 154.5 pounds, put over head 209 pounds with one hand, and hold by the ring a weight of 55 pounds at arms length. During his performance he would lift 259 pounds over head with ease.  One of Batta’s challenges was to place a glass of water, a bottle, some gold rings and other jewels plus some gold coins on the seat of a straight back chair. He would then lift the chair with one hand at arms length by one of the horizontal rungs and not spill any of the water. He offered what was on the chair to anyone who could duplicate his lift. No one ever did. Batta’s performance included lifting a horse, a muscle control demonstration, lifting weights and people. In the support known as the “Tomb of Hercules” he would support a loaded cannon which was then fired by an assistant. The only contest that Batta did not win was against the famous Apollon. He did duplicate one of Apollon’s feats by lifting four 44 pound block weights over head with one hand, each weight tied to a finger. He also cleaned (not jerked) Apollon’s rail road wheels. Apollon was so impressed with Batta that they remained friends for life. No strong man article is complete without a list of his measurements. At the age of nineteen Batta stood 5′9.5″, weighed 194 pounds, chest 49″, biceps 17″, forearms 14.5″, waist 33.5″, thighs 25″, calves 16.25″ neck 17.25″, and wrists 8.5″. Charles Batta died June 7, 1931 at the age of 65 yeas.

Ledaig Record Breakers Day


by Dave Glasgow





18 JULY-2010

10:00 A.M.










17 JULY-2010


Steve Angell – Master of the Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

Steve Angell lifted the Dinnie Stones for 20 repetitions in one day.

Steve Angell, of  Milton Keynes England,  made history on the last weekend of June (June 26th) when he lifted the Dinnie Stones for 20 repetitions in one day.  This is the MOST repetitions EVER PERFORMED with the Dinnie Stones in one day.  Steve has been training for this day for a few months, and had hoped to do 40 reps to mark his 40th birthday this year.  He had the back strength to lift the stones that many times, but his hands couldn’t take the abuse and became torn and started bleeding.  Afterall, he was lifting the stones UNASSISTED, which means he wasn’t using straps, gloves, or any other assistance device which would make them easier to lift.  He relied on the good ole-fashioned HOOK GRIP that helped make Steve superb in the All-Rounds with the One Arm Deadlift.

The Dinnie Stones of Scotland were made famous when Donnie Dinnie picked both of them up at the same time around 1860, and carried them across the Potarch Bridge over the River Dee.   Together they weigh 734 pounds with one stone heavier than the other.  Each stone has a ring handle attached to it. It is said they were used as anchors in the construction of the bridge, and where just “left there” because they were too heavy for anyone to carry away!

Steve is not a newcomer to the Dinnie Stones – he has already been successful with lifting them unassisted in 2001 and 2006. Both of those times he just showed up and lifted them, without any specific training ahead of time.  However, this time Steve spent some time preparing, and obviously it paid off.  He had a couple of setbacks in his training which he had to overcome.  When I asked him about these setbacks, this is what he said, “Keeping my hands healthy was my main concern, as I knew they would tear up on the day.  I had one callous tear about 8 weeks out that healed ok, and I nearly put the whole thing in jeopardy when I put a screwdriver into my hand whilst working around the house.  Apart from a slight infection, fortunately, it did not affect things too much.”

Steve and his "brothers in pain", who also got to enjoy the experience of lifting the Dinnie Stones. Pictured left to right: Stan Pike, Barry Gibson, and Steve Angell

What’s NEXT for the All-Round Weightlifting Legend from England??  It seems Steve Angell has accomplished so much, what more can he do?  Well, I had to ask him this question, and this is what Steve had to say, “As for what’s next? For this year, it’s to drop 30 pounds and work on my conditioning and Tai Chi.   My body can only cope with one big event a year now, as I have beat myself up a bit too much over the years on the All-Round lifts.  Not too sure what my big goal for next year will be.  Maybe to press the Inver Stone!”.

I have full confidence that Steve will accomplish anything he sets his mind to. Steve is very much against drug use amongst strength athletes, and doesn’t mind voicing his feelings on this issue, even if it offends someone.  I really admire him for that.  He is the perfect role model for an up and coming All-Rounder.  Steve is living proof that you can be strong and accomplish your goals, all without the use of steroids.  He makes me proud to be an All-Rounder!!

The Box Squat

by Chad Ullom

Scottish Highland Game Champion Dave Brown utilizes box squatting in his training.

My training partner Scott Campbell & I have been using a box for many years to squat off of.   Al recommended box squats to me and they have worked out great for us!   I remember using a box in high school with the Bigger Faster Stronger program, but it was only used as an above parallel  box.   The box we use can be set to a 12, 14 or 16 inch height.  The 12 inch height is about 2 inches below parallel, 14 is at parallel and 16 is about 2 inches above.  I like the variety the box offers, helping with range of motion for deep squats on the 12 inch side while allowing you to feel more weight on your back when you use the 16 inch side.  It also takes out the guess work on depth!  I know I would finish high at times when the weight was heavy or if I was fatigued, but you can’t cheat if your butt doesn’t hit that box.  You have to make sure it’s far enough back that your hamstrings don’t make contact first and it’s just a touch and go.  Don’t drop real fast and crash down on the box.  It’s just there to let you know when you hit the depth you’re looking for.

USAWA Award Winners for 2009

by Al Myers

Courage Award Winners Frank Ciavattone (left) and Dale Friesz (right).

One of the exciting things that has been developed in the USAWA this past year is the development of the USAWA Awards Program.  Included in the new USAWA bylaws is the creation of an Award Director for the USAWA, which is important to insure that the Awards Program will continue in the future. I was nominated for this position and upon receiving the membership’s blessing by an unanimous vote, I was appointed the Awards Director.  I feel giving “special awards” on behalf of the USAWA is VERY IMPORTANT and I will do my best to make sure this continues as long as I am in this position.  When someone shows that they are “going beyond what is expected” in the organization – it is only right that the USAWA gives them the credit they deserve.  I also want to make sure that these “special awards”  will continue to be selected by the membership, instead of by me or the Executive Board.  This makes them mean even more to the deserving award recipients – knowing that they were selected for these honorable awards by their peers.  These awards will be given out at the Annual National Meeting, which is always in conjunction with the National Championships. The 2009 Award winners are as follows:

Athlete of the Year Award Winners Chad Ullom (left) and Al Myers (right).

Athlete of the Year – Al Myers

Athlete of the Year Runner Up – Chad Ullom

Leadership Award – Bill Clark

Leadership Award Runner Up – Al Myers

Sportsmanship Award – Denny Habecker

Sportsmanship Award Runner Up – Art Montini

Courage Award – Dale Friesz

Courage Award Runner Up – Frank Ciavattone

Newcomer Award – David Glasgow

Newcomer Award Runner Up – Kohl Hess

Club of the Year – Dino Gym

Club of the Year Runner Up – Ambridge VFW BBC

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2009 SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS!! The USAWA is very proud of you and your accomplishments.

Time to Revisit the Records Race

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker added another USAWA record to the record list with a Clean and Press of 154 pounds at the 2010 USAWA National Championships

It was exactly 1 year ago that I instigated the USAWA Records Race.  Last year at this time it was a “nip and tuck” battle between our “Prez” Denny Habecker and the “Man of Steel” Art Montini.  Denny had the slight lead of 341 records to Art’s 337 records.  While not much has changed one year later, except the two of them have widened their margin from the rest of the pack. As of now (National records included) Denny still has the slightest of leads over Art  365 to 358.  Last December Denny had “stretched” his lead over Art by 11, but the Man of Steel at an age of 82 is relentless as he is still taking the records down at a rapid pace, as demonstrated by his 4 USAWA records he set last weekend at the National Championships.  But Denny is a born leader and not only leads our organization but the record list as well, and has added over 20 USAWA records himself this past year.

The are still 20 members in the “Century Club” – a designation I gave to those lifters that hold over 100 USAWA records. I last ran this listing last December, and no one new has been added to this list.  However, there has been some changes in how the list “sorts out”. I want to point out that this is CURRENT RECORDS held. If you haven’t been competing there is only one direction you will go, and that is down.  This past weekend’s lifting put more numbers in the Record List (which before long will top 10, 000 records).  It is interesting to note that the 20 lifters in the list below hold 40% of the records in the USAWA Records List.  At the 2010 National Championships 52 new USAWA records were set. For a complete listing of the records set at Nationals click on this – 2010NationalMeetRecords.

Current Records Ranking in the USAWA

1.   365  Denny Habecker

2.   358  Art Montini

3.   227  Al Myers

4.   226   John McKean

5.   214   Bill Clark

5.  214   Noi Phumchona

7.   213   Dennis Mitchell

8.    212   Frank Ciavattone

9.    204   Joe Garcia

10. 201   Bob Hirsh

11.  171  Howard Prechtel

12.  142  Dale Friesz

13.  137  Jim Malloy

14.  134  Ed Schock

15.  123  John Monk

16.  118  Mary McConnaughey

17.  115  Scott Schmidt

18.  114  Chris Waterman

19.  110  Joshua Monk

20.  105  John Vernacchio

Scott Schmidt is Inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame

by Al Myers

Scott Schmidt "relaxing" prior to the 2010 USAWA National Championships.

A highlight this past weekend at the National Championships occurred Saturday after the meet, when the membership was sitting down to the Annual National Meeting.  This highlight was that Scott Schmidt was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame.  I feel Scott’s induction was a big step forward for the USAWA, not only because Scott is more than deserving of the most prestigious award the USAWA has to offer, but because Scott’s induction marks the rebirth of the USAWA Hall of Fame program, which has been inactive since 2003. As I have said already, Scott is more than deserving of this Award and HAS  BEEN  for several years. He put in the work and effort to be in the Hall, and it is about time the USAWA gives him the credit he deserves (and earned!).  Scott has won numerous National Championships and quite a few World Championships in his journey to joining the elite club of the USAWA.  He is a holder of over 100 USAWA Records. He has participated in Gold Cups. He has always supported local meets. He is a club founder. He helps out fellow competitors.  Scott epitomizes a Hall of Famer – and is the type of athlete and individual all others should strive to be like. The USAWA will ceremonially induct Scott into the USAWA Hall of Fame at the Gold Cup in November. Congratulations Scott – the USAWA is very proud of you!

Scott Schmidt performing the Hang Snatch at the 2010 USAWA National Championships.

The words below are Scott’s words of appreciation:

Greetings, All

I wanted to send this note of appreciation out to express my sincere thanks to all those in our administration and voting members who granted me the privilege of entry into our USAWA Hall of Fame.

I have been competing in our favorite strength sport of weightlifting for many years. I know when our organization set the standards for Hall of Fame eligibility, it was a target I embraced and aspired to achieve. So, I set out on a mission to build my credibility, one contest at a time. Although we all know the work is hard, the satisfaction over rules the pain involved. Slowly but surely, I stayed on course to produce results. Winning results. Record results. The achievements necessary to get to the top. What a journey! When I came to this years National Championships, I was well trained to hit my numbers I set out to do in each lift. But as we all sat down to have our annual meeting, I was totally unprepared when Al Myers announced I have been elected into our Hall of Fame. At that moment in time, I really did get choked up. Big Ol’ Scotty Boy. Speechless. Now there’s a first! After the news sunk in, I felt a great sense of internal pride. Joining the class of great champions, who I compete with and against. What a feeling! As a motivational summary to those of you who enjoy competing, take my advice:

Set your goals high, and good things will happen. It may take a little time, but when you hit your target, the feeling is fantastic!

Stay Strong,

Scott A. Schmidt

Dale and Dalton

by Thom Van Vleck

Dale Friesz deadlifting 220 pounds with the Trap Bar at the 2010 USAWA National Championships.

Dale Friesz getting the courage award made me think of my grandfather and patriarch of the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  I think Dale and Dalton would have gotten along just fine.

First, let me say that I have a lot of respect for Dale and I hope that as I get older that I don’t give up on my training.  Dale commented one time that his training is what kept him going and I believe that.  Dalton Jackson was that way, too.

With all the champions to come out of the JWC, from state to national to world champs, people new to the club are often shocked that my grandfather never won anything.  He never competed in a single lifting meet.  But let me explain.  He grew up in the depression and quickly found himself the father to a pack of kids that needed taken care of and he worked long, hard hours to do this.  If he hurt himself, the family was in trouble, so he never maxed out or competed.  It was BECAUSE he sacrificed that later the rest of us could enjoy success.  To the members of the JWC, this made him the greatest champion of them all.

When I was a boy I recall him working at the local shoe factory (a brick hell hole that reeked of chemicals and had no air in the summers….I knew guys who worked there one day and quit….but my grandfather worked there 38 years) full time.  He would work 10 hours a day and half a day on Saturday, or 55 hours a week when they were busy.  He then worked as a janitor of an evening (I often went with him to this job and hung out as he told me stories while he worked) AND he drove a mail truck on Saturday nights.  I often rode with him as he would pick up mail and we would end up around midnight at the airport in Jefferson City.  This meant he’d get home about about 2:00am and he’d still get up and go to Church the next day.  I also recall him sleeping Sunday afternoons!

During these grueling hours, my grandfather would work out.  He worked out all the time.  He would go to the garage gym and get in some lifting, but he also took every chance to get in a few jumping jacks, or push ups, or a bar would be a chance to do some chins.  He incorporated his training in his work, if he were shoveling dirt, he’d do 5 reps over the left shoulder then 5 over the right for 5 sets, then rest a minute, and then back at it.  He would do isometric curls and grip work on the steering wheel of his car while he drove!  I also recall, when he was in his 50’s, he’d go into a handstand and walk on his hands across the yard as he would come into the house.  I’m sure the neighbors thought he was nuts!  Just like I’m sure that those who don’t know Dale the way we do might think he’s a little nuts.  But my grandfather was in fantastic shape and could work all day and I never recall him being sick and if he was, he was in such good shape it didn’t keep him down long.

Then, when he was in his late 70’s, he was hit by a car.  It was a devastating accident and the doctors told us things looked bleak.  He had a severe head injury and they did brain surgery on him.  They put him in one of those rotating beds to drain the fluid off his brain and told us the prognosis was grim and that he’d never fully recover.  But one day, we were in visiting him and my Uncle Wayne noticed he was doing something with his hands.  He was squeezing them…..and he was doing it in 5 sets of 5 reps (his favorite set/rep scheme for exercises) as he switched back and forth.  Soon, this began to spread and the docs thought he was fighting the restraints on his bed.  But we knew, “Pop” (as I called him) was exercising.  He was already planning his comeback!

He made a long, grueling comeback to the amazement of his doctors.  The wreck took it’s toll but Dalton got back to being better than most men his age.  He continued to exercise all the time and lift weights.  I think that if Dalton were around today, he’d be right there with Dale on the platform and I’m sure they’d have a lot to talk about.  Tough times don’t last, tough people do.