Articles from September 2010

Chris James – Strength Athlete Extraordinaire

by Malcolm Whyatt, D.Phy., M.A.I.C, Historian of Physical Culture

Chris James, of 201 Margam Road, Margam, Port Talbot, S. Wales UK SA132AB

Chris was born 29th July 1970 and is married to Paula and they have 3 children. I first heard about Chris in 1998. I had been judging a contest and afterwards, a member of the audience thought I might be interested in a young man who was setting some remarkable feats of strength. Also, that he had recently nearly lost his life.

Chris James with the Millennium Dumbbell. The Millennium Dumbbell weighs 226 pounds. The hand grip circumference is 7 3/4 inches. The hand grip diameter is 2 3/8 inches and the handle is 3 inches. This picture was taken at the OHF Hall of Fame Dinner in 2002.

As the founder of the Oscar Heidenstam Foundation one of our awards is the Dr.Tom Temperley award. This is for those who having suffered trauma, continue to inspire others by outstanding endeavour. From my initial enquiries it was clear that Chris was a more than worthy honouree.

In December 1998 late at night, he was walking home with a friend when an unknown assailant stabbed Chris in the lumbar spine. The 9 inch knife missed his kidneys and spleen but the repair to his Colon and abdominal wall, left a scar from his pubic bone to the sternum. The surgeon said it was a million to one chance that he wasn’t killed and only his muscle density saved him. A normal person would almost certainly not be alive today. 8 weeks later he was back in light training and 3 weeks later, March 1999, we honoured Chris at the 8th annual OHF Hall of Fame Dinner. He impressed everyone by his refreshing modesty and surprised me on the night when I enquired about his hand grip strength. Quite casually he picked up the No:3 IronMind Captains of Crush Gripper and with audible clicks closed them for 3 reps with either hand!

At the 9th OHF Dinner 2000, Chris who at the time weighed 16st 4lbs, cleaned two handed the Thomas Inch Dumbell and single handed, push pressed it over head at 11.30pm. The first man in history to do so and witnessed by David Webster, myself and 60 of 179 guests. Earlier in the evening, he had also cleaned and single handed pressed John Citrones’ famous 112lbs blacksmiths anvil and did 20reps with the ships 92lbs anchor! Just for a laugh, Chris also cleaned & pressed his father overhead for 15 reps. (All above is on OHF Video No:6) His father Eddy, born 1944, share the same birthday 29th July and who won the 1994 Drug Free world power lifting championship and recently on the dead lift, did 11 reps with 400lb (age 59yrs, weight 12stone (210lbs), height 5ft 8inches). His father Wilf Len James, was a famous strongman and mentioned David Websters’ book Sons of Samson.

Chris James clean and pressing John Citrone's famous Blacksmiths Anvil, which weighs 115 pounds. This picture was taken at the OHF Hall of Fame Dinner in 2000.

At 13yrs Chris trained in his garden, became the schools boxing champ and a Karate black belt. He works at a Steel Foundry and where workmen often ask him to try lifting various items. Two examples are that he cleaned and did 10 reps with a 2inch diameter railway axle weighing 260bs and with either of his little fingers, curled a locomotive coupling; which normally takes two men to lift. Chris trains at local a youth club Tai Bach (little House); which has 3,000lbs of Olympic & free weights plus block weights, scrap iron, axles, chains etc.

He is 6ft tall and varies his bodyweight from 16 stone to 21stone Absolutely DRUG FREE he doesn’t use a lifting belt, wraps or other aids. He follows the world of weights with passion and is an avid reader of olde-time strength feats. His main interest is unusual strength lifts; usually for reps and to emulate the feats of Arthur Saxon, Hermann Gӧrner, Louis Cyr, Doug Hepburn and Marvin Eder et al. Seeing is believing! I have a video of Chris in training. His incredible feats almost defies description. Chris James Strength Athlete Extraordinaire.


All lifts witnessed with many on film and photographed.  Doesn’t use weightlifting belt, straps or other aids. Equipment used: Dumbells, 2 inch diameter bars – main plates 25lbs, Olympic Barbells, 2 inch diameter bar, Pinch Grip, Thumb & first two fingers, Block weight 80lbs – 4ins thick – 6ins wide – 12ins long

PINCH GRIP BLOCK WEIGHT -  80lbs carried 15yards – clean and press – either hand

PINCH GRIP WEIGHT PLATE -  75lbs clean and press – either hand


ONE HANDED DUMBELL SWING  -  180lbs (Louis Cyr used a 1inch diameter)

ONE HANDED DUMBELL SWING -  110lbs x 48 reps



ONE HANDED BARBELL FARMERS WALK – 350lbs (carried suit case style)

BARBELL FARMERS WALK – One in each hand 300lbs each (carried suit case style), 2 home made oxyacetylene bottles each weighing 165lbs plus 135lbs iron blocks welded on side!

SEATED DUMBELL PRESS – 150lbs x 5 140lbs x 8

STANDING DUMBELL CLEAN & PUSH PRESS – 160lbs x 2 150lbs x 7 140lbs x 12 125lbs x 21 either hand

INCLINE DUMBELL PRESS - 175lbs x 10 x 3 sets

CHINS (full hang) -  200lbs x 4 150lbs x 8

TWO FINGER CHINS – 110lbs x 8

PARALLEL BAR DIPS – 242lbs x 8

ONE HANDED DEADLIFT (overhand grip) – 500lbs x 2 400lbs x 10

STRAIGHT LEGGED DEADLIFTS (overhand grip) – 500lbs x 20

DEADLIFT (overhand grip) – 660lbs x 5

DEADLIFT FROM KNEES (overhand grip) – 1,100lbs x 3

BENCH PRESS – 505lbs x 8 460lbs x 6 420lbs x 10 400lbs x 20 308lbs x 40


INCLINE DUMBELL BENCH PRESS  - 175lbs dumbells 10 x 3 sets

STRAIGHT ARM PULLOVER (strict) – 166lbs x 8 (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

BARBELL CURL (Strict with back against wall) – 210lbs (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

BARBELL CURL (loose style) – 220lbs x 5 (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

EZ BAR CURL – 315lbs!

BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS – 400lbs x 5 x 4 sets 360lbs x 5 x 4 sets

BARBELL PUSH PRESS off rack Awesome! – 410lbs x 3 310lbs x 10 250lbs x 20

SQUAT (lift from the bottom of power rack) – 650lbs x 3 580lbs x 10 410lbs x 20

HALF SQUAT – 770lbs x 18 (to protect knees – does not specialise on the squat )



880lb Barbell at rack high pin – just short of lock out – Press to Lock out and hold (same as John Grimek)

200lb Kit bag of sand plus two 56lbs coal weights inside (312lbs) – Clean and shoulder

Two 125lbs Olympic barbells. Clean one with left hand – bend down, clean the other with right hand, stand up and press both overhead.

The Chain (Die Kette) one of Hermann Gӧrner favourites. One hand dumbell snatch swing, followed by one hand press, followed by a curl or clean to shoulder and then another press. Starting at 50lbs working up to 180lbs – either hand.

One hand barbell snatch Right hand snatch to across left shoulder or left hand snatch to across right shoulder. Start weight 220lbs working up to 232lbs and Chris makes it look easy – either hand.

Continental & Push Press Behind Neck – a favourite of Arthur Saxon. 330lb barbell 2inch thick – hack lift with palms away from body – bend over lift bar to lumbar spine, roll bar to upper back – change to normal hand grip – push bar to nape of neck – Stand up Push press behind neck to lock out – lower bar to neck – push press over head – lower to front of shoulders – lower to floor.

Absolutely awesome! and no W/L belt! This is on film.

Malcolm Whyatt D.Phy., M.A.I.C 12 Nimrod Drive Hereford HR1 1UG England Tel:(01432) 358 339 Tel int +44 (0) 1432) 358 339

Alfred Monte Woolaston – AKA Monte Saldo

by Dennis Mitchell

Monte Saldo - displaying a very muscular pose

Alfred Monte Woolaston was born in 1879 in Highgate, London England.  His father, Fredrick Woolaston was a shoe manufacturer, a Methodist preacher, and a faith healer.  Alfred developed an interest in strength at an early age and in his early teens was a member of the London weightlifting club, where he came in contact with many notable lifters.  His family encouraged him, especially his uncle a police inspector, who being very prominent socially, managed to arrange for him to become an apprentice to Eugene Sandow at Sandow’s gym.  Alfred was a hard worker and not only improved his strength, but learned much about performing, while helping Sandow in his stage performances.

In 1900 Alfred teamed up with Ronco, an Italian strongman, and they became “Ronco and Monte” ( Alfred was now known as Monte Saldo ) and opened at the Cafe Chantant, Crystal Palace,  where they were very successful.  After their engagement at the Crystal Palace they went on a tour of Europe where their act so impressed an English theatrical agent they got a six month contract to appear at the Royal Aquarium in Westminster, London.  This was during the “Golden Years of Strongmen”.  It was common for strongmen performers to offer large amounts of money to their spectators if they could duplicate any of their feats of strength.  While they never had to pay anyone, their challenges did result in setting up a contest between Monte and a lifter named Charles Russell.  Russell was the British amateur 140 pound champion.  Russell could not duplicate any of Monte’s stage lifts, however he did challenge Monte to the five lifts used in amateur competition.  Monte accepted the challenge, even though he did not train on these lifts and Russell was the winner.  Monte learned his lesson and never went into another contest until he trained on the contest lifts.  Ronco and Monte’s act was so successful their performance was extended beyond the six months.  At the end of their engagement at the Royal Aquarium, Ronco and Monte ended their partnership.  Ronco went back to Italy and Monte and his brother Frank formed their own act and performed in Dresden, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Saxony, Prague and in Parism where they were regulars at Professor Desbonnet’s gym.  During a performance in Hamburg they were offered a full season contract by Frank Glennister to perform at the London Pavilion.  It was at the Pavilion that Monte would support a car, with passengers, in the support known as “The Tomb of Hercules”.  An amazing feat for a man weighing only 144 pounds.  For a time Monte did a solo act, but in 1906 he and his brother Frank joined up again to perform a new act called “The Sculptor’s Dream” .  The act began with the sculptor admiring his latest work, a statue of a muscular athlete.  The statue was placed before a mirror so that the audience could see both it’s front and back.  The sculptor, tired from his work fell asleep on the studio couch.  At this point the statue came to life and went through a series of poses in front of the mirror so the audience could view both the front and back of the statue.  Suddenly the statue reached through the mirror and pulled out his reflection (his brother Frank) and they did acrobatics, hand to hand balancing, lifting each other and wrestling, all synchronized to music.  As the sculptor woke up the statue and his reflection returned to their original position as the act ended.

Next in the career of Monty, he teamed up with William Bankier (Apollo) and opened the Apollo Academy in London. Their Academy attracted many of the famous lifters and wrestlers of that time.  It was at the Academy that Arthur Saxon did a bent press with 386 pounds.  It was weighed and witnessed by the editor of Health and Strength magazine, Bill Klein, also John Murry and William Bankier (Apollo).  Monte was hailed as one of the best trainers, and next teamed up with Max Sick, who was professionally known as Maxick.  Together they marketed the Maxaldo Method of Muscle Control which was a method of training using no equipment, to improve muscle development, speed and stamina.  The name was later changed to Maxalding, and the course was sold  into the 1970’s.

Monte was active in organizing the British Amateur Weightlifting Association, (BAWLA) and served on the committee for professional lifters.  Monte weighed 144 pounds, stood 5′5″, had a 17″ neck, 45.5″ chest, 16″ arms, 13″ forearms, 30″ waste, 23″ thighs and 15,5″ calves.  He could bent press 230 pounds and was the first man in England to do a one arm swing with more than body weight, doing 150 pounds.  He is credited with showing that the swing was best done with a dumbbell loaded unevenly, with more weight on the back end of the bell.

Monte was a very well educated man.  He was a very good musician, and was fluent in several languages.  World war II was very devastating for Monte’s family.  His wife was killed during a bombing raid on London.  Monty and his daughter, Theresa, were seriously injured, and his son was killed during the invasion of Europe.  Monty never fully recovered from his injuries and the loss of his wife and son.  He passed away at the age of seventy in 1949.

USAWA in Print: Book Review

by Thom Van Vleck

Steve Scott and John Saylor's latest book promotes USAWA members and USAWA lifts.

I recently got an issue of Steve Scott’s latest book.  He wrote it with John Saylor, a well respected martial arts instructor and Champion.  Steve sent me an autographed copy because of what was inside.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  First, let me tell you about Steve.

Steve is one of my best friends and someone I admire greatly.  When I first met Steve he was a top master’s thrower in Scottish Highland Games and was running Highland Games in KC.  Because of Steve, I became friends with Al Myers and Chad Ullom and was introduced to the sport that I’ve enjoyed my greatest athletic success.  For that, I’m very grateful.  Steve’s wife, Becky, also was a top thrower and always at his side in any project he took on.  I then found out that Highland Games were just the tip of the iceberg as far as Steve & Becky were concerned.

Steve was, and still is, a top Judo coach.  He has a widely respected club in Kansas City called the Welcome Mat that has been in operation since 1969.  It has produced National, Pan American,  and World Champs as well as some of the elite men and women in our fighting forces and a Secret Service Agent that was on George W. Bush’s personal detail.  Becky was a National, Pan Am, and World Champ and Steve once told me that Becky could have been an Olympic Champion but back then women did not compete in Judo in the Olympics!

Over the years, Steve has written over a dozen books on martial arts, training, coaching and this one is his best to date in my opinion.  It has a very broad appeal.  My Uncle, Phil Jackson, who is, in my opinion, the most knowledgeable person I ever met in regards to weight training, once told me that the hardest sport all the way around was boxing.  It was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining.  I would say the same applies to all combat sports.  You have to be tough and that comes from how you train.  Steve, with John Saylor, has (in my opinion) created the ultimate resource on Combat training.

This book is HUGE and full of all types of training.   There are over 300 pages of illustrated exercises.  There are detailed explanations of not only how to do the lift, but how to properly train and utilized the lift to fix a weakness. There are workout routines and tons of advice.   I would say that if you wanted to do some off season conditioning for USAWA lifting or Highland Games, this book would be a valuable resource.

Now, I’ll tell you why mine was autographed.  Inside were pictures of me, Al Myers, and Chad Ullom demonstrating some lifts.  Appropriately, it was in the “OLD SCHOOL” training section.  Steve  talks about training wisdom that came from Bill Clark,  and his book even contains an exercise that is a variation of the “Inman Mile”!  I knew Steve had requested the photos, but I had no idea what a first class product he was producing.

Summary of USAWA Team Records

by Al Myers

Two Man Deadlift of 661 pounds by Roy Mason (on left, 76 years old and 151 pounds) and Bill Decker (on right, 76 years old and 161 pounds). This Team Deadlift record was set on January 29th, 1994 at the Texas Deadlift Classic. (photo courtesy of the Meet Director Joe McCoy)

I knew alot of USAWA Team Records were set last weekend at Team Nationals, but I didn’t realize it was the MOST EVER team records set in one day in the history of the USAWA!  A total of 16 USAWA Team Records were set.  The previous best was 12 Team Records set at the 2005 Deadliest Duo Competition, which was slightly ahead of the the 2009 Team Nationals which had 10 records set.   The Team Record List is not near the length of the Individual Record list – only 98 records are recorded for Team Lifts versus over 9000 records for Individual Lifts.  That’s a tad over 1% represented by Team Records in the Total Record List!

This review of Team Records lead to many questions I had – of which I’m going to share the answers with you.

1.  Who has the oldest record in the Team Record List?

Joe McCoy and Bill Drybread teamed up to set several Team Records at the 1989 Nationals Record Day, on June 26th, 1989.  They currently hold together 9 Team Records in these lifts: Team Deadlift, Team Snatch & Clean, Team Snatch and Clean, 1 hand, Team Snatch – One Arm, and Team Clean and Press.

2.  How many 2-Person (man and woman) records are there in the Team Record List?

Only three  2-Person Teams have any records.  In 1996, John McKean teamed with Diane Burger to set a record in the Team Clean and Press at Art’s Birthday Bash.  In 1995, Kerry Clark teamed with Dale Spry to set a 2-Person Team Record in the Deadlift, with a pull of 500 pounds, set at the ‘95 Nationals in Columbia, Missouri. In 2001 at Art’s Birthday Bash, John McKean teamed with Lynne Burnell to lift 405 pounds in the 2-Person Team Jefferson Lift.

3.  Has there ever been any 2-Women Teams set records?

At the 2000 Buckeye Record Breaker, Noi Phumchaona and Anna Holter set the first 2-Women Team Record with 309 pound Team Deadlift.  At the 2003 Buckeye Record Breaker, Carolyn Anderson and Montia Wade teamed up to pull a Team Deadlift of 220 pounds.

4.  Which Team is the Oldest in the Record List?

That honor goes to Roy Mason and Bill Decker, who teamed up for a Team Deadlift in the 75 year old age division at the 1994 Texas Deadlift Classic.

5. Which Team is the Youngest in Record List?

In 1991, the brothers Robbie and Sean McKean teamed up in the 10 year old age division and performed a 265 pound Team Deadlift.

6.  Which Team has the MOST records?

Chad and I have the most at 13 records.  Second place goes to the team of Joe McCoy and Bill Drybread with 9 records.  Third place is a tie with 8 records, with the team of Thom Van Vleck and John O’Brien and the team of Mike Murdock and Rudy Bletscher.

7.  How many different lifts have been contested as Team Lifts?

There has been 21 different lifts contested as Team Lifts.

8.  Which lift has been contested the MOST as a Team Lift?

The Team Deadlift is the most contested Team Lift.

9.  Which Team has lifted the MOST weight in any Team Lift?

That was set this year at the 2010 Team Nationals  when Chad and I lifted 1100 pounds in the 2-Man Trap Bar Deadlift, but that might not last long as I have heard the rumor that the Team Hip Lift may be contested at next year’s Team Nationals.

Dinnie Stones: Who Was Really First?

Jack Shanks, second (or third) to lift the stones without straps

by Thom Van Vleck

I have to admit, I don’t have the patience to do pure research.  The long hours required make my eyes glaze over.  When I read, it goes like this:  I pull a book off a shelf, thumb through it, find something interesting, read it until I get bored, then move on.  As a result, I gather information in bits and pieces and it kind of becomes like a puzzle to me.  Waiting for the next piece to make the overall picture more clear.  I have a lot of “puzzles” going on at once and I kind of like it that way.

As of late, one of these puzzles has been focused on Dave Webster and the Dinnie Stones.  I had wrote most recently about “Darth Vader” lifting the stones and that the article in Ironman was not really clear if Dave Prowse (Darth) lifted the stones with straps or without.  That article was written in the 70’s.  Last night I was reading Webster’s book ” Scottish Highland Games” that was printed in 1973.  In it, he makes the statement on page 131 of Prowse’s feat, “A good feat, but Dave wore hand straps which make a great difference”.

Dave then goes on and details what was certainly the second lifting (if not the third….I’ll explain that later) of the stones without straps.  Now, I realize that Gordon Dinnie, a descendent of Donald, has a website ( that details lifts, but if you read Webster’s book you find some details that don’t match up….making for an interesting “puzzle”.  These are the details I’m going to focus on.  My intention is not to point out mistakes, because these aren’t mistakes.  My intention is to provide information where I have found it and let you decide.

In Webster’s book he credits Jack Shanks, from Ireland, with lifting the Dinnie Stones “correctly”.  Which Webster explains as lifting both stones with no straps.  What I find funny is that in my mind “correctly” would be to lift the stones and carry them the width (not the length) of the bridge.  However, “correctly” seems to have come to mean simply lifting the stones….or carrying them the prescribed distance!  Gordon Dinnie’s website seems to confirm Shanks feat, but gives him credit with carrying the stones the equivalent distance, which Webster makes no mention of.  Gordon Dinnie also credits Imlach Shearer with lifting the stone assisted two years earlier and unassisted the same year as Shanks (1973).  What Gordon Dinnie does not make explicitly clear is if Shearer did the unassisted lift before or after Shanks.  I say this because Gordon may not have considered Shearer’s feat the same if he simply lifted them while Shanks carried them!

Now,  earlier I mention Jack Shanks being possibly the third man to lift the stones “correctly”.  Webster states in his book that in 1955 in Aberdeen at the “Highland Fling” a 78 year old man named James Law came forward and stated he lifted both stones in 1911, but did not carry them.  So, perhaps he was the second, after Dinnie, to life the stones “correctly”….or perhaps some other man, after a hard days work and a few brews in the Potarch Inn, lifted those stones on a bet or whim and their feat and name is lost to history.  Not to much of a stretch to believe that could have happened!

Then there is the story of when Louis Cyr came to visit Dinnie and they visited the stones.  Dinnie picked up the smaller stone and then carried it a distance.  Cyr did the same and beat Dinnie’s distance.  Webster points out that Dinnie was 63 years old at the time and Cyr was much younger and in his prime, but Webster seems to be clear that Cyr did not lift both.  Webster also tells of a man named William McCombie Smith would regularly lift the bigger stone unassisted and was the only man to do this.  Webster then states that after that, Henry Gray and John Gallagher also lifted the big stone unassisted before Prowse came along.

Another story involved Bill Bangert.  A man from Missouri often credited with bringing Scottish athletics to America and beginning the modern “wave ” of success it has had the past 40 years.  Bangert made a ring and harness to carry the stones that undoubtedly made the feat much easier…..and he received a little grief then and since then for this “cheat lift”.  But he did carry the stones across the road and back and I don’t think he tried to claim he did any more than that!

On another “final” note (at least until I read some more!).  I also read that at one time one of the rings broke and a different ring was attached.  It was not clear which one (the smaller or the larger one) but if it were the smaller ring….that changed the dynamics dramatically.  I lifted each stone individually with straps and that small ring was considerably more difficult.  Then there is the concern that the stones are being slowly chipped away and who knows how much weight they have lost, being dropped over and over.   Maybe they will soon be place in protected custody like the original Apollon’s Railroad Car Wheels, where nobody will ever lift them again!  In which case, we may not ever know  who was first, but we may know who was LAST!

Home Made Equipment

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Jackson using a home made Bench Press

In the early days of the Jackson Weightlifting Club there was a lot of  Home Made equipment.  My grandfather said that back in the 20’s, when he and his friends decided to lift weights they had “NO HOPE” of being able to afford real weights so they got scrap iron for the bars and poured cement in buckets to make weights.  They also lifted whatever was handy!  When my Uncles started lifting in the late 50’s, there was more equipment available, but they had the same old problem of being broke!  So they made a lot of their own stuff and got by just fine.  In the photo I’ve included with this story you will see my Uncle Wayne doing “press grip tricep presses” (basically, using the same grip he used for the Olympic Press and keeping his elbows in) on a bench that one of the JWC members made.   If you look closely, the leg on the far left is actually split and it looks like it’s ready to blow!!!!

I recall when I first started training, about 1977, they were tearing a house down nearby.  We went down and Wayne pulled out some old boards that weighed a ton (probably native oak).  We pulled what seemed like hundreds of nails out and then my grandfather Dalton took to making an Incline for Presses.  I’m pretty sure Evel Knievel could have used that thing to jump the Grand Canyon, it was that solid!!!  I also recall getting a splinter or two using that thing and learning that if you do inclines with the uprights in front of you and you can’t lock out the bar….you will be trapped!  Another thing that my Uncle’s made that I still have is a set of squat stands.  The base is a truck wheel and the upright is a truck drive shaft.  The “U joint” makes a nice, natural rest for the bar.   When I first started in the Highland Games, I made a lot of homemade equipment.

I’m sure we all have stories like that.  I have many more, too.  But that’s not my point today.  It’s about desire.  I recall my grandfather telling a story about how when he was a kid there was a man that had a really fast horse and he treated the horse like gold, pampering it, giving it all the best grain, stalls, equipment and most importantly hired someone to train the horse.  He then raced it against another horse that had none of these things but did have an owner that worked hands on with the horse.  The day of the race, the horse that knew his owner and the owner’s desire to win, won over the horse who’s owner was a stranger to him.  The message I got was that desire was the most important ingredient to winning.

I recall one day back in the 70’s a guy begged me to come and train at the old JWC.  He showed up and it was winter and there was no heat in our gym.  It was also dirty and full of home made equipment.  I could tell he was put off by it all.  He never came back and that was no great surprise to me.  If he had the desire, he would have put up with what he had to in order to achieve his goal.

Today, I have a pretty nice gym.  I have some pretty expensive equipment.  But I still lift off those old squat stands from time to time to remember that story.  To remember that if I have don’t have desire, all the fancy equipment in the world won’t save me when (as my Granddad used to say) “the shoe leather meets the road”.   A little adversity is a good thing!

Team Nationals


by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals. Front row left to right: Rudy Bletscher, and Mike Murdock. Back row left to right: Mark Mitchell, Scott Tully, Al Myers, and Chad Ullom.

Chad and I were able to successfully defend our title of  USAWA Team National Champions, but not without serious competition this year.  This, without a doubt, has to be the most successful Team Nationals to date in terms of competitors and quality of competition.  I haven’t counted the records set yet, but I am willing to bet that more USAWA Team Records were set in this meet compared to any other meet in USAWA history.  Fellow Dino Gym members Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully formed a team, along with a pair of very strong 70 plus year olds, Mike Murdock and Rudy Bletscher.  It is interesting to note that all the teams had team members that were very comparable in size and strength to each other.  Having  team partners that are compatible in strength, lifting style, and body size is essential in order for a team to perform optimally.

Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully with their 450 pound Team Maxey Press.

The first lift of the day was the Maxey Press, done in honor and remembrance of Bob Maxey, who was a founding member of the Dino Gym and who this lift is named after.  The Maxey Press is a strict press from the rack using the Fulton Bar. Mark and Scott stole the show here as they got an easy 450#, and then called for 500#.  Truly a huge team press!  They missed it by inches at lockout.  Both of these guys are 250-300# strict pressers, but just had their timing off a little lifting together.  The next lift was the Hands Together Bench Press.  This lift is tricky when performing it alone, but as a Team Lift  really provides a challenge.  Mark and Scott ended with 570#, but had more in them.  They just ran out of attempts.  The next lift was the Team Rectangular Fix.  Mike and Rudy showed true grit in this one, as they did a lift of 160 pounds.  When tabulating the points, I realized that these two scored the most points in this lift of all the teams.  They had adjusted points in the Rectangular Fix of 173 points, compared to 157 points for Chad and me, and 152 points for Mark and Scott.  That is something they should be proud of!

Rudy Bletscher and Mike Murdock - A pair of very strong lifters over the age of 70 years.

The last lift of the day was the Team Trap Bar Deadlift.  I had made a custom-designed Trap Bar for this occasion to accommodate this lift.  I told the guys whoever lifted the most would probably have a World Record since I doubt this lift has ever been contested before, anywhere.  The comp was very close at this point, with Mark and Scott leading Chad and me by only 10 points.  So this Team Nationals came down to the LAST EVENT to be decided!  Chad and I opened with 915 pounds while Mark and Scott decided to break the 1000 pound barrier on their opener with 1005 pounds.  This put them in the drivers seat over us.  Chad and I then matched them with a 1005 pound pull.  They decided to call for 1100 pounds to really put the pressure on us, so Chad and I were forced to do the same.  They missed it ever so close, and then  Chad and I pulled it for the win. A dramatic finish!

This was a great day for the USAWA.  I want to thank Darren Barnhart for officiating, and for my Dad LaVerne and old-time Olympic Weightlifting champ Dave Hahn for showing up to watch this ordeal.  Team Nationals is a very unique competition that I am surprised not more lifters want to take part in.   It challenges you in different ways than typical solo lifting competitions.  Even though next year’s Team Nationals is a year away, I invite everyone now  to take part in this event next year.

Al Myers and Chad Ullom with a 1100 pound Team Trap Bar Deadlift.



1. Al Myers (253# & 44 years old) and Chad Ullom (245# & 38 years old)  – 115 kg Class & Open Division

2. Mark Mitchell (357# & 49 years old) and Scott Tully (344# & 34 years old) – 125+ kg Class & Open Division

3. Mike Murdock (230# & 70 years old) and Rudy Bletscher (216# & 74 years old) – 105 kg Class & 70-74 Age Division

Official (one official system used):  Darren Barnhart

Team Lifts:  Maxey Press, Bench Press – Hands Together, Rectangular Fix, and Trap Bar Deadlift

Lifters Maxey Bench Rec Fix Trap DL Total Points
Al Myers

Chad Ullom

400 500 200 1100 2200 1734.92
Mark Mitchell

Scott Tully

450 570 215 1005 2240 1592.42
Mike Murdock

Rudy Bletscher

200 210 160 585 1155 1252.96

Notes: All lifts recorded in pounds.  Total is total weight in pounds lifted.   Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Concepts on General Weight Training

(Over the years, my Uncle Phil Jackson has been my coach, but also much more than that.  He has been my guru, my father figure, and a best friend.  Phil has coached numerous state champs, bodybuilding champs, and he ran a couple of gyms.  He met all the greats of yesteryear including Bill Pearl, Paul Anderson, John Grimek, and many more.  He also has a degree in Physical Education and has maintained his teaching certificate.   He shared thoughts and ideas with these men and has a wealth of knowledge that  today’s lifter might view as old fashioned, but I think USAWA members realize that the old timers knew what they were doing. He sent me this routine some time ago typed upon his manual typewriter back in 1969. – Thom Van Vleck)

Concepts on General Weight Training

by Phil Jackson

Weight training is possibly the greatest supplement an athlete can add to his training schedule.  Yet it can also be the worst mistake he could ever make.

Weight training applied properly can add strength, endurance, speed, and a certain degree of flexibility.  If it is not applied properly you may find yourself somewhat stronger than you were before but your athletic performance has not increased and in some cases even decreased primarily due to a lack of flexibility.  For example, you could give a baseball pitcher a weight training schedule that was too heavy, lacking full range movement that would ruin his pitching arm.  Yet you carefully design a schedule using weights to strengthen his throwing muscles, and it will improve his pitching.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to make a distinction between the terms weight lifting and weight training.  Weightlifting is the process of lifting weight primarily for the purpose of increasing muscle size and strength, with no regard to athletic performance, where as weight training is the process of training with weights for the purpose of increasing strength for the purpose of athletic performance.

Most of us as coaches will be using weight training for the purpose of increasing strength for athletic performance, yet at the same time one should strive for as much flexibility as possible in the weight schedule.  This is usually provided by emphasizing the stretch with the movement. I would like to demonstrate just a few of these exercises and the whole purpose here is the stretch technique use whenever possible: Bench Press to Neck, Deadlift off bench, Lunges to floor, One arm tricep extension, Wrist Curls, Straight Arm Pullovers, Seated Twist (always first), and Calf Raises.

Two biggest mistakes you can make, Compare yourself to others and directly applying others technique to you…you find what works for you.

As a coach, when you’re making up weight training schedules for your athletes there are 7 concepts which will help.

1. Cardiovascular: Increasing and maintaining heart rate

2.  Respiratory: How you control your breathing in an athletic event, holding breath, releasing it, and breathing control.

3. Stamina: Ability to go day after day

4. Endurance: Ability to go as near 100% in a one day event, continuous ability to perform at a high level

5. Muscle Twitch: stretching just beyond the normal range.  Very determined by the specific sport.  Increasing the ability to Explode (Phil calls it muscle snap).

6.  Flexibility: All kinds of stretching for active recovery, teaching the muscle to relax for performance improvements, getting in touch with the muscle.  Increased the range of motion and muscle twitch.

7.  Complete training: building the minor muscles and foundation muscles for the specific sport event.

Uncle Phil

by Thom Van Vleck

Phil Jackson (R) arm wrestling in the old JWC gym

A lot of you guys hear me mention my “Uncle Phil” and a few of you have asked me to tell you more about him (some of the old timers still around like Bill Clark, Charles Scott, and Wilbur Miller will remember him personally) .  He is Phil Jackson and he’s the one really responsible for the Jackson Weightlifting Club today.  He is also the source of most of my training knowledge.  He has been a father figure, a friend, an mentor, a coach, and sometimes agitator!  The photo above was when Phil was just a teen.  He was a fantastic arm wrestler and says he was NEVER beaten and I can find no one who says they did!   Phil’s main passion was Olympic lifting and Bodybuilding.  He had a disdain for powerlifters calling them “Olympic lifting rejects”, but that was mostly good natured (at least I think it was!).

My grandfather initially started the JWC in 1928 with his brother in law, Coda Baugher, and some friends.  But to be honest, this was just some neighborhood friends hanging out and lifting weights and it quickly broke up as they grew up and left home.  However, my grandfather would tell the stories to my Uncles and they started lifting in 1957.  Initially, it was my Uncle’s Leroy and Wayne.  Phil was the “baby” of the family and started a couple years later.

Leroy was a star athlete and interested in weights only to benefit his other interests in football, basketball, baseball, and track and he was very successful in those sports.  But Wayne took an interest in Olympic lifting and entered his first contest in April of 1962 (run by Bill Clark) and out of that, the modern JWC was born!  Phil was always the “go getter”, the guy that would pull everyone together to train, compete, and put up money for contests.  He soon rounded up over 30 members to the newly named JWC and fielded teams that traveled to dozens of meets across the Midwest during the 60’s.  During that time, the JWC won two team state championships in Olympic lifting against teams from St. Louis and Kansas City.  Phil lifted on those teams but he was always the “coach” and main motivator. Phil has always been an “old school” type coach.  If he thinks making you mad will make you better….prepare to be madder than you’ve ever been.  Phil knows how motivate people, one way or the other!!!!  He used his coaching lessons later in life to win 42 out of 42 consecutive sales awards during his career as a sales manager for a large insurance company.

In 1965 Phil earned a unusual distinction.  That year he entered the Missouri High School State Championships in Olympic Lifting, held in Kansas City that year.  At that time Phil was around 17 years of age and he lifted either 165lbs or 181lbs.  He became adept at making weight when he had to.  He had an ongoing battle with another lifter and Phil was going to make a point of beating him at this meet.  He thought this fella was going to lift in the 165lb class so Phil (already with a qualifying total in another meet at 165) cut weight and showed up to lift on the first day.  That day, the 114lb, 123lb, 145lb, and 165lb classes were due to lift on Saturday.  The other guy found out about this and gained up to lift 181lbs obviously trying to avoid the confrontation.  Phil lifted 165lbs and won, but the other guy started talking some trash about how he was “lucky” Phil had avoided certain defeat had he entered that class.  So Phil showed up on Sunday to weigh in, having hit the buffet and downing a gallon of milk to make the 181lb class.

Phil had a qualifying total at 181 and stated he wanted to lift.  The officials told he he couldn’t and Phil said, “Show me in the rules where it says I can’t”!! The officials couldn’t find any rule so decide to let him lift….much the the chagrin of his “rival”.  Phil hit the exact same total as the previous day and won!  Two state titles in two weight classes…..the same YEAR!  The following year, the AAU made a rule explicitly forbidding anyone from doing that again.  While no one named Phil as the reason for the rule….it always seemed there had to be a connection.  Later, all other lifting organizations, as they developed, lifted that rule from the AAU rule book and today it’s standard in all lifting organizations.

In March of 1966, Phil was going to be drafted so he joined the Air Force.  He was soon after sent to Vietnam for a year where he poured himself into his training as an escape and got into the best shape of his life.  When he came back from Vietnam he was stationed in Alabama where he met and trained with greats such as Joe Dube, Frank Zane (although Phil always called him “chicken legs Zane”), Boyer Coe, Casey Viator, and Karo Whitfield to name a few.  He also met and had a long personal conversation with Paul Anderson during this time.

In 1969 Phil came back to Kirksville to attend Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) and during that time him and my Uncle Wayne achieved some of their greatest strength lifts.  In 1971 Wayne won the Missouri State title in Powerlifting AND Olympic Lifting with Phil at his side pushing him the whole way.  During that time he became best friends with Lenvil Elliot, a friendship that lasted until Lenny’s passing a few years ago. Lenny was a JWC member and later played 8 years in the NFL and was the MVP of the 1982 NFC Championship Game (the game where Joe Montana threw the famous pass to Dwight Clark) and Lenny won a Super Bowl ring.  So, a JWC member has a Super Bowl ring!

In 1973, Phil graduated and the rigors of a family and job, plus moving away, led to him giving up heavy lifting.  During that time he would always challenge himself.  One time he made a goal of being able to do 100 pushups without stopping and trained for that.  I often visited him and we often went hunting and fishing together and he made a point of always “showing me up” with some feat of strength or endurance.  At the same time, he always let me know that if I wanted to beat him, it was as simple as being willing to “pay the price” and get stronger.  Phil often reminded me, “The only time Success comes before Work is in the Dictionary”.  I was always impressed with his exploits and feats of strength and it fired me up to be strong!

In 1977 I took an interest in weight training and soon Phil was my coach.  Since he was my mother’s younger brother people thought we were brothers and I suppose we acted like it, cutting up all the time.  Phil guided me in my early training and often stated, in his old school coach way, “I’ve forgotten more about training that you’ll ever know”.  This has, to date, been a 33 year relationship that continues to this day.  While he lives in Colorado and has since 1984, we talk a couple times a week.  Often about many things, but weight training is a constant.  I lived with him in 1988 and he trained me into the best all around shape of my life.  We often debate heatedly on training, but in that process, I know he’s pushing me to become better.   Over the years I’ve been out at least two dozen times for visits and he comes back almost yearly and during that time we have intense meetings on training, politics, and life.

Then, in 2000, after a 27 year absence from serious weight training, Phil made his “comeback”.  Since that time he trains about 3 hours a day, usually a split routine, and often almost daily.  He trains old school, long, hard hours in the gym and he has had some amazing results.  I am hoping that someday I can coax him into a USAWA meet!  I am confident he could break many records.  But that doesn’t seem to interest him as much as just communing with the iron and using his lifting as a way of life rather than a path to glory.  I can honestly say that at 60 he was in the best shape I’ve ever seen for a 60 year old man

Phil has had some bad luck as of late.  Severely injuring his shoulder in a fall that required surgery and some health issues that appear to be related to his exposure to agent orange and DDT in Vietnam (he worked in a warehouse that ordered, stored, and dispersed the product and he said the area around the base was sprayed constantly).  But Phil never stops, he never gives up and that’s what I’ve come to expect from him.  I am currently working with him on a book about the JWC that will involve life stories along with real, hardcore, training philosophy.  Even if it never gets published, I know I’m already better off from the knowledge and lessons learned in the process.

In closing, I’ll just say that what I admire most about Phil was he had the mind of a champion.  Once he locked on a goal, he was unbeatable.  He may not have been gifted genetically, but he would get 100% out of what he had and often beat others stronger, faster, and more athletic than he was…simply with determination!

Defining “Drug Free”

by Thom Van Vleck

The most recent issue of MILO came out and in it is an article that I did that I’m particularly happy about.  I got to interview John Godina (top discus thrower and world champ in the shot put).  He was a lot of fun to visit with and he had a lot of comments about training, drugs, the politics of throwing, and other related topics and he pulled no punches.

My favorite comment was related to being a drug free thrower.  John has always advocated being drug free in his throwing and training and he has never tested positive for anything which, as much as one can, backs up his claims of being drug free.  When I asked him about drug use in sports he said, “People who use [drugs] are cowards because they are afraid to find out if they are the best without it.”  That’s a pretty strong statement.

I have never used performance drugs (that’s probably pretty obvious based on my lifts!) and have no plans to do it in the future.  I can’t say I haven’t been tempted, but that’s another story.  Many people involved in the USAWA are in it for the drug free aspect.  However, exactly where we all fall often leads to debate.  One of the most heated debates on steroid use I ever had was on the USAWA forum!  It’s just not that simple!

I often talk training with my Uncle Phil Jackson, the JWC guru.  One day we were talking about drugs and he posed this question to me:  “If they came out with a 100% safe steroid would you use it”.  I stated, “No, because as soon as I stopped using it I would lose much of what was gained”.  Then, in typical Phil Jackson style, he took it a step further.  Phil has always made me think….and think hard about things.  He asked, “What if you got to keep the gains?”  Well, now this DID make me think.

My two main arguments regarding being drug free has always been that, first, there are health risks, and second, the gains you make would be lost when you stopped taking the drugs.  Since those two conditions had been met, I said I would.  Then, my Uncle added another layer to the discussion by asking:  Would that be cheating?  Regardless of whether it is allowed or not, in my heart, would I feel like I was cheating using a drug to get stronger.  At the time, I said I would not feel like I was cheating because I had removed my two main concerns regarding performance drug use.  My Uncle told me like he saw it:  “I think you’d be a cheater”.  That made me mad….but it has made me rethink my stand and that’s exactly what the old coach was challenging me to do!

At the time, I countered that I would not feel like I was cheating if everyone had access and the choice to drug use.  I thought I had him with that one!  But Phil said to me, “So you lift to beat others and win?”  Back to square one.  I have always wanted to believe that I lift for me.  I lift to make myself stronger, not just in body, but mind and spirit in the painful journey to build the body God gave me into the best I could possibly be……and would using a drug to circumvent my own genetic limits be cheating?  Would removing the pain, suffering, and the defeat that drugs would take away, lessen the experience and all the benefits?   When I thought about it, my heart told me that it would.

Finally, Phil asked me, “What if they came out with a drug that would make you strong without ever lifting a weight…would you use it?”  Wow!  I had never thought of that, but with gene therapy, splicing, you just never know what is on the horizon.  That added yet another dimension to my moral dilemma. To me, the joy of lifting a big weight has come at the cost of hard training and that “cause and effect” has had intrinsic value that has led to lasting satisfaction  In other words, as Phil always told me, “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.” That was easy, “No way would I use a drug that made me strong without paying the price.

Again, this is an ongoing process for me, but a question every lifter should consider as part of their journey to fulfilling their own potential.    You challenge yourself in the gym, you should be challenging the reasons you are there and strengthening your desire to work hard and reach your goals.  To me, that’s every bit as important as the lifting.

Dino Days Are Coming Up!


by Al Myers

2009 USAWA Team National Champions, Al Myers and Chad Ullom, with a 2-Man Jefferson Lift of 1000 pounds. Team JWC, Thom Van Vleck and John O'Brien (in the background) were second overall.

This upcoming weekend is the Dino Gym’s annual Dino Days Weekend.  Two competitions will be held – a Highlander Games on Saturday (Sanctioned by the North American Highlander Association)  and the USAWA Team Nationals on Sunday.  Scott Tully is the meet director for the Dino Gym Highlander and I’m the meet director for the Team Nationals.  Entry forms and meet information for the Highlander Games can be found here – Dino Gym Highlander Entry Form .  Team Nationals entry forms and meet information  are available on this website, under “Future Events”.  It is NOT too late to enter either one of these competitions!

Make sure to plan to hang around Saturday night for the evening festivities. There will be lots of good BBQ, as much fluids that you would like to consume, and great camaraderie.   Even if you don’t compete,  I invite you to just show up and be part of the fun times!

Ken McClain – An All-Round Pioneer

by Al Myers

Ken McClain performing a Clean and Jerk with 162.5 Kilograms in 1989.

As I was checking over the USAWA Record List to see what records were broken in the JWC Straight Weight Postal Challenge, I noticed that John O’Brien, of the JWC, broke a record that was held by Ken McClain.  John did a 335 pound Continental to Chest in the 40 age group, unlimited weight class breaking the record of 320 pounds held by Ken McClain, which he established  in the FIRST YEAR of the USAWA, in 1987.  Everyone that has been around for several years in the lifting game in the midwest has heard of Ken McClain.  He is a legendary Olympic Lifter (multiple World Championships and several times Mo Valley lifter of the year) , and he competed in the very beginning of the USAWA  preceded by a lengthy All-Round Weightlifting career in the Mo Valley.  He is  indeed an All-Round Weightlifting Pioneer!

It is quite a honor for John to break a record held by Ken McClain that has been around this long in the USAWA Record List.   John deserves a “pat on the back” for this accomplishment, but at the same time it is pretty obvious this lift was MUCH under Kenny’s abilities.  After all,  at the time this record was set  he was STILL performing Clean and Jerks in Olympic Meets close to 400 pounds.  This lift was listed in the record list as being performed in Wichita, Kansas. I know the meets in Wichita at that time were performed in Sailor’s Gym, which had the reputation of being the most hardcore gym in the city.  Also,  many of the meets contested there  were 25 lift marathon meets, under the direction of Bill Clark.  Bob Burtzloff competed in several of these meets, and when telling me about them, explained that you had to “pace yourself” to have enough energy and strength left to finish the meet.  Most of the time the lifters didn’t really even warm up for the next lift, and only took  a couple of attempts with the last one being 90-95% of your max so you could conserve your energy in order to get a lift in all the events.  Bob said it wasn’t uncommon for half the entrants to have dropped out by the end of the day!!

Just out of curiosity, I checked the USAWA Record List to see how many records are still “on the books” from the first year of USAWA record keeping in 1987.  I counted 37 records.  That isn’t much considered the record list is over 9000 records long now!  The good news is that Ken McClain still has some records from 1987.  These records are a 240# Clean and Press with Dumbbells – Heels Together, a 353# Jerk from the Racks, and a 165# One Arm Snatch (Right).  These were done in this same meet in Wichita on the same date, and in the Masters 40 age group, unlimited weight class.  Truly very impressive lifts!!!  These are the only USAWA Records that Ken McClain has, as he retired from All-Round Weightlifting after that. But when you look back in the old Region IV  All-Round Record List (which I consider the fore-runner of the USAWA), you will see the name Ken McClain splattered all throughout it!  He “had” the Military Press record at 300# which he set  in 1968!  This was done in the 242# class. Only the SHW record was higher. (By the JWC lifting legend, Wayne Jackson at 330#).  How ’bout a 350# middle fingers deadlift?? A lift like that would turn heads today.  Kenny did that for record in 1984.  In 1981, he did a Pinch Grip with 185 pounds.  In 1984, he did a one handed Dumbbell Clean and Jerk with 150 pounds. Plus many more from a period of close to 20 years.

Guys like Ken McClain need to be remembered by the USAWA.  Just due to timing, their participation may have been limited in our organization (or for others not at all)  but their  contributions they made to the sport of All-Round Weightlifting  in the United States is great.  As I’ve said many times before, these PIONEERS  “paved the way” for the formation of the USAWA, which gives us an organized place to compete  in All-Round Weightlifting Meets today.

Longstrength, Peak Power: Warming Up Chapter 4

by John McKean

Chapter 4 – A Sample Program

Let’s have you sample a Longstrength warmup followed by a brief, intense barbell routine.  Prepare to be amazed at the ease and enjoyment of a truly efficient strength building system.  First, grab the lightest pair of barbell plates around for about 12 minutes of shadowboxing.  Start very light and easy, both weight-wise and time-wise, for your first session.  Don’t be static, but “get into it”—pretend you’re kung fu champion of the world defending against a large dreaded street gang, and wipe ‘em all out!  Then go to a bar sitting across, a squat rack and rapidly knock out about 60 squat pulls.  Finally, with still no rest, locate low dipping bars (or use the back of two chairs) and do a forward bend (also called a “good morning”) between them, pushing back up with combined effort from the arms and lower back.  Do these “sissy dips” for 60 reps, and your pre-lift preparation is complete.

Longstrength Squat Pulls

By now you should be warm and feeling really good about yourself—after all, you’ve just won a major war and set new personal records for pull-ups and dips!  So growl a little bit more, and take, say, 75% of what is estimated to be a “comfortable” best barbell press for this day.  Delight in the ease with which you single it up.  Rest briefly, then do a single with 85%, and a final lift with 95%.  Never missed all the lighter barbell sets, did you?  But if you desire some repetitions, now is the very best time for them anyway—back down to 70% and do what will be a very easy 5-8 reps. Follow the same procedure (don’t repeat the warmup, of course, as it will carry you right on through if your barbell workout is brief and intense, as it should be) with the high pull, then the squat.  Next workout, follow the same warmup (add half a minute to the shadowboxing and a few more squat pulls and good-morning dips) but do -three different lifts for more varied all-round work.

Your routine looks like this:



  • Shadow box: 12 minutes
  • Squat Pulls: 60 reps
  • Good-morning dips: 60 reps


  • Press from rack: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6/70%
  • High Pull: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6/70%
  • Squat: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6/70%



  • Shadowbox: 12 1/2 minutes
  • Squat Pulls: 65 reps
  • Good-morning dips: 65 reps


  • One-arm dumbbell press: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6/70%
  • One-arm dumbbell row: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6, 70%
  • Deadlift: 1/75%, 1/85%, 1/95%, 6/70%

Longstrength Good-Morning Dips

A word about cycling, progression and the rep scheme.  As noted in my previous articles in HG, it’s best to base workout percentages on the peak lift for the day, but during the first week of the program this is never a top-ever, personal max.  More in the neighborhood of 85% of your very best, with small weekly progressions of 2-1/2 or 5 pounds throughout the cycle.  Yes, each cycle will guide you beyond your previous top weight, if you keep at the cycle long enough!

The back-down set

The 70%-rep set after heavy singles adds a degree of very satisfying muscle stimulation.  Emotionally, too, it serves as a tremendous “mild pump” because, following the intensity of heavy lifting, it can be performed with complete confidence due to an amazingly “light” feel to the body, and in the perfect form enforced by the just-previous concentration on limit attempts.

In my early powerlifting days, for instance, I always found it a “stroll in the park” to do the backdown set in my squat sessions with 405 pounds for 6-8 reps after singling up to 515-600 pounds.  Yet whenever I tried to just work up to that 405 weight and reps on its own (without heavier singles done first), it was an all-out strain and usually a mental and physical impossibility.  In retrospect, I suppose it was these down-sets which provided the unexpected result of supplying me nearly 27″ thighs at 5′3″ and about 170 pounds bodyweight—quite a bit overdone size wise, in my opinion, but muscular gains I’ll wager could never have been achieved on my small bone frame with a standard high-rep, high-set pyramid scheme.


Keep the exercises basic, ‘breviated, varied and safe.  Those listed are fairly standard to most programs, but perhaps a few extra comments are in order.

The one-arm row has always given me the ultimate in lat exercise and is fairly safe compared to the two-arm version, if the non-exercising arm is braced on a bench.  Pull smoothly and in good form, yet a bit of extra body heave won’t hurt now and then when poundages get up there.  Likewise, the one-arm dumbbell press can recruit more of the body into action while permitting the arms to handle an increased weight (total) over what could be done with the two-arm variety.

The high pull is a total-body movement, starting as a quick deadlift, and accelerating into a high heave toward the chin from mid-thigh level (it’ll probably only reach a little above belly button level with really heavy weights).  Form is not super important here, just strive to keep the bar in close to the body, and relish the power you experience when almost all major muscle groups are working coordinately.

Longstrength details

Please don’t overlook your Longstrength progression, however.  Always add a few reps to the squat pull and good-morning dip each workout. You really want to get to the stage where minutes are being counted rather than reps.  Doctor Tom Auble, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, tested these movements extensively and determined that even at a relatively slow pace of 20-30 reps per minute, the workload on squat pulls, for example, done for time, exceeds that of almost all standard aerobic programs.  For the lifter, an eventual 6-12 minutes of each maneuver will add superb conditioning to the body along with an unmatched warmup.

Remember always to move from one Longstrength exercise to the next without resting, in contrast to the weight exercises which benefit from 3-5 minutes of rest between sets.  The desire is to achieve a steady (but accelerated) heart rate while exercising for a good length of time.  While growing familiar with these new applications of strength-orientated exercises (chins, dips, squats, good mornings) a trainee quickly builds into one consistent, steady endurance session.  As Dr. Schwartz recently explained to me, “Longstrength offers the enthusiastic trainee maximum torque (a relatively new term referring to mechanical work with subsequential oxygen uptake and calorie expenditure) per pound of bodyweight.”

More than likely, you’ll feel your actual weight lifting in this program is over before it begins, but I guarantee you’ll love the results.  Strength gains will come like never before, that nagging tiredness will be replaced with an inner glow, and the old body will display brand new bumps and cuts.

Put in a proper time frame, a really effective warmup will take an enjoyable 20 minutes or so, with perhaps a mere 4 minutes devoted to actually lifting (not counting rest between sets, of course).  Never get this 5 to 1 ratio backwards! You see, many of the keys to strength, fitness, and body development can be found in the warmup.

Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule

by Al Myers

Bill Clark has promoted over 100 USAWA competitions. This is a record no other USAWA Meet Director is even remotely close to approaching. (photo credit: National Masters Weightlifting Newsletter, 1989)

Bill Clark has just revealed the dates for the five sanctioned USAWA Events during the upcoming lifting season in Clark’s Gym.  All of this will begin with a gym record day on October 24th, and ending with the annual Deanna Springs Memorial Meet on March 27th.  In between these two events will be the long standing Zercher Strength Classic (January 29th) and the prestigious Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One ( December 4th).  Bill Clark has received the 2010 sanction from the USAWA Executive Board to host this year’s Heavy Lift National Championships, which will be held in conjunction with the Steve Schmidt’s Backbreaker on November 6th.

As per tradition of events directed by Bill Clark, no entry fee is charged to enter, and all competitions will be held in Clark’s Gym in Columbia, Missouri.  What a deal!  There is not many things you get for free in today’s World,  so plan on making at least one of the competitions on the Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule.  You will get your money’s worth!!  Bill has put on more events than any other meet director in the history of the USAWA, and Clark’s Gym has been a USAWA Club Member since the inception of the USAWA.

Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule

October 24th, 2010 – Record Day.

November 6th, 2010 – USAWA Heavy Lift National Championships and Schmidt’s Backbreaker.

December 4th, 2010 – Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One.

January 29th, 2011 – Zercher Strength Classic.

March 27th, 2011 – Deanna Springs Memorial Meet.

No entry forms are available for these competitions, but YOU MUST send a confirmation to Bill Clark prior to attendance. The deadline is the Tuesday before the event.  Bill may be reached by telephone: 573-474-4510, Fax: 573-474-1449, or mail: Bill Clark, 3906 Grace Ellen Drive, Columbia, Missouri, 65202.  It is very important to contact  Bill prior to attending so he can adequately plan for the competition day-  and it is the LEAST you can do for a meet director that is promoting a meet without charge.

All of these events are listed in the USAWA Future  Events Calendar on the website, where more detailed information about each meet can be found.

Longstrength, Peak Power: Warming Up Chapter 3

by John McKean

Chapter 3 – Longstrength

Longstrength Shadowboxing

Although I enjoy playing around with differing Heavyhands combinations from time to time, and like Heavyhands walking with my wife during off days (active rest for recuperation), my favorite training warmup is known as “shadowboxing.”

As the name implies, a free sparring session is done with weighed hands (2-1/2 pound plates work as well as anything).  Just stalk around the gym after an invisible adversary, punching quickly with all manner of improvised blows, body weaves, and footwork combinations.  Have fun with it, let your imagination and energy flow, and beat up the bad guy for 15-20 minutes.  After winning this match (it’s so easy when no one’s hitting back), you’ll feel mentally and physically aggressive enough to attack a heavy barbell immediately.  What formerly was a weight that required 5 sets to even think about, you’ll feel like biting in half.

After complete satisfaction for several years, I sure thought Heavyhands shadowboxing was the last word in preparation for weight training.  Then Dr. Schwartz exposed me to another dimension—an aerobic warmup that could actually add strength and muscularity.  Always interested in my application to weight training of his concepts, the good doctor regularly supplements my gym findings with related laboratory research and his own considerable knowledge of exercise and the body.  But I was left speechless the day he phoned to announce that he’d just completed 750 (not a misprint—seven hundred and fifty) chin-ups!  Now, I know his own daily Heavyhands workouts have given him superb conditioning and, despite being 68 years of age, the sleek, refined look of a “natural” physique contender (my wife calls him the ultimate hunk!)  But even this amazing aerobic athlete surely could not perform 75 times the number of chins most of us strain to do. Then he told me about Longstrength…

Before describing Longstrength, however, let’s take care of your curiosity as to exactly how this past-prime-time superman managed his “impossible” chin-ups.  By the way, since then, Schwartz has specialized on alternate one arm chins and recently hit a personal high of 2,000 (yes, two thousand!) performed continuously for 45 minutes.  What’s the trick?  Well, in his usual quest to employ as many muscles as possible during exercise, Schwartz simply combined a chin-up with a free squat.  That is, he set up a bar at about standing chin height, then squatted down until arms were extended fully, and pulled back up with combined bicep, lat and leg power.  (Often he pressed up while descending to also involve the delts and triceps.)  In this innovative maneuver, arm power “lightens” the body, enabling far more free squats than ever possible, while leg thrust during the up stroke allows chin-up repetitions previously capable only by the “Energizer Bunny”—it can keep on going, and going, and going…

Longstrength, then, seeks the integration of many muscle groups at once in unique combinations of pushes and pulls which involve one’s own artificially lightened bodyweight as resistance.  Its goal is to marry strength with endurance to, as Schwartz described, “lasso all your muscles and more in a loop of total fitness.”  Naturally, a Longstrength devotee will, in short order, hit hundreds of reps per exercise (better measured in minutes than by counting reps) to effectively engage the cardiovascular system.

To date, Dr. Schwartz has created over 100 Longstrength exercises, and a new book describing this astounding fitness strategy is due out in early 1994.  Careful experiments have flabbergasted researchers when subjects generated unexpected high levels of oxygen uptake (a prime measure of aerobic effectiveness) on these relatively slow-paced moves.  Yet due to “muscle loading”—a simultaneous involvement of most of the body’s musculature—subjects reported feeling far less of an effort than computer read-outs showed their workload to be.

During the past two years, Longstrength has become the core of my entire lifting program. It compliments my initial shadowboxing warmup (which Schwartz considers part of Longstrength anyway) by nudging the large muscle groups of the legs, hips and back into play without tiring me prior to lifting. Virtually every inch of my body is readied for applying peak power, with the new combined exercises also adding a unique means of building explosiveness safely and, by its very nature, offering some mild preparatory stretching. Surprisingly, I’ve noticed vastly improved muscularity in my arms, delts, lats and thighs. Most importantly though, since strength-orientated moves such as pull-ups, dips, squats and bend-overs are the basis of Schwartz’s new regimen, gains in my all-round competitive lifts have accelerated significantly.

A few words of caution.  While Longstrength offers us iron hefters two factors we’re very familiar with and always relish, namely, endless variety and limitless, rapid progression, please don’t ever stray from the muscle-loading concept—strive always to use as many muscles as possible in any unique combination which you’re sure to invent.  If you confuse this with any form of “circuit training,” where many muscle groups are attempted to be reached by moving from one isolation exercise to another, none of the benefits above will be achieved.  In fact, when carefully analyzed, the once highly-touted circuit training proved to do absolutely nothing toward increasing aerobic capacity—measured oxygen utilization actually was quite low despite all the huffing and puffing between stations. So, although circuits did hit a variety of exercises and created rapid heart rates, they were exposed as a complete bust for endurance, never produced much strength or development, and served just to tire trainees needlessly. Remember, we want to warm up without burning out.

Longstrength, Peak Power: Warming Up Chapter 2

by John McKean

Chapter 2 – Dr. Leonard Schwartz and Heavyhands

A while back I lucked into a fantastic book which taught me more about a really proper, thorough warmup system than had all previous years of training.  Titled Heavyhands, and written by Dr. Leonard Schwartz, who has since become a valued friend and teacher, the text revealed a unique aerobic training system involving many muscles working at one time.  Light dumbbells are curled, swung and pushed for the upper body while simultaneously running, dancing, bending or twisting.  Interesting combinations such as walking with forward raises, punching while bobbing and weaving, and overhead swings with forward bends are done for sessions of 12-40 minutes.  Unlike the ridiculous notion put forth by some that standard barbell moves can become “endurance” training after a paltry 10 or 20 reps, Heavy hands exercise is true aerobic work (sustained by relatively easy movement for long periods of time) and, from my experience, absolutely fantastic as a warmup routine.

If you’ve read my previous articles on all-round strength training (issues 23 and 25 of HG) you know I favor short sessions featuring only 3 or 4 progressively heavy singles per lift.  Many have asked, though, how it’s possible to do an initial attempt with 80% or more of a limit. Well, by simply following a few of Dr. Schwartz’s exercise guidelines, practically any reasonable opener is a breeze.  Heavyhanding for 20 minutes leaves my entire musculature warm and ready to go, creates an inner exhilaration from the increased oxygen uptake, and provides that wide-awake feeling so necessary for pinpoint concentration.  Additionally, in distributing this workload over many parts of the body at once, these warmups seem very easy and leave plenty of energy for the barbells.  In strict laboratory tests, Heavyhands exercise has proven superior to common calisthenics, jogging, rowing machines, rope skipping, cycling, and other endurance activities, without creating any of the common fatigue or boredom.

Longstrength, Peak Power: Warming Up Chapter 1

by John McKean

Chapter 1 – Introduction

“As usual, we missed seeing you in the warm up room yesterday!” teased my old lifting pal, Barry, during morning two of the recent US National All-Round Weightlifting Championships.

Laughing, I replied, “Hey, I did too stop in for a moment to beg some tips from Dennis Mitchell about his bent press techniques.”

Rolling his eyes, Barry , continued, “Some of the guys are still bewildered at how you can wave those tiny dumbbells around for a few minutes then just run out on the platform and start with humongous poundages.  C’mon now, we’re hip lifting today with thousands of pounds, aren’t you gonna get that old bod just a little bit tuned up?”

Flashing my best sheepish grin, I replied, “But, Barry, I’m already warm, wide awake, and full of energy—I just came back from a pleasant 20-minute Heavyhands walk through town with my wife and son!”

Based on considerable training experience, and competition in all branches of weight lifting,  I’ve determined that not only is the traditional warmup of “step-ladder” sets not necessary, but that substantially higher working poundages can be achieved without them. You see, sets of 5-10 reps with 135, 225, 315, etc., actually do very little to “warm” the body or even a specific muscle group, while the effort involved just robs energy from the all-important peak poundage set of any given lift. Yes, I’ve read all about the supposed necessity to carefully follow weight increments in order to recruit more and more muscle fibers, for “mental preparation” to reach top lifts, gradually cultivate neurological efficiency, etc., etc.  But in my book (and that’s a rather thick training log after 32 years!), all such reasoning and rituals are pure bunk.

Think about this for a second: If you would happen to be strolling along a railroad track and turned suddenly to discover a fast freight train on your ass, would there be need for any warmup to set a new personal long jump record? On the other hand, how much faith would you have in this leaping ability if said butt was draggin’ from just going through 5 sets of 5 progressively heavier squats?

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting the elimination of a warmup or downplay its importance. The purpose of this article is, in fact, to place priority on the most efficient preparation for achieving the best possible heavy workout.  I hope to convince you that a non-barbell warmup is actually the sensible way to go and that it rarely makes any sense to ever touch a bar which weighs much less than 70% of a max for any exercise.

USAWA Discussion Forum

by Al Myers

We now have over 100 registered members for the USAWA Website that have access to the USAWA Discussion Forum.  If you are not a  website member yet (which has NOTHING to do with USAWA membership) take the time to join.  All you got to do is follow the instructions given on the website to register, and after I “approve” your registration you are issued a password to “login”.  And this is FREE!!!  By being a registered member of the website, you will have access to the USAWA Discussion Forum, which is the ONLY forum on the internet dedicated to ONLY All-Round Weightlifting.

A few words of advice for the less computer savvy lifters out there.  The password that is issued to you is computer generated by the software of the website.  I do not know what it is – so please don’t lose it.  Once you login with it, you can change it to something that you can remember easier.  Also, if you register and don’t think you received your password, check your spam filter.  This “computer email” will often get lost by the spam filter.  The password has to be used EXACTLY as it is sent to you – so use capitals where indicated and don’t mess up 1’s for i”s.  If you do, it will not let you in.  The easiest thing to do is “copy and paste” it into your login.  And of course if you have any questions, just email me and I’ll help you through it.  I have had to do that for others so don’t worry about it being an imposition on me!

But – all of this “hassle” will be worth it.  The USAWA Discussion Forum contains information about the USAWA and All-Round Weightlifting that is BEYOND what is found in the USAWA Daily News.  You can ask questions if you want, or just read the information available.  Your level of involvement is left up to you.  Often, discussions involve the latest Daily News story,  more detailed information about upcoming meets, or just general talk about training.   I have “loosened” the requirements for the forum compared to what I had previous – now you do not need to post with your real name if you want to remain anonymous,  registration is more visible, and I do not require full disclosure in identity when registering like I did previous.  I am hoping this will encourage new interest.  Of course,  bad behavior will not be tolerated on this forum!

Register now  and join the USAWA Discussion Forum, so you will be “in the know” on the latest news involving All-Round Weightlifting!

Warren Lincoln Travis – The Day the Weights Won

By Al Myers

The newspaper’s headlines read, “Weights He Lifted Crush a Strongman.”

Warren Lincoln Travis was the ultimate strongman performer. Here he is posing with some of the implements he would use in his strength shows.

I always love a good story.  Especially a story where the hero is faced with overwhelming obstacles that he must overcome to maintain or regain his previous status.  I know what you are thinking – Al must have a soft spot for sappy movies that have predictable endings. Well, I admit I always enjoy them more than I think I would.  But I pretend to let my wife think I only watch those kind of movies with her for her sake, and let on that I would have really preferred another action thriller movie!  This is the kind of story that would make a good movie,  and has your typical “feel good” outcome that is expected out of a “tear-jerker”. It pits the human body against iron. Flesh against steel.  Bone against metal. This is a story about a man that faced death at the mercy of weights and barbells that he was trying to lift.

Enough dramatic prelude!  I’m not writing a novel!!  Let me get straight to my story. I recently found  a news clipping from the NY Times, dated May 13 1908.  This clipping details the day the famous strongman, Warren Lincoln Travis, nearly lost his life at the hands of the weight he was trying to lift. He was only 27 years old at the time.

It all started when a janitor for the Brooklyn Athletic Club went to work one day and found our hero, Warren Lincoln Travis, lying under 1 1/2 tons of barbell plates, bars, dumbbells and even pieces of gymnastic equipment. Travis was unconscious.  The janitor quickly recruited some help and “unburied” Travis  from this heap of iron.  They rushed him to the hospital.  Upon a doctors examination, Travis had many lacerations, bruises,  possible internal injuries, and a dislocated hip.  The doctor was quoted as saying, “he will probably die”.

However, after a while, Travis regained consciousness and was able to tell his story.  He had been in training for an upcoming strength show, and was planning on doing a big Back Lift for the performance.  He wanted to lift a big platform loaded with people.  The previous times training this stunt he was able to get gym members to sit on his platform, but this day he arrived at the gym early and he found himself alone, with no other gym members around to use as his “live weight”.  So instead of waiting, Travis started loading anything he could find in the gym on his platform, which was supported by two sawhorses. Due to the weight probably being “unbalanced”, one of the sawhorses broke upon Travis placing it down after a rep.  This caused the other sawhorse to tip over, driving Travis to the floor covered by a piece of wood and around 3000 pounds of weight.  He couldn’t move to free himself and was trapped for at least half an hour before he was rescued.  The story referred to him being “senseless” when they found him, which I take as being unconscious.   This NY Times story also commented that this was the second time within a year that Travis had been hospitalized.  The other time was when Travis was doing a stunt in which an automobile was driven OVER HIM, but the driver got the wheels over his rib cage, breaking several ribs in the process!!!

But this story has a happy ending. Travis went on to an illustrious strongman career and became,  without a doubt, one of the most recognized American Strongmen of the early 1900’s.  He was more than just a strongman – I would also  say he was an early day stuntman.  Many of his performances had a high element of risk in them.  He was not afraid of becoming injured in order “to put on his show of strength”.  This accident didn’t hinder him in his pursuit of Back Lifting.  Most of his best Back Lifting was done after this accident.  On this day the weights may have won, but in the end Warren Lincoln Travis was victorious!

Travis lifting his Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Warren Lincoln Travis and his dumbbell.

The saga of the Warren Lincoln Travis Dumbbell wouldn’t be complete without a picture of Travis with it.  Travis lifted his huge dumbbell for many years, as this picture shows him posing with it in his older days.  Travis continued to lift big poundages in the hip, harness, and back lift into his 50’s and 60’s.  Several times Travis announced his retirement from strongman performances, but he could never stay away long and made  numerous “comebacks”.  He was 52 years old when he did his historic 5.5 million pound “total poundage” lift in 1927.  Travis is best known as a Heavy Lifter – but when he was younger did some very impressive All-Round Weight Lifting.  He excelled in Finger Lifting, as well as other grip feats.

This famous dumbbell of Warren Lincoln Travis was “one of many props” used by him in his acts.

JWC Straight Weight Postal

Heavyweights Battle it out in Postal Challenge

By Thom Van Vleck

Team Dino Gym wins the Straight Weight Postal Challenge. Pictured from left to right: Scott Tully, Al Myers, and John Conner

Two teams participated in the challenge and the Dino Gym pulled out the victory.  This meet was a new concept for a USAWA meet and we will see if it catches on.  The idea being there would be no formulas used, the winners decided on who lifted the most weight…period.  I proposed the idea of the “straight weight” meet to get some of the bigger guys to come out and participate and as a result, some big boys showed up.  The Dino Gym had a combined weight that was a “Big Al Bacon n’Eggs style breakfast” short of a half ton at 991lbs.  The JWC was a relatively svelte 915lbs.  The average weight of the lifters involved was 318lbs!  I can only guess what that weight would have been had Al not had to replace his original team member, Mark Mitchell, who had to withdraw with a back injury!  Al’s paltry 255lbs brought the average way down!!!

I hope this meet was taken as intended:  Just another alternative and one that the Big Boy’s could embrace as their own.  I know my guys had fun doing it and hopefully it will motivate them to do some more USAWA lifting!  Oh, and one more thing, I calculated the age and weight factors just to see the outcome….and the Dino Gym doesn’t want to know those results!

Full Meet Results:

Officials for Dino Gym Team:  Al Myers and Scott Tully

Official for JWC:  Thom Van Vleck

Dino Gym Team: Al Myers (44 yrs, 255lbs), Scott Tully (34 yrs, 344lbs) John Conner (25 yrs, 392lbs)

Jackson Weightlifting Club: Thom Van Vleck (46yrs, 295lbs), John O’Brien (42 years, 285lbs), Josh Hettinger (29yrs, 335lbs)

Push Press – From Rack

  1. John Conner 380lbs
  2. Josh Hettinger 335lbs
  3. John O’Brien 300lbs, Scott Tully 300lbs, Al Myers 300lbs
  4. Thom Van Vleck 255lbs

DG: 980lbs & JWC: 890lbs

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″

  1. John Conner 500lbs
  2. Scott Tully 420lbs
  3. Josh Hettinger 400lbs, Al Myers 400lbs
  4. John O’Brien 380lbs
  5. Thom Van Vleck 280lbs

DG: 1320lbs & JWC: 1060lbs

Continental to Chest

  1. John Conner 385lbs
  2. John O’Brien 335lbs
  3. Al Myers 325lbs, Scott Tully 325lbs
  4. Thom Van Vleck 315lbs
  5. Josh Hettinger 275lbs

DG: 1085lbs & JWC: 925lbs

Cheat Curl

  1. John Conner 250lbs
  2. John O’Brien 235lbs
  3. Thom Van Vleck 215lbs, Josh Hettinger 215lbs
  4. Al Myers 201lbs
  5. Scott Tully 181lbs

JWC: 665lbs & DG: 632lbs

Shoulder Drop

  1. John O’Brien 95lbs, Josh Hettinger 95lb
  2. Thom Van Vleck 85lbs
  3. John Conner 45lbs, Al Myers 45lbs
  4. Scott Tully 30lbs

JWC:  275lbs & DG:   120lbs

Totals: 1st Place: Dino Gym 4087lbs, 2nd Place: JWC 3835lbs

WLT’s HUGE Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Al Myers beside the famous Warren Lincoln Travis Dumbbell.

One of the most impressive things I seen when I toured the York Barbell Hall of Fame and Museum was Warren Lincoln Travis’s Dumbbell.  I have seen many pictures of it before – but pictures don’t do it justice.  It is much bigger when seen in person!  This massive dumbbell was used by Travis for many of his record breaking performances in the hip and harness lifts.  He would use it in shows and performances – and the sheer size of this dumbbell would impress the audiences by itself.  It weighed 1650 pounds empty and 3750 pounds when fully loaded with sand.

Travis’s dumbbell has been in York Barbell’s  possession for quite some time.  For awhile, Bob Hoffman had it displayed in front of his house.  Thanks to York Barbell  this dumbbell can be readily seen by anyone now. If you ever get a chance to make it to York, Pennsylvania, be sure to include a stop at York Barbell.

Delaware Valley Postal Meet

Meet Announcement

Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet

Dates:  Between September 1st and September 30th, 2010

Entry form must be postmarked by October 5th, 2010

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee:  None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book


Bench Press – Reverse Grip

Squat – Front

Continental to Chest

Entry Form pdf – Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet Entry Form

Team Nationals

Meet Announcement -

the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals

by Al Myers

Defending 2009 USAWA Team Champs Al Myers and Chad Ullom.

I  will be hosting the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals again this year on Sunday, September 19th.   This will be the fourth year the USAWA has had Team Nationals.  I am hoping for more participation this year – and I have picked a selection of lifts that should be accommodating to everyone.

This year’s lifts are:

Maxey Press

Bench Press – Hands Together

Rectangular Fix

Trap Bar Deadlift

Different divisions will be contested – the 2-Man, 2-Woman, and the 2-Person.  The 2-Person division consists of a man and woman team.  USAWA scoring will be used as required by our rules for all National Competitions. A record day for Team Lifts ONLY will held after the meet.

This coming  fall of 2010  marks the 5 year date that the Dino Gym lost a great friend and training partner in Bob Maxey.  There is not a training session that Bob is not remembered by all of us. His weightlifting belt still resides untouched on the mantle, and its presence still gives us motivation to train, much like Bob did when he was  in the gym pushing us to lift harder with his boisterous words of encouragement.   So, in remembrance of Bob, I have included the USAWA lift named after him – the Maxey Press. The Maxey Press is a strict press out of the rack with a Fulton Bar.  This was one of Bob’s favorite lifts.  This will be the first time it will be held in a competition as a Team lift.

Another unique lift that will be contested will be the Team Trap Bar Deadlift.  I just recently built a specialty bar for this purpose.  As far as I know, the Team Trap Bar Deadlift has NEVER been contested before so any records set will be the first ever.  I know everyone will enjoy this lift.

The Team Nationals will be held in conjunction with our gym’s annual Dino Days Weekend.  On Saturday, we will be hosting a Highlander Games, sanctioned by NAHA.  After the games on Saturday, we will be having a big backyard BBQ that evening. So, this is just another reason to put this date on your calendar!

Entry Form for Team Nationals – TeamNationals2010

World Team Postal

by Steve Gardner, IAWA President

Meet Announcement

World Team Postal 2010

I have announced plans for the World Team Postal Event, and following on last years success hopes to increase the numbers taking part this year.  REMEMBER: Although it is a Team Postal, Individual Lifters can still post their totals for inclusion in the World Postal Rankings! Lifts to be completed by End of September.  Entry forms will go out in the July Journal (or Download Entry Form).


Snatch – One Arm

Pinch Grip – Two Hands

Bench Press – Feet in Air

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

Following the success of the 2009 Team Postal event (33 lifters and ten teams took part) I am going to try and double this years participation. In 2009 we had teams from Australia, USA, and England, and this year we hope to build on that, this year already Spain have asked to take part!  I will distribute score sheets via the various Newsletters and Journals. The lifts will be: The One Hand Barbell Snatch (indicate which hand used), The Two Hands Pinch Grip Lift, The Bench Press Feet in the Air, The Ciavattone Deadlift. The tournament is being run as a team match where teams will consist of three lifters, they may be Juniors, Open Lifters, Masters or Ladies or any combination of the afore mentioned, as all lifters results will be age and body weight amended etc. The lifts can be performed any time in 2010 BEFORE the end of September. The lifts must be performed before at least two IAWA Officials, who MUST also sign the score sheet. The competition will be run as a usual IAWA event with a rising bar. Teams or Groups can enter any number of lifters into the competition, and the top three amended scores will formulate a first team etc. Any individual members left will still have their totals configured into the results which will also be produced to give individual rankings on all lifts and totals, and all divisions and body weights.Lifters who are not members of a group, team or club can still submit their results so long as they can get their lifts officiated, and all results will form the rankings as described in the above paragraph.The score sheets should be completed using kilos where possible, but the organiser will convert pounds to kilos if needs be, BUT please make sure all sheets are completed accurately and legibly. You will notice there are four boxes per lift to correspond with 4 attempts per lift if required, the best lift of the 4 should be circled.If lifters require certificates, please affix an e mail address in the appropriate box on the score sheet, and these will be submitted by e mail for you to print off. The score sheet can be copied off as many times as you wish to submit as many teams or lifters as you wish. There is no fee attached to this competition. There are five lines on a score sheet to accommodate a team of three plus two others, if there are six lifters, use two score sheets with one team on each etc. When the lifts are completed please submit without delay:

Entry Form – PostalEntryForm

Steve Gardner – 18 Holly Road, Barton, Staffs. England DE13 8LP or by E Mail to: