Articles from October 2010

Dave Hahn

by Al Myers

Al Myers (left) and Dave Hahn (right) at the 2010 USAWA Team Nationals.

Last month at the USAWA Team Nationals at the Dino Gym we had a surprise attendee – Dave Hahn.  I had previously exchanged a few emails with Dave, but it was a great honor to have him make it to the gym and get to actually meet him in person.   I know several of the “oldtimers” in the USAWA probably know Dave and competed in meets with him 20 plus years ago.  I am always looking back at old meet results and records, and his name is in ALL OF THEM.  Dave knew and mentioned a couple of current USAWA members that he has fond memories of – Wilbur Miller and Charlie Scott.  I enjoyed listening to his stories about these two. Dave was primarily an Olympic Lifter, but did compete in the early days of the USAWA.  His last USAWA competition was in the early 90’s at Bill Clark’s annual Zercher Classic.  Before this, he competed in many All-Round Weightlifting Meets directed by Bill Clark, then under the Region IV Missouri Valley organization.  Dave had been a subscriber to Bill Clark’s newsletters since the early 1960’s.   He commented to me that most of his early All-Round lifting was done at Bill Clark’s annual weightlifter’s picnics, which were held at a park in Columbia, Missouri.

I would like to mention a few of the records Dave established in the old Region IV Record List:  Cheat Curl of 255# at 181# bodyweight in 1962, Strict Curl of 175# at 181# bodyweight in 1962, Right Hand and Left Hand Dumbbell Press of 115# at 181# bodyweight in 1962, Seated Press of 210# at 181# bodyweight in 1962, and a Standing Press Behind Neck of 190# at 198# bodyweight in 1961.  These are just a few.  Dave told me that he could press almost as much as he could Clean and Jerk, and thus he retired from Olympic Lifting when the Press was eliminated from competition.

Dave now lives in Overland Park, Kansas but works in Milwaukee.  He commutes back home every weekend. He still trains with weights and looks in great shape.

Dave, thanks for taking the time to come to an All-Round Meet.  We really enjoyed meeting you and having you at the Dino Gym. But next time I’m going to talk you into competing!

Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

Who is this lifter and which USAWA lift is he performing?

It’s time for another Quiz of the Week!!  This one is going to be a little harder than previous ones, and it requires TWO ANSWERS.

Who is this lifter and which USAWA lift is he performing?

You must provide the answers to BOTH questions!  The rules are the same as before – only 1 answer per day, and the person with the first correct answer wins. Answer must be sent to my email address.

Winner will receive a USAWA Patch

We have a WINNER!

Thom Van Vleck correctly identified this lifter as USAWA Hall of Famer, and the man of 1000 lifts -  John Grimek.  He is performing the Kelly Snatch (also known as the Reverse Swing)

Delaware Valley Postal

by Al Myers




Bill Cookson, of the Dino Gym, won the Delaware Valley Postal Meet following his return to the gym from being overseas fulfilling his military obligations.

I just received the results of the Delaware Valley Postal Meet  from John Wilmot,  which is one of the four quarterly postal meets that are part of the USAWA Postal Series.  The number of competitors was slightly down, probably due to the other All-Round competitions that were occurring at the end of September, but the quality of lifting was high.  Bill Cookson made his comeback to the USAWA after being gone overseas on military duty by edging out Randy Smith.   It came down to ONE POINT!!  That is as close as it gets.  Helen Kahn competed in her first USAWA event, and was the top woman lifter.


Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet
September 1-30, 2010

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts:  Bench Press – Reverse Grip, Squat – Front, and Continental to Chest

Lifters using a certified USAWA Official:
Helen Kahn – official Randy Smith
Bill Cookson – official Mark Mitchell
Kohl Hess – offiicial Denny Habecker
Andrew Hess – official Denny Habecker

Lifters using a non-certified official:
Randy Smith – official Helen Kahn
Denny Habecker – official Kohl Hess
John Wilmot – official Kay Wilmot

Women’s Division

Lifter Age BWT CLS Bench Squat Cont Total Points
Helen Kahn 58 156 75 65 75 80 220 271.6

Men’s Division

Lifter Age BWT CLS Bench Squat Cont Total Points
Bill Cookson 45 212 100 280 286 220 786 720.8
Randy Smith 55 195.5 90 195 255 235 685 719.1
John Wilmot 63 215 100 150 180 155 485 516.2
Denny Habecker 67 185 85 165 110 132 407 486.8
Kohl Hess 16 300 125+ 165 242 198 606 484.1
Andrew Hess 46 310 125+ 176 176 176 529 405.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  CLS is bodyweight class in kilograms.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

The 10 Worst Lifts in the USAWA

by Al Myers

Ok, I’m getting tired of Thom getting all the recognition for his  “human interest” stories involving his weightlifting life experiences, while the deep  thought-provoking technical stories I write (which require actual research)  get ignored (I actually wonder if anyone EVEN read my last one on the fairness of the Lynch Formula).   It’s time I step up my game – and put a little controversy in what I write!!   The truth is that I really don’t like to OFFEND anyone, and thus my avoidance of any story that may seem offensive.  On the other hand, Thom doesn’t care if he gets hate mail!  He even reads it with a smile on his face. That is what makes him a much better columnist than myself – but TIMES ARE A CHANGING and I’m going to try to “stir the pot” a little with this story.  Here it goes – and I hope AT LEAST one person gets offended and makes a derogatory comment about this story on the USAWA Discussion Forum (and that’s NOT counting YOU Thom).

The Ziegler Clean even makes "The Champ" Chad Ullom look like a clown, despite the fact that he has lifted the most weight ever in this lift. But who really cares about that? All you see is that silly little plate balancing on the top of his head.

1.  French Press – Definitely the WORST  lift in our list of lifts.  That is why I’m listing it first.  Whoever wrote the original rule for this lift must have been a cynic.  Why else would the rules of this lift be written in such a way that it is impossible to perform and COMPLETELY different than how it is performed in the gym by EVERYONE else that trains it?  Judging this lift is even worse.  Did the bar touch the neck? Did the elbows drop?  The answers are always NO and YES. I have YET to see this lift performed the way our rules call for it to be done.  Any lift that has rules so subjective  that it would require instant replay in slow motion  to make an official  judgement needs to be RE-WRITTEN.

2. Press – Dumbbell, One Arm – This lift was just in the World Championships and after what I saw there  it now makes my list of Ten Worse.  The IAWA rules require the center of the rod of the dumbbell be no higher than the clavicle.  Obvious the person who decided on this rule knew NOTHING about human anatomy.  Do most lifters know where the clavicle is?  From watching the judging,  it was obvious the judges don’t.  I have a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, I’ll send you a picture. It is MUCH lower than the top of the shoulder. Practically no one  started the dumbbell this low (myself included!). Also, what’s up with all  the side pressing when doing a dumbbell press?  That’s not supposed to be allowed – we got ANOTHER LIFT for that one!  The bottom line – this lift is performed and officiated differently than how the rules are written so SOMETHING should change to “keep it real”!

3.  Deadlift – Stiff-legged - Another impossible lift to judge.   Judging is ALWAYS very subjective and lifters will bend their legs and get the lift passed.  And I can’t figure out WHY sumo deadlifting is allowed in the rules – it seems to defeat the purpose of a stiff legged deadlift.

4.  Ziegler Clean – Come on, this lift is just ridiculous.  Balancing a plate on your head while you do a clean?  When I first heard of this lift I thought the person telling me about it must be joking.  No one would really want to train for THAT!?!  Lifts like this make a mockery of All-Round Weightlifting, and you got to know people probably LAUGH at us when we report on the Zeigler Clean.

5.  Van Dam Lift – This lift got approved for one reason – us “selling out” for publicity that we never got. Did we really think Rob Van Dam and his professional  wrasslin’ buddies were going to start lifting in our All-Round Meets?   We should be ashamed of ourselves for approving this lift.

6.   Inman Mile – Carry 150% of your bodyweight in the form of a bar across your shoulders for 1 mile??  Give me a break – even the person it was named after couldn’t do THAT!!   This is just another “official lift” that makes us look like a goofy weightlifting organization.

7.  Lano Lift – I respect the fact that lifts are named after someone deserving.  I have met Jack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he proposed this lift as a joke  just to see if the membership was gullible enough to approve it.  How many different movements are in the Lano Lift?    I can’t keep track of them!  Who would REALLY want to do this?  It is the lift with the longest written rule in the USAWA Rulebook.  Even Jack has never  set a record in this lift that carries his name.  That should tell you something.

8.   Phumchaona Lift – Another screwball lift named after a famous USAWA lifter.  This lift requires you to clean and press a pair of dumbbells WHILE doing a Hip Lift!!  Like THAT is going to be better than your max Hip Lift.  If I was going to do this lift, I would use a pair of 1/2 pound dumbbells and after doing my MAX Hip Lift just raise up my arms.  This “official lift” is so stupid NO ONE  has EVER done it.  That’s right – NO ONE!!

9.  Carter Lift – The only thing more ridiculous than clean and pressing a pair of dumbbells while doing a Hip Lift is SQUATTING a bar while Hip Lifting.  But I’ll give John credit – the picture of himself  performing this lift in our Rulebook  does look IMPRESSIVE, and at LEAST he had the courage to perform his lift in public.

10.  Weaver Stick – Absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to judge fairly.  The arm is NEVER straight, and it only takes a tiny little bend to add a few pounds to this lift.  The records in this lift really are meaningless.   Now STRAP your arm to a fixed pole and THEN see what you can do in the Weaver Stick.  That’s the way it should be done.

**** The above controversial comments are mine alone,  and may not reflect the opinions of the USAWA membership.  Please direct your hate mail to me and not to Thom Van Vleck****

Clark’s Record Day

by Joe Garcia

Clark’s Gym was the setting for another record day, today Sunday October 24,  one of many over the years overseen by the man that started all this, Bill Clark.  It was a beautiful day outside and a fun one inside.  While we didn’t have a large number of players, it is always good to participate in the strength game and be around others who also enjoy lifting.  Leading off was the bench master Dave Beversdorf, along with a young protégé of his, Chris Arnold.  I came in to see whom ever showed up, set some records, talk to Bill and of course, go out to eat afterwards.  Though he is physically hurting and really needs to get his shoulder replaced, even Bill decided to set a couple of records, but was stopped on doing too much because of his right shoulder.

I didn’t get any pictures, due to having to mess with business in the morning,  but Shelly Beversdorf did get some videos, which will probably end up on YouTube.

Officiating was done mainly by Bill and then myself,  and James Foster and I  also provided the spotting for the heavy bench attempts.  Lifting was done over the course of about 3 hours, and 21 records were set, not counting attempts that might be both open and master records.  Looks like a good warm up for Thom’s record event coming up at the end of the week.  Afterwards, we retired to George’s for a bite and more conversation.  Next on the agenda at Clark’s will be the Schmidt Heavylift Pentathlon.


Clark’s Record Day
Clark’s Gym, Columbia Mo
October 24, 2010
All lifts and weights are in pounds

Dave Beversdorf – Age: 45, Weight: 299, Class: Hwt
Bench Press – Left Arm: 145
Bench Press – Right Arm: 165
Bench Press – Hands Together: 275
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 410
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 410

Chris Arnold – Age: 17, Weight: 180, Class: 85kg
Bench Press – Left Arm: 110
Bench Press – Right Arm: 110
Bench Press – Hands Together: 185
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 185
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 225
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 205

Joe Garcia – Age: 57, Weight: 205, Class: 95kg
Bench Press – Hands Together: 185
Continental Snatch: 135
Continental to Chest: 205
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 260
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 170
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 225
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 200

Bill Clark – Age 78, Weight 247, Class: 115kg
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 110
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 175
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 105

What Goes Around….

Arthur Saxon would probably be considered "cutting edge" with most of his training techniques today!

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently, I had a young guy come out to my place to try out the Highland Games.  He was in his early 20’s and had done some weight training at the local YMCA and in high school, but was not a hard core lifter or iron game follower.  What was funny was I gave him a tour of my gym and he started pointing to things I had like they were new and cutting edge.  As if my gym was equipped with “all the latest”.  In particular, he pointed to my Kettlebells and said, “Wow, you have some kettlebells, I would like to try training with those, I’ve heard they are really good to train with”.

This was in contrast to when my Uncle Wayne Jackson saw the Kettlebells right after I had bought them.  Wayne gained the bulk of his training knowledge from reading S&H, MD, and Ironman in the 50’s and 60’s.  He said, “So what are you going to do with those old things”.  As if I had raided the York Barbell museum!   Wayne’s comments leaned towards how Kettlebells were never us used in his day and you couldn’t find those for years and he wasn’t sure what good they were going to do me.

In 2009, I got to go to the Arnold Fitness Expo.  It was there I found out just how “popular” Kettlebells had become again. They were having a competition that centered around doing all kinds of different maneuvers with the kettlebells, some of which I could see a lot of benefit, some….not so much…but hey, I swing a hammer in circles and flip telephone poles in my spare time….so who am I to judge.

I have a lot of stuff in my gym, most of it is pretty old or “well used”.  It is funny to me how things go in and out of style.  It got me to pondering “WHY”?  A lot of times exercises and equipment get run out of town by the “latest thing”.  Usually being sold by some guy looking to make a buck more than he’s trying to “revolutionize” the fitness industry.  He tells us that the old stuff is dangerous, useless, or inferior and enough people buy into it that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and the old stuff falls to the wayside.  But form follows function and eventually, what works is rediscovered and comes back again.

Now, this wasn’t intended to be an article on the benefits of Kettlebells, they are just an example.  I’m not trying to sell you on the and I don’t sell them!!!  Just remember, in our effort to get better (whether that be bigger, faster, stronger at lifting, throwing, team sports, whatever) we need to gain a broad understanding of what’s out there.  We need to know our history, we need to know what works and what doesn’t and filter what comes from the so called “experts” so that we may find the tools we need to achieve our goals.  We need to constantly look at what’s been used, what’s on the “shelf” (so to speak) and how can it be used to freshen up our training and lift us to victory!  (no pun intended!).

World Postal Challenge

by Al Myers

RESULTS of the 2010 IAWA


Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, posted the highest Individual Total in the IAWA World Team Postal Challenge in helping the Dino Gym to a first place finish.

The 2010 World Team Postal Challenge was a huge success.  Ten teams entered the competition, which consisted of  each team providing three lifters whose scores were added together for a team point total.  The USA had 5 teams, England had 4 teams, and Scotland provided 1 team.  This competition is one of three major IAWA events (the World Championships and the Gold Cup being the other two) held each year.  The credit for this competition needs to go to our IAWA President Steve Gardner for organizing it and compiling the results.  Without Steve’s commitment to the IAWA, we wouldn’t have the opportunities we have and the IAWA wouldn’t be near as strong as it is.  We need to give him the thanks he deserves – often the leadership he provides us does not get enough recognition.  Thank you Steve for everything you do on behalf of the IAWA!!


Meet Director:  Steve Gardner

Officials:  three certified officials were used on all lifts

Lifts:  Snatch – One Arm, Pinch Grip – 2 hands, Bench Press – Feet in Air, Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

1.  Dino Gym 1 (USA) – 1112.1 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
A Myers 44 115.7 72.6 R 62.2 154.3 200 489.1 403.3
C Ullom 38 108.4 68.1 R 57.6 120.2 210 456.0 370.2
S Tully 34 156.1 52.2 R 75.8 167.9 200 495.9 338.6

2.  Powerhouse 1 (England) – 1039.4 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
M Price 45 97.1 47.5 R 50 155 140 392.5 358.0
J Gardner 26 89.8 52.5 R 65 105 180 402.5 361.7
S Gardner 53 129.7 37.5 R 60 110 170 377.5 319.6

3.  Ambridge VFW (USA) – 1034.8 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
A Montini 83 81.8 18.2 L 25.4 54.4 102 200 307.3
J McKean 64 74.8 24.9 R 45.9 58.9 146 275.7 345.2
S Schmidt 57 114.3 50 R 70 105 185 410 382.3

4.  Dino Gym 2 (USA) – 975.1 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
C Cookson 40 124.8 59.0 R 57.6 127.0 210 453.6 346.6
D Barnhart 43 131.6 43.1 R 75.8 136.1 200 455.1 349.0
R Bletscher 74 98.9 20.4 R 44.0 50.0 113.4 227.8 279.5

5.  Willies Warriors (Scotland) – 973.8 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
A Tomlin 43 94.8 47.5 R 55 95 170 367.5 333.2
C Ross 26 92.7 50 L 65 105 160 380.0 335.2
G Dick 61 130.0 42.5 R 40 105 150 337.5 305.4

6.  Granby Grippers (England) – 968.1 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
D Andrews 14 58.8 22.5 R 29.5 37.5 75 164.5 232.8
S Andrews 51 70.5 50 R 49.5 85 130 314.5 366.4
F Allen 68 89.1 35 R 39.5 85 150 309.5 368.9

7.  Habeckers Gym (USA)  -  917.1 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
D Habecker 67 86.0 30 R 50 92.5 140 312.5 371.3
K Hess 16 136.0 40 R 87.7 80 145 352.7 281.7
A Hess 46 140.6 35 R 87.7 82.5 140 345 264.1

8.  Powerhouse 2 (England) -  877.9 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
G Saxton 48 113.6 37.5 R 55 115 160 367.5 317.5
W Smith 18 134.3 45 R 67.5 125 170 407.5 306.5
K Gardner 51 73.2 15 R 40 32.5 85 172.5 253.9

9.  Tiverton WL Club (England) – 701.1 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
G Ell 39 85.0 42.5 L 46.4 127.5 170 386.4 358.3
M Rattenbury 48 65.0 27.5 L 33.9 85 140 286.4 342.8

10.   Frank’s Gym (USA)  – 598.2 points

Lifter Age BWT Snatch Pinch Bench Dead Total Points
F Ciavattone 55 125.0 40 R 77.5 115 215 447.5 392.4
F Ciavattone Jr 16 108.0 25 R 40 50 115 230 205.8

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in kilograms.  All lifts are in kilograms.  Points are adjusted for bodyweight and age.

World Postal – Individual Ranking List

1.    403.3  Al Myers
2.    392.4  Frank Ciavattone
3.    382.3  Scott Schmidt
4.    371.3  Denny Habecker
5.    370.2  Chad Ullom
6.    368.9  Frank Allen
7.    366.4  Steve Andrews
8.    361.7  James Gardner
9.    358.3  Gary Ell
10.  358.0  Mark Price
11.  349.0  Darren Barnhart
12.  346.6  Chuck Cookson
13.  345.2  John McKean
14.  342.8  Mark Rattenbury
15.  338.6  Scott Tully
16.  335.2  Chris Ross
17.  333.2  Andy Tomlin
18.  319.6  Steve Gardner
19.  317.5  Graham Saxton
20.  307.3  Art Montini
21.  306.5  Wade Smith
22.  305.4  George Dick
23.  281.7  Kohl Hess
24.  279.5  Rudy Bletscher
25.  264.1  Andrew Hess
26.  253.9  Karen Gardner
27.  232.8  Daniel Andrews
28.  205.8  Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Team Match Winners – Top 5

1.   Dino Gym 1 – USA

2.   Powerhouse Gym 1 – England

3.   Ambridge VFW – USA

4.   Dino Gym 2 – USA

5.   Willies Warriors – Scotland

Overall Best Lifters – Top 5

1.   Al Myers – USA

2.   Frank Ciavattone – USA

3.   Scott Schmidt  – USA

4.   Denny Habecker – USA

5.   Chad Ullom – USA

Best Ladies Lifter

Karen Gardner – England

Best Junior Lifter

Wade Smith – England

Best Open Lifter

Chad Ullom – USA

Best Masters Lifter

Al Myers – USA

World Title Winners listed by Class and Age Divisions


Karen Gardner – 50+75 kilo class winner


Daniel Andrews – 14/15 yrs 60 kilo class winner
Kohl Hess – 16/17 yrs 125+ kilo class winner
Frankie Ciavattone – 16/17 yrs 110 kilo class winner
Wade Smith – 18/19 yrs 125+ kilo class winner


Gary Ell – Mens 85 kilo class winner
James Gardner – Mens 90 kilo class winner
Chris Ross – Mens 95 kilo class winner
Chad Ullom – Mens 110 kilo class winner
Scott Tully – Mens 125+ kilo class winner


Andy Tomlin – Mens 95 kilo class winner
Al Myers – Mens 120 kilo class winner
Chuck Cookson – Mens 125 kilo class winner
Darren Barnhart – Mens 125+ kilo class winner


Mark Rattenbury – Mens 65 kilo class winner
Mark Price – Mens 110 kilo class winner
Graham Saxton – Mens 115 kilo class winner
Andrew Hess – Mens 125+ kilo class winner


Steve Andrews – Mens 75 kilo class winner
Steve Gardner – Mens 125+ kilo class winner


Scott Schmidt – Mens 115 kilo class winner
Frank Ciavattone – Mens 125 kilo class winner


John McKean – Mens 75 kilo class winner
George Dick – Mens 125+ kilo class winner


Denny Habecker – Mens 90 kilo class winner
Frank Allen – Mens 90 kilo class runner up


Rudy Bletscher – Mens 100 kilo class winner


Art Montini – Mens 85 kilo class winner

Strength, Speed, and Age

by Thom Van Vleck

Larry Ventress has been a top Highland Games athlete for many years and has had to deal with his share of injuries.

Here’s a good quote I read recently:

“You might not get faster when you’re older, but you can get stronger.” (NFL Running Back Lorenzo Neal who said he added years to his NFL career when he “lost a step” by doing sets of 20 on the squat AFTER his regular workouts to make up for the speed loss with strength).

I agree, you might not get faster with age, as a matter of fact, you WILL PROBABLY get slower, but you can offset that with strength. Strength gains can come for a LONG time in my opinion. I remember my grandfather writing out his work out routine in his 80’s…he had max attempts written in those goals!!

I was at the McPherson Scottish Highland Games recently and was talking to my good friend Larry Ventress. Larry was a top “A” thrower years ago and has been a top masters thrower for years and he and I have competed against one another for many, many years and have become good friends. We were talking about guys coming out to train with us that were big deadlifters who wanted to try the Weight Over Bar event (you throw a 56lb weight, or 42lb if you are a master, over a cross bar for height with one hand…greatest height wins like in the high jump) and how they failed miserably. They were extremely strong…..but slow. However, we both agreed if they worked at it some, they would be great once they got the speed going. I have also found guys that were quick, that could generate a lot of speed, do well in the WOB, but couldn’t lift much at all. Because in Highland Games, to be a good thrower, you either have great speed or great strength. To be a great thrower you need SPEED & STRENGTH. Larry and I were discussing that if you are losing speed with age….you need to amp up the strength levels to compensate.

Lifting is no different in my opinion and especially so in the quick lifts. So, if you feel like you are losing a step….don’t worry, just get stronger! It CAN be done!!!!

Is the Lynch Formula Fair??

by Al Myers

There has been “lots of talk” regarding the Lynch Formula recently.   Most of this centered around the fact that the Lynch Formula has just been expanded to contain factors for lifters that weigh over 138 kilograms.  Now the Lynch Chart goes to 180 kilograms.  The Lynch Formula has been the “adopted formula” of the USAWA and the IAWA since the early 90’s to calculate adjusted points in determining weight lifted to bodyweight comparisons in scoring.  The Lynch Formula creator, Ian Lynch, developed and modified his formula to apply to the lifts done in All-Round Weightlifting.  As far as I know, no other lifting organization uses the Lynch Formula.  So, you could say, that we have a Formula that tailors to our specific lifting sport – All Round Weightlifting!   I have never really heard the reasons how the Lynch Formula was derived.  Most other weightlifting formulas are derived from a data set of numbers, usually records or performances of lifters of different bodyweights.  I know this is how the Sinclair Formula was derived  in Olympic Weightlifting.  It has even been changed and modified over time when it is “re-evaluated” using new data, and new factors are created to maintain the fairest formula possible.  However, this is easier to do when you are analyzing only two lifts (the Snatch and Clean and Jerk) than when you are looking at over 200 lifts, like we have in All-Round Weightlifting. I find it hard to believe that Ian Lynch used any data involving All-Round Lifts when he developed his formula.  Afterall, what data involving All Round Lifting was available 20 years ago?

The big question always arises, is the Lynch Formula fair?  I have several larger lifters in my gym who feel that it isn’t, and that the Lynch Formula favors the lighter lifter.  But then I hear from light lifters who say it favors the heavier lifters.  And when the fact is pointed out that the  past several years  the Overall Best Lifter at the IAWA World Championships has weighed over 105 kilograms,  they have a good argument.  I always try to be as open-minded as possible, and I like to have the FACTS before I form a hard opinion on something.  This is why I performed my own self-study on this – to answer that question to myself.   In no way is this information I am presenting you a scientific study that has any statistical significance.  I am making that disclaimer LOUDLY, so my statistics friends like Tom Ryan (who is way smarter than me in matters like this)  won’t point out my deficiencies in the methods of my study.  This study is entirely just a compilation of data that must be taken on surface value.  But it is still VERY INTERESTING and should provide the best factual support  regarding the fairness of the Lynch Formula that has ever been available.

Study – Determining the Fairness of the Lynch Formula

Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate the fairness of the Lynch Formula in regards to correction factors for bodyweight adjustments.

Design: The USAWA Record List will be used as the data source of information that will be evaluated.  The USAWA record list has accumulated information on records in various lifts for over 20 years.  Twenty lifts will be selected (the Heavy Lifts will be left out).  The lifts selected will be the ones that have the most records established in them through all weight and age classes. Three weight divisions will be arbitrary selected – lightweight lifters (80 kilogram class and below), middleweight lifters  (85-100 kilogram classes), and heavyweight lifters  (105 kilogram class and above).  The best record according to Lynch Formula will be selected from each weight division.  These three divisions will then be ranked according to the best lifts according to the Lynch Points, and all points will be added up to determine which weight division has the best ranking, and thus assumed to receive the biggest advantage from the Lynch Formula.

Assumptions: Since individual bodyweights are not known from the USAWA Record List, the weight of the weight class will be used in calculating Lynch Points.  Lifters in the 125 kg plus class will be assigned the Lynch Correction for 130 kilograms bodyweight. This may be an underestimate of the actual bodyweights of superheavyweight lifters, and if so, would provide numbers that would artificially elevate the lifts of SHW  lifters in regards to Lynch Points (NOT an advantage for heavy lifters).   Also, the assumption is made that the record lifts are representative of the average lifting ability of all lifters in these bodyweight classes. By picking the 20 lifts with the most records, it is assumed that these are the 20 all-round lifts that are performed the most, thus providing the best data base of numbers available from the Record List for evaluation.


Lift Lightweight

(80 K class and below)


(85 K to 100 kg class)


(105 K class and above)

Bench Press

Feet in Air

320# – Smith


LP – 320.0 points

480# -  Succarote


LP – 406.6 points

441# – Meek


LP – 327.2 points


Right Arm

132# – Zaremba


LP – 132.0 points

160# – Bryan


LP – 148.4 points

175# – Burtzloff


129.8 points


Heels together

226# – Hirsh


LP – 217.2 points

248# – Bryan


LP – 230.0 points

300# – Meek


LP – 222.6 points

Cont Snatch 220# – Waterman


LP – 229.9 points

248# – Bryan


LP – 230.0 points

265# – Ciavattone


LP – 196.6 points


to Chest

325#- Waterman


LP – 339.7 points

380# – Anderson


LP – 431.1 points

385# – Conners


LP – 285.6 points



287# – Waterman


LP – 299.9 points

320# – Bryan


LP – 296.8 points

369# – Anderson


LP – 304.6 points

Cheat Curl 190# – Gazda


LP – 220.8 points

235# – Anderson


LP – 210.9 points

260# – DelSignore


LP – 214.7 points


2 bars

463# – McKean


LP – 445.0 points

610#- Schrock


LP – 516.7 points

600# – Myers


LP – 473.3 points


Heels together

560# – Hirsh


LP – 560.0 points

605# – Schrock


LP – 512.5 points

650# – Myers


LP – 491.5 points


Rt Arm

369# – McKean


LP – 385.6 points

402# – Ullom


LP – 340.5 points

562# – Ciavattone


LP – 416.9 points



600# – Hirsh


LP – 576.7 points

635# – Schrock


LP – 537.9 points

661# – Myers


LP – 520.9 points

Hack Lift 670# – Hirsh


LP – 644.0 points

605#- Anderson


LP – 543.0 points

620# – Schrock


LP – 511.9 points



702# – Hirsh


LP – 674.8 points

601# – Schrock


LP – 523.5 points

601# – Spayd


LP – 496.2 points


& Press

287# – Hirsh


LP – 275.9 points

275# – English


LP – 246.8 points

352# – Myers


LP – 277.4 points


& Push

331# – Crowe


LP – 318.2 points

446# – Anderson


LP – 400.3 points

474# – Burtzloff


LP – 382.0 points


Rt Arm

127# – Waterman


LP – 132.7 points

160# – Bryan


LP – 148.4 points

171# – Burtzloff


LP – 137.8 points



355# – Fleischer


LP – 341.2 points

441# – Bruner


LP – 384.1 points

495# – Meek


LP – 398.9 points

Steinborn 325# – Monk


LP – 339.7 points

375# – Schmidt


LP – 317.7 points

441# – Ullom


LP – 354.6 points

Swing DB

Rt Arm

120# – Smith


LP – 120.0 points

120# – Schrock


LP – 101.7 points

150# – Ullom


LP – 120.9 points

Zercher 504# – Hirsh


LP – 484.4 points

500# – Anderson


LP – 448.8 points

529# – Moore


LP – 408.1 points

NOTES:  LP stands for Lynch Points.

Summary: Overall points were scored on placings with 1 point given for first, 2 points for second, and 3 points for third.  These points were then “added up” to give total points for the 20 selected lifts, which would give the low overall score  as being  the best.  The lightweight division had 40 points, the middleweight division had 38 points, and the heavyweight division had 42 points.  The lightweight division had 6 “firsts”, the middleweight division had 8 “firsts”, and the heavyweight division had 6 “firsts”.  Also, the Lynch Points were added for each division to give another comparison.  The lightweight division had 7057.7 points, the middleweight division had 6885.7 points, and the heavyweight division had 6671.5 points.

What can be interpreted from all this??

The “total points” are really not that much different.  A couple of points either way could easily be said to be an “acceptable tolerance”.  All it would take is one of those records broken and it could “sway” back slightly the other way. The differences between the divisions (in regards to points)  are not enough that anyone could make an argument one way or the other.

My opinion is that Ian Lynch was pretty much “right on” in regards to fairness to all bodyweights using his formula.  Whether he did this using  scientific calculations, or merely having “luck” in picking the right correction factors doesn’t really matter.  The evidence of comparing the Lynch Formula to over 20 years of collected data in the form of USAWA records prove to me that his formula is very fair and one we should remain using.   Of course, it is easy to pick out certain lifters that obscure the data due to their very exceptional lifting within their class.  Bob Hirsh is a prime example as he greatly distanced himself from the others in the Hack Lift and Jefferson Lift.  His Jefferson Lift record outscored the next lifter by over 150 Lynch Points, the biggest variation of all the lifts recorded in this data set.  But there are other lifters in the middleweight and heavyweight classes who are  “in a class of their own” also.  Everything averages out.  I was also concerned that the weight classes on the fringe of the lightweight and heavyweight classes (the 80 K and the 105K) would be overly represented, and thus tend to discredit the ranges I picked for this study.  However, this was not the case as you can see from the results  that the lighter lifters (70K and 75K), as well as the heaviest lifters (the 125+ lifters) were often represented as having the BEST lifts within their division. Only one 60K lifter made the list (this is not a largely represented class at meets), and he ended up having the BEST Lynch corrected Cheat Curl.  Geoff Gazda’s 190# Cheat Curl in the 60K class outscored Antonio DelSignore’s 260# Cheat Curl in the 105 K Class, 220.8 points to 214.7 points.  One 125+ K class lifter had the TOP Lynch Score among all divisions.  Frank Ciavattone and his 562# One Arm Deadlift ranks above all the others.

I welcome any comments regarding this study of mine.  You can either address them on the USAWA Discussion Forum or you can email me directly.

Is the USAWA a “Retirement” Sport?

Wilbur Miller is a guy that had a LONG career in lifting, thanks in part to the USAWA!

by Thom Van Vleck

A USAWA member once told me that the USAWA is a good “retirement” sport.  You have to admit….there are a lot of guys that are pretty old in the USAWA!  I pondered why that was and what it meant (especially since I’m one of them!).

I was at a USAWA meet at Al’s one time and the great Wilbur Miller was there.  We were visiting and he was talking about all the options the USAWA offered to demonstrate strength.  We were also talking about Highland Games and Strongman as well.  He told me that back in his day you either Olympic lifted or powerlifted (he did both and was very GOOD at both, probably one of the best all time at both sports at the same time).  As we watched the lifters doing the lifts Wilbur said, “I wish we would have had this kind of stuff around when I was young…..I think I would have been pretty good at it”.  I don’t think…I KNOW he would have been!  Wilbur must have been inspired, because he came back after that and did some pretty amazing lifting at the same USAWA meet the next year and he’s a CURRENT USAWA member now!

Now, I know some of the old timers will point out that Wilbur and the rest were doing “odd lifts” back in the day, but today’s USAWA has many, many more contested lifts.

Most of us started in more mainstream strength sports.  I started as an Olympic lifter (and was an abysmal failure but I did learn how to power clean and squat….two lifts that have served me well!).   I then became a powerlifter (and was moderately successful).  Then came strongman & Highland Games (which I found I was even better at, with Highland Games being my greatest success relative to world class competition).   And with those, also came injuries.  Some of those have kept me from doing certain movements and if those were the only lifts on the table….then you are OUT!  But with the USAWA comes  hundreds of lifts.  If you can’t do one, pull out the rule book and search until you can find one you CAN do!  How great is that!

Of course, having all the age brackets and age adjustment formulas attract masters lifters, but that is, in my opinion, NOT why there’s so many masters in the sport.  Most athletes don’t retire because they are done, they retire because they are injured.  The desire is usually still there, the body just unable to perform.  That is why there are so many masters involved in the USAWA because it allows them to find lifts they can still do and compete at!   That’s a great thing in my opinion!  It also attracts guys like it attracted Wilbur Miller….the challenge of doing so many things and doing them well and finally finding a place to do it!

….and one last thing…..I ain’t RETIRED!  I’m just getting started!

Art’s Birthday Bash

by John McKean

As a classic Autumn day, Art’s big meet started in brilliant warming sunlight, crystal blue skies, trees ablaze in color, and Art more mellow (well, he growled less!!) upon his 83rd birthday! I was first in, to find Art in his usual position in the VFW Barbell Club office, ready to dispense the meet t-shirts and donuts that he generously supplies free to all lifters & guests. We didn’t have to wait long for our travelers to bound down the steps into our Ambridge “cave.” First came Denny & Kohl from a delightful trek through the mountains from across state, then the ever-smiling Scott Schmidt from Cleveland, and, finally, big Ernie Beath and family from the Eastern shores of Maryland. Ernie is usually the first one to show, but managed to misplace his car keys, AND – big news – he’s newly married to a gorgeous gal who attended her first meet with us!!

Art announced that, in addition to our usual self torture, Scott, he, and I would do the lifts for Steve Gardner’s World team Postal meet. Wonderful, more pain! But these proved to be a good choice of movements, and gave us each a shot at a few more records!

Big Ernie and I had been reducing – Ern was down to a meager 385 (marriage will do that to ya, big guy!) and I was down to my old powerlifting weight of 165 (having just celebrated MY 41st wedding anniversary, momma has stopped feeding me altogether!! Naw, she baked me a superb apple pie right after the contest – tho’ I had to elbow Sean & Rob outa the way!). But the two of us were excited about doing the bent over row for a National record, and are hopeful that next year the IAWA will reconsider and put it on the international list of lifts. Ernie did a huge 351 pound pull, and hopes to be the first to row with over 400 for the record books! His big dumbbell presses were their usual awesome displays of pure power!

Old Art celebrated the onset of his 84th year with one arm hacks & Zerchers, and did a teeth lift with 113 pounds – I still maintain that Art should get extra credit for this event, since he must be pulling with little more than one remaining tooth!! (I mentioned that once before to him and he BIT me, to prove ALL the old chompers are still healthy – ouch!! But my subsequent rabies shot hurt worse!!). But the ole guy went on to do all the Postal lifts with ease, cleaned up the gym, and later attended the usually long barbell club monthly meeting! And I’ll bet he still was up for his usual training session at 4 AM this morning (Monday)!

Denny went through with quiet deliberation on 5 new records, to keep a slight, but constant lead over Art in the race for most USAWA records. Of course, President Habecker always has exciting news and views of All-Round lifting to share with us – only, as yours truly experienced, don’t plan on getting a bench press signal from him anytime in the forseeable future when he’s expounding those views!!

Kohl Hess at 16 years young, and 273 pounds big, astounded us by performing the “shoulder drop,” which absolutely frightened us older guys! Later, among others, he did a big “bear hug” lift with 115K, which seemed natural, since the massive young man undoubtably trains by wrestling & terrorizing real local bears in the Lebanon woods!

Ole Scott Schmidt is the only olympic style lifter I know that keeps smiling while he bangs big lifts overhead!! Though he found new joy in the Postal events contested and loved the 2 hand pinch grip and Ciavattone deadlift! It’s almost too bad that later on in the day his hometown Cleveland Browns had to play our Steelers!! (tho for this day he was an honorary VFW BBC member and an adopted Western Pennsylvanian!).

Lots of iron was moved and birthday candles snuffed out (next year’s meet has to have the cake monitored by the fire department!!), and we hope to have a big crowd for 2011! Train hard, guys!


Art’s Birthday Bash
Ambridge VFW Barbell Club, Ambridge, PA
October 17, 2010

Meet Director:  Art Montini

All lifts listed in pounds except as noted

IAWA International Officials: (3 judges on all lifts) : Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Scott Schmidt, John McKean

John McKean – 165 pounds, 64 years, Class – 60+, 75K

Trap Bar Deadlift 365#
Ciavattone Deadlift 322#
Bent Over Row 220#
Deadlift 2 Barbells 360#
Straddle 2” Bar 302#
Reflex Clean & Push Press 95#
Reverse Curl 70#
Two Hands Pinch Grip 101#

Art Montini – 180.5 pounds,83 years, Class -80+, 85K

Left Hand Hack Lift 98#
Right Hand Hack Lift 98#
Left Hand Zercher 98#
Right Hand Zercher 98#
Teeth Lift 113#

Denny Habecker -191 pounds, 68 years, Class -65+, 90K

Fulton Deadlift 262#
Ciavattone Fulton Deadlift 202#
Bench Press Hands Together 150#
Right Hand Thumbless Deadlift 128#
Two Dumbbells Clean & Press 100#

Scott Schmidt -252 pounds, 57 years, Class -55+, 115K

Clean & Press – 105K
2” Bar Vertical Deadlift R – 95K

Kohl Hess -273 pounds, 16 years, Class – 16+, 125K

Shoulder Drop – 40.0K
Clean & Jerk – 79.5K
Bear Hug -115.0K
Straddle Deadlift – 200.0K
Clean & Press on Knees – 62.5K

Ernie Beath – 385 pounds,29 years, Class – Open, 125+

Bent Over Row -351#
RH Dumbbell Clean & Press -150#
Strict Curl -150#
LH Dumbbell Clean & Press -135#

2012 IAWA Worlds to be held in Kansas City

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom and Al Myers will be the Meet Promoters for the 2012 IAWA All-Round Weightlifting World Championships.

Another thing that arose from the 2010 IAWA World Council Meeting was that Chad Ullom and myself submitted a bid to host the 2012 IAWA World Championships – and it was ACCEPTED!!   Chad and I will be co-promoters (meaning that we will SHARE in the expenses!).  We plan to have the Championships the first weekend of October,  which is the traditional date for it.  It will be held in Kansas City, which has a major airport to allow for lifters to fly into the meet without much additional travel.   We have not selected a venue yet.  We are excited about this opportunity and plan to host it in a “FIRST RATE STYLE”.   This location (Kansas City)  is the “center point” of All-Round weightlifting in the United States, and hopefully, will stimulate a big interest in attendance. This is the first time the IAWA World Championships will be held in Kansas.   The entry forms will not be available until after next year’s Championships, but I wanted to announce the date now so everyone will have plenty of time to get this date on their schedule.

Art Montini is presented the IAWA Award of Merit

by Al Myers

Art Montini (center picture) receiving the IAWA Award of Merit. To left is the 2010 IAWA World Championships Meet Promoter George Dick, and to the right is IAWA President Steve Gardner.

One of the HIGHLIGHTS of the 2010 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland was when Art Montini was presented the IAWA Award of Merit, a Presidential Award  presented to Art  by our IAWA President Steve Gardner.  This is the FIRST EVER such award ever given on behalf of the IAWA, and it went to the best eligible candidate in the organization.  Art has been to MOST of the IAWA World Championships since the IAWA was formed, and he ALWAYS represents himself in a dignified, professional manner that epitomizes the character of a CHAMPIONSHIP ATHLETE.  Art competes like he is working a job, always focused and performing picture-perfect lifts like they’re just another “task at hand”.  Don’t let his casual demeanor mislead you when he’s lifting – internally he’s as fired up as anyone else!!!

Another thing that impresses me immensely about Art is the passion he still has for lifting.  Art is now 82 years old, but when you are around him it becomes obvious that he “feels” like a much younger man.  I hope that I will have the same zeal for lifting that he has when I’m his age.  He is a great inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others.  He had no idea that he was going to be presented this award, and even when Steve was giving his intro, Art still didn’t think it was about him.  I was sitting right across from him at the banquet and the look of amazement and acknowledgment upon hearing his name called was PRICELESS!!

This is for Art – every0ne in the USAWA and IAWA consider you our  “father figure” in our organization who we look up to.  We are EXTREMELY PROUD that you have received this AWARD OF MERIT!!!! Congratulations!!

Lynch Formula Expanded

by Al Myers

Chris Bass is the "brains" behind the IAWA. Chris is often the official scorekeeper at International Events, and he maintains the IAWA World Record List, which is an overwhelming task. Chris was very influential in helping solve this problem with the Lynch Formula.

A  project that I have been working on for the past several months has been trying to expand the Lynch Factor Chart to allow bodyweight adjustments for heavier lifters.  This has been a big problem with the Lynch Factor Chart in the past – it only went up  to 138 kilograms bodyweight.  This is how it always has been since the original calculations were done.  Nowadays, it is not uncommon to have lifters that weigh over this amount, and NO LYNCH FACTORS have been available for them.  It forced the Meet Director to either just use the highest Lynch Factor available on the Chart, or “make a guess” at a factor for them, either case not being the way it should be done.

Efforts were made to acquire the original Lynch Formula or extrapolate the current Lynch Factors to higher bodyweight factors.  Both of these ideas were unsuccessful – UNTIL NOW!!  I brought this problem up at the IAWA World Council Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, and a committee of myself, Chris Bass and Roger Davis were formed to look further into it and find a resolution.  I am glad to say that Roger Davis has found the original Lynch Formula, which the Lynch Formula creator Ian Lynch had given to him many years prior.  Through the works of Roger, he placed the formula in an Excel Spreadsheet and generated the new, higher numbers, which are needed to make the Lynch Factor Chart complete. The chart now goes to 180 kilograms bodyweight, with all the new numbers generated from the same formula that the previous numbers were.  For those interested, the mathematical expression of the Lynch Formula is:


This is indeed a much more complicated formula than I thought it would be originally!!  I have expanded the USAWA Lynch Formula Chart with the new values.  It will always be  available on the USAWA website – under the  page titled  “Scoring Information”.  I am the type of person who likes to solve problems quickly, and then immediately take action to implement the solution.  So, I presented this to the USAWA Executive Board for approval, which would allow the USAWA to implement this new Lynch Chart right away.  The USAWA Executive Board, of myself, Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Chad Ullom, and Scott Schmidt,  approved it unanimously.  This means the USAWA, as of now, will use this new Lynch Factor Chart in our scoring.  The IAWA will need a membership vote, which only occurs when there is a World Council Meeting.  This means it may be next year before the IAWA approves this new Lynch Chart, unless a Council Meeting is called for at the 2010 Gold Cup next month.  Regardless, the committee of myself, Roger, and Chris will present it for IAWA approval at the next Council Meeting.

The new Lynch Factor Chart  – Lynch Factor Chart

I want to especially thank the efforts of Roger Davis and Chris Bass.  Without the efforts of these two, this BIG improvement in our scoring system  would not have been realized.

USAWA Records Fall at Worlds

by Al Myers

82 year old Art Montini broke a USAWA Record in the Steinborn Lift with a lift of 143 pounds. This record was previously held at 105 pounds by the legendary lifter and Stongman Ed Zercher I, which was set at the 1988 Zercher Strength Classic.

Only five USAWA lifters attended the IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, but SEVERAL USAWA Records were set by this elite group.  Twenty one new USAWA Records were added to the USAWA Record List along with several new IAWA World Records.   Dennis Mitchell and Art Montini lead the way with 6 new USAWA records each.


Lift Lifter Age Wt Cls Record
Clean and Push Press Dennis Mitchell 75 75 55#
Snatch, One Arm, Left Art Montini 80 85 33#
Snatch, One Arm, Right Denny Habecker 65 85 77#
Snatch, One Arm, Right Dennis Mitchell 75 75 33#
Continental to Belt Denny Habecker 65 85 275#
Continental to Belt Art Montini 80 85 165#
Steinborn Lift Denny Habecker 65 85 244#
Steinborn Lift Dennis Mitchell 75 75 93#
Steinborn Lift Art Montini 80 85 143#
Steinborn Lift Chad Ullom ALL 110 440#
Curl, Cheat Dennis Mitchell 75 75 84#
Curl, Cheat Art, Montini 80 85 77#
Press, Dumbbell, Left Al Myers 40 115 88#
Press, Dumbbell, Left Denny Habecker 65 85 66#
Press, Dumbbell, Left Denny Habecker ALL 85 66#
Press, Dumbbell, Left Chad Ullom ALL 110 110#
Press, Dumbbell, Left Al Myers ALL 115 88#
Press, Dumbbell, Right Dennis Mitchell 75 75 27#
Press, Dumbbell, Right Art Montini 80 85 38#
Deadlift, Trap Bar Dennis Mitchell 75 75 225#
Deadlift, Trap Bar Art Montini 80 85 248#

Several record-breaking highlights occurred which deserve mentioning.  Chad Ullom established the USAWA ALL-TIME best lift in the Steinborn Lift with a lift of 440# (200 kilograms).  This also TIED the best Steinborn Lift in the IAWA Record List, which is held by our IAWA President Steve Gardner when he performed a 200 kilogram Steinborn Lift in 1998.  Art Montini broke two USAWA Records held by the legendary Missouri Strongman Ed Zercher.  Art broke Ed’s records in the Steinborn Lift and the Cheat Curl.  Ed Zercher had set these records in 1988.  It seems only fitting that one legend replaces another legend in the Record List.

The USAWA Record Race between Denny and Art is still going strong.  Denny is now at 369 USAWA Records (compared to 365 in July) while Art is still in second with 362 USAWA Records (compared to 358 in July).  Denny did help himself by breaking a record of Art’s in the Steinborn Lift by 1 Kilo in this meet!!  Art’s Birthday Bash and Record Day is coming up, but Art sets a limit of a maximum 5 records set, so if  Denny and Art both do this, Denny should maintain his lead.

JWC Record Breaker



by Thom Van Vleck

Oct. 29 we will be attempting a feat never before seen in the USAWA.  Quite frankly, I wonder what I was thinking when I dreamed this up!  We will attempt to break 100 USAWA records in about 2 hours for charity.

Last year I had my first ever JWC Record day and we had a blast.  This year I decided to combine it with our annual school fundraiser to try and get pledges for each record we break.  This money will go towards funding the Faith Lutheran School.  This school has over 150 students from preschool to 3rd grade.  Most of these students don’t attend our Church, and many do not have a Church home at all.  So the money is more than just about giving to a Church but to a school that reaches out to many different families and children.

I have decided to call it “Lifting Faith” because we are lifting weights to benefit Faith Lutheran School.  I already have several athletes who have committed to this feat and I am looking for more!  There is no entry fee and no awards, just the satisfaction of not only breaking individual records, but being part of a 100 record breaking day,  AND raising money for a good cause.

I will be going out and getting pledges for each record we break.  If we break 50 records and I have pledge totaling $10 per record, we raise $500 and if we break 100 records it will be $1000!  So, it’s important that we break as many as possible with the maximum being 100!  I will have loaders and spotters there and I will have a lifting platform and a warm up platform.  We will likely have over 500 people, most of them kids,  in attendance and towards the end, we will be the CENTER of the event!  I will have someone running a tote board to update progress and multiplying that by pledges to show an every rising dollar amount.  I will have an emcee and a PA system.  At the end, the JWC will do our strongman show as part of a finale the evenings festivities.

All YOU need to do is BE THERE and be READY to break some records!!!!!

Contact me as soon as possible to verify your attendance.  I need all entries by Oct. 25th, NO LATE entries due to the need to develop a flow chart of records.  Also, due to the time limits, when it’s your time to lift, you need to be ready!  We will be moving quickly!!  No chain lifts, only platform lifts!

Be a part of the record day to beat all record days!

Here is my contact info:

Thom Van Vleck

660 341 1755

Meet Reminder – GOLD CUP

by Al Myers

2010 IAWA Gold Cup Meet Director Frank Ciavattone

The entry deadline is approaching FAST for this years Gold Cup on November 6th.  Meet Director  Frank Ciavattone was very generous in setting the deadline as late as possible, with the closing date being October 23rd.   That is only TWO WEEKS prior to the meet, and should give everyone enough time to get their entry in on time.

The Gold Cup is an IAWA sanctioned event, and rotates between the countries affiliated with the International All-Round Weightlifting Association.  It is quite an honor and opportunity to compete in it when it is held in the States.  It may be several more years before it is again.  Lets take this opportunity and show the Gold Cup the support it deserves and in doing so, demonstrate the strength of the USAWA.

Entry forms are available under “IAWA Gold Cup” in the USAWA Future Event listing on the right column of the website.

World Championships

by Al Myers




Group picture of the participants in the 2010 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Chad Ullom put together the perfect meet and captured this year’s most coveted prize in All-Round Weightlifting – Best Overall Lifter at the IAWA World Championships.  Chad was in the best lifting shape he has ever been in and put up some HUGE LIFTS throughout the two days of lifting.  On day one, he did the highest (poundage wise) Steinborn Lift in the USAWA Record List  and tied the best in the IAWA Record List (with our IAWA President Steve Gardner) with a Steinborn Lift of 200 kilograms.  It was a truly inspiration lift!  He then did a 210 kg Continental to Belt, followed by the next day a Trap Bar Deadlift of 265 kilograms (his personal best).   He also had the top Total of the meet, with a combined two-day poundage of 1015 kilograms.   There was not a single event that Chad struggled with – he is a WELL-DESERVING CHAMPION!!!

Chad Ullom pulls 265 kilograms (584 pounds) in the Trap Bar Deadlift on way to winning the Overall Best Lifter at the 2010 IAWA All-Round Weightlifting World Championships.

This was my second opportunity to compete in Glasgow, Scotland (the first being the 2006 IAWA World Championships).  Both times I have been overly impressed with the meet, with credit going to Meet Director George Dick and the Castlemilk Gym crew.  These guys are the BEST!!  They deserve a “pat on the back” for a job well-done.  I want to mention some of these guys  – Willie Wright, Andy Tomlin, David McFadzean, and Matt Finkle.   Your club unity really impressed me.  That is what All-Round Weightlifting SHOULD be all about!   I greatly appreciated the arrangements you made for all of us  to meet the Provost at the formal reception Saturday night in the City Chambers.   That is a memory that none of the lifters will ever forget.

Another highlight of the weekend was seeing our one-and-only Art Montini receiving the AWARD OF MERIT, an award specially given by IAWA President Steve Gardner, to recognize Art’s longtime commitment to the IAWA.  This was the first-such award ever given and to a very WELL-DESERVING RECIPIENT (I will elaborate more on this in a future story).   I also want to point out the outstanding performances by “the youngsters” in attendance.  Robbie and Chris Hughes really impressed me with their lifting (especially their Trap Bar Deadlifts), along with Big Wade Smith, who was in the 125+ class at only 18 years of age! (And yes Wade – I noticed when you put up a bigger 1-Hand Dumbbell Press than me!!)  I was glad to finally meet Mark Price.  Mark is a newcomer to the All-Rounds and is a REAL POWERHOUSE, and he has to ability to be VERY SUCCESSFUL with a little more time.  He did a very good Steinborn Lift of 150 kilograms, and squatted it with ease!!  It was great to see Steve Sherwood back in action. Steve has had a long career in the IAWA, but he has been missing the past few years from International competition.  Now Steve is 59 years old, but looks like he has not taken a day off from training in his entire life .  He was VERY PROFICIENT in his lifting technique, and put up great lifts in everything.  What can I say about Gerry Davidson??  (besides not being able to understand a word he says,  lol).   Gerry is 74 years old and solid muscle.  He is a ferocious lifter on the platform, and gives every max lift 100%.  He took a hard fall on the Clean and Push Press, but got up, brushed it off, and went back to lifting (it didn’t faze him!!).  It was great to see Frank Allen back in action again after being sidelined last year with a hip replacement.  He looked in great shape, and really surprised me with his 145 kilogram Continental to Belt.  Dennis Mitchell  has not missed many World Competitions, and again showed his grit, by setting MORE records on fourth attempts than anyone else in the entire meet (total 4).   Denny Habecker was solid as ever, again making the top ten.  It was great catching up with my old friends Steve Andrews and Roger Davis. These two have a WEALTH of information on All-Round Weightlifting and I learn something new with every visit with them.   I HAVE to mention the outstanding lifting in the women’s division, with veteran Agnes McInally taking the overall honors.

I wish I had enough time to talk about EVERY LIFTER in the meet (I got stories on EVERYONE).  I want to sum it up by saying – the lifting was superb, the meet was well organized, and a good time was had by all.

Men’s Top Ten

1.  Chad Ullom, United States – 825.4 Points

2.  Al Myers, United States – 809.0 Points

3.  Steve Sherwood, England – 807.2 Points

4.  Gerry Davidson, England – 806.6 Points

5.  Steve Andrews, England – 777.6 Points

6.  Roger Davis, England – 744.5 Points

7.  Mark Price, England – 725.9 Points

8.  James Gardner, England – 719.5 Points

9.  Denny Habecker, United States – 713.8 Points

10. Robbie Hughes, Scotland – 680.9 Points

Women’s Top Three

1.  Agnes McInally, Scotland – 577.3 Points

2.  Nicola Hughes, Scotland – 480.4 Points

3.  Kim Rawling, England – 356.5 Points


Dates:  October 2nd and 3rd

Location:  Castlemilk Gym, Glasgow, Scotland

Meet Director:  George Dick

M/C Recorder: Steve Gardner

Assistants: Judy Habecker and Chris Bass

Drug Testing: Frank Allen

Referees: Andy Tomlin, Chad Ullom, James Gardner,  Mathew Finkle,  Steve Andrews,Dennis Mitchell, Denny Habecker,  Bill Wright,  Chris Ross, Gerry Davidson,  Frank Allen,  Karen Gardner,  David McFadzean


Day 1:  Clean and Push Press, Barbell Snatch – One Arm, Continental to Belt, Steinborn Lift

Day 2:  Cheat Curl, Dumbbell Press – One Arm, Trap Bar Deadlift

Chad and I donned our kilts and made a toast to show our spirit of celebrating the Championships in Scotland.

Best Lifter Awards:

Best Junior Robbie Hughes (Sco)
Best Female Agnes McInally (Sco)
Best Open Lifter Chad Ullom (USA)
Best Master 40+ Al Myers (USA)
Best Master 45+ Mark Price (Eng)
Best Master 50+ Steve Andrews (Eng)
Best Master 55+ Steve Sherwood (Eng)
Best Master 60+ George Dick (Sco)
Best Master 65+ Denny Habecker (USA)
Best Master 70+ Gerry Davidson (Eng)
Best Master 75+ Denny Mitchell (USA)
Best Master 80+ Art Montini (USA)


1st Chad Ullom (USA)

2nd Al Myers (USA)

3rd Steve Sherwood (Eng)

Special Award: The IAWA Award of Merit, presented to Art Montini (for services to all round weightlifting) by IAWA President Steve Gardner

PDF of Meet Results:

World Champs 2010 Day1 World Champs 2010 Day2 World Champs 2010 Both Days

Make it “Official”

by Thom Van Vleck

Phil Jackson judging in the 1960's

I guess I’m officially “OLD”.  I went to a funeral the other day and was upset with the clothes people wore.  They were in jeans, sweat pants, jeans with holes in them, etc.  I was in a suit and tie.  I was there to show respect.

I guess I’m old school and I like to show respect. I respect my elders, my betters, ladies….errr…women.  Because that is how I was raised.  I open doors for older folks (seems to be fewer of those every year…don’t understand why!?).  I stop when I see someone needs help.  I greet folks with a handshake and acknowledge them in some appropriate way when I can.  In general, I’m nice…..Ok, MOST of the time I’m nice.

I was going through some old pictures recently and came across one of Phil Jackson judging a meet in the 1960’s.  He was wearing a suit and tie.  I asked him about it and he acted like that was a stupid question!  He said all the judges wore respectable clothes back then.  He said it made the meet look better, like there was something going on, but most of all it was showing respect to the honorable position of being a judge.  I would also point out that Phil had lifted in that meet and changed to judge the later classes.

Now,  I’ve judged meets in jeans and a t-shirt so I’m not casting stones here (but I will in regards to that funeral….that just made me mad!).  I would be curious what other members of the USAWA think about this.  I’ll guess that if you are over 40, you think that a judge should look the part and at least look half way decent and if you are under 30 you could care less as long as the job gets done.  Ages 30-40 are probably in the middle!!

Log onto the USAWA Discussion Forum and let me know and I’ll follow this article up with the results.

JWC: The Pro Football Connection Part III

by Thom Van Vleck

John Ware: 49'er Prospect and World Champion Powerlifter

There are a couple more names I’ll associate with the JWC and Pro Football. One is a stretch, but the other is not.

In the 80’s NMSU had a player named Mike Morris.  He was strong, I mean really strong.  I recall him squatting 770lbs and back then in college that was pretty serious….well….it STILL is.  I worked out with him a few times and was in awe of his strength.  Later, he would play almost two decades in the NFL as a long snapper and at one time, in the MILO Strength Journal, there was a story on him basically calling him the STRONGEST man in pro football.  Since then, I have become friends with Mike Baab.  Mike Baab played many years in the NFL and at one point he and Morris were on the same team.  I was “trying to impress” Mike with some name dropping and mentioned Morris.  Baab said, “Yeah, that guy was really strong, but he had ‘powerlifter’ legs”.  I asked what that meant, and Baab smiled and said, “He ran like he had a 45lb plate strapped to each foot!”.  Then Baab said, “But you don’t need to be fast to be a long snapper”.  I have tried to reach Mike a couple of times with no luck.  He does radio work for the Vikings now so I’m guessing I probably don’t carry much clout with him anymore…..if ever!

Then, there was Big John Ware who was a top powerlifter for many years and for the 20 years he was in Kirksville he was a good, close friend and often training partner of mine, who came to my house often.  We shared an interest in strength sports and football.  John had an undergrad degree in psychology and a Master’s in Counseling, and we attended the same Master’s program but at different times.  We had many conversations on the topic of  psychology.  He was a very intelligent guy.  I’ll never forget how I found out about his passing at age 46.  Just before I left for the 2005 Masters World Championships (highland games) I had called John.  He was in Joplin coaching Missouri Southern and they had a game at Truman in Kirksville coming up, and we were going to get together.  He was very encouraging and told me he wanted to hear how things were going with me when I got back.  When I got off the plane on my return, my wife had left me a message asking me to call her ASAP….and I got the bad news.

John was an All American Football player at Drake University.  He was signed by the San Francisco 49′ers (kind of ironic) and made it to the final cut.  John told me later that he realized at that point he could be a world champion powerlifter, or a mediocre pro football player, and he chose greatness.  He then added that if the money would have been there like it is now…..powerlifting may not have had one of it’s greatest champs!!!  During that time, I got to workout a lot with John.  He had one buddy named Dennis McKnight that came back often to train with us.   McKnight played at Drake and then logged over 10 years in the NFL.

During the time I trained with him he was a 5 time National Champ in Powerlifting and he was the 1991 World Champ.  He probably would have won more World Championships but they were always in the fall and as a football coach….he could not take time off in the fall.  His most legendary feat was breaking Bill Kazmaier’s world record in the total.  His best lifts were a 1000lb squat (I once spotted him do a triple with 985lbs).  I probably spotted him hitting over 600lbs on the bench a couple dozen times, including at triple with 600 one time.

John did share with me that he used a lot of drugs, including steroids.  He told me that he was certain it was the cause of his heart problems (he died of a heart attack at age 46).  He was also unapologetic.  He felt that all the same guys he beat while on steroids he could have beaten off steroids (assuming they were on them, too, and I think all the “greats” of that day were on them).  John commented to me he never claimed to be drug free and that when he started them in the 70’s, the culture was very different than it is now and they weren’t aware of all the dangers.  He told me if he had started 10 years later, he would probably never would have used them.

John did train in the JWC gym, unlike Morris, as did Glen Jacobs.  Jacobs was better known as the pro wrestler KANE!  But that, my friends, is another story!  I only mention him here because he was a Chicago Bear prospect but could not pass their physical so he went into the crazy world of Pro Wrestling!

That’s the JWC connection to the world or Pro Football!  It’s not much, but we are proud of it!

JWC: The Pro Football Connection: Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

Press clipping after the NFC Championship Game

Tom Geredine was a wide receiver for NMSU and was actually picked ahead of Lenny by the Falcons.  He ended up playing for the Falcons for two years and the LA Rams for one.  He was never a starter, but he did have one great game on a Monday night that had Howard Cosell fired up.  It was November 19, 1973 and Tom was at wide receiver.  He had three receptions of 52 yards as a back up, making it has 2nd best game as a pro.  The catches were at clutch times and helped the Falcons beat the Vikings 20 to 14.  That was a year the Vikings went to the Super Bowl and that was only one of two loses they suffered that year….an upset!

Then, there was Lenny.  Lenny played Pro football for 9 years. Six years as a Bengal and his coach was the legendary Paul Brown.  An assistant was this guy named Bill Walsh…..that will be important later!  Lenny played with the Browns but after 6 years his knees were getting banged up and he was released.  Bill Walsh had since become the coach of the 49ers and saw something special in Elliott.  He picked him up and Lenny came to the 49ers as a third stringer.

Then, came “The Catch”.  In the 1981 season, the year the 49er’s won their first Super Bowl, the “niners” found themselves  in the NFC Championship game against the great Dallas Cowboys who had made a habit of winning Super Bowls in the 70’s.  You have to remember, at this time the 49er’s were losers, they had never been to a Superbowl and they had some rookie QB named Joe Montana that everyone said at the time was too small and didn’t have a strong enough arm.  Then came a 4th quarter drive that Joe Montana would become famous for. Walsh knew the Cowboys would be looking for the pass so he looked down the bench and got a washed up running back (Lenny) who had been cut from the team, and only recently picked back up, and began to feed him the ball.  Lenny set up that Catch, and right before the catch, ALMOST scored a touchdown that would have meant the catch never happened!   If you are a fan, you remember “The Catch”, but did you know that Lenvil Elliott, JWC member, was the MVP of that NFC Championship game?  He set up that play and it was his finest hour as a player.  He did not play in the Superbowl and his bad knees forced him to retire the next year…so it was his last game.  A story fit for a movie!

Here’s another layer to this story.  There was a book called “The Catch” by Gary Myers.  In it he talks about this famous moment in football and characterizes it as the moment when Pro Football became bigger than Pro Baseball in America.  It was the moment when Pro Football became AMERICA’S GAME.  In the book, there’s a point where Gary Myers states that the “unsung hero” of that game was really Lenvil Elliott.  I like to believe that the training Lenny got from my Uncle helped his career and led to that moment.  I guess I don’t just believe it….I know it.

I recall many fun times with Lenny.  He was a nice guy.  He gave me his training camp shirt one year and I wore that my entire Senior year of high school….until it was in tatters!   We have a family cabin that we all often went to and used.  Lenny often brought his Pro Football friends out to get away from it all.  My Uncle Phil said they liked the fact he treated them like they were regular guys.  One of those guests was named “Walt” from Chicago.  You guessed it….Walter Payton.  My Uncle Phil said that when he left after a weekend of hunting he commented that he appreciated Phil not making a big deal about him and he offered him an autographed photo.  Phil told me that he turned him down and told him the joy of his company was enough.   Later, Lenny told Phil that Walter said he really liked Phil and our family cabin.  I recall lots of “big guys” coming out and Phil telling me to treat them like regular guys.  We did and we had a blast.

That’s only part of the JWC Pro football legacy….how about Part III??!!

JWC: The Pro Football Connection Part I

by Thom Van Vleck

Lenvil Elliot: JWC member and Super Bowl winner!

I had thought about titling this article: How the JWC made Football America’s Game over baseball.  That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?   Well, it’s true!  First, let me talk a little about Lenvil “Lenny” Elliot and the rest of the the Pro football players that came out of the JWC.

Lenny came to school at Northeast Missouri State University, which is now Truman State, here in Kirksville in the fall of 1969.   My Uncle Phil returned from Vietnam after a stint in the Air Force and started school in 1971.   Phil already had two years of credits so they were both Juniors.  They were both in school to be Physical Education teachers so they took a lot of classes together.  They began to train together, but more than that, they shared a love of hunting and fishing and spent nearly every weekend doing just that for the next two years.  That was the source of their real friendship.

At this time my Uncle Phil aspired to be a football trainer, maybe even for a professional team, and Lenny was on track to play in the NFL.  So they had a lot in common and Phil often shared his unique training philosophy with Lenny and personally trained Lenny for a year and a half before the NFL draft.  Phil had the JWC in the basement of his house and basically it was the only gym in town.  He told me he got enough in membership dues to pay the rent on the whole house!

Northeast Missouri State was in a “golden” era in football. In 1969, 1970, and 1971 they won the MIAA conference and out of those teams they had 5 players drafted into Pro football.   This included four that were trained by Phil!  Besides Lenny, there was Tom Geredine who was drafted into the NFL.  Then, in the WFL there was Craig O’Sadnick and Marvin Robinson.  Phil designed training programs for them for the off season (it was unusual to train in the offseason back then) and they lifted at the JWC gym.

This is remarkable in a couple of ways.  Northeast (or Truman as it is now known) had about 10 players EVER play pro football.  That means that the 5 that came out of this group was HALF of that total.  Pretty amazing and I have often wondered how much the training they got from Phil helped.  I think it had to help!  I was just a kid, but I recall Phil, Lenny, and the guys hanging out, and hitting the town.  Phil has a lot of stories…after all, it was the 70’s and the school has always been about two thirds girls for it’s enrollment!

Next: Part II  The JWC, Walter Payton, Winning a Super bowl, and Pro football becoming America’s Game.

Meet John O’Brien

by Thom Van Vleck

John O'Brien, of the JWC, is a World Class short-steel bender. In this picture, he displays an IronMind Red Nail which he just bent!

John O’Brien is a USAWA member, a good Highland Games thrower, a great lifter, and a world class short steel bender. Most of all, he’s my friend, training partner and Jackson Weightlifting Club member.  For most of the past decade we have been traveling to USAWA meets, Highland Games, Strongman Contests, Highlander meets, but most importantly he is a member of our evangelism team.  John is also a chemistry professor at Truman State and likes to say he’s trying to change the image of “nerds” everywhere.  He’s certainly the biggest, strongest “nerd” I’ve ever met!

John is  a low key guy.  He doesn’t get too fired up and has come across as being more than a little intimidating due to his size and quiet demeanor. Which is funny when you know he’s one of the nicest guys you could meet.   One  time, we went to a local fast food restaurant and the cashier, a young teen boy, was ready to take John’s order.  He was looking at John, all 6′3″ and 290lbs of him, and said, “Do you work out”?  John looked at him and in his usual economy of words said, “Yes”.  The kid looked him up and down again and said, “You scare me”.  I died laughing.  John is the quiet guy in the room that seems to intimidate people because not only is he big and decidedly strong looking, but you don’t quite know what’s on his mind.  And you won’t know unless you ask him directly!  Another funny story was the time when he would bend 60 penny nails during labs as practice.  Finally the Dean came to him and said he had to stop as the students were too scared to approach him and ask him questions as he bent nail after nail and tossed them in a pile!

I get a kick out of him and over the years have collected a list of top ten “Johnisms”.  When John does say something, it’s usually pretty well thought out and funny if you know him.  If you’ve never met him, they are still funny, but you have to imagine someone saying these in the most low key, matter of fact manner.

1.  You don’t have to be smiling to be happy. (Because John rarely smiles and people often ask him if he’s “OK”)

2. I’m not anti-social, I’m ASOCIAL…..there’s a difference.

3. People  don’t know how to take me and that’s the way I like it.

4. I may not be cheerful….but I’m always prepared. (Did I mention he’s a boy scout troop leader?)

5. You want a better grade in my class?  Then study Harder.

6. Yes, I know how to make nitro-glycerin and no I won’t….it’s very unstable.

7. You have to be careful regarding the chemicals you order….or the ATF or DEA will call.

8.  I like energetic reactions.

9. I have blown off an eyebrow doing experiments…..twice.

10. There was an explosion at the lab over the weekend…..I checked, it wasn’t mine this time.

John is one strong guy.  He has won the Master’s Class at the last two Highlander Nationals.  He always does well at any strength sport he tries because not only is he strong, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever met.  He can bend short steel with the best of them and easily bent an Ironmind Red Nail.  He can easily squeeze a pop can until it explodes and is our “go to” guy in our strongman evangelism shows when we need a heavy lift done.  We have sure had a lot of fun doing what we do!

But most of all, he’s one of the “characters” that make up the Jackson Weightlifting Club and the USAWA.  Next time you see him, say hello….don’t be afraid!

Clark’s Gym Record Day

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – Clark’s Gym Record Day

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  11 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts:  Pick your own lifts to set or break a  USAWA record

To enter, a confirmation must be sent to Bill Clark by the Tuesday preceding the meet.  Bill can be reached by phone: 573-474-4510, Fax: 573-474-1449, or mail:  Bill Clark, 3906 Grace Ellen Drive, Columbia, Missouri, 65202.

Art’s Birthday Bash

by Al Myers

Meet Announcement

Art’s 20th Annual BIRTHDAY BASH






ENTRY FEE: Donations to help pay for insurance

LIFTS: Your choice of FIVE.

SET or BREAK existing records








Entry Form -Art’s Birthday Bash 2010

IAWA World Championships

2010 World Championships
Entry Information

by Al Myers

2009 World Meet Promoter Denny Habecker (on left) presenting a 2009 World Championship Medal to 2010 World Meet Promoter George Dick (on right).

The 2010 IAWA World Championships will be held on October 2nd and 3rd. The entry information for the 2010 IAWA World Championships has been added to the Event Calendar. It will be directed by George Dick of the Castlemilk Gym Club. The Castlemilk Club last hosted the World Championships in 2006. The meet will be held at the Castlemilk Club in Glasgow, Scotland. If you want a “trip of a lifetime” – make it to Scotland for this meet. George and the Castlemilk Club will put on a TOP QUALITY MEET – that is for certain. On top of this – the meet can be combined with a vacation. There are several historic sites to see in and around Glasgow.

Entry Form (pdf) – 2010WorldIAWA