Articles from January 2011

Zercher Meet

By Joe Garcia


The mighty have fallen. This last Saturday, Jan 29, the longest running meet in the USAWA, in fact dating prior to the formation of the USAWA, the Zercher meet was once again held in Clarks gym at Columbia, MO.  At one time, it was one of the premier meets  of our organization,  but recently has fallen on small times.  This one was no exception.  We had a total of three people in the gym, Bill Clark who judged the meet; Tom Powell, our exceptional loader, who never lifts in any of these meets, but like clockwork, shows up to put the weights on the bars; and myself, the lone lifter in the meet.  Quite a bit different from the ones back in the late 80’s,  where we ran three platforms for the lifters.  Consisting of 13 lifts, it makes for a hard day on the body.

On a side note, we may see Bill back lifting in the near future.  He has been to Atlanta to see his favorite surgeon, and they will be replacing his shoulder down the road.  That will be welcome news as he really can’t even move his arm more than about 3 – 4 inches at this point.  Add a new hip and he’ll be good as new.

Since I have been favoring a rotator injury from last summer that started out with a fall from a horse, I pretty much knew that the overhead lifts and the bench weren’t going to be too outstanding for me.  I was correct in that they were all down in poundages, though not as much as I thought they would be.  In the other lifts, except for the Hand and Thigh, I either was able to do the same as last year or bettered a couple of the lifts.  The older lifters in the association will understand how that becomes a victory.  Anyway, for the most part I was happy with the results, and as always, enjoyed seeing Bill and we did end up at the Golden Corral for a late lunch.

2011  Zercher Meet
Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri
January 29, 2011

Meet Director:  Bill Clark
Official:  Bill Clark
Loader: Tom Powell

Lifts: Leg Press, Heels Together Clean and Press, Clean and Jerk, Heels Together Deadlift, Bench – Feet in the Air, Hack Lift, One-Hand Deadlift, Zercher Lift, Steinborn, Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh, Hip Lift and Harness Lift.


Lifter Age BWT Lg Press HT Press C&J HT Dead Bench
Joe Garcia 57 212 400 150 165 315 205
Hack 1Hd Dead Zercher Steinborn
275 245 -R 255 195
Neck HandThigh Hip Harness Total
375 1075 1675 2300 7630

All results in pounds.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.

News from the IAWA(UK)

by Steve Gardner

Andy Tomlin is awarded the Clubman of the Year for the Castlemilk Gym.

I attended the Castlemilk Gym Weightlifting Clubs annual dinner in Glasgow on Friday 14th January. It was a very pleasant evening, and after dinner William Wright made the presentations of the clubs awards for their acheivements through 2010. Andy Tomlin was the winner of the overall clubman of the year cup. At the end of the presentation I took them all by complete surprise when I told them that in fact myself and Karen had not just travelled up to see them and enjoy their evening with them, I had another duty to perform. It was well worth the trip to Scotland to see the expression on young Robbie Hughes’s face when I presented him with the wonderful Health and Strength Cup, which is presented annually for the best performance by a IAWA(UK) Junior lifter!

Robbie Hughes receives the Health and Strength "Best Junior" Trophy for 2010.

Final Postal Series Ranking

by Al Myers

Al Myers wins overall best lifter of the 2010 USAWA Postal Meet Series, pictured with his 617 pounds 12" base deadlift in the 2010 National Postal Meet.

I have finally tabulated the final rankings for the 2010 USAWA Postal Series.  The USAWA Postal Series consists of 4 quarterly postal competitions – the Eastern Open in March, the Middle Atlantic in June, the Delaware Valley in September, and the National Postal Meet in December.  John Wilmot has been the meet director for these Postal Meets for several years now.  He deserves recognition for all his hard work – organizing the competitions, calculating the meet results, and sending out award certificates to the winners.  Thank you John on behalf of the USAWA!!

The Postal Series Ranking is done using this simple scoring system.  Each lifter accumulates points based on their overall placing in each postal meet.  For example, if there are 10 lifters entered, first place receives 10 points and the last place finisher receives 1 point.  This way EVERY lifter at least receives some points toward their yearly ranking total.  If more lifters are entered – more points goes to the winner.  The National Postal Meet is worth DOUBLE POINTS since it is the most important competition in our Postal Meet Series.

For the 2010 Postal Series, 21 men and 1 woman lifter participated. Only TWO lifters participated in all 4 postal meets – Denny Habecker and John Wilmot.  The National Postal Meet was the most participated in with 16 entrants.

Top Ten Men Final Rankings

1.     50 points – Al Myers

2.    38 points – Mark Mitchell

3.    35 points – Joe Ciavattone Jr.

4.    34 points – Chad Ullom

5.    28 points – Denny Habecker

T.    28 points – Scott Tully

T.    28 points – Chuck Cookson

8.    26 points – Orie Barnett

9.   25 points – Randy Smith

10. 21 points – Joe Ciavattone Sr.

Top Women Final Rankings

1.    3 points – Helen Kahn


Women Best Lifter – Helen Kahn
Junior Men Best Lifter – Joe Ciavattone Jr.
Men Senior 20-39 Best Lifter – Chad Ullom
Men Master 40-44 Best Lifter – Al Myers
Men Master 45-49 Best Lifter – Orie Barnett
Men Master 50-54 Best Lifter – Mark Mitchell
Men Master 55-59 Best Lifter – Randy Smith
Men Master 60-64 Best Lifter – John Wilmot
Men Master 65-69 Best Lifter – Denny Habecker
Men Master 70-74 Best Lifter – Mike Murdock
Men Master 75-79 Best Lifter – Rudy Bletscher

Billy Parker: Friend of the JWC

S & H: April 1966 issue: Billy Parker, Drug Free bodybuilder and friend of the JWC!

by Thom Van Vleck

In the 60’s my Uncle Phil was stationed in Alabama while in the Air Force and got to meet a lot of top lifters and bodybuilders of that era.  One in particular that he became friends with was Billy Parker.  Billy had a brother Randy and they often frequented Karo Whitfield’s gym.  My Uncle Phil, when he was not doing Air Force work, would do personal training and that’s how he met the Parker Brothers.  They often came over for back yard BBQ’s and outdoor workout sessions.

Phil told me that the Parker’s came from Southern money.  They had a trust fund that allowed them to do whatever they wanted and not have to work.  So they decided to become professional bodybuilders and trainers and had their own “health club” as gyms were often called in that day, the Bel Aire Health Club (Phil thinks it was named for the shopping center it was located, the “Bel Aire Shopping Center”) .  Plus, they enjoyed being young and rich!  Phil said that Billy had a brand new thunderbird convertible and they would often cruise the streets of Atlanta looking for fun.

Phil said that what he liked most about Billy was he was drug free at a time when steroids was becoming commonplace.  It could also be why you never heard of Billy after that as that era was dominated by drugged up bodybuilders.  In 1964, Billy was 9th in the AAU Junior Mr. America and 6th in the Mr. USA.  In 1965 he was 15th in the Mr. USA.  In 1966 he was 15th in the Mr. America and was again mentioned for his posing ability and muscle control.  Phil said when he knew him in 1966 he had won over 70 bodybuilding trophies in regional meets in the south.

Phil said he was a he was a master poser and muscle control artist, having learned from Mr. America Harry Johnson.  In that 1965 contest he was listed as one of the top three posers in that contest.   Billy was not a big man, he was small boned and short, but he made the most of what he had!   Phil lost touch with him and Randy over the years and I’m currently trying to locate him so if you know where he’s at, let me know!

Dear Dino Man

by Al Myers

I get HUNDREDS of questions per month from individuals pertaining to weight lifting or other matters since I have been webmaster of the USAWA Website. I guess that goes along with making your email address publicly known on a website. People are always looking for free advice and the internet provides plenty of it – some good and some not so good. I try to respond to most questions, but there are lots I don’t get around to. I hate to deprive the USAWA Daily News readers of these “email exchanges” so I’ve decided to start an advice column to share some of these questions and my responses. Maybe it will answer a few questions that I repeatedly receive, and cut out having to answer the same question over and over again. I have decided to name this column Dear Dino Man. I am leaving off the names of the email senders – to insure confidentially and possible embarrassment.

Dear Dino Man,

I am interested in all round weightlifting, and would like to know where to find out more information and a listing of the competitions. Where do I find this?

It’s all on the USAWA website – the same place you found my email address.

Dear Dino Man,

Our company (fill in the blank) sells (fill in the blank) and would like you to link our website to yours. Would you do that?

Sure – and how much do you plan to donate to the USAWA in yearly sponsorship? (followed by no response from the sender).

Dear Dino Man,

Im 17 years old and been liftin waites for 6 months now. Me and mine buddies is allready lot stronger than u guys. We train at the high school, and coach tells us we need to do a liftin meat cuz wear so good. We think ur meats sound fun and we no we would be da champions. How big uf trophes will get?

For the time being, it sounds like it would be best if you focus on your academic studies, and if you get time  take a course in humility.

Dear Dino Man,

Is the bench press and the roman chair bench press the same thing?

No, not even close.

Dear Dino Man,

I really enjoy the USAWA website! Thank you for the refreshing approach to weightlifting that I don’t see any more. I especially like the stories written by Thom Van Vleck. Is he someone famous?

Thom is indeed someone famous! He has written many articles published in MILO and other strength publications. He has weight trained for over 30 years and has a wealth of lifting knowledge.  He has directed many competitions (Highland Games and Weightlifting) and is a real leader in the strength World. He is also the assistant webmaster of the USAWA website. I only wish he would contribute a little more often instead of leaving most of the work to me.

(Disclaimer: Dear Dino Man provides answers that may fall into the grouping of “not so good” amongst the multitude of  free internet advice)

Got a great idea?

by Al Myers

After sharing my idea of Hanging Dumbbell Presses, I was wondering if anyone else had ideas like this??  I know someone else has to have some “secret training idea or tip” that may benefit another lifter.  Hey – we are all here to share!!! Don’t keep those secrets to yourself!  So I’m going to stage a little competition to get those secrets out.  All you need to do is submit a story on your idea and how it benefits your training.  This doesn’t have to be about some unique piece of equipment – it may just be a training idea or a training tip.  The more original the better.  I will then run these stories in the USAWA Daily News here on the website  and after all submitted stories are ran, leave it up to USAWA membership to vote on the one they like best!!  You do not need to be a USAWA member to submit a story, but do in order to place a vote.  I will accept stories up till this coming Sunday night (January 30th) so I can have them ready for the website the next week.

Rules of the competition: Stories must be between 500-1000 words, and a picture must be submitted that goes with your story.  The DEADLINE for submitting a story is Sunday, January 30th. Please email them to me  at .

To spice up the competition a little, the winner will receive a set of my Hanging Dumbbell Handles!!

Hanging Dumbbell Presses

by Al Myers

Al Myers demonstrating a Hanging Dumbbell Press, using a special made dumbbell handle that attaches to a chain that suspends the dumbbells at shoulder height.

A few months ago I started a training program utilizing seated dumbbell presses with the hope that they would be less stressful on my shoulder joints than straight bar shoulder presses.  Years ago I did LOTS of dumbbell presses and really liked them.   The natural rotation of pressing dumbbells feels better on your shoulders than a straight bar. Pressing dumbbells also makes you  very aware of shoulder strength imbalances.  With a bar, some of these “imbalances” can be compensated for with the stronger shoulder – but with a dumbbell that weakness is EXPOSED very quickly!  I started this dumbbell training program after Worlds in which I was VERY disappointed with my dumbbell press at that meet.  I have been able to “hide” my weak left arm pressing strength for quite a while by just using my right in competitions that require a lift to be done one handed. But at Worlds the Scots pulled a mean trick on me – and put in place  a “meet rule” that required both one arm lifts to be performed with alternate arms.  I really wanted to snatch with my right, so the dumbbell press was “left” to my “left”.  Needless to say, I did less for a max standing than what I USED to do for 5 reps seated.

This is a picture of the Hanging Dumbbell Handle.

I started the program out easy with light dumbbells and progressed a little every week.  My shoulders felt great.  No front delt shoulder pain.   However, soon I reached a point when the dumbbell poundages got heavy enough that I remembered another problem that dumbbell pressing causes.  My elbows started hurting!!! My elbow tendinitis flared back to full force like the days when I was bench pressing heavy.  Back then, it was a standard practice of mine to ice my elbows for an hour after every bench training session.  I don’t really want to go back to doing that now – just for dumbbell pressing!  The act of hammer curling or cleaning the dumbbells to my shoulders was the culprit here.  I was about ready to give up on dumbbell pressing because of this – but then I came up with a BETTER WAY!

I decided to make a “special” dumbbell handle that could be hung suspended overhead from my rack at the seated shoulder height.  This way I could hang the dumbbell using both hands – thus taking out the part of the lift that was causing me the elbow pain that seemed unnecessary. Now with the dumbbells already hanging, I just “take my seat” and start pressing!   I also feel a lot safer because if for any reason I would lose control of the dumbbells they would be “caught” by the chain and not do any damage to the floor or myself!   I have never heard of read of anyone else making a dumbbell handle like this so I want to share this idea.  Someone else may already have done this,  so I’m not going to make any claim to this idea.  That’s not my point.  If it would help someone else experiencing this same problem as myself and this idea would help them – that is enough for me.  The handle was very easy to make, and hopefully, will help build up my dumbbell press once again.

USAWA Records 2010

by Al Myers

What a year for broken records!!!  After tallying the last chance for any 2010 USAWA records  from the National Postal Meet, the USAWA ended up with a total of 609 records.  This is less than 100 from the all time best of 702 records set in 2005.  This is the third best year ever.   Maybe next year the “record for records” will go down.  Let’s hope so.  The following is a listing of the lifters who set the most USAWA records (20 or more)  in 2010.

Individual Records 2010

1.   62 – Al Myers

2.  43 – Chad Ullom

3.  35 – Kohl Hess

4.  30 – Rudy Bletscher

4.  30 – Thom Van Vleck

6.  28 – Dave Glasgow

7.  25 – Mike Murdock

7.  25 – Art Montini

9.  24 – Joe Garcia

10.  22 – John O’Brien

11.  21 – Denny Habecker

12.  20 – Darren Barnhart

It is interesting to note that only one lifter in the above list is not a Junior or Master lifter – and that is Chad Ullom.  The significance of this it that Chad is eligible to break or set only OVERALL records, not age group records.  The advantage of being able to break or set age group records is that you can “double dip” – meaning you can set TWO records with one record attempt.  All of Chad’s records were set individually – which is much more difficult!  This will change next year for him as he reaches the age in which he can FINALLY call himself a MASTER LIFTER.  This list does not include records set in the TEAM Record List, which is a different listing.  All together 18 new Team Records were set in 2010.  The following is the list of which teams set the most.

Team Records in 2010

1.   8 – Mike Murdock and Rudy Bletscher

2.  6 – Al Myers and Chad Ullom

3.  4 – Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell

Cambered Squat Bar

by Al Myers

Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, training with a Cambered Squat Bar. In this picture Scott is squatting 520 pounds for reps.

I have made lots of interesting training devices for the Dino Gym.  Some are of my original design while others I copied from someone else.  Some get used all the time, while others just get “pulled out”  every now and then.  Some of the devices are for very specific-type  training, while others are used for general strength training.   A few weeks ago Dino Gym member Scott Tully started using the cambered squat bar for his squat workouts.  I made this bar several years ago after reading about its advantages described by Dave Tate of  Elite Fitness Systems.   It has been around, or on the market,  for several years now.  The first time I had ever heard of a cambered squat bar was in an article by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell.  Most people attribute the development of the cambered squat bar to Louie. This bar has been hanging in the bar rack in the gym for quite a while so I was glad to see Scott pull it out and put it to use.  Sometimes just changing things up in your training will jump-start your strength gains.  I’m sure that is why Scott decided to use this bar in his training program – and he probably will only use it a few weeks before resuming straight bar squats.  And I predict once he gets back on the straight bar squats – his squat will be improved.

It was pretty easy to make, but did require the sacrifice of two good bars to make one unusual looking one.   The main benefit of squatting with the cambered bar is to decrease the stress on the upper back and place more muscular involvement in the hips and legs. The experts say it strengthens the posterior chain (which I say is a fancy word for the gluteus maximus.  haha look THAT one up!).  The camber (or offset) is 14 inches.  As you descend into a squat with this bar the weight “tracks” in a different line compared to a straight bar.  The result of this is that you will squat more upright with the cambered squat bar.  Also, by being able to grip it lower, using a cambered squat bar greatly reduces the stress on the shoulders and elbows.  It is perfect if you are “coming back” from a shoulder injury where your shoulder mobility is reduced or painful when gripping a straight squat bar.

This bar is also rackable – meaning you can take it out and return it to normal bar hooks in a cage or squat rack.  Spotting someone using this bar is no different than a normal bar.  The upper portion of the bar exceeds the racking hooks far enough that you can get a hold of it during a spot if needed.   I sort of have problems calling this bar a cambered bar, because in my mind “camber” means bent.  Like a Buffalo Bar or Bill Clark’s “special” one handed deadlift bar. Webster’s dictionary defines camber as “a slight curve” or “to arch slightly”.   This bar SHOULD be called an off-set bar instead.  But it has been advertised as a cambered bar for so long now, that name has stuck.  However, it is a great addition to any gym and adds variety to any strength training program.

Grip Championship Deadline Change

by Al Myers

On February 12th at the Dino Gym, the FIRST EVER USAWA National Grip Championships will be held.  Previously, I had set a entry deadline of February 1st to enter.  I did this so I would know in advance what awards to have made.  I had planned to have nice Championship Medals  for this meet as I was hoping for a big turnout.  However, to date I have ONLY received 3 entries with the previous deadline less than 10 days away.  This is NOT enough entries to pursue nice custom made awards – so I have decided to REMOVE the deadline and change the awards to Championship Certificates instead.  If you plan to attend, I still would like to know in advance.   These changes have been made to the entry form.

Click here for an entry form – NationalGripEntry

Successful Fundraiser

by Al Myers

The silent auction at the Dino Challenge raised $800 for the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.

After an unbelievable day of lifting at the Dino Old-Time Strongman Challenge,  a silent auction was conducted as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.   My training partner Mark Mitchell and his wife are actively involved with this compassionate organization.  Their concerns are genuine, and this group has helped HUNDREDS of pets find new homes and bring love and happiness to many, many families.  This group does not receive financial help outside of private donations and fundraisers like this.  ALL money raised will go directly where it should go – to help in finding homes for dogs and cats.  It was a fantastic feeling to be able to help them in this mission.   All together,  $800 was raised!!!!  It was my honor to present this check to Mark Mitchell and the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter on behalf of the Dino Gym and all USAWA participants who donated to this auction.  THANK YOU to everyone who was part of this!!

Smoking & Weightlifting: Part 2

Hey, I'm a patriotic guy!

by Thom Van Vleck

Ok, so if smoking is so bad for you why did so many lifters  do it?  And why were those lifters so successful while smoking.  The quick answer might be that they would have been even better without cigarettes.  This may surprise you, but I DISAGREE!

You may be thinking, “What! Thom is saying smoking will help your lifting”!  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.  Just like steroids, amphetamines, and the dozens of other drugs people use to increase their performance.  But don’t confuse helping your lifting and helping your health.  Also, there are better ways to achieve the same positive effects of smoking without the long term health problems that smoking brings.

First, how does smoking help.  Nicotine is a stimulant.  When you smoke, you are introducing a stimulant to your system.  A stimulant can help you focus.  By focusing, you can reduce anxiety (which is how cigarettes can calm you down when they stimulant you).  Since it enters through the lungs, it is wickedly fast in how it does it and why it is so addictive.  It has an incredibly fast stimulus-reward connection.  But you have to remember, there’s a DIFFERENCE between short term and long term benefits.

When I used to work in substance abuse counseling patients would often have a “dual diagnosis”.  They would come into treatment as a result of substance abuse, but the reason they would abuse substances had to do with an underlying problem.  I’ll used Depression as an example.  If you are depressed and you take methamphetamine you will no longer be depressed.  As a matter of fact, I’ll guarantee INSTANT results.  If you simply go on the instant results, then “meth” would be the greatest success story of all time in the treatment of depression.  But we all know there are many consequences of using “meth”.  The consequences of cigarettes are slow, but the benefits are quick.

I bring this up because when I was a teenager and I was faced with the opportunities to use alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, steroids, I would hear only that they were “bad” for you….but what I often saw conflicted with that and as a result, I would question just how “bad” they were!  I even recall people saying that steroids didn’t work at all and that it was all psychological…..yeah, right!!!  If we want to modify our behavior or the behavior of those around us for the better, we have to be honest

Now that we are being honest, let’s back up to the “dual diagnosis” example a little.  So, if you take away the way a person is self medicating, you must find an alternative or they are doomed to go back to their self medication.  With cigarettes, you must find some healthy alternative, or at least a relatively healthy alternative (when I did substance abuse counseling we often encouraged cigarette smoking to deal with withdrawal  from hardcore drugs as it was the lessor evil).

As lifters, we are always looking for an edge.  I don’t know how many supplements I’ve tried over the years.  But if we are willing to work, and wait for results, we can find effective replacements for things like cigarettes that deliver short term but make us pay long term.

Breath easy!

Smoking & Weightlifting: Part 1

If smoking makes you stronger.....this guy will be the World's Strongest Man in no time!

by Thom Van Vleck

When I was a kid and my Uncle’s were lifting on a regular basis I would often go the gym to watch them workout.  During their workout, they would chain smoke cigarettes.  Cigarette smoke often filled the gym and the ash tray was next to the chalk box!  I recall my Uncle Wayne, taking a drag off his cigarette, setting it on the edge of the platform (with the “cherry” end dangling off the edge) and hitting a set of Power Cleans.   Then he would retrieve his cigarette and, while trying to catch his breath, take a drag off of it and then cough!

Those who are under 30 won’t understand how prevalent smoking was back then.  It was normal for smoking to happen everywhere.  Even at weightlifting meets.  It was a smokers right to light up, not the other way around like it is now!  I recall going to sporting events and people lighting up right next to you, attending classes and people smoking the the classroom in college, and the only reason you wouldn’t smoke at a hospital had nothing to do with health….it was so an open flame didn’t make contact with Oxygen!  Same reason for no smoking in a theater….they were worried about a fire…not people’s health!

We are now taught how bad smoking is for you.  We have a lot of older lifters who used to smoke and if they didn’t, they were like me growing up with it wherever they went.  Both my parents chain smoked, I can’t recall my Dad not having a cigarette dangling from his mouth!  We now know just how bad second hand smoke is for you!

Today, my Dad is gone.  He passed away at age 65 and I’m certain the cigarettes cost him at least 10 years.  My Uncle’s Wayne and Phil, are in their 60’s as well and smoking has taken a toll.  They all told me they wished they had never started.  It’s an addiction and a powerful one.  My point is, these were the strongest men I knew growing up.  And Smoking cost them dearly…..and it cost those of us who loved them dearly.  My grandfather never smoked and he lived to be 85 and was in great shape.  His death was the effects of a car accident….or he probably would have lived much longer!  Sure, there’s lots of factors in that….but he removed the factor that cigarettes could have played in his health and it certainly would have been negative!

We all know smoking is bad for us, but did you younger guys realize not so many years ago that being tough and strong, often meant being a smoker and if you went to a lifting meet you could expect a wall of thick smoke.   David Rigert, one of the greatest Oly lifters of all time lifted in the 70’s and he often chain smoked at meets (and drank vodka in the warm up room between lifts) and would put down his cigarette to go lift!  Or if you joined a gym, people would be smoking….even while lifting!  Things have changed, but in this case…..for the better!

National Postal

by Al Myers



Dino Gym member Mark Mitchell had the highest Heels Together Clean and Press of the meet with a lift of 260 pounds.

I just received the results for the 2010 National Postal Meet from the meet director John Wilmot.  I was quite surprised to see 16  lifters compete in the Grand Finale of the USAWA Postal Meet Series.  The lifting was fantastic – and it goes to show what quality lifters are members of the USAWA.  I have been very pleased with the participation in the postal meets this year.  Much better than the year before!  John picks only three lifts for each quarterly postal meet, and usually always picks lifts that anyone can do.  Most of the time the meet can be completely done in under one hour in the gym – so there is really not a reason as to not compete.  I just add the lifts to one of my weekly workouts every quarter.


National Postal Meet

December 31, 2010

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts:  Clean and Press – Heels Together, Curl – Cheat, Deadlift – 12″ Base


Rudy Bletscher – Certified Official Al Myers
Chad Ullom – Certified Official Al Myers
Mike Murdock – Certified Official Al Myers
Mark Mitchell – Certified Officials Al Myers and Scott Tully
Chuck Cookson – Certified Officials Al Myers, Scott Tully, and Mark Mitchell
Scott Tully – Certified Officials Al Myers and Mark Mitchell
Al Myers – Certified Officials Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell
Joe Ciavattone Sr. – Certified Official Mike O’Brien
Jonathon Ciavattone – Certified Officials Mike O’Brien and Joe Ciavattone Sr.
Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Certified Officials Mike O’Brien and Joe Ciavattone Sr.
Mike O’Brien – Certified Officials Joe Ciavattone Sr.
Helen Kahn – Certified Official Randy Smith
Randy Smith – Witnessed by Helen Kahn
John Wilmot – Witnessed by Kay Wilmot
Orie Barnett – Witnessed by Samual Rogers
Denny Habecker – Witnessed by Andrew Hess and Kohl Hess

Womens Division

Lifter Age BWT Press Curl Dead Total Points
Helen Kahn 58 161 65 55 125 245 296.3

Men’s Division

Lifter Age BWT Press Curl Dead Total Points
Al Myers 44 246 220 200 617 1037 871.1
Chuck Cookson 40 275 255 220 656 1131 864.4
Mark Mitchell 50 357 260 220 573 1053 830.9
Joe Ciavattone Jr. 17 208 185 205 450 840 770.9
Chad Ullom 39 242 203 213 501 917 739.7
Randy Smith 56 198 140 195 345 680 715.0
Scott Tully 35 344 220 179 601 1000 710.9
Orie Barnett 49 228 174 163 433 770 703.9
Denny Habecker 68 193 132 110 309 551 647.8
Joe Ciavattone Sr. 42 241 200 205 365 770 641.3
Jonathon Ciavattone 16 220 150 160 350 660 615.7
Mike O’Brien 28 140 105 135 300 540 602.7
John Wilmot 63 213 105 105 340 550 588.6
Mike Murdock 70 234 135 120 265 520 559.1
Rudy Bletscher 75 220 100 100 265 465 536.3

NOTES: BWT (bodyweight)  and all lifts are recorded in pounds.  Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.

Womens Best Lifter – Helen Kahn

Mens Best Lifter – Al Myers

Best Junior Lifter – Joe Ciavattone Jr.

Dino Strongman Challenge

by Al Myers



Group picture of the 2011 Dino Gym's "Old-time Strongman" Challenge.

WOW!!!!  That  sums up this past weekend.  I have to admit – I was a little nervous before this meet – and not because I was competing, but because I wanted this meet to be a big success considering it was the FIRST EVER Old-time Strongman Competition sanctioned by the USAWA.  I feel VERY relieved now.  The competition exceeded my expectations by far.  The field of competitors consisted of 18 athletes determined to take on this challenge issued by the Dino Gym.  There have been only a handful of USAWA competitions in the last 10 years that have had more than this number of competitors entered.  I want to thank everyone who showed up to compete, officiate, or help.  Without this group effort, this event would never have been the successful event it was.  We also have to thank Mother Nature for sending the snow days earlier in the week as to avoid any travel complications.

Where do I start with this report?  So much happened over the weekend that it will be impossible to cover everything.  The lifting performances were UNREAL.  The women’s class had only one entrant – Felecia Simms.  Felecia is primarily a Highland Game athlete who decided to give All-Round Weightlifting a try in her off-season.  In her USAWA debut, she definitely turned some heads!  She hit 90# in the Cyr Press, with two close misses with a 100# dumbbell.  Both times she had the 100# overhead but just couldn’t hold the lockout.  I have two broken 100# dumbbells to attest to this fact!  Don’t let this bother you Felecia – because the two broken dumbbells are worth the story I’m going to tell about this from now one!  I’ll even have them fixed by the next time you are at the Dino Gym and I’ll let you try that 100# dumbbell again.

I was very pleased to have two teenagers enter in the Junior Class.  These two very strong 16 year olds, Cody Lokken and Nolan Berry, showed great promise as all-rounders. This was the first time either of them had seen these events, but they picked up on  things pretty darn fast!  Cody edged out Nolan by 15 pounds in the total to take the overall Junior Title. They both seemed to get stronger as the meet went along, and both finished with strong lifts in the Dinnie Lift (355 pounds) and the Goerner Stroll (270 pounds). Hopefully, I can keep them interested in the All-Rounds because I know with a little more specific event training they will have great success.  Young lifters like these guys are the future of our sport, and when you see potential like what they have, you need to encourage it.

The over 60 mens masters class was hotly contested.  Three VERY STRONG lifting elders duked it out – Rudy Bletscher, Mike Murdock, and Dean Ross.  Dean (the youngest of the bunch at 68) pulled out the victory in the end with his great performance in the Dinnie Lift and the Goerner Stroll.  His 425# Dinnie Lift was tops in the group as well as his 270# Goerner Stroll.  Mike ended up in second place, and in the process avenged his loss to Rudy at the Goerner Deadlift last month.  I am sure there will be more match-ups between Rudy and Mike in the future, and I just love watching these two guys push each other.  Dean is not a newcomer to the USAWA as he has competed in several of my Dino Challenges in the past. Dean would do well in ANY all-round competition anywhere.  He has overall body strength and doesn’t appear to have any strength weaknesses.

The over 40 mens masters class also was a tough one.  Seven very seasoned strength athletes were in this group, all with different strength backgrounds.  Before it started, it would have been a guess as to who would win. I was able to get the victory, mainly on the performance of my Goerner Stroll as the last event.   I didn’t get what I wanted on the Dinnie Lift, so I had to EXCEED what I wanted on the Goerner Stroll (I finished with 550#).  John O’Brien had the next highest total in the group (1570#), but when the scoring was tabulated John ended up in third place behind Joe Garcia.  These Oldtime Strongman meets will use USAWA scoring, which gives adjusted points for age and bodyweight, and with Joe being higher than John in the age department and less in the weight department, edged him out.   I want to stress that John had an EXCEPTIONAL day, and had the TOP lift amongst this group in 3 of the 5 events, and if traditional strongman scoring was being used, he would have been the top athlete.  John impressed the crowd by using my Apollon Axel Replica instead of a loaded Fulton Bar like the rest of the lifters used (which is WAY harder to clean because of the fixed wheels and the fight against rotation), yet he ended up with the BEST Apollon’s Lift at 300 pounds.  I consider this lift of his as one the highlight lifts of the meet.   Joe really surprised me with his performance.  I didn’t know for sure how Joe would do with these strongman events, and whether his back would hold up. (haha – just kiddin you Joe!).  But he finished with a 560# Dinnie Lift and on a fourth extra attempt got 600 pounds!  Fourth place went to the 2009 USAWA Newcomer of the Year Dave Glasgow.  Dave was solid in every event and is showing progress as an All-Rounder.   Fifth place went to D.J. Satterfield, and 6th place went to Richard “Vince” Vincent. Both of these guys made the trip together from Omaha, Nebraska and I can just imagine the good natured banter between them over this on the way home!  These two made the competition in our group lots of fun – as both seemed to really enjoy themselves and it spilled over to the rest of us throughout the day!  Thanks D.J. and Vince!  You guys are great!  Rounding out the group was Lance Foster.  Lance is a great guy, and has attended EVERY competition the Dino Gym has held over the past few years.  His outstanding work ethic and training spirit inspires me – so much I asked him if he would be a Dino Gym Member which he agreed to.  Thanks Lance!

Dino Gym member Sam Cox won the Open Class and the Overall Best Lifter at the Dino Gym Challenge. Sam lifted 280 pounds in the Apollons Lift at a bodyweight of only 212 pounds.

The Open Class turned out the be “THE SHOW”.  Again, a very tough field of 5 athletes were in attendance – Eric “ET” Todd, Chris Anderson, Sam Cox, Chris Walter, and Chad Ullom.  I knew it would be a battle before it even started. When the chalk had finally settled and the last event was completed,  the top four placings were decided by less than 15 points!!  It couldn’t have been any closer than this.  All four of these guys deserved to win.  Sam Cox ended up the victor by only a five point margin over Eric Todd.  Sam had a great day – 280# Apollon’s Lift, 150# Cyr Press, and a 655# Dinnie Lift, all of this at only 22 years of age and 212 pounds bodyweight. Sam – aren’t you glad I talked you into competing in this competition last week in the gym?  I TOLD YOU that you had a good chance to win it!   ET placed second, but in the process put up some UNBELIEVABLE Lifts!  He had the top Apollon’s Lift of the entire day at 325 pounds, and the top Cyr press of 190 pounds.  Yes – that’s 190 POUNDS and not a typo!   A lift like that you have to see to believe.  Chad came in third, and had the top Goerner Stroll of the entire meet at 560 pounds. He only picked that number to exceed what I did.  (I’m glad for ya Champ!).  After the meet was over, Chad wanted to try more in the Dinnie Lift as he knew he used up his attempts before he reached his max in the competition.  Can you believe he proceeded to lift 785 pounds in the Dinnie Lift??  If he would have done that in the meet he would have won the overall!  Fourth place went to Chris Anderson.  Chris trains with Eric, and in the process has picked up some of Eric’s traits. The main one is that he is not afraid of ANY WEIGHT. The weights fear him.  He had the top Saxon Snatch of the entire meet at 105 pounds, and tied for the top Dinnie Lift of the entire meet at 735 pounds.  Also worth mentioning is his 170 pound Cyr Press. If it wasn’t for ET’s mind-blowing 190 we  would be talking about Chris’s 170.  Fifth place went to Chris Walter.  This was Chris’s first time to the Dino Gym and did quite well, and I hope he is not discouraged by running up against these other four phenoms.   Anywhere else he would have been a top placer.

Events like this are not successful unless there is “help behind the scenes”.   I want to thank the officials – Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell, and Thom Van Vleck.   Their  judging was superb.  I also want to thank the loaders – Bill Cookson and Ryan Batchmen.  These two guys SHOULD have been competing, but it is really nice to have a couple of very strong guys like them to help load.   It makes everything go smoother.  I want to thank my daughters Katie and Molly with helping at the scoretable and organizing the silent auction to benefit the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.  I plan to do another story about that in a few days. I also want to thank Wilbur Miller for attending this meet as a spectator.  Wilbur – you are a legend in the all-rounds and you  have no idea how much it means to us that you attend these competitions at the Dino Gym!

Well, I hope I covered everything!  But to sum things up – this meet will go down in history as one of the best of ALL-TIME  in the USAWA.


Dino Gym Old-Time Strongman Challenge
January 15th, 2011
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials:  Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell, and Thom Van Vleck

Loaders:  Ryan Batchman & Bill Cookson

Events:  Saxon Snatch, Apollon’s Lift, Cyr Press, Dinnie Lift, and Goerner Stroll

Women’s Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Felecia Simms 28 312 70 150 90 375 190 623.4

Men’s Junior Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Cody Lokken 16 152 65 150 75 355 270 1061.8
Nolan Berry 16 245 65 135 75 355 270 793.5

Men’s 60+ Mens Master Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Dean Ross 68 281 55 135 80 425 270 932.3
Mike Murdock 70 234 70 150 60 355 190 887.0
Rudy Bletscher 75 225 45 100 50 275 190 751.9

Men’s 40+ Mens Master Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Al Myers 44 250 90 270 140 630 550 1399.7
Joe Garcia 57 212 90 180 105 560 340 1301.5
John O’Brien 42 279.5 100 300 150 560 460 1214.1
Dave Glasgow 57 249.5 80 200 90 505 380 1176.1
D.J. Satterfield 46 218 80 180 90 505 310 1062.3
Richard Vincent 40 305 90 220 115 575 400 1018.4
Lance Foster 45 329 80 180 85 505 280 832.8

Men’s Open Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Sam Cox 22 212 95 280 150 655 520 1470.7
Eric Todd 36 256 100 325 190 735 520 1465.7
Chad Ullom 39 242 95 300 150 705 560 1460.1
Chris Anderson 22 248 105 300 170 735 520 1457.9
Chris Walter 39 207.5 85 220 120 550 410 1212.7

BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  Total is adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Last Call for Dino Challenge

by Al Myers

I’m going to make one last “plug” for the Dino Challenge, which is this coming Saturday.   This is a meet you DO NOT want to miss!  It is the FIRST EVER Oldtime Strongman Competition sanctioned by the USAWA.  There is no entry deadline for this one – so at this point just SHOW UP and ENTER!  Even if you don’t feel prepared for it, enter and have a fun day lifting.  You will be glad you did.   This Oldtime Strongman Competition will be quite different than other strongman competitions.  Modern strongman equipment and apparatuses will not be used – such as Atlas stones, steel logs, and steel yokes.  Instead, each event is based on a strength feat of an Oldtime Strongman.  Also, the rules of the USAWA will be followed in regards to scoring, which are much different than other strongman competitions.  Each lifters total poundage will be adjusted for bodyweight and age.  Another big difference is supportive gear is NOT ALLOWED, with the exception of belts and wrist wraps.  This means no elbow or knee sleeves, no supportive shorts, and no knee or elbow wraps.  Chalk may be used – but no tacky.  This competition will be drug tested.   The USAWA is a drug free organization and all Oldtime Strongman Competitions sanctioned by the USAWA will be tested (which is ALSO different from other strongman competitions).  There is no entry fee to enter, but you must be a member of the USAWA.   Membership dues are $25 and you may join on Saturday. I will have forms available.

This Oldtime Strongman Competition is gearing up to be one of the largest attended meets in recent history in the USAWA.  Come and be part of it!

2011 USAWA Nationals Photo Project

by Thom Van Vleck

If you haven’t marked it on you calendar yet, put a big circle around June 25th right now!  I am hoping to do the USAWA proud hosting the USAWA Nationals this year.  I will have Al Myers as my “consultant” to make sure I don’t screw this up.  Al is an unpaid consultant, so I have to be careful I don’t get my money’s worth!  But seriously, we are looking to do some cool things this year.

One idea that I would like to do will require some help from all you!  I want to have a powerpoint  going that will be projecting pictures from the great history of the USAWA onto a wall nearby or even behind the lifting area.  So, I’m asking all of you to submit photos to me or Al.  You can send me a photograph or photographs, you can attach them to an e-mail, you can send me a CD with photos, just get them in and we’ll put them in the rotation!  I think it would add to the inspiration of the meet to have these photos scrolling on the wall while the meet goes on!

I will also have someone photographing every lift of the meet.  These lifts plus the historic lifts will be downloaded to ONE CD and will be sold for$15.

I will also have many photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia from the Jackson Weightlifting Club on display!  I will have a special table set up for the JWC and we will have the famous (or infamous) JWC photo album out as well as some of the old trophies and medals from 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

More plans are coming along, so send your photos!

One Hand Snatch

by Arthur Saxon

Position 1 - One Hand Snatch

Place yourself in position 1 (see illustration), and as you pull strongly with the right hand and shoulder, press as hard as you can with the left hand on the left knee.  Then when the weight has reached a fair height, dip beneath same, the eyes to be all the time on the weight.  The secret of this lift is to use as many muscles as possible at the same time, that is, you press with your legs, pull with your arm, and push with the disengaged one, also pull with the shoulder and jerk with the back, suddenly, when the weight is over your head, dipping beneath same, and throwing it a little to the back.  There are two positions possible in snatching the weight, either of which are good, and both of which I will describe.

Position 2 - One Hand Snatch

One is to keep the body perpendicular and dip cleanly beneath the weight, the other is to suddenly fall to one side as in the bent press, when the bar is about the height of your head, and so place a straight arm beneath the weight, after which you recover to an erect position.  The benefit and advantage in this latter position being, given a a man who is enormously strong and a good side presser, if his arm should not go in the first attempt quite straight, then he may finish up the last inch or two by the body press, that is if no objection be made by referee or opponents in competition.  A variation of this is to snatch the bell overhead with two hands instead on one, the hands being held the same distance apart as in the double-handed barbell lift.  Those anxious to practice the single-handed lift all the way, as in the English Amateur Championship Competition, will find my instructions as to the snatch are, in reversed, directly applicable to the initial pull-in to the shoulder.  All that you have to do is place your hand on the bar with the palm to the front instead of to the back, then pull the bell up to the chest, stepping back with the left leg if pulling in with the right hand, and exerting as many muscles as possible as described.

NOTE:  – In all these positions where the weight is lifted to the shoulder from off the ground, the arm must NOT be bent at the first portion of the pull.

CREDIT:  The Development of Physical Power by Arthur Saxon

Habecker’s Gym – Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Habecker’s Gym is the 2010 Club of the Year

Denny and Judy Habecker have promoted several big meets in the USAWA. This picture of them was taken at the 2009 IAWA World Championships, which they promoted in Lebanon, PA.

It’s official!  The year 2010 is wrapped up, and after all points have been tallied, Habecker’s Gym wins the 2010 USAWA Club of the Year.  Ambridge VFW BBC was the runner-up, for the second year in a row.  Last year the Ambridge Club placed second in the Club Race behind the Dino Gym.  As per the Club of the Year rules, the defending Club Award winner is not eligible the following year and instead is responsible for presenting the award and passing the title to the next year’s winner.

Habecker’s Gym is a club gym operated and owned by our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  2010 was the first year Denny registered his club as a Member Club of the USAWA, and in return, immediately wins the USAWA Club of the Year by upsetting the perennial power Ambridge BBC.  Habecker’s Gym has 5 registered club members – Denny, Judy Habecker, Barry Bryan, Andrew Hess, and Kohl Hess.   Denny and Habecker’s Gym hosted the 2010 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA.  The final standings were:

1.  Habecker’s Gym – 26 points

2.  Ambridge BBC – 19 points

3.  Frank’s Barbell Club – 17 points

4.  Clark’s Gym – 16 points

5.  JWC – 12 points

The 2010 USAWA Club of the Year Award will be awarded at this coming years National Championship, in Kirksville, Missouri.  Congratulations to Denny and Judy and all members of Habecker’s Gym!

USAWA Drug Testing Program

by Al Myers

Over the past year, several changes  have been made  to our drug testing program.  I feel these changes have been VERY POSITIVE to insure that our organization may be called a drug-free weightlifting organization.  Last year at the Annual General Meeting of the USAWA we elected a Drug Enforcement Director.  Chad Ullom was  selected  for this role.  The Drug Enforcement Director is under the direction of the Executive Board, as outlined in the USAWA Bylaws.  He is the “man in charge” of insuring that drug testing is carried out at competitions and maintaining a vigilant testing program.  Last year we tested four USAWA events (the most events EVER tested in one year in the USAWA).  This year  more events will be tested than that.   Our Drug Testing Program was started in 2002.  Before that it was “hit and miss”.  At times meets were tested, but not with any consistency. No written policy was in affect.   The biggest obstacle in drug testing is expense.  For a small organization like ours, too much testing expense will break our bank account!  In 2009 we spent over $3000 in testing – and we tested ONLY TWO COMPETITIONS!  Last year we spent around $1000, which is our “budget” for this year.  A good Drug Testing Program has to be able to get “the most value for a dollar”.  I feel we are now going in the right direction with that.

I have always had problems with weightlifting organizations who tout themselves as “drug free” but never test at meets. How can you be a drug-free organization without testing?  YOU CAN’T!!!   You MUST sign a Drug Testing Consent and Waiver Form to be granted membership in the USAWA.  In the waiver it states, “I understand that selection for testing may be based on random selection, reasonable suspicion, or position of finish in an event.  I further understand that I may be selected for testing for no reason at all.”  This means you may selected “just cause we feel like it.”!  We WILL NOT pretend to be doing random testing if it’s not random!   I  have an issue with that concerning other organizations – proclaiming to be doing random testing but in reality lifters are selected for reasons other than random!   Seems hypocritical to me. I am pretty sure that I have been “the most tested man in the USAWA”  since 2002.  I don’t know of anyone else that has been tested as many times as myself.  I never mind being selected for testing because I know a good drug testing program insures that my competition is drug free as well. Most drug-free athletes feel the same way.

Several drug tests will be performed at the Dino Gym Challenge next weekend.  I just want everyone who is coming to know that in advance.  Now don’t think we will announce EVERY competition that we will test in advance – some will be surprises!  You just have to assume that every USAWA event might be tested.  We may even test at record days that have only a handful of competitors.  If you are selected for testing and then “dodge the test” the penalties may be as severe as a positive test.  The waiver also clearly states, “I understand that failure to appear for drug testing at the designated time will constitute withdrawal of my consent to be tested and will result in disqualification from the event and/or permanent suspension from the USAWA.”

We have a complete section in our Rule Book that outlines the USAWA Drug Testing Policy.

III. Drug Testing

1. The lifter must agree to and sign the Drug Testing Consent and Waiver Form in order to be granted membership in the USAWA.

2. The Drug Enforcement Director under the direction of the USAWA executive board will make the decisions on which competitions or events drug testing may take place, and when it may occur during the competition. The lifters may not be notified which competitions or events will be drug tested.

3. Drug testing may be done out of competition. The lifter will be notified no more than 48 hours prior to the test.

4. Drug testing will be only for elevated testosterone, anabolic agents, and anabolic enhancers. Diuretics and ephedrine are not tested for. A complete list of banned substances is available from the USAWA secretary.

5. An appeal may be made to the executive board by a lifter for an exception for a specific agent or agents. The appeal must be for medical reasons. The lifter must provide documentation supporting the appeal. This is done on an individual basis and must be done prior to a lifter being called for drug testing. The executive board’s decision will be decided by majority vote.

6. A positive test will result in a 6 month suspension from the USAWA for the first offense. All awards, records, and titles won will be forfeited if the positive test occurred in a competition.

7. A second offense for a positive test will result in a 2 year suspension from the USAWA.

8. A third offense for a positive test will result in a lifetime ban from the USAWA.

Truthfully, I hope that we don’t have any positive drug tests in the coming year.  That is the reason why I am making this very clear to everyone!  If you are in violation – please don’t enter any USAWA competition  because you will be caught.

The Heavy Lift Bar

by Al Myers

Steve Schmidt, arguable the BEST OVERALL Heavy Lift lifter in the history of the USAWA, maxes a Heavy Lift Bar out with plates in the Hip Lift under the watchful eye of Bill Clark.

A very unique bar that we use in the USAWA (and is ONLY used by our organization) is the Heavy Lift Bar.  Often a lot of mystery surrounds this bar.  You will see ads on various websites advertising the sale of  heavy lift bars, but in most cases these bars DO NOT meet our rules specifications.  The Heavy Lift Bar is used for the Heavy Lifts – which include lifts like the Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift, and Neck Lift.  Our new updated Rule Book contains the specifications for the Heavy Lift Bar, which were not included in the previous Rule Book.  Section V.I. 22 of the USAWA Rule Book states this regarding the Heavy Lift Bar:

The Heavy Lift Bar must meet the following specifications.

• The diameter of the bar must be a minimum of 1 15/16 inches.

• The bar may be a pipe or solid steel shaft.

• The maximum length of the inside sleeve is 16 inches.

• The maximum length of the bar is 8 ½ feet and the minimum length of the bar is 7 feet.

• Only one hook is allowed on the bar, located in the center.

• The bar must be straight.

• The weight of the bar must be clearly marked.

• The bar must contain no revolving sleeves.

A brand new Heavy Lift Bar that I made specifically to be used at the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals, to be held in York, PA on May 21st.

The most common problem with “other” Heavy Lift Bars is they often contain TWO HOOKS.  Our Official Heavy Lift Bar can have only one – located in the center – which obviously makes the balance of the lifts much more difficult!  The Heavy Lift Bar requires several accessories.  Proper hooks for attachments are needed, along with bar lifters to make  loading easier.  Special harnesses and belts are needed, depending on which lift is being performed.  The shaft of the Heavy Lift Bar is a solid cold roll bar, of diameter 1 15/16 inches.  A hollow pipe would never hold up – it would bend (or break) immediately!  I am always surprised how much the solid Heavy Lift Bar will bend under loads of over 2000 pounds!  All of the Heavy Lift Bars that we use in the USAWA are home-made or custom-made.  Only a handful of gyms have one – the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Habecker’s Gym, Ambridge BBC, Frank’s Barbell Club, M & D Gym, Schmidt’s Barbell Club,  and the JWC.  OK – so most ALL of the Member Clubs of the USAWA have one!!  The Heavy Lift Bar will be featured exclusively at this year’s Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA on May 21st with the Neck Lift, Hip Lift and Hand and Thigh Lift being contested.  If you want to give the Heavy Lifts a try, and in the process get introduced to the Heavy Lift Bar, just sign up for this competition!

Bill Good and the Good Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Bill Good and the Good Dumbbell.

Dennis Mitchell’s story on the Good Brothers got me thinking about the Good Dumbbell, and the brother who made it famous – Bill.  Bill would often celebrate his birthday every year by Harness Lifting the Good Dumbbell for repetitions. He did this up to the age of 90 years. In 1986 on Bill’s 76th birthday, he promised to lift the dumbbell 76 times, one rep for each year of age. This “stunt” was picked up by television and was well publicized.  He easily exceeded this mark.  The Good Dumbbell has a storied history, encompassing more than one famous strongman.  The Good Brothers purchased it from an Oldtime Strongman who’s name is embedded in the history of the USAWA, and of which we have a lift named after.  This man was Warren Lincoln Travis, and it is reported they purchase it from him for $110 in 1929.  The Good Dumbbell was displayed publicly for many years at the Crystal Spring Water Company in Adamstown, PA.  Around 2007, the Good Dumbbell went missing.  No one knew what happened to it for a couple of years.  Luckily, the new owner has made it known that the Good Dumbbell is in “safe keeping” and hopefully in the future it will once again be on display.

Polar Bear Plunge 2011

Thom after a refreshing dip!

by Thom Van Vleck

It’s the first day of winter and it’s always this time of year that I begin to think about a nice swim in our nearby lake!   Last year I wrote an article for the USAWA board on cold water bathing and the possible therapeutic effects along with my “polar bear plunge” for charity.  It was great fun and we are doing it again.  This year I have a team of students from A.T. Still University taking the plunge with me.  We will be known as the JWC Highlanders and we will be wearing kilts.  Our theme will be, “What’s a true scotsman wear under his kilt” and as we run into the water we will “whip” our kilts off and jump in!  Of course, you will have to come to see the answer to that question….the word “regimental” comes to mind….USAWA Secretary Al Myers will know all about that!!!  We will be collecting donations for the Special Olympics so any donation is appreciated!  Our goal is $250.

Last year the ice was 14" thick! I was the last one out!

I still do my “snow bathing”.  When there’s no snow, I take cold water showers and then hit the sauna, often making a couple trips back and forth.  But the best is when there is snow on the ground and it’s below zero outside.  You go in and get warmed to the core in the sauna and then go outside and rub snow all over until you are numb.  Then go in and hit the sauna!  I go back and forth at least twice.  I TRULY believe this makes me healthier and helps with recovery.  When I feel a little under the weather, I do this as often as possible, spending extra time in the sauna and it seems I never get sick when I do this.  I have read where the heat in the sauna causes you to run an “artificial” fever helping your body destroy whatever is attacking it.  It could be all in my head, but then again the brain is the most powerful weapon we have in our fight to be stronger so even if it is, it’s worth it to me!   At the least, I’m refreshed and wide awake.  Now I get to combine what I already do with a charitable event, can’t beat that.  Any takers for my team?  It’s the first Saturday in February!!!

The Brothers, Good

by Dennis Mitchell

The Brothers, Good - Walter, Bill and Harry

Bill Good was born May 14, 1910, in Reemstown PA.   He was the strongest of the three brothers.  He won seven National Championships, and competed in two Olympic Games, placing fourth in the 1936 games held in Berlin Germany.  He was the first American lifter to clean and jerk 350 pounds.  He was featured on the cover of one of the earliest Iron Man magazines.  Brother Walter was born Jan. 27, 1908.  He also competed in the 1936 Olympics in the 75 kilo class.  He was also featured on the cover of several body building magazines in the 1930’s.  Harry Good, no date of birth could be found for him, was the best in grip strength, and could do a one finger lift of 450 pounds.  Another of his feats was to do a self loading leg press of 380 pounds, balancing the weight on one foot.  He claimed to be the American Professional Weightlifting champion in 1933.  He also established the Good Barbell Company, and published a barbell training course.  The Good Dumbbell, the worlds heaviest dumbbell weighing 2,150 pounds, at one time belonged to Warren Lincoln Travis.  Bill could do a harness lift with it until he was over 90 year old.  He passed away April 19, 2007. Brother Walter died July 8, 2001.  No date could be found Harry.

Never Too Old to Start Lifting

by Al Myers

LaVerne Myers wins his FIRST TROPHY EVER in weightlifting, at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup.

One of the very interesting things about weight lifting is that you are never too old to start!  This isn’t the case with a lot of other competitive sports.  Take a sport like football or basketball – not something you could start over 60.  First of all your body wouldn’t hold up to it, plus there are minimal opportunities for competition even if it could.  Weightlifting is really a sport where you only compete against yourself.  Sure you compete against other athletes, but you pick the attempts at weights that you know you can achieve.   You only pick attempts that you have a shot at.  The joys of success often come from achieving a goal that you have set for yourself.  Plus, you can improve at any age in some lift.  The human body is made to adapt to training, and if you are willing to “put in the time” your muscles will become stronger and you will lift more weight.   I have seen all-rounders set personal records at ages most “normal folk” would have thought impossible.

Recently, my father LaVerne started competing in the USAWA.  He had competed in a few of my gym records days in the past,  but just this year he has entered some USAWA competitions.  He is 66 – not the age you would assume someone would start an athletic career!  But he has had tremendous success.  Last spring he placed 5th overall at the Dino Gym Grip Challenge amongst a very strong field. He even tied for the top Weaver Stick lift of the day.  This past November he accompanied me to the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole – and of course he competed!  He very successfully set an IAWA World Record in the One Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  He was astounded that he set a World Record – something he would never have thought possible a few years ago before he became involved with the USAWA.   He should be an example for others as to what one can achieve in the USAWA!  You DO NOT need to have a lifetime of lifting under your belt to enjoy the successes of competitive weightlifting in the USAWA.  You can start NOW!!  I welcome ANYONE of any age to give the USAWA a try – and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Since my father’s involvement of competing in the USAWA, that now makes FOUR generations of the Myers family that have competed within the USAWA.   Has this been done before??  I’m sure it has but I would like to know.  If anyone knows of another family that has done this please email me ( about them so I can share it with the readers of the USAWA Daily News.

Davis lifts Dinnie Stones!

by Al Myers

On December 7th, 2010, Roger Davis made a strapless lift of the Dinnie Stones.

Congratulations to Roger Davis for successfully lifting the Dinnie Stones!!  On a cold, snowy day on December 7th, 2010 Roger made another trek to the Potarch Hotel, the home of the Dinnie Stones.  Roger has lifted the stones before, but this time he achieved a STRAPLESS LIFT of the Dinnie Stones.  The Dinnie Stones weigh 321 pounds and 413 pounds apiece.  Both stones have ring handles attached which makes the grip on them a hard one to handle!  It takes someone with a very strong grip to be able to hold onto them – let alone a strong back to lift the total weight of 734 pounds in a modified-Jefferson style.

Roger has been a big contributor to the IAWA, having competed in the last 3 IAWA World Championships.  He is an outstanding spokesman for All-Round Weightlifting.  He has had numerous articles published in MILO related to All-Round lifting.  Roger is a CLASS INDIVIDUAL and I’m so glad to see him accomplish this long-standing goal of his.  Way to go Roger!!!!

2010 USAWA Highlights

by Al Myers

2010 is now behind us – and it’s time to start looking  forward to All-Round Weightlifting in 2011. I want to thank everyone who already sent in their 2011 USAWA memberships.  Sixteen of the most “die-hard” USAWA members have their memberships in so they can have the “January 1st” designation beside their name on the USAWA membership roster.  Memberships in the USAWA run for the calendar year, so you might as well join early because there is not a discount for waiting.  2010 was a “decent” year for memberships – the last count yielded 61 USAWA members.  Pretty much what it has been for the past several years.  Not the highest, but not the lowest either.  I know we have our critics who say our organization might as well “hang up our lifting shoes”  and “throw in the towel”.  I disagree.  We haven’t been over 100 members since the year 2000 – when we topped at 122 members. The USAWA has NEVER had over 200 members a year.  So we are far from being “down for the count”.  I want to mention just a few of the exciting highlights that have happened in the USAWA in the year 2010 that SHOW  the USAWA is very much alive!

1.  USAWA Club Membership hit an ALL-TIME high with 11 registered clubs.

2. 21 sanctioned competitions were held – the 2nd most of ALL-TIME.

3.  The first Club Challenge was held, hosted by the Ambridge BBC – marking the BEGINNING of a new signature USAWA competition.

4.  Chad Ullom won the BEST OVERALL LIFTER at the IAWA World Championships -  making him only the 6th USAWA member of ALL-TIME to ever do this.

5.  The USAWA Awards Program was created,  which recognizes outstanding accomplishments amongst the USAWA lifters throughout the year.

6.  The membership approved new USAWA bylaws which outline (for the first time) how our organization operates.

7.  We seen record growth in our USAWA Officials Program, which now has 32 USAWA Certified Officials.

8.  Scott Schmidt was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame, which marked the RETURN of the USAWA Hall of Fame Program that was inactive for close to 10 years.

9.  561 USAWA Records were set – the 5th highest in a year in our history.

10 .  Our USAWA website now averages over 250 “hits” per day – and is GROWING!

Those are just 10 things that quickly came to my mind from 2010.   It sure doesn’t sound like we are a dying organization to me?  Next year I would like to see us over 100 members again.  My opinion is that we don’t have to have a thousand members, or 10,000 members, to be successful.  But because memberships is our only form of income for our organization, we do need at least 100 members to be able to finance the general overhead expenses, our Awards Program, and our Drug Testing Program.   Also, we need at least that many members to insure that we have enough competitors at our big competitions  so the Meet Directors won’t lose a ton of money.

2010 was a great year for the USAWA!  I am very optimistic that the next year will be even better!!

Dino Gym Challenge



by Al Myers

I am excited to announce this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  Every year I change “the theme” of the Dino Challenge to keep it refreshing and interesting.  This year is no exception.  For the FIRST TIME, the USAWA will sanction a Strongman Competition.  All lifts done will be exhibition lifts – meaning they are NOT USAWA official lifts, and they will not be “record eligible”.   That is one neat thing about the USAWA, our rules allow competitions to be sanctioned with exhibition lifts.  There is not a better way to “try out” a new lift than having it in a competition for everyone to contest.  To me, this seems like the BEST WAY to form an opinion of a new lift (before it is presented for lift approval).  But I’m getting off track, this ANNOUNCEMENT is for a different type of Strongman Competition than what most people are used to.  This competition will be based on OLD-TIME STRONGMEN and the feats they did in their performances or shows.  There won’t be any aluminum kegs, steel logs, concrete stones, or adjustable steel yokes in this one.  I consider those implements as MODERN strongman stuff!!  Guys like Arthur Saxon and Hermann Goerner didn’t have access to those kind of things!

I picked 5 events for this competition based on 5 famous strength feats of 5 well-known Old Time Strongmen. The events will be:

1. Goerner Stroll – Carry two barbells one rod (16.5 feet)

2. Louie Cyr Press – One dumbbell overhead with one hand, anyway. May use both hands to get it to chest.

3. Apollon’s Lift – Overhead lift with 2″ bar, anyway. We will use my replica.

4. Dinnie Lift – Two loaded VBs with ring handles. One must be loaded 75% or less than the other.

5. Saxon Snatch – Snatch with a loaded plank, 3″ thick

I also want to point out that this competition will be DRUG  TESTED, so all competitors will be drug-free just like these Old-Time Strongmen were!  The rules of the USAWA will apply, which will make this Strongman Competition slightly different than the format of other Strongman Comps.  The lifter will get three attempts on each event, and the lifter will PICK the weight they want to try.   This way ANYONE can compete and perform within their capabilities and not be limited by “set equipment weight”.  Each lifter’s maximum weight per lift will be added, forming a TOTAL POUNDAGE, which will be adjusted to points using the USAWA’s adjustment guidelines for age and bodyweight.

Put this EVENT on your schedule and be part of something new!!  All lifts will be further highlighted in future USAWA Daily News stories on the website.

ENTRY FORM – DinoEntry2011

Zercher Strength Classic

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – Zercher Strength Classic

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  8-9 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts:  Leg Press, Deadlift – One Arm, Deadlift – Heels Together, Hack Lift, Continental Clean and Jerk, Clean and Press – Heels Together, Zercher Lift, Steinborn Lift, Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and Bench Press – Feet in Air

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.