Articles from April 2011



USAWA Nationals in TWO MONTHS

 

by Thom Van Vleck

The USAWA Nationals is in two months!  Time to get your plans made and entries sent in.  I have a had a lot of interest, but the entries have been slow.  There is no deadline on the entry form, but there is a point I need to have numbers for my banquet!  So get those entries sent in.

I will have polo type shirts with embroidered “USAWA Nationals 2011″ on it.  We will have anvils for trophies for the winners and other awards for place winners.  You will not walk away empty handed, but if you want a JWC Anvil you will have to earn it!   We will have a great banquet experience after the meet and you won’t forget it.  We will have a strongman show after the contest with world class short steel bending, hot water bottle explosions, bed of nails (like Ed Zercher used to do) and much more.

This will be an USAWA Nationals like no other!  Often in life we are faced with choices and you “can’t do them all”.  This is one you won’t want to miss!

Heavy Lift Nationals Reminder

by Al Myers

The deadline for entry into the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals is approaching.  The deadline is May 7th.  There will be no late entries accepted.  This is stated FIRMLY on the entry form, but I just want to remind everyone of this since most of the USAWA meets do not have entry deadlines.  The reason for this deadline is that  administrative decisions will be made based on the number of entrants.  This meet will be different than most of the past USAWA meets in that we have only a set amount of time to get the meet finished.   We can NOT run past this time limit because it would interfere with the other functions planned at York Barbell that day.  Also, awards will be made up based on the number of entrants – thus another reason for the meet deadline.  

Even if you don’t plan to compete in this meet, try to make it there that day.  In the afternoon (from 2-6) we will have a spot in the gym to set up a display table and perform lifts for records or exhibition.  There is no entry to participate in this – just show up.  It will give us a great opportunity to talk to people coming through the York Show about All-Round lifting and the USAWA.   See everyone in York on May 21st!!

Wilbur Bohm, Pioneer of Sports Medicine

Dr. Wilbur Bohm, pioneer of Sports Medicine

by Thom Van Vleck

I recently did a story on Dr. Russell Wright who was pretty well know in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s in the weightlifting world for his work in sports medicine.  In that article I mentioned Dr. Wilbur Bohm.  Dr. Bohm was certainly Dr. Wrights inspiration in terms of Bohm’s early work in sports medicine leading the way.  Dr. Bohm wrote nearly 2 dozen books on athletic training and was the first every full time sports physician for a professional team.  He worked for the Cardinals, the Redskins, and the Reds, just to name a few.  He was a founding member of the National Athletic Trainer Association and was the first ever inducted into their hall of fame in 1962.

Wilbur Bohm started out as the Washington State University head athletic trainer before becoming an osteopathic surgeon in 1919.  He is credited with helping define sports medicine by writing books and filming a 1941 documentary on charley horses and sprained ankles. Bohm – with Jake Weber, Billy Morris and the Cramer brothers – was a member of the first athletic training squad to serve a U.S. Olympic Team, in 1932 in Los Angeles.  You will recognize the name “Cramer” as the name of the company that makes training supplies.  I use Cramer spray tacky all the time!

Bohm did so much and was involved in so much a book could be written about him.  I would like to focus on a couple of stories on him.

First, he was friends, possibly best friends, with the man I affectionately refer to as the “Phantom of the Anvil”.  Several years ago I was at the Rec Center here at the school I work at (A.T. Still University) and saw this picture on the wall.  Since that time I have devoted a lot of time trying to figure out who this man was.  I have a couple leads, and someday I WILL figure this mystery out.  I do know know this man left school before graduating to join the war effort in WWI.  He was legendary playing football and there are many stories I have found on him that include a 70 yard drop kick documented in a game (I know, seems impossible) and stories of him dragging numerous opponents down the field refusing to be tackled.  He was said to be 6′6″ tall and he had a build that was very good for his day.  But that story is for another day and for now, he’s the Phantom.  You will find this photo in the JWC gym and in the Dino Gym.

The Phantom of the Anvil circa 1918 (notice the skull and cross bones on his shirt, that was the school sports logo)

It was through the “Phantom” I learned about Dr. Bohm.  As I have researched the Phantom, I have found his connection to Dr. Bohm and that opened me up to the amazing accomplishments of Dr. Bohm and his connection to Dr. Wright.   It seems that the Phantom and Dr. Bohm were good friends and played football, baseball, threw shot and discus and participated in other sports with the schools teams.  Yes, back then, the medical school had sports, even a hockey team…and less surprisingly a golf team!  Dr. Bohm was quite an athlete as well and a very big man in those days.  I found one listing of him at 6′4″.  He threw the shot and discus at the Drake Relays, one of the most prestigious and oldest track & field meets in the world!  Some day, I’ll learn the mystery of the Phantom of the Anvil and when I do, Dr. Bohm’s story will be a part of it.

The second story on Dr. Bohm I’d like to share relates to his work in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics.  He served as the team physician in those Games and if you recall, it was the 1932 Olympics where the modern Olympic lifting began.  The lifts were cut to three that year (Clean & Press, Snatch, and Clean & Jerk) and it appears to be a watershed moment in terms of Olympic lifting’s popularity.  You may recall that Bob Hoffman attended the 1932 Olympics and when he returned to York he started York Barbell.  Karo Whitfield also attended the 1932 Olympics and as a result he made a life long friendship with Hoffman and the York Gang and returned to the Atlanta area and started a legendary gym, ran hundreds of bodybuilding and weightlifting meets, and trained thousands.  That list includes Paul Anderson, Harry Johnson (1959 Mr. America) and ran meets that saw Joe Dube’, Frank Zane, Boyer Coe, and many, many others get their feet wet.  So, that 1932 Olympics had three very important people it the sports world: Dr. Bohm, the “Father of Sports Medicine”, Bob Hoffman, the “Father of American Weightlifting”, and Karo Whitfield, “The Bob Hoffman of the South”.

The third and final story has to do with what may be Dr. Bohm’s greatest accomplishment.  In the Museum archives of A.T. Still, there is a collection of Dr. Bohm’s works.  Some are original type written copies of some of his books, personal notes, and a very interesting book that includes the raw data he collected for a study he did entitled “How Champions Train”.

"How Champions Train" by Wilbur Bohn, D.O.

The book itself is not very long and it’s message is really quite simple.  Coaches need to train athletes as individuals with different needs.  This may seem pretty common sense, but before this they would often train athletes with special diets that would be extreme in design and workout programs that weren’t very specific and overtraining was the norm.  The real treasure is the “scrap” book that is with the original manuscript that holds all the questionnaires from most of the track athletes at the 1936 Olympics.  Each athlete had been given the questionnaire at the Olympics and had autographed each one.   There are also many personal letters from these athletes over the next two years as he compiled results, most still in the original envelopes.  Since I am more of a “field” guy than a “track” guy I was focused on the throwers.  There were letters from Dimitri Zaitz (6th place shot put), Ken Carpenter (Gold medal, discus),  Lee Bartlett (12th place in the Javelin), William Rowe (5th in the Hammer throw), among others.  But there was one name from the track portion that caught my eye…..Jesse Owens.  Yes, in this stack of personally filled out questionnaires that had been signed by each athlete was one from Jesse Owens.  It detailed his typical diet, training, etc.  I asked the Museum curator just to be sure and she confirmed the signature was really his!

Many of Dr. Bohm’s books were on training athletes and injuries.  His collection includes many photos of him with famous sports figures that he helped over the years.  While his conclusions today may seem well know and well accepted, you have to understand in his time they were groundbreaking.  Dr. Bohm was a great athlete and a great doctor who’s legacy is long and wide!

Eastern Open Postal

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS – The 2011 Eastern Open Postal Meet

 

Chuck Cookson put up a big 12" Base Squat in the 2011 Eastern Open Postal Meet. His squat of 600 pounds is the top lift of ALL-TIME in the USAWA Record List. This postal meet drew 19 competitors, which according to Meet Director John Wilmot, is the most he has ever had in one of his postal meets. John has been coordinating the USAWA Postal Series Meets the past several years.

MEET RESULTS

Eastern Open Postal Meet
March 1-31st, 2011

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts Contested:  Bench Press – Alternate Grip, Squat – 12″ Base, Deadlift – Dumbbell, One Arm

Lifters using 3 Certified Officials:

Denny Habecker – Officials Art Montini, Scott Schmidt, John McKean
John McKean – Officials Art Montini, Scott Schmidt, Denny Habecker
Art Montini – Officials  John McKean, Scott Schmidt, Denny Habecker
Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Officials Art Montini, John McKean, Scott Schmidt
Joe Ciavattone Sr. – Officials Art Montini, John McKean, Scott Schmidt
Jonathon Ciavattone -  Officials Art Montini, John McKean, Scott Schmidt
Kohl Hess – Officials Art Montini, John McKean, Scott Schmidt
Al Myers – Officials Mark Mitchell, Scott Tully, Darren Barnhart
Darren Barnhart – Officials Al Myers, Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell
Scott Tully – Officials Al Myers, Darren Barnhart, Mark Mitchell
Chuck Cookson – Offiicals Al Myers, Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell

Lifters using 1 Certified Official:

Mike Murdock – Official Thom Van Vleck
Helen Kahn – Official Randy Smith
Randy Smith – Official Helen Kahn
Scott Campbell – Offiicial Al Myers
Chad Ullom – Official Al Myers
Dave Beversdorf – Official  Joe Garcia

Lifters using a judge who is not a certified official:

Orie Barnett -  Sam Rogers
John Wilmot – Kay Wilmot

WOMENS DIVISION

Lifter Age BWT BP SQ DL-DB Total Points
Helen Kahn 59 161 70 115 101-R 296 361.6

MENS DIVISION

Lifter Age BWT BP SQ DL-DB Total Points
Al Myers 44 251 335 507 395-R 1237 1028.4
Chuck Cookson 41 274 300 600 305-R 1205 932.4
Chad Ullom 39 240 275 440 350-R 1065 862.8
Orie Barnett 50 228 251 427 255-R 933 860.6
Dave Beversdorf 45 300 400 500 205-R 1105 850.2
Randy Smith 56 196 195 300 281-R  776 819.6 
Scott Campbell  36  302  275  500  300-L  1075  777.9 
Joe Ciavattone Jr.  17  220  260  385  222-R  867  772.1 
Joe Ciavattone Sr.  42 254  325  315  272-R  912  739.5 
Denny Habecker  68  188  165  265  182-R  612  730.7
Scott Tully  35 345 350  440  210-R  1000 710.9
Darren Barnhart 43 290 280 330  310-R  920  705.6
Kohl Hess  16 285  175  385  277-R 837  684.8
John McKean  65  175  145  175  222-R  542  659.4 
Jonathon Ciavattone 16  234 210 255  222-R  687  620.2 
MIke Murdock  71  231  175  220  158-L  553  602.7 
John Wilmot  64 219  145  225  160-R  530  563.1 
Art Montini  83  179  80  135  149-R  364  499.4 

Notes:  All lifts recorded in pounds.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds. R and L stand for right and left.  Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are adjusted for age and bodyweight.

MEET REMINDER – Monster Garage Contest

by Larry Traub

I need to get a rough idea of how many lifters to expect at the Monster Garage contest. Please E mail me back with yes, no, probably, maybe or whatever. If you have someone coming with you let me know. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be big, so I’m looking for entries. I know a lot of you didn’t have time to prepare properly but think about jumping in to post some numbers as a baseline for improvement for future years. There is still complete information at usawa.com. Click on Monster Garage under coming events. I also have two articles that I wrote at the site. Check it out if you get a chance. You will also fine some info about a machine I built. I’ve been working on it for over two years and it has been recently been painted and is taking it’s place in the weightroom. I’m anxious to get some feedback on it, especially from Ray, Doug, Tom, Tim and people who have been involved with strength training and athletics over the years. Just drop me a line and tell me where you stand. For the Iron Tiger alumni make sure the beverages you bring are age appropriate.

Name This Group

by Al Myers

Picture from 2006 Gold Cup. (front): Ed Schock (second row - left to right): Denny Habecker, Elizabeth Monk, Karen Gardner, Dick Durante, Dennis Mitchell, Scott Schmidt, Kathy Schmidt, Mary Anne Durante (Back row - left to right): John Monk, Steve Gardner, Jim Malloy, and Judy Habecker. Picture taken by Flossie Mitchell.

Now I know most everyone in this picture, but I would like someone else to identify and name these members of the All-Round Weightlifting family.   I received this picture from our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  Most of the other pics that Denny has given me has “pertinent information” written on the back – but this one didn’t!!  Also – I have no idea which meet this group picture came from.  So consider this a CALL FOR HELP and help me in this quest of proper picture identification!!!  I will update the names in the caption as the proper identification is provided on the USAWA Discussion Forum.

Thanks goes to Denny Habecker for providing the information to identify everyone in this picture!

Gone Fishin’

by Thom Van Vleck

Our USAWA Secretary Al Myers knows how to relax from the stresses of work and weightlifting. He goes fishing! But by looking at the size of these two big paddlefish he caught this week, it looks like he had to put his training to good use!

I sent Al Myers a message the other day and he said he was on a fishin’ trip.  I said, “AGAIN!”   I often will call Al, and he’ll return my call and say, “Sorry, I was taking my nap”.  I like Al, he’s a good guy.  But he’s also a pretty smart guy.  Al works hard and when it’s time to rest, he rests hard.

Weightlifters are a special breed.  Some might say we were so special we are mentally ill!  We do tend to be pretty obsessive and often that’s a good thing.  But just as often, we don’t know when to back off (I can’t say “quit”….because we don’t like that word!).

Recuperation is more than sleep, it’s rest, it’s feeling rested and ready.  It’s often the lost ingredient in an effective training program.  I work at a medical school and the constantly tell the students…”GET MORE SLEEP”.  Because more sleep, more rest means less mistakes.  A doctor makes a mistake, and people can die.  A weightlifter makes a mistake and an injury can result that, at best, will set us back a few days, at worst, end a career!

But it’s more than just your body that needs sleep.  Sleep is probably most important for you brain.  I would argue that you brain needs sleep more than any other part of your body.  Why?  Well, science hasn’t quite figured that out yet.  But the fact is that the brain does some pretty important things ONLY when it’s asleep.  And your most important training tool is you brain.  If your brain is not fresh and focused, your body won’t be.

I think that every lifting program should also include how you are going to rest and how long.  It should also include the occasional break from lifting altogether.  So, every once in awhile you have to remind yourself to back off a little.  So, get more sleep.  Take a nap.  And go Fishin’.

The One Arm Snatch: My Five Favorite Pictures

by Al Myers

One of my favorite all-round lifts is the One Arm Snatch.   From the first time I tried it I knew I was going to like it.  I have never been a good Olympic lifter (I started my lifting career as a Powerlifter), and everyone knows that it is much harder to master the proper technique of Olympic Lifting as you get older.  It is something you should learn to become proficient in early on at a young age – and definitely not after several years of heavy bench press training and the tight shoulders that follow.  But the One Arm Snatch – now here was my chance to do an Olympic-type lift that really requires NO advance training in Olympic Lifting as it is so different from the 2-handed Snatch.   I think I also like this lift because my One Armed Snatch is not too far behind my Two Handed Snatch.  I can do slightly over 75% in the One Arm Snatch compared to the two handed version, which either means I excel at the One Arm Snatch or I am just really, really bad at the Two Handed Snatch!

I want to share my five favorite pictures of the One Arm Snatch.  Actually it took me  longer to narrow down my list to five than write this blog!  Several I went back and forth on – and then the REALLY hard part was ranking them!  The One Arm Snatch is also often referred to as the One Hand Snatch, which is the older term that describes this lift.  Now on to the pictures!!!

Picture #5

Arthur Saxon and the One Arm Snatch.

I have always been an Arthur Saxon fan.  Arthur is usually noted for his outstanding Bent Press and 2-Hands Anyhow, but he was also quite good at the One Arm Snatch.  Unlike alot of other Oldtime Strongmen, I truly believe the lift poundages reported by Arthur Saxon.  He was a true weightlifter more than a  strongman performer.  His best official Right Hand Snatch was 195 pounds, and his best unofficial Right Hand Snatch was 210 pounds.  This was done at around 200-210 pounds bodyweight – AMAZING!

Picture #4

Milo Steinborn and the One Arm Snatch.

Henry “Milo” Steinborn has left his legacy in the USAWA with his signature lift, the Steinborn Lift.  What most people don’t realize is that Steinborn was more than just a squatter, as he excelled at the quick lifts as well. I like this picture because it signifies a truly “Oldtime Strongman” approach to weightlifting.  Notice the thick handled barbell with no knurling and the globe ends.   This bar weighed 173 pounds.   This picture was taken in 1921 in an exhibition done by Steinborn in Philadelphia.  It has been said he snatched this bar with one hand SIX TIMES that day!

Picture #3

Vasily Alexeev and the One Arm Snatch.

In 1980, the great Super Heavyweight Russian Olympic Lifter and winner of many Olympic Gold Medals, Vasily Alexeev performed a One Arm Snatch of 231 pounds.  I am sure he didn’t train this lift much at all, but still put up one of the best performances of all time.  Notice how he is catching the One Arm Snatch like a regular squat snatch.  This lift was done in an exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Picture#2

Bob Burtzloff and the One Arm Snatch.

My brother-in-law Bob Burtzloff introduced me to the USAWA over 20 years ago.  Bob is a legend in all-round lifting in the Midwest prior to the USAWA being formed.  He was a great all-round lifter, and excelled at one arm lifts.  His 171 pound One Arm Snatch performed in 1987 still ranks as the BEST ALL-TIME One Arm Snatch in the USAWA Record Book.  This picture was from the old USAWA Rulebook, and was early inspiration for me to train the One Arm Snatch.

Picture #1

Charles Rigoulot and the One Arm Snatch.

This is my favorite picture for one reason – because Charles Rigoulet was the best of ALL-TIME!  In 1929, he made a Right Hand Snatch of 115 kilograms (253.5 pounds).  This was done at a muscular bodyweight of 215 pounds.  A lot of people considered Rigoulot an One Arm Snatch specialist, but I disagree.  He also was very good at several other lifts, including the Olympic Lifts.   One thing about this picture that impresses me is his strict technique – notice his heels together at completion and upright finish.  Rigoulot loved to lift with his shot-loaded barbells, and it is also appropriate that this picture shows him doing just that.

Well, there you have it.  Now tomorrow I may have another list of 5 different favorites, but why can’t a man change his mind?  I hope these pictures give someone the inspiration to go to the gym and train the One Arm Snatch today!!

Why the Deadlift is the BEST LIFT

by Al Myers

This is one of several 700 pound plus deadlifts that I did in powerlifting competitions through the years. This picture is from the 2002 NASA Natural Nationals Powerlifting Championships.

I know – this is a bold statement I just made.  But after years of training experience, I truly believe that the deadlift is the best exercise for building overall body strength and power.   I know there are people who would disagree with me on this  statement, and I’m sure they have their reasons, but let me explain my feelings behind this and then you can give your arguments! 

1.  Argument 1 – The Squat is the KING of LIFTS

Early on I thought the Squat was the KING of LIFTS (and I’m sure others think this as well), and the squat is  by far the best lower body exercise, but other than that the deadlift RULES.  Very little upper body muscles come into play while squatting compared to a deadlift.  The deadlift works EVERY MUSCLE – lower and upper.  A deadlift hits the thighs, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, and even the chest muscles.  Plus it works the forearm and hand muscles.  A squat doesn’t do that!  Just name a lift that works all the muscles like a deadlift does – I bet you can’t name one!

2.  Argument 2 – The Deadlift will make you slow

I know the “deadlift critics” will say that the deadlift will make you slow.  I just don’t believe that.  The “critics” are usually ex-Olympic lifters who favor the Clean & Jerk and Snatch and are poor deadlifters (mainly because they don’t like it and don’t train it).  Now – I’m not saying these two Olympic  lifts are not great lifts (they both make my top five), but for building overall body strength they pale in comparison to the deadlift.  The Olympic lifts are highly technical and unless you are training them exclusively you have a hard time maintaining the proper techique and ability in them.  Add in a little age and decreased flexibility, and both of these lifts are limited by your technique and not by your strength.  And by the way, I have seen several Clean and Jerks that were PAINFULLY SLOW – so don’t use the “explosive” argument with me.  Any exercise can be done in an “explosive manner”.  Just use less weight and increase your speed of execution! 

3.  Argument 3 – I don’t want to hurt my back

The argument of not wanting to hurt your back by AVOIDING the best back exercise known to man does not even make sense to me!  Exercise strengthens the muscles and prevents injury (of course you have to be training correctly, but that’s another issue).   Name one exercise that strengthens the back better than the deadlift??  Lots of money has been invested in machines that make this promise – but where are they now?  They come and go with different manufacturers but the deadlift remains.  That ought to tell you something.

3.  Argument 4 – I’m an athlete and not a powerlifter

I hear this all the time.  Just because the deadlift is one of the competitive powerlifts does not make it a BAD EXERCISE.  Several of  my Highland Game friends seem to think the deadlift is an evil lift and has no benefit to a competitive Highland Athlete.  Instead, they focus on dangerous  lifts like jump squats and lifts on BOSU Balls.  But I will tell you – STRONG IS STRONG, and if you want to be strong, you have to train to be strong.  And NOTHING makes you strong like the deadlift!  This translates to increased ability in ANY strength related sport.  I always loved the Caber Toss in the Highland Games the most, mainly because it directly reflected on who the strongest throwers were.  I always threw in the more advanced classes and at that level everyone was experienced, and everyone knew how to toss the caber.  It was always very apparent who the strongest throwers  were when it got to big cabers, because only the strongest guys turned them. Sure the weaker-strength caber tossers looked “picture perfect” with light sticks, but when things “turned ugly” with the big sticks all the weak throwers could do was make their pfiffers look pretty. Great caber tossers like Mike Smith, Jim “the Big Chief” McGoldrick, Ryan Vierra, and  Harry McDonald were BULL STRONG.  If the deadlift was contested instead of  the caber these same guys would have still been on top.

By now you can tell that I am a little partial to the deadlift!  But my feeling is that if I was given the choice to train only ONE LIFT – it would be the deadlift.   There is just not any other lifting motion as pure as deadlifting.  Men have been picking up things off the ground for years and the deadlift strengthens this basic physical function better than any other lift.  Of course, these are all just my opinions and I welcome anyone to debate these points on the USAWA Discussion Forum.

Dr. Russell Wright

Dr. Russell Wright, D.O. & Pioneer in Sports Medicine

by Thom Van Vleck

You may not know who Dr. Russell Wright (D.O. Doctor of Osteopathy) is, but Tommy Kono, Bob Bednarski, Tommy Suggs, Gary Glenney, Norbert Schmansky and many others probably owe him half the hardware in their trophy cases.  Dr. Wright made his living as the team Physician for the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Pistons.  But he is best known to weightlifters as the team physician for five USA Olympic Weightlifting teams and countless World Championship teams.  He did much of this by traveling to these events on his own dime and providing a lot of the treatment for free. The lifters he treated often commented that he would tell them he’d “send them a bill” and the bill would never come.

Dr. Wright did back surgery on Schmansky and solved Kono’s knee problems to allow them to further their great careers.  He employed Osteopathic manipulation in his work with many other lifters and was there when Bednarski dislocated his elbow so badly at an international meet in Canada.  It was typical to put the dislocated joint in a cast and allow to heal, but Dr. Wright took the cast off once back home and worked with the injury with light exercise, massage, and Osteopathic manipulation.  This could have ended his career, but Bednarski won a World Championships after that!  Wright was an athlete himself having competed in football and basketball in college and a short pro career after that and he felt that gave him insight into athletic injuries and needs.  He was also known to be able to motivate the athlete in his recuperation and had a  deep understanding of sports psychology helping athletes who were devastated by their injuries forge successful comebacks.

Dr. Wright is credited with pioneering the “medical manager” concept.  It seems logical now, but until Dr. Wright came up with it, it was not practiced.  Simply put, someone trained in sports medicine would assist the coach in all medical decisions as a direct consultant.  Osteopaths like Dr. Wright were pioneers in sports medicine.  He was following in the footsteps of Dr. Wilbur Bohm  who was the first sports medicine specialist and he graduated from the school I work at, A.T. Still University which is the founding school of Osteopathic medicine.  Dr. Bohm was the team physician at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics for the U.S.A. track team and assisted  Jesse Owens in his historic run of 4 Gold Medals and the FIRST ever full time professional sports team doctor!  Dr. Wright was part of that heritage of sports medicine and his role in the 1956, ‘60, ‘64, ‘68, and ‘72 Olympics would continue that tradition.

Russell Wright was the president of the Medical Committee of the International Federation of Weightlifting and Culture and conducted many seminars on treating weightlifting injuries.  In 1966 he conducted a seminar in East Berlin, East Germany for Doctors from 92 nations.  He was a member of Sports Medicine (an organization that Dr. Bohm was a founding member) and was a delegate to the 16th World Congress of Sports.  He made most of these trips on his own.  His wife always accompanied him and they were considered real friends and ambassadors of Weightlifting.  He made dozens of these types of trips over the years.  Dr. Wright often joked that he kept “retiring” over and over again.

Dr. Wright graduated from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University in 1929 and practice medicine for 7 decades as he lived well into his 90’s.  The Des Moines School was the second Osteopathic school ever and was founded in 1903, now there are over two dozen D.O. schools across the U.S. and they represent an ever increasing percentage of Doctors in the U.S.  They have all the same rights and privileges of an M.D. plus they have to know Dr. Still’s Osteopathic principles as well.  Dr. Wright represented the type of “forward thinking” that has made D.O’s so popular.  It is estimated in the near future D.O’s will represent 1 in 5 Doctors and they are a large part of the sports medicine world due to Doc’s like Dr. Wright and Dr. Bohm.

Dr. Russell Wright was a true friend of weightlifting as a sport, but was a better friend to the lifters.  He also wrote books including “How to Become and Olympic Champion” where he tried to integrate not only exercised but every aspect of being a top athlete into one book (Diet, sleep, etc.).  I hope you enjoyed reading about a real unsung hero of USA weightlifting.

Bernarr MacFadden

Bernarr MacFadden, "Father of Physical Culture"

by Thom Van Vleck

If you know who Bernarr MacFadden is then you truly are a student of Iron History.  MacFadden was born in 1868 and died in 1955.  He became internationally famous and a millionaire (when a million meant something!) promoting Physical Culture.  I have heard that  Bob Hoffman was called “The Father of American Weightlifting”, but before Bob, Bernarr was the “Father of Physical Culture”.  MacFadden not only promoted exercise, he promoted all around physical fitness, all natural foods (he disliked processed foods) , natural treatment of disease (he hated “pill pusher Doctors”), and inspired people to live healthy lives.  Vim, Vigor, and Virility are terms you often heard him say. He directly influence many greats that you will know like Charles Atlas.

He was also at times branded a charlatan and was arrested on obscenity charges (his books were often very frank in there subject matter, but he was NOT arrested for what we would call pornography today).  He often rubbed the medical establishment the wrong way, at least the M.D.’s but not the D.O.’s…..I’ll explain more later.  He made his millions promoting his books and developed properties that had schools, resorts, and all things that in some way related to physical culture and health.  His empire rose and fell and rose and fell.  Personally, I think had he died or retired at a younger age his legacy would likely be more secure in the weightlifting world.  But some of his later dealings, eccentric tendencies, a damaging book by and ex-wife perhaps unfairly tarnished his early work and unfortunately what you do last is often remembered most.

McFadden’s long and colorful life could fill many volumes and I would encourage anyone interested in Iron History to ready up on him.  There is a website dedicated to his life at www.bernarrmacfadden.com.

My connection to MacFadden is as a boy my grandfather, who was born in 1913 and grew up when McFadden was truly at his peak, often quoted and spoke of McFadden and taught me many of his valuable principles and in that way had a major influence on the JWC.   I learned later he also filtered out many of McFadden’s teachings that were probably built on faulty logic and social norms of the day….but you wonder how people will someday look back on us!  I also work at A.T. Still University, founded in 1892 by Andrew Taylor Still and the founding school of Osteopathic Medicine.  A Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) has the same medical training and credentialing of a Medical Doctor (M.D.) PLUS they have to learn Still’s Osteopathic teachings.  Again, volumes could be written on Osteopathy but I will just point out that Still believed in natural cures, healthy living, was against “pill pushing” as a doctor, thought exercise was essential to health (back when many M.D’s thought exercise was actually bad for you!!!!) and finally was a pioneer in whole person health.   Dr. Still was probably the kind of doctor Bernarr MacFadden would have liked!  I’m researching that right now!

At any rate, our library has a huge collection of rare books.  They often surplus out extra copies and sell them.  When they go unsold, they are given away.  I was checking through a bin of “free” books and when I came across a first edition copy of Bernarr MacFadden’s “Manhood and Marriage” published in 1916.  It had an old style library card in the back and the last time it was checked out was 1963!  Previous to that, 1957!  Kind of hard to believe this book has been on a shelf here my whole life (I was born in 1964) and now I have it.  It is not surprising to me this book was here as the type of people attracted to being a D.O. are the types that believe in whole person health, exercise, healthy living and natural cures.  Don’t get me wrong, they prescribe medication, do surgery and EVERYTHING an M.D. would do but if you see a D.O. you can expect a lecture on healthy living along with your antibiotics!

I am enjoying reading the book.  It is really outdated in many ways, but there is no doubt MacFadden really believed in the healthy lifestyle even if the basis of many of his tenants of healthy living have since been proven otherwise by research.  At least he set a standard which others could then prove right or wrong and if I had to guess, he was more “right”!   Check his story out some time….he’s a real character of the Iron Game!

Watch Your Back!

by Jarrod Fobes

Amber Glasgow, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club, performs a Turkish Get Up with 35 pounds. The Turkish Get Up is a great exercise to strengthen muscle imbalances in the back.

Injuries have shaped a lot of my training, and there is nothing that will get you thinking more about how you train than an injured back. Bum knee? Work your upper body for a while. Injured shoulder? Train around it. Hurt your back? You won’t be in the gym for at least a few weeks. After my last back injury I got busy researching back health and learning what I could do to prevent any future relapses. From what I’ve learned, spinal “prehab” can be distilled down to two major factors. Here’s what they are and what you can do about them.

Muscle Imbalances

Muscle imbalance refers to any break in the symmetry of the muscular system. You don’t want your right side stronger than your left, or your front stronger than your back. Most of you have heard that to protect your back, you should strengthen your abdominals. Strong abdominals are important to provide a counter to the powerful muscles of the lower back, but they are only part of the equation. Is your left hip flexor stronger than the right? Then your hip may be pulled down on the left side, and your back will struggle to compensate for it. Are your hamstrings disproportionately stronger than your quads? That may have an effect on the stability of your knee. If your knee goes out, your hips may start compensating for your injured knee. From there the chain of compensation can easily reach your back.

Fortunately there are two exercises that are terrific for correcting major muscle imbalances. One is the Turkish Get-up, already and official USAWA lift. The other is the One Legged, One Armed Deadlift.

If you are balancing on your right leg, you will grab the weight with your left hand. Put a slight bend in the knee of your support leg. As you lean forward to grasp the weight, your non-support leg should rise up, keeping in as straight a line as possible with your back. Maintain that alignment as you stand up with the weight. As with any deadlift, don’t let your head droop forward.

Both lifts should be trained heavy, but not to failure. Within a month or two diligently giving each side of your body equal work with these lifts, you should have corrected the major imbalances in your body. But stay on guard against overworking one side or the other in day-to-day life too: if you ride a bike, don’t always push off with your dominate leg. If you carry a kid around, make sure you use both sides of your body for roughly equal time. You get the idea.

Muscle Endurance

Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle to work for a prolonged period of time. It is related to, but separate from muscle strength, which most of us focus on in the gym. Many of us have strong backs, but inexplicably still have back problems. That’s because while we may be able to lift enormous loads with our backs, we haven’t conditioned them to handling sustained, symmetrical loads. Just as being able to do 100 push-ups may not translate into a huge bench press, heavy deadlifts do little to condition our backs to prolonged work. That is why kettlebell swings are so important.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. You should have about a 90-degree bend in your knees, as well as at your waist. Do not let your back round, and keep your head up. The kettlebell (or whatever implement you decide to you use) will be in both hands tucked under your behind. Your wrists should rest on your inner thighs.

From this position, explode forward with your hips, extending the legs and back. The weight should stop at 12-o’clock, directly over head with your arms straight. A common mistake is to initiate the movement with the arms. The explosive hip extension should provide the momentum to get the weight moving. Guide the weight back down to the starting position, and repeat.

Since we’re focusing on muscle endurance, execute a high number of reps, at least 75. Focus on maintaining a high rep speed, too. This will mean starting with a lighter weight than most of us like to be seen with in the gym, but do it anyway. If 75 is too daunting, start with 3×25, and “steal” reps from the last set and give them to the first in following workouts. So following rep schemes might look like 35×25x15, 50×25, etc until you reach 75 reps. Once you can handle 75 you have the option of increasing weight or increasing reps. Besides muscle endurance, my posture has improved greatly since adding kettlebell swings to my routine. I recommend them to anyone whose shoulders roll forward. Another benefit of this exercise is the tremendous cardiovascular work it provides. If done with speed, explosiveness, and adequate weight, your heart will really be pumping by the end!

The things I hate about the sport I love – part 2

by Larry Traub

Part two – I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re all champions

Larry Traub performing a deadlift in a powerlifting competition.

At the time I started my teaching career in 1976, a book that had been on the best seller list a few years earlier seemed to be having a huge impact on our interaction with the students we taught. The book was called “I’m OK, You’re Ok.” Let me give you my perception of how things started to changed in the 70’s due to the concepts expressed in this book. The basic concept, as I see it, is that our students should constantly be praised for what they do. The effort involved, or the excellence of the accomplishment should not be a factor in whom we seek to reward. If everyone is praised and rewarded for everything they do then they will develop high self-esteem which is the key to them becoming wonderful, fully functional adults. This may be an exaggeration of the concepts expressed in this book but I feel that there is quite a bit of truth in my analysis.

The big example that clearly shows that this trend has survived and is thriving is in youth sports. My niece and nephew are in soccer leagues where no teams are recognized as being better than the other, but every kid who shows up for the last game is awarded a trophy for this amazing accomplishment. Hollywood has definitely taken notice of this development in kid’s sports. For all you “Every One Loves Raymond” fans there are several episodes that poke fun at this trend, but one of my favorite lines occurs when the basketball coach of Raymond’s two young twin boys helps Raymond understand this concept. He explains to Raymond that, “A ball that misses the basket is just as valid as one that goes through the basket.”

I think I can concede the need for sports at a very young age to be more recreational than competitive, but I have to question whether it is wrong to start teaching and rewarding excellence at an early age. And the bigger question in my mind is: At what point should you really have to achieve excellence before you are recognized as a champion?

This trend of making sure that everyone feels like a champion goes well beyond youth sports and I suspect that the motivation has more to do with money than self esteem. I did some research to make my point relevant to the sport of powerlifting. I started looking through issues of Powerlifting USA and I discovered that for the year 2007 I could find 11 of the 12 issues. So the following research is based on carefully combing through every 2007 issue of Powerlifting USA except February. I found that the following totals were good enough to make someone a “National Champion” in 2007. These all came from the open men’s competition, not the master’s or teenage. This was compiled from whatever organization that claimed to have a “National Championship”. These totals are all in pounds and they are all totals from a combined squat, bench and deadlift where the competitor had successfully completed at least one attempt in all three lifts. (No bomb outs.) Some of the meets were raw and some of them were drug tested, but I didn’t bother to distinguish between the different rules governing the meet.

Here are your 2007 National Championship Totals. The names have been withheld to protect the unworthy.

Weight Class Total Weight Class Total
123 688 220 959
132 881 242 1229
148 986 275 1550
165 1046 308 1197
181 804 Hwt 1758
198 837    

I found a national championship where only 2 weight classes had entries in the open division, which meant that anyone who showed up for this one could have won a national championship unopposed, provided they weren’t in the 181 or 220 lb division. I also found a National championship (and this is my favorite) where there were so many different divisions that 70 different national championship awards were given out. (Many lifters were multiple national champions.) In this same meet 5 people received second place awards. No thirds. No fourths. There were only 5 people on the whole meet who got beat by somebody. I am, of course, concerned about the deflated self esteem of these 5 individuals, and suspect they will require therapy to get over the humiliation of being a national runner-up.

Part of the reason that I have chosen the USAPowerlifting (USAPL) as my venue for competition is that they seem to attract the best competitors. (At least among those who would submit to drug testing.) I believe a big reason for this is their affiliation with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) which gives lifters an opportunity to compete in true international competition. I really think that the IPF is doing the best job of holding the line on creating meaningful championships. Their championships include subjuniors, juniors, open, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+. Compare this to the usual laundry list of, youth, 14-15, 16-17, 18-19, juniors, collegiate, open, military, sub masters, masters, 40-44, 45-49, with continued 5 year increments through infinity. I understand every organization wants to succeed, and giving people what they want is paramount to the success of that organization, but surely we can see that this is killing the legitimacy of our sport.

Do I have the solution to the problem? I think I have some ideas that could minimize this trend that, in my mind, is killing our sport. As mentioned in a previous article I recently competed in the USAPL raw Nationals. I found the experience enjoyable but there were many unopposed national champions which is not typical of the USAPL. I hated to see the all the meaningless national championships in a contest that was overall very competitive. I understand that it is all part of the growing pains of starting something new, but I think there are creative alternatives that would allow you to recognize outstanding individuals in other divisions (masters, teenage, etc) without creating meaningless awards. The raw nationals had no qualifying total which means that it could attract lifters from 14 yrs old to 100. This is my recommendation for USAPL Raw Nationals. First, let everyone enter in their appropriate weight class and compete against whoever is there, no matter if they are open, teens, masters, etc. I think that a 17 year old who can finish in the top 6 or 7 of this type of contest would have more pride in his accomplishment that being an unopposed national champion. Second, Have an All American team consisting of the top ten lifters on formula including the use of age coefficients. The 17 year old, who finished 6th in his weight class could conceivably, using this formula, become one of the top 5 lifters in the whole contest and his All American status would be an appropriate recognition of his accomplishments.

This format would also make this contest more conducive to a true team championship. With this scenario, a gym or club would make an effort to get the best person they could into every weight class regardless of the age of the individual, and there would be far less choosing of team members simply because there is little or no competition.

This would be my recommendation for the raw nationals, but the same or a similar format would be applicable to a lot of other competitions. There could even be a female coefficient that could allow you to group males and females together for outstanding lifter awards or all state/American awards.

If athletes really want meaningless championships then I suppose there will always be promoters that will provide them, especially if there is a buck to be made doing so. I’m not so sure that this is always the case. I think that a lot of lifters and promoters are seeing problems with the sport of powerlifting and are starting their own organizations so they can create their own solutions to this problem. In my opinion, time would be better spent trying to bring reform to the organizations we have. For instance instead of starting a raw powerlifing organization, help the USAPL develop their raw nationals into a true championship for all lifters who want to lift unequipped and without performance enhancing drugs. This could lead to a true raw world championship, and who knows, with less fragmentation of the sport, maybe we could be taken seriously enough to someday become an Olympic sport.

One of the most enjoyable contests that I can remember competing in was at a local prison some 25 years ago. There were 15-20 lifters involved and for most of them it was a home meet, if you get my drift. The competition really wasn’t that good but there was another local lifter who, like myself, got to leave when it was over, and was considered to be quite good. He was a 148 lber and I was at 220 and the whole contest was based on formula which made it quite interesting. I did come out on top, which may be why I recall it fondly, but either way the use of the formula as opposed to weight classes made it a real competition. I would hope that we, as powerlifters, are seeking out real competition and not just looking to gain some meaningless status.

The things I hate about the sport I love – Part 1

by Larry Traub

Part one – Artificial Strength

Larry Traub performing a squat in a powerlifting competition.

Without a doubt, the thing that troubles me the most about the direction our sport has taken is the amazing lifts that are being posted that are not representative of the athlete’s natural ability or hard work. There are two separate issues here that result in what I would call artificial strength. The first one is the use of strength inducing drugs and the second is the use of equipment that spring loads the body.

The pharmaceutical end of this has been around for a long time and that’s a tough nut to crack. My association with The USAPL/IPF leads me to believe that they are being as diligent as possible in keeping drugs out of their organization. As a lifetime drug free lifter I fully appreciate the fact that they are creating a situation where I can minimize the possibility of having to compete against someone who is using drugs to enhance their lifting. There is always the old argument that since drug testing is imperfect that the only fair way to run a contest is to have no drug testing. There may be some truth to this, but if I choose not to use drugs, I would rather lift in an organization which encourages drug free lifting and discourages and penalizes the use of performance enhancing drugs. Ideally, I feel that there should be two organizations. There should be one that has no drug testing and one that employs the best testing methods available. The need for the other 10-15 organizations that we have is very questionable but that is a subject for another article.

The other aspect of artificial strength that has infected our sport is the use of suits, shirts and wraps to produce results that are not at all representative of the strength of the individual. In contrast to the drug problem this is not a tough nut to crack. Here’s my solution to the problem.

“This is ridiculous. Let’s not do it.”

In 1979 my wife and I drove to Dayton, Ohio to see the World Powerlifting Championships. I was a veteran of exactly one powerlifting contest, but I knew I was going to pursue the sport and I wanted to see the best lifters in the world at this point in time. And I did. Inaba, Gant, Bridges, Thomas, Anello, Pacifico, Kuc, Wrenn. All of these men are legends in my mind, but my most profound memory of the meet is the bench pressing of Bill Kazmaier. Kaz was the largest muscular and athletic looking individual that I had ever seen in my life. He was already the world record holder in the bench, but he bumped his 615 lb world record up into the 660 lb range. Kaz became a multiple world powerlifting champion and went on to win the World’s strongest man title three times.

The current world record, according to my research, is 1050 lbs posted by Ryan Kenelly. Kenelly out benched Kaz by almost 400 lbs. It turns out that the world record of Bill Kazmaier was really pretty unimpressive. Actually, most everyone associated with powerlifting already knows that we are comparing apples and oranges. Kaz didn’t know it at the time but he was performing a raw bench as opposed to an assisted bench. Is the difference significant? Apparently so.

I confess to having spent a lot of my money on this equipment and spending a lot of time and effort squeezing myself and others into this equipment. I plead guilty to telling people about my double body weight bench press when I was 49 years old without explaining that about 10-15% of that was accomplished by spring loading my body with a shirt that took 3 people to get on. And in retrospect I would have to say it was all ridiculous. I rationalize it by saying that everyone else was doing it so I had to do it in order to be competitive, and of course a little voice is asking me: “if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you jump too?” Since the last time I used one of these shirts (8 years ago) the technology has advanced to where people are claiming 25-30% gains out of the single plys and God knows how much out of the multi layer, off the shoulder, open back shirts that are legal in other organizations. In a PL USA interview of a prominent bench presser the lifter had recorded competition lifts of 600 lbs raw and 835 shirted. This works out to a 39% increase in his performance due to the mechanical advantage of wearing the shirt. I couldn’t find the article but I recall a 1000 lb plus bencher saying that his raw bench was around 700 lbs. This would make his increase in the 43% range. The use of suits and wraps to enhance the squat and deadlift may not be as dramatic but the concept is just as absurd. The real question is; does the first lifter claim to have a 600 lb bench or an 835 lb bench? I don’t like to brag but, I’m old enough to get the senior citizen’s discount at Shoney’s, and I was still able to lift up the entire side of my minivan the other day. Oh, did I mention I used a hydraulic jack?

History tells us that anything associated with technology will continue to improve and as this happens the lifts associated with this equipment will become less and less representative of the actual strength of the lifter. So we can absolutely expect the ridiculous situation described to get worse.

Besides the basic dishonesty involved with this situation, I think there is a serious safety issue to consider. It is widely known that steroid users are much more prone to injury than natural lifters. With drug free training, muscles get stronger and there is a corresponding strengthening of tendons, ligaments and tendons. I recently had minor shoulder surgery to clean up an arthritic condition that had developed. The surgeon was using the dermis from a cadaver to form artificial cartilage in the joint. His plan was to attach the dermis with screws by drilling into the bone and using expanding anchors similar to what you would use when attaching something to drywall. He told my wife the surgery would last about an hour but it went beyond two hours which prompted my wife to call the life insurance company to see how much she could cash in on, if I didn’t make it. The problem turned out not to be life threatening, but in order for the anchors to expand he had to drill through the hard part of the bone and into softer bone tissue. It took him forever to get through the hard part of the bone because my body had adapted from years of lifting and had made this hardened layer much thicker than normal. This is part of the natural adaptive process that the body has that allows it to withstand the stress that you are going to put on it when you utilize your additional strength.

When using anabolic drugs the muscles adapt quickly but the tendons, ligaments and bones lag behind and the risk of injury to the connective tissues increases dramatically. With a bench shirt, in a matter of minutes, your “strength” may be increased by 40%. The bench shirt may provide some protection for the supportive tissue around the pecs, delts and triceps, but the elbows and wrists are not provided that protection and the chance of injury seems to be multiplied.

Recently a college football player was seriously hurt when he dropped approximately 300 lbs on his neck while benching. I strongly suspect that some very bad form and some inadequate spotting was involved but what if you added 40% more weight to the bar, and then added the difficulty of controlling the bar while adapting to a shirt. The whole scenario is a disaster waiting to happen.

My work as a powerlifting coach for high school athletes At St Xavier High School in Louisville Kentucky has given me a unique perspective on the situation. I was fortunate enough to have a tremendous facility, the support of the school, and a large pool of athletes with a tremendous work ethic. These factors and what I hope was adequate coaching helped us win 5 successive USAPL National Teenage Championships from 2003 -2007. Several years we had close to 100 athletes involved in a program that cumulated with a raw meet in early May. From there we attempted to determine who was capable of meeting the qualifying totals for Teen Nationals and who had the desire to go. At the national meet most everyone would be using the latest supportive equipment, so in order to be competitive we felt we had to do the same. With our new group of athletes we started the process of getting them adjusted to equipment in a short period of time so that they would be ready for a qualifying meet in a matter of several weeks. As a coach this was the time that I considered sheer hell. There were bloody knuckles from pulling on the shirts. First time lifters would swear that they would never get in there equipment and when they did, they found the pain prevented them from getting the bar to their chest or getting parallel in the squat, but we kept working and eventually we would made it work.

The whole process was not fun but the next part was even worse. Eventually the kids started thinking that this equipment was the coolest thing ever. We had spent months emphasizing the importance of completing a workout designed to make them stronger and more athletic. Now a great deal of time was spent getting in and out of equipment and much of the workout was ignored. It didn’t bother the kids much because, in their eyes, the “benefit” they were getting from the equipment far outweighed the actual strength training they were involved in before. It was also not surprising that this is where coaches from other sports began to question the benefits of powerlifting for their athletes.

I had been selling my program as a way of motivating athletes to lift with intensity and good form and promised that they would benefit greatly as athletes. I feel very strongly that in general I delivered on my promise, but I do feel that the athletic benefits of the program were compromised in the 5-6 week period that we were in equipment.

Dealing with parents became a challenge also. I told them not to show their mother’s the marks that the equipment left on their bodies because I was afraid that they would forbid their sons from participating. The kids would create their own stories when explaining the benefits of the equipment to their families or friends. One boy told his mother that when we started going heavy in the squat that the knee wraps kept his knees from exploding.

I feel powerlifting has the potential to appeal not only to those who want to test the limits of strength, but also those who want to become more athletic and build a better physique. High intensity exercise in the low to mid rep range is the most efficient way to build type IIB fast twitch muscle fibers and these fibers have the greatest potential for growth.

If my first experience with powerlifting involved seeing men and women who could barely walk because of the knee wraps, or torsos that were disfigured because of the shirts that their three buddies stuffed them into, then I would have a hard time making the connection between powerlifting and its ability to produce muscular and athletic individuals.

As intelligent individuals capable of making good decisions I would encourage you to ignore the babblings of those who tell us that this equipment is here to stay so we might as well get used to it. Let common sense overrule our egos. I returned to competition last year after a 5 year sabbatical when I entered the USAPL Raw Nationals. I didn’t have the opportunity to compete against the best lifters of my age as I did in the USAPL Master’s Nationals and the IPF Master’s Worlds. I missed that aspect of the competition, but I’m hoping that time and common sense will lead to a change in our system that will bring the greatest lifters on board with true unassisted powerlifting at the national and world championship level. In the raw meet I posted some numbers that weren’t overly impressive for a number of reasons but I absolutely found the experience much more enjoyable than previous meets and I can also tell someone what I lifted without adding a lengthy explanation about supportive equipment or feeling guilty about being dishonest to them or to myself.

Introducing Larry Traub

(WEBMASTER’S NOTE:  Larry Traub will be hosting his first USAWA competition on April 30th in his hometown of Georgetown, Indiana .   This competition will introduce the USAWA to several new lifters.  The following story is an introduction to Larry and his past involvement in powerlifting and weightlifting.  Larry is a great addition to the USAWA!)

by Larry Traub

Larry Traub (on left), of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, receiving his award from the 2010 Dino Gym Grip Challenge Meet Director Ben Edwards (on right).

The ReMoND Machine – Release Movement Neuromuscular Developer

My name is Larry Traub. I am 57 years old. I have just completed 24 years of teaching at St. Xavier High School in Louisville Kentucky and 28 years of teaching all together. I am a math teacher (Primarily Geometry) but I have also taught an elective P.E. class called Strength and Fitness during most of my tenure at St. Xavier. I have been involved in the weightroom almost all of my years at St. X and have served in various roles including, strength coach, powerlifting coach, and weight room coordinator. I retired as the powerlifting coach in 2007 after winning 5 successive National Championships at the USAPL (drug tested) teenage championships.

I was also a gym owner in the early 80’s and built most all my own equipment. I did a little competitive bodybuilding. My last contest was in1982 in which I won the Mr. Kentucky title. I have been an active powerlifter since the mid 70’s and have won 9 master’s National Titles in the USAPL and a gold and a silver in the IPF world championships. I have held American Records in the squat (635 @ 198 in the 40-44 group, deadlift (700 @ 198 in the 40-44 group) and 1630 total in the 50 plus age group which was also a world record total @ 198.

I have a son and daughter who both earned college athletic scholarships. My daughter in basketball and my son in track. They both were national teenage powerlifting champions and American record holders. My daughter did a 400 lb deadlift @ 165 as a teenager and my son was a world champion and a world record holder in the subjunior division (He did a 690 deadlift as an 18 year old in the 242 lb class). He presently holds the school record for shotput at Indiana State University.

I tell you this, not to blow my own horn (well maybe a little bit), but to give you an idea of the depth of my involvement in weightlifting and sports over the course of four decades and hopefully give myself enough credibility to allow you to carefully consider my invention.

I have always been fascinated with the correlation between strength and athletic ability. In my 35+ years of involvement in weightlifting I have seen a tremendous shift in attitudes regarding the benefits of lifting for almost every athlete. My personal experience with an increase in jumping ability shortly after I first started squatting convinced me of the athletic benefits of lifting. After a year or so of high intensity squatting for powerlifting I was delighted to find I could grab the rim on a basketball court. A year or so later after my max squat had improved considerably I was expecting a corresponding increase in jumping ability but discovered no significant difference. I later discovered that the reason for my plateau in vertical jump was my brains inability to send a strong enough signal to fully utilize the fast twitch muscles I had developed. My limitations were not muscular they were neuromuscular.

Over the years I have read about and tried all sorts of programs that were supposed to increase the bodies neuromuscular capabilities. I set up extensive plyometric programs but saw no real effect other than joint pain due to the stress that the exercises put on the body.

I used light weights with maximum speed, but received no noticeable benefit. I discovered that the use of high speed reps with lighter weights had huge limitations because your body knows that at the end of the motion it must stop or the weight will leave your body and come back and cause injury. The use of bands and chains was supposed to be the solution of slowing the movement at the top, but if that were to work effectively then the resulting slowing of the motion would be counterproductive to the goal of developing maximum speed. I have seen athletes perform jump squats with a barbell and I thought immediately that the fear of the bar coming down on them and causing pain would prohibit them from putting maximum effort into the exercise which in turn would minimize the results. My son, while in college, was instructed to jump with sand bags on his shoulders. This seemed a lot more reasonable but there was still no way to see a measurable progression. (Was he jumping higher than he did last week?) There was also the considerable stress on the body of landing with the combined weight of his bodyweight and the sandbags.

The latest trend I see is the use of the Olympic lifts and various exotic versions of them as being the “do all, end all” for athletes in the weightroom. They do require explosive movement but the actual number of muscles that are involved in the explosive part of the lift are very limited and once again there is a great deal of stress put on the joints of the body. I also feel that way too often the athletes are doing the Olympic lifts whose primary benefits are neuromuscular and ignoring the continued development of fast twitch muscle throughout all the major muscle groups.

Ideally, athletes should continue to develop fast twitch muscle fiber through conventional means but have a way to improve their neuromuscular efficiency so they can fully utilize those muscle fibers, and do it all with minimum stress on the joints of the body. The solution, as I see it, is a release movement machine that allows you to accelerate a bar using various exercises that stimulate all major muscle groups. You must be able to release the bar without fear of injury so the bar must stay at the peak of movement and be safely lowered to the athlete for the next repetition. The exercise must also be measurable. (A certain amount of weight is moved through a certain range of motion and progress occurs when you either move the same weight through a greater range of motion or move more weight through the same range of motion.)

This is what my machine is designed to do and I would appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate.

Sincerely,

Larry Traub

Goddard Postal

by Steve Gardner

MEET RESULTS: 

The Andy Goddard Tribute Lifts Postal 2011

Chuck Cookson, of the Dino Gym, had the top Jefferson Lift (Straddle Deadlift) of the Goddard Postal Meet with a lift of 622 pounds.

32 lifters took part in the Andy Goddard tribute postal competition, and what a good competition it turned out to be, thanks to all the lifters from the USA and the UK who supported the event. Below is a list of best lifter results.  The two lifts contested were the  Alternate Grip Bench Press  and the Straddle Deadlift.

Alternate Grip Bench Press – Top Ten Lifters

  1. Mark Price – Powerhouse Gym, England
  2. Al Myers – Dino Gym, United States
  3. Mark Haydock – Hoghton Barbell Club, England
  4. Joe Ciavattone Sr. – Joe’s Gym, United States
  5. Scott Tully – Dino Gym, United States
  6. Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Joe’s Gym, United States
  7. Gary Ell – Tiverton WL Club, England
  8. Chuck Cookson – Dino Gym, United States
  9. Chad Ullom – Dino Gym, United States
  10. Steve Gardner – Powerhouse Gym, England

 

Straddle Deadlift – Top Ten Lifters

  1. Al Myers – Dino Gym, United States
  2. Chuck Cookson – Dino Gym, United States
  3. Joe Ciavattone Jr.  – Joe’s Gym, United States
  4. Kai Holland – Tiverton WL Club, England
  5. Mark Haydock – Hoghton Barbell Club, England
  6. Mark Rattenbury – Tiverton WL Club, England
  7. Graham Saxton – Powerhouse Gym, England
  8. James Gardner – Powerhouse Gym, England
  9. Jonny Eccleshall -  Powerhouse Gym, England
  10. Chad Ullom – Dino Gym, United States

 

Total – Top Ten Lifters

  1. Al Myers – Dino Gym, United States
  2. Chuck Cookson – Dino Gym, United States
  3. Mark Price – Powerhouse Gym, England
  4. Mark Haydock – Hoghton Barbell Club, England
  5. Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Joe’s Gym, United States
  6. Chad Ullom – Dino Gym, United States
  7. Mark Rattenbury – Tiverton WL Club, England
  8. Graham Saxton – Powerhouse Gym, England
  9. Gary Ell – Tiverton WL Club, England
  10. Joe Ciavattone Sr. – Joe’s Gym, United States

 

Best Club Result (Top 3 Performers)

  1. Dino Gym:  Myers, Cookson, Ullom – 963.3 pts
  2. Powerhouse Gym:  Price, Saxton, Gardner – 876.4 pts
  3. Joe’s Gym:  Ciavattones, Joe Sr., Joe Jr., Jonathon – 837.8 pts
  4. Tiverton:  Rattenbury, Ell, Holland – 826.1 pts
  5. Granby Grippers:  Allen, Andrews, Godleman – 797.7 pts

 

Best Junior Performance – Joe Ciavattone Jr.

Best Female Performance – Karen Gardner

Best Open Performance – Mark Haydock

Best Master Performance – Al Myers

Best Overall Lifter – Al Myers

For the complete results -  ANDY GOD2011

USAWA Nationals Update

 by Thom Van Vleck

Dukum Inn: Kirksville Legend and Location of the USAWA Nationals Banquet

Just a couple blocks away from the armory is the Dukum Inn.  This is a legendary establishment here in Kirksville.  Back a hundred years ago this was a huge coal mining area.  Coal mining was tough work and the miners would drink hard on the weekends.  When I was a kid, the Dukum was tough, blue collar bar.  I recall going there with my Dad from time to time when I was a boy.  He would buy me a Cherry Coke (when a the Coke was poured into a Coke Glass and cherry syrup was then added) so I wouldn’t tell Mom we stopped there.  He would play some pool with his pals and he’d give me some quarters for the pinball or I’d play shuffleboard in the sawdust.  After a couple games of pool we’d head home with Mom none the wiser!

Well, today the Dukum is pretty much an “every man’s bar” (and every woman).  It’s a lot more upscale than the old days but still has that old days charm of a corner pub.  They have a private upstairs room that now has the original bar that was there when I was a kid and the original tables.  It can seat over a hundred and has a stage that will work nicely for our awards ceremony.  Plenty of room to gather after the meet, enjoy our meal, have our national meeting and have a good time!

So, get those entries in the mail!

MIKE MURDOCK – “HAM AND EGGER”

BY DAVE GLASGOW

MIKE MURDOCK, OF THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS, PUT UP SOME BIG LIFTS LAST WEEKEND AT THE DEANNA SPRINGS MEMORIAL.

CHANCES ARE, YOU HAVE SEEN HIM BUT NEVER, REALLY, NOTICED HIM.  HE’S NOT FLASHY, HE NEVER MAKES A SCENE.  HE CAN USUALLY BE FOUND SITTING QUIETLY IN A GROUP OF PEOPLE; OBSERVING.  EVEN IF YOU DON’T NOTICE HIM WHEN HE IS THERE, YOU WILL NOTICE IF HE’S NOT THERE.

MIKE MURDOCK WANDERED (WONDERED?) ONTO A HIGHLAND GAMES FIELD ONE DAY, NOT FULLY KNOWING WHERE IT WOULD LEAD.  WHERE IT LED WAS AN INTRODUCTION TO, NOT ONLY THE GAMES, BUT AN ORGANIZATION KNOWN AS THE USAWA.  THAT, ULTIMATELY LED TO WHAT HAS NOW BECOME A STAPLE AT THE GAMES AND THE USAWA EVENTS HELD AT AL’S DINO GYM IN HOLLAND, KS., NAMELY, MIKE!  HE IS, MOST GENERALLY, ONE OF THE FIRST TO SHOW UP AND ONE OF THE LAST TO EXIT.  HE IS NOT AFRAID TO PITCH IN TO HELP AND CAN BE COUNTED ON TO A HAVE FEW GOOD IDEAS ALONG THE WAY.

RUDY BLETSCHER (LEFT) AND MIKE MURDOCK (RIGHT) LIFTED 585 POUNDS IN THE 2-MAN TRAP BAR DEADLIFT AT THE 2010 USAWA TEAM NATIONALS. THIS IS AN AMAZING LIFT FOR TWO LIFTERS OVER THE AGE OF 70!

AS ONE OF THE ‘ELDER STATESMAN’ GRACING THE USAWA IN THIS AREA, MIKE HAS SEEN A LOT IN HIS TIME AND HIS STORY IS WORTHY OF SOME CONSIDERATION.  MIKE WAS BORN AND EDUCATED IN NEBRASKA.   MOVING TO KANSAS WAS, AS HAS BECOME HIS FASHION, NOT IN THE CONVENTIONAL MEANS.  HE TRAVERSED THE 330 MILES ON A ONE SPEED BIKE IN A JOURNEY THAT TOOK HIM 3 DAYS!!  A STINT IN THE AIR FORCE FOLLOWED BY A LONGER STRETCH IN THE NAVY GAVE WAY TO HIS USE OF THE GI BILL TO GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA TO DECORATE HIS WALL.  “I TAUGHT FOR A YEAR, BUT, I KNEW I WASN’T ANY GOOD AND I DID’NT WANT TO MESS THE KIDS UP. SO, I GOT OUT”.  IN A LOT OF WAYS, THAT STATEMENT SHOWS US WHAT MAKES MIKE, MIKE.  HE IS UNSELFISH, THINKS OF OTHERS AND HAS THE WHEREWITHAL TO UNDERSTAND HIS OWN LIMITATIONS.  THAT GOES FOR HIS LIFTING, AS WELL.  A SELF TAUGHT LIFTER, HE WAS WISE ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THAT SQUATS, PRESSES, AND PULLS WERE WHAT SHOULD MAKE UP THE MEAT OF HIS WORKOUTS.  INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, HE STARTED ON AN ‘OTASCO’(THIS WAS A REGIONAL HARDWARE CHAIN BACK IN THE DAY), BASIC 110# SET IN THE EARLY SIXTIES.  HIS LIFTING, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION IS ‘ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN’.  OVER THE YEARS, HIS TRAINING HAS CHANGED LITTLE AND, THOUGH HE IS SEVENTY ONE YEARS OLD, HE ENJOYS THE WORK INVOLVED AND THE RESULTS IT BRINGS.   BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, HE IS “NOT THAT STRONG” (THIS STATEMENT, I LEAVE OPEN FOR DEBATE).   HE IS WHAT I THINK WOULD BE KNOWN IN THE VERNACULAR AS A ‘HAM AND EGGER’.  THIS IS THAT CLASS OF GUY/GAL THAT LIFTS BECAUSE HE ENJOYS IT, KNOWS HE WILL NEVER WIN ANYTHING, WORKS HARD ANYWAY AND HAS A HELL OF A GOOD TIME WHENEVER HE IS IN THE COMPANY OF LIKE MINDED FOLKS.  THIS IS THE CLASS OF LIFTER THAT I, ALSO, PROUDLY, NUMBER MYSELF AMONG!  ASKED THE LIFTS HE WAS MOST PROUD OF (HE IS THE OWNER OF A NUMBER OF USAWA RECORDS), HE QUICKLY REPLIED THAT IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ALL THE TWO MAN RECORDS HE HAS MADE WITH HIS FRIEND AND FELLOW SEPTUAGENARIAN, RUDY BLETSCHER. THEN HE SAID, WITH AN IMPISH GRIN ON HIS FACE, “THE CRUCIFIX LIFT OF 80 LBS. THAT ONE MAY STAY AROUND FOR A WHILE!”

ONE FINAL THING.   THIS WAS NOT TO BE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.   HOWEVER, I DON’T THINK I WILL GET IN TOO MUCH DUTCH IF I LET IT OUT.  AT AL’S GRIP NATIONALS THIS YEAR, THERE WAS A SILENT AUCTION, WITH PROCEEDS TO GO TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER IN SALINA.  MIKE GAVE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF CASH TO THE ORGANIZATION, AFTER BIDDING ON, WELL, NOTHING!  HE JUST, SIMPLY, DID IT!!   THIS IS WHY I LIKE CALLING HIM FRIEND!  LOOK MIKE UP AT THE NEXT GET TOGETHER AND, IF YOU AREN’T ALREADY A FRIEND, MAKE HIS ACQUAINTANCE. YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF FOR IT.  HE’S NOT THAT HARD TO FIND.  HE’S THE GUY SITTING IN THE BACKGROUND. QUIETLY LISTENING, WATCHING, LEARNING……..

Al Springs

by Al Myers

Al Springs performed a 335 pound Deanna Lift this past weekend at the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet. This lift was named after his late wife Deanna.

It was a great pleasure seeing Al Springs this past weekend at the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet.  Deanna was the late wife of Al’s who this meet is in memory of.  She was killed in a car accident in 1995.  She was very involved in the USAWA prior to her death and is in the USAWA Hall of Fame.  Al hosted the first Deanna Memorial Meet at his home gym in 1996.  Since then it has been hosted at Clark’s Gym. 

Al has had his number of setbacks through the years.  He was involved in a car accident himself that required longterm recuperation.  He has had other heart related health issues.  So seeing him back in action on the lifting platform was BIG NEWS!  Years ago Al had a gym in Platte City that he ran till round 1995.  At that time he also hosted several USAWA events at his home in Dearborn, Missouri.

Al is just a “great guy”.   But don’t let his quiet demeanor surprise you – because once you get him talking he is full of weightlifting stories.  I have had the opportunity to compete with him at several meets though the years and he is always energetic and ready to lift.   I know he really enjoyed this past weekend at the Deanna Meet because of the large turnout, and especially the turnout of lifters his age.   And on a final note – how can anyone named “Al” be anything but a nice guy?!?

Monster Garage Meet

by Larry Traub

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

1st Annual Traub Monster Garage

Powerlifting and USAWA Record Breaker

Larry Traub, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, competed last year in the USAWA Grip Challenge. This spring Larry will promote his first ever USAWA competition.

I’ve been promising St. X Alumni an annual powerlifting contest and picnic at my home since I retired from coaching a couple years ago. The initial interest wasn’t quite what I thought it would be and my life has been full with kids getting married and grandkids arriving. Well, this year I decided to proceed but to expand the concept to an open contest. I am targeting not only St X alums but anyone involved in the old River City Powerlifting club from when I was in the gym business in the early 80’s. I am also hoping for participation from others who I have met along the way. My best friend and college roommate, Dave Glasgow will be traveling from Kansas to compete. Dave was my first workout partner some 40 years ago and we still seem to get a workout or two together a year. I’m hoping Ray Ganong the strength coach at U of L who has been a friend and a mentor of mine and also a friend of St. X Powerlifting might be interested. Tom Chapella a local throws coach who had a huge influence on my son’s success in shot and discus has shown an interest. Tom has a son who is in all likelihood the strongest Down’s syndrome lifter in the world who will be an inspiration to everyone involved. Basically, I’m looking for lifters that I have some connection with in the lifting world. If you are interested and you have a workout partner or someone you are training, then they are welcome.

I sanctioned this through USAWA (United States All-round Weightlifting Association). I got involved with them through my friend Dave Glasgow and I knew right away that this group created the lifting atmosphere I was looking for. USAWA has over 150 competition lift in all types of age categories and weight classes, but the traditional power lift are not included. The actual power lifting contest will be “exhibition lifts” as far as their organization is concerned, but afterwards there will be a record breaker where anyone involved can attempt to break some of their records. We will also be using their formula to determine place winners in the power lifting contest. The whole contest is on formula with coefficients for age and bodyweight. I will be giving modest awards for outstanding squat, bench press, and deadlift as well as the top five finishes on total.

Check out the USAWA (usawa.com) website for more information. It is very well organized and there are daily postings. I am planning on competing in their national contest in June.

As the information says, there is no advance registration necessary, but drop me a line at traubl@saintxfac.com and let me know your intentions. If it doesn’t work out for you this year then start training for future years. I intend to make it an annual event on the last Saturday of April.

MEET DETAILS:

1st Annual Traub Monster Garage

Powerlifting and USAWA Record Breaker

Sat April 30th

1485 Oakes Road Georgetown Indiana

8:00 am weigh in – 10:00 start

No advance registration – entry forms completed at weigh in

All lifters must buy a USAWA card at a cost of $25

ENTRY FEE – contestants must bring food for pitch in meal that will follow the competition. Bring meat for you and your family, date, etc. Lifters weighing 160 and below should bring a salad dish to be shared, lifters 160 – 230 should bring a side dish and of course those above 230 should bring desserts.

Meet t-shirts will be available.

USAWA rules will be followed. This is a raw contest. (No supportive shirts, suits, or knee wraps)

Drug testing under USAWA guidelines