Monthly Archives: December 2011

All Round Lifting: The Big Brother Version

by Al Myers

Last month at the IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia, several of us rented a beach house together.  I organized this beach house rental for a couple of reasons – to save a little money and also to spend some time with a few of the masterminds in the organization.  Six of us spent close to 10 days living together – myself, Chad Ullom, USAWA President Denny Habecker, IAWA President Steve Gardner, English All Round lifting sensation Mark Haydock, and the MAN OF STEEL and all-round lifting legend Art Montini.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to “pick their minds” and hopefully “steal” some secret lifting information from them.  I liken myself to that of Robin Hood – but instead of stealing moneyI like to steal ideas from the rich and give to everyone else (ok – I won’t call you poor!).  But I was also worried that this living arrangement would turn into an episode of BIG BROTHER in which we would be at “each other’s throats” by the end of the stay!   I envisioned the alliances – the Americans versus the Brits (of which I knew ahead of time we would have the numbers on this one), the Wily Veterans (Denny, Steve, & Art) versus the Newbies (Chad, Mark, & myself), or the Drinkers versus the Nondrinkers (which would be pretty much everyone versus Art!!). Who would be the first one voted out of the house?   Luckily, no “drama” ever developed throughout the week so I can’t report on any fights or anything like that.

But I did learn alot.  Like I said, I spent every moment trying to steal some important secret from my roommates.  And like Robin Hood, I plan to share with you  everything I learned from these guys.  I consider these guys the “movers and shakers” of All Round Lifting.  Steve is closing in on 12 years as IAWA President and many, many years as the IAWA(UK) President.  He has been involved in the sport for over 20 years.  Denny is our USAWA President and filled with secrets – it’s just that he doesn’t always talk alot about things and I have to “pry” information out of him.  Mark was the 2009 IAWA World Champ and I knew for sure he knew something that would be to my benefit in my training.  Art is the “most seasoned” of all these guys and for sure he had something “to give up”.  Now with Chad, well let’s just say, I’ve already stole all of his secrets, which isn’t much. I planned to strategically just use him for distraction purposes to give me “a little one on one” time with my targets.

Steve feels "right at home" in a brewery or a pub. And YES - Steve has a drink in each hand, drinking both at the same time.

When you live with “your competitors” for a week you really learn something about them.  My primary focus of this investigation was with Steve.  He is a born leader, takes charge in everything he does, and I was hoping to find the secret of his sucess or perhaps a weakness in his personality.  Well, I only found a couple, and they were weaknesses. Just say I was dissappointed!   First, he snores like a sailor blowing a fog horn. It didn’t take the rest of us long to realize that his sleeping arrangement needed to be a FAR DISTANCE from the rest of us.  We put him in a room on the other side of the house which  only was close to Denny’s room, and that was on purpose as well, because Denny was suffering from some bad case of bronchitis and was coughing non stop.  He sounded like a dog with kennel cough.  I often had to get up in the middle of the night (if you must know it was to pee) and the bathroom was close to their rooms.  I listened for several minutes to these two “barking in the night” and I swear they were in unison with their nightly sounds.  I think Denny was doing the harmonizing.

The only other weakness I found with Steve was his passion for beer.  Now I’m not saying he is a drunk, he just enjoys his barley beverage.  Chad and I even set up “a trap” for him to see if he would drink anything.  We bought this really nasty beer that we wouldn’t even drink, and left it in the fridge.  Sure enough, Steve finished off  the six-pack while the rest of us watched in amazement.  He even said he LIKED IT!  He’s a passionate beer connoisseur.

I caught Mark reading his secret training book during the meet!

Another of my “targets” was Mark Haydock.  After watching him smash a couple of Chad’s World Records at the Gold Cup, I knew he must have some lifting secrets.  It took me all week but I finally found out the reason for Mark’s lifting success.   I caught him reading Steve Justa’s book ROCK IRON STEEL.  I knew immediately that had to be his secret training program – why else would he have carted that book the entire way from England to Australia???   A couple of times I “took a peak” at this secret book of his when he wasn’t looking.  Chad even snuck the book of to the private room a few times to read it.  I bet Mark was rereading that book for meet motivation!!  I got to get that book now so I will know Mark’s secret training programs.  But I will say this about Mark, I had the feeling that he was studying me as well.  He kept asking me questions that I was uncomfortable in answering.  I felt like he was trying to steal MY SECRETS!  He also bought this porridge that he was letting on as the “secret of his strength”.  I had it one day for breakfast and it about made me puke.  I think he was setting me up like I did Steve on the beer.  But Chad had the porridge EVERY DAY convinced it would make him stronger.  Everyone needs to have a gullible friend like Chad.

Like I said, Denny is a “tough nut to crack”.  He often just “sits back” and laughs along with everyone else’s jokes, and never really contributes any jokes of his own.   But I also found Denny’s secret to his strength during this week.  Even though he may limp around and look like he needs help getting out of a chair, Denny is INDEED a very conditioned athlete!   The gimpy persona is just a hoax.  He acts this way just so his competition doesn’t take him too serious.  I marveled at how he worked this to perfection at the meet against his arch rival, Frank Allen.  Now, how do I know this?  Well, after the meet Chad and I had planned to take a day trip to Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Perth.  We planned to spend the day bicycling around the island, a distance of over 30 miles and up and down many hills.  Denny asked to join us, and at first I was thinking this might be an issue.  I was initially worried that he wouldn’t be able to “keep up” with Chad and me and we would need to call in the rescue unit.  But after the day’s big bike ride, in which was as easy for Denny as a “walk in the park”, I knew he was just faking us out all the times in the past when he would  wobble around like a rookie on rollerskates.   On the ferry ride back to Perth, I asked him how he was in such great shape and he told me that he used to ride his bike 100 miles a day!!!  What???  I’m still “tossing that around” in my mind.  Just visualizing Denny in my mind biking 100 miles makes my heart go into palpatations.  It was at that point that I decided I wasn’t going to admit to Chad and Denny that a couple of times I had to get off my bike and walk it up a couple of big hills.

With Art, I already knew his secret of his strength, and it just doesn’t work for me.  I discovered it a couple of years ago when I stayed at his house for a meet in Ambridge.   It involves getting up really, really early to train (3-4 AM) and then eating donuts afterwards.  I’m going to save that secret for later in my life and then “pull it out of the bag” when I need it.   But I will say this about Art, he acts MUCH YOUNGER than his biological age and there must be something to that as well in his secret to success on the platform.  I should also mention Art’s special spaghetti, which must have something to do with his lifting longevity.  I have had it before and he made it for us in Perth.  Art makes some of the BEST spaghetti I have ever tasted.

When it comes to icecream, Chad is the expert. He will sample taste every flavor before making his choice!

Who did I forget?  Oh Chad.  Well like I said earlier, Chad has no secrets when it comes to training.  But I do know his main weakness – ICECREAM!  We had to make several stops during the week for icecream and if he keeps this up I will not have to worry about him because he will be out of my weight class and get KILLED on the Lynch Formula!  There are other things about Chad – but they are blood oath stories so I won’t tell.

I will say that week in Australia was one of the most fun weeks of my life!!

HOW DAD SAVED CHRISTMAS

BY DAVE GLASGOW 

A TRIBUTE TO FRIENDSHIP

IN 1959, MY DAD, JOHN, WAS HOSPITALIZED WITH ‘KIDNEY PROBLEMS’ WHICH I LATER FIGURED OUT WAS PROSTATITIS.  HE WAS RELEASED HOME AND WAS RECOVERING WHEN HE RECEIVED A PHONE CALL.  DAD HAD A FRIEND, NAMED MELVIN, WHO HAD A CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP IN BURDEN, KS. BUT ALSO WAS A LONG HAUL TRUCKER.  NOW, IF YOU THINK THIS IS A STRANGE COMBINATION, YOU DID’NT KNOW MELVIN!!  HE WAS NOT SCARED OF WORK AND HE WAS ALWAYS LOOKING TO EARN A BUCK!!  IT SO HAPPENED THAT MELVIN WAS TRANSPORTING A LOAD OF CHRISTMAS TREES FROM MINNESOTA TO WINFIELD FOR SALE IN LOCAL STORES.  UNFORTUNATELY, HE BLEW AN ENGINE WHILE ENROUTE HOME AND WAS STUCK IN MINNESOTA, SOMEWHERE.

“JOHN, CAN YOU BRING ME AN ENGINE FROM OUR SHOP IN BURDEN?!” MELVIN PLEADED. “MELVIN, I JUST GO OUT OF THE HOSPITAL!!”  LONG SILENCE.  “WELL, I WILL SEND JEAN (HIS WIFE) WITH YOU.  OKAY??”  LONG SILENCE.  DAD WAS TRYING TO LET MELVIN DOWN EASY.  THIS WAS A TIGHT SPOT!  YOU SEE, DAD AND MELVIN WERE CLOSE FRIENDS.  DAD WAS ADAMIT IN THE BELIEF THAT YOU HAD TO TAKE CARE OF FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS.  HOWEVER, HE WAS STILL WEAK AND NOT AT ALL WELL.  BUT, A FRIEND WAS A FRIEND!!

“OKAY, MEL, “ DAD SAID, “TELL JEAN I WILL BE THERE IN AN HOUR.”

SO, DAD AND JEAN LOADED UP A 348 CHEVY TRUCK ENGINE INTO A BRAND NEW 1960 CHEVY EL CAMINO AND OFF TO MINNESOTA THEY WENT!!  BY THE TIME THEY GOT THERE, MEL HAD THE TRUCK IN A SMALL SHOP AND THE ENGINE OUT, READY FOR THE FRESH ONE TO BE INSTALLED.  BACK ON THE ROAD, HE WAS HOME LATE THE NEXT DAY.  CHRISTMAS WAS SAVED!!  ALL WAS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.

THAT’S HOW DAD SAVED CHRISTMAS, 1959.   MORE IMPORTANT, THAT’S HOW MUCH DAD VALUED HIS FRIENDS.

Records, Records, Records

by Al Myers

The year is coming to an end and the opportunities to set any more USAWA records for the year is over.  Sure there is still the National Postal Meet, but the results won’t be reported for it until after the first of the year.  In my heart I knew this had to be a good year for the USAWA when it came to “broken records”.  We have had more events than normal and membership has swelled to a level that has not been seen in a long, long time.  So I did a little “counting” in the USAWA Record List and what I found was, VERY INTERESTING!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to all members in the USAWA who have set new records within the past year.  You are now part of a RECORD BREAKING YEAR.  758 new USAWA records were established in the USAWA Record List.  This now stands in the NUMBER ONE spot of ALL-TIME!  Now this is a count of only the “records on the books” at this time – not the ones established per year as when old records are broken they disappear from the current list.  I also want to mention that in order to set a USAWA Record now you must do it in front of a certified official.  There were several “other marks” done this year at record days and postal meets which could have been records, but weren’t because they weren’t officially judged.  This pulled down the record count for the year, which in the past would have been higher when there were no guidelines on this and “ANY OLE RECORD” was put into the record list.   I’m proud that we have made this year the BEST EVER and have done it with TOUGHER RULES!!

TOP 10 TOTAL RECORD YEARS

RANK YEAR RECORDS
1 2011 758
2 2005 675
3 2002 654
4 2000 563
5 2010 553
6 2006 540
7 2003 518
8 1995 458
9 2004 448
10 1999 434

This brings us to the INDIVIDUAL record counts next.  With a year like this, you would think that the individual record counts would have been increased as well.  I have not reported on individual counts since last July, when I announced the two latest members of the CENTURY CLUB (lifters who hold over 100 USAWA Records) – Rudy Bletscher and Chad Ullom.  Well, the list is still the same lifters, just different count numbers.  There is STILL the 21 members in this exclusive CENTURY CLUB.  Our Prez Denny Habecker still leads the list and the RECORDS RACE with his 410 records, which gives him a pretty comfortable lead over Art Montini at 392 in second place.  The “top ten” is still the same lifters as it was the last time I did the count.

CENTURY CLUB

RANK LIFTER RECORDS
1 Denny Habecker 410
2 Art Montini 392
3 Al Myers 320
4 John McKean 258
5 Joe Garcia 239
6 Dennis Mitchell 229
7 Noi Phumchaona 214
8 Frank Ciavattone 212
9 Bill Clark 206
10 Bob Hirsh 201
11 Howard Prechtel 171
12 Dale Friesz 143
13 Jim Malloy 135
tie Scott Schmidt 135
15 Ed Schock 134
16 John Monk 123
17 Mary McConnaughey 117
18 Chris Waterman 114
19 Rudy Bletscher 108
20 Chad Ullom 104
21 Joshua Monk 101

This lead me to thinking just who set the most records in 2011?  So I did that count as well and below is the TOP TEN record setters of 2011.  I was quite surprised to see Mike Murdock listed with 60 records!  That made me question his total count so I recounted it and he is still short of the CENTURY CLUB.  Mike has been competing in the USAWA for over 3 years now – so how can that be??  Well let me tell you why.  I have lifted in LOTS of meets/record days with Mike and he is constantly breaking his OWN RECORDS.  Mike – that doesn’t help you one bit in your overall count. You need to “go after” records you don’t already own buddy!!!

TOP 10 RECORD COUNT FOR 2011

RANK LIFTER RECORDS
1 Al Myers 83
2 Mike Murdock 60
3 Denny Habecker 40
4 Joe Garcia 31
5 Dean Ross 30
6 Rudy Bletscher 24
tie LaVerne Myers 24
8 Art Montini 22
9 John McKean 20
10 Dennis Mitchell 19

I also want to mention that the USAWA Record List is now over 10,000 line items long!  That is A LOT OF RECORDS! We owe a huge thanks to the USAWA Records Director Joe Garcia for keeping this list up to date for us. Joe has maintained this list for over 20 years!

Ice it down!

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom enjoying a post-competition "hydrotherapy" session following last summers Ledaig Highland Games. A cold group bath with your sweaty buddies is a great way to enhance recovery following a hard day of competition! (photo courtesy of Al Myers)

Ok, I’m sure by now half of you are thinking I mean beer….but I mean your body!   I’m talking about what some call “hydrotherapy” or the used of heat and coolness to reduce inflammation, soreness, and recovery times between workouts.  Now, there’s a ton of stuff out there on the good, ol’ world wide web and if you found this, you can find that.  I’m just gonna give you some basics.

First, what led to this was me getting old.  After numerous injuries over the years, broken bones, etc.  it’s all catching up to me.  when I was young I just worried about working out, now I feel I have a pretty good understanding of how to develop a good work out routine so now I’m more focused on how I can recover more quickly….especially with age!  I remember Mickey Mantle once saying he wished he’d taken better care of himself when he was younger.  Well, Mickey was past his playing career when he said that but for those in the USAWA our playing career is never over.   You can make a big difference.

Before your workout, be sure and spend some time warming up.  My warm up time has probably tripled from my 20’s.  I have a special routine that I do and I pay attention more to my preworkout diet, load up on fluids all day, and I don’t push the time…..when I’m ready and I’m ready and not before.  I also use anti-inflammatory type medication (Ibuprofen, sodium naproxen, etc.).

After the workout, ice the areas you’ve worked out down.  My knees (especially my right one) tend to swell after my squats.  I have found that after the workout I have a heat pad and an ice pack that I alternate back and forth it does wonders.  I will also take a hot and cold shower, start warm, take it down, the up, then down.  I end it with cold water.  In the winter, I’ll take a snow bath alternating with the hot tube or sauna.  If you don’t have a hot tub or sauna, get a chair for you shower and do the “poor man’s sauna”.  Throw a large beach towel over you, you can get that water incredibly hot without burning and the hot steam will fog the mirrors for a square mile!

I also bought something called “the stick”.  Basically, it’s a human rolling pin.  I work the areas I can myself and then I recruit my wife to get the areas I can’t.  I use this thing to the point of it being painful, but afterwards I feel like a million bucks….kind of the poor man’s deep tissue massage.

Well, I hope these few things get you to thinking……and if all else fails…..ice that beer down while you ice down!

Zercher’s Zercher Lift Record Broken!

by Al Myers

Art Montini breaking Ed Zercher's USAWA record in the Zercher Lift.

Often when someone’s record is broken, it just “disappears into obscurity” and no one really cares or thinks about it anymore.  All the attention goes to the one who BROKE the record.  But something historic happened recently when it comes to “broken records” that I think needs pointed out to everyone. At the 2011 IAWA World Championships in Australia, Art Montini broke Ed Zercher’s record in the Zercher Lift.  I mention this because this was the LAST USAWA RECORD held by Ed Zercher in the Zercher Lift, the lift named after him. In 1988 at the Zercher Strength Classic, Zercher did a 160 pound Zercher lift in the 80 plus age group, 90 kilogram weight class.  Art broke his record with a fine lift of 176 pounds.  This act removed an All-Round lifting legend from the USAWA Record List!  Lately, Art has broken several of Ed’s records which have been “on the books” for over 20 years, but none as meaningful as this one.  Art now owns 10 age group/wt class records in the Zercher Lift, which is a record in itself.

I still have not seen a picture of Ed Zercher performing his signature lift. But at least now I have a picture of THE MAN who broke Ed’s Zercher Lift record.   I predict someday Art Montini will have legendary All-Round lifting status equal to or above that of Ed Zercher, and this picture will be worth BIG BUCKS!

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