Old Time Strongman

by Al Myers

John O'Brien, of the JWC, takes a 270 pound dumbbell to his shoulder at the First Ever USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships. This new Old Time Strongman Event mimics loading events in Strongman, but instead of loading something to a platform, the lifter has to take the dumbbell from the floor to the shoulder. Only at the JWC would the dumbbell be loaded with Old Jackson plates, which is very fitting!!!

It really gave me a good feeling that the FIRST EVER USAWA Old Time Strongman (OTSM)  Championships was such a great success.  Thom did an EXCELLENT JOB of hosting this event at his gym, the JWC Training Hall.   Even though the USAWA only hosted two of these OTSM meets this year, I see this division of the USAWA as one that will grow over time.  Actually, it is probably a good thing that we are growing at a slow pace with this, as it allows us to get “our ducks in a row”.   This allows time to develop the proper protocols in administrating these competitions, as well as time to develop a good selection of OTSM events that will be contested.  I’m hoping next year to have at least four of these Old Time Strongman Competitions within the sanction of the USAWA.  Thom has already agreed to host next’s years Championship so we know we will have that as the “finale”.   Eric Todd has showed interest in hosting one in his gym this upcoming spring, and the Dino Gym has one planned for next July.  

I want to say a few general words about these changes that are happening in the USAWA.  Most USAWA lifters have been very supportive of these changes, but I have received a few comments from people, that as I would say, are “reserved” in their feelings on this.  When changes happen in any aspect in life, it is sometimes unfortable and takes adjustment on an individuals part.   It is easy to just keep doing things as they are always done, but sometimes changes are needed to “spark things”.  This is how I feel about the USAWA branching into Strongman.  We have been struggling for years as an organization in keeping adequate membership to stimulate enough revenue (in membership dues) to keep functioning.  Old Time Strongman will stimulate membership from lifters who may be only interested in these competitions, but a FEW will also compete in the traditional All Round Meets as well since they are already members of the USAWA.  It is a sure thing that it will increase USAWA membership. Strongman is no different than other “niche” competitive areas within the USAWA that already exist.  I talking specially about the Heavy Lifts and the Grip Meets that the USAWA has sanctioned.

I want to explain a few goals and formative ideas I have about this Old Time Strongman.  First of all, in no way do I want to imitate Strongman Competitions that already exist.  If a lifter wants to compete in those, there are plenty of opportunities for this.  We have sanctioned several of those Strongman Competitions in the Dino Gym by NAS through the years.  Instead, I want to share some of my “founding principles” of the USAWA Old Time Strongman so everyone will know where I’m coming from.

1.  General Rules of the USAWA will apply.  This includes using lifts that have established WRITTEN RULES in the Rulebook.  Rules of weightlifting will apply with the 3 attempts allowed per lift, and a lifter will be able to CHOOSE what weight they want to attempt.  No set weight implements will be allowed.  No events for time will be allowed.  Medley type events will not be done. This allows anyone, regardless of ability, to be able to compete.  Also, the USAWA scoring system already in place for our meets will be used.  Bodyweight and age correction will be applied to total pounds lifted.   Now if a meet director wants to have awards for BEST LIFTER for age groups or age divisions that is not a problem, as that is already allowed for any other USAWA meet. 

2.  Drug testing will be done according to the USAWA guidelines.  Most other organization’s Strongman Competitions are not drug tested. We will drug test! This will allow those drug free lifters to be able to compete against others who are also drug free. 

3.  The Old Time Strongman Events will be of such as to honor a lift/event done by an Old Time Strongman.  This goes right along with our mission statement of the USAWA, to honor lifts done by Old Time Strongmen.  No “modern” Strongmen events will be contested – such as stone loading, farmers walks, yoke carries, etc.  Like I said before, there are plenty of other places to do those events in competition.  Also, most of these Old Time Strongman Events will be done using just using a bar or dumbbell/dumbells.  The use of specialized equipment in events will be limited, however, a few events will have them.  I talking about unique lifts like the Dinnie Lift. 

4.  All of these Old Time Strongman Events will have “loose rules” compared to other All Round lifts.  Several of these OTSM events will be partial movements, unlike traditional All Round lifts.  I am hoping that eventually we will reach a list of around 20 “GOOD” OTSM lifts in our Rulebook so meet directors will have a good list to chose from for a meet. Finally, all of these lifts will have the minute clock, meaning a lifter gets as many tries within a minute to complete the lift on their attempt.  No missed attempts on technicalities!! 

I could see meet directors having an OTSM in which other All Round lifts might be included in the meet  list of events.   A lot of our other already established All Round lifts would fit “perfectly” into an OTSM meet.  Lifts like the Crucifix and Two Hands Anyhow pretty much meet the criteria of an Old Time Strongman lift.  But if these lifts are done in an OTSM meet, their rule as stated in the Rulebook must be followed, and not deviated from.  This is essential so records in these lifts can be maintained.  As you can see from these “founding principles”, Old Time Strongman will be a cross between modern Stongman and weightlifting.  I’m really excited about this – and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!

15 Year Journey

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck hitting 620lbs on the "Anderson Squat" at the Old Time Strong Man Championships at the JWC Training Hall

I have accumulated a lot of equipment in my gym over the years.  Most everything has a story behind it and since I’m a “story teller” here is the “story” behind the bar used at the OTSM Championships on October 16, 2011.  It is an oversized bar that weighs in at 50lbs.  It was custom made for World Champion Powerlifter John Ware, who was at one time my training partner.  John’s greatest feat, in my opinion, was beating Bill Kazmaier’s “unbeatable” World Record Total.  John did a 985lb squat the day he beat that record.  With the oversized bar he hit 1000lbs in a contest that allowed him to use the bar.  It is very stiff and longer than a regulation bar, allowing John to not be bound up when under it.  I know some might consider him using a “special” bar to get an official 1000lb squat questionable, just like I know many would question his chemical methods and I won’t make apologies for either one here.  Just know he was my friend, he never offered anything to me, helped me immensely in my training, donated to the JWC his time and much equipment, and paid the ultimate price for being a champion on those terms when he passed away several years ago.

So, that being said, I knew he left a lot of equipment to Truman State University where he was the head football coach for many years.  This bar was a part of that inheritance so to speak.  It was kept where the football players lifted and used for many years.  Back when I trained with John we would have these big Friday Squat workouts.  Several of the linemen would be involved and heavy weights would be lifted.  It was around this time, 15 years ago, I hit a 600lb squat with that bar.  That’s the most I have ever squatted to parallel.  That would have never happened without the training atmosphere present during those years.  I went from a 365lb squat to 600 during that time.  When John left, the bar kind of disappeared.  I had no idea whatever happened to it until this summer.  It turned up, rusted and neglected, and basically thrown away and replaced by slick, new chrome bars that I’m sure appealed to the younger lifters at the college who had no idea what a jewel this bar is.  Their loss was my gain and I refurbished this bar and nursed it back to health!  As I cleaned the rust off, I could recall countless workouts and countless lifters, World Champion powerlifters, several NFL bound players, and even a future Professional “rassler”, Glenn Jacobs AKA “Kane” of WWE fame.

So, when it came time to do the Anderson Squat at the OTSM I reached over to grab a bar from my “Olympic Bar gun rack” where I store the 15 or so bars I own and my eyes fell on John’s old bar.  I had not thought about using it, I had another very good, stiff squat bar…..but it just seemed fitting.  I was very please when I hit the 620lb squat some 15 years after hitting the 600 on the same exact bar.  I also know that John would be very pleased that bar was used in that type of meet.  That bar has undoubtedly seen a lot of lifting, and as long as I have it, it will continue to see a lot of lifting!  The story has not ended.

Delaware Open

by Al Myers

Les Cramer, of Team Cramer, performing a 290 pound Zercher Lift in the 2011 Delaware Valley Open Post Meet.

I just received the results from John Wilmot for the “third quarter installment” of the USAWA Postal Series.  This meet is named the Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet – in reference to the John’s home state.  The turnout might be considered “slightly down” from previous postal meets, but I understand how the entry deadline seems to “creep up” on you and before you know it, the deadline has passed.  It about happened to me on this one.   I want to remind everyone that each of these postal meets you compete in will add points to your total for the year in calculating the years USAWA postal champion. The next one up is the National Postal Meet which counts DOUBLE, so make sure not to miss that one!  John has already sent me the sanctions for all the Postal Series Competitions NEXT YEAR, so I would say our postal competitions are in “good hands” with John being the director.  We really owe him a “pat on the back” for all that he has done for the USAWA.  I also want to remind everyone that these competitions are FREE OF CHARGE to compete in, and all competitors receive certificates for competing in them.

One thing that really impressed me with this Postal Meet is the “new blood” that competed.  I noticed several new lifters in the list.  LaVerne Myers is not a newcomer to the USAWA as he has been competing for a few years, but this is his first entry in a postal meet.  I also want to point out the new participation from TEAM CRAMER of Springfield, Illinois, with Les Cramer and Marcus Synder competing.  I am really glad to see that.  Les is an ole’ crafty veteran of weightlifting, and has been involved through the years with many lifting organizations and  different types of lifting, including powerlifting and Olympic Lifting.  In a letter he sent to John which John passed on to me, he stated this is the 24th lifting organization he has competed in since 1964, which includes 366 meets, 40 squat World Records, and 7 Powerlifting World Titles.  He is the current Masters National and American Masters Olympic Lifting Champion. He has also won the Pan-Am Games.  He has recently faced some physical difficulties, having been diagnosed with cancer.  These are his words, “I have recently returned to competition after two bouts with cancer.  The good news is after my birthday on November 4th I will move up an age group and down a weight class.  I do well with anything that has to do with the Snatch/Clean and Jerk, or the Squat or Bench.  Not much of a puller.”.  I want to point out that Les did a 290 pound Zercher Lift in this postal meet.  That is quite an amazing Zercher Lift!  Welcome to the fun of the USAWA Les!!!

MEET RESULTS

2011 Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet
September 30th, 2011

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts: Push Press – From Rack, Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Zercher Lift

Lifters using a Certified USAWA Official (1 official system used for all lifters):

Al Myers – Official LaVerne Myers
LaVerne Myers – Official Al Myers
Denny Habecker – Official Judy Habecker

Lifters using a non-certified judge:

John Wilmot – Judge Kay Wilmot
Orie Barnett – Judge Sam Rogers
Les Cramer – Judge Monica Cook

Lifter Age BWT PPress Swing Zercher Total Points
Al Myers 45 257 300 140-R 420 860 713.3
Les Cramer 69 188 170 65-L 290 525 631.6
Orie Barnett 50 231 216 100-R 332 648 594.1
Denny Habecker 68 190 154 70-R 198 422 501.7
John Wilmot 64 214 120 50-R 205 375 403.5
LaVerne Myers 67 248 110 55-R 120 285 290.6

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

Strongman Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

Group picture from the FIRST EVER USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships.

The “new” Old Time Strongman format took another step forward with a Championship hosted by the Jackson Weightlifting Club on October 16th, 2011.  Ten lifters showed for this inaugural event which I plan on making an annual meet on the same weekend as the Scottish Highland Games I host.  My hope is that each will help promote the other.  This year I had three throwers stick around and lift the second day.

We started in the JWC Training Hall with the Anderson Squat.   This lift was done from a starting position 2/3 of the lifters height or less.  The challenge was starting a squat from the bottom position.  I have a very large dry erase board which served as our scoreboard making it easy for lifters to see where their competition was at.  That paid off for John O’Brien after Al Myers hit what most of us thought would be the biggest squat of the meet with 760lbs.  But John had the last lift and called for 765 and made it with power to spare.  Honestly, I think both men could have went over 800lbs had they gauged their attempts better, but being a brand new lift a lack of experience showed for everyone.  I cannot recall a single miss in this lift, which shows everyone had more in the tank!

Meet director Thom Van Vleck put up a BIG Anderson Squat with a fine lift of 620 pounds.

The second event was the Anderson Press.  The bar had to be set no higher than your height.  Eric Todd and Chris Anderson both topped out over 300lbs with Eric hitting a meet best of 350lbs.  It is interesting to note that you would see lifters make a lift easily, then make a slight increase, like 20lbs, only to find the bar seemed to be superglued to the rack!

Eric Todd put up the TOP Anderson Press with a great lift of 350 pounds.

The third event was the Dumbbell Shoulder.  In this event you could lift the dumbbell to the shoulder in any way you wanted.  This included using both hands, hooking it on the belt along the way, and rolling it up your chest!  It was fun to watch guys getting creative.  At one point, as Chris Anderson muscled up 300lbs for the top lift in this event, Al Myers said, “It looks like you were wrestling a bear”!  Joe Costello  ran out of attempts and before the dumbbell was unloaded he walked over and shouldered the 300lbs!  Joe was heard to say, “Next time…..”.  I’m sure this event will be in the future of Old Time Strongman and Joe will get that lift officially…and more!

Chris Anderson had the BEST Dumbbell to Shoulder with a tremendous lift of 300 pounds.

The last event of the day was the only lift that had been contested before.  This event was the Dinnie Lift.  Two vertical bars set at the same height and loaded in offsetting weights the same percentage as the real Dinnie Stones.  In other words, one had to be loaded no more than 70% of the weight of the other.  We had a four way tie for the top lift in this event with Al Myers,  Joe Costello, Chris Anderson, and Eric Todd all pulling 705lbs.  An interesting problem led to this….that’s all we could fit on the bar with the weights present in the gym!  The JWC has a lot of weights, but many of them are old school “deep dish” York and Jackson plates.  These did not allow the bars loaded over the 705lb mark.  We were even loading smaller plates in the space between the deep dish plates!  This may have had an effect on the outcome as Eric Todd had one attempt left but no way to load the bar any higher.  Here is why.

After the age and weight formulas were applied, Al Myers was the victor for overall best lifter honors.  However, Eric Todd was a close second.  What if Eric would have had his last attempt?  I feel badly about that, but then again, Al might have hung with him as it was apparent both had more left.  Interestingly, Joe Costello edged out John O’Brien in a close race for 3rd place.  John lifted more weight, but Joe was lighter by nearly 40lbs and the difference paid of for him.  Fifth went to Chris Anderson as he avenged his loss to me at the NAHA nationals.  Chris is only 23 years old and he is sure to only improve.  I was 6th followed by Rudy Bletscher, Dean Ross, Mike Murdock, and Lance Foster.

Rudy, Dean, and Mike have competed many times and this event was like the rest.  These guys push each other hard and yet the the obviously have nothing but respect for one another.  Rudy came out on top in what might have been a late birthday present since he turned 76 the day before.  They are very evenly matched and that makes for some good competition.

I thought the meet went well other than the loading situation on the Dinnie Lift.  I will have to get some thinner plates if we contest that event again because I’m going to host the event next year!  The Awards were my “trademark” anvils and the meet shirts were the latest version of the JWC gym shirt.    I really appreciated how the lifters helped clean up and put the weights away after the meet.   You could not ask for a greater group of guys. Friendships forged in iron!

MEET RESULTS

USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships
October 16th, 2011
JWC Training Hall
Kirksville, Missouri

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

Officials (1 official system used):  Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck, Mike Murdock, Eric Todd

Loader:  Mitch Ridout

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dumbbell Shoulder, Dinnie Lift

Lifters:

Al Myers – Age 45, BWT 253#, 115 KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
Rudy Bletscher – Age 76, BWT 213#, 100 KG Class & Masters 75-79 Age Group
Joe Costello – Age 36, BWT 253#, 115 KG Class & 20-39  Age Group
Dean Ross – Age 68, BWT 283#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 65-69 Age Group
Mike Murdock – Age 71, BWT 234#, 110 KG Class & Masters 70-74 Age Group
Lance Foster – Age 45, BWT 318#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
Chris Anderson – Age 23, BWT 287#, 125+ KG Class & 20-39 Age Group
Eric Todd – Age 36, BWT 250#, 115 KG Class & 20-39 Age Group
Thom Van Vleck – Age 47, BWT 299#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
John O’Brien – Age 42, BWT 291#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 40-44 Age Group

Lifter Squat Press DB Dinnie Total Lynch Points
Myers 760 270 270 705 2005 1581.1 1676.0
Todd 710 350 230 705 1995 1583.0 1583.0
Costello 710 275 230 705 1920 1514.1 1514.1
O’Brien 765 270 270 635 1940 1428.8 1471.7
Anderson 620 310 300 705 1935 1434.4 1434.4
Van Vleck  620 230 230 440 1520 1104.9 1193.3
Ross  460 180 150 440 1230 917.9 1184.2
Bletscher  280 130 120 410 940 811.3 1111.5
Murdock  280 140 120 410 950 779.7 1029.2
Foster  400 140 200 440 1180 833.4 883.4

NOTES: All results listed in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted. Lynch is points adjusted for bodyweight. Points are overall points adjusted for bodyweight and age.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Best Lifter Overall - Al Myers
Best Lifter 20-39 Age Group – Eric Todd
Best Lifter 40-44 Age Group – John O’Brien
Best Lifter 45-49 Age Group – Al Myers
Best Lifter 65-69 Age Group – Dean Ross
Best Lifter 70-74 Age Group – Mike Murdock
Best Lifter 75-79 Age Group – Rudy Bletscher

Art’s Birthday Bash

by John McKean

Andraes and John McKean completing a 2 Man Jefferson Lift. Scott and Kathy Schmidt are in the background cheering on what may be the first grandpa/grandson straddle lift on record.

This past Friday my phone rang and there was Art Montini’s name on the screen. Either the ole man finally figured how to dial out with his telephone, or something was “up” concerning his birthday meet at the Ambridge VFW on Sunday! Answering, I heard Art loudly, excitement in his voice, ask “Guess who I just heard from?!”

“Well,I hope it’s not from one of your replacement specialists, demanding a recall of totally abused new body parts!” I commented.

“Naw”, barked Art, “you know if any of those medical types gives me hassles about lifting, then I just find a new doctor!! But DALE FRIESZ is driving up from Virginia to lift!!”

Sure enough, come Sunday morning,after a much longer hospital stay than ever before (and there’s been a bunch in his recent history), in popped an ever smiling Dale, thinner (hates hospital food!) and sporting a 1″ diameter rod where his lower leg used to be. Dale cracked up when I informed him that it was about time someone finally showed that had skinnier calfs than me!! Later,Dale broke records that, in his words, “normal” guys had set (I told Dale that he was never exactly “normal”, but we quickly agreed that no one in the gym that morning was!!)

Then a long lost Jim Malloy marched in, growling all the way (with his usual, unprintable choice of colorful language!) how he was only lifting on his hobbled old body because Scott Schmidt dragged him over from Cleveland! Scott brought along beautiful wife Kathy to lift and help haul ole Jim,kicking & sputtering, into the VFW gym.

Denny Habecker traveled from across the state with a restored old time superstar -the always personable Barry Bryan !Barry has been troubled with knee and back problems stemming back to the 90s, but now feels ready to embark on a master lifter’s all-round career.

To make matters even more interesting,  a brand new lifter, former “strongman” competitor Andy Root from nearby New Castle (PA), arrived with a whole team, and announced he would be attempting the Inman Mile! We told Andy to study Art,me, and the rest of this lineup of ” walking wrecks” present in the gym, because even on a classic, perfect weather  Autumn morning if he tried that Mile he’d shortly appear ,at 31, just like the rest of us when we scraped him off the local high school track!!(he says he’ll save the Inman Mile for the “team challenge” in March! I told him Big Al not only will judge it, but probably PAY to see the event!!) So , Andy wisely reconsidered and started his all-round career more sensibly -his first lift was the Shoulder Drop !

Youngest man in the contest, 6 year old Andraes McKean, starts out the festivities of our oldest US lifter's Annual Birthday Bash!

But the meet had everything: youngsters,open lifters,masters, females, teams, newbies, and interested onlookers!  It was a personal thrill to have our youngest lifter, my grandson,6 year old Andraes, to set a few records and become part (some of the wags present claimed he did ALL the lifting!) of a grandson/grandfather team effort ( a first??)on deadlifts, hacks, and straddles!

Even ole Art did some dynamic overhead snatching and jerking, along with other records, that startled everyone with his speed & agility; maybe the docs did remove some old ligaments and tendons (muscles if he ever had any!), still under the 100 year warranty plan, and provided better bionics for this meet!!

MEET RESULTS:

Art’s Birthday Bash
October 16th, 2011
Ambridge VFW Club
Ambridge, PA

Meet Director:  Art Montini

Lifts:  Record Day

Officials (3 official system used on all lifts):  Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, John McKean, Dale Friesz, Scott Schmidt, Barry Bryan

Andraes McKean – 6 years old, 96.5# BW
45 KG Class, Male Junior 6-7 Age Group

Deadlift – Trap Bar (Trap Bar Deadlift): 29.55 KG, 65 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar (Two Hands Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar): 15.45 KG, 34 lbs.
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar (Straddle Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar): 15.45 KG, 34 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2″, 2 Bars (Two Vertical Bars – 2 inch rods): 21.82 KG, 48 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 10.91 KG, 24 lbs.

Angela Sweet – 31 years old, 129# BW
60 KG Class, Female Open Age Group

Bench Press – Feet on Floor (not USAWA lift): 61.36 KG 135 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together (Hands Together Bench Press): 50 KG, 110 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip (Reverse Grip Bench Press): 50 KG, 110 lbs.
Bench Press – Alternate Grip (Alternate Grip Bench Press): 50 KG, 110 lbs.

Jason Houk – 9 years old, 132# BW
60 KG Class, Male Junior 8-9 Age Group

Bench Press – Feet on Floor (not USAWA lift): 38.64 KG, 85 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip (Reverse Grip Bench Press): 36.36 KG, 80 lbs.
Curl – Strict (Strict Curl): 22.73 KG, 50 lbs.
Deadlift (not USAWA lift): 84.09 KG, 185 lbs.

Dale Friesz – 71 years old, 143.25# BW
70 KG Class,  Mens Master 70-74 Age Group

Deadlift – Fingers, Little (Little Fingers Deadlift): 33.18 KG, 73 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Index (Index Fingers Deadlift): 33.64 KG, 74 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Ring (Ring Fingers Deadlift): 55.23 KG, 122 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Middle Finger: 44.55 KG, 98 lbs.

Dennis Mitchell – 79 years old, 152# BW
70 KG Class, Mens Master 75-79 Age Group

Deadlift – No Thumbs (Two Hands Thumbless Deadlift): 85 KG, 187 lbs.
French Press (French Press): 18.18 KG, 40 lbs.
Deadlift – Stiff Legged (Stiff Leg Deadlift): 86.36 KG, 190 lbs.

Kathy Schmidt – 54 years old, 159# BW
75 KG Class, Womens Master 50-54 Age Group

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm (Right Hand Dumbbell Deadlift): 37.5 KG, 82 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm (Left Hand Dumbbell Deadlift): 37.5 KG, 82 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells (Two Hands Dumbbells Deadlift): 82.5 KG, 182 lbs.
Deadlift – Trap Bar (Trap Bar Deadlift): 82.5 KG, 182 lbs.

John McKean – 65 years old, 164.75# BW
75 KG Class, Mens Master 65-69 Age Group

Deadlift – No Thumbs (Two Hands Thumbless Deadlift): 115.45 KG, 254 lbs.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip (Ciavattone Deadlift): 131.36 KG, 289 lbs.
Bench Press – Alternate Grip (Alternate Grip Bench Press): 61.36 KG, 135 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip (Reverse Grip Bench Press): 56.82 KG, 125 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 63.18 Kg, 139 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand (VB Lift- 2″ Rod): 56.36 KG, 124 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar (Two Hands Deadlift – 2″ Bar): 90.91 KG, 200 lbs.
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar (Straddle Deadlift – 2″ Bar): 90.91 KG, 200 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Bars (Two Barbell Deadlift): 140.45 KG, 310 lbs.

Andy Root – 31 years old, 176# BW
80 KG Class, Mens Open Age Group

Lano Lift (not IAWA lift): 45.45 KG, 100 lbs.
Turkish Get Up (Turkish Get Up): 29.55 KG, 65 lbs.
Shoulder Drop (Shoulder Drop): 45.45 KG, 100 lbs.

Art Montini – 84 years old, 190# BW
90 KG Class, Mens Masters 80-84 Age Group

Snatch – Fulton Bar (Two Hands Snatch – 2″ Bar): 25 KG, 55 lbs.
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar (2 Hands Clean and Press – 2″ Bar): 31.82 KG, 70 lbs.
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar (2 Hands Clean and Jerk – 2″ Bar): 34.09 KG, 75 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip (2 Hand Fulton Deadlift): 72.73 KG, 160 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar (2 Hands Deadlift – 2″ Bar): 90.91 KG, 200 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 69 years old, 191# BW
90 KG Class, Mens Masters 65-69 Age Group

Push Press – From Rack (Push Press from Racks): 70.45 KG, 155 lbs.
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm (Left Hand Dumbbell Cheat Curl): 20.45 KG, 45 lbs.
Clean & Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm (Left Hand DB Clean & Jerk): 25 KG, 55 lbs.
Clean & Jerk, – Dumbbell, Right Arm (Right Hand DB Clean & Jerk): 34.09 KG, 75 lbs.
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm (Left Hand DB Snatch): 25 KG, 55 lbs.

Barry Bryan – 53 years old, 195# BW
90 KG Class, Mens Masters 50-54 Age Group

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 70 KG, 154 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″ (Two VBs – 2″ Rod): 117.27 KG, 258 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip (Reverse Grip Bench Press): 93.18 KG, 205 lbs.

Guy Marcantino, Jr. – 35 years old, 230# BW
105 KG Class, Mens Open Age Group

Bench Press – Feet on Floor (not USAWA Lift): 186.36 KG, 410 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip (Reverse Grip Bench Press): 143.18 KG, 315 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together (Hands Together Bench Press): 136.36 KG, 300 lbs.

Scott Schmidt – 58 years old, 240# BW
110 KG Class, Mens Master 55-59 Age Group

Press – From Rack, Behind Neck (Press Behind Neck from Rack): 75 KG, 165 lbs.
Seated Press – From Rack, Behind Neck (Seated Press BN from Rack): 70 KG, 154 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 80 KG, 176 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 80 KG, 176 lbs.

Jim Malloy – 70 years old, 241.5# BW
110 KG Class, Mens Masters 70-74 Age Group

Bench – Feet in Air (Bench Press – Feet in Air): 86.36 KG, 190 lbs.
Curl – Strict (Strict Curl): 45.45 KG, 100 lbs.
Curl – Reverse Grip (Reverse Curl): 34.09 KG, 75 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 58.64 KG, 129 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand (VB Lift – 2″ Rod): 42.73 Kg, 94 lbs.

Andreas McKean and John McKean
75 KG Class, Mens Open Age Group

Deadlift – 2 Man (Two Person Team Deadlift): 70 KG, 154 lbs.
Jefferson Lift – 2 Man (Two Person Straddle Deadlift): 70 KG, 154 lbs.
Hack Lift – 2 Man (Two Person Hacklift): 70 KG, 154 lbs.

Angela Sweet and Andy Root
80 KG Class, Male/Female Open Age Group

Deadlift – 2 Person (Two Person Team Deadlift): 295.45 KG, 650 lbs.

Jason Houk and Guy Marcantino
105 KG Class, Mens Open Age Group

Deadlift – 2 Man (Two Person Team Deadlift): 184.09 KG, 405 lbs.

Andy Root and Guy Marcantino
105 KG Class, Mens Open Age Group

Hack Lift – 2 Man (Two Person Hacklift): 370.45 KG, 816 lbs.

PLANETS ALIGN

BY DAVE GLASGOW

Dave (left) and Thom (right) enjoy an interesting conversation over a good meal following the 2011 Ledaig Record Day last summer. Dave put his new scales to use at this meet conducting weigh-ins at 12:00 AM the day of the meet (as required by the USAWA rules that weigh-ins must be on the same day). It was the only time I have EVER weighed in at midnight the day of the meet. His new scales were very accurate, and by having this early weigh-in we all could all enjoy breakfast! (photo and caption by Al Myers).

AROUND CHRISTMAS TIME LAST YEAR, I, UNFORTUNATELY, BECAME THE EXECUTER TO MY BROTHER’S ESTATE.  HE DIED VERY SUDDENLY WHICH THREW ME INTO A SOMEWHAT PRECARIOUS JACKPOT.  HOWEVER, HIS DEMISE IS NOT THE SUBJECT OF THIS STORY.  THIS IS A STORY ABOUT HOW, SOMETIMES, THE PLANETS ALL ALIGN AND THE NET RESULT IS YOU CAN MAKE SOMETHING GOOD COME FROM A SAD SITUATION.

AMONG MY BROTHER’S EFFECTS WERE HOUSEHOLD ARTICLES WHICH HE HAD, OBVIOUSLY, ACCUMULATED OVER THE YEARS.  MY DILEMMA WAS HOW TO BEST DISPERSE THESE ARTIFACTS!!  WE HAD BEEN SORTING AND CLEANING FOR SOME TIME.   HOWEVER IT GETS TO A POINT WHERE YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF THE ARTICLES AT HAND OR YOU FIND YOURSELF MOVING ITEMS FROM ONE ROOM TO THE OTHER WITHOUT GETTING ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED.  SO, WHEN MY BELOVED WIFE OF 36 YEARS, GUNNER, TOLD ME THERE WAS TO BE AN AUCTION FOR THE CHURCH (SHE HAS ATTENDED TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH SINCE WE WERE MARRIED AND TAUGHT AT THE SCHOOL THERE FOR 25YEARS), WE BOTH DECIDED THAT DONATING A GOOD PORTION OF HIS ITEMS WOULD BE A GOOD THING ON SO MANY FRONTS!

HOWEVER, AFTER TWO MONTHS OF BEING  “REMINDED”  THAT THE AUCTION WAS COMING UP, IT WAS TO THE POINT THAT I WAS GROWING VERY WEARY OF HEARING ABOUT  THE CHURCH’S AUCTION.  FINALLY, THE DAY CAME TO GATHER THE GOODS AND GET THEM TO THE AUCTION SITE.  WITH THE HELP OF TWO TRUSTED FRIENDS AND GUNNER, WE TOOK THREE PICKUP TRUCKS FULL OF THINGS TO BE DONATED.  WE ARRIVED AT THE BARN WHERE THEY WERE HOLDING THE AUCTION AND QUICKLY UNLOADED OUR GOODS INTO THE CAVERNOUS BUILDING THAT WAS GROWING SMALLER BY THE MINUTE!  WHILE I WAS STANDING THERE LOOKING AT THE THINGS OTHER FOLKS BROUGHT, THE PASTOR STROLLS UP TO ME AND SAYS, “FEEL FREE TO COME ON SATURDAY AND TAKE SOME OF THIS STUFF OFF OUR HANDS!!”  I CHUCKLED AND MUMBLED SOMETHING ABOUT HAVING ENOUGH “STUFF”  TO LAST THE REST OF MY LIFE, WHEN, ALL AT ONCE, I GLANCE OVER AND SEE THREE MEDICAL QUALITY SCALES ON THE OPPOSITE WALL!!!  I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ONE OF THOSE FOR OVER A YEAR AND HERE STOOD THREE. HOLY HELL, BATMAN!!!!

I PRACTICALLY RAN TO THE SCALES AND GREETED THEM AS LONG LOST, TREASURED FRIENDS.

WELL, I BOUGHT ONE OF THEM ON THE SPOT!! HOWEVER, THAT IS JUST THE START OF THE STORY!  AS I WAS WALKING OVER TO PAY FOR THE RELEASE OF MY NEWLY ACQUIRED PAL, I HAPPENED TO LOOK DOWN AT MY FEET AND, TO MY SHOCK, AMAZEMENT AND UTTER DELIGHT, SPIED A YORK BARBELL  SET!!!  I LITERALLY POUNCED ON THOSE SHINING (YES, SHINING!) WEIGHTS, IN FEAR THAT SOMEONE ELSE WOULD SPOT THEM AND GET TO THEM BEFORE I COULD!  GET TO THEM THEY MIGHT!!  HOWEVER, NOT UNTIL THERE WAS ONE HELL OF A FIGHT!!  NOW, FORGET THE FACT THAT THE ONLY OTHER FOLKS THERE WERE EITHER WITH ME OR THE HANDFUL OF CHURCH PEOPLE SETTING THINGS UP!  NO, BY GOD, THIS CATCH WAS MINE!!  THIS PRISTINE YORK SET WAS OF THE ONE INCH, “EXERCISE”  WEIGHT VARIETY, WITH THE 5 FOOT BAR, ADJUSTABLE DUMBELLS, ADJUSTABLE  KETTLEBELL HANDLES AND THE WEIGHT BOOTS!!!   I  AM GUESSING IT IS OF THE 60s VINTAGE.  I WAS ALSO DUMBFOUNDED TO FIND THAT THERE SET THE ORIGINAL CANVAS AND LEATHER STRAPS FOR THE BOOTS!  I JUST KEPT REPEATING, “I CAN‟T BELIEVE THIS!! I CAN‟T BELIEVE THIS!!”

I RAN OVER TO MY BUDDIES (WHO ARE LIFTERS AND “GAMERS” AS WELL) AND SAID, “DUDES!!! COME HERE! COME HERE!!” I WAS SO EXCITED; I HAD GOOSE BUMPS ON MY ARMS!!  MY ONE FRIEND SAID, “MAN, YOU NEED TO RELAX! IT’S JUST A WEIGHT SET. ” OHHHH, THE HUMANITY!! WHAT A HERETICAL THING TO COME FROM THE MOUTH OF ONE OF THE BRETHREN!!!”  AS WE STOOD THERE ADMIRING MY BOUNTY, I COULD ALMOST HEAR THAT WEIGHT SET SAY, “WELL, IF IT AIN’T OLE’ DAVE, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, COME TO TAKE US HOME AT LAST!”

TAKE YOU HOME, INDEED!!  JUST AS HARD AND FAST AS I POSSIBLY CAN!!   I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO SEE WHAT TREASURES SHOW THEMSELVES THE NEXT TIME THE PLANETS ALIGN!!

Are you fit?

by Al Myers

James Gardner "in action" in the Tug of War competiton held the day after the Gold Cup at the Holland Sports Club. The Holland Tug of War Club competes at the World level, and in a few weeks will be competing in Belgium.

A couple of  weekends ago  at the Gold Cup in England, my daughter Emily was explaining to my English mate James Gardner what a sorority was in the United States.  She was telling him about her sorority that she lives in at the University, and how it is an organized group house with 50-100 other girls and how they participate in philanthropy on the campus and  in the community.  I found the whole conversation quite comical, but when James asked her if  ”the girls were fit?” and Emily replied, “yes, we all work out at the fitness center”, I knew her answer was not what was meant by James’ question!  He was wanting to know if these girls possessed certain beautiful traits to his liking, while Emily thought he was talking about their level of  physical fitness.  Later that weekend on the Sunday after the meet, I was privileged to attend a benefit to raise funds for breast cancer hosted by the Holland Tug of War Club, which James is a part of and his dad Steve is the coach.  Several Tug of War teammates and pullers from other teams showed up to support the cause.  Steve divided all in attendance up evenly and a short tournament was contested.  It was when Steve announced to the crowd that the winning team would be taking on the AMERICAN DREAM TEAM (and pointing to Denny, Emily, and myself) that I started to get worried.  Sure, I have particapated in Tug of War contests in my college days, but after watching these seasoned Tug of War pullers go “after it” in serious competition  I knew I  was nothing more than a rank amateur with very little Tug of War skills, and for sure would make a fool of myself!  But I don’t turn down a good challenge, so when the time came to perform I gave it all I had.   I would say the first 10-20 seconds I felt pretty good about things, but the next couple of minutes were sheer torture.  Finally it was over and I thought that was it, but then Steve said it was going to be the “best of three”.  Well, let me tell you I was still bent over “huffing and puffing” when it was time to start the next pull!

This is a picture of James perfoming a 70 KG Turkish Get Up with a bar at the 2011 Gold Cup. This is the most ever done in the IAWA. James is one of those very unique athletes who is able to "be fit" to compete in two different sports at the international level.

This story brings me to a discussion Steve and I had later that night in the pub when I was telling him how impressed I was with his Tug of War Club.  Steve explained to me the training they do weekly, and the things they do to prepare for a full day of pulling, which may consist of 50 or so pulls in a day.  That takes lots of conditioning and stamina.   That brings us to the title of today’s story – ARE YOU FIT?  After talking with Steve, it is apparent to me that this question is a  very vague one, and only applies to whatever sport you are trying to be FIT FOR.  Just like James’ definition of “being fit” was different from Emily’s, there are many other different definitions of “being fit”.    I feel like I’m fit for a weightlifter, but obviously not for other strength sports, like Tug of War. I plan my training to prepare myself for a full day of weightlifting competition.  At least once per week I have a long training session (over 4 hours) so when meet time rolls around I still feel strong at the end of the day.  Sometimes I even take a long break during my workout (30-60 minutes) and resume training to simulate a long day with a break at a meet.  I have been around alot of lifters and throwers who don’t realize this is an important training effect and neglect it, only to be “totally shot” by the end of the day and end up deadlifting a lot less than they could in a powerlifting meet since the deadlift is last, or missing that last height in the WOB at the end of the day that they should get because they are worn out by that point.  It is all about being “FIT” for the sport you do, and that is what your training should be preparing you for.  I have had young highschool boys come the Dino Gym to workout, and after putting them through a squat workout that is less than I do weekly, it leaves them sore for days, sometimes unable to walk.  And these are kids who play football, are in good shape, can run windsprints all day long, but not “FIT” for lifting weights even though they are “FIT” for football.  

It is IMPOSSIBLE to be FIT for everything.   Pick what’s important to you and focus your training on that.  And when it comes time to compete, it will pay off and you can call yourself FIT.

Resorteras, Rehab, and Records

by John McKean

John McKean in the shooting position with his resoteras. A strong pull is needed, which works both the triceps and delts.

“THWACK!!!” A golf ball left mighty Paul Anderson’s tee after a typical set of ten with 800 pounds on the squat. You see, it is said that ole Paul had a three hole golf course set up on the grounds of his famous youth home, and he’d play the holes in between sets! This proved to be ideal “active rest”, well deserved fresh air, and much needed recuperation for the strongest man of all time.

“THWACK!!!” This is the noise that my nosy next door neighbor may hate worse than the clanging weights resonating from my open garage door. No, I’m not a golfer, but get this similar sound effect while target shooting my “resortera”, a Mexican term for a homemade, powerful, hunting-capable slingshot. Last year I renewed my acquaintance with slingshot target work, and find it a very relaxing, yet exercise oriented way of calming down from heavy, home gym lifts. The outdoor few minutes, alone ( I don’t rest quite as long as Paul Anderson did!) seems to energize me into better lifting efforts! Certainly the equipment is easy to acquire – the “resortera” concept dictates that you build your own slingshot from tree branch “Ys” (or cut from board or metal- a hunter/lifter/builder like Al Myers would probably weld one from thick steel to keep it HEAVY !), basic office rubber bands, and stones,marbles, or hexnuts for “ammo” (easy instructions for building lots of variations can be goggled at rebelslingshotforum ). I can attest to an actual increase of tone in my arms, delts, lats, and pecs from this unique band work (With the powerful hunting set up of seemingly simple office type rubber bands, a slingshot pull can get rather intense. You should see the wild game that my friends Jamie, Nico, Chepo, and Xidoo acquire with their homemade killing machines!) and nutrition habits (pizza!) of son, Rob,keeps me well supplied with cardboard boxes that serve as targets on my outdoor ” range”!

John demonstrating a band back press

Now in terms of bands, always a favorite subject of mine, the slingshot was not my only rubber training tool during this past summer. I’d been having really spirited productive lifting sessions early on, but was out fishing (another favorite outdoor activity- I tease Big Al by telling him that the fish I catch are so big & plentiful that I should apply for a “fish lift” category in the USAWA!)  and once found my foot shifting quickly on a hill over loose gravel; well,both the right knee and left lower back went into sudden ache mode,and stayed that way. Even a few days off, and a serious visit to my chiropractor didn’t give much comfort. But,  heck, there were meets approaching and records to set, so I just couldn’t take a long layoff!! While limping out to fire my nifty, homemade driftwood resortera one morning, I began to formulate a plan as the fresh air did its usual magic to invigorate me. I’d simply start all lifting sessions with Dr. Len Schwartz’ “Longstrength” concept, via Jumpstretch’s medium strength “mini-monster” bands. I did 50 reps with 2 bands over my shoulders for braced squatting, cable pulldowns while lunging toward my wounded knee for 35-45 reps, back presses while lunging over the other knee, high pulls along with wide squats, lying cable flys with leg pull-ins, and good morning bends + tricep pushes with the band over my neck. All light resistance, high rep combination style movements (which is the Longstrength concept) that really “gave an excuse” for blood to flush into the wounded areas. The fast paced  250+ reps also served as the best lifting warmup I’ve ever done!

My main workout,of course, had to be treated with “kid gloves”. The slingshot breaks kept me from getting really crazy (all you who know me, keep the laughter down and continue reading!!) , with restoring fresh air allowing time for common sense to intervene. So I’d take some of our most stable all-round lifts and do them in as perfect form as I could, adding control and slower tempo by placing a flex band over the bar (as I’ve displayed in past articles). With a single “mini-monster” band, I needed only to do a few singles up to about 60-70% of an anticipated record lift, that I was planning for the Fall meets. Often, especially if the knee or back started hinting that they were uncomfortable, I’d do the lighter build up singles without a band, then place it over the barbell to repeat the final top weight for the day for just that set. Usually a lift was completed in 4 easy sets (singles), and the five lift workouts were performed quickly with minimum agony.

John performs a "Longstrength" upright row and partial squat combo with a band.

As an aside, Dr. Schwartz often warned me that his Longstrength system was potent medicine. Shortly before his death (he was still exercising daily at 84 and could perform 35 consecutive, perfect chinups!), we’d had numerous spirited discussions on the great value of flex bands to supply constant tension during the fitness building, combination exercises.We even concluded that rubber cables fit in perfectly with his “moving isometrics” strength-aerobics concept. Yet I was still totally shocked to discover that my rehab program, seemingly quite mild, had reduced me to the middleweight division!

As I write this, I’m now mostly pain free and all set to try those records at Art’s Birthday meet in a few short days! Recent workouts, still with the same minimal approach, have been going great with emphasis on the prime commandment for Master’s lifting -” Thou shalt not injure thyself during training, ever! ” Now, if only I don’t go outside and catapult  a 200 fps rock into my thumb, I’ll be in fine shape!

The Second Apollon

by Dennis Mitchell

J.C. Tolson - the "second Apollon"

Most of today’s lifters are familiar with Louis Uni, who went by the stage name of Apollon. Uni was a 260 pound, 6 foot 3 inch strong man who lived from 1862 to 1928.  He was most famous for his railroad wheels barbell.  However,  there was a second Apollon named J. C. Tolson, who was born July 16, 1903 in Dewsbury, England.  Young Tolson got his inspiration to become a strongman after seeing a strongman at a traveling circus.  He was 17 years old at the time.  He started training and made very rapid progress, and soon was performing under the name of  The Mighty Young Apollon.  Tolson was much smaller than his name sake.  He stood 5′ 6″ tall, 17.5″ neck, 48.5″ expanded chest, 32″ waist, 14″ forearms, 17″ biceps, 24″ thighs, and 16″ calves.

Although Tolson was a very good all round lifter, he was outstanding at bending iron bars.  He entered a bar bending challenge in 1925 at the Empire Music Hall, put on by Alexander Zass, who went by the stage name of Samson.  This was his first competition and he took third place.  He rapidly improved and followed Zass as he put on challenges in other cities, always taking first place and the cash prizes.  By the time Tolson had won over 200 pounds, which was a lot of money in the 1920’s,  Zass changed his challenges to lifting a steel girder weighing 500 pounds.  Tolson again took first place, and the money, by lifting the girder with his teeth.   After this contest Tolson started issuing challenges for the title of Britain’s Champion Strongman.  The events consisted of bending iron bars in various ways, teeth lifting, the two hand military press, and the two hand dead lift.  Very few people took the challenge.  Tolson, billed as The Mighty Young Apollon, continued to perform as a professional strongman.  His act consisted of breaking chains with his fingers, lifting a 91.5 pound ring weight over head with his little finger (he later improved this to 108.25 pounds), bending iron bars,  and tearing playing cards still in their case into quarters.  He would drive a six inch nail into a wood plank and then pull the nail out with his teeth. He could support 20 men on his chest, and would have a tug-of-war with from 20 to 50 men, and at some shows would use two horses.  At a body weight of 168 pounds he did a pullover and press with 249 pounds. At 165 pounds he did a one hand dead lift of 500 pounds, and a press behind head with 214.5 pounds.  While weighing only 154.5 pounds he did a strict curl of 148 pounds. The heavy weight record at this time was only four pounds more.

As with many strong men of his time he also had a mail order muscle building course.  His course was mostly isometrics.  He would provide his students with various strength steel bars with instruction on how to bend them in order to work the different muscle groups.  His course sold into the 1950’s.  I could find no date for when or where he passed away.

My take on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

A highlight at the Gold Cup for me was performing two 2-person lifts with my daughter Emily. On our first lift we did a 757# Straddle Deadlift, and on our second lift we did a 804# Deadlift. Both of these marks are ALL-TIME RECORDS in IAWA for a male-female team.

This is not intended to be a meet report, but rather “my take” on the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup held last weekend in Burton on Trent, England.  First of all, initially I was not planning on attending this meet since I’m going to the IAWA World Championships in Australia next month.  But when my good “mate” (that’s american for friend, haha) James Gardner invited me to stay at his place I could not turn him down. And after the fun-filled weekend I had, I’m glad I went! I made a quick trip out of it, only staying for the weekend.  I call a trip like this “pulling an Art” – after the the MAN OF STEEL  Art Montini and his reputation of going oversees to a big meet and only staying for the meet itself.  This weekend was EXTRA SPECIAL for me since I had my oldest daughter Emily traveling with me.  This was her first weightlifting meet EVER, and she only agreed to compete because that was the stipulation I had for taking her along!  

The person who made this event happen was our IAWA President Steve Gardner (in middle). To Steve's right is Chris Bass, who is the "official scorekeeper" for the IAWA.

Now for a  few general words on the Gold Cup.  This meet is one of TWO big IAWA competitions held each year (the World Championships is the other).  It was started years ago by Howard Prechtel as a meet to celebrate World Record Lifts by World Champions.  Initially, the only lifters who were eligible to compete were current World Champions.  A rule from the beginning in the Gold Cup is that the lifter must OPEN on his first attempt at a World Record in the lift of his choosing.  Also in the beginning each lifter could chose only one lift to perform their World Record in. You could call it the “ELITE OF RECORD DAYS” .  Since then the stipulations have been lessened and anyone can compete in the Gold Cup, regardless of whether they are a current World Champion or not.  If a lifter can not find a World Record they can break, they can enter the Silver Cup instead, and go for a National Record, or even just a personal best.  This way no one is excluded from this prestigious international event.  Also, at several Gold Cups of recent, time has allowed the lifters to have a second choice lift which they can perform as well.

I finally got to meet Steve Angell from England (right). Steve is a three time Overall Best Lifter at the IAWA World Championships (1996, 2000, 2001).

I felt the turnout for this meet was very good - 25 lifters took part.  Our IAWA President Steve Gardner was the meet promoter, and as he always does, promoted an exceptional meet.  I was glad the meet was held at his club in Burton, the Powerhouse Gym.  I like to experience the feeling of lifting in other all round clubs.  You feel “connected” to their involvement in All-Round Weightlifting.   Several outstanding records where set by the lifters in attendance. One of the neat things about a Gold Cup is that you get to see lifters perform the lifts that they are the best at, and in turn get to witness some great lifts.  The Gold Cup is not like any ole record day where the lifters go about their business lifting and doing records in a chaotic fashion.  One platform is set up and when it is YOUR time to lift you get it all to yourself while everyone else watches.  You perform all three (or four) of your attempts back to back, and the stage is all yours.  This allows one to watch EVERY LIFTER and gives each lifter a little extra recognition.  Like I said earlier, the Gold Cup is the ELITE OF RECORD DAYS.  The experience is WAY MORE than just setting a World Record, as it is about being part of something special offered by the IAWA.  I highly recommend that every All Round lifter go to the Gold Cup at least once in their life.  

James Gardner and his 96.5 KG One Handed Fulton Bar Deadlift. This is the most EVER lifted in this lift!

Now on to the lifts done.  I have done a lot of thinking what I would consider the BEST RECORDS of the day were.  This was a hard decision for me because I was very impressed with EVERY lifter, but I did come up with my TOP FIVE.   My vote for the NUMBER ONE GOLD CUP RECORD  was done by James Gardner.  James first lift was the newly formed IAWA lift, the Turkish Get Up.  In this he did the MOST ever done with a very fine lift of 70 KG.  But that’s not the lift that impressed me the most.  It was his second choice lift, the One Hand Fulton Bar Deadlift.  In this lift he lifted an UNBELIEVEABLE 96.5 KG (212 pounds).  This record is now the most EVER lifted in this lift, exceeding Frank Ciavattone’s mark of 210 pounds.  I consider Frank the BEST ONE HAND GRIP LIFTER in the history of the USAWA, so this really says something about James’ achievement in this lift.  Another lifter and lift that really impressed me, and was my second pick,  was Mark Haydock of England. Mark performed a 210 KG Front Squat breaking the previous World Record in this lift held by the current IAWA World Champion Chad Ullom.  I officiated Chad when he set his mark, and I remember how deep he took his front squat when he did it.  I was glad to see Mark break Chad’s record by taking his front squat just as deep.   My “third choice” in best records goes to England’s Steve Sherwood and his Ciavattone Grip Deadlift of 180 KG.  That is pushing 400 pounds for a lifter who is 60 years old and only weighs 80 KG!  What a grip!!   Later that night at the Gold Cup banquet Steve was inducted into the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame, and it is no wonder why.  He lifts poundages that I would not expect him to lift.  He second choice lift of a 140 KG Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift was impressive as well.   Number 4 on my list goes to John Gardner and his 140 KG (309#) middle fingers straddle deadlift.   I would call John the “sleeper” in this group of great lifters because I didn’t expect a lift like that out of him.  That is a WORLD CLASS finger lift and on top of that, it appeared to me to be a submaximal effort on his part.  He made it look way to easy!  The last of my top five goes to the Scottish lifter Andy Tomlin and his 185.5 KG left handed deadlift.  Breaking 400 pounds in the one handed deadlift is always very impressive to watch, and currently there are only a small group of IAWA lifters who can do it.  To make Andy’s lift even that more impressive, is that he suffered a back injury a week earlier and wasn’t sure he would even be able to compete!   I will tell you this, later that night at the banquet when he was feeling really good (after a few pints of instant pain relief) he was really talking big – and issued a 2-man one arm deadlift challenge against Chad and myself at next year’s Gold Cup in Scotland.   He recruited Steve Angell to be his partner before even asking him, and of course I couldn’t turn him down even before asking Chad to be my partner.  Before long another “team” joined in this challenge as well (Mark Haydock and James Gardner).  So it looks like the 2012 Gold Cup is setting up to be a BIG SHOW of international competition in the 2-man one arm deadlift.  I did remind Andy that Chad and I have the BEST MARK ever set in this lift (done last year at the 2010 Gold Cup) of 800 pounds, so they better be in form “to bring it”.

Mark Haydock performing his record Front Squat of 210 KG.

I could go “on and on” about last weekends trip but I’m going to stop at this.  I especially want to thank Steve Gardner for his efforts in promoting this outstanding  meet.  It was a meet I will never forget.

Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule

by Al Myers

Bill Clark (left) and Rudy Bletscher (right). This picture was taken a couple of years ago, at the Deanna Springs Meet. Notice that Bill is tallying the scores using a hand calculator and pen and pad. No fancy computer, or even a printed scoresheet is needed for Bill to figure the day's results!

The Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule is now available.  USAWA events hosted in Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri have been some of the longest running meets in the history of the USAWA.  Meets like the Zercher Strength Classic and the Backbreaker Pentathlon have been signature meets in the USAWA, and have the historic significance of defining the All Rounds in the United States.  As per custom in meets hosted by Bill Clark, there are no entry fees or entry forms to send in.  There are no awards given.  I have asked Bill in the past why he doesn’t give out awards, and his reply to me was “if you want one buy your own!”.   That sounded like a good reason to me!  After all, there are not very many events you can go to now a days that are free like Clark’s Gym Meets.  You get to enjoy a great day of lifting, along with all the free wisdom you want  from the Father of  All-Round Weightlifting himself Bill Clark, and it won’t cost you a dime! 

It is important that you contact Bill at least 3 days in advance that you plan on attending.  If not, you might show up on meet day and the meet has been cancelled (if no one has pre-entered).  

Clark’s Gym Meet Schedule

November 6th, 2011 – Schmidt’s Backbreaker Pentathlon

November 26th, 2011 – Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One

January 28th, 2012 – Zercher Strength Classic

March 24th, 2012 – Deanna Springs Memorial Meet

Counting Your Chickens Before They Hatch

by Larry Traub

2011 USAWA Women's National Champion Amber Glasgow in action with the Dumbbell Snatch at the 2011 USAWA National Championships. The Ledaig Club won all the major awards at the 2011 Championship - Best Female Lifter, Best Male Lifter, and Best Team. (photo and caption courtesy of the webmaster).

I was competing in the USAWA National Championship last June, and I had just completed my second cheat curl attempt.  I was competing for the newly formed national champion team, Ledaig.  After I completed the attempt I was approached by the founder and fearless leader of the Ledaig club, Dave Glasgow, who proceeded to ask me, “What were you smiling about before you went out to lift?”

There was a not too subtle implication in his question that I looked like an idiot.  First, the attempt was successful, so the humiliation of looking foolish is superseded by attaining a successful lift. Second, maybe the foolish smile on my face facilitated the successful lift. Let me explain.  As the bar was being loaded I was visualizing the performance of that particular lift, and of course, the successful completion of that lift.  If completing a big lift on the platform brings a smile to your face then the visualization of that lift should do the same. I guess I was doing the thing that we’ve all been told not to do, and that’s, ‘counting my chickens before they hatch.’  I think that in this case the old adage fails us. Celebrating the success of the lift before the actual performance of the lift helps create the confidence and the desire to complete the lift.

Some studies have shown that in an activity that is primarily a skill movement, like shooting free throws, that mentally practicing may be just as effective as actually going to the gym and shooting. I don’t think that’s going to quite cut it in the lifting world, but I’m pretty sure that mentally doing a set of heavy squats, followed by the actual performance of that set might increase your chances of success.

We’ve probably all heard Yogi Berra’s quote, “90% of the game is half mental.”  His game was, of course, baseball and according to my math (and I’m a math teacher) baseball would be 45% mental. In our game it might even be more than that, but who can put a number on it?  A recent study shows that 67.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot anyway. The important thing would be recognizing how important it is to believe that you can perform a certain lift, and visualizing yourself doing it is a way of convincing your subconscious that it can be done.

Several years ago I was coaching a high school lifter at teenage nationals and he came up to me before his third attempt deadlift and said, “Coach, I don’t think I can pull this.” I just shrugged and told him that he might as well go to the scoring table and pass his third attempt. My coaching strategy at this point was to piss him off a little so he would get fired up and go pull the lift. I would like to tell you it was a brilliant piece of coaching that resulted in a big deadlift, but to tell you the truth, I don’t remember what happened.  I do believe, however, that I had to make some effort to change his mindset.  Telling him to go out there and give it his best shot would just reinforce his lack of confidence and would give him no opportunity for success.

Recognizing the mental aspect of our sport is one thing.  Learning how to utilize this mental aspect may require some effort, but you may be drawing on a previously untapped resource, and tapping that resource just might take you to a new level of performance.

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

The 2011 Gold Cup

A major highlight of the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup was the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame induction of Sam Hills and Steve Sherwood. Pictured in left picture (left to right): Steve Gardner, Frank Allen, Sam Hills. Pictured in right picture (left to right): Steve Gardner, Steve Andrews, Steve Sherwood

The lifting at this year’s Gold Cup was outstanding, the list of different lifts attempted was both varied and very interesting to witness. During the day we were treated to several attempts on lifts that were in fact the heaviest ever done in any weight class on those particular disciplines.  Junior lifter: Emily Myers (from the USA) at 19 years old, was the youngest competitor, whilst Frank Allen from England, William Wright from Scotland and Denny Habecker from the USA were the most senior competitors, all  at 69 years young. After the lifting, the banquet dinner was held at Branston Golf and Country Club, where everyone had a wonderful time, and Steve and Karen Gardner were assisted at the presentation by their Grand Son: 5 years old Dominic, who made a good job of shaking everyones hand, and when Paula asked if she could have a kiss, he simply replied ‘No’ with no expression at all (give him a few years Lol!)

The IAWA (UK) Hall of Fame 2011 Induction

The IAWA(UK) HOF  bi- annual Induction ceremony was carried out at the Awards Banquet at Branston Golf and Country Club,  following the presentation for the Gold Cup. Inductees were: Sam Hills (awards presented by Frank Allen and Steve Gardner) and Steve Sherwood (awards presented by Steve Andrews and Steve Gardner). Steve Sherwood from Hull in Yorkshire has been a great ambassador for all round lifting, and was coached by the late Harold Akrill, and trained with Clive Nevis. Many times British and IAWA World Champion, Steve has always been a master technician on the lifts, and his one hand deadlift record of 200 kilos at 70 kilos bodyweight has stood for many years. Sam Hills from Hastings in East Sussex has been trained by the great Mike Archer (inducted member). Sam has been a great supporter of all round weightlifting, and counts amongst his favourite moments in the sport, as being presented with the award for being the overall best lifter at the IAWA World Championships in Australia.

RESULTS OF THE 2011 GOLD CUP  - IAWA 2011 Gold Cup World Record Breakers

A Sign from Above!

by Thom Van Vleck

Underneath an Anvil shaped sign in Lindsborg, Kansas

I like challenges.  I guess that’s why I lift weights.  For the past 30 plus years I’ve sat down with paper and pen and wrote up countless workout routines, set goals, and made plans.  I also have traveled far and wide to meet with the best, learn from them, and been inspired by them.  I have also looked from inspiration from things around me for my lifting.  This could be something I would want to lift, but it could also be something that would inspire me to train harder and lift more!

Recently, I was in Lindsborg, Kansas with my family after competing in the McPherson Scottish Highland Games.  My wife and I both have some Swedish ancestry (her being one quarter Swedish) we wanted to go by Lindsborg and soak up some of the Swedish atmosphere….and food!  While we walked around I saw the sign in the above photo.  Back in the day, most people couldn’t read so shop owners would have signs that told you what they did by their shape as much as by what they said.  Did you know that barber poles represent veins and arteries because barbers used to draw blood to remove “bad blood” back when people thought that would cure their illnesses?  Blacksmiths would, of course, use an anvil!

I like anvils.  If you don’t know the story of Grandpa Jackson’s anvil then you probably don’t know me.  But just in case, I have an anvil that’s been in my family for 4 generations and lifted by all 4 generations….maybe more!  I know it’s at least pre-Civil War, who knows.  But more importantly, it was the inspiration for my grandfather to begin lifting weights, that led to my Uncles lifting, and me and the many, many lifters that came out of the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  So, when I was walking down the street, this sign inspired me.  It was symbolic of a trade, but it has become symbolic of strength, hard work, and do-it-yourself type attitude.

Now, it’s funny when I mentioned this, John O’Brien stated that when I had ideas, he often ended up getting hurt.  But in this case, I was just thinking about making a sign for my gym like the one above.  Because I want my gym to be symbolic like the anvil.  Symbolic of hard work, sweat of your brow, can-do, and self determination.  So, this was a just a sign for most walking by, but for me…..it was a sign from above!

Long Sleeve T-Shirt

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT

Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

ALL SIZES ARE IN STOCK.

Official Judging Shirt

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – OFFICIAL JUDGING SHIRT

Official Judging Shirt

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

XLarge OUT OF STOCK

Short Sleeve T-Shirt

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – SHORT SLEEVE T-SHIRT

Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

ALL SIZES ARE IN STOCK.

USAWA Rulebook

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – USAWA RULEBOOK

USAWA Rulebook

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

Item is in stock.

Sports Bottle

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – SPORTS BOTTLE

Sports Bottle

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

Item is in stock.

Patch

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – USAWA PATCH

USAWA Patch

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

Item is in stock.

Hoodie Sweatshirt

by Al Myers

ONLINE STORE – HOODIE SWEATSHIRT

Hoodie Sweatshirt

Order forms are available under FORMS AND APPLICATIONS.

ALL SIZES IN STOCK.

Goerner Deadlift

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  9 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts:  Deadlift – Heels Together, Deadlift – 2 bars, Hack Lift, Jefferson Lift, Deadlift – One Arm (with both), Deadlift – One Arm, No Thumbs (with both),  Fingers Deadlift – Index, Fingers Deadlift – Middle, Fingers Deadlift – Ring, Fingers Deadlift – Little, and Reeves Deadlift

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

Backbreaker Pentathlon

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT 

Schmidt’s Backbreaker Pentathlon

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  10:30  AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts: Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Harness Lift, and Back Lift

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

Flour Packing Contest

by Al Myers

Uwe Meyer training for a flour packing contest. This takes the Inman Mile to the extreme!

All of the recent talk on the Inman Mile in the USAWA Discussion Forum brought up another topic.  Longtime USAWA member Tom Ryan brought up a competition I had never heard of before – Flour Packing.  He posted a video of this competition in the forum, but I’m going to include it here as well for those of you that don’t follow the forum -Video of Flour Packing Contest.   The rules of the contest is to carry a max load of flour over a 50 foot course.  This event is part of the annual Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous held in  Whitehorse, Canada.  This dates for this year’s competition is February 23-26, 2012.  Many other events are contested throughout the several days of this festival, including: sled dog races, a dog pull, a wilderness survival contest, a trapping contest, chainsaw competitions, a partner pack competition, and even things like a beard growing contest and tattoo competition!

The above photo with newspaper caption was sent to me by Tom Ryan.  I would guess it was taken in the 1970’s because Uwe Meyer held the record in flour packing at that time, with his carry of 850 pounds of flour.  Tom must keep everything that interests him because I don’t know of too many people who keep clips from newspapers that long! (also it shows your age Tom!!).  But I’m glad he did – because it gives us something to talk about today in the USAWA Daily News.  Since that time, Richard Chipett has raised the record to 1002 pounds.

If you are further interested in the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, they do have a quite extensive website covering the festival (Yukon Festival Website).

Club Certificates

by Al Myers

This is an example of the new USAWA Club Certificates for 2011. This certificate is for Habeckers Gym - the 2010 USAWA Club of the Year.

I have spent some time lately updating the Club page on the website.   We now have 13 registered clubs in the USAWA.  This is the most of any year to date.   On this page I included 2011 Member Club Certificates for each club.  The certificate is a pdf, so if you are interested in printing it off you may do so as many times as you like!  Some of our clubs now have multiple locations (i.e. Ledaig Club, the JWC, and the Dino Gym), so this way each location can have it’s own certificate for the wall.  Plus, now all club members can have a copy if they want to.

I was curious how the “CLUB RACE” for the 2011 Club of the Year was going, so I calculated the points for each club “to date”.  As per the rules of this competition, the defending Club of the Year is ineligible the next year, thus Habecker’s Gym was not included in this years tally.  There are still a couple of big competitions coming up (the Gold Cup and the World Championships) where club members can generate big points for their club.  Let this be motivation to show up and support these competitions, and in turn represent your club in the USAWA Club Race!

Club Rankings to Date

1.  Dino Gym –  48 pts
2.  Ledaig Heavy Athletics – 21 pts
3.  Clark’s Gym – 14 pts
4.  JWC – 12 pts
5.  Atomic Athletic – 9 pts

The Day I Met Al Myers

by Thom Van Vleck

Al Myers breaking the World Record in the sheaf toss in the professional division

Al Myers and I have been friends for a LONG time.  Well, at least 16 years anyways.  I was digging through some old photos the other day and came across this gem.  It was the Highlands Ranch Highland Games in 1995.  My first competition ever in the Highland Games.  I was competing in the Novice Division with 12 other throwers and got 2nd overall that day, winning 4 of 7 events outright.  Who beat me?  Brian Myers, Al’s brother!

Here’s what I recall that day.  You have to understand first that most Highland Games has “classes” of throwers. There’s a C class (usually for beginners), B class, A class (top amateur) and Pro class (the best of the best).  Also masters and women.  Al was there in the pro class and won it that day, so he was a top pro thrower at the top of his game at that time.  You also have to understand that the groups will rotate events all day, so that when one group is on the hammer, another might be on the caber so in between throws you can watch the other groups throw.  I recall watching Al hit some big numbers that day.  But most of all, the last event for him was the sheaf toss.  And boy, did Al give a clinic!

The Sheaf is a 16lb simulated “hay” bale, usually rope or twine wrapped in a burlap bag.  You use a pitch fork to launch it up and over a crossbar for height.  Al was a 300lber then and had about 30lbs on me back then (how things have changed!).  I was done with all my events and went over to watch the action.  The bar kept going higher and higher and soon the only one left was Al.  I remember my wife was wanting to go, but then I heard that Al would attempt a WORLD RECORD in the sheaf toss!  I had to see that, but I also had been eyeing his attempts and really doubted he had that much in him.  The sheaf standards were raised as high as they would go!  In other words, the bar would go no higher and there was only one other time I’ve seen the standards “topped out” like that and the second time was just this year when Dan McKim, the current Pro National and World  Champ, topped them out in Wichita.  Al got set, began to swing the bar back and forth and with a mighty swing launched that sheaf up and over the bar.  Al probably doesn’t remember this, but I went over and shook his hand and congratulated him….along with 5o other people!

I left that day not really sure if I’d ever compete in a highland games again, and not realizing that Al would some day be one of my best friends.  I also didn’t realize that Al’s brother in law was somebody I had already competed against in the predecessor of the USAWA, Clark’s Odd lift meets.  None other than Bob Burtzloff!  It really is a small world.  I have never forgotten that day because here was Al, at the top of the heap, the winner of the Pro class and me competing (and almost beating) his brother in the lowest group of all.  But each time I talked to Al during the day, he was friendly, encouraging, and offered advice.  A true sportsman!  So, becoming his friend was easy because he was my kind of guy right from the start.  It also sold me on highland games!

So, be nice to everyone.  You never know when you’ll run into them again.  And thanks Al, your encouragement that day set the standard for myself and brought me into a sport I truly love!

Dino Strength Training Center

by Scott Tully

The front of the newly opened Dino Strength Training Center.

We are proud to announce the opening of the new Dino Strength Training Center at 703 Bishop street in Salina, KS.  This is the version of our training facility that was formerly in Lon Beffort’s basement.   These past 5 years we have acquired so much equipment and training partners we needed a much larger area. We found a commercial space in Salina that is 3200 square foot, with a large overhead door in the back and open lot to train strongman,  GPP, or bbq, with the third being our favorite!  The other interesting thing about the space is that it has been a gym of some sorts for over 30 years, starting out as salina weight training, then bensons, and until recently reps and sets.  This also was the first gym Lon, Mark, Chuck and myself belonged to in Salina. When Chuck and I walked in it looked like someone tossed in a grenade and ran, but after 300+ hours and 3 tons of construction waste removed we feel we have put together a top notch training center for powerlifting, strongman, oly lifting, all around or to just get in better shape. 

We consider this a extension of the Dino Gym in Holland in purpose, as the goal is to come here and get stronger. Our core group is Chuck, Tyler, and Matt Cookson, Lon Beffort, Mark Mitchell,  Al Myers, Stephan Kency, Darren Barnhart, Allan English and myself.  We also have as of now about 30 other members who actively train here.  Our rates are very reasonable:  30 for a single, 35 for a couple, or 40 for a family.  Members also get a key so they can train when they like. We are currently looking at dates to host an all around competition, and will be holding strongman and powerlifting comps in the near future.

Check us out on facebook - with search words being Dino Strength Training Center.

Wilf Chapman RIP

by Al Myers

I just recently learned that Wilf Chapman, of Australia, had passed away this summer.  I have had the honor of competing against Wilf in a few competitions, with the first one being the 2006 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.  The above tribute appeared in  the publication, “The All-Round Strength Athlete”.   This is the official written publication of the ARWLWA. 

I will never forget meeting Wilf the first time.  Myself being a newcomer to the International scene of All Round Weightlifting at the time, I didn’t know very many of the other lifters in attendance.  Wilf IMMEDIATELY “struck up” a conversation with me at the night before get together, and we spent a long time talking.  He made me feel quite welcomed, and in turn I was tremendously impressed with his outgoing friendly personality.  I had my Dad with me at this meet as well, and Wilf thought my father was my brother.  We all found this funny (especially Dad and Wilf) and ever since that time when I would see Wilf he would ask me “how my brother was doing”.  That was just his personality.  I will miss him.  REST IN PEACE WILF!!

Welcome Mat Meet

by Jarrod Fobes

First Annual Welcome Mat Meet

Date: Saturday,  November 5th, 2011

Meet Director: Jarrod Fobes

Location:
The Welcome Mat Dojo
8250 W Coal Mine Ave, #9
Littleton, CO 80128

Sanction: USAWA membership required

Check-in: 9am day of the event at the venue.

Entry Fee: $15, includes T-shirt

Lifts: Turkish-get up, Crucifix, Dumbbell Walk

Entries must be received by October 20th to get your T-shirt, otherwise entries accepted up to day of the event.

Mail entries and payment to:

Jarrod Fobes
2968 S Grant Street
Englewood, CO 80113

Contact: jfwaveman@yahoo.com or call 303-339-0508

Click here for an entry form

USAWA Lifters Dominate Highlander Nationals

by Thom Van Vleck

 

NAHA Nationals held in Omaha, Nebraska

The NAHA (North American Highlander Association) held it’s annual National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska on September 17, 2011.  A full meet report can be found at www.nahighlander.com.  The “Highlander” concept of strength competition combines Scottish Highland Games events with an equal number of Strongman events.  This particular event had the Stone Put, Weight Over Bar, and Heavy Hammer for the Highland Games events and the 12″ Log Clean & Press, Farmers Walk, and a Giant Tire Flip/Keg Carry Medley for the strongman events.

It is interesting to note that the event was DOMINATED by current or past USAWA members!  In the Lightweights we saw Tim Pinkerton make a comeback after a couple of years away from competition to squeak out a win.  The next three classes were won by current USAWA members.  In the Middleweights, Andrew Durniat won easily.  The Heavyweights saw yours truly win with a tie breaker in a three way tie for 1st.  Finally, John O’Brien won the masters easily after winning every single event, and was the only athlete to do that in the competition.

It’s no surprise to me that a competition that seeks to combine two sports would be dominated by athletes that excel in the the USAWA, an organization made up of 100’s of lifts.  The athleticism needed to do well in so many lifts means the lifter is used to applying his strength in many different ways and not in just a few, select, and narrow ways.

So, to my fellow USAWA friends who competed with me Saturday, Good Job!  And to my JWC brother John, way to go!

KEEP OUT THE LUNKS!

by Al Myers

Big John Conner, of the Dino Gym, competed this past weekend at the Olympia Strongman Challenge. John is a professional strongman and would be considered a "lunk" in most all commercial gyms.

Recently on the USAWA Discussion Forum I posted a news story video about a hardcore lifter who got “thrown out” of a Planet Fitness Health Club for being a “lunk”.  It would be easy to think this was all a joke – but the disturbing part is that most of  it is not!  Planet Fitness has been very open and firm in their policies regarding lifters who are hardcore lifters, and that is they are not wanted.  Just go to Planet Fitness’s website to see a list of these policies.  But first, watch the video, which I’m going to call – KEEP OUT THE LUNKS

The parts of this video which I found the most humorous were: 

1.  Planet Fitness is discriminating against “muscled americans”.
2.  A “no grunting policy” that includes even heavy breathing!
3.  The comment “all the animals can be in one cage” when referring to the heavy lifters.
4.  And of course the Planet Fitness LUNK ALARM!

I was also humored when the cute little blond representing Planet Fitness called these heavy lifters lunks, meatheads, lunk heads, and even jerks!  Those are harsh words!  All this got me thinking about the guys in my Dino Gym, and I have come to the conclusion that the Dino Gym ONLY contains lunks, and we are that place referred to as where “all the animals can be in one cage”!  I don’t care to question Planet Fitness business tactics on this, because in all truth, heavy lifters in a gym are intimidating to most other club members (I’m not going to even call them lifters)  who are as weak as a newborn kitty.  Plus, add in the fact that heavy lifters NEVER miss a workout and are the ones hardest on fancy gym equipment, it makes sense to keep out this element.  The BEST CLIENTS of fitness clubs are people who have lots of money to always keep their gym membership paid up, but never show up to actually work out.  That’s who fitness clubs like to cater to, not guys who are gym rats.

Now back to the lunks in the Dino Gym. It does bother me when people classify heavy lifters as lunks or meatheads, in which implying these guys are of lesser intelligence or “dummies”.   Most of my training partners are very successful in life and with their jobs.   Sure, when you first meet Scott “THE ENFORCER” Tully you would think the only job he could get would be a bouncer, but Scott is an educated man and has worked as a financial broker.  That’s right – people PAY Scott to handle their money.  That’s not a job for a lunk!   Now take Chad “THE CHAMP” Ullom.   At first glance you would think the only job he could get would be a stunt double for Stone Cold Steve Austin.  And let me tell you this – you would have to be a real dummy to take THAT JOB because I’m sure Stone Cold wouldn’t leave the easy stuff for ya!  But “in real life” Chad is a Pharmacist and has a very demanding job as a regional manager for Walgreens.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  How about John “THE GIANT” Conner? At 6 foot 9 and close to 400 pounds, John is one of the most intimidating individuals you would ever meet. He has got thrown out of most all the gyms in Wichita for being a lunk.  Now the only place he can train is the Dino Gym.  The problem is that he is so dang strong he bends all the bars and breaks all the equipment in commercials gyms!  (but he hasn’t bent a bar in the Dino Gym yet, because we cater to lunks).  But when you meet John he is one of the nicest guys you would ever meet, and he is the best artist I know. Most don’t know this, but John is the guy who did the art work for our USAWA logo.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  Next take Mark “BIG POPPA” Mitchell.  Mark’s got shoulders wider than a doorframe, and legs as thick as tree trunks.  At first glance you might mistakenly think Mark was in the personal security business, and worked as a body guard.  Possibly even a night security guard somewhere.  But Mark is also an educated man, and serves as a senior probational officer.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  I could go “on and on” with these examples of guys in the gym.   Look outside the Dino Gym and you see this as well.  Take Eric  ”THE ICEMAN”  Todd  for example.  He clearly looks like a lunk on the outside, and at competitions when he gets intense he gives you that look that Chuck Liddell gives guys before he busts their heads.  I’m sure the LUNK ALARM would go off the minute ET opens the front door of a Planet Fitness.  But in real life, Eric is a schoolteacher who spends his days “shaping the minds” of our youth.  That’s not a job for a lunk!  What about Thom “BIG T” Van Vleck – is he a lunk?   Thom exhibits every physical trait of a lunk – shaved head, big gray goatee, and he likes to “eye ball” people he first meets.  But believe it or not, Thom is a counselor at a Medical School and is responsible for helping struggling medical students deal with their problems.  That’s not a job for a lunk!

I think I have made my point.  Lunks are good people, and I’m glad to be part of this brotherhood!  Who wants to train at a Planet Fitness anyhow?  Just come to the Dino Gym and you will fit right in!

Inman Mile

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Adam Kirchman training the Yoke Walk with 650 pounds over a 100 foot course in a recent workout. Adam would be my choice among gym members who would have the best chance of achieving the Inman Mile.

Recently I have had some email correspondance with a lifter interested in the Inman Mile.  Of course the first question EVER asked regarding this event is - ”HAS IT EVER BEEN DONE?”  The Inman Mile is definitely unlike all of the other official lifts of the USAWA.  First of all, it can hardly be called a lift. It is the only official lift in the USAWA Rule Book where poundage is not listed in the record list.  Instead, this event is for TIME.  Let’s start with a review of the rules:

USAWA Rules for the Inman Mile

The lifter will take a bar onto the shoulders with a weight equal to 150 per cent of the lifter’s bodyweight. The lifter will then carry this weight a distance of one mile. Gait is optional.  Stopping to rest is allowed, but neither the lifter nor the weight may be supported in any manner.  The bar must not be touched by any assistants once the mile has begun or it will be a disqualification. The bar must stay on the back the entire mile. The lifter may be handed refreshments during the mile. Records will be kept for time. 

Now to the answer whether it has ever been done.  IT HAS NOT (at least not officially in the USAWA).  Since it has not been completed EVER no records are recorded for it in both the USAWA and IAWA Record Lists.  The rules specifically state that “records will be kept for time”.  A good attempt at this doesn’t get you a record for distance.  You must finish the Mile.  I have received several emails in the past asking about this novelty event in the USAWA.   I have always responded that if the person in question could succeed with the Inman Mile  (maybe a little video proof would need to be provided to me), I would do whatever was needed in order to help them get this listed as an “official record” in our organization.  Even if this included me getting on a plane and flying to the coast for the weekend,  or enlisting someone I know in the area who is an active reputable official for the USAWA to go there and witness and officiate it.  I also have said that accomplishing the Inman Mile would have to be considered as one of the BEST STRENGTH FEATS ever done in the USAWA.  I really hope someday someone does accomplish it.  I have enough sense to know that this is something I could NEVER DO, so “that person” will not be me.  I know lifters who have tried, and some who I thought might have a chance, but in all instances they failed miserably.   The limit is always maintaining the bar on the shoulders.  As you tire, the bar slips down the back, and once this happens the hope for the mile is lost. 

As I already said, I consider this a novelty lift in the USAWA.  We have a few others in our list of official lifts that would fit this category as well.  There has been talk of eliminating some of these obscure lifts that no one can do from the USAWA list of official lifts in the past, but truthfully, I don’t think that is a good idea.  I say this because eventually someone WILL do them, and when they do, it will become something to talk about!  I receive as many inquistive emails regarding these lifts as the others.   I guess you could call it curiosity appeal – and it turn gives exposure to the USAWA.

If you do an internet search on the Inman Mile you will see it “pop up” several times.   Often it appears in forums, where this “challenge” is mentioned by someone.  I even found talk of it in some backpacking forums. I KNOW the USAWA is the root behind all this, as we are the ones who in a sense, created the Inman Mile.  However, no one knows “the story” behind the Inman Mile besides maybe only a few of us.  I wouldn’t know it if it wasn’t for person responsible for naming it telling me!  And that person is NONE OTHER than the FATHER of the USAWA Bill Clark.  So I plan to tell it here for the first time on the internet.  Bill named this lift after Jerry Inman, a powerlifter who was originally from Billings, Missouri  (and a leader in a well known powerlifting club at the time – the Billings Barbell Club).  The time frame of this was the  late 1970s and early 1980s.  Jerry was a marine (and it would take a hard-headed marine to come up with something this grueling).  For a while, he lived in Olathe, Kansas.  When he found Bill Clark’s gym in Columbia, Missouri he was introduced to all-round weightlifting by Bill.   When Jerry Inman told Bill he thought he could walk a mile with a bar loaded to 150%  of his bodyweight on his back, it inspired Bill to name this event after him.  Jerry was never successful with this quest, but his mindset of THINKING he could do it and the effort of taking on the impossible, lead to this mysterious event to be forever named after him!   His best effort of 246 yards in 1979 is recorded in an old Missouri Valley Newsletter .  Jerry was a fit 148# powerlifting  marine, in the prime of his life when he tried also.  It would take someone like that to even have a remote chance of being successful with the Inman Mile. But when it does happen – I want to be there firsthand to watch it!

Frank in the News

by Al Myers

Frank Ciavattone on the front page of Dale Harder's Strength and Speed Newsletter.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received my last issue of Dale Harder’s Strength and Speed Newsletter and the “front page feature” was none other than Frank Ciavattone.  Frank is one of the founders of the USAWA, and arguably the strongest lifter that has ever competed in the USAWA.  I was so glad to see Frank get this recognition in Dale’s newsletter – because he deserves it!   Frank has won numerous USAWA and IAWA titles.  I once saw the list of Frank’s Championships and it was so long it took two pages!  Frank is a true all-rounder, and there were not very many lifts he didn’t excel in.  He was a great bar lifter,  grip lifter, heavy lifter, and he even excelled at the one arm lifts.  His one arm deadlift of 562 pounds is an ALL-TIME record in the USAWA and the IAWA.  I consider this record of his the ALL-TIME record of ALL-TIME.  It is the highest of any one arm deadlifts that actually HAD officials judge it.  Sure, Herman Goerner may have the credit for the best ALL-TIME one arm deadlift, but outside of some witnesses, it was not actually judged. 

I have known Frank for several years, but in Dale’s story on him I even learned a few new things about Frank (including some pictures I had not seen before).  Dale has always been very supportive of  all-round weightlifting and the USAWA.  His newsletter  is a must read, and one of the few printed newsletters covering weightlifting nowadays.   I would like to tell more of this story on Frank, but I don’t want to give away all of Dale’s story.  You need a subscription to Strength and Speed for that! 

For subscribing to the Strength and Speed Newsletter and ordering any of Dale’s great books covering weightlifting,  check out his website -http://www.strengthospeedia.org/.   Dale’s email address is daleharderEP@gmail.com.

Rules for the Dumbbell Shoulder

by Thom Van Vleck

Two big Dumbbells.....could either one be shouldered in the "Dumbbell Shoulder" event at the Old Time Strongman Nationals?

When Al and I discussed me hosting the Old Time Strongman Nationals one of the things that I wanted to do was come up with some new lifts.  The “OTS” concept is to have lifts that aren’t current USAWA lifts, that have more relaxed rules, be able to raise or lower the weight, be done for a max attempt, and be something the old timers did.  What followed was me sending Al numerous lifts and him pointing out how they were already USAWA lifts or did not fit the criteria in some way!  In my research I came across the weightlifting for the 1904 Olympics.  It was very different than from today.  There were actually two separate events, a barbell competition and a Dumbbell competition.  There were several Dumbbell lifts and one of them involved cleaning a heavy dumbbell.  I stumped Al on this one.  There are no current USAWA lifts that involved cleaning a dumbbell and Al thought there ought to be so he shot down my idea based on the fact that we need to add that lift to the regular USAWA lifts….as a result it COULDN’T be an OTS event!  So, I came back with this event, as inspired by that 1904 Olympic event and thus the name!

USAWA Rule for the 1904 Dumbbell Shoulder

A Dumbbell will be taken from the floor to the shoulder using any method the lifter wants to employ.  The dumbbell may be lifted with two hands, continental style, may be rested on the belt during the lift, by any part of the dumbbell.  Hands may grip the plates, bar, collars or any part of the dumbbell. Any size plate may be loaded onto the dumbbell.The lift is completed when the lifter is standing upright, with the dumbbell resting on the shoulder, and the lifter demonstrating control.  Both hands may remain on the dumbbell to complete the lift, or with one hand or both hands off the dumbbell.  Time limit of 1 minute is given to complete the lift.  An official will give a command to end the lift.

So, we will give this one a try.  It may be a “one and done” event in that we will have to see how this one plays in competition.  If it does, then great!  At the least, it is a unique event and it will be interesting to see how much we can do!

Rules for the Anderson Squat

by Thom Van Vleck

The Anderson Squat: Old Time Strongman lift

Let’s take a look at one of the new lifts for the Old Time Strongman Nationals to be held Oct. 16 at the JWC Training Hall in Kirksville, Missouri.  First, let’s review what the “Old Time Strongman” is before we talk about this brand new lift.  Old Time Strongman in the USAWA will included lifts popularized or used by strongmen of years past.  The lifts must be loadable (So the bar can be loaded to any weight so any skill level can make the lift and not just have a heavy apparatus with a set weight).    The idea is that you will have a strongman contest that can be contested by a wide variety of skill levels and ages.

Today’s focus is on the “Anderson Squat”.  Paul Anderson, one of the greatest strongmen of all time, was famous for his leg strength.  Ol’ Paul had a lot of unorthodox training techniques often born out of necessity (in other words, “he didn’t have the proper equipment so he just rigged something up and lifted it!”).  One of the more famous lifts he employed was squatting barrels filled with junk from a hole in the ground.  The story goes Paul loaded it and dug a hole deep enough he could get under it and do a partial squat.  He would then throw some dirt in the hole, slowly filling it up, so that he would have to get a little lower each time to complete the lift.  I found a great photo of Paul doing the lift and evidently that day he was short on iron so a couple of pretty girls volunteered!  Don’t worry, if we run low on weights at the meet, I’ll be happy to climb on top for extra weight!

USAWA Rules for the Anderson Squat

 A squat (with a standard Olympic bar) done from a dead stop from a height not over two thirds the height of the lifter.  Squat is completed when the knees are locked and the lifter is standing erect.  Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift.  Knee wraps or knee sleeves will be allowed.  An official will give a command to end the lift.

The uniqueness of this event is doing a squat from a dead stop.  It is also the challenge of it!  It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers we can put up in this event….and I don’t think Paul will have anything to worry about in regards to anyone coming close to breaking his records in this style of lifting.

Rules for the Anderson Press

by Thom Van Vleck

Paul Anderson with a 450lb Continental Clean & Press. This photo approximates the starting point of the "Anderson Press" event at the Old Time Strongman Nationals.

The first ever USAWA Old Time Strongman National Championship will be held at the JWC Training Hall on October 16, 2011.  One of the new lifts to be contested will be the “Anderson Press”.  Big Paul Anderson, arguably the strongest man that ever lived, used to do some pretty unique training lifts and often rigged things up to work on what he felt were his weaknesses. One lift he came up with was to hang a barbell from a tree with a chain and do partial lockout presses.  This lift was the inspiration for the lift to be contested in October!

USAWA Rules for the Anderson Press

Press (with a standard Olympic bar) will be done from a dead stop position in the power rack from a height no greater than the height of the lifter when standing erect.  Lifter may “bow” back to press the weight but must keep knees locked.  The lift ends when the lifter is upright, arms locked, and demonstrates control of the weight. The lifter may press in an uneven manner and unlock unevenly. It is not a disqualification if the bar is lowered during the press, and afterwards the press resumes. The feet are not allowed to move. However, the lifter may raise the heels or toes during the press.  Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift.  An official will give a command to end the lift.

You will notice the rules are a lot more relaxed compared to other USAWA lifts.  The idea is that the lifter will be able to handle big weights and it will be pretty evident to any spectators if they get the lift or not.  I know that when I’ve attended meets I have spent a lot of time explaining to spectators that are not familiar with lifting why a completed lift did not count.  While this could still happen, it’s a lot less likely and I think that’s part of the appeal of the the “Old Time Strongman” concept.  It’s more spectator friendly and forgiving to the lifter!   As a result, this type of meet may attract a whole new type of strength athlete to the USAWA that will then try the traditional meets as well.  At least that’s my opinion.  Hope you can make it in October!

Dear Dino Man

by the Dino Man

Marriage Advice for the Weightlifter

No wife cares what your max deadlift is. If you want to impress her with your strength, do what the Dino Man did, and show her that you can still pick her up and carry her around the beaches of Jamaica after 25 years of marriage!

Dear Dino Man,

It bothers me that my wife doesn’t seem impressed with my strength gains.  When I try to talk to her about it, she acts like she isn’t listening to me.  How should I handle this?

First – face the facts – she’s NOT interested in your strength gains.  She only cares that you have enough strength to take out the garbage or move a piece of furniture for her.  Other than that she doesn’t care at all.  Accept it.   And whatever you do – don’t try to talk to her about the latest lifting program you’re on.  She cares about hearing all about that even less.  If you want to impress her with your strength, just throw her over your shoulder every now and then.  Women love that.

Dear Dino Man,

My wife wants to go to the gym with me when I train.  I really don’t want her to go along, but how do I tell her this without making her mad?

Just make her mad and tell her that you don’t want her there!   I doubt if she is really lifting anyhow.  She just wants to be there to keep an eye on you.  She “pretends” to be on the exercise bike with her head phones on (but they’re not) and in fact she is listening to every word you say to the guys – am I right?   My experience with hanging around gyms all my life is that relationships rarely last when one spouse only goes to the gym to “be with” the serious lifting spouse. (this goes for husbands as well!).    Truthfully, I go to the gym to get away from my wife for a while – that doesn’t mean I don’t love her dearly, it’s just that I need my space every now and then, and the gym is the place I go to for that!  Plus, every time your wife tags along with you to the gym your workout buddies are talking about you behind your back, wondering when you are ever going to grow a set and tell her to stay home!!

Dear Dino Man,

I want to display my lifting trophies on the mantle in our living room, but my wife doesn’t want them there – something about they don’t match the décor she has for the room.  What should I do??

No wife wants your tacky weightlifting trophies mucking up her domain. The living room is her domain just as the gym is yours.  Would you want her to put scented candles and a flower vase next to the squat cage?  Get the trophies out of there before she throws them out!  This is a fight not worth fighting.   Put them in the basement, the garage, the attic, or under the bed, and go there to look at them if you have to.

Dear Dino Man,

I want to buy a new pair of squat shoes but my wife won’t let me.   But she buys new shoes all the time!  What do I do!

This is what I do when I want to buy something for the gym that my wife doesn’t want me to buy.  Every time she buys something frivolous that she thinks I might not approve of, I steal the remaining cash out of her purse.  She never mentions it to me because she’s feeling guilty over that new pair of shoes she just bought, and doesn’t want me to bring it up.  When I accumulate enough of this cash, I buy what I want for the gym.  When she asks about the new gym item, I tell her Scott bought it!  Foolproof plan if you ask me. 

Dear Dino Man,

My wife just started competing in powerlifting.  I have noticed since she has been squatting heavy her gluteus has become much more muscular and enlarged.  How big will it get??

Much bigger – and what is your problem with that?  That sounds like a good thing to me.

Marriage tip for weightlifters (more expert advice from the Dino Man)

I have good news for all you heavy lifters, who through the years have developed a Squat Belly (much like a beer belly, ok, it looks like a beer belly, but IT’S NOT!).  No longer do you have to worry about this being a problem in your marriage.  I just read in Women’s Health that marriages are MUCH HAPPIER if the husband has a bigger gut than his wife.  Something about it makes the wife feel less insecure in the relationship, or whatever.  This is a fact – and backed with a scientific study and all.   So there you have it – weightlifting leads to a happier marriage!!  (as long as you don’t let her follow you to the gym that is…)

Coming next to the Dear Dino Man Advice Column:  “other uses for muscle rubbing liniments”

What is Art!

by Thom Van Vleck

Barbell Mobile at the York Barbell HQ in York, PA

I have always been a “form follows function” kind of guy.  I like looking at things that are built well, built to last, built to do a job and it’s function is what makes it pleasing to look at.  Like the Golden Gate Bridge is a work of art to me.  Al’s Back Lift apparatus is a work of art to me.  I have problems figuring out the purpose of piles of metal of globs of paint piled upon each other in some seemingly random fashion and then labels as some great statement about the destruction of the environment (no, I would say you using valuable resources to make something that serves no earthly purpose as the destruction of then environment!).  But hey, as my dear ol’ Dad used to say, “Whatever trips your trigger”.

I do have to admit, I like things that utilize what I love to do….lifting weights.  Recently, I was visiting the York Barbell Headquarters in York, PA and hanging from the ceiling was a huge mobile made of weights….not sure if the weights were real….and that looked cool and interesting.  It also rotated slowly.  However, I couldn’t help but thinking to myself how nice it would be to have those barbell plates in my gym!

Now this would be the ultimate challenge for Al Myers to build and an even greater challenge for anyone to lift if it were made of iron!

Another piece of “art” I recently saw (not in person) was an 8 ft tall Dumbbell that was being used as an advertisement of some sort.  There’s a youtube video of it being made ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdDVvwayraE), it looks like they make it out of styrofoam!  I have to admit, if I were walking down the street, I’d pause and check this out (and probably want my wife to take my picture trying to lift it….and yes, I would try and lift it!

They say art is in the eye of beholder and I also heard someone once say, “I don’t know what art is, but I know what I like”.  Sure, I’ve been to college and took “Art Appreciation” and I can BS with the best of them on the finer points of art and answer a few trivia questions about Leonardo da Vinci or Jackson Pollock (no relation to the JWC!)  But when it comes right down to it, I like the kind of art that I can use, like a 1957 Chevy, a well designed house with many architectural features, or a 500lb capacity lat pull down like Al Myers has in his gym!  So, make it pretty, but make it do something other than a paper weight or something to cover a hole in the wall.

Gold Cup Reminder

by Steve Gardner

HAVE YOU GOT YOUR ENTRY IN YET FOR THE GOLD CUP  WORLD RECORD BREAKERS EVENT: Saturday 1st October?

The second biggest Annual International Event in All Round Weightlifting, and remember…… this year sees the option of lifting for the Silver Cup, for those not able to attempt a World Record at the moment, but going for National or Club records or even PB’s. This will be a classic event and the Hall of Fame Induction will also take place at the Banquet Dinner .. for more details contact:

Steve Gardner 01283 713464
steve-g@powerful.co.uk

DONT DELAY – DO IT TODAY!!

Kettlebells: Homemade, Cheap, and Adjustable

by Jarrod Fobes

A homemade Kettlebell, built by Jarrod Fobes.

When the kettlebell craze started several years ago, I wasn’t impressed.  It seemed to me that they were expensive, took up a lot of room, and were redundant besides, since you could do the exact same exercises with dumbbells.   But over time I found they were a worthwhile piece of equipment to have around.  Kettlebell Swings have begrudgingly become a favorite exercise of mine, and there’s fun grip training to be had with them as well.  So that takes care of the redundant part, but still left them expensive and bulky.

Well trouble yourselves no more friends!  It’s easy to make an adjustable “kettlebell” yourself.  If I can put this together, anyone can.  Here are the materials you will need:  (All fittings 3/4″ diameter)

  • One Tee
  • Two 3″ Nipples
  • One 4″ Nipple
  • One 6″ Nipple
  • One Coupling
  • One Cap

The 3/4″ pipe will fit the smaller weight plates like you can find at most department stores.  If you don’t have any other use for the 3/4″ plates, just buy one to put at the bottom, just above the cap to keep standard sized weights from slipping off.  Slap the thing together as pictured, put some tape around the handle so you don’t cut yourself on the threads (not pictured), and there you go!  Ugly, but cheap and it does the job.