Articles from March 2012

Joe & his mutant finger

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia lifting a 186# Fulton (2" diameter) Dumbbell with his left hand.

I sure understand why someone would conceal a freaky birth defect from their friends, so when Joe Garcia commented at the restaurant table following the meet last weekend to all of us that one of his middle fingers was 3/8″ longer than the other – I immediately called BS on him in front of everyone!!  To make matters worse, several other guys at the table chimed in with a few snickers at my defiant response.  It left Joe with a blank expression on his face, and I’m sure full of embarrassment that he told a deep, dark secret  about this physical abnormality of his (or maybe the look  was his astonishment that I didn’t believe him??).  I’ve heard of guys having one leg longer than the other and having to wear a special built-up shoe to balance out their walk, but till now I have NEVER heard of anyone having an extra long phalanx.

This is visual proof that Joe can hook grip a Fulton Bar with his left hand. His entire thumbnail is covered with the hook.

But I’m a big boy, and own up to things when I’m proved wrong.  Joe immediately held up both of his hands and INDEED the middle finger of his left hand is much longer than the middle finger of his right hand!  There were several witnesses to this scene, and I owe Joe an apology for not believing him.  That is the reason I’m writing this story – it’s my lame way of apologizing.  But then again, it also means I’m pointing out Joe’s genetic defect (in an otherwise perfect physical specimen) to the World.  However, I don’t think Joe wants to keep this a secret anymore, or he wouldn’t have told me about it.  This must be his way of getting the word out about his FREAKY FINGER, because I bet keeping this secret to himself all this time probably was becoming a terrible burden to bear.  It’s a good idea NEVER to tell someone who writes blogs for internet websites anything you want to keep secret, because it won’t be a secret for long. 

Joe’s deviated digit got me thinking about all the birth defects I’m glad I don’t have and the birth defects I would be alright having.  Having a mutated member like Joe has would give all kind of advantages to lifting weights.  Being able to hook-grip a 2″ bar would sure come in handy at times, and that extended extremity would sure help ya out on the finger lifts!  I suspect it was even an advantage to Joe when he did his World Record Hand and Thigh Lift (or maybe that is WHY it is longer – it got stretched out holding onto 1900 pounds???)  I will say this about Joe’s outstretched feeler, I doubt if the kids picked on him in school because of it.  Because if they did – he could give them the middle finger salute in GRAND STYLE!!

5 Stages of Weight Lifting

by Al Myers

Everything these days seems to be psychoanalyzed  by putting things into “stages of this” or “stages of that”.    I did an internet search and I realized that NO ONE has done this to date for Weight Lifting (at least not on the web, and if it’s not on the web, it’s not really available information since no one has books anymore!).  I’m no certified therapist so please do not take anything I say here too serious.  In fact I’m pretty simple minded when it comes to “feelings” or emotional issues, and if you ask me a question about anything mushy I’ll probably give you some vague and strange answer which includes some reference to animal behavior.  But here it goes with my 5 STAGES OF WEIGHTLIFTING:


In this stage the lifter basis his enjoyment of weight lifting upon receiving recognition.  This may be winning or placing high in meets, or bringing home big trophies to show his buddies. Recognition is the motivation to keep lifting.  Add in a few “broken records” of some type here and there and it brings more fame, which further inspires the lifter to keep training.


In this stage, it is about self-improvement as a weight lifter.  The trophy shelf is full and you’ve been patted on the back enough.  Weight lifting becomes an “inner battle” of setting personal records and improving your lifts.  Success is defined by making improvements “in your numbers” which becomes more important than taking home first place awards. 


In this stage, it is about giving your maximum performance at each competition.  The days of setting personal records are over, so now you judge yourself by whether you gave the best performance you could at a meet.   Success is defined by hitting the marks in competition that you KNEW you could get, by goals that have been established by training lifts.


In this stage, a lifter has got to a point in the game where giving maximum performance might not always be possible.  The one thing the lifter still has control over is the EFFORT given in a competition.  You judge yourself after a meet by asking, “did I give everything I had today?”  If the answer is yes, you feel that the day of the meet was successful. 


In this final stage, a lifter has reached a point that even giving maximum effort is not always possible in meets, and thus doesn’t expect that of themselves.  Lifters in this stage receive enjoyment by just being part of the sport by participating.   This may even extend beyond competing in the competition.  Bliss is found by just being involved.

What stage are you in??  Most of the time I have seen lifters go through these 5 stages in chronological order, but not always.  Sometimes a lifter will become “stuck” at one stage for a long time, and get discouraged because they haven’t progressed to the next.  Very few lifters truly reach STAGE 5.  I can only think of a few in the USAWA that might be there.  Most lifters quit long before they reach that level. 

Now, as I’ve said earlier, these stages are just my thoughts, and don’t represent any scientific theory.  Crazy stuff like this is what I think about when I’m working out by myself!

Battle in the Barn

by Eric Todd


Group picture from the 2012 Battle in the Barn.

This Saturday past,  the weather could not have been better as we hosted  the Old Time Strongman meet “The Battle in the Barn”.  It was the first USAWA meet hosted at my strongman gym, and hopefully there will be more to follow.  The meet consisted of 4 lifts:  The Apollon’s Axle, the Goerner Stroll, the Crucifix, and the People’s Deadlift.  We ended up with 9 lifters from 3 states in our inaugural all-round meet, and a great battle ensued.  Some of the highlights of the day for me were as follows:

* Chris Anderson and Bryan Benzel going toe to toe in the Apollon’s axle, with Chris hitting an easy 325 and Bryan hitting a big PR at 355.

* Lance Foster and Bryan Benzel both missing an attempt at the Goerner Stroll, resetting the weights and completing the course for PR runs.

* Mike Murdock hanging with the young guys on the crucifix, and even repping one attempt just to show off.

* Mike Murdock, Dean Ross, and Joe Garcia competing on back to back days; something many guys a fraction of their age would not attempt.

Here are the results of the divisions:


1st place- Jesse Jobe


1st Place-Bryan Benzel
2nd Place-Chris Anderson
3rd Place-Scott Tully


1st place- Darren Barnhart
2nd Place- Joe Garcia
3rd Place-Dean Ross
4th Place-Lance Foster
5th Place-Mike Murdock

Overall Best Lifter-   Bryan Benzel

A huge thanks to all the athletes who came out and competed.  Bryan edged out his training partner Jesse Jobe for the Best lifter award.  This was a great battle all day.  Thank you also to Al Myers for serving as head judge, Rudy Bletscher for taking pictures, and Thom VanVleck and John Obrien for spotting and loading.  Without you all it would have been a much longer day.  I am looking forward to next time!

Meet Results:

Battle in the Barn
Old Time Strongman Competition
Turney, Missouri
March 25th, 2012

Meet Director:   Eric Todd

Officials (1 official system used):  Al Myers

Loaders: John O’Brien, Thom Van Vleck, Eric Todd

Events: Apollons Lift, Crucifix, Goerner Stroll, Peoples Deadlift

LIFTER AGE BWT Apo Cru DL Goer Total Lynch Points
Bryan Benzel 24 286 355 80 705 520 1660 1232.38 1232.38
Jesse Jobe 35 227 250 70 585 470 1375 1146.75 1146.75
Chris Anderson 23 301 325 110 535 510 1480 1072.41 1072.41
Darren Barnhart 44 303 220 90 555 470 1335 964.40 1012.62
Scott Tully 36 362 270 60 535 510 1375 915.61 915.61
Joe Garcia 58 212 165 70 335 310 880 761.29 905.93
Dean Ross 69 269 115 60 385 270 830 634.04 824.25
Lance Foster 46 319 200 40 500 310 1050 740.67 792.52
Mike Murdock 72 236 115 70 275 230 690 563.80 749.85

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Lynch is the adjusted Lynch Points. Points are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Deanna Springs Meet

by Al Myers


Group picture from the 2012 Deanna (left to right): Dean Ross, Rudy Bletscher, Al Myers, Joe Garcia, and Mike Murdock.

This was another great year for the Deanna Meet.  The “same crew” of lifters made their appearance  that have been attending the past few years – Joe, Rudy, Mike, Dean and myself.  Several times throughout the day I felt de-ja vu (a feeling that I’ve experienced this before), which TURNS OUT to be the case.  Same group of lifters, performing the same lifts in the Clark’s Gym, and getting beat rather handily by Joe Garcia!  This makes FOUR YEARS in a row that I have placed second to Joe G in this meet.  I should research this farther back, but it would be depressing as I know there have been many other “seconds” for me in prior years!

Bill Clark - meet director of the Deanna Springs Meet.

This was a BIG DAY for Joe.  This win marks his 11th victory at the Deanna Springs Meet.  The amazing thing is that he scored an adjusted point total of 4196 points, which is the BEST OF ALL TIME.  Congrats Joe!!!!  Joe’s new record erased the previous top point total by Abe Smith in 2005.  I would like to believe that the Daily News Story that I wrote last week on the “top performances at the Deanna Meet” might have inspired Joe to this new record.  After all, my main goal at this meet is to push Joe to lift hard.  If I can make him a little nervous at any point throughout the day, I feel like I have accomplished something.  He is just TOO GOOD at these lifts for me to give him any serious competition once the age and bodyweight corrections are made.   I did put up a 4146 total, which is the 5th best total of ALL TIME in this meet.  Joe tried to top me in this as well with his final Hip Lift, but it was just too much for him.  I thanked him for letting me take home a “moral victory”!  But by the look on his face when I said this to him, it was obvious to me that he wasn’t “letting me” take home anything. If he could have totalled more – he WOULD HAVE regardless of my feelings! 

As Joe and I were having our battle, the “senior lifters” of Rudy, Dean and Mike were having theirs.  Rudy came out on top again this year over his two amigos (I’ve impressed myself here – a little Spanish and French in the SAME story!).  Rudy’s big Hip Lift of 785# sealed the win.  I’ve said this before – I really enjoy watching these guys compete against each other.  They do it for the RIGHT REASONS – as you can tell they are enjoying every minute of it.  

Afterwards, we made our traditional visit to the Golden Corral to fill our rumens.  But unlike prior years where I’m hitting the road right after eating, this year I spent the night in Columbia because of Eric Todd’s meet in Cameron on Sunday.  This was a BIG WEEKEND for the USAWA in Missouri – two meets 150 miles apart!  In closing,  I want to thank Bill for opening his gym up to us again this year by hosting this meet.

Meet Results:

Deanna Springs Meet
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, MO
March 24th, 2012

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Officials (1 official system used): Bill Clark

Lifts: Crucifix, Curl – Cheat, Deanna Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift

LIFTER AGE BWT Cruc Curl Dean H&T Hip Total Points
Joe Garcia 58 210 70 151 535 1400 1900 4056 4196.76
Al Myers 45 247 60 191 805 1285 1805 4146 3507.90
Rudy Bletscher 76 223 50 96 405 485 785 1821 2100.10
Dean Ross 69 264 60 111 405 535 785 1896 1902.83
Mike Murdock 72 234 60 121 285 405 0 871 950.72

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are adjusted points for lynch and age correction.


Mike Murdock: Squat – Front 165#

Steve Gardner, IAWA President

by Al Myers

Steve Gardner in action as a Powerlifter taking a big squat down deep!

Most lifters involved with the USAWA know that Steve Gardner is our IAWA president.  Steve is closing in on the end of his third four year term as the IAWA President. This is a total of 12 YEARS that he has committed to leading our organization!  The IAWA (International All-Round Weightlifting Association) is the world umbrella organization of all-round weightlifting in which the USAWA is affiliated with.   There are four major countries that are involved with the IAWA (United States, England, Scotland and Australia).  Lifters from other countries (New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, and a few others) have competed in IAWA International events, but these countries do not have organized associations which oversee the all-round events within them.  Steve’s Presidency followed that of Howard Prechtel.  Howard also served the organization for 12 years.

Steve lifting a van during his days as a Police Officer.

Steve lives in Burton on Trent, England.  He began living there when he was stationed there as a Police Officer out of the police academy.  It was then that Steve realized that he had ability lifting weights.  Steve started out as a competive powerlifter.  In the early 80’s Steve won the British Title and represented Great Britain three years in a row at the European and World Championships with the WDFPF. He was the heavyweight Champion in 1990, winning the Championship in Belgium. Steve also won a Bronze Medal at the World Championships in Chicago in 1989 and a Silver Medal in France in 1991.  He has held several European Powerlifting Records with the WDFPF (World Drug Free Powerlifting Federation).

Steve getting ready to flip a big caber in a Highland Games.

Steve has also been involved in Strongman and the Highland Games.  Most don’t know this about him, but I got this story out of him recently.  In the early 80’s he competed with Geoff Capes and the International Touring team all over Great Britain, competing in Strongman and the Highland Games. At one competition he placed 4th in the World Lorry Pulling Championships and BEAT the then World’s Strongest Man Jon Pall Sigmarson!!!! Now that’s a good story.

Around 1985, Steve became involved with the All Rounds.  This was before the IAWA was even organized.  Steve was involved in the first IAWA events, and has competed in MANY international competitions.  The following is a small list of his accomplishments within the IAWA.  It would take pages and pages to list everything Steve has done in and for the IAWA!!!

  • IAWA World Heavyweight Champion 17 times (won multiple World titles in the United States, England, Scotland, and Australia)
  • Hosted the IAWA World Championships 3 times (2008, 2004, 1994) in Burton on Trent
  • Hosted the IAWA Gold Cup World Record Breaker 4 times (2011, 2000, 1997, 1993) in Burton on Trent
  • Promoted the IAWA World Postal Meet multiple times
  • Instigated and developed the drug testing program within the IAWA, which insures that our sport offers drug-free competition
  • Holder of multiple IAWA World Records (to many to count), and holder of the ALL TIME best Steinborn Lift at 200 kilograms
  • Served on the IAWA Technical Committee and has been the person responsible for updating and maintaining the IAWA Rulebook
  • Served as meet announcer and recorder numerous times at World Championships and Gold Cups

Steve also has a very active All-Round Weightlifting Club.  He runs the Powerhouse Gym in Burton, and has since 1985.  He has coached numerous lifters – powerlifters, Olympic lifters, and All-Rounders. Several of his lifters have went on to win National and World Titles.  His gym has also been the host venue of several IAWA competitions.  The 2011 IAWA Gold Cup was held in the Powerhouse Gym.

Steve competing in the Lorry Pulling Event in a Strongman Competition.

Steve has also been very involved in Tug of War. He began in 1975 as a member of the Holland Tug of War Club in Barton under Needwood.  Reporting on Steves accomplishments with Tug of War is another story in itself!!!  Steve is very involved in the Holland Sports Club.  He has been a member for over 20 years and has been in the office as Chairman for the last 6 years. He was made an honorary life member in the Holland Sports Club  in 2010 in recognition of the work he has done for the club. He is also a member of the East Staffs and District Sports Council, which awards sports grants and recognizes outstanding sports achievements.  Steve has served on the Barton Parish Council for 8 years.  He has held office as Vice Chairman for 2 years and then Chairman of the Council for another 2 years.

I have spent a lot of time in the last few years visiting with Steve.  Steve contains a WEALTH of information about many topics.  Last fall when I was in Burton for the Gold Cup Steve gave me a car tour of the town and surrounding area.  I felt like I was getting a history lesson on local history from a professional tour guide! As it turns out, Steve finally told me that he has written three books that were published about the history of Barton under Needwood. So he is, in a  sense, a professional tour guide!!

Steve and the club members of the Powerhouse Gym.

We are VERY fortunate as an organization to have Steve as our President.  We owe him alot of thanks for everything he has done to better our organization.  Very few people would “give” to an organization as much as Steve has done with IAWA.  He made the trip to Australia to help coordinate and announce the competition – just because he wanted to help make the World Championhships a great event.  I should mention that he didn’t even lift.  Not many would do that.  The IAWA has maintained WORLD-WIDE involvement because of Steve’s leadership and guidance. I feel I speak on behalf of the entire organization when I say this – we greatly apprecate the work Steve has done to make the IAWA a better organization.

French Press

by Al Myers

Chuck Cookson performing an ALL TIME best USAWA record of 207 pounds in the French Press at the 2012 Dino Gym Record Day. Take notice that Chuck has the perfect arm length to do this lift, and that his elbows are not even above his head when extended straight up!

This is an official lift of both the USAWA and the IAWA.  Amazingly, the rules are the SAME as well as the lift is named the SAME.  That is a rarity between USAWA and IAWA lifts!! However, that is about the ONLY THING I like about the French Press!  I wish I knew more about how this lift came about and who was responsible for writing the original rules on it. They must have been written by a cruel person who likes to see lifters FAIL at performing a lift! The rules for this lift are written in a way that MOST lifters can’t even perform a French Press according to them.  For a lift so simple in concept – these rules seem to me to be “over the top” for the French Press. I do know it has been around for quite a while as an all-round lift as it is represented in the old Missouri Valley Record List.  The oldest record in the Mo-Valley list is held by Homer Lewellen of Columbia, Missouri who did a French Press of 185 pounds in 1962 in the 198 class.  Other good marks in this record list were by Jim Charlton and Wayne Jackson.  I just assume they were done with the same rules as we have today, as this lift was one of the original 110.

The USAWA Rules for the French Press

A25.   French Press

The bar is brought from the platform to an overhead position by any method to assume the starting position of this lift. The lifter’s arms must be straight, the lifter standing, and the body upright before the start of the lift. Width of feet placement is optional.  Once the bar is overhead and motionless, with the lifter’s arms straight, the lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The hand spacing on the bar must not exceed 6 inches. The palms of the hands must be facing away from the lifter. The lifter will bend the arms and lower the bar until the bar touches the base of the neck at the junction of the shoulders without lowering the upper arms. The elbows must remain above the top of the head. Once the bar is on the base of the neck, an official will give the command to press.  The elbows must not be lowered during any part of the press or it will be a disqualification. The legs must remain straight during the lift. There must not be any backbend, any bending of the knees, or movement of the feet during the lift. The heels and toes must not rise.  Once the bar has been pressed, the arms straight and the bar motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift. The bar may be lowered by any method.

READ THE ABOVE RULE CAREFULLY as I know most USAWA lifters are not familiar with the legal nuances of this lift.  As I’ve said – I don’t like the rules for the French Press.  I have done French Presses in training in the past and the exercise I do (as well as most of my training partners) is NOTHING like the French Press described above!   These rules are so restrictive that it prevents most lifters from even being capable of performing a legal French Press.  Also, it is a terrible lift to judge – invaribly a lifters elbows drop to some degree and it makes for very subjective judging.  If it is in a meet at least half of the lifters can’t even do a legal lift correctly, so the judging gets lax (and not in accordance with the written rules) just so lifters won’t “bomb out” on the lift.  The French Press has been in one National Championship (2005), and if I have any say in it, that will be the last and only one that the French Press will be in.  

However, like I said, the French Press is a great training lift for the shoulders and triceps if done differently. A wider grip, descending to only the back of the head, with a slight elbow drop allows for natural movement and normal shoulder rotation.  The 6 inch grip width creates most of the problems, especially on a straight bar.  Also, requiring the bar to touch the BASE of the neck creates issues if a lifters arm length is not of the correct proportions.  I guess I just don’t understand why the rules for the French Press are written this way when the practicality of performing it in training is so much different?  

However, at the Dino Gym Record Day I was proved wrong on many accounts when Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson performed a legal French Press of 207 pounds while maintaining PERFECT legal form.   This record of Chuck’s is the top ALL TIME in the USAWA, besting Ernie Beaths mark of 200 pounds.  I judged Chuck’s French Press and made sure it was done strictly in accordance with the rules.  He has perfect body mechanics and limb lengths to do this lift with perfection.   So – I guess I now feel the the French Press is a good lift because I know SOMEONE who can do it right! A Lot of the other USAWA lifts are also in the category of the French Press, ie Van Dam Lift, Mansfield, Zeigler, etc.   I guess I feel if someone can do them correctly and excel in them, these lifts should be available to allow these few lifters to show their abilities in these difficult lifts at record days (But NOT in meets!!).

Best Lifting Performances in Past Deanna Springs Meets

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia uses his signature lift, the Hand and Thigh Lift, to lift 1400 pounds to secure his victory at the 2011 Deanna Springs Meet. That win gives Joe 10 ALL TIME wins in this meet, which is the most of any lifter.

The annual Deanna Springs Memorial Meet is coming up this weekend at Clark’s Gym, in Columbia Missouri.  I have been to this meet several times, and it is one that I enjoy.  It provides a unique combination of lifts – Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Deanna Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and Hip Lift. We always start with the Crucifix and Cheat Curl and then finish with the “heavy stuff”.  These first two events are merely warmups for the serious heavy lift events.  The competition often will come down to the last event of the day, the Hip Lift, to decide who the winner is. 

A couple of years ago Dale Friesz wrote a very nice story summarizing the history of the Deanna Meet.  It is mainly a long list of victories by Joe Garcia, the Clark’s Gym Phenom. Last year at the Deanna Joe won his TENTH Deanna Meet – out of the 16 meets in the history of this long running meet.   Abe Smith has won two (2002 & 2007), John Carter one (1997), Josh Pemberton one (2000), Steve Schmidt one (2006), and myself once (2008).  The only reason I was able to win in 2008 was that I was the only one who showed up that year!!! LOL  Most of the time at this one I’m  sucking up the chalkdust thrown up by Joe after his  big finale Hip Lifts!

Today I want to look back at some of the BEST lifting performances ever done at the Deanna Meet. I am only going to include meets from 1998 on, as that was when the lifts remained constant at the five done today. 


1 Abe Smith 2005 4111.98
2 Joe Garcia 2011 4018.08
3 Joe Garcia 1999 3876.54
4 Joe Garcia 2009 3711.88
5 Joe Garcia 2006 3655.85
6 Steve Schmidt 2003 3654.37
7 Joe Garcia 2004 3650.87
8 Al Myers 2011 3630.91
9 Joe Garcia 2002 3627.67
10 Abe Smith 2003 3620.00


1  Sam Huff  2005  4700
2  Joe Garcia  1999  4525
3  Al Myers  2011  4385
4  Al Myers  2010  4230
5  Eric Todd  2005  4145
6  Joe Garcia  1998  4140
7  Joe Garcia  2002  4120
8  Abe Smith  2005  4105
9  Eric Todd  2002  4045
10  Joe Garcia  2006  4035

Kids in the USAWA

by Al Myers

Gabby Jobe competed in her first USAWA competition last month at my Dino Gym Records Day.

There has been discussion recently in the USAWA Discussion Forum about lifters who have kids that also lift.  Several of these kids have lifted in the USAWA.  In our sport of All Round Lifting, that has been a common thing throughout the years.  Lifters whose kids get involved because of their  parent’s encouragement. 

At the Dino Gym Record Day last month, Gabby Jobe performed several record lifts.  I was very impressed with her focus and obvious training time she had done to perfect the lifts she was attempting.  I could tell her Dad and coach, Jesse, did an excellent job of preparing her for the competition. Her performance made me to think of the other “great” youth lifters that have lifted in the USAWA.  I would like to take todays story and remember some of the best lifting youth the USAWA has had in it’s 25 year history. Let’s start at the top with the lifter who holds the MOST JUNIOR RECORDS and work down the list to include the top 20 Junior Record Holders. 

1. Joshua Monk – 95 records
2. Robbie McKean – 79 records
3.  Jeff Ciavattone – 73 records
4.  Sean McKean – 68 records
5. Misty Fritz – 58 records
6. Joe Ciavattone Jr. – 47 records
6. Cale Demille – 47 records
6.  Kohl Hess – 47 records
9.  Elizabeth Monk – 46 records
10.  Kyle Calcote – 44 records
11.  Abe Smith – 39 records
12.  Frank Ciavattone III – 36 records
13.  Molly Myers – 35 records
14. Adam Geib – 34 records
14.  James Loewer – 34 records
16.  Mike O’Brien – 33 records
17.  Jon Blockston – 31 records
17.  Jeremiah Schmidt – 31 records
19.  Kirstie Griffis – 29 records
20.  Jonathon Ciavattone – 26 records

Peoples Deadlift

by Al Myers

Bob Peoples demonstrating a high-pick deadlift in his homemade power rack.

Coming up soon will be the first USAWA Old Time Strongman Meet of the year, the “BATTLE IN THE BARN”, hosted by Eric Todd on March 25th.  His meet will include a couple of  approved OTSM lifts (Apollons Lift & Goerner Stroll), one traditional All Round Lift (Crucifix) and a new exhibition OTSM Lift – the Peoples Deadlift.   This lift has already been submitted to be considered and voted on as a new OTSM Official Lift.  It is also on the lift agenda for the OTSM Championships held next fall.  So this lift looks to be well-represented this year in the OTSM series!

Most lifters will recognize right away who this OTSM lift is named after. It is after the great deadlifter Bob Peoples.  He was way ahead of his time in regards to new training techniques for the deadlift.  Peoples is often credited for pioneering the Power Rack.  Of course, his results speak for themselves. The training ideas he used gave him a deadlift of 728 pounds at a bodyweight of 178 pounds back in the 40s.  I think it is only appropriate that a deadlift utilizing the power rack should be named after him. Most of his training ideas are outlined in a book he wrote titled, “Developing Physical Strength”.  This book is a must-read for any lifter.

Two of Peoples training ideas for the deadlift involved, 1. use of the power rack to pull from higher points, and 2. use of negatives in the deadlift.  When Thom Van Vleck proposed the Peoples Deadlift we discussed which of these ideas should be emphasized in naming a lift after him. One idea we about went with involved a deadlift where the bar started at the top position and then lowered to the floor till it touched, and then brought back to lockout. Bob commonly trained in this manner, as it involved a negative followed by a deadlift which often included being bounced from the floor. I want to relate a story about this by Bob Peoples friend and great lifter himself  Bob Hise, “Some of Bob’s training methods were unique. He built a bouncing platform of two oak 2×12″ boards, 8″ long, nailed barbell width apart on 4×4 timbers underneath at each end. By using the lift on his tractor (extending a lowering/raising mechanism which he could operate by placing his head against the actuator) 800 pounds, would be lifted to an upright extended position, and he would lower this, with a bounce, and attempt to get the bar to his knees. This would build great starting strength.”

However, Thom and I decided that the high-pick deadlift out of the power rack would be a better lift named after Bob Peoples for a couple of reasons. First it represented the use of a power rack in a lift (since Peoples pioneered the power rack), and we felt it was a safer lift. Second, the high pick deadlift (18″ deadlift) is a common height trained by strongman now a days (often called the Silver Dollar Deadlift in Strongman competitions).  This would lead itself to an OTSM lift that more lifters and strongmen would understand and relate to.


Peoples DeadliftThis is a partial deadlift, where the bar height must not be over 18″ from the platform (measured from the bottom of the bar). The plates or bar may be supported on stands, rack supports,  or blocks to obtain this height. The lifter must have the bar in front of the legs, as in a normal deadlift. Lifting straps or any other gripping aid is not allowed. It is NOT an infraction to drag the bar up the legs, bounce the bar up the legs, or support the bar on the legs during the lift (hitching). A one minute time limit is allowed for the lifter to make a legal lift, during which time a lifter may make multiple tries. Once the lifter is totally upright and the bar motionless, an official will give the command to end the lift.

One Hand Swing

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe, of Atomic Athletic, performing a dumbbell swing with an "old school" Jackson 80# globe dumbbell at the Ambridge Barbell Club.

Quick lifts seem to be all the rage right now, for good reason.

The One Hand Dumbbell Swing is one explosive lift you do not see a lot of, but you are really missing out if you aren’t doing it. It was one of the contest lifts in Ambridge, PA last weekend, at the Ambridge Barbell Club USAWA (All-Round) weightlifting meet.

First of all, the guys in that organization are a treasure trove of information. I had been casually training the lift for about a month. The deeper I looked at it and experimented with it, the more interesting it became. As with many All-Round Association events, I came out of the meet with a far greater understanding of the lift than when I went in. You may have noticed, that I tend to repeat lifts from one meet to the next. The idea is that in a 6 month period of time, you can then have two contests where you can show some improvement from the first to the second.


To start with, you want to lift on the most appropriate equipment. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but there are certain key factors to consider. Now, my favorite dumbbell at the meet was the one I used for my final attempt, which was a good one. However, if I were trying to set a record, or push my absolute limit, I would NOT have used that dumbbell. I like that dumbbell because it was an antique Jackson solid, globe head, dumbbell. It was down right cool. Yet, the grip area was much too long and unknurled.

Ideally, you want a rotating Olympic sized plate loading dumbbell with a handle that is similar diameter to an Olympic barbell. I have one in my collection that measures 1 1/4 inches in diameter and it is simply too big. The goal of a swing is not just to work your grip. A swing should be a test of your back, hips and traps. You also need to have very solid collars. There is no way I would trust little spring collars or something made of plastic. I use leather lined Spin-Lock Collars that you can crank down on.


1. Make sure you get a good grip. I also like to have the thumb side of my hand cranked in tight to the inside collar.
2. Don’t do too many swings, three should be enough. More than that and you are wasting energy and explosiveness. With your final swing you want to go up more than out with a genuine triple extension.
3. Don’t forget you can also drop under it and catch it in a split. There will be more looping of the dumbbell than in a snatch, so you will want to practice the split. You could could catch it in a quarter squat type movement, but you will probably have to jump backward to receive the dumbbell. That is possibly stronger, but chancy. I started off using that method, because of my Olympic lifting background. While that swing split is certainly different from a barbell jerk split, I am gradually switching and adapting to it.
4. Finally, lock your shoulder right into the side of your head. There is a really cool screw type motion that makes it stunningly solid.

Finally, if you are not already doing full barbell Olympic weightlifting, then start. The application of that type of training to the One Hand Dumbbell Swing is so obvious as to not even warrant discussion.

Have fun. Today is a good day to lift. Live strong.

Adam Glass and the Inch Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Adam Glass lifting the Inch Dumbbell with cans balancing on each globe!

The weekend of the Minnesota All Round Meet I met one of the strongest GRIP GUYS I have ever met.  Possibly the strongest.  I have seen his FB pictures and YouTube Videos of some of his grip feats beforehand, and was impressed, but nothing is like seeing it firsthand.  In fact, I even kidded Adam that I didn’t really believe his UNBELIEVABLE grip lifts until now (and I was just kiddin).  Also, I am a hard one to impress with grip feats of strength because I have seen some of the best in action in the Dino Gym before - guys like Andrew Durniat, Ben Edwards, Matt Graham, to name a few. I have an IronMind Inch Dumbbell Replica in the Dino Gym that has been lifted by 5 guys (Matt Graham, John Conners, Matt Vincent, Dave Brown, and Andrew Durniat) so it’s not like I haven’t seen this done before. But the things Adam Glass did with the Inch Dumbbell are things I have NEVER seen before, and I would question if there are very many people in the World who could even replicate these feats of his.

Picking up an Inch Dumbbell in each hand and going for a walk was easy for Adam!

I’ll leave the history and description of the Thomas Inch Dumbbell for another story.  I want this story to be about the things I witnessed Adam perform with the Inch Dumbbell.  First of all, I want to tell a little bit about him before I start with “the meat” of the story.  When I got to The Movement early Saturday morning for the competition he was the only one in the gym at the time. He was tidying things up for the days meet.  Very friendly first impression.  He didn’t seem built like some of the monster ”grip guys” I have meant in the past – taller than me, but not a huge frame like guys like Mark Felix.  But I did notice his very long fingers and hands when I shook his hand.  Also, he didn’t try to “bad ass” me with his handshake (cause he could if he wanted – he has closed the #3COC gripper!).  Just a firm shake and friendly welcome.  

The first thing he did was lift the Inch with two cans balanced on top of the globes.  I didn’t think there would be a chance that the cans would stay on – but they did!  Anyone who has tried to pick up the Inch (which I have over a 100 times with no success) will know that the rotation of the db is the first thing that will get ya. It’s not that the Inch DB is that heavy (It only weighs 172#), but with the thick handle it immediately starts to roll out of your hand.  The act of balancing cans on top and STAY tells me that Adam didn’t allow ANY ROTATION.  Plus another difficulty with this feat is that you can’t tip the dumbbell to any degree (which does aid in lifting it quite a bit).  He lifted it straight up perfectly parallel to the floor, and even held it while I took a picture!!!  Lets just say I was impressed with that, but things got even better later on.

Another thing he did is carry two Inch Dumbbells at the same time.  I have seen this done before a couple of times, but not after a day of lifting and lifting the Inch numerous times beforehand.  He carried the Dumbbells over 30 feet easily – we never measured anything so that is just an estimate. But regardless, I’m sure if he did this “fresh” he could have went much farther.

The last stunt he did with the Inch DB is the one that impressed me the most. He picked up the Inch with his right hand and then let it go and CAUGHT it with his left hand while the dumbbell was in the air!!  That may be the most impressive feat I have ever heard of with the Inch DB!  I would like to know if anyone else in the World can do that.  I didn’t get a picture of that because it happened so fast, but Adam does have YouTube Videos online so you can watch him doing it.  I checked the Inch DB he was using and this is the real deal. Not like how old Thomas Inch would pull a “switch a roo” in his exhibitions by having lighter Inch Dumbbells of the same size secretly substituted in and portraying them as the heavy one!  

One last thing I want to say about Adam Glass.  He is the “total package” when it comes to grip strength.  I have seen grip guys who have specialities in which they excel, but Adam is strong at all grip stuff.  He a certified Red Nail Bender, as well as an exceptional pinch gripper and round stock lifter (I should mention that he broke Andrew Durniat’s and Ben Edward’s record in the 2″ VB lift).  He doesn’t appear to have any weak links in his grip game to me.  I am glad to see someone of his caliber become a member of the USAWA!!!

Divisions, Awards & Records

by Al Myers

The other day I wrote a blog about the USAWA scoring system, and how using it is an “unwritten policy” of the USAWA because it is not detailed in the Rulebook but is the common way the USAWA has ALWAYS scored meets.  Today I’m going to cover another topic that has several  ”unwritten policies” that applies to divisions, awards, and records.  I know there has been some confusion on this because lately I have received a few emails asking questions on it. I will make references to the USAWA Rulebook whenever possible, but “lots of stuff” is not outlined in the Rulebook with specific details.  Instead, it is just “common knowledge” amongst experienced USAWA members.  I will also “throw in” a few opinions of my own in this story as it relates to these matters.

First, the USAWA recognizes four main age groups with subdivisions.  This comes straight from the Rulebook:

II. 3.  The USAWA will recognize four main age groups:

  • Junior – This includes lifters who have not reached their 20th birthday.   Junior age groups may be further split into smaller age groups. These include 13 and under, 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19.
  • Senior – This includes lifters who have reached their 20th birthday, but have not reached their 40th birthday.
  • Open – This includes lifters who are 20 years of age or older.
  • Master – This includes lifters who are 40 years of age or older. Master age groups may be further split into smaller age groups.  These include 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, and will continue each 5 years to infinity.

These are the age groups which MAY be offered in any USAWA competitions.  No where in the Rulebook does it say a meet director MUST offer each of these age group (and subdivisions).  In fact, most USAWA competitions do not offer ANY of these age group categories in meets.  Small meets competitors just typically compete against everyone, with the ranking determined by the Scoring System which I outlined the other day. However at big competitions (like the USAWA National Championship) these age groups may be offered because awards are given for BEST LIFTERS within these different groupings. That is really the only reason age groupings are included at meets – for the awards.  It is silly to advertise age groupings if it doesn’t mean anything, ie offering age group categories but NOT giving out awards in them.  By now, some have noticed that the 2012 National Championships is offering these age groupings: Junior, Senior, and Master for both Men and Women. Our Rulebook clearly spells out that Men and Women have seperate divisions:

II. 1.  Competitions are to be organized for both men and women.

You will notice that the OPEN age group is not included at Nationals this year.  This age grouping has been included at times in the past at Nationals.  Now is the time for me to “get on my soapbox” during this story and explain my views on why I’m NOT OFFERING the open division. First of all, of ALL these four age groupings, there is only one that is redundant (already represented in other age groupings) and THAT is the open age group. The “open” age group is solely the combination of the Senior age group and the Master age group.  This is where the problem arises.  By having the open age group for awards (in place of the Senior Age Group), it allows lifters in the Masters age group to win their Master Awards as well  as the open awards, thus “taking awards away” from those lifters in the Senior 20-39 age group.  I call this DOUBLE DIPPING.  Of course, the Master lifters lose their age percent adjustment to do this, but STILL CAN win these awards.  Offering the Senior Age Group (instead of an open age group) for awards eliminates the possibility of this happening.  Now – I know what several of you are saying right now! And that is” if a Master is good enough without their age point bonus they SHOULD win these awards!” After all – being an “old guy” shouldn’t be an advantage – Right???? Well, I can tell you that this is making the assumption that age is NOT an advantage.  I know I am better in several of the all round lifts now at the age of 45 than I was at the age of 35, because I have had the many years experience of learning the correct way of performing the lifts. Am I stronger now? No – but I’m just “better” at some of the difficult all round lifts because I have had more years of practice time.  So I would argue that lifters of Master Age MIGHT at times have an advantage over novice Senior lifters – thus why the Senior Age Group should be recognized by itself.  Every other age group is recognized by itself – why should lifters in the 20-39 age group be discriminated against???

The USAWA is not like most other lifting organizations. We are not a “for profit” business and NO ONE makes a profit from putting on a meet. Our meet promoters are NOT professional meet promoters.  I know a few PL meet promoters who make their living “running meets”, and like any business, need to make money to continue.  I sure don’t fault them for this. But in the USAWA if a meet director “breaks even” on meets that is the norm.  I have been to powerlifting meets in the past where one could enter multiple divisions if they wanted to.  I never did this because I thought it was foolish.  It is just a “marketing ploy” on the meet directors part to “up sale the entries” for more profit.  After all, it makes perfect business sense to allow one lifter to pay several entry fees so they could win lots of awards.    Add in American Records for each of these divisions and then you really “sweeten the pot” to sucker more lifters in with this sales pitch.  I’ve seen lifters walk out of these meets carrying more weight in awards than their max squat and “bragging” on the 12 American Records they just set over the course of the 6 divisions they entered!!!  Who do they think they are kidding here?  But the lifters are happy with their boughten fame and the meet directors smiling with his fat pockets.

I’m glad the USAWA doesn’t operate like that. A meet director should charge what is needed to finance a meet with one entry fee per lifter and not rely on “tricking” the lifters into more fees.  Also, no one is “buying” a record in a special division in the USAWA.  If you enter a meet and set a record – YOU SET A RECORD!  No where in the Rulebook does it say you must be “entered” in that division or age group (and have paid an entry fee for it) to set a record in that division.  Lifters have set overall (or open) records in the past without ever being officially entered in these divisions. That’s the precident which has been set long before now. This comes AGAIN straight from the Rulebook:

V. 8.  Records will be kept for men and women in all weight classes within subgroups of the Junior and Master age groups. Overall records will be kept for men and women in all weight classes, and will include all age groups.  

Now I’m not saying that is how the records are being kept now -but this line in the Rulebook CLEARLY outlines how the records SHOULD be kept.  It does not say “open records” are kept, but that OVERALL records are kept.  This means the OVERALL best record within all age groupings – Junior, Senior and Master.  Think of it as the ULTIMATE weight class record, because it is the BEST ever done in the weight class, of all ages.  And I’ll say it again – you DO NOT have to pay a special fee at a meet to get this record!

As you can tell I am not in favor of the open age group.   From now on any meet I’m promoting WILL NOT include this age grouping. Of course, if other meet promoters want to have it in their meet that is their right.  The USAWA will not tell you what awards to give out – that’s your job as the meet promoter.  But don’t count on me entering your open age group (in addition to the Masters) to give you a few extra dollars! I’ll always think that’s a scam as well as unfair to the Senior Age Class lifters.

I welcome any rebuttals to to my opinions on this subject.

Club Challenge

by John McKean


Group picture from 2012 USAWA Club Challenge. (front left to right): Rudy Bletscher, John McKean, Roger LaPointe, Art Montini (back left to right): Chad Ullom, Al Myers, Scott Schmidt, Denny Habecker, Andy Root

For me the first REAL day of Spring began with the bright, beaming smiles of Scott, Denny, Al, Chad, and Rudy as they bounded into the cave-like Ambridge VFW gym to get Art & me out of hibernation! Heck, just the day before it still looked like a typical Western Pennsylvania winter, with gray skies, wind, and snow flurries! Yet the Saturday team challenge had nothing but warming sunshine and crisp, crystal blue skies, which seemed to shout “Get off your lazy butts, it’s time for renewed vigor, a day for record setting!”

First in was an always energetic Roger LaPointe of the Atomic Athletic club from Bowling Green, Ohio. Rog presented each of us with outstanding “old tyme” posters of his upcoming Heavy Lift Championships in May, and was the “early bird” (no, we didn’t give him a worm!) onto the lifting platform. Roger wanted to “warm up” for the main team event by performing a series of record lifts of his specialties with various Olympic style lifts. As usual, his form was crisp and snappy, even inspiring this old achy author to wake up and get in a few records to alert my aging excuse of a body that serious activity was just ahead !

Despite a local bridge having just been closed, Art and Denny zoomed over to the Pittsburgh airport to fetch Al, Chad, and Rudy. Promptly at 11:50 the 3 Kansas stalwarts popped out of the gates, took the speedy drive (Art was at the wheel!) over the Ohio River, and set a new team record in getting ready to lift in the locker room. I swear they flew over in their singlets and warmed up on the jet! (These guys KNOW how to prepare for away meets – they seem to travel somewhere every weekend!).

Club Challenge Meet Director John McKean performing a one arm dumbbell swing of 55 pounds.

Andy Root, from nearby New Castle, showed up to treat us to his outstandingly powerful brand of all-round lifting. Andy, you may recall, first appeared last year at Art’s Birthday Bash, with his heart set on his initial USAWA lift to be the Inman Mile (we talked him out of it, and injuries prevented him from trying it today!!). Andy couldn’t coerce team mates to attend with him this time, though. Girlfriend Angela came along, but she was in serious training for a power meet in Ohio next month to perform a world record bench press of 240 pounds at a mere 123 #bwt! We tried & tried, but couldn’t convince the lovely little lady – a very determined and focused powerlifter – to lift today. Fortunately, in putting meet certificates together for the challenge, my wife Marilyn had created an award, “just in case”, for a “team” of one – the “Man Alone” award, which Andy took home!

Phil Rosenstern from our Ambridge club was in for his Saturday workout with his son. Like last year, he didn’t know a USAWA meet was going on. So he promptly entered in order to set a new “Reeves Deadlift” record. As one of the country’s top flight deadlifters for years, Phil made easy work of this difficult lift!  He must have inspired team mate Art, who sure never shows his almost 85 years – except, of course, for his characteristic surliness!! Art is already preparing for the Nationals, World’s, and his Birthday Bash!!

It was a sight as Art, Rudy, and I were performing our pullover and press lifts on our own separate platform. The lifts weren’t difficult, but getting each of us old timers back upright off the platform after attempts required the combined efforts of the other two!! I noted, however, that Rudy sure was spry and strong on his swing and hack lifts!

As expected, the big boys, Chad and Al, dominated the heavy lifts. Both showed amazing splitting form in heavy one arm swings, and huge stacking of plates for hack lifts. Chad in particular had bulked up, looking so big that I suspect the guys didn’t really take a jet at all – they just sat on Chad’s massive back and let him flap his huge arms to literally “fly” over from the mid-west! (Ground observers would’ve reported a gigantic “bald eagle” flying above!).

A fine, but all-too-quick day of lifting was punctuated with the annual trip down to the famous Maple Restaurant, home of the proclaimed best hot roast beef sandwich in the country (before we even started lifting, visibly salivating at the mouth, Al told me we could go to ANY restaurant afterwards -except pure vegetarian(!!) – as long as such a place served that fantastic rich beef gravy & gallons of it!). This year, for the first time ever, ALL lifters in the challenge attended the dinner!! And then Sunday we’re on Daylight Savings Time – Spring has truly sprung!!


USAWA Club Challenge
Ambridge Barbell Club
Ambridge, PA
March 10th, 2012

Meet Director: John McKean

Officials (3 official system used): John McKean, Art Montini, Scott Schmidt, Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Chad Ullom

Lifts: Pullover and Press, Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Hack Lift

1. Dino Gym – 2047.0 adjusted points

Lifter Age BWT P&P Swing Hack
Al Myers 45 247 320 140R 540
Chad UIlom 40 255 310 150R 490
Rudy Bletscher 76 218 108 55R 220

2.  Atomic Athletic – 1992.0 adjusted points

Lifter Age BWT P&P Swing Hack
Roger LaPointe 40 165 154 80L 300
Denny Habecker 69 191 194 75R 270
Andy Root 31 180 245 98R 510

3.  Ambridge VFW BBC – 1666.9 adjusted points

Lifter Age BWT P&P Swing Hack
John McKean 66 172 148 55R 330
Art Montini 84 184 118 35L 200
Scott Schmidt 59 246 209 88R 253

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in pounds. Adjusted points is the total adjusted points for all team lifters, adjusted for bodyweight and age. L and R designate the arm used in DB swing.


John McKean: Curl – Reverse Grip 100#
John McKean: Bent Over Row 202#
John McKean: Pullover – Bent Arm 80#
Roger LaPointe: Snatch – Fulton Bar 99#
Roger LaPointe:  Clean and Press – Fulton Bar 127#
Roger LaPointe: Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar 127#
Roger LaPointe: Snatch – From Hang 152#
Chad Ullom: Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm 120#
Chad Ullom: Squat – Front 425#
Phil Rosenstern: Deadlift – Reeves 355#
(58 years old, 198# BWT)

USAWA Scoring

by Al Myers

One of the unique aspects of the USAWA is our scoring system for meets.  I know there are several  USAWA lifters who are not fully familiar (and completely understand) this scoring system so I’m going to take today’s story and go over it.  Now – I’m not going to get into any discussion (or my opinion) on whether it is fair or not.  That’s been hashed over many times and no one will ever be considered the victor.  There will always be some who don’t think it is fair – young lifters, old lifters, light lifters or heavy lifters.  I’ve heard it from all.

The USAWA scoring system is not outlined anywhere in the Rule Book.  It has been one of those “unwritten policies” of the USAWA that has been in place since the beginning.  Bill Clark is the one who came up with the way our scoring is done.  By the way, the IAWA uses the same scoring system (with some minor differences).  It is just the way it has always been done.  Simply put, a lifters total weight lifted during the day (on their max lift in each event)  is adjusted for the lifters bodyweight (by using the Lynch Formula) and corrected for age allowance (1% per year starting at the age of 40).  This gives each lifter an adjusted Lynch Points that can be used to determine the ranking of the meet.  By using this system, lifters of all ages and bodyweights can be compared.  Now it’s time for questions.

May a Meet Director use a different scoring system if they want? 

The answer is YES, but the recommendation  from the USAWA is to use the system we have in place so we have meet consistency.  Championships are different in that they definitely are REQUIRED to use this scoring system. But if a meet director wants to have divisions for awards, that is acceptable.  The USAWA has always allowed meet directors to give out any awards they want to and to whom they want to.  That is another “unwritten policy” of the USAWA.

How do I get these factors for the Lynch Formula and formulas to do these calculations?

The Lynch Formula is available on the website under “Scoring Information” on the Home Page.  It is a MUST READ to fully understand all the details of the USAWA Scoring System.   Everything is available on that page to successfully score a USAWA competition.

Is there a spreadsheet available to do this scoring system?

GOOD NEWS on that question!  For the last 6 months we have been using an Excel Spreadsheet developed by Mike Murdock.  All of the “bugs” have now been worked out of it and it will be “released” in the near future.  It makes scoring a USAWA meet very easy! The Lynch Factors and age adjustments are built into it.  It even has the capabilities of printing off certificates for each lifter which summarizes their lifts.

Shoulder Flexibility Testing – Part 2

by Al Myers

I feel the following tests (listed below)  do a good job of assessing your shoulder flexibility.  I challenge everyone to take these tests yourself and then see if you have any flexibility issues with your shoulders.  If you pass all of them with “flying colors” then I would say don’t worry about things at this time, you have more than enough shoulder flexibility to be a competitive weightlifter.  Years ago when I was training young lifters for Olympic Lifting competitions I had a young girl miss one of her snatches in competition by getting the bar to far behind her head at the top of the snatch.  She nonchalently performed a shoulder dislocation catching the bar behind her back without moving her hands, stood up, and then set the bar down on the platform behind her back. I was alarmed as I thought for sure she tore up her shoulders with this – but it didn’t faze her. She had such unbelievable shoulder flexibility that this was non painful in any way to her (even though it looked like it would have caused major injury to me!).

1. Shoulder Flex Test

Dino Gym member Bryce Meuli showing an excellent test on the Shoulder Flex Test. He easily made a full hand clasp both directions.

This is by far the most common test to assess shoulder flexibility. All it takes is a tape measure to evaluate the results. This test is widely used by personal trainers to evaluate clients before programs are established.


  • Raise one arm over the head and reach downwards behind back
  • Bend the other arm behind back and reach upwards
  • Try to touch hands, and measure the distance apart if not touching
  • Repeat with other direction

Shoulder Flex Test Results

EXCELLENT – fingers overlap
GOOD – fingers touch
AVERAGE – fingers are less than 2 inches apart
POOR – fingers are more than 2 inches apart
VERY POOR – fingers are more than 12 inches apart
EMBARRASSING – fingers are more than 24 inches apart

2.  Shoulder Circumduction Test

Bryce was 12 inches beyond shoulder width in the Shoulder Circumduction Test. This would put him in the GOOD CLASSIFICATION.

This test measures the flexibility of shoulder rotation.  It is also a very common test to evaluate shoulder flexibility.  All that is required is a broomstick and a tape measure to measure results.  The first thing you will need to do is measure the width of your shoulders at their widest point.


  • Hold broomstick overhead with straight arms with comfortable grip
  • Lower the broomstick behind the head keeping the arms straight
  • Slide your grip out on the broomstick to allow for shoulder rotation
  • The entire hand must stay on the broomstick
  • Once positioned above the hip, measure the distance between thumbs

Shoulder Circumduction Test Results

EXCELLENT – distance less than 6 inches more than shoulder width
GOOD – distance less than 12 inches more than shoulder width
AVERAGE – distance less than 18 inches more than shoulder width
POOR – distance less than 24 inches more than shoulder width
VERY POOR – distance less than 30 inches more than shoulder width
EMBARRASSING – distance more than 30 inches than shoulder width, or just can’t even do it!

3. Kelly Shoulder Stretch Test

Bryce scored an 85 degrees on the Kelly Shoulder Stretch Test. This would put him in the GOOD CLASSIFICATION. Of course if his assistant would have positioned the ruler a little more square on his back he would have been over the 90 degrees giving him an EXCELLENT RATING.

Now this is shoulder flexibility test that I came up with.  It is a derivative of a not well-known All Round Lift – the Kelly Snatch (or also known as the reverse swing).  It measures shoulder rotation from another direction.  Instead of moving away from the head, you are moving towards the head with this test.  It does take a little special equipment for measurement of this test. You will need a couple of small boards (like 3 foot rulers) bolted together, and a way of measuring degrees, as well as a broomstick.


  • Place the hands shoulder width apart on a broomstick, palms up.
  • Lay face down on a table with arms straight holding the broomstick above hips.
  • Raise the broomstick up while keeping the arms straight
  • Use rulers to fix angle at point of maximum rotation from center point of the shoulders

Kelly Shoulder Stretch Test Results

EXCELLENT – angle exceeds 90 degrees
GOOD – angle exceeds 75 degrees
AVERAGE – angle exceeds 60 degrees
POOR – angle exceeds 45 degrees
VERY POOR – angle exceeds 30 degrees
EMBARRASSING – angle is less than 30 degrees

How did you do on these simple shoulder flexibility tests?  Are you excellent on all these tests?  The purpose of this is to bring attention to any issues with poor shoulder flexibility, so you can take action to correct these deficiencies before things get worse. Because they will without attending to them!!  Just a little work on shoulder flexibility might help in catching that Jerk or Push Press when over head with a maximum attempt, especially if you are at the low ends of these tests. I’m not going to “share with the World” my results, as so to say, THEY ARE EMBARRASSING!

Shoulder Flexibility Testing – Part 1

by Al Myers

Tim Piper performing a Kelly Snatch. This is an All Round Lift that requires great shoulder flexibility.

FLEXIBILITY – now that’s a word not often used in a weightlifters vocabulary.  All of my life I have had this believe when it came to flexibility – “a little is good, but alot is a bad thing in regards to strength”.  Now I know there are personal trainers out there who would wholeheartly disagree with me on this statement, but let me explain myself first.  A big part of being strong (for max efforts lifts that is) is to “be tight” in the bottom position, or starting position,  of a lift.  Take the deadlift for example.  As you descend to the bar, you want to feel like a spring where maximum compression occurs at the bottom starting position, and takes maximum flexibility to reach this point.  Any flexibility beyond this does you no good, and probably is limiting your ability to “explode” from the bottom position.  I have done training programs in the past where I trained standing on platforms to increase the range of motion on my deadlifts.  I got stronger in those motions, and probably increase my deadlift flexibility,  but guess what, my max deadlift off the floor did not increase!  In fact, I felt “too loose” (and uncomfortable) in the bottom of a floor deadlift afterwards.

But I’m getting off topic here. Todays story is about shoulder flexibility. As I’ve got older I have noticed that the normal flexibility that I have taken for granted in the past is leaving me.  My main problem area is with my shoulders.  Too many years of bench pressing and front shoulder work is probably the culprit.  I have the problem which I’m going to call the “tight shoulder syndrome”.   I know many weightlifters have this same problem, especially as they become master lifters. Now the “tide has shifted”, and instead of decreased flexibility being your ally in increased strength, it has become your nemesis by limiting your range of motion in lifts that require more flexibility to complete them pain free.

Last weekend at the meet in Minneapolis I was asking David Dellanave about why his club was named The Movement. David explained to me that the reason for this was that they emphasize movements (or exercises) that increase functionality.  Every exercise should have a beneficial component to increase the bodies ability to MOVE.  He demonstrated this by doing a straight legged toe touch, and then after doing some stiff legged deadlifts, was able to show an increase in stretch in the toe touch AFTER the stiff legged deadlifts. That makes sense to me!  I have been choosing exercises all my life that do the complete opposite!! The time has come that I need to start doing some exercises that will “shift the tide” back in my favor in regards to flexibility.  I have decided to start this “experiment” with my shoulders as that is my biggest problem area.

One of my problems is that when I’m in the gym I have to have a specific goal in mind to motivate my training.  Whether that be a meet coming up or a specific “challenge implement” in mind, I need that for my motivation.  I have always done some stretching in the past, but often don’t focus on it like I should as there is no way of measuring my progress (or so I thought).   I have done some internet research on shoulder flexibility and have come up with three Shoulder Flexibility Tests (2 very standard ones, and one original that I think is an important one for all rounders) that I would like to share with you. I am going to test myself on these, and then after some “training time” on shoulder flexibility retest myself and see what improvements I’ve made. If I don’t make progress, I’ll switch up my program until I find what works in regards to improving on these tests.  That ought to be motivation!  Tomorrow I’m going to reveal these tests so if you want to join me in this program you can.

Reminder – Club Challenge

by Al Myers

One of the biggest and most prestigious meets of the USAWA is being held this weekend – the USAWA CLUB CHALLENGE.   This meet pits “club against club” in a team competition.   Each club provides three team members, whose scores are added up for a team score.  This is not an individual competition. 

It is still not to late to get your team entered this weekend.  Just send me ( or John McKean a shout!!!

Minnesota Meet

by David Dellanave


Group picture from the Minnesota All Round Meet. (front left to right): Jen Sinkler, Jenn Halvorson (back left to right): Jeff Nolan, David Dellanave, Josh Freeman, Adam Glass, Joe Goodin, Al Myers, Mike Murdock

It might be fair to say that the theme of this meet was the unexpected. As of Monday, I knew we had a pretty small contingent of lifters signed up. Then I unexpectedly got an email from Al Myers saying he was coming up for the weekend! I thought, great, we are barely going to have a show and the boss is coming to inspect. Needless to say I was a little worried.

I could not have known that we would have such a great meet that Saturday.

We had a total of 9 lifters, 7 guys and 2 ladies. Between them a total of 18 records were set, including at least 1 IAWA world record that I’m aware of. Talk about unexpected.

The events were contested in this order: Axle Clean & Push Press, Dumbbell Snatch, Bent-Over Row, Jefferson Lift, and Dinnie Lift.

Axle Clean and Push Press was relatively uneventful, with everyone putting up respectable numbers. Al Myers won that event with 233, followed by Adam T. Glass and David Dellanave tied with 213. For the ladies, Jen Sinkler edged out Jenn “With 2 N’s” Halvorson with 142 over 137.

Next up, Adam T. Glass pipped Al Myers in the Dumbbell Snatch with 135 over Al’s 130. David Dellanave lagged behind with 120. Jen Sinkler posted a record-setting 75lb to beat Jenn Halvorson’s 60lb snatch.

The Bent Over Row proved to be an unexpectedly difficult event to perform and judge with contest criteria. Adam T. Glass took top honors, and a record, with a 300lb row, followed by Al Myers with 275lbs. Jenn Halvorson edged out Jen Sinkler in this event with 135 to 125lbs. Joe Goodin also took a 95kg class record with 225lbs.

The Jefferson lift brought an unexpected honor for myself, David Dellanave. I did not know if I would be able to compete this weekend because I was planning to be the sole judge. As such I hadn’t prepared specifically for competition. However, as I tested it out the bar felt light and I was able to go on to break a USAWA & IAWA record with 605lbs. Al Myers followed with 550lbs in this event. On the women’s side, Jen Sinkler also broke a USAWA record with a big double-bodyweight 300lbs pull.

Finally, the Dinnie Lift brought another unexpected element. Loading different weights within 75% of each other proved to be a time consuming hassle. In the end, Adam T. Glass was able to produce an impressive and record-breaking 822lb Dinnie Lift. Al Myers took advantage of the score situation to beat out David Dellanave with a 664lb lift to win the meet. Dellanave’s 619lb lift was also a USAWA record breaker.

After the official meet events, Adam T. Glass went on to break the 2″ Vertical Bar (Right) record with 253lbs and the Pinch Grip (Two Hand Pinch) with 204lbs.

All in all, the meet was a blast and sets the stage for growing USAWA in Minnesota. If you want to come out and compete, contact The Movement Minneapolis today to find out how you can participate.


Minnesota All Round Meet
The Movement Minneapolis
Minneapolis, MN
March 3rd, 2012

Meet Director: David Dellanave

Officials: Al Myers, Mike Murdock, David Dellanave

Lifts: Jefferson Lift, Snatch – Dumbbell One Arm, Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar, Bent Over Row, Dinnie Lift


Lifter Age BWT Jeff DB Sn C&PP Row Dinn Total Points
Jenn Halvorson 33 152 275 60R 137 135 474 1082 1141.5
Jen Sinkler 33 148 300 75R 142 125 350 992 1066.2


Lifter Age BWT Jeff DB Sn C&PP Row Dinn Total Points
Al Myers     45 250 550 130R 233 275 664 1852 1557.2
David Dellanave 28 203 605 120R 213 195 619 1752 1552.5
Joe Goodin 30 205 425 95L 173 225 534 1452 1279.7
Adam Glass 29 225 0 135R 213 300 822 1470 1231.6
Josh Freeman 32 177 325 70R 127 185 440 1147 1100.1
Jeff Nolan    27 232 250 70R 107 135 350 912 751.8
Mike Murdock 72 234 220 40L 117 210 0 587 640.7


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


Jeff Nolan – Jefferson Lift: 270#
Jeff Nolan – Snatch Dumbbell Right Arm: 80#
Al Myers – Bent Over Row: 305#
Adam Glass – Bent Over Row: 320#
David Dellanave – Pinch Grip: 154#
Adam Glass – Pinch Grip: 204#
Adam Glass – Vertical Bar Deadlift 1 Bar 2″ Right Hand: 253#

Award Nominations

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom, the 2010 USAWA Athlete of the Year, in action with the Fulton Bar Continental to Chest at the 2011 USAWA National Championships.

It’s that time of the year again – to make your nominations for the USAWA Yearly Awards.  These awards have been presented the last couple of years at the National Championships to recognize lifters who have demonstrated outstanding achievement throughout the prior year.  These awards are decided on by the membership, so that makes it mean more when an award is given to you based on the feelings of your peers. This year I am doing this process a little different.  Instead of having a nomination process and then a voting process – I’m going to combine this process into one step to make things easier.  Please send me your NUMBER ONE and NUMBER TWO choice for each award.  The number one choice will get two points while the number two choice gets one points.  I will then add up the points from everyone to determine the winners.  Each award will have winner and a runner-up. This way you will need to send me only ONE EMAIL with you combined nominations and votes.

The rules are simple:

  • You must be a USAWA member to make a nomination
  • Nominated individuals must be a USAWA members to be eligible
  • One person is selected as your NUMBER ONE choice and another as your NUMBER TWO CHOICE 
  • The awards are for the calendar year 2011
  • An individual may be nominated for more than one award

These are the catagories to make your nominations from:

Athlete of the Year – This award is for the individual who has accomplished the most athletically within the last year in the USAWA. Top placings at the Nationals and World Championships should figure in high. Also, participation in other National Competitions such as the Heavy Event Nationals or Team Nationals could factor in, along with the Gold Cup.

Leadership Award – This is for an individual that has shown exceptional leadership qualities within the USAWA during the past year. Things that should be looked at are: going above the level expected of an Officer position, promoting sanctioned events with emphasis being on promoting National or World Competitions, promoting the USAWA by developing a strong club, writing articles for publications about the USAWA, or through other means.

Sportsmanship Award – This goes to an individual who possesses and shows great sportsmanship within the USAWA. The act of sportsmanship may be by conduct at all events, or by an specific example of exceptional sportsmanship.

Courage Award – This goes to an individual who shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition. This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA.

Newcomer Award– This award goes to an individual who in new to the USAWA or has become involved again. It doesn’t have to go to someone in their first year of being involved in the USAWA.

Please send your nominations to me (at by the end of March. All nominations will be kept confidential. The awards will be presented in conjunction with the awards ceremony at the USAWA National Championships in Las Vegas.

Masters Pressing

by Roger LaPointe

At the Atomic Athletic Meet last fall, the Clean and Push Press was contested. Longtime masters lifter Denny Habecker knows how to press!

Fans of the now defunct Hardgainer magazine will remember John McKean. He is an avid All Round and Olympic style weightlifter who has been competing and setting records as a Master’s age athlete for … some time. Now that I am well into the Masters realm, John gave me some great advice, “Don’t hurt yourself. When you do, work around it and learn.”

That sounds like the most obvious truism ever. As a Masters Age lifter, it is reality.

Right now, while I am primarily an Olympic style weightlifter, I am focused on improving two somewhat related lifts: the crucifix and the clean & press. With these lifts as the primary ones I am working on for a 1-Rep Max, here is a small snapshot of what I am doing to help in that regard.

1. I always work the Indian clubs, for my messed up rotator cuff.
2. I still do snatches and full cleans, as well as a number of related accessory lifts, such as: overhead squats, front & back squats, clean grip and snatch grip pulls.
3. I added in the clean & press as well as the crucifix.
4. I also added in bent over rows.
5. If my back is not recovering as quickly as I need it to be, then I do the incline bench press and incline dumbbell fly.
6. I still do curls and stomach work.

The key is to listen to your body. Especially with orders of weights coming in and going out, I don’t get too hung up on sticking to some pre-determined workout. If something is going really well, then I go with it. If it is not feeling good, I switch it up and work around it.

Nationals Update

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (left) has agreed to be the "PARTY PLANNER" for our National Championships in Las Vegas. I have traveled with Chad several times, and know from experience, that he knows how to have a fun time!

Plans for the 2012 USAWA National Championships in beautiful Las Vegas are underway. The date has been set (June 30th), the venue secured (Average Broz Gym), and entry forms have been available (on this website) for a couple of months now. Everything is going according to the plan I’ve laid out.  Now it’s time for YOU to send in your entry to me!! So far I have only two entries in hand – myself and Thom Van Vleck.  All details of entering are explained clearly on the entry form.  Just one thing I want to remind you of – make your checks or money orders out to the USAWA and not me.  This is a USAWA sponsored event and all income/expense is going through the USAWA bank account.

I have picked a place for our “host hotel”. It is the Silverton Hotel and Casino.  It is best just to go to their website to get the information for making a reservation.  Here is the link:

The Silverton is not part of “the strip”. It is located close to John’s Gym, which is the site of the meet.   I would guess it is only half a mile or so away.  So if you want to “loosen up” before the meet with a little light walking, the Silverton is close enough to the meet site that you can make the hike.  Chad and I are going to be renting a car while we are there, so if anyone needs a ride we can run a shuttle service back and forth.  Also, taxis are plentiful in Vegas which is another option to get to the meet and back.  We do not have a “package deal” with the Silverton so don’t ask for it. This is a large place and I didn’t even bother to check into any special arrangement for our small group.  I didn’t want them to laugh at me. Their rates are very reasonable (sixty nine during the week, and eight nine on the weekends).  This fee is for double occupancy and even includes breakfast!  (look on their website under “resort specials”).  They provide free shuttle transportation from McCarran International Airport as well.  The Silverton adjoins a huge Bass Pro Shop and has many restaurants within it.  I will pick a restaurant for our Friday evening meal and meeting, which I will announce at a later date.  I would recommend that you make your reservation as soon as possible to ensure this rate.  Of course if you want to stay somewhere else, that is your choice but if we all stay at the same place it will make it easier for us to “get together” throughout our stay.

Our USAWA Vice President Chad Ullom has “stepped up” to be our activity coordinator and PARTY PLANNER.  That’s what Vice Presidents are for – planning the fun!  Chad is working on several  ”entertainment activities” that we can do as a group.  I know he is looking into a bus tour of Hoover Dam the day following the meet for anyone interested, and a special evening out Saturday night following the meet. This will be in place of the banquet.  He promised me that he will let me know when he gets these activities finalized and that he will write an announcement for the website with all the details.

I am working on the T-Shirt design at this time.  This is causing me lots of indecision. Since this is such a BIG EVENT for the USAWA, it being our 25th Anniversary and all,  I want it to be the PERFECT meet shirt and can’t make up my mind on the design. I have a few good ideas and think I will “lock on” to a design soon.  I have three criteria for the shirt – recognize 25 years of the USAWA, highlight Las Vegas, and make it a “lifter’s shirt” with a lifting logo.  I want this to be a favorite T-shirt of the lifters – the one you grab out of the drawer full of other T-shirts to wear.  The problem is that I’m not artistic in anyway, and have problems making things aesthetic in appearance. I’m not a “fluff guy”, so I may need to ask Thom his opinion on this.

I am getting excited about this year’s Nationals. It will be one that you DON’T WANT TO MISS!  I will give out more details as the plans come along.   But NOW’S the time to send me your entry form and book your Hotel reservations.

Eastern Open Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Eastern Open Postal Meet

Dates:  Between March 1st and March 31st, 2012

Entry form must be postmarked by April 5th, 2012

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee:  None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book


Bench Press – Feet in Air

Squat – Front

Continental to Belt

Entry Form (pdf) – 2012 Eastern Open Postal Meet Entry Form

Minnesota All Round Meet


by David Dellanave

The Movement is proud to host the first USAWA lifting meet in Minnesota, hosted by the first weightlifting club in Minnesota!

The USAWA was formed to continue the tradition of the old-time strongmen.  There are over 150 recognized lifts in the rule book, so anyone can find a lift they find fun and exciting to train.  Some records have been on the books for many decades, and others fall every year.  The USAWA has a drug testing policy to encourage drug free lifters and considers that a point of pride.  There has never been a weightlifting club in Minnesota, and we are very excited to continue this tradition and grow the weightlifting club.

 The meet will be held at The Movement Minneapolis – Plymouth on March 3rd.  Weigh-in at 9:30am, lifting begins at 10am.

Lifts to be contested:

Jefferson Deadlift – “This lift is also known as the Straddle Deadlift. The rules of the Deadlift apply except that the bar will be lifted between the legs, with a leg on each side of the bar. The lifter may face any direction and feet placement is optional. One hand will grip the bar in front of the lifter while the other hand will grip the bar behind the lifter. The bar may touch the insides of either leg during the lift. The heels are allowed to rise as the bar is lifted, but the feet must not change position. The bar is allowed to change directions or rotate during the lift.”

Dumbbell Snatch – “The rules of the Bar Snatch – One Arm apply except one evenly loaded dumbbell is used. The dumbbell may start at any position on the platform. The dumbbell is allowed to rotate during the lift and may finish in any degree of rotation.”

Axle Clean & Push Press – “The rules of the Clean and Press apply with these exceptions. The heels and toes may rise during the press.  However, the feet must not move. The legs may bend during the press to initiate upward movement, but the legs must straighten simultaneously with the completion of the press. The rules of the Clean and Push Press apply except a Fulton (2″/Axle) Bar is used”

Bent Over Row – “The lift will start at the lifter’s discretion with the bar placed on the platform in front of the lifter. The lifter will grip the bar with an overhand grip with the palms of the hands facing the lifter. The width of grip spacing and feet placement is of the lifter’s choosing, but the feet must be in line with the bar. The body must be in a bent over position at the waist. The upper body must not straighten past 45 degrees parallel to the platform at any time during the lift or it is a disqualification. The legs may be bent during the lift and upon the completion of the lift. The bar is lifted to touch the abdomen or torso by bending the arms. The bar must touch the abdomen higher than the belt, or the navel if a belt is not worn”

Dinnie Lift – “Two weight loadable Vertical Bars with ring handles attached are used in this lift. The maximum height from the floor to the top of the lifting rings is 21 inches. One Vertical Bar’s weight MUST not exceed 75% of the other. Any style of lifting may be used. The lift ends when the lifter is upright and motionless. The lifter may have the Vertical Bars at the side, or may straddle them. A time limit of 1 minute is given to accomplish a legal lift. The weights may be dropped within this time limit, and the lifter may reset and try again. An official will give a command to end the lift. Lifting straps of any kind are NOT allowed!”

At the conclusion of the meet events, we will open the competition up to break any USAWA or IAWA (International) record you think you can break.  There are very few events that we do not have the equipment for, so we will accomodate virtually any lift that you want to do.

The meet entry is completely FREE but you must be a USAWA member.  The $25 membership fee can be paid the day of competition.

Lifting uniform: Shorts and shirt or one-piece lifting singlet.  A belt may be worn and must not exceed 12 centimeters or 4-3/4 inches in width.

Exact rules and weight classes are in the rule book if you are curious, otherwise all rules will be explained the at the competition.

Battle in the Barn

by Eric Todd


Sunday, March, 25 2012 will be the inaugural “Battle in the Barn” which will be the third USAWA Old Time Strongman event. 

Eric Todd will be the meet director for the "Battle in the Barn", the third Old Time Strongman Competition promoted by the USAWA.

Where:  ET’s House of Iron and Stone-The KCSTRONGMAN headquarters near Cameron, MO

When: March 25 at 10:00 AM

Weigh ins: 9:00 AM

Entry Cost: $20

Entry Deadline : Entries must be in hand by Sat, March 17, 2012

Divisions:  Lightweight (under 200#), Middleweight (200-250#), Heavyweight (Over 250#), Masters (over 40)

Awards:  Awards for top 3 per division.  Best lifter award.               

Events:  Appollons Lift, Crucifix, Partial Deadlift, and Goerner Stroll

Rules of the Lifts

Apollon’s LiftA 2 inch diameter axle (or Fulton Bar)  will be used as the bar for this lift.  The maximum starting bar height is 12 inches measured from the platform to the bottom of the bar.  Any method may be used to take the bar to the shoulders or overhead.  The bar or plates are allowed to retouch the platform during the lift.  If the bar is placed down or dropped, the lifter may try again as many times as he/she wants within the time limit.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed.  Once the weight is overhead, with arms’ locked, legs straight,  and the feet in line with the torso,  an official will give the command to end the lift.

Crucifix (standard USAWA Rules) –  Two evenly loaded dumbbells or kettlebells are used for this lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The dumbbells are taken to arms’ length overhead with the palms of the hands facing each other and dumbbells touching. The lifter must bring the feet together so the heels are together and touching. The body must be upright at the start of the lift. Once in this position, an official will give the command to start the lift. The lifter will then lower the dumbbells to the side with arms’ straight and palms up. Elbows must be fully locked. The lifter may lean back to any extent when lowering the dumbbells. The wrists do not need to be held straight. The legs must remain straight and knees locked throughout the lift. The heels must remain together and the heels and toes must not rise during the lift. Once the arms are parallel to the platform, and the dumbbells motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Partial Deadlift  – This is a partial deadlift, where the bar height must not be over 18″ from the platform.  The plates or bar may be supported on stands or blocks to obtain this height.  The lifter must have the bar in front of the legs, as in a normal deadlift. Lifting straps or any other gripping aid is not allowed.  It is NOT an infraction to drag the bar up the legs, bounce the bar up the legs, or support the bar on the legs during the lift (hitching).  A one minute time limit is allowed for the lifter to make a legal lift, during which time a lifter may make multiple tries.  Once the lifter is totally upright and the bar motionless, an official will give the command to end the lift.

Goerner Stroll- Two barbells will be used.  The lifter must pick up both barbells at the same time, one in each hand, and walk (or run) a distance of 1 rod (or 16.5 feet).  The starting and finish lines must be marked.  The plates on the bars must be behind the starting line at the start, and finish entirely beyond the finish line at the end.  The weight selected on the bars must not be changed during the attempt.  Both bars must be loaded to the same weight.  A one minute time limit is allowed for the attempt.  If the bars are set down or dropped between the  starting and finish lines during this 1 minute time limit, the lifter may start over, but MUST restart at the starting line.  Strapping the bars to the hands is NOT ALLOWED.

All other general rules of the USAWA will apply.  Scoring will be done according to the USAWA guidelines. Each competitor will get three attempts of their choosing with the best one counting towards their total.

Entry Form – Battle_in_the_Barn_entry

Any Questions, please ask on the forum, or email me at

Club Challenge

by Al Myers


The Ambridge VFW Barbell Club will be the hosts for the 2012 USAWA Club Challenge.

It’s hard to believe but this will be the THIRD YEAR for the USAWA Club Challenge.  It seems like just yesterday that John McKean and myself  “dreamed up” this meet, and now I would have to say that it has become one of the most prestigious meets on our calendar.  This meet will again be held on the second weekend of March, as it has been the last two years.  The Ambridge BBC will be the hosts again – directed by the Ambridge BBC FATHERS -  Art “the MAN OF STEEL” Montini and John “the BIG FISH” McKean.  These guys know how to conduct a quality competition.  They both have been prior National Meet Directors in the USAWA. 

This competition is different than most “other competitions” within the USAWA.  It is titled the CLUB CHALLENGE for a reason, because it is not about individual performance, but rather club performance.  Each club is invited to bring a three person team representing their club, and the accumulation of each lifter’s individuals scores will be added together to form a TEAM SCORE.  If you can’t get three people together for the competition, you may come with a team of two, or just by yourself.  But doing that is like John has said in the past, “bringing a knife to a gunfight” because you will still be scored against the other 3 person teams. But come regardless, because you will have a fun enjoyable day lifting weights. 

Even though it is preferred to have all members registered to the same club, this is not mandatory.  If two clubs want to “join together” and form a team that is acceptable.  Our main goal of this competition is to encourage club participation within the USAWA.


Date:  Saturday, March 10th

Venue:  Ambridge BBC

Meet Directors:  John McKean & Art Montini

Entry Fee:  None

Start Time:  1:00 PM

Sanction:  USAWA


Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm

Pullover and Press

Hack Lift

There is no entry form for this competition. If interested, contact myself (at or John McKean.

Deanna Springs Meet


Deanna Springs Memorial Meet

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Date:  Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Venue:  Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins:  8 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards:  None

Membership:  Must be a current USAWA Member

Lifts:  Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Deanna Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and Hip 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.