How do you measure up?

by Roger LaPointe

Professor Desbonnet's Gymnasium

You want to know how you measure up?

1936 Olympic Team Heavyweight (181+) Dave Mayor told me that the greatest impact on Olympic sport world records was technology. In fact, he was one of the first men to clean & jerk over 400 pounds. Of course, it was an unofficial lift done on what he called a “trick bar”. He did not know the exact specs, but he said it was made of some sort of spring steel and was nearly ten feet long. He said it went up like it was nothing at all.

Learn to train with old school technology, or a complete lack of technology:

Technology as a term can refer to a lot of different things in the world of weightlifting, for example: what is the bar constructed of, are there steroids and other drugs being used, type of apparel or lifting suits. We can go on and on. However, “Strength” magazine of April 1930 has a great little report of the South Australian Championships, from October 21st & 28th, 1929. Clearly, it was a two day event, that also doesn’t list which lifts were done on which day, but it does include the current World Records for the three weight classes that had competitors. Remember, a Middleweight, at that time, weighed in at 165 pounds.

World’s Records (as of Oct. 28th, 1929)

Pullover & Press (Legs Staight) 247.5 234.5 229
Abdominal Raise 100 88.75 71
Right Hand Snatch 181.5 154 154
Two Hands Dead Lift 517.25 483.5 470
Pullover At Arms Length 129.75 125 108.75
Left Hand Swing (British Style) 154 142.5 134
Right Hand Military Press 111.5 91.75 86
Two Hands Clean & Jerk 297 275 264.5
Crucifix Lift 130 130 120.5
Deep Knee Bend (weight assisted) 340 320 290

I have no idea if the Crucifix Lift was done with dumbbells, or kettlebells, or what style of each may have been used. I do know that having worked on the Crucifix Lift over the last year, I prefer to use the classic plate loading Kettlebell handles. Similar handles seem to be what was used in the USAWA example photo. Having tried various dumbbells and kettlebells, these certainly seem to be the best for the lift and easiest for adjusting the weight at a meet. Here is a link:

All the best,  Roger LaPointe
“Today is a good day to lift.”