Articles from January 2013



Cloud Hands of an Angell

By John McKean

Steve "THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR" Angell, on holiday, performing Tai Chi on the beach of Sri Lanka.

“THUMP!!” Ohhh, seein’ stars and feelin’ pain! This new training equipment is gonna kill me yet!

Strangely enough, I’d not yet started my morning workout; rather, good wife Marilyn was busily twirling her arms in our kitchen, intent on swinging the very well sculpted, long chunks of wood known as “Indian Clubs.”  She CLAIMED that her eyes were closed while thriving within the healing, calming powers of the circular motion, obviously not sensing me walking in when her “war club” bounced off my noggin!  (But why was she grinning??) And to think this handsome set of clubs, recently obtained from that master purveyor of old time gear, Roger LaPointe, had been my loving, thoughtful birthday gift to her! Actually Marilyn has greatly enjoyed this 2500+ year old exercise mode, also finding it necessary and beneficial to stabilize a recent arm/shoulder condition.

This is just part of Steve's Indian Club collection.

My own major incentive to employ mere 1 to 2 pound wooden weights as a huge improvement to my weightlifting program came from an Angell! No, not a vision from a winged and white gowned type, but directly from a LIVING LEGEND of All-Rounds, England’s super strong Steve Angell !! Through his insightful “Peaceful Warrior” concept, which tones mind, body, and spirit through such disciplines as tai chi, gigong, yoga, Indian Clubs, and high rep kettlebell work, Steve has found the way to acquiring  physical/mental BALANCE to help recuperate from years of overzealous max poundage weightlifting. This well thought out and age-proven regimen hasn’t exactly diminished Steve’s awesome strength or mind blowing physique, if you’ve seen photos of last season’s “impossible” 20 reps with the Dinnie Stones, or his impromptu all-round successes!

Emailing back and forth with mighty Steve came encouraging words that very few ever need employ more than a pair of one, two to three pounders for healing, warm-up, shoulder restoration, and a terrific sense of well-being. Then, while discussing this matter, we both arrived at a theory simultaneously that most martial and meditative arts may well have been derived from ancient club training! (History shows that all martial arts forms originally traveled from India). In fact, Steve had an instant epiphany on this thought, realizing a vital movement known as “Cloud Hands” from Tai Chi, was also one of his very favorite traditional maneuvers with wooden pins! It would be a bit hard to describe Cloud Hands, even with photos, but fortunately Steve made a dynamite YOU TUBE video for me that you can see here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRbio87dHAM

Hmmm, although I doubt that those 20” guns came exclusively from club work,  you can readily detect the dreamlike, circular toning (the gigong effect) and rhythmic tranquility of deep breathing  that Steve and I (and Marilyn, when she’s not intent in whacking the crap outta me-much as I usually deserve it!) enjoy daily.

So our little home garage gym has what can be considered “unusual equipment” by today’s standards, with my growing collection of Indian clubs.  I doubt you’ll find many commercial gyms, high tech spas, or even old time “pits” which have rows of these well-balanced chunks of wood that once surrounded lairs of Goernor, Saxon, and Sandow!

Following Steve Angell’s lead, I, too, looked to various martial arts to discover circular strategies of movement for my lightweight clubs. Some traditional Indian and British exercises are often used, but prove boring within the necessary high rep format.  However, from the concise rotational motions of Indonesian “Silat” jurus (forms) came a more meaningful, often thought provoking, type of exercise. Also this proved to be a refreshing and needed change from our usual linear weightlifting, and tends to heal through more gentle pressure of leverage resistance. Now, at last year’s Bowling Green, Ohio meet, ole Roger took a video of my unique Silat club program, so hopefully sometime soon he’ll release this on his Atomic Athletic site (put McKean on screen and there goes the business, Rog is probably thinking!!).

No, I’ll never get near the phenomenal Indian Club endurance record of Australian Tom Burroughs during the early 1900s of over 100 consecutive hours of swinging a pair of 3 pound 6 ounce clubs (no food or water breaks, no sitting or resting, no pause whatsoever in achieving an average of 80 reps per minute!). By the way, Indian club work was Tom’s primary and most beloved form of exercise to achieve world class status also in boxing, wrestling, swimming, fencing, gymnastics, and track! For me, if it keeps this cranky, crotchety senior citizen from feeling any older from day to day, I’ll be content; however, last year it did get me down, with little effort, into a lower weight class, gave relief to my always aching shoulders, instilled some of the best warm-ups ever prior to lifting, and seemed to yield a special form of energy for everything I did! The only downside to club training that I’ve found is worrying about  my nicely curved “bowling pins” getting smudged when training at the Ambridge VFW; not that the old gym isn’t always kept spotlessly well maintained, just that prodigious bowler Art would get chocolate on the wood, when he tried to roll a donut between them!

2012 USAWA Year In Review

by Al Myers

The 2012 Year In Review is dedicated to the late, great John Vernacchio.

For the fourth year now, I have done a 2012 USAWA Year In Review.  This book contains all of the information that has been placed on the USAWA website throughout the prior year.  If a blog was written – it is included in this review book.  All together, this review book is 476 pages and contains 164,701 words!!!  Definitely not something you would get read in one evening!  I have had a few copies printed and bound, so if anyone wants one send me an email with your request.  The books cost $50, payable to the USAWA.  This was the cost of the printing so no money is being made here.  Of course, if you just want the file I’ll email it to you free of charge and you can print it out yourself.  The book is printed in black and white.  Color printing would have been 3 times as much! 

This book is not edited.  I just copied and pasted from the website.  I do this monthly as a way of backing up the website, so making this book is not really that much work for me.  And after the problems with the website this past week, where we lost over a days worth of material, it goes to show that the internet may not be a permanent source of this important information.  Having a hard copy book that you can place on your bookshelf will still be there in 50 years!!

Bob’s Bombs

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Ben Edwards lifting Bob's Bombs at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge.

I’ll start this writing contest off by writing about a piece of equipment in the Dino Gym that is very “dear to my heart”.   I’m talking about Bob’s Bombs.  Yes, that’s right – these are actually bombs!!!  Years ago we lost a very special friend and training partner Bob Maxey.  Bob was the type of training partner that would NEVER miss workouts, and always knew how to motivate the rest of us to push ourselves in our workouts.  Because if we didn’t – Bob would “call us out” – and you didn’t want him to do that because he knew how to speak his mind in such a way that it bordered on being rude, but wasn’t. He didn’t “suger coat” it when he thought we were slacking.  He simply knew when we were capable of giving more effort than we were giving, and we knew he was right. 

One night Bob brought these beautiful pair of blue bombs into the gym (they were empty training shells thank goodness!!).  For a while in Salina Bob had ran a bar which he named the “Blue Bomb Bar”, and these bomb shells hung from the ceiling as decor.  I’ll never forget Bob’s request to me.  He wanted me to fill these bombs to 100 pounds  each and attach handles so he could use them as farmers walk implements.  Of course, I obliged.  At the time I had no idea what training Bob was expecting to do with them, but I never questioned his training methods which were ofter quite bizarre and unorthodox.

It took me that week to get them “in working order” for him.  I filled them with sand and perfectly center balanced the handles. Well, the first night in the gym after I finished them Bob revealed what he was going to do with them.  He planned to carry both of them to the “top of the hill and back” behind the gym every Tuesday night as a way of giving  himself a little cardio.  For those of you that have been to the Dino Gym know that this is no small feat.  I’m talking to the fence at the top of the hill.  This means down through the raven, pass the ballfield, pass the shelter, pass the throwing trigs, TO THE FENCE.  That’s a total distance of 200 yards, and then you have to walk back.  But when Bob set his mind to something – he was intent on accomplishing his goals.  That first night I had to watch him just because I didn’t believe he was going to try to carry 200 pounds over a distance of a quarter mile over rough up and down yard terrain.  I have no idea how many times he sat the weights down and rested (quite a few), but 30 minutes later he was back to the gym with the BOMBS in hand!!  I also want to mention for those of you that didn’t know Bob, that he was a large man at around 400 pounds.  He was “huffing and puffing” – but he accomplished what he set out to do.  That alone was worth the effort it took me to modify those bombs into farmers walk implements.  He repeated  this feat  several times over a period of 3 or 4 years.

Today Bob’s Bombs sit in front of the Dino Gym as a memory to him.  Occasionally I get to tell someone new to the gym this story about Bob, and remind them of the challenge that Bob left all of us with his pair of bombs.  The blue paint is now faded on them, but I will never repaint them. They are part of the lifting legacy of my great friend Bob Maxey.

A Day in the Life of Eric Todd

by Ben Edwards

Give this video 5 minutes of your day if you have ever wondered what a high level strongman’s normal day looks like. I’ve had the pleasure of competing in a few of the same USAWA contests as Eric. He is a very nice guy who has encouraging words and motivational wisdom for everyone around him. He’s also a Special Ed teacher, which isn’t what most people would guess a strongman would be. Not all strongmen are bouncers in other words. I hear that a lot from people who just don’t know how sterotypical and outdated that is on many levels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBCzgcuv7Kw&sns=fb

(WEBMASTERS COMMENTS:  This was written by Ben on Facebook, and I just think it needs to be shared here in the USAWA Daily News for those who missed it.  It gives a little insight into the life of ET, who has been a big part of the USAWA this past year.)

Writing Contest

by Al Myers

It’s been awhile since I have had a writing contest for the USAWA Daily News – so I think it’s time for another one!  The topic I’m going to choose for this contest is a “report on an unusual training implement/device that you use in your gym for training”.  The more unique the better.  I would like to hear about the purpose or function of the implement/device, as well as its history.  Every club gym I have been in has a few pieces of unusual equipment that is not seen in most other gyms – so pick something you like and write a little story on it.   The deadline for story submission is by the date of the USAWA Grip Champs – February 9th.   The stories will run on the USAWA website.  I have not decided yet on prizes – but there will be nice prizes for the winners. I promise!

Rules for Contest

1.  Submit story by February 9th
2.  Must include a picture with story
3.  Story length between 500 and 1000 words

You may submit your story to me by email, through a letter, or by writing it yourself on the USAWA website.  If you want to write it on the website and you  don’t have “author status”, send me an email and I’ll make the changes to give you this access.  It’s not hard.  My goal with doing this is to increase future writing contributions to the USAWA website.  I want to keep reminding everyone that this website was set up to represent the viewpoints and contributions of the membership, not just mine.  Now get to work!!!!!

Dino Gym Shooting Competition

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow won the Handgun Division, as well as the Small Bore Rifle Division.

I’m sure everyone is wondering how the shooting competition following the Dino Gym Challenge turned out.   Well, it ended up taking about as long as the meet to complete!  I had several entrants in each shooting division, with some outstanding marksmanship taking place. Luckily, we had a perfect day of weather with very minimal wind.  Four divisions were contested, and each person could enter whichever division they wanted, depending on what their shooting expertise was.  Darren Barnhart was the only one to  enter all four divisions.  The four shooting divisions were:

1.  Shotgun Trap Shot
2.  Small Bore Rifle (.223 caliber and smaller)
3.  Large Bore Rifle (above .223 caliber)
4.  Handgun

Darren Barnhart entered all four divisions, showing his diversity as a shooter. He's indeed an All-Round shooter!

The TOP THREE in each division are as follows:

Shotgun Trap Shot  – 25 blue rock targets were throw from an electric trap thrower, with each shooter getting one shot per target.

1.  Darren Barnhart – 18/25
2. Thom Van Vleck – 16/25
2 (tie). Chad Ullom – 16/25

Small Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Dave Glasgow – 61 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 58 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 36 points

Large Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Thom Van Vleck – 71 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 16 points
3.  Dan Wagman – 0 points!

Handgun – 5 shots at 3 yards, 5 shots at 7 yards, 5 shots at 10 yards

1.  Dave Glasgow – 176 points
2.  Dan Wagman – 152 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 96 points

World Champ Dan Wagman takes aim - I just don't know at what!!!

Now for a little commentary on the days shooting.  First, I didn’t compete, but instead acted as the official to make sure everything was done on the “up and up”.  I was most surprised by Chad  Ullom.  Chad continues to show everyone that he seems to be a natural at everything.  He doesn’t even own a gun, and very rarely has ever shot one, but wanted to compete so he borrowed a shotgun from Darren to enter the shotgun contest.  He started off miserably – missing his first half dozen shots. At this point – he made a newbie mistake and jammed up Darren’s gun so it wouldn’t work anymore.  I then had to let him borrow one of mine to finish his shoot. At this juncture I gave him a few shooting tips and reminded him of the value of my shotgun, and that I would hold him accountably for it if he broke it.   Well, this motivational talk of mine must have got him focused and he seemed to “get on fire” and started hitting every target!!!  Thom was solid as expected in the Trap Shoot, but still ended up with a tie with Chad for second.  Darren won the event with a very good 18 out of 25.  Next up was the small bore rifle competition.  Again, Chad was up against a couple of seasoned shooters in Darren and Dave, but made a fine showing to get third with again a borrowed rifle, edging out John O’Brien who scored a 27.  Darren had the lead after round 1 at 100 yards, but sharp-shooter Dave eclipsed him in round 2 at 200 yards to win the small bore.  The large bore rifle had three entrants: Thom, Darren, and Dan. A controversy immediately resulted as Dan was going to enter using his 5.56 M4 Colt Carbine.  A discussion ensued that this division was for .223 caliber and above, but after a group consensus, it was determined that the 5.56 caliber was indeed just slightly larger than the .223 caliber, and thus within the rules to be entered.  Thom was one hand with his trusty 6mm Remington rifle.  I could tell by the way he carassed his gun that it was a trusty ole friend of his, and that he had an intimate relationship with it.  I want to mention something here about rifle shooting.  Long distance rifle shooting requires a steady hand and a silent concentration – not exactly the mindset that most  weightlifters have.  Most of us that have been around Dan in the weightroom know that he gets about “as jacked” as any lifter could before an attempt.  I could see his jugular pulse beating away as he set up for his shots.  I thought for a moment that he was going to pull an ammonia cap out of his pocket to give him more of an adrenalin rush.  Add in the fact that he was shooting “open sights” and that the M4 Colt is designed to be shot as “accuracy through volume”, it was not adding up well for him.  I was slightly embarrassed to tell him that not only did he not hit the target once – but that he wasn’t even on the paper!!!  Now Thom was another story.  He destroyed the target with each shot using his bolt-action rifle in systematic fashion, and won by a HUGE MARGIN.  But Thom told me afterwards that his years in the Marines trained him well for distance shooting, and that paid off in his victory in this division.  We finished the day with the handgun division.  We conducted the event under the rules established for qualifying for the Kansas concealed license.  Darren was shooting a ultralight handgun that looked like it would fit in your front pocket without being noticed.  Chad borrowed a .22 pistol from Darren, Dave was shooting a 9mm semiautomatic, and Dan was shooting a huge 45 caliber.  Quite a diverse set of handguns for this competition.  Dave showed his years as a policemen training on the 9mm that he was in a “class of his own”.  His shooting technique was superb and hit the center on practically every shot.   Dan shooting his huge 45 made it about impossible for me to tally his score as he shot the entire center of the target out, and Chad really surprised me by hitting the target on every one of his shots.  Overall, this was a great competition and a fitting ending to a great day at the Dino Gym!!!

A Poet and Didn’t Know it. Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

Here it is, the “long lost” poem from my past around 1979:

Each and every day, when time is free

I head to the weight room to pay my fee

Sometimes alone or with a friend

I lift the weights to no end

My chest, covered with muscle and sinew

Is filled with happiness that is not new

From the first rep to the last

I build strength that cannot be past

I am above the rest

In my happiness

Because weightlifting is like no other sport

It’s just me and the weights, from beginning to end

and if I am true, I will always win in the end

Now….I’m not going to be submitting this to any poetry competition anytime soon but this really got me to thinking.  What motivated me back then?  Had I lost some of that?  I “self analyzed” myself and looked for what the 15 year old me could tell the 48 year old me.

Each and every day, when time is free how do I use my free time. Back then, I looked forward to every free moment and filling it with training or thinking about training.  I was excited!

I head to the weight room to pay my fee lifting it paying the price. Every time I go to the gym I want to pay the price and NOT sell myself short.

Sometimes alone or with a friend. I can have a training partner, but you have to lift first and foremost for you!

I lift the weights to no end. I leave it all in the gym

My chest, covered with muscle and sinew. I am there to get strong!  Never forget the main goal!

Is filled with happiness that is not new. I found joy in the journey and not just the goal.

From the first rep to the last. Make every rep count, never just go through the motions.

I build strength that cannot be past. Regardless of what “chicken salad theory” says, I have to have the attitude that I can be as strong as I want to be as long as I am willing to work hard enough.

I am above the rest in my happiness. I am exceptional.  American was built on exceptional-ism.  As long as I don’t bring anyone else down in the process.  If you want to be your best you have to think you are the best and find joy in that.

Because weightlifting is like no other sport. Weightlifting is special.  If you don’t get that….I can’t explain it.

It’s just me and the weights, from beginning to end. It starts with me and ends with me.  I can want help, I can accept help…but I should never NEED help.  I take personal responsibility for all that I do and if I get help, then it’s icing on the cake.  I have to do this for myself.

and if I am true, I will always win in the end. Fate or destiny…..I believe I am in control (no matter how delusional that may be) because when I believe I’m in control then I will believe that what I do will actually make a difference and if I believe that I’m more likely to actually do it.  I must stay true to my belief if I want to have any chance at getting stronger because if I don’t, I will most certainly not get strong.

Now, I’m not sure if 15 year old Thom really believed all those things….I like to think that in some way the seeds for my beliefs had been sown.  But the reality is that I don’t know what I was thinking then…but it my thoughts can say a lot of where I’m at now.  My mother used to tell me about the “Rawlings Curse” (my birth name was “Rawlings”…that’s a long story).  It was almost this idea that those of us with Rawlings blood couldn’t help but fail.  I hated that idea.  I wanted to be successful.  I rejected her logic and decided that I wanted to be in control of my fate.  I made that decision at a very young age.  However, one time my Uncle Phil did tell me, “If I believed in bad luck…and I don’t…..you have it”.   I could let life kick the life out of me.  But I choose not to and I lift on.  It’s all a matter of how you want to look at it….your perception is your reality.  My perception is that every challenge I’ve had in life has made me stronger.  I look forward to the next challenge.  

Hoghton Barbell Club Victorious!

by Al Myers

Mark Haydock, the leader of the Hoghton Barbell Club, performing a 272.5 kg Squat at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. Spotters include Chad Ullom (left), Alex Rigbye (center), and Steve Angell (right).

The Dino Gym was issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club of Preston, England in last weekend’s Dino Gym Challenge. Well, the results are in and have been tabulated and the Hoghton Barbell Club has came out victorious! Congratulations to the Hoghton Barbell Club!  This “challenge” was mentioned several times on Saturday and I’m sure it pushed the Dino Gym members to greater lifting numbers.  I’m very proud of the Dino Crew and their lifting in the Dino Gym Challenge, however, it just wasn’t quite enough to overcome the powerful Hoghton club.  The finish was pretty close though:  1. Hoghton BB Club 4287.7 points, 2. Dino Gym 4126.3 points.  The only “consolation prize” the Dino Gym got was that in total pounds lifted the Dino Gym had 5237 pounds to Hoghton’s  4961 pounds.

It was agreed beforehand that the points of the top three performers of each club would be added together to form the TEAM SCORE.  The Hoghton Club consisted of Josh Haydock, Alex Rigbye, and Mark Haydock.  The scoring members of the Dino Gym were Alan English, Scott Campbell, and Mark Mitchell.  Other Dino Gym members that competed in the Challenge were Darren Barnhart, Scott Tully, Dean Ross, Ben Edwards, and Chuck Cookson.

The leader of Hoghton Barbell Club, Mark Haydock, sent this note to me when he sent me his club’s results:

A brief report on todays lifts, the squat went really well, all three of us hit personal best lifts I was 6kg up on training, Josh was 30kg up, and Alex was 90kg up!! The press was a bit of a damp squid and we didn’t really feel it was much different to a normal bench press. Josh and Alex were slightly up on the deadlift poundages and finished their days lifting with a smile on their faces, but with sore bodies! I only took 2 deadlift attempts, both were very strong pulls but I am currently nursing a strained finger injury and my grip is compromised at the moment, I made both lifts with a double overhand hook grip. We will be waiting with baited breath to see how we drop into the total set of results…     Thanks Mark H

I think it is worth pointing out that Mark Haydock performed a 917 pound Anderson Squat!  That’s a big lift!!!!  Again, congrats to the Hoghton Barbell Club for winning this challenge.   The next time I see ya Mark, I’ll have those Dino Gym T-shirts to “pay up” the bet!!!!!

MEET RESULTS:

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

1.  Hoghton Barbell Club – 4287.7 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Josh Haydock 22 80.0kg 642 264 440 1346 1293.8
Alex Rigbye 24 92.0kg 751 313 610 1674 1484.2
Mark Haydock 37 118.0kg 917 341 683 1941 1509.7

2.  Dino Gym – 4126.3 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Mark Mitchell 52 316# 672 365 624 1661 1329.4
Scott Campbell 38 287# 881 325 654 1860 1378.8
Alan English 29 231# 694 320 702 1716 1418.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

2013 DINO GYM CHALLENGE
“PRESENTING AN OLD TIME STRONGMAN POWERLIFTING MEET”

Group picture of the participants in the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge.

MEET REPORT:

I was expecting maybe 10 or 12 lifters for the annual Dino Gym Challenge – but then to my amazement lifters kept showing up and showing up!!  The total number of entrants came to 21 lifters!!!!  That’s only a few off what entered the World Meet that I promoted last fall!!!  I was very excited to see this, as it shows the interest that lifters have in the “new” Old Time Strongman Competitions.  This meet was promoted as an “Old Time Strongman Powerlifting Meet” because it contained three OTSM lifts that are partial-lift deviations of the three powerlifts (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift).  The meet included two Official OTSM lifts (the Anderson Squat and the Peoples Deadlift) as well as one exhibition lift (the Hackenschmidt Floor Press).  The Hack FP  ”went over” really real with the lifters and I hope that it will become approved as an official OTSM lift this year. 

The three officials of the Dino Gym Challenge holding their souvenir beer mugs - complete with Dino Gym logo!! These mugs were given as the awards to all participants. (left to right: Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, LaVerne Myers)

One thing that I GREATLY appreciate with the Dino Gym members is how we always “come together” to support each other in our promoted events.  Putting on any competition requires lots of “behind the scenes” work, and manpower on the day of the event. Even though we had more lifters show up than expected, things ran very smoothly because there was enough “helpers” to make it happen.   Often after meets the attention is always on the lifting performances, but things wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for those facilitating the meet.  In this meet report I want to mention these guys first (they’re often the last mentioned).  The USAWA OTSM Chairman Thom Van Vleck is first on my list to thank.  Thom has been promoting the yearly OTSM Championships, and he has made a effort to be at most ALL of the OTSM meets in the USAWA, offering leadership and support.  He took on the hardest event to officiate (the Anderson Squat) for the day.  Chad Ullom, who normally doesn’t miss an opportunity to compete, sat this one out so he could be one of the needed officials of the day.  He officiated the Peoples Deadlift as well as loaded that event the entire day.  LaVerne Myers officiated the new OTSM event, the  Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  LaVerne has been a very important official in the club, and does an outstanding job.  He is very professional in his officiating and keeps things on pace.  His group finished before Chad’s and Thom’s in every rotation!!!  I also want to thank Mike Murdock and Tyler Cookson for helping spot and load throughout the day.  This help allowed me to focus on the daily details, keeping the scores updated, and taking lots of pictures.  Finally, I want to mention and thank my wife Leslie who made the lunch for everyone and puts up with me for stressing over every “little detail”. 

Dan Wagman pressing 435 pounds, which was the top Hackenschmidt Floor Press of the meet.

Now onto the lifting performances.  The IAWA World Champs Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson made their appearance from Colorado, and added another overall victory to their USAWA resumes. Both performed outstanding in all of these OTSM events.  Dan “put up” the top Hackenschmidt Floor Press of the day with 435 pounds. Newcomer Mike McIntyre lifted 410 pounds in the FP.  Mike is a member of the JWC, and at 29 years of age, has his best lifting years still ahead of him.  KC Strongman Eric Todd also lifted 410 pounds in the FP.  That’s THREE lifters over 400 pounds!!! 

I was very interested to see the big lifts in the Anderson Squat. I was hoping to see several lifts over 800 pounds – and that I did!! Eric Todd became the first USAWA lifter to ever go over 900 pounds (with a lift of 903#).  ET has been “making his name known” in the USAWA this past year with winning the Heavy Lift Champs last spring, and setting the ALL TIME neck lift record at Worlds.  His second place finish in this stellar-packed field of lifters show that he is also a top contender in any future OTSM competition.  John O’Brien of the JWC upped his personal record in the Anderson Squat to 810 pounds. I want to mention that John did this after losing over 30 pounds of bodyweight. This bodyweight loss while maintaining his same strength helped him with the formula adjustment and aided him to get third place overall at this meet. I say this because he “just edged” out Alan English by one point!!!   Alan is a Dino Gym member who I have FINALLY got to compete in an USAWA competition. He is a gifted strength athlete who has lots of strongman victories to his name.  I hope that this meet has inspired him to compete more in the USAWA, because if he does, you will see several great things out of him in the future.  Rounding out the top five was another Dino Gym member, Scott Campbell.  Scott finished off his day with the second highest Anderson Squat, with a lift of 881 pounds.  Scott is a seasoned Highland Game Athlete who has strength that he doesn’t really know he has. 

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson had the top Peoples Deadlift of the meet with this 800 pound lift!

I got a couple of other lifters that I want to mention.  First – Chuck Cookson.  Chuck started the meet off by putting up the top Peoples Deadlift of the day – 800 pounds!!!  However, he opened a little too high on the Anderson Squat (800 pounds!!!) and couldn’t get a lift in.  If he would have got in an Anderson Squat, he would have placed much higher in the overall.  I want to thank Art Montini and Denny Habecker for making the trip from Pennsylvania to compete.  It’s always inspiring to watch these two lift in meets.  I would like to know how many USAWA meets these two have competed in throughout the years. They seem to always be at USAWA events, and have been doing this for 25 years!!! I really doubt if there are very many other lifters in the USAWA that have competed as many times as these two.  I want to thank a couple of Jobe Steel Jungle lifters who made the trip – Tim Songster and Dan Bunch. I really appreciate it when lifters travel to my meets from out of state. This includes Dean Ross from Oklahoma.  I did a quick count and lifters from six states competed in this meet.  That’s simply amazing!!!

As always, I still have lots more to report on but I got to draw a conclusion to my meet report at some point.  Tomorrow I’ll reveal the results from the challenge between the Dino Gym and the Hoghton Barbell Club.  Also, I still have the results from the shooting competition that went on after the meet to report on. That’ll be coming later this week.  Again, I want to thank EVERYONE who competed, helped out, or just showed up to watch.  This will go down as one of the best Dino Gym Challenges of ALL TIME. 

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Challenge
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials (1 official system used):  Thom Van Vleck, Chad Ullom, LaVerne Myers

Scorekeeper:  Al Myers

Loaders:  Tyler Cookson, Mike Murdock

Lifts:  Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 107 286 160 319 765 1180.1
Jera Kressly 28 219 319 0 379 698 593.2

EXTRA ATTEMPTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Ruth Jackson: Anderson Squat 308#
Ruth Jackson: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 180#
Jera Kressly: Anderson Squat 352#
Jera Kressly:  Peoples Deadlift 399#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Dan Wagman 50 185 738 435 677 1850 1917.6
Eric Todd 38 262 903 410 717 2030 1573.1
John O’Brien 44 262 810 380 554 1744 1419.0
Alan English 29 231 694 320 702 1716 1418.1
Scott Campbell 38 287 881 325 654 1860  1378.8
Mark Mitchell 52 316 672 365 624 1661 1329.4
Tim Songster Sr. 45 205 501 285 554 1340 1251.8
Mike McIntyre 29 273 600 410 604 1614 1225.5
Darren Barnhart 45 302 628 340 624 1592 1221.1
Dave Glasgow 59 252 507 250 504 1261 1195.4
Doug Kressly 33  276 540 320 604 1464 1106.1
Scott Tully 37 313  600 320 604 1524 1086.2
Dan Bunch 48 360 551 275 624 1450 1055.3
Denny Habecker 70 198 331 215 349 895 1052.9
Dean Ross 70 273 402 180 379 961 955.9
Ben Edwards 37 217 440 225 449 1114 951.4
Art Montini 85 175 209 120 306 635 895.2
Chuck Cookson 43  275 0 300 800 1100  865.7
Lance Foster 47 330  402 180 554 1136 851.9

 EXTRA ATTEMPTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Denny Habecker:  Anderson Squat 352#
Denny Habecker: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 225#
Denny Habecker: Peoples Deadlift 369#
Dan Bunch: Peoples Deadlift 649#
Dan Wagman: Anderson Squat 782#
Dan Wagman:  Peoples Deadlift 707#
Dean Ross: Peoples Deadlift 399#
Lance Foster: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 190#

EXTRA LIFTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Dan Wagman: Curl – Cheat, Reverse Grip 204#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand 180#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand 217#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand 217#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Right Arm 44#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Left Arm 44#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Feet in Air 110#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Hands Together 93.5#
Ruth Jackson: Holdout – Raised 33#
Ruth Jackson: Holdout – Lowered 33#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Right Arm 181.75#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Left Arm 181.75#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm 90#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm 90#

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

A Poet and Didn’t Know it! Part 1

by Thom Van Vleck

I was going through some old magazines recently.  These aren’t just magazines that are old…they are magazines that have been in my possession since they were purchased by me from the newsstand (yes, we had one in Kirksville…and it’s still here!) since I started training.  The past 20 years I have spent a lot of my magazine time on the ones that my Uncle’s gave me from the 50’s and 60’s and the ones my grandfather gave me from the 30’s and 40’s plus some I have bought over the years from collectors or “inherited” from other old club members who know I will keep them and take care of them.   I have ignored the 70’s, 80’s and up.  Partly because I see those era’s as tainted by steroids and partly because I felt like the commercialism really got carried away (I know, I know…..all the early mags sold stuff too….and were practically catalogs for products….but it just seemed to get worse!).

At any rate, I dug out some late 70’s mags recently.  This included some old “Muscle Builder” mags by Weider.  There’s a reason I hadn’t looked at these for years!  I bought them back in the day because there was little information available and I took what I could get!  At any rate, as I thumbed through a 1979 issue a piece of paper fell out.  It was folded up note book paper with the vertical red line on the left side where you would start writing and the blue lines so you would keep things neat and straight plus three holes to put it in a three ring binder.  I felt like I had to describe that as I don’t think the younger kids would know what I’m talking about!!!!!   The paper indicated to me it was from school and it was probably something I had wrote while goofing off and avoiding class work.  I often would sit and draw pictures related to lifting, sketch out workout routines, write out goals, or just about anything you could imagine related to weightlifting…..from the age of 15 to 18 I was as fanatical as they come!

This particular piece of paper was jammed in an article by Mike Mentzer on calf training.  I recall that article well!  It almost landed me in the Emergency Room.  I often was too impatient (that’s what they called Attention Deficit Disorder what I was a kid) to read all the “details”.  My calves were as skinny as a marathon runner and I wanted to gain some size.  This article detailed about a dozen or so exercises and in my haste to get “Diamond Shaped” calves I decided to do them all for 3 sets of 20 with maximum weights.  The next day my calves were so sore I could hardly walk.  It was also a day I was supposed to go rabbit hunting with my Uncle Phil (also an accomplished lifter and as sadistic as they come when it comes to training!).  He saw me hobble out (in SERIOUS PAIN) and quickly surmised I was sore from lifting.  He offered to call of the hunting but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction as I knew I’d never hear the end of it.  So we proceeded to hunt for the next 8 hours in cold, wind, and rain and I’m pretty sure he picked the spots that required the most walking to get to.  Finally, we went home and my calves actually felt a little better….until I laid down.  Then, they began to feel like they were on fire and someone was slicing them open with a scalpel!  They hurt so bad quiet tears ran down my face.   My mom found me and evidently I was having trouble hiding my distress and wanted to take me to the ER.  I refused, and I recall her going in trying to talk my Dad into “making” me go….but lucky for me my Dad was as sadistic as my Uncle and laughed his butt off as he knew exactly what was going on.  I was lost in the memory as I held that paper in my hand.

So, back to my story….I opened up this long, lost paper expecting some workout routine, or something like that….and found a poem.  It was a poem I had written when I was around 15 years old.  You have to understand that I started lifting at age 13…but on my 15th birthday (because I read where Arnold started seriously training at age 15) I went “all in”.  And when I say all in, I was training around 3 hours EVERY DAY and lived, ate, and breathed lifting every waking moment….and then I would DREAM about it at night!   Evidently, I had run out of routines and things to write about and had written a poem.  While I write a lot and always have….I haven’t written a lot of poems.  I don’t remember writing this one, but I do know I wrote it as I recognized my handwriting.  I peeled the yellowed and folded pages open and began to read.

In Part II, the poem.

National Postal

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS
2013 USAWA NATIONAL POSTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Congratulations to all the lifters that took part in the 2013 National Postal Championships!!!  It was a well represented meet – with a total of 19 lifters taking part.  Gabby Jobe was the lone female entrant – and for that she gathered the title of National Postal Champion.  The Mens Division was a “slug fest” with several BIG NAME lifters competing.  Dino Gym member Chad Ullom took top honors, edging out Orie Barnett. Troy Goetsch was third, Joe Ciavattone Jr. fourth, and Eric Todd fifth. The BIG BULL Bryan Benzel came in sixth, but he posted the highest total of the meet at 1261 pounds.

Gabby was the youngest lifter of the meet at 10 years of age.  Denny “the PREZ” Habecker was the oldest lifter of the meet at 70 years of age. Gabby was the lightest competitor at 103 pounds. The lightest male lifter was Denny, at 190 pounds.  The heaviest lifter of the meet was close between my two training partners Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell, as well as Lance Foster.  Scott ended up reigning as the heavyweight supremo at 331 pounds – of solid muscle I might add!

MEET RESULTS:

2013 National Postal Championships
December, 2012

Meet Director: John Wilmot

Lifters using a Certified Official (1 official system used):

Gabby Jobe – Certified Officials Alison Jobe, Jesse Jobe
Troy Goetsch – Certified Officials Jesse Jobe, Bryan Benzel
Barry Bryan – Certified Official Denny Habecker
Scott Tully – Certified Official Al Myers
Mark Mitchell – Certified Official Al Myers
Denny Habecker – Certified Official Barry Bryan
Tim Songster Sr. – Certified Officials Jesse Jobe, Dan Bunch
Joe Ciavattone Jr. – Certified Official Joe Ciavattone Sr.
Jesse Jobe – Certified Officials Bryan Benzel, Dan Bunch
Chad Ullom – Certified Official Al Myers
Eric Todd – Certified Official Lance Foster
Daniel Bunch – Certified Official Jesse Jobe, Bryan Benzel
Bryan Benzel – Certified Officials Jesse Jobe, Dan Bunch
Lance Foster – Certified Official Eric Todd

Lifters using a non-certified Judge (Not eligible for records):

Samuel Rogers – Judge Orie Barnett
John Wilmot – Judge Kay Wilmot
Orie Barnett – Judge Samuel Rogers
Joe Ciavattone Sr. – Judge Joe Ciavattone Jr.

Lifter without any Judge (Exhibition Only):

James Fuller – no Judge

Lifts: Clean and Press – Reverse Grip, Squat – 12″ Base, Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&P SQ DBDL TOT PTS
Gabby Jobe 10 103 41 90 100 231 435.9

 

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&P SQ DBDL TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 41 251 198 507 552 1257 1015.2
Orie Barnett 51 229 190 485 400 1075 998.9
Troy Goetsch 26 198 181 455 430 1066 958.0
Joe Ciavattone Jr. 19 218 200 450 450 1100 956.2
Eric Todd 37 260 225 455 520 1200 933.4
Bryan Benzel 25 292 261 500 500 1261 926.1
Samuel Rogers 50 208 180 395 328 903 876.0
Mark Mitchell 52 327 220 451 422 1093 861.1
Joe Ciavattone Sr. 44 228 185 400 400 985 860.7
Jesse Jobe 35 242 200 365 450 1015 818.8
Tim Songster Sr. 45 204 175 345 350 870 814.7
Barry Bryan 54 197 176 231 360 768 794.7
Scott Tully 37 331 176 418 510 1104 765.5
Daniel Bunch 48 365 176 315 390 881 740.1
Denny Habecker 70 190 110 176 294 580 699.8
John Wilmot 65 219 105 205 300 610 653.2
Lance Foster 47 326 141 250 350 741 568.9
James Fuller 41 234 143 346 501 990 827.5

NOTES:  All weights recorded in pounds. BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS is adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

IAWA Flags

by Al Myers

IAWA Banner

A while back on the IAWA(UK) Facebook page Steve Gardner posed this question to the membership, “How many countries have been represented in IAWA competitions over the past 25 years?”  This may include just 1 lifter from any given country.  Several responses were given to fully answer this question.  The final count came to 15 NATIONS that have sent at least one representative to an IAWA event or competition!

Steve then put together this banner which shows the flags of all countries that have had past involvement in IAWA.  Can you identify all the flags?  I had to “cheat” and look a few up – but here are the answers!

United Kingdom Germany New Zealand China
Canada Ireland Finland Italy
Thailand Australia Pakistan Spain
Wales United States Scotland England

Presidential Speech

by Al Myers, IAWA President

Another year is underway in the World of All Round Weightlifting and the IAWA.   Our history has been a rich one over the past 25 years in IAWA.  I feel the time is here that I should make my “presidential speech” – since being elected the IAWA President last October at the AGM of IAWA.  I know this is an expected duty of any incoming President -  but  I am doing this with some reservations, as I feel that we “have a good thing going” and BIG major changes are not really needed in our organization.   This is due to the previous administration, especially under the guidance of Past IAWA President Steve Gardner.  Steve has lead IAWA in excellent fashion over his two 4-year terms as IAWA President.   I am only hoping that I will be able to “follow in his footsteps” with the same enthusiasm and passion that he has shown for IAWA.   One thing that has always impressed me with Steve is his belief in the democratic principle within the organization, which I wholeheartedly agree with.   IAWA is a democratic body, and in turn should represent the majority viewpoints of the membership.   I promise that I will do my best to represent the feelings of those that elected me, even if my feelings are different on issues.   I’m your elected representative and it’s my duty to represent your views.  Please contact me with your concerns if you have them.  I am “very open” to hearing from the membership and encouraging discussions to solve problem issues.

 The International All Round Weightlifting Association (IAWA)  is the “umbrella World organization” of three Nations that contain organized All Round Weightlifting associations – the USAWA, the IAWA(UK), and the ARWLWA.   I feel the primary purpose of IAWA is to provide the guidance to allow all three organizations to come together for annual World competitions, ie The IAWA World Championships, the Gold Cup, and the IAWA World Postal Meet.    As President, I will make sure to represent all Nations involved.   I also recognize that we are not all “mirror images” of each other, and that is a good thing.  The USAWA has distinctive qualities to it that are different than the IAWA(UK), while the ARWLWA has it’s own very unique “flavor” to their organization.  We are all different in many ways.  History and membership viewpoints are what have driven this, and thus each organization is providing what is wanted by those directly involved.   That’s why I’m saying these differences are a good thing and should be emphasized and commended, instead of criticized and condemned.  However, there are ever-constant problems  in “coming together” for World events when ideas are different.  There has to be some “give and take” to work out these issues – and that is the primary purpose of IAWA – not to supersede established traditions within a nations governing body. 

I do feel that the relations are at an “ALL TIME HIGH” between the USAWA, the IAWA(UK), and the ARWLWA.  This has been shown over the last couple of World Championships.  Again, much of this is attributed to the work of Steve and his ability to promote unity and work through difficulties diplomatically.  He has that gift of leadership.  I will continually “lean on him” for advice in any major IAWA decision made or influenced by myself, as well as the elected board of officers and the IAWA Technical Committee.   The positive relations have also been enhanced by the available networking medias now-a-days.   The USAWA, IAWA-UK, and the ARWLWA each have active Facebook pages to facilitate communications between not only their membership, but others as well.  Practically every day I have contact with someone overseas, either via facebook, message boards,  or email. 

Ok – up till now it seems like I’m just being “general” with all this talk.  I’m sounding like a Politician just throwing out “feel good” concepts that are not specific in any way.  Well, let me give a couple “specific” ideas that I would like to see get accomplished during my next four years in office. 

Develop for the first time a IAWA Rulebook

Up till now there has not really been an IAWA Rulebook.  Each organization has followed their own rulebook which has left many rules of IAWA “unwritten”.   Examples of this is that there are NO WRITTEN rules outlining the proper approval presentation of lifts, the rules of government for  the World Championships and the Gold Cup,  rules for the IAWA Drug Testing Policy, etc.  I could go “on and on” about this as these “unwritten rules” apply to MAJOR ISSUES, which are WAY BEYOND individual lift rules which are only MINOR in comparison. 

Encourage and recruit at least one more “member Nation” to IAWA

Though the years IAWA has had many lifters from countries outside of the United States, the UK, and Australia compete in the Worlds or Gold Cup.  However, as I stated earlier, these other Nations do not have organized All Round Associations consisting of bylaws, Rules, and sanctioned competitions – and these lifters have competed in IAWA events on their own.   I would like to see other Nations “step up” and form All Round Weightlifting organizations that would join IAWA to strengthen and expand our organization.  I will make it a goal of mine to help facilitate this, and provide any guidance that is needed to accomplish this.

Develop historical archives for IAWA

I have already done some of this which is available on the USAWA website under the “history” section.  However, I would like to see our history preserved beyond what I have already done.  I hate to see the past history of the organization “lost” as time goes by.  We have to remember where we came from, as that defines who we are now.  There are VERY FEW around anymore that have been with IAWA since the beginning and know this history firsthand.  I think it is important that the younger lifters have somewhere to look to find out more about the history of our organization.

We may not be a huge organization that has thousands of members – but we are a “close knit” group.  I would contend that having a large membership with hundreds of lifters at the World Championships may NOT be a good thing.   Right now we all know each other and when we get together at meets it is like seeing your family members at a family reunion.  The camaraderie between competitors is strong –something you do not see in other lifting sports.  Little things like that would be lost with a large membership.  We presently have a great IAWA World Record data base – with thanks owed to Chris Bass for this, and before him, to Frank Allen.  The drug testing at IAWA events has been upheld to the ethics of the organization.  We state that we are a drug-free organization and we do the testing to prove it.  That’s something to be proud of.  We have been diligent in promoting our events.  Not once since the World Championships or Gold Cup has started has these events not been contested on a yearly basis.  The annual promotions of these events are vital to the future of IAWA, as they are the basis of our yearly success.   Included in this is the IAWA Annual General Meeting – which allows the membership to speak their concerns and voting to be taken place to uphold the democratic principles of the IAWA.  The AGM is held every year without fail.  Under my term, I promise to keep these events held faithfully on an annual basis.

Like I said earlier – the IAWA has had a rich history of success.  Despite a few “up and downs” and doubters through the years, the organization has not only survived but has thrived.  At the past IAWA World Championships last fall we celebrated the 25 year anniversary of IAWA.  Let’s make the NEXT 25 years just as good as the first 25 years!

Club Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2013 USAWA CLUB CHALLENGE

Meet director John McKean "in action" at last years Club Challenge under the watchful eyes of Art Montini and Rudy Bletscher.

The date for the USAWA Club Challenge has been set!  This meet has become the premier meet in the USAWA which features club (or team) competition. It is unique in that it is NOT a personal competition, but instead a 3-person competition of the representatives of each club.  The scores from each lifter are added together to form a club score.  No individual recognition is given in this meet.   The winning club has the bragging rights of having the “top performing” club in the USAWA for the year.  

John McKean, of the Ambridge Barbell Club, has been the meet director for this meet since it’s beginning.  The Ambridge BBC is one of the longest standing clubs in the USAWA, and has had club membership in the USAWA since 1993.  Only Clarks Gym has a longer running membership status.  The patriarch of the Ambridge Barbell Club, Art Montini, has been one of the most influential men in the history of the USAWA.

Eventually I would like to see each entered club in this challenge consisting of only club members (as identified on the membership roster).  This way the challenge would truly represent each individual club performance. However so far, this has not been required for entry into the Club Challenge.   So if two clubs want to “come together” to field a team, that is allowable.  You may also enter if you can’t be part of a three-person team, but when the scoring is done you will be at a disadvantage because the scoring is based on three individuals and it will be difficult to “single handily” compete against the scores of three.

MEET DETAILS:

Date: Saturday, March 2nd

Venue: Ambridge BBC

Meet Directors: John McKean & Art Montini

Entry Fee: None

Start Time: 1:00 PM

Sanction: USAWA

Lifts:

Bench Press – Fulton Bar

Peoples Deadlift

Bent Over Row

There is no entry form for this competition. If interested, contact myself (at amyers@usawa.com) or John McKean.

HMB: THE LIFTER’S SUPPLEMENT?

HMB: THE LIFTER’S SUPPLEMENT?

Fact vs. Fiction and Hype

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Publisher/Editor in Chief, Journal of Pure Power (JOPP)

I’m writing this because as a sports scientist, and dedicated barbell bender, I want people to understand that supplement companies realize that most of you hold science in high regard—which is why they use “science” to sell you their products. Of course they also cash in on the emotions and passions you hold for your sport; they know that you want to get the most out of your training and that you’ll leave no stone unturned. Unfortunately, most of the time you’re being taken advantage of. I’d like to share a recent experience with you that highlights this, in hopes that you’ll become a bit more wiser to the game that’s being played.

Background

I was recently contacted by a well-known strength athlete who receives sponsorship from a nutrition supplement company that specializes in β – h y d r o x y – β- m e t h y l b u t y r a t e, or simply HMB. In brief, HMB is a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine (new research on this amino acid is reviewed in JOPP’s January issue; (click here for a free sample). Both leucine and HMB have been shown to hold certain properties that could be beneficial to the strength athlete. But of course just holding such properties isn’t enough to conclude that your strength will go through the roof. After all, water holds essential properties our body needs, yet nobody would believe that by drinking more water before your attempt, you’ll end up increasing your Continental to Chest by 50 pounds. But that’s what research is for—investigating something under controlled conditions to see what’s actually occurring.

So this company’s claim is that HMB improves “strength, endurance, and recovery.” The company also claims that they’re all about “science instead of hype” and then go on to cite a lot of research on HMB with their own brief summaries thereof. From what I could tell, all of these research summaries are positive. And that’s where I got curious…

The Science

From previous study on HMB, I remembered that the research was equivocal. Why then, if this company was scientifically oriented, did they only list studies with positive results? In order to refamiliarize myself with the latest findings, and as a first step, I did a quick search of the scientific literature on HMB. Well, they’re still not in agreement on whether HMB will increase your performance or not. Now, before you take that as evidence that science is just a bunch of baloney, please understand that the reason for why studies aren’t always in agreement is because different research methods were used. It should come as no surprise that if you compare men to women, or an upper body exercise to a lower body exercise, or taking a supplement for seven days vs. seven weeks, etc., etc., that you’ll end up with conflicting results.

Anyway, my next step was to look at some of the research the company claims to be proof that HMB will increase performance. I randomly selected a study they cite. Here’s the company’s summary:

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined HMB supplementation in young male and female elite volleyball players for 7 wks. HMB supplementation resulted in improved body composition and significantly increased strength, while also decreasing fat mass percentage. HMB supplementation also increased peak and mean anaerobic power. No changes in hormones or inflammatory mediators were seen in this study.

Sounds good, but my next step was to look at the actual study, referenced below. A rather different picture emerged. First, the subjects were adolescents, as young as 13. That’s a huge flag because there’s an abundance of studies showing that adolescents respond to training, supplements, etc., quite differently than adults. Besides, can you really compare a 14-year old girl’s responses to HMB to that of a 36-year old male strength athlete? Next, the researchers used skinfold thickness to determine changes in fat-free mass, i.e., gains/losses in muscle mass. That method, however, isn’t the most accurate way to measure changes in muscle mass, especially in athletes and young people. In fact, the formula alone used for these calculations holds an error rate of nearly 4%. Consider that the placebo group showed changes ranging between 56.4 kg to 56.3 kg vs 59.3 kg to 61.6 kg for the HMB group. Though the HMB group showed statistically significant gains in muscle, in only considering the approximate 4% error rate for the formula, you end up with around 4.5 pounds (about 2 kg) worth of error. Since we’re talking about approximate error rates, and not even considering all sources of error in this method of determining fat-free mass, there’s no need for my math to be 100% accurate. The point is that you can easily see that as it relates to fat-free mass changes, HMB in this study isn’t much to hang your hat on.

But what about strength? That’s even more interesting. You see, the researchers found that the HMB group increased their strength significantly more than the placebo group—but only in knee flexion (such as in leg curls). No significant gains in strength were seen in knee extension, biceps curls, or triceps extensions. Now, also consider that strength was measured isokinetically. This means that equipment was used in which the speed of movement is held constant, in this case rep speed was measured at 180° and 60° per second. Of course any exercise you perform in the gym or competition isn’t isokinetic, it’s dynamic in that the speed of movement changes throughout the range of motion. So clearly, it’s difficult to generalize from an isokinetic curl to a dynamic squat. But again, please don’t dismiss the science because they used isokinetics to measure strength. You see, it’s very important to make sure that subjects perform an exercise identically, otherwise you introduce error into the experiment. If there’s any complaint on your part, it should be directed toward the supplement company for generating a false impression.

The research team also looked at peak and average anaerobic power via a cycle ergometer. Here some significant differences were noted for HMB. However, for rates of fatigue, aerobic fitness, or any of the hormonal and inflammatory measures taken, nothing significant was recorded allowing you to conclude that HMB might increase strength.

So how does this compare to the company’s summary? Not much. Add to that, that the research team discussed the various limitations of their work, all of which the company left out in their summary, and you can see how the company grossly exaggerated the study’s findings.

Take-Home Message

I’m sure you’re curious about this company’s name. But I’m not going to give it. Why? Because what I’ve shared with you is common among supplement companies. This particular company isn’t any worse than any of the other ones out there. So I feel that their particular name is irrelevant. The point is that you can’t trust any of them, even if they throw the word “science” around and list research. And even if the company employs scientists, that’s no guarantee, either. You see, last year I shined a bright light on how a company that produces mouthpieces and claims it’ll increase your strength, misrepresented what their scientists actually said (Click here and scroll down to Mouthpieces for Peak Performance?).

So are these companies purposely lying to you? That’s a tough question to answer. I would, however, say that they purposely hype their products to make sales. And what about HMB? Based on a quick review of the current science, my personal opinion is that you’d get more out of your training by focusing on a scientific approach thereto. And don’t forget about training the muscle between your ears; critical thinking and a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to supplements is always in order.

Reference

Portal S., et al. The effect of HMB supplementation on body composition, fitness, hormonal and inflammatory mediators in elite adolescent volleyball players: a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 111(9):2261-2269, 2011.

Dino Gym Challenge REMINDER

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym has been issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club. Pictured left to right in front of the Dinnie Stones: Josh Haydock, Mark Haydock, Alex Rigbye

The Annual Dino Gym Challenge is now only ONE WEEK away.  I have received several commitments from lifters that plan to compete.  It is looking to be a well-attended meet.  I’m hoping for 15-20 lifters – and I think I might get that many.  The entry form is available on the website, and I’m still taking entries so it is NOT too late to attend!

A new twist has been recently added to this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  Mark Haydock, of the Hoghton Barbell Club in Preston, England has issued the Dino Gym a “head-to-head” Challenge.  Of course I accepted!!!  We even put up “stakes” for the challenge.  The loser will have to “pay up” gym shirts to the winner.    His club has three members who are going to participate – Mark, Josh Haydock, and Alex Rigbye.   They plan to do the same lifts as us on the same day so the results will be known that same day.  This means that the “top three” placing Dino Gym members of the day will be entered in this challenge against our English counterparts.  All adjusted scores will be added together from the three participants from each club to form a final total team score.  So I’m expecting BIG THINGS out of the Dino Gym members on this one – so come ready to put up BIG LIFTS!!  Mark Haydock is promoting the IAWA World Championships next fall and I don’t want to have to be showing up with my “tail between my legs” paying up the losing bet!!!

If weather permits there may be a shooting contest immediately following the meet for anyone who is interested. I’m thinking of having four different competition categories.

1. 25 target trap shoot
2. 10 shot small bore (.223 and below)- 100 and 200 yards
3. 10 shot large bore (above .233)- 100 and 200 yards
4. 10 shot handgun 10 yards & 25 yards

You can enter one, a couple, or all of these categories depending on what gun/guns you bring. Let me know if anyone is interested in this. This way the Dino Challenge will cover two of my favorite interests – shooting and lifting!!!   I’ll provide the targets but you provide the gun/ammo for which category you plan to enter.   Handguns will be shot free hand, while rifles will be shot from a shooting bench.  Bipods will be allowed.

I am in the process of having some really special awards made for this year’s meet.  I really hope that they will be done in time.  How many times have you went to a meet with NO ENTRY FEE and received an award?   Not many I would guess – but this is the yearly Club Meet that I promote and I like to give back to our club’s membership, so I think it is only the right thing to do. I should also mention that this is a “functioning award” that I know many will like, especially guys like Dan Wagman.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday!!!

You Play Like You Practice

By James R. Fuller

Wasn’t exactly sure how to best mark the lovely below freezing tar I’d be squatting upon for the USAWA National Postal Championships Squat-12” Base event. As my girlfriend looked around for a ruler, I spied a painter’s stir stick. Stick looked to be close to 12”. Tape measure confirmed it. Some irony there, for you  see,  at this time I paint for a living. The stick worked great in its capacity as keeper of the 12” stance. 

A Painter's Stick measures at 12" which makes it a perfect thing to use to gauge your 12" Base Squat!

The Squats went great. Actually, I was more comfortable than expected.  Yes, my left knee prevented me from doing more but, the stance was alright. I don’t think in near 30 years of training have I measured my stance. So, imagine my surprise when I took a good look at the stick after I was done. Look and you’ll see I was using a 9-10” stance.

Years of Olympic Squatting probably is to explain for my comfort level. I’m 5’11” tall so I just naturally assumed a 12” stance would be a squeeze for me. Granted if feet straight ahead was required, I would probably be VERY uncomfortable.  Even though I wanted 400lbs on this lift, 346lbs with a bum knee ain’t too shabby. It does go back to my soccer coach who during practice said, ”You play like you practice!”

Here’s me doing the Squat-12” Base:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttsQNwSe6fw

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – 2013 DINO GYM CHALLENGE

Chad Ullom performed a 800 pound Anderson Squat enroute to winning BEST LIFTER at the 2012 OTSM Championships.

Every year for the Dino Challenge I like to change the theme.  There are just so many different lifts that can be “tested” in the USAWA that I just like to do something different every year.  I know that there are those meets that keep the same lifts in the same meet “year after year”, and I respect that as well.  I even go to those meets and like to be able to compare my performance in the same lifts from prior years, but for the Dino Gym Challenge I like to SHAKE THINGS UP!  The day of the meet will be third Saturday of January – January 19th at the Dino Gym.

The Dino Gym Challenge was host to the VERY FIRST USAWA  Old Time Strongman competition in 2011.  Since then there have been several hosted in the USAWA, including 2 Championships (2011 & 2012) at Kirksville, Missouri directed  by Thom Van Vleck.   Thom has been given the role of OTSM Chairman within the USAWA (ok…it’s an unofficial title, but it makes him feel important which is the most important thing here).   Thom has “given me his word” that he will be present at the Dino Gym’s OTSM in January, and Thom’s a guy who when he says he’s going to do something – he does it. 

The theme for this years competition will be an “Old Time Strongman Powerlifting Meet” .  These three lifts have been chosen: Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, and the Peoples Deadlift.   All three of these lifts are similiar to the three powerlifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift), only in slightly different formats.  The Anderson Squat and the Peoples Deadlift are limited range movements comparable to the squat and deadlift, while the Floor Press is essentially a bench press minus the bench.  Anyone should be able to perform these lifts – so I’m expecting a BIG TURNOUT!!

ENTRY FORM AND MEET DETAILS -  2013DinoChallenge