Articles from March 2013



My tribute to Dale “THE MIRACLE MAN” Friesz

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz made the trip to Las Vegas for the 2012 USAWA National Championships last summer. This was Dale's 20th National Meet that he has competed in. Pictured left to right: Art Montini, Al Myers, Dale Friesz

The USAWA will greatly miss Dale Friesz.   Dale’s passion for All Round Weightlifting and his love for the USAWA was “way beyond” that of  most lifters.  He was in a ”class of his own” in terms of dedication.  Several lifters “come and go” in the USAWA through the years, but Dale kept steady with his never-ending involvement.  I want to take today’s story to share my tribute to Dale with everyone.  I know lots of the newer USAWA members are not aware of the things Dale has accomplished in the USAWA.   Dale stated in his USAWA Hall of Fame biography that he got started in lifting by the encouragement of his brother Leonard.  Leonard had a stellar lifting career, and at one time was competing in Olympic Weightlifting in the Missouri Valley Region.  I remember seeing Leonard’s  name in numerous  past meet results.  Dale was influenced into becoming involved in the USAWA by two legendary USAWA lifters, John Vernacchio and Bill Clark.  This was also stated in his HOF bio.  I want to mention this footnote as well – when I was working on the project to get all USAWA Hall of Famers to have a biography on this website I set out questionnaires to each member which I based writing their bios on.  Dale was one of “the few” who wanted to write his bio himself, which he did.  He told me in an email he wanted it to be written right! (which I took as him not trusting me to get all the important facts and details in it!!!!) .  

Dale receiving the award for winning the FIRST EVER Presidential Cup in 2012. Dale is on the left, with the USAWA President Denny Habecker on the right doing the presentation.

Dales first competition in the USAWA was on November 11th, 1989, in a meet in Valley Forge, PA hosted by John Vernacchio.  Dale’s first year of USAWA membership began the very first year the USAWA began collecting dues – 1988.  Since that time Dale has had a CONTINUOUS membership in the USAWA (26 years!!!).  Dale always joined before the membership year began, and often he was the FIRST MEMBERSHIP for the year I would receive.  That’s a testament to his strong connection and support to the USAWA.  Dale is one of only four USAWA members that has maintained continuous membership in the USAWA (Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, and Art Montini are the others) since the organization formed.  This makes him one of the CHARTER MEMBERS of the USAWA.  At this past year’s Nationals, a very special award was given to Dale.  It was called the “25 Year Participation Award”, given to the lifters that have participated in the most USAWA National Championships in the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Dale had competed in 20 out of the 25 Nationals!!!  That’s an amazing track record!!  The other winners were Denny Habecker, Art Montini, and Dennis Mitchell.  Dale only missed the 1988, 1989, 2000, 2006, & the 2011 Nationals.  I was glad to see him involved in our 25th Nationals in Las Vegas last June.  I met him at the airport and I could tell that the flight had taken a toll on him, but he seemed very excited to be there and able to take part in this very important USAWA meet.  No matter how Dale felt physically, he always seem upbeat and glad to be taking part in the competition.

Dale performing one of his favorite lifts, the Neck Lift, at the 2009 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Lebanon, PA. This was the day that I got Dale to reveal his "neck lifting secrets" to me. He was the master of technique in the Neck Lift!!

Dale competed in several meets in Clarks Gym through the years.  His favorite was the Zercher Classic, which he competed in for the first time in 1991.  Dale had a good meet that day – placing one placing higher than Bill Clark!  The next year Dale returned to the Zercher and moved up a few places to fourth place out of 10 lifters (behind Steve Schmidt, John Carter, and Joe Garcia).  It was a tough field and had to be one of Dale’s best meets of his USAWA career. He raised his total by 735 pounds from the previous year. Then in 1994 he placed THIRD in the Zercher (his highest Zercher placing).    I know Dale was a big fan of this meet as he has provided me a complete historical review of all past Zercher Meets.  That’s one of the many reasons why I have often referred to Dale as the HISTORIAN of the USAWA even though it was a unofficial title.  He keep a record of this type of information and was always there for me when I had “questions”.  Much of the information on this website under the “history section” was researched and documented by Dale. Another one of his favorite “Clark Meets” was the Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen.  Dale has the distinction of WINNING the first ever Goerner Deadlift in 1995.  He beat such notable lifters that day as Rex Monahan, Joe Garcia, Al Springs and others.  I say it was one of Dale’s BEST EVER USAWA days – in addition to winning overall best lifter, he set his memorable 605 pound Neck Lift in a record setting session afterwards.  He was 55 years old and weighed 183 pounds that day. 

Recently I had received an email from Dale in which he commented how 2012 was, and I’ll quote him, “I consider this to be a decent year for me – as I broke 7 or so finger lift records (all previously set by someone with2 normal legs!), winning the Presidential Cup, and being named lifter of the month for August.  This made my efforts/pain worthwhile“.   He was looking forward to the year 2013.  Dale NEVER seemed to get discouraged, and always was thinking about his next competition.  I was so glad to see him win the Inaugural Presidential Cup last August.  His winning performance included a 154 pound Ring Fingers Deadlift with a prosthetic leg!  Later in the year I included this performance of his as one of the TOP TEN performances in the USAWA for the year 2012.  Dale sent me an email after that announcement thanking me, but he EARNED IT!

Dale performing the Pullover and Push in the 2010 USAWA Championships. This was the last meet Dale competed in before his leg amputation.

Dale has dealt with more physical obstacles than anyone I have ever known, and yet continued to train and compete.  The list is enormous and so long I have lost count.  But included is hip replacement, aortic reconstruction, back surgery with laminectomy, shoulder replacement, heart surgery several times, three heart attacks, numerous leg surgeries, and then the leg amputation.  I’m sure I’m missing many other health-related issues here.  It was common for Dale to compete in a big meet shortly after a major operation.  I remember once just a few weeks after open-heart surgery he was on the platform competing.  After his hip replacement, he was in a meet 3 months later.  This quote came from the Strength Journal from Dale before his hip replacement.  Dale said, “I always wanted to be like Tommy Kono and John Grimek and on February 12th, 2001, I’ll get me wish.  I’ll get a new hip.”  Dale always had a dry sense of humor when it came to things!  When he was staying at my place for the 2009 USAWA Nationals he “instructed me” on his medications so in case something went wrong I would be aware of what medicines he was on.  This was a list no shorter than 17 different pills!!!!  Dale’s mindset was like no other, and is the main reason he was awarded the Courage Award by the USAWA EVERY YEAR since the USAWA Awards Program  began in 2010. Before this, he was awarded the Ciavattone  Courage Award in 2004 by Frank Ciavattone, who gave out the award yearly to honor someone who showed great courage in remembrance of Frank’s dad.   I once  jokingly commented to Dale  that he’s won the Courage Award so many times it should be named after him when he’s gone!  Now…… I’m serious about that.

In 2009, the USAWA Nationals were held at the Dino Gym in Abilene, KS. Dale stayed at my house during that time and I will forever remember the stories that were told by Dale. This picture is from the meet of him performing a Cheat Curl.

Dale was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame in 2002.  His induction happened at the 2002 Nationals, held in Ambridge, PA.  I would like to share this story about Dale and his entering into the HOF by Bill Clark, someone who Dale had great respect and admiration for. “ When Dale Friesz showed up to lift at the USAWA Nationals in June in Ambridge, PA., USAWA President Howard Prechtel was prepared.  Dale needed to medal at the Nationals to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and Howard figured correctly that Dale would do that.  So much to Dale’s surprise, he was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame on the spot with the plaque already engraved in his name.  That Dale was even lifting in Ambridge was Hall of Fame material in itself.  In February, he spent 15 days in the hospital (six days in intensive care) and lost 21 pounds in 21 days from an already slender frame.  In a few weeks, he seemed on the road to recovery from what had been diagnosed as advanced vascular disease.  But, in May, along came what Dale called “Scary Story No. 2″ , viral heart infection, bronchial shutdown, pneumonia, liquid retention around the heart – back to the hospital for nine days.  And a matter of six weeks later, he was back on the platform earning his spot in the Hall of Fame.  I can assure you – no one was happier to be in Ambridge than Dale Friesz.”  – by Bill Clark in the Strength Journal Vol. XIII No. 3

Dale "in action" performing another one of his favorite lifts - the finger lift!

In 2006 at the USAWA National Meeting, the USAWA passed a rule requiring that all officials pass a Open Book Rules Test to be certified as an USAWA official.  Dale was the FIRST ONE to take and pass this exam.  He was one of the few LEVEL TWO officials in the USAWA.  He had a keen sense of the Rule Book, and kept up on it as things evolved.  Often he would “question” things in the Rulebook, and due to this, several discrepancies were found and corrected. Dale was never an officer in the USAWA, but his presence as a member exerted as much influence as any officer.  In my opinion, he was one of the TOP TEN most influential people ever involved in the USAWA.  He often served on committees, and provided valuable input.  His input on the HOF committee was instrumental in developing new guidelines for entry.  He also served on the Rulebook Review committee and was very helpful to me in the big Rulebook revision of 2009. In 2011 at my encouraging Dale registered his club with the USAWA.   He named it M&D Triceratops, and he was the only member.  Often at meets he would be wearing a ball cap or tshirt sporting his clubs logo.  I could tell this was something Dale was proud of, and it showed his commitment to the USAWA.

Dale’s favorite all round lifts were the finger lifts, the finger deadlifts, the Neck Lift, and the one arm deadlift.  I just did a USAWA record count of the number of current USAWA records Dale holds, and his count is at 160.  He holds records in 64 different USAWA lifts!  Dale was one of the original members of the CENTURY CLUB, a designation I gave to lifters who currently hold over 100 USAWA records.  The records he was most proud of were; 215# Ring Fingers Deadlift done at the 2001 Gold Cup, 354# Right Arm Deadlift done at the 1992 Gold Cup, and his 605# Neck Lift done at the 1995 Goerner. 

Dale’s National and World Meet Accomplishments:

2012 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 70-74
2010 Nationals 9th Place Overall
2008 Nationals 8th Place Overall
2005 Worlds Best Lifter Mens Master 65-69
1999 Nationals 6th Place Overall
1997 Nationals 7th Place Overall
1996 Nationals 10th Place Overall
1996 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 55-59
1995 Nationals 4th Place Overall
1992 Nationals 8th Place Overall

*plus numerous class/bodyweight National & World Championship awards*

Dale would often sign off his emails with these words, “Don’t let the USAWA die!!” That’s a promise that I will not let him down on. I owe Dale alot- he really helped me understand the historical importance of the USAWA and the philosophy of the organization. I will never forget Dale and his love for the USAWA and all round weightlifting. Often when I’m having a “rough day” in the gym, I think of Dale and the hardships he overcame with his lifting and it motivates me to keep positive and work harder. Afterall, my physical problems are NOTHING compared to what he endured when training!! I gave Dale the nickname “MIRACLE MAN” in several past blog stories. I know he appreciated that (he told me so) as it was given as a sign of respect to him in his ability to overcome serious physical  barriers miraculously.

Dale – YOU WILL BE MISSED! But I promise everyone this – I will keep Dale’s memory alive in the USAWA for as long as I’m involved.

The MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD – Dr. Robert Goldman

by Al Myers

Thom (right picture) and myself (left picture) with Dr. Goldman at the 2013 Arnold Higland Games in Columbus, Ohio.

A few weeks ago I made the trip to the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.  The plans were made for this trip to be in conjunction with the USAWA  Club Championships in Pittsburgh, but when the Club Champs were called off because of bad weather that didn’t really end up happening , we decided to just make the trip to the Arnold anyways.  The four of us (me, Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, and Mike McIntyre) had already made the plans to be gone, so instead of only getting one day at the Arnold, now we got two days. 

You always meet interesting people at these kind of events.  Some you heard of beforehand, and others for the first time.  On Sunday we attended the Arnold Classic Highland Games to support several throwers that we know.  It was a grand event, and sponsored by Dr. Robert Goldman.  Dr. Goldman put up the prize money for the invited pros as well as funding the game expenses. This was the first time I had met him, and I was very impressed.  When I got back home I did some research on him, and I might have to say, he is the MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD.  In fact, I have not met anyone who has accomplished what he has in his life in so many different arenas.  Add in the fact that he has a little “all round weightlifter” in him and I was thoroughly impressed.  But before I get to that, you need to read his resume first:

http://drbobgoldman.com/

Dr. Bob Goldman performing a WR 321 consecutive handstand pushups (photo courtesy of Dr. Goldman's website).

It would take a book to write about all of the accomplishments that Dr. Goldman has achieved (or a very extensive website like the one he has!). One of his first books was titled “Death in the Locker Room” which was one of the first unveiling’s of the drug and steroid scene in competitive sports. Dr. Goldman is very anti-drug, and even required steroid testing  at the Arnold Highland Games (which is not the common practice in Highland Games) .   Thom and I compared him to the mysterious Dos Equis man that you often see in beer commercials (who is portrayed as the Most Interesting Man in the World in the beer advertisements).  Dr. Goldman  just radiates confidence and vitality, and after meeting him, you know there is more to the story than what you experienced in that interaction.  On top of all the books he has written and the medical advances he is responsible for, he has achieved some great All Round lifting accomplishments.  He has set several Guinness World Records in such strength events as the handstand pushup, situps for repetitions, one arm pushups, and many others.  The following YouTube Video is very interesting, and is worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch.

YouTube Video –  A lifetime of firsts: The story of Dr. Bob Goldman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyDgV5WOxH8

It’s great the World has men like Dr. Robert Goldman.  He is proof that if you have a positive attitude and strong work ethic, anything is possible to achieve.  He’s a great role model for all of  mankind.

Frank’s Barbell RB

by Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Due to our area receiving 100 plus inches of snow in the past couple of months, most of our competitors were unable to attend due to plowing snow. This was the first Saturday that we had any number of attendees making it possible to hold this competition.

Our furthest entrant came from upstate Maine and the other two entrants were from Walpole, MA. I was the only qualified referee so my lifts did not count toward official records but the other two competitor’s lifts are valid. We had one loader, helper and spectator which was famous author on strength, Peter Vuono from Brockton, MA. Everyone gave 100% and made this competition a worthwhile event. After the competition we enjoyed a meal and award ceremony and then right back to snow plowing.

MEET RESULTS:

Frank’s Barbell Club Meet Record Breaker
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Location: Frank’s Barbell Club in East Walpole, MA

Meet Promoter:  Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Officials (1 official system used):  Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Jeff Ciavattone - 33 years old, 235 lbs.

One hand Fulton dumbbell (Ciavattone grip) – right 190 lbs. & left 190 lbs.
Index finger dead-lift – 231 lbs.
Ring finger dead-lift – 159 lbs.

Jim Fuller - 41 years old, 228 lbs.

Kelley snatch -  108 lbs.
Kneeling snatch – 108 lbs.
Middle finger dead-lift  -  266 lbs.

Frank Ciavattone Jr. -58 years old, 289 lbs.

Reeves deadlift  - 345 lbs.
One hand Fulton dumbbell (Ciavattone grip) – right 190 lbs.
Little finger deadlift w/ring – left 110 lbs. & right 125 lbs.

WEBMASTER NOTE:   James Fuller recorded the meet, and placed the video on YouTube which he shared in the USAWA Discussion Forum.  I am placing a link to it here, as it’s very inspirational!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBpIg5btGVk&feature=player_detailpage

Take Control of Your Forearms

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe training his forearms from an elevated positions, using a wrist roller and a heavy rope attached to weight. (photo courtesy of Atomic Athletic)

You can take control of your forearm growth. This is what is great about progressive resistance training. You are in control.The key is consistency. I don’t know how many times I have heard people talk about muscle confusion, chaos, or randomness being the key to training. Now, if you are simply an out of shape slob, anything will work when you first start off, because something is better than nothing. However, purely random exercises are not going to help you reach your potential.

The first step in any kind of training is learning how to use your tools. They all seem very simple. For example, how hard can it be to learn how to use a wrist roller? Technically, it is a stick with a cord that holds a weight. The learning process is more than just reading or watching a video, it includes doing something. You must actually pick up the item and start emulating what you have seen.

For example, in the Frightening Forearms DVD I show several methods of using your whole body with a wrist roller.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID111

In the book “72 Consummate Arts Secrets of the Shaolin Temple”, the chapter on the Pot Lifting Arts you will find out a great method on how to increase the weight you are lifting.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK072

You have read about it and watched me actually do things with a wrist roller. That is the easy part. Get out of your arm chair and be an athlete. Pick up your Wrist Roller and try the techniques you have seen.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=KT11WR

For a few weeks, you will try something new with your Wrist Roller every single day, regardless of what the rest of your workout is like. Even if you have to use nothing more than a 1 1/4 Pound Plate, you will try the various techniques until you feel you really understand what is going on. IN THE PROCESS, you will actually be getting more exercise than you can believe!

Here is the entire Pot Lifting Arts Kit I have put together:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK72P2

That is STEP 1 toward grabbing control of your forearm strength.

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

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift Must Die

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

I’m glad that Al’s article on the Romainian Deadlift (RDL) and Stiff-Legged Deadlift (SLDL) mentioned the dangers of the SLDL. Everything about the SLDL is contrary to proper lifting technique, biomechanics, and physiology-and as such increases injury risk immensely. And since we’re talking about the back, an injury there can be life changing and lifting career ending. Please let me explain…and I’ll do this as briefly as possible and in a step-by-step sequence.

A properly executed RDL reduces the risk of injury over the SLDL many fold. For one, a properly executed RDL allows the lifter to simply deadlift the barbell off the ground; this means that proper lifting technique can be employed before you even start doing a RDL. Then, as you commence the RDL, the barbell is slid down the thighs, over the knees, and about half way down the legs, while at all times remaining in contact with the body. This is achieved by keeping the back in a neutral position (flat) and by shifting the center of mass back toward your heels as much as possible. If you find yourself losing balance backwards and your toes popping up a bit, then you’re doing a proper RDL. By keeping the back flat and keeping the center of mass as close to the coronal plane* as possible, the shearing forces upon the lower back are minimized. Research on the squat has demonstrated clearly and unequivocally, how the more the center of mass moves away from the coronal plane (forward), by as an example doing a low-bar sq compared to a high-bar sq, shearing forces on the lower back increase many fold. (Certain dl comparison studies have demonstrated this, too.)

So what about shearing forces? Whenever you lift something, joints move, and shearing forces exist. But by observing proper lifting technique, grounded in sound biomechanics, these shearing forces are something your body can handle and adapt to so that they become a non-issue. And so in the low-bar squat, even though the shearing forces upon the lower back are greater than in the high-bar squat, since proper lifting technique can nevertheless be maintained, these forces don’t add up to an increased injury risk. Not so in the SLDL!

Some of the technique strategies necessary to reduce shearing forces upon the lower back when you lift is to bend the knees, keep the back in neutral, and keep the center of mass as close to the coronal plane as possible. This can all be achieved with every pull off the ground-except the SLDL. And what makes the SLDL particularly insidious is that execution of this lift requires you to violate all principles of proper lifting. And that’s why this lift must die…

  • Whenever the center of mass moves forward…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; you can’t do a SLDL with the bar close to the body.
  • Whenever you lift something with locked knees…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; this is one of the chief aspects resulting in a barbell away from your body.
  • Whenever you round your back, you’re taking the curvatures out of your spine, thus reducing the structural strength of the spine, thereby increasing forces upon all vertebrae of the spine…and you’re also increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; you couldn’t lift with neutral spine (flat back) even if you tried when your knees are supposed to remain locked.
  • Whenever you lift more weight…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; but in the SLDL this occurs due to poor technique that places anatomical structures (tendons, ligaments, discs, muscles, etc.) at additional risk by ostensibly weakening them.

Up until now I’ve withheld personal opinion and just shared scientific fact. But based on these scientific facts, my personal opinion is that if the IAWA Worlds had the SLDL as a contested lift, I’d only do a token lift with the minimum amount possible, even if that meant losing the worlds by 10 pounds. And not trying to pick on Al here, I would like you to consider that him having done SLDL’s for 20 years without injury is simply a function of luck. If I were him, I’d consider the facts of biomechanics and I’d stop doing SLDL’s now and thank Lady Luck every day that I made it through the mine field intact.

So now some of you might be thinking that, “Yeah, well, but the SLDL does help my deadlift by giving me more strength off the ground.” Guys, let’s be honest here, that’s just conjecture based on what came out of the “Golden Age of Lifting.” It can be argued that these guys gave rise to the field of exercise science. And now that it has advanced, we should not hold on to old and unproven myths, but embrace the advances in knowledge these guys laid the foundation for. So, sure, you might think that SLDL’s will help you get the barbell of the ground, because that’s what you feel. But what you’re feeling there is just an acute sense of what’s going on due to a new exercise-it’ll fade…and the feelings are not a reflection of reality. Research has shown that in an effort to get the barbell moving off the ground, you need more speed-not a violation of good lifting form and enough luck to survive that. So you’d be much better off training high pulls than SLDL’s to increase your pull off the ground. There’s a reason weightlifters tend to be great deadlifters…and it’s not because they do SLDL’s.

Overall, there is absolutely no reason to do the one lift that violates all principles of proper lifting. And as to being a contested lift in IAWA and USAWA…who cares. Is it worth the risk? At the end of the day, that’s your decision. I can only hope that you’ll be able to take the above as useful evidence to derive at a more informed decision. As for me, SLDL RIP.

*Imagine looking at a person from the side and dividing that person into equal halves front and back. The center line that divides front and back is the coronal plane.

Remembering Dale

by Al Myers

Today I would like to share several of the tributes to him from friends and lifters.  These comments have been taken from several sources – emails, facebook comments, forum comments, etc.  It is obvious that Dale had many friends in the All Round community, and that he was very well respected.  First, I would like to say a few things about Dale.  I’ve always considered him the Historian of the USAWA, even though it was an unofficial title. Whenever I had a question on something that had happened in the past in the USAWA  and I didn’t know the answer – I would ask him and he would know.  Often his answer included more information than I requested.  He had a “complete set” of old Bill Clark Strength Journals and kept everything well-organized as an historical archive. I will greatly miss Dale’s help!  I also could count on Dale to give me his “honest opinion” on USAWA matters.   In his weekly emails, he would always have some comment on USAWA matters on how he would like to see things done.  I greatly respected him for that, and took his issues “to heart” as he presented them in a reasonable, logical manner.  I have NEVER meant someone who had such a passion and love for the All Rounds as Dale.  Most would have given up lifting facing the physical barriers that Dale faced – but he kept positive and maintained his involvement in the sport to the best of his ability.  I will forever remember this about him. 

After meeting Dale years ago during an All Around Weightlifting competition, it was obvious to me this man had his focus on success.  Not only was I impressed by his determination, but his positive attitude was remarkable as well. As our USAWA events continued, Dale displayed his commitment to competition not only for his own results, but also attended them to remain a great motivator in the background for other fellow athletes. Dale’s strong spirit enabled him to overcome countless critical health circumstances. I’m certain his strength training background allowed him to activate positive improvements to his condition. In spite of all the suffering Dale had to put up with, ultimately his faith in positivity kept him going. Dale’s record setting attitude has to be a USAWA textbook example of how determination leads to success. Rest in Peace, Dale. May our Dear Lord comfort and bless your family.  – Scott Schmidt

My sympathies go out to Dale’s friends and family. – Lance Foster

Condolances. Rest in Peace, DaleEric Todd

I would just like to say that Dale was Crazy…but he is my kind of crazy! What I mean by that is I’ve been lifting since 1977 and competing since 1979 and I have no plans on quitting….ever! I will lift up until the day God calls me home and I hope there’s a lifting platform there or in my book that won’t be heaven! Dale was a guy that never quit. Even when he was on his last leg…literally…the guy DID not quit. I know some folks would think that was crazy, but I think it took courage. I recall Michael J. Fox, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s doing an interview. After he listed all his projects the reporter said, “shouldn’t someone like you be resting more” and he got mad and looked at her and said, “RESTING FOR WHAT…” He then went on to talk about how he knew he had limited time and he had things to do…well, Dale had things to do. Most guys would have rotted away in some retirement village…Dale had things to do and I respect that. The next time I am too tired, too sore, too something to workout I will think of the great length Dale went to lift and I’ll shut up and train a little harder. I remember reading a saying that went like this, “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy &hit, what a ride!” That was Dale and some day (hopefully in about another 30 or so years) it will be me! I am a Christian, I believe in heaven, and I see Dale young, strong, and working on his Clean and Jerk. One of my favorite lines for “Gladiator” is, “I will see you again…but not yet, not yet”.Thom Van Vleck

My condolences go out to friends and family of Dale. - Troy Goetsch

Dale will be missed. I remember the first few years I lifted in the USAWA, Dale and I were in the same age group and weight class and we had some great battles. He was always there to give you advice and encourgement. He was a great competitor and a realy great and couragous man. - Denny Habecker

Dale was a great competitor. I was fortunate to lift with Dale at Art’s Birthday Bash 2011 and recent Presidential Cup 2012. Dale was a fine example of never quit or give up.Barry Bryan

I was very sad to learn of the passing of Dale Friesz. Dale was known to several UK lifters who had met him at competitions in the US. Dale was a very nice man, and he performed some very good lifts over the years. He was one of the stalwart members of the USAWA and he will be sadly missed. Dale had suffered terrible ill health over recent years, but it did not stop his enthusiasm to lift. Even after losing a leg, he still battled his way on to the platform to strut his stuff.Steve Gardner

Never really got to know Dale that well on my travels to America, but a sad loss none the less. We have sadly lost a few of the old school lifters now. RIP Dale.Steve Angell

Oh how sad! Dale he was a nice guy! RIP Dale. – Cara Collins

Sorry to hear, another great lifter passes on. Big John Vernachio will have a bit of competition up there now. - Billy Bourne

Dale was one of the most dedicated lifters I’ve ever known.  I mean, I have seen the guy compete when he would have to hook up an IV between events to his pic line!  Dale dealt with many health issues the past few years, but he never let it get in the way of his lifting and competing.  I’m sure he gave his Dr’s fits! Dale was great to have at meets, especially during the meetings as he was not afraid to speak his mind and made sure to keep us on track and remind us the purpose of the USAWA!  Dale will be missedChad Ullom

Sad news of Dale. No doubt he touched and inspired many. From all here at All-Round Weightlifting Western Australia please accept our condolences on the passing of Dale. Although most of us have never met Dale, we have read and heard of his lifting career and battles.
“Passed friends and memories are but a thought away, Remember them often”.
- Robin Lukosius and Members of All-Round Weightlifting Western Australia

I’ll always remember the many meets that Dale and I competed in together. He was always there to do his best and to help and encourage the other lifters. He was the most determined lifter I can think of. He never complained about his problems. He will be greatly missed. - Dennis Mitchell

Dale’s Funeral Arrangements

by Al Myers

This information was sent to me today  by Dale’s daughter Pam.  It includes the details of Dale’s visitation and Funeral.

Dear family and friends,
Thank you for your many kind words and thoughts for all of us. Here are the details for Dad’s visitation and funeral. The obituary will appear in the Washington Post and also in the memory book on
www.moneyandking.com.  Thank you,
Penny, Pam, Mark, and Karen

 
Thursday, March 21
Money and King Funeral Home
171 W. Maple Avenue
Vienna, VA 22180
Visitation: 2:00 – 4:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:00 PM
 
Friday, March 22
St. Mary’s Historic Catholic Church
Ox Road and Fairfax Station Road
Fairfax Station, VA 22039
Funeral Mass: 11:00 AM
Burial immediately following – St. Mary’s Church cemetary
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors or
St. Katharine Drexel Mission Building Fund
14535 John Marshall Hwy, #210
Gainesville, VA 20155

Dale Friesz Passes

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz, July 30th, 1940 - March 18th, 2013. This picture was taken at the 2010 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA.

Today I have some sad news to report.  Yesterday I received word that long time USAWA member Dale Friesz has died.  This is tragic news for the USAWA, as Dale has been a “foundation member” of the USAWA and has been such a tremendous supporter of the USAWA thru the years.  I am saddened by this news, as hardly a week goes by that Dale and I don’t correspond at least once via email.  Everyone knows about the health issues that Dale has been dealing with for years, yet he always rebounded and made it back to the lifting platform.  He has been an inspiration to everyone who has met him.

I will let everyone know when I get more details of the funeral arrangements.  In the meantime I would like to  ask everyone to share tributes about Dale that I can share in the USAWA Daily News.  These tributes can be emailed to me (amyers@usawa.com) or placed on the USAWA or IAWA Facebook pages.

Take a moment today and read Dale’s USAWA Hall of Fame Biography – http://www.usawa.com/hall-of-fame-biography-dale-friesz-class-of-2002/ .

Stiff Legged DL’s vs. Romanian DL’s

by Al Myers

Ed Schock performing a 210 KG Stiff Legged Deadlift at the 2007 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA. Ed is one "of the few" lifters that have done a stiff legged deadlift of over 500 pounds in USAWA competition.

This is the question that often gets asked in the gym – which is better – stifflegged deadlifts or Romanian deadlifts?  That’s a question that is quite debateable as some don’t like either,  while some prefer one over the other, and gives passionate reasons.  Much like asking a guy if he prefers blonds or brunettes.  You’ll end up with someone saying they prefer redheads. 

However, I do believe that MOST lifters really don’t know the difference between Stifflegged Deadlifts and Romanian Deadlifts. I often hear lifters saying they are doing one of these lifts, when in fact, they are doing the other.  So I’m going to take a “step back” here and explain both of these common accessory deadlift exercises.  If all this is stuff you already know, just look at the picture of Ed Schock, skip the rest of the story, and hope I  write something more interesting tomorrow.  But I CONSTANTLY hear stuff from lifters that tell me that there’s more confusion between these two lifts than admitted.   Some even think they are the same lift!  But they aren’t! 

STIFF LEGGED DEADLIFT

This lift is actually an official USAWA lift.  The USAWA rules are pretty simple for it: ” The rules of the Deadlift apply except that the legs must be straight and locked before the beginning of the lift and must remain so throughout the lift.  Any width of stance is allowed.  The arms are allowed to be inside the legs.”  Now this official rule is a pretty good explanation of a proper stifflegged deadlift, with one exception.  That is allowing sumo stance!  That completely neutralizes the strength-gaining purpose of a stiff-legged deadlift in training.  The SL deadlift should be done with a narrow stance.  I feel these principles define a stiff legged deadlift:

  • Narrow stance.
  • Legs straight throughout the lift, or maybe “just slightly” bent and remain in same degree of flexion throughout.
  • Toes should be pointed out slightly, just like your regular deadlift stance.
  • Hands should be positioned on the bar in an overgrip fashion. If you have a weak grip – hook grip the bar or use straps.
  • Shoulders “rolled over”, and the back rounded at the beginning of the pull.
  • Bar starts over toes.
  • Hips positioned over the feet throughout the lift.
  • Back goes from a point of flexion to extension during the lift.
  • Bar comes into contact with thighs during lift and remains close to the body from that point on.
  • Each rep done slow and under control.

The SL Deadlift  puts extreme pressure on the lower back, especially at the beginning of the lift.  The starting position, with the shoulders rolled over, is what Doctors for years have said is “the WRONG WAY to pick something up”!  But that is what makes it such a great exercise for developing that strong lower lumbar strength.  It takes the back from flexion to extension throughout the execution.  The SL deadlift develops sudden strength from the floor, and if you have problems getting your deadlifts started, this lift will enhance your starting strength in the deadlift. 

ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

The Romanian Deadlift, or RDL’s as they are often called, is a favorite accessory exercise for Olympic lifters. The story goes that a World Class Romanian Olympic lifter popularized this lift, thus it became named that way. It is a much more difficult exercise to learn than the stifflegged deadlift.   The following principles define a Romanian Deadlift:

  • A normal shoulder width stance is taken, with toes facing straight ahead.
  • The bar is gripped with an overhand grip.
  • Knees are in a state of flexion of around 20 degrees during the duration except at the finish, and in the beginning are even slightly more flexed.
  • Shoulders stay up and the back remains in a neutral flat state.  This is the biggest difference between a SLDL and a RDL.  The back must never flex forward or straighten.  IT MUST STAY IN THE SAME STAIGHT FLAT POSITION THOUGHOUT.
  • Hips are “pushed back” behind the heels during the lift.
  • The bar stays close to the body throughout.
  • Plates may not touch the platform, depending on the lifters flexibility.

Now for my editorial.  Both of these exercises work the hamstrings and lower back extensively. Both are intended to be done for repetitions (with the exception of the Stifflegged DL if it is done in an official USAWA competition).  I will say this – do the RDL’s if you are an Olympic lifter and the SL DL if you are a powerlifter.  The reason for this is that I do believe that “form carryover” exists, and that RDL’s will cause breakdown in your deadlift form (pushing hips too far back) and SL DL’s will cause breakdown in your clean technique (by not keeping the shoulders up).  This is my opinion of course.  Another argument you will hear on SL DL’s is that they are a very dangerous exercise to do.  The reasons given are the rounding and unrounding of the back puts excessive pressure on the spinal erectors and and vertebral discs.  But this excessive pressure is  ”the secret” as to why SL DL’s will build extreme lower back strength.  If you perform them slow and steady for repetitions, they can be done safely.  RDL’s have received complaints that they put extreme pressure on the hamstrings, and can lead to hamstring pulls/tears.  But that is the reason they are being done – to strengthen the hamstrings!  Again, if a lifter has poor hamstring flexibility start the RDL’s from the hang.  With time, you will notice your flexibility improves and the hamstrings get stronger. Starting from the hang also helps maintaining the straight back alignment with the shoulders erect.  Some lifters will do stifflegged deadlifts standing on blocks as to increase the range of motion.  I have done them that way before as well, but prefer to do them from the floor now.  I do NOT feel this added range of motion is adding anything to the benefits, as you will have to use less weight and thus not stimulate the muscles to the same degree as from the floor.   The purpose of even doing this exercise is to enhance your pulling strength, and have carry over to your max deadlift.  Having flexibility beyond what is needed to do a normal deadlift serves no purpose in increasing your maximum deadlift.

I have always been a bigger fan of the Stiff legged deadlift.  I have done them weekly for over 20 years and I have never sustained an injury doing them. I have at times worked up to 450-500 lbs. for reps of 3-8, with each rep paused on the floor. I’ll push them hard – but not to failure.   My max deadlift has ALWAYS directly corresponded to the weight I was training my SL’s with.  The higher the SL’s – the higher the DL.  But I have never been a trained Oly lifter, thus that is the reason I prefer SL’s.  My training partner Scott Tully has always liked RDL’s, mainly because his start in lifting was with Olympic  weightlifting.  We argue constantly over this, as I’m trying to convert him to SL’s, but for some reason he can’t keep his legs straight (LOL) from too many years of doing RDL’s.  Bottom line is this – both of these exercises are OUTSTANDING exercises and at least you should consider implementing one of them into your training program.

Al Spings and his Tractor Lift

by Al Myers and Lance Foster

Al Springs performing his Tractor Lift, which weighs over 3000 pounds!

Most everyone in the USAWA knows or has heard of Al Springs from Dearborn, Missouri.  Al is an eccentric ole’ all rounder, who has been involved with the USAWA for many, many years and has a great passion for weightlifting and anything “all round” in nature.  He is reminiscent of the OLD TIME STRONGMEN of the turn of the previous century in his mindset, and takes on strength challenges that others might pass on.  He is still a very active USAWA member at over 70 years of age.  He competes a few times every year in our organization and even competed on the WORLD STAGE of IAWA this past October at the IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas. He won his age and weight class, earning him the right to call himself a World Champion. 

I always enjoy my conversations with Al.  We talk on the phone every couple of months, and when he calls I answer “this is Al”, and he responds, “this is Al” as well.  I know immediately who I am talking to. Recently Lance Foster shared this very interesting picture of Al Springs performing, what he calls, his Tractor Lift. Lance was able to get Al to share his story on his Tractor Lift and this is what Al said:

“Normal H Farmall tractors weigh about 6000 lbs which was too much for lifting, but long enough for what I wanted to transfer into a strongman project, actually a vision of my art to lift. After the transfer the tractor weighs about 3000 lbs.  I made the harness belt also.  The chains hooked to the tractor’s frame was 200 lbs.  While the tractor was in the barn, I would do reps with it. I moved it outside for my daughter to take pictures. My wife Deanna judged the lift.  As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has lifted a tractor that big.  I’ve heard that Paul Anderson lifted a car.”

All I can say is this – THAT’S AN IMPRESSIVE HARNESS LIFT!  Harness lifting was a common strength feat done by Old Time Strongmen as large amounts of weight can be lifted this way.  It was also common for Old Time Strongmen to perform their Harness Lifting on an elevated platform, with the weights below.  This gives a specacular view of the effort and the success of the lift.  Guys like Al Springs represent the roots of All Round Weightlifting and the Old Time Strongman connection, and he is the perfect example of someone who supports the mission statement of the USAWA.

MISSION STATEMENT OF THE USAWA

The USAWA was formed to continue the long standing tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and many others. We strive to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting, which in the past has been referred to as “odd lifting”. Many of the lifts we perform are based on stage acts or challenge lifts of old-time strongmen.

Designing a Dumbbell for One Lift

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe "in video action" performing a dumbbell swing.

I’ve got this really cool customer who used to be a Marine Sniper Instructor Trainer. Talk about a specialist. He had me make him a custom barbell a couple of years ago. He was very specific about what he wanted. Now, he had been buying from me for a while and I have a pretty good idea about how he trains and what he trains for today. It is not his previous job, after all, he is retired from the military. On the other hand, I know he appreciates using the right tool for the job.

I have been specializing my training around a single lift over the last year. You may have seen some of the articles and videos I’ve done on the One Hand Dumbbell Swing. As I have been doing this training, I have also been studying the literature on the lift. Some of this information is over a hundred years old. I like that old information. When I can find a tip that allows me to tweak what I am doing that little bit, it makes me feel like Indiana Jones. The archeologist in me feels like those long dead coaches are talking to me. It’s cool.

YouTube Video for the One Hand Dumbbell Swing:

http://www.youtube.com/atomicathletic

So, I am going to give you guys a list of parts/tools that will help you experiment. Think of it as an engineer’s proto – typing tool. Once you have these parts, if you want to talk to me about some of the other pieces that I play with, most of which are NOT on the web site. Then you can pick up a phone and call, but here is the starting line.

  • Long Dumbbell Bar
  • Allen Collars (I have bunches of these.)
  • Heavy Duty (3/4 Pound) Wrenchless Screw Collars(Great for quick changes.)
  • Shot Loading Dumbbell

You also need a selection of Plates. Get some larger ones, like 35 Pounders. Also get a variety of thicknesses: pancake vs. contoured with the lip. You may also want some other bar lengths. All of these variables are fun to play with. You don’t want to get hung up on what the other guys are doing, for example: experiment with back loading your dumbbell and tipping your dumbbells.

Enjoy, Roger LaPointe
“Today is a good day to lift.”

USAWA Officials Program

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom has just been promoted to a LEVEL 2 USAWA official. Chad has been one of the "top three" most active USAWA officials in IAWA competions over the past 5 years. In this picture, Chad (on left) is officiating at the 2012 Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

One thing that has happened over the past three years has been the development of an USAWA Officials Program.  The program started in mid-2009 with the initial guidelines. Since then the program has been improved with rule amendments requiring additional criteria.   I finally feel that we now have a TOP NOTCH officials program, and that is something to be proud of.  Before 2009 several programs had TRIED to be initiated, but failed.  Anyone at that time could be an official in an USAWA meet, without any qualifications.  The previous rulebooks had NO guidelines established for becoming an official, other than a couple vague lines such as these, “all officials must be approved by the USAWA”, and “the general secretary shall maintain a list of the national officials”.  That’s it.  There’s no point in having rules/laws if they’re ambiguous, and are not enforced.  Now if you want your lifts to count you MUST be officiated by a certified USAWA official that is listed on the Officials List.  If this does not happen – the lift/meet was not official, and all invalid results will not be reported in the meet results on the website as well as no records being established.  That’s “the bite” for not following the USAWA rules.

I’m VERY EXCITED to report a couple of “firsts” that have just occurred within the Officials Programs.  Ruth Jackson has just successfully passed the USAWA Rules Test and will become the first USAWA member to undergo the Practical Training Session in becoming an USAWA official.  This change was just passed at the past USAWA meeting as further development of the Officials Program.  She will have one year to accomplish this training.  The development of the Officials Program has been a gradual plan to allow for it’s success, with additional requirements being added yearly.  I have felt that the reason the previous official programs have failed were because of a couple factors, 1. requiring “too much” to begin with that NO ONE wanted to abide by, and 2. No penalties/ramifications for not participating in the program (afterall, before you could STILL be an official in all meets with the SAME privileges as someone certified ).  The IAWA(UK) has ALWAYS been WAY AHEAD of us with their officials program, and have required practical training for years before an IAWA(UK) official could be certified.  Now I feel our officials program is as good (if not better!) than theirs. 

The second “first” is that Chad Ullom has become the first member to apply and be granted  Level 2 certification.  Congrats Chad!  This requires an official to be qualified in TWO CATAGORIES , thus the name Level 2.  Level 2 officials are required to have passed the testing requirements, AND  the experience requirements.  Level 2 USAWA officials are considered the TOP TIER of USAWA Officials, and have Lifetime Certification. 

All the details of the USAWA Officials Program are outlined in the USAWA Rulebook and on this website under “Officials List and Rules Test”

 http://www.usawa.com/officials-2/

Bathroom Key Lift

by Roger LaPointe

The Bathroom Key at Atomic Athletic.

EVERYTHING becomes a game at Atomic Athletic… A lifting game.

PHOTO 1: Michael Codding is contemplating how badly he really needs to go to the john. One too many bathroom keys have disappeared here at Atomic Athletic, so we went one step further than the gas station attendant route. Yes, that is one of the base pipes that a fire hydrant would fit onto. It is just as heavy as it looks…

PHOTO 2: The bathroom key farmers walk is one of the dreaded events at the Atomic Athletic warehouse gym. What the heck! It’s only 110 pounds. However, Michael Codding starts his walk with an eager look on his face.

PHOTO 3: Fortunately, we did NOT have to mark a spot of failure in this farmers walk. We keep two pens for that purpose, one yellow and one brown. The bathroom key is heavy and control is really the issue here. Everything is a workout at Atomic Athletic.

Painful but true advice on successfully getting strong in a Garage Gym:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK1000

For more tips:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK90

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

The Most Sexy Bald Men in IAWA

by the DINO MAN,  AUTHORITY ON BALD WEIGHTLIFTERS

Just when you think the USAWA website has stooped to a new “all time low”, I try to take things a little deeper.  Thus today’s story. You know – our organization is loaded with bald lifters.  Several of these All-Round muscle-men got chrome-domes that radiate sexy.  It is a proven fact that baldness is a sign of vitality and virility (I think I read that in Mens Health…).   I have been known to shave my head for a big meet every now and then – just to give myself that extra BOOST of testosterone that comes from having a sweaty shiny crown!!!   I think is about time that these bald guys get a little recognition, so I conducted a survey of the MOST SEXY BALD MEN in IAWA.  Of course, I couldn’t make this decision by myself  so I assimilated a panel of women to make this big decision so it’s totally impartial on my part.  I collected pictures of all the good looking bald guys in IAWA and presented them to the panel to make a ranking.  I’m only going to reveal the TOP FIVE, but there were over 20 pictures entered.  Just in case you wondered – only lifters that have competed in the IAWA Gold Cup or the IAWA Worlds within the past 3 years were entered.  I’m keeping the identities of this panel a secret – as I don’t want them to get any complaints personally for not being picked,  or worse yet, words of passion  from a bald headed romeo.

Let the countdown begin to NUMBER ONE!!!

5.  Graham Saxton, ENGLAND

Graham Saxton

This burly built muscle bound man oozes sexyness from his shiny noggin.  I want to mention that Graham wasn’t always bald (I have pictures of him sporting a full head of hair and a beard!), but that was before he became handsome.  

4.  John Gardner, ENGLAND

John Gardner

I was somewhat surprised with Big John making the top five.   However, as one of the panelist remarked, “he looks like a big teddy bear to me”. Another lady said she would just love to rub his head, as she was sure it would bring her good luck.

3.  Chad Ullom, UNITED STATES

Chad Ullom

Chad was the only American to make the top five.  Comments from the panel ranged from, “he looks like a crazy man”, to “I bet he knows how to have fun”. 

2.  Andy Tomlin, SCOTLAND

Andy Tomlin

I expected Andy to make it to the top of this competition.  Andy has the perfect bald head – it’s perfectly shaped and it looks like he doesn’t even have to shave it!!  It’s always glossy.  I suspect that he waxes it. 

1.  Peter Phillips, AUSTRALIA

Peter Phillips

Peter didn’t just win the voting majority of the panel for top spot, he had TWICE as many votes as anyone else!  That makes Peter the SEXIEST BALD MAN IN IAWA.   I know Peter – and from what he has told me he is also quite the romantic.  When in Perth last year, he took several of us to this peaceful little stream outside of the city.  It was a beautiful quiet spot.  Peter told me, “this is the place I like to bring  a Sheila and enjoy a nice bottle of wine.”  I just know his perfected bald head probably helps out the romance.

CONGRATS to all bald men in IAWA!!! This is your day!!!!

COMING SOON FROM THE DINO MAN – the men in IAWA with the best hair!!

New Zealand All Round WL

by Al Myers

New Zealand All Round Weightlifting Association

I have just heard that ALL ROUND WEIGHTLIFTING may be rejuvenated in New Zealand.  Cliff Harvey has moved back there, and has taken an interest in promoting the sport.  Cliff has been very involved with All Round lifting for many years, and was a big of the 2007 IAWA World Championships held in Christchurch, NZ.   I attended that World Meet, and it was a unbelievable meet.  The meet director was Bruce Savage, but several others were instrumental as well in promoting this Championship.

Cliff Harvey performing an One Arm DL in the 2007 IAWA World Championships in New Zealand.

Cliff placed 6th OVERALL at the 2007 IAWA Championships in New Zealand.  That year has been the only year the IAWA Champs have been held in New Zealand.  Let’s hope that Cliff gets the New Zealanders reorganized and they host another big IAWA meet in the future!

DIY Pinch Bar

by Roger LaPointe

Sig Klein and the Pinch Grip.

Grip strength training is nothing new folks. Check out the photo of Sig Klein using a home made pinch grip bar.

Get yourself a nice 4 x 4 beam of wood, sink in a pair of eye hooks and you use that to lift your barbell. Slice up your beam to other thicknesses to work the grip with other sizes. Personally, I find a little stain and poly on mine makes it a nicer looking tool, but that’s really unnecessary. Here are some exercises for your grip with your new Wooden Pinch Bar.

Try these out for size:
Reverse Curls
One Hand Deadlifts
Two Hand Deadlifts
Bent Over Rows
Pinching From the Ends
Wrist Curls
Hack Lifts

That should give you enough to try out and fry your hands. If you want more ideas, check out these three publications:

Garage Gym Guide
http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK1000

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK072

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK90

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

Bikini Clad Phone Book Tear

by Roger LaPointe

Bikini Clad Phone Book Tear

Don’t let the marketing gurus pull the wool over your eyes. Two piece swim suits were around before 1946. The Bikini was just not the name. Here is Relna McRae tearing a Los Angeles telephone book, from the July 1944 Strength & Health magazine. If you want to see some great feats of strength, done live, check out the Night of Strength III DVD . The standout performer is Pat Povilaitis, who is NOT in a Bikini.

If that isn’t enough for you, Pat “The Human Vise” Povilaitis shows everyone at the picnic how he got his nick name. Here is a shot with Pat tearing a deck of cards, with his hands in hand cuffs and a 350 Chevy Engine Block hanging from is head!

You can also see more of Pat, or get the DVD for the 1st Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID210

Time to decorate the Training Hall or Den?

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=POS2006

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

LESSONS LEARNED FROM ‘THE PINES’

BY DAVE GLASGOW

WHEN I WAS A KID, MY FRIENDS AND I HAD A NAME FOR BEING SECOND STRING ON ANY TEAM WE PLAYED ON. WE CALLED IT “RIDING THE PINES”. I WAS VERY FAMILIAR WITH THAT TERM AS I HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE WITH THAT PARTICULAR VIEW OF MOST SPORTING EVENTS I ‘PARTICIPATED’ IN. IT STARTED FROM A YOUNG AGE.

I DISTINCLY REMEMBER MY FORAY INTO THE ATHLETIC WORLD. I WAS 5 YEARS OLD. MY AUNT AND UNCLE GOT ME A PLASTIC BALL AND BAT FOR MY BIRTHDAY. THE FIRST TIME I HIT THAT SPHERE IN THE ‘SWEET SPOT’, I WAS HOOKED. FROM THAT MOMENT ON, I WOULD PLAY ANY SPORT THAT CAME MY WAY. THE ONLY PROBLEM WAS, MY EAGERNESS TO PLAY FAR OUTSTRETCHED MY ABILITIES.

AS A ADOLESCENT AND TEENAGER, ESPECIALLY IN THE ERA I GREW UP, NO ONE (OR DAMN FEW) KNEW ABOUT ‘GENETICS’ OR NATURAL ABILITY. SURE, NATURAL ABILITY WAS TALKED ABOUT, BUT MOST OF US THOUGHT WE COULD OVERCOME THAT WITH HARD WORK AND PERSISTANCE. THIS WAS, TO A POINT, TRUE. HOWEVER, LITTLE DID WE KNOW THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF US DID’NT HAVE THAT ‘X’ FACTOR AND OUR EFFORTS WERE, MOSTLY, SELF FLAGELLATION. AS FOR ME, ‘THE PINES’ WERE MY CONSTANT COMPANIONS.

LOOKING BACK ON THOSE DAYS, I REALIZE, NOW, THAT I THOUGHT I WAS A LOT BETTER THAN I WAS. IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THAT THE MANY COACHES I HAD SAW MY ABILITIES AND PRESCRIBED THE BEST PLACE FOR MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEAM.

HOWEVER, HERE ARE SOME THINGS I LEARNED BY BEING A UNIFORMED SPECTATOR.

PERSISTANCE. NO MATTER WHAT SPORT I WAS PLAYING, I MADE EVERY PRACTICE, EVERY MEETING, CHEERED MY TEAMMATES, WHATEVER WAS ASKED OF ME. THIS PERSISTANCE CAME IN REAL HANDY LATER IN MY LIFE.

DETERMINATION. WHAT MORE CAN I SAY ABOUT THAT. IT IS SELF EVIDENT. TO DO ANYTHING IN LIFE, YOU NEED THIS QUALITY, IN AN ABUNDENT AMOUNT. BELIEVE ME, SITTING ON THE PINES, SOMETIMES, TOOK ALL THE DETERMINATION I COULD MUSTER.

RESILANCE. SITTING ON THE BENCH TAKES A LOT OF THIS. DAILY REJECTION, IN FRONT OF YOUR PEERS, IS NOT SOMETHING I ENJOYED, AT ALL. HOWEVER, I WAS GOING TO BE DAMNED IF I WAS GOING TO GIVE IN AND QUIT. ALL I NEEDED WAS ONE ‘CHANCE’! (THAT ‘CHANCE’ CAME IN A COLLEGE SOCCER GAME. WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT GAME IS STILL PAINFUL, BUT I DID’NT STOP. I SHOWED UP FOR PRACTICE THE NEXT DAY. I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA WHY.)

WILL POWER. ANY OF YOU WHO HAVE HAD TO MAKE WEIGHT KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT HERE. SHOW ME A HIGH SCHOOL KID WHO IS’NT CONSTANTLY HUNGRY AND I’LL SHOW YOU A SICK KID. THIS AUTO-STARVATION WILL TEST THE VERY CORE OF YOUR BEING. AND QUESTION YOUR SANITY.

SELF ESTEEM. YEAH, I KNOW. HOW MUCH SELF ESTEEM CAN YOU GET ON THE PINES?? GOOD QUESTION. I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS A LOT. I HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT MY PARTICIPATION MADE ME THINK MORE OF MYSELF, DUE TO THE FACT THAT, BY GOD, I MAY BE ON THE BENCH WITH PRECIOUS LITTLE PLAYING TIME BUT I WAS PART OF A TEAM! SOMETHING BIGGER THAN MYSELF. THE CAMMERADERIE CARRIED OVER TO A SENSE OF SELF WORTH THAT I AM STILL PROUD OF TODAY.

I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT MY TIME ON ‘THE PINES’ SHAPED ME INTO WHO I AM TODAY. LIFE THROWS A LOT OF CURVE BALLS AND TAKEDOWNS. STANDING IN TOUGH TO ATTEMPT TO HIT A CURVE BALL THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BREAK IS A PARODY OF LIFE THAT IS HARD TO DENY (YEAH, I DID GET TO PLAY. ONCE IN A WHILE!). BEING TAKEN DOWN IN A MATCH IS NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT CAN AND WILL HAPPEN TO YOU IN THE REAL WORLD. LAY THERE AND GET PINNED OR GET TO YOUR BASE AND WORK OUT OF IT.

FINALLY, THE SPLINTERS IN MY ASS HAVE LEFT ME WITH GREAT MEMORIES AND I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT BEING PART OF A TEAM KEPT ME OUT OF A LOT OF TROUBLE THEN. BESIDES, WHAT BETTER WAY TO GET A RING SIDE SEAT TO THE BEST SHOW IN TOWN!??

Discover New Eyes

by Roger LaPointe

Jackson LaPointe agrees with Yasser, "Don't be a crying baby!" Stone lifting is apparently in his genes. Jackson is only 6 days old and he is already hefting stone balls onto barrels!

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust

I have had a stunning number of questions about how I “train” my son, who is five years old. This is thanks to my using him as a model for some of our shirts, as well as my relating truths I have learned from him. It is also a compliment, so I thank you all.

“So?” you ask, “what are the most popular questions and what perspective are people coming from?” Well, many questions seem to be from dads who want their kid to become a better athlete. Cool. I understand the desire. As for being an expert on raising a kid, this is my first time around, so take that for what it is. Here is my advice for “training” your future athlete: train your child’s mind.

If you are an Atomic Athletic fan, then you probably know or guess that I look at training and the world a little differently than most. This can be a double edged sword. A friend of mine recently quoted Theodore Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, who said, “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” I did a day of volunteer work at my son’s kindergarten class and noticed that while all the other kids were using single colors, staying in the lines and making their coloring projects pretty much the same, my son’s was completely different. While he stayed in the lines, he also had multi-colored swirls, patches of color and pictures within pictures. I like to think that my 5 year old has the lessons of the good Dr. firmly ingrained in his head. He also loves to play outside, pick up heavy things and fight with a heavy bag. He regularly sees new, strange and unusual “toys” at my office and warehouse. His first reaction is to play with them.

If you are genuinely interested in training that will take you on a different journey, start here:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK90

Train your mind first.

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

Deanna Springs Memorial

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Deanna Springs Memorial Meet

Meet Director: Bill Clark & Joe Garcia

Date: Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

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.

Eastern Open Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Eastern Open Postal Meet

Dates: Between March 1st and March 31st, 2013

Entry form must be postmarked by April 5th, 2013

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee: None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book

Lifts:

Snatch – One Arm

Clean and Press

Jefferson Lift

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – 2013 Eastern Open Postal Meet Entry Form

Franks BBC Record Day

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
FRANK’S BARBELL CLUB RECORD DAY

Frank Ciavattone, owner and Club President of Frank’s Barbell Club, has sanctioned a record day at his gym on March 16th, 2013.   Most  lifts can be contested for USAWA/IAWA records, but to be sure I recommend you contact Frank beforehand.  Below is the contact information for Frank:

Frank’s Barbell Club
204 East Street
East Walpole, MA 02032
Phone: (508)-668-5200

There is no entry form for this record day. Contact Frank directly for further details.