Articles from June 2013



Nationals Venue Site

by Al Myers

This is just a reminder that the National Championships this coming weekend will be at the home of Denny and Judy Habecker (address is located on the Entry Info Sheet).  Denny has announced this some time back on the USAWA Discussion Forum, but it may have been missed by some.  Denny has a large backyard, and plans to have a tent and platform set up for the competition.  So come prepared to be outside!  When Denny hosted the 2010 Nationals he had it outside as well.  I really enjoyed it – the “environment” of the meet seemed more relaxed than being inside.  Weigh-ins will be 7:30-8:30 Saturday morning, with the lifting starting at 9:30.  There will be enough lifters to have two sessions.  The first session will be in the morning, and the second session will be in the afternoon.    

Also – the Annual National Meeting will be held Saturday afternoon immediately following the day’s lifting.  It is not mandatory to attend this meeting – but if you want to be part of the organizations “politics” this is your chance! 

Now this comes from Judy (the real mastermind behind this weekend’s festivities - I know the truth Denny!!!):

From Judy-
Just want all the lifters and their supporters to know that food will be available at our home on Friday evening, after weigh-in Saturday and Sunday, breakfast will be available until half-hour (9:30) before meet start, and Saturday evening a meal will be served. Sunday afternoon- evening a banquet style meal will be served. So Please come to our home to all of the above or whenever you wish. Please, if you can ,let me know when you’ll be attending, so I can be sure to prepare enough food. Also, please let me know of any allergies so I can serve food safely, Thanks See you June 28,29,30, Hope all have a safe trip, There is a Holiday Inn Express about 5 minutes from our home, Phone Number is717-273-9800–2205 East Cumberland Street and a Day’s Inn with phone number–717-273-6771 at 625 Quentin Road which is about 5 miles from our home.

Thom Van Vleck: NEW Level 2 Official

by Al Myers

Thom Van Vleck (right) is joined by fellow USAWA officials LaVerne Myers (left) and Denny Habecker (middle) at the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in York in 2011. As you can see, these three took their judging duties very serious as they are getting "down and dirty" to get a good view of the lifting!

Thom Van Vleck has just been promoted to the highest level of officiating status in the USAWA.  He is now a Level 2 Official, and joins a very short list of the most qualified officials within the USAWA.  Since the development of the USAWA Officials Program in 2009,  officials must NOW be certified to judge any USAWA competition/event.    I would like to review a bit of this as it pertains to USAWA Rulebook:

VII. Officials

10.   There will be two levels of classification for Certified USAWA officials.

  • Level 1 Test Qualified – The official has passed the USAWA Rules Test and completed the practical training sessions.
  • Level 1 Experience Qualified – The official has the experience of officiating in 25 or more competitions or events.
  • Level 2 – The official has passed the USAWA Rules Test and has completed the practical training sessions, and has the experience of officiating in 25 or more competitions or events.  

Thom has been officiating in the USAWA for close to 10 years and has officiated at some “BIG” meets.  He has officiated numerous championships events, including the 2006, 2009, and 2011 National Championships.  He also officiated at the 2012 IAWA World Championships.  He earned the Level 2 classification for officiating in over 25 events (as well as passing the USAWA Rules Test).  He is now awarded a LIFETIME OFFICIALS CARD in the USAWA and will have the ability to approve new officials that undergo the Practical Training Sessions.  Congrats Thom!!!

2013 Meeting Agenda

by Al Myers

The 2013 USAWA National Championships is almost upon us, and with that comes the Annual National Meeting of the USAWA. The USAWA is governed throughout the year by the elected 5-person Executive Board, but membership votes at the annual meeting decide the “big issues”.  The agenda for the meeting is set  and has been approved by the Exec Board.   The meeting agenda seems pretty benign this year, with no major problems or issues to solve!  Hopefully, this will keep the meeting shorter than it has been the past couple of years!   The big agenda item is the election of officers and the two “at large” Executive Board members.  Election in the USAWA happens every two years, on “odd-number years”, with the membership in attendance casting the votes.  No absentee or proxy votes are allowed.  If you are displeased with the current administration, this is the time to show up at the meeting  to let your “voice be known” by either running for office yourself or supporting another candidate.  The USAWA is ran by the membership and the Officers and the Executive Board answer to the concerns of the membership in terms of being elected officials.  There are no term limits in the USAWA.  This was fully supported by former USAWA Secretary Bill Clark, and I used to hear him say several times in the past, “if you don’t like who’s in office – then vote em out!”

The Annual Meeting will be held late Saturday afternoon following the conclusion of the day’s lifting.  Approximate time of the meeting will be around 5-6 PM.  The meeting will be held at the Habecker’s house.   The USAWA Awards ceremony will not be held in conjunction with the meeting this year, like it has been in the past.  It will be held on Sunday following the meets award ceremony.   I felt that having the Awards Ceremony for the annual USAWA awards to be “too much” to be held after the meeting, when everyone was exhausted from the long meeting and ready to relax and eat supper.  Now when the meeting is over we can get right to Judy’s good fixings!

Business Agenda for the 2013 USAWA Annual National Meeting

  1. Meeting called to order by USAWA President Denny Habecker
  2. Reading of previous meetings minutes by USAWA Secretary Al Myers
  3. Report of financial status by USAWA Treasurer Al Myers
  4. Report from the Officials Director Joe Garcia
  5. Report from the Website Director Al Myers
  6. Report from the Records Director Joe Garcia
  7. Report from the Awards Director Al Myers
  8. Report from the Drug Enforcement Director Chad Ullom
  9. Report from the Postal Meet Director John Wilmot
  10. Discussion and vote on the new proposed lift
    - Hackenschmidt Floor Press
    - Call for new IAWA lift proposals
  11. Discussion and vote on Rulebook Changes
  12. Discussion of other new business brought forth by the membership
  13. Accept bids for 2014 National Championships
  14. Election of New Officers and Executive Board Members
  15. Meeting adjourned

Lifter of the Month: Dennis Mitchell

by Al Myers

Dennis Mitchell (left) receiving his Championship Award from meet director Frank Ciavattone at the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.

The lifter of the Month for the month of May goes to Dennis Mitchell – and for good reason.  At the Heavy Lift Championships last month Dennis has accomplished something VERY FEW lifters EVER achieve.  He eclipsed a milestone of competing for 70 years.  That’s right – 70 years of active competition!  In my book, that’s an amazing accomplishment and worthy of special recognition.  

I first met Dennis at Nationals 10 years ago or so.   Since then I have got to know him very well, as he is always representing the USAWA at national and international events.  He has been one of the most loyal supporters of the USAWA since the organization began.  

Congratulations Dennis on winning this months Lifter of the Month!!!

Denny in the NEWS!

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker makes the paper!

Denny Habecker makes the paper! Recently, our USAWA Denny Habecker was featured in the local Lebanon newspaper. Most don’t realize that Denny is more than just an all round lifter – he has also been very active in Olympic Weightlifting throughout his life.  He has been actively competing for over 50 years!  From this article, it states that Denny has competed in more than 330 competitions.   He has competed in England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, in addition to all over the United States.  He has been named to “the Top 60 Lebanon County Sports Individuals”.   He is the only lifter to have earned this honor.

Deanna Springs Meet

by Joe Garcia

DEANNA SPRINGS MEMORIAL MEET

On October 5, 1995 Deanna Springs was killed in a car accident.  Her husband Al, a long time member of the USAWA, and also her coach, created the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet in her honor.  The first event was held March 30, 1996 in Al’s garage in St. Joseph MO.  There were 5 contestants who showed up, Amorkor Allennunking, Dennis Mitchell, Al Springs, Bill Clark and myself.  For the first two years the lifts were the Crucifix, Cheat Curl, Jefferson Lift, Zercher Lift, and the Hand and Thigh.  In 1998 a new lift was created, called the Deanna lift, which is a combination of the Hand and Thigh and the Zercher.  That lift replaced the Zercher and the Hip Lift replaced the Jefferson Lift, with the 5 lifts remaining the same for the event over the years.  This year three of those original participants, Al, Bill and myself were on hand though Bill was limited to the role of head Judge.  Rounding out the cast were Dean Ross and Lance Foster.  Mike Murdock was at the gym but elected not to lift in the competition.

Meet Results:

Deanna Springs Meet
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, MO
March 23rd, 2013

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Officials (3 official system used): Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, Mike Murdock

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

Lifter Age Bwt Cruc Cheat Dean H&T Hip Total Points
Joe Garcia 59 205 60 135 485 1200 1600 3480 3682.39
Dean Ross 70 262 40 95 355 500 755 1745 1772.06
Lance Foster 47 314 40 145 430 700 1050 2365 1815.00
Al Springs 70 195 40 65 325 425 525 1380 1639.12

Extra Lifts for Record:

Dave Beversdorf – HVT  - Age 46 – Left Hand Bench Press – 150lbs

All weights are listed in pounds. Points are adjusted points for age and bodyweight.

Moving Past the Hype of Science

by Eric Todd

This is a picture of Eric "ET" Todd training strongman events at the Dino Gym a few years back. Eric is one of "very few" men that have loaded the Dino Gym's 405# stone to a 48" platform. (photo courtesy of webmaster).

It has been quite obvious that a number of you on here are very interested in the science behind weight training.  I tried to go down that road once.  I had been competing a few years, won some meets, won a strongman nationals and placed well in others, and had won my pro card in strongman.    I heard other guys who would talk about the science behind what we were doing.  I began to think that if I was more knowledgeable in this arena,  it may lend itself to further success.   So I delved in.  I ordered some books on programming, read some online articles about the science between diet and nutrition, and so on and so forth.  It was about 10 minutes into this venture that I realized I may better enjoy myself (and understand what I am doing) if I were to go watch the grass grow or possibly find a recently painted wall somewhere that I could enjoy watching dry.  I guess it is for some, but not for everybody.  As luck would have it, I have surrounded myself with some very knowledgeable people in that area that I can go to if I have a question.  I just bring a translator along to decipher what they are saying.

No, what fascinates me the most about strength training/competition is the psychology involved.  I love the concept of man against immoveable object.  I love facing the worthy adversary and conquering it with a successful lift, or coming back to defeat the iron a different day.  Falling down, but coming back again, and again, and again.  Even if George Kennedy is standing over you telling you “Stay down.  You’re beat.”

My way at looking at weightlifting, strongman (or any physical conquest for that matter) is a rather primordial one.  When attacking a top end or PR type weight, I am often able to go inside my head, and establish a fight or flight frame of mind, if only for a moment or two.  Shoot, there have been times when I came back out of my head to attack the iron, I found I had tears in my eyes and a rage in my heart.  That heap of scrap didn’t stand a chance!   When I set myself up for a heavy lift I sell my soul to the devil.  Did the same thing when stepping on a wrestling mat, a football field, or preparing to run a 400m dash.  I throw everything I have into it, and when it is said and done, I will have won or I would have lost, but there would be no doubt either way.  No excuses.  Now for the disclaimer.  This methodology has often left me with  injury, and has left me a crippled, hobbled old man at 38.  But I wouldn’t do it any other way.

I will have to say, that seeing a big lift gets me going.  But what really jacks me up, almost to the point of swinging at the fences my adrenaline is running so, has nothing to do with the amount of weight moved.  It is when you see somebody who sells themselves out on a lift.  One of those deadlifts that takes 15 second to complete.  Or the yoke walk that was so slow and arduous that the individual never had a chance of a decent placing, but they never set it down, never gave up on it, all the way to the end.  That kind of effort is a real inspiration.  Where it is cool to see someone make a lift look easy, what really shows the do or die attitude I am talking about is when the lift is not easy, as a matter of fact, there are a few times when there is grave doubt about the lifter completing it.  But they dig in, they grind it out.  They exhaust themselves physically.  And most importantly, they exhaust themselves mentally. 

Now, this article was not written in an effort to make me seem like a   bad ass.  It is just an effort to explain the mentality that has been engrained in me through where I came from.  Everything you got, you earned, and there was no place for excuses.  If you were not tough, you were going to get tough.   Nor is it in an effort to slam those who enjoy the science behind it.  I know it has its place, and I seek help from those smarter than me all the time.  My point is that science does not have an answer for everything.  And sometimes when George Kennedy is standing above you, you have to get up one more time, and reply “You’re gonna have to kill me.”

The Makings of an Olympic Champion

by Al Myers

A picture of Dr. Wright (left) and Olympic coach Bob Hoffman (right) that was included in his book.

NOW that’s a book title that will grab your attention!!  I have a huge bookshelf in my office, full of all kinds of books.  Some I’ve read several times, and some I have never even opened a page of.   I love these early summer nights in Kansas this time of the year.  The temperature stays in the low 70s, and the bugs aren’t in quantities that they are trying to devour you yet.  There’s nothing better than to grab a good book and relax in a comfortable chair on the deck for the evening.  I usually  have the BIG GREEN EGG smoking some delicious piece of redmeat in the background as I just sit back, smell the mouth watering aroma,  and relax! Now that’s the good life – especially if you had got a good workout in beforehand.

The book, "The Makings of an Olympic Champion", by Russell Wright D.O.

Well, this book on my bookshelf caught my attention the other night.  I had never read it before, but for some reason, it looked right for the reading.  What caught my attention was that the book, “The Makings of an Olympic Champion”, was written by Russell Wright, DO.  His name “rang a bell” inside my ole noggin.  I must have received this book at some point from Thom, because I had remembered Thom writing a website story about Dr. Wright some time back.  I had to do some website research (YES THAT CAN BE DONE WITH THE SEARCH FUNCTION AT THE TOP RIGHT CORNER!), and sure enough, Thom had written a lengthy blog covering the life of Dr. Russell Wright. I would recommend you reread Thom’s story: http://www.usawa.com/dr-russell-wright/ I won’t go into detail on Dr. Wright’s life history, as Thom covered that quite well in his story.

Dr. Wright was a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He is regarded as one of the early sports-specific doctors.  He also had a special interest in weightlifting.  In his book, he talks in detail about his involvement with such notable weightlifters such as Tommy Kono, Norbert Schemansky, Bob Bednarski,  Bob Hoffman, and others.  “The Making of an Olympic Champion” was published in 1976.  My copy is even signed by Dr. Wright on the front page!  Lots of the information in the book is “dated”, and several of the ideas that he discussed have since been disproved by science. But none the less,  it contains a wealth of insight into the mind of a brilliant medical professional who’s main goal was to improve athletic ability through the use of Osteopathic Medicine.  I especially liked his chapter centered around the importance of stretching and flexibility as it applied to a trained weightlifter.   He was also very much against the use of anabolic steroids in strength sports, which I applaud.  He spent much time demeaning their use, and summed up his feelings with this paragraph that gets right to the point, which I think is worthy to repeat here in closing.

You get an athlete who destroys himself with anabolic steroids.  He may become a great champion with the use of the drugs, and then he wears a peanut shell and a rubber band for a jockstrap the rest of his life because his testicles are atrophied.  I don’t consider it worth it.  You’re an athlete only a few years, but you’ve got to be a man a long time. – from Dr. Wright’s book  “The Makings of an Olympic Champion”

Heavy Lifting Objects

by Al Myers

Frank's "1 TON" Train wheels, that he uses for hip and harness lifting.

The other day I covered a story about Frank’s big “1-TON” train wheels in his backyard, and how he uses them in his training for heavy hip and harness lifting.  These big train wheels are more than just “yard art”  to Frank – they are an important apparatus used in his all round training.  Several other all rounders have similar things they use for training the heavy chain lifts.   I have been in many all round club gyms and have seen other heavy things used.  It goes to show that there are things to train on besides bars and plates. 

Al Springs uses these "giant tires" to train the hip and harness lifts.

Al Springs has his “giant tires” that he uses for Hip and Harness lifting.  Very impressive setup!

This is All-Round lifing legend Steve Schmidt's setup for training the Heavy Lifts, complete with his walker.

Steve Schmidt has his “big frame” that he uses.  He did many of his 3000 pound plus Harness Lifts using this setup.

The Dino Gym's Train Wheels, which reside by the front door of the gym.

At the Dino Gym, I have a couple of Train Wheels on a Heavy Lift bar that I use to train the hip and harness lifts.  Altogether, they weigh in at 1425 pounds including the bar.   I have done a set of 20 reps in the Harness Lift with these, and sets of 5-10 for hip lifting.  As of yet, I have not done a Hand and Thigh with them.   I’m gonna make that a goal of mine this summer – 1 rep in the Hand and Thigh with these train wheels!!! That’s a perfect summer challenge for me!!

Middle Atlantic Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Middle Atlantic Open Postal Meet

Dates: Between June 1st and June 30th, 2013

Entry form must be postmarked by July 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:

Press – From Rack

Curl – Reverse Grip

Hack Lift

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

National Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUCEMENT
2013 USAWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2010 USAWA National Championships was also promoted by Denny and Judy Habecker. This shows Denny "busy at work" calculating the day's results while Frank Ciavattone is "looking over his shoulder" to make sure he doesn't make any mistakes!

Denny Habecker, the USAWA National Championships meet promoter, has just released the entry form for this years Championships.  It will be held the last weekend of June, which has become the traditional time of the year for the National Championships.  Denny is a very seasoned Championship promotor and has promoted several Championship events.  Every one that he has promoted that I have attended has always been done with upmost professionalism.  Denny always makes his events truly for the lifters.  Make sure to get this date on your meet calendar right now!

Schedule of  Events

Venue: Lebanon Senior Center , 710 Maple St.  Lebanon, Pa.  

Weigh-ins:7:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. –Saturday and Sunday

Lifting starts:  9:30 A.M.

Lifts: Saturday – June 29, 2013

Deadlift – One Arm
Clean & Press – 12” Base
Pullover – Staight Arm
Continental To Belt

Lifts: Sunday – June 30, 2013

Snatch – One Arm
Pullover and Push
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

Entry Fee – $55.00
T-Shirt Included

Awards: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each weight class and Age  divisions for Masters, Juniors, and Women, Based on total poundage lifted. Best Lifter Awards for each age group in Masters, Juniors, Senior [20-39], and Women by Formula.

INFO PAGE – 2013 USAWA Nationals – info page

ENTRY FORM – 2013 USAWA Nationals – Entry