Articles from November 2013



Thanksgiving Day Workout

by Thom Van Vleck

Not sure if this is exactly how my house will look on Thanksgiving...but close!

Some families have a tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving.  I have a personal tradition of lifting on Thanksgiving!  I started this several years ago when Thanksgiving for my extended family kind of fell to me and my wife.  My grandmother passed away in 1990 and up until then we would spend ever Thanksgiving and Christmas with my grandparents.  All my cousins, aunts and uncles would come and often it was a very full house.  After her passing that “mantle” was passed on.  My parents took Christmas and my wife and I took Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is notorious…..and yet beloved….for the massive meal of Turkey and all the trimmings.  After a meal like that….about all you can do is lay around while your body directs all it’s resources to digesting a very heavy meal.  If you are like me, there seems to be something about eating  a lot that makes me get hungry again sooner than normal.  Not sure why, but it just simply adds to the calorie intake for the day.

So to counteract this I started a personal tradition of working out on Thanksgiving.  After all, aren’t we supposed to be thankful on that day and what am I most thankful about personally?  Being blessed with an  able body AND blessed by God to live in a country and a time where I can enjoy that luxury!  Of course, nothing like a tough workout to make you good and hungry for the feast.  I know that one of the added benefits for me in my training is that food seems to be so much more enjoyable after a workout!

I try and involve may family when I can and I know my son Ethan is planning to workout with me.  Maybe others as well!  So here is my workout for Thanksgiving 2013!

5:30am  A 3 mile walk!  Ethan is going and my dog, Sunny always enjoys it as well.  I live in the country and depending on who’s house I go by there might be 3 or 4 dogs walking with us by the end.  I think they look for me!  Our cat will sometimes follow in the shadows as well, creeping along the overgrown fence lines.

7:00am Active recovery routine.  This is a dozen or so stretching exercises that seem to keep my old bones limber.  I will also fire up the smoker at this point as well.

8:00am  Got a back workout planned this time.  I will warm up and hit a good ol’ 5×5 on the Power Clean.  This will be followed by several Lat and Trap exercises….I always mix them up but I will likely get in 3 sets of 20 on each.  Then it will be Bicep work followed by grip work.  I have been doing standard DB curls, hammer curls, and then finish with Concentration Curls.  The Grip work will be straight out of Bill Pearls training manuals.

10:00am will be Brunch.  My wife has traditionally made Scotch Eggs.  This is boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried.  Some pancakes, coffee, and fresh fruit.

The rest of the day will be preparing the big meal!  Lots of good food and good friends over.  Looks like we will have an even dozen this year!

So, how about a Thanksgiving Workout!  Start a tradition!

My Plate Collection

by Al Myers

The plate collection in the Dino Gym.

I’ve never been much of a collector – I’ve always thought why get something to just look at and not use?  However, I do have a plate collection in the Dino Gym from several different weightlifting plate manufacturers.  This collection started several years ago when my buddy Thom gave me a few different types of plates in one of our “topper gift” exchanges.  It contained mostly 1-1/4 and 2 1/2 pound plates.  Since then I’ve added to this collection.   Most of these plates were made by “iron casters” that are no longer in business – which makes them so unique and special to me.

This is a Milo Bar Bell plate that is over 100 years old!

This is the list of plates that I currently have:

Kung Cheng
Hercules
Milo Barbell
Champs Barbell
Healthways Hollywood
Beerbell
All American Ways to Health
Dan Lurie Brooklyn NY
Pro Gym Barbell
Fit for Life
Weider Barbell
Jack LaLanne
Keys
Billard Barbell
Prosport Fitness
York Barbell
Golds Gym
Paramount Las Angeles
DP
Intersport
Sunsport Champion

A few of these brand name plates were obviously cast by the same mold.  Champs Barbell, Healthways, and the All American Ways to Health look very identical in shape and size.  Altogether, I have 21 different plates out of well over 100 plate manufacturers that has been in existence.  My favorite is the Milo Barbell plate, that was cast by Alan Calvert and his Milo Barbell company that was the precursor of York Barbell.  It is the exact casting of the “first generation” York plates.   The one very unique plate in the above collection, which has NOTHING to do with being used to place on a bar to lift, is the Beerbell.  It is a 1 1/4 lb. plate that is shaped to sit a cold can of beer on!!  Other favorites of mine are the Jack LaLanne plate, the Dan Lurie plate, and the obscure Kung Cheng and Hercules plates.

I decided today would be a good day to run this story about my plate collection since Christmas is coming up.   I know I’m a hard guy to find a gift for – so I’m just throwing out some ideas here!!! LOL  I could always take a few additions to my plate collection.

Shoulder Drop Rules

by Thom Van Vleck

Time for me to stir some controversy!  Okay, so many years ago my grandfather Dalton Jackson taught me the shoulder drop.  He told me it was how the “old timers” did it.  First, let’s review the USAWA rules for the Shoulder Drop.

Shoulder Drop: The bar is first cleaned and placed at the base of the neck to start this lift. Feet placement is optional. Once the lifter is upright, and the bar motionless, an official will give a command to start the lift. The lifter will then release the grip on the bar, allowing the bar to drop from the shoulders behind the back. The bar must not be rolled down the back or arms. The lifter must catch the bar in the hands at arms’ length behind the back. The legs must remain straight throughout the lift. The lift ends on command by an official when the bar is controlled in the hands by the lifter.

The way my grandfather taught me was exactly the same as above except of one key thing.  My grandfather would bend his knees as he caught the bar and “shock absorb” the weight.  Obviously, much more can be handled in this way.  You can “feel” the weight hit the hands and then this allows time to “grab” while you sink with the weight.  The locked knees method becomes a guessing game and using much weight at all easily results on spinal strain, busted knuckles, and in some cases (like Chad Ullom) getting what amounts to a “horse collar” tackle by the weight!

First of all, I would like to know the history on this rule.  I’m not saying it’s wrong, I would just like to know where it comes from. My grandfather got all of his information through magazines or 2nd hand so he could have easily gotten this wrong.  But I have tried to research this to no avail.  So if anyone out there knows more about this let me know.

Second of all, unless there is some historic reason for the knees to be kept locked, I would like to see the rule changed to allow for bent knees.  I would argue a lot less injuries would result with greater poundages used and the lift would become more skill based.

Third…if there is a historical reason for the locked knees then I would like to submit a new lift at the next meeting.  The Jackson Shoulder Drop, which would allow for the bent knees.

I know, what’s the big deal!  The shoulder drop is an obscure lift and rarely done.  But I can tell you that my Grandfather did it often.  He did a lift where he would clean the weight, press it overhead, lower it behind the neck, shoulder drop it, and set it on the platform.  He eventually did 135lbs this way which was pretty good for a guy that could barely press much more than that at the time!  So, if you know anything about this lift other than what’s in the rule book please get on the forum and let me know.  Also, let me know if you have a beef with me submitting a new lift that would allow a knee bend and why.

KENNEDY – a modern HEALTH lift?

by John McKean

This is a drawing of David Butlers wooden machine used for the Health Lift.

Summoning all of his concentration and most of his strength, the sinewy young man tugged mightily at the bar across his thighs. 1100 pounds left the ground rather easily. Unfortunately, his much larger opponent soon placed a heavy leather harness around his hips for the next event in this contest and elevated a staggering 2100 pounds! Sound like another description of the mighty Steve Schmidt destroying his competition in winning yet another of his Zercher Classic titles? Surprisingly the contest mentioned occurred about 120 years before big Steve was amazing crowds with his awesome chain lifts!

To be fair, the loser of the above mentioned “challenge” meet weighed less than 150 pounds, and had  never even tried a hip lift before. His name was Dr. George Barker Windship, a famous Boston physician, lecturer, and self taught heavy lifting fanatic. Lifting around the 1860s (yep, the nineteenth century!) he eventually acquired a custom made hip belt and went on to perform a 2600 pound hip lift, plus other equally mind blowing harness events ; you can see the good doc was ahead of his time -heck, he was ahead of OUR time!!

To Dr. Windship’s credit, he promoted heavy lifting to large, appreciative audiences throughout the Northeast, even to the point of directing his patients to the gym attached to his doctor’s office. He did not enjoy, nor promote lightweight lifting schemes! Now, his speciality, suggested to all clients, was mostly a short range deadlift that was performed from a high platform,attached to massive weights below. It was almost a hand and thigh type of set up, except it had a bit of range to it, unlike some modern hand and thigh records whose only movement was mostly restricted to the imagination of a straining, isometric style lifter and a cooperative official.Windship achieved over 1200 pounds this apparatus deadlift, then limited from further gains as grip strength wouldn’t permit.

As impressive as Dr. Windship’s strength, fitness, and teaching were, it took an equally fascinating figure of this same time frame, David P.Butler, to really popularize heavy harness lifting to the general public. Building himself up from a complete physical wreck, so bad that doctors told him just to go away, lay down , and die (what, no Obamacare??!!), David totally redefined his body and strength with his amazing HEALTH LIFT. Then he showed genius in getting the word out to the public,eventually selling his wooden “machine” and establishing a chain of successful gyms throughout Boston and New York. Mr. Butler even wrote a rather amazing course on his one lift method, surprisingly similar in content to our “modern” training wisdom!

OK, you’re asking, where am I going with all this history,even though it is so rich in All-Round  lifting tradition? Simple -the lift that David Butler claimed was all anyone needed for unmatched internal and external fitness was essentially the KENNEDY lift that our own Al Myers is currently trying to establish onto the USAWA list! Butler believed the hand holding grip was vital to total body strength, as was an exact centering of the lift below one’s torso. He stood on his heavy duty wooden platform, straddled the long steel rod attached to weights below through a centered hole in the floor, hands fore& aft as in the Jefferson, and stood up several inches. By the way, I would have loved training in one of Butler’s gyms -he recommended only 4 progressively heavy singles on his HEALTH LIFT, done 3 times weekly, along with some light extra dumbbell & pulley work.

Much later in weightlifting history, all the way into the 1920s , the great Alan Calvert, in his classic “SUPER STRENGTH” text was also a huge believer in the Kennedy lift. Photos in his book display a “high Jefferson” performed with chains attached to a heavy barbell. Calvert indicated that this partial maneuver was superior to either the hand and thigh or the hip lift for developing sheer leg power, and safer for the lifter. In fact, some of the harness lift specialists of his day,he explained, relied heavily on the Kennedy lift to build power on the more limited movement chain events.

Well, we sure seem to have one heckuva case for setting wheels in motion to establish the Kennedy as an official lift. And history seems to support the fact that we could add significally to our own HEALTH by training it! As David  Butler put it  “A PERFECT lift develops a PERFECT  body!”

Teeth Lifting

by Al Myers

Art Montini Teeth Lifting at the 2013 USAWA Presidential Cup in Lebanon, PA.

Since the announcement of the Teeth Lift in the Dino Challenge in January it has received some discussion in the USAWA discussion  forum.  Probably the “most talk” the Teeth Lift has ever received in the USAWA!   The inclusion of the Teeth Lift in the WLT Dino Challenge will be the first time the Teeth Lift has been  contested in a USAWA competition.  To date it has only been contested by a few lifters in Record Days.   Here’s a little “refresher” on the USAWA rules of the Teeth Lift:

USAWA Rule I19. Teeth Lift

The setup for this lift requires a mouthpiece fitted to the lifter’s bite, a connecting chain, and a Vertical Bar to load plates to. The hands may not touch the mouthpiece, chain, or Vertical Bar during the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight may accidentally touch the legs during the lift, but the connecting chain must not touch any part of the body. The hands may brace on the legs and body during the lift, but must be free from the body upon completion of the lift. The width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter must lift the weight by the jaws clenched on the mouthpiece only, by extending upward. The legs must be straight upon completion of the lift, but the body does not need to be erect. Once the weight is clear of the platform and motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The rules are pretty straight-forward, and are similar to many other official USAWA rules for other lifts.  The critical things are – hands off legs at completion, legs straight, and weight clear of the platform.  The thing that makes Teeth Lifting a challenge is finding a Teeth Bit that one can use.  It’s not like this is a piece of lifting equipment that is readily available to buy nowadays!!  However, in the “lifting days of the past” it was easy to buy a Teeth Bit.  Virtually every issue of old “Muscular Development” had ads in the back with them for sale.  I would say the popularity of Teeth Lifting really went downhill by the mid 70’s.  Now if you want a Teeth Bit you have to have it custom made for you, or make one yourself.  It’s important that it fits “your bite” – not only for teeth protection but to give you the tightest fit for lifting more weight.

This is an ad for a Teeth Bit in an old issue of Muscular Development.

I’ve been lucky to see “the best” in the USAWA teeth lifting in action.  Years ago I was at the meet in Clark’s Gym when Steve Schmidt did his “record smashing” Teeth Lift of 390 pounds, which is the highest Teeth Lift record in the USAWA record list. I witnessed Steve exceed 300 pounds SEVERAL TIMES in the Teeth Lift.   The ole ironmaster Art Montini has the most Teeth Lift records “on the books”, and has been teeth lifting for years.  In August Art used the Teeth Lift to win the USAWA Presidential Cup with a fine lift of 107 pounds at over 85 years old!!!  Art is one of the few teeth lifters that have WORN OUT teeth bits thru years of use!  Just this year Art made himself a new teeth bit.

The legendary strongman Warren Lincoln Travis was quite the Teeth Lifter, and the best of his day.  Willoughby in his book “Super Athletes” reported him lifting 311 pounds in the Teeth Lift in Brooklyn, NY in 1918.  This was considered the unofficial WORLD RECORD for over 80 years!!!! That is until Steve Schmidt exceeded it several times in the mid-2000’s!!!  I consider Steve’s Teeth Lift record of 390 lbs. (which was done with the hands behind back, as was Travis’s) as the unofficial overall World Record in the Teeth Lift now. Maybe this Dino Challenge in January will bring Steve Schmidt out of competition retirement.  Especially since it contains ALL of his best lifts!!!!! I would love to see him in action teeth lifting again.

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

Al Myers of the USA is presented with the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup, only the 2nd time the cup has been presented, Al won with an outstanding Power Row of 145 kilos.

What an outstanding event the 2013 Gold Cup turned out to be! despite losing a few entrants at the last minute we still had 16 IAWA Gold Cup Winners with their records broken on the day with a further 14 World Records to follow. Once again the event was put on in great style by meet directors Denny and Judy Habecker, and it was great to see everyone getting in there to help with setting up and tearing down afterwards. The loaders were just great as always, the referees worked well throughout and I was pleased to have my assistant Judy keeping check alongside me too!  The lifting was just great, where to start??

James Fuller of the USA was the Runner Up for the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup - seen here with an impressive lift ' The Bent Press' (Anyhow to Shoulders) with 60 kilos.

Denny Habecker showed he was still King of the Press, Barry Bryan was a knockout on the Bench Press lifts and Laverne Myers wowed everyone with his lifts especially the One Hand Fulton! Karen Gardner lifted light as she was still recovering from her latest Breast Cancer operation saga and Toni Saxton was competing for her first time ever, husband Graham must have been impressed as we all were with her Vertical Bar Strength. Art Montini was outstanding on the 2” bar and Al Myers was exceptional in the Power Row and Thumbless Deadlift. Jim Malloy showed real grit with his lifts, as did Dennis Mitchell, also recently recovered from surgery. James Fuller performed a wonderful Bent Press and followed with a big 2” Bar Straddle, whilst Graham Saxton pulled a great Middle fingers Straddle and then did a Hand and Thigh lift for his first time ever. Scott Schmidt was excellent with his Clean and Press Behind the Neck, and Dean Ross had fun with the Trap Bar and the Hip Lift for new records too! Chad Ullom was on great form with a great Clean and Jerk followed by IAWA’s heaviest ever Front Squat, and big Frankie Ciavattone brought proceedings to an end with a One Hand Ciavattone Deadlift and a big Hip Lift to follow.

The English Contingent at the 2013 Gold Cup World Record Breakers Event - 2nd November 2013. Steve and Karen Gardner - Toni and Graham Saxton (Toni was making her debut on a weightlifting platform - Well Done Toni)

The whole day was a real positive advertisement for all round weightlifting, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Howard Prechtel (the founder of the event) was remembered on the day by the presenting of the Trophy bearing his name. James Fuller was a great runner up with his tremendous Bent Press lift, but Al Myers took the trophy for his exceptional Power Row.  For those that were able to stay, the banquet that followed was excellent, and all who attended knew they had witnessed something special that day – the 23rd Annual IAWA GOLD CUP!                            

Best Wishes to all and heres to the next time – Steve Gardner

2013 Gold Cup RESULTS – IAWA 2013 GOLD CUP

Kennedy Lift

by Al Myers

Here's an Old Time Strongman performing a variation of the Kennedy Lift by utilizing a Hand and Thigh Bar attached to a regular bar.

I’ve received  a few questions regarding the nature of the “Kennedy Lift” following my announcement of the Dino Gym Challenge, which includes a lift by this name.  It was one of the lifts that Warren Lincoln Travis included in his “Challenge to the World”, in which he challenges 20 repetitions at 700 pounds in 10 seconds.  In his Challenge WLT  calls it instead the Two Hand Grip Lift, but it is the same lift.  Other sources  originally called it  the Hands Alone Lift.  I’m sure the reason for this name was to different it from the Hand and Thigh Lift – meaning no parts of the implement should be touching the body besides the hands (thus Hands Alone), as illustrated in the picture with this story.

The Kennedy Lift is nothing more than a partial Jefferson Lift (or straddle deadlift).   I’ve  heard lifters in the past refer to the Jefferson Lift AS the Kennedy Lift , but this is only partially true (pun intended).  The Kennedy Lift is done by straddling the weight with the lift being close to lockout.  The range of movement is reported to be several inches to just clearing the floor, depending on sources.  The Kennedy is not an official lift of the USAWA, but is one worthy of it.  It will be performed in the Dino Gym Challenge as an exhibition lift that will count in the meet scoring (allowed under the rules of the USAWA). If it is well received by those in attendance, I may submit it for lift approval in the USAWA.  It has the “history” to be an official All Round   lift for sure. 

I had to do some “digging” in my files to find a good reference to the origins of the Kennedy Lift. Some of the information on the internet is not entirely true, so I had to make some decisions as to what I thought were the facts.   The following piece was written by Warren Lincoln Travis, titled “My 40 years with the World’s Strongest Men”, in which he talks about how the Kennedy Lift came to be.  I tend to believe what WLT says in his writings, and here it is:

About forty years ago, at the height of the new wave of strong man popularity, the late Richard K. Fox, then publisher of the Police Gazette, the leading sporting journal of America, had a 1000 pound dumb-bell cast, but it was not in the shape of the dumbbells today.  It was more like a massive block of iron.  He offered a very valuable gold medal and title to the first man to lift this 1000 pound weight.  At that time there was a man known as James Walter Kennedy who was athletically inclined and developed.  He was an oarsman and general athlete, leaning, however, more toward the strong man. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed around 190 pounds, had jet black curly hair and moustache and at a time was a special officer at the Globe Museum at 298-300 Bowery, New York City.  Kennedy took a notion that he could lift this 1000 pound dumbbell with his hands and he began to train with a big whiskey cask, not using whiskey in it, but water, sand and rock as he gained strength.  In other words, he used the Milo Bar Bell system of gradually increasing weight as he improved in his strength.  The first time he tried lifting the 1000 pound weight he failed but some time later he succeeded.  His style was to straddle the weight and have one hand in front of his body grasping the weight and the other hand grasping it in the rear of his body, this position being known as the Hands Alone Lift.  His body was erect with the exception that the knees were bent about 2 or 3 inches. – by Warren Lincoln Travis

I envision the technique to be very similar to how most lift the Dinnie Stones, using the straddle style.  I think it very fitting that the origins of this lift was described by Warren Lincoln Travis, and must have been one he appreciated, as he included it in his “Challenge to the World”.  James Walter Kennedy was 29 years old when he accomplished winning this challenge set forth by Richard K. Fox. He came from Quincy, Illinois. The date of this strongman debut of the Kennedy Lift was January 25th, 1890.  The “1000 pound dumbbell” was actually a 1030 pound solid iron block with handles affixed to the top 24 inches from the ground.

At the Dino Challenge we will be using a bar set up on blocks so weight can be added to that of  a lifters’ preference and the rules of the USAWA can be followed in adding weight over three attempts.  It will be done according to the rules of the Jefferson Lift, except the bar will be at a higher position than the floor. The bar height will be a set height (yet to be determined) so that it will NOT  just be a “lockout lift” like the Heavy Lifts are.

THE TRUTH MAY HURT (BUT IT’S STILL THE TRUTH)

BY DAVE GLASGOW

I LOVE WORKING WITH METAL.  CUTTING, GRINDING, FITTING, MELTING.  IT’S ALL FASCINATING TO ME.  HOWEVER, MOST OF ALL, I LOVE TO WELD.  NOW, I WILL GRANT YOU, I AM NOT THAT GREAT A WELDER.  I LEARNED MANY YEARS AGO FROM A MAN WHO WAS PRETTY DAMN GOOD AT FABRICATING THINGS.  HE COULD ‘EYE-BALL’  A BENT PIECE OF STEEL, AND IN NO TIME, HAVE IT BACK TO VERY NEAR PERFECT.  I ALWAYS MARVELED AT THAT AND ASKED HOW HE GOT SO GOOD AT IT.  HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, ‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY.’

THE OTHER DAY, I WAS ATTEMPTING TO GET MY WELDER STARTED TO MAKE UP SOME STANDS I HAVE WANTED FOR A WHILE NOW.  TRY AS I MIGHT, I COULD NOT GET THE DAMN THING TO RUN.  I AM NO MECHANIC.  I KNOW THE RUDIMENTARY CONCEPTS BEHIND A COMBUSION ENGINE AND THAT IS IT.  I FINALLY PINNED IT DOWN TO A FUEL PROBLEM.  THAT ENGINE HAS NOT BEEN RUN ENOUGH OVER THE YEARS FOR IT TO PERFORM CORRECTLY!  BUILD UP IN THE FUEL TANK HAS CAUSED ALL SORTS OF CRUD AND SCALE TO BUILD UP IN IT AND HAS GOTTEN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK AND, THUS, INTO THE FUEL SYSTEM ITSELF.  NOW, I STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN THAT BLESSED THING TO GO, YET.  BUT, I WILL.  IT MAY TAKE SOME TIME BUT I WILL.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE POINT OF THIS WRITING.  I ACTUALLY HAVE TWO POINTS, HOWEVER, BARE WITH ME.  ONE THING AT A TIME.

I AM GUILTY OF THE BIGGEST SIN IN WEIGHT TRAINING(LIFTING).  I AM NOT VERY CONSISTANT.  SUBCONSCIOUSLY, I HAVE KNOWN THIS FOR YEARS.  ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE WAS TALKING TO ME ABOUT TRAINING AND HE SAID, ‘YOUR MAJOR PROBLEM IS YOU DON’T STAY WITH IT LONG ENOUGH TO DO YOU ANY REAL GOOD!’  BUSTED!!  THERE IT WAS.  THE TRUTH WAS SHOOVED DIRECTLY DOWN MY THROAT.  I KNEW IT, IT DID’NT FEEL REAL GOOD BUT SOMEONE ELSE HAD TO SAY IT TO ME FOR IT TO REALLY SINK IN. 

THAT THOUGHT POPPED INTO MY HEAD, AS I WAS STRUGGLING FUTILLY OVER THAT WELDER ENGINE, ‘THIS DAMN THING IS JUST AS I AM.  IT WOULD BE A PRETTY GOOD WELDER IF IT WERE USED MORE OFTEN!’  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD, ‘DON’T USE IT, LOSE IT?’  WELL, HERE WAS A MECHANICAL AND HUMAN EXAMPLE, INCARNATE.

THE OTHER POINT I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT IS THIS.  IN ORDER FOR THINGS TO WORK CORRECTLY IN OUR LIFTING, WE HAVE TO BE PATIENT AND PERSISTANT, WHICH MEANS WE MUST HAVE CONSISTANCEY OF TRAINING.  THIS MEANS YOU HAVE TO, SOMETIMES, ‘WILL’ YOURSELF TO THE GYM, WORK HARD AND ACCEPT THE SMALL GAINS THAT COME YOUR WAY.  AND BE GLAD FOR IT!!

THIS PAST YEAR, MY OWN TRAINING HAS BEEN MORE CONSISTANT THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE.  I HAVE A TRAINING PARTNER THAT NEVER MISSES A WORKOUT.  THERE ARE DAYS I AM SURE I WOULD JUST GO HOME IF I KNEW HE WAS’NT THERE, WAITING FOR ME.  GOOD TRAINING PARTNERS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS ANY EQUIPMENT YOU COULD EVER PURCHASE.

AND, GUESS WHAT?!  LAST SPRING, I POSTED A LIFE TIME BEST SQUAT!  EVEN AT MY AGE!!  I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THAT.  HOWEVER, IT WAS JUST PROOF POSITIVE THAT YOU HAVE TO BE REGULAR IN YOUR TRAINING.  VERY SIMPLY PUT,  ………..‘SHOW UP, SHUT UP, GET TO WORK’!

‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY’.  THAT OLE MAN KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!

I SURE DO MISS HIM.

Ironman Lost…and FOUND!

by Thom Van Vleck

Thin style Ironman 50lb plate

There were Ironman triathlons, Iron Man comics, Black Sabbath singing “I am Iron Man”, Iron Man movies…but when I think of Ironman…I think of Peary Radar’s old magazine and all the equipment he made over the years.  In the JWC training hall we have had a pair of Ironman plates my Uncles (Wayne and Phil Jackson) ordered back in the 60’s.  There is also a missing set.  In case you didn’t know it, back then you could order them “milled” to exact weight or “unmilled” which were half as much in cost.  With the “unmilled” you never knew what you were going to get.  Both sets of plates were unmilled.

First, the plates I still have.  They are thick around the edges and weigh 57.5lbs each while they have “50″ on them….looks like my Uncle’s got their money’s worth on those babies!  I have used them many times over the years because they are slightly larger than my other plates and are lifting from the floor and  put these plates on it makes the others easier to slide on and off.  Plus the fact that I gained 15lb seemed to be a psychological boost and let’s face it…they are just cool.

Thick style plates that weigh 57.5lbs each!

Now, to the story of the lost plates.  They were what I’ll call a “thin” style plate.  The one’s we had actually weighed 47.5lbs each.   There was a local lifter that was a kid my Uncle was trying to help out. He loaned the plates to him and over time the kid kind of claimed them.  That happened to my Uncle Wayne a lot!  When I tried to get them back he had SOLD them!  That also happened more than once.  I remember them in vivid detail.  They were thin, flat, with circular ridges that made them look like a bullseye.  One of the plates had a chip out of it.  I found the guy that bought them, but he gave them to his brother who lived out of state.  After a couple of attempts and promises….I finally gave up on ever getting these back.

Now that was the early 80’s so fast forward almost 30 years.  A good friend of mind called up looking for an incline and I had one.  He said he wanted to trade some stuff including a pair of Ironman plates.  When I got there I wish I could say they were he exact “long lost” pair….but they were not.  However, they were a “spot on” twin…or twins!  While not the exact pair, I am pretty pleased that somehow after all these years these plates seemed to fall right into my lap!  A plus is I might have gotten a better deal as these are right on 50lbs each.

Needless to say, like everything in my gym, they will be put to use.  And when I do….may I’ll have to put on some “Ironman” on the stereo!

Top 4 Questions to Ask a Strength Athlete

by Eric Todd

I have been competing in strength sports for a number of years now.  Anyone who knows me knows that is what I do.  Though the people I associate with outside the strongman and weightlifting community are for the most part a well-meaning group of people, I sometimes have gotten some interesting questions from them.  Here are some of my favorites:

1)      Why do you do that?  I usually get this when a person first finds out the arena in which I compete in, or find that I lifted x amount in a certain lift.  Definitely when I set the necklift record.   The arrogant response is “If you have to ask, you would not understand anyhow.”  The fact is, many people cannot understand this, because they cannot understand the quality of being competitive, or the drive to be the best at something.  They are satisfied with living in mediocrity.  That is fine for them, just not for me.

2)      Aren’t you afraid of hurting your back or Aren’t you afraid of getting a hernia? (these both kind of fall under the same category)  No.  I am not.  I choose not to live in fear.  As it turns out I have done both and continue to lift pretty heavy, so I guess there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.

3)      Are all the guys that compete on steroids?  No.  I am not (I assume that is why you are asking).   I know there are others who are clean.  However, in strongman I kept getting surprised by how many dirty lifters there were. Even some that I assumed were clean that were not.  I guess they better find some better stuff.   That is one reason that the USAWA is a HUGE breath of fresh air.  It is nice to lift against other clean lifters.

4)      Why haven’t I seen you on TV?  This is one of the more absurd questions, in my book.  While I have competed with the best, and have beaten some of the best at one time or another, at 5’11”, with small joints and no drugs, there is really only so far my work ethic and genetics was going to take me in the strongman arena.  I went all out, but this is the reality.  Secondly, I always thought of it like this:  I do strongman events on Saturdays.  Other guys go golfing on Saturdays.  They even might be pretty serious about their golf game.    Would it make a whole lot of sense for me to ask them why I have not seen them on TV competing in the Masters or something?  Competing  in the Masters or World’s Strongest Man is for the truly elite, the best of the best.  He hasn’t made it to that point, and neither have I.  It is that simple, and not something it seems I would have to explain.  It is not like I am one of  only 13 guys in the world who do strongman and the other 12 are the ones who go to Worlds.

Anyhow, those are my top 4 questions that the layman feels necessary to ask someone who competes in strength sports.  Some are kind of funny, and some just sad.  Aside from the steroids question, I assume they don’t mean much by them.  It is just humorous sometimes to realize how we are perceived by those on the outside.

My reflections on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

Steve Gardner (left) and Denny Habecker (right) - two VERY IMPORTANT men in the IAWA.

I’ve just returned from the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  It was an exciting weekend!!  Today I’m going to give some of my reflections of “the cup”.  This is not intended to be a meet report as I have none of the meet results in hand yet.   That will be coming later.

The enjoyment of meets for me goes “way beyond” the day of lifting.  It includes the experiences of the travel, visiting with good friends, and learning new things about all round weightlifting.  And those things were in abundance with this trip!  My father LaVerne was traveling with me, along with training bud Chad Ullom.  We flew from KC to Harrisburg early Friday morning and arrived there before noon.  My dad has taken an interest in researching the family history of the Myers family, and he had planned out an afternoon agenda for this including meeting some relatives.  Our line of the Myers family settled south of Harrisburg near York Springs.   We visited a few cemeteries to confirm some of my dad’s research, and actually found the house of Nicholas II Myres (that is the way he spelled our last name!) who was the second generation Myers off the boat.   The house was built in 1795 and has been kept in excellent shape. We met the current owners who were quite helpful in our research – as they had a great interest in the history of their house.

After arriving in Lebanon finally after this long day, we were really tired so we decided to just grab a bite to eat and “hit the sack”.  I got a full 8 hours of sleep which I needed for the long meet day on Saturday.  The meet was held in a venue that Denny has had meets in before.  It has a big gym area with lots of lifting space.  Upon arriving, I soon met up with many all round friends.  It is amazing how many close friendships I have made thru the years from being involved in the USAWA/IAWA. The meet had a very good turnout – and I believe close to 20 lifters were on hand.    Steve and Karen Gardner, and Graham and Toni Saxton made the trip from England.  All four of them participated in the Cup representing the IAWA(UK).  I was so impressed by Karen even competing.  She has just recently had a serious surgery and I wasn’t even sure she was going to make the trip, let alone LIFT!  However, Karen’s support to the IAWA exceeds most everyone else’s and this proves it.  Steve was the first person on the platform doing his big Gold Cup lift in a finger lift, and then spent the rest of the day announcing and scorekeeping.   I’ve said this before but it  needs repeating again.  Steve and Karen Gardner and Denny and Judy Habecker are the FOUNDATION of our organization.  They are the ones that hold everything together in both the IAWA(UK) and the USAWA, and gives the IAWA the leadership that allows us to be successful and well-organized.   Judy spent the day helping keep score, and providing the “behind the scenes” work that made the day go smoothly. 

Graham Saxton of England performing a World Record in the Middle Fingers Straddle Deadlift.

I was glad to see Toni Saxton make it to the platform for the FIRST TIME.  She performed her VB lift perfectly.  Graham Saxton is as seasoned IAWA lifter as there it.  He did a huge middle fingers straddle deadlift, and a Hand and Thigh Lift (which I believe was the first time he has ever tried it?).  Graham also spent most of the day in the officials chair.  I consider Graham one of the best officials in IAWA and I know things will be “done right” when he’s judging the lifts.  The Gold Cup is intended to be an international competition, and the presence of these four from the Powerhouse Gym in Burton, England made it happen!

It was indeed a day of  “who’s who” in attendance.  The room was full of USAWA Hall of Famers and the elite lifters from our organization. I was very glad to see Jim Malloy there competing, as well as his Cleveland training partner Scott Schmidt.  These two Hall of Famers have been a mainstay in the history of the USAWA.  Speaking of Cleveland – I was REALLY surprised to see Dennis Mitchell returning to the platform so quickly following knee replacement.  Dennis has been a long time IAWA supporter and has attended as many IAWA events as any other lifter in the history of the organization, so a little “bump in the road” like a knee replacement wasn’t going to keep him away!  Frank Ciavattone made the trip to the GC as well.  Frank is another USAWA Hall of Famer and future promoter of the 2014 IAWA Worlds.  Frank performed one of his signature lifts – the one handed Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.   It’s always a pleasure to see Frank at work in a meet.  Another East Coast lifter – James Fuller – made his FIRST Gold Cup appearance.   Jim did the ever-difficult Bent Press Anyhow as his Gold Cup lift, and finished with a great lift of 60 kilograms.  I’ve always said the Bent Press is one of the most painful lifts to watch, and probably to do.

Frank Ciavattone performing one of his signature lifts, the One Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, for a IAWA World Record.

The Dino Gym was well represented with myself, my father LaVerne, Chad Ullom, and Dean Ross being there to support the event.  LaVerne lifted exceptionally – with his One Arm Fulton Bar Deadlift impressing me the most.  I say that because he did 80 Kilograms and broke THE RECORD held by me!!!  Chad did two big type lifts for his GC lifts – the clean and jerk and the front squat.  Chad’s front squat of 211 kilograms broke the record held by current  OVERALL WORLD CHAMP Mark Haydock.  I kidded Chad by saying he was showing Mark NO RESPECT.  I might add that Chad did this wearing NO knee wraps Mark…….

Chad Ullom performed the last lift of the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup with this IAWA World Record Front Squat.

Barry Bryan did a couple of World Records in the bench press.  He made them looked very easy.  I was head judge on his lifts, and after I gave him a press command, he waited another second or two to press the bar.  I haven’t seen that happen very often before. Now who have I forgotten??  ART!!!   Art always ”steals the show” when he attends a meet.  Art, at age 86, continues to make it to all of the big IAWA meets and lift.  He performed a couple of Fulton Bar lifts and made them look ridiculously  easy.   He’s an inspiration to everyone.  

Afterwards, Denny and Judy planned a nice banquet meal at a local restaurant named Risser’s Family Restaurant (it was located in Myerstown!!).  It was a home-style feast that left everyone with a full belly.  Most of us then retired to Denny’s place for some post-meet celebration (actually just there to drink his beer haha).  Lots of good stories were told, parlor tricks were done by Steve and Chad, unbelievable tales were told by Al and Graham,  and Denny made all of our eyes water (mostly with his jokes….).

New England RB

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
NEW ENGLAND ALL ROUND RECORD BREAKERS

Frank's Barbell Club

A sanction request has just been approved for Frank Ciavattone to host a Record Breakers Day at his gym on November 30th, 2013.  Frank has an excellent home gym that can virtually accommodate any all round lift – thus making it an ideal venue for a record day.  His gym is filled with a historical collection of lifting equipment, awards, and pictures.  Frank has promoted several New England Record Breakers with great success in the past. 

MEET DETAILS:

Meet Director: Frank Ciavattone

Location: Frank’s Barbell Club

Date: November 30th, 2013

There is no entry form but please contact Frank in advance with your intentions of entering so he can make adequate plans.

IAWA Gold Cup

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 IAWA GOLD CUP

This was the platform background with the flags at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland.

The USAWA President Denny Habecker will be hosting this year’s IAWA Gold Cup in Lebanon, PA.  The Gold Cup is one of “the three” major IAWA events, and is rotated annually between the membership Nations in IAWA.  Last year the Gold Cup was in Glasgow, Scotland and the year before that in Burton, England.   So it’s a BIG DEAL when the Gold Cup is hosted in the United States!  It gives the opportunity for USAWA lifters to compete in it without having to travel overseas.  

This is the THIRD TIME Denny has hosted the Gold Cup (2006 & 2008 were the other times). The late John Vernacchio hosted the Gold Cup three times as well (1992, 1996, & 2003) and the LEGEND Howard Prechtel, who was the one to originate the concept of the Gold Cup, hosted it four times (1991, 1994, 1998, & 2001).  This means Denny is achieving the status of Gold Cup fame as a meet director of the  IAWA Gold Cup.

Let’s really show the Gold Cup some big support this year from the USAWA!  Mark November 2nd on your calendar right now. 

ENTRY FORM – 2013 GOLD CUP ENTRY

INFO SHEET – 2013 Gold Cup INFO PAGE