The Adventures of Russ Murphy

by Al Myers

Russ Murphy crossing Boulder Falls - using only a cable and his strength!

This past weekend  I had a visitor for the weekend, an ole friend from Colorado, who spent the weekend with me so we could attend the McPherson Highland Games together.  I have known Russ for over 25 years and we have spent much time together during the course of our Highland Games pursuits. Most of you that know me know how I like to tell “Russ stories” - as Russ is one of the most interesting men I have ever met in my life.  He has had many exciting adventures in his life, and has many great stories to tell because of these adventures. I had heard this one before, but I always like to hear Russ’s stories “over and over” as I pick up new details each time that help my storytelling! 

The year was 1962.   It was mid summer, July to be exact.   Russ had just came off his “big win” of winning the Rocky Mountain Olympic Weightlifting Championships in the heavy weight division in May.    He was weighing a slim but muscular body weight of 235 pounds.  At 24 years old he was a physical specimen from those many weight training sessions.   He was bull strong, yet still very athletic.   This adventure occurred west of Boulder, Colorado on route 119 – near Boulder Falls.  Russ was hiking with some friends in the mountains near the falls, when they came upon a steep canyon river below the falls.   Russ told his friends that he wanted to go to the other side.   The canyon wall was too steep to climb down -  plus Russ told me he didn’t want to get wet crossing the river.  Between the canyon walls was an old mining cable used to transport a mining bucket from one side to the other.  The cable was old, but very rigid and secure, and with a diameter of 1 1/2 inch Russ felt it was secure enough to use to climb across the canyon!   His friends thought he was crazy and elected to stay on the canyon ridge while Russ took hold of the cable and used it to make this daring crossing.  I should mention that he had no safety harness or way of attaching himself to the cable.  If  he would have lost his grip – he would have fell into a swirling rocky pool below and would have met his demise. It’s a good thing his friends stayed and took pictures of this wild stunt, because otherwise it would be a hard story for me to believe. I asked how far a drop it was (like it really matters as anything over 20 feet would be deadly), and Russ wasn’t sure – he said he didn’t look down!!!  He guessed it was something like 100 feet or so at the highest.  He used his legs over the cable most of the way, but during the finish he went “hand over hand” dangling above the rapid falls.   He said the cable went at least the length of a football field (that’s over 100 yards!!!).  The cable was tied to an old tree above the bottom canyon floor, so at the end of the cable climb Russ dropped onto a soft sand bar 20 feet below.  He then free-climbed the canyon wall over 100 feet high to reach his destination!!

I asked him how he felt during all this, and whether at any point he felt he shouldn’t have started, and Russ responded with his ever present smile, “I was a flea opposed to an ox”.  I took that as meaning that he wasn’t worried at all, and knew he would be able to achieve something this treacherous without any risk of self-injury. 

Just another chapter in “the Adventures of Russ Murphy”.

Founding USAWA Principles

by Al Myers

I’ve been appreciating the comments on the USAWA Discussion Forum recently in regards to ET’s editorial story the other day about problems and issues the USAWA faces in stimulating new memberships.   I have to admit – most of ET’s sentiments I have felt at some time or another.  Our organization is very unique in several ways compared to other lifting organizations.  Some of the comments in the forum suggested ideas that sure sound good on paper (and would mimic the policies of other established lifting organizations), but they go against the founding principles of the USAWA.  I know there are several new members to the USAWA that are not “in tune” to the historical philosophies of the USAWA, so I want to go over them today.  These were foundation Principles of the USAWA, established by Bill Clark and the initial founding members of the USAWA 26 years ago when the initial USAWA bylaws were written.  These ideas were the groundwork of the USAWA, and have been maintained throughout  the years.   Here they are – the 5 founding principles of the USAWA:

1.  Contest lifts not currently contested in other lifting organizations.

The concept of the “all -rounds” was to offer a competitive avenue for contesting lifts not being offered by other lifting organizations, ie powerlifting and Olympic lifting.  These means the Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, Clean and Jerk, and the Snatch are not eligible to be USAWA lifts.  This statement is and has been the VERY FIRST rule in the USAWA rulebook since the beginning.  The intention here was to offer competition in lifts “outside” of the other forms of lifting – and to recognize what was called the “odd lifts”.  The idea of this is to have an organization that is not just another form of powerlifting or Olympic lifting.

2.  Drug Free Organization

From the beginning drug free competition within the USAWA was a goal.  Drug Free competition is only insured by actually having drug testing occur.  I know at times in the past this had to be questioned (adequate drug testing), but now we have one of the best drug testing programs of any lifting organization.  We test at many meets, and a wide range of lifters are tested. 

3.  Use of minimal supportive equipment.

The initial intention of the USAWA was to have an organization that only included the use of a belt. No wraps, no suits, no anything else.  But this principle was compromised with the addition of wrist wraps within a couple of years.  The argument for wrist wraps was for wrist protection doing one arm swings, not wrist support.  This “opened the door” to allowing wrist wraps for all lifts.  Next came the use of knee wraps for the squats.  However, the USAWA for the most part has maintained this original principle and has not allowed the wide range of supportive equipment that is now available to the lifters.  

4.  Age and bodyweight corrections.

From the beginning, the idea in the USAWA was to have all competitors competing against each other with formula adjustments.  This includes using the Lynch Formula to correct for bodyweight, and the Age Allowance Percent for age correction.   I won’t get into my views here on whether I feel these corrections are “fair” – but just making the point that this was an original principle that the USAWA was founded on.

5.  Affiliate with IAWA for World Competitions.

From the day of the official organization of the USAWA, the IAWA was formed as well to give international competition.  However, the USAWA has always had their own set of working bylaws separate from the IAWA.    With time things have “evolved” within the USAWA to have some differences between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK), but integrity was kept in the main rules and concepts which has allowed this peaceful union over the past 26 years.   It is important  that when changes are made in the USAWA, we must always remember our IAWA affiliation and how this may affect our relationship within IAWA.  Making changes about  ”little things” within the USAWA is one thing – but when “big issues” are addressed the decision is much larger than the USAWA.   The last thing we want to do is damage our IAWA affiliation.

I may not fully agree with  all of these founding principles of the USAWA – but I will support them because they are what our organization was formed from.  Much like the articles in the United States Constitution  – they were set for a reason by our founding fathers and should be respected and not changed or challenged.     I just wanted to write this editorial because I know people often wonder how I stand on these issues.  Well, the above Founding Principles are “set in concrete” in my opinion and should not be changed  EVER within the USAWA.  If we do change them we might as well change our name as well – because we wouldn’t be the same USAWA that our founding fathers envisoned for us.

York Adjustable Krusher

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker and his York Adjustable Krusher.

When I was at Denny’s last month for the USAWA Presidential Cup I got to spend some more time in the Habecker’s Gym.  I really enjoy private club gyms as they have character (unlike commercial gyms), and often have interesting pieces of equipment in them that are “part of the collection” of the owner.  As I was nosing around in Denny’s stuff, I found just one of these neat collectable  pieces!  He had a York Adjustable Krusher. Most lifters would have no idea what that even is.

The York Krusher was a novelty piece of equipment that was intended to train the pectorals and the upper back.  Unlike the York Hercules Cable Sets which worked by pulling against steel strands (springs), the Krusher worked by pushing the handles together against spring tension. The Krusher was made out of cast aluminum and had the capacity to add up to 5 springs for added tension. The handles were straight which allowed a lifter to push them together from several different angles – in front, to the side, or overhead. 

Advertisement for the Krusher from an issue of Muscular Development.

I find it interesting that they named this device the Krusher (with a K) instead of Crusher.  Adds a like uniqueness to it from a marketing standpoint.  I gather it was first marketed in the early 60’s and  thru the 70’s from the advertisements in York’s muscle magazines at the time.  It was not advertised in their magazines prior to this.   Also interesting is that the Krusher was never really “pushed” in any of their magazine stories (that I recall, I may be wrong here).  It’s sole inclusion was the small ad in the back of  the magazines with a short advertising pitch.  I’ve heard a rumor (might be true) that John Grimek once suffered a bad eye injury when one of the springs in his Krusher came loose while he was using it and it snapped back into his eye ball!!   That’s the kind of thing Bob Hoffman would want to keep quiet when the lead spokesman for his company had that happen to him with one of their  products!!

The Krusher was never a big sell item for York, and this is the first one I had ever seen first hand.  They can still be found selling on ebay – I seen one selling for close to $300 recently.   I also don’t remember seeing the Krusher displayed in the York Museum.  Most of their other past historical training items are, so this must never had been a popular item for them.   

Next time I see Denny I’m going to ask him if he’ll consider putting his Krusher in his will to be willed to me!  And to remind him to wear safety glasses when he trains on it!

News Update for 2013 IAWA Worlds

by Steve Gardner

Information for those attending the IAWA Worlds in Accrington.

Friday

5.30pm to 7.30pm the IAWA World Council Meeting will take place at the Lifting Venue (Hollins Tech College).

Scales should be available for practice weigh ins.

At 7.30pm the group will move along to the Main Bar at the nearby Dunkenhalgh Hotel as a meeting point for any that want to meet up and socialise:

The Dunkenhalgh Hotel, Blackburn Road, Clayton-Le-Moors, BB5 5JP, Tel : 01254 426800

Saturday

8am to 9.30am Weigh In (You will need your starting attempts)
9.45am Officials and Lifters Briefing
10am Sharp – Lifting will Start
NOTE: Lifters should not leave the building unless they have checked if they are required for Drug Testing!

Sunday

9 – 9.45am Weigh In (only those hoping to claim World Records on day two need to weigh in – otherwise the Saturday weigh in is good for the two days)
i.e. if you want to claim a record you need to weigh!
10am Lifting will start Prompt!

Because of the large entry field, the lifting will be divided into 2 groups and each group into 2 Flights

Some lifts will be performed on just one platform, but most will be done on two platforms, this is for time purposes, not wishing to see people still lifting late in the evening and on Sunday we have to finish on time ready for the presentation and then the Banquet- and also for Equipment Logistics!

Mark has some volunteer loaders who will be helping out over the weekend, but any other help will be appreciated too by any lifters who are not lifting or refereeing.

The officials schedule will be put together on Friday and all will be informed in time of their refereeing times – Don’t forget your official’s shirt!

Where do we go?

by Eric Todd

The USAWA has been around for 26 years.  To my knowledge, there is no other governing body for all-round lifting in the USA, and only a small splinter group in the UK outside of our world organization, the IAWA.  Anybody who is anybody in all-round in America is a member of the USAWA.  So why is it, that after 26 years we still have fewer than 100 members?  I believe there are several reasons behind this, which I will address in this essay.  So, we need to decide if we like the status quo.  If not, do we want to grow, and if so, how?

People do not like to get out of their comfort zone.  In most of the other strength disciplines, there are a handful of movements that you must become proficient at.  So, an individual may find one area that he excels in, and stick with that.  I would say the vast majority of competitors find one discipline they are comfortable in and then do not deviate from it  The USAWA has over 200 lifts to tackle, some of them quite unorthodox.  So, most lifters choose to stick to their bench press meets, or Oly lifting, or even strongman in order not to risk failure in competing at something they are not familiar with.  I would argue that the USAWA has something for everyone, so most anyone can find success in all-round.  In addition to that, I would argue that in order to be a true strength athlete, you need to get outside your comfort zone.  My forte was always strongman, but I would compete in powerlifting, all-round, highland, and even an oly meet just to challenge myself, to broaden my horizons, to grow, and to be a true strength athlete.  All-round pretty much affords you that opportunity all blanketed in one organization.

There is not a lot of glamour in all-round.  Our meets, including our championships and national meets are held in small gyms or  at people’s private facilities, and the crowd of spectators is a handful of family members.  There are no magazine covers, no opportunity to “go pro”, no money, no live streams, and often not even a cheap plastic trophy to lug with you when you go home.  Definitely not the place for trophy hunters. 

People in the US have not been exposed to all-round.  People recognize the benchpress, squat and deadlift of powerlifting.  They are familiar with the men in kilts “flipping telephone poles” in highland games.  They have seen the mighty men during the Olympics snatch and clean and jerk.  They have come across world’s strongest man on ESPN whilst flipping through channels.  So, if I compete in one of those disciplines, they have a frame of reference to what I am doing. The VAST majority of people have never heard of all-round.  Nor have they ever heard of a Steinborn or a harness lift.  Unfortunately, if they were to read the requirements of a few of our lifts, they would probably have no desire to try them.

Furthermore, we are a raw, drug tested organization.  There is no possible way to artificially inflate your numbers in the USAWA.  There are  people whose egos cannot handle lifting less than what they were able to do when artificially aided.

One last reason I will mention that I feel we struggle to draw competitors is “the formula”.  I know I have walked away from my share of meets irritated by it.  I have out-lifted people by 1000 and more pounds in a meet, only to be beaten by “the formula”.  If you are  a 300+ pound behemoth,  you will struggle to find great success in all-round.  Though I understand the need for a formula to compare across divisions, I feel that we lose a lot of the bigger lifters because  of ours. 

So, the question remains-do we want to grow?  I spoke with Al about this on an occasion or two.  My opinion is this, take it for what it is worth.  We do not want to grow at all costs.  Growth is good, but we don’t just need more lifters.  We need more of the “right” lifters.  When I started competing in strongman, it was a small organization.  The competitors knew and respected each other.  We competed hard against each other, but would root for the other guy because we respected him and wanted to beat him at his best.   We would travel to train with each other, eat dinner with each other, email or call each other about training, competitions, etc.  This is kind of how I feel all-round is in its current state.    You go to a meet, and it is like a family reunion.  The guys you are competing with have probably been tested, and even if it has been a while, you know their character well enough at this point to know they are clean.  You are treated with respect amongst the lifters as well as within the organization.  When strongman started growing, it eventually drew some individuals I did not like being around.  Not collectively, but there was a lot more than before.  There was a lot more narcicism, more ego-centrism.  It became much less a brotherhood, and more just a sport. 

So, growth can be a double edged sword.  I know I hate to see meets that get only 2 or 3 lifters or have to be cancelled for lack of competitors.  And with so few competitors in our pool, this is going to happen. I would like for every meet to have 15+ competitors, competition within the divisions, and awards for the competitors.  I would love to see increased membership numbers helping us increase our organization financially.  But do we want to sacrifice the integrity of our sport as well the great camaraderie within to accomplish this? 

I, for one, do not have any answers.  However, I am interested to see what you all say.  I am just hoping to create some dialogue that could potentially  serve to help guide our direction into the future.

Training arms with Bill Pearl

by Al Myers

Bill Pearl performing a standing Barbell Curl.

Thom’s story the other day about Bill Pearl and his leg training got me thinking about the great Bill Pearl and his training.  I always greatly admired Bill Pearl’s physique, and consider it the IDEAL muscular build.  I know nowadays the trend in bodybuilding is to build muscular mass to the extreme, but in doing so it portrays a body image that is unrealistic for any normal individual. It is hard for me to look at today’s top bodybuilders and feel a sense of inspiration, as their body’s muscularity is “way over the top”.  It’s more a freak show to me than anything else.  Totally unattainable for anyone who wants to lift weights naturally, be healthy,  and still have a life of going to work everyday and raising a family.  When you look at the old pictures of Bill Pearl – you see a man who built his outstanding physique through hard work and proper diet, utilizing the same things that are available to the vast majority of weight trainees.  At least you feel that you might be able to accomplish the same thing he did (but that’s probably unlikely as well as not everyone is blessed with the muscle building genetics and symmetry that Bill Pearl has!!!)

I always thought Bill Pearl’s strong areas were his arms.  He had deep muscular triceps and very big balanced biceps. His arms had “the look” that they were very strong as well as being impressive in sight.  I like to read old lifting magazines for my training knowledge instead of the new muscle ”rags”.  I feel the information in the old magazines to be  more truthful.  Last night I ran across an article in the January, 1968 issue of Dan Lurie’s Muscle Training written by Bill Pearl, titled How to Build Big Arms.  It was a great article, and one in which I’m going to share part of here as to Bill’s favorite arm exercises outlined in his article.  You will notice that these exercises are not anything new and secret.  Instead they are basic movements that are often overlooked by lifters who are on the constant search for the latest and newest training program.  Most of the time the BEST training programs are the ones that have been tried and used successfully by the many – not the latest fab program used by the few.  Now onto Bill Pearl’s arm program!

A couple more of Bill Pearl's favorite arm exercises.

EXERCISE NO. 1 – TRICEPS PUSH DOWN ON LAT MACHINE

He recommended 4 sets of 10 reps, and emphasized  keeping good technique – arms’ to the sides of the body keeping the elbows in a “fixed” position, and performing complete extension on each repetition.

EXERCISE NO. 2 – SEATED DUMBBELL CURLS

Again he recommended 4 sets of 8-10 reps, and using good form.  Keep the back straight, and perform full curl movements. Keep the curls strict and do not swing the weights.

Still more of Pearl's arm favorites!

EXERCISE NO. 3 – TRICEPS EXTENSIONS WITH BARBELL

He liked doing this exercise standing with a regular barbell with 4 sets of 8 reps. After reading his description it seemed practically identically to our USAWA rules for the FRENCH PRESS.  He keep the elbows high, and even stated that he used an 8 inch hand spacing (the USAWA rules for the French Press call for a 6 inch spacing).  He performed it very strictly.

EXERCISE NO. 4 – TRICEP DIPS ON STOOLS

Here he recommended 3 sets of 10-12 reps. He braced himself across two stools with his feet supported on a bench (see picture). One interesting thing Bill mentioned was to have your feet HIGHER than your hands, as it forces the triceps to work harder. Take the dip as low as you can go. He preferred the stool dip over the parallel bar dip.

EXERCISE NO. 5 – STANDING BARBELL CURLS

Again 4 sets of 8-10 reps. He liked doing them strict. These are his words, “Do NOT press your elbows into your sides. Do NOT swing the barbell. Do NOT bend over backwards.”

There you go – a very simple 5 exercise arm program that will make functionally arm strength and size improvements. Anything that is “good enough” for Bill Pearl is good enough for me!!!

Roman Chair Squat

by Thom Van Vleck

The Roman Chair Squat

Some time back Al Myers wrote a great article on the Roman Chair and it’s place in the USAWA as a contested lift.  It can be found here: http://www.usawa.com/roman-chair/.  It even inspired me to make a Roman chair and add some Roman Chair sit ups to my workout.

Recently, I have been doing some bodybuilding.  My workouts have traditionally been basic movements for low reps and heavy weights.  Not much assistance work.  My transition was not an easy one as I didn’t want to be too much of as sissy bodybuilder.  So I decided to pull out some of my Bill Pearl Training Manuals (purchased by my Uncle Phil Jackson and autographed to Phil by Pearl himself no less) and follow Bill’s advice.  Why?  Because Bill was BIG and STRONG.  My Uncle saw Bill give a seminar in 1967 after his third Mr. Universe.  He said Bill loaded 300lbs on an Olympic bar and easily power cleaned it, pressed it overhead, then pressed it behind the neck twice!

At any rate, right or wrong, I figured if Bill Pearl did it then it must be good!  I also believe most any program will help you if you believe in it and I was raised to believe that Bill Pearl was almost mythological….the Babe Ruth of Bodybuilding.  So as I looked at how Bill trained his legs I found that one of Bill’s favorite exercises was the Roman Chair Squat.  It is very similar to the Sissy Squat.  My legs have always been a weakness for me so I’ve started doing them.  I like them, but you can’t handle much weight (as a matter of fact, this is a body weight exercise for me).

I also learned a little bit of history as I went about my research on this exercise.  In Al’s article he mentioned that a lifter from Rome did work on the Roman Chair at Professor Attila’s gym and it became quite popular.  This was shared with Sig Klein who did a type of plank movement (and I suspect this led to the Roman Chair Bench Press lift in the USAWA).  But I believe I’ve found the original purpose the Roman Chair was invented for!  In ancient times latrines were basically ditches.  You would have to squat over them and since you didn’t want to fall in you would hook your feet under something and leverage out to “do you business”.  I think this is much better explanation than Al’s medieval torture device chair in his article!

What ever the case, the Roman Chair can be used for much more than sit ups!  But regardless of what you do on a Roman Chair…..it all is painful!  And I, for one, am thankful to have a modern toilet!

Super Arm Blaster

by Al Myers

Arnold using the Super Arm Blaster!

The Super Arm Blaster, now that’s a “blast from the past’, or should I say “blaster from the paster”!  The other night while training alone I spotted something shiny sticking out from behind the dumbbell rack. As I dug through miscellaneous plates and other lifting paraphernalia that I’ve accumulated other the years, there it was – the SUPER ARM BLASTER.  It brought back memories of when I bought the thing as I thought it’s use would give me monstrous arms, just like Arnold’s.  Now it has been residing in obscurity for years without any use.  One of many training tools that I’ve tried and found just didn’t work well for me in my training objectives.

Of course, I had to take a picture of it and send it to Thom to see if he knew what it was. He did, and  answered my text very quickly with the correct response so I know he didn’t “look it up”.   I give Joe Weider the credit for inventing this isolating bicep training device.  He started marketing it in the mid 1970’s in his magazines, and it “sold strong” through the 1980’s. That’s when I bought mine.  It was initially called the “Joe Weider’s Super Arm Blaster” or “Arnold’s Super Arm Blaster”, and sold for $19.95.  Early magazines often contained advertisements for it picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrating it’s use.  He was Weider’s selling point man on the Arm Blaster,  and I’m sure propagated many sells. 

This came from an early advertisement:

Something new and fabulous has happened for creating Super-arm size….real fast! Blast your arms into new and exciting growth no matter how big they are now – just as Arnold Schwarzenegger did, increasing his arms from 21″ to 22 1/2″ with Joe Weider’s new patented “Arnold’s Super-Arm Blaster”.  It isolates the arms so that you can put out 100% muscular effort and mental concentration without having to fight arm balance at the sides – thereby allowing you to stimulate all of the deeper under-lying muscle fibers with greater intensity!

The Dino Gym's Arm Blaster, which is still in working shape after 30 years!

The ad goes on from there with more selling points on how the Arm Blaster would take your arm size to new heights –  that would leave any newbie iron boy in a frenzy.  How could you NOT have one of these????  I admit – the sales pitch made me fork over money I didn’t have at the time!   But looking back – the image of Arnold pounding out EZ bar curls with his super arm blaster probably was worth the money in inspiration alone.  Whether he really used it much in his training is really just a mute point!

Arnold does mention the Arm Blaster in his book, “The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding“.  It includes a picture of him using the Arm Blaster while performing a set of Alternate Dumbbell Curls with this caption, “Using the Arm Blaster you get the strictness of a preacher curl, with the elbows fixed solidly in place, which is especially good for training the lower biceps”.  This book was published in 1985, well after his financially binding endorsement days with Weider. At this point his bodybuilding fame days were over and he was enjoying box office success with his Conan movies  and the first Terminator movie.  Money could not have been an issue for him at this time to continue to promote the Arm Blaster – so I’m assuming he felt there was some merit to it’s use.

I hadn’t thought of the Arm Blaster for years until this workout.  I assumed this antiquated piece of equipment was no longer on the market, but after doing a short internet search I see that there are other manufacturers that have continued to market it.  That’s good news for any iron newbie -  buy one and be inspired to bicep greatness!

Best Exercise Ever

by Thom Van Vleck

This man used the "Best Exercise Ever" to great effect!

Many years ago I was reading an old Ironman Magazine.  When I say “old” I mean when Peary Radar ran it and when it was a great strength publication and not a bodybuilding rag.  They had asked a question of a number of lifters and gym owners (those that trained people in their gym).  The question was if you could only do one exercise what would that exercise be?  The idea seemed to get at what they thought the best exercise was.  Now, I have to be honest here, I can’t remember which exercise won but I do recall pretty much all the the answers were one of two exercises.

One of these two exercises is still a pretty common exercise.  I bet everyone that reads this has done it and almost all would agree it’s a great exercise.  I know Paul Anderson would agree.  Have you guessed?  That’s right, the squat.  I’m sure that just about everyone that’s lifted has at one time done a squat.  Sure, most don’t do it much but I bet they at least tried it!  Most found out that squats are hard to do because they utilize almost all the largest muscles in the body.  If you are doing them right, you can get really strong and fit doing them.

The other exercise, the one I think won the most votes for being the best single exercise, is hardly done at all.  As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen anyone do them in a gym other than one man and I hang around a lot of lifters.  The one man that did them was my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  And he did them because it was his favorite lift to do.

This “mystery” lift has a strange history.  Let me give you some hints.  First of all, you can do it with a standard barbell.  You need no special equipment like the squat (squat racks…unless you are Henry Steinborn).  Second of all, I bet if you were told you could only do one lift the rest of your life you WOULD choose this lift.  But how realistic is that?  Even if you were stuck on a deserted island with a barbell the only way that would happen is if someone held a gun to your head every workout until you died.  Finally, this lift used to be one of the most contested lifts on the planet.  There was a time when it was contested more than the Bench Press, the Squat, or the Deadlift in competition.  You could win an Olympic medal doing this lift and you cannot win one doing the Powerlifts.  Have you guessed?

The Clean & Press.  For some 50 years the Clean & Press was one of the THREE Olympic lifts along with the Snatch and Clean & Jerk.  It was dropped from competition after 1972.  There were several reasons but mainly because the judging had gotten so lax that records were meaningless.  Instead of trying to fix the problem the lift was just dropped. My Uncle Wayne still holds the Missouri State record in that lift and it was his favorite lift to do.  When they dropped it….his competition career ended as the lift meant that much to him.

My understanding was that early Olympics had many lifts and it took too much time so they condensed it down to three.  The Snatch was considered a “quick” and “athletic” lift while the Clean & Press was considered a “strength” and “power” lift.  The Clean & Jerk was in between.  It was felt the three lifts together were the ultimate measure of athletic strength.  I tend to agree and am sad that the the lift in no longer contested.  I don’t think Olympic lifting in the USA has ever recovered from that loss and led to the rise of powerlifting at that same time.  But that’s a history lesson.

The Clean & Press arguably is the most complete exercise there is.  I know if I could only do one exercise it would be that lift or some variation.  In particular, I have enjoyed training the log lift C & P.  I’m curious if any of you have ever done this exercise (not parts of it, but all together!).  If not, I would suggest trying a few some time.  Nothing works more muscles using a standard barbell in a single exercise movement and there is nothing that says “strong” than lifting a barbell from the floor to overhead using brute upper body strength on the press!  Just take a look at Zydrunas Savickas clean and press a 400 pound plus log!  So, throw in a C & P to your training and do what some have called the “BEST EXERCISE EVER”!

Louis Abele’s Training Program

by Al Myers

Louis Abele

At our Nationals in June, Dennis Mitchell loaned me a pamphlet that outlined Louis Abele’s Training Programs.  It was compiled by Chester O. Teegarden, and  published in 1948.  It is only 15 pages long, and has lots of interesting training information and insight into the training philosophies of Louis Abele.  I actually had set this pamphlet aside and just rediscovered it to read (so I haven’t forgot about it Dennis!).  I blame my distraction on this to all that was going on at the National Meet.

Louis Abele was often in the shadows of other great York lifters at the time – namely John Grimek, Steve Stanko, and John Davis.  However the progress he made in Olympic lifting compelled him onto the national stage as one of the best heavy weight lifters of the time. I asked Dennis about Louis Abele and this was his reply, ” I never had the opportunity to meet Louis Able. He had the misfortune of being at his best when John Davis was at his best. He could never get the recognition that he deserved as he was overshadowed by John.  The thing that I found very interesting about his training was that he used a large verity of lifts. I’ve only read one other study where it was felt that instead of doing, for example four sets of squats, to do one set of lunges, one set of front squats, a set of back squats and then one set of leg presses. I’ve used this form of training as I’ve gotten older as I am trying to keep as many parts moving in as many directions as I can.”

I want to thank Dennis for sharing this Louis Abele Training Program with me, and thus in turn I’m gonna share it with you!  Interesting historical information like this is easily lost with the passage of time.  It is a pdf so simply open it, print it off, and save it for future generations of lifters (or put it in some digital file that will soon “die off” when your computer crashes because you forgot to have it backed up!”)

The Training Programs of Louis Abele  (PDF)Louis Abele Training Programs

I very much enjoy visiting with Dennis and discussing such issues as how he has seen lifting change in his lifetime.  Dennis is over 80 years of age and STILL COMPETING in competitions (both all round and Olympic lifting).  He has a wealth of information and wisdom.  He has had a lifting career that has spanned over 60 years so he has “been there” and “seen it all”.  I can’t help but finish with a little story on Dennis that I found humorous.  At Nationals he made a comment to my daughter Molly (age 15) and Chad’s daughter Bree (age 16) as they were “playing” with their cell phones.  I was fortunate to overhear this story that he told these two young girls about how he has seen communication improve over the years. It is priceless, and left a look of disbelief on the girls’  faces!!

“In 1954, Fort Monmouth in New Jersey  I was in the last class to learn how to use carrier pigeons. They were still being used in the Korean War. Any time I use E-Mail or cell phones I think of this. We had a special net pouch that we could carry the birds in when we out in the fields. The only company the army found that could make these pouches was a company that made ladies undergarments, the Maidenform Co………………………..Denny M.. ”

SUPERMAN CANCELLED

by Al Myers

I just received word that this weekend’s USAWA all round meet at Jobe’s Steel Jungle is CANCELLED  due to lack of entries.  Jesse was advertising this meet as the “SUPERMAN MEET”.  It contained the all round versions of the two Olympic Lifts and the 3 Powerlifts – 5 lifts in total.  Several of the lifts were going to be using the Fulton Bar instead of a regular lifting bar to add to the challenge. 

I was planning on attending this meet to announce and score-keep, and was looking forward to seeing some big lifts in these lifts, which are perfect to demonstrate who the really strong lifters are.  I’m disappointed this had to happen, but as I told Jesse, I fully understand why.  As Bill Clark used to say, “I threw a party and no one showed up” after some meets that he had with very poor attendance.  One must remember that hosting meets is a costly endeavor to a meet promoter and it takes entry fees to pay the bills so you “come close” to breaking even.  Having sanctioned meets is the backbone of the USAWA, and without them we are not an organization that promotes all round competition lifting. I’ll quit harping now – but as I told Jesse his idea of having this SUPERMAN MEET was a brilliant idea – but brilliance doesn’t always sell tickets.

To Kettlebell or Not

by Thom Van Vleck

Here's a photo that shows a handle like the one that my grandfather used to convert his dumbbell into a kettlebell.

I work at a University and we have a rec center on campus.  It’s a small school so the rec center is actually pretty decent for our size but still small.  The guy that runs it has been there for 30 plus years and he is very upbeat and positive.  Dan came out of the 70’s running craze and still runs to this day.  Nothing wrong with that, but he’s not really a weightlifter and he knows it.  I am a weightlifter and not much of a runner…so we keep each other balanced.

Dan tries to stay on top of the latest trends and has bought a handful of Kettlebells.  They get used a great deal in the Osteoblasters “crossfit” style workouts that we have 4 days a week.  We have a more traditional weightlifting group but the ratio is about 10 to 1 (the crossfit wins hands down).  If you don’t know what that type of training is just imagine multiple stations where people move rapidly from one high rep, low weight or bodyweight exercise to another done in an open area and NOT in the regular lifting area)  We have both been surprised at the success of the workouts.  He likes the cardio aspect and I like the lifting aspect…..but neither of us would have guessed how well this would have went over.  The problem is…we’re old and we don’t know what’s “in” these days.  At least that’s the only explanation I can think of.

So we try and keep each other up to date on what’s “hot” in the fitness and lifting world.  Dan wants to appeal to all the students including the students who lift heavy…like us.  He asked me the other day if I thought he should get a set of Kettlebells for the gym.  His concern is that the space is small and most of what he sees is people doing dynamic movements with them such as swings and flipping them to arms length.  He’s worried about somebody getting conked on the head or a kettlebell going out a plate glass window.  I’m worried NOBODY will use them enough to justify valuable gym space as the place is often packed!  Plus that money could go for other things that would get used more often.

Here's what standard kettlebells look like.....as if you really needed to see them! But there are an ever increasing list of variations of them out there much like how the globe dumbbells became all different shapes.

Now you have to understand that me and Kettlebells go way back….well…sort of.  I have never….EVER…trained with them.  Sure, I’ve pulled them out and played with them and I even bought three of them for my gym that were close to the weights used in the highland games.  Right now I’ve loaned them to the club because after I bought them and built a cool shelf to put them on….they were pretty much paperweights and novelties after that.  Now before you Kettlebellers get your panties in a bunch let me go on.

My long relationship with kettlebells was that my grandfather had a kettlebell handle that went on a regular York 1″ loadable dumbbell making it a makeshift kettlebell.  He also had some block scale weights that were kind of like using kettlebells.  He would do high reps and sometimes would just grab it and do a few reps between chores around the house.  My grandfather never trained to max out…always for fitness.  He lived a very healthy and active life to the age of 85….when he was hit by a car!  I think he would have live to be 100 and been one of those guys that would be in fantastic shape his entire life.  But we all thought his lifting routine….especially the kettlebells was….uhhhhh….well….we called it the “fruitcake” routine because it seemed to have a little of everything and a lot of nothing and appeared thrown together most of the time.  However, I think he may have had the last laugh.

So, what’s all this mean in regards to kettlebells.  I told Dan that I thought they were a great idea to be used for the Osteoblaster workouts and we needed some more for the 45 to 90 people that show up for each workout.  But as far as having a rack in the gym….so few would use it that it would be not worth it in my opinion.

There used to be a business supply chain centered locally that went out of business.  It seemed to be a powerful business and I wondered why.  I met someone that knew.  He said his grandfather (who was the patriarch of the business) said, “Computers are just a fad…typewriters are where its at and where its always gonna be”.  We can laugh now at that business decision but some of us older guys probably all had a typewriter at one time (Bill Clark still does).  Kettlebells are kind of like typewriters in my mind.  But again…before the kettlebell nuts get a screw loose…one more story.  When I was in the Marines 30 years ago I copied Morse Code.  We used teletypes (a cross between an electric typewriter and early computer) and actual computers.  When the power went out….we pulled out our trusty “Royal” manual typewriters.  I still have one in the closet in case I need to continue to write after the zombie apocalypse.  So my point is, Kettlebells can be useful and every once in awhile pulled out for something different and they can be VERY useful in the crossfit type workouts.  But their use is limited for those seeking pure strength and cannot, in my opinion, be a central part of your training like the dumbbell.  The dumbbell….with the dumbest name next to the “Jerk” and “Snatch” (that’s another story altogether about stupid names in lifting) is still the Prince of the gym next to the King Barbell!   Okay, I’m done and I’m sure there’s some kettle bell heads out there ready to burn my house down.

Lifter of the Month: Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom performing a 793.5# Anderson Squat at "Joe the Turk" Old Time Strongman Meet in Macomb, Illinois.

Congratulations goes to Chad Ullom for being selected as the USAWA Lifter of the Month for the month of July.  Chad had a very active summer – placing second overall at Nationals in the Mens Division, competing in the World Stone Challenge in Scotland, participating in the USAWA Club Championships,  and finishing with a FIRST PLACE overall finish at Joe the Turk OTSM in Macomb in July.  Add in that he was “one of the few” USAWA members to represent the USAWA in the IAWA World Postal Meet which was contested in July, and he becomes a VERY WORTHY choice for lifter of the month.

CONGRATS CHAD!

RIP Casey Viator

by Al Myers

Casey Viator

News has spread this week “across the web” of the death of 1980’s bodybuilding icon Casey Viator.  He died on September 4th (on his birthday!) at his home from a reported heart attack. 

Casey Viator was best known for winning the 1970 AAU Mr. America at the age of 19, the youngest to ever win that title.  I remember following his pro bodybuilding days in the 80’s.  He placed third at the 1983 Mr. Olympia in a controversial  bodybuilding contest (aren’t they all???), behind Mr. O winner Chris Dickerson and Frank Zane.  This was at  the time that I was really getting interested in weight training, and followed all top contests intently.  Casey Viator had a “thickness” to his muscularity that many of the other top bodybuilders did not have at the time.  He also had the reputation of training with maximum intensity, and was one of the first top bodybuilders to embrace the HIT (High Intensity Training) program.

I will say his legacy will be forever tied to Arthur Jones and the COLORADO EXPERIMENT held in the spring of 1973.   His death brought that to my mind, as I remember reading the report of that over 30 years ago, yet I still had vague memories of it  and the remarkable growth Viator made during that experiment.  I had to “go to the files” and find it to reread again - and it still boggles the mind to think that a man could gain over 63 pounds of muscle of a period of 28 days training exclusively on Nautilus equipment!   From the report it states, “during a period of 28 days, as a result of 14 workouts, involving a total training time of 7 hours, 50 1/2 minutes, an average of 33.6 minutes per workout, his gains were as follow…an average muscle mass increase of 4.51 pounds per workout…or .36 pounds per set…an average gain of 8.04 pounds from each hour of training.”

As a younger newbie weight lifter this scientific study (hic, hic…) sounded like the groundwork of a master lifting plan to me.  To say I was more than intrigued at the time would be an understatement.   I later realized that this  was nothing more than a grand marketing scheme by Arthur Jones to promote his Nautilus equipment line.  Careful review of that “flimsy study” now would be critiqued to death with obvious flaws present.  But regardless, it is a GOOD STORY and makes for an interesting discussion amongst those that are interested.   The debate is better left for a discussion forum over the scientific merit of the COLORADO EXPERIMENT.

However, Casey Viator was one of many that inspired my early “battle with the iron”.  It is sad to see your lifting hero’s die, and especially at a young age (Viator was only 62).  It seems like just yesterday to me that he was THE MAN with the biggest bi’s battling it out in the Mr. Olympia!!!

Why Progressive Resistance Isn’t Always Progressive

by Thom Van Vleck

Milo of Croton is often credited with originating the concept of Progressive Resistance.....at least in folk lore.

Most everyone knows the story of Milo.  He was a Greek wrestler that dominated wrestling in ancient Greece in his time…that is pretty much a fact.  The legend is he became that way because he observed that he could lift a bull on his shoulder and he supposed that if he did that every day that he should still be able to do that when the bull was full grown.  He then did that, and carried the bull on his shoulders into the Olympic Stadium, slew it and ate meat from it raw to intimidate his fellow wrestlers.  That part may be fact, partly true, or just a great story.  I know it would play well in modern professional wrestling!

The idea was that if you put the body under increasing progressive resistance it would adapt slowly but surely and become stronger.  I think most of us understand that if you weight train, that’s the idea!  What I don’t think most realize is that the adaptation to work load is a flat, linear line from weak to strong.  It actually probably looks like a zig zag line to slow climbs over time where you see ups and downs that if averaged made a nice linear line.

Most people handle making gains pretty well.  Who doesn’t!  What really separates those who make great gains is those who handle the down times.  My point is that when you have times that you slide it’s how you react to that lack of progress or even loss of progress that dictates long term success.  It’s the reason they set up great boxers with “bums” they can beat up on.  Sure, lots of wins and knockouts will sell lots of tickets but that’s not why they really do that.  It’s to create confidence in the fighter.  Getting you butt kicked does not instill confidence in most people.

Those most successful are those that learn to deal with failure and find the ways to most quickly turn it around.  They have short memories on failure and stay focused on success.  They know that failure is part of the process and keep their head down and keep working.  They understand that progress isn’t always linear, accept it, and make each failure a part of their learning process.  They also understand that a lack of progress means a time for change and they don’t stubbornly hold onto a set routine just for the sake of finishing that routine.  They make adjustments and keep focused on what’s going to help them reach their goal

So, my point is, progressive resistance my not always be as progressive.  Success comes from dealing with that quickly, efficiently, and getting back on track.  So the next time you hit a sticking point…know that’s when champions are made…not when it’s going well.  Because even great boxing champs get knocked out once and you never see them at the top again.  But the greatest come back time and again!

Battle in the Barn

by Eric Todd

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2nd ANNUAL BATTLE IN THE BARN

Warning signs as you enter the gym!

On October 19, ET’s House of Iron and Stone will play host to the 2nd annual “Battle in the Barn”.  The following events will be contested:

Cyr Press
Dumbbell to the Shoulder
People’s Deadlift
Dinnie Lift  

I feel our gym has one of the best environments for an Old Time Strongman meet.  While our “barn” has more the appearance of half a giant tin can than what most would visualize when you say barn, I would argue that many of the conditions are similar to the barns that many old timers would train and compete in back in the day. It is a place to get strong.  Period.   

There are no frills.  There is iron, and lots of it.   Some of it is rusty.  There is a large collection of strongman equipment.  In the summer, it is hot.  In the winter we have a couple of wood stoves to help take the edge off.  We can usually get it up to 35-40 degrees in there for our weekend workouts.  If you want something to drink, bring it with you.  We don’t have running water.  So, if nature calls, find a nice spot outside where the Johnson’s can’t see you, or walk out back to the outhouse.  The TP is in the ammo box. So, come on out.  It should be a fun day of lifting and camaraderie.  I am doing the awards a bit differently this year.  We are doing top 3 by formula as well as top 3 by total weight lifted.  This way we reward the pound for pound as well as top weight moved.  Maybe we will break a record or two after the meet.  I know that I will be attempting to break the neck lift record for the Guinness book that day.  Hope to see you there.

ENTRY FORM (PDF):  Battle in the Barn II

New Rulebook Available!

by Al Myers

USAWA Rulebook 7th Edition

A new, updated USAWA Rulebook is now available.  It is located on the website, under the top heading “Rulebook”. It is available as a pdf download, or available in hard copy form which can be ordered from the USAWA online store.

This is the 7th Edition of the USAWA Rulebook.  Since 2009 there has been an updated Rulebook available every year based on the rule changes that occurred at the Annual Meeting. Before that there were only 2 Rulebooks printed in the previous 20 years plus. The current Rulebook is always the one to follow in terms of the current rules and regulations of the USAWA.  This year only one new official  USAWA lift was added – the Old Time Strongman Lift the Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  The major changes in the Rulebook were the addition of two sections – Official Scoring and National Championships Guidelines.  Both of these sections were very warranted as they contain several of the previous “unwritten rules” of the USAWA, and everyone knows how I dislike unwritten rules!  An appendix was also added which contains the Lynch Factor Chart, weigh-in forms, and meet scoresheets.  The USAWA Bylaws are also included in this Rulebook.

I also added a few new pictures to our great Rulebook.  I feel very good about the progress our Rulebook has made over these past few years.  It is still far from perfect, but at least now when problems are addressed as they occur and decisions are made to rectify the situation – it happens.  I always welcome comments from the membership concerning questions or misunderstanding of statements in the Rulebook if they appear to be confusing.  Only through this diligence can the Rulebook continue to be improved!

Phumchaona Lift

by Al Myers

Noi Phumchaona performing a Clean and Press at the 1999 IAWA World Championships in Australia.

The USAWA is full of odd and weird all round lifts.  Some have been performed rarely – and some NEVER!  Well, at my Dino Days Record Days one of these lifts was performed for USAWA Record for the first time.  It took someone as odd as the lift itself to finally make this happen in the USAWA (and that is supposed to be a compliment!). Anyone with normal sense would have passed on attempting this lift for record.

Jesse Jobe, of the Jobe’s Steel Jungle, performed a Phumchaona Lift of 840 pounds.  This is the FIRST and ONLY record lift established in the Phumchaona Lift. I appreciate lifters like Jesse bringing recognition to the “less popular” lifts in the USAWA by performing them in record days.  If you look hard in the Rule Book and compare it to the Record List you will find there are a few other USAWA lifts that have never been performed for record.  I know which ones they are – but I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the ones!

The Phumchaona Lift was named after Noi Phumchaona, the most celebrated female USAWA lifter in history.  Noi was the OVERALL BEST LIFTER at the USAWA Nationals four times (2002, 1999, 1998, & 1997).  She was married to the legendary Hall of Famer Howard Prechtel.  Together they made a dynamic husband/wife duo, and their presence was at most every major competition during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Together they have more USAWA/IAWA Championships than any other husband/wife combo in the history of our organization. The Phumchaona Lift is an official lift of the USAWA only (not an IAWA lift).

The rules for the Phumchaona Lift are as follows:

I14. Phumchaona Lift

This lift combines a Hip Lift and a Clean and Press with two dumbbells. The rules of the Hip Lift and Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells apply with these exceptions. The lifter gets in position for a Hip Lift holding two dumbbells at arms’ length by the sides. The dumbbells may be cleaned and pressed before, during, or after the Hip Lift. Any combination of movements is allowed. The only command from an official during this lift will be a command to end the lift when both the Hip Lift and the Clean and Press with two dumbbells are completed.

As you can see, this is a extremely difficult lift which combines a heavy lift and a dumbbell lift.  It is definitely a “one of a kind” lift.  The interesting thing is that there is not a documented case of Noi actually performing this lift.  I have done some research on when this lift originated – and I am at a dead end. I even went to the effort of contacting several of the “long in the tooth” USAWA members to give me input for this story,  and I’ve only received one email response back in which he didn’t have anything to add.  So this makes the Phumchaona Lift an all-round mystery for now.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME

BY DAVE GLASGOW

THE WEIGHTROOMS POWER RACK, COMPLETE WITH A GOOD STUMP TO SQUAT TO.

I ENJOY PRIVATE GYMS THE MOST.  MOST PERSONAL GYMS I HAVE BEEN IN HAVE THAT ‘LIVED IN’ FEELING.  THEY ALL HAVE A PERSONALITY OF THEIR OWN.  SOME OF THE MORE RECENT ONES I HAVE BEEN IN ARE FLOYD TRAUB, THOM VAN VLECK AND, OF COURSE, THE MECCA OF THEM ALL, AL’S DINO GYM.

THEY ARE ALL AS YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM THEIR OWNERS.  FLOYD’S SMALL, CONCISE, BASIC.   THOMS IS SMALL BUT CRAMMED WITH LIFTING EQUIPMENT FROM THE PAST AND PRESENT, ALONG WITH MEMORABILIA OF TIMES PAST.  AL’S IS SO JAMMED WITH ITEMS THAT IT IS SOMETIMES HARD TO GET AROUND WHEN THERE IS LIFTING GOING ON!

I SUPPOSE I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT UNTIL THOM CAME HOME WITH ME A COUPLE WEEKS AGO FOR A QUICK ‘LOOK SEE’ OF MY PLACE.  WHILE THERE, I NOTICED HIM TAKING A VIDEO OF THE YEAR OLD WEIGHT ROOM I HAVE IN MY TWO YEAR OLD SHOP (YEAH, I’M BRAGGIN’, JUST A LITTLE!).  I WONDERED AT THE TIME WHY HE DID IT BUT I DID’NT SAY ANYTHING TO HIM AT THE TIME.  MAYBE HE WAS PLANNING TO STEAL MY IDEAS!!!

THIS NEW WEIGHT ROOM IS THE CULMINATION OF DECADES OF PRIOR WEIGHTROOMS I HAVE HAD MY STUFF IN.  I TRIED TO COUNT THE PLACES A COUPLE TIMES AND I FINALLY SETTLED ON ELEVEN DIFFERENT SPOTS THAT I COULD RECALL.  THERE HAVE BEEN BARNS, BASEMENTS(ONE IN PARTICULAR REMINDS ME OF A STORY, BUT THAT IS FOR A LATTER TIME), AN OLD V.F.W. HALL, TWO GARAGES, A FORMER BAR (NOW DOJO), WELL, YOU GET THE DRIFT.  JUST ABOUT ANY PLACE THAT SOMEBODY WITH SOME ROOM WOULD LET ME HANG MY HAT. THE UNIQUE THING ABOUT EACH OF THESE DOMAINS WAS THAT EACH HAD THERE OWN LITTLE QUIRKS AND NUANCES.  I HAVE MEMORIES OF EACH OF THESE PLACES THAT I WILL CHUCKLE AT TO THIS DAY.  THE ONE THAT MAKES ME SMILE THE MOST, HOWEVER, INVOLVED MY BOY, DEREK.

WHEN WE HAD THE WEIGHTS IN THE OLD V.F.W. HALL, IT WAS RIGHT NEXT TO A CONVENIENCE STORE.  NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, MY BOY NEVER GAVE TWO HOOTS ABOUT WEIGHTLIFTING (HE WAS 6-7 AT THE TIME), HE DID, HOWEVER, LOVE A SOFT DRINK CALLED ‘CLEARLY CANADIAN’.  IF HE KNEW I WAS HEADED OUT TO LIFT, HE WOULD WANT TO TAG ALONG.  HE WOULD WATCH ME FOR THE HOUR AND A HALF THAT I WORKED OUT, ENTERTAINING HIMSELF IN WHATEVER WAY HE COULD.  THEN, WHEN I WAS FINISHED, HE WOULD RUN TO TURN THE LIGHTS OFF AND HEAD FOR THE DOOR.  ABOUT HALF WAY ACROSS THE PARKING LOT, I WOULD HEAR, “DAD, CAN WE GET A CLEARLY CANADIAN?”  IT MAKES ME A LITTLE MISTY EYED TO THINK OF IT BUT HE NEVER FAILED TO GET WHAT HE CAME FOR AND I GOT A CHRISHED MEMORY I  WILL CARRY TILL THE END.  I EVEN TOOK TO MAKING SURE I HAD THE MONIES ENOUGH TO SNAG A COUPLE DRINKS BEFORE I LEFT THE HOUSE EACH TIME.

THE MOST ACTIVE OF THE PREVIOUS DOMICILES WAS IN THE GARAGE OF THE FIRST HOUSE GUNN AND I OWNED.  IT HAD A DIRT FLOOR UNTIL I SAVED UP ENOUGH TO PUT A CONCRETE FLOOR IN IT.  WE ALSO HAD A WOOD STOVE THAT WOULD RUN YOU OUT OF THE PLACE!!   IN THE SUMMER, HOWEVER,  WE WERE ON OUR OWN!!  WE HAD 5 OR 6 GUYS AT ANY ONE TIME AND I LOOKED FORWARD TO EACH SESSION DUE TO THE COMMERADERIE THAT IT PRODUCED.  MOST OF THE GUYS WERE FOOTBALL PLAYERS FROM THE LOCAL COLLEGE BUT WE HAD CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AND OTHER HANGERS ON THAT MADE FOR A ROWDY MIX!

LOCATING THE WEIGHT ROOM IN A DOJO GOT US SOME STRANGE LOOKS AND I LAUGHED MORE THAN ONCE WHEN WE WOULD BE LIFTING AT THE SAME TIME TAE KWON DO CLASSES WERE ABOUT TO START.  THERE WOULD BE LAUGHING, JOKING AND GENERAL ‘GRAB ASSING’ FROM THE STUDENTS UNTIL THEY SAW WE WERE THERE, THEN IT WOULD GET VERY QUET!!!  I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!??

THE ONE THAT CAUSED THE MOST UP-ROAR, HOWEVER, WAS WHEN WE PUT MY GEAR IN A BUDDY’S GARAGE.  HE HAD A THREE BAY SET UP THAT WE WOUND UP USING TWO OF THE BAYS.  THIS CAUSED ALL KINDS OF HELL FROM MY PAL’S WIFE, BECAUSE YOU CAN GUESS WHO’S STALL GOT TAKEN!!  MY PAL WAS A COP, AND HIS REASONING WAS BECAUSE, ONE, HE NEEDED TO STAY IN SHAPE FOR HIS JOB AND, TWO, THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD LEAVE HIS UNDER COVER COP CAR ON THE STREET!!!  WHICH MEANT HER CAR WAS LEFT OUT IN ALL SORTS OF WEATHER, AND, SEEING AS SHE HAD TO LEAVE FOR WORK VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING, MADE FOR SOME TENSE SITUATIONS!!   I LAUGH AS I WRITE THIS BECAUSE KATHY DIRECTLY BLAMED YOURS TRULY FOR THE INVASION OF “HER SPACE”!  TO MY KNOWLEDGE, SHE STILL HARBORS A CASE OF THE ASS TOWARD ME!!!  (ALTHOUGH, AFTER 25 YEARS, I AM SURE IT IS MOSTLY TONGUE IN CHEEK.)

WHEN THE NEW WEIGHT ROOM WAS BUILT, I KNEW IT WOULD HAVE A FEW STORIES OF IT’S OWN BEFORE IT WAS OVER.  POSSIBLY, THE BEST STORY THAT WILL BE TOLD IS HOW A COUPLE COLLEGE BUDDIES GOT TOGETHER TO BUILD WHAT I HAD ALWAYS DREAMED OF.  I WILL NOT RECOUNT THAT STORY BUT I, MOST CERTAINLY WOULD NOT HAVE IT WERE IT NOT FOR FLOYD TRAUB.  HOW DO YOU REPAY SOMEONE FOR KINDNESSES SUCH AS THAT?? UNLESS THERE IS SOME NATURAL DISASTER, THIS WILL BE THE FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR MY EQUIPMENT. 

BEING A SENTAMENTAL SORT, I CAN’T HELP BUT HONOR ALL THOSE PLACES THAT I HAVE USED FOR MY WEIGHTS AND THE GUYS THAT SHARED THE WORKOUT TIME WITH ME.  I ALSO REMEMBER THE NAME WE GAVE TO THE FIRST PLACE.  SO, TO RECOGNIZE THE PEOPLE AND PLACES THAT HAVE MADE MY WORKOUTS MEMORABLE FOR ALMOST FOUR DECADES, I NAME THIS FINAL WEIGHTROOM, ‘SCRAPIRON WEIGHTHOUSE-#12’, THE CROWN JEWEL OF THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS TRAING FACILITY.

My Visit to Ledaig Heavy Athletics

by Thom Van Vleck

Banner that hangs in the Ledaig gym

Recently I got to make my first trip to Ledaig since Dave built his new facility.  This is Dave Glasgow’s family gym.  I say family gym because it belongs to his whole family.  You drive down that road and it’s hard to figure out which “Glasgow” to stop at as each mailbox has that name on it. But if you know Dave and he counts you as a  friend, then you are family, too!  This sits on some family property about 30 miles from Wichita, Kansas but really miles away from anyone!  It is near Rainbow Bend, Kansas and if you can find that then you are right up there with Columbus and Magellan as an explorer.  Dave used to train in a round metal tank that would literally roast you on a hot day.  The frame for the gym was put up years ago, I believe Dave’s Dad had built a metal frame and never finished it.  Dave got it done and there is a gym, shop and garage housed in the large building.  You could park a dozen cars in there if it were cleared out, but Dave has a quarter sectioned off for the gym that is walled in and the rest is full of tools, cars, and projects!

Dave Glasgow cutting some steel rod in his gym to make stakes for Highland Games trigs.

I have been to many gyms overthe years and to me my favorites also include other “manly” pursuits.  My Uncle Phil has a reloading room attached to his gym.  Al Myers has a full scale metal shop in his gym.  Randy Richey (http://www.usawa.com/omega-force-christian-strongman-team/) has one of the coolest gyms I’ve ever seen with the a massive metal shop.   Hard to believe anyone could top Al’s gym, but Randy just might! I can’t top those guys but my gym has a workshop as well. Dave has entered the fray with a huge workshop area with the ability to cut, weld, and shape metal along with working on the two antique corvettes parked in his gym.

Some old school Eleiko bumpers at Ledaig

Another hallmark of a cool gym in my book is to have historical and cool things to lift.  Ledaig has many things, old and new to lift.  I was especially salivating over his Eleiko plates.  They are old and well used, but still cool nonetheless.  Dave has some equipment that he has used for many, many years in his gym and you can just feel the positive “mojo” in there!

If you get a chance to make it to a USAWA meet at Ledaig, it’s worth the journey.  You can fly into Wichita and that gets you close.  But if you drive there just know this:  The cell phone reception is not very good and on more than one occasion I have fielded a call from a lost lifter driving the countryside looking for “Rainbow Bend”.  Be sure you know how to get there!   Because it truly can be one of those places that “you can’t get there from here”!

Boxes for Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

Boxes of different sizes can be a real plus to any gym.  They can be used for a variety of things.  Let’s look at some of the types.

Squat Boxes

My squat boxes with a 1 inch spacer that I can use to take them from 8" to 25". They are reinforced with a 2x4 frame inside.

Most people think of them for box squats which is what mine probably get used for the most.  I prefer to NOT do the box squats where you actually sit down on the box, but instead use mine to gauge depth.  But that debate is for another article.  These boxes aren’t always the strongest because they typically aren’t used to drop weight on.  Mine are strong enough to hold someone standing on them plus weight, but not drop the weight.  I made mine so that one box could be flipped on a side for a different height (I stole that idea from Al Myers….who probably stole it from someone else).  I have used mine for setting weights on to allow for different starting heights, as plyo boxes, and for many other things over the years.  They are just handy to have!

My "Jerk Boxes" that Al Myers made for me. These are made of metal and are a fixed height.

Jerk  (High) Boxes

These boxes are built with the intent of dropping the weight on them.  They need to be super durable.  I have some high ones that Al Myers made me that I asked for after injuring my should trying to “catch” a heavy push press.  Al made them….then liked them so much he made some for himself.  They have a thick sheet of rubber on them as well.  The High “Jerk” boxes I have are a steel frame with wooden platform on top.  They are usually made of wood.  Mine set high enough from me to do push presses and Jerks while standing over them.  I can also take squats out of them but from a low position. Usually these have a way to makes some adjustments on them, mine were custom for my height.

Pull (Low) Boxes

These are 3"-6" short solid wood boxes. They are stackable up to 9" for the Peoples Deadlift.

These boxes are also built with the intent of dropping weights on them.  In this case they are low for doing pulls and are built very strongly for dropping the heaviest of weights.  I have 4 boxes.  Two are 3″ thick and the other two are 6″ thick.  I can stack them and make them 9″ or the same as a People’s Deadlift.  Mine are scrap boards sandwiched with plywood and rubber matting.  I put handles on them to make them easy to move.  They are solid wood glued and screwed together.

Other “Boxes”.

There are many things you could use to achieve the same purpose and often it can mean re-purposing other objects.   If you are like me, you will find many other uses for these boxes in your training than what they were first built for.  This is especially true as I get older but at the same time as my kids train more and more I find them coming up with creative ways to use the boxes (and not all of it involves lifting…but that’s okay, too!).

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

The Dino Days Weekend finished off with a USAWA Record Day on Sunday.  For the first time EVER, I had a conflict and could not be present at the record day on Sunday.  However, I left Denny Habecker and Scott Tully in charge, and would you believe this – it was the BEST record day the Dino Gym has ever seen!  13 lifters showed up to tackle the USAWA record list and many new records were set.  When I got back home Sunday night, Denny “filled me in” on the day’s top performances.  I was very impressed with the quality of lifting that took place. I just HATED to miss it, especially when it was done in the Dino Gym!!!

There was a wide range of lifts performed.  Just look down over the results and you will see many different lifts mentioned.  The youngest lifter was Gabby Jobe at age ten, and the oldest lifter was Art Montini at age 85.  The lightest lifter was Ruth Jackson at 107 lbs. and the heaviest lifter was Dan Bunch at 379 lbs.  The lightest lift for record was Ruth Jackson’s Rectangular Fix at 38 lbs., and the heaviest lift for record was Eric Todd’s Neck Lift of 1040 lbs.  Several ALL TIME records were set.  ET’s neck lift, Jesse Jobe’s Continental To Belt of 513 lbs., Alison Jobe’s Continental to Belt, Alan English’s Overhead Squat, etc.  Denny Habecker and Art Montini teamed up for a 507 lb. Team Deadlift as well.     

This was a record day that will be remembered.  I want to thank EVERYONE who showed up and supported the USAWA in this meet.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Days Record Day
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
August 18th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Lifts: Record Day (5 lift maximum)

Officials (1 official system used):  Denny Habecker, Art Montini, Lance Foster, Eric Todd

Gabby Jobe – Female, 10 years old, 118 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 65 lbs
Clean and Press: 50 lbs.
Peoples Deadlift: 176.2 lbs.
Anderson Squat: 180 lbs.

Alan English – 29 years old, 242 lbs. BWT

Apollons Lift: 323 lbs.
Turkish Get Up: 115 lbs.
Clean and Jerk – 2 Dumbbells: 220 lbs.
Squat – Overhead: 277.5 lbs.

Jesse Jobe – 36 years old, 240 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 230 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 322 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 513 lbs.
Phumchaona Lift: 840 lbs.
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 303 lbs.

Alison Jobe – Female, 37 years old, 250 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip: 186.2 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 186.2 lbs.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 236.7 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 144 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 130 lbs.
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers: 57.5 lbs.

Scott Tully – 37 years old, 315 lbs. BWT

Turkish Get Up: 88 lbs.
Snatch – 2 Dumbbells: 120 lbs.
Lateral Raise – lying: 90 lbs.

Eric Todd – 38 years old, 261 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 260 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together: 300 lbs.
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 130 lbs.
Pullover – Straight Arms: 95 lbs.
Neck Lift: 1040 lbs.

Lance Foster – 47 years old, 322 lbs. BWT

Jefferson Lift: 360 lbs.
Cyr Press: 85 lbs.
Neck Lift: 330 lbs.

Dan Bunch – 49 years old, 379 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Stiff Legged: 396.7 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 206.2 lbs.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 220.2 lbs.

Dan Wagman – 50 years old, 180 lbs. BWT

Clean and Press – 12″ Base: 190 lbs.
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125 lbs.
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Bars: 550 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 300 lbs.

Ruth Jackson – Female, 51 years old, 107 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Reeves: 75 lbs.
Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 38 lbs.
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 105 lbs.
Squat – Piper: 167.5 lbs.
Snatch – Right Arm: 57.5 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 70 years old, 190 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 150 lbs.
Clean and Press – Behind Neck: 135 lbs.
Clean and Press – Heels Together: 140 lbs.
Clean and Seated Press: 125 lbs.

Dean Ross – 70 years old, 265 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 195 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together: 165 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 155 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 204 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells: 260 lbs.

Art Montini – 85 years old, 174 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 70 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 70 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells: 140 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 95 lbs.

Denny Habecker & Art Montini – 70-74 Age Group and 90 KG Weight Class

Team 2-Man Deadlift: 507 lbs.

Team Championships

by Al Myers

2013 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2013 USAWA Team Championships.

The Dino Gym hosted the USAWA Team Championships last weekend.  This is a championship event that contests “team lifting”.  Team lifting consists of lifting on the bar with a partner – and consists of three divisions:  2-MAN, 2-WOMAN, and MIXED PAIR.  Mixed pair is a team that consists of a male & female.  Four lifts were contested:  Bench Press – Hands Together, Deadlift – Fulton Bar, One Arm, Deadlift – Heels Together, and the Hip Lift.  The first three lifts went fairly quickly, but we ran into some difficulties with the Team Hip Lift.  To my best knowledge, the Hip Lift being performed as a Team Lift has never been contested before in history.  I had made a extra long Heavy Bar, but it required some slight modifications to it as the event was in progress.   All of the teams could have done MUCH MORE in this lift if given some more time training it and getting used to the timing of performing a Hip Lift with a partner. 

Logan Kressly and Jera Kressly performing a Mixed Pairs Heels Together Deadlift of 600 pounds.

I was very excited to have ALL THREE DIVISIONS represented in this championships.  That has never happened before.  The Ledaig HA was well represented with Jera and Logan Kressly lifting in the Mixed Pairs, and winning the Overall Mixed Pair Championships.  The 2-Woman Division saw a combination of Overall World Champ Ruth Jackson, and Overall Nationals Champ Molly Myers.  They formed a formidable duo.  The 2-Man Division was won by myself and Chad Ullom.   Denny Habecker and Art Montini competed in their first USAWA Team Championships.  Their lifting was superb, and each lift they did appeared to be done very easily.

MEET RESULTS:

2013 USAWA Team Championships
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
August 17th, 2013

Meet Director: Al Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Loaders: Dean Ross, Dave Glasgow

Photographer: Doug Kressly

Officials (1-official system used):  Al Myers & Denny Habecker

Lifts: Bench Press – Hands Together, Deadlift – Fulton Bar, One Arm, Deadlift – Heels Together, Hip Lift

WOMENS DIVISION

1. Ruth Jackson (51 years old, & 107 lbs) and Molly Myers (15 years old, & 171 lbs)

Open age class and 80 KG weight class

BP-HT DL-FB DL-HT Hip TOT PTS
160 198-R 375 550 1283 1444.6

EXTRA

Bench Press – Hands Together: 180 lbs.

MIXED PAIR DIVISION

1.  Jera Kressly ( 28 years old, & 231 lbs) and Logan Kressly (15 years old, & 169 lbs)
Open age Class and 105 KG Weight Class

BP-HT DL-FB DL-HT Hip TOT PTS
225 352-R 551 1423 2551 2108.2

EXTRA

Deadlift – Heels Together: 600 lbs.

MENS DIVISION

1.  Al Myers 46 years old, & 235 lbs) and Chad Ullom (41 years old, 252 lbs)
40-44 Age Class and 115 KG Weight Class

BP-HT DL-FB DL-HT Hip TOT PTS
450 452-R 904 2503 4309 3472.2

2.  Denny Habecker (70 years old, & 189 lbs) and Art Montini (85 years old, & 174 lbs)
70-74 Age Class and 90 KG Weight Class

BP-HT DL-FB DL-HT Hip TOT PTS
200 275-R 452 1150 2077 2509.7

EXTRA:

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right: 308 lbs.

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds. R designates right arm used.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points for age and bodyweight corrections.

Unorthodoxy: A Training Program

By Thom Van Vleck

Bill Pearl autographed this cover of Muscular Development for my Uncle Phil. This picture hangs in the JWC Training Hall and inspires me in my bodybuilding workouts.

Anybody that trains for any length of time will get stale on any particular routine.  Everybody knows that.  We constantly switch things around to keep things fresh.  For many of us this means recycling many of the basic routines over and over….which can become stale within itself.  I have been training for 36 years and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and make no progress.  Or in my case, at age 49….trying to hold off the aging process which means lifting a weight I did 10 years ago is considered progress!!!! With those kinds of goals (avoiding decline instead of making gains) it becomes harder for me to stay motivated and enthusiastic about my training.

So, last year I decided I needed to shake some things up.  I upped my sets and reps, added  more exercises to the mix, and did what I would call an “Old School Bodybuilding” Workout.  Something that would make Reg Park or Bill Pearl happy!  This meant training heavy, but with more sets and reps.  I figured my single rep strength would suffer but to my surprise….it’s doing quite well.  I would credit the routine, but I really think it’s the enthusiasm this routine has created in my training.  My enthusiasm has been the highest it has been in years!

I really tried to start thinking outside the box.  I recalled about 18 years ago working my Bench Press for a solid year and adding a paltry 5lbs to my max.  Back then I was in my early 30’s and expected more!  I went from 360lbs to 365lbs.  I went into my next workout with no real plan and decided to hit ten sets of ten reps with 185lbs (about 50% of my max).  Boy was I sore the next day.  I had been used to a basic 3 sets of 8 reps program and this more then quadrupled my reps.  I went into my next workout still without a plan so I just added 10lbs and decided to make hitting 225lbs for 10 sets of 10 reps my goal.  I spent the next 6 months doing this same routine with NO ASSISTANCE work (of course, I was working back and legs….but no upper body assistance work).  This may be hard to believe, but I eventually did 300lbs for 10 sets of 10 reps.

Now, before Al Myers calls BS on me….let me explain.  When I did the 185, it was full reps, controlled, with a full pause at the bottom.  As I increased my form got sloppier and sloppier…..I didn’t care because I was so frustrated with my bench anyways.  I began to do half reps only locking out the last rep and slamming them harder and harder off my chest.  I also began to wear two, three, and even five tight t-shirts for extra padding.  So, I’m sure if I’d been doing these in a gym there would have been some guy making fun of me, telling me I was a joke, etc. etc.   I will be the first to admit that ten sets of ten reps with 300 was about the ugliest benches you would ever see.

The result.  The next week I warmed up.  I loaded 370 for the easiest PR I’d had in years.  I got cocky and jumped to 390….and got it.  Then I went to 400lbs…and I narrowly missed the first try and then did it on a second attempt!  I jumped up and screamed like I’d won the lottery!  The last Powerlifting meet I was in I got that 400lbs wearing a single ply bench shirt and that was my last  powerlifting meet.  I would point out I got 2 reds on that 400 for moving my feet….but I got it as far as I was concerned.  At that point Highland Games were beginning to consume my interest and I haven’t maxed on the bench since.

More recently, I have went back to that 10×10….with a twist.  I call it the 10×10x10.  Again, this is Unorthodox and will likely get you funny looks in gyms and chastised by most trainers.  But I just don’t care if it gets me results and keeps my interest up.  That’s worth more than “perfect form and the perfect routine”.  So, here are two examples of my 10×10x10.

The first is the Dumbbell Press.  I do 10 sets of 10 reps…..but at 10 different angles.  I have an adjustable bench that goes from a straight up and down to different angles of inclines all the way to a flat bench and then I slide plates under the front end to get two levels of declines.  So it’s ten sets of ten reps done ten different angles.  I have done this with the same weight allowing minimal rest and I’ve done it increasing the weight each set.

The second version of my 10×10x10 is with the box squat.  I have been using a safety squat bar which right there will get you made fun of my some guys.  I contend that you can save your back a lot with that bar and at my age that’s an issue.  I also would contend that you have to be very disciplined in using it as you can easily cheat.  I focus on keeping me weight centered on the balls of my feet and only using my hands to keep my body upright. This limits the weight…which is hard on the ego…but keeps the focus on my legs where I want it.  I do 10 sets of 10 on the squat but I start with a rock bottom squat, then to an 8″ box, then 10″…..in 2″ increments up to 24″ which from me having a 36″ inseam is well above parallel (God forbid!).  All the while I jump up in weight.

I’m not trying to say these are “secret routines” or you will have great gains, I’m just trying to show you how I have used some “Unorthodoxy” in my training to keep me motivated.  So, from time to time try being a little unorthodox in your training.  I would still say a good, structured program is best, but every so often do something outside the box.  A little change from time to time is good.

Team Champs Reminder

by Al Myers

REMINDER – the USAWA Team Championship is this weekend!

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS & REPORT

2013 USAWA PRESIDENTIAL CUP

Participants in the 2013 USAWA Presidential Cup (left to right): Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Art Montini, & LaVerne Myers

The second annual Presidential Cup only brought four lifters to the platform, but it was filled with some outstanding lifting performances in the host site, Habecker’s Gym.  This USAWA Championships crowns a Champion of the Record Days.   The basis of this honor is chosen by our USAWA President Denny Habecker on the Record lift that impressed him the most.  After all the dust had settled, our Prez made his decision, and the Champion of the Presidential Cup went to Art Montini with his unreal performance in the Teeth Lift.  I pretty much think all in attendance agreed to this choice!

Art Montini (right) and his Presidential Cup, awarded to him by USAWA President Denny Habecker (left).

The Teeth Lift is not a lift very many lifters would want to try a max lift in.  Art came to this meet with a new fabricated teeth bit all ready to set a new record.  He had worn his old one out!!!  Now that shows commitment to training the ole chompers.  He finished off with a lift of 107 pounds.  I should  remind everyone that Art is 85 years old, and soon to be 86!  I was going to say next that most people his age don’t even have their original teeth, but that applies to Art as well.  He did this with false teeth!  I guess that would build in a little safety margin – if you failed your teeth would just spit out with the bit!  Now that would be a sight to see.

There were also lots of other great lifting.  Denny performed a 176 lb. Hackenschmidt Floor Press and a 200 lb. Bentover Row.  LaVerne set a big record with a 232 lb. One Arm Deadlift record (breaking a mark held previously by Bill Clark), and did it using a Ciavattone Grip. He also did a 200 lb. Bentover Row and a one handed Thumbless Deadlift of 200 lbs.   I broke a couple of records held by my buddy Chad (since he wasn’t in attendance!) which included a 303 lb. Bentover Row and a 211# one arm Thumbless Grip Deadlift.  The highlight of my day was teaming up with my Dad in the Team One Arm Thumbless Grip Deadlift with a lift of 451 pounds.

LaVerne Myers pulling 232 pounds in the One Arm Deadlift, using a Ciavattone Grip.

This is a great event, and hopefully more lifters will attend next year.  Denny has agreed to keeping this as a fixture event in the USAWA.  Congratulations to all lifters who took part.

MEET RESULTS

2013 Presidential Cup
August 10th, 2013
Habeckers Gym
Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Scorekeeper: Judy Habecker

Officials (3 official system used on all lifts): Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini, LaVerne Myers, Judy Habecker

Al Myers – 46 years old, 235 pounds

Hackenschmidt Floor Press: 331 pounds
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 200 pounds
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm: 211 pounds
Bentover Row: 303 pounds

LaVerne Myers – 69 years old, 250 pounds

Deadlift – Left Arm: 232 pounds
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 200 pounds
Bentover Row: 200 pounds

Denny Habecker – 70 years old, 187 pounds

Hackenschmidt Floor Press: 176 pounds
Deadlift – Right Arm, Ciavattone Grip: 165 pounds
Bentover Row: 200 pounds

Art Montini – 85 years old, 177 pounds

Hack Lift: 154 pounds
Deadlift – Left Arm, Ciavattone Grip: 122 pounds
Deadlift – Right Arm, Ciavattone Grip: 122 pounds
Teeth Lift: 107 pounds

Al Myers and LaVerne Myers – 45-49 age group, 115 KG Class

Team Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm: 451 pounds

Denny Habecker and Art Montini – 70-74 age group, 85 KG Class

Team Deadlift: 303 pounds

Presidential Cup & Century Club

by Al Myers

Susan Sees (left) and Bob Geib (right) at the 2013 USAWA National Championships. At this meet Bob eclipsed 100 USAWA records and joined the Century Club.

The Presidential Cup is coming up fast (THIS WEEKEND)!  It is hosted by our USAWA President Denny Habecker at his gym, Habeckers Gym, in Lebanon, PA.

I have my plane ticket bought and ready to “join in”  this premier Record Day event in the USAWA.  The Presidential Cup is modeled after the IAWA Gold Cup, to allow each lifter to showcase their favorite and best lifts.  There will be a champion crowned.  As per rules of this event, the President is the one to make the decision on which Record Lift performed impresses him the most and that person will be awarded the Champion of the Presidential Cup.  Last year at the inaugural USAWA Presidential Cup the late Dale Friesz was awarded the Championship trophy.  Everyone was in agreement that Dale rightfully deserved this honor.  Dale will forever be known as the FIRST PERSON to be crowned the champion of the Presidential Cup.

It has been awhile since I have given an update on the Records Race and the members of the Century Club.  After doing a little figuring, I was surprised to see the number of record increases and the new members of the Century Club.  I should have recognized a few lifters before now!  The Century Club has now grown to 25 members (from 23 on last count).  I accurately predicted recent Hall of Famer Bob Geib would be joining the list after his latest resurgence in the USAWA, and  Ruth Jackson has came out of nowhere to join the Century Club!!  Ruth has had a stellar year in the USAWA – capped by winning Overall Best Female Lifter at the IAWA World Championships last October.  Congratulations to both of these two for this accomplishment. Since the list has now grown, I am going to break it down into two listings – one for women and one for the men.

WOMEN’S CENTURY CLUB
(as of August 7th, 2013)

RANK LIFTER CURRENT RECORDS PREVIOUS COUNT CHANGE
1 Noi Phumchona  263  265  - 2
2 Ruth Jackson  180  new  ——
3 Mary McConnaughey  117  117  0

MEN’S CENTURY CLUB
(as of August 7th, 2013)

RANK LIFTER CURRENT RECORDS PREVIOUS COUNT CHANGE
1 Denny Habecker 480 447 + 33
2 Art Montini 425 413 + 12
3 Al Myers 411 396 + 15
4 John McKean 291 292 - 1
5 Dennis Mitchell 266 260 + 6
6 Frank Ciavattone 265 262 + 3
7 Joe Garcia 238 243 - 5
8 Bob Hirsh 229 229 0
9 Chad Ullom 200 195 + 5
10 Bill Clark 198 200 - 2
11 Howard Prechtel 174 175 - 1
12 Dale Friesz 160 162 - 2
13 Dean Ross 155 132 + 23
14 Jim Malloy 153 153 0
15 Scott Schmidt 151 148 + 3
16 John Monk 148 148 0
 17 Ed Schock 138 142  - 4
18 Chris Waterman 137 137  0
19 Rudy Bletscher 131 126  - 5
20 Mike Murdock 107 104  + 3
21 John Vernacchio 102 105  - 3
22 Bob Geib 102 new  ———

As you can see there are no “major changes” at the top of the Century Club.  Denny has stretched his lead over Art to such a degree that I won’t even call it a records race anymore between them (I’m calling you out Art to kick it in gear a bit!!! haha).  Denny has added the more records to his count since the previous count (33 records) than anyone else.  He is on pace to break the 500 barrier by the end of this year! I also added a “change” number to this list.  That is how much the lifter’s record count has changed since the last count. You have to remember these are absolute counts, so you may think you have set more records than listed (which is probably true), but some of the records you previously owned might be getting broken in the process.  The only way to keep going forward is to add more records than you are losing – and that is only accomplished by meet participation!  I’ll again mention Art here – as I know Denny is getting great satisfaction out of breaking Art’s records in the 70/85 KG class, thus adding one for himself and taking one away from Art at the same time!!!

I’m getting to pride myself of making predictions on who the next Century Club members will be.  I have been pretty much “right one” with every one.  Now let me make my next predictions.  Pretty easy if you ask me – it will go to a Ciavattone, either Joe Sr., Joe Jr., or Jeff.  They are all “knocking on the door” of getting 100 USAWA records on the books.  Now don’t let me down guys on this!!!

I’m looking forward to celebrating the USAWA this weekend at the Presidential Cup.  See everyone there!

Interview with Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

The start of the Dinnie Walk, one of the events in the World Stone Challenge.

Al: Recently you participated in the World Stone Championships in Scotland. Could you tell me how you got invited to this prestigious event? Please feel free to share any other details of the event.

Chad:  Well, Francis Brebner has been planning on doing this type of challenge for many years, but circumstances caused it to fall through.  He didn’t tell me this, but I believe after the controversy involving the Dinnie stones last year, he decided that this was going to be the year to pull it off.  Given the success in lifting the stones that Al Myers, Mark Haydock and I had last year, he extended an invitation to all of us to come over and compete in this challenge.  I made it clear to Francis that I am NOT a stonelifter!  I had success with the Dinnies because I have a good hook grip and a strong enough back.  After the support he showed us on the Milo forum and in writing the Milo article, I wanted to go and support the event.  Not to mention, it involved a trip to Scotland!

Inver Stone

Al:   What were the events, and how did you do?

Chad: We started off with the Dinnie stone carry for distance.  We were allowed to use straps since the farthest walks on record were done with straps.  This caused even more of a dust up after we were done!  Now, I have rarely lifted with straps so I made a big mistake!  I didn’t wrap my right strap all the way around and after two feet my strap broke!  I was going to try again, but someone shut us down early (that is another story!).   The two feet got met 4th place, Mark finished 2nd with 9 (I need to check that) and a big Hungarian named Peter Putzer   walked 18’4”!  Going over the 5 yard mark that was our target!  It was very impressive to watch!

We then did the bare handed walk with the smaller Dinnie stone.   Mark took 1st in this event with 30ft, and I came in 3rd with 21. 

Next it was on to the Inver stone.  We were given 75 seconds to lift it as many times as we could with 1 points awarded for lapping it, 2 for bringing it to the chest and 5 for an overhead press.  I was able to bring it to my chest 4 times which again placed me 4th

Next was the inverstone carry.   I went 1st here and made a big mistake!  I brought it to my chest and squeezed, cutting off my breath so I only went 37 feet and finished 5th here.

On the final day,  we threw a 98 pound stone that the Portland stone was designed after.  This one turned out to be my best event and with some advice from Ryan Vierra, I took 2nd place with a throw of 12’2.   

Mark ended up tied for 1st, but lost on count back to Istvan Sarai.  Overall, I finished 5th, but it was a lot of fun and I was honored to participate! 

The one handed Dinnie Stone Walk.

Al:  I seen that you lifted the Inver Stone, something that you couldn’t do on the stone tour following the Gold Cup.  I bet this was exciting for you.  Could you share the details of that accomplishment?

Chad:  That was very important to me.  As I’ve said, I’m not a stone lifter, but this was something I really wanted to do.  I was disappointed after the gold cup that I wasn’t able to lift the inver, but I was totally focused on the Dinnies!  Well, before we got there, I felt the butterflies.  After all, this was being filmed and I didn’t want to fail!  I went over to warm up , I grabbed it and it came off the ground very easily!  I had some issues with balance during  the comp, but I was happy to bring it to my chest 4 times.

Hans Darrow hosted a good ole fashioned BBQ on our first night in Germany, and he welcomed us right into his home.

 Al:  I know after this Stone Championships, you went to Berlin, Germany to participate in the IHGF World Amateur Highland Game Championships.  How did that go, and what were the highlights of competing against the International Highland Gamers?

Chad:  That was a very humbling experience!  Hans Darrow and his family treated us like one of their own.  I’m happy to say that the international throwers are a great group of guys and I made some new friends!  I finished in 10th place out of 14, I was happy with how I threw.  I threw pretty close to seasons best in each event, nothing great, but I didn’t bomb anything either.  The highlight for me was definitely caber.  Going in, I wanted to surprise some people with the caber.  I ended up placing 3rd here and was very happy with that.  It was a tough stick, only 5 got a turn I believe.  I’m happy to say that I was able to turn it all 3 times. 

Setting up for the Weight for Height.

Al:  I know there has to be at least one interesting story you would like to share with us from this trip.  I don’t expect for you to share the ones you told me privately about Hamish Davidson, but I’m sure there has to be one that is fit to tell here! 

Chad:  That’s a tough one, LOL.  The best stories aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you Francis Brebner had me in tears for days after!  So the best story that is PG would be after the bar closed down!  Several of us decided to go out and celebrate.  We started at the field watching the fire show drinking beer, diesel(beer & cola mixed 1:1), and a few shots.  After a stop at a regular bar we moved to a dance club.  Had a great time,  and closed it down!  A few of us decided to walk back to the hotel, a few others took a cab to another bar.  So, 3am in Germany and everyone I was with spoke only broken English!  We weren’t 100% sure where we were so one of the guys stepped away to call a cab and left me with his brother.  Well, we waited….and waited…finally his brother laid down on the sidewalk and passed out! After a half hour, I woke him up and said we have to try to find our way!  We disagreed on where to go, but I finally convinced him to head my way.  Turns out, we were like 3 blocks from the hotel!   We must been out there a half hour!  The best part is we found his brother drinking in the hotel bar!  

Hammer Throw

Al:  What can you tell me about the organizers of these events?             

Chad:Francis Brebner and Ryan Viera make up the IHGF(international highland games federation).  I’m not sure how many countries they went through on this trip, but they are working very hard to expand highland games across the world!  I would say they are having great success, the games in Germany had 14 athletes representing 11 countries!  I believe it was the most countries in an international highland game.  They are taking some heat for reasons I don’t understand in some circles.  I can tell you after spending a week with these two, they are doing this for  the love of the sport!  They have a wealth of knowledge and a true passion for the games.  They also drug test at each of their games which makes them fit right in to our way of thinking!  I wish these men great success in what they’re doing. 

Group picture at the Highland Game Championships.

Al:  Thank you for taking the time to do this short interview.  The USAWA is very proud of you and these great accomplishments! 

Chad:  Thank you Al!

World Postal Meet

by Steve Gardner

MEET RESULTS

Andy Goddard Memorial – World Postal Challenge 2013

A Total of 62 Lifters took part in this year’s event, 25 teams in all. Results from teams that lifted in front of 3 refs, were submitted for record claims. Several prominent lifters were injured and having to lift below par, but the IAWA spirit saw them still compete, and so well done to you all! In the team event: Well done to Hoghton Barbell finishing ahead of the Burton Powerhouse first team, and a great result by The Ciavattones first team to finish third overall. In the individual overall rankings: Well done to Mark Haydock, a clear winner, ahead of Joe Ciavattone Jnr. who was superb in second position just ahead of Steve Andrews. Cast your eyes down the top ten amended totals and see what an impressive list it is, everyone who took part was a winner! Fantastic to have 14 female lifters, and a great big thanks goes out to Cliff Harvey for bringing New Zealand back to the fold with a bang! See all rankings in division order also to find your individual division placing. All results were amended using bodyweight and age formulas.

World Postal Meet Results (pdf):

Andy Goddard 2013 Results

The following result sheets contains the lifters that used 3 officials to qualify for IAWA World Records (pdf):

AndyGoddard2013

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Third Annual Old Time Strongman Championships

Chad Ullom with a successful unassisted lift with the Dinnie Stones. An OTSM Championship lift for this year!

A date has been set for the OTSM.  December 7th!  So mark your calendars! Here are the details to date:

Date: 12/7/2013

Time: 10:00am weigh in begins, warm ups with a start time of noon.

Place: Kirksville, Missouri (exact location TBD)

Events: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dinnie Lift (order will depend if we have to split into flights)

Entry Fee: $25

I wanted to have a three lift meet with a squat type lift, a press type lift, and a pull type lift.  Also, all the lifts are current OTSM official lifts. Winners will be determine by weight class and age and an overall best male and female lifter will be determined using weight and age formulas.    Lifters will get a JWC club t-shirt, anvil trophy for winners, refreshments, and certificates with meet results for everyone.

Entry Information:  Send your name, entry fee and shirt size to:

Thom Van Vleck
23958 Morgan Road
GreenTop, MO 63546

ENTRY FORM (PDF):  2013 OTSM Championships Entry Form

Grandpa’s Farm: A Legacy of Strength

by Eric Todd

This is a picture of the barn Grandpa built in 1950, that I maintain and use today.

I have shared this story in a number of forms on a number of different occasions.  But I feel it is worth repeating here once again.  For anyone interested in seeing a brief video, the condensed version, please look here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK3NYJs4nec

My Grandpa, Gus Lohman, was a farmer.  He was a farmer all of his life.  He came from generations of farmers.  His Great Grandfather John Lohman came over from Germany.  He built himself a dugout house, and according to a book on the history of Clinton County, Missouri, he became one of the prominent farmers in the area.  Grandpa attended the old Deer Creek one room schoolhouse, where he graduated the eighth grade.  That is the extent of his formal education.  From there he became a farm hand, where he saved up enough money to purchase his own farm.  Through his incredible work ethic and farm savvy, he saved up enough money to purchase the adjacent farm, giving him a farm of almost 500 acres, which he farmed successfully for the rest of his life.  This is the farm I was raised on.

I grew up knowing Grandpa as a gruff, but kind man with a great sense of humor.  But most of all, I remember him for his toughness.  I worked on the farm with him a great deal as a kid.  I started young and continued through my teenage years.  Grandpa was always a fan of feats of strength.  It was a huge compliment when Grandpa referred to someone as “stout”.   However, I have never encountered anybody who was able to work the way Grandpa could.  He never seemed to tire.  And I was working with him when he was in his seventies and eighties. 

I would later hear stories from the old men in the country store or around the neighborhood about Grandpa.  One tells about when someone had been crude in front of a lady, Grandpa punched him so hard it sent him though a barn wall.  Another was a story about a stallion that no one could break.  This is when Grandpa was quite young. When Grandpa claimed that he would be riding that horse to town that night, no one thought it was possible.  Until Aunt Josie and Uncle Sally were in their Model T on the way to the movies that night.  A lone rider came galloping past them.  It was Grandpa on that very stallion.  These are a couple of many stories, and I was always intrigued by stories of Grandpa’s Strength.

However, the most impressive feat of strength was one I learned about after Grandpa passed.  Deep into his eighties, Grandpa developed cancer and fought it off valiantly, but ultimately lost.  I remember when I was very young, Grandpa “retiring”.  He sold off his cattle and all his machinery.  This lasted a couple months, and then he bought it all back and continued farming.  At the time, as a small boy, I didn’t think much of it.  However; after he passed, I was told that at that time, over 20 years prior, Grandpa had been diagnosed with cancer, and was given six months to live.  He fought and lived well past that, and worked every day of it.

After Grandpa died, I decided there was no place I would rather live and raise a family then on Grandpa’s farm.  I moved back, and took to taking care of it as well as weight training and strongman training there.  The Grandpa’s spirit of toughness and hard work served, and still serves today, as a big motivator in my training. 

My mother and father also live on Grandpa’s farm.  They have most of my life.  We always had a pretty simple, hard working life out there.  When I was quite young (I believe 3 years old) I took note of Dad going out to run the country roads for exercise.  I got the notion that I wanted to do what Dad was doing, so I would throw my mud boots on and light out after him.  Before long I was running a mile or two at a time.  When I was about nine, and had discovered that wrestling was something I could do competitively, dad made me a dumbbell to work out with.  I used it religiously, along with doing pushups and sit-ups.  When dad saw how determined I was, we made a makeshift weight room out in the old milk barn, and Dad and I would train together.  After the workout, we would talk about what would make a champion, and even more important, what it took to make a man.

 I never appreciated my father to the extent that I should have growing up.  See, my father was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 13.  HE didn’t have control of it through medication until he was around 30.  At that time, he was finally able to obtain a drivers license.  Because of the late start, he was never confident in his driving, but he braved treacherous roads in the winter without fail.  He was often unsteady in walking due to his medication, but he always made it to work, even after a number of falls to ensure he made it to work to make a living to take care of his family. 

For a few years as I was on the mend from a severe back injury, me and Dad trained together again.  We competed together in powerlifting meets.  It was a valuable experience to be able to train with dad again, and ultimately compete with him, side by side. 

My mother was always the cement that held our family together.  She was the rock that we would lean against for our own strength in hard times.  She always gave to her family first, and often went without herself. A few years ago we had just had our little girl.  My wife had to go back to work, but we were confident, as Mom would be taking are of Phoebe during the days.  This went well for a few months, but one Sunday night, Mom called.  She wasn’t feeling well, and would not be able to take care of Phoebe the next day.  This worried me.  I knew mom would have to be on her deathbed in order to not take care of Phoebe.  The next day, I called to check on her.  She was feeling worse, so I convinced her to get to the ER. She was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to have emergency surgery.  After the surgery was over, I felt like I would need to be strong for her.  What did I know?  Even though she had been through that incredible trauma, had a ventilator in, and was only able to communicate through writing with her swollen hand,   she continued to look after us, checking to be sure Dad had taken his medication and scolding us for not getting anything to eat. 

Yeah, I come from good stock.  Where will this legacy of Grandpa’s farm go?  Where Everett is only 5 months old, Phoebe has been trying to lift things since she could walk.  Though I scold her, when she is bench pressing the coffee table, or   when she is supposed to be going to bed she grabs this 2# antique dumbbell I have setting by my chair and starts lifting it overhead saying “I’m exercising”, I know it is in her blood.  My wife told me one day when she and Phoebe were out on the back deck where I have two throw away ez curl bars setting, and Phoebe went up and futilely tried to lift the first one.  She said to herself, “That’s Daddy’s.”  Then she went to the lighter one and lifted it about 4-5” off the ground.  “That’s mine,” she beamed.  I could only smile.

Yeah, I come from good stock.  So what is my responsibility to the legacy of strength on grandpa’s farm?  I will not push my children into weight lifting or sport if that is not something they want for themselves.  But it is up to me to teach them the value of hard work, determination, tenacity, and more than anything, strength of character.  To do anything less would do a disservice to those who came before them, and the legacy of Grandpa’s farm.

David Webster & the Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

I was able to catch up with David Webster again (I've met him many times at prior Highland Games) at the 2013 Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Pictured left to right: Al Myers, David Webster, & Chad Ullom

If it wasn’t for David Webster, the stone lifting World might never have heard of the Dinnie Stones. David Webster  is the man who made the presence of the Dinnie Stones well known.  Without this, all the recent notoriety the Dinnie Stones have received would have never happened.  These famous lifting stones might be laying obscure at the bottom of the river bed in the River Dee instead. Today I would like to share some previous published information about David Webster’s and his tie to the Dinnie Stone’s legacy.

From the book “The Super Athletes” by David Willoughby:

Here is an example of how strong Dinnie was is a simple feat of lifting and carrying.  This information was kindly furnished to me by David Webster of Glasgow, a famous strand-pulling expert and an authority on Donald Dinnie.  Outside the hotel in Potarch, Scotland, are two large and heavy boulders which used to be used in tethering horses (while their masters went into the hotel to refresh themselves). One of the boulders weighs 340 pounds and the other 445.  In the top of each weight is fastened a ring made of 1/2-inch round iron and just large enough to grip with one hand.  The story is that Dinnie’s father was able to lift the 445 pound stone onto a wall 3 1/2 feet high and that Dinnie himself carried both stones (one in front of him and the other behind) a distance of five or six yards.

Another great resource on Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones is David Webster’s and Gordon Dinnie’s  book, “Donald Dinnie – The First Sporting Superstar”. This book is a MUST for anyone who has interest in the Dinnie Stones or stone lifting in general (YES – that’s a plug for the book!).  This is a short piece from the  book, which is written in such manner as to reflect Donald Dinnie’s own account.

In the Deeside district there are many stories told of his extraordinary feats. Just let me tell you one.

On the granite stone bridge that crosses the River Dee at Potarch there were, and still are, two large stones weighing about 8 cwt the pair, placed in a recess.  In the early 1830’s massive iron rings were placed in them, to which ropes were fixed so that scaffolds could be attached for pointing the bridge.  Now, one of those stones was somewhat heavier than the other. Very few strong men of that day could lift the heavy one with both hands, but my father could raise one in each hand with apparent ease, and could throw the heavier stone of the two on to the top of a parapet wall of the bridge.

On one occasion, I have been told, he took one stone in each hand and carried them both to the end of the bridge and back – a distance of 100 yards.  This achievement has been pronounced the greatest feat of strength ever performed in Scotland.

Those stones are still on the bridge and I myself lifted  one in each hand on many occasions and one market day, I carried them across the bridge and back, some four to five yards.  I did not, however, attempt to go to the end of the bridge, as my father had done.

If you want more information than THAT from the book, you should buy it!  I consider both of these literary accounts as the basis of the history and legend of the Dinnie Stones, which David Webster is a big part of.  You can read lots of speculations and opinions from those posting on the internet on how Donald Dinnie intended the Dinnie Stones to be lifted, whether Donald Dinnie actually carried both stones at the same time unassisted across the bridge,  and so on.  All of that is just talk and is meaningless, as I have not been aware of any ACTUAL PROOF of the feats of Donald Dinnie in regard to the Dinnie Stones.  That only actual support to the Dinnie Stone stories are the written accounts passed down in history, like the two above.

I chose to believe the above words of David Webster because I WANT to believe in the legend of Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones . Let the Dinnie Stone legacy continue to  live!

The Wagman Log – Not So Pristine

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

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

Consultant: Body Intellect Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium

Dan Wagman's homemade wooden log.

Recently Thom Van Vleck wrote a wonderful article about the Jackson Stones on his farm. One of the responses to that article on the USAWA Forum mentioned how strongman should be about lifting such oddly shaped stones, not what you find today with the “pristine standardized stuff you see anymore.” I immediately thought to myself, “Yeah, just like the silly perfectly balanced steel logs they use anymore.” So allow me to introduce you to my log—a real log.

Dan pressing Kaz's wooden log in the 1991 USA Strongman Championships.

In the early 90’s Bill Kazmaier put on the first USA Strongman Championships and I wanted to compete. Of course one of the events included the log press. My gym owner was very supportive of my powerlifting and we even put on a State Bench Press meet together. So as soon as he heard that I wanted to compete in strongman USA’s, he offered to “sponsor” me—by cutting down a tree in his yard so I could practice the log press. I thought he was kidding…until he pulled his truck up to the front of the gym, gesturing me to hop in. We proceeded to head to his place to take down a tree. It actually didn’t take very long at all. He had a chain saw, cut that thing down, cut off the branches, cut the log to four feet, and then used the tip of the chain saw to cut out hand-holds through which we drilled holes and inserted 1-inch pipe as grips—done!

We threw the log in his truck and went straight back to the gym. Next step, weighing the log…200 pounds. Next step…lifting it. My friend had first crack at it and couldn’t lift it. Then I went and with much, much difficulty I was able to press it out for one rep. After applying some of that new science I learned since I had just started my graduate work in exercise science, I was up to 16 reps in two weeks and then over 20 at the end of a month. At Kaz’s meet I ended up with the highest log press rep-count by knocking out 22 reps with Kaz’s real log. Those were the days…

After several months the log dried out and started to lose weight. To make it heavier I would periodically hose it down with water, but that made no difference and it stabilized in weight at 155 pounds. Of course I had to find a way to add weight, which I did by bolting floor flanges to each side and screwing in 2.5 inch pipe; now I could add plates. Time to crank!

After perfecting the clean and press or push-press with that log and then having to press a wonderfully balanced steel log, it’s no wonder why I tend to spank my competition in the log press. I’d go as far as saying that lifting a perfectly balanced steel log serves to limit your strength gains. It’s probably the same thing with stones…Maybe in this day and age STRONGMAN should be renamed to something more pristine such as not-as-STRONG-as-I-could-be-MAN.

Club Award to the Salvation Army Gym

by Al Myers

The Salvation Army Gym - Runner Up CLUB OF THE YEAR in the USAWA.

I was glad to be able to personally award the Salvation Army Gym their Runner Club Award from the USAWA at their USAWA meet last weekend.  These awards, presented on behalf of the USAWA, were given out at the National Championships.  However, since no representatives from the Salvation Army Gym were able to be present at Nationals, this meet of theirs was the perfect opportunity for me to be able to give them the recognition they deserve.

Tim Piper (left) receiving the Club Award from USAWA Awards Director Al Myers (right).

The Club Awards are the only special USAWA awards that are not selected by membership nomination/vote.  Points are accrued throughout the year for various things like USAWA memberships that represent the club, club promotions, and participation of club members in USAWA competitions.  The points are simply “added up”, and the clubs that earn the most points are the winners.  So you can see that this award is actually EARNED! 

Congratulations to the Salvation Army Gym for an outstanding past year in the USAWA!  The next year will be a BIG ONE for them as well as they will be the host of the 2014 USAWA National Championships.

Joe the Turk OTSM

 by Tim Piper

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet- Press Release

This is the group picture from the 2013 "Joe the Turk" Old Time Strongman Meet.

The Macomb Salvation Army hosted the “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on July 27.  “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army.  At the turn of the 2o th century Joe the Turk was in Macomb for a short time helping clean up the town of crooked laymen and henchmen.  He did so by being unafraid of their tactics and standing steadfast in his belief that good would prevail.  While he only spent a short time in Macomb it seemed fitting to name the United States All-round Weightlifting Association (USAWA) sanctioned meet in his honor. 

The USAWA was formed over 25 years ago to continue the longstanding tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugene Sandow, Louis Cyr, Apollon, Paul Anderson, and countless others.  The organization hosts meets throughout the country and is a member of the International All-round Weightlifting Association (IAWA).  The lifts contested in USAWA meets are often based upon lifts that were performed in traveling circus performance acts, side shows, and festivals. Many bear the name of the old-time strongman who made them most famous.  The lifts are quite atypical, involve often unseen variations of squats, deadlifts, and overhead movements, employing primarily simple bars and plates without the benefit of spotters.  Like the old-time strongman, the lifter is tested for maximum strength while maintaining control of the barbell at all times.  This was a small but exciting meet with all lifters setting numerous national records. 

Whitney Piper performing a Peoples Deadlift, enroute to winning the women's division.

The meet was held outside the Salvation Army gym in the warm sun.  The first lift was the Apollon’s lift which involves taking a 2 inch barbell overhead in any manner the lifter chooses.  Twelve year old, 79 pound, Whitney Piper did well setting new records for teenage and open womens divisions with a lift of 33pounds.  Traveling from Pennsylvania 85 year old, 176 pound Art Montini lifted 66 pounds, setting a new master record.  Also from Pennsylvania, 70 year old, 185 pound Denny Habecker set a new master record of 132 pounds.  Weighing in at 202 pounds, 43 year old Tim Piper set a new master record of 198 pounds.  41 year old Chad Ullom of Kansas weighed in 252 pounds and finished up the Apollon’s lift with 253 pounds. 

The next lift was the Dumbbell to shoulder which is nothing more than bringing a heavy dumbbell to shoulder height and displaying control before getting a down signal from the judge.  Whitney lifted 28 pounds for a new womens and teenage record.  Montini lifted 46 pounds, Habecker lifted 112, and Ullom lifted 244 pounds, all good for a new master records.  Piper lifted 189 pounds for a new national and master record. 

Chad Ullom won the Men's Division, and was awarded a set of 40 year old Indian Clubs for his efforts!

The next lift was the Anderson squat, named after the late Paul Anderson.  This lift consists of a partial squat with the barbell starting at 2/3 the individuals standing height.  Whitney lifted 110 pounds for new teenage and open national records.  Montini did well with 198 pounds.  Habecker set a new master record with 308 pounds.  Piper set new master and open records with a 507 pound lift.  Ullom topped the field for the day at 793 pounds, just 7 pounds off his the national record of 800 pounds.

The final lift of the day was the Peoples deadlift, named after Tennessee powerlifter Bob Peoples, and is a deadlift that starts with the barbell at 18 inches off the ground.  Whitney lifter 165 pounds for new teenage and open national records.  Montini pulled 319 pounds, Habecker lifted 374, and Piper lifted 407, all good enough to set new national records.  Chad Ullom was the strongest in this lift with 639 pounds setting new master and open records. 

This is the sign out front of the Salvation Army Gym.

The scoring for USAWA meets consists of adjustments made for age and weight to equalize for fair scoring of the best pound-for-pound lifters.  After all calculations were done Chad Ullom was determined to be the best overall lifter for the day.  All lifters received commemorative “Joe the Turk” mugs.  For his efforts the best overall lifter Chad Ullom received a set of Indian clubs similar to the sort that Joe might have recognized in his days in Macomb.  The meet was a success and plans are already starting for next years “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman meet as well as the USAWA National meet, both to be held in Macomb Illinois.

MEET RESULTS:

Joe the Turk OTSM Meet
July 27th, 2013
Salvation Army Gym
Macomb, Illinois

Meet Director: Tim Piper

Announcer/Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Head Official/Timekeeper (1 official system used): Thom Van Vleck

Lifts:  Apollon Lift, Anderson Squat, Dumbbell to Shoulder, Peoples Deadlift

WOMENS DIVISION

Lifter Age BWT Apol SQ DB DL TOT PTS
 Whitney Piper 12 79 15 50 13 75 153 381.9

MENS DIVISION

Lifter Age BWT Apol SQ DB DL TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 41 252 115 360 110.5 290 876 705.5
Tim Piper 43 202 90 230 85.5 185 591 545.5
Denny Habecker 70 185 60 140 50.5 170 421 514.4
Art Montini 85 176 30 90 20.5 145 286 400.9

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

Jackson Stones

by Thom Van Vleck

My circle drive, the Jackson Stones in the foreground and my other concrete "strongman" stones behind them.

When you come to my place I have a circle drive in front of my house.  In the center is a tree planted on honor of my mother in law, Peggy Lynn Barton-Baybo, who passed away about 10 years ago.  Around the tree are four limestone fence posts that weigh around 225lbs each that came from central Kansas courtesy of Ryan Batchman.  Ryan is a great lifter (one time USAWA member) and thrower and a real friend.  They came from his farm and are fence posts carved from limestone used in the 1800’s in central Kansas when trees where scarce.  Then around that are my strongman stones.  I have several different sized  concrete stones….kind of your traditional strongman stones from 225lbs to 300lbs.  The biggest round stone sits on a concrete slab from my Great Grandpa Baugher’s well.  It has a hole in it where the pump went and a concrete ring around it.  I like it because it reminds me of a mill stone.  But I also have three natural Granite stones I dug up on my farm starting 20 years ago.

The 220lb "First" Jackson Stone

I eventually dubbed my three natural Granite stones the “Jackson Stones”.  But early on, about 20 years ago I discovered some stones that had been pushed in a draw on my farm.  Years ago the top had been row cropped and I’m sure as they came up with these glacial till stones they pushed them in the draw to get them out of the way.  They were half buried and I just wanted one to practice stone lifting so I picked the smaller one that was around 220lbs.  A good “starter” stone.  This stone was kept in my yard and from time to time I’d lift it.  It was used in my first ever strongman contest as part of a medley event.  Chad Ullom was at that event.

The second Jackson Stone, 299lbs

About 15 years ago I decided I needed a bigger stone so I went back to the draw and after much digging and work pulled this 299lber out.  It looks smaller in the photo but it’s not as round as the first one and the odd shape made it a challenge.  It was at that same time I pulled out the third stone, which weighed in at 330lbs.  This trio of stones was used in several of my strongman contests and was part of my training when I used to work on strongman events.  They also were often used in our strongman shows that USAWA member John O’Brien did with me.  We had a standard Whiskey Barrel that we would lift the stones on.

The 330lbs, the third Jackson Stone.

These stand as a challenge for anyone that comes to my place.  As far as I know, only Eric Todd, John O’Brien, Joe Costello, Brian Kerby, and myself have lifted all three in succession.  While they are rough and easier to grip, they are odd shaped and finding the center of gravity can be a real problem.  Making them challenging in their own way.  For years I just guessed the weight and I was at 225, 300, and 325.  I finally weighed them officially and found I was not too far off!  I have a plan if I can find a 440lber to make some Dinnie Style rings!   The pink granite crystals make them really beautiful in my book over the grey concrete stone.  I hope others will take the challenge.  If you want a crack, just come to my place!

Jobe’s Superman Meet

by Jesse Jobe

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Superman Meet

I have always been fascinated by all forms of lifting. And years ago I remember reading about some meets called Superman meets, where a lifter performed the Olympic lifts and the Powerlifting lifts for a Superman total.  I wanted to be able to stay as close as possible to the traditional lifts so the most logical step to me was to use an axle for all the lifts except the squat.  I think with an axle being used it will definitely limit what some people can clean and snatch, and with the bar being so stiff it will make the deadlift very interesting.

Meet Details:

Meet Director: Jesse Jobe and Jobe’s Steel Jungle

Date: September 15th

Location: Jobe’s Residence 3448 ave. B Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Divisions: Juniors, Masters, Women, and Open.

Rules: USAWA rules and scoring apply to all lifts.  Drug testing rules apply.

Lifts:  

Clean and Jerk - Fulton Bar        
Snatch – Fulton Bar
12” Base Squat
Fulton Bar Bench Press
Deadlift – Fulton Bar

Weigh in: 10:00am to 11:00 day of meet

Lifting: 11:00 am

Entry fee: 20$

Awards: Trophies for top 3 in the overall, Medals for all other top 3. If there are enough Women entered I will do a top 3 for that also. I will also be hosting a BBQ after the meet which will be included with the entry fee.

ENTRY FORM (PDF): Superman Meet Entry Form

Joe the Turk reminder

by Al Myers

Paul Anderson training a partial squat that is very close to the USAWA lift that bears his name in the USAWA - the Anderson Squat. Notice the homemade wooden rack that supports the weight just below lockout.

This will be the last reminder for the “Joe the Turk” OTSM competition tomorrow, hosted by Tim Piper and the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb, Illinois.  It is looking to be a good turnout on hand.  I’m leaving with Chad shortly, and I talked to Denny yesterday and him and Art are making the trek from PA.  Thom will be there as well, and I’m sure several of the local gym members will be competing.  There’s a great selection of Old Time Strongman lifts in this meet – Anderson Squat, Dumbbell to Shoulder, Peoples Deadlift, and the Apollon’s Lift.  That’s a meet for everyone!

Scott Schmidt – New LEVEL 2 OFFICIAL

by Al Myers

Bob Geib lifting under the watch of 3 Level 2 USAWA Officials at the 2013 USAWA National Championships: Chad Ullom (left), Scott Schmidt (center), and Joe Ciavattone (right).

It’s always exciting news when a new USAWA certified official reaches LEVEL 2 officiating status.  Congratulations goes to Scott Schmidt for becoming the most recent Level 2 official.   Scott went about reaching Level 2 status in an unorthodox manner.  Let me explain.

The typical process of becoming a USAWA official involves taking the Rule Test first.  This consists of an open book exam of 100 questions covering the rules in the USAWA Rulebook.  There is no time limit for taking the test, and to pass it you must score over 90%.  After passing the Rules Test, an aspiring official must then perform the Practical Training Sessions, which consists of attending 3 meets and judging alongside a Level 2 official. After this has been completed successfully,  a person becomes a Level 1 Test Qualified Official.  The “other” category of Level 1 officials is the Level 1 Experience Qualified.  This was created to allow those very experienced USAWA officials to be “grandfathered in” as officials when the USAWA Officials Program began in 2009.  To be eligible to become a Level 1 Experience Qualified Official, one must have officiated in over 25 prior USAWA competitions and/or events.  Once a Level 1 Test Qualified official has officiated over 25 competitions they can apply for Level 2 status.

Scott has been an official in the USAWA for over 20 years.  He has officiated 100’s of events, and often serves as the head official in big competitions.  He spent 2 days sitting in the HEAD CHAIR at this past National Championships, and is regarded as one of the best officials in the USAWA by the lifters.  He was formally listed as a Level 1 Experience Official, and now since he has passed the USAWA Rules Test, he has “officially” joined the Level 2 group of elite USAWA officials.  Since Scott grandfathered in, he went about this entire process in reverse order by taking the rules test last!  I have hoped that all of the Level 1 Experience Qualified officials would take the rules test and become Level 2 officials to show support to the USAWA Officials Program.   It is next to impossible to become a Level 2 Experience Qualified official now as the initial grant of  Certified Official status without taking the rules test is not allowed anymore.

Again, Congrats to Scott!

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

My latest addition....a Pendlay bushing bar.

by Thom Van Vleck

I consider Al Myers to be the definitive expert on bars and he has written article before on them that I could never compete with in regards to expertise.  I just have to admit…I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to my training and the equipment involved.  The Pendlay bar is the 19th in my collection.

Since I am a counselor and a Certified Substance Abuse counselor I often make comparisons with my lifting as an addiction.  First of all an addiction is defined as a behavior that is continued despite adverse consequences.  I don’t like to think that my training has adverse consequences but I bet there are some that would disagree.  All the injuries, the increased bodyweight, lifting to the point of getting petechia (red spots from broken capillaries), and all the other things those of us who lift see as “normal”.  Or maybe it might be odd that I have 19 bars to lift on!  I do feel a bit like a addict when it comes to my training!

So, that aside, there are three reasons I bought a new bar.  Each one I have has it’s own use!  Some are specialized, like my trap bar, but most are different variations of a standard Olympic bar.  I think Al Myers has twice as many as me and he’d say the same thing.  I wanted a good bar for push presses as that is one lift I’m doing well on and still hitting some lifetime PR’s on.

There is another reason for a new bar.  When I get something new, it’s “newness” motivates my training.  I get this belief that I can lift more, excitement to go and try it out, and often because I think that…it becomes true and I have some good workouts with my “new toy”.   Of course, I sometimes will pull out the oldest bar in my collection, bought in 1938 and used my my grandfather….or the bar from 1957 that was the first Oly bar the JWC had….those have some mojo of their own and maybe someday my kids or grandkids will think the same of this bar.

Finally, one more reason for a new bar.  I am getting to an age where I have worked hard and have a little more money than I did years ago.  I have taken care of my obligations and let’s be honest, this is a lot cheaper than other mid life crises, like a sports car or motorcycle!   I don’t have many life time “PR’s” left in me and this may help me get “one more”.   A reward for hard work…whatever you want to call it…but this will motivate me as well!

So, I have a new bar.  You can come by and look at it…but for now it’s mine….and you can’t use it because I don’t want it bent!   But eventually, another will come and this will be up for grabs.  Because even though I have a new bar and it’s the best one I’ve ever owned….I’m still looking for “Mr. Goodbar”.