Articles from August 2014



The Gada: Part III

by Thom Van Vleck

Dalton would do any kind of movement he did with a dumbbell with his modified "Gada" or "Indian Club" dumbbells.

In part three I said I’d get to how you would train Dalton Jackson style with the Gada.  I first want to explain to you that his is not intended to be a comprehensive training program.  It is very simply what I remember seeing my grandfather do.  Upon reviewing his notes and memories of our talks I know that he studied Arthur Saxon, Eugene Sandow, Sig Klien, Earle Liederman, The Great Gama, and Charles Atlas.  These 5 weren’t the only ones, but I would say most of his training came from these men.  I know he ordered courses from Klien (I still have it and it’s autographed!), Liederman, and Atlas.  What you are getting are my recollections of what he did that I know know to be related to the Gada.

The first was basic dumbbell work.  Very simple, Dalton would do any kind of dumbbell work using these “off set” dumbbells you see in the photo above.  The photo has him doing some basic dumbbell presses with the weight “top heavy”.  He also would switch it to make it bottom heavy. I recall when he retired at 65 he worked hard for the next 7 years and got in tremendous shape.  His goal was to duplicate some feats of strength at age 75 he had done at 50 and he came very close!  His body weight was at least 220lbs around age 70 but my Uncle Phil says he got as heavy as 240lbs!  All I know is I recall his forearms being so large that they made his upper arm look small.  I believe using the “gada” style dumbbells helped in that development.  So I would do presses, various curls, cleans, snatches, top heavy, bottom heavy….he was a big believer in mixing his workout up so he rarely did the same thing twice.

The book that the illustration of Kehoe is from.

The next thing I recall is your basic Indian Club swings.  I didn’t see him do this often but he would do one or two and get them rotating around.  This involved swing the clubs around and I believe he mostly did this to loosen his shoulders up.  I wish I had paid more attention to the specifics but I do know this, I found an illustration in his notes that he had cut out of some magazine long ago that had an illustration of Sim Kehoe doing “Figure no. 5″ from his book “Indian Club Exercises” which can be found online.

Specialized work.  My grandfather believe that his training should closely follow what he was trying to get better at.  For him this was never a contest so it was life events.  For example if winter was coming he would load a long barbell and do “snow shovel” movements, 5 reps left, then 5 reps right.  He always wanted to be balanced!  A few years ago I know Al Myers made an implement that mimicked the sheaf toss movement and it was bar like a pitch fork that could have plates loaded on the “business” end.  I remember Dalton told me that he had a “corn shucking” working for when he shucked corn by hand!  He would use his offset dumbbells whenever they suited this purpose.

Another “quirk” to my grandfather’s training was that he would always load his left hand a little heavier.  Regardless if it were the “Gada” dumbbells or a barbell or dumbbells.  He told me that his left side was always weaker and needed more work since his right side got more work on the job and doing chores.  To this day I keep his old barbell set loaded in my gym in such a fashion.  I’ve never heard of anyone training that way.

I wish I’d paid more attention.  To this day I’ll see something and think, “I saw Pop do that!”.  As I remember stuff I try and write it down.  He wrote volumes of journals and I go through them occasionally and find things I missed or didn’t connect the dots at the time.  He often wrote in a sort of short hand that makes him a tough read sometimes.  In a way it’s like finding a little treasure every time I revisit!  I hope you have enjoyed my three part series and find some time to try a “Gada” out in your training program!

IAWA Meeting Time SET

by Al Myers

The IAWA World Championships is fast approaching!  I have been in contact with meet promoter Frank Ciavattone, and everything is “in place” for a great weekend of competition and fun.   An important part of this annual event is the annual general meeting of the IAWA.  All IAWA members are invited to attend.  The meeting will occur Friday evening, September 26th, at 7 PM.  The location of the meeting is the Old Colonial Café, 171 Nahatan St, Norwood, MA, 02062.  Frank has reserved us an outside garden type pavilion for the meeting.  If anyone wants to meet for dinner beforehand be there at 6 PM.  Frank told me that this is a favorite place for the locals!

The banquet will occur Sunday night, September 28th at the same place.  The IAWA World Championships Banquet will start at 6 PM.  The phone number of the restaurant is 1-781-762-2058.    Frank said he is very pleased with the entries so far for Worlds, and it is looking to be a 20+ lifter meet.  The deadline is approaching fast so get your entries in soon if you haven’t already!

Team Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2014 USAWA Team Championships (left to right): LaVerne Myers, Al Myers, Chad Ullom, and Dean Ross.

I started promoting the USAWA Team Championships in 2007, so this year makes it the 8th year! I remember thinking this would become a popular meet amongst the lifters because it gave a different element to lifting than other meets -that being you lifted “on the bar” with a team mate! Well, in these 8 years it has not seemed to grow as I imagined back then, but none the less, always gives an entertaining day of lifting.  This year Chad and I again competed to “defend our title” from last year, and were challenged by the Dino Gym elders LaVerne Myers and Dean Ross.  These two team up well in size and lifting ability, plus have “been around the block a time or two” so they know how to play dirty.  I knew they would give us a good fight.  That was true.  Dean employed various means of chemical warfare against us, while LaVerne used mental persuasion to get us to swap out a lift for another to give them a competitive advantage.  When Chad and I was still dizzy from the nerve gas that Dean imposed upon us, we agreed to this request of LaVerne’s without contention.  Their teamwork was in full force before the meet even started!

So the Clean and Jerk with the Fulton Bar AND the Jefferson Lift was replaced by the Deadlift with the Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip.  And as it turned out – the meet came down to this last lift.  LaVerne and Dean pulled together an outstanding lift of 551 pounds!  I knew with their added age allowance this was going to make us really push ourselves.   But thankfully, my partner didn’t let me down and Chad and I pulled a PR of 672# for the win and a new Dino Gym Record (breaking our previous record of 640#).

This may have been a small meet, but we had a lot of fun in the gym today.  The meet even got over quick so the meet report/results is being posted on the same day as the meet.  That might be a first!

MEET RESULTS:

2014 USAWA Team Championships
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
August 24th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (1 official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom, LaVerne Myers

Lifts: Clean and Jerk – One Arm, Curl – Cheat, Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

Lifters:

Dino Gym 1
Dean Ross – 71 years old, 267 pounds
LaVerne Myers – 71 years old, 247 pounds

Dino Gym 2
Al Myers – 48 years old, 236 pounds
Chad Ullom – 42 years old, 253 pounds

TEAM C&J-1 Curl DL-FB,CG TOTAL POINTS
Dino Gym 2 105 165 305 575 467.1
Dino Gym 1 40 105 250 395 400.2

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in kilograms.  TOTAL is total kilograms lifted.  Points are adjusted points for age and bodyweight corrections.

Holland Strength and Fitness

by Al Myers

Holland Strength and Fitness

Last week I launched a new business, specializing in gym equipment and other items that will aid in the strength developing process.  The name of the business is Holland Strength and Fitness, and can be found online at www.hollandstrength.com.  I’ve always been involved in making gym equipment for the past 25 years, and have sold many pieces privately through the years.  The reason I’m doing this is because I think it is about time that I share some of my ideas in strength equipment with others.  For those of you that have been to the Dino Gym and seen some of the stuff I’ve designed and built will understand this – as most of my equipment is very unique and designed for the lifter in mind.

My philosophy is to make gym equipment very functional for it’s intended purpose.  Too many times in commercial gyms I’ve used equipment that makes me ask, “why did they build it like THAT!”  Something is positioned wrong – in the wrong place – or something is missing that would make the piece of equipment more beneficial.  I’m hoping the equipment made by Holland S&F will not be that way.  I have the best “testing lab” there is -  an actual gym where the equipment is pushed to it’s limits on a daily basis.  I know pretty quick if something needs improved in any way.  I WILL NOT sell an inventory piece unless it has been put through the rigors of heavy testing.

My main focus to start with will be with custom orders for power racks, platforms, and benches.  I have the ability in my fab shop to customize the equipment any way you may want.  This may include a personalize banner, or even a cutting a personalize name into the equipment itself. I have several stock items in inventory, but if anyone wants a stock item customized, please let me know and I’ll give you a quote. Also, keep an eye on the website as my product line will be expanding rapidly over the next few months. A “lack of ideas” is not something I have!

Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Members of the Dino Gym that were present at the 2014 Nationals to recieve the Club of the Year Award, (left to right): Al Myers, Dean Ross, Chad Ullom. The award was presented by Mike Murdock (right).

At the USAWA National Championships this summer, the USAWA awarded a Club of the Year for the past year.  I am extremely proud of the members of my Dino Gym for winning the award!  It takes an entire club’s involvement and participation to win this award in our organization.  Runner up went to Habecker’s Gym, ran by the USAWA President Denny Habecker.  These awards were presented by members of last year’s Club of the Year, the Ledaig HA.  Mike Murdock and Logan Kressly had the honors of presenting the awards on behalf of the Ledaig Club.

CLUB OF THE YEAR – DINO GYM

RUNNER CLUB – HABECKER’S GYM

Logan Kressly (left) presenting the Runner Up Club of the Year Award to Denny Habecker (right).

The Gada: Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

Overall view of my loadable Gada

In Part I you learned what the Gada was and a little history behind it.  Next up will be my own design of the ultimate “Gada” training tool.  You may have seen this before as I have used it for weaver stick style training and sledge hammer training a la’ Slim “the Hammerman” Farman.   The typical Gada is a set weight and size.  I wanted it to be loadable so I could use it with progressive resistance without having a whole collection of them.  The first one I made was very heavy and ranged from 12 to 28lbs depending on the load.  This one ranges from 6lbs to 18lbs.

A close up of the 1lb insert weights. These are 3 inches and fit perfectly into the hammer case.

I had seen similar “maces”, “gada’s, and hammers where you simply loaded barbell plates on the end of a rod.  I wanted mine to  have the weights internal.  It looks slicker and also you don’t have to change your movement to compensate for the larger size.  It’s the same size no matter how much it weighs.  You will also note I have the handle marked with inches so that you can know where you are holding the handle.  Sometimes the tendency might be to choke up as you get tired and this helps keep you honest whether doing traditional Gada exercises, leverage exercises for the forearms, or whatever creative way you may come up to use this tool.

The Gada open and ready to be loaded.

My first effort has 1.5lb standard plates that can be loaded on a mini bar and inserted in a 4 inch “hammer” case which is really an iron pipe with threaded caps.  My second prototype has 1lb weights that a solid cores.  Even if they are loose they don’t bang around as much as you might think but it’s simple matter to put something in the hammer to buffer the plates from moving around.

Next: Gada Part III How to train with the Gada Dalton Jackson Style.

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2014 USAWA Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Denny Habecker

Denny Habecker,  our USAWA President, hosted the USAWA Presidential Cup this past weekend at his gym in Lebanon, PA.  This is the third year for this now annual event.  The Presidential Cup is the USAWA version of the IAWA Gold Cup – which features lifters picking their best and favorite lifts to be contested in a record day format.  The Presidential Cup is the “Championship” of record days in the USAWA.  Each year the USAWA President picks a lift/lifter that he feels “worthy” of winning the Presidential Cup. Denny watches each lift with scrutiny as he is making his decision!

The Presidential Cup

This year only Denny, Art, and myself participated.  Art and I have been to this meet each year.  Art,  the defending Champion of the Presidential Cup, is tough competition.  Practically everything he lifts is worthy of being the winning lift. He started off with a 163# 2-bar deadlift.  I knew that would be tough for me to beat. So I started off with breaking Chad’s record in the Dumbbell Walk.  I was hoping that would “seal the deal” for me, but I could tell that Denny wasn’t fully impressed.  Art then went onto to some impressive finger lifts. He lifted 113 pounds on the ring and middle finger.  That’s IMPRESSIVE! Art’s fingers are hardened like steel cables, and I doubt if he has any pain sensor’s in them anymore.  I also planned to do some finger lifts beforehand as well – and felt good breaking a couple of records held by USAWA legends Joe Garcia and Bill Clark, but my finger lifts were not comparable to the ageless Art Montini’s finger lifts.  Now I knew things were “on the line” for me as it looked to me that Art was going to repeat as the Presidential Cup Winner.  So I had to stoop to a low and go after my dads best lift  in the one handed pinch. I managed a 83 pound performance using each hand, topping his best of 77 pounds.  My dad has become known for his gripping strength, always placing high in the USAWA Grip Championships.  This must have done it for me – as I was honored to win the Presidential Cup.  Denny even commented “that is was won by my pinch lifts!!!”   Sorry Dad.  You should have came along.

Denny did several very impressive lifts himself. His pressing of 143 pounds in the Press from Racks and Maxey Press stood out.  Also his 90 pound Two Hands Anyhow which almost took out a light bulb was memorable.  This was a great meet and I encourage others to attend next year.  Anytime one gets to spend time with Denny and Art is something to remember.  After all – these two guys are NUMBER ONE and NUMBER TWO on the All Time USAWA Record List!

MEET RESULTS:

USAWA Presidential Cup
August 9th, 2014
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA

Meet Director:  Denny Habecker

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (2 used on all lifts with both deeming the lifts good): Denny Habecker, Art Montini, Al Myers

Lifters/Lifts:

Al Myers – 47 years old, 236 pounds BWT

Dumbbell Walk 107 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Little 69 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Little 69 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Index 130 lbs.
Pinch Grip – Left Hand 83 lbs.
Pinch Grip – Right Hand 83 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 71 years old, 193 pounds BWT

Two Hands Anyhow 90 lbs.
French Press 53 lbs.
Maxey Press 143 lbs.
Pullover and Press 187 lbs.
Press – From Rack 143 lbs.
Jackson Press 121 lbs.

Art Montini – 86 years old, 176 pounds BWT

Deadlift – 2 Bars 163 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Middle 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Middle 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Left Ring 113 lbs.
Finger Lift – Right Ring 113 lbs.

WINNER OF 2014 PRESIDENTIAL CUP

AL MYERS w/ 83 POUND PINCH GRIP ONE HAND

The Gada Part 1

by Thom Van Vleck

The Great Gama with his Gada (Mace).

When I was a kid my first influence in physical fitness was my grandfather Dalton Jackson  He started training in 1928 at the age of 13.  At that time training information was sparse and what was available was often poor and sometimes dangerous!  One area my grandfather was interested in was wrestling and this led him to one of the greatest of all time….the Great Gama.  Gama wrestled in India (although I have learned he was ethnically Pakistani) for 50 years and was undefeated in that span!  He lived from 1880 to 1963 and his exploits were legendary.  He beat everyone in India and then sailed to England and challenged the world.  He had a “Gar Nal” that weighed over 200lbs that was a stone ring that he would put around his neck to do squats.  There is a story that he lifted a 1200kg (2645lbs) stone.  It is claimed he lifted this stone to his chest and then carried it.  I think that’s impossible but I do think it’s possible he may have lifted the stone in some fashion (such as lifting the edge off the ground or flipping the stone or some other partial lift).  Both of these stones are in a museum in Pakistan now.   It is also interesting that Bruce Lee studied Gama’s training habits very closely and adapted them to his own philosophies.

Classic use of the Indian Clubs in both hands from an old English book on training.

One of Gama’s favorite training tools was his Gada (or Mace).  It was a very heavy version of an Indian club.  The legend behind it is that it was the main weapon of the Hindu god Hanuman.  Hanuman was the god of strength and was the god that Indian wrestlers worshiped.  So basically it is a war club what the Europeans called a “Mace”.  I often think of it as being the first weapon ever and picture a cave man carrying his club!  It became one of the traditional training pieces in Hindu physical culture and was eventually transferred to England in the from of the “Indian Club” that was a popular part of the early physical culture movement in Victorian England over 100 years ago.  One Gada could be used or two.  You will often see the Indian club trained with two at a time.

Dalton Jackson doing his modified "Gada" exercises.

When I was a kid I would watch my Uncle’s train with barbells and dumbbells. They were Olympic style lifters and trained as such.  Meanwhile my grandfather always seemed to be doing something different.  I hate to say it but there was a point where I was a teen that I was “all in” to weightlifting and when my grandfather tried to teach me on some of his training I didn’t listen well (politely…but not closely as I always respected him).  I have few photos of him training but one I do shows him with makeshift “Gada” style dumbbells.  I realize now that much of his training was based on “Indian” style training and since the Great Gama favored the Gada, so did my grandfather.

Part II:  Building the Ultimate Gada

Team Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2014 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

The date for the USAWA Team Championships has been set!  The day will be Sunday, August 24th, and it will be held in the Dino Gym. The month of August is a busy month for USAWA meets and other local activities, and I didn’t want to cause any conflicts.

I chose this weekend because on Saturday, August 23rd, is the day for the Lucus Highland Games hosted by USAWA members Doug and Jera Kressly. By having our Team Championships on Sunday a thrower/lifter can make a “double header” of fun over Saturday and Sunday.

MEET DETAILS:

Date:  Sunday, August 24th

Location: Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, Kansas, 67410

Meet Director: Al Myers – amyers@usawa.com

Meet Weigh in Time: 9:00 AM

Meet Start Time: 10:00 AM

Lifts:

Clean and Jerk – One Arm

Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar

Curl – Cheat

Jefferson Lift

ENTRY FORM – TeamChampionships2014

World Postal Meet

by Al Myers


Steve Gardner, the meet director for the IAWA World Postal Meet, has announced the plans for this competition coming later in summer.  This gives everyone the great opportunity to see how you “stack up” against international competition without ever even leaving your own gym!

Steve has picked an outstanding set of lifts that everyone should be able to perform easily.  There’s really no reason there should not be record entries for the World Postal this year!

The rules for this event are as follows (as outlined on the entry form):

This competition is open to all IAWA lifters, for teams of three, and individuals as well. Teams may be a mix of open/masters/juniors/ladies, as well as all age and bodyweight allowances will figure in for the results. No limit to the number of lifters, if a team or group enter more than three: the top three will form the team score. A sheet caters or 5 lifters. If you have two teams, then just copy, and use two sheets, etc. All lifts must be officiated by  at least one IAWA Referee (they should sign the score sheet). To be eligible for IAWA World Records there must be 3 officials used.   YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE IN A TEAM. Individuals may also take part in the competition as all rankings will be listed for age/weight classes. Have fun lifting in the Annual “Andy Goddard” Memorial Competition. Good luck.

Now for some added important information:

1. The date for entry is the END OF AUGUST. Make sure your lifts are completed and sent to Steve by that time.

2. The lifts chosen for this event are the Cheat Curl, Pullover and Press, and the One Arm Deadlift.  The rules for these lifts are outlined in the USAWA Rulebook, which is available on the website. Make sure to list the arm used in the One Arm Deadlift.

3. If you live in the United States, you MUST be an USAWA member to participate. Make sure to join before you lift in this postal championships or you will find that your lifts will not be recorded in the official scoresheet.

4. All lifts must be performed in the same day. This is not specified in the event rules, but is a assumed rule of all postal meets.

5. Please enter your results in kilograms in the scoresheet. Steve would make the conversions for you – but the meet is scored in kilograms so enter them that way.

6. Make sure you PRINT the names of the one or three officials used as well as having the officials sign the scoresheet. For USAWA lifters, these officials must be active current certified USAWA officials. Make sure to check their “status” on the website before assuming they are current.

7. As per any meet and as OUTLINED in the rulebook, you get three attempts. These must be declared and adhered to. You don’t just keep adding weight till you miss and take unlimited attempts. That’s not the way a meet runs. The fourth block in the entry form is for an extra fourth attempt for record.

8. Make sure to list all attempts on the entry form. Circle the ones you make and cross thru the ones that are missed.

9. Please write CLEARLY on the scoresheet, and fill out the scoresheet completely!

10. Remember this postal championship is ran on the HONOR SYSTEM. Be truthful in your efforts, and feel good about giving your best performance in an honorable manner. If everyone does that – the future of this meet is strong!

ENTRY FORM – 2014 IAWA Postal Worlds Entry Form

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

Denny took me to one of his favorite places last year at the Presidential Cup, and as you can tell from this picture, we had a good time at the Downtown Lounge!!!

Our Prez Denny Habecker has sanctioned this year’s Presidential Cup again!  The President’s Cup is the KING of USAWA Record Days.  I like to think of it as the CHAMPIONSHIP OF RECORD DAYS in the USAWA.   It is under direction to be promoted by the USAWA President, with the lift that impresses the President the most being recognized as the winner of the Presidential Cup.

The meet will be held at Denny’s private gym – Habecker’s Gym.  The number of different lifts one can perform is up to the number of lifters that enter and time allotment.  Come prepared to do at least 4 or 5 for record purposes as that is usually the number each lifter gets with the turnout of lifters in the past. Maybe you will get to join this exclusive list of past winners!!!

PAST PRESIDENTIAL CUP WINNERS:

2012 – Dale Friesz

2013 – Art Montini

There is no entry form or entry fees for this meet, but please contact Denny ahead of time if you plan to attend.