Give’em The Finger

by Roger LaPointe

The Set-up for the Finger Lifts.

Ever wanted to just give the whole world the finger? Yeah. I know. You do things your way, because that’s the way you like it.

Well, you be pretty sure you have some of the strongest fingers when you give’em the finger. Atomic Athletic has some tips and tools. One of the tools is a serious steel lifting ring.

3 Tips for Finger Lifts
1. Start off light. That’s every single workout. You don’t want to pop a tendon.
2. Exercise & Competition are two different things. Don’t use other fingers for support. Don’t train individual fingers for 1 Rep Maxing, unless that’s your thing…
3. Stretch your fingers before AND after this exercise, not just before and after your whole training session. Feel free to ignore this one, if you don’t care about fine motor skills, like typing.

We actually sell two different sizes, just specify the one you want in the Customer Instructions section of the order: choices are big or small. They are the same price.

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

CLUB CHALLENGE CANCELLED

by Al Myers

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT

I just received word from John McKean, the Meet Director of this weekend’s USAWA Club Challenge, that he is cancelling the meet.  John has concerns of the recent bad weather and poor road conditions, and does not want to risk anyone’s travel.  The weather has been unpredictable recently, and the roads could quickly become hazardous for travel.

Please pass this information along to anyone that may have planned to attend the Club Championships.

Building a Training Hall

by Roger LaPointe

The Ambridge Barbell Club can be classified as an "Old School" Training Hall!

Training halls are not built over night. What do you think of when you hear about a training hall? My guess is that a different image is conjured up from when you hear “fitness facility”. Am I right?

The old gyms and YMCAs, where many greats in the iron game trained, tended to be dingy after thoughts, as far as facilities would go. The great old training halls that I think of had beautiful woodwork. They may have had lines of old globe type barbells and Indian clubs lining the walls. There would always be a heavy duty, slightly raised wooden lifting platform in the center of the room. There was always some boxing equipment, or even and full ring.

These were the genuine “man caves” of a bygone era. You didn’t see pastel colors or ferns. There might be a mirror on one wall, but the art work would typically be nicely framed instructional courses, anatomical charts or promo photographs of strongmen from the past. There would be a bulletin board with the information on the next weightlifting contests or wrestling matches. Guys like Sig Klein would be your instructor, not a “personal trainer”. They were genuine record holders who had actually competed and set records. Respect was implicit and you asked them questions. You would never question them. You want to see training halls? Is it time that your place started morphing into a training hall, instead of just “weights in the basement”?

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

How to Evaluate a Lifting Bar

by Al Myers

COURSE 101: BAR BENDING. Any thoughts on whether this bar returned to its original straightness?

Most that know me know that I have an passion with lifting bars.  I have over 50 bars in the Dino Gym – some excellent high quality bars, some just good bars, and others that are just “run of the mill” bars.  I don’t consider myself a collector either, as I use most of these bars in training from time to time.

Most lifters don’t take notice of the bar they are lifting on.  It’s just a piece of equipment that is necessary to lift the plates that are on it.  There’s nothing wrong with that thinking.  After all, the purpose of training is to get stronger and that can be done using anything – including a bad bar.  Having HIGH QUALITY BARS for training is not a big determining factor in getting stronger.  The bar is just a means to an end result.  I’m saying this because I want to make the point that having TOP TIER bars for training are not necessary, they are more just a luxury.

Now how does one evaluate what constitutes a quality bar?  There are “hundreds” of bars on the market – with each one having a “sales pitch” behind it. Bars are generally broken into 2 categories:

1. Economy Bars (or Junk Bars)

Economy bars are bars made with cheaper steel, poorer sleeve designs,  ”looser” quality controls, and are sold at a lower price.  I refer to these as “junk bars”.  I have several of them by the way.  They usually don’t last long though in the Dino Gym, and get bent.  But they serve the purpose they are used for, namely exercises that put a bar at “high risk” for damage.  Like rack pulls, quick lifts in the rack, one arm lifts, etc.  I don’t want to jeopardize a good bar for these exercises as they are not designed for it.  I think of “junk bars” as disposable – use them till they bend, then throw them away. 

2.  Commercial Bars (or High Quality Bars)

This category should be named HIGH QUALITY bars instead, because it is very common for commercial gyms to have economy bars that are “passed off” as a commercial bar. Just put a shiny coat of chrome on a bar and it becomes a “good bar” in most gym-goers eyes.   There are many manufacturers of junk bars, but only a few make the top end bars.   Don’t always rely on this though, as most manufacturers of high quality bars also have a economy line as well.  There are probably over 20 junk bars to every 1 high quality bar sold. If you want to know the difference – just look at the price tag! Cheap bars are “cheap” and high quality bars cost more. You get what you pay for. 

High quality bars are made from higher tensile strength steel, sleeves are secured with roll pins or snap rings and contain either bearings or quality bushings, and have better knurling.  They are less apt to permanently bend when used. Often high quality bars are often made with a purpose in mind – Olympic weightlifting,  general powerlifting, deadlifting, squatting, etc.  They are designed for the exercise in question.  They often have a good  finish – having been zinc plated or a black oxide finish. They are not chrome plated!  Factors which influence steel properties are many – combination of alloys, heat treatment procedures, carbon content,  etc – I don’t want to get into that in this story as there’s too many other things to talk about.   I will keep it simple here and say high quality bars are made with better steel (and it’s not from China!!!).

From now on I’m just going to talk about high quality bars, as junk bars really don’t need evaluated.  Terming them “junk bars’ is evaluation enough. I like to break down the evaluation of a high quality bar into these 6 attributes:

1. Strength Rating
2.  Dimensions – bar diameter & lengths
3.  Sleeve Design
4. Knurling
5.  Finish
6.  Feel

1.  Strength Rating

This is often the NUMBER ONE thing that lifters look at when picking out a bar, and is really just a small factor in the total picture of a high quality bar. Years ago bar manufacturers would promote their product by giving  out a Static Rating, a number which was intended to mean the weight the bar could hold before it would bend permanently.  The first bar I bought was sold as a 700 lb. test bar.  I thought that sounded good – as I wasn’t squatting or deadlifting 700 pounds yet. Well, I bent it with doing explosive squats with 405 shortly after I bought it.  Something wasn’t adding up!  I then bought another cheap 700 lb. test bar and bent it as well.  It was at this time I was studying engineering at Kansas State University and was taking an engineering course, statics and dynamics, that I realized my errors in my thinking.  The Static Test in determining this POUND RATING was done entirely different than what I was doing with the bar in the squat rack.  In a Static Test the weight is loaded slowly on a bar as its supported, which allows the steel to “conform” to the bend, not under a sudden load as I was putting it under as I was ascending with my squats.  Its a Static Rating – not a Dynamic Rating.  Add in differences of where the bar is being supported during these Static Tests, and you can see this is a very poor rating system for evaluating bar strengths.  You would assume that the bar would be supported in the middle – but I question if that has always been the case in giving out test strength ratings. Moving the supports outwards would increase the Rating.   It wasn’t long before most bars went to a 1000 lb. rating, then onto 1500 lbs. and above.  After all, a higher Static Rating equated to a better bar and more sales (a marketing  fallacy that lifters have ”fell for” for years in my opinion).

Now most high quality bars are sold with a PSI Rating of Tensile Strength  instead of a Static Rating (even though often you will see both disclosed on a bar).  PSI stands for pounds per square inch.   This rating is intended to tell you how much force can be applied to a bar before it breaks.  This means more to me than a Static Rating because at least you know the force was applied at a set point, ie the middle.  The testing involves putting a bar in a press and applying pressure to higher levels, until it snaps.    The limitation is still that it is a static force measurement, not a dynamic one as the “real world” bar would be experiencing.  But it is a better testing method for determining a bars strength rating than the Static Test.  But what lifter really wants to know what PSI it would take break a bar? No one wants to push a bar to THAT LIMIT!  I’m more interested in how much force (in PSI) a bar can take and still return to straightness.  That is termed Yield Strength – and a measurement that bar manufactures rarely reveal for “who knows why”.  Probably because it is a much lower number than Tensile Strength PSI and marketing doesn’t  want lifters to mistakenly compare “apples to oranges”, because they don’t know the difference. 

2.  Dimensions

A bar’s dimensions are very important in evaluating a bar, and these measurements vary significantly from bar to bar.  Like I said earlier, most high quality bars are designed with a specific lifting purpose in mind.  For example, Olympic weightlifting bars have very different dimensions than a deadlifting bar.  Even among Olympic WL bars, these measurements are different.  One WL bar may have a diameter of 28mm, and another one may be 29mm.  The length between collars may be slightly different as well.  The high quality deadlifting bars have a diameter of 27mm, while the high quality squat bars may be 32mm.  The marker lines on bars are different as well.  Powerlifting bars should have the 32 inch marker line for hand placement, which is NOT the handspacing  for Oly lifting.  WL bars should have the weightlifting marker lines instead. The standard length for most bars is 7 feet, but some bars are longer (i.e. deadlifting and squat bars).   Pay attention to these  dimensions when  picking out a high quality bar.  You want the bar  to serve the purpose you intended for it.

3.  Sleeve Design

Sleeve designs are different for every bar, but are very important in making  a bar a high quality bar.  For weightlifting, the sleeves should rotate very smoothly to accommodate snatching and clean and jerks.  I have taken apart many bars, and I always marvel at the insides of bar sleeves.  This is the part of the bar no one ever sees. I enjoy taking sleeves apart, and I think of it as doing an autopsy on a bar (which it usually is as the bar was previously ”killed off” and bent, thus the reason  I was disassembling it).   There are many ways sleeves are designed to enhance rotation.  This is what I have seen, from worse to best:  1. metal on metal, 2. plastic bushings, 3.  nylon bushings/brass bushings, 4. ball bearings, & 5. needle bearings.  That pretty much sums it up.  Needle bearings have long been considered the “gold standard” – but I can tell you there are differences there as well.  I’ve taken apart several junk bars that I’m  surprised they rotate at all, as all they contain is a couple of worn cheap plastic bushings – yet are marketed as having bushings.  These type of bushings shouldn’t even be called bushings as they are so inferior to the quality bushings (like nylon and brass)  high quality bars have.  The diameter of the sleeves should always be checked.  Most high quality bars have sleeves that are very close to 2″ (sometimes as much as 1-31/32″).  If your plates are high quality as well (and in turn have close tolerances for the bar hole), the bar may not fit well in some plates.  The reason for this is that at the “top end” the bar is made for the plate being used, and BY THE SAME MANUFACTURER.  The Manufacturer makes the bar and plates as a set to “go together” with close tolerances, so the plates won’t be “sloppy” on the bar.  The way the sleeve is held onto the bar also tells alot about the quality.  You can quickly spot a low quality bar if the sleeve is held on by a bolt in the end.  This is the cheapest and easiest way to hold the sleeve on, but this bolt never seems to stay tight and requires constant attention so the sleeve doesn’t fall off!  This design allows lateral sleeve movement on the bar, which is undesirable.  It gets worse with wear. The “high end” bars use snap rings or roll pins.  A few use both.  The best design is using snap rings, as they are concealed and very rarely fail (yet I have seen it happen, but only when the bar was used in an unconventional matter). 

4.  Knurling

Every bar has its own unique knurling.  I think of knurling as the “fingerprint” of a bar.  It defines the bar and makes it different from other bars. Most people think knurling is cut into a bar, but that is false, as knurling is actually done by a pressing process.  There are many different “setups” for knurling, with each one giving a unique knurl.  Some are deeper, some wider, different patterns,etc.  The purpose of having knurling is to enhance your grip on the bar, without causing damage to your hand.  Different lifters have different preferences on the “aggressiveness” of the knurl.  The spacing of the knurling is different as well.  Some bars have center knurling, while others don’t . 

5.  Finish

The top choices for a bar finish are these:  1. none or blued, 2.  Chrome plated, 3. Zinc plated, and  4. Black oxide. If you are fortunate to have a stainless steel bar you have a bar that DOES NOT need a finish.  The stainless steel stays looking good always!  I have one Stainless Steel Bar, that I have had for over 5 years, and it has NO rust or corrosion on it.  It looks as good now as when I bought it.  However, stainless steel is very expensive (3 to 5 times that of other steel), and is difficult to machine which makes these bars prohibitively expensive.  That’s why you don’t see them much.  Chrome plating is the standard of economy bars because it’s the lowest cost way of keeping a bar shiny.  That’s what you see on bars in commercial gyms, as they can be wiped clean after usage and remain with a glossy finish.  I actually hate chrome plated bars – they are harder to grip, the chrome often starts to flake off after heavy use, and the chrome doesn’t hold chalk well.  Zinc plating has become more common recently.  At first glance you might think a Zinc plated bar was chromed, but you can tell the difference if you see both of them side by side.  Black oxide is also a very common bar finish. I really like this finish as these bars hold chalk well and the knurling is not coated with chrome or zinc and has a better feel.  Now there are also a few high quality bars that have no finish (or maybe just a bluing).  You can spot these in the gym because they are rusted and look like crap.  But that doesn’t bother me getting a little rust on my hands if the bar is a great bar otherwise!  I have one of these in the gym (I won’t name it!) that is one of my favorite bars.  You have to remember that a finish is put on a bar for only one reason – to make it look better.  It provides no benefit to the functionality or performance of the bar, and I’ve talked to several lifters that prefer the feel of the “natural steel” over that of a bar with a finish.  

6.  Feel

Now this is the intrinsic category.  No measurements or processing procedures here to make an evaluation.  It comes down to answering this question,”how does the bar feel in your hands when you lift on it?”.  Do you like it?  Or does it just don’t feel right?  A bar may look like the “bar of your dreams”, but when you load it up to a heavy weight and perform a lift, does it feel as good as it looks?  I’ve been disappointed before with a new bar.  There are several factors that make bars feel different.  The biggest one is “bar deflection”.  This is the bend that occurs when the bar is moved or accelerated during a lift.  It is purely a result of the steel properties of the bar, and is different for every bar.  Some bars deflect more, while others are stiffer when lifting on.  The bar diameter and ratings may tell you a little on this, but it comes down to the steel used.  I say this because I have bars that have the same diameters and ratings, yet deflect (or bend) differently when lifted on.  As well, each lifter has their own preference.  The same goes for “bar oscillation”.  This is sometimes referred to as whip.  It occurs when the bar is deflected during acceleration of a lift, and then the movement of the bar is ceased. The oscillation will continue upwards.  Some bars will deflect, then return to position quicker than others and have less oscillation.  Others will tend to oscillate, which can be viewed as favorable or not, depending on the lifter and how they can adjust to it.  Sometimes it can be used to the lifters advantage, as often seen in the clean when rebounding from the catch to the squat.  Sometimes “the feel” is purely psychological with a bar.   I have a couple of bars that are my “go to” bars when I want to get a big lift in for the workout.  I’ve had success with them in the past – and this confidence is propagated into future success.  The question is answered - the bar just feels good in my hands when I lift on it!

I hope all this helps in understanding how to evaluate a lifting bar.  I apologize for getting so long with all this – which I guess goes to show that I may be beyond passionate on this subject and bordering on obsessive/compulsive.  I’m going to cover a few of the bars in the Dino Gym over the next couple of months in USAWA Daily News stories.  Several of the Dino Gym bars have interesting stories that go with them. and I want to share this with you.

And to answer the question in BAR BENDING:101 – that poor bar was never straight again!

Flaming Indian Clubs

by Roger LaPointe

Flaming Indian Clubs!!!

I called Larry, an old friend, this morning. Just when I thought I had heard it all, Larry had another awesome story with visual impact to spare. Larry doesn’t even use “weights” for his weightlifting anymore. In fact, he gave away all of his barbell and dumbbell plates. Of course, resistance training is still part of his life and that means I have to ask him what he is doing now.

ROUTINE? Anything but…

Indian Clubs by Atomic Athletic.

Indian clubs are an integral part of Larry’s current training routine. We talked about some of the endless variations of club swinging. One key is how some practitioners get lazy and try to go too heavy with their clubs. Now, there is heavy and then there is heavy. Larry was talking about EGO heavy, where you start seeing the clubs flop around, or even sit on the shoulders. While being dangerous, it’s also not very helpful.

“So Larry, how do you recommend dealing with ego laziness? Are you a spiked club kinda guy?” Spiking clubs is something that you will occasionally see in the Kushti Wrestling schools in India, where there can be a hundred or more nails sticking out of the club. It provides incentive not to let the club get too close, but I don’t think insurance companies cover that sort of tool.

“No, of course not, Roger. That could lead to sliced up shoulders and blood. Nope. My Dad used to light his on fire.” “Really?” I replied. “Oh yeah,” he said, “he used wood ones that he coated with some kind of fuel. Then he would train at night in our back yard. It was one heck of a display. It really lit things up. Of course, I don’t recommend that. But he always said that it ensured perfect form. I like to think about that when I use clubs today. My form always improves.”

Next time you are training with your clubs, imagine they are on fire. Your form will get a little more precise as well.

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

GONE FISHIN’ – THE HARD WAY

BY DAVE GLASGOW

(WEBMASTER NOTE: Recently I issued a writing contest, in which I challenged lifters to write about an unusual training implement/device that they use in their training. The stories were submitted and judged, and I’m going to initially publish the top three stories in the USAWA Daily News as they were the contest award winners. Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for this competition, as they were all excellent. Here’s story RANKED NUMBER ONE:)

THIS IS MY DAD, DOING WHAT I REMEMBER HIM FOR, WORKING.

“DAD!!  WE GOT A FISHIN’ JOB!”, I SAID, OVER THE PAY PHONE.  “CHRIST!!”  WHAT HAPPENED THIS TIME???”, WAS HIS REPLY.  HE KNEW, FROM PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE,  THAT A CALL FROM ME AT SEVEN IN THE EVENING WAS NEVER GOOD NEWS.   AS I EXPLAINED WHAT HAD OCCURRED, I COULD HEAR MUMBLED, MUFFLED WORDS AND CURSES I HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN EXPOSED TO, COMING FROM HIS END OF THE RECEIVER! BEING IN OUR OCCUPATION, THAT WAS SAYING SOMETHING!

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME, I WAS BORNE, BAPTISED AND RAISED IN THE ‘OIL PATCH’(DAMN PROUD OF IT!).  I HAVE SPOKEN OF IT PREVIOUSLY IN A COUPLE OF ARTICLES I WROTE ABOUT WHAT WE DID WITH OUR DRILLING BUSINESS.  THIS WAS DIRTY, HARD, HEAVY LABOR, IN ALL SORTS OF WEATHER.  THE DRILLING ASPECT OF THE JOB WAS THE ‘EASY’ PART DUE TO THE FACT THAT, IF ALL WENT WELL, THERE WAS A LOT OF ‘ASS TIME’.  THIS PARTICULAR OCCASION, HOWEVER, WAS NOT GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE TIMES.

THE “FISHIN’ JOB” I REFERRED TO EARLIER IS IN REFERENCE TO OUR STRING OF TOOLS BEING LOST AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOLE, ABOUT 200’ BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH.  THE REASON FOR THIS IS THAT THE ‘ROPE SOCKET’ THAT HELD THE CABLE TO THE REST OF THE ‘TOOLS’ HAD, UNFORTUNATELY, TWISTED OFF (COME UNSCREWED). WHEN THIS EVENT HAPPENS, IT RUINS THE THREADS THAT ARE ON THE INSIDE OF THE ‘ROPE SOCKET’, RENDERING IT USELESS.  WE HAD SEVERAL OTHERS AND THIS PARTICULAR ONE WAS CAST ASIDE UNTIL IT COULD BE RETHREADED AND PUT BACK INTO SERVICE.

FURTHER, TO RETRIEVE THE TOOLS, YOU, LITERALLY, HAD TO ‘FISH’ THEM OUT WITH A DEVICE THAT TOOK A FRICTION HOLD TO THE TOP OF THE TOOLS AND, IF THE DRILLING GODS WERE IN A GOOD  MOOD, PRESTO!, YOU WERE BACK IN BUSINESS. THE FACT THAT THIS HAPPENED ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY WAS ESPECIALLY PROBLEMATIC AS WE WERE BEING PRESSURED TO FINISH THE WELL, IN ORDER FOR THE ‘BIG RIG’ TO COME IN AND GO TO THE TOTAL DEPTH.  THIS WOULD ONLY SET US BACK A WHOLE DAY, IF WE WERE LUCKY.

WELL, THE GODS MUST HAVE BEEN SNOOZING BECAUSE WE SNEAKED BY THEM AND GOT OUR STRING OF TOOLS ON THE FIRST RUN!!

UNFORTUNATELY FOR US, THE OIL PATCH PETERED OUT IN THE EARLY ‘80s AND I WAS LOOKING FOR WORK.  THE ROPE SOCKET WAS NEVER REPAIRED AND SAT WITH THE OTHER, RUSTING TOOLS AND RELICS OF A DAY GONE BY.  I TOOK A COURSE TO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION, CAREER WISE, AND LEFT THE OIL PATCH FAR BEHIND.

JUMP AHEAD 20 YEARS.  MY FAMILY AND I EXPERIENCED A NUMBER OF ‘CHALLENGES’ IN THE FORM OF ILLNESS, DEATH AND HARDSHIP.  THIS ALL CAME ABOUT IN THE PERIOD OF ABOUT EIGHTEEN MONTHS.  CONSEQUENTLY, I MUST CONFESS, I HAD HAD ABOUT ALL I COULD TAKE.

THE ROPE SOCKET I USE FOR MY 'ALTERNATE' TRAINING.

SIGNIFICANTLY FOR THIS STORY, FOR SOME REASON, THROUGH THE YEARS, I REMEMBERED THAT ROPE SOCKET  AND HOW I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO DO SOME ‘ALTERNATE’ TRAINING. SO, THE NIGHT PRIOR TO A HUGE SURGICAL PROCEDURE THAT I WAS TO HAVE,  I FIGURED THIS WAS AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY TO FIND OUT.

 I TOOK THE SHORT DRIVE TO THE FAMILY FARM (LEDAIG, TRUELY, MY ‘SAFE HAVEN/HARBOUR’), FOUND THAT ROPE SOCKET AND PROCEDED TO HAVE ONE, ‘LAST WORKOUT’ BEFORE BEING INCAPACITATED FOR, WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE, A NUMBER OF WEEKS.  THE FACT THAT I JUST BURIED MY BELOVED DAD TWO DAYS BEFORE JUST ADDED TO THE INTENSITY AND EMOTION.  YOU SEE, MY DAD AND I ALWAYS SHARED A LOVE OF THE OIL PATCH(NOT TO MENTION, EACH OTHER) AND I SAW THIS AS A WAY TO ‘CONNECT’ WITH HIM ONE LAST TIME AND PHYSICALLY READY MYSELF FOR WHATEVER WAS TO COME.

NOW, FOLKS, THE ROPE SOCKET IN QUESTION, WEIGHTS, I WOULD GUESS 175 POUNDS.  I HAVE NEVER WEIGHTED IT, AND, TO ME, IT IS NOT IMPORTANT.  IT’S HEAVY FOR ME AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

AS I HAVE TOLD MOST OF YOU AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF THAT STRONG OF PERSON.  I CERTAINLY DO NOT DO WELL AT CLEANING THE WEIGHT.  HOWEVER, THAT EVENING, I CLEANED AND PRESSED THAT ROPE SOCKET AT LEAST 30 TIMES IN AN HOUR.  EVERYTIME I WOULD START TO GET TIRED, I JUST HAD TO THINK OF DAD, THE PROCEDURE TO COME, WHAT OUR FAMILY WAS GOING THRU AS A WHOLE AND I WOULD BE INVIGORATED FOR ONE MORE SET.  FINALLY, I WAS TOTALLY EXHAUSTED WHEN I FINALLY DECIDED I HAD HAD ENOUGH.  I WAS SPENT, EMOTIONALLY, AS WELL AS PHYSICALLY.  HOWEVER, MENTALLY, I WAS READY FOR THE CHALLENGES TO COME IN THE NEXT DAYS!

IN THE END, ALL TURNED OUT WELL. IT IS SAID THAT TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST, BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO!  I AM PAINFULLY AWARE I AM NOT THE TOUGHEST GUY AROUND; HOWEVER, I CAN NOT SAY THAT FOR MY WIFE AND KIDS, AS THEY WOULD RANK RIGHT AMONG THE TOUGHEST.  HOWEVER, I WEATHERED THE STORM; OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CLOSED RANKS AROUND US AND WE CAME OUT THE OTHER END, WHOLE.

REGARDLESS, I STILL REMEMBER THAT “PRE-OP WORKOUT”, ON A HOT, STILL SUMMER EVENING. I THINK OF IT OFTEN.  IT WILL GO DOWN AS, PROBABLY, THE MOST MEMORABLE AND PRODUCTIVE WORKOUT OF MY LIFE! 

FINALLY, I WILL SMILE AND REMEMBER, LOVINGLY,  THE MEMORY OF THOSE MUMBLED, MUFFLED WORDS AND CURSES OF MY DAD, WHO, I AM SURE, WAS WATCHING OVER ME (AND MY FAMILY) ALL THE TIME.

CHINNING ADDICTION

 By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Publisher, Journal of Pure Power

Consultant, Body Intellect

(WEBMASTER NOTE: Recently I issued a writing contest, in which I challenged lifters to write about an unusual training implement/device that they use in their training. The stories were submitted and judged, and I’m going to initially publish the top three stories in the USAWA Daily News as they were the contest award winners. Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for this competition, as they were all excellent. Here’s story RANKED NUMBER TWO:)

Dan Wagman performing a One Arm Chin Up on his fingerboard. The top picture is a "closeup" of the fingerboard.

My oddest training device is my fingerboard; it comes out of the realm of bouldering. In the rock-climbing world this strength-training device is rather common as climbers use it to strengthen their fingers and pull-up prowess. I use it in my Dungeon exclusively for weighted pull-ups and one-armed pull-ups.

What’s different with a fingerboard compared to a chinning bar is that you have different gripping options. You can use a narrow or shoulder-width grip, but you can also change the amount of grip your hands actually have. So you can use a grip that’s similar to what you’d have on a bar or you can pull while palming the fingerboard, meaning that your fingers aren’t wrapped around anything, but instead are flat on a slightly conical surface that extends from your fingertips down to your palm. That’s how I warm up my pull-ups and I have found it to increase my grip strength. Then there are slots and holes of different sizes so that you can pull with the first link of any number of fingers you’d like to use. And of course you also have the option of doing one-armed pull-ups with any combination of fingers or hand-hold method you’d like. All of this turns pull-ups into an entirely different dimension, quite different than what the usual weight lifter would do. But once I go from my fingerboard to a regular chinning bar, I’m moving a lot more weight.

My Historical Context

Recently Dan Wagman performed a Pullup with 120 lbs. extra weight at the Dino Gym Record Day. The USAWA rules of the Pull Up require the point of the chin to be above the bar and held for a down command. This is the BEST Pullup listed in the USAWA Record List, so it's obvious Dan's training approaches have been working! (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster).

Although I don’t know much about the history of fingerboards in the climbing world, I can tell you that it’s nearly non-existent in weight lifting gyms. But here’s how this training came about for me. When I started lifting as a teenager, I was consumed by trying to become as strong as possible. One of the guys in the gym would always do pull-ups. He also added weight around his waist with some silly looking ropes. But he also pulled himself over the bar with ONE ARM, and could do that with both arms for reps. That blew me away and after watching him for some weeks I built up the courage to approach him.

Turns out he was training for his main passion — bouldering. When you’re on a rock-face, it can be very important to be able to pull yourself up to the next hold with one arm. And so those silly ropes he used to hold additional weight, well, they were two different types of climbing ropes with specialty knots, one around his waist and the other attached via a carabiner for additional weight. The next time I saw him he brought ropes and a carabiner to the gym and made me my own chinning rig. Now that’s the best present I ever got and I still use it all the time.

Progressing Difficulty

So in my training back then I continued to pile on the weight for my pull-ups. But when I tried a one-armed pull-up, I couldn’t even bend my elbow an inch — literally. So I reduced the difficulty by doing one-armed pull-downs. Once I could do my body weight, I increased the difficulty by pulling on a chinning bar instead. But it still took some time until I was able to pull myself to the bar with one arm. For the last 15 years or so, however, I use a bouldering fingerboard for all my pull-ups. Why? It’s just another method to increase the difficulty of pull-ups. And I suppose I don’t have to explain to a bunch of all-round lifters why that’s a good thing, do I?

My passion for lifting weights and one-armed pull-ups lives on as strong as ever. I was able to send my friend a picture of me doing one-armed chins weighing 190 pounds with a 35-pound plate around my waist as it appeared in Milo. He was proud to know that he was the one who started this insanity in me. But of course he’s insane, too; how many guys do you know who in their late 50’s do one-armed pull-ups for reps with each arm?

World Record List

by Al Myers

Chris Bass (left) working "the table" at the 2012 IAWA World Championships along with Steve Gardner (right).

Chris Bass of Grimsby, England is the Official IAWA World Record List Registrar.  Chris has held this position for several years now, having taking it over from Frank Allen. Chris operates an All Round Weightlifting Club, the Haven Gymnasium, and is an active member of IAWA.  Chris does an EXCELLENT JOB of maintaining this World Record  List, which is an overwhelming task.  He also maintains the IAWA(UK) Record List to add to his workload of record keeping.  Lately, Chris has been keeping an updated IAWA World Record List available for downloading/viewing on his club’s website. I know he is updating it frequently as he keeps me informed of any recent World Records performed in the USAWA.

LINK TO IAWA WORLD RECORD LIST -  http://www.havengym.org.uk/

From now on, this link to the IAWA World Record List will be easily available on the USAWA website.  It is now included under the section “RECORD LIST”, located on the top line of the homepage, third item from the left.   The World Record List is located under the information for the USAWA Record List.  Simply “click” on the link to the list there and the IAWA World Record List will always be “at your fingertips!”.

Numerous IAWA World Records were set at the past USAWA Grip Championships.  For those interested, this is the record sheet that Chris sent to me following the meet in which he marks the World Records set – USAWA_2013 Grip Championships

We are very fortunate to have Chris performing this important job in IAWA.  He takes this role very serious.  He made the trip from England to the World Championships in Salina, Kansas just to be the meets scorekeeper/recorder.  He often updates the World Record List at meets when he has “downtime” in his scoring responsibilities.  That’s the way to keep the list current!! Chris is always at the big IAWA events which demonstrates his commitment to the position of IAWA Registrar, and his devotion to IAWA.  We owe him a BIG THANK YOU!!!

Club Champs REMINDER

by Al Myers

The entrance of the historic Ambridge Barbell Club!

It will not be long now and the USAWA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS will be taking place.  This meet is hosted by one of the oldest clubs in the USAWA (the Ambridge BBC) and directed by a couple of the oldest guys in the USAWA (Art Montini & John McKean).  The equipment in the club has been around at least a century (some forged by Bob Hoffman), and I believe the building was one of the first ones built in the Pittsburgh area (an old VFW hall).  

All of this adds up to a GREAT PLACE for an ALL ROUND WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPIONSHIPS!  Ambridge Barbell Club has been the site of the Club Champs since it started, and is the perfect location for it.  Ambridge is in the “center” of the USAWA membership, and is within a long day drive for most everyone.  The Dino Gym will have a team present again, as well as the JWC, Ambridge BBC,  and Habeckers Gym.  There may be a couple of other clubs entered as well. 

All it takes to enter is three club members to form your club’s team.  This is a team competition, and NOT an individual competition.  The point scores of the three club members are added together to form a club score.  The club with the highest team total is declared the USAWA Club Champion of the year. 

DATE REMINDER – SATURDAY MARCH 2nd

Entry information is available under  USAWA Future Events in right column of the homepage.

Avoid Cracking your Skull!

by Roger LaPointe

Quality leather Medicine Balls are available from Atomic Athletic.

You know that great explosive pop you get when you do your Power Jerk correctly?

You know what I am talking about. It’s when the bar goes overhead into the lock out position so easily it seems nothing. Well, you can also do that with stones. Pardon the pun, but it’s tons of fun.

TIP: Avoid Cracking Your Skull With The Big Rock.

So, how does one safely train to do that, you ask?

When you are comfortable with this exercise, then you can go outside and do this with a stone. Don’t be afraid to dump your stone. The technique for doing that is basically the same as with an Olympic barbell with bumper plates. You just happen to be using a stone and you aren’t on a weightlifting platform, but outside and creating crater holes in the dirt.

THE EXERCISE
The key is to make the rock go straight up. Start by practicing the power jerk with a barbell. Then comes the clever part. Get yourself a nice “soft” leather medicine ball. I have a 20 Pound Leather Med Ball that I use for this exercise. Go to a basketball court, preferably when no one is playing basketball. Position yourself in the lock-out directly under the net. Now you start popping the med ball up through the bottom of the net. The less motion you have with the net, but better.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=MED20L

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

Have fun.

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

Grip Postal – USAWA vs. IAWA(UK)

by Al Myers

I’m sure everyone is wondering how the Grip Postal Challenge turned out between the USAWA versus the IAWA(UK).  Well, the results have been tabulated and the USAWA won over the IAWA(UK) 258.2 points to 231.2 points.  This was based on the average adjusted point scores of all the lifters entered.  The USAWA points were adjusted to kilogram scores as the USAWA recorded the meet results in pounds while the IAWA(UK) recorded their scores in kilograms. 

This Postal Grip Challenge was initiated by myself and Mark Haydock.  I promoted the USAWA Grip Championships last weekend, and Mark promoted the IAWA(UK) Grip Championships the weekend before that.  We both prior agreed on the selected lifts being the same so this international  postal challenge could be conducted. 

There were many GREAT LIFTS performed in this challenge. But since we decided it would be based on average, that changes things.  A few great lifters won’t win it for ya, as everyone is instrumental in the outcome as their scores are worth just as much.  IAWA(UK) does deserve a consolation prize however, since there were 20 lifters entered in the IAWA(UK) Championships while the USAWA had only 16 lifters entered.   It was great to see some “new faces” entered in these competitions on both sides.  These two meets may end up being the best attended meets for both the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) in the future.

Remember – this is all in fun.  I know both sides could argue that the other side had advantages “here and there” in lift rules and scoring differences.  I know this postal challenge brought several issues “to head” that need to be addressed by IAWA in the future in order to keep consistency between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).  

Congrats to all lifters that took part in this Grip Postal Competition!!!

Postal Meets Announcement

by Al Myers

The USAWA Postal Meet schedule has been released for 2013!  The USAWA Official Postal Meet Director John Wilmot  has planned a challenging set of postal meets for the USAWA for the coming year. The USAWA quarterly postal series has been gaining in popularity, with this past year being the most participated series to date. John deserves a “BIG THANKS” for the work he puts into setting up these postal meets and doing the scoring. He always sends out nice certificates to recognize a lifters performance. And I want to mention this again – entering these postal meets is at NO CHARGE!

This year’s schedule is as follows:

Eastern Open Postal Meet
March 1st to March 31st

Middle Atlantic Postal Meet
June 1st to June 30th

Delaware Valley Postal Meet
September 1st to September 30th

National Postal Championships
December 1st to December 31st

The rules of entering postal meets are pretty simple:

1. Do all the lifts in ONE DAY only
2. Follow the rules of the USAWA as outlined in the USAWA Rulebook
3. Fill out the entry form correctly (must include signatures of officials)  and send it to John Wilmot
4. Submit the entry form by the deadline date
5. Be a current PAID UP member of the USAWA

That’s it – pretty simple. Anyone should be able to follow those simple rules, and if not, find a training partner who is smarter than yourself to do it for you. You may have anyone judge your lifts to score for the competition, but if you want your lifts to count for an USAWA record, this judge MUST be a USAWA Certified Official. Also, if you are not a USAWA member your results will be omitted from the websites results when I receive them, so it’s a good idea to join the USAWA before you send your postal meet results to John.

The entry forms for these Postal Meets are available under the heading ”USAWA Future Events”, which is located on the right side of the home page.

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers

DINO GYM RECORD DAY

Group picture from the 2013 Dino Gym Record Day: (front left to right) Dan Wagman, Ruth Jackson, Denny Habecker (back left to right) LaVerne Myers, Al Myers, Dean Ross, Mike Pringle

The Dino Gym had a very good Record Day the day following the Grip Championships.  6 lifters took part – Ruth Jackson, Dan Wagman, Dean Ross, Denny Habecker, LaVerne Myers,  and myself.  Ken Glasgow performed a record lift the day before which I added to these results.  I was surprised by the efforts that were displayed, especially considering that most all of these lifters had competed the day before. The current IAWA Womens OVERALL BEST LIFTER Ruth Jackson stole the show with her setting USAWA records in 30 different  lifts!  Just watching RJ max out in one lift after the other made me tired!  Dan Wagman had the lift that impressed me the most – doing a Pull Up with 120 pounds attached to his waist. The rules of the Pull Up call for the chin to be ABOVE the bar at completion, and the lifter must hold for a down command.  This makes doing a USAWA Pull Up MUCH harder than commonly performed pull ups by lifters in training sessions.  To properly judge this lift, it requires the official to stand on a chair to have a level view of the bar and the chin.  I made sure Dan reached the proper height.  I made a point to tell Dan that his big handlebar mustache was providing him an advantage, as it was obstructing (and distracting!)  my view of his chin! LOL.  The second most impressive lift I seen was my Dad, LaVerne, performing a PULL UP!!  I had no idea that he could do that!  However, I made him do another one with 5# so he could get a record.  Doing a lift with no weight doesn’t get you in the record list.  I bet there are VERY FEW  men over the age of 65 that weigh 250 pounds who can do a legal USAWA Pull Up. 

Dean Ross performed the Carter Lift with 433# pounds for USAWA Record.

Dean Ross picked a couple of odd lifts to do for records.  He performed a 1200# Back Lift, which is a lift that is not available to be done in most gyms. He also performed a Carter Lift, of 433#.  This lift is one of the strange, unique lifts of the USAWA.  It requires the performance of a Hip Lift and a Squat in the SAME LIFT!  Only one other lifter has a USAWA record in the Carter Lift, and that is Bob Maxey.  Dean told me the reason he wanted to do this lift was in Bob’s memory.  I remember the day that Bob did his Carter Lift and I also remember how nervous I was spotting him.  Dean had me worried as well when he started as he fell down a couple of times and I didn’t want this meet to be added to Dean’s list of head injuries that he has suffered in his life.  But eventually he got the balance right, and did a perfect executed Carter Lift.

Denny Habecker performed 10 lifts for record which will expand his lead over Art in the Records Race.  Last year at this record day Denny “took it easy” on the record book and only did a few records.  But this year he really went after it, and I don’t blame him as Art seems to be getting stronger with age.  Denny, Dean and LaVerne had a little “mini competition” in the 3″ bar deadlift.  Denny held with these two who are much bigger than him, and finished with a great lift of 280 pounds.

Afterwards, we all went out to eat together at a local Mexican restaurant in Abilene.   That has become a tradition of meets held at the Dino Gym.  I always enjoy getting to spend time with “fellow lifters” over some good food in a relaxed environment after a day of hard lifting, because that’s when I hear the BEST STORIES!

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
February 10th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

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

Loader: Mike Pringle and lifters

Lifts: Record Day

Ruth Jackson – Age 51, BWT 108#, Female

French Press: 25#
Pullover – Bent Arm: 63#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 130#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 95#
Gardner – Full: 15#
Gardner – Half: 45#
Abdominal Raise: 25#
Allen Lift: 15#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Hand: 68#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Hand: 68#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 153#
Continental to Chest – Fulton Bar: 63#
Deadlift – Trap Bar: 207#
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers: 25#
Snatch – On Knees: 45#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 55#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 63#
Maxey Press: 73#
Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar: 73#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 70#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 40#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 40#
Pullover – Straight Arm: 35#
Weaver Stick: 1#
Pullup: 25#
Chin Up: 25#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 45#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 45#
Saxon Snatch: 25#
Snatch – 2 Dumbbells: 50#

Al Myers – Age 46, BWT 241#

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 231#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 198#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 170#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 85#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 85#

Dan Wagman – Age 50, BWT 183#

Snatch – Left Arm: 125#
Pull Up: 120#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 110#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 110#

LaVerne Myers – Age 68, BWT 247#

Bench Press – Left Arm: 50#
Bench Press – Right Arm: 50#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 255#
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 45#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 45#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 170#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 170#
Deadlift – Reeves: 185#
Pull Up: 5#

Denny Habecker – Age 70, BWT 196#

Anderson Press: 175#
Clean and Jerk – Behind Neck: 143.3#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 280#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar: 113#
Clean and Press: 137.8#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 75#

Dean Ross – Age 70, BWT 269#

Deadlift – Trap Bar: 321#
Back Lift: 1200#
Deadlift – 3″ Bar: 280#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 148#
Deadlift – Reeves: 235#
Carter Lift: 433#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#

Ken Glasgow – Age 76, BWT 217#

Deadlift – Trap Bar: 302#

NOTES: All lifts and bodyweights recorded in pounds.

Grip Championships

by Al Myers

2013 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Troy Goetsch lifting 260 pounds on the One Hand 2" Vertical Bar Deadlift. Troy won BEST MENS OVERALL LIFTER at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships.

Since the first OFFICIAL USAWA Grip Championships in 2011, this meet has seen more lifters entered each year.  2011 had 8 lifters, 2012 had 11 lifters, and this year we had 16 lifters! If the Grip Championships continually experiences this type of growth it will not be long and this will be the most attended yearly meet in the USAWA. 

I was amazed at the quality of lifting that took place.  The Mens Division was STACKED.  Troy Goetsch, of Jobes Steel Jungle, came out as the BEST OVERALL MENS LIFTER in the end.   Ruth Jackson added another title to her USAWA resume with taking the BEST OVERALL WOMENS LIFTER.  Dan Wagman finished second overall, and LaVerne Myers surprised everyone with his third place overall finish.  I predicted there would be some ALL TIME RECORDS broken – and Troy made sure that happened!  His 255# Pinch Grip and his 260# 1 hand VB DL are now new USAWA All Time Records. He made these lifts look easy and performed them in impeccable form.  My next predication is that he will up both of these records within the next year.

Ken Glasgow (right) receiving his USAWA Grip Championship Award from meet director Al Myers (left).

Darren Barnhart had an excellent meet, and if not for Troy being present, would have had numbers at the very top.  Darren did a Pinch Grip with 250#, and had a very close miss at 275#.  He posted the second highest total (780 pounds) behind Troy’s total (860 pounds).  LaVerne Myers may have ended up in third, but he was NUMBER ONE for best dressed. He showed up sporting a new matching stylish short & shirt, complete with new lifting shoes. This must have given him a surge of confidence, because he ended the meet with a Personal Record in the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip of 300 pounds!  Ken Glasgow needs mentioned as well.  Ken was the oldest lifter that competed, at age 76. I was very impressed with his lifting.  Mike Pringle made his “USAWA debut” in this meet.  Mike lifted very well, and I hope to see more of him in USAWA competitions in the future. Denny Habecker came the farthest for the meet, from Lebanon, PA.  This makes the second meet in less than a month that Denny has attended at the Dino Gym! 

I have several people I want to personally thank.  First – my wife Leslie who made the lunch and provided numerous other meals to lifters over the weekend.  Next, I couldn’t have done this without the help of Chuck Cookson, who did ALL the loading.  Chuck laid off competing to load instead, which is critical for a meet to  run efficiently. I also want to mention Terry Barlet , who made the road trip with Denny.  I talked him into taking all the meet pictures.  I will have these pictures available on our USAWA Facebook Page later this week.   This Grip Championships had participants from several states – Kansas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  I felt VERY HAPPY about the success of the meet.  Thanks again to all those who attended!  It’s this type of support that keeps these events going in the USAWA.

(Dan Wagman video recorded the meet and has placed the videos on his website -  http://jopp.us/2013grip.html)

MEET RESULTS:

2013 Grip Championships
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
Saturday, February 9, 2013

Meet Director:   Al Myers

Scorekeeper/Timekeeper/Announcer:  Al Myers

Loader:  Chuck Cookson

Photographer:  Terry Barlet

Caterer:  Leslie Myers

Officials (3-official system used):  Al Myers (head), Denny Habecker, Darren Barnhart, LaVerne Myers, Mike Murdock, Chad Ullom

Lifts: Pinch Grip, Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand, Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PINCH VB DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 108 107 110R 135 352 539.1

 EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD:

Ruth Jackson: Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2″, Right Hand 120#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PIN VB DL TOT PTS
Troy Goetsch 26 199 240 260R 360 860 770.5
Dan Wagman 50 183 200 180R 280 660 688.4
LaVerne Myers 68 247 180 180R 300 660 679.6
Darren Barnhart 45 305 250 205R 325 780 595.5
Dave Glasgow 59 252 181 170R 275 626 593.5
Denny Habecker 70 193 125 130R 235 490 585.0
Chad Ullom 41 252 180 200R 326  706 568.9
Bryan Benzel 25 290 240 210R 320 770 567.9
Mark Mitchell 52 313 230 150R 325 705 567.8
Mike Pringle 37 193 150 165L 250 565 514.9
Ken Glasgow 76 217 100 135R 205 440 514.8
Dan Bunch 48 358 195 180L 330 705 514.3
Dean Ross 70 271 150 135R 230 515 514.2
Mike Murdock 72 206 100 110R 180 390 455.8
Doug Kressly 33 278 170 160R 250 580 436.7

 EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD:

Mike Pringle: Pinch Grip 175#
Dan Wagman: Pinch Grip 215#
Chad Ullom:  Pinch Grip 200#
Troy Goetsch: Pinch Grip 255#
LaVerne Myers: Pinch Grip 200#

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  R and L designate the right and left hands.  TOT is total pounds lifter.  PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight and age corrections.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS:

Womens Master:  Ruth Jackson
Womens Overall:  Ruth Jackson
Mens Senior 20-39: Troy Goetsch
Mens Master 40-44: Chad Ullom
Mens Master 45-49: Darren Barnhart
Mens Master 50-54: Dan Wagman
Mens Master 55-59: Dave Glasgow
Mens Master 65-69: LaVerne Myers
Mens Master 70-74: Denny Habecker
Mens Master 75-79: Ken Glasgow

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

“Joe the Turk” was the first “strongman” in Macomb Illinois. He came to town as a part of the Salvation Army, ran the crooked mayor and his henchmen out of town, and some accounts claim he actually took over the ousted mayors duties for a short period of time.  “Joe the Turk” holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army, and what better way to honor his memory but to host an OTSM in his memory.  The awards for this event will be unique collectors items bearing his likeness.  The meet with be held at the very same Salvation Army building that the Joe once called home.  Weather permitting the meet will take place outside. 

My daughter and I had a great time last year at the OTSM championships and thought it would be fun to host an OTSM in Macomb.  We will likely get a decent crowd of lifters from our gym but hope that more will make the trek to Macomb for some heavy lifting. 

MEET DETAILS:

DATE:      Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Location:  505 N. Randolph Street Macomb, IL 61455

Divisions: Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

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

Lifts:         Apollon’s Lift

                   Anderson Squat

                   Anderson Press

                   Peoples Deadlift

Weigh-in:    9:00-10:00 a.m. of meet day

Lifting:     10:00 a.m.

Entry Fee:                           $20, all profits benefit the Salvation Army lifting program

AWARDS:  For all weight and age classes

ENTRY FORM -  Joe the Turk OTSM 2013

Hey…Get a Grip

by Roger LaPointe

An Old Time Strongman curling a York 45 by the hub!!!

Check out this photo from the April 1941 Strength & Health Magzine. What you see is Tarzan Lunt, the weightlifting coach of the Harrisburg YMCA, curling a York 45 pound Olympic plate, by the HUB. Pretty cool.

Now, you want a good grip? Sure, the guy with a crushing hand shake is a jerk. Yet, wouldn’t it be nice if your grip were so rock solid that you had to deliberately NOT crush people’s hands? It’s not merely and issue of spending hours a day doing specific grip work. You have to have proper rest, recovery and variety in your grip training.

Today, I spoke with a juggler, who has been in the Guinness Book, about heavy juggling. He found that more than an hour a day with 5 pound juggling weights lead to tendonitis in his biceps tendon, at the elbow. However, 4 pounds was OK. Crazy. Right? Today, at 70 years old, he has found that he loves training with our solid wood Indian Clubs that weigh 1 1/2 pounds. Guys, that is really significant. Look up the weight for juggler’s clubs. Jugglers use materials that differ by ounces, the vast majority less than one pound in total weight.

Why are clubs important?

They develop wrist and forearm strength, combined with flexibility.  Then switch to something like grippers and thick bar work.

Fulton Bar Debate Continued

by Al Myers

Kevin Fulton performing a Deadlift - Fulton Bar of 555 pounds at the 2001 Old Settlers Classic.

I said I had more to say on this subject – so here it is. As most know, the USAWA has different  names than the IAWA(UK) for several of the same All Round Lifts.  There are also MANY rule differences between the USAWA Rulebook and the IAWA(UK) Rulebook.  The Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip is just one of many, with the main difference being the IAWA(UK) allows the Fulton Bar to be hooked gripped whereas the USAWA does not.  This does not apply to most lifters, but for those few that have big hands and long fingers it makes a HUGE difference. 

Before the 2009 USAWA Rulebook, some USAWA lifts had different names as well (which most still didn’t match the IAWA-UK names).  However, several lifts were renamed to give a more clear naming that properly described the lift being done.   I think this was a good thing.  It was at this time the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip become an official USAWA lift for the first time even though it had been contested several times in competition before this. 

I’m sure there are those that ask, “Why was this rule written this way, requiring a Ciavattone Grip?”.  Especially in the light that the IAWA(UK) already had a lift in their Rulebook with a comparable lift.  I am going to explain that, as I was a big part of this “updated USAWA Rulebook”.  The most important thing in establishing rules for any lift is this question – WHAT WAS THE INTENT OF THE LIFT?  The Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip (which the IAWA-UK calls the Two Hands Ciavattone Deadlift) was originally called the Two Hands Ciavattone Lift in the USAWA Rulebook.   This lift was introduced to the All Rounds by Frank Ciavattone, and it’s intent was to test the lifter in a overhand grip deadlift, without the use of a hook.  For most lifters, the limitation is the grip since a hook grip can not be used.  I know for myself that it amounts to close to 200 pounds difference in comparison to a overhand deadlift which I’m allowed to hook.   The lift Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip is an extension of that lift, with the difference being a Fulton Bar is substituted for a regular bar.  This change makes it even more of a grip lift, which is the INTENT of the lift. It’s meant to be a grip lift.  I would argue that by allowing a hook grip this intent is taken away.  Most grip competitions that use a 2″ bar for overhand deadlifting DO NOT allow a hook grip to be used for that EXACT REASON (like the recent Visegrip Viking Grip Competition at the LA Fit Expo where Mike Burke lifted an unbelievable 235 kilograms!). 

It is obvious to me that there was no clear communication between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) on this lift when the rules were written.   I say this because the ORIGINAL RULE for the USAWA Two Hand Fulton Deadlift was for a lift that allowed an alternate grip on a Fulton Bar under the rules of a deadlift (so hooking is allowed). The IAWA(UK)’s original rule for the exact same name, Two Hands Fulton Deadlift, was an entirely different lift requiring an overhand grip!  That’s a major difference, and one in which I think the IAWA(UK) got wrong.  Back to intent, the original Fulton Deadlift was intended to be done with an alternate grip on a Fulton Bar.  This is supported by the original rule in the USAWA Rulebook (along with the picture of Kevin Fulton originally performing it this way!).

Back to lift names, I will say the USAWA Rulebook definitely has clearer and more descriptive names than the IAWA(UK) Rulebook.  Anyone who reads the name Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip knows EXACTLY what is expected out of the lift by the name alone.  You really don’t even need to read the rules for it.  However, the IAWA(UK) name of Two Hands Fulton Deadlift can be misleading.   You MUST read the rule to fully understand what is expected out of the lift, and even then, it DOES NOT state whether a hook grip is allowed or not.  You just have to “assume” a hook is allowed, because it doesn’t say you can’t.  Assumptions have no place in a rulebook.  Rules should be clear and precise, and after reading a rule one should know EXACTLY what is allowed.  This also applies to the naming of the deadlift with a Fulton Bar allowing an alternate grip.  The USAWA has this lift named Deadlift – Fulton Bar.  That name is very clear – rules of the deadlift using a Fulton Bar.  The IAWA(UK) calls this lift Two Hands Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar, which is clear in name description, but leads to confusion as to why it is different than the other lift, the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift?  I remember this happening several years ago in the IAWA World Postal Meet hosted by the Australians.  One of the lifts contested was listed this way – Fulton Dead Lift with Smooth Bar. Well, when the results were turned in a couple of Americans performed the lift using an alternate grip instead of an overhand grip as intended.  Innocent mistake if you ask me considering the ambiguous naming of the lift.  These kind of things would NOT happen if all lifts had more descriptive names given to them.

I’m sure some of you are thinking that all this is just nonsense – and we should “just lift” and not worry about things.  But I want to see things improve to a point where we don’t have the problems associated with this kind of confusion between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).   Which brings me to my next task of the day – of contacting World Record Registrar Chris Bass and telling him that the my listed IAWA  WORLD RECORD in the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift of 215.5 kilograms was actually done with an alternate grip!!!   Point made.

Deanna Springs Memorial

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Deanna Springs Memorial Meet

Meet Director: Bill Clark & Joe Garcia

Date: Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Venue: Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Weigh-ins: 8 AM

Entry Fee: None

Entry Form: None

Awards: None

Membership: Must be a current USAWA Member

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

To enter, a confirmation must be sent to Bill Clark by the Tuesday preceding the meet. Bill can be reached by phone: 573-474-4510, Fax: 573-474-1449, or mail: Bill Clark, 3906 Grace Ellen Drive, Columbia, Missouri, 65202.

The Fulton Bar Debate

by Al Myers

This is a picture of Matt Graham pulling a 2" Bar Overhand Deadlift of 540 pounds at the 2001 SuperGrip Challenge hosted by Kevin Fulton. (photo courtesy of Dan Wagman, who was there and competed in the meet as well).

I always enjoy a good discussion/debate on anything All-Round in nature.  Well, these past couple of weeks there has been a very interesting discussion in the USAWA Discussion Forum regarding the Fulton Bar.  If you have missed it – before you read today’s story it might be worthwhile to check it out so you will be “up to speed” on the subject.  I usually try to stay neutral in my writings, and give out just the facts and stuff.  But today I’m going to include a few of my opinions of the subject as well.  So be prepared!  I’m also going to “highlight” a few of the things that have been discussed in the forum, and then give an editorial on them. I plan to “go beyond” any comments I made in my forum replies.  I will also not “name any names” as the opinions expressed here are strictly mine.  Read the forum if you want that other information.

I also will keep this story as to what actually applies to the USAWA/IAWA.  A little history on the Fulton Bar is in order first.  Most know that the Fulton Bar is named after grip-sensation, All-Round Weightlifting Champion Kevin Fulton.  Most DON’T know that originally the name was given to a dumbbell lift with a 2″ diameter handle.  Over 3 years ago I wrote a blog covering this (http://www.usawa.com/the-fulton-dumbbell-deadlift/), but I’m going to repeat a piece of it here as well, as this story needs to be told more than once:

Back in the early 80’s at a odd lifting meet in Liberal, Kansas, meet director Bob Burtzloffincluded a thick-handled dumbbell deadlift in the contest. This dumbbell had a smooth 2 inch diameter handle. Wilbur Miller, the “Cimarron Kid” and Kansas lifting legend, was the hands on favorite to win this event. Wilbur has huge hands with long fingers and was very rarely beaten in any lifting event that involved grip strength. But this day was one of those rare days – when a young farm boy from Nebraska by the name of Kevin Fulton pulled off the upset! Upon Fulton’s winning – Bill Clark announced that this lift would be forever named the Fulton Lift. This eventually lead to the naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar along with the Fulton Dumbbell. As for Wilbur – upon the finish of the event he went back to the warm-up area and proceeded to pull more on this lift than he did in competition. He went home knowing that he may not have won the event on this day, but with the satisfaction of knowing he would next time!

The naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar in the USAWA became named that way later.  I have checked back in old meet results, and to the best of my research have determined that the first Fulton Bar lifts done in the USAWA were performed in 1995.  Bob Hirsh, USAWA Hall of Famer, performed lifts at a couple of record days (Arts Birthday Bash & the Buckeye Record Breakers) using the Fulton Bar. He was one of the first record-setters.  At this point these lifts were called numerous things, like Fulton Deadlift with knuckles front, Fulton Deadlift Reverse Grip, Fulton Deadlift with Overgrip,  or Fulton Deadlift with alternate grip. Nothing was consistent.  The Fulton Bar Lifts really never “took off” in the USAWA till 1999 when Kevin Fulton started using the Fulton Bar  in his annual SuperGrip Challenges in Litchfield, Nebraska.  Now the story gets real interesting.  In the beginning in the USAWA the deadlift with the Fulton Bar using an Alternate Grip was called the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift!  Exactly the same name that the IAWA(UK) uses today to refer to the lift where an overhand grip (with hook) is used on the 2 inch bar!!!  This is backed up in several reliable sources – ie old entry forms, meet results, and even in the initial USAWA Rulebook!!!!

This comes directly from the 2003 USAWA Rulebook Edition (which is considered the original USAWA rulebook):

F23. Two-Hand Fulton Deadlift- The rules of the deadlift apply with two exceptions. 1.  The bar must be at least 1-15/16 inches in diameter. 2.  Foot placing is optional.  The hook grip is allowed. 

Nothing is mentioned about a Ciavattone Grip being used, or having the knuckles forward.  So you see – confusion in the naming of these lifts went back to the very  beginning. The USAWA lift Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip was not placed in the USAWA rulebook till the 2009 Edition.  However, it was contested several times in USAWA competition before then and records were being kept in it, which makes no sense to me because if it was not official in the Rulebook with established approved written rules then it shouldn’t be present in the Official Record List.  But back then the  USAWA operated like the Wild West – no written law and the guy with the fastest draw was named Sheriff.  Policies seemed to change on a whim and the town folks weren’t asked.

Which brings us to the TOP ALL-TIME Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip in the USAWA Record List. This GREAT RECORD is held by Matt Graham with a 540 lb. lift performed at the 2001 SuperGrip Challenge held at Kevin Fulton’s place.  However, he did this lift by using a hook grip on the 2″ bar!!!!  I have knowledge of this from very several reliable sources (including from Matt!).  First of all, anyone who can hook grip a Fulton Bar is in a “class of their own” as most can’t even touch fingers on it.   I’m going to defend Matt here.  First of all, when he did it it WAS NOT against any USAWA Rule, and is not his fault at all that it is now in the USAWA Record List.  The lift was listed in the meet results as “2″ deadlift overhand”, and the meet results were typed by Kevin Fulton himself.   Kevin was too humble to even identify the lift correctly (ie Fulton Deadlift) that beared his name in the results !!!   The problem arises when these results were put into the record list without a proper rule in place first.  With no official rule – the lift is just an exhibition lift with the rules set at the moment by the meet director, which may change the next time the lift is contested.  Of course, there could have been others that “hooked” the Fulton Bar in this meet (I doubt it!) and set USAWA records as well, but because it was not 540 pounds no one notices.  This includes other meets as well during that time  period. Again, the first written USAWA rule for the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip came out in the 2009 Rulebook (3rd Edition) and these previous records just got “incorporated” into  the Record List under the new name. 

I know I have gotten extremely “long winded” with all this, and I’m sure most have quit reading by now. But I’ve just covered some of the history of the Fulton Bar and I haven’t even GOT to my opinions yet!!!  I still have MUCH MORE I could say on this subject, but I guess I better save it for another day….

USAWA Signature Events

by Al Myers

One of the terms that Bill Clark often used in his Strength Journals was the expression “Signature Events”.  What exactly is meant by this?  I always took it to mean events/competitions that were the most important ones in the USAWA.  Obviously, this changes with time.  In the past few years the USAWA has began to offer yearly CHAMPIONSHIPS that recognize specialities within the organization.  I would say that these Championships are the signature events in the USAWA today.  These events symbolize the BEST of the BEST – and gives each lifter the chance to prove to the USAWA that they are indeed a champion.

The USAWA offers 8 different Championships.  With the USAWA Grip Championships being held tomorrow, I want to remind everyone of it’s importance and why if you are an all-rounder who excels in grip lifts this is a meet you should be at so you have the opportunity to be in the running for the USAWA Grip Champion!!!

USAWA SIGNATURE CHAMPIONSHIP  EVENTS

CHAMPIONSHIP YEARLY DATE LOCATION DIRECTOR
Grip Championships 2nd weekend of Feb. Dino Gym Al Myers
Club Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of March Ambridge John McKean
Heavy Lift Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of May rotates rotates
National Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of June rotates rotates
Presidential Cup 1st or 2nd weekend of Aug Habeckers Gym Denny Habecker
Team Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of Aug Dino Gym Al Myers
Old Time Strongman Championships November JWC Thom Van Vleck
Postal Championships December Postal John Wilmot

 

The DADDY of all these Championships is the USAWA National Championship.  The reason  is that it recognizes the best ALL-ROUND lifters in the organization.  It contains a selection of ANY lift within the organization (out of around 200), and often contains a good balance of all types of lifting.  A few years ago I had a good discussion with Dale Friesze (and we ALL KNOW Dale doesn’t mind sharing his opinions! LOL), and he felt the name NATIONALS should just be used for the National Championships to identify its significance as the only “true” Nationals in the USAWA.  Well, I couldn’t argue with him so from that point on I have been referring to our yearly BIG MEET as the National Championships and the rest of these important meets as the Championships. This hasn’t always been the case, and in years past meets like the Heavy Lift Championships was called the Heavy Lift Nationals. But from now on it will be called the Heavy Lift Championships.

Each of these other Championships represent unique areas within the USAWA.  The Grip Championships only includes official USAWA lifts that test the grip, the Heavy Lift Championships contain only Heavy Lifts, and the Old Time Strongman Championships only include OTSM lifts. The Club Championships is unique in that it recognizes the top performing USAWA club, as it scored using a team score of 3 club members added together. The Presidential Cup is hosted by the USAWA President to recognize a top Record Day performer. Think of it as the Championships of Record Days.  The Team Championships is the championships that recognizes Team Lifting (2-man, 2-women, 2-person).  The Postal Championships recognizes the top performers in the postal meets.  The beauty of having these different Championships is that if you have special skills in lifting you can find an avenue in which you can compete in a specialized Championship.  It’s just one of the ways that the USAWA gives opportunities to lifters who like to specialize in the different areas of all-round strength.

As secretary, it is my job to sanction events/competitions.  Since these are our organizations most important events (ie Signature Events) I try not to allow other meets to be sanctioned on the same day as one of our Championships.  I know this hasn’t always been the case, but from now on I will try to make sure there are no other USAWA meet conflicts on the same day as one of these Championships.  Now since I have announced the “yearly dates” of these Championships, the Championships have “first dibs” on those dates for sanction.  This way no one will have any USAWA reason NOT to attend any of the USAWA Championships!

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 USAWA HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS

Heavy Lift Championship's meet promoter Frank Ciavattone performing a 1515 pound Hand and Thigh Lift at a meet a few years ago.

I am very glad to announce that the Heavy Lift Championships will be returning to Walpole, Massachusetts for this year.  Frank Ciavattone will be hosting this years Championships.  As most of you know, Frank has been one of the most active MAJOR meet promoters throughout the years in the USAWA.  Frank has promoted numerous other Heavy Lift Championships so seeing this meet “return home” is a good feeling.  I have NO DOUBT that Frank will make this years event a glorious occasion and a fun experience for everyone who attends.

The events contested in this year’s Heavy Lift Champs will be: Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, and the Hip Lift.  It will be held in Frank’s gym, but he has told me that if the weather is nice it might be held outside.  The entry fee is $55, payable to Frank.  All rules of USAWA Championship events will be in place, i.e. USAWA scoring,  individual class and age awards,  as well as Best Lifter Age Group Awards. 

I have been to Frank’s promotions (which is what they are – as the day extends far more than the meet itself), and I can personally guarantee that Frank will put on a TOP NOTCH EVENT.  Frank plans to have a back-yard cook out after the Championships, which I hope includes a little of that fabulous Italian food the Ciavattone Family has been known for!!!  I’m planning on going just for the food!!!

MEET DETAILS:

DATE: Saturday, May 4th, 2013

LOCATION:  Frank’s Barbell Club

LIFTS CONTESTED: Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift

WEIGH INS: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  Lifting at 10:00 AM

ENTRY FEE:  $55, deadline is April 19th, 2013

DIVISIONS:  Juniors, Women, Masters, Seniors, and Open

AWARDS:  For all weight and age classes

MEET INFORMATION SHEET (PDF):  2013 Heavy Lift Championships Information

MEET ENTRY FORM (PDF):  2013 Heavy Lift Championships Entry Form

Rules for the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

by Al Myers

Scottish grip sensation Andy Tomlin performing the Deadlift - Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip, or is he doing the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift? Andy's best in this lift is 165.5 kilograms.

This will be the third and final lift in the USAWA Grip Championships.  It is a lift that has been contested often in the USAWA, and has been part of past Grip Championships.  This lift was also a lift in the 2011 IAWA World Championships in Australia.  The USAWA Rules for the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip is:

F7.  Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

The rules of the Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip apply except a Fulton Bar is used.

B3.  Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

The rules of the Deadlift apply except a Ciavattone Grip must be used.  A Ciavattone Grip is an overhand grip in which the palms of both hands are facing the lifter. No hooking of the thumb and fingers is allowed.

I was having a facebook discussion the other day with a good friend from Scotland, Andy Tomlin. We were discussing this lift, and it was pretty clear that we were having a “language barrier” in our conversation.  The reason for this was the difference in nomenclature in how this lift is named in the USAWA vs. the IAWA(UK).  I have a difficult time understanding Andy when we are visiting “face to face”, but add in different names for things and corresponding through internet messaging, and things get really confusing.  I’ve been over this before in prior blogs on this lift, but I think some defining of terms are still in order. 

First of all, the USAWA defines the 2 inch bar as the Fulton Bar whereas the IAWA(UK) uses this term for two bar lifts only – the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift and the One Hand Fulton Barbell Deadlift.  The USAWA Rulebook, in Section VI. 23., gives  this definition of the Fulton Bar:

23.  The Fulton Bar (2” Bar) must meet the following specifications.

  •  The diameter of the bar must be a minimum of 1 15/16 inches.
  • The bar may be a pipe or a solid steel shaft.
  • There must be no rotation to the sleeves of the bar.
  •  The minimum distance between the inside collars is 51 inches.
  • The maximum distance between the inside collars is 58 inches. 
  • The minimum total length must not be less than 7 feet.
  • There must not be any knurling on the bar.
  • The weight of the bar must be clearly marked.
  • The bar must be straight 

This means in the USAWA any official lift in which the Fulton Bar is used, the Fulton Bar name is used in its naming.  This is not the case with the IAWA(UK) rules however.  An example would be a simple snatch using a bar that meets the above specs, the USAWA would have the lift named “Snatch – Fulton Bar” where the IAWA(UK) name would be “Two Hands Snatch – 2 Inch Bar”.  Now back to the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip and the Deadlift – Fulton Bar and the difference in names between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).  This chart compares the difference in naming:

USAWA NAME IAWA(UK) NAME
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip Two Hands Fulton Deadlift
Deadlift – Fulton Bar Two Hands Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar

The USAWA lift Deadlift – Fulton Bar and the IAWA(UK) lift Two Hands Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar is the same lift, which allows the use of an alternate grip on the bar vs. The Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip and the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift require an overgrip on the bar, with knuckles facing away from the lifter.   But there’s more!!!!  There is ONE rule difference for this lift!  The USAWA defines that this lift be done with a Ciavattone Grip. The Ciavattone Grip is defined in the glossary of the USAWA Rulebook as:

Ciavattone Grip – This is a grip where the knuckles are facing away from the lifter, and the palms are facing the lifter.  The thumbs and fingers must not be hooked in any manner.

The IAWA(UK) does not recognize this definition in their rulebook for multiple different lifts.  The use of Ciavattone is limited to the naming of just two IAWA(UK) lifts – the Two Hands Ciavattone Deadlift and the One Hand Ciavattone Deadlift.  Both of these lifts require the same criteria as the USAWA – namely overhand grip and NO HOOK!  However, this does NOT apply to the IAWA(UK)  Two Hands Fulton Deadlift.  Under the IAWA(UK) rules this lift can be hooked,whereas under USAWA rules it CAN NOT.   Does this affect very many lifters?  Probably not – but for guys that got fingers long enough to hook a 2″ bar it can make a huge difference!

Lifter of the Month: Art Montini

by Al Myers

The Lifter of the Month for the first month of 2013 goes to ART MONTINI!

Art Montini (right) receiving his meet award at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge from meet promoter Al Myers (left).

In the January, only one USAWA event was contested – The Dino Gym Challenge.  This meet featured a selection of Old Time Strongman lifts (Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, and the Peoples Deadlift).  It was definitely a heavy-weight challenging competition of events.  I was surprised to even see our “senior member” of the USAWA Art Montini show up to take on this type of meet.  And not only did he complete all these joint-shearing lifts, he excelled in them!  He put up great lifts: Anderson Squat 209 pounds, Hackenschmidt Floor Press 120 pounds, and Peoples Deadlift 306 pounds.  Art at age 85, lifts like a man much younger and certainly was an inspiration to anyone who was fortunate to watch him on this day.   That earned him the Lifter of the Month against a field of very strong younger lifters.  Art also was one of the lifters who traveled the farthest for this meet (from Pittsburgh), which shows his dedication to the USAWA.  Congrats Art – you earned it.

2012 Postal Meet Series

by Al Myers

2012 USAWA Postal Series Champions - Gabby Jobe (left) and Chad Ullom (right).

For the second year now, the USAWA has recognized the “overall” winners from the USAWA Postal Series, which consists of the 4 quarterly postal meets offered throughout the year. I will give a review of how this is scored.  For each meet entered a participant receives points depending on their placing which then “adds up” to a final year total, that determines the Postal Series ranking.  The points earned are based on the number of entrants in each postal meet.  For example, if 10 lifters are entered, the winner receives 10 points and the last place finisher receives 1 point.  This way EVERYONE who enters is guaranteed to earn at least a point toward their year end total.  The Postal Championships are worth DOUBLE POINTS, because it is the Championship afterall and is the pinnacle of the yearly postal meets.

This year was a great year for the USAWA Postal Series.  I am glad to see how this program has taken “a foothold” in the USAWA.   Much of this is due to the efforts of John Wilmot, who FINALLY was given an official title by the USAWA.  Last year at the annual meeting of the USAWA, John was appointed by the membership the official title USAWA Postal Meet Director.  This position was added to the USAWA bylaws outlining the duties which John has done an excellent job of upholding. John sends out certificates to each winner following the individual postal meets, and provides me with a tallied result sheet in a timely manner to be published on the website.  I want to mention as well that this entire program is ran on a “shoe string” budget.  Heck – there’s not even a budget since there is no entry fees charged to the entrants and thus NO INCOME to fund it!!!

Now for the BIG WINNERS of the 2012 Postal Meet Series:

WOMEN – Gabby Jobe

MEN – Chad Ullom

WOMENS TOP THREE PLACINGS

1.  Gabby Jobe –  5 points
2.  Molly Myers – 3 points
3.  Bri Ullom – 2 points

MENS TOP TEN PLACINGS

1.  Chad Ullom – 66 points
2.  Orie Barnett – 56 points
3.  Troy Goetsch – 51 points
4. Bryan Benzel – 47 points
5.  Sam Rogers – 39 points
6.  Eric Todd – 36 points
7.  Jesse Jobe – 30 points
8.  Joe Ciavattone Jr. – 28 points
9.  Tim Songster – 25 points
10.  Les Cramer – 25 points

Altogether, there were 24 total lifters that competed in at least one of the Postal Series Meets.  This included 21 men, and 3 women (or girls!).  I always want to mention the lifters that competed in ALL of the postal meets offered during the year – this year that included 6 lifters!  So special recognition for this commitment goes to Chad Ullom, Orie Barnett, Sam Rogers, Denny Habecker, Gabby Jobe, and the Postal Meet Director himself John Wilmot.

It was a great year for the USAWA Postal Meets!  I hope the coming year will yield the same (or better!) response.  Within the next few days I will release the details and entry forms for the upcoming 2013 Postal Meets.

Cancer Benefit by Powerhouse Gym

(WEBMASTER:  The Powerhouse Gym in Burton, England recently did a weightlifting fundraiser for Breast Cancer and Cancer Research.  The following writeup was done by Steve on the IAWA(UK) Facebook page, but I feel it is noteworthy to on the USAWA website as well.  Well done to Powerhouse Gym!!!)

by Steve Gardner

Powerhouse Gym Charity Weightlifting Record Attempt

Participants in the Charity Benefit from the Powerhouse Gym.

At 6pm on Monday 14th January 2013, ten members of the Powerhouse Gym took part in an epic attempt to lift as much weight as they could in three hours and nine minutes: as per the IAWA World Record criteria. The event was run to raise money for Charity as well as for the individuals to attempt to set new records in the lift. To complete the challenge the lifters used the hand and thigh lift with varying weights from 50, 100 and 150 kilos for repetitions. As the event proceeded the lifters grip started to suffer and were callouses torn, with a great added pressure on the referees and organising officials as the constant counting and officiating of all the repetitions, and keeping the lifting to a regular order, making sure every attempt w…as properly completed and recorded, took its toll. The last 30 minutes was at fever pitch as lifters used every last ounce of enthusiasm to complete as many lifts as possible within the time, and when it was all over the officials and lifters were mentally shattered as well as physically.

Promotion for the Charity Lift Off.

At the end of the event, the team had amassedan amazing total of One Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty One Thousand and Seven Hundred Kilos (1,981,700.00) a mind boggling amount. Karen and Steve the main organisers of the event are very proud of the lifters who completed the challenge and now hope to be IAWA record holders with: Paula De La Mata 45,500.00 Jason Dorn 199,250.00 Graham Saxton 182,000.00 Mark Price 264,000.00 Simon 232,000.00 Luke Davis 268,000.00 James Gardner 300,000.00 and John Gardner 337,000.00.

Hopefully the team will have raised a good sum of money for Breast Cancer and Cancer research and we will keep people informed once we have the grand total, and Karen will arrange for a representative from the Cancer unit at Burton Hospital to come along and receive the money – Once again..Well done all, and a big thanks to all who sponsored the team!!

Rules for the Pinch Grip

by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell, of the Dino Gym, lifting 252# in the Pinch Grip at the 2012 Dino Gym Record Day. This is the ALL TIME best Pinch Grip in the history of the USAWA.

The first lift conducted in the USAWA Grip Championships will be the Pinch Grip.  This lift is in the rulebook under “Special Equipment Lifts”.  The reason for this is that the “special equipment” is the plates themselves – as that is what is used to pinch to make the lift.  The USAWA rules for the Pinch Grip are as follows:

I15.  Pinch Grip

The setup for this lift requires two metal plates joined together with smooth surfaces facing outward. A bar may be placed between the plates to hold them together, and should be long enough to add plates to it. Front hang or back hang is allowed to the loading of the center bar.  Collars should be used on this bar. The lifter’s fingers must not touch any added plates. The width of the two plates joined together must be between 2 ¼ inches and 2 ½ inches. The lifter will straddle the weight, with the weight being placed in front of the lifter. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise.  The lifter will then grip the plates with both hands on the top of both plates. The palms of the hands must be facing the lifter. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight must be lifted to a point where the lifter’s legs are straight and the body upright. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to lower the weight.

At the Grip Champs, we will use two old york 45# plates as the “gripping plates” with a VB holding them together. You will like these plates for this lift because these are the old “milled” York Plates.  If you don’t know why these are better, you soon will when you get your mitts on them.   I do have some 35# plates if less weight is going to be lifted. I also want to emphasize that the only substance that may be used on the hands is chalk.  I will be watching this closely!!  The rules do not specify whether the arms can be bent or not - so that means they may be bent during the lift. 

Below are the Overall Mens USAWA records in the Pinch Grip.  I expect to see several of these get broken at the USAWA Grip Championships!!!

WT CLASS LIFT LIFTER DATE MEET
70 100 Howard, Colby 5/23/1999 99 Super Grip Challenge
75 135 Jaeschke, Jon 10/18/2003 2003 Super Grip Challenge
80 150 Jaeschke, Chris 10/19/2002 2002 SuperGrip
85 190 Wagman, Dan 12/1/2012 2012 Gracie Club RD
90 170 Goetsch, Troy 5/20/2012 2012 Jobes Steel Jungle RD
95 170 Fulton, Doug 5/23/1999 99 Super Grip Challenge
100 162 Edwards, Ben  2/12/2011 2011 Grip Championships
105 204 Glass, Adam 3/3/2012 2012 Minnesota Meet
110 170 Capello, Mac 5/20/2012 2012 Jobes Steel Jungle RD
115 175 Carlton, Brian 9/16/2001 2001 Supergrip Challenge
120 200 Graham, Matt 10/19/2002 2002 SuperGrip
125 200 Graham, Matt 10/18/2003 2003 Super Grip Challenge
125+ 252 Mitchell, Mark 2/12/2012 2012 Dino Gym Record Day

 

NOTES:  The record lift are recorded in pounds.

Rules for the VB DL – 1 bar, 2″, One Hand

by Al Myers

Andrew Durniat's 250 pound Vertical Bar Deadlift - 1 Bar, 2", One Hand at the 2010 USAWA Grip Championships. Andrew was the first lifter in the USAWA to exceed 250 pounds in this lift.

This is a lift that has been contested before in the USAWA Grip Championships.  It is a very popular grip lift, and I know the favorite of several.  For those of you that may have performed Vertical Bar Lifts in other organizations, pay attention to the USAWA rules for it.  They are quite different and may affect the amount of weight you can lift.  The USAWA rules for the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand is as follows:

I23.  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1”, One Hand

The setup for this lift requires a Vertical Bar, which is a bar of one inch diameter with a maximum length of 18 inches. A collar or plate must be tightly fastened or welded to the bottom so plates may be added to the bar.  No knurling is allowed on the bar. The lifter may straddle the weight or have it placed to the lifter’s side. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar.  The forearm is not allowed to touch the bar. The lifting hand must not touch the body during the lift, but the weight may accidentally touch the legs provided it does not aid in the lift. The non-lifting hand may be braced on the leg or body during the lift, but must be free from the body at the completion of the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The body must then straighten, lifting the Vertical Bar from the platform. The legs must be straight and knees locked at the completion of the lift, but the shoulders and body do not need to be erect. The lifting hand must be above the level of mid-thighs at the completion of the lift. Any rotation of the bar must be completely stopped. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

I24.  Vertical Bar Deadlift -1 Bar, 2”, One Hand

The rules of the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1Bar, 1”, One Hand apply except a two inch diameter Vertical Bar is used.

I have covered this lift in several past  USAWA Daily News blogs.  I will help you out here with the search on these, as I think “refreshing” yourself on this lift may prove to be beneficial to your performance.  In several of these Vertical Bar  blogs, tips were given out.

1.  This blog was written on February 10th, 2010 by me and it outlines some of the historical significance of the VB, plus has a cool picture of Ben Edwards lifting the “then record” of 235 pounds.

http://www.usawa.com/tag/vertical-bar/

2.  This blog was written on September 2nd, 2011 by Ben Edwards. Ben gives out some training tips en route to his new record of 251 pounds.

http://www.usawa.com/2-vertical-bar-training-tips/

3.  This blog was written by me on November 5th, 2011 .  Most of it is about the 2 BAR VB DL, but some of it applies to the 1 BAR VB DL. However, most of it is myself complaining about the differences between the USAWA and IAWA rules on this lift!!!

http://www.usawa.com/vertical-bar-deadlift-2-bars-2/

Past History of the ALL-TIME USAWA RECORD in the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, One Hand:

RECORD LIFTER DATE LOCATION
168  Jim Welsh 11/2/2003 2003 Gold Cup
185  Bob Hirsh 11/23/2003 Jump Stretch RD
200  Frank Ciavattone 6/5/2004 2004 Nationals
224  Scott Schmidt 6/25/2005 2005 Nationals
231  Frank Ciavattone 10/10/2005 Franks Record Day
235  Ben Edwards 11/22/2009 Clarks Record Day
250 Andrew Durniat 2/13/2010 2010 Grip Champs
251 Ben Edwards 8/28/2011 Dino Days RD
253 Adam Glass 3/3/2012 Minnesota Meet
255 Troy Goetsch 5/20/2012 Jobes Steel Jungle RD

NOTES:  All records recorded in pounds.

As far as I can find, Jim Welsh was the first lifter to do this lift in official competition.  The VB DL – 2 Bars was done in several competitions over a few years before the one hand version was contested.  Frank Ciavattone was the first lifter to break the 200# barrier, and held the record for the longest period (2005-2009).   The past two years have seen the most activity with big lifts and new ALL TIME records being established.  Andrew Durniat was the first lifter to exceed 250 pounds.  Troy Goetsch currently holds the best mark.  I have witnessed and/or judged the record lifts by Ben Edwards, Adam Glass, and Andrew Durniat.  My training partners Scott Tully and Darren Barnhart judged Troy’s lift, and they have assured me that it was officiated according to the same standards as the others.  These four grip masters are still at the top of their game – and I would just LOVE to see them together in the same USAWA competition to decide once and for all, who is the BEST in the USAWA at the One Hand 2″ VB DL!!!

Past IAWA Officers

by Al Myers

These past few months I have been working on a project.  I have been trying to develop a historical archive of the past IAWA Officers.  This has not been an easy task – as this information has not been located in a single source, but rather, multiple sources.  After searching through many past USAWA Strength Journals, IAWA(UK) Strength Journals, past IAWA World Meeting minutes, and talking to individuals who held office, I finally think I have this list complete.  If anyone notices any errors in this list – please let me know so I can get to the “bottom of it” and make the proper corrections.  This archive will be kept on the USAWA website under the “history” section for future reference.  I especially want to thank Steve Gardner, Frank Allen, and Chris Bass for their help in getting this project done. 

————————————————————————–

Elected October 5th, 2012 – Salina, Kansas, USA

IAWA PRESIDENT

Al Myers, United States

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

Denny Habecker, United States
Chad Ullom, United States
Steve Gardner, England
George Dick, Scotland
Peter Phillips, Australia
Robin Lukosius, Australia

IAWA RECORD REGISTRAR

Chris Bass, England

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Dennis Mitchell - Chairman, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Al Myers, United States
Steve Gardner, England
Steve Sherwood, England
Peter Phillips, Australia

————————————————————————————————

Elected October 3rd, 2008 – Barton under Needwood, England

IAWA PRESIDENT

Steve Gardner, England

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

John Vernacchio, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Mike Archer, England
William Wright, Scotland
Frank Lamp, Australia

IAWA RECORD REGISTRAR

Chris Bass, England

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Dennis Mitchell – Chairman, United States
John Vernacchio, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Steve Gardner, England
Bill Chapman, Australia
Steve Sherwood, England

IAWA MEDICAL COMMITTEE

Joe Caron – Chairman, United States

———————————————————————————

Elected October 1st, 2004 – Burton on Trent, England

IAWA PRESIDENT

Steve Gardner, England

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

John Vernacchio, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Mike Archer, England
William Wright, Scotland
Frank Lamp, Australia

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Dennis Mitchell – Chairman, United States
John Vernacchio, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Steve Gardner, England
Bill Chapman, Australia
Steve Sherwood, England

IAWA MEDICAL COMMITTEE

Joe Caron – Chairman, United States

———————————————————————————————————–

Elected September 1st, 2000 – Walpole, Massachusetts, United States

IAWA PRESIDENT

Howard Prechtel, United States
(Steve Gardner, England, was appointed the duties of President in 2001 after Howard Prechtel’s resignation)

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

John Vernacchio, United States
Frank Lamp, Australia
William Wright, Scotland
Mike Archer, England
Steve Gardner, England

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Dennis Mitchell – Chairman, United States
John Vernacchio, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
Steve Gardner, England
William Wright, Scotland
Steve Sherwood, England

IAWA MEDICAL COMMITTEE

Joe Caron – Chairman, United States

——————————————————————-

September 20th, 1996 – Glasgow, Scotland

IAWA PRESIDENT

Howard Prechtel, United States

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

Frank Lamp, Australia
Mike Archer, England
William Wright, Scotland
Steve Gardner, England
John Vernacchio, United States

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Dennis Mitchell – Chairman, United States
Denny Habecker, United States
John Vernacchio, United States
Steve Gardner, England
Steve Sherwood, England
William Wright, Scotland

IAWA MEDICAL COMMITTEE

Joe Caron – Chairman, United States
Steve Sherwood, England

————————————————————————————————-

Elected September 11th, 1992 – Twickenham, London, England

IAWA PRESIDENT

Frank Allen, England

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY

John McKean, United States

IAWA TREASURERS

Bill Clark, United States
Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENTS

Frank Lamp, Australia
Mike Archer, England
William Wright, Scotland
Steve Gardner, England
Frank Ciavattone, United States
John Vernacchio, United States
Howard Prechtel, United States

IAWA TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Mike Archer – Chairman, England
Adrian Blindt, England
Bob Smith, England
Ken Edge, England
Art Montini, United States
Bob Moore, United States

IAWA RESEARCH COMMITTEE

Bill Clark – Chairman, United States
Joe McCoy, United States
Tom Ryan, United States
Terry Todd, United States
Frank Lamp, Australia
Frank Allen, England

IAWA MEDICAL COMMITTEE

John McKean – Chairman, United States
Roger Lynch, United States
Joe Caron, United States
Adrian Blindt, England
Steve Sherwood, England

—————————————————-

Self Appointed July 1st, 1987

IAWA PRESIDENT

Bill Clark, United States

IAWA GENERAL SECRETARY/TREASURER

Frank Allen, England

IAWA VICE PRESIDENT

Jon Carr, United States

IAWA REGISTRAR

Joe McCoy, United States

IAWA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Bill Clark, United States
Jon Carr, United States
Frank Allen, England
Joe McCoy, United States
Tony Cook, England
Clive Nevis, England
Frank Lamp, Australia
Teddy Kaplan, Israel

An Atmosphere of Strength

by Roger LaPointe

Prints available from Atomic Athletic.

Creating an atmosphere of strength is hard to do, in today’s world.

More people are lifting weights than ever before, but strong people are still called “dinosaurs” and lifting heavy weights is called “old school”. It’s no wonder that desk jockeys are flocking to obstacle course races and other events that are considered tough.

Humans need a challenge.

We also need a place to train for that physical challenge. It’s not politically correct to say that we need to push ourselves. There are some of us left that don’t want to be in a contest where everyone gets a medal. We actually want to know who did the best and what was that best lift or the best time, because those of us who crave a challenge want to beat that guy in the next event.

If this is you, then you need to build the most useful and inspiring training atmosphere that you can. This concept applies to what you have on the walls of your gym. One of the charts you need is a Kilo Conversion Chart. You don’t want to enter that next contest to find that they are using kilos and you lift in pounds, or vise versa, and you don’t know what your opening attempts should be.

Check it out:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=POSCP1

Don’t delay. Start your personal challenge now.

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

Postal Championships

by Al Myers

USAWA National Postal Championships

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

Entry form must be postmarked by January 5th, 2014

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee: None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book

Lifts:

Clean and Jerk – One Arm

Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat

Deadlift – Heels Together

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – 2013 National Postal Championships Entry Form

Delaware Valley Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet

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

Entry form must be postmarked by October 5th, 2013

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee: None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book

Lifts:

Clean and Press – 12″ Base

Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm

Deadlift – 2 Bars 

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

Middle Atlantic Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Middle Atlantic Open Postal Meet

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

Entry form must be postmarked by July 5th, 2013

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee: None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book

Lifts:

Press – From Rack

Curl – Reverse Grip

Hack Lift

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

Eastern Open Postal

by Al Myers

USAWA Eastern Open Postal Meet

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

Entry form must be postmarked by April 5th, 2013

Must be a current USAWA member to be eligible for competition

Entry Fee: None

Official USAWA rules apply as outlined in the Rule Book

Lifts:

Snatch – One Arm

Clean and Press

Jefferson Lift

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

My Training Adventure in Graduate School

by Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, of the JWC, pulling a 604 pound Peoples Deadlift at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge, his first USAWA competition. (caption courtesty of the webmaster)

I am a graduate student at A.T. Still University, an Osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people while working on my master’s degree. I have also found the time and motivation to re-discover my passion for weightlifting. This is something I had been away from for many years prior to moving to Missouri. One of the people I have formed a great friendship with is Thom Van Vleck. Thom has written a story about the Osteoblasters before and I’d like to extend upon it. Thom has introduced me to the USAWA and Highland Games, both of which I have come to love for the competition and camaraderie. A few weeks ago I was able to experience my first USAWA event at The Dino Gym and this was just awesome! Well, that’s a little about me, now, on to my story.

“You are your own first healer”… “I am my own first patient”… These principles are repeated hundreds of times throughout the educational adventure known as medical school. However, the time crunch and fast paced learning environment make it very difficult for students to truly embrace this attitude. It seems as though one of the first things to be put on the back burner is personal health and wellness, especially when it takes so much time, commitment, and energy to stay afloat in such a demanding curriculum. Motivation quotes are plastered throughout the internet but one of the easiest to believe, and one of my favorites is that “a one hour workout is only four percent of your day, no excuses.” This is the very attitude that is pushed at A.T. Still University by the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club (OWC). I put in so much time and work to officially establish the OWC as a University club because I honestly believe that the benefits of exercise go far beyond the body; to the mind and spirit. This trifecta, “Body, Mind, and Spirit” is another principle that is mentioned countless times at any Osteopathic medical institution. With the help of Thomas Van Vleck, the director of counseling, Dan Martin, the director of the Thompson Campus Center and Jared Nichols, a medical student, I was able to see my dreams for this club come true.

Mike performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press. He was one of only 3 lifters who exceeded 400 pounds at the meet. (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster).

With the New Year (2012), came the beginning of the Osteoblasters. I started to design a fitness approach that would be fun, effective, and fit within the confines of about an hour. Even if I could reach out to only a dozen students I was going to consider this a successful endeavor. I designed a blend of circuit training, powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman training, Crossfit, and I even incorporated exercises to promote the maintenance of basic movement skills, and what I came up with has evolved into the “Osteoblasters.” If people who cherish time so much are willing to devote an hour to me several times a week I figured I owed it to them to make every minute worthwhile.

At the end of my grueling workout, with several people near complete exhaustion, some people seemingly in pain, I walked around to ensure that everyone was okay and get some feedback. What I got back were “high-fives”, some “wows”, and even some comments that are inappropriate to put in print. Thinking I may have scared some people away I prepared for the next class to be smaller and have less energy overall. What actually happened was over 50 people showed up! It did not take more than a few days for the word to spread about how great this “Osteoblasters” program was and how much everyone enjoyed the challenge. I was in no way prepared for this influx of people and was forced to scramble to adapt a workout that would accommodate fifty or so people. It was not easy but I made it happen.

This blend of so many exercise styles seems to be appealing to everyone. We are not training for a competition, a race, or even to get better at a sport, we are training for life. Everyone can find at least a few things they are good at, and I force them to work through things that they may find difficult. One of the things that I never imagined would become part of this workout “class” was the camaraderie most people experience when being part of an athletics team. The majority of people do not continue competitive athletics after high school so this is an area that is easily lost as we “grow up.” The Osteoblasters are just that, a team. We are a team of individual working towards a common goal, not to win a competition or break a world record, simply to get better. Everyone is always looking to break their own personal records whether it is the number of pull ups, weight of a deadlift, or the duration of a hand stand, everyone shows up to get better. This camaraderie extends far beyond the gym as well. I see these people studying together, working together, and hanging out together. This makes all the time and work that I put into this program completely worth it.

I have been able to reach beyond the student population as well and have members of the faculty, staff, and even significant others of students as members of the OWC. We have established a great program that I hope will last for many years. Sometimes people need a push to remember that you are your own first patient. It is extremely important to study and do well while in school but it is also very important to remember your own personal health and wellness. The OWC takes this responsibility to the core of its mission statement: “The OWC will work to improve the well-being of its members through strength training and conditioning. The OWC aims to reach out to people of all levels of experience and offer a safe and structured platform for physical health and wellness.”

Hope you all enjoyed this little story of how I am keeping weightlifting and competition alive and well, even in the demanding environment of a medical school!

Improved Forms and Applications

by Al Myers

Thanks to Dan Wagman, there has been an improvement in the USAWA Forms and Applications.  NOW we had PDF’s that have the ability to be edited! No longer will you even have to “hand write” anything when sending in your USAWA applications.  I’m hoping this will help me out as well – because some of you have handwriting as bad as mine.  I’m going to include these new forms in this blog  just so you can see firsthand how nice they are!

These documents  are available on the website column on the left, under “Forms and Applications”.

Individual Membership Application (EDIT PDF)

Meet Sanction Application (EDIT PDF)

Club Membership Application (EDIT PDF)

HOF Nomination Form (EDIT PDF)

Online Store Order Form (EDIT PDF)

Cloud Hands of an Angell

By John McKean

Steve "THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR" Angell, on holiday, performing Tai Chi on the beach of Sri Lanka.

“THUMP!!” Ohhh, seein’ stars and feelin’ pain! This new training equipment is gonna kill me yet!

Strangely enough, I’d not yet started my morning workout; rather, good wife Marilyn was busily twirling her arms in our kitchen, intent on swinging the very well sculpted, long chunks of wood known as “Indian Clubs.”  She CLAIMED that her eyes were closed while thriving within the healing, calming powers of the circular motion, obviously not sensing me walking in when her “war club” bounced off my noggin!  (But why was she grinning??) And to think this handsome set of clubs, recently obtained from that master purveyor of old time gear, Roger LaPointe, had been my loving, thoughtful birthday gift to her! Actually Marilyn has greatly enjoyed this 2500+ year old exercise mode, also finding it necessary and beneficial to stabilize a recent arm/shoulder condition.

This is just part of Steve's Indian Club collection.

My own major incentive to employ mere 1 to 2 pound wooden weights as a huge improvement to my weightlifting program came from an Angell! No, not a vision from a winged and white gowned type, but directly from a LIVING LEGEND of All-Rounds, England’s super strong Steve Angell !! Through his insightful “Peaceful Warrior” concept, which tones mind, body, and spirit through such disciplines as tai chi, gigong, yoga, Indian Clubs, and high rep kettlebell work, Steve has found the way to acquiring  physical/mental BALANCE to help recuperate from years of overzealous max poundage weightlifting. This well thought out and age-proven regimen hasn’t exactly diminished Steve’s awesome strength or mind blowing physique, if you’ve seen photos of last season’s “impossible” 20 reps with the Dinnie Stones, or his impromptu all-round successes!

Emailing back and forth with mighty Steve came encouraging words that very few ever need employ more than a pair of one, two to three pounders for healing, warm-up, shoulder restoration, and a terrific sense of well-being. Then, while discussing this matter, we both arrived at a theory simultaneously that most martial and meditative arts may well have been derived from ancient club training! (History shows that all martial arts forms originally traveled from India). In fact, Steve had an instant epiphany on this thought, realizing a vital movement known as “Cloud Hands” from Tai Chi, was also one of his very favorite traditional maneuvers with wooden pins! It would be a bit hard to describe Cloud Hands, even with photos, but fortunately Steve made a dynamite YOU TUBE video for me that you can see here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRbio87dHAM

Hmmm, although I doubt that those 20” guns came exclusively from club work,  you can readily detect the dreamlike, circular toning (the gigong effect) and rhythmic tranquility of deep breathing  that Steve and I (and Marilyn, when she’s not intent in whacking the crap outta me-much as I usually deserve it!) enjoy daily.

So our little home garage gym has what can be considered “unusual equipment” by today’s standards, with my growing collection of Indian clubs.  I doubt you’ll find many commercial gyms, high tech spas, or even old time “pits” which have rows of these well-balanced chunks of wood that once surrounded lairs of Goernor, Saxon, and Sandow!

Following Steve Angell’s lead, I, too, looked to various martial arts to discover circular strategies of movement for my lightweight clubs. Some traditional Indian and British exercises are often used, but prove boring within the necessary high rep format.  However, from the concise rotational motions of Indonesian “Silat” jurus (forms) came a more meaningful, often thought provoking, type of exercise. Also this proved to be a refreshing and needed change from our usual linear weightlifting, and tends to heal through more gentle pressure of leverage resistance. Now, at last year’s Bowling Green, Ohio meet, ole Roger took a video of my unique Silat club program, so hopefully sometime soon he’ll release this on his Atomic Athletic site (put McKean on screen and there goes the business, Rog is probably thinking!!).

No, I’ll never get near the phenomenal Indian Club endurance record of Australian Tom Burroughs during the early 1900s of over 100 consecutive hours of swinging a pair of 3 pound 6 ounce clubs (no food or water breaks, no sitting or resting, no pause whatsoever in achieving an average of 80 reps per minute!). By the way, Indian club work was Tom’s primary and most beloved form of exercise to achieve world class status also in boxing, wrestling, swimming, fencing, gymnastics, and track! For me, if it keeps this cranky, crotchety senior citizen from feeling any older from day to day, I’ll be content; however, last year it did get me down, with little effort, into a lower weight class, gave relief to my always aching shoulders, instilled some of the best warm-ups ever prior to lifting, and seemed to yield a special form of energy for everything I did! The only downside to club training that I’ve found is worrying about  my nicely curved “bowling pins” getting smudged when training at the Ambridge VFW; not that the old gym isn’t always kept spotlessly well maintained, just that prodigious bowler Art would get chocolate on the wood, when he tried to roll a donut between them!

2012 USAWA Year In Review

by Al Myers

The 2012 Year In Review is dedicated to the late, great John Vernacchio.

For the fourth year now, I have done a 2012 USAWA Year In Review.  This book contains all of the information that has been placed on the USAWA website throughout the prior year.  If a blog was written – it is included in this review book.  All together, this review book is 476 pages and contains 164,701 words!!!  Definitely not something you would get read in one evening!  I have had a few copies printed and bound, so if anyone wants one send me an email with your request.  The books cost $50, payable to the USAWA.  This was the cost of the printing so no money is being made here.  Of course, if you just want the file I’ll email it to you free of charge and you can print it out yourself.  The book is printed in black and white.  Color printing would have been 3 times as much! 

This book is not edited.  I just copied and pasted from the website.  I do this monthly as a way of backing up the website, so making this book is not really that much work for me.  And after the problems with the website this past week, where we lost over a days worth of material, it goes to show that the internet may not be a permanent source of this important information.  Having a hard copy book that you can place on your bookshelf will still be there in 50 years!!

Bob’s Bombs

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Ben Edwards lifting Bob's Bombs at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge.

I’ll start this writing contest off by writing about a piece of equipment in the Dino Gym that is very “dear to my heart”.   I’m talking about Bob’s Bombs.  Yes, that’s right – these are actually bombs!!!  Years ago we lost a very special friend and training partner Bob Maxey.  Bob was the type of training partner that would NEVER miss workouts, and always knew how to motivate the rest of us to push ourselves in our workouts.  Because if we didn’t – Bob would “call us out” – and you didn’t want him to do that because he knew how to speak his mind in such a way that it bordered on being rude, but wasn’t. He didn’t “suger coat” it when he thought we were slacking.  He simply knew when we were capable of giving more effort than we were giving, and we knew he was right. 

One night Bob brought these beautiful pair of blue bombs into the gym (they were empty training shells thank goodness!!).  For a while in Salina Bob had ran a bar which he named the “Blue Bomb Bar”, and these bomb shells hung from the ceiling as decor.  I’ll never forget Bob’s request to me.  He wanted me to fill these bombs to 100 pounds  each and attach handles so he could use them as farmers walk implements.  Of course, I obliged.  At the time I had no idea what training Bob was expecting to do with them, but I never questioned his training methods which were ofter quite bizarre and unorthodox.

It took me that week to get them “in working order” for him.  I filled them with sand and perfectly center balanced the handles. Well, the first night in the gym after I finished them Bob revealed what he was going to do with them.  He planned to carry both of them to the “top of the hill and back” behind the gym every Tuesday night as a way of giving  himself a little cardio.  For those of you that have been to the Dino Gym know that this is no small feat.  I’m talking to the fence at the top of the hill.  This means down through the raven, pass the ballfield, pass the shelter, pass the throwing trigs, TO THE FENCE.  That’s a total distance of 200 yards, and then you have to walk back.  But when Bob set his mind to something – he was intent on accomplishing his goals.  That first night I had to watch him just because I didn’t believe he was going to try to carry 200 pounds over a distance of a quarter mile over rough up and down yard terrain.  I have no idea how many times he sat the weights down and rested (quite a few), but 30 minutes later he was back to the gym with the BOMBS in hand!!  I also want to mention for those of you that didn’t know Bob, that he was a large man at around 400 pounds.  He was “huffing and puffing” – but he accomplished what he set out to do.  That alone was worth the effort it took me to modify those bombs into farmers walk implements.  He repeated  this feat  several times over a period of 3 or 4 years.

Today Bob’s Bombs sit in front of the Dino Gym as a memory to him.  Occasionally I get to tell someone new to the gym this story about Bob, and remind them of the challenge that Bob left all of us with his pair of bombs.  The blue paint is now faded on them, but I will never repaint them. They are part of the lifting legacy of my great friend Bob Maxey.

Hey, Old Guy Lifters!

by Roger LaPointe

An Old Time Strongman performing a Yoke Lift with a man on his shoulders!

Old guy lifters are finally getting a little respect.

The world sure is changing. I re-posted a cool photo within Facebook that Facebook “Friends” seem to be loving. It’s an old black & white photo of this old guy lifting a home made barbell with two of his buddies hanging off the ends. I would re-post it here, but I don’t want to violate any copyright laws.

Discussion with Jeff Bankens:

Jeff Bankens: I wanna be scary strong like that when I’m a senior.

Roger La Pointe: Keep it up and you will be. 15 years ago, when I worked for York Barbell, I sold a set of “chest expanders” with the the surgical tubing, to Tommy Kono. I believe he had just had his hip replaced and he was still in his hospital bed. He couldn’t think of any other tool he could use in his condition, but he didn’t want to miss a workout.

True Story

I remember my Grandmother warning me that weightlifting was dangerous. It would make me “muscle bound” and it was “bad for my heart”.

For those of you who don’t know him, Jeff Bankens is a performing strongman from Louisiana who did his act at the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Old Time Strongman Picnic in 2012. He has certainly “Friended” me on Facebook and I encourage you to “Friend” him as well. He has a lot of great stuff on YouTube and you will also find out more about his traveling shows.

I sure am glad I didn’t listen to her warning. Here another great photo of an older guy lifting something cool. I don’t know who took this photo or how old it is, but it is in my PRE-WWII folder. I know you want to see amazing Masters Age lifting, so I encourage you to also check out the USAWA meet coverage that we have available on the Atomic Athletic web site. Here are links for reference:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID004

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID001

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

Franks BBC Record Day

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
FRANK’S BARBELL CLUB RECORD DAY

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

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

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