National Championships

by Al Myers

MEET REPORT
2013 USAWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
HABECKERS PROMOTE ANOTHER FABULOUS NATIONALS

Group picture from the 2013 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA

Denny and Judy Habecker put on ANOTHER great USAWA National Championships.  The weekend was filled with fun times and great lifting.  Denny had planned the championships to be another “tent meet” like the last one he did in 2010 due to the low initial entry list, but this time he had a surge in late entries and ended up with 17 competitors – 4 women and 13 men.   Luckily we had great weather all weekend (there was ran in the forecast) and uncharacteristic cool temperatures. Denny set up a big platform covered by a big tent in his backyard for the event which gave us lots of room to lift and move around.

The womens division had 4 entries – the most since the 2004 Nationals where 5 women were entered.  This makes this the second most competitive womens class since the first USAWA Nationals was contested.  It was also exciting to see two young Junior gals making their first National appearance – Molly Myers and Brianna Ullom.  These two lifted outstanding, with both edging past last years Overall Champion Susan Sees. Molly was solid in all lifts, and Bree seemed to get stronger with each attempt she took. Both of these girls have “loads” of natural lifting ability, and if they keep interested in lifting both have very promising lifting careers ahead of them.   Susan was great as always, and made MANY fourth attempts for new records. I was glad to see Colleen entered in this meet.  Colleen made her USAWA debut at the Heavy Lift Champs in May, so this made two big meets for her in less than two months.

Frank Ciavattone performing his signature lift, the Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, with 202.5 KG.

The mens division had several of the “regulars” entered.  Going to these meets is like going to a family reunion.  You see old friends that you might only see once a year or so.  There was plenty of great lifting over the two days. I was especially impressed with the three lifters that were over the age of 80 that competed – Art Montini, Dick Durante, and Dennis Mitchell.  These guys are seasoned all rounders who are extremely experienced, and give inspiration to anyone who thinks they are too old to lift weights. 

Randy Smith made the long drive from Marquette, Michigan to compete in his 9th USAWA National Championships. Randy lifted exceptional, gathering a fourth place Overall and earning another National Champ award.  Randy is a very consistent lifter year to year, having placed in the TOP TEN in each of  his National appearances.  He’s on track to becoming an eventual hall of famer. Speaking of Hall of Famers, recent HOF award winner Bob Geib made his appearance at the meet.  Bob is one of my favorite all round lifters to be around at meets.  He is always upbeat, and just seems to always be having a fun time!!  He’s also serves a very critical function in keeping lifters ready to lift, as he has his chiro table on sight and does many adjustments on lifters throughout the weekend.  Bob mentored under THE LEGEND Howard Prechtel and when Bob is “at work” at a USAWA event it keeps Howard’s memory alive in my mind.  Many lifters owe Bob a big thanks for what he does to help out their lifting. Bob also “saved me” over the weekend.  I was doing the scorekeeping and announcing in addition to trying to lift, and it seemed I was a little overwhelmed at times during my lifting session.  I take great pride in not making any scorekeeping or announcing errors, and I would have made one if it wasn’t for Bob.  I accidentally got “out of call order” once, but after talking Bob into changing his attempt to a higher weight, which he agreed to with a smile, it kept my perfect record for the day intact! And he got the lift!!!

James Fuller made his first appearance at a USAWA National Championships.  James is an eccentric individual, who is filled with enthusiasm for all round lifting and the USAWA.  He kept everyone entertained with his jokes and antics over the course of the weekend, in addition to putting on several strength demos in the evening for us (after a day of lifting!!).  He demonstrated unusual all rounds lifts such as the Bent Press, self loaded leg press, Kelly Snatch, and the likes.  He just never seems to tire out!  I consider James one of the great new additions to the USAWA, and I hope that he keeps himself really involved in the organization.  He placed extremely well – fifth place overall in the standings. Several of his lifts really impressed me - his 65 KG One Arm Snatch, the 180 KG Continental to Belt Zercher style, and his 55 KG straight arm pullover.

Joe Ciavattone Jr. performing the best Clean and Press, 12" base of the meet with this 100 KG

It’s always a pleasure having the “Ciavattones” at meets.  Frank is one of our sports foundation members – and his influence on the USAWA has been huge.  Frank still has some BIG LIFTING in him.  He did an easy 162.5 KG right arm deadlift and a 202.5 KG Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  Frank was the one who introduced the Ciavattone Grip to the USAWA (overhand grip with NO HOOK).  When I explained this to Molly, she had this stunned look on her face as she realized that she had just met the person the lift she was doing  was named after!  Frank spent a good part of the meet sitting in the head officials chair.  Frank is an excellent official – and is very fair in his officiating.  I always feel comfortable with him sitting as the head official.  Now onto the other two Ciavattones in attendance – Joe Jr. and Joe Sr.  I knew announcing I was going to have a problem with these two keeping their names straight in my announcing so I referred to Joe Jr. as Junior most of the day to keep things in order. Junior is a lifter who has LOTS of future potential.  Actually, he is stronger than he realizes right now and with just a little more meet experience he will soon capitalize on his untapped strength.  I said this when I was presenting his Championship Award, but I would like to mention it here as well.  I predict him to be a OVERALL NATIONAL CHAMP  in a future Nationals very soon.  On top of his gifted natural strength, he has a tough lifting mentality and wants to learn more about the all round lifts.   Now a little on Joe Sr., who also lifted excellent.  I will say Joe Sr. does not look his age. My wife initially thought both Joes were brothers instead of father-son.  Joe Sr. could have had a higher total but he backed off on what he could have lifted in the Ciavattone Deadlift because he didn’t want to erase John Vernacchios National Record off the record list. That’s showing great respect to someone who was a role model and great friend. 

My training bud Chad Ullom has had a busy past 6 weeks of competition.  The week he left for Nationals he just got back from a very busy competition schedule in Scotland and Germany (I’ll save the details of that for another story).  He lifted beyond what I expected of him, considering the travel lag he had to be feeling and the lack of contest preparation.  Chad was “nip and tuck” with Denny in the overall till his last lift, which he needed to get to secure a second place overall in the meet.  He pulled a Personal Record 210 KGs in the Ciavattone Deadlift to edge Denny out by only 1 point!  Denny was sitting in the Head Officials chair at the time so I waited till after Chad’s successful lift to inform him that Chad just nipped him!  LOL

The Dino Gym won the BEST CLUB of the National Championships. Club members (left to right) in picture: Al Myers, Molly Myers, Brianna Ullom, and Chad Ullom.

There are still several more stories of this meet that I could tell in this meet report, but I’ll cut it off here (I’ll save my “wordiness” for the writeup of the meetings minutes).   But before I end, I have to mention the work and hospitality done by Judy.  Judy prepared meals for EVERYONE both days – including breakfast!!! I sorta embarrassed myself when I didn’t announce the plans for Sunday night’s banquet until reminded, but I assumed the big delicious meal that Judy served us Saturday night was the banquet meal instead!!  Judy goes way beyond anything expected with her hospitality.  I hope everyone who attended takes the time to write her (and Denny!) a personal thank you card thanking them for the weekend.

I want to mention the outstanding efforts by the officials over the course of the weekend.  The head officials (Frank, Scott, Barry, and Denny) were top notch.  Also, the loaders were outstanding (Terry Barlet and John Horn).  These guys DID NOT make a misload all weekend.  I want to thank my wife Leslie and daughter Kate for taking lots of pictures of the lifting (625 to be precise).  These pictures will be available on the USAWA facebook page for all the view (and download if wanted).  But above all – thanks to the lifters who showed up and supported the USAWA!

MEET RESULTS:

2013 USAWA National Championships
Habeckers Gym
Lebanon, PA
June 29th & 30th, 2013

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Announcer and Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Caterer & Host:  Judy Habecker

Photographers:  Leslie Myers & Kate Myers

Loaders:  Terry Barlet and John Horn

Officials (3 official system used):  Scott Schmidt, Barry Bryan, Frank Ciavattone, Chad Ullom, Joe Ciavattone Sr., Dennis Mitchell, Denny Habecker

Lifts  Day 1:  Deadlift – One Arm,  Clean and Press – 12″ Base, Pullover – Straight Arm, Continental to Belt

Lifts Day 2:  Snatch – One Arm, Pullover and Push, Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

WOMENS DIVISION

DAY 1

Lifter AGE BWT DL-1 C&P Pull Con
 Molly Myers  14  167  70-R  40  15  72.5
 Brianna Ullom  15  143  50-R  35  15  40
 Susan Sees  50  214  55-R  35  12.5  70
 Colleen Lane  57  214  60-R  25  10  50

 EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Brianna Ullom: Deadlift – Right Arm 60
Susan Sees:  Deadlift – Right Arm 60
Colleen Lane: Deadlift – Right Arm 65
Susan Sees: Clean and Press, 12″ Base 40
Susan Sees: Pullover-Straight Arm 15
Molly Myers: Continental to Belt 80
Susan Sees: Continental to Belt 75

DAY 2

Lifter BWT SN-1 P&P DL-CG TOT LYN PTS
 Molly Myers  169  25-R  50  85  358  354.0  424.8
 Brianna Ullom  143  20-R  40  80  280  308.2  354.4
 Susan Sees  214  17.5-R  40  80  310  266.8  296.2
 Colleen Lane  214  10-R  30  85  270  232.4  274.2

EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Susan Sees: Snatch – Right Arm 20
Susan Sees: Pullover and Push 43.5
Molly Myers: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 92.5
Brianna Ullom: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 85
Susan Sees: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 96

MENS DIVISION

DAY 1

Lifter AGE BWT DL-1 C&P Pull Con
 Al Myers  46  231  173-R  80  55  180
 Chad Ullom  41  252  190-R  90  45  200
 Denny Habecker  70  185  120-R  67.5  37.5  122.5
 Randy Smith  58  194  137.5-R  60  35  140
 James Fuller  41  232  140-R  72.5  55  180
 Joe Ciavattone Jr.  20  229  137.5-R  100  40  180
 Joe Ciavattone Sr.  44  217  120-R  77.5  30  155
 Scott Schmidt  60  239  115-R  70  20  110
 Art Montini  85  175  80-R  30  22.5  60
 Dick Durante  81  180  70-R  40  20  80
 Dennis Mitchell  81  151  60.5-R  20  25  50
 Bob Geib  70  264  75-R  45  15  80
 Frank Ciavattone  58  292  162.5-R  0  0  0

EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Denny Habecker: Clean and Press, 12″ Base 70
Denny Habecker: Pullover-Straight Arm 40
Denny Habecker: Continental to Belt 130
James Fuller: Deadlift – Right Arm 155
Joe Ciavattone Sr.: Deadlift – Right Arm 137.5
Dennis Mitchell: Deadlift – Left Arm 60.5
Dennis Mitchell: Continental to Belt 52.5
Bob Geib: Continental to Belt 90

DAY 2

Lifter BWT SN-1 P&P DL-CG TOT LYN PTS
 Al Myers  231  65-R  160  195  908  750.0  802.5
 Chad Ullom  253  65-R  150  210  950  750.5  765.5
 Denny Habecker  186  35-R  102.5  140  625  583.3  764.1
 Randy Smith  197  45-R  107.5  160  685  621.9  740.1
 James Fuller  234  65-L  140  200  853  702.0  716.1
 Joe Ciavattone Jr.  228  47.5-R  140  192.5  838  695.2  695.2
 Joe Ciavattone Sr.  219  42.5-L  126  150  701  597.7  627.6
 Scott Schmidt  241  35-R  90  140  580  470.7  569.6
 Art Montini  175  15-R  60  105  373  359.7  525.1
 Dick Durante  DNW  25-L  40  100  375  355.9  505.5
 Dennis Mitchell  151  12.5-R  35  90  293  310.9  441.5
 Bob Geib  264  22.5-R  42.5  130  410  316.5  414.6
 Frank Ciavattone  291  20-R  0  202.5  385  283.0  336.8

EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Bob Geib: Snatch – Right Arm 25
Dennis Mitchell: Pullover and Push 38
Dennis Mitchell: Deadlift- Ciavattone Grip 95
Bob Geib: Pullover and Push 46
Bob Geib: Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip 140

NOTES:  AGE is age in years.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in kilograms.  TOT is total kilograms lifted.  LYN is adjusted Lynch Points. PTS is adjusted points for age correction.  R and L designate arm used.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Best Womens Junior:  Molly Myers
Best Womens Master:  Susan Sees
Best Women Overall: Molly Myers
Best Mens Senior 20-39: Joe Ciavattone Jr.
Best Mens Master 40-44: Chad Ullom
Best Mens Master 45-49: Al Myers
Best Mens Master 55-59: Randy Smith
Best Mens Master 60-64: Scott Schmidt
Best Mens Master 70-74: Denny Habecker
Best Mens Master 80-84: Dick Durante
Best Mens Master 85-89:  Art Montini
Best Mens Master Overall: Al Myers
Best Mens Overall: Al Myers
Best Club:  Dino Gym (Al Myers, Chad Ullom, Molly Myers, Brianna Ullom)
Best Club Runner Up: Joe’s Gym (Joe Ciavattone Sr., Joe Ciavattone Jr.)

Nationals Venue Site

by Al Myers

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

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

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

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

Thom Van Vleck: NEW Level 2 Official

by Al Myers

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

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

VII. Officials

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

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

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

2013 Meeting Agenda

by Al Myers

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

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

Business Agenda for the 2013 USAWA Annual National Meeting

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

Lifter of the Month: Dennis Mitchell

by Al Myers

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

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

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

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

Denny in the NEWS!

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker makes the paper!

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

Team Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2013 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

I'm a little reluctant to share this picture, as I don't want to discourage participation in the Team Championships. But Team lifting can be a different challenge - and when things go bad - there can be a disaster! It's pretty easy to tell how this lift ended for Chad and I as we were preparing for the Team Champs a few years back!!! Not good and it was all Chad's fault.

Every year the Dino Gym has an annual weekend celebration which we call the DINO DAYS.   It usually includes competitions of different kinds, and lots of good food and socializing!   This year will be no exception to that.  It is a gym affair, but the invite goes out to anyone else who wants to show up and be part of the fun.  Also, as has been the case the past few years, the USAWA Team Championships will be held at the Dino Gym that same weekend. 

The Team Championships are different than any other type of meet that you can enter.  It involves having a teammate that joins you in lifting – with BOTH of you lifting on the bar at the SAME TIME!  Team Lifting has three categories for Team Lifts:  2-Man (male & male), 2-Female (female & female), and Mixed Pair (female and male). The weight class the team is entered in is the weight class of the heaviest lifter, and the age group the team is entered in is the age class of the youngest lifter.  An exception is if a Junior lifter is teamed with a Senior (20-39 age) or Master Lifter (great than age 40).  In that case, the age class designation will be designated as open.

This is a fun event to compete in.  As I’ve said before – if you have a bad day you can always blame it on your partner!  And if you have a great day – you can take all the credit!   This is one of the “signature events” in the USAWA since it is one of our Championship Events, and the winners will be declared the USAWA Team Champions for the year. 

ENTRY FORM – TeamChampionships2013

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

Tim Piper has rescheduled his Old Time Strongman meet that was cancelled due to the unfortunate flooding that took out their gym last month.  I’m glad to see that Tim has been able to get the gym back to order, and hasn’t forgot about the USAWA meet he was planning on having!  I highly encourage everyone to try to make it to this meet of his and show great USAWA support! 

The following was written by Tim in the “first” meet announcement.  I want to reprint it again here as it gives a little understanding why the name “Joe the Turk” was given to this competition.

“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:  July 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

                Dumbbell to Shoulder

                Peoples Deadlift

Weigh-in:    10:00 – 11:00  a.m. of meet day

Lifting:     11:00 a.m.

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

Awards:  For all weight and age classes

ENTRY FORM (PDF): Joe the Turk OTSM 2013

Moving Past the Hype of Science

by Eric Todd

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Makings of an Olympic Champion

by Al Myers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT  – DINO DAYS RECORD DAY

Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym

Meet Date: Sunday, August 18th, 2013 10:00 AM-4:00PM

Location: Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

Sanction: USAWA

Entry Form: None – just show up

Entry Fee: None

Lifts: Record Day – Pick any lifts you can set a USAWA record in!

Maximum of 5 lifts for record is set.

Contact me at amyers@usawa.com if you have any questions

Heavy Lifting Objects

by Al Myers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank’s Backyard

by Al Myers

Part of Frank's backyard involves the storage of his heavy-duty dirt and snow moving equipment.

When I was at Frank Ciavattone’s place for the Heavy Lift Championships, I was extremely impressed with his gym and his setup for the competiton.  The meet was held outside in Frank’s backyard, just outside of Frank’s Barbell Club gym.  Frank’s gym is located in the basement of his house and contains decades worth of history and collectibles.  I love home gyms  – and Frank’s is one of the nicest I have ever seen.  Another thing about home gyms is EVERYTHING is used for training.  Even pieces of equipment that probably should be in a trophy case because of the collectible value.  I noticed several Berg Hantel plates that Frank was actively using! 

Frank's "1-TON" train wheels, and his green smaller railway wheels.

But back to the topic of the day – Frank’s backyard!  It is an All Rounders paradise playground – with numerous “challenge items” positioned throughout the yard.  My wife Leslie commented to me right away by saying, “THIS looks like our backyard!”  Yep honey, there are actually a  few  other passionate iron-heads  who don’t mind having their yard cluttered with human torture devices.   I was most impressed with Frank’s GIANT set of train wheels that he uses for hip and harness lifting.  Their weight is clearly painted on the side – 1 TON – in white lettering.  They even sit on a section of iron train tracks!  I also have a set of train wheels on a heavy bar, but mind are slightly smaller and weigh in at 1400 lbs. – so Frank has me topped when it comes to train wheels.   He told me that he has often used these train wheels for strength exhibitions that he has performed thru the years for many causes, mostly charities.

Frank's setup for doing Hand and Thigh Lifts, which permanently resides in his backyard.

Frank also has a pair of smaller train wheels on a heavy bar that he uses for Hand and Thigh lifting.  I asked him what they weighed, and he said somewhere between 600 and 700 pounds.  I took  that as he has never actually weighed them, but just knows from  the “feel of the weight”.  Frank said he has lifted those wheels hundreds of times in the Hand and Thigh lift, and mostly use them for rep work.  I say that is part of the reason for Frank’s “picture perfect” hand and thigh form.

James Fuller bent pressing the red railway wheels after the 2013 Heavy Lift Championhips. The green wheels are in the picture to the right.

Another classic challenge lift of his is his challenge red and green railway wheels.  They both are fastened tightly (so no rotation) to a 2″ diameter solid shaft that is roughly the length of a barbell.  The total weight of the green wheels is 190 pounds, and 145 pounds on the red wheels. .  I first became aware of this challenge implement several years ago when I seen a picture of Steve Angell performing a one arm jerk (two hands to shoulder)  with the green wheels  following the 2000 IAWA World Championships, which were hosted by Frank.  After the Heavies, James Fuller really enjoyed using these old railway wheels to Bent Press.  I enjoyed seeing such an old time all round lift like the Bent Press being performed with this awkward lifting implement.  It was reminiscent of an Old Time Strongman circus act.

The “ambiance” of Frank’s  back yard was complemented with the presence of his heavy work equipment, used to move dirt and snow.  The size and power of Frank’s “work machines” just leave you in awe.  But those can be the topic of another day’s story! After the meet, Frank “fired up” his fire pit and we sat around it telling stories into the night.  Great times are had in Frank’s backyard.

Memorial Day

by Al Myers

There was the platform that Frank Ciavattone set up for the Heavy Lift Championships this year. Frank is proud to show his patriotism to the United States!

Today is an important day being Memorial Day.  It seems most Americans appear to have forgotten the meaning of this important day, and only think of it as a “day off” from work and a good day to go to the lake to have fun.  Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day – and got that name as it was the day to decorate graves.  Most all Americans have been touched in some way by losing a family member (possible even in prior generations) or friend  in the armed forces.    Take this day to remember those who have died in our nations service.  Whether you go to the cemeteries, or you  just take a few moments of your day to reflect.    

My friend Dave Glasgow would be proud of me for this, as he has often called into question the proper etiquette for the  hanging of the Flag of the United States at meets.  The flag should be lowered to half-staff position till noon to honor those who have died, then raised to full-staff  at noon for the remainder of the day.

Club of the Year: LEDAIG HA

by Al Myers

Ledaig HA won the team title for the Overall best team at the 2012 IAWA World Championships. Pictured (left to right): Jera Kressly, Dave Glasgow, Doug Kressly

Congratulations to LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS for being the named the USAWA Club of the Year for 2012!!!!

Ledaig has been very active in the USAWA these past few years.  Their “rise to prominence” in the USAWA started in 2010.  The club’s founder and leader, Dave Glasgow, has been a solid force in the organization. Ledaig HA is located in Rainbow Bend, Kansas – outside of Winfield, or if you are less knowledgeable about Kansas, south of Wichita a ways.  Dave refers to Rainbow Bend as “a community ” instead of a town.  I’ve been there and you better not blink when you drive thru it or you will miss it!  It’s even smaller than the town of Holland where the Dino Gym resides!

Unlike the other USAWA awards where the winners are selected by nomination and vote of the membership, the Club of the Year is earned.  It is based on a point system where each club earns points for various involvements in the USAWA throughout the year.  I think this system is very fair – and it makes it easy for me to calculate all clubs point totals. This is the guidelines for which a club earns points:

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1. One point awarded to the club for EACH USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application. This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.
2. Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup. Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.
3. Three points awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.
4. Four bonus points awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

As you can see – having lots of club members who are heavily involved in our “big meets” really help with the yearly score.  Ledaig had 9 club members for the year 2012: Dave Glasgow, Kenny Glasgow, Amber Glasgow, Tim Harbison, Doug Kressly, Jera Kressly, Mike Murdock, Kristen Traub, and Larry Traub. The Ledaig HA won the team title at the 2012 IAWA World Championships, and was runner up at the 2012 USAWA National Championships. At both of these big meets, the Ledaig Club had members place very high overall in addition to winning Age/BWT championships.  At Nationals, Larry was 2nd overall and Dave 4th, and at Worlds Dave was 3rd overall, Doug 9th overall, and Jera was third overall in the women’s division.  That’s quite a list of accomplishments!!!

The year 2012 had a record number of 16 registered member clubs in the USAWA!  I’m only going to give the TOP FIVE placings, and just making this top 5  listing is a great accomplishment for any club!

TOP SCORING USAWA CLUBS FOR 2012

1st.  Ledaig Heavy Athletics – 25 points
2nd.  Salvation Army Gym – 20 points
3rd.  Ambridge Barbell Club – 19 points
4th  (tie).   Clarks Gym – 13 points
4th  (tie).  Jobes Steel Jungle – 13 points
5th .  Habeckers Gym – 12 points

The Salvation Army Gym had an outstanding year in the USAWA. The clubs leader Tim Piper was very involved in the USAWA throughout the year. Tim competed in the Nationals in Vegas (6th Overall) and at the Worlds in Salina (7th Overall).  I was very impressed with them earning the RUNNER UP Club of the Year in the USAWA. These two club awards (to the Ledaig Heavy Athletics and the Salvation Army Gym) will be presented at the Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the National Championships next month. Last year’s winner of the Club of the Year, the Dino Gym, will have the HONOR of presenting these two clubs their Club Awards.

World Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 IAWA World Championships

Mark and I enjoying some "beach time" on Scarborough Beach near Perth, Western Australia, while there for the 2011 IAWA World Championships.

The entry form and meet details have been released for the 2013 IAWA World Championships.  Mark Haydock, of Preston, England, will be this year’s meet director and host.  Mark runs an all round club, the Houghton Barbell Club. Mark has been very involved in IAWA and has attended many World Championships.   He was the Overall Best Lifter in the 2009 Championship in Lebanon, PA.

All it takes for a USAWA member to enter the IAWA World Championships is to be a USAWA current member.  There are NO pre-meet qualifications to enter. Just fill out the entry form completely and send it to Mark, then book your flight to England.  That’s it! The entry deadline is August 31st.

The meet is a two day meet (Saturday October 5th & Sunday October 6th).   In the Info Sheet Mark has given several suggestions for places to stay.  The lifts for the World Championships are:

DAY ONE

Clean and Press

Continental Snatch

Pullover – Straight Arm

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Arm, 2″, One Hand

DAY TWO

Squat

Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, One Arm

Deadlift – Trap Bar

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – 2013 IAWA World Championships Entry

INFO SHEET (PDF) -  2013 IAWA World Championships Info

Club Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 USAWA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

Dave and Gunner Glasgow

The Club Championships has been rescheduled!   After the cancellation last March in Ambridge due to bad weather,  the Club Championships was looking “not to happen” this year.  However, I consider this meet as one of our “signature events” in the USAWA since it is a Championship Event, and these are the meets that really need to be contested every year.  The Club Championships began in 2010 with the Ambridge Barbell Club hosting it since then.  Dave Glasgow, the leader of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, has agreed to promote it this summer so that this important competition will continue on an annual basis.

The Club Championships is much different than other competitions.  It is NOT an individual competition, but rather, a club competition.  The scores of three members of a club are “added together” to form a club score.  This way clubs are pitted against each other, with each member making their own contribution to their club.  Awards will be given out on a “club basis” – there will be no individual recognition at this event.

The rules for the Club Championships  are pretty straightforward:

1.  Each Club brings up to three lifters to compete. Clubs may enter with less than three members, but will be at a disadvantage when scores are added together.

2.  Club members MUST be registered with their club of participation (as documented on the membership roster).

3.  Adjusted Point scores are added together to form a club score.

4.  Club with the highest Club Score is awarded the Club Champion.

The Ledaig HA’s has been a big club player in the USAWA over the past few years.  Now since Dave has his new training facility built I expect even more involvement with promotions.  I consider Ledaig as one of the TOP CLUBS in the USAWA.  At the 2012 IAWA World Championships last fall in Salina, their club won the team title at the Championships (combined pt scores of all members participating).  That’s a big club win – winning Worlds!!!!  In 2011 Ledaig won the team title at the USAWA Nationals in Kirksville.   Also, last year at Nationals in Las Vegas they were awarded the Runner Up Club of the Year in the USAWA!  

I’m really excited about this year’s Club Championships.   I truly believe the success of the USAWA lies with club involvement.  Meets like this one foster that involvement.   Year’s ago it was important to lifters to be “part of a club” when going to competitions.  Club spirit was high – and lifters often competed in their club shirts showing their support to their club.  I want to bring that feeling back, and this meet is a great way to do that.  It should be an honor for a club member to get selected to represent their club at the Club Championships.  Let’s make this a great meet!

MEET DETAILS:

2013 USAWA Club Championships
Sunday, July 14th, 2013
Ledaig Heavy Athletics Training Facility
Rainbow Bend, KS

Sanction – USAWA

Entry Fee – None

Weighins:  9:00 AM

Start time:  10:00 AM

LIFTS: 

Bench Press – Fulton Bar

Zercher Lift

Peoples Deadlift

There will be a record breaker session after the competition if anyone is interested.  Award certificates will be awarded to the winning clubs. There is no entry form, but please contact Dave prior to the event if you are entering a team at dglasgow@cox.net . The directions to the meet are:

GPS Coordinates are: Decimal coordinates (latitude, longitude):
37.16499343231285,-97.13128566741943

Joe Jr. & Sr. – FOOTBALL CHAMPS!

by Al Myers

Joe Ciavattone Jr. (left) and Joe Ciavattone Sr. (right) proudly hold the conference championship trophy following the game!

A couple of weeks ago I had a very nice “sit down” visit with Joe Ciavattone Jr. and Joe Ciavattone Sr. following the Heavy Lift Championships in Walpole, Massachusetts.  That’s one thing I really like about the USAWA, most all of us know each other and the after-meet conversations are very enjoyable where we can just relax following a day of competition and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s often in these talks that I learn new information about the lives of  other all-rounders. This is exactly what happened during my visit with Joe Jr. and Sr.

Joe Jr. and Sr. were the first Father-Son duo to play on the Cobras at the same time. Here they show their conference Championship rings as a result of their football success.

This past year this father-son All Round Weightlifting  duo has been involved in another sport – FOOTBALL!  They both have been part of the Middleboro Cobras, a semi-pro team in the Eastern Football League.   Both were rookies on the team, with Joe Sr. being the oldest rookie on the team.  However, the years of lifting and training has kept him  much younger in “athletic years”.  Most guys in their 40’s would NEVER consider  making an upstart in a hard physical game like football at that age.  But most guys are not Joe Ciavattone Sr.!  They were the first Father-Son combo that ever played on this team at the same time.  There were other son’s that followed in Dad’s footsteps and played on the team – but in later years. Not at the same time!!!  The history of the Cobras goes back over 70 years to give a perspective on that accomplishment.

A "close up" picture of the Championship rings!

Their team had outstanding success.  They played an eleven game season, and with the playoffs and Championship game, finished with a record of 12 and 1.  This included winning the conference championship!  Both Joe Jr. and Joe Sr. had their championship rings on hand to prove this to me.  By the size of their rings, I would have said they won the Superbowl!  The Cobras are an excellent team, winning the conference championship in “back to back” seasons, and winning 8 of the last 10 titles!

Joe Jr was the starting fullback at a strapping 220 pounds, and was the youngest player on the team.  Joe Jr. had a stellar High School athletic career, earning All League honors in High School football and varsity All Star recognition in Lacrosse.  His strong contributions to the team during the season resulted in him being named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Before this, it had been 27 years since Joe Sr. played his last football game (which was in High School!).   However, he has always been involved in coaching and has a keen understanding of the game before he began playing on the Cobras.  Joe Sr. played offensive guard and special teams. 

The season begins next month for them and runs through October.  So if you are wondering why you are not seeing Joe Jr & Sr in USAWA meet results, you know why.  They are busy playing football!!!

Lifter of the Month: Dan Wagman

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman "in action" at the 2013 Dino Gym Record Day in February performing a 110# Dumbell Snatch.

Dan Wagman becomes the FIRST “two time” winner of the Lifter of the Month with him being declared the Lifter of the Month for the month of April!  Dan’s previous Lifter of the Month recognition was after he won the Overall Men’s  Best Lifter Award at the IAWA Worlds last October, with him earning the Lifter of the Month for October, 2012 following that big World Meet win.

This Lifter of the Month recognition was the result of his outstanding overall win in the Eastern Open Postal Meet, the first of the quarterly USAWA Postal Series. It was a “loaded” group of lifters who competed in this last postal, and as many entered as ever before.  Winning this meet was certainly worthy of receiving the Lifter of the Month for!!!  Congrats Dan!!!!

WEBMASTER NOTE:  All past USAWA Lifters of the Month are keep on a list available on the upper left hand side of the homepage, under USAWA Information.

Yearly Awards Nominations

by Al Myers

It’s that time of the year again to nominate deserving lifters for the yearly awards!  The USAWA award program was started in 2009 to honor those individuals that displays outstanding achievements throughout the year in different categories.  I have been the USAWA Award Director that entire time and was the one who started the USAWA Awards Program.  Part of the USAWA budget goes to these awards, which means that part of your membership dues support this program. These awards are awarded at the Annual General Meeting of the USAWA, which occurs at the same time as the National Championships.   It is important to remember when “casting your vote” that these awards are for the calendar year 2012 (which is the calendar the USAWA follows for memberships, etc.).  Now for a little “overview” of the rules for nominations:

  • You  must be a USAWA member to make a nomination or cast a vote
  • Nominated individuals must be a USAWA members to be eligible
  • Only one individual may be nominated per person per award
  • Two nominations for each award may be submitted, one for your choice of the Winner and one for your choice of the runner-up.  
  • The awards are for the calendar year 2012
  • An individual may be nominated for more than one award

These are the different awards for which you should chose your nominations for:

 Athlete of the Year – This award is for the individual who has accomplished the most athletically within the last year in the USAWA. Top placings at the Nationals and World Championships should figure in high. Also, participation in other Championship  Competitions such as the Heavy Lift Championships, the Grip Championships, the Club Championships, the OTSM Championships, the Team Championships, or the National Postal Championships could factor in.  Participation in elite IAWA events such as the Gold Cup should make an influence on earning this award as well.

Leadership Award – This is for an individual that has shown exceptional leadership qualities within the USAWA during the past year. Things that should be looked at are: going above the level expected of an Officer position, promoting sanctioned events with emphasis being on promoting National or World Competitions, promoting the USAWA by developing a strong club, writing articles for publications about the USAWA, or through other means.

Sportsmanship Award – This goes to an individual who possesses and shows great sportsmanship within the USAWA. The act of sportsmanship may be by conduct at all events, or by an specific example of exceptional sportsmanship.

Courage Award – This goes to an individual who shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition. This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA.

Newcomer Award– This award goes to an individual who in new to the USAWA or has become involved again. It doesn’t have to go to someone in their first year of being involved in the USAWA.

As stated earlier in the rules, I would like you to submit your choice for the WINNER and your choice for the RUNNER UP for each award.  I will score it this way:  for each nomination per award I will give 2 points for the nominated winner and 1 point for the nominated runner up.  I will then add up all the points from all nominations with the person receiving the most points declared the winner and the one with the second most points the runner up.  So you can see that the Award Winners are chosen by YOU THE MEMBERSHIP!   That’s the way it should be done. 

Please email me at amyers@usawa.com with your nominations.  The deadline for this is this Friday.  I’m only giving a week because it has been my experience with this is that if a person does not make their nominations shortly after reading this announcement, it never gets done.  So make it easy on yourself  (and me!) and turn your nominations in today!!!!

Lifter of the Month: James Fuller

by Al Myers

James Fuller performing a double hub lift with a pair of BEN Olympic plates at Frank's Barbell Club on May 4th, 2013. Take notice of Frank's very old Deep Dish York 45 on the ground with the very wide hub.

The lifter of the month for the month of March goes to James Fuller!

The only USAWA competition that was held in March was Frank’s Barbell Club Record Breaker, held on March 16th.  James resides in Hallowell, Maine.  To my knowledge, he is the only USAWA registered member from the state of Maine.  James has been actively involved in the USAWA for 3 years, and has competed in several USAWA competitions, including two Heavy Lift Championships.   Just last weekend James lifted in the Heavy Lift Champs in Walpole, Massachusetts, and in the process was crowned AGE/BWT Heavy Lift Champion and placed 5th overall in a very tough field of competitors.

After the competition, James put on a hub lifting demo in which he cleaned and pressed Frank’s very old Deep Dish York 45 (which has a very wide 4-3/4″ hub), double hub lifted a pair of wide-flanged BEN Olympic plates, snatched a BEN plate by the hub, and did a partial holdout with a BEN plated by the hub.  All this hub lifting was done in quick fashion with very little rest time!   I should mention that a large crowd was present to witness this extraordinary lifting besides just myself.  

But the lifts that won James the LIFTER OF THE MONTH was not his hub lifting.  It was because of  a couple of very difficult record day lifts which he completed at Franks.  The first being a Kelly Snatch of 108 pounds, and the second being a Kneeling Snatch of 108 pounds. His record in the Kelly Snatch is an ALL TIME record across all weight classes! 

Congrats James for being the March LIFTER OF THE MONTH!

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

2013 USAWA HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS

The group picture from the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Walpole, Massachusetts.

What an exciting Heavy Lift Championships last weekend!  I knew I could expect a great meet atmosphere with the meet being held at Franks Barbell Club, hosted by meet promoter extraordinaire Frank Ciavattone, but this time Frank even exceeded my expectations!   Frank is a very seasoned USAWA meet promoter, having promoted numerous past National Championships and World Championships. Frank is a meet promoter who knows how to put the “lifter’s first”.  He always has the basics well-covered, then he throws in unexpected special things which makes his promotions “one of a kind”.  I regard Frank as one of the BEST meet promoters within the USAWA EVER, and I am VERY GLAD to see him “back in action” putting on meets.  Frank will be the host of the 2014 IAWA World Championships, which will be a special affair.  Everyone BETTER get that meet “penciled in” on your future meet itinerary.  It will be one you WILL NOT want to miss.

Dennis Mitchell performing a 630 pound Hip Lift.

Since the weather was very nice (low 60’s), Frank had set up a platform outside for the meet to be conducted on.  It provided the perfect atmosphere for a Heavy Lift Championships.  Most everyone was in shorts and t-shirts (with the exception of Flossy!) as the day progressed.  Ten lifters competed in this Championships.  I view the Heavy Lift Championships as the SECOND most important Championship event within the USAWA (the National Championships being the NUMBER ONE).  I say this because the Heavy Lift Championships has a longer history than all the others, and because the Heavy Lifts are very uniquely all-round lifts.  No other lifting organization features these lifts. 

Colleen Lane competed in her first Heavy Lift Championships and came away with an overall women’s title. I was most impressed with her 450# Hand and Thigh lift. Denny Habecker was as “solid as ever” with his lifting.  Denny finished off the day with a record 1000# Hip Lift.  Dennis Mitchell had many records, with his 455# Hand & Thigh impressing me the most.  This day marked a BIG DAY for Dennis as it marked his 70th year of active competition in lifting.  That’s right – 70 years!!!!  And in that run Dennis has never missed a year without hitting the platform at least once.  Truly an amazing record that very, very few will ever achieve.  Art Montini again showed that he is not ready to slow down yet.  Art had a great day and finished with a 700# Hip Lift.  I would like to see another 85 year old man do that! NOT LIKELY!  Joe Ciavattone Sr. had a day to be proud of.  He finished third overall in a field of wily veterans in the Heavy Lifts, and in the process he set a PERSONAL RECORD in the Neck Lift with an outstanding lift of 805 pounds!  Joe was the first USAWA lifter to break 800 pounds in the Neck Lift years ago with his historic 804.5#, and I know he had to question since if he was every going to do more.  Well, after what I saw of him last weekend, I would say he has lots more in him!  It was a very solid lift with plenty of clearance.  I could tell that this lift  alone made him tremendously satisfied with his day’s lifting.  Congrats  Joe – you earned it! 

Joe Ciavattone Sr. performing a big Neck Lift enroute to his new personal record of 805 pounds!

However, the real “story of the day” should go to Joe Ciavattone Jr.  It’s been a couple of years since I have seen Joe Jr, and since that time Junior has grown into a MAN!  His neck is now thicker than ole dad’s, and his strength is just starting to mature.   His future is very promising as a future USAWA superstar.  I also want to mention that Joe Jr. is very coachable, and wants to learn how to be a better lifter.  I tried to give him as much advice as I could, and he then would take it IMMEDIATELY to the platform for a bigger lift!   That trait will take him to the next level.  He took an extra attempt in the Neck Lift and he easily got 700 lbs, with much more in the tank.  He also took a fourth on the Hand and Thigh and destroyed 1400 pounds.  Those are the best lifts of ALL TIME in the USAWA for a teenager.   I really liked watching Joe Jr. compete in this meet.  He has a fierce competitive mindset.  Mark my words on this – Joe Ciavattone Jr. will be a future Overall National Champ! 

Joe Ciavattone Jr. performing a new ALL TIME teenage USAWA record in the Hand and Thigh with this 1400 pound lift!

Jim Fuller made his trip from Maine for his second appearance in the Heavy Lift Championships.  I first met James at York a few years ago at the Heavy Lift Championships. He has made great progress with his heavy lifting since then.  He put up a 1100# hand and thigh and a 1400# Hip Lift in this meet.  He has his own harness equipment, and it’s obvious that he has been training these very difficult lifts.  I was most impressed with him missing 1350# on his second attempt hip, only to come back at 1400# and NAIL IT!  That’s gutsy!  Afterwards at Franks backyard picnic, James cleaned and pressed Franks Old 45 Deep Dish York by hub pinching it with one hand for me.  I was even more impressed seeing it first hand than from the pictures he had sent me from Franks last record day.  I have a Deep Dish York 45, and I could tell immediately that Franks was different.  The hub on Franks 45 was very wide (we measured it at 4-3/4″).  My York 45 is much less in diameter.  Frank said his York 45 was made in the 1930’s (while mine was made in the 50’s).  Apparently very few are still around as the design of the thick hub caused the plate to be thinner and most have broken apart at the junction of the base of the hub and the plate.  Bottom line – this Deep Dish York 45 is MUCH harder to hub lift than the newer ones!!!   James hub lifted it several times with ease. 

James Fuller "playing around" hub pinching Franks very difficult old York Deep Dish 45.

Franks son Jeff lifted and did very well, placing fourth overall.   Jeff did well in every lift – 650# Neck, 1200# Hand and Thigh, and a 1400# Hip.  Jeff has loads of natural lifting ability (a Ciavattone trait!!!).  He looked to be good for more in each event to me.  It was a great pleasure to have Frank  join us on the lifting platform.  I know Frank had lots on his mind hosting the meet at his place, serving as head official most of the day, and organizing the awards banquet and meal afterwards.  Frank has great heavy lifting technique, and it’s obvious he has spent a lot of time “polishing his trade” with the heavy lifts.  

The great display of after-meet food prepared by Frank and his family!

After the meet, we were treated to a HUGE ITALIAN feast at Franks place.  You name it he had it – pasta, salad, meatballs, chicken, sausage, etc.  A totally top notch affair.  Many thanks are in order for Franks family in preparing this feast.  I also want to thank the outstanding loaders who worked hard all day – Dave, Peter, and Charlie.  You guys made this event move along with your outstanding loading all day. 

Meet Results:

2013 Heavy Lift Championships
Franks Barbell Club
Walpole, Massachusetts
May 4th, 2013

Meet Director:  Frank Ciavattone

Announcer and Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (3 official system used):  Frank Ciavattone (head official), Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Joe Ciavattone Sr., Art Montini, Al Myers

Loaders: Dave Hartnett, Peter Vouno, Charlie Payne

Lifts:  Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Neck H&T Hip TOT PTS
Colleen Lane 57 206 175 450 500 1125 1166.5

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Neck H&T Hip TOT PTS
Al Myers 46 235 780 1300 1800 3880 3400.6
Joe Ciavattone Jr. 19 224 600 1200 1750 3550 3040.2
Joe Ciavattone Sr. 44 217 725 1100 1500 3325 2981.5
Jeff Ciavattone 33 235 650 1200 1400 3250 2662.1
Jim Fuller 41 226 400 1100 1400 2900 2472.0
Denny Habecker 70 191 270 775 950 1995 2396.3
Dennis Mitchell 81 152 245 425 630 1300 1949.4
Art Montini 85 177 200 450 700 1350 1890.4
Frank Ciavattone 58 285 300 800 1000 2100 1858.8

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

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD

Denny Habecker:  Hip Lift 1000#
Dennis Mitchell: Hand and Thigh Lift 455#
Joe Ciavattone Sr.: Neck Lift 805#
Joe Ciavattone Jr.: Neck Lift 700#
Joe Ciavattone Jr.: Hand and Thigh Lift  1400#

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Women Master 55-59 100KG Class – Colleen Lane
Mens Teenage 18-19 105 KG Class – Joe Ciavattone Jr.
Mens Senior 110 KG Class – Jeff Ciavattone
Mens Master 40-44 100 KG Class – Joe Ciavattone Sr.
Mens Master 40-44 105 KG Class – Jim Fuller
Mens Master 45-49 110 KG Class – Al Myers
Mens Master 55-59 125+ KG Class – Frank Ciavattone
Mens Master 70-74 90 KG Class – Denny Habecker
Mens Master 80-84 70 KG Class – Dennis Mitchell
Mens Master 85-89 85 KG Class – Art Montini
Overall Mens Best Lifter – Al Myers

IAWA Gold Cup

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 IAWA GOLD CUP

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

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

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

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

ENTRY FORM – 2013 GOLD CUP ENTRY

INFO SHEET – 2013 Gold Cup INFO PAGE

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
THE 2013  USAWA PRESIDENTIAL CUP

The BIG AWARD given out in 2012 for the winner of the Presidential Cup!

For the second year in a row, the now “Annual” USAWA Presidential Cup is being hosted again by our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  This is one of the CHAMPIONSHIP events hosted in the USAWA, and is the Championships of Record Days.  It follows along “the lines” of the IAWA Gold Cup – a lifter picks their best lift and contests it for a USAWA record in this prestigious record day.  After all lifters have performed their record lifts, Denny will pick the effort that impresses him the most and award that lifter the PRESIDENTIAL CUP.  Only one lifter will receive this very important award.   If time allows, lifters will have the opportunity to perform other record day lifts.  So it is a good idea to come with the BIG LIFT in mind, but also be prepared to do other lifts for record if the time allows.  

Last year the late Dale Friesz won the Presidential Cup with his 154 pound Ring Fingers Deadlift.  It was a very impressive lift considering the physical issues Dale was dealing with at the time.   When Denny chose Dale as the winner of the Presidential Cup, I was very glad to see it.  Now looking back, it was a “fitting end” to Dale’s long and distinguished USAWA career.  He will forever be THE ONE who won the first ever Presidential Cup.

Now a little “rehash” on the Presidential Cup.  This is a reprint of the guidelines laid out last year:

The Presidential Cup will follow along some of the same guidelines as the Gold Cup, which is the IAWA meet which recognizes outstanding performances by lifters in the lift/lifts of their choosing.  The Gold Cup started in 1991 under the direction of then-IAWA President Howard Prechtel.  However there will be some differences in the guidelines of the USAWA Presidential Cup:

  • The Presidential Cup is hosted annually by the USAWA President only.
  • Must be a USAWA member to participate.
  • A lifter may choose any official USAWA  lift/lifts (number set by the President) to set a USAWA record/records  in.
  • The lifter must open at a USAWA Record Poundage on first attempt.
  • The top performance record lift of the entire record day,  which will be chosen by the President, will be awarded the PRESIDENTIAL CUP.

MEET DETAILS:

USAWA Presidential Cup

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Meet Director:  Denny Habecker

Location: Habecker’s Gym, Lebanon, PA

Lifts:  Bring your best lift for record!

Start time:  10 AM,  with weigh-ins before this

Entry Form:  None, but advance notice is required. 

Denny may be reached by email – dhabecker@usawa.com

Eastern Open Postal

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS
EASTERN OPEN POSTAL MEET

MEET RESULTS:

Eastern Open Postal Meet
March 1-31st, 2013

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts:  Snatch – One Arm, Clean and Press, Jefferson Lift

Lifters using a USAWA Certified Official:

Gabby Jobe – Official Jesse Jobe, Alison Jobe
Barry Bryan – Official Denny Habecker
Denny Habecker – Official Barry Bryan
Tim Songster Sr. – Official Dan Bunch
Al Myers – Official Scott Tully
Chad Ullom – Official Al Myers
Eric Todd – Official Lance Foster
Scott Tully – Official Al Myers
Dan Bunch – Officials Bryan Benzel, Jesse Jobe
Lance Foster – Official Eric Todd

Lifters using a non-certified judge:

Ruth Jackson – Judge Dan Wagman
Dan Wagman – Judge Ruth Jackson
Les Cramer – Judge Monica Cook
Samuel Rogers – Judge Orie Barnett, Aaron Hougland
John Wilmot – Judge Kay Wilmot
Aaron Hougland – Judge Orie Barnett, Samuel Rogers
Orie Barnett – Judge Samuel Rogers, Aaron Hougland

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Sn1 C&P Jeff TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 107 55 R 85 235 375 577.4
Gabby Jobe 10 109 20 R 46 150 216 388.7

 MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Sn1 C&P Jeff TOT PTS
Dan Wagman 50 180 130 L 190 505 825 867.4
Al Myers 46 237 150 R 177 540 867 756.5
Barry Bryan 55 194 99.2 R 187.4 402.8 689.4 727.0
Chad Ullom 41 253 154 R 198 518 870 699.8
Samuel Rogers 50 206 96 R 191 401.3 688.3 670.4
Orie Barnett 52 231 111 R 182 416.3 709.3 662.0
Les Cramer 71 187 67.5 R 145 325 537.5 658.0
Denny Habecker 70 192 66.1 R 143.3 308.6 518 620.5
Eric Todd 38 255 95 R 225 455 775 608.8
Tim Songster Sr. 46 204 85 R 175 350 610 576.6
Aaron Hougland 35 318 96 R 221 476 793 563.7
Scott Tully 37 316 105 R 187 440 732 520.4
John Wilmot 66 222 60 R 120 305 485 519.9
Dan Bunch 48 366 105 ? 190 275 570 441.7
Lance Foster 47 326 65 R 135 355 555 426.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  R & L designate right or left arm used.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Wilbur Miller

by Al Myers

Wilbur Miller pulling a 725# deadlift in York in 1965 (above), and then close to 50 years later pulling a 457# deadlift in 2012 at the Dino Gym (below).

Anyone involved with the All-Rounds in the midwest knows “the name” of Wilbur Miller.   I am very fortunate to know Wilbur personally, and he has been to my gym several times now.  He is an ICON amongst past strength athletes in the state of Kansas, and if I was voting,  I would vote him as the GREATEST ALL ROUND STRENGTH ATHLETE ever from the state of Kansas.  I know that’s saying alot, as there have been several others worthy of this distinction as well.  The reason I’m “putting my vote” on Wilbur is his diversity in strength and how he excelled in each discipline, whether it was Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting,  Grip, or All Round.  Recently, Wilbur was at the Dino Gym when some of the guys were doing Strongman, and he  commented to me how he wished that was around when he was younger.  I’m betting if it was, and Wilbur competed in Strongman – he would have excelled in that as well!

I’m glad to see Wilbur back into “action” in the USAWA.   The USAWA has alot to thank Wilbur Miller for.  He was a big part of the “grassroot movement” that started the USAWA and the IAWA.  At the time (late 60’s to mid 80’s), there were no organized associations for All Round Weightlifting like we have now with the USAWA, and the only option for this type of lifting (then known primarily as Odd Lifting) was within the Missouri Valley Region IV by Bill Clark promotions.  Wilbur often took part in these, and set at the time many Region IV records.   These records did not transfer into the modern day USAWA record book.   But if they did – many of Wilbur’s records would STILL be standing.

A little over a year ago, Thom Van Vleck wrote a nice biography about Wilbur for MILO (December 2011, Volume 19, Number 3).   I’ve told Thom that I thought this was one of his best Milo stories ever, but I know I am biased because of the respect I have for Wilbur and what he has done for All Round Weightlifting.  I want to highlight just a few of the things that Thom revealed about Wilbur in that story. However, if you are interested I recommend you order that issue of MILO, and it is worth it just for Thom’s story alone.

Wilbur was born in 1932 in Cimarron, Kansas.   That is the reason he acquired the nickname of “the Cimarron Kid”.  He was a gifted High School athlete – excelling in all sports.  It’s hard to believe but Wilbur ran the mile in Highschool.  He ran a best of 4 minutes, 33.6 seconds. In the state finals, he placed third behind two runners, Wes Santee and Billy Tidwell, who both went on to International Fame as World Class milers (that tidbit of trivia was not in Thom’s story, but rather told to me by Bill Clark).  Wilbur became interested in lifting at the age of 23, after injuring his back in a horse riding accident.  What started out  as physical therapy to recover from an injury turned into passion that lead to lifting greatness!  Wilbur was always known for having outstanding technique.  Thom titled his MILO story this way “Wilbur Miller: Lifting Perfection” because Wilbur was well-known for having perfect lifting technique.  Wilbur had a “story book” lifting career that propelled him into the Powerlifting Hall of Fame and the Weightlifting Hall of Fame.  My feeling is the only thing missing is that he should also be in the All Round (USAWA)  Hall of Fame!  After all, it was lifters like him (and a few others) that set the “groundwork” for the future of the USAWA.  Wilbur stills trains on York bars and plates that he purchased when he was a young man. I have a picture displayed in the Dino Gym that is “personally autographed” by Wilbur.  It is one of my favorites.  One of the reasons for this is that is because the bar is “fully loaded” with straps holding the plates on because there wasn’t enough room for the collars!  At the time the main plates available were Deep Dish York 45’s with wide-flanged rims which took up a lot of room on the bar.  Thom made this comment in his story which I think is worth repeating, “Some have claimed that the reason York quit making the deep-dish 4 and went to a thinner, sleeker version was because of Wilbur’s ability to max out the amount of weight on the bar with his monster deadlifts.”   Thom then went onto to say, “How would you like to be the reason the biggest maker of weights in the US had to change its design!”

This is that "autographed picture" in the Dino Gym that shows the plates loaded to the end of the bar!

Wilbur’s best lifts in competition were: 725# deadlift, 320# clean and press, 320# snatch (split-style), and a 385# clean and jerk.  Wilbur often competed in the 240-250 lb bodyweight range, which often put him as very light heavyweight because this was at the time that the heavyweight class started at 110 kilograms.  He often gave up over 100 pounds bodyweight to his competitors!  His 725 pound deadlift was an All Time Deadlift record at the time, and was done in 1965 in York, Pennsylvania.  He weighed 245 pounds in that meet.  I did some research on his best All Round lifts and this is what I found from an old Region VI Missouri Valley Record List.  Below is just a few of his records at the time:

LIFT RECORD
Middle Fingers Deadlift 320 pounds  (1983)
Hack Lift 650 pounds (1963)
Jefferson Lift 650 pounds (1963)
2-Dumbbell Deadlift 520 pounds (1984)
Strict Curl 180 pounds (1964)
Abdominal Raise 105 pounds (1962)
Miller Clean and Jerk 135 pounds (1979)

That last lift mentioned, the Miller Clean and Jerk, was named after Wilbur by Bill Clark in 1979.  It is that “dreaded lift” where a Clean and Jerk is performed by the middle fingers only!  It is a very painful lift!   Someday I will get Wilbur to demonstrate this lifted named after him for a picture.  I asked him to do it for me this past year, but he said it’s been awhile since he did it and he wanted to “train it” for a while before the photo op! I bet he’ll match his “bar and two plates’ for me like he did over 30 years ago!!!

Wilbur Miller (left) and USAWA President Denny Habecker (right) at the 2012 Dino Gym Challenge.

Wilbur currently has 7 records in the USAWA.  Like I said, those earlier Mo-Valley records didn’t carry over so these are records he has set recently.  All of them are in the 75-79 age group, 100-105 kg weight class.  I would like to see the lifter that can break these marks!!!

LIFT RECORD
12″ Base Deadlift 457 pounds (100kg class)
12″ Base Deadlift 450 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 397 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 350 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 419 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 400 pounds (105kg class)
12″ Base Squat 320 pounds (100kg class)

I have MANY MORE things and stories I could tell about Wilbur here, but I don’t want my story to be longer than the one Thom did for MILO (another reminder – BUY that issue!).  I want to close this by saying a few words about Wilbur as a person.  He is an extremely modest and humble person and it takes a bit to get him to talk about his accomplishments in the lifting game.   It is very obvious that he truly loves weightlifting and the people involved in it.  When he’s been at the Dino Gym, he’s “all smiles” and just loves to be part of day.  He’s always offering words of encouragement to the other lifters. In today’s world of BIG EGOS and SELF PROMOTERS, there are  few around anymore like Wilbur Miller who lifts  for the “love of the sport”.  I consider him a great weightlifting role model and I try everyday to have the attitude and character that he has shown.

The Hub Lift Clean & Press

by Al Myers

James Fuller hub lifting an Old-style York Deep-Dish 45 lb plate, then cleaning and pressing it!

Last month at Frank’s Barbell Record Breakers  James Fuller did something that really impressed me.  Most of us know James by his secret forum identity only (61pwcc , ok – it’s not a secret anymore!!).  I first met him at the Heavy Lift Championships in York, PA in 2011.  James epitomizes an all rounder – he is constantly thinking of different lifting movements to incorporate into his daily training.  He is interested in ALL TYPES of strength.  Just watch some of his YouTube Videos of his training in his dungeon and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

Now what did he do that impressed me so much?  Well – even though he did several spectacular record lifts that wasn’t it. In fact, this strength feat was done as an exhibition lift that is not an official lift of the USAWA and thus is not a record of any kind.   It was him hub lifting an old style deep-dish York 45 plate, then cleaning it, and finishing off by pressing it.  That’s quite a grip feat.  James commented in the forum by saying, “I hub lifted one of Frank’s York Deep Dish 45’s and he in turn used MY York Deep Dish 45’s that I just got. Been wanting to Hub Clean & Press a 45er for awhile.”

I have a old York deep-dish 45 in the Dino Gym, and I’ve only seen a few lifters even lift it up by the hub.  I consider that a great grip feat and definitely puts a person in a “class of their own”.  Performing a Clean & Press by the hub is just unreal!  I just hope James shows up at the Heavy Lift Champs this spring in Walpole, as I’ll try to talk him into repeating this effort so I can see it first-hand!

REMINDER – Joe the Turk Meet

by Tim Piper

The date is quick approaching for the “Joe the Turk” OTSM meet in Macomb IL.  Because I know you are all going to need to refuel at the meet the Salvation Army will be selling lunch at the meet.  They haven’t decided what they will sell yet but last meet we hosted they had pulled pork and homemade cookies and brownies.  All the funds go directly to supporting the Salvation Army programs and they typically sell for FAR TOO LITTLE in my opinion. 

 We have our unique awards already in and I think they will be not only interesting but useful as well. 

Please send entries soon so they can plan their food purchases.  Hope to see you all there.

Ronnie Coleman vs. Roy Mason

by Al Myers

The other day on Facebook I saw this YouTube Video for the first time.  Actually I was surprised I hadn’t seen it before as I like to watch YouTube Videos of any type of lifting. It featured an unlikely duo competing in a deadlifting competition   - Ronnie Coleman and Roy Mason.  EVERYONE knows 8-TIME Mr. Olympia (1998-2005) Ronnie Coleman, but I bet just a few have heard of the elder deadlifting machine Roy Mason.  I’m going to start this story off with the video (which you MUST WATCH) as a teaser, then I’ll give a little USAWA history lesson as it applies to both of these great strength athletes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeGZOmtXpBU&feature=player_embedded

Under the caption of this video you will notice that mention was made that this was Ronnie Coleman’s first powerlifting competition. I have no idea how many more he ever did as his future in Bodybuilding fame was about to ignite.  He sure looked the part in that meet.  Also, you will notice by the date of the video the meet was contested on 1/29/1994.  You may ask “what’s the significance of that?” . Well, to most “not much” except if you are interested in the history of the USAWA, then it becomes a very important trivia question that you can quiz your workout partners on during an evening training session.  That meet was the Fourth Annual Texas Deadlift Classic held in Alvarado, Texas directed by the famed All Rounder Joe McCoy and SANCTIONED THRU THE USAWA! I checked back through old memberships rosters and Ronnie Coleman is indeed listed as a USAWA member for that year of 1994.  This was also the only USAWA meet that he competed in. His 728# deadlift from that meet is listed as the overall record in the 12″ base deadlift for the 120kg class.  It is the TOP 12″ base deadlift listed in the USAWA record list.  This came from the meet report published in the Strength Journal, “All lifts were done with the 12 inch maximum heel spacing and done with two hands.  All were judged by USAWA officials Howard Prechtel, Noi Phumchaona, Bob Cox, Phil Anderson, and Joe McCoy.”  After watching this video, I would question “how much” the 12 inch heel spacing was really adhered to – but I’ll let you make your own decisions on that!!

Now onto the story of Roy Mason and his ties to the USAWA.  Credit to getting Roy involved in the USAWA goes to Joe McCoy.  This was said by Bill Clark in an edition of a 1994 Strength Journal, “Roy Mason is a deadlifting wonder. At the age of 76, he beats most men 40 years younger in the regular deadlift.  The Red Wing, Minnesota resident has long thrilled powerlifting crowds with his rare ability. Joe McCoy has twice brought Roy to the platform in sanctioned exhibitions to join the USAWA record list – and Roy has done so in amazing fashion.  Roy not only lifts amazing poundages, but he preaches a sermon and excites the crowd as he lifts.” 

Roy Mason currently holds 3 individual USAWA records: 485 lbs. in the 12″ base deadlift in the 75 age group/70 kg class from the meet in the video (this is ALSO an overall record in the 70 kilogram class -  SIMPLY AMAZING!) and a record in the middle fingers deadlift of 237 lbs. in the 75 age/70 kg BWT class from a meet on 4/10/1994.  He also holds one TEAM RECORD.  This was done after the deadlift competition from the video in which he teamed up with Bill Decker to pull a Two-man Deadlift of 661 pounds in the 75 age group/75 KG BWT class.  This was covered in a past blog I wrote ( http://www.usawa.com/summary-of-usawa-team-records/) and contains a great picture of their record setting effort, which is a record that I think will be a long  while before anyone EVER BREAKS.  Following that Texas Deadlift Classic, Roy also performed these finger deadlifts for exhibition:  330.5 lbs. in the two fingers deadlift (ring and middle), 381.5 lbs. in the three fingers deadlift (no thumb or little fingers), and finally 463 lbs. in the deadlift with all but the little fingers.

Roy Mason's book, "The Life of a Truck-Driver Preacher and Weight Lifter for Christ".

I first met Roy in the mid-90’s when he stopped at our gym in Salina to give an evangelistic strength performance.  Roy Mason spent his life as a long haul truck driver and traveling evangelist spreading the word of Christianity. He used his God-given deadlifting skills to reinforce his testimony.  Certainly he made an impact on everyone in the room while he delivered his message -  and we listened in awe.   He was a gifted speaker and had a high degree of modesty.  I never remember him once bragging (or even mentioning) his lifting accomplishments during his testimony. As he went across the country on his truck runs, he would stop at many places along the way to spread his Christian beliefs.  I bought his book, “The Life of a Truck-Driver Preacher and Weightlifter for Christ” on that day and I have read it several times since then. These are some of Roy’s words from  the introduction of his book,” I am very proud to be called the truck-driver preacher.  I consider it a great honor that God has called me to be a spokesman of his. Also, what a privilege to proclaim the word of God to each and everyone that I am privileged to meet.”   His book contains a reflection of his life experiences, interactions he had with other people he met giving his testimonies,  and how it all has affected him spiritually. He spends very little time in his book talking about his weight lifting accomplishments, and it’s only at the very end.  I have no idea if this book of his is still available.  It’s a simple book with no color photos and bound with a plastic binder, but a great source of Christian inspiration.

However, I already knew of Roy’s great lifting accomplishments when I heard him speak.  When I started lifting in the early 80’s I remember reading his name from National Masters Powerlifting Championship meet results and other big meets and his unbelievable deadlifts at an age of over 60.  I’ll never forget seeing him on the cover of the July, 1986 issue of POWERLIFTING USA.  In that U.S.P.F. National Masters, he deadlifted 562 pounds at 68 years of age!!  I had to do “some digging” but I found that issue of PL USA so I could include that “cover shot”  in this story so you would believe me!

Roy Mason on the cover of July, 1986 issue of POWERLIFTING USA.

Take the time to watch that video again.  I heard Joe McCoy several times yelling encouragement in the background for both lifters. I also think that YouTube Video clip came from a video that was taken by Joe during the meet.   That meet will go down as “one of the classics” in USAWA history.  Thank you Joe McCoy for making it happen. 

Roy Mason died in 2005 at the age of 87 years – but he will not be forgotten.

Congrats to Paula!

by Al Myers

Paula DeLaMata receiving her Sports Scholarship Award for her outstanding weight lifting accomplishments in 2012.

I always like to see lifters get recognition by their local community for their personal accomplishments.  Recently, Paula DeLaMata was awarded the Sports Scholarship Award for her All-Round Weightlifting accomplishments for the year 2012.  This award was given to her on March 21st in East Staffordshire, England.  Anyone who has been involved at all in IAWA knows Paula. Her vibrant  and extremely outgoing personality makes her an “instant hit” at All Round meets.  This, combined with her outstanding lifting, makes her STAND OUT to all the other lifters. She won her class at the  2012 IAWA World All Round Championships last fall in Salina, Kansas.

The local newspaper featured Paula!

This exert came from a local paper, “The evening saw the Burton Albion Football Club Sports Personality of the Year awarded to weightlifter Paula DeLaMata .  Paula has had an amazing year in her sport, winning several major honors, including the IAWA 2012 Open World Championships which were held in Kansas in October.  Paula aims for this year are to defend her world title and maintain her position representing IAWA(UK) in International Competition.”

Congratulations Paula! I think I can speak on behalf of the entire IAWA membership when I say this, WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!

Championship Entry Reminders

by Al Myers

I just want to remind everyone that the entry deadlines for the Heavy Lift Championships and the USAWA National Championships are coming up.   Frank Ciavattone is hosting the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships on May 4th in Boston, MA  and Denny Habecker is hosting the 2013 USAWA Nationals Championships on June 29 & 30th   in Lebanon, PA. However, both of these MAJOR COMPETITIONS require prior registration to enter so you need to get your entry in by the entry deadline. I know I’ve “harped” on this issue before, but here I go again.  It takes considerable planning and upfront expense to promote a major event and a meet director needs to know in advance how many to “plan the party for”.  I consider it disrespectful to think you can enter at the “last minute” when there is an entry deadline in place.  That’s why I’m reminding everyone of these dates now.

ENTRY DEADLINES

Heavy Lift Championships  – April 19th

National Championships – May 28th

The entry forms for these meets are located in USAWA Future Events on the right column of the website.

WOMEN’S DIFFERENCES

WOMEN ‘S DIFFERENCES

10 Reasons why women shouldn’t train like men

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Publisher and Editor in Chief, Journal of Pure Power (JOPP)

Consultant, Body Intellect Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium

I can’t imagine living at a time when people thought that women can’t be medical doctors, lawyers, leaders in government—or athletes. Thanks to Title IX in the United States, women have been able to excel at any sport they desire. But in the desire to receive equal footing with men in sport—and to maintain it—women, coaches, and other sports professionals have almost forgotten one basic fact—women are not men.

So you might say to yourself, “Good one Dan, ain’t that obvious?” Well, of course it is. But that also extends into how women should train for sport because of how they adapt to training. You see, most people assume that if a guy can squat a lot of weight, so can a women, and if a guy trains this way for a big squat, well, so can a woman. I would argue that the point is not whether the woman can train the same way as a guy, rather whether the woman should train the same way—especially if she has max gains in mind.

Though the woman athlete and her coach is at the heart of making training decisions, we shouldn’t be too hard on them for adhering to outdated training principles. The fact is, exercise scientists have just recently begun to investigate in what areas, to what extent, and why women ought not train the same way men do. Basically the way it works is that some athlete or coach generates a hypothesis about how one ought to train. Then scientists test the hypothesis for its merit and degree of truth. If proven true, then the hypothesis gets bumped up to the level of theory, in which case it receives further scrutiny to see in what areas the theory may hold more or less true. So in the case of women vs. men, early thinking was that the bench press is a great exercise for the pecs. Research in men has proved this to be false as other muscles are much more involved in the execution of this lift. But to what extent do these findings hold true in women?

JOPP is, as you know, at the forefront of sharing the latest scientific findings in strength/power sport with its readership. And so this journal has a solid record for bringing women and their coaches up to speed on training issues. To follow, my top 10…

  1. Women fatigue less from an equal amount of weight training than men.
  2. Women lose more strength after a set than men.
  3. Women can demonstrate max power in a wider range of 1-RM (1-rep max, the max amount of weight you can lift once) than men; in the jump squat it’s between 30% to 40% 1-RM for men and between 30% to 50% 1-RM for women.
  4. Hamstring to quad activation ratios are lower in women than men.
  5. Women have a higher sweat threshold than men, meaning their body temperature regulatory mechanisms aren’t as efficient.
  6. Women show less muscle damage after training at the same level of intensity as men.
  7. Women have less passive resistance (kinda like sturdiness) in the ankle muscle-tendon unit than men, contributing to less efficiency and economy in various leg movements.
  8. Women synthesize about 55% less collagen than men, which is related to having smaller tendons, tendons not responding to training as well, and tending to hold higher injury potential then men.
  9. Women can train at a given high intensity, e.g., 90% 1-RM, more frequently than men and make more gains by doing so.
  10. Women show little difference in rest periods between sets of 60, 90, 120, 240, and more seconds, therefore women can rest for as little as 60 seconds between sets for optimal gains—men need much more rest.

That my top 10 list holds important training implications for women is clear. So as in all walks of life, paying attention to scientific developments—and implementing them in your training—is the key to success. And that’s where men and women don’t differ from each other.

HOME EQUIPMENT (THE BEGINNINGS)

BY DAVE GLASGOW

“MY IRONING BOARD!!”, YELLED MY MOM.  “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY IRONING BOARD??!!  DAVID!!  YOU GET DOWN HERE, RIGHT NOW!!!”  EVEN THOUGH I WAS IN MY UPSTAIRS BEDROOM, DOOR SHUT TIGHTLY, I COULD HEAR HER AS THOUGH I HAD ON HEAD PHONES.  SIGHING HEAVILY, I STARTED DOWN THE STAIRS TO MEET MY FATE.  AFTER FIFTY YEARS, A LOT OF WHAT I WAS THINKING HAS LONG SINCE BEEN ERASED FROM MY MEMORY.  WHAT I DO RECALL, HOWEVER, WAS IMPENDING DOOM AND A SUDDEN HOPE THAT I COULD BE TRANSPORTED, INSTANTLY, TO AN ISLAND OF LEPROSY INFECTED CANNIBALS; ANY THING WOULD BE BETTER THAN HAVING TO FACE THE WRATH OF MY, SOMEWHAT, FIREY TEMPERED MOM.

THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THIS SITUATION OCCURRED SOME WEEKS PRIOR.  MY BROTHER, FOURTEEN AT THE TIME, CAME HOME WITH A COPY OF A BODY BUILDING MAGAZINE.  STRIDING THROUGH THE DOOR WITH FIXED PURPOSE, HE SLUNG HIMSELF ON THE COUCH IN OUR FRONT ROOM AND STARTED TO PERUSE THE ARTICLES.  BEING IN CONSTANT AWE OF MY BROTHER, I GRABBED A SEAT NEXT TO HIM.  ALTHOUGH I WAS GREETED WITH A LOOK OF DISGUST, IT DIDN’T DISSUADE MY INTEREST IN WHAT HE WAS LOOKING AT.

MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS, “WHY ARE THE GUYS SO SHINY??”  MY NEXT THOUGHT WAS, “HOLY COW!!  HOW DID THEY GET SO BIG!!”  I KNOW THAT MY BROTHER WAS EQUALLY IMPRESSED AND WE BOTH WERE ‘WOW’ING ALMOST EVER TURNED PAGE.  YOU’D OF THOUGH IT WAS A GIRLY MAGAZINE!!  LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT THIS WAS MY INTRODUCTION INTO A WORLD THAT, UP UNTIL THEN, I NEVER KNEW EXISTED!  A WORLD THAT WOULD BECOME A VERY LARGE PART OF MY LIFE.

AFTER A LITTLE WHILE, I COULD SEE IN MY BROTHERS EYES THAT THE WHEELS WERE TURNING.  HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID.  “I BET I CAN MAKE A LOT OF THIS STUFF TO WORKOUT WITH.  THEN, WE CAN START WORKING OUT.”  WE??  DID HE SAY WE???  WAS HE GOING TO INCLUDE ME??  WELL, HELL, YEAH!!  LET’S DO IT!!

NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, MY BROTHER WAS THE TYPE PERSON WHO COULD MAKE THINGS FROM SCRATCH, AS HE DID JUST THAT YEAR WHEN HE MADE A BEAUTIFUL CHEST OF DRAWERS IN JUNIOR HIGH.  AS FOR ME, I COULDN’T THEN, AND STILL CAN’T, DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE WITH A RULER.  HOWEVER, I WAS SURE GAME FOR ANY TYPE PROJECT I COULD BE INVOLVED WITH IF IT MEANT SPENDING TIME WITH MY BROTHER!

HAVING SPENT THE FORMATIVE YEARS OF OUR LIVES ON A FARM , WE HAD A VURTUAL CORNECOPIA OF ODDS AND ENDS TO START OUR EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING PROCESS WITH.  AGAIN, THE YEARS CLOUD THE PICTURE BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE DRILLING RIG WAS A PART OF IT.  AS I RECALL, ONE OF THE STAKES FOR THE GUY WIRES WEIGHTED 40 POUNDS.  THE FIRST TIME I PUT THAT OVERHEAD, I CAME AWAY FEELING AS THOUGH I WERE KING KONG AND ONE BAAAD DUDE!

IT WAS DECIDED WE NEEDED A DUMBBELL (THAT’S WHAT THE BIG BOYS HAD, AFTER ALL!).  LONG STORY SHORT, WE GATHERED UP ENOUGH LEAD TO MAKE A 20 POUND DUMBBELL, ‘ACQUIRED’ A PIECE OF HALF INCH ROD AND WE WERE IN BUSINESS.  FORGET THE FACT THAT WE USED MOM’S STOVE AS THE FORGE AND A COFFEE CAN FOR THE FORM.  YOU ALL ARE NOT STRANGERS TO THIS PROCESS, ARE YOU?! ( I AM QUITE POSITIVE IF OUR FOLKS HAD FOUND OUT THAT LITTLE FACT, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SANCTIONS FORTHCOMING.)  I WAS GIVEN THE JOB OF ‘EYE-BALLING” THE ROD FOR PLUMB.  WE COOLED THE HOT LEAD WITH A COLD WASH RAG APPLIED  TO THE SIDES OF THE CAN.  IT WAS’NT LONG BEFORE THE FINISHED PRODUCT LAY IN FRONT OF US, AWAITING OUR EAGER ATTENTION.

WELL, I AM QUITE CERTAIN IT WAS MY BROTHER’S IDEA.  SURELY,  I WAS NOTHING MORE THAN AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER, ONE OF THE NAMELESS RABBLE THAT GETS CAUGHT UP IN THIS SORT OF THING.  I DO KNOW THAT, IN THE END, JUST AS MANY INNOCENTS FIND OUT, SOMETIMES THE HANGERS ON SUFFER WITH THE PERPETRATORS.  REGARDLESS, ACCORDING TO THE MAGAZINE, EVERY GOOD GYM HAD AN INCLINE BOARD FOR DOING SITUPS.  YEAH, YOU GUESSED IT.  OUT CAME MOM’S IRONING BOARD.

MOM’S BOARD, WHICH SHE RECEIVED AS A WEDDING PRESENT IN 1947, HAD BEEN A LOYAL AND PROVEN FRIEND UNTIL THIS ONE FAITHFUL DAY IN 1962.  I AM ALSO CONFIDENT THAT THE MANUFACTURERS HAD NOT FACTORED INTO THE DESIGN THEIR BOARD BEING USED AS A PLATOFRM FOR SERIOUS EXERCISE.  OBVIOUSLY, THIS SMALL FACTOR HAD BEEN OVERLOOKED BY THE HEROES OF THIS STORY.

PLACING ONE END OF THE BOARD ON THE COUCH, WE HAD THE PROPER INCLINE.   I WAS GIVEN THE ‘HONOR’ OF BEING THE FIRST TO TRY IT.  NOW, IN 1962, I DOUBT I WEIGHTED 60 POUNDS.  I COMPLETED THE TEST PHASE OF OUR ENDEAVOR WITHOUT INCIDENT.  NOW, IT WAS MY BROTHER’S TURN.  REMEMBER, MY BROTHER WAS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN ME, AND, WELL, A LOT HEAVIER.  HE MOUNTED THE BOARD, LAID BACK AND BEGAN TO EXERCISE.  HE NO MORE THAN REACHED A POINT WHERE HIS BODY WAS PERPENDICULAR TO THE FLOOR WHEN WE HEARD A LOUD C-R-A-C-K!!  HE IMMEDIATELY LOST SOME ATTITUDE AND I LOOKED IN HORROR AT THE BOARD.  IT WAS NOW BROKEN IN THE MIDDLE, SHOWING ABOUT A THIRTY DEGREE INCLINE OF IT’S OWN!!   OH, MY SWEET JESUS!!!!  GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT MY BROTHER SAID, OR THOUGHT!!

AS HINTED PRIOR, MY BROTHER WAS A PRETY HANDY GUY.  HOWEVER, TRY AS HE MAY, HE COULD NOT GET THAT BOARD BACK TO ANYTHING RESEMBLING FLAT.  AFTER REPEATED TRIES AND NUMEROUS IDEAS, HE (WE) OPTED TO GET IT AS CLOSE TO ORIGINAL AS POSSIBLE, MAKE SURE THE COVER WAS AS SMOOTH AS WE COULD GET IT AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.

WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY. AGAIN, I HAVE TO DEFER TO THE FRAILTY OF AGE AS I DON’T REMEMBER WHAT WAS SAID, WHAT DIRE PUNISHMENT WAS DOLED OUT OR EVEN HOW  I MANAGED TO IMPLICATE MY BROTHER.  THE ONE THING THAT I DO KNOW, FOR SURE, WAS THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEVER LIED TO MOM AND DAD.  THIS WAS A LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY, BUT ONLY HAD TO BE TAUGHT ONCE.  I SPILLED THE BEANS ABOUT MY PART AND STOOD TO RECEIVE SENTENCE.  I HAD NO CHOICE BUT IMPLICATE MY BROTHER IN THE MISDEED.

FINALLY, THREE THINGS CAME OUT OF THIS INCIDENT.  ONE, WE NEVER DID SIT UPS ON MOM’S BOARD AGAIN.  TWO, DAD GOT MOM A NEW, METAL IRONING BOARD, WHICH, SMOOTHED THE FUR OF MY STLLL, FURIOUS MOM.  THREE, YOURS TRULY GOT HIS ASS BEAT BY AN IRATE BROTHER WHO REFUSED TO ACCEPT OR UNDERSTAND WHY I COULDN’T KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT AND KEEP HIM OUT OF DUTCH!!!

THUS, BEGAN MY FORAY INTO THE WORLD OF IRON, ONE OF THE MORE PRECARIOUS BEGINNINGS ANYWHERE, I AM SURE! 

I HAVE NOT DONE AN INCLINE SIT UP TO THIS DAY…….

Introducing the DRAGSTER

by Al Myers

The DRAGSTER

I’m constantly thinking up new ways to impose self-induced torture on my training partners.  It’s the DINO GYM mentality!  We have a 150 foot cement “runway” in front of the gym that is perfectly level – that we use for pulling sleds, walking with yokes and farmers implements, carrying kegs,  and the like.  It’s a great way to get in a little “cardio” after a lifting session, and after a few runs, you are totally “wiped out”.  Plus doing these activities are WAY MORE fun than sitting like a puppet on the stationary exercise bike or walking  aimlessly to nowhere on the treadmill.  That type of cardiovascular training bores me to tears.  Actually, I can’t even stand it its so boring.  I just watch the clock constantly – waiting for my 30 minutes to elapse so I can quit.  Training is suppose to be fun!!!!!

Al "the DINOMAN" Myers giving Darren Barnhart a fast run on the DRAGSTER.

Well – NOW IT IS!!!  I’ve pushed on all types of prowlers, and love them.  But I always felt like the prowler could be improved, so thus, the invention of the DINO GYM DRAGSTER!  You can think of the dragster as the “ultimate prowler”  – it takes the prowler to a whole nother level!  I’ve spent a lot of time on this design, and after much prototype redesigning, it finally is perfected. 

Last weekend was the BIG TEST DAY for the final design of the dragster. I gathered several of my training partners for this grueling experiment, and we spent a couple of hours being test subjects.  I had no idea how exhausted I was becoming because I was having so much fun!  The next few days I paid the price with my front quads being so sore I couldn’t go up steps. The unique thing about the dragster is that it can take “live weight” along with added plates.  Of course, when I say “live weight” I mean one of your training partners.  Actually, I had as much fun riding the dragster as pushing it.  Sorta made me feel like a kid again riding my sled down the hill when it snowed.  This “live weight” added a whole new dimension to the training as when you were the one pushing you wanted to give the other guy a fast run – thus the reason for the name DRAGSTER!!!

This is the perfect training implement for everyone – lifters, athletes, strongmen, etc.   I’m going to take the Dragster to production. If anyone is interested in one – send me an email and I’ll give you a quote.

Milk Shake Challenge

by Roger LaPointe

Magazine advertisement for Hoffman's Super Hi-Proteen.

The old York Barbell gym had one of the first in-house “smoothie” operations.  They just called them protein shakes.  These were a big source of inspiration for friendly betting on lifts, particularly on Saturdays.

You see, Hoffman would come in on Saturdays.  It wasn’t so much that he would coach, but he handed out money.  Certain York lifters might get a $20, or possibly more, if they did a really great lift.  That meant that many lifters who did not have a contest that weekend would be maxing out.  Even if there wasn’t a possibility for cash, there was always the challenge possibility with your buddy.

Andy doesn’t know it yet, but he is going to get a challenge from me today.  Andy is 5 years my junior and he has 50 pounds in bodyweight on me, but I think I can take him in overhead squats.  I will let him choose, max weight or reps.  We shall see…
 
I just talked with Fred Lowe about the old York shakes on Facebook.  Here is what he said: ”Oh, it was just milk, a scoop of ice cream, some hi-protein, maybe some flavoring or berries. “   They were no more than a dollar.

Lifter of the Month: Troy Goetsch

by Al Myers

Troy Goetsch lifting 255# in the 2 hands Pinch Grip at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships. This is the ALL TIME best Pinch Grip in the USAWA record book.

I’m glad to announce Troy Goetsch as the LIFTER OF THE MONTH for February.  Troy “sealed the deal” with his big win at the USAWA Grip Championships, by beating out a field of 15 other lifters.  Troy lifts for the Jobes Steel Jungle Club, the new up and coming club in the USAWA.  Troy also competes in strongman, and is a very good competitor in it.  He has lifted in several of the strongman comps put on by the Dino Gym, and always places high. 

Congrats Troy for being the February Lifter of the Month!

My tribute to Dale “THE MIRACLE MAN” Friesz

by Al Myers

Dale Friesz made the trip to Las Vegas for the 2012 USAWA National Championships last summer. This was Dale's 20th National Meet that he has competed in. Pictured left to right: Art Montini, Al Myers, Dale Friesz

The USAWA will greatly miss Dale Friesz.   Dale’s passion for All Round Weightlifting and his love for the USAWA was “way beyond” that of  most lifters.  He was in a ”class of his own” in terms of dedication.  Several lifters “come and go” in the USAWA through the years, but Dale kept steady with his never-ending involvement.  I want to take today’s story to share my tribute to Dale with everyone.  I know lots of the newer USAWA members are not aware of the things Dale has accomplished in the USAWA.   Dale stated in his USAWA Hall of Fame biography that he got started in lifting by the encouragement of his brother Leonard.  Leonard had a stellar lifting career, and at one time was competing in Olympic Weightlifting in the Missouri Valley Region.  I remember seeing Leonard’s  name in numerous  past meet results.  Dale was influenced into becoming involved in the USAWA by two legendary USAWA lifters, John Vernacchio and Bill Clark.  This was also stated in his HOF bio.  I want to mention this footnote as well – when I was working on the project to get all USAWA Hall of Famers to have a biography on this website I set out questionnaires to each member which I based writing their bios on.  Dale was one of “the few” who wanted to write his bio himself, which he did.  He told me in an email he wanted it to be written right! (which I took as him not trusting me to get all the important facts and details in it!!!!) .  

Dale receiving the award for winning the FIRST EVER Presidential Cup in 2012. Dale is on the left, with the USAWA President Denny Habecker on the right doing the presentation.

Dales first competition in the USAWA was on November 11th, 1989, in a meet in Valley Forge, PA hosted by John Vernacchio.  Dale’s first year of USAWA membership began the very first year the USAWA began collecting dues – 1988.  Since that time Dale has had a CONTINUOUS membership in the USAWA (26 years!!!).  Dale always joined before the membership year began, and often he was the FIRST MEMBERSHIP for the year I would receive.  That’s a testament to his strong connection and support to the USAWA.  Dale is one of only four USAWA members that has maintained continuous membership in the USAWA (Bill Clark, Joe Garcia, and Art Montini are the others) since the organization formed.  This makes him one of the CHARTER MEMBERS of the USAWA.  At this past year’s Nationals, a very special award was given to Dale.  It was called the “25 Year Participation Award”, given to the lifters that have participated in the most USAWA National Championships in the 25 year history of the USAWA.  Dale had competed in 20 out of the 25 Nationals!!!  That’s an amazing track record!!  The other winners were Denny Habecker, Art Montini, and Dennis Mitchell.  Dale only missed the 1988, 1989, 2000, 2006, & the 2011 Nationals.  I was glad to see him involved in our 25th Nationals in Las Vegas last June.  I met him at the airport and I could tell that the flight had taken a toll on him, but he seemed very excited to be there and able to take part in this very important USAWA meet.  No matter how Dale felt physically, he always seem upbeat and glad to be taking part in the competition.

Dale performing one of his favorite lifts, the Neck Lift, at the 2009 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Lebanon, PA. This was the day that I got Dale to reveal his "neck lifting secrets" to me. He was the master of technique in the Neck Lift!!

Dale competed in several meets in Clarks Gym through the years.  His favorite was the Zercher Classic, which he competed in for the first time in 1991.  Dale had a good meet that day – placing one placing higher than Bill Clark!  The next year Dale returned to the Zercher and moved up a few places to fourth place out of 10 lifters (behind Steve Schmidt, John Carter, and Joe Garcia).  It was a tough field and had to be one of Dale’s best meets of his USAWA career. He raised his total by 735 pounds from the previous year. Then in 1994 he placed THIRD in the Zercher (his highest Zercher placing).    I know Dale was a big fan of this meet as he has provided me a complete historical review of all past Zercher Meets.  That’s one of the many reasons why I have often referred to Dale as the HISTORIAN of the USAWA even though it was a unofficial title.  He keep a record of this type of information and was always there for me when I had “questions”.  Much of the information on this website under the “history section” was researched and documented by Dale. Another one of his favorite “Clark Meets” was the Hermann Goerner Deadlift Dozen.  Dale has the distinction of WINNING the first ever Goerner Deadlift in 1995.  He beat such notable lifters that day as Rex Monahan, Joe Garcia, Al Springs and others.  I say it was one of Dale’s BEST EVER USAWA days – in addition to winning overall best lifter, he set his memorable 605 pound Neck Lift in a record setting session afterwards.  He was 55 years old and weighed 183 pounds that day. 

Recently I had received an email from Dale in which he commented how 2012 was, and I’ll quote him, “I consider this to be a decent year for me – as I broke 7 or so finger lift records (all previously set by someone with2 normal legs!), winning the Presidential Cup, and being named lifter of the month for August.  This made my efforts/pain worthwhile“.   He was looking forward to the year 2013.  Dale NEVER seemed to get discouraged, and always was thinking about his next competition.  I was so glad to see him win the Inaugural Presidential Cup last August.  His winning performance included a 154 pound Ring Fingers Deadlift with a prosthetic leg!  Later in the year I included this performance of his as one of the TOP TEN performances in the USAWA for the year 2012.  Dale sent me an email after that announcement thanking me, but he EARNED IT!

Dale performing the Pullover and Push in the 2010 USAWA Championships. This was the last meet Dale competed in before his leg amputation.

Dale has dealt with more physical obstacles than anyone I have ever known, and yet continued to train and compete.  The list is enormous and so long I have lost count.  But included is hip replacement, aortic reconstruction, back surgery with laminectomy, shoulder replacement, heart surgery several times, three heart attacks, numerous leg surgeries, and then the leg amputation.  I’m sure I’m missing many other health-related issues here.  It was common for Dale to compete in a big meet shortly after a major operation.  I remember once just a few weeks after open-heart surgery he was on the platform competing.  After his hip replacement, he was in a meet 3 months later.  This quote came from the Strength Journal from Dale before his hip replacement.  Dale said, “I always wanted to be like Tommy Kono and John Grimek and on February 12th, 2001, I’ll get me wish.  I’ll get a new hip.”  Dale always had a dry sense of humor when it came to things!  When he was staying at my place for the 2009 USAWA Nationals he “instructed me” on his medications so in case something went wrong I would be aware of what medicines he was on.  This was a list no shorter than 17 different pills!!!!  Dale’s mindset was like no other, and is the main reason he was awarded the Courage Award by the USAWA EVERY YEAR since the USAWA Awards Program  began in 2010. Before this, he was awarded the Ciavattone  Courage Award in 2004 by Frank Ciavattone, who gave out the award yearly to honor someone who showed great courage in remembrance of Frank’s dad.   I once  jokingly commented to Dale  that he’s won the Courage Award so many times it should be named after him when he’s gone!  Now…… I’m serious about that.

In 2009, the USAWA Nationals were held at the Dino Gym in Abilene, KS. Dale stayed at my house during that time and I will forever remember the stories that were told by Dale. This picture is from the meet of him performing a Cheat Curl.

Dale was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame in 2002.  His induction happened at the 2002 Nationals, held in Ambridge, PA.  I would like to share this story about Dale and his entering into the HOF by Bill Clark, someone who Dale had great respect and admiration for. “ When Dale Friesz showed up to lift at the USAWA Nationals in June in Ambridge, PA., USAWA President Howard Prechtel was prepared.  Dale needed to medal at the Nationals to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and Howard figured correctly that Dale would do that.  So much to Dale’s surprise, he was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame on the spot with the plaque already engraved in his name.  That Dale was even lifting in Ambridge was Hall of Fame material in itself.  In February, he spent 15 days in the hospital (six days in intensive care) and lost 21 pounds in 21 days from an already slender frame.  In a few weeks, he seemed on the road to recovery from what had been diagnosed as advanced vascular disease.  But, in May, along came what Dale called “Scary Story No. 2″ , viral heart infection, bronchial shutdown, pneumonia, liquid retention around the heart – back to the hospital for nine days.  And a matter of six weeks later, he was back on the platform earning his spot in the Hall of Fame.  I can assure you – no one was happier to be in Ambridge than Dale Friesz.”  – by Bill Clark in the Strength Journal Vol. XIII No. 3

Dale "in action" performing another one of his favorite lifts - the finger lift!

In 2006 at the USAWA National Meeting, the USAWA passed a rule requiring that all officials pass a Open Book Rules Test to be certified as an USAWA official.  Dale was the FIRST ONE to take and pass this exam.  He was one of the few LEVEL TWO officials in the USAWA.  He had a keen sense of the Rule Book, and kept up on it as things evolved.  Often he would “question” things in the Rulebook, and due to this, several discrepancies were found and corrected. Dale was never an officer in the USAWA, but his presence as a member exerted as much influence as any officer.  In my opinion, he was one of the TOP TEN most influential people ever involved in the USAWA.  He often served on committees, and provided valuable input.  His input on the HOF committee was instrumental in developing new guidelines for entry.  He also served on the Rulebook Review committee and was very helpful to me in the big Rulebook revision of 2009. In 2011 at my encouraging Dale registered his club with the USAWA.   He named it M&D Triceratops, and he was the only member.  Often at meets he would be wearing a ball cap or tshirt sporting his clubs logo.  I could tell this was something Dale was proud of, and it showed his commitment to the USAWA.

Dale’s favorite all round lifts were the finger lifts, the finger deadlifts, the Neck Lift, and the one arm deadlift.  I just did a USAWA record count of the number of current USAWA records Dale holds, and his count is at 160.  He holds records in 64 different USAWA lifts!  Dale was one of the original members of the CENTURY CLUB, a designation I gave to lifters who currently hold over 100 USAWA records.  The records he was most proud of were; 215# Ring Fingers Deadlift done at the 2001 Gold Cup, 354# Right Arm Deadlift done at the 1992 Gold Cup, and his 605# Neck Lift done at the 1995 Goerner. 

Dale’s National and World Meet Accomplishments:

2012 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 70-74
2010 Nationals 9th Place Overall
2008 Nationals 8th Place Overall
2005 Worlds Best Lifter Mens Master 65-69
1999 Nationals 6th Place Overall
1997 Nationals 7th Place Overall
1996 Nationals 10th Place Overall
1996 Nationals Best Lifter Mens Master 55-59
1995 Nationals 4th Place Overall
1992 Nationals 8th Place Overall

*plus numerous class/bodyweight National & World Championship awards*

Dale would often sign off his emails with these words, “Don’t let the USAWA die!!” That’s a promise that I will not let him down on. I owe Dale alot- he really helped me understand the historical importance of the USAWA and the philosophy of the organization. I will never forget Dale and his love for the USAWA and all round weightlifting. Often when I’m having a “rough day” in the gym, I think of Dale and the hardships he overcame with his lifting and it motivates me to keep positive and work harder. Afterall, my physical problems are NOTHING compared to what he endured when training!! I gave Dale the nickname “MIRACLE MAN” in several past blog stories. I know he appreciated that (he told me so) as it was given as a sign of respect to him in his ability to overcome serious physical  barriers miraculously.

Dale – YOU WILL BE MISSED! But I promise everyone this – I will keep Dale’s memory alive in the USAWA for as long as I’m involved.

The MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD – Dr. Robert Goldman

by Al Myers

Thom (right picture) and myself (left picture) with Dr. Goldman at the 2013 Arnold Higland Games in Columbus, Ohio.

A few weeks ago I made the trip to the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.  The plans were made for this trip to be in conjunction with the USAWA  Club Championships in Pittsburgh, but when the Club Champs were called off because of bad weather that didn’t really end up happening , we decided to just make the trip to the Arnold anyways.  The four of us (me, Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, and Mike McIntyre) had already made the plans to be gone, so instead of only getting one day at the Arnold, now we got two days. 

You always meet interesting people at these kind of events.  Some you heard of beforehand, and others for the first time.  On Sunday we attended the Arnold Classic Highland Games to support several throwers that we know.  It was a grand event, and sponsored by Dr. Robert Goldman.  Dr. Goldman put up the prize money for the invited pros as well as funding the game expenses. This was the first time I had met him, and I was very impressed.  When I got back home I did some research on him, and I might have to say, he is the MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD.  In fact, I have not met anyone who has accomplished what he has in his life in so many different arenas.  Add in the fact that he has a little “all round weightlifter” in him and I was thoroughly impressed.  But before I get to that, you need to read his resume first:

http://drbobgoldman.com/

Dr. Bob Goldman performing a WR 321 consecutive handstand pushups (photo courtesy of Dr. Goldman's website).

It would take a book to write about all of the accomplishments that Dr. Goldman has achieved (or a very extensive website like the one he has!). One of his first books was titled “Death in the Locker Room” which was one of the first unveiling’s of the drug and steroid scene in competitive sports. Dr. Goldman is very anti-drug, and even required steroid testing  at the Arnold Highland Games (which is not the common practice in Highland Games) .   Thom and I compared him to the mysterious Dos Equis man that you often see in beer commercials (who is portrayed as the Most Interesting Man in the World in the beer advertisements).  Dr. Goldman  just radiates confidence and vitality, and after meeting him, you know there is more to the story than what you experienced in that interaction.  On top of all the books he has written and the medical advances he is responsible for, he has achieved some great All Round lifting accomplishments.  He has set several Guinness World Records in such strength events as the handstand pushup, situps for repetitions, one arm pushups, and many others.  The following YouTube Video is very interesting, and is worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch.

YouTube Video –  A lifetime of firsts: The story of Dr. Bob Goldman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyDgV5WOxH8

It’s great the World has men like Dr. Robert Goldman.  He is proof that if you have a positive attitude and strong work ethic, anything is possible to achieve.  He’s a great role model for all of  mankind.

Frank’s Barbell RB

by Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Due to our area receiving 100 plus inches of snow in the past couple of months, most of our competitors were unable to attend due to plowing snow. This was the first Saturday that we had any number of attendees making it possible to hold this competition.

Our furthest entrant came from upstate Maine and the other two entrants were from Walpole, MA. I was the only qualified referee so my lifts did not count toward official records but the other two competitor’s lifts are valid. We had one loader, helper and spectator which was famous author on strength, Peter Vuono from Brockton, MA. Everyone gave 100% and made this competition a worthwhile event. After the competition we enjoyed a meal and award ceremony and then right back to snow plowing.

MEET RESULTS:

Frank’s Barbell Club Meet Record Breaker
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Location: Frank’s Barbell Club in East Walpole, MA

Meet Promoter:  Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Officials (1 official system used):  Frank Ciavattone Jr.

Jeff Ciavattone - 33 years old, 235 lbs.

One hand Fulton dumbbell (Ciavattone grip) – right 190 lbs. & left 190 lbs.
Index finger dead-lift – 231 lbs.
Ring finger dead-lift – 159 lbs.

Jim Fuller - 41 years old, 228 lbs.

Kelley snatch -  108 lbs.
Kneeling snatch – 108 lbs.
Middle finger dead-lift  -  266 lbs.

Frank Ciavattone Jr. -58 years old, 289 lbs.

Reeves deadlift  - 345 lbs.
One hand Fulton dumbbell (Ciavattone grip) – right 190 lbs.
Little finger deadlift w/ring – left 110 lbs. & right 125 lbs.

WEBMASTER NOTE:   James Fuller recorded the meet, and placed the video on YouTube which he shared in the USAWA Discussion Forum.  I am placing a link to it here, as it’s very inspirational!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBpIg5btGVk&feature=player_detailpage

The Stiff-Legged Deadlift Must Die

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

I’m glad that Al’s article on the Romainian Deadlift (RDL) and Stiff-Legged Deadlift (SLDL) mentioned the dangers of the SLDL. Everything about the SLDL is contrary to proper lifting technique, biomechanics, and physiology-and as such increases injury risk immensely. And since we’re talking about the back, an injury there can be life changing and lifting career ending. Please let me explain…and I’ll do this as briefly as possible and in a step-by-step sequence.

A properly executed RDL reduces the risk of injury over the SLDL many fold. For one, a properly executed RDL allows the lifter to simply deadlift the barbell off the ground; this means that proper lifting technique can be employed before you even start doing a RDL. Then, as you commence the RDL, the barbell is slid down the thighs, over the knees, and about half way down the legs, while at all times remaining in contact with the body. This is achieved by keeping the back in a neutral position (flat) and by shifting the center of mass back toward your heels as much as possible. If you find yourself losing balance backwards and your toes popping up a bit, then you’re doing a proper RDL. By keeping the back flat and keeping the center of mass as close to the coronal plane* as possible, the shearing forces upon the lower back are minimized. Research on the squat has demonstrated clearly and unequivocally, how the more the center of mass moves away from the coronal plane (forward), by as an example doing a low-bar sq compared to a high-bar sq, shearing forces on the lower back increase many fold. (Certain dl comparison studies have demonstrated this, too.)

So what about shearing forces? Whenever you lift something, joints move, and shearing forces exist. But by observing proper lifting technique, grounded in sound biomechanics, these shearing forces are something your body can handle and adapt to so that they become a non-issue. And so in the low-bar squat, even though the shearing forces upon the lower back are greater than in the high-bar squat, since proper lifting technique can nevertheless be maintained, these forces don’t add up to an increased injury risk. Not so in the SLDL!

Some of the technique strategies necessary to reduce shearing forces upon the lower back when you lift is to bend the knees, keep the back in neutral, and keep the center of mass as close to the coronal plane as possible. This can all be achieved with every pull off the ground-except the SLDL. And what makes the SLDL particularly insidious is that execution of this lift requires you to violate all principles of proper lifting. And that’s why this lift must die…

  • Whenever the center of mass moves forward…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; you can’t do a SLDL with the bar close to the body.
  • Whenever you lift something with locked knees…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; this is one of the chief aspects resulting in a barbell away from your body.
  • Whenever you round your back, you’re taking the curvatures out of your spine, thus reducing the structural strength of the spine, thereby increasing forces upon all vertebrae of the spine…and you’re also increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; you couldn’t lift with neutral spine (flat back) even if you tried when your knees are supposed to remain locked.
  • Whenever you lift more weight…you’re increasing shearing forces upon the lower back; but in the SLDL this occurs due to poor technique that places anatomical structures (tendons, ligaments, discs, muscles, etc.) at additional risk by ostensibly weakening them.

Up until now I’ve withheld personal opinion and just shared scientific fact. But based on these scientific facts, my personal opinion is that if the IAWA Worlds had the SLDL as a contested lift, I’d only do a token lift with the minimum amount possible, even if that meant losing the worlds by 10 pounds. And not trying to pick on Al here, I would like you to consider that him having done SLDL’s for 20 years without injury is simply a function of luck. If I were him, I’d consider the facts of biomechanics and I’d stop doing SLDL’s now and thank Lady Luck every day that I made it through the mine field intact.

So now some of you might be thinking that, “Yeah, well, but the SLDL does help my deadlift by giving me more strength off the ground.” Guys, let’s be honest here, that’s just conjecture based on what came out of the “Golden Age of Lifting.” It can be argued that these guys gave rise to the field of exercise science. And now that it has advanced, we should not hold on to old and unproven myths, but embrace the advances in knowledge these guys laid the foundation for. So, sure, you might think that SLDL’s will help you get the barbell of the ground, because that’s what you feel. But what you’re feeling there is just an acute sense of what’s going on due to a new exercise-it’ll fade…and the feelings are not a reflection of reality. Research has shown that in an effort to get the barbell moving off the ground, you need more speed-not a violation of good lifting form and enough luck to survive that. So you’d be much better off training high pulls than SLDL’s to increase your pull off the ground. There’s a reason weightlifters tend to be great deadlifters…and it’s not because they do SLDL’s.

Overall, there is absolutely no reason to do the one lift that violates all principles of proper lifting. And as to being a contested lift in IAWA and USAWA…who cares. Is it worth the risk? At the end of the day, that’s your decision. I can only hope that you’ll be able to take the above as useful evidence to derive at a more informed decision. As for me, SLDL RIP.

*Imagine looking at a person from the side and dividing that person into equal halves front and back. The center line that divides front and back is the coronal plane.