Posts belonging to Category USAWA Daily News



The Gada Part 1

by Thom Van Vleck

The Great Gama with his Gada (Mace).

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

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

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

Dalton Jackson doing his modified "Gada" exercises.

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

Part II:  Building the Ultimate Gada

Neck Lifting all the Way to a Guinness Record

by Lance Foster

Eric Todd enroute to a 1000 pound Neck Lift on October 19th, 2013 for a new Guinness World Record.

USAWA history was made for the second time in May 2014, when Eric Todd’s 1000 pound neck lift from October 19, 2013 was approved as a Guinness World Record, breaking the previous record of 800 pounds that had been set by Frank Ciavattone almost 8 years ago. Eric had set other USAWA records in the neck lift. On May 12, 2012 at the Heavy Lift Championships with an extra attempt of 905 pounds. A few months later he vastly exceeded that amount during the “Neck Lift Challenge” between him and Chad Ullom on October 7, 2012, held following the IAWA World Championships, edging out Chad for the win with 1030 pounds. While Eric’s world record is 30 pounds lighter, it is definitely worth mentioning that Guinness requires that a weight lifting attempt must be held for 2 seconds in the locked out position to be considered a good lift, in contrast to the USAWA standard that a big bar lift is considered good immediately upon the weight coming off the ground.

Gold Cup

by Al Myers

This is a great picture from the Gold Cup in England in 2011. It was a trip I'll always remember!

It’s hard for me to believe that 3 years have went this fast!  That’s the last time Steve Gardner promoted the IAWA Gold Cup in Burton, England.  I remember it like yesterday -  as my daughter Emily attended it with me and we did some 2-person lifting, including a 800 pound Male/Female deadlift. Steve is one of the best IAWA meet promoters in the organization.  I’ve been to several of his comps and things are always well planned and well organized.

Plus this year it will be held at his new gym – The Burton Powerhouse All Round Weightlifting Academy.  I’m very excited to see this new facility.  I’ve seen pictures of it – but nothing compares to seeing it firsthand! Afterwards, there will be a banquet and awards presentation at the Branston Golf and Country Club. It will be a top notch affair. You have my word on that.

To qualify for the Gold Cup, you must be a current IAWA World Record Holder and be a current member of IAWA (being a current member of USAWA entitles you IAWA membership).  You must also attempt an IAWA World Record on your opening attempt in your selected lift.   You will be allowed one chosen lift for sure, and a second lift if time permits.

The other important detail is the entry deadline is October 11th.  USAWA lifters must send their entry form to Steve by then, but he will allow overseas lifters to pay him when we get there.

The Gold Cup is one of the TWO prestigious IAWA events every year.  It is a must-attend event for all serious IAWA lifters.  Lets really represent the USAWA in England this October!  If anyone has any questions on the Gold Cup and might be interested in attending, please contact me and I will help in answering any questions you may have.

ENTRY INFORMATION:

2014 GOLD CUP INFO (pdf)

2014 GOLD CUP INFO (word document)

ENTRY FORM:

2014 IAWA GOLD CUP ENTRY (pdf)

2014 IAWA GOLD CUP ENTRY (word document)

Club Championships

BY DAVE GLASGOW

CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS ON THE GREAT PLAINES

Group picture of the lifters from the 2014 USAWA Club Championships.

FOUR CLUBS AND THREE STATES WERE REPRESENTED AT THE USAWA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS, HOSTED BY THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS, IN RAINBOW BEND, KS. THOSE PARTICIPATING RANGED IN AGE FROM ELEVEN TO EIGHTY SEVEN! QUITE A RANGE. YET, THERE WERE GREAT LIFTS POSTED BY ALL WHO COMPETED.

ALEX WHETSTONE HAD NEVER DONE ANY OF THE LIFTS PRIOR TO THE MEET DAY. HE WAS GIVEN A CRASH COURSE ON THE LIFTS BY HIS UNCLE, 9 TIME MASTERS NATIONAL POWER LIFTING CHAMPION , LARRY ‘FLOYD’ TRAUB AND HIS GRANPA, DAVE GLASGOW. FOR ONE SO YOUNG AND WITH NO EXPERIENCE, WE ALL THOUGHT HE DID VERY WELL! I DOUBT VERY SERIOUSLY IF WE HAVE SEEN THE LAST OF HIM!

ANOTHER NEW CAST MEMBER TO THE LEDAIG TEAM AND THE USAWA IS DREVON KRESSLY. YOU WILL SOON NOTICE THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF TEAM LEDAIG ARE KRESSLYS AND DREVON ADDED A NEW FACE! WHAT A GREAT, YOUNG TALENT THIS KID IS!! VERY UNASSUMING AND SOFT SPOKEN, DREVON WAS SHOWED THE ‘SPLIT’ TECHNIQUE FOR THE ONE ARM C/J AND THEN PROCEDED TO PERFORM IT TO PERFECTION ON HIS VERY NEXT LIFT!! IMPRESSIVE! HE HAS THAT POWER/QUICKNESS QUALITY THAT YOU CAN’T TRAIN OR TEACH. VERY GOOD TO HAVE HIM ABOARD. DREVON’S BROTHER, LOGAN, SHOWED UP AND DID VERY WELL, ALSO. HAVING RETURNED FROM NATIONALS LAST MONTH, HE IS NO STRANGER TO THE USAWA. HE KEPT THE LEDAIG TEAM IN THE HUNT FOR THE TITLE WITH SOLID, CALCULATED LIFTS!

CONTINUING WITH THE KRESSLYS, DOUG AND JERA ARE ALWAYS GREAT TO HAVE AROUND! THEY COME TO LIFT AND ALWAYS ATTEMPT TO PERFORM AT THEIR BEST. THIS DAY, SADLY, WAS NOT TO THEIR LIKING. SOMETIMES THE EXCITEMENT OF THE DAY MAKES FOR MISCALCULATIONS AND THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE HERE FOR THEM. JERA COULD’NT MANAGE HER OPENER FOR THE TWO HAND, FULTON, CIVATONNE LIFT. HAVING MADE THE SAME WEIGHT IN WARM-UP, SHE WAS NOT ABLE TO PULL IT ON ANY OF HER ATTEMPTS. JERA WOWED THE SPECTATORS WITH HER ONE HAND C/J AND TRAP BAR DL, SO THE DAY WAS NOT A TOTAL LOSS! DOUG MUST HAVE HAD SOME OF THE SAME PORRIDGE AS JERA AS HE COULD’NT MANAGE HIS OPENER ON THE SAME LIFT!! HE WAS PERTURBED BUT CAME BACK ON THE REMAINING LIFTS TO POST GOOD NUMBERS AND SAVE SOME FACE.

Dave Glasgow helped lead his club to club victory with this 450 pound Trap Bar Deadlift (picture and caption by Al Myers).

ART MONTINI AND DENNY HAYBECKER MADE THE LOOONG TRIP FROM PENNSYLVANIA TO COMPETE. THESE TWO HAVE MADE THEIR WAY TO THE GREAT PLAINES MORE THAN ONCE AND WE ARE AWAYS GLAD TO SEE THESE TWO GENTLEMEN AT OUR GATHERINGS! ART DID HIS USUAL CALCULATED AND SCRIPTED LIFTING. OF HIS NINE ATTEMPTS, I THINK HE MISSED ONLY ONE! THAT IS KNOWING YOURS ABILITIES, FOR SURE! DENNY IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES IN THE USAWA. ALWAYS GREAT TO BE AROUND AND TALK TO, DENNY IS A GIFTED LIFTER. HE APPEARS COMFORTABLE WITH ANY LIFT THAT IS BEING CONTESTED. HIS KNOWLEDGE, BACKROUND AND EXPERIENCE ARE VERY APPARENT.

I AM FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT DEAN ROSS NEVER PRACTICES THE LIFTS PRIOR TO SHOWING UP FOR THE MEETS!! DEAN ALWAYS KEEPS THE CONVERSATION GOING AND NEVER MET A STRANGER. HIS LIFTS WERE SOLID AND UNDER CONTROL. HE, ALSO, DOES MORE THAN HIS FAIR SHARE OF LOADING AND SPOTTING, AS WELL. IT WAS GOOD TO SEE MIKE MURDOCK, AGAIN!! LOOKING VERY SVELTE AT HIS NEW WEIGHT OF 174, HE WAS AIMING AT SOME RECORDS IN HIS NEW FOUND WEIGHT CLASS. MIKE ALWAYS JUMPS IN AND HELPS WHEREVER HE CAN. HE EVEN SAID ‘GOOD-BYE’ TO EVERYONE THIS TIME, WHEN HE LEFT!!

AL MYERS AND CHAD ULLOM, EVER THE TRAVELING COMPANIONS, JUST RETURNED FROM A THREE WEEK LIFTING/THROWING EXTRAVAGANZA IN NORWAY AND EASTERN EUROPE. BOTH WERE PRETTY BEAT UP AND WEARY FORM THE COMPETITIONS AND THE TRAVEL. REGARDLESS, THEY ’COWBOYED UP’ AND HIT THE PLATFORM. AL WAS NURSING A TORN GROIN MUSCLE RESULTING IN VERY TIMID AND CONSERVATIVE LIFTS. THE FACT THAT HE COULD TRAP BAR LIFT AT ALL SURPRISED EVERYONE. AL IS A REAL STUDENT OF THE LIFTS AND LIFTING IN GENERAL, SO HIS LIFTING WAS NOT HAP HAZARD OR RECKLESS. CHAD CONTINUES TO AMAZE ME. HE HAS TO BE THE BEST OVERALL LIFTER AND ATHLETE I HAVE EVER RUN ACROSS. THERE JUST DOES’NT SEEM TO BE ANY LIFT HE DOES’NT DO WELL. HE CARRIED THE DAY AS HE WAS ALWAYS THE LAST LIFTER ON EACH LIFT. THIS BACKFIRED ON HIM, HOWEVER, AS, WHEN HE FINISHED FOR THE DAY, ALL THE FOOD WAS GONE!! I WONDER WHERE IT ALL WENT!?

LARRY TRAUB CAME TO BE A PART OF THE FESTIVITIES FROM INDIANA. HAVING A LONG HISTORY OF SUCCES IN THE POWERLIFTING GAME, HE SLIDES INTO MOST OF THE LIFTS VERY WELL. HOWEVER, HAVING SOME MOBILITY ISSUES AS OF LATE, HE TOOK PRETTY MUCH ‘TOKEN’ LIFTS IN THE TRAP BAR DL. TEAM LEDAIG WOULD NOT BE THE SAME WITHOUT HIS PRESENCE. THE HOST OF THE GAMES, YOURS TRULY, HAD A PRETTY GOOD DAY! HAVING HAD THE CHANCE TO DO THE LIFTS FOR THE PAST SIX WEEKS DID’NT HURT ANYTHING AND BEING ON HOME TURF IS ALWAYS A POSITIVE.

BIG THANKS TO LAVERNE MYERS FOR JUDGING. I WAS GLAD TO SEE HE COULD MAKE IT. WHEN IT WAS ALL SORTED OUT, THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS TEAM CARRIED THE DAY FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

TEAM SCORES:

LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS 2477.74
DINO GYM 2165.25
HABECKERS 763.54
AMBRIDGE BBC  550.04

ALL IN ALL, A GREAT TIME. I LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING THIS MEET FOR YEARS TO COME, AS WELL!! MANY, MANY THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE TO BE A PART OF THIS MEET! I AM MUCH OBLIGED!!

MEET RESULTS:

USAWA Club Championships
July 19th, 2014
Ledaig HA
Rainbow Bend, Kansas

Meet Director: Dave Glasgow

Official (1-official system used): LaVerne Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

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

1. Ledaig Heavy Athletics – 2477.74 points

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J DL-FB,CG TRAP
Alex Whetstone 11 79 22 R 72 105
Draven Kressly 13 131 70 R 182 250
Logan Kressly 16 171 95 R 257 350
Jera Kressly 29 237 80 R 0 350
Doug Kressly 34 285 110 R 0 450
Larry Traub 60 206 70 R 272 500
Dave Glasgow 61 253 105 L 304 450
Mike Murdock 74 172 22 R 142 135

2. Dino Gym – 2165.25 points

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J DL-FB,CG TRAP
Chad Ullom 42 253 130 R 327 550
Al Myers 47 236 125 R 327 420
Dean Ross 71 264 0 237 330

3. Habecker’s Gym – 763.54 points

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J DL-FB,CG TRAP
Denny Habecker 71 197 75 R 237 330

4. Ambridge BBC – 550.04 points

LIFTER AGE BWT C&J DL-FB,CG TRAP
Art Montini 86 176 27 R 152 210

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORDS

Jera Kressly: Clean and Jerk – Right Arm 85
Chad Ullom: DL-Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip 342
Dean Ross: DL-Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip 242
Denny Habecker: DL-Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip 242
Alex Whetstone: DL-Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip 82
Alex Whetstone: Trap Bar Deadlift 110
Mike Murdock: Rectangular Fix 55
Mike Murdock: Curl – Reverse Grip 55
Mike Murdock: Curl -  Cheat, Reverse Grip  65

NOTES: AGE is age in years. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. R and L designate right and left arms. All lifts recorded in pounds.

Leadership Awards

by Al Myers

Tim Piper (left) presenting the Leadership Award to Denny Habecker.

Tim Piper (left) presenting the Runner Up Leadership Award to Thom Van Vleck.

The Leadership Award in the USAWA goes to 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.”

The two winner of this award, and very deserving of it, were:

WINNER – DENNY HABECKER

RUNNER UP – THOM VAN VLECK

Both Denny and Thom were on hand to receive their awards at our National Meet Ceremony.  But then you would expect that out of them as they are leaders in the organization.  Their inputs at our National Championships was vital.  Thom served as the Head Official of the entire meet and did not compete because he would rather “give” than “take”.  Thom’s contributions of writing for the USAWA Website on a frequent basis has helped ensure it’s success.

Denny has been our USAWA President for many years now.  He is the ultimate leader of the USAWA.  He attends practically every big event promoted within the USAWA and the IAWA.  If a lifter does not know Denny it is because they are not very involved!  Denny attends meets all across the country and interacts with the entire USAWA membership.  At Nationals he sat in the officials chair WHILE he was lifting just because that duty needed attended to.   I think Denny is the best President the USAWA has ever had.

I’m glad to see the USAWA membership recognize these two for their contributions to the organization. They have earned it!

Sportsmanship Runner Up

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow (right) is presented the USAWA Runner Up Sportsmanship Award by Al Myers.

At the USAWA Club Championships last weekend I was able to formally present Dave Glasgow the Runner Up Sportsmanship Award.  I was hoping to keep it a secret till this past weekend in order to surprise him!

Dave’s a humble guy, which makes it even more enjoyable to present him an award such as this. He never thinks he’s deserving of it (and usually has a few choice words for me when he’s accepting his award!)

But he’s more than deserving of it!  After taking part in the Club Champs which he and the Ledaig HA crew promoted, and being treated with such hospitality while there, I thought on the way home how this is how meets should be ran.  Dave is always “for the athletes” first and foremost in any event he promotes.

That’s just part of the reason the USAWA membership awarded Dave with this yearly award.  Congrats Dave!

Records now online

by Al Myers

As some of you may have noticed, the USAWA Record List is now available on the USAWA website.   It is placed under the top heading section “record list”.  I will try to keep an  updated version of the record list uploaded.  The record list is very large PDF of the excel file.  It may take a while for some systems to download it.   There are now over 10,000 records in the USAWA Record List.

It has also been awhile since I have updated the Century Club, a listing that includes all lifters that have over 100 USAWA Records.  It’s been over a year since I have published this update – but since there has been no real changes in it, there has not been much reason to do so. The “top ten” is exactly the same order, and no one new has been added.  The BIG NEWS of the list is that Denny Habecker has become the FIRST USAWA lifter to top 500 records!  That’s a big number, and has given Denny a huge lead over Art Montini.  The biggest placing changer in the Mens Club has been Dean Ross, who has moved up two places to number 11.  Ruth Jackson is closing in on Noi – and I predict will pass her within the next couple of years.  The sad news is USAWA legend John Vernacchio has dropped out of the Century Club, leaving the total number at 24.

WOMEN’S CENTURY CLUB
(as of July 19th, 2014)

RANK LIFTER CURRENT RECORDS PREVIOUS COUNT CHANGE
1 Noi Phumchona 261 263 +2
2 Ruth Jackson 213 180 +33
3 Mary McConnaughey 117 117 0

MEN’S CENTURY CLUB
(as of July 19th, 2014th)

RANK LIFTER CURRENT RECORDS PREVIOUS COUNT CHANGE
1 Denny Habecker 501 480 +21
2 Art Montini 445 425 +20
3 Al Myers 421 411 +10
4 John McKean 290 291 -1
5 Dennis Mitchell 278 266 +12
6 Frank Ciavattone 268 265 +3
7 Joe Garcia 247 238 +9
8 Bob Hirsh 229 229 0
9 Chad Ullom 210 200 +10
10 Bill Clark 207 198 +9
11 Dean Ross 188 155 +33
12 Howard Prechtel 174 174 0
13 Dale Friesz 159 160 -1
14 Jim Malloy 156 153 +3
15 Scott Schmidt 150 151 -1
16 John Monk 148 148 0
17 Ed Schock 138 138 0
18 Chris Waterman 137 137 0
19 Rudy Bletscher 126 131 -5
20 Mike Murdock 113 107 +6
21 Bob Geib 101 102 -1

Sportsmanship Award Winner

by Al Myers

Tim Piper (left) awarding Dennis Mitchell (right) the winner of the Sportsmanship Award in the USAWA.

The Sportsmanship Award went to a lifter who I felt really deserved it – Dennis Mitchell.  The definition of the Sportsmanship Award is, “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.”

This sums up Dennis Mitchell.  Dennis is one of the most supportive lifters I know.  He always is encouraging others – and well as supporting the USAWA in any way he can.  This  includes always giving encouraging words to other lifters, sitting in the officials chair when he’s competing, writing for the USAWA website,  or helping the USAWA by being a valuable member of the USAWA Executive Board.  Dennis is a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON in the USAWA, and it’s nice to see the membership rewarding him in this way by voting  him the Sportsmanship Award of the Year.

Congrats Dennis!!!!!

IT’S ALL ISO

by John McKean

“You look like a 3 pound duck ,trying to lay a 5 pound egg !” was my comment to a buddy’s pressing form. Bill Irish had asked me to critique his admittedly powerful overhead lift as he trained for a USAWA record. Now Bill had always specialized in the press, did quite well in this lift for local Olympic style meets (when the press was still part of it), but never mastered the modern form where superstars such as March, Knipp, and Kono thrust hips forward with a lean back to use the body’s musculature to maximum advantage. Rather, Bill always trained like the real oldtimers of he 20s, trying to remain ramrod straight while powering up the barbell with mostly arm& delt strength. The result was, he acquired an inward curve in his lower back, while his tensed butt prominently pointed staight backwards like, well, a duck’s tail ! And though always of a fairly sturdy frame (198-230 pounds), yet trim, he acquired a rather massive set of unwanted glutes. Since he never put much time or effort into squatting,I’m sure his pants splitting size was mostly derived from the ISOMETRIC flexing & tension created by max poundages while using his strange pressing technique over the years.

My favorite quote from the great Norbert Schemansky came when he was asked if he ever did isometrics. “Sure,” laughed mighty Norb, “everytime I miss a lift!” For ,like most of the prominent American lifters of the 40s ,50s, and 60s, every lifting session was essentially like a contest -they’d single up to limit weights,then try one or two more beyond that. In fact, our guys were at the top of the world olympic lifting heap -UNTIL they switched from these all-out programs to the rumored Soviet cycling & percentage programs! But their big weights, and more central to this story, the TOTAL BODY TENSION, built some terrifically rugged physiques. IMO, the training lifts themselves were secondary here, it was the ISO effect that built tremendous size and strength!! I was fortunate enough to watch Schemansky, Knipp, Lowe, Alexeev, Reding, and Rigert go through their programs and onto huge lifts on the platform -all had the muscle density of an above average granite slab! When lifting you could see every rock-like fiber in their bodies flexed to the max ,under the isometric support needed for record weights.In fact, during my teens while watching Mr Schemansky warm up and then proceed to a near world record snatch at a local club, it became such an epiphany as to just what had built those 20″ arms (iso tension from the pulls) that I never bothered with curls or tricep extensions again!

Recently a crossfitter wrote me as to how best to get his max single deadlift up 12 weeks from now, for one of their contests. He admitted he’d been suffering an upper body injury (a recent Sports Illustrated story gave documentation that 73% of these high reppers suffer injury, some requiring surgery) from a previous meet, caused by some form of high rep,light weight maneuver that was used. I informed him that the one universal “secret” of reaching big weights was just to single up, every workout, to a top weight and one beyond that for an iso hold. A strong hint was given that it’s not the high rep ,pumping format that creates strength or true,lasting muscle development, but instead the body tension in struggling with really big weights!

If one would carefully research the methods from the early 1900s to about 1930, all the heralded old time strongmen singled up ,sometimes daily as did Goernor and Saxon, achieving that mind blowing development from the constant total tension throughout their bodies. I really don’t think a heavy singles, max effort program has ever failed anybody (that stuck with it!) since the beginning of organized weightlifting! Though I did have a British guy, Mick, who constantly hounded me for new updates to his routine, report a lack of success -until I found out that he changed “limit singles” down to 80% of maxes, always added many sets of rep curls into any program to delete energy, did all deadlift types WELL OFF the floor in a rack, and would take long layoffs every 3 weeks or so ! In other words, he wouldn’t allow the “glorious pain” of body tension isos, from really pushing limits, to ever cause him discomfort!

Now ,we in all-round training already treat every LIFT, as just that ;not a mere “exercise”! I propose that there is never a need to add high rep” body toning movements” to pump up the ole physique; just go for broke on any of our 150+ maneuvers to let the holds, supports, struggles, and overloads do the building for us! I’ll bet you’ll never see old, “caveman-body” Art Montini running to a modern health spa!!

Courage Award Winners

by Al Myers

(Left Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Art Montini. (Right Picture): Tim Piper presenting the Courage Award to Dean Ross.

The Courage Award is described as, “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”.

Since the USAWA Award Program began, NO ONE has been the winner of this award besides Dale Friesz.  Dale was the definition of courage, competing up till his final days.  He set a standard for lifting courage that will be hard for anyone to duplicate.  I often think of this award now as the Dale Frieze Courage Award.

However, there’s another lifter in the USAWA who has plenty of courage as well, and after being last year’s runner up, repeated this year as runner up in the Courage Award by the others in the USAWA this year.  That man – who defies the myths of age and weightlifting – is ART MONTINI.

RUNNER UP - ART MONTINI

WINNER  - DEAN ROSS

Dean “Hot Foot” Ross was the Winner, and well deserving.  His input to the USAWA over these past few years exceeds what most can accomplish in a lifetime of participation in the USAWA.  You don’t attend a meet that Dean is at without getting to know him! Everyone knows Dean.

Congrats to Art and Dean for being the winners of the USAWA Courage Award!

Newcomer Award Winners

by Al Myers

Logan Kressly (right) receiving his USAWA Newcomer Award from 2014 USAWA Meet Promoter Tim Piper (left) at the National Championships.

I always enjoy the USAWA Annual Awards presentation. This program to recognize outstanding accomplishments was started in 2010. The program is funded by the USAWA bank account, and all award winners are chosen by the membership. This means if you win one of these awards – it is because your peers deemed you worthy. That means much more than one individual making the choices, or a selection committee deciding.

The first award given out was the Newcomer Award. This award is defined as, “This award goes to an individual who is new to the USAWA or has become involved again in the organization. It recognizes a lifter who has shown great involvement or outstanding performance throughout the past year. it doesn’t have to be someone in their first year involved in the USAWA. “

Two very deserving lifters earned this award this year -

WINNER – MIKE MCINTYRE

RUNNER UP – LOGAN KRESSLY

Mike, lifting for the JWC, made a big impact in the USAWA during the prior year.  He competed in several competitions promoted by Thom Van Vleck, and in my 2013 Dino Gym Challlenge OTSM competition.  It was at that meet that Mike caught my attention when he performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  Last December Mike placed 3rd overall in the USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships, in a very tough field of lifters. I was extremely impressed with his 315 pound Anderson Press in that meet!  Mike was not on hand at the Awards ceremony to receive his award so Thom Van Vleck accepted it on his behalf.

Logan, lifting for the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, has shown great improvement over the past year in his lifting.  At only 16 years old, his future is bright as lifter. Last year Logan competed in the USAWA Team Championships, and paired with Jera Kressly, to win the overall award in the mixed pairs division.  He entered the 2014 Dino Gym Challenge, a tribute to Warren Lincoln Travis, and placed 3rd overall competing against many seasoned all rounders.  His 1300# Harness Lift and 1600# Back Lift impressed me the most.  You often do not see young lifters put up big lifts in the heavy lifts. At my record day last February he did a 550 pound Dinnie Lift!  And at this meet, the 2014 Nationals, he was crowned outstanding Junior Lifter.  I would say he has had a great year in the USAWA!

Congrats to both of these guys!

3rd Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

3RD QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The lifts for this postal meet are:

Holdout – Raised

Deadlift – One Arm, Ciavattone Grip

Continental to Belt

ENTRY FORM – 2014 3rd Quarter Postal Entry Form

2nd Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS
2ND QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The results are in from the 2nd Quarter USAWA Postal Meet.  Congrats goes to Women’s overall winner Ruth Jackson, and Men’s overall winner Chad Ullom.  The Postal Meet Director Denny Habecker made some good choices for the lifts, as they were lifts contested in the USAWA National Championships.  This allowed all participants in the Nationals to also be entered in this postal meet.  A total of 13 lifters participated, which I consider good participation.

MEET RESULTS:

2nd Quarter Postal Meet
June 1st – June 30th, 2014

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Lifts: Curl – Cheat, Snatch – One Arm, Clean and Push Press

Officials:

Ruth Jackson – Certified Official Jarod Fobes
Crystal Diggs – Certified Official Ruth Jackson
Barry Bryan – Certified Official Denny Habecker

All other lifters used 3 officials from the USAWA Nationals (Thom Van Vleck, Mike Murdock, Eric Todd, Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell)

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Curl SN-1 C&PP TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 52 107 100 62.5 L 105 267.5 415,5
Crystal Diggs 27 143 40 25 L 45 110 121.1

Extra Attempt for records:

Ruth Jackson – Cheat Curl 105 lbs.

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT Curl SN-1 C&PP TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 42 253 220.5 156.5 R 264.5 641.5 520.7
Barry Bryan 56 196 154.3 101.4 R 203.9 459.6 486.0
Eric Todd 39 257 203.9 126.7 R 253.5 584.2 457.3
Randy Smith 59 195 176.4 88.2 R 154.3 418.8 455.7
Tim Piper 44 197 165.3 110.2 R 198.4 473.9 448.7
Denny Habecker 71 194 115.7 66.1 R 143.3 325.2 390.2
Logan Kressly 16 172 132.3 77.2 R 132.3 341.7 366.9
Lance Foster 48 325 154.3 66.1 R 165.3 385.8 294.1
Dean Ross 71 269 88.2 55.1 R 88.2 231.5 233.8
Art Montini 86 175 66.1 16.5 R 66.1 148.8 211.3
Dennis Mitchell 82 152 66.1 25 L 44.1 132.3 199.7

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in pounds. R & L designate right and left arms. TOT is total pounds lifted. PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Team Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2014 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

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

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

MEET DETAILS:

Date:  Sunday, August 24th

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

Meet Director: Al Myers – amyers@usawa.com

Meet Weigh in Time: 9:00 AM

Meet Start Time: 10:00 AM

Lifts:

Clean and Jerk – One Arm

Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar

Curl – Cheat

Jefferson Lift

ENTRY FORM – TeamChampionships2014

2014 Meeting Minutes

by Al Myers

The 2014 Meeting of the USAWA was called to order by USAWA President Denny Habecker at 6:00 PM at the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb, Illinois on June 20th.  Roll call was taken with these USAWA members in attendance: Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini, Dean Ross, Randy Smith,  Helen Kahn,Tim Piper, Mike Murdock, Dennis Mitchell, Eric Todd, Logan Kressly, and Lance Foster.  Al Myers, USAWA Secretary, read the 2013 minutes in an abbreviated form as they were 5 pages long.  Dean moved to accept the minutes, Randy gave a second, and it passed unanimously. The Treasurer’s report was given next by USAWA Treasurer Al Myers which included a summary which showed a yearly profit for the USAWA over the past year.  The budget which was approved at a prior time by the Executive Board was explained. Dennis moved to accept, Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously. The special directors reports were next on the agenda.  The Website Director, Al Myers, gave a report on the success of the website over the past year, and how it now contains over 1300 blogs and all the meet results from the past 5 years plus much USAWA historical information.  Randy moved to accept, Tim gave a second, and it passed unanimously.  The Awards Director, Al Myers, then gave a report of the USAWA Awards Program.  He explained how the USAWA budget money of $750 is used to buy the yearly awards and the special awards, given on behalf of the USAWA.  Tim moved to accept the report, Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously. The Official’s report was next on the agenda.  Since the Official’s Director Joe Garcia was not in attendance, and he had not given a report to anyone to give on his behalf in advance, no report was given.  The Drug Enforcement Director’s Report was next.  Chad Ullom, the Drug Enforcement Director, was not in attendance but the report was given by Al Myers who does all the duties for this position anyways.  Al explained that the USAWA does testing at over half the USAWA competitions, and just recently purchased more testing kits.   He stated our drug testing is more extensive now than ever before in the history of the organization. Eric moved to accept the report, with a second by Dean, and it passed unanimously. The next agenda topic was the official appointment of a new Records Director and Postal Meet Director.  Since the last USAWA meeting Records Director Joe Garcia and Postal Meet Director John Wilmot have resigned.  The Executive Board had appointed Al Myers as the Record Director and Denny Habecker as the Postal Meet Director to act in an interim basis for these positions during this past year until official appointments could be made.  Dean moved to appoint Al Myers as the Record Director and Denny Habecker as the Postal Meet Director, with a second given quickly by Randy. There was no discussion.  The motion passed unanimously. Next up was the discussion and vote on two new proposed lifts. The first lift discussed was the Thor’s Hammer, a lift proposed by Thom Van Vleck as an OTSM lift in the USAWA.  The written rule by Thom Van Vleck was read to the group, and discussion ensued. Most seemed confused and dazed by the way the rule was written.  Many questions arose that were not addressed in the written rule as presented.  Most were in agreement that the lift, as verbally described and performed at Thom’s recent OTSM meet, was a very good lift, but the presented written rule had way too much fluff and not enough technical details. It seemed at this point that the lift was going to be rejected on this issue, but Al Myers moved that he would rewrite the rule with specific technical details, and once it met the Executive Boards approval, would be accepted as a new USAWA lift. Dean gave a second, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and it passed unanimously.  Al then moved that prior records set at Thom’s OTSM meet in the Thor’s Hammer be accepted as USAWA records retroactively. Tim gave a second, and it passed with majority vote.  Mike Murdock was the lone no vote, and Randy abstained from voting. The next new lift, the Kennedy Lift proposed by Al Myers, was next presented.  Al read the written rule that he wrote for the Kennedy Lift, that was performed at the Dino Challenge in January as an exhibition lift.  There was no discussion or questions on any aspects of the written rule,  Dean moved to accept it, Eric gave the second, and it passed unanimously.  Eric moved to accept prior records set in the Kennedy Lift at the Dino Challenge, Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously.  The next agenda item was the discussion and vote on rulebook changes.  Al read a list of changes that have been brought up during the prior year, which included: 1. allow knee bend in the shoulder drop, 2. matters of appeal should be presented to the secretary in writing who will then present the issue to the executive board for a vote to be decided by majority, 3. allow the chain to touch the body in the teeth lift but not be supporting the weight, 4.  for the Anderson Squat, rules of the squat apply to bar position on the back, 5. Remove the rulebook wording of allowing rosin as this is often confused with tacky, 6. Add “if a lifter fails at an attempt, the lifter may call for the same weight on the next attempt”.  Discussion centered around the proposed rule change on the shoulder drop. The question was asked who proposed this rule change, and Al responded that it was requested by Thom Van Vleck, which brought laughs from several in the group.   Arguments in favor were given to include the safety issues of having the knees bend.  Since Thom was not in attendance and could not support his argument to the group, Al explained that having the legs straight can make the lift dangerous, as he had witnessed Chad have a near death experience doing the shoulder drop at Thom’s place  with straight legs. Al then mentioned that this whole Chad catastrophe was filmed and is now on YouTube.   Arguments against included causing a deviation away from the written IAWA(UK) rule which also requires straight legs. Denny moved to accept all the proposed changes, with the exception of the shoulder drop change which would be presented to the IAWA Technical Committee to be discussed and voted on.  Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously.  The last agenda item was asking for bids for the 2015 USAWA Nationals.  Denny stated that York Barbell has expressed an interest of us hosting a meet there  next year in conjunction with their strength extravaganza.  Denny had presented this to the EB prior and had full support on this bid.  Al moved to accept this bid, with Denny acting as the meet director.  Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously.  At this point our allotted time was done in the meeting room.  Dennis moved that the meeting be adjourned, Dean gave a second, and it passed unanimously.   The meeting ended at 7:00 PM.

National Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

Group picture from the 2014 USAWA National Championships

I attended and was the head judge recently at the USAWA National Championships in Macomb, Illinois. Tim Piper was the meet director and set up a large tent by the Salvation Army Gym. As you recall, the Salvation Army Gym is in the basement of the local Salvation Army and was the victim of a terrible flood that did a lot of damage. USAWA members helped contribute money that was used to restore the gym back to it’s former glory. It was a TON of work that Tim and his family and friends put a lot of sweat equity into as well as there was no insurance that covered this. I’ll be honest, the work was so good I may not even noticed had I not known what happened. They have some pictures of the flooding and a mark on the wall about 2ft high. One of the details that amazed me was they took water damaged photos, scanned them, and reprinted them! What a great job and lots of work that shows a lot of passion regarding the importance of the gym and what it provides the local community.

As I arrived I was concerned as there was a strong possibility of thunderstorms! Having the meet outside allowed for plenty of room but you always run the risk of weather with an outdoor meet. A little rain wouldn’t have stopped us….but a stronger win might have! However, the weather missed us and other than a few drops of rain it was a great day to have an outdoor meet! Al Myers pulled double duty as the emcee and running the scoring table. That’s pretty hard to do but Al made it look easy and was on the ball all day keeping the lifters in line and the meet going smoothly. This allowed Tim the chance to lift and I think he greatly appreciated that.

I was put in the head judges chair and Mike Murdock was my wing man. Eric Todd and Dennis Habecker swapped out on the other side. It makes it easy to I know I made a couple of minor mistakes but none impacted the outcome of the lift. Funny how you can do something perfectly a hundred times and you remember the mistakes. I redlighted a push press for coming up out of the feet on the floor using the old rules for the push press even though I KNEW the changes (old habits die hard) but the lifter still got 2 whites. Nobody slashed my tires so I think everyone was pretty happy with the officiating.

Overall best lifter Chad Ullom gets set to do a big Zercher Lift!

Tim had a crew of loaders that did a fantastic job all day. I often spend a lot of time double checking loads as the head judge and only once did I catch a mistake. It wasn’t even a mistake about weight, but on one side they had a 20kg weight and on the other two 10kg plates. Same weight but different combination. So I was very impressed…not a single misload all day! They also cheered on the lifters which was a big plus for a meet atmosphere. Tim’s daughter took care of the shirts and drinks and was a shining presence all day long!

It is really fun to have a front seat for the lifting. I got to see some great lifts and records broken. I particularly enjoy it when a lifter comes back and makes a weight he or she missed previously. Sometimes it’s not how much was lifted but seeing someone push their limits and overcome their own doubts to bring out their best. I would rather see someone gut out a tough personal best than someone stronger effortlessly make a lift and being satisfied with what they lifted as it won the event rather than going for more.

Tim had great meet shirts and provided drinks for those working the meet. He also had Pizza for lunch. We had short breaks between lifts and the lifters could go inside and cool off in the air conditioning and re-hydrate. Later was the banquet at Dawn Piper’s Free Range Yoga gym. At one point, myself, Tedd Van Vleck, and Randy Smith put on a juggling exhibition (isn’t it like guys to find something and turn it into a competition). There was great fried chicken, breaded fish, and sides. Dawn had made cheesecake dessert…..I had to let the belt out a notch after that!

Thom and Randy showing their skills at tandem juggling!

Then came the surprise of the evening! I had heard we would have entertainment and I wondered if Dawn would put on a Yoga demo as I know she’s incredible at it. Instead we were treated to belly dancing! That’s right, belly dancing. Dawn and another friend teach it and the perform regularly at Ren fairs and other venues. It was great fun and they were very good. Luckily, none of the members tried to match their moves….that could have been ugly!

As always, the best part of all was the camaraderie. Telling stories, laughing, hanging out…..great fun! That’s the real reason I go. I always come back refreshed and motivated to get back in the gym. I find the lifts and lifters inspiring….each one in their own way. From Art Montini still getting it done at age 86 to seeing 16 year old Logan Kressly out there putting his ego on the line. Not many 16 year old’s would have the guts to do that.

We may be a small organization and I know some might pick on our attendance…..but really…I would say we HAVE MORE FUN than any other larger group! While I hope we can grow and all that I’m still happy to be a part of the USAWA.

MEET RESULTS:

2014 USAWA National Championships
June 21st, 2014
Salvation Army Gym
Macomb, Illinois

Meet Director: Tim Piper

Meet Announcer: Al Myers

Meet Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Meet Photographer: Tedd Van Vleck

Courtesy Table: Whitney Piper

Meet Officials: Thom Van Vleck (head official), Mike Murdock, Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Eric Todd

Loaders: Justin, John, Paul, and Aaron

Lifts: Crucifix, Snatch – One Arm, Clean and Push Press, Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar, Curl – Cheat, Zercher Lift

MENS DIVISION

Lifter Age BWT CR SN C&P Jeff Curl Zer TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 42 253 45.5 71 R 120 230 100 170 737 598.2
Randy Smith 59 195 36.3 40 R 70 155 80 137.5 519 564.1
Eric    Todd 39 257 45.5 57.5 R 115 200 92.5 170 681 532.5
Tim Piper 44 197 36.3 50 R 90 155 75 130 536 506.7
Logan Kressly 16 172 27.2 35 R 60 160 60 115 457 490.5
Denny Habecker 71 194 27.2 30 R 65 115 52.5 90 380 454.7
Dean Ross 71 269 22.7 25 R 40 130 40 100 358 361.1
Art Montini 86 175 13.6 7.5 R 30 85 30 70 236 334.4
Dennis Mitchell 82 152 9.1 10 L 20 80 30 60 209 315.7
Lance Foster 48 325 18.1 30 R 75 150 70 0 343 261.5

EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORDS

Tim Piper:  Crucifix 40.8
Denny Habecker: Snatch-One Arm R 36
Logan Kressly:  Clean and Push Press 65

Notes:   BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  All lifts recorded in kilograms.  R and L designate right and left.  TOT is total kilos lifted.  PTS is adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight allowances.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Best Junior Lifter: Logan Kressly
Best Senior Lifter: Eric Todd
Best Master Lifter 40-44: Chad Ullom
Best Master Lifter 45-49: Lance Foster
Best Master Lifter 55-59: Randy Smith
Best Master Lifter 70-74: Denny Habecker
Best Master Lifter 80-84: Dennis Mitchell
Best Master Lifter 85-89: Art Montini
Overall Master Lifter: Chad Ullom
Overall Best Lifter: Chad Ullom
Best Club: Dino Gym (Chad Ullom & Dean Ross)
Best Club Runner Up: KC Strongman (Eric Todd & Lance Foster)

World Postal Meet

by Al Myers


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

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

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

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

Now for some added important information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENTRY FORM – 2014 IAWA Postal Worlds Entry Form

Chad Ullom: All Around All Rounder!

by Thom Van Vleck

Chad turns another caber!

Chad Ullom has been a fixture in the USAWA and IAWA for some time.  He is a National and World Champ and has a slug of records to his credit.  You would think that would be enough to keep him busy but Chad is also a regular on the Highland Games circuit!  At one time Chad was a top rated Amateur in Highland Games and regularly won many “A” class Amateur competitions.

A couple years ago Chad turned 40 and as with most of us who threw A class and got older he found himself being beat out by the next generation and soon was competing (and winning) in the the masters category.  There was even and younger thrower named Chad Gustin from Lawrence that came along and he soon became “New Chad” and Ullom became….alas…”OLD CHAD”.  Anyone over 40 knows the feeling.

Well….”Old Chad” dusted off the age last weekend at the  2014 Kansas City Scottish Highland Games and threw with the A class again.  He was by far the oldest in the group but that wasn’t a factor at all.  I was the announcer at the games and had a front seat for all of it.  Chad began to win or place well in events and soon he was dominating the field.  Chad won handily.   Chad will tell you it was not the strongest field KC has ever seen but I think all you have to do is look at some of his throws and see that Chad was in top form.  For example, Chad had only cleared 14ft in the 56lb WOB  once in his 19 year Highland Games career….but he cleared it last Saturday!  And almost went higher!

I have to tell you, I found myself being the longest tenured athlete on the field that day going into my 20th season.  It was nice to see one of the “old” guys take it to the younger men.  Chad came back on Sunday and threw masters and easily won again.  It was quite a weekend.  Other USAWA members on the field included Dean Ross and myself.  We all plan on being at Nationals this coming weekend.

Great job to Chad and maybe there’s something to training like an “all-rounder”!

2014 Meeting Agenda

by Al Myers

The USAWA National Championships is now only a week away, and with this big meet comes the annual National Meeting of the USAWA.  This is the one meeting per year where the membership comes together to decide on major issues which  impact the organization for the next year.

The meeting has been set for Friday evening, June 20th, at 6:00 PM at the meet site – the Salvation Army Gym.  The address is 505 N. Randolf Street, Macomb, Illinois.  I don’t expect this year’s meeting to last terribly long (like some in the past) since there are no big controversial issues on the agenda.  I’m hoping we can get it done in an hour or less so we can all go out to eat afterwards together.

Business Agenda for the 2014 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 Website Director Al Myers
5. Report from the Awards Director Al Myers
6.Report from the Officials Director Joe Garcia
7.Report from the Drug Enforcement Director Chad Ullom
8.Official appointment of new Records Director and Postal Meet Director
9.Discussion and vote on the new proposed lifts
- Thors Hammer and Kennedy Lift
- Call for new IAWA lift proposals
10.Discussion and vote on Rulebook Changes
11.Discussion of other new business brought forth by the membership
12.Accept bids for 2015 National Championships
13.Meeting adjourned

Nationals Update

by Tim Piper

We are slowly getting entries in for the National Championships on June 21st. We are hoping for a good turnout but to make sure we are not short on awards or food for the banquet it would be great if we could get a head count by next thursday. The event is coming together well.

We have the catering set up already and will be starting the buffet style dinner around 6:30 on Saturday night at Free Range Yoga, my wife’s studio downtown Maocmb. The banquet fee will be $15 to cover cost of food, entertainment, and studio fees (I am still working on getting the facility rent free…HA!) We are serving fried chicken, tortilla crusted talapia, mashed potatoes and gravy, shells and cheese, and a broccoli dish, with some homemade desserts to follow. We will be supplying some drinks but if you wish to bring in your favorite beverage that is fine with us. ALSO, we have some very unique entertainment lined up that we think you all will enjoy. Won’t tell you what it is but it should be a fun surprise for all who attend and it will certainly it will be a first for USAWA banquets.

The meet will be held at 505 N. Randolph outside under the big top. We are running a two session meet so things should run smoothly. Not sure how we will split the sessions up yet but that will all fall into place as we get the entries sorted out. Lifting for the first session will start at 10 a.m. The meet site is fully equipped with plenty of kilo plates for the meet, warm-up area, an Apollon’s axle form Ironmind, and we will be using old-school York dumbbells for the crucifix. We have a crew of experienced loaders from our gym to help make sure the meet runs quickly as they know kilos well. We only use kilos in our gym so bring your conversion charts!

We need a final headcount for the meet and banquet by June 11th to make sure we have the right amount of food and awards so please email me at tj-piper@wiu.edu if you haven’t already sent in your entry forms.

Can’t wait to show off our little gym, our studio, and Macomb to all the great lifters and family of the USAWA.

Tim and Dawn Piper

Big T’s Birthday Bash OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

As many know by now I turned 50 years of age.  When this was coming up my wife asked me what I would like to do on my birthday.  I have two interests and from those interests come most of my friends.  They are the Scottish Highland Games and Weightlifting.  I thought about it long and hard and I knew that if I could have anything I wanted it would be to have my friends at my home and throwing and lifting being a part of that.  So, the first Saturday after my birthday (my actual birthday was May 28th and the meet was May 31st) I hosted a Highland Games and an Old Time Strong Man USAWA meet.

The Highland Games came first thing in the morning.  Like the USAWA there are age groups in the Highland Games with records for eight traditional events.  Moving up a class gave me an opportunity to do something that I had not done in nearly 10 years which was set a World Record.  I had a group of 4 masters that included myself, 8 time Master’s World Champ Jim Spalding, 8 time Master’s World Champ Bill Leffler (who broke his own 60-64 age group record in the 28lb Weight for Distance at the meet), and USAWA member Dean Ross who is a 2 time MWC Champ himself!

Now, bear with me as I do a little self promotion.  I spent the last two years trying to rebuild my strength base with an eye on setting the Weight Over Bar World record as well as going top ten in all the events.  So here’s a not-so-short story on that:

My best event is the Weight Over Bar.  I love this event and it plays right to my strength.  I have done what seems like a million power cleans in my life and I think all that work paid off as the WOB event involves pulling a 42lb weight over a cross bar for height.  Much like the pole vault or high jump the bar will go up and the greatest height wins.  I broke and rebroke the WR in this event in 2005 when I was in the 40-44 age group.  In the 45-49 age group I ended with the 2nd best all time throw…but no record.  I made it a goal to work this event and try and break this record.  This was a two year plan.  When it came time for that event I had the beginning of a nasty callous tear on my right throwing hand.  If it went I knew it would seriously screw up my goal as my grip would be compromised.  So I decided to not do as many warm ups and jump to a higher starting height which was 17ft.  I started with the standing style (they keep records for the standing style and the “open” or spinning style) and easily cleared 17ft.  I then jumped to 17ft 10in which was a half inch better than the current best by Mark McDonald of Scotland.  You get three attempts at each height and I missed my first two!  Disaster!  Not warming up on the event was causing me some problems!  I took a moment and got dialed back in and rolled it over!  So, one record down and one to go.  Had I missed that I would NOT have been able to attempt the second one so that was very critical.  I then moved the bar up to 18ft 6in which would at least give me the second best all time WOB with the spin style and it would give me a warm up before going up to the record attempt.  This was usually an easy height for me but my grip was giving me problems.  It was hot and muggy and my grip just felt “greasy” and that didn’t make me feel confident.  Usually this height would be a cinch but instead I missed it two times and again found myself behind the proverbial “8 ball” needing to get my third throw to even have a shot at the open WOB record.  I got some words of encouragement and was able to make that third throw but now I had to jump a foot to 19′6″ to set the break the record held by Jeff Loosle.  That’s a huge jump and I was not real confident after my struggles.  I went through my mental approach, visualizing my throws, going through my mental check list of what points to hit and lined up for the toss.  I hit it perfectly and knew it, but I also wondered if this would be enough!  I looked up and watched as the weight literally rolled over the bar!  I then felt a searing pain in my hand and looked down to see I had blown my callous wide open!  Glad it waited!  A two year journey had been fulfilled.  Thanks for bearing with me in that “totally unrelated to the USAWA” news.

Now on to the meet report!

We started with the new “unofficial” lift of OTSM which is “Thor’s Hammer”.  I was curious how this event would play out.  Would it be too dangerous?  Would it be too hard to judge?   When you have a new event you just don’t know until you test it out.  Art Montini was the brave soul that started us out.  I had a warm up bar set up as well and everyone was trying out different things.  You quickly realize that you can’t handle as much as you think and adjustments were being made.  Dean Ross jumped in next followed by Mike Murdock and Denny Habecker.  Art ended with 15lbs, Dean and Mike at 20lbs, and Denny at 25lbs before John O’Brien and Eric Todd jumped in at 30lbs.  I had done 40lbs in the one time I practice this event and figured I’d just start there.  John made 35lbs and Eric finished with a successful 40lb attempt.  I felt a little sheepish jumping in after those two were done and was wondering if I had made a tactical error in not taking an earlier attempt.  However, my nerves were calmed when I hit the 40 and I was able to finish with 45lbs.  Not often I lead over those two guys at any point in a meet and I knew they’d crush me later but I have to admit it was a nice birthday present to beat two guys I have so much respect for even if it were just one lift!

We next went to the Cyr lift.  Again Art led us off and got the party started.  Again Art, Mike, Dean, and Denny took their turns.  Art and Mike finished with 30lbs, Dean with 65lbs, and Denny at 85lbs.   I started with John’s starting lift which was 125lbs.  It was so tough I decided to end there.  John went on to tie his own USAWA best in this lift with 140lbs before missing 150lbs on a third.  Eric stole the show at this point and opened at 150lbs.  He then jumped to 170lbs and then made 180lbs.  This is special as he’s had an injured elbow that needed surgery.  So it was nice to see Eric pushing big weights again!

We ended with the Dumbbell to the shoulder.  I love this lift and had to fight Al Myers to even consider it.  I think it’s a really unique event and the small crown of spectators really seemed to enjoy watching this lift.  I think for spectators the slow, methodical style of this lift and the simplicity of the rules allows them to cheer and follow along as the lifter struggles to complete the lift.  However, for the lifter, this is one of the more painful lifts I have ever done and my sternum was sore for days after!  Art edged out Mike Murdock with a 60lb effort to Mike’s 50lbs.  Dean edged Denny with 130lbs to a 100lbs effort.  I opened with 200lbs then jumped to 235lbs which would be a personal best for me in competition.  After getting that I retired and set back to watch John and Eric battle it out!  They both made my best attempt of 235lbs look easy and jumped to 265lbs.  Both made it with some effort and then both jumped to 300lbs  This would tie the all time best in this event by Chris Anderson.  300lbs would also be a 35lb contest PR for Eric and 30lb contest PR for John.  So quite a jump.  Both athletes looked like they were wrestling a bear but both ended up successful!  Eric called for 305lbs which was all I could fit on my bar.  This was twice Eric has maxed out my equipment with the last time being on the Dinnie Stones.  John said he’d had enough so it was just Eric for the 4th and final attempt.  By now the Highland Games were completely over and my gym was filled to over flowing.  Eric  pulled the Dumbbell in and then tried to get a solid set on his belt to continental it up.  He seemed to slip on this a couple times and I was wondering if he were going to get it.  As soon as he got a solid set up on his belt I think we all knew that Eric was not going to fail but there was this little detail of finishing a very painful lift!  Eric bounced it up until Mike Murdock gave him the down signal.  I mention the fact Mike was judging as he is one of the toughest judges I’ve seen and if he says you got it….YOU GOT IT WITHOUT QUESTION!

It’s always nice to end a meet on a successful lift that breaks a record!  Several records were broken and I believe the Thor’s Hammer is an OTSM event that’s here to stay!  Everyone seemed to like it and after we were done the highland games throwers came to the platform to give it a go and this went on for another hour!

I had said I was going to crown two champions.  The overall weight lifted regardless of age or bodyweight and then the formula winner.  Eric Todd won the overall weight lifted with 525lbs.  John O’Brien was 2nd and I was third.  The age and weight adjust rankings go like this:  Eric 410.97 and still first, John 374.65 and still second, Thom 340.31 and still third.  Now we have a change.  Dean and Denny now flip at 4th and 5th with Denny at 251.33 and Dean at 220.92.  Art and Mike maintain their placings with Art’s adjusted total at 149.14 to Mike’s 128.23.

Results:

(age/weight/class)   Thor’s Hammer    Cyr Lift   Dumbbell to Shoulder   Total

Mike Murdock (74/180lb) 20lbs            30lbs (record)     50lbs (record)      100lbs

Art Montini (86/175lb)       15lbs             30lbs (record)    60lbs (record)      105lbs

Denny Habecker (71/195lb)25lbs            85lbs (record)     100lbs                   210lbs

Dean Ross (71/266lbs)         22.5lbs        65lbs (record)    130lbs (record)  217.5lbs

Thom Van Vleck (50/275lbs)45lbs        125lbs (record)    235lbs (record)  405lbs

John O’Brien (45/285lbs)   35lbs          140lbs                  300lbs (record)   475lbs

Eric Todd (39/257lbs)            40lbs          180lbs (record)  305lbs (record)    525lbs

Thanks to everyone that came and made my Birthday so much fun and a success.  I appreciate the guys being patient and waiting on the Highland Games to be over before we started the lifting.  A special award to Dean Ross who was the only guy that did both other than me!

Recent Death of Joe McCoy

by Al Myers

I received some sad news this week, passed along to me by Dale Harder, that longtime USAWA Joe McCoy has died. Joe was one of the pioneers of the USAWA and all round weightlifting in the Missouri Valley Region. His influence in the early days helped shape our organization.  I’ve spent many hours visiting with Joe on the phone over the past 10 years, and his passion for the all rounds was still as great as it was when he was younger.  Physical issues kept him from competing in these later years, but I know if he would have been capable,  he would have been at many USAWA meets.

The following was from his obituary:

Joe McCoy, 71, passed away Friday May 30, 2014, in Fort Worth.  The service was at 1:30 PM Monday at the Wiley Funeral Home in Glen Rose, Texas. Joe was born Jan 1st, 1943 in Stephenville Texas to J.C. and Louise McCoy.  He married Mary Jo Phillips, June 10, 1961, in Burleson. He had lived in Glen Rose most of his life.   He enjoyed weight lifting and working out.  He also made movies of weight lifting contests.. He was preceded in death by his father.

I welcome comments and tributes on the USAWA Discussion Forum regarding those that knew Joe, and any stories you may have of him.  If you prefer to just email them to me instead, that is alright.  I plan to take these comments and write a tribute blog story in Joe’s remembrance.

Club Championships

by Al Myers

The Club Championships has been sanctioned and scheduled!    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 the first couple of years. Dave Glasgow, the leader of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, promoted it last year and has made plans to promote it this year as well!

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  three lifters to compete. Clubs may enter with less than three members, but will be at a disadvantage when scores are added together. A club may enter more club members than three, but only the top three will be added for the “club score”.

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, 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. At Nationals in Las Vegas they were awarded the Runner Up Club of the Year in the USAWA.  In 2012, they won the Club of the Year Award 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:

2014 USAWA Club Championships
Saturday, July 19th, 2014
Ledaig Heavy Athletics Training Facility
Rainbow Bend, KS

Sanction – USAWA

Entry Fee – None

Weighins: 9:00 AM

Start time: 10:00 AM

LIFTS:

Clean and Jerk – One Arm

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

Trap Bar 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

Dino Gym Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Every year the USAWA gives out yearly awards honoring special achievements amongst the membership for the prior year.  This Awards Program began in 2009.  The award recipients are voted on and chosen by the membership with the exception of the Club of the Year.  This award is earned on merit -with points being accrued by participation in the USAWA by each registered club.  I just calculated the club points for all registered clubs in 2013 – and I’m excited to announce the Club of the Year for 2013 is the DINO GYM!  This is a team effort with each club member earning points.  For this I want to congratulate the Dino Gym members: Darren Barnhart, Rudy Bletscher, Scott Campbell, Chuck Cookson, Ben Edwards, Tasha Ullum, Alan English, Mark Mitchell, LaVerne Myers, Molly Myers, Dean Ross, Scott Tully, Brianna Ullum, and Chad Ullom.  Extra points were generated by club participation in the “big meets” by Molly, Bri, LaVerne, Dean, Chad and myself.

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.

Habecker’s Gym won the Runner Up spot in the Club of the Year Award.  Despite only having 3 registered gym members (Denny Habecker, Judy Habecker, and Barry Bryan), thru big meet participation and promotion of the 2013 Nationals and 2013 Gold Cup by club leader Denny, they secured a solid second place finish.

Club of the Year Final Standings (Top Five Listed)

1.  Dino Gym – 46 points
2.  Habeckers’s Gym – 28 points
3.  Frank’s Barbell Club - 20 points
4.  Ambridge BBC – 10 points
5. (tie) Clark’s Gym – 7 points
5. (tie) – Jobe’s Steel Jungle

Frank’s Barbell Club came in fourth by being “well rounded” in their point generation, and getting points in all areas. The club had 5 registered members (Frank Ciavattone, Jeff Ciavattone, Colleen Lane, Jessica Hopps, and James Delaney), had participation in the Nationals and Gold Cup by Frank and Colleen, and promoted three meets (including the Heavy Lift Championships).

Ambridge BBC came in fourth – all due to one man! Art Montini was the only one from the Ambridge Club to register membership in the USAWA for 2013, but thru Art’s devotion to the USAWA by participation in Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup, plus promotion of his annual birth day bash he generated all the points himself!

You may notice that the 2012 Club of the Year Ledaig HA is not listed on the above list.  There’s a reason for that – the defending Champ is not eligible the following year.  This was put in place originally as to not allow the same club to win the club of the year award year after year.  The Ledaig HA Club will have the honors of presenting the Club of the Year awards this year at the National Championships during the awards ceremony.

All together there were 13 registered clubs in the USAWA for 2013.  All of these clubs need mentioned as they are the “backbone” of our memberships.  Over 75% of our yearly membership comes with lifters affiliated with a registered club.  The USAWA Clubs for 2013 were: Al’s Dino Gym, Ambridge VFW BBC, Clark’s Championship Gym, Frank’s Barbell Club, Habecker’s Gym, Jackson Weightlifting Club, Joe’s Gym, Jobe’s Steel Jungle, KC Strongman, Ledaig Heavy Athletics, Salvation Army Gym, Schmidt Barbell Club, and M&D Triceratops (owned and operated by the late Dale Friesz).   Making the “TOP FIVE” is a great achievement for any club, and one each USAWA club should strive for!

Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

This almost takes a mechanical engineer to figure out!

Okay, so….I have to admit….I HATE Smith Machines.  I hate them so much that I was even offered a free one years ago and I turned it down.  I didn’t even want to sell or trade it because I felt like I would be taking advantage of some poor sap who would think he’d get strong on a Smith Machine!   To be honest, it needed some work and I just passed on it as I’m too cheap to pass up much free stuff….just ask Al Myers!  haha.

At any rate, I saw this thing.  It looks like somebody tried to take a Smith Machine and make it where you could not just go up and down but back and forth as well.  If you look closely at the bottom you’ll see the horizontal “rail” while the bar is attached to the usual “Smith Machine” rail.

Now I know what some of you are thinking…..”but Thom, that actually solves some of the problems with a Smith machine….this is better than a Smith Machine…”.  I actually would agree…but I would also agree that two kettlebells are better than one.  But what are you gonna do with a kettlebell!  Again, remember these are tongue in cheek….so don’t get bent out of shape.  Okay, maybe I really do mean part of it.

I saw this and got all excited.  I thought it was a power rack!  I bet it cost a fortune and I bet you that hardly anyone will use it!  That’s my issue with it.  Kind of like how you buy a kid a fancy toy and he plays with the box and the bubble wrap more than the toy.  That’s why this is more to add to the decline of western (lifting) civilization.  Complicated means most people won’t use it.  Simple is best.

Plus…..I don’t like the bar telling me where to push it!   I can’t have a weight tellin’ me what to do!

Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part I

by Thom Van Vleck

Can you guess what this does?

The title of the article is play off of some documentaries that pondered the decline of the western civilization through the various music movements such as punk rock, heavy metal and so on.  They were as much tongue in cheek as they were a serious case that these musical movements would collapse our society and that’s how this article is intended.  You may notice it has a “part I”…..I plan on doing a series of these.

Recently I was in a gym and they had a new piece of equipment.  It took me awhile to figure it out but once I did I had to admit I felt myself becoming the type of self righteous complainer that I usually hate.  But I just have to make a comment on this one.  It was an assisted chin up/dip bar machine.  If you can’t do a single dip or chin up this machine will lift your fat butt up so you can dip and chin with the best of them!  Now, before someone goes all postal on me let me tell you the real reason I see this as the decline of Western “lifting” Civilization.  I get it that there are many people who can’t do a chin or dip and need help and this machine could offer the chance for them to get to that point where they don’t need help.

What I’m mad about is what has happened to the “gym”.   They seem to be getting worse and worse about equipment that caters for those that never had a childhood that involved hard work or exercise and instead was video games and maybe passive labor that was horribly overpaid.  It seems to me that it lowers the bar and in essence it lowers the lofty standards of fitness and strength that made America great.  But hey, that’s just me.

On another note, I did 100 chin ups today….and 1000 dips.  Pretty amazing, huh!?

Time for 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 2013 (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 2013
  • 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 AwardThis 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 AwardThis 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 AwardThis 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 AwardThis 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!!!!

Meaningful Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

On May 28th of this year I will have been lifting for 35 years.   There have been times when life has kept me from training like I wanted.  There was a year when I worked on  my Master’s degree that I was taking a full load of classes, working a full time job as a counselor, and I had to do an 800 hour internship.   As an undergrad I worked full time but there was a point where I was needing the money so I took a night job (I could study while at this job) but for a 6 month period I averaged around 80 yours a week and went to school full time.  I know….I know….excuses, excuses!

So recently I pulled a 700lb trap bar deadlift at age 48.  This is more than I’ve ever done in my life.  I have a buddy who lifts and I was bragging about it to him.  He was a top powerlifter in his day totalling 2105 at 220lbs bodyweight back before all the super gear of today.  He has known me since high school.  He looked at me and said, “You know what that means….if you’d gotten your head out of your a$$ you’d pulled 800 years ago”.

He’s right.  There is no good reason why I’m stronger in most ways now than at any point in my life.  Sure, I now I have more time to train.  But the honest truth is I’ve always been a head case.  I would over think things. I would over train, then under train.  I would spend too much time thinking about my workouts and not enough time actually doing my workouts.  I have spend countless hours writing down workouts which would be okay but I’ve rarely (maybe never) completed them.

So, the past few years I’ve tried to change that.  I think it’s working!   Here are some key points that I have come up with that have led to my “late in life” success.  By success, I mean “good for me”.  I don’t claim to be a champ!  I just feel like I’ve gotten more out of my body than maybe I should have and had MUCH more fun doing it.

First, I try to may my workouts rewarding.  I try to establish a clear link between work and reward.  Too often the benefits of lifting are too distant in the future to really appreciate.  So I try and do things I enjoy in my workouts.  For me I use many ways to do this.  I can constantly set personal bests in the gym even if it’s doing more reps with the same weight or doing a new exercise.  It’s also reward myself after the workout with a meal I enjoy or a movie.  My wife and I have a “date night” once a week.  I try and workout that morning with the idea that our date is my reward.  I have also bought myself a tool or some new training implement after reaching a short term goal and in my mind I make the attachment.  I recently bought a new music CD and made myself wait to listen to it when I worked out (that made me move a workout day up!).  I have set a can of Mt. Dew in a bowl of ice and refused to let myself drink it until that last set.

Second, I create variety.  I have to tell you, me personally I find a 16 week program impossible.  Heck….8 weeks seems like a prison sentence to me.  I switch things up all the time.  I try and do 3 week cycles and then switch.  For me that’s about my attention span for a workout routine.  It eliminates my number one enemy that stymies my progress…BOREDOM.  I look at a workout routine as a battle plan in the Marine Corps.  Sure, you want to stick with the plan.  You have a plan for a reason….but there’s no reason that when you see a short cut or another easy target you could hit along the way that you can’t do it!  I have finished a planned workout and if I was jacked up….I do the next workout right after.  I have thrown in a new exercise if I feel like I’m just not enjoying the one I’m doing.  I try to experiment all the time as well.  Recently, I tried doing a push press from a dead stop off of my jerk boxes.  They were awkward at first, but now I love them!

Third, I need autonomy.  This may be most important of all.  I will workout with others but I believe that if you want to workout for life then you need to have autonomy.  I have often talked to guys that had loads of talent but when someone stopped running their workouts they quit.  Autonomy is responsibility.  I am responsible for my own workouts.  I accept the failure but more importantly, I take the credit for success.  The key element is I need to want this for myself.  Not a trophy, not for a pat on the back from others, not for any other reason that for myself.  That other stuff is great, it’s icing on the cake but it’s NOT the cake.  When I stopped thinking about winning my next contest, stopped thinking about what others thought of me and my workouts, and focused on what I wanted and needed I began enjoy my workouts more.  They gained intrinsic value.

I have been around guys who can discipline themselves for the long haul.  I admire those guys…..but that’s not me.  I needed to find my own way.  So if anyone has read this to this point I want to make clear that this is not an exact guide.  It’s just intended to put a couple more tools in your mental tool box for your lifting.  I think this is what I enjoy about this process.  Lifting has not only made me physically stronger, but emotionally and intellectually stronger.  And it never ends unless you let it.  As I age my body won’t keep up, but I know I will continue to grow through my training.  Getting better and better!

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2014 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships (left to right): Dennis Mitchell, Dave Hahn, Chad Ullom, Eric Todd, Lance Foster, and Dean Ross

What a big day at the Dino Gym!!! Saturday, May 3rd, the Dino Gym hosted a “double-header” of strength events – the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in the morning and the Kansas Strongest Man in the afternoon.  Six brave all rounders showed up to tackle the heaviest of the lifts in the USAWA.  Veteran Dennis Mitchell made the longest trek to Holland Kansas to compete, coming from Cleveland, Ohio.  I was very glad to see Dennis and Flossy here, as less than a year ago Dennis had a knee replaced and I didn’t think Dennis would be up to taking on these heavy types of lifts yet.  But Dennis was an eager as ever, and lifted solid in all lifts.  Eric Todd and Lance Foster from the KC STRONGMAN club made their appearance as well.  ET set the tone early on that he was going to be the guy to beat when he went three for three, and set the highest Neck Lift of ALL TIME with a 1080 pound successful lift!!!  I’ve seen ET lift over 1000 pounds several times in the Neck Lift to date, but I’m continually amazed at seeing it again.  This big lift of ET’s overshadowed Chad Ullom’s herculean Neck Lift as well. Chad lifted a personal record 1014 pounds in the Neck Lift.  Very rarely do you get to see two lifters put up these type of Neck Lifts on the same platform.  Eric went on to win the overall best lifter of the day, with Chad a close runner-up.

We had a welcomed newcomer to the USAWA on Saturday – if you could really call him that.  I say that because Dave Hahn of Overland Park, Kansas made his return to the USAWA after a 23 year absence!  The previous time he lifted in our organization was at one of Bill Clark’s Zercher Meets in the early nineties.  I was very impressed with Dave’s lifting ability – and he seemed to have knowledge of the heavy lifts as well.  He put up great numbers – 350 Neck, 520 H&T, and 900 Hip.  He took a shot at over 1000 in the Hip, and if not for a little balance issues, would have got it.  After the meet I told Dave not to wait another 23 years before lifting in the USAWA again!!

Now who have I forgot to mention????  I guess I saved the best for last – Dean Ross!  Dean has been one of the biggest supporters of the Dino Gym events over the years, and rarely misses anything!  He’s also been a tremendous supporter of the USAWA these past few years and probably does more USAWA events than any other lifter!  One thing about Dean – when he’s in attendance there’s never a dull moment!  I was most impressed by his 700 pound Hand and Thigh.   Also – once the meet was over Dean had to “hit to road” immediately to make it to Texas for a Highland Games the next day!

I hope all the lifters had a great time at this championships.  I know I pushed things along at a fast pace to get done in time for the strongman meet afterwards.  From start to finish the meet lasted just a little over 3 hours!   I especially want to thank my dad LaVerne for officiating and helping me out, all the guys who pitched in loading, Chad for helping me finish the awards and helping with the BBQ,  and Scott who was my partner in the day’s promotion.

MEET RESULTS:

2014 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
May 3rd, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (3-official system used): Al Myers (head), LaVerne Myers, Lance Foster, Chad Ullom, Eric Todd, Dennis Mitchell

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

LIFTER AGE BWT NECK H&T HIP TOT PTS
Eric Todd 39 247 1080 1350 1810 4240 3384.4
Chad Ullom 42 254 1014 1210 1610 3834 3107.5
Dave Hahn 76 152 350 520 900 1770 2560.7
Dean Ross 71 267 250 600 760 1610 1631.3
Dennis Mitchell 82 153 246 350 475 1071 1611.2
Lance Foster 48 332 300 600 850 1750 1320.9

EXTRA FOR RECORDS:

Dean Ross – Hand and Thigh 700#
Dean Ross – Hip Lift 800#
Dennis Mitchell – Hip Lift 600#

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

Try DIGGING into a heavy workout!

by John McKean

" Winning one of Al's Dumbbell Walk Handles helped crafty ole John to develop an enjoyable new fitness movement! Can ya DIG it?!"

Before we started dating, my future wife, Marilyn, told me I couldn’t touch her with a 10′ pole. So I got an 11′ pole – it musta worked as we’ll be married for 45 years this September!

Seriously, the long pole has figured its way into my training regimen ever since I studied and practiced Chinese long pole FORMS over 20 years ago in Wing Chun Kung Fu. In addition to use as a self defense tactic, this leverage form of resistance has been terrific for both cardio training, when done for a sufficient length of time, and is fantastic for a warmup to an all-round lifting program. A long pole’s smooth flow and circular motions, when done in precise martial arts patterns, really activates and awakens every muscle of the body.

However, while playing around with training tools this past winter, it occurred to me that the long pole, with one of Al’s homemade “Dumbbell Walk Handles” slid down and positioned on one end would yield a lot more resistance from the pole’s other far side. This would yield a heavier, rep oriented, leverage-weighted exercise, that maybe wouldn’t require a half hour of work, for use as a pre workout warmup. I recalled how my old friend, the late Dr. Len Schwartz, in his original “Heavyhands” text had advocated a digging type movement with the small dumbbells that he employed for aerobic training. Dr. Len was very high on all the benefits of his shoveling motion, but couldn’t convince many to attempt it, as this particular exercise seemed awkward to maneuver with 2 dumbbells. Later, however, as Schwartz formulated awesome “Longstrength” programs – which were much shorter duration than standard aerobic sessions, with slightly heavier fitness movements – shoveling fit right in. He even devised a screw-in 6″ dumbbell connector which welded two dumbbells into one solid unit.

Now my LONG lever “shovel” makes this exercise quite a bit more hardy than did Dr. Schwartz’ tool. With added barbell plates and collars it can be loaded heavy enough, if desired, to produce an actual one rep maximum lift ! Yet I still keep it unloaded as pictured here to go through wide arc front circles, back circles, and realistic over the head shoveling. Hitting both left and right sides, I find that about 35 reps for these 6 maneuvers instills a robust feeling that just begs the ole bod to attack some serious heavy barbell work!

Of course, there is plenty of room for much further exploration, and many other digging style exercises to be discovered. From my initial experimentation I can assure that besides a superb warmup, my forearms, biceps, and obliques are becoming seriously toned from this fun activity! Even Marilyn must see the positive benefits – I’m now allowed a mere 7′ pole around her and for workouts!

Heavy Champ Update

by Al Myers

I’m busy getting the final plans made for this weekend.  The good news is that the weather forecast is looking positive for a very nice sunny day!  There will be a lot of activity going on at the Dino Gym on Saturday.  In addition to the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in the morning we will be hosting the Kansas Strongest Man in the afternoon.  Scott and I have planned the competitions in such a way that a person can compete in both if they want!  I have made some very nice custom awards for both of the competitions which I think everyone will really like.

The Heavy Champs will be conducted in the Dino Gym on the heavy lift platform.  I will have loaner neck harness’s and hip belts available.  The KSM will be contested on the athletic field behind the gym.   I have made some new equipment for the competition (including new yokes and farmers implements).  There is a shelter house for those just wanting to watch and stay out of the sun.

Afterwards I will be having a deck BBQ for anyone who wants to stay for it.  There’s nothing better after a long day of competing than sitting back, eating,  and relaxing with friends!  I’m looking forward to the weekend!!! See everyone soon!

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper

MEET PRESS RELEASE AND RESULTS

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet 2014

The Macomb Salvation Army hosted the “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on April 19th. “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army. At the turn of the 20th century Joe the Turk was in Macomb for a short time helping clean up the town of crooked laymen and henchmen. He did so by being unafraid of their tactics and standing steadfast in his belief that good would prevail. While he only spent a short time in Macomb it seemed fitting to name the United States All-round Weightlifting Association (USAWA) sanctioned meet in his honor.

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

The meet was held outside the Salvation Army gym in the warm sun. The first lift was the Cyr Press which involves taking a standard dumbbell to the shoulder and then pressing it overhead one handed. 34 year old January Rowland of Independence Iowa did well setting a new womens national record of with a lift of 25 kilos or 55 pounds. Twenty-eight year old, 250 pound Jared Abry from Good Hope Illinois set a new personal best of 127 pounds.

The next lift was the Anderson squat, named after the late Paul Anderson. This lift consists of a partial squat with the barbell starting at 2/3 the individuals standing height. Jan Rowland lifted 225 pounds for a new womens national record. Jared Abry set a new personal best with a squat of 540 pounds.

The next lift was the Hackenschmidt Floor Press which consists of a barbell press performed on the floor with the barbell starting at a height of not more than 15 inches of the ground. Rowland lifted 121.25 pounds for a new national record. Abry also set a new national record with a press of 275 pounds.

The final lift of the day was the Peoples deadlift, named after Tennessee powerlifter Bob Peoples, and is a deadlift that starts with the barbell at 18 inches off the ground. Rowland lifted 275 pounds for new personal and national record. Abry lifted a new personal best of 518 pounds.
All lifters received commemorative “Joe the Turk” mugs. For his efforts the best overall lifter Jared Abry received a set of Indian clubs similar to the sort that Joe might have recognized in his days in Macomb. While small, the meet was a lot of fun for me and I think Jared and Jan had a good time. Plans are already starting for next years “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman meet.

MEET RESULTS

Joe the Turk OTSM
Salvation Army Gym
Macomb, Illinois
March 19th, 2014

Meet Director: Tim Piper

Official (1 Official System): Tim Piper

Lifts: Cyr Press, Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

LIFTER AGE BWT Cyr SQ FP DL TOT
January Rowland (F) 34 319 55 226 121 275 677
Jared Abry (M) 28 250 127 540 275 518 1460

Notes: BWT is bodyweight in pounds. All lifts recorded in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.

The 10,000 hour rule

by Thom Van Vleck

I just got done reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell.  He has had several best sellers, this one is “Outliers”.   The 10,000 hour rule is just one of many great chapters in the book and I could not agree more with his conclusion.

First, it takes 10,000 hours to master anything….even for the so-called “natural”.  He cites numerous examples, but one of my own examples is the actor Eddie Cantor.  He said, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success”.  Too often we look at successes and we don’t realize how much work went into that effort.  Sure, some have more aptitude than others but you aren’t them.  If you want to be the best at whatever it is you want to be good at you MUST put in the hours to be successful.

Second, and this plays right out of the first, is there is no such thing as “natural talent”.  In studies done on the the greats in any given field, lifting, throwing, music, etc…..there is a DIRECT STATISTICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HOURS OF PRACTICE AND ACHIEVEMENT.   There is no short cut!

Third, the elites tend to love what they do so they want to spend the time doing it.  That is the secret to getting in the hours.  Finding the intrinsic value in what you do when you do it.  If you are looking at what you are doing (lifting for example) as a chore and only at the eventual outcome then you are not likely to achieve your highest level of success.  Find the value in each and every workout or practice session.  I often think of the Marines when we would do our group exercises.  We would chant over and over, “We love it!  Good for me!  Good for you!”.  Find that joy in what you are doing or eventually you subconscious will begin to sabotage your efforts and you will not master your talents.

I have spent too much of my life admiring the “natural talents” of others when that energy could be better spent on my own “10,000″ hours.  So, embrace the work, learn to love it, and know that hard work equals success more than any other equation!

Lifter of the Month: Joe Garcia

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia lifting a up a big Hip Lift!

The Zercher Strength Classic, a long held traditional meet held at Clark’s Gym, was the featured meet of the month of March.  So it comes as no surprise that the winner of this prestigious meet is crowned as the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for MARCH.  Joe Garcia defended a tough class of 4 hard-nosed competitors to take the overall win, and because of this, earned the lifter of the month.  Way to go Joe!!!!

I’m guessing that Joe has competed in more Zercher’s than any other lifter thru it’s 25 year plus history.  There is no harder meet than the Zercher – having to do 13 different all-round lifts in one day, and amongst the lifts several heavy lifts.  It’s the same as several meets packed into one!

Congrats to Joe Garcia for being awarded USAWA Lifter of the Month for March, 2014.

1st Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

1st QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The results are in!  Two women and six men tackled the 1st Quarter USAWA postal meet with great results.  Ruth Jackson won the overall womens division, with Crystal Diggs second.  Chad Ullom took the overall in the mens division, with Barry Bryan a close runner up.  Congrats to all who competed!

I would like to take “a minute” and make a few comments on these postal meets and the submission of results.  A certified official makes sure you complete the lifts in appropriate manner, but there is no one to supervise the filling out of the result sheet. This is left up to the individual lifter.   I noticed in this meet that there are several instances where a lifter didn’t designate an arm in the result sheet for the one arm lifts.  Not that that is a problem for figuring up your total, but it takes you out of consideration for potential records as they are kept per hand.  Also, make sure the official/officials sign your entry form and it is completed entirely and neatly.

Also – I have no problem with lifters completing the lifts and sending them into Denny if  not a current USAWA member. Enjoy the free meet!  But don’t expect to see your results in the final meet results here on the website if you are not a current USAWA member.  Not sure if you are???? It’s easy to tell – check the membership roster – it’s always up to date.   I WILL NOT notify anyone if this occurs, so please don’t expect that out of me.  I have no interest in being a collection agent for the USAWA.  I got a simple rule – NO PAY, NO PLAY.  Make sure you membership registration is up to date BEFORE you enter if you want to be part of the official tally.

I’m glad to see the USAWA Postal Series Meets continuing in the USAWA.  Thanks again to Denny for taking on the role of Postal Meet Director.  I think this will be another great year for these competitions!

MEET RESULTS

1st Quarter Postal Meet
March 1st-31st, 2014

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Lifts: Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm, and Deadlift – 2 bars

Lifters using a Certified Official:

Ruth Jackson – Certified Official Jarrod Fobes
Crystal Diggs – Certified Official Ruth Jackson
ChadUllom – Certified Official Al Myers
Eric Todd – Certified Official Lance Foster
Barry Bryan – Certified Official Denny Habecker
Denny Habecker – Certified Official Barry Bryan
Lance Foster – Certified Official Eric Todd
Keith Thompson – Certified Official Eric Todd

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SWING DL-NT DL-2 TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 52 108 55-R 97-R 210 362 539.4
Crystal Diggs 27 134 30-R 60-R 150 240 276.6

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SWING DL-NT DL-2 TOT PTS
Chad Ullom 42 258 135-R 209-R 562 906 729.0
Barry Bryan 56 196 80-R 187.3-R 330.7 598 632.4
Denny Habecker 71 196 60-R 143.3-R 319.7 523 624.0
Eric Todd 39 256 125 210-R 450 785 615.6
Lance Foster 48 334 55 155 310 520 439.9
Keith Thompson 27 228 105 230 —— 335 278.6

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

EVERYONE IS A TEACHER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

ONE OF THE MANY HATS I HAVE WORN IN MY ADULT LIFE IS THAT OF A PARAMEDIC/RN. FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS, I PLYED MY TRADE AND FED MY FAMILY AS AN EMERGENCY MEDICAL WORKER. DURING THIS TIME, I WORKED ‘ON THE STREET’ AS WELL AS IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF A LEVEL 1 TRAUMA CENTER IN A METROPOLITAIN SETTING.

IN THAT CULTURE, I HAVE RUN INTO ALL SORTS OF ‘CHARACTERS’, BOTH IN THE FORM OF PATIENTS AND IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, AS WELL. FROM THE OUT HOUSE TO THE PENTHOUSE, AS IT WERE. DURING THIS TIME, I HAVE HAD SOME EXCELLENT INSTRUCTORS AND SOME NOT SO , WELL…, GOOD. THE ONES I LEARNED THE MOST FROM WERE ‘OLD SCHOOL’ MEN AND WOMEN THAT HAD ‘BEEN DOWN THE OLE HARD ROAD’. USUALLY, THESE FOLKS WERE QUIET, CONFIDENT AND UNASSUMING PROS THAT MADE THEIR JOBS AND ACTIONS LOOK EFFORTLESS. THEN, AGAIN, THERE WAS THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.

ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IMMEDIATELY STANDS OUT, WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT. ONE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

TERRY (NOT HIS REAL NAME) WAS A GEM. I CAN STILL SEE HIM HOLDING ‘COURT’ OVER A ROOM OF EMT STUDENTS, IMPARTING HIS ‘WISDOM’ IN A MANNER THAT, TO THOSE NOT ‘IN THE KNOW’, WAS FULL OF GREAT TIPS AND KNOWLEDGE FROM A GRIZZLED VETERAN. TRUTH BE KNOWN, TERRY WAS A MARGINAL TECH, AT BEST; AND FAR FROM A VETERAN. DON’T GET ME WRONG, WHEN IT CAME TO THE DIDACTIC END OF THE JOB, HE WAS TOP DRAWER. WHEN HE TRIED TO WORK IT TO THE STREET, HOWEVER, THERE WAS AN ISSUE. HIS CALLS WERE A NIGHTMARE OF INDECISION AND CHAOS. SOMEHOW, HE JUST NEVER SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO PUT IT TOGETHER. HOWEVER, WHEN THE HEAT WAS OFF, HIS BATTLESHIP MOUTH WAS SURE TO OVER LOAD HIS ROW BOAT ASS. YOU COULD COUNT ON IT.

WELL, BEING AS I AM, THIS BRAVADO BEHAVIOR BOTHERED ME TO NO END. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE TYPE TO LIVE IN A ‘PUT UP OR SHUT UP’ TYPE WORLD. I DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS, I’M SURE.

I TOOK MY FRUSTRATION WITH TERRY TO MY PARTNER, THE GUY WHO TAUGHT ME EMERGENCY MEDICINE, WHEN I WAS A ‘PUP’ AND CONSIDERED, BY ALL, TO BE THE ‘REAL DEAL’. HE LET ME VENT FOR 10 MINUTES OR SO, CALMLY LIT HIS CIGARETTE AND QUIETLY SAID, ‘DON’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY?’

HUH?? ARE YOU SHI**ING ME?? WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY LEARN FROM TERRY?? HOW TO TURN A ROUTINE CALL INTO A DISASTER?? MY VENUNCULAR PARTNER SAID, “SIMPLE. YOU CAN LEARN FROM TERRY BY SEEING WHAT HE DOES WRONG AND MAKING SURE YOU DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!’. SIMPLE AND BRILLIANT! I HAD NEVER THOUGHT OF IT IN THAT LIGHT. THAT CHANGED MY WHOLE THOUGH PROCESS, FROM THEN ON.

WHAT MADE ME THINK OF THIS IS DUE TO THE RECENT BOOM OF ‘SOCIAL MEDIA’, I HAVE NOTICED MORE AND MORE FROM ‘YOU TUBE’ VIDEOS THAT PEOPLE POST THEIRS LIFTS, EXERCISES OR WORKOUTS. AS WITH MY EXPERIENCES IN THE ER WORLD, THEY, TOO, RUN THE GAMET FROM GOOD, TO POOR, TO, DOWNRIGHT, DANGEROUS!

ONE NEEDS TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THESE ‘KEY BOARD’ EXPERTS. THEY MAY VERY WELL BE LEGITIMENT BUT SOME COMMON SENSE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED.

SO, THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE OR HEAR ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL THAT DID SOMETHING YOU DEEM DANGEROUS OR SILLY, REMEMBER THIS…….

YOU CAN LEARN FROM ANYBODY. YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.

EPILLOGUE………………….SOME YEARS LATER, I FOUND OUT THAT I HAD ONE MORE THING TO LEARN FROM TERRY.

ONE RAINY NIGHT WHEN TERRY AND HIS PARTNER WERE WORKING A MOTOR VEHCLE ACCIDENT IN SOUTHERN TEXAS, AN ELDERLY MAN, DRIVING A PICK UP, WAS CONFUSED BY THE RAIN, THE DARK AND THE FLASHING LIGHTS. TERRY SAW THE CAR COMING DIRECTLY AT THEM AND COULD HAVE, EASILY, JUMPED CLEAR. INSTEAD, HE SCREAMED A WARNING AND WITH ONE DESPERATE, MIGHTY SHOOVE, HE PROPELLED THE CART, WITH THE PATIENT ON IT, INTO HIS PARTNER. THE MOTION KNOCKED BOTH THE PATIENT AND HIS PARTNER WELL CLEAR OF THE ONCOMING MISSLE, WITH NOT AN INSTANT TO SPARE. TERRY WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN THE CAR AND HIS UNIT. HE DIED INSTANTLY.

IN THE END, HE TAUGHT THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OF ALL. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” JOHN 15:13

Simple Liars, Damned Liars, and Experts

by Thom Van Vleck

I like talking about training.  Even if half the time it evolves in an argument.  The one person I have learned the most about weight training is from my Uncle Phil Jackson.  He would often say to me, “I’ve forgotten more about training than you’ll ever know”.  I still often think he is right.  Another guy I’ll mention is Al Myers.  I have learned more about throwing for the Highland Games from Al than any other person.  A lot of the USAWA crowd may know Al competed in the Highland Games but are not aware he was world class at it.  The reason I listened to Al and Phil was not because they were considered by the majority of the lifting or throwing world as experts but because both had something in common with me.  None of us were what I would call natural or “gifted”.  We all had to work for every bit we have.

First I’ll say this.  There’s a fallacy out there that great athletes make bad coaches and mediocre athletes make great coaches.  The “logic” given is that great players never really learn how to play and rely on their natural abilities while mediocre players have to learn every trick to get better.  The evidence given is that there are many coaches that were mediocre players.  Well, that’s just Bull!  The reality is that there are MANY more mediocre players and it would make sense that they would end up a majority in the coaching world over the handful of great athletes.  What really defines a great coach is knowledge and the ability to impart that knowledge in a way another will take it and use it.  They have what’s been called “Practical IQ”.

Now, I don’t know for sure about Al, but I do know that my Uncle Phil would say I’ve barely listened to him at all over the years.  He’s partly right, I have been stubborn at times.  But I would argue he’s mostly wrong.  If you look at how I train there’s more of him in there than any other person on earth.  As for Al, I know I’ve frustrated him from time to time with a million questions and when he’s been nice enough to answer me I’ve often ripped apart his answers.  Al’s such a nice guy this may be hard to believe….but I’ve made him mad more than once!  Yet, if you look at how I throw…NOBODY has had more influence on my throwing and how I train for throwing!  I have just learned over the years that there are….Simple Liars, Damned Liars, and Experts.

The title for this article refers to a saying among lawyers and judges.  It refers to the “expert” witness.  It is often used to make the point that you can get an credentialed expert witness to support about anything.  Kind of like the saying “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” that make the point that you can find stats to support just about any point of view….whether that point of view is right or not!  This is the attitude I bring into how I approach all experts.

Heck, I AM AN EXPERT!  I have been called into court numerous times to provide expert testimony as a licensed professional counselor.  I have frustrated many judges and lawyers in this role because when I KNOW I’m being looked to as an expert then all the speculation, logic, “makes sense to me” is shoved out of my brain and I got with cold, hard, facts.  And the truth is…..you can’t get much from cold, hard facts!  You need to take that leap and expand out beyond what is known and take your “best guess” sometimes to find success.  When pressed by a lawyer or judge, I would preface my “best guess” by saying this is my “opinion based on what I know”.  That rarely helped….they wanted me to tell them that I “unequivocally” knew the truth and to say it as such.

So, what does all this mean.  I guess (based on what I know…..HAHAHA) that I’m trying to say that we need to seek out experts and understand that one person’s “expert” may not be your “expert”….we all have different needs.  These experts can be anywhere and don’t always need to be the “greatest” or the “most famous”.   We also need to look at being able to mine what an expert can give us even if sometimes they aren’t the best communicators.  We should never throw out the coaching of on person simply because they gave bad advice one time.  That’s like the old saying of throwing the baby out with the bath.  Finally, we need to open ourselves to find people who know more than us and take a leap of faith on what they are telling us…..but always remember there are liars, damned liars, and experts.  It’s all in how you want to look at it.  If you think it’s a lie….or the truth…you’ll probably be right.

Zercher Classic

by Al Myers

ZERCHER STRENGTH CLASSIC

The Zercher Strength Classic, the oldest meet in the USAWA, just concluded with another year of competition. This long-standing meet has been a fixture at Clark’s Gym since the early 80’s to honor the St. Louis Strongman Ed Zercher.

Four brave lifters showed to tackle this 13 event affair – all held over the course of one day.  Joe Garcia came out the champion of the meet, with a 7470 pound total. Newcomer Dave Emslie came in second over a couple of wily veterans Bill Clark and Al Springs. Bill Clark commented in a letter to me with the results that Dave “may be a tough competitor in the future in many lifts.”

I was glad to see Bill lifting in the meet.  He put up a solid hip lift of 805 pounds, even though he commented in his letter that he had hoped to get 1000 pounds, but said he must be careful with the replaced hip and broken femur. For those unaware of Bill’s joint replacements, he has had more than most people have fingers!

Afterwards there was a record day session, as if the 13 event Zercher meet wasn’t enough! Many new USAWA/IAWA records were set by Joe, Bill, and Dave.  It looked like a great day of lifting!

MEET RESULTS:

Zercher Strength Classic
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, MO
March 29th, 2014

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Officials: Bill Clark, Joe Garcia

Lifts: Leg Press, Clean and Press- Heels Together, Continental to Chest and Jerk, Deadlift – One Arm, Hack Lift, Deadlift – heels Together, Zercher Lift, Steinborn, Bench Press – Feet in Air, Hand and Thigh, Neck Lift, Hip Lift, Harness Lift

Joe Garcia Dave Emslie Bill Clark Al Springs
AGE 60 73 81 72
BWT 214 175 238 196
Leg Press 400 400 200 300
C&P 155 95 —– 95
C&J 165 105 —– ——
DL-1 225R 225R 155R 155R
Hack 280 250 185 250
DL-HT 280 250 135 250
Zercher 225 200 —– 125
Steinborn 145 105 —– 105
BP-FIA 215 165 100 135
H&T 1175 475 325 400
Neck 405 235 100 145
Hip 1665 805 805 705
Harness 2065 1105 1105 875
TOTAL 7470 4270 3105 3545
ADJ PTS 7779.6 5524.9 3587.2 4234.4

NOTES:  All lifts in pounds. BWT is bodyweight in pounds. ADJ PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

RECORD DAY LIFTS

Bill Clark

Crucifix 10lbs
Curl – Cheat 45 lbs
Deanna Lift 235 lbs.
Deadlift – Left Arm 155 lbs.

Dave Emslie

Crucifix 50 lbs.
Curl – Cheat 95 lbs.
Deanna Lift 430 lbs.
Deadlift 215 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumbs 265 lbs.
Deadlift – Middle Fingers 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Ring Fingers 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Index Fingers 145 lbs.
Pullover – Stiff Arms 65 lbs.
Pullover and Press – Wrestlers Bridge 65 lbs.

Joe Garcia

Crucifix 70 lbs.
Curl – Cheat 135 lbs.
Deanna Lift 430 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton DB, Left Arm 157 lbs.
Saxon Snatch 65 lbs.
Brick Holdout – Right Arm 14 lbs.
Brick Holdout – Left Arm 14 lbs.

Dave Beversdorf

Leg Press 700 lbs.

Bryan Mann

Leg Press 700 lbs.
Bench Press – Feet in Air 325 lbs.

It is not the critic who counts

by Eric Todd

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”-Teddy Roosevelt

This quote by President Roosevelt was introduced to me by Coach Fallein, my high school wrestling coach. It always stuck with me, I guess because I was competitive in nature. One could argue that through this quote, a parallel can be drawn between weightlifting and life.
There has been more than one occasion where I have witnessed someone who weightlifting (or another competitive avenue) came easy to. They try it a few times, whip the competition, and then disappear into the night. My first thought always was that if I was that natural at something, I would do it as much as possible, and be the best in the world. But alas, it was not to be and I had to scratch and claw for every PR and victory I have achieved. So why did these guys disappear? While pondering this question with colleagues, we determined that the success had come too easy for these guys. They had not felt the sting of failure. They did not have to go back to the gym, back to the drawing board, refocus and re-attack. Thus when they re-entered the arena and were victorious, they knew not of the contrast between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

It is those hills and valleys that make our companionship with the weights so rewarding. Clearly, winning is the goal. But the ride to get there is what it is all about. Am I satisfied with a win if I did not lift as I am capable? There have been a time or two (no more) that I was almost satisfied with second, as I performed above and beyond anything I could have hoped for, the other guys was just better (which stings a bit anyhow). Throughout it all, though, you have got to allow yourself to enjoy the ride.

There was a time in 2003, when I was just off winning my weight class at strongman nationals. I was top 3 overall, 1 point out of second, and the first place guy received his pro card. I knew that I was going to go pro at my next contest. I poured all my eggs into 2003 Lumberjack days in Stillwater, MN. I trained like a maniac for this contest; I could not lose. I knew Dave Ostlund (of World’s strongest Man fame) would be there, and he was tough, just coming off a top 3 placement in his weight class at nationals, but I was 2 and 0 against him, and knew I could make it 3 in a row. Well, the meet came and went. I ended up 3rd. I lifted fairly well, but it just was not enough. I was devastated. I had to regroup and do some soul searching. I had to re-prioritize things, and decide if I was even going to get back to the drawing board. This loss stung.

I am glad I chose to remain stalwart in my pursuit of strength. I tried a few more times for my heavyweight pro card, and was close, achieving a couple second place finishes. Ultimately, I chose to drop to the new 105 kilo division, and within half a year, I had earned my pro card at the 2005 Monsters of the Midwest. It happened in the most dramatic of fashions. Me and Dino Nick were tied going into the final event: the Atlas Stones. I had gone first and put up a quick time. However, when Nick started, he was on pace to beat me. He was on pace until the final stone, and he just was not quite able to load it. Believe me, at that moment, I was at the top of the world. That peak was so high, because of the depth of the valleys.

The highs and lows, that is the spice of our lives. I love living in the country in Missouri. I love seeing the seasons change. The May days that are sunny and in the seventies are so much sweeter because of the blizzards in January. The peaks are made remarkable because of the valleys we are made to toil through.

A couple years ago, right before thanksgiving, Mom called and said she would not be able to watch Phoebe the next day as she was not feeling well. Well we scrambled to make alternate plans, but something in the back of my mind kept me a little worried about Ma. Any of you who know her know that she is never sick, or at least wont hardly admit to being, and NOTHING will stand in the way of her time with her grandbabies. So I felt that something as a bit off. Well, I called the next day, and she was clearly not well. I talked her into going into the ER, and she ended up having an emergency surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her colon. Though surgery went as well as could be expected, it was an invasive surgery, and she had to spend some time in ICU recovering.

I spent a lot of time at the hospital over that holiday break, spending time with ma, and spending time with dad. He clearly was worried. He had been a bit ill himself, with what appeared to be something respiratory. Dad, Jennifer, and Phoebe ate Thanksgiving dinner at Cameron Regional Medical Center that year. Me and Dad stayed most of the day, and into the night. We then made our way home, and I to bed, trying to get a little sleep, as during this time I had been lacking. At around midnight; however, I was awakened by the telephone. It was Dad. He asked me to take him to the ER. We went in, and as it turns out, his affliction was not respiratory at all. He had atrial fibrillation which was causing his heart to go crazy, and as it turns out it was a miracle he did not have a heart attack. So, that night, I got to move dad into the ICU next to Mom. I spent the rest of the night going back and forth to the hospital getting medications, clothes, etc. I finally was able to sleep around 8:00 in the morning. Those days were some dark ones. It was tough keeping everything together and trudging on through. I was in a valley.
Mom and Dad both recovered miraculously. They are both are doing wonderful. I enjoy each and every minute I get to spend with them. I have a beautiful wife and two amazing kids. I have a job I love, and get to lift for fun. I am not lifting the best I ever have, but am still confident my best years are ahead of me. My life is a grand one. Those valleys I have been to let me know just how glorious these peaks can be.

I can tell you this, learning to deal with the peaks and valleys in sport goes a great deal toward teaching us how to deal with adversity in our lives. Getting my tail kicked on the wrestling mat (I can tell you, it is personal-you physically get your tail beat by another individual, saying he is the better man that day) on the football field, the track, in the weightlifting arena, and having to figure out how to deal with it and come back from it has helped teach me how to face the trials and tribulations in life. And it has shown me just how precious each victory, no matter how small, can be.

The rest of the story….

by Eric Todd

Growing up, when we listened to the radio, it was always 61 Country (an AM station out of KC) or KMRN (a local AM station). On both of those stations, I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”. Last year, I wrote an article called “Where Do We Go?” that detailed some of the reasons that I feel our membership in the USAWA is not terribly substantial. Well, in this article, I would like to discuss “The Rest of the Story”, benefits of all-round that draw lifters to the USAWA.

The USAWA offers something for everyone. Everyone has their own strengths. There are a multitude of lifts in the USAWA across many different aspects of strength. There are grip lifts, heavy lifts, 2 man lifts, dumbbell lifts, and barbell lifts. There are eccentric lifts and very standard lifts (variations of the Olympic and powerlifting movements). So there are many different ways to demonstrate your strength. One should never be bored doing all-round. Even if you have an injury, or are limited in some way, you should be able to find some way to excel in the USAWA.

Secondly, the USAWA is drug tested. If you are new to the USAWA, you will probably be tested. IF you have dramatic increases in your lifts, you will probably be tested. Please take no offense. It is how we maintain the integrity of our drug free organization. I, for one, take a great deal of comfort knowing that I am lifting on an even playing field with other drug free lifters.

There is definitely camaraderie, a brotherhood, whilst lifting in the USAWA. It is a small enough organization that you get to know most of the good folks lifting within it. Because of this, the meets are not only competitions, they are like family reunions. I want to out lift the other competitors, but I am rooting for them all the while to lift their very best. It is the best environment to be lifting in.

Then there are the Heavy Lifts. No other organization has them, to my knowledge. If you want to inflate your ego a little, and swell up in the chest, do some Heavy lifting. Through no other means will you lift as much. I have done a ton or more in 4 lifts now, and I am not close to being the best of the best.

There is nothing more old school than lifting all-round. Because of that, you will get to lift in some of the coolest old school gyms you have ever seen. If you love the history behind weightlifting, some of our old school USAWA gyms are wealthy is weightlifting history. I know I have not been to all of them, but if you want to experience strength training and weightlifting history, visit Al’s Dino Gym, Clark’s championship gym, or the JWC Training Hall. I am sure there are many others in the USAWA.

The USAWA is a very unique organization for strength training. Sometimes it can be humbling, but is always a great time. For any strength enthusiast who has not tried competing in a USAWA meet, you are missing out. I suggest coming out. You will meet some great people and get to challenge yourself in ways you never had before.