Posts belonging to Category USAWA Daily News



Perfect Powerful Pulls

by John McKean

Little known Pennsylvania lifter Jim Dorn of the 1963 era pressing 300 pounds!

Audience chanting called a halt to the proceedings at the 1963 Senior National Weightlifting Championships. No, not due to a poor judging decision, nor a new record lift. Rather the mere appearance of a little known 181 pound wonder named Jim Dorn created this immediate stir. The uninformed in the crowd assumed him to be a bodybuilder, rather than the dedicated olympic lifting stylist that he was, yet everyone demanded to see him flex his wing like lats! Heck, even the normally gruff, stoic John Terpak later wrote that Dorn had “unquestionably the broadest back in the world for his height and weight”! Fortunately the MC of the evening was Bob Hoffman, who was more than happy to promote one of his York team members, and to plug his top selling power racks (on which Dorn trained exclusively)! Of course the packed auditorium went berserk when the 5′7″ phenomenon flexed those lats, seeming wider than he was tall.

What an all-rounder Jim would have made! In addition to a 315 pound press, 285 pound snatch, and a North American Championship title (among others), Dorn performed a 275 pound cheat curl (205 strict), a 670 pound parallel squat (with hands on thighs), and a 405 pound jerk off the rack. And when pushed into it by Coach Hoffman, later took the Mr. Pennsylvania crown. Hard to believe that this type of power and physique were built primarily with mostly single holds inside a power rack, using 8 key partial lifts!

As indicated in an early 60s Strength & Health story, Jim’s usual home training featured only these power rack holds and ONE SET OF ONE format: top press 520 X 1, eye level press 360 X 1, chin level press 520 X 1,quarter squat 1000 X 6, middle pull 420 X1, front squat (from bottom up) 390 X 3, deadlift (just off floor for the start) with shrug 670 X 1, and bench press (starting from a rack pin 4″ above chest) 470 X1. On each of the single rack holds, he held either just off starting pins, into a slightly higher rack pin, or maintaining a support (as in the top press and quarter squat) for 10 SECONDS. Oh yeah, he finished each session with a set of 6 in a slow stretching type of chin behind the neck. However, I’m convinced that it was his pulling HOLDS over that TIME, that created his awesome pulling power and super wide upper back!

I’ve written previously, of course, of the value of slightly moving isometrics & holds, but wish to put forth some pulling experiments I’ve been doing for a while that just may make this treacherous exercise a bit more user friendly! After all, none of us in the all-round bunch are getting any younger, and these heavy duty holds are nasty to one’s blood pressure! But, though mostly forgotten, we should strive to discover how to make such miraculous, short & concentrated rack routines work for us. We may never get the world record pulls and back structure of Bill March, Lou Riecke, or Serge Redding. In case you don’t know Serge, he used mostly standard olympic lift training, tho included one special pull iso — musta worked because at 5′8″ and up to 308# bwt, he did an official 502 pound WR press, a 401 snatch, and measured 65″ around the shoulders!! More on him in another story!! However, using TIME in holding a row, continental from thigh level, snatch grip pulls, etc., could mean a whole bunch of ‘Rounder records!

Now, what I’ve found, old gomer that I’m becoming (68 last Sunday! and his wife who is proofing this reminded him that he’s well into full bloom gomerhood!), is that I don’t need to explode head veins from a 10 to 12 second hold as twenty-something Dorn & March were doing. Instead, I separate my rack lifts into 2 sets of 2, with each hold into a slightly higher rack pin, lasting only 3 seconds. I still get in the all-important HOLD of 12 seconds, but have not come even close to passing out as I did in the old days (so that’s what happened to him y’all are saying!)! For instance, I’ll get a pretty hefty poundage on the strict row, pull to a pin 4″ above and hold for 3 seconds, lower and pull/hold for another 3 seconds, then rest for a few minutes and do the second set. By the way, if you don’t have access to a power rack, this same performance can be achieved with chains & “S” hooks over the bar to secure various pull positions, or even rig up a thick rubber bungee around one’s barbell!

It must be working – my poundages are going up, even at an age where gains should NOT be achieved, and the all-round pulling lifts are feeling much easier! I’m even noting a big increase in wideness these days – though I expect this is mostly from Marilyn’s fresh stacks of Christmas cookies, rather than extra muscle on the upper back!

Wayne Jackson: Chasing Strength

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Jackson is my Uncle.  But he has been much more than that.  He inspired me to lift weights, he was a father figure to me, a training partner, and most of all, a friend.  Wayne, along with his brother Phil, revived the Jackson Weightlifting Club in 1957.  While the club grew to over two dozen members and fielded teams that won the Missouri State team title in Olympic lifting two times and several Missouri State Champions…Wayne was our most successful lifter.  Wayne won the Teenage Nationals and 4 Missouri State Championships in Olympic Lifting and one title in Powerlifting.  He was simultaneously the Missouri State Champ in Olympic lifting and Powerlifting in 1971!  Wayne also has the claim to fame of holding the Missouri State record in the Clean and Press.  That event was dropped in 1972 and as a result it can never be broken!  His best was 365lbs.

Wayne is a jovial, gentle giant.   I have called him “Staggo” for over 30 years in reference to Dutch World’s Strongest Man competitor Staggo Piszko who was  one of the biggest WSM competitors ever.  My dad always referred to Wayne as “Big’un”.  His arms were well over 20 inches and his chest was over 60 inches at around 5′10″ in height.  He made an impression with just his size.  But if you were ever around him much you would soon realize that he would never hurt a fly.  He was always interested in what you were lifting and you almost had to pry out of him his best lifts.  He was always very modest and often would even minimize his best lifts….I’ve not met many lifters that do that!

Wayne had a long time lifting rivalry with Wilbur Miller.  Now I specify “lifting” because otherwise they were the best of friends.  As a matter of fact I traveled with Wayne to an “Odd lift” meet held at Sailor’s Gym in Wichita in 1984 so that Wayne could reunite with Wilbur.  I would point out that Wayne never lost to Wilbur in the Clean and Press even though Wayne was never able to beat Wilbur in the total.  A couple years back Wilbur told me that he always wanted to beat Wayne on the press but that Wayne was “just too good at it”.

I have many stories I could tell about Wayne and I have written about him before in MILO.  But here is one that gives some insight into Wayne’s attitude about lifting.  I was a teenager and not showing much prospect at winning any gold medals.  I was thinking about giving up on lifting.  I had read a story where the author had stated you needed talent to be a truly great lifter.  I asked Wayne about it and matter of factly he said, “I just always figured a guy could be as strong as he wanted to be if he were willing to work hard enough”.  While some could challenge how true that statement is, it’s more of an attitude.  After that, I didn’t worry about what I didn’t have, I just kept working hard and didn’t worry about what talent I had or didn’t have.  All I could really control was how hard I worked.

Wayne loved lifting.  Some guys lift as a means to an end.  Wayne just loved lifting.  He lifted often and he trained very hard….often with no contest as a goal.  He would set lifting goals then break them and move on to the next goal.  He “chased strength” his entire life!  We lifted in a couple early odd lift meets that Bill Clark held and I had to almost beg him to compete.  But when he did he made some great lifts.  He did a super strict 280lb seated press (his training best was 330 but he had trouble adjusting to keeping his feet flat on the floor….I once saw him seated press 300lbs for 8 sets of 3 reps!), a heels together 300 pound press, a 300 pound reverse grip clean and press to name a few).  I saw him hang clean 400lbs (with straps) and on another occasion jerk 400lbs.  This was in his mid 30’s.

I could write volumes on Wayne, but wanted to give him some of the recognition I felt he deserved.  He lifted with Bill Clark and in Clark’s meets more times than I could count and was friends with many of the early USAWA members.  I had always hoped he would make a comeback but so far that has not come to pass.  He still trains and still loves to talk training and lifting.  It was his way of life!

Shoulder Drop Continued…..

by Al Myers

Last month when Thom wrote that “controversial” story on the Shoulder Drop I thought maybe there would be some hotly discussed forum debate on it – but there wasn’t!!!  I guess that goes to show that the Shoulder Drop is not an All Round Lift that warrants attention, and most lifters really don’t care “one way or the other” what the rules dictate on it.  I was not really surprised by this.  The Shoulder Drop is one of those Official Lifts of the USAWA and the IAWA that is rarely performed, and only at a handful of record days.  There has been only a handful of records ever set in it.

I was intrigued by Thom’s history of the Shoulder Drop, as it was an old lift he learned from his Grandfather Dalton Jackson.  I’ve spent a lot of time researching old time all round  lifts – and there is very little information of the Shoulder Drop being a lift performed by lifters 100 plus years ago.  It does not have the rich historical significance  of lifts like the Steinborn Lift, Jefferson Lift, the One Arm Deadlift, and others. In fact, important old time strength writers like George Jowett and WA Pullom didn’t discuss it in their writings, which included many rules and regulations of the many lifts at the time. The Shoulder Drop appears to have originated as an USAWA/IAWA lift.

I did “some digging’ in my USAWA archives and found just a little as to the origins of the Shoulder Drop in the USAWA. This following is from the February 1st, 1990 issue of the Strength Journal (Vol. 1, No. 3) written by journal editor Bill Clark.

Two new lifts were approved by the board on January 20. They were the Travis Lift and the Shoulder Drop. The rules for each:

Shoulder Drop

The bar must be cleaned either to the chest and then to the shoulders or may be cleaned directly to the shoulders. Once the bar is motionless and held by both hands at the shoulders, the official will give the command to drop.  The hands are removed and the bar either dropped or shrugged from the shoulders at the moment of hand release. The bar then must be caught at arm’s length behind the body.  Once it is held motionless at arm’s length behind the body, the referee will give the command, “down”, thus completing the lift.  The weight may not be rolled down the back, but must be dropped.  Balancing the bar on the shoulders while placing the hands in position prior to the drop is not allowed.  Also – the body must be erect before the command to stop.

Bill then went on to state that the Shoulder Drop was nominated by Dr. Jim Clark of Houston, Texas.  This was a specialty lift of Dr. Clark, who was reported to be capable of big poundages in the Shoulder Drop. However, looking over the record list I see no mention of his name which tells me that he never did complete an official Shoulder Drop in the USAWA.

In reading these initial rules, do you see something missing???  I  sure do – there is no mention that the legs must be straight throughout, only that the body must be “erect” before the official’s down command, or as worded, “command to stop”.  Now that is interesting to me!  So it appears that Thom is not left lost out in the right field  bleachers eating popcorn by himself here with his argument of allowing knee bend.   This initial Shoulder Drop rule supports Thom’s cause!

When did the Shoulder Drop rule change to require straight legs throughout????  Who knows.  There is no mention of it is subsequent meeting minutes that a vote was ever taken.  However, the “straight leg requirement” was put into the initial 2002 USAWA Rulebook, as well as the IAWA(UK) Rulebook.   Maybe a vote was taken at a meeting sometime and due to sloppy minute taking, was never recorded. Or maybe the “straight leg requirement” was just added as an afterthought by the rulebook editor  with no vote approval???

It is obvious that the Shoulder Drop was not in the initial list of official USAWA/IAWA lifts since it was added in 1990 (3 years after the formation of the USAWA/IAWA).    I have performed the Shoulder Drop on a few occasions and I do agree with Thom that allowing leg bend with the lift would make it much safer (and more enjoyable to practice).   Maybe if the Shoulder Drop rule was changed to allow knee bend it would become a more popular All Round lift?

Let your “voice be heard” on this controversial (haha, said tongue-in-cheek) topic in the USAWA Discussion Forum.  If enough support is gathered – it may be time to make a change in the rules of the Shoulder Drop.

All-Round Peak Contraction

by John McKean

Maxick - the famous muscle control artist.

Each thigh was bigger in circumference than the lifter’s entire inseam measured. And those legs were CUT ! My good friend Santos Martinez was famed for his olympic lifting and physique wins here in Pittsburgh during the early 1960s, and later for powerlifting. Usually weighing 198 pounds at about 5′7″ in height, Santos always impressed with his rugged, deeply etched all-over body massiveness, yet I NEVER saw him perform a single bodybuilding exercise during the years I knew him ; he was strictly a LIFTER ! So it was a surprise to many of us when an upstart local physique competitor, an arrogant kid just out of his teens,named Bernie, challenged Santos to return to the posing dias. The gym conversation went something like “Hey,old man, you USED to win some of those dreary, ancient muscle shows, but you’d have no chance against a modern bodybuilder like me! I’ve been winning everything throughout the area for 3 years now, and these days they want MY definition, symmetry, and washboard abs. How about letting yourself get embarrassed and enter the Mr. Allegheny contest next month -it’s following the weightlifting meet , and I know you’ll be there!” Always up for a good laugh, a relaxed Santos agreed.

I just had to ask Santos what strategy he possibly hoped to use to have any chance whatsoever in this challenge. After all, young Bernie had almost taken the Mr. Pennsylvania title a few months earlier. Of course, an always philosophic Martinez wasn’t taking the whole thing seriously, so in his usual laidback fashion, he quipped ” Ah heck, I’ll just flex my fat in front of a mirror every day for the rest of the month, and hope the judges will enjoy the shape of my lard over the kid’s well tuned muscle!” (it might be mentioned that none of us in the area’s iron game ever saw a trace of fat on Santos’ body, but he apparently liked to imagine it was creeping up on him as he aged!). You can guess the rest – getting whatever “pump” he needed from the weightlifting meet earlier in the evening, Santos strode out under the physique lights,did a few early poses, then completely dominated obnoxious little Bernie with his trademark “most muscular” pose! Heck, Martinez’ trapezius itself looked bigger than Bern’s whole body! (Santos actually scared my girlfriend of the time , who thought a gorilla had escaped from the zoo!). I don’t recall that our loudmouthed young bodybuilder, sniffling home with his 2nd place trophy, ever competed again !

It’s interesting to observe that Mr. Martinez obviously had terrific genetics toward his strength and physique , but that he relied on seemingly simple “flexing”, or what some would term “muscle control” exercise to enhance both.Especially since many of our REALLY early all-rounders used a similar method during their build-up years. The phenomenal Maxick,back in the initial part of the 1900s, developed what may be argued as the best natural body ever built, with youthful reliance on self developed muscle control exercises. The 145 pound Max claimed this provided the base strength to almost effortlessly perform tremendous one arm swings,snatches, and jerks, and among the very first lifters to do over a double bodyweight continental and jerk. During the same time frame, Otto Arco utilized his own form of isometric muscle posing to develop a superbly dense muscle structure which served him well as a champion wrestler, gymnast, bodybuilder, and lifter -Arco actually was witnessed doing a Turkish Get-up(one arm,of course) ,his favorite All-Round lift, with nearly 200 pounds! (Arco usually weighed a mere 138 pounds!). From that time on, some very celebrated lifters got into muscle control (and all LOOKED it!) – Edward Aston, Monte Saldo, Sig Klein, John Grimek, etc. Often makes me wonder why or how “modern” bodybuilding ever became such a big event (oh yeah, hours upon hours in a gym daily “pumping up” with tiny weights gave a temporary illusion, followed by anorexia for definition, then later, drugs really enhanced the BLOAT !), when heavy lifting along with a small bit of muscle control exercise produced virtual human anatomy charts, with strength to match.

I also have to note that Dr. John Ziegler ,while working with York lifters on his famed isometric rack methods, also developed a machine to offer electric stimulas to obtain near maximum contraction of his lifter’s muscles. Dr. Ziegler apparently achieved some measure of success with this “artificial muscle tensing” toward increased strength , yet never recorded or published results. Indeed, even the famed Max Planck Insitute in Germany did research that proved “self willed, purposefull muscle contraction” (isometric posing) would yield tremendous, almost unbelievable gains if done with consistancy over time. I just have to consider that with many of the old muscle control books being reproduced lately -courses by Maxick, Arco, Saldo, Jubinville – many of us all-rounders can possibly instill this 10 minutes extra exercise to add a bit of hope and excitement for the long winter of training ahead.

However, I do foresee one very horrific downside. You see, the lower portion of the Ambridge VFW gym is lined with mirrors. If old Art Montini happens to read this information, we’re likely to face the gruesome prospect of him down there, shirt off, posing away. And we’ve long had a saying at the VFW – “If one is unlucky enough to see Art even partially naked, that person will instantly turn to stone!”

Lifter of the Month: Eric Todd

by Al Myers

Eric Todd lifting 710 pounds in the Dinnie Lift at the 2013 OTSM Championships, enroute to winning Overall Best Lifter.

The lifter of the month for December goes to Eric Todd, overall champion at this month’s Old Time Strongman Championships.  Eric has had a great year in the USAWA, and is one of the promising all rounders for future years. Eric has been involved as a meet promoter as well, and is founder of the registered USAWA club, KC STRONGMAN.

Congrats to Eric for being LIFTER OF THE MONTH for December!!!!

NE Record Breakers

By James Fuller

James Fuller doing a 504 pound dumbbell deadlift at the New England Record Breakers.

2013 in East Walpole Mass at Frank’s Barbell Club gravity got told to, “Go take a hike!” Two brothers, Frank and Joe Ciavattone graciously gave of their time and resources so seven of us could show our dominance over the iron. Faces familiar and new pulled, pushed and squeezed to fight for a place in the record books. So much lifting defiance, it seemed like a revolt!

First up in our war on the weights were new lifters Jessica Hopps, 29,  and James Delaney, also 29 and new protégé of Frank Ciavattone.  Jess did some fine lifting with a smile. Her most impressive lift is her 100lb Bent Row. Jess must have some strong back muscles to be able to hold this in position until the down command. Also worth mentioning: she did a Left Arm Ciavattone Deadlift with 110lb!! I’m curious to see what she does next!!

Other new lifter(and Jessica’s fiancée) James Delaney had a superb day!! He was dying to bury a record!! James wasted no time and put a 150lb One Legged Deadlift on the books! After a short tutorial, James then went after a 37lb Turkish Get Up for a good lift. James is just getting his feet wet in the iron pool and with Frank Ciavattone the man himself in his training corner, how can James go wrong? Watch for James to put up some substantial numbers soon. It was great to have a new ‘lifting couple’ here today. I hope everyone gets a chance to meet them!

Third new lifter(isn’t that great….THREE!) is Steve Freides 58 and ready to lift anything not nailed down!!! Previews of Steve’s intent were shown on the USAWA Facebook page. Someone was actually going to do a Van Dam Lift?!?! No, not the Volvo truck commercial with Jean Claude Van Damme . Steve was going to be crazier than that; Let’s do a split between two benches AND then pick up some weight! And pick up some weight he did. Steve got over HALF BODYWEIGHT with 81lb. His lifting dominance on this lift was so contagious I had to give it a try. Yes folks, we had TWO lifters do the Van Dam Lift!! Steve went animal on eight other lifts. I was afraid we were going to have to make up some new lifts for him to try for a record. Folks, think about it, how do you challenge a guy who has done the Van Dam Lift?

Jessica Hopps doing a 110 pound Ciavattone One Arm Deadlift at the New England Record Breakers.

Next up was Colleen Lane. She was phenomenal today! This was the best lifting I’d seen from her. Inside story, this morning she said to Frank,”I don’t know if I can lift today…my back hurts.” How badly did her back hurt? Well, she only got 200lbs on the Ciavattone Deadlift!?! I teased her,”Hey Colleen, I wish MY back hurt that much!!” I think she was doing the ‘work my aching back ‘til it feels better’ therapy. She followed up with a 100lb Bent Row AND One Arm Ciavattone Deadlifts that kept going up. Each time I turned around, she was attempting more weight. She kept going until she felt like the iron had been punished enough. Colleen wound up with a Left and Right Hand lift of 110lbs….WOW! How could she NOT feel better ?!?!

Long time USAWA member and judge Joe Ciavattone 45 got out of the judge’s chair and showed us what a Deadlift that bears the family name looks like done with One Arm!! 225lbs with the Right and 235lbs with the Left. He has such a smooth setup. He doesn’t waste a bit of energy on these lifts. Almost seems like he finds a bar path that we do NOT!!

Speaking of great One Arm Deadlifts with the Ciavattone name attached, Frank Ciavattone 58 also took off time from coaching, directing, and judging to put up some ridiculously easy lifts of Right 285lb and Left 255lb. Frank’s grip is only limited by his mind. If he believes he can grip it, its as good as done!!

Ready for more Ciavattone greatness?? Joe Jr. stepped up to the bar and Bent Over Rowed 186lb…225lb..305lb and finally 325lb!! For me this was the ‘lift of the meet’ plain and simple. Seeing him row 325lb and hold it still for the down command blew my mind. Maybe it’s the training he and his dad do for football…I don’t know. Folks, go to a bar loaded with weight, row it to your gut and hold it there for a down command. IT IS HARD!!

James Fuller 42 decided that Steve Freides shouldn’t have all the fun on the Van Dam Lift. Having never done this before, it took a couple of lifts before he found his groove. He eventually lifted 150lb. James did a 2 Dumbbell Deadlift with 501lb last winter in his driveway. No longer wanting to be a driveway hero, James decided to make it official. He did the Art Montini ,”My first attempt IS my warmup” with a 424lb lift followed by 504lb for a record.

Colleen quit lifting early to make sure we were fed after the meet. We were fed well. Its amazing how well she always takes care of us before(muffins), during(bottled water) and after(pizzas AND home made food) the meet THANK YOU COLLEEN!!

Without the Ciavattone brothers, All-Round Lifting in New England would be dead. Three new lifters this time around. If this keeps up, we’re going to have to move the meet to somewhere bigger!! Thank you Joe and thank you Frank for this meet!

Why you wished you were at this meet: Two lifters doing the Van Dam Lift, Joe Jr. hitting 325lb on the Bent Over Row, Joe Jr., James Fuller and Steve Friedes taking turns doing Dumbbell Bent Presses, Chance to see Colleen’s ‘oh my aching back’ record breaking routine. The New England Record Breakers is a necessary meet to help grow All-Round Lifting in New England. Once Joe Jr and James Fuller pass their judge’s test, All-Round Lifting will have more two more judges to help run more meets in New England.

MEET RESULTS:

New England Record Breakers
Frank’s Barbell Club
Walpole, Massachusetts
November 30th, 2013

Meet Director:  Frank Ciavattone

Officials (1 official system used): Frank Ciavattone, Joe Ciavattone

Lifts: Record Day Lifts

Jessica Hopps 29, 197lb

Bench Press-Reverse Grip 70lb
Bent Over Row 100lb
Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip, One Arm L 110lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 10lb R 10lb

Colleen Lane 57, 210lb

Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip 200lb
Bench Press-Reverse Grip 65lb
Bent Over Row 100lb
Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip, One Arm L 110lb R 110lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 20lb R 20lb

Joe Ciavattone Jr. 20, 222lb

Bent Over Row 325lb
Bent Press-Dumbbell R 100lb
Pinch Grip Clean& Press L 50lb R 50lb

James Delaney 29, 178.75lb

Deadlift-One Leg 150lb
Turkish Get-Up 37lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 31lb R 31 lb

James Fuller 42, 235.25lb

Van Dam Lift 150lb
Bent Press-Dumbbell L 120lb R 120lb
Deadlift-2 Dumbbells 504lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 50lb R 50lb

Joe Ciavattone Sr. 45, 222.5lb

Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip, One Arm L 235lb R 225lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 44lb R 44lb

Steve Freides 58, 152.25lb

Van dam Lift 81lb
Deadlift-Fingers, Middle 155lb
Turkish Get –Up 42lb
Gardner-Full 45lb
Bent Press-Dumbbell L 56lb R 56lb
Curl-Strict 65lb
Pinch Clean & Press L 20lb R 20lb

Frank Ciavattone 58, 294lb

Deadlift-Ciavattone Grip,One Arm 255lb R 285lb

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

2013 USAWA OLD TIME STRONGMAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2013 OTSM Championships.

The 3rd annual Old Time Strong Man (OTSM) Championship capped off a great year for OTSM in the USAWA. This year saw FOUR OTSM meets with 38 total competitors. I will try and do around up of the four meets at a later time, but for now here’s the lowdown for the OTSM Championships at the JWC Training Hall.

Let’s do something different and lead off with those that make the meet happen. John O’Brien and Laverne Myers were my loaders and this is no easy task at an OTSM meet, especially when it comes to the Dinnie lift where you have to load one implement at 75% of the other…John O’Brien manned the calculator and I think he needed his Ph.D to figure that out! Not a single mistake! Al Myers was on hand as the scorekeeper and supplied the lifters with information on the current records for the lifts. I acted as the head judge and I think I did a good job as almost every lift was passed and I got no dirty looks!

We had 7 lifters brave the bad weather to come to meet. I had a few cancellations due to the weather but I totally understand. The Dino Gym was well represented with Scott Tully and Mark Mitchell. Al Springs came up for the meet. Mike McIntyre was there to represent the JWC for me while Lance Foster and Eric Todd represented KC Strongman while Denny Habecker was there representing his own “Habecker’s Gym”.

We started with the Anderson Squat and it became apparent that Eric Todd was going to be the man to beat as he topped all the lifters by a wide margin going over 800lbs. It also became clear there was going to be a fight for 2nd and 3rd.

Eric Todd used a 355 pound Anderson Press help him to Overall Best Lifter at the 2013 OTSM Championships.

The second lift was the Anderson Press. Again, Eric Todd was the top lifter. But Mike McIntyre put up a great effort and after the results were entered Mike was in 2nd overall and Denny was 3rd. Mark Mitchell was a very close 4th. Eric was going to have to bomb the last event to lose but it was turning into a very exciting finish with the Dinnie lift coming up.

In the Dinnie Lift Al Springs opened at 185 and did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen. He jumped 200lbs for his 2nd attempt…and MADE IT! He also went on to make 405 for his third. Lance Foster his several PR’s and the Dinnie lift was a big one as he jumped over 50lbs from his last meet. Mark Mitchell lost his grip on his last attempt and then struggled through several attempts and with the clock ticking down finally found the groove. It’s always impressive to me when a lifter struggles mightily and then comes through in the end. Denny went three for three which ended up being important to him as he barely ended up edging Mike McIntyre in points….it was a fraction of a point in the end. Mike did all he could to hang onto 2nd including pulling a 710lb lift…impressive because he had NEVER done the lift before. Eric pulled the 710 for his second and wanted to try a PR….the only problem was we couldn’t fit enough weight on the bar! Eric had easily won the meed so it was inconsequential to the meet but I still felt bad that Eric couldn’t take a crack at his own USAWA record.

All the lifters got the “famous” JWC anvil trophies and also a long sleeve JWC Club shirt. Everyone seemed to have a good time and it seemed to be one of the most friendly meets I’ve been to as the lifters seemed to be joking and laughing a lot and there was a lot of encouragement when it was time to lift. It is times like those that I am proud to belong to the USAWA! I am already thinking about next year and I hope we can continue to grow. If you have any ideas for lifts, let me or Al Myers know. See you next year!

MEET RESULTS

2013 USAWA OTSM Championships
December 7th, 2013
JWC Training Hall, Kirksville, Missouri

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

Announcer and Scorekeeper:  Al Myers

Official (1-official system used): Thom Van Vleck

Loaders: LaVerne Myers and John O’Brien

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dinnie Lift

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ PR DINN TOT PTS
Eric Todd 38 261 810 355 710 1875 1455.9
Denny Habecker 71 194 365 180 440 985 1182.0
Mike McIntyre 29 308 630 305 710 1645 1179.6
Mark Mitchell 53 307 550 250 600 1400 1146.1
Scott Tully 37 328 500 280 630 1410 981.8
Lance Foster 48 328 450 160 550 1160 880.4
Al Springs 71 196 190 100 405 695 828.7

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORDS:

Denny Habecker: Anderson Squat 410 lbs.
Mike McIntyre: Anderson Press 315 lbs.
Lance Foster: Anderson Press 170 lbs.
Lance Foster: Dinnie Lift 575 lbs.

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

Lifter of the Month: Al Myers

by Chad Ullom

Lifter of the month for November is Al Myers, here doing a 182.5 KG thumbless grip DL at the Gold Cup.

November lifter of the month goes to Al Myers.   Al was succesful with a 145kg (319lb) Power Row at the Gold Cup. Not only was this a new world record, but also earned Al The Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy! This trophy is presented to the highest amended total lift using Age, weight, and Blindt formulas.  Al also did a thumbless DL of 182.5KG (401lb) for his second world record. The contributions Al makes the USAWA and IAWA cannot be overstated. I’m not sure where we would be as an organization without Al’s committment, time and effort he puts into it every day! Congratulations Al!

Accepting New Memberships!!!

by Al Myers

It’s now past the first of December and it’s TIME to send in your membership dues for 2014!!

This process is pretty simple, 1. print off the membership application from this website, under “forms and applications”, 2. fill out completely and sign, 3. enclose application with the $25 membership dues  in an envelop and send to me for processing.

I want to remind everyone that membership in the USAWA is for the calendar year, so it is in your best interest to join before the year starts to be able to enjoy the full year benefits in our organization.    I’ve already received a few memberships for 2014 – and they have already been included in the NEW  2014 Membership Roster.   Any membership applications received before Jan 1st will be identified as “January 1st” on the roster list to show that these individuals sent their applications in ahead of time.  Last year we had 20 lifters do this – lets beat that number this year!!!

Lifter of the Month: Barry Bryan

Barry Bryan at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup (left) with USAWA President Denny Habecker (right).

by Al Myers

The Lifter of the Month for October goes to BARRY BRYAN for his outstanding performances in Art’s Birthday Bash.   I am so glad to see Barry “back in action” in the USAWA.   Barry is a joy to be around at meets – always helping out lifters, the meet promoter, or just assisting in any way he can.   He is a LEVEL 2 certified USAWA official, and has been involved in many National Championships.

Congratulations to Barry Bryan for being Lifter of the Month for October!!!!

Lifter of the Month: John Wilmot

by Al Myers

As Tom Ryan performs a big Hip Lift in an All Round Meet in the late 80’s, John Wilmot looks on in the background.

The lifter of the month for September goes to our long-term USAWA Postal Meet Director John Wilmot.  The only USAWA competition held in the month of September was our 3rd quarter postal, the Delaware Valley Open Postal Meet.   Amazingly, since the USAWA Postal Series began - John has competed in EVERY postal meet.  That’s showing quite a commitment to the organization!!!

Congratulations to John Wilmot for being awarded USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for September!!!

Mike Jenkins: A Real Giant

by Thom Van Vleck

An autographed Photo Mike sent me being presented his Award for winning the Arnold Pro Strongman Contest by none other than Arnold himself.

When I was a kid I was fascinated by giants.  Fictional ones like the Irish Giant Finn MacCool and the Scottish Giand Benandonner (The Red Man) and real ones like my favorite Angus MacAskill.  I’ll have to admit, I wanted to be a Giant myself and if anyone could “will” themselves to be taller (actually, John Grimek claimed to have done just that using stretching exercises) then I did it.

I recently had the privilege to do a story in another real, modern day giant.  His name was Mike Jenkins (MILO September 2012 Vol 20 No 2).  Mike was 6′6″ tall and weighed over 400lbs at his competitive best.  He did not carry much fat, he was relatively lean.  He was just a big human being!  Mike had told me he was 225lbs when he was 10 years old and by the time he was 15 he was 300lbs!

Mike had been a football player at James Madison University where he won a National Championship.  He briefly played Pro football but soon found himself in Strongman.  He won the inaugural Amateur Arnold Strongman Classic in 2010 and quickly turned pro.  He shocked many in his first 2011 World’s Strongest Man when he made it to the finals and then won the first two events!  However, a back injury took him out and we were left to wonder “what it”.  He came back in 2012 to get 5th dealing with injuries.  He won the “Giant’s Live” in 2012 in Australia against top competition and he also won the Arnold Pro Strongman Classic in 2012.  I have always thought the Arnold Strongman contest was a much better measure of strength than the WSM as many of the events were more static, pure strength events in my opinion.  At that time I knew it was only a matter of time before Mike was the World’s Strongest Man officially!

Alas, it was not to be.  Thanksgiving morning he was found dead.  His wife said he died in his sleep and while I’m sure there will be much said about it but today I just want to honor the man and a friend taken much too soon.   When I did the article on him I interviewed him by phone and email.  Since then, I had kept in touch but I had never got to meet him face to face.  I try not to have regrets but I have to admit, I have a few. One I have was that I missed my chance to meet him in person earlier this year I was at the Arnold Fit Expo where Mike was acting as the color commentator as he was recovering from an injury.  At the time, I thought, “Well, there will be another chance”.

I know that often people will say nice things about someone after they have died.  Here’s the thing, when I say Mike was a good man, a good husband, son, brother, and friend…..a truly nice guy….it’s TRUE.  He always answered my emails,  he always asked about my training and how my competitions were going.  He was always posting on his facebook page the accomplishments of others, especially those he trained in his gym and his wife Keri.  He treated everyone as an equal when clearly, most of us were not his equal in the strength world!   I once asked him who he respected most in the strength world and his reply was “EVERYONE” because to him you deserved respect if you had the guts to get out there and put yourself on the line!

Mike will be missed greatly and I know his wife Keri is heartbroken.  I hope you will join me in sending a prayer their way and remembering Mike Jenkins….a true giant of a man.

Lifter of the Month: Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

Denny Habecker competing in the 2013 Presidential Cup, here performing a 165 pound Right Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift. Denny also promoted this meet in his gym, Habeckers Gym.

I know I’ve got a little behind on the Lifters of the Month – so I’m gonna take this week to catch up!  The Lifter of the Month for August was a pretty easy choice, and it goes to our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  Denny was the ONLY lifter to compete in ALL of the USAWA competitions in the month of August (World Postal Champs, Presidential Cup, Team Championships, and the Dino Days Record Day).   That’s a very busy month of competing!!  Denny is one of the most persistent competitors I have ever met – he doesn’t EVER take any “down time” from competition. 

We are very fortunate to have Denny as our President.  I regard him as the best President the USAWA has ever had, and that says a lot as there have been some excellent men in this position in the past.  A President should be someone who is very involved in the organization, and attends a wide range of events to interact with the membership and support USAWA promotions.  Denny goes beyond  the call of duty with this!!!

Congratulations to Denny for winning the USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for the month of August!!!!!

Grip Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2014 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

LaVerne Myers performing a 112# Dumbbell Walk at the 2012 USAWA Grip Championships under the watch of Denny Habecker (left) and Dave Glasgow (right). The Dumbbell Walk will be in this year's Grip Championships as well.

I will be hosting the USAWA Grip Championships again this year at the Dino Gym.  Last year this meet was a great success with many entrants – and hopefully this year will be even better.  This is one of the USAWA’s Championship events, and one of the signature competitions within the USAWA each year.  It is designed to recognize the top lifters in a selection of grip events, which are official lifts of the USAWA.  The USAWA has several lifts that are “grip oriented” and since this is a Championship Competition only official lifts of the USAWA are eligible to be in this competition. 

It is always a difficult thing for me to pick the lifts for this meet.  It seems no matter what I pick – there is always someone who doesn’t like my choices!  So this year I got myself “off the hook” by letting others chose a lift a piece for the Grip Champs.  The lucky participants for this assignment were Thom, Chad, Dave, and my Dad LaVerne.  I won’t reveal what each of their choices were – but it is pretty easy to tell by looking at the selected lifts in this meet.  Three of them picked their “pet lift” while the choice of the fourth was just being sadistic.

As with keeping with the traditional date of the Grip Championships, it will be held on the second Saturday in February (Feb 8th).  Put this date on your calendar and make it to the Dino Gym for a day of fun!!! 

MEET DETAILS:

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Meet Date:  Saturday, February 8th, 2014    10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

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

Sanction: United States All-Round Weightlifting Association.  Individual USAWA membership is required of each participant. 

Weigh-ins:  9:00-10:00 AM the day of the meet.  Lifting will start at 10:00 AM

Divisions:  Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

Awards:  Championship Certificates

Entry Fee:  None – but please notify me ahead of time if you plan to enter

Lifts:

Dumbbell Walk
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells
Deadlift – One Arm
Deadlift – Middle Fingers

Rules: USAWA General Rules and Scoring Apply.

This will be a DRUG TESTED event.

Registration: No Entry Form, but please contact me ahead of the meet if you plan to attend at amyers@usawa.com

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
DINO GYM RECORD DAY

Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym

Meet Date: Sunday, February 9th, 2014 10:00 AM-4:00PM

Location: Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

Sanction: USAWA

Entry Form: None – just show up

Entry Fee: None

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

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

Thanksgiving Day Workout

by Thom Van Vleck

Not sure if this is exactly how my house will look on Thanksgiving...but close!

Some families have a tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving.  I have a personal tradition of lifting on Thanksgiving!  I started this several years ago when Thanksgiving for my extended family kind of fell to me and my wife.  My grandmother passed away in 1990 and up until then we would spend ever Thanksgiving and Christmas with my grandparents.  All my cousins, aunts and uncles would come and often it was a very full house.  After her passing that “mantle” was passed on.  My parents took Christmas and my wife and I took Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is notorious…..and yet beloved….for the massive meal of Turkey and all the trimmings.  After a meal like that….about all you can do is lay around while your body directs all it’s resources to digesting a very heavy meal.  If you are like me, there seems to be something about eating  a lot that makes me get hungry again sooner than normal.  Not sure why, but it just simply adds to the calorie intake for the day.

So to counteract this I started a personal tradition of working out on Thanksgiving.  After all, aren’t we supposed to be thankful on that day and what am I most thankful about personally?  Being blessed with an  able body AND blessed by God to live in a country and a time where I can enjoy that luxury!  Of course, nothing like a tough workout to make you good and hungry for the feast.  I know that one of the added benefits for me in my training is that food seems to be so much more enjoyable after a workout!

I try and involve may family when I can and I know my son Ethan is planning to workout with me.  Maybe others as well!  So here is my workout for Thanksgiving 2013!

5:30am  A 3 mile walk!  Ethan is going and my dog, Sunny always enjoys it as well.  I live in the country and depending on who’s house I go by there might be 3 or 4 dogs walking with us by the end.  I think they look for me!  Our cat will sometimes follow in the shadows as well, creeping along the overgrown fence lines.

7:00am Active recovery routine.  This is a dozen or so stretching exercises that seem to keep my old bones limber.  I will also fire up the smoker at this point as well.

8:00am  Got a back workout planned this time.  I will warm up and hit a good ol’ 5×5 on the Power Clean.  This will be followed by several Lat and Trap exercises….I always mix them up but I will likely get in 3 sets of 20 on each.  Then it will be Bicep work followed by grip work.  I have been doing standard DB curls, hammer curls, and then finish with Concentration Curls.  The Grip work will be straight out of Bill Pearls training manuals.

10:00am will be Brunch.  My wife has traditionally made Scotch Eggs.  This is boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep fried.  Some pancakes, coffee, and fresh fruit.

The rest of the day will be preparing the big meal!  Lots of good food and good friends over.  Looks like we will have an even dozen this year!

So, how about a Thanksgiving Workout!  Start a tradition!

My Plate Collection

by Al Myers

The plate collection in the Dino Gym.

I’ve never been much of a collector – I’ve always thought why get something to just look at and not use?  However, I do have a plate collection in the Dino Gym from several different weightlifting plate manufacturers.  This collection started several years ago when my buddy Thom gave me a few different types of plates in one of our “topper gift” exchanges.  It contained mostly 1-1/4 and 2 1/2 pound plates.  Since then I’ve added to this collection.   Most of these plates were made by “iron casters” that are no longer in business – which makes them so unique and special to me.

This is a Milo Bar Bell plate that is over 100 years old!

This is the list of plates that I currently have:

Kung Cheng
Hercules
Milo Barbell
Champs Barbell
Healthways Hollywood
Beerbell
All American Ways to Health
Dan Lurie Brooklyn NY
Pro Gym Barbell
Fit for Life
Weider Barbell
Jack LaLanne
Keys
Billard Barbell
Prosport Fitness
York Barbell
Golds Gym
Paramount Las Angeles
DP
Intersport
Sunsport Champion

A few of these brand name plates were obviously cast by the same mold.  Champs Barbell, Healthways, and the All American Ways to Health look very identical in shape and size.  Altogether, I have 21 different plates out of well over 100 plate manufacturers that has been in existence.  My favorite is the Milo Barbell plate, that was cast by Alan Calvert and his Milo Barbell company that was the precursor of York Barbell.  It is the exact casting of the “first generation” York plates.   The one very unique plate in the above collection, which has NOTHING to do with being used to place on a bar to lift, is the Beerbell.  It is a 1 1/4 lb. plate that is shaped to sit a cold can of beer on!!  Other favorites of mine are the Jack LaLanne plate, the Dan Lurie plate, and the obscure Kung Cheng and Hercules plates.

I decided today would be a good day to run this story about my plate collection since Christmas is coming up.   I know I’m a hard guy to find a gift for – so I’m just throwing out some ideas here!!! LOL  I could always take a few additions to my plate collection.

Shoulder Drop Rules

by Thom Van Vleck

Time for me to stir some controversy!  Okay, so many years ago my grandfather Dalton Jackson taught me the shoulder drop.  He told me it was how the “old timers” did it.  First, let’s review the USAWA rules for the Shoulder Drop.

Shoulder Drop: The bar is first cleaned and placed at the base of the neck to start this lift. Feet placement is optional. Once the lifter is upright, and the bar motionless, an official will give a command to start the lift. The lifter will then release the grip on the bar, allowing the bar to drop from the shoulders behind the back. The bar must not be rolled down the back or arms. The lifter must catch the bar in the hands at arms’ length behind the back. The legs must remain straight throughout the lift. The lift ends on command by an official when the bar is controlled in the hands by the lifter.

The way my grandfather taught me was exactly the same as above except of one key thing.  My grandfather would bend his knees as he caught the bar and “shock absorb” the weight.  Obviously, much more can be handled in this way.  You can “feel” the weight hit the hands and then this allows time to “grab” while you sink with the weight.  The locked knees method becomes a guessing game and using much weight at all easily results on spinal strain, busted knuckles, and in some cases (like Chad Ullom) getting what amounts to a “horse collar” tackle by the weight!

First of all, I would like to know the history on this rule.  I’m not saying it’s wrong, I would just like to know where it comes from. My grandfather got all of his information through magazines or 2nd hand so he could have easily gotten this wrong.  But I have tried to research this to no avail.  So if anyone out there knows more about this let me know.

Second of all, unless there is some historic reason for the knees to be kept locked, I would like to see the rule changed to allow for bent knees.  I would argue a lot less injuries would result with greater poundages used and the lift would become more skill based.

Third…if there is a historical reason for the locked knees then I would like to submit a new lift at the next meeting.  The Jackson Shoulder Drop, which would allow for the bent knees.

I know, what’s the big deal!  The shoulder drop is an obscure lift and rarely done.  But I can tell you that my Grandfather did it often.  He did a lift where he would clean the weight, press it overhead, lower it behind the neck, shoulder drop it, and set it on the platform.  He eventually did 135lbs this way which was pretty good for a guy that could barely press much more than that at the time!  So, if you know anything about this lift other than what’s in the rule book please get on the forum and let me know.  Also, let me know if you have a beef with me submitting a new lift that would allow a knee bend and why.

KENNEDY – a modern HEALTH lift?

by John McKean

This is a drawing of David Butlers wooden machine used for the Health Lift.

Summoning all of his concentration and most of his strength, the sinewy young man tugged mightily at the bar across his thighs. 1100 pounds left the ground rather easily. Unfortunately, his much larger opponent soon placed a heavy leather harness around his hips for the next event in this contest and elevated a staggering 2100 pounds! Sound like another description of the mighty Steve Schmidt destroying his competition in winning yet another of his Zercher Classic titles? Surprisingly the contest mentioned occurred about 120 years before big Steve was amazing crowds with his awesome chain lifts!

To be fair, the loser of the above mentioned “challenge” meet weighed less than 150 pounds, and had  never even tried a hip lift before. His name was Dr. George Barker Windship, a famous Boston physician, lecturer, and self taught heavy lifting fanatic. Lifting around the 1860s (yep, the nineteenth century!) he eventually acquired a custom made hip belt and went on to perform a 2600 pound hip lift, plus other equally mind blowing harness events ; you can see the good doc was ahead of his time -heck, he was ahead of OUR time!!

To Dr. Windship’s credit, he promoted heavy lifting to large, appreciative audiences throughout the Northeast, even to the point of directing his patients to the gym attached to his doctor’s office. He did not enjoy, nor promote lightweight lifting schemes! Now, his speciality, suggested to all clients, was mostly a short range deadlift that was performed from a high platform,attached to massive weights below. It was almost a hand and thigh type of set up, except it had a bit of range to it, unlike some modern hand and thigh records whose only movement was mostly restricted to the imagination of a straining, isometric style lifter and a cooperative official.Windship achieved over 1200 pounds this apparatus deadlift, then limited from further gains as grip strength wouldn’t permit.

As impressive as Dr. Windship’s strength, fitness, and teaching were, it took an equally fascinating figure of this same time frame, David P.Butler, to really popularize heavy harness lifting to the general public. Building himself up from a complete physical wreck, so bad that doctors told him just to go away, lay down , and die (what, no Obamacare??!!), David totally redefined his body and strength with his amazing HEALTH LIFT. Then he showed genius in getting the word out to the public,eventually selling his wooden “machine” and establishing a chain of successful gyms throughout Boston and New York. Mr. Butler even wrote a rather amazing course on his one lift method, surprisingly similar in content to our “modern” training wisdom!

OK, you’re asking, where am I going with all this history,even though it is so rich in All-Round  lifting tradition? Simple -the lift that David Butler claimed was all anyone needed for unmatched internal and external fitness was essentially the KENNEDY lift that our own Al Myers is currently trying to establish onto the USAWA list! Butler believed the hand holding grip was vital to total body strength, as was an exact centering of the lift below one’s torso. He stood on his heavy duty wooden platform, straddled the long steel rod attached to weights below through a centered hole in the floor, hands fore& aft as in the Jefferson, and stood up several inches. By the way, I would have loved training in one of Butler’s gyms -he recommended only 4 progressively heavy singles on his HEALTH LIFT, done 3 times weekly, along with some light extra dumbbell & pulley work.

Much later in weightlifting history, all the way into the 1920s , the great Alan Calvert, in his classic “SUPER STRENGTH” text was also a huge believer in the Kennedy lift. Photos in his book display a “high Jefferson” performed with chains attached to a heavy barbell. Calvert indicated that this partial maneuver was superior to either the hand and thigh or the hip lift for developing sheer leg power, and safer for the lifter. In fact, some of the harness lift specialists of his day,he explained, relied heavily on the Kennedy lift to build power on the more limited movement chain events.

Well, we sure seem to have one heckuva case for setting wheels in motion to establish the Kennedy as an official lift. And history seems to support the fact that we could add significally to our own HEALTH by training it! As David  Butler put it  “A PERFECT lift develops a PERFECT  body!”

Teeth Lifting

by Al Myers

Art Montini Teeth Lifting at the 2013 USAWA Presidential Cup in Lebanon, PA.

Since the announcement of the Teeth Lift in the Dino Challenge in January it has received some discussion in the USAWA discussion  forum.  Probably the “most talk” the Teeth Lift has ever received in the USAWA!   The inclusion of the Teeth Lift in the WLT Dino Challenge will be the first time the Teeth Lift has been  contested in a USAWA competition.  To date it has only been contested by a few lifters in Record Days.   Here’s a little “refresher” on the USAWA rules of the Teeth Lift:

USAWA Rule I19. Teeth Lift

The setup for this lift requires a mouthpiece fitted to the lifter’s bite, a connecting chain, and a Vertical Bar to load plates to. The hands may not touch the mouthpiece, chain, or Vertical Bar during the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight may accidentally touch the legs during the lift, but the connecting chain must not touch any part of the body. The hands may brace on the legs and body during the lift, but must be free from the body upon completion of the lift. The width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter must lift the weight by the jaws clenched on the mouthpiece only, by extending upward. The legs must be straight upon completion of the lift, but the body does not need to be erect. Once the weight is clear of the platform and motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The rules are pretty straight-forward, and are similar to many other official USAWA rules for other lifts.  The critical things are – hands off legs at completion, legs straight, and weight clear of the platform.  The thing that makes Teeth Lifting a challenge is finding a Teeth Bit that one can use.  It’s not like this is a piece of lifting equipment that is readily available to buy nowadays!!  However, in the “lifting days of the past” it was easy to buy a Teeth Bit.  Virtually every issue of old “Muscular Development” had ads in the back with them for sale.  I would say the popularity of Teeth Lifting really went downhill by the mid 70’s.  Now if you want a Teeth Bit you have to have it custom made for you, or make one yourself.  It’s important that it fits “your bite” – not only for teeth protection but to give you the tightest fit for lifting more weight.

This is an ad for a Teeth Bit in an old issue of Muscular Development.

I’ve been lucky to see “the best” in the USAWA teeth lifting in action.  Years ago I was at the meet in Clark’s Gym when Steve Schmidt did his “record smashing” Teeth Lift of 390 pounds, which is the highest Teeth Lift record in the USAWA record list. I witnessed Steve exceed 300 pounds SEVERAL TIMES in the Teeth Lift.   The ole ironmaster Art Montini has the most Teeth Lift records “on the books”, and has been teeth lifting for years.  In August Art used the Teeth Lift to win the USAWA Presidential Cup with a fine lift of 107 pounds at over 85 years old!!!  Art is one of the few teeth lifters that have WORN OUT teeth bits thru years of use!  Just this year Art made himself a new teeth bit.

The legendary strongman Warren Lincoln Travis was quite the Teeth Lifter, and the best of his day.  Willoughby in his book “Super Athletes” reported him lifting 311 pounds in the Teeth Lift in Brooklyn, NY in 1918.  This was considered the unofficial WORLD RECORD for over 80 years!!!! That is until Steve Schmidt exceeded it several times in the mid-2000’s!!!  I consider Steve’s Teeth Lift record of 390 lbs. (which was done with the hands behind back, as was Travis’s) as the unofficial overall World Record in the Teeth Lift now. Maybe this Dino Challenge in January will bring Steve Schmidt out of competition retirement.  Especially since it contains ALL of his best lifts!!!!! I would love to see him in action teeth lifting again.

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

Al Myers of the USA is presented with the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup, only the 2nd time the cup has been presented, Al won with an outstanding Power Row of 145 kilos.

What an outstanding event the 2013 Gold Cup turned out to be! despite losing a few entrants at the last minute we still had 16 IAWA Gold Cup Winners with their records broken on the day with a further 14 World Records to follow. Once again the event was put on in great style by meet directors Denny and Judy Habecker, and it was great to see everyone getting in there to help with setting up and tearing down afterwards. The loaders were just great as always, the referees worked well throughout and I was pleased to have my assistant Judy keeping check alongside me too!  The lifting was just great, where to start??

James Fuller of the USA was the Runner Up for the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup - seen here with an impressive lift ' The Bent Press' (Anyhow to Shoulders) with 60 kilos.

Denny Habecker showed he was still King of the Press, Barry Bryan was a knockout on the Bench Press lifts and Laverne Myers wowed everyone with his lifts especially the One Hand Fulton! Karen Gardner lifted light as she was still recovering from her latest Breast Cancer operation saga and Toni Saxton was competing for her first time ever, husband Graham must have been impressed as we all were with her Vertical Bar Strength. Art Montini was outstanding on the 2” bar and Al Myers was exceptional in the Power Row and Thumbless Deadlift. Jim Malloy showed real grit with his lifts, as did Dennis Mitchell, also recently recovered from surgery. James Fuller performed a wonderful Bent Press and followed with a big 2” Bar Straddle, whilst Graham Saxton pulled a great Middle fingers Straddle and then did a Hand and Thigh lift for his first time ever. Scott Schmidt was excellent with his Clean and Press Behind the Neck, and Dean Ross had fun with the Trap Bar and the Hip Lift for new records too! Chad Ullom was on great form with a great Clean and Jerk followed by IAWA’s heaviest ever Front Squat, and big Frankie Ciavattone brought proceedings to an end with a One Hand Ciavattone Deadlift and a big Hip Lift to follow.

The English Contingent at the 2013 Gold Cup World Record Breakers Event - 2nd November 2013. Steve and Karen Gardner - Toni and Graham Saxton (Toni was making her debut on a weightlifting platform - Well Done Toni)

The whole day was a real positive advertisement for all round weightlifting, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Howard Prechtel (the founder of the event) was remembered on the day by the presenting of the Trophy bearing his name. James Fuller was a great runner up with his tremendous Bent Press lift, but Al Myers took the trophy for his exceptional Power Row.  For those that were able to stay, the banquet that followed was excellent, and all who attended knew they had witnessed something special that day – the 23rd Annual IAWA GOLD CUP!                            

Best Wishes to all and heres to the next time – Steve Gardner

2013 Gold Cup RESULTS – IAWA 2013 GOLD CUP

Kennedy Lift

by Al Myers

Here's an Old Time Strongman performing a variation of the Kennedy Lift by utilizing a Hand and Thigh Bar attached to a regular bar.

I’ve received  a few questions regarding the nature of the “Kennedy Lift” following my announcement of the Dino Gym Challenge, which includes a lift by this name.  It was one of the lifts that Warren Lincoln Travis included in his “Challenge to the World”, in which he challenges 20 repetitions at 700 pounds in 10 seconds.  In his Challenge WLT  calls it instead the Two Hand Grip Lift, but it is the same lift.  Other sources  originally called it  the Hands Alone Lift.  I’m sure the reason for this name was to different it from the Hand and Thigh Lift – meaning no parts of the implement should be touching the body besides the hands (thus Hands Alone), as illustrated in the picture with this story.

The Kennedy Lift is nothing more than a partial Jefferson Lift (or straddle deadlift).   I’ve  heard lifters in the past refer to the Jefferson Lift AS the Kennedy Lift , but this is only partially true (pun intended).  The Kennedy Lift is done by straddling the weight with the lift being close to lockout.  The range of movement is reported to be several inches to just clearing the floor, depending on sources.  The Kennedy is not an official lift of the USAWA, but is one worthy of it.  It will be performed in the Dino Gym Challenge as an exhibition lift that will count in the meet scoring (allowed under the rules of the USAWA). If it is well received by those in attendance, I may submit it for lift approval in the USAWA.  It has the “history” to be an official All Round   lift for sure. 

I had to do some “digging” in my files to find a good reference to the origins of the Kennedy Lift. Some of the information on the internet is not entirely true, so I had to make some decisions as to what I thought were the facts.   The following piece was written by Warren Lincoln Travis, titled “My 40 years with the World’s Strongest Men”, in which he talks about how the Kennedy Lift came to be.  I tend to believe what WLT says in his writings, and here it is:

About forty years ago, at the height of the new wave of strong man popularity, the late Richard K. Fox, then publisher of the Police Gazette, the leading sporting journal of America, had a 1000 pound dumb-bell cast, but it was not in the shape of the dumbbells today.  It was more like a massive block of iron.  He offered a very valuable gold medal and title to the first man to lift this 1000 pound weight.  At that time there was a man known as James Walter Kennedy who was athletically inclined and developed.  He was an oarsman and general athlete, leaning, however, more toward the strong man. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed around 190 pounds, had jet black curly hair and moustache and at a time was a special officer at the Globe Museum at 298-300 Bowery, New York City.  Kennedy took a notion that he could lift this 1000 pound dumbbell with his hands and he began to train with a big whiskey cask, not using whiskey in it, but water, sand and rock as he gained strength.  In other words, he used the Milo Bar Bell system of gradually increasing weight as he improved in his strength.  The first time he tried lifting the 1000 pound weight he failed but some time later he succeeded.  His style was to straddle the weight and have one hand in front of his body grasping the weight and the other hand grasping it in the rear of his body, this position being known as the Hands Alone Lift.  His body was erect with the exception that the knees were bent about 2 or 3 inches. – by Warren Lincoln Travis

I envision the technique to be very similar to how most lift the Dinnie Stones, using the straddle style.  I think it very fitting that the origins of this lift was described by Warren Lincoln Travis, and must have been one he appreciated, as he included it in his “Challenge to the World”.  James Walter Kennedy was 29 years old when he accomplished winning this challenge set forth by Richard K. Fox. He came from Quincy, Illinois. The date of this strongman debut of the Kennedy Lift was January 25th, 1890.  The “1000 pound dumbbell” was actually a 1030 pound solid iron block with handles affixed to the top 24 inches from the ground.

At the Dino Challenge we will be using a bar set up on blocks so weight can be added to that of  a lifters’ preference and the rules of the USAWA can be followed in adding weight over three attempts.  It will be done according to the rules of the Jefferson Lift, except the bar will be at a higher position than the floor. The bar height will be a set height (yet to be determined) so that it will NOT  just be a “lockout lift” like the Heavy Lifts are.

THE TRUTH MAY HURT (BUT IT’S STILL THE TRUTH)

BY DAVE GLASGOW

I LOVE WORKING WITH METAL.  CUTTING, GRINDING, FITTING, MELTING.  IT’S ALL FASCINATING TO ME.  HOWEVER, MOST OF ALL, I LOVE TO WELD.  NOW, I WILL GRANT YOU, I AM NOT THAT GREAT A WELDER.  I LEARNED MANY YEARS AGO FROM A MAN WHO WAS PRETTY DAMN GOOD AT FABRICATING THINGS.  HE COULD ‘EYE-BALL’  A BENT PIECE OF STEEL, AND IN NO TIME, HAVE IT BACK TO VERY NEAR PERFECT.  I ALWAYS MARVELED AT THAT AND ASKED HOW HE GOT SO GOOD AT IT.  HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, ‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY.’

THE OTHER DAY, I WAS ATTEMPTING TO GET MY WELDER STARTED TO MAKE UP SOME STANDS I HAVE WANTED FOR A WHILE NOW.  TRY AS I MIGHT, I COULD NOT GET THE DAMN THING TO RUN.  I AM NO MECHANIC.  I KNOW THE RUDIMENTARY CONCEPTS BEHIND A COMBUSION ENGINE AND THAT IS IT.  I FINALLY PINNED IT DOWN TO A FUEL PROBLEM.  THAT ENGINE HAS NOT BEEN RUN ENOUGH OVER THE YEARS FOR IT TO PERFORM CORRECTLY!  BUILD UP IN THE FUEL TANK HAS CAUSED ALL SORTS OF CRUD AND SCALE TO BUILD UP IN IT AND HAS GOTTEN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TANK AND, THUS, INTO THE FUEL SYSTEM ITSELF.  NOW, I STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN THAT BLESSED THING TO GO, YET.  BUT, I WILL.  IT MAY TAKE SOME TIME BUT I WILL.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE POINT OF THIS WRITING.  I ACTUALLY HAVE TWO POINTS, HOWEVER, BARE WITH ME.  ONE THING AT A TIME.

I AM GUILTY OF THE BIGGEST SIN IN WEIGHT TRAINING(LIFTING).  I AM NOT VERY CONSISTANT.  SUBCONSCIOUSLY, I HAVE KNOWN THIS FOR YEARS.  ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE WAS TALKING TO ME ABOUT TRAINING AND HE SAID, ‘YOUR MAJOR PROBLEM IS YOU DON’T STAY WITH IT LONG ENOUGH TO DO YOU ANY REAL GOOD!’  BUSTED!!  THERE IT WAS.  THE TRUTH WAS SHOOVED DIRECTLY DOWN MY THROAT.  I KNEW IT, IT DID’NT FEEL REAL GOOD BUT SOMEONE ELSE HAD TO SAY IT TO ME FOR IT TO REALLY SINK IN. 

THAT THOUGHT POPPED INTO MY HEAD, AS I WAS STRUGGLING FUTILLY OVER THAT WELDER ENGINE, ‘THIS DAMN THING IS JUST AS I AM.  IT WOULD BE A PRETTY GOOD WELDER IF IT WERE USED MORE OFTEN!’  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE HEARD, ‘DON’T USE IT, LOSE IT?’  WELL, HERE WAS A MECHANICAL AND HUMAN EXAMPLE, INCARNATE.

THE OTHER POINT I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT IS THIS.  IN ORDER FOR THINGS TO WORK CORRECTLY IN OUR LIFTING, WE HAVE TO BE PATIENT AND PERSISTANT, WHICH MEANS WE MUST HAVE CONSISTANCEY OF TRAINING.  THIS MEANS YOU HAVE TO, SOMETIMES, ‘WILL’ YOURSELF TO THE GYM, WORK HARD AND ACCEPT THE SMALL GAINS THAT COME YOUR WAY.  AND BE GLAD FOR IT!!

THIS PAST YEAR, MY OWN TRAINING HAS BEEN MORE CONSISTANT THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE.  I HAVE A TRAINING PARTNER THAT NEVER MISSES A WORKOUT.  THERE ARE DAYS I AM SURE I WOULD JUST GO HOME IF I KNEW HE WAS’NT THERE, WAITING FOR ME.  GOOD TRAINING PARTNERS ARE AS IMPORTANT AS ANY EQUIPMENT YOU COULD EVER PURCHASE.

AND, GUESS WHAT?!  LAST SPRING, I POSTED A LIFE TIME BEST SQUAT!  EVEN AT MY AGE!!  I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THAT.  HOWEVER, IT WAS JUST PROOF POSITIVE THAT YOU HAVE TO BE REGULAR IN YOUR TRAINING.  VERY SIMPLY PUT,  ………..‘SHOW UP, SHUT UP, GET TO WORK’!

‘PATIENCE, PERSISTANCE AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT CONSISTANTLY’.  THAT OLE MAN KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!

I SURE DO MISS HIM.

Ironman Lost…and FOUND!

by Thom Van Vleck

Thin style Ironman 50lb plate

There were Ironman triathlons, Iron Man comics, Black Sabbath singing “I am Iron Man”, Iron Man movies…but when I think of Ironman…I think of Peary Radar’s old magazine and all the equipment he made over the years.  In the JWC training hall we have had a pair of Ironman plates my Uncles (Wayne and Phil Jackson) ordered back in the 60’s.  There is also a missing set.  In case you didn’t know it, back then you could order them “milled” to exact weight or “unmilled” which were half as much in cost.  With the “unmilled” you never knew what you were going to get.  Both sets of plates were unmilled.

First, the plates I still have.  They are thick around the edges and weigh 57.5lbs each while they have “50″ on them….looks like my Uncle’s got their money’s worth on those babies!  I have used them many times over the years because they are slightly larger than my other plates and are lifting from the floor and  put these plates on it makes the others easier to slide on and off.  Plus the fact that I gained 15lb seemed to be a psychological boost and let’s face it…they are just cool.

Thick style plates that weigh 57.5lbs each!

Now, to the story of the lost plates.  They were what I’ll call a “thin” style plate.  The one’s we had actually weighed 47.5lbs each.   There was a local lifter that was a kid my Uncle was trying to help out. He loaned the plates to him and over time the kid kind of claimed them.  That happened to my Uncle Wayne a lot!  When I tried to get them back he had SOLD them!  That also happened more than once.  I remember them in vivid detail.  They were thin, flat, with circular ridges that made them look like a bullseye.  One of the plates had a chip out of it.  I found the guy that bought them, but he gave them to his brother who lived out of state.  After a couple of attempts and promises….I finally gave up on ever getting these back.

Now that was the early 80’s so fast forward almost 30 years.  A good friend of mind called up looking for an incline and I had one.  He said he wanted to trade some stuff including a pair of Ironman plates.  When I got there I wish I could say they were he exact “long lost” pair….but they were not.  However, they were a “spot on” twin…or twins!  While not the exact pair, I am pretty pleased that somehow after all these years these plates seemed to fall right into my lap!  A plus is I might have gotten a better deal as these are right on 50lbs each.

Needless to say, like everything in my gym, they will be put to use.  And when I do….may I’ll have to put on some “Ironman” on the stereo!

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT -

DINO GYM CHALLENGE
“Presenting a Challenge Left by Warren Lincoln Travis”

The Coney Island Strongman, Warren Lincoln Travis.

Warren Lincoln Travis has always been one of my favorite Old Time Strongmen. WLT was the consummate circus Old Time Strongman, performing strength shows at the World’s Circus Side Show in Coney Island for over 25 years. He was one of the few strongmen of that era to keep his strength exhibitions in the United States.  In an interview with Sig Klein, Travis told him that he had many opportunities to travel abroad and perform, but had made a promise to his mother that he would not travel overseas to Europe!  Showdowns with other famous strongmen of that era, like Sandow and Saxon, never materialized for Travis.  At one time a match between Saxon and Travis about happened when Saxon was in New York performing for the Ringling Brothers Circus. WLT trained hard for that encounter.  WLT declared that he knew he could never beat Arthur Saxon in the Bent Press or the Foot Press, but was confidant he could out do him in the Harness Lift, Back Lift, and the Finger Lifts. 

WLT was also a strongman who excelled in competitive all round lifting.  He loved the one arm lifts, and was truly an all round weightlifter in addition to a strongman.  Some of his best all round lifts were: Pullover and Press 290 pounds, Bent Press 270 pounds, Clean and Jerk with Dumbbells 229 pounds, Dumbbell Curl 170 pounds, and two dumbbells Continental Jerk 260 pounds.

Travis was most known for his endurance lifting.  He set several records for repetition-lifting in the Back Lift and Harness Lift.  Part of WLT’s legacy is that he left a 10 lift “Challenge to the World” that he completed.  This challenge was left in his will, with the first person to accomplish it after his death receiving his prized jewel-studded belt!  No one has accomplished this “challenge” yet!  It has some hard stipulations – in addition to performing the 10 challenge lifts one must do the entire challenge in under 30 minutes and succeed with it for 10 straight years!!!  The basis of  the lifts for this year’s Dino Challenge comes from WLT’s “10 Lift  Challenge to the World”.

Warren Lincoln Travis – Challenge to the World

1. Take a 100 pound barbell from the floor with both hands, and press it overhead 10 times while seated (must be done in 30 seconds)
2. Take a pair of 90 pound dumbbells from the side of the body to the shoulders, and press it to arms length overhead.
3. Teeth lift from the floor, hands behind neck, 350 pounds.
4. Finger Lift from the floor 350 pounds with one finger, eight times in five seconds.
5. Finger lift from the floor 560 pounds with one finger once.
6. Two hand grip lift, straddling the weight, 700 pounds twenty times in ten seconds.
7. Hand and Thigh Lift 1600 pounds once.
8. Back Lift 3660 pounds once.
9. Harness Lift 3580 pounds once.
10. Back Lift 2000 pounds, 250 times in seven minutes.

Warren Lincoln Travis was born as Roland Morgan in Brooklyn (he was adopted), New York on February 21st, 1875.  He died July 13th, 1941.

MEET DETAILS:

Meet Director:  Al Myers, phone #785-479-2264
Meet Date:  Saturday, January 18th, 2014, 10 AM – 4 PM
Location: Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, Kansas, 67410
Sanction: USAWA, must be a member to compete
Weigh-ins: 9-10 AM day of the meet
Divisions: Mens and Womens
Awards: None
Entry: There is no entry form and no entry fee, but I must be told a week in advance if you plan to attend. I will have a teeth bit available for use – but it will shared by all and may not be to your mouth size. I recommend you bring your own to use if this is an issue to you.

Lifts:

Teeth Lift
Finger Lift – Middle Finger
Kennedy Lift
Harness Lift
Back Lift

These were 5 of Warren Lincoln Travis’s favorite lifts.  This meet will allow you to see how you “stack up” against one of the best U.S. Old Time Strongmen in history.  If anyone wants to attempt to duplicate the “10 Lift Challenge” that WLT left as his legacy – please let me know and I’ll make arrangements for it.

Top 4 Questions to Ask a Strength Athlete

by Eric Todd

I have been competing in strength sports for a number of years now.  Anyone who knows me knows that is what I do.  Though the people I associate with outside the strongman and weightlifting community are for the most part a well-meaning group of people, I sometimes have gotten some interesting questions from them.  Here are some of my favorites:

1)      Why do you do that?  I usually get this when a person first finds out the arena in which I compete in, or find that I lifted x amount in a certain lift.  Definitely when I set the necklift record.   The arrogant response is “If you have to ask, you would not understand anyhow.”  The fact is, many people cannot understand this, because they cannot understand the quality of being competitive, or the drive to be the best at something.  They are satisfied with living in mediocrity.  That is fine for them, just not for me.

2)      Aren’t you afraid of hurting your back or Aren’t you afraid of getting a hernia? (these both kind of fall under the same category)  No.  I am not.  I choose not to live in fear.  As it turns out I have done both and continue to lift pretty heavy, so I guess there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.

3)      Are all the guys that compete on steroids?  No.  I am not (I assume that is why you are asking).   I know there are others who are clean.  However, in strongman I kept getting surprised by how many dirty lifters there were. Even some that I assumed were clean that were not.  I guess they better find some better stuff.   That is one reason that the USAWA is a HUGE breath of fresh air.  It is nice to lift against other clean lifters.

4)      Why haven’t I seen you on TV?  This is one of the more absurd questions, in my book.  While I have competed with the best, and have beaten some of the best at one time or another, at 5’11”, with small joints and no drugs, there is really only so far my work ethic and genetics was going to take me in the strongman arena.  I went all out, but this is the reality.  Secondly, I always thought of it like this:  I do strongman events on Saturdays.  Other guys go golfing on Saturdays.  They even might be pretty serious about their golf game.    Would it make a whole lot of sense for me to ask them why I have not seen them on TV competing in the Masters or something?  Competing  in the Masters or World’s Strongest Man is for the truly elite, the best of the best.  He hasn’t made it to that point, and neither have I.  It is that simple, and not something it seems I would have to explain.  It is not like I am one of  only 13 guys in the world who do strongman and the other 12 are the ones who go to Worlds.

Anyhow, those are my top 4 questions that the layman feels necessary to ask someone who competes in strength sports.  Some are kind of funny, and some just sad.  Aside from the steroids question, I assume they don’t mean much by them.  It is just humorous sometimes to realize how we are perceived by those on the outside.

My reflections on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

Steve Gardner (left) and Denny Habecker (right) - two VERY IMPORTANT men in the IAWA.

I’ve just returned from the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.  It was an exciting weekend!!  Today I’m going to give some of my reflections of “the cup”.  This is not intended to be a meet report as I have none of the meet results in hand yet.   That will be coming later.

The enjoyment of meets for me goes “way beyond” the day of lifting.  It includes the experiences of the travel, visiting with good friends, and learning new things about all round weightlifting.  And those things were in abundance with this trip!  My father LaVerne was traveling with me, along with training bud Chad Ullom.  We flew from KC to Harrisburg early Friday morning and arrived there before noon.  My dad has taken an interest in researching the family history of the Myers family, and he had planned out an afternoon agenda for this including meeting some relatives.  Our line of the Myers family settled south of Harrisburg near York Springs.   We visited a few cemeteries to confirm some of my dad’s research, and actually found the house of Nicholas II Myres (that is the way he spelled our last name!) who was the second generation Myers off the boat.   The house was built in 1795 and has been kept in excellent shape. We met the current owners who were quite helpful in our research – as they had a great interest in the history of their house.

After arriving in Lebanon finally after this long day, we were really tired so we decided to just grab a bite to eat and “hit the sack”.  I got a full 8 hours of sleep which I needed for the long meet day on Saturday.  The meet was held in a venue that Denny has had meets in before.  It has a big gym area with lots of lifting space.  Upon arriving, I soon met up with many all round friends.  It is amazing how many close friendships I have made thru the years from being involved in the USAWA/IAWA. The meet had a very good turnout – and I believe close to 20 lifters were on hand.    Steve and Karen Gardner, and Graham and Toni Saxton made the trip from England.  All four of them participated in the Cup representing the IAWA(UK).  I was so impressed by Karen even competing.  She has just recently had a serious surgery and I wasn’t even sure she was going to make the trip, let alone LIFT!  However, Karen’s support to the IAWA exceeds most everyone else’s and this proves it.  Steve was the first person on the platform doing his big Gold Cup lift in a finger lift, and then spent the rest of the day announcing and scorekeeping.   I’ve said this before but it  needs repeating again.  Steve and Karen Gardner and Denny and Judy Habecker are the FOUNDATION of our organization.  They are the ones that hold everything together in both the IAWA(UK) and the USAWA, and gives the IAWA the leadership that allows us to be successful and well-organized.   Judy spent the day helping keep score, and providing the “behind the scenes” work that made the day go smoothly. 

Graham Saxton of England performing a World Record in the Middle Fingers Straddle Deadlift.

I was glad to see Toni Saxton make it to the platform for the FIRST TIME.  She performed her VB lift perfectly.  Graham Saxton is as seasoned IAWA lifter as there it.  He did a huge middle fingers straddle deadlift, and a Hand and Thigh Lift (which I believe was the first time he has ever tried it?).  Graham also spent most of the day in the officials chair.  I consider Graham one of the best officials in IAWA and I know things will be “done right” when he’s judging the lifts.  The Gold Cup is intended to be an international competition, and the presence of these four from the Powerhouse Gym in Burton, England made it happen!

It was indeed a day of  “who’s who” in attendance.  The room was full of USAWA Hall of Famers and the elite lifters from our organization. I was very glad to see Jim Malloy there competing, as well as his Cleveland training partner Scott Schmidt.  These two Hall of Famers have been a mainstay in the history of the USAWA.  Speaking of Cleveland – I was REALLY surprised to see Dennis Mitchell returning to the platform so quickly following knee replacement.  Dennis has been a long time IAWA supporter and has attended as many IAWA events as any other lifter in the history of the organization, so a little “bump in the road” like a knee replacement wasn’t going to keep him away!  Frank Ciavattone made the trip to the GC as well.  Frank is another USAWA Hall of Famer and future promoter of the 2014 IAWA Worlds.  Frank performed one of his signature lifts – the one handed Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.   It’s always a pleasure to see Frank at work in a meet.  Another East Coast lifter – James Fuller – made his FIRST Gold Cup appearance.   Jim did the ever-difficult Bent Press Anyhow as his Gold Cup lift, and finished with a great lift of 60 kilograms.  I’ve always said the Bent Press is one of the most painful lifts to watch, and probably to do.

Frank Ciavattone performing one of his signature lifts, the One Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, for a IAWA World Record.

The Dino Gym was well represented with myself, my father LaVerne, Chad Ullom, and Dean Ross being there to support the event.  LaVerne lifted exceptionally – with his One Arm Fulton Bar Deadlift impressing me the most.  I say that because he did 80 Kilograms and broke THE RECORD held by me!!!  Chad did two big type lifts for his GC lifts – the clean and jerk and the front squat.  Chad’s front squat of 211 kilograms broke the record held by current  OVERALL WORLD CHAMP Mark Haydock.  I kidded Chad by saying he was showing Mark NO RESPECT.  I might add that Chad did this wearing NO knee wraps Mark…….

Chad Ullom performed the last lift of the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup with this IAWA World Record Front Squat.

Barry Bryan did a couple of World Records in the bench press.  He made them looked very easy.  I was head judge on his lifts, and after I gave him a press command, he waited another second or two to press the bar.  I haven’t seen that happen very often before. Now who have I forgotten??  ART!!!   Art always ”steals the show” when he attends a meet.  Art, at age 86, continues to make it to all of the big IAWA meets and lift.  He performed a couple of Fulton Bar lifts and made them look ridiculously  easy.   He’s an inspiration to everyone.  

Afterwards, Denny and Judy planned a nice banquet meal at a local restaurant named Risser’s Family Restaurant (it was located in Myerstown!!).  It was a home-style feast that left everyone with a full belly.  Most of us then retired to Denny’s place for some post-meet celebration (actually just there to drink his beer haha).  Lots of good stories were told, parlor tricks were done by Steve and Chad, unbelievable tales were told by Al and Graham,  and Denny made all of our eyes water (mostly with his jokes….).

No Stupid Lifts, Just Stupid Lifters

by Thom Van Vleck

Wilbur Miller doing a barbell leg press

Recently I got kind of sore at a guy for criticizing a leg press done by my friend Wilbur Miller.  Wilbur and my Uncle Wayne had some epic battles back in the day and while Wilbur won the overall in every meet he was never able to beat my Uncle in the Clean and Press.  Wayne took great pride in that as Wilbur was, in his mind, the greatest of his era.  I have written an article for MILO magazine on Wilbur and he continues to be involved in the USAWA to this day.

So this picture came up and this guy took it for face value and called it “Stupid”.  Well, I let him have it.  I was probably too harsh but I knew the story behind this photo.  The guy also said that if this was a good lift then you would see people doing it everywhere.  First of all, Wilbur usually did his lifting in an old York Power Rack where he could leg press in a rack with a very tight gap.  I did leg pressed that way early in my training as well.  Second of all, this photo was take out of the rack to demonstrate the lift.  Third, Wilbur did them because he didn’t have a proper leg press or leg sled.  It might be stupid to do this lift if you had a good leg press or out of a power rack….but it was dang smart to do them when Wilbur had some back issues and wanted to work his legs hard and he had no other recourse.

This got me to thinking about all the name calling and commentary from know-it-all lifters on the internet.  And to be honest, I’ve been one, too and I regret it.  A quick glance and you might think a lot of lifts would be useless or even dangerous.  But the reality is there are no stupid lift…only stupid lifters!

I would contend that ANY lift that can be done could have a useful purpose at some point of any lifters career.  Maybe because of injury, or an unusual weakness, or a lack of proper equipment.  Over the years I have made it a point to train with many of the best lifters in the country and I have found that almost ALL of the best have all kinds of unusual lifts they have developed that fits their needs.  Those same lifts, in the wrong context, could be disastrous to others.

Many times I have had a lifter tell me of a lift they do and my initial reaction is to roll my eyes and shake my head.  But in my 35 plus years of lifting there have been countless times I’ve ended up adopting that lift for my own needs.  So, my point is don’t judge, keep your mind open, and be like a U. S. Marine: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”.   In other words….don’t be stupid!

The Guy in the Gym

by Eric Todd

A number of years ago, when I was in my late teens, my sister was married to a real tool shed who fancied himself a bad mother. I  will from here forward refer to him as “Dick”.  He was always trying to impress us with stories about being some kind of a tai kung flung master whom his sensei considered one of the most dangerous men in the world.  A pretty big dude, but I later decided that while perhaps he may have been the baddest man in the dojo, it was one that catered to kindergarteners. Well, one day, my brother and I were wrestling in the yard as we often did for conditioning and fun, when “Dick” came up and grabbed me.  He clearly was in the mood to show who the alpha-male was, so I dug in with some underhooks and suplexed him to the ground.  He lay there whimpering, not wanting any more.

Another  time, when I was home on sebatical from college, I was lifting in my parent’s  basement.  I was warming up on bench with 225 and “Dick” came down the stairs.  He cockily indicated that he wished to lift with me.  I was fine with that, so I traded places with him to give him a spot.  Then, as I unracked the weight, it plummeted to “Dick’s” chest and pinned him down  to the bench.  I found myself deadlifting all 225 pounds off of him.  I was embarrassed for him and ashamed of him, so I suggested that he needed to warm up a little.  We dropped the weight down to 170ish.  Same result.  Finally, we dropped it down to one wheel, 135.  “Dick” was able to grind out a rep.  After that he made a hasty retreat upstairs.

From that time on, “Dick” no longer challenged me during the remainder of his tenure as my sister’s husband. On many occasions after that,however, I did get to hear about the proverbial “guy in the gym”.  This guy was amazing!  His arms were definitely bigger than mine.    When Dick found out how much I was benching, this guy was doing almost double.  I am pretty sure he could curl the whole stack on the nautilus machine.  When I asked how much he could squat, “Dick” really didn’t have a frame of reference, so I am pretty sure he said like 1000 pounds, which at the time was world record poundage. 

I have said it before, I like physical strength.  But in my eyes, it pales in comparison to what lies between your ears.  I really do not care what you can lift, if you give your all in whatever arena you are in, you are a strong individual.  If you are bested, you will continue to come back and try again and again.  Maybe winning, maybe losing, but you don’t give up.  Tenacity. 

Then there are those weak minded cowards  who, when bested, not only give up, they also try and find a way to bring he who has bested him down as well.   We have all heard about the guy in the gym.  The one at “Dick’s” gym may or may not have existed.  But it is for guys like “Dick” that I choose to while my time with doers.  Guys who enter the arena.  Those who tell themselves that the body can handle things that the mind tries to tell it aren’t possible.  Guys who believe.  Life is too short to listen to guys like “Dick”.

Gold Cup History

by Al Myers

British All Round Champion Steve Angell (left) and Howard Prechtel (right) together at the 1994 IAWA Worlds in Burton-upon-Trent, England.

The 2013 IAWA Gold Cup is coming up this weekend.  It is one of three big IAWA promotions (the Worlds and World Postal are the other two).  I am really looking forward to attending this prestigious meet hosted by our USAWA President Denny Habecker  in Lebanon, PA.  Denny has promoted several other Gold Cups and is one of the premier meet promotors in the USAWA – so it, without a doubt, will be a well organized affair.

The Gold Cup is often a misunderstood event, especially if you have never attended it before.  I’ve had lifters question me why “go to a meet where you can only do one lift for record?”, especially considering you can  potentially set several World Records at a local record day.  Let me tell you – the Gold Cup is not like any local record day.  The Gold Cup is about the experience of competing in an international event where lifters from several countries will be represented.  The direction of the Gold Cup is overseen by the IAWA officers and technical committee to insure that the Gold Cup  gives the atmosphere of something very important (which it is!).   It allows a lifter to showcase their best lifts on a BIG STAGE for IAWA World Record in front of their IAWA peers.  Each lifter and their record lift receives the total attention of those present.  When a lifter is performing their Gold Cup lift they have the stage to themselves - and is the only thing going on at the moment. After the meet is over there is always a big banquet to enjoy a great meal, fellowship with other lifters, and have a formal awards ceremony.  The banquet is always a highlight for me at the Gold Cup. 

Now a little “history lesson” on the Gold Cup:

The first Gold Cup was held in 1991 in Lakewood, Ohio  under the direction of Howard Prechtel, IAWA President at the time and originator of the Gold Cup.  This year marks the 23rd  year of the Gold Cup.  In this span the Gold Cup has been promoted every year, without missing a single year.  The following came from a 1991 issue of Bill Clark’s  Strength Journal outlining Howard’s concepts on the Gold Cup:

On November 23, in Cleveland, Howard will be directing the First Meet Of Champions.  The concept is thus: Only people who have won IAWA titles will be invited….a list of some 25 from the USA and England.  Each lifter will be allowed to do only one lift of his choice….and he’ll get only one attempt at that lift – which must be a world record.  That means only 25 lifts and 25 lifters.  Better warm up good – for the TV cameras will take only one look at you.  Of the 25 lifters, it looks like we’ll have at least 15 different types of lifts.  Howard will be trying a record sit-up, for instance. If you’re a world record holder, but not an IAWA champion, don’t ask.  It is a record-makers meet open only to IAWA Champions. 

You can see that Howard had a lofty goal originally that this would become a televised feature of All Round Lifting.  That never really materialized.  Also, you can see that the original criteria for even entering the Gold Cup was pretty strict.  Things have evolved with the Gold Cup since then, but there still are entry criteria.  For the past few years this has been the main rules regarding entry into the Gold Cup:

1.  Lifter must open on their first attempt at an IAWA  World Record lift.  However, a lifter is given three attempts to repeat an attempt or increase the poundage.
2.  To enter the Gold Cup, the lifter must be a current holder of an IAWA World Record.
3.  The lifter must be a member of the IAWA, or a member in an affiliated organization of IAWA.

If a lifter can not accomplish a World Record in any IAWA lift, an entry can still be approved.   It is of the IAWA philosophy now that NO LIFTER be denied the opportunity to compete in this event.  The offering of a Silver Cup Award (for setting a National Record) and the Bronze Cup Award (for a lifter setting a personal record) has been added to allow for this.

You may wonder how that FIRST EVER Gold Cup turned out.  Of the 34 lifers that were invited (yes – the first year this meet was by invitation only), 31 entered.  All 31 lifters were successful setting new IAWA World Records.   As for Howard, it turned out well for him in the success of the promotion and with his quest of setting a new record.  The following report from the Strength Journal sums up Howard’s day quite nicely:

After all the effort and money Howard put into the meet, he was the final lifter.  He attempted to break an 85-year-old mark in the Travis Lift by doing 60 reps in 60 seconds with 1510 pounds.  Travis had done 56 reps in 60 seconds with 1500 pounds in 1906…when he was a young man.  Howard, at 66, hardly qualifies as young (except at heart), but he banged out 45 reps with the 1510 in 60 seconds….easily a new IAWA record.

I would truly encourage all all-rounders to try to make it to a Gold Cup.  Once you go once, you will understand why I think it is an elite type competition.  You meet the “legends” of the sport, and get to see world class all rounders perform their best lifts for World Records.

A good POWER RACK is hard to find

by Al Myers

This is the custom-built Power Rack in the Dino Gym, which I made many years ago. It has many unique features (like hydraulic jacks attached to the bar hooks for easy adjustment of a loaded bar) that benefit lifters and lifting!!

I’ve spent a good part of my adult life in the gym training, and with that experience comes exposure to many different type of power racks.  Some good, but most have deficiencies in my opinion.  There always seems to be some feature that is less than optimal on each one I have used.  But Power Racks (or often called Power Cages – same thing, different name) have come a long ways since the early York Cages or Iron Man Power Racks.  I consider a good power rack as the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment in a gym (behind bars and plates).   A good power rack is the centerpiece of any serious gym, and often the most used piece of equipment in a free weight based training facility.  Up to 50% of my training time is spent in the “rack” each week doing a multitude of different lifts.  Having a good power rack to fulfill your training objectives goes a LONG WAYS to making continued strength improvement.  Today I’m going to go over power rack features that I feel are very important in having the ultimate power rack, from most important to least important. 

1.  Sturdy construction and Size

There are many racks on the market made out of lightweight tubing, with bolt-on construction.  A Power Rack should be heavy duty and not “bouncing around” every time a squat is racked in it.  A frame made out of at least 2.5″  11 gauge square tubing is necessary.  Also – the side frames should be welded and not bolted together.   Most commercial racks that are sold will use bolt-on construction to minimize the shipping costs – but in turn will cause inherent weaknesses in the power rack.  Bolts will loosen up with time, and bolted construction allows “wiggle room” in the joints.   Depth of power racks is also important to give plenty of room for lifting.  The depth of a power rack should be at least 36 inches.  The power rack should be high enough to not interfere with any type of overhead lifting you want to do – but this is often limited by ceiling height.

Power Racks have come a long ways since this "top of the line" power rack advertised in a 1966 issue of Iron Man.

2.  Bar Hooks (or J-hooks as they are normally called)

I think the bar hooks (which holds the bar in the power rack) either “makes or breaks” a good rack.  They are the most functionally used piece of the Power Rack, and should be of the highest quality, yet often good racks have junky bar hooks.  A bad bar hook will be an ongoing frustration and will soon completely overshadow all other aspects of your power rack.  Most bar hooks are made by utilizing bending, which often gives an inconsistent product.  Most  bent- type bar hooks I’ve seen have a sloppy fit on the rack.  The reason for this because of the bending a good consistent tolerance can’t be maintained – and thus manufacturers make them loose to insure that they will fit in all cases.  I just hate bar hooks that “swing in the breeze” on a rack.  Every time the bar is moved the bar hook will slide to the side.  Bar hooks should also be of adequate length, but at the same time not too long as to catch the bar as a lifter comes up from a squat.  Short bar hooks are a bigger problem.  A bar hook should be of length to allow a lifter to rack the weight easily.  Another important feature is NO SHARP EDGES.  I have scars on both of my shoulders that occurred as the result of bar hook injuries in the gym.  Both times I wasn’t paying attention and caught the edge of my shoulders on bar hooks attached to the front of the rack.  Add in the number of times I’ve cut the outside of my palms from sharp edges on hooks as I was racking a heavy squat, and you can see why I think this is an important feature.  Bar hooks should also be easy to adjust to different heights, and not require specialized wrenches or tools to do this.  

3.  Elevated bottom cross member

Most of the commercial power racks available DO NOT allow a wide based squatter to get proper foot placement.  A floor cross member interferes with the feet when trying to take a wide stance squat  (often limited to 43″ or 44″ at width).  This problem is easily addressed by raising the bottom cross member  up 12 inches.  That’s it – but for some reason power racks often are not designed that way.   A good power rack should allow for “sumo stance” lifting.

4.  Multiple adjustments

A good power rack should allow for any spacing of the bar hooks or safety supports.  I’ve seen some manufacturers go way overboard with the number of holes they place in their uprights (and make a holey looking rack, haha), but most have hole spacings that are too far apart, thus making it more difficult to get the correct setup for the hooks and supports.  Most serious lifters like their bar height setting for unracking a bar down to an inch of being correct.  I think anything over 2″ spacing is too much.  But placing more holes in tubing is an expensive manufacturing cost – so this is often compromised in providing a top quality product.

5.  Safety supports

A good power rack will have quality safety supports.  Safety supports are the adjustable cross members that will catch the bar in case of a failed lift.  Think of them as your safety net.   They should adjust easily, yet be very sturdy and secure.  Often you will see a rod inserted through the holes of the rack for this.  That is a poor design in my book as no rod is going to stay straight after dropping a loaded bar on it.   Some manufacturers have a pipe that you insert the rod through for the safety supports.  Again that is a cheap poor solution to safety supports.  Safety supports should be strong enough to lift off of – like doing rack pulls.  For this they need to be well made.   Having them lined with rubber to protect the bar is also a good idea, yet most all of them don’t have that.  They should be easy to adjust to different height as well.

6.  Able to take Add-ons

Add-ons for power racks are the new thing amongst the leaders of manufacturers of power racks.  However,  I prefer a power rack that “looks like a power rack” and not cluttered with unneccesary appendages hanging off it at all angles, but I know I’m in the minority on this.   As for the add-ons I’m talking about here – chin up bars, plate storage, bar racks, band/chain peg attachments, land-mine attachments, chain/band storage, dip attachments, front safety supports, med ball bounce plates, etc.  And there’s even more!!!  Before long the  power rack doesn’t even look like a power rack anymore.   Gyms and training facilities like to keep a “clean house” and with all the new training devices being used nowadays, it is hard to find a place to store them so the solution seems to be to just hang them on the power rack.   The important thing here is to have a power rack that has the capability to utilize whatever add-on YOU WANT.

I know I’ve covered a lot here – but Power Racks are something that I’m passionate about.  If anyone ever wants to either discuss power racks, or has specific questions about them just drop me an email (amyers@usawa.com) .  I’m always glad to hear from other power rack enthusiasts!

OTSM Championships UPDATE

by Thom Van Vleck

Now that my Scottish Highland Games has been completed my focus has shifted to the OTSM on December 7th.  So far I have one entry in hand (thank you to Dean Ross) and several who have shown interest.  Here are some updates to the previously posted information.

1.  Shirt deadline: I have promised a shirt for those that enter but I’m going to have to put a deadline on the shirt as they were so popular at my Highland Games…I SOLD OUT!  So, if you are coming and want a shirt I need your shirt size (at the least) by November 15th.  I don’t necessarily need your entry……but that would be nice.  I will take entries on meet day….BUT DON’T EXPECT A SHIRT.

2. Location: The contest will be held at my gym in the basement of my home.  The first year we had 10 lifters, but last year we had fewer.  I can’t justify loading all my equipment up, renting the old school gym, and hauling all the stuff in, then hauling it back out.  It’s a tight fit, but if the weather is nice, one or more events will be outside.

3. Breakfast: It has been a tradition for my contests to eat breakfast at Pancake City before the meet (dutch).  Anyone that wants to weigh in BEFORE breakfast be at my place at 7:30am and please, give me a heads up or you might find me sleeping…or WORSE!  We will then head in to Pancake City for a good, ol’ greasy breakfast or a stack of flapjacks….or BOTH.  If Art comes….THEY HAVE COFFEE!!!!

I hope all the USAWA members will consider coming to the meet!  See you there!

WEBMASTER’S COMMENT:   The entry information and entry form for the 2013 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships is located under “USAWA Future  Events” in the column to the right. Simply “click” on it to access this important information!

Delaware Valley Open

by Al Myers

2013 DELAWARE VALLEY OPEN POSTAL MEET

MEET RESULTS:

Meet Director:  John Wilmot
Date:  September, 2013
Lifts: Clean and Press – 12″ Base, Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm, Deadlift – 2 Bars
Lifters and Officials:

Lifters using the 3-Official System:
Bill Crozier – Certified Officials Jim Malloy, Scott Schmidt

Lifters using the 1-Official System:
Denny Habecker – Certified Official Judy Habecker
Eric Todd – Certified Official Lance Foster
Lance Foster – Certified Official Eric Todd

Lifters using a non-certified Judge:
Ruth Jackson – Judge Dan Wagman
Dan Wagman – Judge Ruth Jackson
Sam Rogers – Judge Orie Barnett
John Wilmot – Judge Emile LeMoigne
Orie Barnett – Judge Sam Rogers

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&P Swing DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 106 87 50-R 220 357 553

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT C&P Swing DL TOT PTS
Dan Wagman 50 183 180 115-L 520 815 850
Eric Todd 38 260 245 125 520 890 692
Orie Barnett 52 237 180 105 454 739 681
Denny Habecker 71 185 148 70 330 548 676
Sam Rogers 50 205 170 90 314 574 562
John Wilmot 66 215 100 40-R 270 410 447
Lance Foster 47 330 135 55 350 540 431
Bill Crozier 76 207 80 50 180 310 372

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

Hercules Chained

by Thom Van Vleck

Who can forget Steve Reeves in "Hercules Unchained"using the chains that imprisoned him to then turn the tables and vanquish his enemy.

Have you been workin’ on the Chain Gang?   Well, earlier in this century that would not have been a compliment when prisoners were put to hard, manual labor all while chained to each other or chained to an iron ball to keep them from running away.  The word “Chain” comes from a latin word that referred to a “snare” or “net”.  In Modern times when we think of chains we might think of Chain mail, Chain of stores, or a Chain reaction.  But what I’m talking about today using metal chains to help you get stronger in your lifting.

A few years back I bought 40 feet of half inch chain.  The half inch is the diameter of the rod used to make the chain, which means they were quite big and they weighed about 2lbs a foot.  I initially bought them to use in our strongman shows.  I would do this squat and offer my personal testimony on how my legs had been broken badly and my faith had let to my recovery.  I found that most folks didn’t relate will to a barbell so I bought the chain and draped it over me, the bar and the weights.  I would also use it as an object lesson on how we can become “chained” by lies and sin and forgiveness can set us free from that burden.

Then they started to become more and more popular for training in general. Often they are hung on the ends of barbells or in some way so that as you lift, you slowly pull more and more chain from the floor.  So if I had a 300lb barbell and 100lbs of chains on a squat bar then at the start of the squat you would have 400lbs on your shoulders.  As you went down and the chaines slowly bunch up on the floor you would drop the weight to 300lbs at the bottom.  I think there are several reason they can be a help to training.

First, the practical reasons:

1. Increased stability.  Nothing like a shifting weight to make you work to stabilize the weight.  This is one advantage chains have over using the rubber bands….you are challenges to keep the weight balanced.  One of the reasons barbells are superior to machines is this factor and chains amp that factor up.

2. Speed training.  It’s not uncommon on some lifts, like the squat, to find yourself backing off at the top.  Having the chains increasing the weight as you go up causes you to keep pushing.  My opinion is that increases the efficiency of the lift for the athlete and makes it more useful for those lifting for other reasons than weightlifting competition.

3.  Weak Points.   Chains might help you work on your weak points or sticking points.  Sure, this is debatable but in my mind you basically take one lift with chains and do two lifts at once.  For example, on the bench press you can do a full movement then work on your lock outs with partials….or just do bench’s with chains and increase the load at the top!

Second, the mental impact:

1.  If you use chains and then switch to a regular barbell, the regular barbell will seem easier to handle and increase your confidence.

2.  We can all get stale or stagnant in our training and adding chains can mix things up and bring some freshness to your training.

3.  Finally….let’s face it…chains hanging around your gym look cool and I’ll admit….a couple of times I’ve grabbed a hold of a couple of 8 ft sections of my largest chain and done my best “Steve Reeves” impression!  When I bring people who don’t train regularly to see my gym guess what one of the first things they focus on….the BIG CHAINS.

I’m not making any promises that you will add big pounds to your lifts using chains.  I’m just offering up some ideas to add to your arsenal of training methods.  I wouldn’t…and don’t….use them year around.  I mix them in here and there.   Chains are symbolic in so many ways and they can get your most important training tool inspired and working hard again….YOUR BRAIN.  Get some chains and become Hercules…but CHAINED!

The VBAR has been raised

by Al Myers

Timo Lauttamus of Finland performing a new ALL TIME overall IAWA record in the Vbar lift at the 2013 IAWA World Championships with a lift of 122.5 KG.

One of the exciting BIG LIFTS of the 2013 IAWA World Championships included a new ALL TIME IAWA RECORD  in the one arm 2″ vertical bar.  Timo Lauttamus of Finland performed a new record lift of 122.5 KG with ease.  I was glad to be able to witness this lift first hand, and see the perfection in which it was performed. This was a fourth attempt for record as he had just previously got 117.5 KG on his third.   For those of you that  get kilogram confused – this comes out to 270 pounds!

Timo is one of the best grip guys I’ve been around.  Pretty much any type of grip-lift he excels in.  The day after the meet I went over to Mark Haydock’s (the meet promoter) gym and he told me that Timo had visited his gym prior to the meet and easily picked up Mark’s Inch Dumbbell replica.  That didn’t surprise me!!!

The IAWA rules for the vertical bar are slightly different than the USAWA rules.  I won’t get into that here as I’ve hashed it over in prior blog stories – but I consider the USAWA rules to be more difficult.  The reason I say this is that the USAWA rules require the VBAR to be raised to the point where the hand is mid-thigh and the length of the VBAR is limited to 18″ maximum.  IAWA rules allow up to a 30″ Vbar to be used and it only needs to be clear of the floor motionless till the down command to be given.  Well – in this comp the Vbar was less than 18″ and Timo lifted it plenty high to pass USAWA rules.  He left NO DOUBT that he is now king of the vertical bar.

Art’s Birthday Bash

by James Fuller

Barry Bryan (left) and Art Montini (right) performing a 2-Man Deadlift of 515 pounds at Art's Birthday Bash!

I had a great weekend getting down to lift @ Art’s Birthday Bash(86 years old)!!  It was worth the 11 hour drive down. The Ambridge VFW Hall gym is worth the trip in of itself. Lots of good old equipment. Art was his usual jovial self. I got to meet Jim Malloy, John McKean and Barry Bryan. I met up with Denny Habecker and Barry @ Denny’s and we rode to Art’s in the A.M.  Of course, Art had boxes of doughnuts waiting for us as we rolled in @ 9:30. Now seeing as Art gets to the gym @ 4:30, he was ready for his midmorning nap. Fortunately, he stayed awake long enough to do some Team Deadlifting with Barry Bryan….they got over 500lb!!!

I got a new record on my Kelly Snatch of 113lb and missed 118. Barbell Bent Pressed 130lb with my Right and Left. Did a Reeves Deadlift of 275lbs which, was odd for I thought I was going to go 300+ for certain. Finally, I smoked a 528lb Fulton Jefferson Lift. I felt each and everyone of these lifts all the way home @ 4 AM!! I can’t wait ’til next year!!

Art taking a little rest in between record lifts - but at 86 years of age he deserves it!!!

MEET RESULTS

2013 Art’s Birthday Bash
October 12th, 2013
Ambridge BBC
Pittsburgh, PA

Meet Director: Art Montini

Lifts: Record Day

Officials (3-Official Used): Denny Habecker, Scott Schmidt, Jim Malloy, Art Montini, Barry Bryan

Lifts and Lifters:

James Fuller – Age 41  [ 40-44]   110 Kg. Class

Snatch – Kelly:   113 Lbs   / 51. 25 Kg.
Bent Press – Left : 130 Lbs.   / 58.96 Kg.
Bent Press – Right:  130 Lbs   / 58.96 Kg.
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar:  529.1 Lbs.    / 240 Kg.
Deadlift – Reeves:   275.57 Lbs. / 125 Kg.

Barry Bryan  – Age 55  [55-59]    90 Kg Class

Curl – Reverse Grip:   118 Lbs.  / 53.52 Kg.
Push Press - From Racks: 220.46 Lbs. / 100 Kg.
People’s Deadlift:   440.92 Lbs.
2- Man Deadlift  with Art Montini:   515 Lbs.   /  233.6 Kg.       

Scott  Schmidt  – Age 60  [60-64]  110 Kg. Class

Seated Press – From Rack, Behind Neck:  143.3 Lbs. / 65 Kg.

Denny Habecker  – Age 71  [70-74]   85 Kg. Class

Curl – Strict:   75 Lbs.  /  34 Kg.
Seated Press – From Rack, Behind Neck:   105 Lbs.   / 47.6 Kg.
Push Press – From Racks:  160 Lbs. /  72.57 Kg.
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 70 Lbs.  / 31.75 Kg.
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 180 Lbs.   / 81.65 Kg.

Jim Malloy   – Age 72  [70-74]    120 Kg. Class

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand:  141 Lbs. /  64 Kg.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand:  178 Lbs. / 70.74 Kg.  
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand:  178 lbs.  / 70.74 Kg.
People’s Deadlift: 365 Lbs.

Art   Montini    Age 86 [85-89]   80 Kg. Class

Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 77.16 Lbs.  / 35 Kg.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 77.16 Lbs. / 35 Kg.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 165.34 Lbs.  / 75 Kg.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm: 154.34 Lbs.  / 70 Kg.
2- Man Deadlift with Barry Bryan:  515 Lbs.   /  233.6 Kg.

GOLD CUP REMINDER

by Steve Gardner

IAWA GOLD CUP – Annual WORLD RECORD BREAKERS TOURNAMENT

Gold Cup is coming up soon!

Saturday November 2nd – Lebanon Pennsylvania USA

Promoter – Denny Habecker.

This is IAWA’s second most important event after the World Championships, a lifter must be a current IAWA Member and a World Record Holder to take part. The lifter can elect to go for any World Record they like BUT they must start with the World Record Attempt for their opening Lift!…

It is a great event, and also an opportunity to remember Howard Prechtel (the event founder from the USA) those members of IAWA that remember Howard, remember that he was a proud lion of a man, still lifting good iron into his later years. An ex Marine that was badly injured in World War 11, he was liked by all, so the Gold Cup will always be linked with his memory!

Anyone interested in taking part don’t forget to contact: Denny Habecker. Tel: 001717 2725077 E Mail:liftingliar@comcast.net

And do it soon!

IAWA World Meeting

by Al Myers

At the IAWA Worlds last weekend I conducted my first IAWA World Council Meeting as the IAWA President.  It was a well attended meeting – possibly one of the largest attended ever.  I took roll call and counted 28 members in attendance.  This report is not intended to be the official minutes of the meeting.  Frank Allen is the IAWA General Secretary and with that title comes the duty of keeping the official meeting minutes.  If I receive the official minutes from him I will also run them on the USAWA website.

The IAWA Vice President’s (up to 2 from each member nation) were confirmed: United States – Denny Habecker and Chad Ullom, UK – Steve Gardner and George Dick, Australia – Peter Phillips and Robin Lucocious, and New Zealand – Cliff Harvey.  The only VP’s not in attendance at the meeting were Chad Ullom, Robin Lucocious, and Cliff Harvey.  The IAWA Technical Committee was confirmed: Dennis Mitchell (chairman-USA), Denny Habecker (USA), Al Myers (USA), Steve Gardner (UK), Steve Sherwood (UK), and Peter Phillips (Australia).  It was unfortunate that Dennis Mitchell could not be in attendance.  Dennis NEVER misses a World Meeting,  but had to this time since he has just recently had a knee replaced and could not fly.  No one on the technical committee had anything to report on so there were no technical reports.   During new business, Peter Phillips from Australia presented a new lift to be considered by the membership. It is an overhand deadlift using what is called a “Phillips Grip” – a grip in which the bar is held be the end of the fingers only, and can not touch the palm or thumb. The Australians had contested this lift in a local meet and felt it was well received.  Akele then presented a dumbbell lift in which a db is pressed overhead, and then a squat is performed holding the dumbbell overhead. After some discussion, it was agreed that these lifts need to be presented to the IAWA technical committee first for review, and then when proper rules are written be presented next year at the World Meeting for a vote and possible acceptance.  I addressed this at the meeting, and I want to here as well on the proper way I feel new lifts should be presented in IAWA.  First, I think both of these presented lifts sound good, but need more review first before being accepted as a new lift. Once accepted as an official lift, there is no going back so we need to be diligent in making sure that new lifts are “good lifts” – meaning they have well written rules in hand first before being voted on and accepted.  The problem is that a process for this (lift proposals) is not outlined anywhere in IAWA.  I feel  this protocol should be the proper procedure for this: 1. When a lifter has an idea for a lift, he provides a good description and written rules for the lift to the IAWA Technical Committee first during the year, 2. The Technical Committee evaluates the lift, makes recommendations on the rules of the lift with possible changes or adding more technical detail, and then take a vote on whether the lift should be proposed to the membership for vote, 3. The proposed lift, with a well written rule in hand, is presented to the membership for vote, 4. The lift AS IS either passes or fails, and no changes are made once presented.  If it fails for some reason, it should be “taken back” to the Technical Committee for re-evaluation and possible changes to be proposed the following year.   By having a process like this in place, it provides adequate time for a thorough evaluation before a lift is presented and accepted.  Also, what is the point of the Technical Committee if they are not really in charge of addressing technical issues like new proposed lifts?

Other new business included a proposal from me that we OFFICIALLY have an IAWA World Postal Meet.  We have been having World Postal Meets (in some form) every year, but never under official direction of the IAWA.  Everyone was in agreement on this and during the discussion a couple of other items were added to my motion as amendments.  First – the IAWA World Postal Meet could be conducted using one official (instead of the three required in IAWA), and Second – it  would contain the first days lifts of that year’s  World Championships, and Third – it would be conducted in the month of August which is a couple of months in advance of Worlds.  Having it as this time would allow the lifters who are training for the Worlds to easily be able to “work in” these postal lifts for the World Postal Meet, plus add incentive to others to attend Worlds since they have already done half of the World Meet lifts in preparing for the World Postal.  Steve Gardner agreed to promote the World Postal Meet next year, but only wanted to commit to one year on it at this time.

The lifts that were submitted by Frank Ciavattone, the promoter of the 2014 IAWA Worlds, were voted on and passed as submitted.  The lifts will be: Day 1- Cheat Curl, Pullover and Press, and the 1 Arm Deadlift.  Day 2 – 1 Arm Clean and Jerk, Continental Clean and Jerk, and the Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  The date was set as September 27th & 28th in Norwood (close to Boston). 

Proposal were made and accepted for upcoming  years IAWA Events. These bids were accepted:

2014 Gold Cup – Burton, England Promoter – Steve Gardner
2015 Worlds – Glasgow, Scotland  . 
2015 Gold Cup – Perth, Australia
2016 Worlds – Auckland, New Zealand Promoter – Cliff Harvey
2016 Gold Cup – Abilene, Kansas Promoter – Al Myers

Overall it was a very productive IAWA Annual Meeting.  The meeting lasted less than 2 hours and a lot was decided upon. I feel very good about the future of IAWA!!!

Why Progressive Resistance isn’t always Progressive Pt 2

by Thom Van Vleck

Next year I turn 50.  When I was a kid I remember when my grandmother turned 50 and she made it out like she was practically dead!  On the other hand I am enjoying life quite a bit as of late.  I’m the happiest I’ve ever been to be honest.  I’m healthy, I like my work, my marriage the best ever.  All my kids are teenagers and yet we get along very well.  Life is good.  I have nothing to complain about as I roll into the 2nd half of life should I live to be 100.

I also am working out as hard as I ever have.  But there have been adjustments in how I measure progress.  When I was young I needed to have actual “progress” in my progressive resistance to be happy.  When I was 30 I benched 360.  I worked my bench for a year and then I maxed out and hit 365.  When I was 30….that was a major disappointment.  There was also a time when I squatted 400 and then spent a solid year focusing on my squat and ended at 600!  That was great progress!

As I bear down on 50 my idea of progress has changed.  It would be unrealistic for me to look at adding 200lbs to any lift….except maybe some heavy lift in the USAWA.  I am now at a point in my life where holding the line is a huge victory for me.  I push pressed 300 for the first time almost 20 years ago.  Every so often I do a few and I seem to always hit 300….but my long ago goal of 400 will not likely happen.  I throw in the highland games and I’m throwing as well or better than I ever have….but setting personal bests are few and far between.  I also understand that the day will come when I will set my last personal record.  Then my idea of progress will have to change again.

At that point, it will be begrudgingly giving up my strength.  Mark my words, I plan on going down swinging.  But I know I’ll eventually go down.  I recall trying to get a buddy that had been a good lifter in his 20’s to try masters lifting.  His comment was, “I want to be good….not good for my age”.  While I can appreciate that statement, I’ll tell you that I’m happy to be good for my age!

So as I get older my idea of progress will adjust.  Otherwise it will all become an exercise (no pun intended) in futility.  My Uncle Phil once asked me, “Why do you continue to train when you know someday age and time will take it all away”.  Of course he knew the answer and was just challenging me as he so often has in my life.  To me it’s like climbing a mountain.  Once you are at the top, the only way to go after that is down.  But I would rather enjoy the view as from up high as long as I can.  Not everyone gets to the top but everyone eventually finds the bottom.  Life is a precious gift and I plan on sliding into my grave sideways someday as they say….well worn and yelling what a ride!

World Championships

by Steve Gardner

IAWA World Championships – Accrington, England 2013

Mark Haydock, Best Overall Open Lifter and Best Overall Male Lifter with IAWA President Al Myers (left picture). Paula De La Mata, Best Overall Female Lifter with IAWA President Al Myers (right picture).

Right, I don’t know where to start…so much to report on… this had to be one of the best IAWA World Championships ever! Sorry that with illness and injury problems Gary Ell and Mark Rattenberry didn’t make it but they would sure have been proud of their young team mate, Junior lifter Jevan Cockbain who was great. In the Junior ranks young Connor Mansell was also outstanding! Mark Haydock and his team of support headed up by wife Sam, put on an amazing championships, full marks guys, and also Dean Kent and Exertrain who provided equipment etc all in all a great job.

Dan Butterworth and his partner Andy Milner were ace on the platform loading every lift over the weekend, and the other platform was looked after by a rotation of the lifters, I have never known so many to volunteer to help and get stuck in – a credit to IAWA. The referees were diligent and ever keen to take position when asked in the hot seats, we used 21 officials this year, 17 in the chairs, 1 as Technical Officer and Drug Tester (many drug tests carried out and Technical issues addressed – well done Frank Allen) and 3 working the scoring announcing table. I was so impressed with my assistant on the MC Announcing / recording task, I have had a lot of experience of handling 2 platforms at the same time, but Al Myers, our IAWA President, from Kansas USA took to the task like a ‘good un’ and made my job easier and well done again Al! Chris Bass was on top of his game with all the figures and records on his computer, he was a great aid to the lifters throughout the weekend! We had a great young man named Ollie Melidoni in action all weekend providing a great service for sport massage and injury / strain treatment. Everyone commented on his friendly and professional approach to the job, he doesn’t know it yet but  he will be adopted by IAWA and we hope to see him at future events!

As for the lifting…where to start? on a personal note, some of the most exciting moments for me were: Timo from Finland with an amazing World Record Vertical pull on the 2 inch bar, Paul Barrette pulling the 250 kilos on the Trap Bar for a record at 70 kilos bodyweight, John Kavanagh with his 65 kilos Dumbell Clean and Jerk (also Sam Trew on that lift) Jenn Tibbenham on the Squat, new World Record, my son James taking the World Record with 260.5k, Mark Haydock with his 342.5 Trap Bar – heaviest ever! the list is endless, of course I was overjoyed for the lifters from my club who I have worked hard with over the last 8 weeks and it was magic to see them come through: my son James, Paula and Graham taking World titles and Luke Davis with a super performance and taking a runners up spot (it will be there for you if you keep working like you do Luke)

On a general note, I was so impressed with all of the lifters, it really was an outstanding weekend, The Scotland team did a great job! the lifters from Spain were great and took a bagful of records home with them as did the Australian team – excellent guys, just cant say enough, our friends from the USA stalwarts like Denny Habecker and Art Montini – hey what about it Art Montini 85 years of age, a role model to us all. and the other Nations represented too for Ireland, Pakistan and Finland – just amazing! The lifters from across England came together for a great display, and the Metamorfit Club from the South East bringing 7 lifters along to have a great time, full of enthusiasm – just great. Well done to all, each and every one who made the effort to be there. More info and results to follow soon!!!

MEET RESULTS:

World Champs 2013 Day1         World Champs 2013 Day2       

World Champs 2013 Both Days