by Al Myers
Last weekend at the Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA, Chad Ullom did what I would classify as one of the most outstanding feats of strength I have ever seen in the USAWA. Chad set the ALL-TIME WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift with an unbelievable lift of 900 pounds. The previous World Record was held by Joe Ciavattone set at the 2005 Heavy Lift Nationals. In March, Chad showed everyone that he had the potential to break this record as he took an extra attempt and made a 750 pound lift with ease at the USAWA Club Challenge in Ambridge. What made this record even more spectacular was that he broke the prevous World Record THREE TIMES in the competition. His second attempt was 810, followed by a third attempt at 850, and ending with his historic 900 pound lift. Often with heavy lifts, there is always speculation about the authenticity of the lift due to the nature of these type of lifts. Heavy lifts only need to clear the platform to be legal and if someone doesn’t have the right angle to view this, often people will feel like the lift didn’t clear adequately. However, Chad’s lift was lifted so high there was no doubt among anyone in attendance. The judging crew did an outstanding job in officiating this lift. They didn’t get “caught up in the excitement” and they made sure Chad had to hold it at lockout the same as all other lifts of the meet.
What made this record even more special was the the largest crowd of spectators we had were present to watch it happen. I was trying to “fire up the crowd” about what they were about to see, and I could tell many were in disbelief when it happened! I knew before this meet that Chad had the potential to make this happen. We trained together on the Neck Lift a couple of weeks prior and he made an easy 800 pound lift in training. We actually considered having him open at the record, as he did this training lift as easy as an opener. But after thinking about it for awhile, we decided a 700 pound opener would set him up better. If you pick your attempts correctly, the first attempt shouldn’t matter anyways.
It is always a big thing to be the first person to break a barrier – and I consider this a major barrier. Let me give you a little history on the Neck Lift. Steve Schmidt was the first man to break the 400 pound and 500 pound barrier in the Neck Lift. An English lifter, Adrian Blindt, was the first person to Neck Lift over 600 pounds. Frank Ciavattone was the first American to Neck Lift over 600 pounds, with his lift of 603 pounds at the 1990 Strongest Man in New England. Joe Ciavattone was the first man to Neck Lift over 700 pounds and 800 pounds. And now Chad becomes the first man to Neck Lift over 900 pounds!!! It makes you wonder who will be the first one to go over half a ton – or 1000 pounds!
I have always considered 600 pounds as the “mark to hit” if you want to be in the elite club of Neck Lifters. To date, there have been only 10 individuals who have done this or more in USAWA competition.
USAWA Members in the “600 Club” for Neck Lifts over 600 pounds
|Chad Ullom||900||2011 Heavy Lift Championships|
|Joe Ciavattone||804||2005 Heavy Lift Championships|
|Frank Ciavattone||750||2002 Heavy Lift Championships|
|Al Myers||750||2011 Club Challenge|
|Mike McBride||630||2005 National Championships|
|Jeff Ciavattone||625||2002 Heavy Lift Championships|
|Joe Garcia||623||1998 National Championships|
|Dale Friesz||605||1995 Goerner Deadlift|
|Nils Larson||603||2004 Heavy Lift Championships|
|John Monk||600||2000 Heavy Lift Championships|