Meaningful Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS

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

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

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

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

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

MEET RESULTS:

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

Meet Director: Al Myers

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

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

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

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

EXTRA FOR RECORDS:

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

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

Try DIGGING into a heavy workout!

by John McKean

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heavy Champ Update

by Al Myers

I’m busy getting the final plans made for this weekend.  The good news is that the weather forecast is looking positive for a very nice sunny day!  There will be a lot of activity going on at the Dino Gym on Saturday.  In addition to the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in the morning we will be hosting  …… More

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper

MEET PRESS RELEASE AND RESULTS

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet 2014

The Macomb Salvation Army hosted the “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on April 19th. “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army. At the turn  …… More

The 10,000 hour rule

by Thom Van Vleck

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

First, it takes 10,000 hours to master anything….even for the so-called “natural”.  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Joe Garcia

by Al Myers

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

1st Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

1st QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

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

I  …… More

2nd Quarter Postal Meet

[ June 30, 2014; 12:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2ND QUARTER POSTAL MEET

The lifts have been chosen by Postal Director Denny Habecker for the 2nd quarter USAWA postal meet.  This is one of the four postal meets promoted by the USAWA every year that counts toward to Postal Series rankings.  Again, the lifts look like a good listing which should  …… More

EVERYONE IS A TEACHER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

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

Simple Liars, Damned Liars, and Experts

by Thom Van Vleck

I like talking about training.  Even if half the time it evolves in an argument.  The one person I have learned the most about weight training is from my Uncle Phil Jackson.  He would often say to me, “I’ve forgotten more about training than you’ll ever know”.  I still often think he is right.  Another guy  …… More

Zercher Classic

by Al Myers

ZERCHER STRENGTH CLASSIC

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

Four brave lifters showed to tackle this 13 event affair – all held  …… More

It is not the critic who counts

by Eric Todd

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and  …… More

The rest of the story….

by Eric Todd

Growing up, when we listened to the radio, it was always 61 Country (an AM station out of KC) or KMRN (a local AM station). On both of those stations, I enjoyed listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”. Last year, I wrote an article called “Where Do We Go?” that detailed some of the  …… More

New Direction for the USAWA!

by Glückliche Aprilscherz

As of today we have new leadership in the USAWA!  Out with the old and in with the new and happening.  The NEW ORDER is bringing many new things to the old, stodgy USAWA.  First of all, DRUGS!  Lots of them.  Plenty of steroids, spheroids,asteroids, hemorrhoids, HGH, UGH, SheGh, WeallGH!  Let’s face it.  That’s what the masses want!  …… More

Lifter of the Month: LaVerne Myers

by Al Myers

March is over so it’s time to get the lifter of the month for February announced!  I had to think “long and hard” on this decision, but I’ve made the choice of choosing my father LaVerne Myers as the 2014 USAWA February Lifter of the Month. Now before you start accusing me of “playing favorites” in my  …… More

Buridan’s Ass

by Thom Van Vleck

The story of Buridan’s Ass is a paradox where an ass (ass as in burro or donkey….not someone’s backside) is that is equally hungry and thirst is placed between a pail of water and a stack of hay.  The ass dies of hunger and thirst because it can’t make a decision about which way to go!  …… More

Frank’s BBC RB

by Frank Ciavattone Sr.

MEET WRITEUP AND  RESULTS

Frank’s Barbell Club Record Breaker

This meet was held March 15, 2014. This meet had seven competitors, all showing up before 9:00 am. Immediately following weigh-in there was a pancake breakfast, enjoyed by all.

After that we had a list of records to be broken with  …… More

Big T’s OTSM (First Update)

by Thom Van Vleck

I have some more information on OTSM being held at the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  Entry info and a link to the first story on the meet can be found under the USAWA Future Events section.

This meet will be held outside weather permitting.  If the weather is bad, we’ll move it inside.  Each lifter will be  …… More

Nicknames

by Thom Van Vleck

I’ve told a story recently and reference a nickname for my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  I wanted to tell about where that came from.

A couple of years ago I hosted the USAWA Nationals.  Wayne was able to make it and was kind of a guest of honor.  At one point Al Myers noticed I called him  …… More

Presidential Cup

[ August 9, 2014; 4:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

Our Prez Denny Habecker has sanctioned this year’s Presidential Cup again!  The President’s Cup is the KING of USAWA Record Days.  I like to think of it as the CHAMPIONSHIP OF RECORD DAYS in the USAWA.   It is under direction to be promoted by the USAWA President, with the lift that impresses the President the most being  …… More

ARNOLD’S MULTI-RINGED CIRCUS

BY DAVE GLASGOW

I HAVE HEARD OF ‘THE ARNOLD’ ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING, ALL SORTS OF STORIES AND RECOLLECTIONS FROM THOSE THAT HAVE MADE THE TREK. I NEVER FIGURED I WOULD MAKE THE JOURNEY MYSELF, AS LARGE CROWDS ARE JUST NOT MY STYLE. HOWEVER, WHEN I MADE THE CUT TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST GROUP OF AMATEUR THROWERS FOR  …… More

Better than Gold

by Thom Van Vleck

I was recently at an event and one of the other competitors reached over and pull out a medal I had hanging around my neck.  He wanted to know what it represented.  It is a medal that I’ve worn in every competition I’ve been in or at least been on between lifts or events.  It’s been  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Dave Glasgow

by Al Myers

Congrats goes to Dave Glasgow for being the USAWA Lifter of the Month for January!!  Dave competed in the Dino Gym Challenge in January – the tribute to Warren Lincoln Travis.  Along with competing, Dave encouraged other Ledaig Club members to attend (Larry Traub, Doug Kressly, and Logan Kressly).  Without Dave’s support of this meet – it  …… More

Postal Series 2013

by Al Myers

As the first quarterly postal meet of 2014 is less than 30 days from being completed, I finally got the results from the 2013 Postal Series tabulated.  The USAWA has 4 postal meets per year (March, June, September, and December), with the last one being designated as the Postal Championships.  All these together make up the Postal  …… More

Ruth Jackson new USAWA Official

by Al Myers

Congrats to Ruth Jackson for becoming the latest new USAWA Official.  RJ was the first one to undergo the more strenuous requirements to become an official.   A couple of years ago the USAWA began requiring practical training after passing the written rules test in order to become a certified official. Ruth just completed her practical training at  …… More

Big T’s OTSM

[ May 31, 2014; 3:00 pm; ]

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT: BIG T’S BIRTHDAY BASH OTSM

This May I turn 50 years old.  My wife asked me what I wanted to do.  Well, I love to throw, lift, and eat with family and friends.  So I will be hosting a Scottish Highland Games at my gym near Greentop, Missouri as well as an  …… More

National Championships

[ June 21, 2014; 9:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2014 USAWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

The date has been set – June 21st – so mark this day off your calendar and make plans to attend the USAWA Nationals in Macomb, Illinois. Tim Piper, of the Salvation Army Gym, will be this years host and meet director.  Macomb is the perfect location for  …… More

OCPD: Weightlifting Sub-type

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) was released.  It has the criteria for diagnosing mental health disorders.   I end up referring to it a great deal as part of my job as a Licensed Professional Counselor.   The DSM 5 is actually the 7th revision which plays into the fact that there are  …… More

Texas Power Bar

by Al Myers

The Texas Power Bar has become synonymous with THE STANDARD of powerlifting bars over the past 25 years. This bar was initially marketed in the early 80’s and has been used by many powerlifters thru the years, both in training and in competition.  It is a general PL bar – meaning that it is a good bar  …… More

Dino Gym RD

by Al Myers

Last weekend was a full weekend of great lifting at the Dino Gym!  Sunday picked up where Saturday left off with 5 lifters attempting to break/set new USAWA records.  I was surprised to see 3 new faces on Sunday who could not make the Grip Champs – Chad Ullom, Doug Kressly and Logan Kressly.  Dan Wagman and Ruth  …… More

Grip Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

The USAWA Grip Championships turned out to be much more successful than I predicted with the bad weather and snow that preceded it.  At one point last week I was wondering if anyone would show up!  Then to my surprise – 10 lifters made it to the Dino Gym Saturday morning.  …… More

Heavy Lift Championships

[ May 3, 2014; 12:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

I’m excited to be hosting the 2014 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.  This is my first opportunity to be able to host this long time prestigious event.  The Heavy Lift Championships are to recognize the best “heavy lifters” in the USAWA.  Three lifts have become the traditional format for this meet over the past few years – Neck  …… More

Zercher Strength Classic

[ March 29, 2014; 11:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

Bill and Joe have made plans to host the annual Zercher Strength Classic at Clark’s Gym on March 29th.  The date is later this year than usual – which hopefully will help with the attendance.  The ”traditional day”   often fell on Super Bowl weekend which might hinder those passionate football fans from attending, and having it later will help avoid those  …… More

Frank’s BBC Championships

[ March 15, 2014; 7:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Frank’s Barbell Club Championships

Meet Director: Frank Ciavattone

Meet Date: Saturday, March 15th

Location:

Frank’s Barbell Club

204 East Street, Walpole, MA 02032

Contact Frank if you plan to attend.

Year in Review

by Al Myers

I’ve announced this in the USAWA Discussion Forum, but would like to as well in a blog so everyone is aware of the 2013 Year in Review.  I’ve compiled the entire year of 2013 in the USAWA (from all website stories) into a document for print.  I’m planning on taking it to the printers next week.  If  …… More

World Championships

[ September 27, 2014; 12:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2014 IAWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

It’s exciting to be able to announce the 2014 IAWA World Championships – to be held September 27-28th in Norwood, MA.  Longtime meet promoter Frank Ciavattone Jr. will be the meet director.   Frank is a well-organized and seasoned promoter and has many things planned for  …… More

Joe the Turk OTSM

[ April 19, 2014; 11:00 am; ]

by Tim Piper

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT AND PRESS RELEASE

Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

The Macomb Salvation Army will host the 2nd annual “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on April 19th. “Joe the Turk” was Macomb Illinois’ original “strongman” and holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army. At  …… More

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

I was quite surprised by the turnout at this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  On Saturday 8 brave lifters showed up to take on some of the favorite lifts of the famous old time strongman Warren Lincoln Travis.  I decided to have this meet in tribute to WLT – as he has always been one of my favorite  …… More

Postal Championships

by Al Myers

The results of the 2013 USAWA Postal Championships are in!!!  It’s been another good year of postal meets within the USAWA, with 11 lifters taking part in our postal meet grand finale.  The big winners in the Postal Championships are WOMEN – RUTH JACKSON and MEN – DAN WAGMAN.  Congrats to both of these exceptionally lifters for  …… More