Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

This almost takes a mechanical engineer to figure out!

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

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

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

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

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

Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part I

by Thom Van Vleck

Can you guess what this does?

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

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

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

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

Time for Nominations!

by Al Myers

It’s that time of the year again to nominate deserving lifters for the yearly awards! The USAWA award program was started in 2009 to honor those individuals that displays outstanding achievements throughout the year in different categories. I have been the USAWA Award Director that entire time and was the one who started the USAWA Awards Program. Part of the USAWA budget goes to these awards, which means that part of your membership dues support this program. These awards are awarded at the Annual General Meeting of the USAWA, which occurs at the same time as the National Championships. It is important to remember when “casting your vote” that these awards are for the calendar year 2013 (which is the calendar the USAWA follows for memberships, etc.). Now for a little “overview” of the rules for nominations:

  • You must be a USAWA member to make a nomination or cast a vote
  • Nominated individuals must be a USAWA members to be eligible
  • Only one individual may be nominated per person per award
  • Two nominations for each award may be submitted, one for your choice of the Winner and one for your choice of the runner-up.
  • The awards are for the calendar year 2013
  • An individual may be nominated for more than one award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meaningful Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

On May 28th of this year I will have been lifting for 35 years.   There have been times when life has kept me from training like I wanted.  There was a year when I worked on  my Master’s degree that I was taking a full load of classes, working a full time job as a  …… More

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

2014 USAWA HEAVY LIFT CHAMPIONSHIPS

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  …… More

Try DIGGING into a heavy workout!

by John McKean

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  …… More

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