IT’S ALL ISO

by John McKean

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

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

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

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

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

Courage Award Winners

by Al Myers

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

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

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

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

RUNNER UP - ART MONTINI

WINNER  - DEAN ROSS

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

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

Newcomer Award Winners

by Al Myers

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

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

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

Two very deserving lifters earned this award this year -

WINNER – MIKE MCINTYRE

RUNNER UP – LOGAN KRESSLY

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

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

Congrats to both of these guys!

3rd Quarter Postal

[ September 30, 2014; 11:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

3RD QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The lifts for this postal meet are:

Holdout – Raised

Deadlift – One Arm, Ciavattone Grip

Continental to Belt

ENTRY FORM – 2014 3rd Quarter Postal Entry Form

2nd Quarter Postal

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS
2ND QUARTER USAWA POSTAL MEET

The results are in from the 2nd Quarter USAWA Postal Meet.  Congrats goes to Women’s overall winner Ruth Jackson, and Men’s overall winner Chad Ullom.  The Postal Meet Director Denny Habecker made some good choices for the lifts, as they were lifts contested in the USAWA National  …… More

Team Championships

[ August 24, 2014; 10:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2014 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

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

2014 Meeting Minutes

by Al Myers

The 2014 Meeting of the USAWA was called to order by USAWA President Denny Habecker at 6:00 PM at the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb, Illinois on June 20th.  Roll call was taken with these USAWA members in attendance: Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini, Dean Ross, Randy Smith,  Helen Kahn,Tim Piper, Mike Murdock, Dennis Mitchell, Eric  …… More

National Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

I attended and was the head judge recently at the USAWA National Championships in Macomb, Illinois. Tim Piper was the meet director and set up a large tent by the Salvation Army Gym. As you recall, the Salvation Army Gym is in the basement of the local Salvation Army and was the victim of a terrible  …… More

World Postal Meet

[ August 31, 2014; 5:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers


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

Steve has picked an outstanding set of lifts that everyone should be  …… More

Chad Ullom: All Around All Rounder!

by Thom Van Vleck

Chad Ullom has been a fixture in the USAWA and IAWA for some time.  He is a National and World Champ and has a slug of records to his credit.  You would think that would be enough to keep him busy but Chad is also a regular on the Highland Games circuit!  At one time Chad  …… More

2014 Meeting Agenda

by Al Myers

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

The meeting has been set for Friday evening, June 20th, at  …… More

Nationals Update

by Tim Piper

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

We have  …… More

Big T’s Birthday Bash OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

As many know by now I turned 50 years of age.  When this was coming up my wife asked me what I would like to do on my birthday.  I have two interests and from those interests come most of my friends.  They are the Scottish Highland Games and Weightlifting.  I thought about it long  …… More

Recent Death of Joe McCoy

by Al Myers

I received some sad news this week, passed along to me by Dale Harder, that longtime USAWA Joe McCoy has died. Joe was one of the pioneers of the USAWA and all round weightlifting in the Missouri Valley Region. His influence in the early days helped shape our organization.  I’ve spent many hours visiting with Joe on  …… More

Club Championships

[ July 19, 2014; 3:00 pm; ]

by Al Myers

The Club Championships has been sanctioned and scheduled!    I consider this meet as one of our “signature events” in the USAWA since it is a Championship Event, and these are the meets that really need to be contested every year. The Club Championships began in 2010 with the Ambridge Barbell Club hosting it the first couple of  …… More

Dino Gym Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Every year the USAWA gives out yearly awards honoring special achievements amongst the membership for the prior year.  This Awards Program began in 2009.  The award recipients are voted on and chosen by the membership with the exception of the Club of the Year.  This award is earned on merit -with points being accrued by participation in  …… More

Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part II

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

Decline of Western (lifting) Civilization: Part I

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

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.  …… More

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