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

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  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Eric Todd

by Al Myers

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  …… More

NE Record Breakers

By James Fuller

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  …… More

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

2013 USAWA OLD TIME STRONGMAN 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  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Al Myers

by Chad Ullom

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  …… More

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  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Barry Bryan

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.    …… More

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.   …… More

Mike Jenkins: A Real Giant

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Denny Habecker

by Al Myers

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  …… More

Grip Championships

[ February 8, 2014; 10:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2014 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

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  …… More

Dino Gym Record Day

[ February 9, 2014; 9:00 am; ]

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  …… More

Thanksgiving Day Workout

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

My Plate Collection

by Al Myers

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  …… More

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

 …… More

KENNEDY – a modern HEALTH lift?

by John McKean

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  …… More

Teeth Lifting

by Al Myers

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  …… More

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

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  …… More

Kennedy Lift

by Al Myers

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  …… More

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  …… More

Ironman Lost…and FOUND!

by Thom Van Vleck

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)  …… More

Dino Gym Challenge

[ January 18, 2014; 10:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT -

DINO GYM CHALLENGE
“Presenting a Challenge Left by 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  …… More

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  …… More

My reflections on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

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  …… More

No Stupid Lifts, Just Stupid Lifters

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

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  …… More

Gold Cup History

by Al Myers

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  …… More

A good POWER RACK is hard to find

by Al Myers

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  …… More

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  …… More

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  …… More

Battle in the Barn II

by Eric Todd

Battle in the Barn 2013 is done and in the books.  We had lots of fun, and some great lifting occurred.  I would like to thank Al for coming out and running the score table, and Thom for being our Judge.  I would also like to give a huge thanks to Conan Wass for  …… More

Hercules Chained

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

The VBAR has been raised

by Al Myers

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  …… More

Art’s Birthday Bash

by James Fuller

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.  …… More

GOLD CUP REMINDER

by Steve Gardner

IAWA GOLD CUP – Annual WORLD RECORD BREAKERS TOURNAMENT

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  …… More

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  …… More

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,  …… More