Super Arm Blaster

by Al Myers

Arnold using the Super Arm Blaster!

The Super Arm Blaster, now that’s a “blast from the past’, or should I say “blaster from the paster”!  The other night while training alone I spotted something shiny sticking out from behind the dumbbell rack. As I dug through miscellaneous plates and other lifting paraphernalia that I’ve accumulated other the years, there it was – the SUPER ARM BLASTER.  It brought back memories of when I bought the thing as I thought it’s use would give me monstrous arms, just like Arnold’s.  Now it has been residing in obscurity for years without any use.  One of many training tools that I’ve tried and found just didn’t work well for me in my training objectives.

Of course, I had to take a picture of it and send it to Thom to see if he knew what it was. He did, and  answered my text very quickly with the correct response so I know he didn’t “look it up”.   I give Joe Weider the credit for inventing this isolating bicep training device.  He started marketing it in the mid 1970’s in his magazines, and it “sold strong” through the 1980’s. That’s when I bought mine.  It was initially called the “Joe Weider’s Super Arm Blaster” or “Arnold’s Super Arm Blaster”, and sold for $19.95.  Early magazines often contained advertisements for it picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrating it’s use.  He was Weider’s selling point man on the Arm Blaster,  and I’m sure propagated many sells. 

This came from an early advertisement:

Something new and fabulous has happened for creating Super-arm size….real fast! Blast your arms into new and exciting growth no matter how big they are now – just as Arnold Schwarzenegger did, increasing his arms from 21″ to 22 1/2″ with Joe Weider’s new patented “Arnold’s Super-Arm Blaster”.  It isolates the arms so that you can put out 100% muscular effort and mental concentration without having to fight arm balance at the sides – thereby allowing you to stimulate all of the deeper under-lying muscle fibers with greater intensity!

The Dino Gym's Arm Blaster, which is still in working shape after 30 years!

The ad goes on from there with more selling points on how the Arm Blaster would take your arm size to new heights –  that would leave any newbie iron boy in a frenzy.  How could you NOT have one of these????  I admit – the sales pitch made me fork over money I didn’t have at the time!   But looking back – the image of Arnold pounding out EZ bar curls with his super arm blaster probably was worth the money in inspiration alone.  Whether he really used it much in his training is really just a mute point!

Arnold does mention the Arm Blaster in his book, “The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding“.  It includes a picture of him using the Arm Blaster while performing a set of Alternate Dumbbell Curls with this caption, “Using the Arm Blaster you get the strictness of a preacher curl, with the elbows fixed solidly in place, which is especially good for training the lower biceps”.  This book was published in 1985, well after his financially binding endorsement days with Weider. At this point his bodybuilding fame days were over and he was enjoying box office success with his Conan movies  and the first Terminator movie.  Money could not have been an issue for him at this time to continue to promote the Arm Blaster – so I’m assuming he felt there was some merit to it’s use.

I hadn’t thought of the Arm Blaster for years until this workout.  I assumed this antiquated piece of equipment was no longer on the market, but after doing a short internet search I see that there are other manufacturers that have continued to market it.  That’s good news for any iron newbie -  buy one and be inspired to bicep greatness!

Best Exercise Ever

by Thom Van Vleck

This man used the "Best Exercise Ever" to great effect!

Many years ago I was reading an old Ironman Magazine.  When I say “old” I mean when Peary Radar ran it and when it was a great strength publication and not a bodybuilding rag.  They had asked a question of a number of lifters and gym owners (those that trained people in their gym).  The question was if you could only do one exercise what would that exercise be?  The idea seemed to get at what they thought the best exercise was.  Now, I have to be honest here, I can’t remember which exercise won but I do recall pretty much all the the answers were one of two exercises.

One of these two exercises is still a pretty common exercise.  I bet everyone that reads this has done it and almost all would agree it’s a great exercise.  I know Paul Anderson would agree.  Have you guessed?  That’s right, the squat.  I’m sure that just about everyone that’s lifted has at one time done a squat.  Sure, most don’t do it much but I bet they at least tried it!  Most found out that squats are hard to do because they utilize almost all the largest muscles in the body.  If you are doing them right, you can get really strong and fit doing them.

The other exercise, the one I think won the most votes for being the best single exercise, is hardly done at all.  As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen anyone do them in a gym other than one man and I hang around a lot of lifters.  The one man that did them was my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  And he did them because it was his favorite lift to do.

This “mystery” lift has a strange history.  Let me give you some hints.  First of all, you can do it with a standard barbell.  You need no special equipment like the squat (squat racks…unless you are Henry Steinborn).  Second of all, I bet if you were told you could only do one lift the rest of your life you WOULD choose this lift.  But how realistic is that?  Even if you were stuck on a deserted island with a barbell the only way that would happen is if someone held a gun to your head every workout until you died.  Finally, this lift used to be one of the most contested lifts on the planet.  There was a time when it was contested more than the Bench Press, the Squat, or the Deadlift in competition.  You could win an Olympic medal doing this lift and you cannot win one doing the Powerlifts.  Have you guessed?

The Clean & Press.  For some 50 years the Clean & Press was one of the THREE Olympic lifts along with the Snatch and Clean & Jerk.  It was dropped from competition after 1972.  There were several reasons but mainly because the judging had gotten so lax that records were meaningless.  Instead of trying to fix the problem the lift was just dropped. My Uncle Wayne still holds the Missouri State record in that lift and it was his favorite lift to do.  When they dropped it….his competition career ended as the lift meant that much to him.

My understanding was that early Olympics had many lifts and it took too much time so they condensed it down to three.  The Snatch was considered a “quick” and “athletic” lift while the Clean & Press was considered a “strength” and “power” lift.  The Clean & Jerk was in between.  It was felt the three lifts together were the ultimate measure of athletic strength.  I tend to agree and am sad that the the lift in no longer contested.  I don’t think Olympic lifting in the USA has ever recovered from that loss and led to the rise of powerlifting at that same time.  But that’s a history lesson.

The Clean & Press arguably is the most complete exercise there is.  I know if I could only do one exercise it would be that lift or some variation.  In particular, I have enjoyed training the log lift C & P.  I’m curious if any of you have ever done this exercise (not parts of it, but all together!).  If not, I would suggest trying a few some time.  Nothing works more muscles using a standard barbell in a single exercise movement and there is nothing that says “strong” than lifting a barbell from the floor to overhead using brute upper body strength on the press!  Just take a look at Zydrunas Savickas clean and press a 400 pound plus log!  So, throw in a C & P to your training and do what some have called the “BEST EXERCISE EVER”!

Louis Abele’s Training Program

by Al Myers

Louis Abele

At our Nationals in June, Dennis Mitchell loaned me a pamphlet that outlined Louis Abele’s Training Programs.  It was compiled by Chester O. Teegarden, and  published in 1948.  It is only 15 pages long, and has lots of interesting training information and insight into the training philosophies of Louis Abele.  I actually had set this pamphlet aside and just rediscovered it to read (so I haven’t forgot about it Dennis!).  I blame my distraction on this to all that was going on at the National Meet.

Louis Abele was often in the shadows of other great York lifters at the time – namely John Grimek, Steve Stanko, and John Davis.  However the progress he made in Olympic lifting compelled him onto the national stage as one of the best heavy weight lifters of the time. I asked Dennis about Louis Abele and this was his reply, ” I never had the opportunity to meet Louis Able. He had the misfortune of being at his best when John Davis was at his best. He could never get the recognition that he deserved as he was overshadowed by John.  The thing that I found very interesting about his training was that he used a large verity of lifts. I’ve only read one other study where it was felt that instead of doing, for example four sets of squats, to do one set of lunges, one set of front squats, a set of back squats and then one set of leg presses. I’ve used this form of training as I’ve gotten older as I am trying to keep as many parts moving in as many directions as I can.”

I want to thank Dennis for sharing this Louis Abele Training Program with me, and thus in turn I’m gonna share it with you!  Interesting historical information like this is easily lost with the passage of time.  It is a pdf so simply open it, print it off, and save it for future generations of lifters (or put it in some digital file that will soon “die off” when your computer crashes because you forgot to have it backed up!”)

The Training Programs of Louis Abele  (PDF)Louis Abele Training Programs

I very much enjoy visiting with Dennis and discussing such issues as how he has seen lifting change in his lifetime.  Dennis is over 80 years of age and STILL COMPETING in competitions (both all round and Olympic lifting).  He has a wealth of information and wisdom.  He has had a lifting career that has spanned over 60 years so he has “been there” and “seen it all”.  I can’t help but finish with a little story on Dennis that I found humorous.  At Nationals he made a comment to my daughter Molly (age 15) and Chad’s daughter Bree (age 16) as they were “playing” with their cell phones.  I was fortunate to overhear this story that he told these two young girls about how he has seen communication improve over the years. It is priceless, and left a look of disbelief on the girls’  faces!!

“In 1954, Fort Monmouth in New Jersey  I was in the last class to learn how to use carrier pigeons. They were still being used in the Korean War. Any time I use E-Mail or cell phones I think of this. We had a special net pouch that we could carry the birds in when we out in the fields. The only company the army found that could make these pouches was a company that made ladies undergarments, the Maidenform Co………………………..Denny M.. ”

SUPERMAN CANCELLED

by Al Myers

I just received word that this weekend’s USAWA all round meet at Jobe’s Steel Jungle is CANCELLED  due to lack of entries.  Jesse was advertising this meet as the “SUPERMAN MEET”.  It contained the all round versions of the two Olympic Lifts and the 3 Powerlifts – 5 lifts in total.  Several of the lifts were going to  …… More

To Kettlebell or Not

by Thom Van Vleck

I work at a University and we have a rec center on campus.  It’s a small school so the rec center is actually pretty decent for our size but still small.  The guy that runs it has been there for 30 plus years and he is very upbeat and positive.  Dan came out of the 70’s  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

Congratulations goes to Chad Ullom for being selected as the USAWA Lifter of the Month for the month of July.  Chad had a very active summer – placing second overall at Nationals in the Mens Division, competing in the World Stone Challenge in Scotland, participating in the USAWA Club Championships,  and finishing with a FIRST PLACE overall finish at  …… More

RIP Casey Viator

by Al Myers

News has spread this week “across the web” of the death of 1980’s bodybuilding icon Casey Viator.  He died on September 4th (on his birthday!) at his home from a reported heart attack. 

Casey Viator was best known for winning the 1970 AAU Mr. America at the age of 19, the youngest to ever win that title.  I  …… More

Why Progressive Resistance Isn’t Always Progressive

by Thom Van Vleck

Most everyone knows the story of Milo.  He was a Greek wrestler that dominated wrestling in ancient Greece in his time…that is pretty much a fact.  The legend is he became that way because he observed that he could lift a bull on his shoulder and he supposed that if he did that every day that  …… More

Battle in the Barn

[ October 19, 2013; 9:00 am; ]

by Eric Todd

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2nd ANNUAL BATTLE IN THE BARN

On October 19, ET’s House of Iron and Stone will play host to the 2nd annual “Battle in the Barn”.  The following events will be contested:

Cyr Press
Dumbbell to the Shoulder
People’s Deadlift
Dinnie Lift  

I feel our gym has one  …… More

New Rulebook Available!

by Al Myers

A new, updated USAWA Rulebook is now available.  It is located on the website, under the top heading “Rulebook”. It is available as a pdf download, or available in hard copy form which can be ordered from the USAWA online store.

This is the 7th Edition of the USAWA Rulebook.  Since 2009 there has been an updated  …… More

Phumchaona Lift

by Al Myers

The USAWA is full of odd and weird all round lifts.  Some have been performed rarely – and some NEVER!  Well, at my Dino Days Record Days one of these lifts was performed for USAWA Record for the first time.  It took someone as odd as the lift itself to finally make this happen in the USAWA (and  …… More

A PLACE TO CALL HOME

BY DAVE GLASGOW

I ENJOY PRIVATE GYMS THE MOST.  MOST PERSONAL GYMS I HAVE BEEN IN HAVE THAT ‘LIVED IN’ FEELING.  THEY ALL HAVE A PERSONALITY OF THEIR OWN.  SOME OF THE MORE RECENT ONES I HAVE BEEN IN ARE FLOYD TRAUB, THOM VAN VLECK AND, OF COURSE, THE MECCA OF THEM ALL, AL’S DINO GYM.

THEY ARE ALL AS  …… More

My Visit to Ledaig Heavy Athletics

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently I got to make my first trip to Ledaig since Dave built his new facility.  This is Dave Glasgow’s family gym.  I say family gym because it belongs to his whole family.  You drive down that road and it’s hard to figure out which “Glasgow” to stop at as each mailbox has that name on  …… More

Boxes for Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

Boxes of different sizes can be a real plus to any gym.  They can be used for a variety of things.  Let’s look at some of the types.

Squat Boxes

Most people think of them for box squats which is what mine probably get used for the most.  I prefer to NOT do the box squats  …… More

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

The Dino Days Weekend finished off with a USAWA Record Day on Sunday.  For the first time EVER, I had a conflict and could not be present at the record day on Sunday.  However, I left Denny Habecker and Scott Tully in charge, and would you believe this – it was the BEST record day the Dino  …… More

Team Championships

by Al Myers

2013 USAWA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Dino Gym hosted the USAWA Team Championships last weekend.  This is a championship event that contests “team lifting”.  Team lifting consists of lifting on the bar with a partner – and consists of three divisions:  2-MAN, 2-WOMAN, and MIXED PAIR.  Mixed pair is a team that consists of a male  …… More

Unorthodoxy: A Training Program

By Thom Van Vleck

Anybody that trains for any length of time will get stale on any particular routine.  Everybody knows that.  We constantly switch things around to keep things fresh.  For many of us this means recycling many of the basic routines over and over….which can become stale within itself.  I have been training for 36 years and it’s  …… More

Team Champs Reminder

by Al Myers

REMINDER – the USAWA Team Championship is this weekend!

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS & REPORT

2013 USAWA PRESIDENTIAL CUP

The second annual Presidential Cup only brought four lifters to the platform, but it was filled with some outstanding lifting performances in the host site, Habecker’s Gym.  This USAWA Championships crowns a Champion of the Record Days.   The basis of this honor is chosen by our USAWA President  …… More

Presidential Cup & Century Club

by Al Myers

The Presidential Cup is coming up fast (THIS WEEKEND)!  It is hosted by our USAWA President Denny Habecker at his gym, Habeckers Gym, in Lebanon, PA.

I have my plane ticket bought and ready to “join in”  this premier Record Day event in the USAWA.  The Presidential Cup is modeled after the IAWA Gold Cup, to allow  …… More

Interview with Chad Ullom

by Al Myers

Al: Recently you participated in the World Stone Championships in Scotland. Could you tell me how you got invited to this prestigious event? Please feel free to share any other details of the event.

Chad:  Well, Francis Brebner has been planning on doing this type of challenge for many years, but circumstances caused it to fall through.   …… More

World Postal Meet

by Steve Gardner

MEET RESULTS

Andy Goddard Memorial – World Postal Challenge 2013

A Total of 62 Lifters took part in this year’s event, 25 teams in all. Results from teams that lifted in front of 3 refs, were submitted for record claims. Several prominent lifters were injured and having to lift below par, but the IAWA spirit saw them  …… More

OTSM Championships

[ December 7, 2013; 9:00 am; ]

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Third Annual Old Time Strongman Championships

A date has been set for the OTSM.  December 7th!  So mark your calendars! Here are the details to date:

Date: 12/7/2013

Time: 10:00am weigh in begins, warm ups with a start time of noon.

Place: Kirksville, Missouri (exact location TBD)

Events:  …… More

Grandpa’s Farm: A Legacy of Strength

by Eric Todd

I have shared this story in a number of forms on a number of different occasions.  But I feel it is worth repeating here once again.  For anyone interested in seeing a brief video, the condensed version, please look here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK3NYJs4nec

My Grandpa, Gus Lohman, was a farmer.  He was a farmer all of his  …… More

David Webster & the Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

If it wasn’t for David Webster, the stone lifting World might never have heard of the Dinnie Stones. David Webster  is the man who made the presence of the Dinnie Stones well known.  Without this, all the recent notoriety the Dinnie Stones have received would have never happened.  These famous lifting stones might be laying obscure at the  …… More

The Wagman Log – Not So Pristine

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Publisher/Editor in Chief: Journal of Pure Power (JOPP)

Consultant: Body Intellect Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium

Recently Thom Van Vleck wrote a wonderful article about the Jackson Stones on his farm. One of the responses to that article on the USAWA Forum mentioned how strongman should be about lifting such oddly shaped  …… More

Club Award to the Salvation Army Gym

by Al Myers

I was glad to be able to personally award the Salvation Army Gym their Runner Club Award from the USAWA at their USAWA meet last weekend.  These awards, presented on behalf of the USAWA, were given out at the National Championships.  However, since no representatives from the Salvation Army Gym were able to be present at Nationals,  …… More

Joe the Turk OTSM

 by Tim Piper

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet- Press Release

The Macomb Salvation Army hosted the “Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet on July 27.  “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 of the 2o th  …… More

Jackson Stones

by Thom Van Vleck

When you come to my place I have a circle drive in front of my house.  In the center is a tree planted on honor of my mother in law, Peggy Lynn Barton-Baybo, who passed away about 10 years ago.  Around the tree are four limestone fence posts that weigh around 225lbs each that came from  …… More

Jobe’s Superman Meet

by Jesse Jobe

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Superman Meet

I have always been fascinated by all forms of lifting. And years ago I remember reading about some meets called Superman meets, where a lifter performed the Olympic lifts and the Powerlifting lifts for a Superman total.  I wanted to be able to stay as close as possible to the traditional  …… More

Joe the Turk reminder

by Al Myers

This will be the last reminder for the “Joe the Turk” OTSM competition tomorrow, hosted by Tim Piper and the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb, Illinois.  It is looking to be a good turnout on hand.  I’m leaving with Chad shortly, and I talked to Denny yesterday and him and Art are making the trek from PA.   …… More

Scott Schmidt – New LEVEL 2 OFFICIAL

by Al Myers

It’s always exciting news when a new USAWA certified official reaches LEVEL 2 officiating status.  Congratulations goes to Scott Schmidt for becoming the most recent Level 2 official.   Scott went about reaching Level 2 status in an unorthodox manner.  Let me explain.

The typical process of becoming a USAWA official involves taking the Rule Test first.  This consists of  …… More

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

by Thom Van Vleck

I consider Al Myers to be the definitive expert on bars and he has written article before on them that I could never compete with in regards to expertise.  I just have to admit…I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to my training and the equipment involved.  The Pendlay bar is the 19th in  …… More

Lifter of the Month: Molly Myers

by Al Myers

The lifter of the month for the month of June goes to Molly Myers!  The lifter of the month was established to recognize an outstanding performance over the course of the month in USAWA competitions/events.  Molly was awarded BEST OVERALL FEMALE LIFTER at the 2013 USAWA National Championships in Lebanon, PA.   I consider winning Best Overall Lifter at Nationals as a “slam  …… More

Middle Atlantic Postal Meet

by Al Myers

The “second quarter” USAWA Postal Meet has just been compiled.   The date of completion was the end of the  month of June. Nine lifters took part – 8 men and 1 woman.  It was a great selection of all round lifts contested – press from rack, reverse grip curl, and the hack lift. 

The big winners of  …… More

New Orleans Anvil Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently a friend of mine said that every weightlifter is always secretly sizing up objects around him to see if he can lift them.  I guess I do that to.  Some you know are impossible, others not so impossible.  I like to keep my eye out for Anvils.  Most of you know my affinity for anvils,  …… More

LEDAIG – CLUB OF THE YEAR

by Al Myers

I was glad to be able to personally present Dave Glasgow and the rest of the Ledaig  “gang”  their USAWA Award for 2012 Club of the Year at the Club Championships last weekend! Congrats to the Ledaig HA!!

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS

by Al Myers

The TOP AWARD given out every year by the USAWA is the 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  …… More

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNERS

by Al Myers

While at the Club Championships at the Ledaig HA Club in Rainbow Bend, Kansas, I was able to personally present a USAWA annual Award Winner.  Every year the USAWA gives a SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD.  This award goes to an individual who “possesses and shows great sportsmanship within the USAWA.  The act of sportsmanship may be conduct at all  …… More

Club Championships

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS
2013 USAWA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

Thanks to Dave Glasgow of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club  the club championships was able to be contested again this year.  Dave agreed to host this Championships since it was cancelled last March due to bad weather. Last weekend was a very big weekend for the Ledaig Club  …… More