KENNEDY – a modern HEALTH lift?

by John McKean

This is a drawing of David Butlers wooden machine used for the Health Lift.

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 like another description of the mighty Steve Schmidt destroying his competition in winning yet another of his Zercher Classic titles? Surprisingly the contest mentioned occurred about 120 years before big Steve was amazing crowds with his awesome chain lifts!

To be fair, the loser of the above mentioned “challenge” meet weighed less than 150 pounds, and had  never even tried a hip lift before. His name was Dr. George Barker Windship, a famous Boston physician, lecturer, and self taught heavy lifting fanatic. Lifting around the 1860s (yep, the nineteenth century!) he eventually acquired a custom made hip belt and went on to perform a 2600 pound hip lift, plus other equally mind blowing harness events ; you can see the good doc was ahead of his time -heck, he was ahead of OUR time!!

To Dr. Windship’s credit, he promoted heavy lifting to large, appreciative audiences throughout the Northeast, even to the point of directing his patients to the gym attached to his doctor’s office. He did not enjoy, nor promote lightweight lifting schemes! Now, his speciality, suggested to all clients, was mostly a short range deadlift that was performed from a high platform,attached to massive weights below. It was almost a hand and thigh type of set up, except it had a bit of range to it, unlike some modern hand and thigh records whose only movement was mostly restricted to the imagination of a straining, isometric style lifter and a cooperative official.Windship achieved over 1200 pounds this apparatus deadlift, then limited from further gains as grip strength wouldn’t permit.

As impressive as Dr. Windship’s strength, fitness, and teaching were, it took an equally fascinating figure of this same time frame, David P.Butler, to really popularize heavy harness lifting to the general public. Building himself up from a complete physical wreck, so bad that doctors told him just to go away, lay down , and die (what, no Obamacare??!!), David totally redefined his body and strength with his amazing HEALTH LIFT. Then he showed genius in getting the word out to the public,eventually selling his wooden “machine” and establishing a chain of successful gyms throughout Boston and New York. Mr. Butler even wrote a rather amazing course on his one lift method, surprisingly similar in content to our “modern” training wisdom!

OK, you’re asking, where am I going with all this history,even though it is so rich in All-Round  lifting tradition? Simple -the lift that David Butler claimed was all anyone needed for unmatched internal and external fitness was essentially the KENNEDY lift that our own Al Myers is currently trying to establish onto the USAWA list! Butler believed the hand holding grip was vital to total body strength, as was an exact centering of the lift below one’s torso. He stood on his heavy duty wooden platform, straddled the long steel rod attached to weights below through a centered hole in the floor, hands fore& aft as in the Jefferson, and stood up several inches. By the way, I would have loved training in one of Butler’s gyms -he recommended only 4 progressively heavy singles on his HEALTH LIFT, done 3 times weekly, along with some light extra dumbbell & pulley work.

Much later in weightlifting history, all the way into the 1920s , the great Alan Calvert, in his classic “SUPER STRENGTH” text was also a huge believer in the Kennedy lift. Photos in his book display a “high Jefferson” performed with chains attached to a heavy barbell. Calvert indicated that this partial maneuver was superior to either the hand and thigh or the hip lift for developing sheer leg power, and safer for the lifter. In fact, some of the harness lift specialists of his day,he explained, relied heavily on the Kennedy lift to build power on the more limited movement chain events.

Well, we sure seem to have one heckuva case for setting wheels in motion to establish the Kennedy as an official lift. And history seems to support the fact that we could add significally to our own HEALTH by training it! As David  Butler put it  “A PERFECT lift develops a PERFECT  body!”

Teeth Lifting

by Al Myers

Art Montini Teeth Lifting at the 2013 USAWA Presidential Cup in Lebanon, PA.

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 in a USAWA competition.  To date it has only been contested by a few lifters in Record Days.   Here’s a little “refresher” on the USAWA rules of the Teeth Lift:

USAWA Rule I19. Teeth Lift

The setup for this lift requires a mouthpiece fitted to the lifter’s bite, a connecting chain, and a Vertical Bar to load plates to. The hands may not touch the mouthpiece, chain, or Vertical Bar during the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight may accidentally touch the legs during the lift, but the connecting chain must not touch any part of the body. The hands may brace on the legs and body during the lift, but must be free from the body upon completion of the lift. The width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter must lift the weight by the jaws clenched on the mouthpiece only, by extending upward. The legs must be straight upon completion of the lift, but the body does not need to be erect. Once the weight is clear of the platform and motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The rules are pretty straight-forward, and are similar to many other official USAWA rules for other lifts.  The critical things are – hands off legs at completion, legs straight, and weight clear of the platform.  The thing that makes Teeth Lifting a challenge is finding a Teeth Bit that one can use.  It’s not like this is a piece of lifting equipment that is readily available to buy nowadays!!  However, in the “lifting days of the past” it was easy to buy a Teeth Bit.  Virtually every issue of old “Muscular Development” had ads in the back with them for sale.  I would say the popularity of Teeth Lifting really went downhill by the mid 70’s.  Now if you want a Teeth Bit you have to have it custom made for you, or make one yourself.  It’s important that it fits “your bite” – not only for teeth protection but to give you the tightest fit for lifting more weight.

This is an ad for a Teeth Bit in an old issue of Muscular Development.

I’ve been lucky to see “the best” in the USAWA teeth lifting in action.  Years ago I was at the meet in Clark’s Gym when Steve Schmidt did his “record smashing” Teeth Lift of 390 pounds, which is the highest Teeth Lift record in the USAWA record list. I witnessed Steve exceed 300 pounds SEVERAL TIMES in the Teeth Lift.   The ole ironmaster Art Montini has the most Teeth Lift records “on the books”, and has been teeth lifting for years.  In August Art used the Teeth Lift to win the USAWA Presidential Cup with a fine lift of 107 pounds at over 85 years old!!!  Art is one of the few teeth lifters that have WORN OUT teeth bits thru years of use!  Just this year Art made himself a new teeth bit.

The legendary strongman Warren Lincoln Travis was quite the Teeth Lifter, and the best of his day.  Willoughby in his book “Super Athletes” reported him lifting 311 pounds in the Teeth Lift in Brooklyn, NY in 1918.  This was considered the unofficial WORLD RECORD for over 80 years!!!! That is until Steve Schmidt exceeded it several times in the mid-2000’s!!!  I consider Steve’s Teeth Lift record of 390 lbs. (which was done with the hands behind back, as was Travis’s) as the unofficial overall World Record in the Teeth Lift now. Maybe this Dino Challenge in January will bring Steve Schmidt out of competition retirement.  Especially since it contains ALL of his best lifts!!!!! I would love to see him in action teeth lifting again.

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

Al Myers of the USA is presented with the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup, only the 2nd time the cup has been presented, Al won with an outstanding Power Row of 145 kilos.

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 and Judy Habecker, and it was great to see everyone getting in there to help with setting up and tearing down afterwards. The loaders were just great as always, the referees worked well throughout and I was pleased to have my assistant Judy keeping check alongside me too!  The lifting was just great, where to start??

James Fuller of the USA was the Runner Up for the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy at the 2013 IAWA Gold Cup - seen here with an impressive lift ' The Bent Press' (Anyhow to Shoulders) with 60 kilos.

Denny Habecker showed he was still King of the Press, Barry Bryan was a knockout on the Bench Press lifts and Laverne Myers wowed everyone with his lifts especially the One Hand Fulton! Karen Gardner lifted light as she was still recovering from her latest Breast Cancer operation saga and Toni Saxton was competing for her first time ever, husband Graham must have been impressed as we all were with her Vertical Bar Strength. Art Montini was outstanding on the 2” bar and Al Myers was exceptional in the Power Row and Thumbless Deadlift. Jim Malloy showed real grit with his lifts, as did Dennis Mitchell, also recently recovered from surgery. James Fuller performed a wonderful Bent Press and followed with a big 2” Bar Straddle, whilst Graham Saxton pulled a great Middle fingers Straddle and then did a Hand and Thigh lift for his first time ever. Scott Schmidt was excellent with his Clean and Press Behind the Neck, and Dean Ross had fun with the Trap Bar and the Hip Lift for new records too! Chad Ullom was on great form with a great Clean and Jerk followed by IAWA’s heaviest ever Front Squat, and big Frankie Ciavattone brought proceedings to an end with a One Hand Ciavattone Deadlift and a big Hip Lift to follow.

The English Contingent at the 2013 Gold Cup World Record Breakers Event - 2nd November 2013. Steve and Karen Gardner - Toni and Graham Saxton (Toni was making her debut on a weightlifting platform - Well Done Toni)

The whole day was a real positive advertisement for all round weightlifting, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Howard Prechtel (the founder of the event) was remembered on the day by the presenting of the Trophy bearing his name. James Fuller was a great runner up with his tremendous Bent Press lift, but Al Myers took the trophy for his exceptional Power Row.  For those that were able to stay, the banquet that followed was excellent, and all who attended knew they had witnessed something special that day – the 23rd Annual IAWA GOLD CUP!                            

Best Wishes to all and heres to the next time – Steve Gardner

2013 Gold Cup RESULTS – IAWA 2013 GOLD CUP

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

New England RB

[ November 30, 2013; 10:00 am; ]

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
NEW ENGLAND ALL ROUND RECORD BREAKERS

A sanction request has just been approved for Frank Ciavattone to host a Record Breakers Day at his gym on November 30th, 2013.  Frank has an excellent home gym that can virtually accommodate any all round lift – thus making it an ideal venue for a  …… More

World Championships

by Steve Gardner

IAWA World Championships – Accrington, England 2013

Right, I don’t know where to start…so much to report on… this had to be one of the best IAWA World Championships ever! Sorry that with illness and injury problems Gary Ell and Mark Rattenberry didn’t make it but they would sure have been proud of their young  …… More

The Adventures of Russ Murphy

by Al Myers

This past weekend  I had a visitor for the weekend, an ole friend from Colorado, who spent the weekend with me so we could attend the McPherson Highland Games together.  I have known Russ for over 25 years and we have spent much time together during the course of our Highland Games pursuits. Most of you that know me know how  …… More

Founding USAWA Principles

by Al Myers

I’ve been appreciating the comments on the USAWA Discussion Forum recently in regards to ET’s editorial story the other day about problems and issues the USAWA faces in stimulating new memberships.   I have to admit – most of ET’s sentiments I have felt at some time or another.  Our organization is very unique in several ways compared  …… More

York Adjustable Krusher

by Al Myers

When I was at Denny’s last month for the USAWA Presidential Cup I got to spend some more time in the Habecker’s Gym.  I really enjoy private club gyms as they have character (unlike commercial gyms), and often have interesting pieces of equipment in them that are “part of the collection” of the owner.  As I was  …… More

News Update for 2013 IAWA Worlds

by Steve Gardner

Information for those attending the IAWA Worlds in Accrington.

Friday

5.30pm to 7.30pm the IAWA World Council Meeting will take place at the Lifting Venue (Hollins Tech College).

Scales should be available for practice weigh ins.

At 7.30pm the group will move along to the Main Bar at the nearby Dunkenhalgh Hotel as a meeting point  …… More

Where do we go?

by Eric Todd

The USAWA has been around for 26 years.  To my knowledge, there is no other governing body for all-round lifting in the USA, and only a small splinter group in the UK outside of our world organization, the IAWA.  Anybody who is anybody in all-round in America is a member of the USAWA.  So why is it,  …… More

Training arms with Bill Pearl

by Al Myers

Thom’s story the other day about Bill Pearl and his leg training got me thinking about the great Bill Pearl and his training.  I always greatly admired Bill Pearl’s physique, and consider it the IDEAL muscular build.  I know nowadays the trend in bodybuilding is to build muscular mass to the extreme, but in doing so it  …… More

Roman Chair Squat

by Thom Van Vleck

Some time back Al Myers wrote a great article on the Roman Chair and it’s place in the USAWA as a contested lift.  It can be found here: http://www.usawa.com/roman-chair/.  It even inspired me to make a Roman chair and add some Roman Chair sit ups to my workout.

Recently, I have been doing some  …… More

Super Arm Blaster

by Al Myers

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  …… More

Best Exercise Ever

by Thom Van Vleck

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  …… More

Louis Abele’s Training Program

by Al Myers

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  …… More

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