Phumchaona Lift

by Al Myers

Noi Phumchaona performing a Clean and Press at the 1999 IAWA World Championships in Australia.

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 that is supposed to be a compliment!). Anyone with normal sense would have passed on attempting this lift for record.

Jesse Jobe, of the Jobe’s Steel Jungle, performed a Phumchaona Lift of 840 pounds.  This is the FIRST and ONLY record lift established in the Phumchaona Lift. I appreciate lifters like Jesse bringing recognition to the “less popular” lifts in the USAWA by performing them in record days.  If you look hard in the Rule Book and compare it to the Record List you will find there are a few other USAWA lifts that have never been performed for record.  I know which ones they are – but I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the ones!

The Phumchaona Lift was named after Noi Phumchaona, the most celebrated female USAWA lifter in history.  Noi was the OVERALL BEST LIFTER at the USAWA Nationals four times (2002, 1999, 1998, & 1997).  She was married to the legendary Hall of Famer Howard Prechtel.  Together they made a dynamic husband/wife duo, and their presence was at most every major competition during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Together they have more USAWA/IAWA Championships than any other husband/wife combo in the history of our organization. The Phumchaona Lift is an official lift of the USAWA only (not an IAWA lift).

The rules for the Phumchaona Lift are as follows:

I14. Phumchaona Lift

This lift combines a Hip Lift and a Clean and Press with two dumbbells. The rules of the Hip Lift and Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells apply with these exceptions. The lifter gets in position for a Hip Lift holding two dumbbells at arms’ length by the sides. The dumbbells may be cleaned and pressed before, during, or after the Hip Lift. Any combination of movements is allowed. The only command from an official during this lift will be a command to end the lift when both the Hip Lift and the Clean and Press with two dumbbells are completed.

As you can see, this is a extremely difficult lift which combines a heavy lift and a dumbbell lift.  It is definitely a “one of a kind” lift.  The interesting thing is that there is not a documented case of Noi actually performing this lift.  I have done some research on when this lift originated – and I am at a dead end. I even went to the effort of contacting several of the “long in the tooth” USAWA members to give me input for this story,  and I’ve only received one email response back in which he didn’t have anything to add.  So this makes the Phumchaona Lift an all-round mystery for now.

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