Heavy Lifting Objects

by Al Myers

Frank's "1 TON" Train wheels, that he uses for hip and harness lifting.

The other day I covered a story about Frank’s big “1-TON” train wheels in his backyard, and how he uses them in his training for heavy hip and harness lifting.  These big train wheels are more than just “yard art”  to Frank – they are an important apparatus used in his all round training.  Several other all rounders have similar things they use for training the heavy chain lifts.   I have been in many all round club gyms and have seen other heavy things used.  It goes to show that there are things to train on besides bars and plates. 

Al Springs uses these "giant tires" to train the hip and harness lifts.

Al Springs has his “giant tires” that he uses for Hip and Harness lifting.  Very impressive setup!

This is All-Round lifing legend Steve Schmidt's setup for training the Heavy Lifts, complete with his walker.

Steve Schmidt has his “big frame” that he uses.  He did many of his 3000 pound plus Harness Lifts using this setup.

The Dino Gym's Train Wheels, which reside by the front door of the gym.

At the Dino Gym, I have a couple of Train Wheels on a Heavy Lift bar that I use to train the hip and harness lifts.  Altogether, they weigh in at 1425 pounds including the bar.   I have done a set of 20 reps in the Harness Lift with these, and sets of 5-10 for hip lifting.  As of yet, I have not done a Hand and Thigh with them.   I’m gonna make that a goal of mine this summer – 1 rep in the Hand and Thigh with these train wheels!!! That’s a perfect summer challenge for me!!

Al Spings and his Tractor Lift

by Al Myers and Lance Foster

Al Springs performing his Tractor Lift, which weighs over 3000 pounds!

Most everyone in the USAWA knows or has heard of Al Springs from Dearborn, Missouri.  Al is an eccentric ole’ all rounder, who has been involved with the USAWA for many, many years and has a great passion for weightlifting and anything “all round” in nature.  He is reminiscent of the OLD TIME STRONGMEN of the turn of the previous century in his mindset, and takes on strength challenges that others might pass on.  He is still a very active USAWA member at over 70 years of age.  He competes a few times every year in our organization and even competed on the WORLD STAGE of IAWA this past October at the IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas. He won his age and weight class, earning him the right to call himself a World Champion. 

I always enjoy my conversations with Al.  We talk on the phone every couple of months, and when he calls I answer “this is Al”, and he responds, “this is Al” as well.  I know immediately who I am talking to. Recently Lance Foster shared this very interesting picture of Al Springs performing, what he calls, his Tractor Lift. Lance was able to get Al to share his story on his Tractor Lift and this is what Al said:

“Normal H Farmall tractors weigh about 6000 lbs which was too much for lifting, but long enough for what I wanted to transfer into a strongman project, actually a vision of my art to lift. After the transfer the tractor weighs about 3000 lbs.  I made the harness belt also.  The chains hooked to the tractor’s frame was 200 lbs.  While the tractor was in the barn, I would do reps with it. I moved it outside for my daughter to take pictures. My wife Deanna judged the lift.  As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has lifted a tractor that big.  I’ve heard that Paul Anderson lifted a car.”

All I can say is this – THAT’S AN IMPRESSIVE HARNESS LIFT!  Harness lifting was a common strength feat done by Old Time Strongmen as large amounts of weight can be lifted this way.  It was also common for Old Time Strongmen to perform their Harness Lifting on an elevated platform, with the weights below.  This gives a specacular view of the effort and the success of the lift.  Guys like Al Springs represent the roots of All Round Weightlifting and the Old Time Strongman connection, and he is the perfect example of someone who supports the mission statement of the USAWA.

MISSION STATEMENT OF THE USAWA

The USAWA was formed to continue the long standing tradition of old-time weightlifters like Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr, Arthur Saxon, Hermann Goerner, Warren Lincoln Travis, and many others. We strive to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting, which in the past has been referred to as “odd lifting”. Many of the lifts we perform are based on stage acts or challenge lifts of old-time strongmen.

Al Springs

by Al Myers

Al Springs performed a 335 pound Deanna Lift this past weekend at the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet. This lift was named after his late wife Deanna.

It was a great pleasure seeing Al Springs this past weekend at the Deanna Springs Memorial Meet.  Deanna was the late wife of Al’s who this meet is in memory of.  She was killed in a car accident in 1995.  She was very involved in the USAWA prior to her death and is in the USAWA Hall of Fame.  Al hosted the first Deanna Memorial Meet at his home gym in 1996.  Since then it has been hosted at Clark’s Gym. 

Al has had his number of setbacks through the years.  He was involved in a car accident himself that required longterm recuperation.  He has had other heart related health issues.  So seeing him back in action on the lifting platform was BIG NEWS!  Years ago Al had a gym in Platte City that he ran till round 1995.  At that time he also hosted several USAWA events at his home in Dearborn, Missouri.

Al is just a “great guy”.   But don’t let his quiet demeanor surprise you – because once you get him talking he is full of weightlifting stories.  I have had the opportunity to compete with him at several meets though the years and he is always energetic and ready to lift.   I know he really enjoyed this past weekend at the Deanna Meet because of the large turnout, and especially the turnout of lifters his age.   And on a final note – how can anyone named “Al” be anything but a nice guy?!?

Hall of Fame Biography – Deanna Springs class of 1997

Deanna Springs and Al Springs performing a Team Cheat Curl

Deanna Springs was born in Gallatin, Missouri, daughter of Ray and Gertrude Cook. Deanna was introduced to All-Round Weightlifting by her husband, Al Springs, in 1990. Having no prior sports experience, she quickly developed a love for weightlifting, and trained with Al at their gym. Together, they also promoted several local competitions. Someone else who inspired her to take up weightlifting was Bill Clark. Deanna and Al would often compete in the All-Round Weighlifting competitions that Bill hosted at his gym. Her best National placing was placing 3rd overall at the 1994 USAWA National Championships in East Lake, Ohio. Deanna’s favorite lifts were the Zercher Lift and the Hand and Thigh. Her best Hand and Thigh was 620 pounds. That is how the Deanna Lift, which was named in her honor, came to be – by combining the movements of the Hand and Thigh and the Zercher Lift. Deanna died in 1995. Every year Bill Clark hosts the Deanna Springs Memorial, a meet which features the Deanna Lift.