Joe the Turk reminder

by Al Myers

Paul Anderson training a partial squat that is very close to the USAWA lift that bears his name in the USAWA - the Anderson Squat. Notice the homemade wooden rack that supports the weight just below lockout.

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.  Thom will be there as well, and I’m sure several of the local gym members will be competing.  There’s a great selection of Old Time Strongman lifts in this meet – Anderson Squat, Dumbbell to Shoulder, Peoples Deadlift, and the Apollon’s Lift.  That’s a meet for everyone!

New Official OTSM Lifts

by Al Myers

Paul Anderson training the squat with his iron wheels in Toccoa, Georgia. Paul's name has been "tied" to two new USAWA OTSM lifts.

I’ve already covered one of the new lifts approved at the USAWA Annual Meeting (The Curl – Reverse Grip).  However, the big news in “lift approval” is the addition of several new Old Time Strongman lifts.  The following OTSM lifts are NOW official lifts in the USAWA:   People’s Deadlift, Anderson Press, Anderson Squat, and the Dumbbell to Shoulder.  These 4 OTSM lifts have all been performed in USAWA competition over this past year as exhibition lifts, but now they are official lifts.  Included in the motion at the meeting to accept these as new lifts was retroactively making any lift “record eligible” in these lifts that have been done over this past year.  The Peoples Deadlift was part of the “Battle of the Barn” OTSM competition held be Eric Todd this past March, with the Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, and the Dumbbell to Shoulder being part of the 2011 USAWA OTSM Championships held by Thom Van Vleck last fall in Kirksville.  In each circumstance, the lift was done according to the new accepted rules, so it seems only right to me that these past efforts  be recognized by potential records.

One thing that I like to see with new lifts is that they have been done a few times as exhibition lifts in USAWA competitions before they become official.  This way any “wrinkles” can be worked out in the rules, and only lifts will be presented for new lift status that have been “tried and tested”.  The days are long gone where a lifter can just present a new lift at the National Meeting to be accepted without any prior written rules in hand or Executive Board approval.  Now there is a SET POLICY in place (check the rulebook) so only lifts are presented that have been well reviewed.  Most of our rule problems, as well as stupid lifts (and I’ll name them if you want me to),  in the past have been caused by the hap-hazard way lifts used to be approved.  

The Rules for these 4 new OTSM lifts are below.  Soon they will be added to the Rulebook.

Peoples DeadliftThis is a partial deadlift, where the bar height must not be over 18″ from the platform (measured from the top of the bar). The plates or bar may be supported on stands, rack supports, or blocks to obtain this height. The lifter must have the bar in front of the legs, as in a normal deadlift. The hands must be on the outside of the legs (NO SUMO STANCE) during the entire lift. Lifting straps or any other gripping aid is not allowed. It is NOT an infraction to drag the bar up the legs, bounce the bar up the legs, or support the bar on the legs during the lift (hitching). A one minute time limit is allowed for the lifter to make a legal lift, during which time a lifter may make multiple tries. Once the lifter is totally upright and the bar motionless, an official will give the command to end the lift.

Anderson PressPress (with a standard Olympic bar) will be done from a dead stop position in the power rack from a height no greater than the height of the lifter when standing erect. Lifter may “bow” back to press the weight but must keep knees locked. The lift ends when the lifter is upright, arms locked, and demonstrates control of the weight. The lifter may press in an uneven manner and unlock unevenly. It is not a disqualification if the bar is lowered during the press, and afterwards the press resumes. The feet are not allowed to move. However, the lifter may raise the heels or toes during the press. Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift. An official will give a command to end the lift.

Anderson SquatA squat (with a standard Olympic bar) done from a dead stop from a height not over two thirds the height of the lifter. Squat is completed when the knees are locked and the lifter is standing erect. Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift. Knee wraps or knee sleeves will be allowed. An official will give a command to end the lift.

Dumbbell to ShoulderA Dumbbell will be taken from the floor to the shoulder using any method the lifter wants to employ. The dumbbell may be lifted with two hands, continental style, may be rested on the belt during the lift, by any part of the dumbbell. Hands may grip the plates, bar, collars or any part of the dumbbell. Any size plate may be loaded onto the dumbbell.The lift is completed when the lifter is standing upright, with the dumbbell resting on the shoulder, and the lifter demonstrating control. Both hands may remain on the dumbbell to complete the lift, or with one hand or both hands off the dumbbell. Time limit of 1 minute is given to complete the lift. An official will give a command to end the lift.

15 Year Journey

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck hitting 620lbs on the "Anderson Squat" at the Old Time Strong Man Championships at the JWC Training Hall

I have accumulated a lot of equipment in my gym over the years.  Most everything has a story behind it and since I’m a “story teller” here is the “story” behind the bar used at the OTSM Championships on October 16, 2011.  It is an oversized bar that weighs in at 50lbs.  It was custom made for World Champion Powerlifter John Ware, who was at one time my training partner.  John’s greatest feat, in my opinion, was beating Bill Kazmaier’s “unbeatable” World Record Total.  John did a 985lb squat the day he beat that record.  With the oversized bar he hit 1000lbs in a contest that allowed him to use the bar.  It is very stiff and longer than a regulation bar, allowing John to not be bound up when under it.  I know some might consider him using a “special” bar to get an official 1000lb squat questionable, just like I know many would question his chemical methods and I won’t make apologies for either one here.  Just know he was my friend, he never offered anything to me, helped me immensely in my training, donated to the JWC his time and much equipment, and paid the ultimate price for being a champion on those terms when he passed away several years ago.

So, that being said, I knew he left a lot of equipment to Truman State University where he was the head football coach for many years.  This bar was a part of that inheritance so to speak.  It was kept where the football players lifted and used for many years.  Back when I trained with John we would have these big Friday Squat workouts.  Several of the linemen would be involved and heavy weights would be lifted.  It was around this time, 15 years ago, I hit a 600lb squat with that bar.  That’s the most I have ever squatted to parallel.  That would have never happened without the training atmosphere present during those years.  I went from a 365lb squat to 600 during that time.  When John left, the bar kind of disappeared.  I had no idea whatever happened to it until this summer.  It turned up, rusted and neglected, and basically thrown away and replaced by slick, new chrome bars that I’m sure appealed to the younger lifters at the college who had no idea what a jewel this bar is.  Their loss was my gain and I refurbished this bar and nursed it back to health!  As I cleaned the rust off, I could recall countless workouts and countless lifters, World Champion powerlifters, several NFL bound players, and even a future Professional “rassler”, Glenn Jacobs AKA “Kane” of WWE fame.

So, when it came time to do the Anderson Squat at the OTSM I reached over to grab a bar from my “Olympic Bar gun rack” where I store the 15 or so bars I own and my eyes fell on John’s old bar.  I had not thought about using it, I had another very good, stiff squat bar…..but it just seemed fitting.  I was very please when I hit the 620lb squat some 15 years after hitting the 600 on the same exact bar.  I also know that John would be very pleased that bar was used in that type of meet.  That bar has undoubtedly seen a lot of lifting, and as long as I have it, it will continue to see a lot of lifting!  The story has not ended.

Rules for the Anderson Squat

by Thom Van Vleck

The Anderson Squat: Old Time Strongman lift

Let’s take a look at one of the new lifts for the Old Time Strongman Nationals to be held Oct. 16 at the JWC Training Hall in Kirksville, Missouri.  First, let’s review what the “Old Time Strongman” is before we talk about this brand new lift.  Old Time Strongman in the USAWA will included lifts popularized or used by strongmen of years past.  The lifts must be loadable (So the bar can be loaded to any weight so any skill level can make the lift and not just have a heavy apparatus with a set weight).    The idea is that you will have a strongman contest that can be contested by a wide variety of skill levels and ages.

Today’s focus is on the “Anderson Squat”.  Paul Anderson, one of the greatest strongmen of all time, was famous for his leg strength.  Ol’ Paul had a lot of unorthodox training techniques often born out of necessity (in other words, “he didn’t have the proper equipment so he just rigged something up and lifted it!”).  One of the more famous lifts he employed was squatting barrels filled with junk from a hole in the ground.  The story goes Paul loaded it and dug a hole deep enough he could get under it and do a partial squat.  He would then throw some dirt in the hole, slowly filling it up, so that he would have to get a little lower each time to complete the lift.  I found a great photo of Paul doing the lift and evidently that day he was short on iron so a couple of pretty girls volunteered!  Don’t worry, if we run low on weights at the meet, I’ll be happy to climb on top for extra weight!

USAWA Rules for the Anderson Squat

 A squat (with a standard Olympic bar) done from a dead stop from a height not over two thirds the height of the lifter.  Squat is completed when the knees are locked and the lifter is standing erect.  Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift.  Knee wraps or knee sleeves will be allowed.  An official will give a command to end the lift.

The uniqueness of this event is doing a squat from a dead stop.  It is also the challenge of it!  It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers we can put up in this event….and I don’t think Paul will have anything to worry about in regards to anyone coming close to breaking his records in this style of lifting.