The Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift

by Al Myers

Al Myers performing a One Arm Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift with 170 pounds at Clark's Record Day.

One of the lifts I did last weekend at Clark’s Record Day was the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift.  I wanted to do this lift to point out a mistake that was made in the new Rule Book and found by Dale Friesz.  Despite the extensive review process of the new Rule Book, I knew mistakes were still possible and here is one.  Thanks Dale for finding it!

The Rule for the Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells should be this:

The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2″ in diameter.  No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The maximum diameter of the plates used is 18 inches.

Previously, due to a typo, it stated that only 11 inch diameter plates could be used.  This typo happened  because the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift does require a maximum diameter of 11 inch plates, and the rule for this lift is close to the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift in the Rule Book.  Once again, copy and pasting created a problem for me!!  The reason for the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift requiring maximum 11″ plates is because the original Inch Dumbbell was a globe dumbbell, and the rule was written to best simulate the original Inch Dumbbells size using a plate loaded dumbbell handle.  This mistake will be corrected in next years updated Rule Book.

Now for the story on how the Fulton Dumbbell got its name….

Back in the early 80’s at a odd lifting meet in Liberal, Kansas, meet director Bob Burtzloff included a thick-handled dumbbell deadlift in the contest.  This dumbbell had a smooth 2 inch diameter handle.  Wilbur Miller, the “Cimarron Kid” and Kansas lifting legend,  was the hands on favorite to win this event.  Wilbur has huge hands with long fingers and was very rarely beaten in any lifting event that involved grip strength.  But this day was one of those rare days – when a young farm boy from Nebraska by the name of Kevin Fulton pulled off the upset! Upon Fulton’s winning – Bill Clark announced that this lift would be forever named the Fulton Lift.  This eventually lead to the naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar along with the Fulton Dumbbell.  As for Wilbur – upon the finish of the event he went back to the warm-up area and proceeded to pull more on this lift than he did in competition.  He went home knowing that he may not have won the event on this day,  but with the satisfaction of knowing he would next time!