World Championships

by Steve Gardner

IAWA World Championships – Accrington, England 2013

Mark Haydock, Best Overall Open Lifter and Best Overall Male Lifter with IAWA President Al Myers (left picture). Paula De La Mata, Best Overall Female Lifter with IAWA President Al Myers (right picture).

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 team mate, Junior lifter Jevan Cockbain who was great. In the Junior ranks young Connor Mansell was also outstanding! Mark Haydock and his team of support headed up by wife Sam, put on an amazing championships, full marks guys, and also Dean Kent and Exertrain who provided equipment etc all in all a great job.

Dan Butterworth and his partner Andy Milner were ace on the platform loading every lift over the weekend, and the other platform was looked after by a rotation of the lifters, I have never known so many to volunteer to help and get stuck in – a credit to IAWA. The referees were diligent and ever keen to take position when asked in the hot seats, we used 21 officials this year, 17 in the chairs, 1 as Technical Officer and Drug Tester (many drug tests carried out and Technical issues addressed – well done Frank Allen) and 3 working the scoring announcing table. I was so impressed with my assistant on the MC Announcing / recording task, I have had a lot of experience of handling 2 platforms at the same time, but Al Myers, our IAWA President, from Kansas USA took to the task like a ‘good un’ and made my job easier and well done again Al! Chris Bass was on top of his game with all the figures and records on his computer, he was a great aid to the lifters throughout the weekend! We had a great young man named Ollie Melidoni in action all weekend providing a great service for sport massage and injury / strain treatment. Everyone commented on his friendly and professional approach to the job, he doesn’t know it yet but  he will be adopted by IAWA and we hope to see him at future events!

As for the lifting…where to start? on a personal note, some of the most exciting moments for me were: Timo from Finland with an amazing World Record Vertical pull on the 2 inch bar, Paul Barrette pulling the 250 kilos on the Trap Bar for a record at 70 kilos bodyweight, John Kavanagh with his 65 kilos Dumbell Clean and Jerk (also Sam Trew on that lift) Jenn Tibbenham on the Squat, new World Record, my son James taking the World Record with 260.5k, Mark Haydock with his 342.5 Trap Bar – heaviest ever! the list is endless, of course I was overjoyed for the lifters from my club who I have worked hard with over the last 8 weeks and it was magic to see them come through: my son James, Paula and Graham taking World titles and Luke Davis with a super performance and taking a runners up spot (it will be there for you if you keep working like you do Luke)

On a general note, I was so impressed with all of the lifters, it really was an outstanding weekend, The Scotland team did a great job! the lifters from Spain were great and took a bagful of records home with them as did the Australian team – excellent guys, just cant say enough, our friends from the USA stalwarts like Denny Habecker and Art Montini – hey what about it Art Montini 85 years of age, a role model to us all. and the other Nations represented too for Ireland, Pakistan and Finland – just amazing! The lifters from across England came together for a great display, and the Metamorfit Club from the South East bringing 7 lifters along to have a great time, full of enthusiasm – just great. Well done to all, each and every one who made the effort to be there. More info and results to follow soon!!!

MEET RESULTS:

World Champs 2013 Day1         World Champs 2013 Day2       

World Champs 2013 Both Days

World Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
2013 IAWA World Championships

Mark and I enjoying some "beach time" on Scarborough Beach near Perth, Western Australia, while there for the 2011 IAWA World Championships.

The entry form and meet details have been released for the 2013 IAWA World Championships.  Mark Haydock, of Preston, England, will be this year’s meet director and host.  Mark runs an all round club, the Houghton Barbell Club. Mark has been very involved in IAWA and has attended many World Championships.   He was the Overall Best Lifter in the 2009 Championship in Lebanon, PA.

All it takes for a USAWA member to enter the IAWA World Championships is to be a USAWA current member.  There are NO pre-meet qualifications to enter. Just fill out the entry form completely and send it to Mark, then book your flight to England.  That’s it! The entry deadline is August 31st.

The meet is a two day meet (Saturday October 5th & Sunday October 6th).   In the Info Sheet Mark has given several suggestions for places to stay.  The lifts for the World Championships are:

DAY ONE

Clean and Press

Continental Snatch

Pullover – Straight Arm

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Arm, 2″, One Hand

DAY TWO

Squat

Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, One Arm

Deadlift – Trap Bar

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – 2013 IAWA World Championships Entry

INFO SHEET (PDF) -  2013 IAWA World Championships Info

Hoghton Barbell Club Victorious!

by Al Myers

Mark Haydock, the leader of the Hoghton Barbell Club, performing a 272.5 kg Squat at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. Spotters include Chad Ullom (left), Alex Rigbye (center), and Steve Angell (right).

The Dino Gym was issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club of Preston, England in last weekend’s Dino Gym Challenge. Well, the results are in and have been tabulated and the Hoghton Barbell Club has came out victorious! Congratulations to the Hoghton Barbell Club!  This “challenge” was mentioned several times on Saturday and I’m sure it pushed the Dino Gym members to greater lifting numbers.  I’m very proud of the Dino Crew and their lifting in the Dino Gym Challenge, however, it just wasn’t quite enough to overcome the powerful Hoghton club.  The finish was pretty close though:  1. Hoghton BB Club 4287.7 points, 2. Dino Gym 4126.3 points.  The only “consolation prize” the Dino Gym got was that in total pounds lifted the Dino Gym had 5237 pounds to Hoghton’s  4961 pounds.

It was agreed beforehand that the points of the top three performers of each club would be added together to form the TEAM SCORE.  The Hoghton Club consisted of Josh Haydock, Alex Rigbye, and Mark Haydock.  The scoring members of the Dino Gym were Alan English, Scott Campbell, and Mark Mitchell.  Other Dino Gym members that competed in the Challenge were Darren Barnhart, Scott Tully, Dean Ross, Ben Edwards, and Chuck Cookson.

The leader of Hoghton Barbell Club, Mark Haydock, sent this note to me when he sent me his club’s results:

A brief report on todays lifts, the squat went really well, all three of us hit personal best lifts I was 6kg up on training, Josh was 30kg up, and Alex was 90kg up!! The press was a bit of a damp squid and we didn’t really feel it was much different to a normal bench press. Josh and Alex were slightly up on the deadlift poundages and finished their days lifting with a smile on their faces, but with sore bodies! I only took 2 deadlift attempts, both were very strong pulls but I am currently nursing a strained finger injury and my grip is compromised at the moment, I made both lifts with a double overhand hook grip. We will be waiting with baited breath to see how we drop into the total set of results…     Thanks Mark H

I think it is worth pointing out that Mark Haydock performed a 917 pound Anderson Squat!  That’s a big lift!!!!  Again, congrats to the Hoghton Barbell Club for winning this challenge.   The next time I see ya Mark, I’ll have those Dino Gym T-shirts to “pay up” the bet!!!!!

MEET RESULTS:

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

1.  Hoghton Barbell Club – 4287.7 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Josh Haydock 22 80.0kg 642 264 440 1346 1293.8
Alex Rigbye 24 92.0kg 751 313 610 1674 1484.2
Mark Haydock 37 118.0kg 917 341 683 1941 1509.7

2.  Dino Gym – 4126.3 points

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Mark Mitchell 52 316# 672 365 624 1661 1329.4
Scott Campbell 38 287# 881 325 654 1860 1378.8
Alan English 29 231# 694 320 702 1716 1418.1

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Dino Gym Challenge REMINDER

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym has been issued a challenge from the Hoghton Barbell Club. Pictured left to right in front of the Dinnie Stones: Josh Haydock, Mark Haydock, Alex Rigbye

The Annual Dino Gym Challenge is now only ONE WEEK away.  I have received several commitments from lifters that plan to compete.  It is looking to be a well-attended meet.  I’m hoping for 15-20 lifters – and I think I might get that many.  The entry form is available on the website, and I’m still taking entries so it is NOT too late to attend!

A new twist has been recently added to this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  Mark Haydock, of the Hoghton Barbell Club in Preston, England has issued the Dino Gym a “head-to-head” Challenge.  Of course I accepted!!!  We even put up “stakes” for the challenge.  The loser will have to “pay up” gym shirts to the winner.    His club has three members who are going to participate – Mark, Josh Haydock, and Alex Rigbye.   They plan to do the same lifts as us on the same day so the results will be known that same day.  This means that the “top three” placing Dino Gym members of the day will be entered in this challenge against our English counterparts.  All adjusted scores will be added together from the three participants from each club to form a final total team score.  So I’m expecting BIG THINGS out of the Dino Gym members on this one – so come ready to put up BIG LIFTS!!  Mark Haydock is promoting the IAWA World Championships next fall and I don’t want to have to be showing up with my “tail between my legs” paying up the losing bet!!!

If weather permits there may be a shooting contest immediately following the meet for anyone who is interested. I’m thinking of having four different competition categories.

1. 25 target trap shoot
2. 10 shot small bore (.223 and below)- 100 and 200 yards
3. 10 shot large bore (above .233)- 100 and 200 yards
4. 10 shot handgun 10 yards & 25 yards

You can enter one, a couple, or all of these categories depending on what gun/guns you bring. Let me know if anyone is interested in this. This way the Dino Challenge will cover two of my favorite interests – shooting and lifting!!!   I’ll provide the targets but you provide the gun/ammo for which category you plan to enter.   Handguns will be shot free hand, while rifles will be shot from a shooting bench.  Bipods will be allowed.

I am in the process of having some really special awards made for this year’s meet.  I really hope that they will be done in time.  How many times have you went to a meet with NO ENTRY FEE and received an award?   Not many I would guess – but this is the yearly Club Meet that I promote and I like to give back to our club’s membership, so I think it is only the right thing to do. I should also mention that this is a “functioning award” that I know many will like, especially guys like Dan Wagman.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday!!!

Our Trip to the Dinnie Stones

by Al Myers

The three that lifted the Dinnie Stones unassisted (without straps) - (left to right): Mark Haydock, Al Myers, and Chad Ullom

One of the most exciting experiences of my life occurred the day following the IAWA Gold Cup.  Gold Cup promoters Andy Tomlin and Matthew Finkle arranged an organized trip to visit the famous Dinnie Stones.  This trip was planned and announced many months in advance and several IAWA lifters took part.  Participants included men from Scotland, England, United States, and Finland. As we were making the road trip to the Potarch Hotel and crossing through the beautiful  Scottish Highlands and the snow covered Cairngorm Mountains, anxiety and anticipation filled the atmosphere of the car. Once we arrived it was exciting to see several locals had showed up to witness our efforts. Apparently the word had gotten out!  I would say there were 10-15 people in attendance to watch our efforts in undertaking the challenge of lifting the Dinnie Stones. 

Donald Dinnie left these stones for future generations to test their strength.  I have previously read the book, “Donald Dinnie – The First Sporting Superstar” by David Webster and Gordon Dinnie several times, and it is a tremendous account of Donald Dinnie and his achievements.  Anyone should read this book before making the trip to the Potarch Hotel to fully realize and recognize the historical significance of these stones. The latest issue of MILO (September, 2012 Volume 20, Issue 2) included an excellent Dinnie Stone article written by the legendary Scottish Highland Game athlete Francis Brebner. I have read several articles concerning the Dinnie Stones, and this article by Francis is the best one I have ever read. I have had the opportunity to “share the throwing field” with Francis in several past professional Highland Games, and I can attest firsthand what an upstanding individual Francis is in the strength community.   Another important reference should be the Dinnie Stone website http://gordondinnie.com/Stones.html , which includes many of the successful lifts by strong men in past history.  The top of the website lays out the challenges made by Donald Dinnie and his stones in his own words, which I would like to repeat here:

The stones weighing a total of 785lbs. were carried by Donald Dinnie in 1860.

Here is Donald’s own account of the event written by him in 1912.

“On the granite stone bridge that crosses the River Dee at Potarch there  were, and still are, two large stones weighing about 8cwt the pair, placed in a recess. In the early 1830’s massive iron rings were placed in them, to which ropes were fixed so that scaffolds could be attached for pointing the bridge. Now, one of these stones was somewhat heavier than the other. Very few strong men of that day could lift the heavy one withbothhands, but my father could raise one in each hand with apparent ease, and could throw the heavier stone of the two on to the top of a parapet wall of the bridge. Those stones are still on the bridge and I myself lifted one in each hand on many occasions and one market day, I carried them across the bridge and back, some four to five yards.”

It is easy to see from those words that three challenges were issued by Donald Dinnie regarding the Dinnie Stones, 1. Lift the stones for height (to the top of a parapet wall) 2. Lift the stones for repetitions (lifted one in each hand on many occasions) and 3. Carry them for distance (carried them across the bridge and back, some four or five yards).

The Dinnie Stones represent a different individual challenge for every person.  Lifting stones is NOT a weightlifting meet - there is no trophy for winning or being the best.  I feel anyone who meets the challenge that they set out for themselves with the Dinnie Stones is worthy of praise, as this is what stone lifting should be all about.  It’s a inner battle against the stone that lays before you which drives you to ”rise to the occasion” and give everything that you have, both mentally and physically, to accomplish the goal set forth.  If you do that, you have been successful in your quest and should  know in your heart that by doing so you have met the challenge of the Dinnie Stones.  The degree of this challenge is different for every man.

Now let me get to the details of this glorious day of those that had taken part!!  I kept very accurate records of the accounts of the day as I want this to be reported with accuracy.  Ten men took part in this memorable event. Below is a summary chart of what transpired:

Participant Age BWT Dinnie Stone Accomplishment
Alex Rigbye, ENGLAND  27 89kg 7 Repetitions with both stones assisted (WITH STRAPS)
Josh Haydock, ENGLAND 22 80kg 1 Repetition with both stones assisted (WITH STRAPS), and 3 Repetitions with small stone unassisted 
Barry Gordge, ENGLAND 51 104kg 1 Repetition with small stone unassisted
George Dick, SCOTLAND 64 123kg 1 Repetition with small stone using both hands unassisted
Mark Haydock, ENGLAND 37 115kg 25 Repetitions with both stones unassisted, walk with both stones unassisted a total of 3 feet
Chad Ullom, UNITED STATES 40 112kg 25 Repetitions with both stones unassisted
Andy Tomlin, SCOTLAND 45 92kg Lifted both small and large stone one handed unassisted
Timo Lauttemaus, FINLAND 33 98kg Lifted large stone unassisted with left hand and held for a time of 14.3 seconds
Matt Finkle, SCOTLAND 46 65kg Lifted both small and large stone with two hands unassisted
Al Myers, UNITED STATES 46 111kg 1 Repetition with both stones unassisted

(NOTES: I want to mention that these ages and bodyweights are official, as they were used in entry in the previous days’ IAWA Gold Cup Championships.  Also, I want to thank James McKenna for attending this activity, as he was the one responsible for several of the pictures that were taken.  The Dinnie Stone lifting took place over an hour and a half, from 10:30 AM to noon on November 4th., 2012)

I was so impressed with Alex Rigbye and Josh Haydock.  These two young men brimmed with enthusiasm, and gained much respect from myself and others by their tenacity.  Josh was set on trying to lift both stones unassisted, and tried numerous times to no avail.  He easily lifted the small stone unassisted, but the large stone was just slightly out of his capabilities.  It surely wasn’t because of lack of effort!  He tried and tried, and then totally exhausted resorted to using lifting straps to complete one good repetition of both stones.  It was a gallant lift, considering that he had previously “given it all”.  Alex was intent on getting as many reps as he could using straps, and “gutted out” 7 repetitions.  I told both of these young men what an outstanding effort they had given, and that they should use this day to give them the motivation to come back in future years and succeed lifting the stones unassisted.  I KNOW that they will do that  - as the challenge of the Dinnie Stones is now embedded in their soul.  

I had just met Barry Gordge for the first time this weekend.  Barry, at age 51, is one strong man.  The day before I watched Barry do a one arm Zercher of 142.5 kgs.  Barry lifted the small stone quite easily one handed unassisted.  This was his first experience taking on the Dinnies.  He did not try to use straps to lift both of  them together  - but if he would have I know that he would have had no problem lifting both of them at the same time.

George Dick and Matt Finkle came focused on lifting both stones two handed.  George handled the small Dinnie Stone several times as well as Matt.  After a few failed attempts at the big stone two handed, Matt finally succeeded!  It was one of the most impressive lifts of the day.  Matt only weighs 65 kilograms and I am sure the large stone is exceeding his max deadlift.  Holding onto the Dinnie Stone ring is WAY HARDER than gripping a bar, but due to his persistence he was successful!

This is one of the 25 reps done by Mark Haydock during the course of the day.

Mark Haydock and Chad Ullom came into the day only hoping to be successful lifting both stones unassisted (without straps).  Both had never attempted the Dinnie Stones before, and even though they knew their capabilities lifting on ring handled pin loaders, these stones offer different challenges with unknown uncertainties.  Mark has just recently (5 months ago) had bicep reattachment on his right bicep. Anyone would have to question his sanity in attempting such a thing.  Both of these guys were very “fired up” on their first attempt, and proceeded to lift the Dinnie Stones unassisted for one repetition with ease!  After doing this, they decided to go after more repetitions to fully test their capabilities.  I sat back and watched in amazement!  Once they got close to 20 repetitions, I suggested that they go for 25 total reps as that would mark the 25 year celebration of the International All Round Weightlifting Association. This challenge I issued pushed them a few reps further.  I want to emphasize that all these reps were done WITHOUT STRAPS.  I will never take away from anyone lifting the Dinnie Stones with straps, as if that was the challenge they were presented with and succeeded then success was obtained.  But lifting the Dinnie Stones  unassisted (without straps) is a challenge of a much higher level, and no one should be fooled in thinking lifting with straps is the same as lifting without.  The limit is the ability to hold the grip, and both Mark and Chad have WORLD CLASS hook grips to go along with their strong backs.  I believe that this is the most repetitions anyone has ever lifted the Dinnie Stones in one day, which is a great accomplishment.  As I’ve said earlier in this story, total repetitions have always been a part of Dinnie Stone lifting history, as recorded on the Dinnie Stone website.   Well over 50% of all  Dinnie Stone lifters on that website have pushed their body limits with repetitions. 

Chad Ullom with a successful unassisted lift with the Dinnie Stones.

Mark also took “a shot” at walking with both Dinnie Stones without straps. In Francis’s article, he talked about two other athletes walking with the stones in the past.  Calum  Morrison was one of the first to do so, walking 2 feet in 1997.  Glenn Ross was another who attempted to match Donald Dinnie’s feat of crossing the bridge carrying both stones (a distance slightly over 5 yards).  Ross gave a ferocious attempt, making it 5 feet 5 inches.  I was slightly surprised Mark was even going to give this a try, after already lifting the stones for many repetitions.  I thought his grip obviously had to be impaired from this previous lifting.  But not only did he walk a total of 3 feet - he didn’t use straps!!!  He lifted the stones “side by side” and with the stones beating on his legs with every small step, he moved slowly over the distance.  I should mention that Mark did this in the soft gravel out in front of the hotel, and chose his course slightly uphill toward the street.  This HAS to be one of the most impressive feats ever done with the Dinnie Stones.  If there is a man to match Donald Dinnies feat of carrying the stones across the bridge without sitting either one down – my money is on Mark.  I want to make another comment about Mark and Chad’s Dinnie Stone lifting efforts.  All of the lifts were done on the soft gravel out of respect of not damaging the stones.  Several times I saw Chad’s feet slip on the loose gravel as he started his pull, which caused him to abandon the attempt and reset.  This added much more challenge to their efforts.  I have watched lifters on YouTube lift the Dinnie Stones on the concrete, and you can hear the “thub” every time when the stones are set down after their attempts.  This makes me shudder and cringe.  We, as stone lifters, need to take care of these stones for future generations.  Mark and Chad are very humble guys as well, you will never hear of them “bragging” about their successes with the Dinnie Stones in the future. 

Timo Lauttemaus has to be one of the first lifters from Finland to lay hands on the Dinnie Stones.  Timo has huge hands, and the day before did a 127.5 kg Index Finger Deadlift. However, the technique of hook gripping is new to him.  Chad and I explained the process of  hook gripping in the car on the way to the Potarch Hotel.  So what does he do?  He hooks grip for the FIRST TIME ever and lifts the big Dinnie Stone with his left hand and holds it for 14.3 seconds!!  Unbelievable if you ask me. 

Andy Tomlin successful with the large stone one handed unassisted. Andy and Matt Finkle were responsible for organizing this trip to the Dinnie Stones.

This was the third trip to the Dinnies for Andy Tomlin.  He had previously lifted the small stone with one hand, but never the big one.  He had the goal to lift the big one unassisted, and that is JUST WHAT HE DID.  It took a few attempts, but Andy “reached down deep” and gave one of the greatest efforts of the day.  After overcoming the many years disappointment with this big Dinnie Stone – he was finally successful! 

I can’t end this story without giving my account with my Dinnie Stone battle.  The first time I gave a shot at lifting the Dinnie Stones was in 2005.  At that time I was much stronger having around a 750 pound deadlift, but lacked the hook grip strength to lift the big stone.  I tried and tried on that occasion.  I told myself that I would come back at a latter date and succeed with this quest.  At that time I elected not to use straps as I knew I could lift them easily that way and I felt that that wasn’t my Dinnie Stone Challenge.  I wanted my first time to lift them to be unassisted.   However, I didn’t think that this trip would be that time yet.  I just recently had shoulder surgery (2 months ago), and haven’t been able to train with my left arm at all, and was concerned that attempting them may injure myself as I’m still recovering.  I didn’t even take my lifting belt with me on the trip to the Dinnies.  However, once there and watching everyone else push themselves with their challenges, I had a change of mind as I felt the draw of the Dinnie Stone mystic overtake me. I borrowed Chad’s belt for my attempt.  My first try I set my hook too deep and tore a huge chunk of flesh from my palm.  As I looked down I could see the blood trickling from my hand onto the large stone.  It took 10 minutes to get the bleeding to stop.  For a split second I thought “its got to be another day for me now”, but then I lost all rational thought and gave them another shot.  With no negative thoughts in my head, I gave it all I had and they came up!!  A goal I set for myself 7 years prior was now realized.  I told Mark and Chad afterwards that my one rep meant just as much to me as their 25 reps did to them!  That’s what the Dinnie Stones should be all about – taking on a challenge and being successful with great effort and determination.

Al Myers making a successful unassisted lift with the Dinnie Stones in front of a crowd on spectators.

This was a day that those of us involved will never forget in our lives.  I am proud of the fact that all of us are DRUG FREE, and have the negative tests to back up that statement.  Lots of blood and sweat were left on the Dinnie Stones (luckily no tears), but we left them in the same state as when we arrived for the next stone lifter to test his fortitude against the mighty challenge of the Dinnie Stones.  I am glad that I was able to be part of this day as it will forever tie all of us to the legacy of the Stones. Talks are already underway for our next organized trip to the Dinnie Stones – where new challenges will be set and higher achievements will be made.

All Round Lifting: The Big Brother Version

by Al Myers

Last month at the IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia, several of us rented a beach house together.  I organized this beach house rental for a couple of reasons – to save a little money and also to spend some time with a few of the masterminds in the organization.  Six of us spent close to 10 days living together – myself, Chad Ullom, USAWA President Denny Habecker, IAWA President Steve Gardner, English All Round lifting sensation Mark Haydock, and the MAN OF STEEL and all-round lifting legend Art Montini.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to “pick their minds” and hopefully “steal” some secret lifting information from them.  I liken myself to that of Robin Hood – but instead of stealing moneyI like to steal ideas from the rich and give to everyone else (ok – I won’t call you poor!).  But I was also worried that this living arrangement would turn into an episode of BIG BROTHER in which we would be at “each other’s throats” by the end of the stay!   I envisioned the alliances – the Americans versus the Brits (of which I knew ahead of time we would have the numbers on this one), the Wily Veterans (Denny, Steve, & Art) versus the Newbies (Chad, Mark, & myself), or the Drinkers versus the Nondrinkers (which would be pretty much everyone versus Art!!). Who would be the first one voted out of the house?   Luckily, no “drama” ever developed throughout the week so I can’t report on any fights or anything like that.

But I did learn alot.  Like I said, I spent every moment trying to steal some important secret from my roommates.  And like Robin Hood, I plan to share with you  everything I learned from these guys.  I consider these guys the “movers and shakers” of All Round Lifting.  Steve is closing in on 12 years as IAWA President and many, many years as the IAWA(UK) President.  He has been involved in the sport for over 20 years.  Denny is our USAWA President and filled with secrets – it’s just that he doesn’t always talk alot about things and I have to “pry” information out of him.  Mark was the 2009 IAWA World Champ and I knew for sure he knew something that would be to my benefit in my training.  Art is the “most seasoned” of all these guys and for sure he had something “to give up”.  Now with Chad, well let’s just say, I’ve already stole all of his secrets, which isn’t much. I planned to strategically just use him for distraction purposes to give me “a little one on one” time with my targets.

Steve feels "right at home" in a brewery or a pub. And YES - Steve has a drink in each hand, drinking both at the same time.

When you live with “your competitors” for a week you really learn something about them.  My primary focus of this investigation was with Steve.  He is a born leader, takes charge in everything he does, and I was hoping to find the secret of his sucess or perhaps a weakness in his personality.  Well, I only found a couple, and they were weaknesses. Just say I was dissappointed!   First, he snores like a sailor blowing a fog horn. It didn’t take the rest of us long to realize that his sleeping arrangement needed to be a FAR DISTANCE from the rest of us.  We put him in a room on the other side of the house which  only was close to Denny’s room, and that was on purpose as well, because Denny was suffering from some bad case of bronchitis and was coughing non stop.  He sounded like a dog with kennel cough.  I often had to get up in the middle of the night (if you must know it was to pee) and the bathroom was close to their rooms.  I listened for several minutes to these two “barking in the night” and I swear they were in unison with their nightly sounds.  I think Denny was doing the harmonizing.

The only other weakness I found with Steve was his passion for beer.  Now I’m not saying he is a drunk, he just enjoys his barley beverage.  Chad and I even set up “a trap” for him to see if he would drink anything.  We bought this really nasty beer that we wouldn’t even drink, and left it in the fridge.  Sure enough, Steve finished off  the six-pack while the rest of us watched in amazement.  He even said he LIKED IT!  He’s a passionate beer connoisseur.

I caught Mark reading his secret training book during the meet!

Another of my “targets” was Mark Haydock.  After watching him smash a couple of Chad’s World Records at the Gold Cup, I knew he must have some lifting secrets.  It took me all week but I finally found out the reason for Mark’s lifting success.   I caught him reading Steve Justa’s book ROCK IRON STEEL.  I knew immediately that had to be his secret training program – why else would he have carted that book the entire way from England to Australia???   A couple of times I “took a peak” at this secret book of his when he wasn’t looking.  Chad even snuck the book of to the private room a few times to read it.  I bet Mark was rereading that book for meet motivation!!  I got to get that book now so I will know Mark’s secret training programs.  But I will say this about Mark, I had the feeling that he was studying me as well.  He kept asking me questions that I was uncomfortable in answering.  I felt like he was trying to steal MY SECRETS!  He also bought this porridge that he was letting on as the “secret of his strength”.  I had it one day for breakfast and it about made me puke.  I think he was setting me up like I did Steve on the beer.  But Chad had the porridge EVERY DAY convinced it would make him stronger.  Everyone needs to have a gullible friend like Chad.

Like I said, Denny is a “tough nut to crack”.  He often just “sits back” and laughs along with everyone else’s jokes, and never really contributes any jokes of his own.   But I also found Denny’s secret to his strength during this week.  Even though he may limp around and look like he needs help getting out of a chair, Denny is INDEED a very conditioned athlete!   The gimpy persona is just a hoax.  He acts this way just so his competition doesn’t take him too serious.  I marveled at how he worked this to perfection at the meet against his arch rival, Frank Allen.  Now, how do I know this?  Well, after the meet Chad and I had planned to take a day trip to Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Perth.  We planned to spend the day bicycling around the island, a distance of over 30 miles and up and down many hills.  Denny asked to join us, and at first I was thinking this might be an issue.  I was initially worried that he wouldn’t be able to “keep up” with Chad and me and we would need to call in the rescue unit.  But after the day’s big bike ride, in which was as easy for Denny as a “walk in the park”, I knew he was just faking us out all the times in the past when he would  wobble around like a rookie on rollerskates.   On the ferry ride back to Perth, I asked him how he was in such great shape and he told me that he used to ride his bike 100 miles a day!!!  What???  I’m still “tossing that around” in my mind.  Just visualizing Denny in my mind biking 100 miles makes my heart go into palpatations.  It was at that point that I decided I wasn’t going to admit to Chad and Denny that a couple of times I had to get off my bike and walk it up a couple of big hills.

With Art, I already knew his secret of his strength, and it just doesn’t work for me.  I discovered it a couple of years ago when I stayed at his house for a meet in Ambridge.   It involves getting up really, really early to train (3-4 AM) and then eating donuts afterwards.  I’m going to save that secret for later in my life and then “pull it out of the bag” when I need it.   But I will say this about Art, he acts MUCH YOUNGER than his biological age and there must be something to that as well in his secret to success on the platform.  I should also mention Art’s special spaghetti, which must have something to do with his lifting longevity.  I have had it before and he made it for us in Perth.  Art makes some of the BEST spaghetti I have ever tasted.

When it comes to icecream, Chad is the expert. He will sample taste every flavor before making his choice!

Who did I forget?  Oh Chad.  Well like I said earlier, Chad has no secrets when it comes to training.  But I do know his main weakness – ICECREAM!  We had to make several stops during the week for icecream and if he keeps this up I will not have to worry about him because he will be out of my weight class and get KILLED on the Lynch Formula!  There are other things about Chad - but they are blood oath stories so I won’t tell.

I will say that week in Australia was one of the most fun weeks of my life!!

My take on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

A highlight at the Gold Cup for me was performing two 2-person lifts with my daughter Emily. On our first lift we did a 757# Straddle Deadlift, and on our second lift we did a 804# Deadlift. Both of these marks are ALL-TIME RECORDS in IAWA for a male-female team.

This is not intended to be a meet report, but rather “my take” on the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup held last weekend in Burton on Trent, England.  First of all, initially I was not planning on attending this meet since I’m going to the IAWA World Championships in Australia next month.  But when my good “mate” (that’s american for friend, haha) James Gardner invited me to stay at his place I could not turn him down. And after the fun-filled weekend I had, I’m glad I went! I made a quick trip out of it, only staying for the weekend.  I call a trip like this “pulling an Art” – after the the MAN OF STEEL  Art Montini and his reputation of going oversees to a big meet and only staying for the meet itself.  This weekend was EXTRA SPECIAL for me since I had my oldest daughter Emily traveling with me.  This was her first weightlifting meet EVER, and she only agreed to compete because that was the stipulation I had for taking her along!  

The person who made this event happen was our IAWA President Steve Gardner (in middle). To Steve's right is Chris Bass, who is the "official scorekeeper" for the IAWA.

Now for a  few general words on the Gold Cup.  This meet is one of TWO big IAWA competitions held each year (the World Championships is the other).  It was started years ago by Howard Prechtel as a meet to celebrate World Record Lifts by World Champions.  Initially, the only lifters who were eligible to compete were current World Champions.  A rule from the beginning in the Gold Cup is that the lifter must OPEN on his first attempt at a World Record in the lift of his choosing.  Also in the beginning each lifter could chose only one lift to perform their World Record in. You could call it the “ELITE OF RECORD DAYS” .  Since then the stipulations have been lessened and anyone can compete in the Gold Cup, regardless of whether they are a current World Champion or not.  If a lifter can not find a World Record they can break, they can enter the Silver Cup instead, and go for a National Record, or even just a personal best.  This way no one is excluded from this prestigious international event.  Also, at several Gold Cups of recent, time has allowed the lifters to have a second choice lift which they can perform as well.

I finally got to meet Steve Angell from England (right). Steve is a three time Overall Best Lifter at the IAWA World Championships (1996, 2000, 2001).

I felt the turnout for this meet was very good - 25 lifters took part.  Our IAWA President Steve Gardner was the meet promoter, and as he always does, promoted an exceptional meet.  I was glad the meet was held at his club in Burton, the Powerhouse Gym.  I like to experience the feeling of lifting in other all round clubs.  You feel “connected” to their involvement in All-Round Weightlifting.   Several outstanding records where set by the lifters in attendance. One of the neat things about a Gold Cup is that you get to see lifters perform the lifts that they are the best at, and in turn get to witness some great lifts.  The Gold Cup is not like any ole record day where the lifters go about their business lifting and doing records in a chaotic fashion.  One platform is set up and when it is YOUR time to lift you get it all to yourself while everyone else watches.  You perform all three (or four) of your attempts back to back, and the stage is all yours.  This allows one to watch EVERY LIFTER and gives each lifter a little extra recognition.  Like I said earlier, the Gold Cup is the ELITE OF RECORD DAYS.  The experience is WAY MORE than just setting a World Record, as it is about being part of something special offered by the IAWA.  I highly recommend that every All Round lifter go to the Gold Cup at least once in their life.  

James Gardner and his 96.5 KG One Handed Fulton Bar Deadlift. This is the most EVER lifted in this lift!

Now on to the lifts done.  I have done a lot of thinking what I would consider the BEST RECORDS of the day were.  This was a hard decision for me because I was very impressed with EVERY lifter, but I did come up with my TOP FIVE.   My vote for the NUMBER ONE GOLD CUP RECORD  was done by James Gardner.  James first lift was the newly formed IAWA lift, the Turkish Get Up.  In this he did the MOST ever done with a very fine lift of 70 KG.  But that’s not the lift that impressed me the most.  It was his second choice lift, the One Hand Fulton Bar Deadlift.  In this lift he lifted an UNBELIEVEABLE 96.5 KG (212 pounds).  This record is now the most EVER lifted in this lift, exceeding Frank Ciavattone’s mark of 210 pounds.  I consider Frank the BEST ONE HAND GRIP LIFTER in the history of the USAWA, so this really says something about James’ achievement in this lift.  Another lifter and lift that really impressed me, and was my second pick,  was Mark Haydock of England. Mark performed a 210 KG Front Squat breaking the previous World Record in this lift held by the current IAWA World Champion Chad Ullom.  I officiated Chad when he set his mark, and I remember how deep he took his front squat when he did it.  I was glad to see Mark break Chad’s record by taking his front squat just as deep.   My “third choice” in best records goes to England’s Steve Sherwood and his Ciavattone Grip Deadlift of 180 KG.  That is pushing 400 pounds for a lifter who is 60 years old and only weighs 80 KG!  What a grip!!   Later that night at the Gold Cup banquet Steve was inducted into the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame, and it is no wonder why.  He lifts poundages that I would not expect him to lift.  He second choice lift of a 140 KG Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift was impressive as well.   Number 4 on my list goes to John Gardner and his 140 KG (309#) middle fingers straddle deadlift.   I would call John the “sleeper” in this group of great lifters because I didn’t expect a lift like that out of him.  That is a WORLD CLASS finger lift and on top of that, it appeared to me to be a submaximal effort on his part.  He made it look way to easy!  The last of my top five goes to the Scottish lifter Andy Tomlin and his 185.5 KG left handed deadlift.  Breaking 400 pounds in the one handed deadlift is always very impressive to watch, and currently there are only a small group of IAWA lifters who can do it.  To make Andy’s lift even that more impressive, is that he suffered a back injury a week earlier and wasn’t sure he would even be able to compete!   I will tell you this, later that night at the banquet when he was feeling really good (after a few pints of instant pain relief) he was really talking big – and issued a 2-man one arm deadlift challenge against Chad and myself at next year’s Gold Cup in Scotland.   He recruited Steve Angell to be his partner before even asking him, and of course I couldn’t turn him down even before asking Chad to be my partner.  Before long another “team” joined in this challenge as well (Mark Haydock and James Gardner).  So it looks like the 2012 Gold Cup is setting up to be a BIG SHOW of international competition in the 2-man one arm deadlift.  I did remind Andy that Chad and I have the BEST MARK ever set in this lift (done last year at the 2010 Gold Cup) of 800 pounds, so they better be in form “to bring it”.

Mark Haydock performing his record Front Squat of 210 KG.

I could go “on and on” about last weekends trip but I’m going to stop at this.  I especially want to thank Steve Gardner for his efforts in promoting this outstanding  meet.  It was a meet I will never forget.

A Subtle Way to Train Your Grip

by Mark Haydock

Mark Haydock demonstrates a three-finger bar grip.

From my early days of training I have always applied this approach to the way I grip and load the bar, as you read on I am sure you will agree it is a subtle way to train your grip.

There are two sections to this approach, the first is simply the way the bar is gripped, the second part is loading the bar.

Gripping the bar

The idea behind this approach to grip work is to train your grip all the time, even when it is not a grip session! I will use the deadlift as the example exercise, however, the same approach can be applied to most floor pulls, lat pulldowns/rows, shrugs, etc.

Most of the grip work is actually done with your warm up and lighter poundages. The first set of deadlifts may be with an empty bar, simply grip the the bar with your index finger, the second set use index and fore fingers, next set is three fingers, next set is all four fingers – with an open hand, the bar is almost resting on your finger tips, you may be able to maintain this grip for a couple more warm up sets, depending how strong your grip is. Once you hit a poundage that you cannot hold just adjust to your normal hook or reverse grip. Over time try to tweak your warm up poundages a little, as you would with your heavy singles or 1 rep max.

Using a finger tip grip to load plates adds grip training to every workout.

Loading the bar

The subtle element here is to only use I hand to pick up the weight plates when you are loading the bar for your training. Use your right hand when loading the right side of the bar and your left hand when loading the left side of the bar. Rather than use a deadlift loading lever to lift the bar use your fee hand to lift the end of the bar, grip the bar just inside the collar. Depending how good your grip is you can use a 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to grip the bar, the same applies to loading the weight plate.

The one handed approach to loading the weight plate also includes carrying the weight from the storage tree to the bar! Don’t cheat by using two hands or rolling the plate. With the lighter plates, 1.25kg,2.5kg, 5kg try using 1 finger and 1 thumb, as you use heavier weights, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, 25kg and even 50kg you may need to use 2 or 3 fingers and a thumb. If you are loading a 25kg plate and you simply can’t carry it one handed try a two handed pinch grip, it all helps!

The key thing to remember with this approach is that it is a long term project, massive grip strength doesn’t come over night. However, once you have a good grip it stays with you for the long run.

As a final testimony to my grip technique I can honestly say I have never missed a deadlift or clean due to poor grip, touch wood I have never had any real problems with my grip!

World Championships

by Al Myers

Overall IAWA World Champion Mark Haydock 230 Kilogram Zercher Lift

“What we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality”, said IAWA President Steve Gardner at the World Council Meeting Saturday night. This quote really summed up this year’s World Championships. There may not have been alot of lifters present – but the competition was intense. Mark “Haystack” Haydock captured the 2009 Championship’s Overall Best Lifter on his last successful lift of the competition, by doing a monstrous 230 kilogram Zercher Lift!! This puts him in a small group of lifters who have exceeded over 500 pounds in the Zercher Lift throughout the history of the IAWA. The top four places were really close and decided by under 30 adjusted points. This competition had lifters of all age groups – from 15 year old Kohl Hess to 81 year old Art Montini. Denny and Judy Habecker did an outstanding job of making this event a special occasion for everyone. They even invited the lifters to their house Saturday and Sunday nights after the competition for food and refreshments. We were entertained by George “the Magician” Dick with his many card tricks. I am still scratching my head on the one where the card passed through Chad and ended up stuck on the glass on the shelf behind him. Denny and Judy know how to run a smooth meet. Everything went according to plan and both days finished in good time. The banquet was fantastic with a wide selection of food. Everyone left on a full stomach!! Steve Gardner worked the microphone and score table, and like always, kept the meet running efficiently. John Horn spent 2 full days loading and spotting and definitely deserves a big pat on the back. It takes people like John, who do the work behind the scenes, to make a meet successful.

Frank Ciavattone pulling a Ciavattone Grip Deadlift

It was a real pleasure getting to see Frank Ciavattone again. Frank has just recently had a hip replacement and wasn’t fully ready to compete in a meet yet. But Frank is a great Champion and made it to this meet to show support to the IAWA!! When he pulled his last Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, a lift named after Frank because of his amazing gripping power, he dedicated it to Karen Gardner in her battle in overcoming cancer – it was an emotional moving moment. Karen is the “First Lady” of All-Round Weightlifting and everyone has the utmost respect for her. It has now been 30 years since Frank has been cancer free himself.

Howard Prechtel and Bob Geib

Another great surprise this weekend was the return of Howard Prechtel. The meet about stopped when in walks Howard and Bob Geib!!! Howard spent many years as the IAWA President and has done as much through the years for the USAWA as anyone. Howard seemed to really enjoy himself at the meet, and even picked up a loaded barbell a couple of times. A person may forget a lot of things in life – but you never forget how to lift weights!!! Welcome back Howard!! Also – thanks to Bob for bringing Howard to this meet.

Group Photo of the IAWA World Championships

I had a great time – got to see alot of old friends, and even made a couple of lifts that I had to push myself on. Thanks again to Denny and Judy for hosting this Championship and I’m already looking forward to Scotland in 2010!!

Top Three Individuals at the 2009 IAWA World Championships Left to Right: Chad Ullom, Mark Haydock, Al Myers

FULL MEET RESULTS:

2009 IAWA World Championships
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
October 3rd & 4th, 2009

Meet Directors:   Denny and Judy Habecker

Lifts on Day 1: Hack Lift – One Arm, Clean and Press Behind Neck, Straight Arm Pullover, Deadlift                         -Ciavattone Grip
Lifts on Day 2: Snatch – One Arm, Pullover and Press, Zercher Lift

Officials (3 official system used):  Karen Gardner, Frank Ciavattone, Al Myers, Dennis Mitchell, George Dick, Art Montini

Loader: John Horn plus others

Scorekeeper:  Steve Gardner and Judy Habecker

Emcee:  Steve Gardner

Results:

Name BWT Class Age Division Hack C&P Pullover Deadlift Snatch
P&P Zercher Points
Mark Haydock ENG
122.9 125 34 Open 145 R
105 57.5 227.5 80 R
157.5 230 764.3
Al Myers USA
114.7 115 43 M40+ 150 R
90 60 210 70 R
160 190 763.1
Chad Ullom USA
104.3 105 37 Open 140 R
90 55 205 70 R
145 200 749.7
Roger Davis ENG
81.6 85 39 Open 117.5 R
80 45 185 60 R
120 170 738.4
Denny Habecker USA
86.1 90 67 M65+ 90 R
65 32.5 140 35 R
95 95 661.1
John Monk USA
79.8 80 43 M40+ 100 R
75 47.5 122.5 50 R
125 137.5 658.2
Bill Spayd USA
107.9 110 35 Open 110 R
90 55 200 60 R
120 170 655.2
Scott Schmidt USA
119.7 120 56 M55+ 100 R
92.5 40 182.5 40 L
92.5 115 598.5
Art Montini USA
78.2 80 81 M80+ 60 R
32.5 27.5 105 20 R
60 77.5 588.9
Josh Haydock ENG
66.9 70 19 J18/19 72.5 R
55 25 132.5 37.5 R
70 137.5 582.1
John Kavanagh ENG
94.3 95 21 Open 80 R
82.5 30 170 52.5 R
105 140 577.1
George Dick SCT
127.4 125+ 60 M60+ 102.5 R
60 30 175 40 R
90 120 559.7
Dennis Mitchell USA
72.1 75 77 M75+ 50 L
20 20 90 15 L
35 85 484.4
Dennis Vandermark USA
92.5 95 56 M55+ 75 L
30 130 22.5 R
60 110 442.0
Kohl Hess USA
118.8 120 15 J14/15 82.5 R
42.5 27.5 120 30 R
60 80 394.4
Frank Ciavattone USA
127.0 125+ 54 M50+ 90 R
20 15 182.5 20 R
25 20 321.3


BWT are bodyweights on day 1. All lifts are in kilograms. Points are age and bodyweight adjusted.
All lifters except Bill Spayd weighed in the second day for records. All lifters were in the same bodyweight class as Day 1.

Extra Attempts for Records:
Dennis Mitchell -  Hack – One Arm 50 R, Straight Arm Pullover 22.5, Deadlift Ciavattone Grip 98
John Monk – Snatch – One Arm 55 R, Straight Arm Pullover 50
Kohl Hess – Clean & Press Behind Neck 45, Straight Arm Pullover 28.5, Zercher Lift 92.5
Denny Habecker – Pullover and Press 98
Mark Haydock – Straight Arm Pullover 61

Best Lifter Awards:

Josh Haydock – Junior 18/19 70 kg Champion and Best Junior 18/19
Kohl Hess – Junior 14/15 120 kg Champion and Best Junior 14/15
Dennis Mitchell – Masters 75+ 75 kg Champion and Best Master 75+
Art Montini – Masters 80+  80 kg Champion and Best Master 80+
John Monk – Masters 40+ 80 kg Champion
Roger Davis – Open 85 kg Champion
Denny Habecker – Masters 65+ 90 kg Champion and Best Master 65+
Dennis Vandermark – Masters 55+ 95 kg Champion
John Kavanagh – Open 95 kg Champion
Chad Ullom – Open 105 kg Champion
Bill Spayd – Open 110 kg Champion
Al Myers – Masters 40+ 115 kg Champion and Best Master 40+
Scott Schmidt – Masters 55+ and Open 120 kg Champion and Best Master 55+
Mark Haydock – Open 125 kg Champion
Frank Ciavattone – Masters 50+ and Open 125+ kg Champion and Best Master 50+
George Dick – Masters 60+ 125 kg Champion and Best Master 60+