Neck Lift Challenge at Worlds

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (left) and Eric Todd (right) both lifted over 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift Challenge!

OK – I promise that this will be the blog that “wraps up” the news from the 2012 World Championships.  I know I have said that already a few times. However, I want to HIGHLIGHT a special event that will “go down in history” in several peoples minds that were there to witness it first hand.  It was quite a spectacle and one of the most memorable events that I ever remember happening at any lifting event I have ever been at.   Chad Ullom and Eric Todd had agreed to a NECK LIFT CHALLENGE to determine “once and for all” who the Worlds best Neck Lifter is.  They have been trading the Overall World Record “back and forth” between them over the past couple of years. 

Frank Ciavattone (center) served as the Head Official of the Challenge.

Neck Lifter EXTRAORDINAIRE  Frank Ciavattone assumed the role of Head Official.  It is only appropriate that Frank perform this duty – as his Neck Lifting resume is a mile deep!  I took on the roll of the announcer, and I have to admit that I got “caught up in the moment”.   The parameters of this Challenge was laid out beforehand to stimulate competitiveness – unlimited attempts with each lifter getting to choose what they wanted to go to next.  I made a call of a weight, and then they could decide if they wanted to try it or not.  The weight on the bar for THE FIRST warmup was 500 pounds!! It wasn’t that long ago when 500 pounds was considered a world class lift in the Neck Lift.  However on this day it was just the first warmup!!  It wasn’t long and both lifters were over 700 pounds.  At this point – each lifter started using a little strategy to gain an advantage over  the other.  The Champ went to 800, and got it easily.  ET countered with 850, and then Chad went after a NEW WORLD RECORD of 920#, which appeared as a very easy attempt.   ET then made the call to go after the BIG 1-0-0-0.   At this point things were really heating up.  Eric got the 1000 pounds, and became the first lifter to break the 1000 pound barrier in the Neck Lift.  However, Chad then moved the bar to 1010 and with a great effort, made a successful lift.  TWO LIFTERS over 1000 pounds for the first time, and all happened in under 5 minutes!  ET then raised the weight to 1030, which maxed out the Neck Lift bar.  He made the lift in a dramatic fashion.   Chad countered with 1040, but it was just a little too much for him on this day.  After all, he had just completed a 2-day World Meet with many max lifts over the weekend before this monstrous challenge event!

An event like this we could have sold tickets for.  It was a climatic ending to a great weekend of lifting by all.

MEET RESULTS

Neck Lift Challenge
Dino Strength Training Center
Salina, Kansas
October 7th, 2012

Officials (3 official system used):  Frank Ciavattone, Frank Allen, Denny Habecker

Lift: Neck Lift

1. First Place – Eric Todd:  1030 pounds
Age 37 years, BWT 118 KG

2.  Second Place – Chad Ullom: 1010 pounds
Age 40 years, BWT 112.0 KG

Neck Lift Showdown!

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (left) VERSUS Eric Todd (right) in a Neck Lift Challenge! Will one of these SUPERMEN exceed the 1000 pound barrier?

We are in for a SPECIAL TREAT this weekend at the 2012 IAWA World Championships. The two best Neck Lifters in the WORLD have agreed to have a duel – a NECK LIFT SHOWDOWN! Last year at the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in York, PA, Chad Ullom became the first man to exceed 900 pounds in the Neck Lift with a lift of 900.  Then this year at the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Bowling Green, OH  Eric “ET” Todd broke Chad’s record with a outstanding 905 pound effort.  However, ET’s record didn’t last long, as Chad upped it to 915 pounds at a record day in the Dino Gym this summer.  Well, that didn’t set well with Eric so this challenge was issued! (ok…in reality I set it all up, but it sounds better this way!!!!).  Both of these guys are “on the hunt” to be the first man to break the magical 1000 pound barrier.  Maybe this challenge on this big International stage will bring it out in them?  This will be a good ole’ fashioned ONE ON ONE DUEL, reminiscent of past circus shows between strongmen. 

The greatest Neck Lifter in HISTORY Frank Ciavattone will be on hand to be the head official for this duel.  Frank holds the Guinness WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift at 808# under the strict judging criteria of Guinness.  This is the link to Frank’s Guinness World Record:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-4000/heaviest-weight-lifted-by-neck/ .  This battle will occur right after the finish of Sunday’s competition, while the meets scores are being tabulated. It is something that you will NOT WANT TO MISS!!

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

The first Team (2-Man) Neck Lift ever performed, by Al Myers and Chad Ullom, at the Dino Days Record Day. We lifted 1205 pounds.

Seven lifters performed record attempts at the Dino Days Record Day on August 12th.  Of these 7, three made it that didn’t compete the previous day in the Dino Gym – Tim Songster, Mike Murdock, and Molly Myers.

I’ll start the report with the youngest lifter of the day.  My daughter Molly continues to amaze me with her lifting ability. She has spent some time in her young life training, but never anything consistent.  I keep telling her that she has great ability lifting weights, but I haven’t over-pressured her to be a weight lifter.  Usually in record days, I have picked lifts for her that she could set records in easily, as I didn’t want her to feel disappointed if she couldn’t exceed a previous record.  But this time, I picked a few records that I knew she would have to get a great performance to exceed the current record on the books.  The first choice was the Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  The previous record was 148# (which I consider a very good mark) and Molly exceeded it with her last attempt at 151#.  This got her very excited and after that the records fell at a rapid pace, ending with a very fine 130# 12 inch base squat.

Mike Murdock performing one of the "first ever" Jackson Presses at the Dino Days Record Day.

Since I’m reporting in the order of age, that makes Chad at 40 the next in line!  Chad started the day off with a 135# Jackson Press.  When he finished he made the comment that he picked that lift to recognize the JWC, since none of the JWC members were in attendance.  He then started focusing on regaining his Neck Lift record, which he lost to Eric Todd at the Heavy Lift Championships.  I decided I would join him in the Neck Lift, but I knew I would only be his “pace car” as he proceeded to heavier and heavier poundages!  I dropped out at 700 but to Chad it seemed as he was still just warming up.  He finished with 915# for the new ALL TIME record in the Neck Lift. After that we decided to do some 2-Man Neck Lifts.  This was our first time trying out this new bar apparatus I had made to do this lift, and we finished with 1205#.  We could have done alot more, but we need some more training time to synchronize our efforts.  Unlike other 2-Man lifts, this one is performed “totally blind” as you are looking up and have no visual cues.  Add in the element of danger, and this lift becomes much more difficult than other 2-Man lifts.

I was glad to meet another lifter from Jobe’s Steel Jungle.  Tim Songster made his first appearance in the Dino Gym. Tim set 8 new records in various different lifts.  I could tell Tim is a true all-rounder, as he seems to really enjoy the variety of the different lifts.  If someone else was trying a different lift, he wanted to “give it a try” as well, and in the process learn how to do this new lift. Welcome to the USAWA Tim!

LaVerne made an appearance on both days at this year’s Dino Days.  The day before he teamed with Dean Ross in the Team Championships. It appeared to me that he must have still been on this “team approach” as it seemed they did all the same lifts!  LaVerne, Dean and Mike started the day off doing the Bear Hug. The Bear Hug is a lift very rarely contested in the USAWA, and it seemed like they were doing it for over an hour.  They must have tripled the weight they started with.  LaVerne ended up on tops with a lift of 206#, followed by Dean at 181#, and then Mike at 156#.  However, in the new USAWA lift, the Fulton Bar Bench Press, Dean and Mike had the best lifts (178#), followed by LaVerne at 123#. Another lift that “stuck out in my mind” was the 1250# Back Lift by Dean.  That is a huge lift!

Again, I want to thank everyone who attended this record day.  I really enjoy watching others have fun lifting weights, and afterall, that is what it should be all about.

MEET RESULTS

Dino Days Record Day
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
August 12th, 2012

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials: Al Myers, Mike Murdock, Chad Ullom, Jesse Jobe, LaVerne Myers

Lifters:

Molly Myers – Female, Age 13, 164# BWT
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 151#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 201#
Deadlift – Heels Together: 182#
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 100#
Curl – Cheat: 75#
Jackson Press: 45#
Press – From Rack: 45#
Squat – 12″ Base: 130#

Chad Ullom – Age 40, 253# BWT
Jackson Press; 135#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 211#
Neck Lift: 915#
Turkish Get Up: 71#

Tim Songster Sr. – Age 45, 208# BWT
Bear Hug: 181#
Swing – 2 Dumbbells: 130#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 85#
Turkish Get Up: 53#
Extension – Back: 110#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 85#
Bench Press – Roman Chair: 65#
Jackson Press: 160#

Al Myers – Age 45, 248# BWT
Neck Lift: 690#
Extension – Back: 140#

LaVerne Myers – Age 68, 249# BWT
Jackson Press: 75#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 123#
Bear Hug: 206#

Dean Ross – Age 69, 275# BWT
Jackson Press: 95#
Arthur Lift: 75#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 178#
Bear Hug: 181#
Turkish Get Up: 35#
Back Lift: 1250#

Mike Murdock – Age 72, 225# BWT
Jackson Press – 115#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 178#
Bear Hug: 156#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 201#

Al Myers and Chad Ullom
Team Neck Lift: 1205#

NOTES:  All lifts are recorded in pounds.

ET’s 905 Neck Lift!

by Al Myers

Eric Todd established a new Overall World Record Neck of 905# at the 2012 Heavy Lift Championships. Longtime allrounder John Kurtz is in the background watching this impressive lift.

I didn’t think it would be possible – seeing Chad’s big WR Neck Lift of 900 pounds get broke so soon.  But it did happen, and just like last year, happened at the event highlighting the chain lifts, the Heavy Lift Championships.  Eric Todd, of Cameron Missouri, put up successful lifts last weekend in the Neck Lift of 700#, 800#, 860#, and then with his extra record set the record with a lift of 905#!  As I said yesterday, the 900 barrier is now the level to shot for to be considered as “one of the best” in the Neck Lift. I always knew ET might have this ability in him.  He is a former wrestler and has a neck like a NFL linebacker.  I also knew he had the mental toughness to not be intimidated by this large amount of weight.  He made the lift rather easily as well.  Congratulations Eric on setting this new record!!!

Chad’s 900 Pound Neck Lift

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom set the ALL-TIME World Record in the Neck Lift with a lift of 900 pounds at the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships. Take notice that you can see light under both ends of the weights in this picture.

Last weekend at the Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA, Chad Ullom did what I would classify as one of the most outstanding feats of strength I have ever seen in the USAWA.  Chad set the ALL-TIME WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift with an unbelievable lift of 900 pounds.  The previous World Record was held by Joe Ciavattone set at the 2005 Heavy Lift Nationals.  In March, Chad showed everyone that he had the potential to break this record as he took an extra attempt and made a 750 pound lift with ease at the USAWA Club Challenge in Ambridge.  What made this record even more spectacular was that he broke the prevous World Record THREE TIMES in the competition.  His second attempt was 810, followed by a third attempt at 850, and ending with his historic 900 pound lift.  Often with heavy lifts, there is always speculation about the authenticity of the lift due to the nature of these type of lifts. Heavy lifts only need to clear the platform to be legal and if someone doesn’t have the right angle to view this, often people will feel like the lift didn’t clear adequately.  However, Chad’s lift was lifted so high there was no doubt among anyone in attendance.  The judging crew did an outstanding job in officiating this lift.  They didn’t get “caught up in the excitement” and they made sure Chad had to hold it at lockout the same as all other lifts of the meet.

What made this record even more special was the the largest crowd of spectators we had were present to watch it happen.  I was trying to “fire up the crowd” about what they were about to see, and I could tell many were in disbelief when it happened!  I knew before this meet that Chad had the potential to make this happen.  We trained together on the Neck Lift a couple of weeks prior and he made an easy 800 pound lift in training.  We actually considered having him open at the record, as he did this training lift as easy as an opener.  But after thinking about it for awhile, we decided a 700 pound opener would set him up better.  If you pick your attempts correctly, the first attempt shouldn’t matter anyways. 

After the record lift, Chad was "all smiles" as he posed with the record loaded heavy bar.

It is always a big thing to be the first person to break a barrier – and I consider this a major barrier.   Let me give you a little history on the Neck Lift.  Steve Schmidt was the first man to break the 400 pound and 500 pound barrier in the Neck Lift.  An English lifter, Adrian Blindt, was the first person to Neck Lift over 600 pounds.  Frank Ciavattone was the first American to Neck Lift over 600 pounds, with his lift of 603 pounds at the 1990 Strongest Man in New England.  Joe Ciavattone was the first man to Neck Lift over 700 pounds and 800 pounds.  And now Chad becomes the first man to Neck Lift over 900 pounds!!!  It makes you wonder who will be the first one to go over half a ton – or 1000 pounds! 

I have always considered 600 pounds as the “mark to hit” if you want to be in the elite club of Neck Lifters.  To date, there have been only 10 individuals who have done this or more in USAWA competition. 

USAWA Members in the “600 Club” for Neck Lifts over 600 pounds

LIFTER WEIGHT LIFTED MEET
Chad Ullom 900 2011 Heavy Lift Championships
Joe Ciavattone 804 2005 Heavy Lift Championships
Frank Ciavattone 750 2002 Heavy Lift Championships
Al Myers 750 2011 Club Challenge
Mike McBride 630 2005 National Championships
Jeff Ciavattone 625 2002 Heavy Lift Championships
Joe Garcia 623 1998 National Championships
Dale Friesz 605 1995 Goerner Deadlift
Nils Larson 603 2004 Heavy Lift Championships
John Monk 600 2000 Heavy Lift Championships

Congratulations to Chad on this amazing new record!

Hand & Thigh, Neck Training Tips

by Joe Garcia

Joe Garcia, the World Record Holder in the Hand and Thigh, shares his secrets of training this lift.

With the Heavy Lift Championships coming up out at York, and seeing Al’s story on the Hanging Dumbbells, I thought I would share information on how I train and perform two of the lifts, the Neck lift and the Hand and Thigh lift. The reason I have put these two lifts together is that the basic movement mechanics are very similar. For two old time lifts there is alot of useful technique available for increasing your poundages.

When training either of these lifts, you will probably find that once a week is frequent enough. I usually do 2 – 3 sets, anywhere from 5 – 10 reps in the HT and 5 – 15 reps in the Neck, but your mileage may vary. When I trained for the record in the Hand and Thigh, I worked up to 1 or 2 warmup sets of about 5 reps at half the weight for my final set, then usually 10 reps for the second set. For the hand and thigh lift, no matter what you do, if you are using heavy weights, your fingers will suffer damage and need time to recover, so in order to protect my fingers so that I can keep training, I usually place a pad between them and my thighs. I also believe it is very important to hold each rep and not just lift and drop. This both lets you feel the weight better and is required for the actual lift. This concept applies to both lifts.

The biggest mistake I see during either lift is the direction of the push. Most people go much too vertical when they should be thinking about driving backwards. Visualize that you are 2 – 3 feet from a wall and the object is to touch the wall with the top/back of your head, and looking at the ceiling at the same time. You body position should resemble a bow. The only muscles that move are your legs, so you should get them really bent at the start of the lift. For the Hand and Thigh, place your hands just at the top of Quad muscles, using it as a shelf.  Biomechanically, it usually helps to get your feet as high up and close to the big bar as possible, so 4×4’s to stand on are very useful. You also want to make sure your fingers contact the skin of the thighs with nothing in between. In the Neck lift, I try to bend backwards even more at the start of the lift. Angling the strap that goes over my head to as far forward as it will go, seems to keep the drive straighter with less resultant ’snap’ to the front.

Again, when you start either lift, don’t think up, think back. Neither lift is a deadlift. For comfort sakes, you may want to have a spotter standing by. Good luck!