Big T’s Birthday Bash OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

As many know by now I turned 50 years of age.  When this was coming up my wife asked me what I would like to do on my birthday.  I have two interests and from those interests come most of my friends.  They are the Scottish Highland Games and Weightlifting.  I thought about it long and hard and I knew that if I could have anything I wanted it would be to have my friends at my home and throwing and lifting being a part of that.  So, the first Saturday after my birthday (my actual birthday was May 28th and the meet was May 31st) I hosted a Highland Games and an Old Time Strong Man USAWA meet.

The Highland Games came first thing in the morning.  Like the USAWA there are age groups in the Highland Games with records for eight traditional events.  Moving up a class gave me an opportunity to do something that I had not done in nearly 10 years which was set a World Record.  I had a group of 4 masters that included myself, 8 time Master’s World Champ Jim Spalding, 8 time Master’s World Champ Bill Leffler (who broke his own 60-64 age group record in the 28lb Weight for Distance at the meet), and USAWA member Dean Ross who is a 2 time MWC Champ himself!

Now, bear with me as I do a little self promotion.  I spent the last two years trying to rebuild my strength base with an eye on setting the Weight Over Bar World record as well as going top ten in all the events.  So here’s a not-so-short story on that:

My best event is the Weight Over Bar.  I love this event and it plays right to my strength.  I have done what seems like a million power cleans in my life and I think all that work paid off as the WOB event involves pulling a 42lb weight over a cross bar for height.  Much like the pole vault or high jump the bar will go up and the greatest height wins.  I broke and rebroke the WR in this event in 2005 when I was in the 40-44 age group.  In the 45-49 age group I ended with the 2nd best all time throw…but no record.  I made it a goal to work this event and try and break this record.  This was a two year plan.  When it came time for that event I had the beginning of a nasty callous tear on my right throwing hand.  If it went I knew it would seriously screw up my goal as my grip would be compromised.  So I decided to not do as many warm ups and jump to a higher starting height which was 17ft.  I started with the standing style (they keep records for the standing style and the “open” or spinning style) and easily cleared 17ft.  I then jumped to 17ft 10in which was a half inch better than the current best by Mark McDonald of Scotland.  You get three attempts at each height and I missed my first two!  Disaster!  Not warming up on the event was causing me some problems!  I took a moment and got dialed back in and rolled it over!  So, one record down and one to go.  Had I missed that I would NOT have been able to attempt the second one so that was very critical.  I then moved the bar up to 18ft 6in which would at least give me the second best all time WOB with the spin style and it would give me a warm up before going up to the record attempt.  This was usually an easy height for me but my grip was giving me problems.  It was hot and muggy and my grip just felt “greasy” and that didn’t make me feel confident.  Usually this height would be a cinch but instead I missed it two times and again found myself behind the proverbial “8 ball” needing to get my third throw to even have a shot at the open WOB record.  I got some words of encouragement and was able to make that third throw but now I had to jump a foot to 19′6″ to set the break the record held by Jeff Loosle.  That’s a huge jump and I was not real confident after my struggles.  I went through my mental approach, visualizing my throws, going through my mental check list of what points to hit and lined up for the toss.  I hit it perfectly and knew it, but I also wondered if this would be enough!  I looked up and watched as the weight literally rolled over the bar!  I then felt a searing pain in my hand and looked down to see I had blown my callous wide open!  Glad it waited!  A two year journey had been fulfilled.  Thanks for bearing with me in that “totally unrelated to the USAWA” news.

Now on to the meet report!

We started with the new “unofficial” lift of OTSM which is “Thor’s Hammer”.  I was curious how this event would play out.  Would it be too dangerous?  Would it be too hard to judge?   When you have a new event you just don’t know until you test it out.  Art Montini was the brave soul that started us out.  I had a warm up bar set up as well and everyone was trying out different things.  You quickly realize that you can’t handle as much as you think and adjustments were being made.  Dean Ross jumped in next followed by Mike Murdock and Denny Habecker.  Art ended with 15lbs, Dean and Mike at 20lbs, and Denny at 25lbs before John O’Brien and Eric Todd jumped in at 30lbs.  I had done 40lbs in the one time I practice this event and figured I’d just start there.  John made 35lbs and Eric finished with a successful 40lb attempt.  I felt a little sheepish jumping in after those two were done and was wondering if I had made a tactical error in not taking an earlier attempt.  However, my nerves were calmed when I hit the 40 and I was able to finish with 45lbs.  Not often I lead over those two guys at any point in a meet and I knew they’d crush me later but I have to admit it was a nice birthday present to beat two guys I have so much respect for even if it were just one lift!

We next went to the Cyr lift.  Again Art led us off and got the party started.  Again Art, Mike, Dean, and Denny took their turns.  Art and Mike finished with 30lbs, Dean with 65lbs, and Denny at 85lbs.   I started with John’s starting lift which was 125lbs.  It was so tough I decided to end there.  John went on to tie his own USAWA best in this lift with 140lbs before missing 150lbs on a third.  Eric stole the show at this point and opened at 150lbs.  He then jumped to 170lbs and then made 180lbs.  This is special as he’s had an injured elbow that needed surgery.  So it was nice to see Eric pushing big weights again!

We ended with the Dumbbell to the shoulder.  I love this lift and had to fight Al Myers to even consider it.  I think it’s a really unique event and the small crown of spectators really seemed to enjoy watching this lift.  I think for spectators the slow, methodical style of this lift and the simplicity of the rules allows them to cheer and follow along as the lifter struggles to complete the lift.  However, for the lifter, this is one of the more painful lifts I have ever done and my sternum was sore for days after!  Art edged out Mike Murdock with a 60lb effort to Mike’s 50lbs.  Dean edged Denny with 130lbs to a 100lbs effort.  I opened with 200lbs then jumped to 235lbs which would be a personal best for me in competition.  After getting that I retired and set back to watch John and Eric battle it out!  They both made my best attempt of 235lbs look easy and jumped to 265lbs.  Both made it with some effort and then both jumped to 300lbs  This would tie the all time best in this event by Chris Anderson.  300lbs would also be a 35lb contest PR for Eric and 30lb contest PR for John.  So quite a jump.  Both athletes looked like they were wrestling a bear but both ended up successful!  Eric called for 305lbs which was all I could fit on my bar.  This was twice Eric has maxed out my equipment with the last time being on the Dinnie Stones.  John said he’d had enough so it was just Eric for the 4th and final attempt.  By now the Highland Games were completely over and my gym was filled to over flowing.  Eric  pulled the Dumbbell in and then tried to get a solid set on his belt to continental it up.  He seemed to slip on this a couple times and I was wondering if he were going to get it.  As soon as he got a solid set up on his belt I think we all knew that Eric was not going to fail but there was this little detail of finishing a very painful lift!  Eric bounced it up until Mike Murdock gave him the down signal.  I mention the fact Mike was judging as he is one of the toughest judges I’ve seen and if he says you got it….YOU GOT IT WITHOUT QUESTION!

It’s always nice to end a meet on a successful lift that breaks a record!  Several records were broken and I believe the Thor’s Hammer is an OTSM event that’s here to stay!  Everyone seemed to like it and after we were done the highland games throwers came to the platform to give it a go and this went on for another hour!

I had said I was going to crown two champions.  The overall weight lifted regardless of age or bodyweight and then the formula winner.  Eric Todd won the overall weight lifted with 525lbs.  John O’Brien was 2nd and I was third.  The age and weight adjust rankings go like this:  Eric 410.97 and still first, John 374.65 and still second, Thom 340.31 and still third.  Now we have a change.  Dean and Denny now flip at 4th and 5th with Denny at 251.33 and Dean at 220.92.  Art and Mike maintain their placings with Art’s adjusted total at 149.14 to Mike’s 128.23.

Results:

(age/weight/class)   Thor’s Hammer    Cyr Lift   Dumbbell to Shoulder   Total

Mike Murdock (74/180lb) 20lbs            30lbs (record)     50lbs (record)      100lbs

Art Montini (86/175lb)       15lbs             30lbs (record)    60lbs (record)      105lbs

Denny Habecker (71/195lb)25lbs            85lbs (record)     100lbs                   210lbs

Dean Ross (71/266lbs)         22.5lbs        65lbs (record)    130lbs (record)  217.5lbs

Thom Van Vleck (50/275lbs)45lbs        125lbs (record)    235lbs (record)  405lbs

John O’Brien (45/285lbs)   35lbs          140lbs                  300lbs (record)   475lbs

Eric Todd (39/257lbs)            40lbs          180lbs (record)  305lbs (record)    525lbs

Thanks to everyone that came and made my Birthday so much fun and a success.  I appreciate the guys being patient and waiting on the Highland Games to be over before we started the lifting.  A special award to Dean Ross who was the only guy that did both other than me!

Big T’s OTSM

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT: BIG T’S BIRTHDAY BASH OTSM

This May I turn 50 years old.  My wife asked me what I wanted to do.  Well, I love to throw, lift, and eat with family and friends.  So I will be hosting a Scottish Highland Games at my gym near Greentop, Missouri as well as an USAWA OTSM meet!  You may enter both if you like.  There will be burgers and brats grilled for lunch.  The Highland Games will begin at 10:00am while the OTSM will follow immediately after around 3 pm.  Weigh ins will start at 9:00am or immediately before the lifting starts.  There will be miniature anvils for awards.  One difference with this meet is that there will be two champions.  One will be decided using formulas while the other will be declared on most weight lifted.

MEET DIRECTOR: Thom Van Vleck

DATE: May 31, 2014

LOCATION: JWC Training Hall, 23958 Morgan Road, Greentop, MO, 63546

A special Iron Man award will be given to the combined thrower and lifter.

Following the throwing and lifting, weather permitting, there will be a bonfire and evening festivities.

Three lifts will be contested.  Two are tried and true OTSM lifts while the third is a brand new lift that will be tried out for the first time.

The Cyr Press

Any dumbbell with a handle diameter between 1 inch and 1.5 inches is allowed. The dumbbell may be brought to the shoulder in any manner, but must come to the shoulder before going overhead. This includes using two hands. Once at the shoulder, the dumbbell is taken overhead with only one hand anyhow. The other arm/hand is not allowed to touch the lifting arm during the overhead portion. The feet are allowed to move. If the lifter misses with one arm, the dumbbell may be switched to the other arm during the attempt, but the arm used must be selected at the shoulder. A time limit of 1 minute is allowed for the attempt. The dumbbell may be set down or dropped during the attempt. If the overhead portion of the lift is missed, it may be restarted at the shoulder. Once the dumbbell is overhead motionless with arm straight, the legs straight and feet in line with the torso, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Dumbbell to the Shoulder

A 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, or 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. A time limit of 1 minute is given to complete the lift. An official will give a command to end the lift.

Thor’s Hammer (NEW LIFT!)

A 2″ vertical bar that conforms to the rules for the 2″ vertical bar lifts (2″ in diameter and no more than 18″ long with no knurling) will be used. Just as with a vertical bar lift, the bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar. In addition, the hand must not be touching any weights or collars used to secure the weights.  The lift will begin at the lifter’s discretion. There will be a one minute time limit to complete the lift. Once the lifter chooses to use the left or right hand, the other hand will not come in contact with the weight.  If the lifter misses an attempt they may switch hands but only with the weight resting on the lifting area.  The lift must be one continuous motion from the floor to a locked out position with no press out.  The lifter may choose to snatch or swing the weight.    The forearm must not touch the weight at any time.  The lifter may move the feet and body to adjust to the lift like a snatch lift.  The lift is considered complete when the lifter is in an upright position with the knees and elbow locked, feet in line with the torso with the weight under control.  At which time the official will give the command to end the lift.

OTSM Wrap Up for 2013

by Thom Van Vleck

Mike McIntyre, of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, lifts 315 pounds in the Anderson Press at the 2013 USAWA Old Time Strong Man Championships.

2013 was a great year for Old Time Strong Man (OTSM) in the USAWA.  We saw four meets and 38 total lifters.  Here are some highlights:

Eric Todd won two of the meets while Chad Ullom and Dan Wagman won one apiece.

Two of the meets included women lifters with Ruth Jackson and Whitney Piper being crowned as Champs.

As we look to grow in 2013 I hope that we can expand on the lifts we have.  It’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a lift for the OTSM.  First, it must be a lift or variation of a lift done by a great lifter of the past.  Second, it must not duplicate a lift already in the USAWA.  Finally, it must be a “loadable weight” event (you must be able to increase or decrease the weight so that attempts can be increased).  So, do some research and submit a lift to me or Al Myers and maybe you can lay claim to adding an event to OTSM someday.

Please consider hosting, competing in or attending an event.  If you like lifting, and like Strongman….then OTSM combines the best of both worlds.  The rules are flexible, making events easier to judge and easier for spectators to follow.  It is also easier for newcomers to catch on to the events and not find themselves losing a lift to a technicality.

Kennedy Lift

by Al Myers

Here's an Old Time Strongman performing a variation of the Kennedy Lift by utilizing a Hand and Thigh Bar attached to a regular bar.

I’ve received  a few questions regarding the nature of the “Kennedy Lift” following my announcement of the Dino Gym Challenge, which includes a lift by this name.  It was one of the lifts that Warren Lincoln Travis included in his “Challenge to the World”, in which he challenges 20 repetitions at 700 pounds in 10 seconds.  In his Challenge WLT  calls it instead the Two Hand Grip Lift, but it is the same lift.  Other sources  originally called it  the Hands Alone Lift.  I’m sure the reason for this name was to different it from the Hand and Thigh Lift – meaning no parts of the implement should be touching the body besides the hands (thus Hands Alone), as illustrated in the picture with this story.

The Kennedy Lift is nothing more than a partial Jefferson Lift (or straddle deadlift).   I’ve  heard lifters in the past refer to the Jefferson Lift AS the Kennedy Lift , but this is only partially true (pun intended).  The Kennedy Lift is done by straddling the weight with the lift being close to lockout.  The range of movement is reported to be several inches to just clearing the floor, depending on sources.  The Kennedy is not an official lift of the USAWA, but is one worthy of it.  It will be performed in the Dino Gym Challenge as an exhibition lift that will count in the meet scoring (allowed under the rules of the USAWA). If it is well received by those in attendance, I may submit it for lift approval in the USAWA.  It has the “history” to be an official All Round   lift for sure. 

I had to do some “digging” in my files to find a good reference to the origins of the Kennedy Lift. Some of the information on the internet is not entirely true, so I had to make some decisions as to what I thought were the facts.   The following piece was written by Warren Lincoln Travis, titled “My 40 years with the World’s Strongest Men”, in which he talks about how the Kennedy Lift came to be.  I tend to believe what WLT says in his writings, and here it is:

About forty years ago, at the height of the new wave of strong man popularity, the late Richard K. Fox, then publisher of the Police Gazette, the leading sporting journal of America, had a 1000 pound dumb-bell cast, but it was not in the shape of the dumbbells today.  It was more like a massive block of iron.  He offered a very valuable gold medal and title to the first man to lift this 1000 pound weight.  At that time there was a man known as James Walter Kennedy who was athletically inclined and developed.  He was an oarsman and general athlete, leaning, however, more toward the strong man. He was about 6 feet tall and weighed around 190 pounds, had jet black curly hair and moustache and at a time was a special officer at the Globe Museum at 298-300 Bowery, New York City.  Kennedy took a notion that he could lift this 1000 pound dumbbell with his hands and he began to train with a big whiskey cask, not using whiskey in it, but water, sand and rock as he gained strength.  In other words, he used the Milo Bar Bell system of gradually increasing weight as he improved in his strength.  The first time he tried lifting the 1000 pound weight he failed but some time later he succeeded.  His style was to straddle the weight and have one hand in front of his body grasping the weight and the other hand grasping it in the rear of his body, this position being known as the Hands Alone Lift.  His body was erect with the exception that the knees were bent about 2 or 3 inches. – by Warren Lincoln Travis

I envision the technique to be very similar to how most lift the Dinnie Stones, using the straddle style.  I think it very fitting that the origins of this lift was described by Warren Lincoln Travis, and must have been one he appreciated, as he included it in his “Challenge to the World”.  James Walter Kennedy was 29 years old when he accomplished winning this challenge set forth by Richard K. Fox. He came from Quincy, Illinois. The date of this strongman debut of the Kennedy Lift was January 25th, 1890.  The “1000 pound dumbbell” was actually a 1030 pound solid iron block with handles affixed to the top 24 inches from the ground.

At the Dino Challenge we will be using a bar set up on blocks so weight can be added to that of  a lifters’ preference and the rules of the USAWA can be followed in adding weight over three attempts.  It will be done according to the rules of the Jefferson Lift, except the bar will be at a higher position than the floor. The bar height will be a set height (yet to be determined) so that it will NOT  just be a “lockout lift” like the Heavy Lifts are.

OTSM Championships UPDATE

by Thom Van Vleck

Now that my Scottish Highland Games has been completed my focus has shifted to the OTSM on December 7th.  So far I have one entry in hand (thank you to Dean Ross) and several who have shown interest.  Here are some updates to the previously posted information.

1.  Shirt deadline: I have promised a shirt for those that enter but I’m going to have to put a deadline on the shirt as they were so popular at my Highland Games…I SOLD OUT!  So, if you are coming and want a shirt I need your shirt size (at the least) by November 15th.  I don’t necessarily need your entry……but that would be nice.  I will take entries on meet day….BUT DON’T EXPECT A SHIRT.

2. Location: The contest will be held at my gym in the basement of my home.  The first year we had 10 lifters, but last year we had fewer.  I can’t justify loading all my equipment up, renting the old school gym, and hauling all the stuff in, then hauling it back out.  It’s a tight fit, but if the weather is nice, one or more events will be outside.

3. Breakfast: It has been a tradition for my contests to eat breakfast at Pancake City before the meet (dutch).  Anyone that wants to weigh in BEFORE breakfast be at my place at 7:30am and please, give me a heads up or you might find me sleeping…or WORSE!  We will then head in to Pancake City for a good, ol’ greasy breakfast or a stack of flapjacks….or BOTH.  If Art comes….THEY HAVE COFFEE!!!!

I hope all the USAWA members will consider coming to the meet!  See you there!

WEBMASTER’S COMMENT:   The entry information and entry form for the 2013 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships is located under “USAWA Future  Events” in the column to the right. Simply “click” on it to access this important information!

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

Tim Piper has rescheduled his Old Time Strongman meet that was cancelled due to the unfortunate flooding that took out their gym last month.  I’m glad to see that Tim has been able to get the gym back to order, and hasn’t forgot about the USAWA meet he was planning on having!  I highly encourage everyone to try to make it to this meet of his and show great USAWA support! 

The following was written by Tim in the “first” meet announcement.  I want to reprint it again here as it gives a little understanding why the name “Joe the Turk” was given to this competition.

“Joe the Turk” was the first “strongman” in Macomb Illinois. He came to town as a part of the Salvation Army, ran the crooked mayor and his henchmen out of town, and some accounts claim he actually took over the ousted mayors duties for a short period of time.  “Joe the Turk” holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army, and what better way to honor his memory but to host an OTSM in his memory.  The awards for this event will be unique collectors items bearing his likeness.  The meet with be held at the very same Salvation Army building that the Joe once called home.  Weather permitting the meet will take place outside.  My daughter and I had a great time last year at the OTSM championships and thought it would be fun to host an OTSM in Macomb.  We will likely get a decent crowd of lifters from our gym but hope that more will make the trek to Macomb for some heavy lifting. 

MEET DETAILS:

Date:  July 27th, 2013

Location:  505 N. Randolph Street Macomb, IL 61455

Divisions:   Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

Rules:       USAWA rules and scoring apply to all lifts.  Drug testing rules apply.

Lifts:         Apollon’s Lift

                Anderson Squat

                Dumbbell to Shoulder

                Peoples Deadlift

Weigh-in:    10:00 – 11:00  a.m. of meet day

Lifting:     11:00 a.m.

Entry Fee:  $20, all profits benefit the Salvation Army lifting program

Awards:  For all weight and age classes

ENTRY FORM (PDF): Joe the Turk OTSM 2013

Joe the Turk OTSM

by Tim Piper

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

“Joe the Turk” Old Time Strongman Meet

“Joe the Turk” was the first “strongman” in Macomb Illinois. He came to town as a part of the Salvation Army, ran the crooked mayor and his henchmen out of town, and some accounts claim he actually took over the ousted mayors duties for a short period of time.  “Joe the Turk” holds a unique and special place in the history of the Macomb Salvation Army, and what better way to honor his memory but to host an OTSM in his memory.  The awards for this event will be unique collectors items bearing his likeness.  The meet with be held at the very same Salvation Army building that the Joe once called home.  Weather permitting the meet will take place outside. 

My daughter and I had a great time last year at the OTSM championships and thought it would be fun to host an OTSM in Macomb.  We will likely get a decent crowd of lifters from our gym but hope that more will make the trek to Macomb for some heavy lifting. 

MEET DETAILS:

DATE:      Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Location:  505 N. Randolph Street Macomb, IL 61455

Divisions: Juniors, Women, Masters, and Open

Rules:       USAWA rules and scoring apply to all lifts.  Drug testing rules apply.

Lifts:         Apollon’s Lift

                   Anderson Squat

                   Anderson Press

                   Peoples Deadlift

Weigh-in:    9:00-10:00 a.m. of meet day

Lifting:     10:00 a.m.

Entry Fee:                           $20, all profits benefit the Salvation Army lifting program

AWARDS:  For all weight and age classes

ENTRY FORM -  Joe the Turk OTSM 2013

My Training Adventure in Graduate School

by Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, of the JWC, pulling a 604 pound Peoples Deadlift at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge, his first USAWA competition. (caption courtesty of the webmaster)

I am a graduate student at A.T. Still University, an Osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people while working on my master’s degree. I have also found the time and motivation to re-discover my passion for weightlifting. This is something I had been away from for many years prior to moving to Missouri. One of the people I have formed a great friendship with is Thom Van Vleck. Thom has written a story about the Osteoblasters before and I’d like to extend upon it. Thom has introduced me to the USAWA and Highland Games, both of which I have come to love for the competition and camaraderie. A few weeks ago I was able to experience my first USAWA event at The Dino Gym and this was just awesome! Well, that’s a little about me, now, on to my story.

“You are your own first healer”… “I am my own first patient”… These principles are repeated hundreds of times throughout the educational adventure known as medical school. However, the time crunch and fast paced learning environment make it very difficult for students to truly embrace this attitude. It seems as though one of the first things to be put on the back burner is personal health and wellness, especially when it takes so much time, commitment, and energy to stay afloat in such a demanding curriculum. Motivation quotes are plastered throughout the internet but one of the easiest to believe, and one of my favorites is that “a one hour workout is only four percent of your day, no excuses.” This is the very attitude that is pushed at A.T. Still University by the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club (OWC). I put in so much time and work to officially establish the OWC as a University club because I honestly believe that the benefits of exercise go far beyond the body; to the mind and spirit. This trifecta, “Body, Mind, and Spirit” is another principle that is mentioned countless times at any Osteopathic medical institution. With the help of Thomas Van Vleck, the director of counseling, Dan Martin, the director of the Thompson Campus Center and Jared Nichols, a medical student, I was able to see my dreams for this club come true.

Mike performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press. He was one of only 3 lifters who exceeded 400 pounds at the meet. (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster).

With the New Year (2012), came the beginning of the Osteoblasters. I started to design a fitness approach that would be fun, effective, and fit within the confines of about an hour. Even if I could reach out to only a dozen students I was going to consider this a successful endeavor. I designed a blend of circuit training, powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman training, Crossfit, and I even incorporated exercises to promote the maintenance of basic movement skills, and what I came up with has evolved into the “Osteoblasters.” If people who cherish time so much are willing to devote an hour to me several times a week I figured I owed it to them to make every minute worthwhile.

At the end of my grueling workout, with several people near complete exhaustion, some people seemingly in pain, I walked around to ensure that everyone was okay and get some feedback. What I got back were “high-fives”, some “wows”, and even some comments that are inappropriate to put in print. Thinking I may have scared some people away I prepared for the next class to be smaller and have less energy overall. What actually happened was over 50 people showed up! It did not take more than a few days for the word to spread about how great this “Osteoblasters” program was and how much everyone enjoyed the challenge. I was in no way prepared for this influx of people and was forced to scramble to adapt a workout that would accommodate fifty or so people. It was not easy but I made it happen.

This blend of so many exercise styles seems to be appealing to everyone. We are not training for a competition, a race, or even to get better at a sport, we are training for life. Everyone can find at least a few things they are good at, and I force them to work through things that they may find difficult. One of the things that I never imagined would become part of this workout “class” was the camaraderie most people experience when being part of an athletics team. The majority of people do not continue competitive athletics after high school so this is an area that is easily lost as we “grow up.” The Osteoblasters are just that, a team. We are a team of individual working towards a common goal, not to win a competition or break a world record, simply to get better. Everyone is always looking to break their own personal records whether it is the number of pull ups, weight of a deadlift, or the duration of a hand stand, everyone shows up to get better. This camaraderie extends far beyond the gym as well. I see these people studying together, working together, and hanging out together. This makes all the time and work that I put into this program completely worth it.

I have been able to reach beyond the student population as well and have members of the faculty, staff, and even significant others of students as members of the OWC. We have established a great program that I hope will last for many years. Sometimes people need a push to remember that you are your own first patient. It is extremely important to study and do well while in school but it is also very important to remember your own personal health and wellness. The OWC takes this responsibility to the core of its mission statement: “The OWC will work to improve the well-being of its members through strength training and conditioning. The OWC aims to reach out to people of all levels of experience and offer a safe and structured platform for physical health and wellness.”

Hope you all enjoyed this little story of how I am keeping weightlifting and competition alive and well, even in the demanding environment of a medical school!

Hey, Old Guy Lifters!

by Roger LaPointe

An Old Time Strongman performing a Yoke Lift with a man on his shoulders!

Old guy lifters are finally getting a little respect.

The world sure is changing. I re-posted a cool photo within Facebook that Facebook “Friends” seem to be loving. It’s an old black & white photo of this old guy lifting a home made barbell with two of his buddies hanging off the ends. I would re-post it here, but I don’t want to violate any copyright laws.

Discussion with Jeff Bankens:

Jeff Bankens: I wanna be scary strong like that when I’m a senior.

Roger La Pointe: Keep it up and you will be. 15 years ago, when I worked for York Barbell, I sold a set of “chest expanders” with the the surgical tubing, to Tommy Kono. I believe he had just had his hip replaced and he was still in his hospital bed. He couldn’t think of any other tool he could use in his condition, but he didn’t want to miss a workout.

True Story

I remember my Grandmother warning me that weightlifting was dangerous. It would make me “muscle bound” and it was “bad for my heart”.

For those of you who don’t know him, Jeff Bankens is a performing strongman from Louisiana who did his act at the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Old Time Strongman Picnic in 2012. He has certainly “Friended” me on Facebook and I encourage you to “Friend” him as well. He has a lot of great stuff on YouTube and you will also find out more about his traveling shows.

I sure am glad I didn’t listen to her warning. Here another great photo of an older guy lifting something cool. I don’t know who took this photo or how old it is, but it is in my PRE-WWII folder. I know you want to see amazing Masters Age lifting, so I encourage you to also check out the USAWA meet coverage that we have available on the Atomic Athletic web site. Here are links for reference:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID004

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID001

All the best, Roger LaPointe
“Today is a good day to lift”

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

2013 DINO GYM CHALLENGE
“PRESENTING AN OLD TIME STRONGMAN POWERLIFTING MEET”

Group picture of the participants in the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge.

MEET REPORT:

I was expecting maybe 10 or 12 lifters for the annual Dino Gym Challenge – but then to my amazement lifters kept showing up and showing up!!  The total number of entrants came to 21 lifters!!!!  That’s only a few off what entered the World Meet that I promoted last fall!!!  I was very excited to see this, as it shows the interest that lifters have in the “new” Old Time Strongman Competitions.  This meet was promoted as an “Old Time Strongman Powerlifting Meet” because it contained three OTSM lifts that are partial-lift deviations of the three powerlifts (Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift).  The meet included two Official OTSM lifts (the Anderson Squat and the Peoples Deadlift) as well as one exhibition lift (the Hackenschmidt Floor Press).  The Hack FP  ”went over” really real with the lifters and I hope that it will become approved as an official OTSM lift this year. 

The three officials of the Dino Gym Challenge holding their souvenir beer mugs - complete with Dino Gym logo!! These mugs were given as the awards to all participants. (left to right: Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, LaVerne Myers)

One thing that I GREATLY appreciate with the Dino Gym members is how we always “come together” to support each other in our promoted events.  Putting on any competition requires lots of “behind the scenes” work, and manpower on the day of the event. Even though we had more lifters show up than expected, things ran very smoothly because there was enough “helpers” to make it happen.   Often after meets the attention is always on the lifting performances, but things wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for those facilitating the meet.  In this meet report I want to mention these guys first (they’re often the last mentioned).  The USAWA OTSM Chairman Thom Van Vleck is first on my list to thank.  Thom has been promoting the yearly OTSM Championships, and he has made a effort to be at most ALL of the OTSM meets in the USAWA, offering leadership and support.  He took on the hardest event to officiate (the Anderson Squat) for the day.  Chad Ullom, who normally doesn’t miss an opportunity to compete, sat this one out so he could be one of the needed officials of the day.  He officiated the Peoples Deadlift as well as loaded that event the entire day.  LaVerne Myers officiated the new OTSM event, the  Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  LaVerne has been a very important official in the club, and does an outstanding job.  He is very professional in his officiating and keeps things on pace.  His group finished before Chad’s and Thom’s in every rotation!!!  I also want to thank Mike Murdock and Tyler Cookson for helping spot and load throughout the day.  This help allowed me to focus on the daily details, keeping the scores updated, and taking lots of pictures.  Finally, I want to mention and thank my wife Leslie who made the lunch for everyone and puts up with me for stressing over every “little detail”. 

Dan Wagman pressing 435 pounds, which was the top Hackenschmidt Floor Press of the meet.

Now onto the lifting performances.  The IAWA World Champs Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson made their appearance from Colorado, and added another overall victory to their USAWA resumes. Both performed outstanding in all of these OTSM events.  Dan “put up” the top Hackenschmidt Floor Press of the day with 435 pounds. Newcomer Mike McIntyre lifted 410 pounds in the FP.  Mike is a member of the JWC, and at 29 years of age, has his best lifting years still ahead of him.  KC Strongman Eric Todd also lifted 410 pounds in the FP.  That’s THREE lifters over 400 pounds!!! 

I was very interested to see the big lifts in the Anderson Squat. I was hoping to see several lifts over 800 pounds – and that I did!! Eric Todd became the first USAWA lifter to ever go over 900 pounds (with a lift of 903#).  ET has been “making his name known” in the USAWA this past year with winning the Heavy Lift Champs last spring, and setting the ALL TIME neck lift record at Worlds.  His second place finish in this stellar-packed field of lifters show that he is also a top contender in any future OTSM competition.  John O’Brien of the JWC upped his personal record in the Anderson Squat to 810 pounds. I want to mention that John did this after losing over 30 pounds of bodyweight. This bodyweight loss while maintaining his same strength helped him with the formula adjustment and aided him to get third place overall at this meet. I say this because he “just edged” out Alan English by one point!!!   Alan is a Dino Gym member who I have FINALLY got to compete in an USAWA competition. He is a gifted strength athlete who has lots of strongman victories to his name.  I hope that this meet has inspired him to compete more in the USAWA, because if he does, you will see several great things out of him in the future.  Rounding out the top five was another Dino Gym member, Scott Campbell.  Scott finished off his day with the second highest Anderson Squat, with a lift of 881 pounds.  Scott is a seasoned Highland Game Athlete who has strength that he doesn’t really know he has. 

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson had the top Peoples Deadlift of the meet with this 800 pound lift!

I got a couple of other lifters that I want to mention.  First – Chuck Cookson.  Chuck started the meet off by putting up the top Peoples Deadlift of the day – 800 pounds!!!  However, he opened a little too high on the Anderson Squat (800 pounds!!!) and couldn’t get a lift in.  If he would have got in an Anderson Squat, he would have placed much higher in the overall.  I want to thank Art Montini and Denny Habecker for making the trip from Pennsylvania to compete.  It’s always inspiring to watch these two lift in meets.  I would like to know how many USAWA meets these two have competed in throughout the years. They seem to always be at USAWA events, and have been doing this for 25 years!!! I really doubt if there are very many other lifters in the USAWA that have competed as many times as these two.  I want to thank a couple of Jobe Steel Jungle lifters who made the trip – Tim Songster and Dan Bunch. I really appreciate it when lifters travel to my meets from out of state. This includes Dean Ross from Oklahoma.  I did a quick count and lifters from six states competed in this meet.  That’s simply amazing!!!

As always, I still have lots more to report on but I got to draw a conclusion to my meet report at some point.  Tomorrow I’ll reveal the results from the challenge between the Dino Gym and the Hoghton Barbell Club.  Also, I still have the results from the shooting competition that went on after the meet to report on. That’ll be coming later this week.  Again, I want to thank EVERYONE who competed, helped out, or just showed up to watch.  This will go down as one of the best Dino Gym Challenges of ALL TIME. 

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Challenge
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials (1 official system used):  Thom Van Vleck, Chad Ullom, LaVerne Myers

Scorekeeper:  Al Myers

Loaders:  Tyler Cookson, Mike Murdock

Lifts:  Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, Peoples Deadlift

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 107 286 160 319 765 1180.1
Jera Kressly 28 219 319 0 379 698 593.2

EXTRA ATTEMPTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Ruth Jackson: Anderson Squat 308#
Ruth Jackson: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 180#
Jera Kressly: Anderson Squat 352#
Jera Kressly:  Peoples Deadlift 399#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT SQ FP DL TOT PTS
Dan Wagman 50 185 738 435 677 1850 1917.6
Eric Todd 38 262 903 410 717 2030 1573.1
John O’Brien 44 262 810 380 554 1744 1419.0
Alan English 29 231 694 320 702 1716 1418.1
Scott Campbell 38 287 881 325 654 1860  1378.8
Mark Mitchell 52 316 672 365 624 1661 1329.4
Tim Songster Sr. 45 205 501 285 554 1340 1251.8
Mike McIntyre 29 273 600 410 604 1614 1225.5
Darren Barnhart 45 302 628 340 624 1592 1221.1
Dave Glasgow 59 252 507 250 504 1261 1195.4
Doug Kressly 33  276 540 320 604 1464 1106.1
Scott Tully 37 313  600 320 604 1524 1086.2
Dan Bunch 48 360 551 275 624 1450 1055.3
Denny Habecker 70 198 331 215 349 895 1052.9
Dean Ross 70 273 402 180 379 961 955.9
Ben Edwards 37 217 440 225 449 1114 951.4
Art Montini 85 175 209 120 306 635 895.2
Chuck Cookson 43  275 0 300 800 1100  865.7
Lance Foster 47 330  402 180 554 1136 851.9

 EXTRA ATTEMPTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Denny Habecker:  Anderson Squat 352#
Denny Habecker: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 225#
Denny Habecker: Peoples Deadlift 369#
Dan Bunch: Peoples Deadlift 649#
Dan Wagman: Anderson Squat 782#
Dan Wagman:  Peoples Deadlift 707#
Dean Ross: Peoples Deadlift 399#
Lance Foster: Hackenschmidt Floor Press 190#

EXTRA LIFTS MADE FOR RECORD:

Dan Wagman: Curl – Cheat, Reverse Grip 204#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand 180#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand 217#
Dan Wagman: Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand 217#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Right Arm 44#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Left Arm 44#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Feet in Air 110#
Ruth Jackson: Bench Press – Hands Together 93.5#
Ruth Jackson: Holdout – Raised 33#
Ruth Jackson: Holdout – Lowered 33#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Right Arm 181.75#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Left Arm 181.75#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Right Arm 90#
Ruth Jackson: Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm 90#

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight and age correction.

Rule for the Hackenschmidt Floor Press

by Al Myers

Coming up in January on the USAWA Meet Schedule will be the Dino Gym Challenge – featuring a meet of Old Time Strongman Lifts. We are now into our third year of OTSM being offered by the USAWA, and I see that it is gaining momentum. This years meet at the Dino Challenge will include three OTSM lifts that closely mimic the three powerlifts. The lifts are two that have been contested within the past year (Anderson Squat & Peoples Deadlift), plus a new exhibition lift – the Hackenschmidt Floor Press. This new lift is viewed by the USAWA as an exhibition lift – meaning that it is an unofficial lift thus no USAWA records may be set or established in it. However, the USAWA rules DO ALLOW exhibition lifts to be counted in the meet scoring (Section VIII.11), thus it can legally be part of the competition. I have been working with the USAWA Old Time Strongman Chairman Thom Van Vleck on establishing an unofficial rule for the Hackenschmidt Floor Press that will be used at the Dino Challenge, and this is what we have worked up:

The setup position for the Hackenschmidt Floor Press.

Hackenschmidt Floor Press

A chest press (with a standard Olympic bar) will be performed while lying flat on the floor/platform.  The bar height, measured to the bottom of the bar from the platform, can be no greater than 15”.  The bar/plates may rest on blocks or supports to achieve this height.  The lift starts when the lifter, while lying under the bar with the bar above the chest, starts to press.  A time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt, meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary within this time limit to complete a legal lift. The lift is complete when the bar is pressed completely with the lifter’s elbows locked out.  It is not an infraction to press unevenly, lock out at different times, raise the head, or allow the bar to lower during a part of the press.   It is an infraction if the hips/legs rise off the floor/platform during any part of the lift.  Once complete, an official will give a command to end the lift.

As you can see, this is a partial floor press since the bar height is set at 15 inches.  There has been an interesting discussion in the USAWA Discussion Forum regarding the development of this lift, and Thom and I have taken those comments into consideration in writing this rule.  A little over a year ago I wrote a blog outlining some of the “founding principles” of OTSM in the USAWA.   I don’t want to repeat all that here again, but here is the link for anyone who is interested – http://www.usawa.com/old-time-strongman/  Again, I want to emphasize that this is an unofficial lift and rule as of now.  I really think it is important that new lifts be tried in competition as exhibition lifts first before they are proposed for official lift status.  This allows a thorough competition evaluation of them, and if there are any “bugs in them” the rules can be fine-tuned before being presented to the Executive Board for an approval vote.  Think of it as a “trial-run”. 

George "The Russian Lion" Hackenschmidt

Now why is this floor press named the Hackenschmidt Floor Press?

I’m sure that question is being asked by some of  you reading this.  George “The Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt was a famous Russian strongman and wrestler who also had remarkable ability in weightlifting.  He also went by the nickname of “Hack”, which has been used in the name of another popular All Round Lift – the Hack Lift.  Most feel that the Hack Lift  was named after George Hackenschmidt, but from what I have read I don’t think that is the case. The name Hack comes from the German word “Hacke”, which means heels.  Thus I believe the Hack Lift originated by this name terminology, as the “lift done with the bar at the heels”, aka Hacke Lift.  However, Hackenschmidt was quite good at this movement and undoubtedly his name has some bearing on the legacy of this lift. But I’m getting off-topic here.  Another exercise that Hackenschmidt excelled at was the floor press.  At the time pressing a weight this way was not popular at all,  as a press was  meant for overhead lifting.  This was in the days long before a bench was used to press from the chest.  If you wanted to press from the chest,  you had to first bring the bar to the chest while lying on the platform, thus the origin of the Pullover and Press.  As most know, the pullover in this lift can sometimes be the hardest part, and definitely after that exertion the amount of weight that can be pressed is decreased.  Hackenschmidt was ahead of the times here.  According to David Willoughby in his famous book The Super Athletes Hackenschmidt performed the pullover and press using OVERSIZED plates, thus diminishing the effects of the pullover since the bar would come into position easier with these big plates.  I would say that qualifies him as the inventor of the Floor Press as we know it, and well-deserving to have this OTSM lift named after him.  His best lift was 361.5 pounds, which was claimed as a WORLD RECORD for over 18 years!!

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – 2013 DINO GYM CHALLENGE

Chad Ullom performed a 800 pound Anderson Squat enroute to winning BEST LIFTER at the 2012 OTSM Championships.

Every year for the Dino Challenge I like to change the theme.  There are just so many different lifts that can be “tested” in the USAWA that I just like to do something different every year.  I know that there are those meets that keep the same lifts in the same meet “year after year”, and I respect that as well.  I even go to those meets and like to be able to compare my performance in the same lifts from prior years, but for the Dino Gym Challenge I like to SHAKE THINGS UP!  The day of the meet will be third Saturday of January – January 19th at the Dino Gym.

The Dino Gym Challenge was host to the VERY FIRST USAWA  Old Time Strongman competition in 2011.  Since then there have been several hosted in the USAWA, including 2 Championships (2011 & 2012) at Kirksville, Missouri directed  by Thom Van Vleck.   Thom has been given the role of OTSM Chairman within the USAWA (ok…it’s an unofficial title, but it makes him feel important which is the most important thing here).   Thom has “given me his word” that he will be present at the Dino Gym’s OTSM in January, and Thom’s a guy who when he says he’s going to do something – he does it. 

The theme for this years competition will be an “Old Time Strongman Powerlifting Meet” .  These three lifts have been chosen: Anderson Squat, Hackenschmidt Floor Press, and the Peoples Deadlift.   All three of these lifts are similiar to the three powerlifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift), only in slightly different formats.  The Anderson Squat and the Peoples Deadlift are limited range movements comparable to the squat and deadlift, while the Floor Press is essentially a bench press minus the bench.  Anyone should be able to perform these lifts – so I’m expecting a BIG TURNOUT!!

ENTRY FORM AND MEET DETAILS -  2013DinoChallenge

OTSM Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

Group picture from the 2012 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships.

The 2nd Annual Old Time Strong Man Championships were held on October 14, 2012. We were back in the old Willard School Gym where the 2011 USAWA Nationals were held. This “old school” gym seemed to me to the appropriate place for an “Old Time” themed contest. I had 7 lifters show to test themselves. I had 5 loaders and three officials….so the help outnumbered the competition….which led to a fast meet! While this was down from 10 lifters from the year before there was a lot of enthusiasm and some great lifting.

Tim Piper came with his daughter Whitney. This was her first official meet. Vince Decker made it, as did Mike Lucht and Lance Foster. The battle came down between Dino Gym’s Chad Ullom and the JWC’s own John O’Brien. Chad took an early lead, cut after the Anderson Squat, John O’Brien hit a meet best 805lbs and was barely in First. That meant it all came down to the People’s Deadlift. Chad was ahead of John in the order so that meant he had to pull what he thought was his best and leave the rest to John. John came out needing a 600lb pull to win, but it was not to be. Chad Ullom was the winner! A nice comeback after his 2nd overall finish the week before at the IAWA World’s. Several records fell as well!

JWC member John O'Brien put up the top Anderson Squat of the meet with this 805 pound lift!

One of the things I wanted to do with this meet was make it a fundraiser for the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club. This is a new club that I helped start up at A. T. Still University where I work as the Director of Counseling. The good news about this club is that I had hoped to have maybe a dozen members…..but instead I have over 60!!!! The bad news is we are sorely in need of equipment. So, the money was to buy equipment, or I offered a second option of donating equipment as your entry. Well, I raised $135.00….but we also had an 800lb Tire, a heavy duty pulling sled, and a very nice Incline bench! The Tire was from JWC member and USAWA competitor Joe Costello and the Incline was donated by Eric Todd who was also the head judge at the meet! Tim Piper also mentioned he would give us some dumbbells as well! Thanks, guys, this is appreciated greatly.

I finally want to thank Al Myers. Al traveled 700 miles round trip, was the scorekeeper, and helped me run the meet. This allowed me to go around and talk to the lifters, encourage them, and also to get to watch some of the lifting. I cannot tell you how often I have run a contest and I miss out on most of the competition because I’m too busy running things behind the scenes. I would also like to thank Chad Ullom, John O’Brien, and Lance Foster. Lance and Chad competed both in the OTSM and my Highland Games held the day before. John was a judge at the Highland Games and competed in the OTSM. Double Duty!!!!!!

The plans are already in motion for next year. Al and I have talked about this and we hope to have three or four OTSM meets that will lead up to the Championships here in Kirksville again in 2013. Next year I won’t have the meet on the same weekend as my Highland Games so it will be on a Saturday. It will stand alone and get the individual attention that it should. I hope everyone will consider coming!

MEET RESULTS

Old Time Strongman Championships
Willard Gymnasium
Kirksville, Missouri
October 14th, 2012

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

Official (1-official system used): Eric Todd

Scorekeeper:  Al Myers

Lifts: Cyr Press, Apollons Lift, Anderson Squat, Peoples Deadlift

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT CYR AP SQ DL TOT PTS ADJ PTS
Whitney Piper 11 69.75 21 31 125 135 312 683.22 854.02

 EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Whitney Piper: People Deadlift 160#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT CYR AP SQ DL TOT PTS ADJ PTS
Chad Ullom 40 249 141 275 800 600 1816 1443.5 1457.9
John O’Brien 43 275 141 300 805 550 1796 1359.0 1413.4
Mike Lucht 29 222 141 270 560 600 1571 1325.9 1325.9
Vince Decker 41  175  116 220 470  535 1341 1294.8 1320.8
Tim Piper 42 191 101 205 500  450 1256 1151.6  1186.2
Lance Foster 46 318.5 81 175 475 550 1281 904.1 967.4

EXTRA ATTEMPTS FOR RECORD

Tim Piper: Anderson Squat 550#

NOTES: BWT is bodyweight recorded in pounds.  All lifts were recorded in pounds.  TOT is total pounds lifted.  PTS are adjusted Lynch Points for bodyweight corrected.  ADJ PTS are adjusted Lynch Points for age allowance.

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.

Old Time Strongman

by Al Myers

John O'Brien, of the JWC, takes a 270 pound dumbbell to his shoulder at the First Ever USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships. This new Old Time Strongman Event mimics loading events in Strongman, but instead of loading something to a platform, the lifter has to take the dumbbell from the floor to the shoulder. Only at the JWC would the dumbbell be loaded with Old Jackson plates, which is very fitting!!!

It really gave me a good feeling that the FIRST EVER USAWA Old Time Strongman (OTSM)  Championships was such a great success.  Thom did an EXCELLENT JOB of hosting this event at his gym, the JWC Training Hall.   Even though the USAWA only hosted two of these OTSM meets this year, I see this division of the USAWA as one that will grow over time.  Actually, it is probably a good thing that we are growing at a slow pace with this, as it allows us to get “our ducks in a row”.   This allows time to develop the proper protocols in administrating these competitions, as well as time to develop a good selection of OTSM events that will be contested.  I’m hoping next year to have at least four of these Old Time Strongman Competitions within the sanction of the USAWA.  Thom has already agreed to host next’s years Championship so we know we will have that as the “finale”.   Eric Todd has showed interest in hosting one in his gym this upcoming spring, and the Dino Gym has one planned for next July.  

I want to say a few general words about these changes that are happening in the USAWA.  Most USAWA lifters have been very supportive of these changes, but I have received a few comments from people, that as I would say, are “reserved” in their feelings on this.  When changes happen in any aspect in life, it is sometimes unfortable and takes adjustment on an individuals part.   It is easy to just keep doing things as they are always done, but sometimes changes are needed to “spark things”.  This is how I feel about the USAWA branching into Strongman.  We have been struggling for years as an organization in keeping adequate membership to stimulate enough revenue (in membership dues) to keep functioning.  Old Time Strongman will stimulate membership from lifters who may be only interested in these competitions, but a FEW will also compete in the traditional All Round Meets as well since they are already members of the USAWA.  It is a sure thing that it will increase USAWA membership. Strongman is no different than other “niche” competitive areas within the USAWA that already exist.  I talking specially about the Heavy Lifts and the Grip Meets that the USAWA has sanctioned.

I want to explain a few goals and formative ideas I have about this Old Time Strongman.  First of all, in no way do I want to imitate Strongman Competitions that already exist.  If a lifter wants to compete in those, there are plenty of opportunities for this.  We have sanctioned several of those Strongman Competitions in the Dino Gym by NAS through the years.  Instead, I want to share some of my “founding principles” of the USAWA Old Time Strongman so everyone will know where I’m coming from.

1.  General Rules of the USAWA will apply.  This includes using lifts that have established WRITTEN RULES in the Rulebook.  Rules of weightlifting will apply with the 3 attempts allowed per lift, and a lifter will be able to CHOOSE what weight they want to attempt.  No set weight implements will be allowed.  No events for time will be allowed.  Medley type events will not be done. This allows anyone, regardless of ability, to be able to compete.  Also, the USAWA scoring system already in place for our meets will be used.  Bodyweight and age correction will be applied to total pounds lifted.   Now if a meet director wants to have awards for BEST LIFTER for age groups or age divisions that is not a problem, as that is already allowed for any other USAWA meet. 

2.  Drug testing will be done according to the USAWA guidelines.  Most other organization’s Strongman Competitions are not drug tested. We will drug test! This will allow those drug free lifters to be able to compete against others who are also drug free. 

3.  The Old Time Strongman Events will be of such as to honor a lift/event done by an Old Time Strongman.  This goes right along with our mission statement of the USAWA, to honor lifts done by Old Time Strongmen.  No “modern” Strongmen events will be contested – such as stone loading, farmers walks, yoke carries, etc.  Like I said before, there are plenty of other places to do those events in competition.  Also, most of these Old Time Strongman Events will be done using just using a bar or dumbbell/dumbells.  The use of specialized equipment in events will be limited, however, a few events will have them.  I talking about unique lifts like the Dinnie Lift. 

4.  All of these Old Time Strongman Events will have “loose rules” compared to other All Round lifts.  Several of these OTSM events will be partial movements, unlike traditional All Round lifts.  I am hoping that eventually we will reach a list of around 20 “GOOD” OTSM lifts in our Rulebook so meet directors will have a good list to chose from for a meet. Finally, all of these lifts will have the minute clock, meaning a lifter gets as many tries within a minute to complete the lift on their attempt.  No missed attempts on technicalities!! 

I could see meet directors having an OTSM in which other All Round lifts might be included in the meet  list of events.   A lot of our other already established All Round lifts would fit “perfectly” into an OTSM meet.  Lifts like the Crucifix and Two Hands Anyhow pretty much meet the criteria of an Old Time Strongman lift.  But if these lifts are done in an OTSM meet, their rule as stated in the Rulebook must be followed, and not deviated from.  This is essential so records in these lifts can be maintained.  As you can see from these “founding principles”, Old Time Strongman will be a cross between modern Stongman and weightlifting.  I’m really excited about this – and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!

Rules for the Dumbbell Shoulder

by Thom Van Vleck

Two big Dumbbells.....could either one be shouldered in the "Dumbbell Shoulder" event at the Old Time Strongman Nationals?

When Al and I discussed me hosting the Old Time Strongman Nationals one of the things that I wanted to do was come up with some new lifts.  The “OTS” concept is to have lifts that aren’t current USAWA lifts, that have more relaxed rules, be able to raise or lower the weight, be done for a max attempt, and be something the old timers did.  What followed was me sending Al numerous lifts and him pointing out how they were already USAWA lifts or did not fit the criteria in some way!  In my research I came across the weightlifting for the 1904 Olympics.  It was very different than from today.  There were actually two separate events, a barbell competition and a Dumbbell competition.  There were several Dumbbell lifts and one of them involved cleaning a heavy dumbbell.  I stumped Al on this one.  There are no current USAWA lifts that involved cleaning a dumbbell and Al thought there ought to be so he shot down my idea based on the fact that we need to add that lift to the regular USAWA lifts….as a result it COULDN’T be an OTS event!  So, I came back with this event, as inspired by that 1904 Olympic event and thus the name!

USAWA Rule for the 1904 Dumbbell Shoulder

A 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.

So, we will give this one a try.  It may be a “one and done” event in that we will have to see how this one plays in competition.  If it does, then great!  At the least, it is a unique event and it will be interesting to see how much we can do!

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.

Rules for the Anderson Press

by Thom Van Vleck

Paul Anderson with a 450lb Continental Clean & Press. This photo approximates the starting point of the "Anderson Press" event at the Old Time Strongman Nationals.

The first ever USAWA Old Time Strongman National Championship will be held at the JWC Training Hall on October 16, 2011.  One of the new lifts to be contested will be the “Anderson Press”.  Big Paul Anderson, arguably the strongest man that ever lived, used to do some pretty unique training lifts and often rigged things up to work on what he felt were his weaknesses. One lift he came up with was to hang a barbell from a tree with a chain and do partial lockout presses.  This lift was the inspiration for the lift to be contested in October!

USAWA Rules for the Anderson Press

Press (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.

You will notice the rules are a lot more relaxed compared to other USAWA lifts.  The idea is that the lifter will be able to handle big weights and it will be pretty evident to any spectators if they get the lift or not.  I know that when I’ve attended meets I have spent a lot of time explaining to spectators that are not familiar with lifting why a completed lift did not count.  While this could still happen, it’s a lot less likely and I think that’s part of the appeal of the the “Old Time Strongman” concept.  It’s more spectator friendly and forgiving to the lifter!   As a result, this type of meet may attract a whole new type of strength athlete to the USAWA that will then try the traditional meets as well.  At least that’s my opinion.  Hope you can make it in October!

Strongman Nationals

 by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2011 USAWA OLD TIME STRONGMAN NATIONALS

Frederick Winters working with a really big Dumbbell at the 1904 Olympics. There were several Dumbbell lifts done at this contest and one is serving as the inspiration for a lift at this years Old Time Strongman Nationals.

The first ever USAWA Old Time Strongman Nationals will be held on Sunday,  Oct. 16, 2011 at the Jackson Weighlifting Club Training Hall.  This will be in conjunction with a fun filled weekend of strength that includes a Scottish Highland Games on Oct. 15th.  If you have ever wanted to try your hand at the Highland Games this is your chance to get two events in one weekend.  There is even a special discounted entry for both!  Soon I will have all the information up at www.jacksonweightliftingclub.com!

First, a quick note on the Highland Games on Saturday.  This will include 7 traditional Scottish feats of strength.  The hammer throws, the Weights for Distance, the Weight Over Bar, the Sheaf stone, the Stone put, and last but not least, the caber toss.

Now, to the Strongman contest.  Earlier this year Al Myers held the first ever USAWA Old Time Strongman contest at the Dino Gym.  It was a great success.  Al and I discussed it and said there ought to be a Nationals each year and I offered to hold it at the JWC Training Hall.  In the coming weeks we will be highlighting the events.  The rules of the lifts are included with the  entry forms.

OLD TIME STRONGMAN LIFTS CONTESTED

Anderson Press

Anderson Squat

Dinnie Lift

1904 Dumbbell to Shoulder

Entry form  for the USAWA Old Time Strongman Nationals (pdf) -  Old Time Strongman Nationals Entry Form

Entry form for the Kirksville Highland Games (pdf) -  Kirksville Highland Games Entry Form