Big T’s OTSM (First Update)

by Thom Van Vleck

I have some more information on OTSM being held at the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  Entry info and a link to the first story on the meet can be found under the USAWA Future Events section.

This meet will be held outside weather permitting.  If the weather is bad, we’ll move it inside.  Each lifter will be given the chance to look at the records and attempt one record attempt on a lift outside the competition once the meet is completed.  Additional records will be up to there being time.  I wanted to mention this in case there was anyone coming that planned on trying some record attempts.

I thought I might catch some flack regarding my decision to have two champs.  One based on the formulas and the other based solely on most weight lifted.  So far not a peep.  I think it will be interesting to see if they are different!  Just so you know, it’s not my plan to do this with the OTSM Championships.

In addition, This meet will happen regardless of the turn out.  The idea of having this in conjunction with a Highland Games meet is I hope to get some new members to sign up.  You will notice I don’t have a deadline.  All comers!  So don’t worry about the meet being cancelled due to low turnout.  THIS WILL HAPPEN!

Finally, bring some shade, sunscreen, and a folding chair.  It’s pretty wide open at my place so shade is tough to find.  I don’t sunburn and don’t notice it….but we’ve toasted a few of the fair skinned lifters and throwers at my place!

Hope to see you there!

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 Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

Third Annual Old Time Strongman Championships

Chad Ullom with a successful unassisted lift with the Dinnie Stones. An OTSM Championship lift for this year!

A date has been set for the OTSM.  December 7th!  So mark your calendars! Here are the details to date:

Date: 12/7/2013

Time: 10:00am weigh in begins, warm ups with a start time of noon.

Place: Kirksville, Missouri (exact location TBD)

Events: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dinnie Lift (order will depend if we have to split into flights)

Entry Fee: $25

I wanted to have a three lift meet with a squat type lift, a press type lift, and a pull type lift.  Also, all the lifts are current OTSM official lifts. Winners will be determine by weight class and age and an overall best male and female lifter will be determined using weight and age formulas.    Lifters will get a JWC club t-shirt, anvil trophy for winners, refreshments, and certificates with meet results for everyone.

Entry Information:  Send your name, entry fee and shirt size to:

Thom Van Vleck
23958 Morgan Road
GreenTop, MO 63546

ENTRY FORM (PDF):  2013 OTSM Championships Entry Form

OTSM Goes BIG in 2013!

by Thom Van Vleck

It’s not even 2013 yet and we already have THREE OTSM (Old Time Strong Man) contests for  next year and at least one other in the works.  For that reason, we are looking at expanding on the pool of lifts.  How this works is a lift is proposed, then used in a contest to see how it works.  If it works, it is then taken to the annual meeting for approval by the members.

First up is Al’s meet he recently posted for January.  In it he will be introducing a new experimental lift, the Hackenschmidt Floor Press.  There will be an article soon explaining this lift.  Al’s meet will have the Anderson Squat, the Hack Floor press, and the People’s Deadlift.  Rules for the other two lifts are located in the rule book.  This is basically an Old Time Powerlifting Meet!

Second will be in April.  The meet date is not set, but likely the end of April.  This will  run by Tim Piper and will be in Macomb, Illinios. This meet will be at the Salvation Army Gym and that Gym is worth the trip by itself!  I was there recently to help judge a meet and it was as “Old School” as they come and the prefect place for an OTSM meet!

The, of course, the OTSM Nationals will be held in Kirksville, Missouri for the 3rd time.  This meet will be later in the year and while the date is to be determined….it WILL happen and will be the “finale” for the OTSM season.

I also know that Eric Todd and the KC Strongman crew are looking to hold a meet and I’m hoping to talk Jesse Jobe to put one on. I would also like to see regular USAWA meets, such as Record Days, associated with these meets.  As that would help open up the USAWA to new members and fans!

Now we have the makings of a circuit!  So, for those interested, I propose that we have an “OTSM” circuit.  I am looking for ideas on how to format this so anyone that has a good idea, send it my way.  Basically, I want to reward the person who attends the most meets and places the best at those meets.  This award will be present at the conclusion of the OTSM Championships.  Maybe we should even have a club champion as well.  What do you think?  Let me know!

I hope that everyone will give an OTSM meet a look in 2013.  Maybe even host one and compete in one!

What makes OTSM Different?

by Thom Van Vleck

John O'Brien had the top Apollons Lift of the OTSM Championships with this 300 pound lift.

First, please notice I said “different”.  Not BETTER, just different.  Al Myers came up with the concept for Old Time Strong Man contests to bring something different to the USAWA.  I really like the idea.  This does not mean I don’t like the regular USAWA.  On the contrary, I like the idea a lot!  But I have also been a fan of Strongman Contests as well.  I also think a lot of the other USAWA members do as well.  The OTSM brings that strongman flavor, but does something to it that no strongman contest does.  It allows for the events to be loaded to weights that will suit any age group, skill level, weight class, or gender.  Basically, it makes Strongman accessible to everyone, makes it quantifiable (for record keeping purposes that are legit), and brings it in line with the USAWA tenants that we all appreciate (drug testing for one!).

One of the things I like about the OTSM format is how the lifter is allowed several chances to complete a lift within the one minute time limit.  I think this adds some real excitement and drama to the meet.  Several successful lifts in this meet would not have been allowed in the format used by not only the regular USAWA and IAWA meets, but in any Olympic or Powerlifting contest.  For example, John O’Brien called for 300lbs on his final Appollon’s Axle attempt.  He pulled the weight, racked it, then missed the jerk….however, he still had time, so he pulled a second time, racked it, and made a very solid jerk.  This was the only 300lb lift of the meet in the Appollon’s Lift.  For those watching, it is really exciting to see something like that!  I know the limits placed on earlier meets was a time factor, but usually the lift is made quickly and it really doesn’t take much more time with the few times the whole minute is used.

Another thing I like that this format has over regular strongman contests is how you can start with any weight you want.  It brings the best part of a regular weightlifting meets in a Strongman format.  You get three attempts, you can start at any weight and go up to weights that are within your ability.  In most strongman meets, you have one weight for all…..and in my book, “one size does NOT fit all”.   This way, you can have a meet where young and old, the super strong and the weekend warrior, can all take part.

A third thing is the relaxed rules.  Most USAWA regular lifts have pretty strict interpretations on how the lift will be performed, with good reason.  But for the novice lifter or most spectators, this can lead to confusion or frustration when the complete a lift or see a lift completed only have it turned down on a technicality.  To those of us “in the know” we understand perfectly….but for many a slight press out leaves them shaking their heads.  OTSM has many lifts where the lifter can get a weight up multiple ways with few rules.  As a result, very few lifts are turned down upon completion.  This is very spectator friendly in my book!

Now, I do want to take some time to address some criticisms I’ve heard about the OTSM.  Some have to do with the very nature of it (relaxed rules, etc).  Not much I can say about that.  It is what it is.  But some things I can address.  I have heard concerns that we have enough in the USAWA already.  Why do we need more.  Well, first of all, that’s the very nature of those that have come to the USAWA!  Guys who were satisfied with the Olympic lifts stayed with those lifts, but there were a group of guys who weren’t and powerlifting was born…and so on.  The USAWA adds lifts every year!  I would argue that’s just who we are.  Plus, have you ever watched the Olympics….how many swimming styles do we need to compete, gymnastics events, running events?!?!  Nobody complains about why we need a 200 meter champion when we already have a 100 meter champion.   It’s just more ways to have fun and enjoy sports.  Track and Field has two shot put world champs every year…indoor and outdoor.  No big deal.

These seem to be the key differences to me.  It adds a nice wrinkle to all the USAWA offers and I think can serve  as a way to recruit new blood to the larger organization.  I think a lot of new people could get “hooked” into lifting through the OTSM and then as they became more “weightlifting savvy” we could draw them into the more structured lifting of the USAWA!  So, please, even if you don’t want to lift in the OTSM, help the rest of us out by supporting it by either helping at the meets or at the least supporting it through recommending it to others!  OTSM is still very much an experiment…..whether it stays is really up to everyone in the USAWA!   More fun for everyone!

Blast Your Benching

by Roger LaPointe

Strongman Double Biceps Curl

I get more questions about the bench press, as a lift, than any other exercise. It makes sense. Bench pressing is easily the most popular exercise with a barbell. If you lift, someone is going to ask you how much you bench.

As a Masters age lifter, I am now fully in the old guy category, the big question is, “How can I increase my bench and bring it back to what it once was?” The emphasis in tone is on the word “I”, as if the individual is in some way unique. When it comes to the Masters age lifter, there can be a few somewhat unique issues, mostly related to injuries.

Because of my training for the crucifix hold, which is closely related to the dumbbell bench press, and thus the barbell bench press, I have come up with some great exercises that can help out anyone, but especially the Masters age athlete. Here is one of them.

Strongman Double Biceps Curl

Believe it or not, this is an outstanding exercise for the front delts and gives a great chest stretch, like using an incline bench. Think of the classic double biceps shot that all the old time strongmen did in their promo photos.
1. Lift your dumbbells as if you are doing a crucifix hold, with a high chest and good back arch.
2. With your arms up in that position, keep your upper arms parallel with the ground, using dumbbells.
3. Now do your full range of motion curls. Refer to the attached illustration.

Tip: This exercise will require less weight that you are typically used to using. Additionally, if you are doing the exercise correctly, you will get a much great stretch in the biceps than you would get from doing almost any other biceps training, even with a preacher curl unit.

I highly recommend York Solid Dumbbells:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/category.aspx?categoryID=740

Or the plate loaded Olympic type dumbbells:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=HIB20ZR

If you want a number of other great old school exercises that will really help out with your benching, check out Vic Boff’s Bodybuilding Bible:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK22C

Live strong, Roger LaPointe

OTSM Championships is now a FUNDRAISER!

by Thom Van Vleck

The OTSM Championships will be used to raise funds to buy more equipment for the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club

The Old Time Strong Man Championships are just around the corner!  October 14, 2012 is the date for the 2nd  OTSM Championships and I have some exciting news.  This year we will be raising money for the Osteroblasters Weightlifting Club.  The OWC was formed just this past spring and has already been made an official University Organization with a membership of over 50 students making it one of the largest organizations on campus.  To give you some perspective, we have around 350 students on campus at any give time (with many students out on clinical rotations as our primary mission is creating physicians).  So, our membership represents a significant portion of the student population.   We have members of our club that are involved in Olympic lifting, Power lifting, Strongman, boxing, martial arts, cross fit, highland games, and many other sports where they use weightlifting to get better.  However, many of our members just realize that lifting weights is an integral part of an all around fitness program.  We promote a healthy, drug free lifestyle and for that reason, a USAWA meet seemed a great fit for a fundraiser.

Mike McIntyre is our club President and a student in our Biomed program (working on his master's degree) and a driving force in getting the OWC organized. Here Mike is doing Deadlifts with over 500lbs on the thick bar.

As the staff adviser for the club I help them with whatever their needs may be.  Right now, we need more equipment!   And you can help!  Come and compete at the OTSM Championships and I will be donating 100% (that’s right, 100%) of the entry fee money to the club!  You still have to buy your USAWA memberships (but really….shouldn’t you already have it!), but you can know that your entry fee will go to a good cause.

I have been amazed at the interest our club has generated and while the director of our campus Rec Center has been very generous in buying us equipment, we had no idea how many students would turn out for the club workouts!   We have over 30 showing up at 4 organized lifting sessions each week!  We need your help!  Sign up to compete today….and if you are feeling generous, anything extra you give will go to buying equipment and I would even consider donations of equipment for a trade for your entry!.  So bring what you have and we’ll let you donate it as your entry fee!   We will also have club shirts on sale for a fundraising (don’t worry, you will get a meet shirt, this is something just for the club).

Jared Nichols

I will repeat a previous story on the OTSM, we have moved it to the old Williard School Gym where I held Nationals last year!  Great location for a meet!   So come out and lift, and if you can’t lift, please come and help.  Don’t worry, you won’t get roped into loading (I have student club members for that!!!!)   I DOl need USAWA certified judges and experienced lifters to help coach my newbies in the warm up area on the rules and lifts…..there will be a lot of NEW lifters at this meet and they need coaching and mentoring!  While I will accept entries on the day of the meet, a heads up is always appreciated.  See you soon!

Update on the OTSM Championships for 2012

by Thom Van Vleck

2011 Group Photo....I hope to DOUBLE that number this year!

With the recent approval of new Old Time Strong Man events recently approved at the National meeting in Las Vegas I thought this would be as good a time as any to put in a plug for this year’s Championships.  Last year we had 10 lifters show for the contest.  This year I anticipate even more participants in this fun and exciting new area of lifting!  Regular readers of the website will know that I recently started a Weightlifting Club (see the article http://www.usawa.com/?s=osteoblasters&x=8&y=10) at the University I work at.  Many are interested in competing and helping out.  I have also been getting several inquiries from lifters who did not attend last year….so interest is looking good!

A great photo of Al doing the DB to the Shoulder, a newly recognized OTSM lift!

I recently ordered anvils for my awards.  These will be miniature anvils mounted on a base with the meet name and date.  The anvil has has become my “signature” award as it relates to the Jackson Weightlifting Club’s early beginnings and the lifting of Grandpa Jackson’s Anvil.  Which will be on hand if you want to lift a piece of family history!

So, click on the meet link on the homepage and download your meet entry today!   Make it a weekend and attend the Highland Games the day before the OTSM meet.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Bob People’s Deadlift

by Thom Van Vleck

Bob Peoples doing some rack work showing the inspiration for the OTSM "Peoples Lift" (photo from www.zacheven-esh.com)

The Bob Peoples’ Deadlift was recently approved at the USAWA National meeting as an OTSM “official” lift.  You can take a crack at setting a record in this lift at the OTSM Championships to be held by the JWC in Kirksville, Missouri on Oct. 14 and entry can be found on the upcoming meets section on the USAWA homepage.  It is basically a Deadlift from 18″ off the ground instead of the standard Deadlift.  Here are the Official Rules:

Peoples Deadlift – This 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.

Now, a little history.  I’m not gonna try an do a comprehensive history on Bob Peoples.  But if you know your lifting history you would know that Bob was one of the greatest Deadlifters in history.  Bob was pretty strong all the way around, but his best lift was the deadlift and he came with many new and innovative ways to do the lift.  One of these things was to utilize the power rack, which formed the basis of the Peoples lift.  He also utilized heavy negatives using a hydraulic lift on a tractor to reset the weight and he also used a ring while on a platform that allowed him to drop well below what you would with a regular deadlift.  It honestly looks like the forerunner of the Trap Bar!

Try your hand at the Peoples Deadlift!  Sign up for the OTSM today!!!!

OTSM Championship

It doesn't get any more MANLY than Pro World Champion Dan McKim in his Kilt. Come to the Strength Weekend, put on a kilt and compete in the Games on Saturday, then the Old Time Strongman Championships on Sunday! Dan has competed in Kirksville before and I hope to have him back this year.

by Thom Van Vleck

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT:
OLD TIME STRONGMAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Last year we had our inaugural OTSM Championship at the JWC Training Hall (AKA “Modern Day Torture Chamber” or “My basement”).  I thought it went pretty well and as a result I want to make this an annual event.  The date will be October 14, 2012, with the start time being 10:00am (weigh in’s will happen at 12:00am the morning of the meet or between 9 and 10am before the meet).   The location for the meet will again be the JWC Training Hall.  However, there may be an exception.  Last year we had 10 strongmen show up.  This year if I get enough signed up before hand I plan on returning to the venue we used for the 2011 USAWA Nationals (the old Williard School Gymnasium).   I would say anything over 15 competitors would cause me to have to make that call as my gym was pretty crammed with 10 lifters.  That will be a nice problem to have!  

Now, a quick history lesson.   This event will be held the day after my Scottish Highland Games.  In 1999 when I first started that event I had a strongman contest the next day.  If you competed both days you won an “Iron Man Award”.  I did that for several years and at one point hit 33 competitors for the strongman event!   Then I had a sharp decline and then dropped it until Al Myers and I talked about me holding an OTSM event.  I thought “PERFECT”!  I can bring back the Iron Man weekend!   So, that is why this event will be held on a Sunday and on that date as my Highland Games will be held on October 13th.  Setting dates locally is a real challenge for me due to several big events in Kirksville around that time.  If I held it any other weekend there would be almost NO WAY anyone could get a motel room.  So, that’s why I was limited to that date. 

Since this event is the day after my Highland Games it’s a chance to compete in both!  You know you always wanted to dress up in a kilt!  Now’s your chance!   So sign up for both!  Special Iron Man award for those who survive both days.  This isn’t a “participation award” this is a SURVIVED IT award! 

Now, for the meet information.  I plan on having shirts and awards, plus water and drinks available to the lifters.  I plan on the following events:

Anderson Squat
Cyr Press
Apollons Lift
Bob People’s Deadlift

Lifts will be finalized after Nationals in June after the USAWA Nationals and the annual meeting.  Entry is $25, but if you enter both the Highland Games ($25) and the OTSM you get both entries for $40 (saving $10).   Three attempts per event, total poundage will determine weight class winners.  Overall best lifter will be determined by weight and age formula per USAWA rules.

OTSM entry form – 2012 Old Time Strongman Entry Form

Kirksville Games entry form – 2012 Kirksville Highland Games Entry Form

Contact Thom Van Vleck at tvanvleck@yahoo.com or 660 341 1755 for details.

Battle in the Barn

by Eric Todd

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – BATTLE IN THE BARN

Sunday, March, 25 2012 will be the inaugural “Battle in the Barn” which will be the third USAWA Old Time Strongman event. 

Eric Todd will be the meet director for the "Battle in the Barn", the third Old Time Strongman Competition promoted by the USAWA.

Where:  ET’s House of Iron and Stone-The KCSTRONGMAN headquarters near Cameron, MO

When: March 25 at 10:00 AM

Weigh ins: 9:00 AM

Entry Cost: $20

Entry Deadline : Entries must be in hand by Sat, March 17, 2012

Divisions:  Lightweight (under 200#), Middleweight (200-250#), Heavyweight (Over 250#), Masters (over 40)

Awards:  Awards for top 3 per division.  Best lifter award.               

Events:  Appollons Lift, Crucifix, Partial Deadlift, and Goerner Stroll

Rules of the Lifts

Apollon’s LiftA 2 inch diameter axle (or Fulton Bar)  will be used as the bar for this lift.  The maximum starting bar height is 12 inches measured from the platform to the bottom of the bar.  Any method may be used to take the bar to the shoulders or overhead.  The bar or plates are allowed to retouch the platform during the lift.  If the bar is placed down or dropped, the lifter may try again as many times as he/she wants within the time limit.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed.  Once the weight is overhead, with arms’ locked, legs straight,  and the feet in line with the torso,  an official will give the command to end the lift.

Crucifix (standard USAWA Rules) –  Two evenly loaded dumbbells or kettlebells are used for this lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The dumbbells are taken to arms’ length overhead with the palms of the hands facing each other and dumbbells touching. The lifter must bring the feet together so the heels are together and touching. The body must be upright at the start of the lift. Once in this position, an official will give the command to start the lift. The lifter will then lower the dumbbells to the side with arms’ straight and palms up. Elbows must be fully locked. The lifter may lean back to any extent when lowering the dumbbells. The wrists do not need to be held straight. The legs must remain straight and knees locked throughout the lift. The heels must remain together and the heels and toes must not rise during the lift. Once the arms are parallel to the platform, and the dumbbells motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Partial Deadlift  – This is a partial deadlift, where the bar height must not be over 18″ from the platform.  The plates or bar may be supported on stands or blocks to obtain this height.  The lifter must have the bar in front of the legs, as in a normal deadlift. 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.

Goerner Stroll- Two barbells will be used.  The lifter must pick up both barbells at the same time, one in each hand, and walk (or run) a distance of 1 rod (or 16.5 feet).  The starting and finish lines must be marked.  The plates on the bars must be behind the starting line at the start, and finish entirely beyond the finish line at the end.  The weight selected on the bars must not be changed during the attempt.  Both bars must be loaded to the same weight.  A one minute time limit is allowed for the attempt.  If the bars are set down or dropped between the  starting and finish lines during this 1 minute time limit, the lifter may start over, but MUST restart at the starting line.  Strapping the bars to the hands is NOT ALLOWED.

All other general rules of the USAWA will apply.  Scoring will be done according to the USAWA guidelines. Each competitor will get three attempts of their choosing with the best one counting towards their total.

Entry Form – Battle_in_the_Barn_entry

Any Questions, please ask on the forum, or email me at SalGuimino@yahoo.com.

Strongman Championships

by Thom Van Vleck

Group picture from the FIRST EVER USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships.

The “new” Old Time Strongman format took another step forward with a Championship hosted by the Jackson Weightlifting Club on October 16th, 2011.  Ten lifters showed for this inaugural event which I plan on making an annual meet on the same weekend as the Scottish Highland Games I host.  My hope is that each will help promote the other.  This year I had three throwers stick around and lift the second day.

We started in the JWC Training Hall with the Anderson Squat.   This lift was done from a starting position 2/3 of the lifters height or less.  The challenge was starting a squat from the bottom position.  I have a very large dry erase board which served as our scoreboard making it easy for lifters to see where their competition was at.  That paid off for John O’Brien after Al Myers hit what most of us thought would be the biggest squat of the meet with 760lbs.  But John had the last lift and called for 765 and made it with power to spare.  Honestly, I think both men could have went over 800lbs had they gauged their attempts better, but being a brand new lift a lack of experience showed for everyone.  I cannot recall a single miss in this lift, which shows everyone had more in the tank!

Meet director Thom Van Vleck put up a BIG Anderson Squat with a fine lift of 620 pounds.

The second event was the Anderson Press.  The bar had to be set no higher than your height.  Eric Todd and Chris Anderson both topped out over 300lbs with Eric hitting a meet best of 350lbs.  It is interesting to note that you would see lifters make a lift easily, then make a slight increase, like 20lbs, only to find the bar seemed to be superglued to the rack!

Eric Todd put up the TOP Anderson Press with a great lift of 350 pounds.

The third event was the Dumbbell Shoulder.  In this event you could lift the dumbbell to the shoulder in any way you wanted.  This included using both hands, hooking it on the belt along the way, and rolling it up your chest!  It was fun to watch guys getting creative.  At one point, as Chris Anderson muscled up 300lbs for the top lift in this event, Al Myers said, “It looks like you were wrestling a bear”!  Joe Costello  ran out of attempts and before the dumbbell was unloaded he walked over and shouldered the 300lbs!  Joe was heard to say, “Next time…..”.  I’m sure this event will be in the future of Old Time Strongman and Joe will get that lift officially…and more!

Chris Anderson had the BEST Dumbbell to Shoulder with a tremendous lift of 300 pounds.

The last event of the day was the only lift that had been contested before.  This event was the Dinnie Lift.  Two vertical bars set at the same height and loaded in offsetting weights the same percentage as the real Dinnie Stones.  In other words, one had to be loaded no more than 70% of the weight of the other.  We had a four way tie for the top lift in this event with Al Myers,  Joe Costello, Chris Anderson, and Eric Todd all pulling 705lbs.  An interesting problem led to this….that’s all we could fit on the bar with the weights present in the gym!  The JWC has a lot of weights, but many of them are old school “deep dish” York and Jackson plates.  These did not allow the bars loaded over the 705lb mark.  We were even loading smaller plates in the space between the deep dish plates!  This may have had an effect on the outcome as Eric Todd had one attempt left but no way to load the bar any higher.  Here is why.

After the age and weight formulas were applied, Al Myers was the victor for overall best lifter honors.  However, Eric Todd was a close second.  What if Eric would have had his last attempt?  I feel badly about that, but then again, Al might have hung with him as it was apparent both had more left.  Interestingly, Joe Costello edged out John O’Brien in a close race for 3rd place.  John lifted more weight, but Joe was lighter by nearly 40lbs and the difference paid of for him.  Fifth went to Chris Anderson as he avenged his loss to me at the NAHA nationals.  Chris is only 23 years old and he is sure to only improve.  I was 6th followed by Rudy Bletscher, Dean Ross, Mike Murdock, and Lance Foster.

Rudy, Dean, and Mike have competed many times and this event was like the rest.  These guys push each other hard and yet the the obviously have nothing but respect for one another.  Rudy came out on top in what might have been a late birthday present since he turned 76 the day before.  They are very evenly matched and that makes for some good competition.

I thought the meet went well other than the loading situation on the Dinnie Lift.  I will have to get some thinner plates if we contest that event again because I’m going to host the event next year!  The Awards were my “trademark” anvils and the meet shirts were the latest version of the JWC gym shirt.    I really appreciated how the lifters helped clean up and put the weights away after the meet.   You could not ask for a greater group of guys. Friendships forged in iron!

MEET RESULTS

USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships
October 16th, 2011
JWC Training Hall
Kirksville, Missouri

Meet Director:  Thom Van Vleck

Officials (1 official system used):  Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck, Mike Murdock, Eric Todd

Loader:  Mitch Ridout

Lifts: Anderson Squat, Anderson Press, Dumbbell Shoulder, Dinnie Lift

Lifters:

Al Myers – Age 45, BWT 253#, 115 KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
Rudy Bletscher – Age 76, BWT 213#, 100 KG Class & Masters 75-79 Age Group
Joe Costello – Age 36, BWT 253#, 115 KG Class & 20-39  Age Group
Dean Ross – Age 68, BWT 283#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 65-69 Age Group
Mike Murdock – Age 71, BWT 234#, 110 KG Class & Masters 70-74 Age Group
Lance Foster – Age 45, BWT 318#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
Chris Anderson – Age 23, BWT 287#, 125+ KG Class & 20-39 Age Group
Eric Todd – Age 36, BWT 250#, 115 KG Class & 20-39 Age Group
Thom Van Vleck – Age 47, BWT 299#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 45-49 Age Group
John O’Brien – Age 42, BWT 291#, 125+ KG Class & Masters 40-44 Age Group

Lifter Squat Press DB Dinnie Total Lynch Points
Myers 760 270 270 705 2005 1581.1 1676.0
Todd 710 350 230 705 1995 1583.0 1583.0
Costello 710 275 230 705 1920 1514.1 1514.1
O’Brien 765 270 270 635 1940 1428.8 1471.7
Anderson 620 310 300 705 1935 1434.4 1434.4
Van Vleck  620 230 230 440 1520 1104.9 1193.3
Ross  460 180 150 440 1230 917.9 1184.2
Bletscher  280 130 120 410 940 811.3 1111.5
Murdock  280 140 120 410 950 779.7 1029.2
Foster  400 140 200 440 1180 833.4 883.4

NOTES: All results listed in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted. Lynch is points adjusted for bodyweight. Points are overall points adjusted for bodyweight and age.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Best Lifter Overall - Al Myers
Best Lifter 20-39 Age Group – Eric Todd
Best Lifter 40-44 Age Group – John O’Brien
Best Lifter 45-49 Age Group – Al Myers
Best Lifter 65-69 Age Group – Dean Ross
Best Lifter 70-74 Age Group – Mike Murdock
Best Lifter 75-79 Age Group – Rudy Bletscher

Dino Strongman Challenge

by Al Myers

MEET RESULTS -

THE DINO GYM’S OLD-TIME STRONGMAN CHALLENGE

Group picture of the 2011 Dino Gym's "Old-time Strongman" Challenge.

WOW!!!!  That  sums up this past weekend.  I have to admit – I was a little nervous before this meet – and not because I was competing, but because I wanted this meet to be a big success considering it was the FIRST EVER Old-time Strongman Competition sanctioned by the USAWA.  I feel VERY relieved now.  The competition exceeded my expectations by far.  The field of competitors consisted of 18 athletes determined to take on this challenge issued by the Dino Gym.  There have been only a handful of USAWA competitions in the last 10 years that have had more than this number of competitors entered.  I want to thank everyone who showed up to compete, officiate, or help.  Without this group effort, this event would never have been the successful event it was.  We also have to thank Mother Nature for sending the snow days earlier in the week as to avoid any travel complications.

Where do I start with this report?  So much happened over the weekend that it will be impossible to cover everything.  The lifting performances were UNREAL.  The women’s class had only one entrant – Felecia Simms.  Felecia is primarily a Highland Game athlete who decided to give All-Round Weightlifting a try in her off-season.  In her USAWA debut, she definitely turned some heads!  She hit 90# in the Cyr Press, with two close misses with a 100# dumbbell.  Both times she had the 100# overhead but just couldn’t hold the lockout.  I have two broken 100# dumbbells to attest to this fact!  Don’t let this bother you Felecia – because the two broken dumbbells are worth the story I’m going to tell about this from now one!  I’ll even have them fixed by the next time you are at the Dino Gym and I’ll let you try that 100# dumbbell again.

I was very pleased to have two teenagers enter in the Junior Class.  These two very strong 16 year olds, Cody Lokken and Nolan Berry, showed great promise as all-rounders. This was the first time either of them had seen these events, but they picked up on  things pretty darn fast!  Cody edged out Nolan by 15 pounds in the total to take the overall Junior Title. They both seemed to get stronger as the meet went along, and both finished with strong lifts in the Dinnie Lift (355 pounds) and the Goerner Stroll (270 pounds). Hopefully, I can keep them interested in the All-Rounds because I know with a little more specific event training they will have great success.  Young lifters like these guys are the future of our sport, and when you see potential like what they have, you need to encourage it.

The over 60 mens masters class was hotly contested.  Three VERY STRONG lifting elders duked it out – Rudy Bletscher, Mike Murdock, and Dean Ross.  Dean (the youngest of the bunch at 68) pulled out the victory in the end with his great performance in the Dinnie Lift and the Goerner Stroll.  His 425# Dinnie Lift was tops in the group as well as his 270# Goerner Stroll.  Mike ended up in second place, and in the process avenged his loss to Rudy at the Goerner Deadlift last month.  I am sure there will be more match-ups between Rudy and Mike in the future, and I just love watching these two guys push each other.  Dean is not a newcomer to the USAWA as he has competed in several of my Dino Challenges in the past. Dean would do well in ANY all-round competition anywhere.  He has overall body strength and doesn’t appear to have any strength weaknesses.

The over 40 mens masters class also was a tough one.  Seven very seasoned strength athletes were in this group, all with different strength backgrounds.  Before it started, it would have been a guess as to who would win. I was able to get the victory, mainly on the performance of my Goerner Stroll as the last event.   I didn’t get what I wanted on the Dinnie Lift, so I had to EXCEED what I wanted on the Goerner Stroll (I finished with 550#).  John O’Brien had the next highest total in the group (1570#), but when the scoring was tabulated John ended up in third place behind Joe Garcia.  These Oldtime Strongman meets will use USAWA scoring, which gives adjusted points for age and bodyweight, and with Joe being higher than John in the age department and less in the weight department, edged him out.   I want to stress that John had an EXCEPTIONAL day, and had the TOP lift amongst this group in 3 of the 5 events, and if traditional strongman scoring was being used, he would have been the top athlete.  John impressed the crowd by using my Apollon Axel Replica instead of a loaded Fulton Bar like the rest of the lifters used (which is WAY harder to clean because of the fixed wheels and the fight against rotation), yet he ended up with the BEST Apollon’s Lift at 300 pounds.  I consider this lift of his as one the highlight lifts of the meet.   Joe really surprised me with his performance.  I didn’t know for sure how Joe would do with these strongman events, and whether his back would hold up. (haha – just kiddin you Joe!).  But he finished with a 560# Dinnie Lift and on a fourth extra attempt got 600 pounds!  Fourth place went to the 2009 USAWA Newcomer of the Year Dave Glasgow.  Dave was solid in every event and is showing progress as an All-Rounder.   Fifth place went to D.J. Satterfield, and 6th place went to Richard “Vince” Vincent. Both of these guys made the trip together from Omaha, Nebraska and I can just imagine the good natured banter between them over this on the way home!  These two made the competition in our group lots of fun – as both seemed to really enjoy themselves and it spilled over to the rest of us throughout the day!  Thanks D.J. and Vince!  You guys are great!  Rounding out the group was Lance Foster.  Lance is a great guy, and has attended EVERY competition the Dino Gym has held over the past few years.  His outstanding work ethic and training spirit inspires me – so much I asked him if he would be a Dino Gym Member which he agreed to.  Thanks Lance!

Dino Gym member Sam Cox won the Open Class and the Overall Best Lifter at the Dino Gym Challenge. Sam lifted 280 pounds in the Apollons Lift at a bodyweight of only 212 pounds.

The Open Class turned out the be “THE SHOW”.  Again, a very tough field of 5 athletes were in attendance – Eric “ET” Todd, Chris Anderson, Sam Cox, Chris Walter, and Chad Ullom.  I knew it would be a battle before it even started. When the chalk had finally settled and the last event was completed,  the top four placings were decided by less than 15 points!!  It couldn’t have been any closer than this.  All four of these guys deserved to win.  Sam Cox ended up the victor by only a five point margin over Eric Todd.  Sam had a great day – 280# Apollon’s Lift, 150# Cyr Press, and a 655# Dinnie Lift, all of this at only 22 years of age and 212 pounds bodyweight. Sam – aren’t you glad I talked you into competing in this competition last week in the gym?  I TOLD YOU that you had a good chance to win it!   ET placed second, but in the process put up some UNBELIEVABLE Lifts!  He had the top Apollon’s Lift of the entire day at 325 pounds, and the top Cyr press of 190 pounds.  Yes – that’s 190 POUNDS and not a typo!   A lift like that you have to see to believe.  Chad came in third, and had the top Goerner Stroll of the entire meet at 560 pounds. He only picked that number to exceed what I did.  (I’m glad for ya Champ!).  After the meet was over, Chad wanted to try more in the Dinnie Lift as he knew he used up his attempts before he reached his max in the competition.  Can you believe he proceeded to lift 785 pounds in the Dinnie Lift??  If he would have done that in the meet he would have won the overall!  Fourth place went to Chris Anderson.  Chris trains with Eric, and in the process has picked up some of Eric’s traits. The main one is that he is not afraid of ANY WEIGHT. The weights fear him.  He had the top Saxon Snatch of the entire meet at 105 pounds, and tied for the top Dinnie Lift of the entire meet at 735 pounds.  Also worth mentioning is his 170 pound Cyr Press. If it wasn’t for ET’s mind-blowing 190 we  would be talking about Chris’s 170.  Fifth place went to Chris Walter.  This was Chris’s first time to the Dino Gym and did quite well, and I hope he is not discouraged by running up against these other four phenoms.   Anywhere else he would have been a top placer.

Events like this are not successful unless there is “help behind the scenes”.   I want to thank the officials – Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell, and Thom Van Vleck.   Their  judging was superb.  I also want to thank the loaders – Bill Cookson and Ryan Batchmen.  These two guys SHOULD have been competing, but it is really nice to have a couple of very strong guys like them to help load.   It makes everything go smoother.  I want to thank my daughters Katie and Molly with helping at the scoretable and organizing the silent auction to benefit the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.  I plan to do another story about that in a few days. I also want to thank Wilbur Miller for attending this meet as a spectator.  Wilbur – you are a legend in the all-rounds and you  have no idea how much it means to us that you attend these competitions at the Dino Gym!

Well, I hope I covered everything!  But to sum things up – this meet will go down in history as one of the best of ALL-TIME  in the USAWA.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Old-Time Strongman Challenge
January 15th, 2011
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials:  Scott Tully, Mark Mitchell, and Thom Van Vleck

Loaders:  Ryan Batchman & Bill Cookson

Events:  Saxon Snatch, Apollon’s Lift, Cyr Press, Dinnie Lift, and Goerner Stroll

Women’s Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Felecia Simms 28 312 70 150 90 375 190 623.4

Men’s Junior Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Cody Lokken 16 152 65 150 75 355 270 1061.8
Nolan Berry 16 245 65 135 75 355 270 793.5

Men’s 60+ Mens Master Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Dean Ross 68 281 55 135 80 425 270 932.3
Mike Murdock 70 234 70 150 60 355 190 887.0
Rudy Bletscher 75 225 45 100 50 275 190 751.9

Men’s 40+ Mens Master Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Al Myers 44 250 90 270 140 630 550 1399.7
Joe Garcia 57 212 90 180 105 560 340 1301.5
John O’Brien 42 279.5 100 300 150 560 460 1214.1
Dave Glasgow 57 249.5 80 200 90 505 380 1176.1
D.J. Satterfield 46 218 80 180 90 505 310 1062.3
Richard Vincent 40 305 90 220 115 575 400 1018.4
Lance Foster 45 329 80 180 85 505 280 832.8

Men’s Open Class

Lifter Age BWT Saxon Apol Cyr Dinnie Stroll Total
Sam Cox 22 212 95 280 150 655 520 1470.7
Eric Todd 36 256 100 325 190 735 520 1465.7
Chad Ullom 39 242 95 300 150 705 560 1460.1
Chris Anderson 22 248 105 300 170 735 520 1457.9
Chris Walter 39 207.5 85 220 120 550 410 1212.7

BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  Total is adjusted points corrected for age and bodyweight.

Last Call for Dino Challenge

by Al Myers

I’m going to make one last “plug” for the Dino Challenge, which is this coming Saturday.   This is a meet you DO NOT want to miss!  It is the FIRST EVER Oldtime Strongman Competition sanctioned by the USAWA.  There is no entry deadline for this one – so at this point just SHOW UP and ENTER!  Even if you don’t feel prepared for it, enter and have a fun day lifting.  You will be glad you did.   This Oldtime Strongman Competition will be quite different than other strongman competitions.  Modern strongman equipment and apparatuses will not be used – such as Atlas stones, steel logs, and steel yokes.  Instead, each event is based on a strength feat of an Oldtime Strongman.  Also, the rules of the USAWA will be followed in regards to scoring, which are much different than other strongman competitions.  Each lifters total poundage will be adjusted for bodyweight and age.  Another big difference is supportive gear is NOT ALLOWED, with the exception of belts and wrist wraps.  This means no elbow or knee sleeves, no supportive shorts, and no knee or elbow wraps.  Chalk may be used – but no tacky.  This competition will be drug tested.   The USAWA is a drug free organization and all Oldtime Strongman Competitions sanctioned by the USAWA will be tested (which is ALSO different from other strongman competitions).  There is no entry fee to enter, but you must be a member of the USAWA.   Membership dues are $25 and you may join on Saturday. I will have forms available.

This Oldtime Strongman Competition is gearing up to be one of the largest attended meets in recent history in the USAWA.  Come and be part of it!

Bill Good and the Good Dumbbell

by Al Myers

Bill Good and the Good Dumbbell.

Dennis Mitchell’s story on the Good Brothers got me thinking about the Good Dumbbell, and the brother who made it famous – Bill.  Bill would often celebrate his birthday every year by Harness Lifting the Good Dumbbell for repetitions. He did this up to the age of 90 years. In 1986 on Bill’s 76th birthday, he promised to lift the dumbbell 76 times, one rep for each year of age. This “stunt” was picked up by television and was well publicized.  He easily exceeded this mark.  The Good Dumbbell has a storied history, encompassing more than one famous strongman.  The Good Brothers purchased it from an Oldtime Strongman who’s name is embedded in the history of the USAWA, and of which we have a lift named after.  This man was Warren Lincoln Travis, and it is reported they purchase it from him for $110 in 1929.  The Good Dumbbell was displayed publicly for many years at the Crystal Spring Water Company in Adamstown, PA.  Around 2007, the Good Dumbbell went missing.  No one knew what happened to it for a couple of years.  Luckily, the new owner has made it known that the Good Dumbbell is in “safe keeping” and hopefully in the future it will once again be on display.

The Brothers, Good

by Dennis Mitchell

The Brothers, Good - Walter, Bill and Harry

Bill Good was born May 14, 1910, in Reemstown PA.   He was the strongest of the three brothers.  He won seven National Championships, and competed in two Olympic Games, placing fourth in the 1936 games held in Berlin Germany.  He was the first American lifter to clean and jerk 350 pounds.  He was featured on the cover of one of the earliest Iron Man magazines.  Brother Walter was born Jan. 27, 1908.  He also competed in the 1936 Olympics in the 75 kilo class.  He was also featured on the cover of several body building magazines in the 1930’s.  Harry Good, no date of birth could be found for him, was the best in grip strength, and could do a one finger lift of 450 pounds.  Another of his feats was to do a self loading leg press of 380 pounds, balancing the weight on one foot.  He claimed to be the American Professional Weightlifting champion in 1933.  He also established the Good Barbell Company, and published a barbell training course.  The Good Dumbbell, the worlds heaviest dumbbell weighing 2,150 pounds, at one time belonged to Warren Lincoln Travis.  Bill could do a harness lift with it until he was over 90 year old.  He passed away April 19, 2007. Brother Walter died July 8, 2001.  No date could be found Harry.

Goerner Stroll

by Al Myers

Bob Burtzloff participated in the Goerner Stroll at Kevin Fulton's SuperGrip Challenge several years ago.

This will be the last event in the Oldtime Strongman Competition at the Dino Gym Challenge.  It is based on a unique stage act performed by the Oldtime German Strongman Hermann Goerner.  The name of this Oldtime Strongman Event was not pegged by me – I have heard mention of the Goerner Stroll for many years!  How did it get named?  Maybe it was the stage feat in which Hermann Goerner would carry two large suitcase onto the stage – one in each hand.  Once in the middle of the stage he would sit both cases down and out climbed two young gals in each one!  Or maybe it was that memorable day at the training hall in Leipzig in 1920 where he picked up two bars, one in each hand weighing in at 663 pounds together, and proceeded to walk across the gym!  Either way, Hermann deserves the credit for this feat!!

The Rules for the Goerner Stroll

Two barbells will be used.  The lifter must pick up both barbells at the same time, one in each hand, and walk (or run) a distance of 1 rod (or 16.5 feet).  The starting and finish lines must be marked.  The plates on the bars must be behind the starting line at the start, and finish entirely beyond the finish line at the end.  The weight selected on the bars must not be changed during the attempt.  Both bars must be loaded to the same weight.  A one minute time limit is allowed for the attempt.  If the bars are set down or dropped between the  starting and finish lines during this 1 minute time limit, the lifter may start over, but MUST restart at the starting line.  Strapping the bars to the hands is NOT ALLOWED.

Dinnie Lift

by Al Myers

Al Myers demonstrating the Dinnie Lift.

This feat of strength is based on Donald Dinnie and the Dinnie Stones.  The Dinnie Stones have received much publicity over these past few years, and most definitely, qualifies as an Old-Time Strongman Event.  However, some modifications had to be made to make this feasible as a event.  First of all, we will not be lifting stones but instead weight loadable Vertical Bars that mimic the pick-height of the Dinnie Stones.  Ring handles will be attached to the top of the Vertical Bars.  To keep to the standard of the Dinnie Stones which weigh 321 pounds and 413 pounds each, one Vertical Bar must  be loaded to not  more than 75% of the other. Again, the rules for this lift will not be very “technical” as the end result of actually picking them up is the desired outcome.

The Rules for the Dinnie Lift:

Two weight loadable Vertical Bars with ring handles attached are used in this lift. The maximum height from the  floor to the top of the lifting rings is 21 inches.  One Vertical Bar’s weight MUST not exceed 75% of the other.  Any style of lifting may be used.  The lift ends when the lifter is upright and motionless. The lifter may have the Vertical Bars at the side, or may straddle them.  A time limit of 1 minute is given to accomplish a legal lift. The weights may be dropped within this time limit, and the lifter may reset and try again.  An official will give a command to end the lift. Lifting straps of any kind are NOT allowed!

Saxon Snatch

by Al Myers

Dino Gym member Tyler Cookson performs a Saxon Snatch.

Another lift contested at the Dino Gym Challenge will be the Saxon Snatch.  This was a popular strength feat done by the Old-Time German Strongman Arthur Saxon.  Even though Saxon was best known for his Bent Pressing and Two Hands Anyhow, he was quite a grip specialist.  Often in his strength shows he would demonstrate his grip strength by snatching a wooden plank, with both hands or just with one.  It is reported that he could one-hand Snatch a 90 pound 3 inch thick wooden plank!  Saxon had abnormally long fingers and hands for his size, and did several other grip feats to back up this claim.

We are going to honor this great grip feat of Arthur Saxon’s by including it as our “grip lift” in the Dino Gym Challenge.

The Rules of the Saxon Snatch:

A wooden plank, of 3 inch thickness, will be used as the apparatus.  The plank will be able to be loaded with plates to any weight desired.  The rules of the Snatch apply.  The plank must be gripped with an overhand (knuckles facing away) pinch grip. The lifter will have a time limit of 1 minute to accomplish a legal lift.  If  the plank is dropped or not deemed a legal snatch, the lifter may repeat as many times as desired within the time limit.

Dino Challenge Fundraiser

(Webmaster’s Note:  A silent auction will be conducted at the Dino Challenge Oldtime Strongman Contest in January, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.  This groups efforts are very noble, and by having this auction we may be able to help them just a little.  Lots of GREAT THINGS will be in the auction – from some of the Dino Gym’s unique pieces of equipment to donated items from the Dino Strength product line.  There is no entry fee for the Challenge, but plan on bringing some money for the auction.  Fellow Dino Gym member and training partner Mark Mitchell has shared information with us regarding the compassionate vision of the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. – by Al Myers)

by Mark Mitchell

The Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter was formed in February 2007 by Molly Reusser. Her initial intent was to spearhead a group of animal lovers who wanted to pet some dogs but was she in for a big surprise-she had not met Laura Mitchell,Julie Coble,Shannon Kingsley and Trish Hayden yet!! Laura and I have been going to an animal rescue ranch in Kanab Utah called Best Friends for several years to volunteer taking care of some 5000 plus rescued dogs,cats,horses,donkeys etc… combined and we knew how a first rate shelter should be operated. Now,we had a chance to do some of the same things with animals in our own back yard!  Of course,my wife and friends never do anything with half effort and we immediately jumped in to socialize the dogs and cats in the Salina Shelter and pushed hard to get them adopted locally.

Then, we started looking at the figures regarding euthanized former pets and we were astounded. What could we do to change those numbers?  Group member Julie Coble went out on a mission to help solve this. What she found has become a big lifesaver for some 500 dogs just this past year. It is called the Rescue Waggin and it is operated through Petsmart charities. Now,one would have thought our local animal shelter staff would have fallen all over themselves, thanking Julie for this wonderful idea and jumped right on our band wagon(our volunteer group,though working hand in hand with the animal shelter staff,is a separate entity). Alas,no. We were met with big resistance. Did this deter us? No,it did not. A few of us decided to pool our own money together,adopt several dogs we selected,drive a rented cargo van to Denver or Boulder Colorado to Dumb Friends and the Boulder Humane Society and pay transfer fees there because we had heard dogs get adopted in huge numbers from these facilities(Rescue Waggin now takes our dogs to Boulder). We spent thousands of dollars each for quite some time.

Finally,the powers that be saw that we were not a threat and that our intentions were good. It also did not hurt that we,as volunteers,agreed to do all of the work regarding bringing the Rescue Waggin to Salina(we are the only shelter in the nation that uses volunteers to coordinate the Rescue Waggin operation). And what a work load it has been!!  From getting volunteers trained and certified to be behavior specialsts,contracting with local vets to do the health checks to coordinating all of these efforts with the Rescue Waggin personnel(that would be my dear wife Laura’s role!!)  But it has been worth all of the hassles!!  Think of it.  Five hundred great lives and wonderful pets spared and matched with loving families in Colorado just this past year!

Our volunteers put in long hours. We are not just about the Rescue Waggin. We still provide love and care to the dogs and cats who do not qualify for transport. We are involved in fund raisers,special adoption months,hay bale giveaways for all of our outdoor furry friends. The list goes on and on. Our group is amazed and gracious that the Dino Gym has selected us for charitable contributions at the Dino Gym Old Time Barbell Challenge in January !

Cyr Press

by Al Myers

Sam Cox, of the Dino Gym, takes a 150 pound dumbbell overhead one handed. What makes this even more amazing is that Sam only weighs 200 pounds!

One of the very popular strength feats done by the Canadian Strongman Louie Cyr was pressing his famous dumbbell one handed.  We are going to honor Cyr and this strength feat by including it in the Old-Time Strongman Competition at the  Dino Gym Challenge.  As with the other strongman lifts in this competition, there are minimal rule restrictions.

The Rule for 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.

The only role of the official is to be awake at the end of the lift to give the down command!!

Apollons Lift

by Al Myers

Thom Van Vleck, of the JWC, training on his 245# Apollon Wheel Replica.

It’s about time I start highlighting the rules of the events that I plan on having in the Dino Gym Challenge on January 15th, the VERY FIRST strongman competition sanctioned by the USAWA.   Again – this strongman comp will be quite different than modern traditional strongman comps as this one will be based on feats of strength performed by OLD TIME STRONGMEN.  The first event that I am going to profile is the APOLLON’S LIFT.  This event is based on the old-time strongman Louis Uni, aka Apollon.  He made famous the Apollon’s Wheels – a 2″ axle connecting two railway car wheels.  The entire apparatus weighed in at 366 pounds!  David Willoughby made this feat well-known when in his book, The Super Athletes,  he listed it as one of  the “Five famous weights and the men who lifted them.”   Well, I don’t expect anyone to lift a replica of the original 366# Apollon’s Wheels so we will use a lighter set-up.  I do expect this event to be held to the basic dimensions of the original Apollon Wheels so a 2″ axle will be used and a higher bar height will be allowed (since the diameter of the original AW was 26 inches).  The rules for this lift will be very liberal since the object of this strongman feat is to “get it overhead in any fashion”.

The Rules for the Apollon’s Lift:

A 2 inch diameter axle (or Fulton Bar)  will be used as the bar for this lift.  The maximum starting bar height is 12 inches measured from the platform to the bottom of the bar.  Any method may be used to take the bar to the shoulders or overhead.  The bar or plates are allowed to retouch the platform during the lift.  If the bar is placed down or dropped, the lifter may try again as many times as he/she wants within the time limit.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed.  Once the weight is overhead, with arms’ locked, legs straight,  and the feet in line with the torso,  an official will give the command to end the lift.

All other general rules of the USAWA will apply.  Each competitor will get three attempts of their choosing with the best one counting towards their total.

Dino Gym Challenge

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – THE DINO GYM PRESENTS

“AN OLD TIME STRONGMAN COMPETITION”

by Al Myers

I am excited to announce this year’s Dino Gym Challenge.  Every year I change “the theme” of the Dino Challenge to keep it refreshing and interesting.  This year is no exception.  For the FIRST TIME, the USAWA will sanction a Strongman Competition.  All lifts done will be exhibition lifts – meaning they are NOT USAWA official lifts, and they will not be “record eligible”.   That is one neat thing about the USAWA, our rules allow competitions to be sanctioned with exhibition lifts.  There is not a better way to “try out” a new lift than having it in a competition for everyone to contest.  To me, this seems like the BEST WAY to form an opinion of a new lift (before it is presented for lift approval).  But I’m getting off track, this ANNOUNCEMENT is for a different type of Strongman Competition than what most people are used to.  This competition will be based on OLD-TIME STRONGMEN and the feats they did in their performances or shows.  There won’t be any aluminum kegs, steel logs, concrete stones, or adjustable steel yokes in this one.  I consider those implements as MODERN strongman stuff!!  Guys like Arthur Saxon and Hermann Goerner didn’t have access to those kind of things!

I picked 5 events for this competition based on 5 famous strength feats of 5 well-known Old Time Strongmen. The events will be:

1. Goerner Stroll – Carry two barbells one rod (16.5 feet)

2. Louie Cyr Press – One dumbbell overhead with one hand, anyway. May use both hands to get it to chest.

3. Apollon’s Lift – Overhead lift with 2″ bar, anyway. We will use my replica.

4. Dinnie Lift – Two loaded VBs with ring handles. One must be loaded 75% or less than the other.

5. Saxon Snatch – Snatch with a loaded plank, 3″ thick

I also want to point out that this competition will be DRUG  TESTED, so all competitors will be drug-free just like these Old-Time Strongmen were!  The rules of the USAWA will apply, which will make this Strongman Competition slightly different than the format of other Strongman Comps.  The lifter will get three attempts on each event, and the lifter will PICK the weight they want to try.   This way ANYONE can compete and perform within their capabilities and not be limited by “set equipment weight”.  Each lifter’s maximum weight per lift will be added, forming a TOTAL POUNDAGE, which will be adjusted to points using the USAWA’s adjustment guidelines for age and bodyweight.

Put this EVENT on your schedule and be part of something new!!  All lifts will be further highlighted in future USAWA Daily News stories on the website.

ENTRY FORM – DinoEntry2011

What Goes Around….

Arthur Saxon would probably be considered "cutting edge" with most of his training techniques today!

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently, I had a young guy come out to my place to try out the Highland Games.  He was in his early 20’s and had done some weight training at the local YMCA and in high school, but was not a hard core lifter or iron game follower.  What was funny was I gave him a tour of my gym and he started pointing to things I had like they were new and cutting edge.  As if my gym was equipped with “all the latest”.  In particular, he pointed to my Kettlebells and said, “Wow, you have some kettlebells, I would like to try training with those, I’ve heard they are really good to train with”.

This was in contrast to when my Uncle Wayne Jackson saw the Kettlebells right after I had bought them.  Wayne gained the bulk of his training knowledge from reading S&H, MD, and Ironman in the 50’s and 60’s.  He said, “So what are you going to do with those old things”.  As if I had raided the York Barbell museum!   Wayne’s comments leaned towards how Kettlebells were never us used in his day and you couldn’t find those for years and he wasn’t sure what good they were going to do me.

In 2009, I got to go to the Arnold Fitness Expo.  It was there I found out just how “popular” Kettlebells had become again. They were having a competition that centered around doing all kinds of different maneuvers with the kettlebells, some of which I could see a lot of benefit, some….not so much…but hey, I swing a hammer in circles and flip telephone poles in my spare time….so who am I to judge.

I have a lot of stuff in my gym, most of it is pretty old or “well used”.  It is funny to me how things go in and out of style.  It got me to pondering “WHY”?  A lot of times exercises and equipment get run out of town by the “latest thing”.  Usually being sold by some guy looking to make a buck more than he’s trying to “revolutionize” the fitness industry.  He tells us that the old stuff is dangerous, useless, or inferior and enough people buy into it that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and the old stuff falls to the wayside.  But form follows function and eventually, what works is rediscovered and comes back again.

Now, this wasn’t intended to be an article on the benefits of Kettlebells, they are just an example.  I’m not trying to sell you on the and I don’t sell them!!!  Just remember, in our effort to get better (whether that be bigger, faster, stronger at lifting, throwing, team sports, whatever) we need to gain a broad understanding of what’s out there.  We need to know our history, we need to know what works and what doesn’t and filter what comes from the so called “experts” so that we may find the tools we need to achieve our goals.  We need to constantly look at what’s been used, what’s on the “shelf” (so to speak) and how can it be used to freshen up our training and lift us to victory!  (no pun intended!).

Chris James – Strength Athlete Extraordinaire

by Malcolm Whyatt, D.Phy., M.A.I.C, Historian of Physical Culture

Chris James, of 201 Margam Road, Margam, Port Talbot, S. Wales UK SA132AB

Chris was born 29th July 1970 and is married to Paula and they have 3 children. I first heard about Chris in 1998. I had been judging a contest and afterwards, a member of the audience thought I might be interested in a young man who was setting some remarkable feats of strength. Also, that he had recently nearly lost his life.

Chris James with the Millennium Dumbbell. The Millennium Dumbbell weighs 226 pounds. The hand grip circumference is 7 3/4 inches. The hand grip diameter is 2 3/8 inches and the handle is 3 inches. This picture was taken at the OHF Hall of Fame Dinner in 2002.

As the founder of the Oscar Heidenstam Foundation one of our awards is the Dr.Tom Temperley award. This is for those who having suffered trauma, continue to inspire others by outstanding endeavour. From my initial enquiries it was clear that Chris was a more than worthy honouree.

In December 1998 late at night, he was walking home with a friend when an unknown assailant stabbed Chris in the lumbar spine. The 9 inch knife missed his kidneys and spleen but the repair to his Colon and abdominal wall, left a scar from his pubic bone to the sternum. The surgeon said it was a million to one chance that he wasn’t killed and only his muscle density saved him. A normal person would almost certainly not be alive today. 8 weeks later he was back in light training and 3 weeks later, March 1999, we honoured Chris at the 8th annual OHF Hall of Fame Dinner. He impressed everyone by his refreshing modesty and surprised me on the night when I enquired about his hand grip strength. Quite casually he picked up the No:3 IronMind Captains of Crush Gripper and with audible clicks closed them for 3 reps with either hand!

At the 9th OHF Dinner 2000, Chris who at the time weighed 16st 4lbs, cleaned two handed the Thomas Inch Dumbell and single handed, push pressed it over head at 11.30pm. The first man in history to do so and witnessed by David Webster, myself and 60 of 179 guests. Earlier in the evening, he had also cleaned and single handed pressed John Citrones’ famous 112lbs blacksmiths anvil and did 20reps with the ships 92lbs anchor! Just for a laugh, Chris also cleaned & pressed his father overhead for 15 reps. (All above is on OHF Video No:6) His father Eddy, born 1944, share the same birthday 29th July and who won the 1994 Drug Free world power lifting championship and recently on the dead lift, did 11 reps with 400lb (age 59yrs, weight 12stone (210lbs), height 5ft 8inches). His father Wilf Len James, was a famous strongman and mentioned David Websters’ book Sons of Samson.

Chris James clean and pressing John Citrone's famous Blacksmiths Anvil, which weighs 115 pounds. This picture was taken at the OHF Hall of Fame Dinner in 2000.

At 13yrs Chris trained in his garden, became the schools boxing champ and a Karate black belt. He works at a Steel Foundry and where workmen often ask him to try lifting various items. Two examples are that he cleaned and did 10 reps with a 2inch diameter railway axle weighing 260bs and with either of his little fingers, curled a locomotive coupling; which normally takes two men to lift. Chris trains at local a youth club Tai Bach (little House); which has 3,000lbs of Olympic & free weights plus block weights, scrap iron, axles, chains etc.

He is 6ft tall and varies his bodyweight from 16 stone to 21stone Absolutely DRUG FREE he doesn’t use a lifting belt, wraps or other aids. He follows the world of weights with passion and is an avid reader of olde-time strength feats. His main interest is unusual strength lifts; usually for reps and to emulate the feats of Arthur Saxon, Hermann Gӧrner, Louis Cyr, Doug Hepburn and Marvin Eder et al. Seeing is believing! I have a video of Chris in training. His incredible feats almost defies description. Chris James Strength Athlete Extraordinaire.

CHRIS JAMES LIFTING FEATS

All lifts witnessed with many on film and photographed.  Doesn’t use weightlifting belt, straps or other aids. Equipment used: Dumbells, 2 inch diameter bars – main plates 25lbs, Olympic Barbells, 2 inch diameter bar, Pinch Grip, Thumb & first two fingers, Block weight 80lbs – 4ins thick – 6ins wide – 12ins long

PINCH GRIP BLOCK WEIGHT -  80lbs carried 15yards – clean and press – either hand

PINCH GRIP WEIGHT PLATE -  75lbs clean and press – either hand

ONE HANDED DUMBELL SWING & PRESS  -Two 56lbs COAL BLOCK WEIGHTS – 10 reps (112lbs)

ONE HANDED DUMBELL SWING  -  180lbs (Louis Cyr used a 1inch diameter)

ONE HANDED DUMBELL SWING -  110lbs x 48 reps

ONE HANDED BENT PRESS EZ BAR – 242lbs

ONE HANDED BARBELL CLEAN – 275lbs

ONE HANDED BARBELL FARMERS WALK – 350lbs (carried suit case style)

BARBELL FARMERS WALK – One in each hand 300lbs each (carried suit case style), 2 home made oxyacetylene bottles each weighing 165lbs plus 135lbs iron blocks welded on side!

SEATED DUMBELL PRESS – 150lbs x 5 140lbs x 8

STANDING DUMBELL CLEAN & PUSH PRESS – 160lbs x 2 150lbs x 7 140lbs x 12 125lbs x 21 either hand

INCLINE DUMBELL PRESS - 175lbs x 10 x 3 sets

CHINS (full hang) -  200lbs x 4 150lbs x 8

TWO FINGER CHINS – 110lbs x 8

PARALLEL BAR DIPS – 242lbs x 8

ONE HANDED DEADLIFT (overhand grip) – 500lbs x 2 400lbs x 10

STRAIGHT LEGGED DEADLIFTS (overhand grip) – 500lbs x 20

DEADLIFT (overhand grip) – 660lbs x 5

DEADLIFT FROM KNEES (overhand grip) – 1,100lbs x 3

BENCH PRESS – 505lbs x 8 460lbs x 6 420lbs x 10 400lbs x 20 308lbs x 40

INCLINE BENCH PRESS – 400lbs x 5

INCLINE DUMBELL BENCH PRESS  - 175lbs dumbells 10 x 3 sets

STRAIGHT ARM PULLOVER (strict) – 166lbs x 8 (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

BARBELL CURL (Strict with back against wall) – 210lbs (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

BARBELL CURL (loose style) – 220lbs x 5 (bodyweight 14st 4lbs)

EZ BAR CURL – 315lbs!

BENT OVER BARBELL ROWS – 400lbs x 5 x 4 sets 360lbs x 5 x 4 sets

BARBELL PUSH PRESS off rack Awesome! – 410lbs x 3 310lbs x 10 250lbs x 20

SQUAT (lift from the bottom of power rack) – 650lbs x 3 580lbs x 10 410lbs x 20

HALF SQUAT – 770lbs x 18 (to protect knees – does not specialise on the squat )

TWO HANDED OVERHEAD LOG LIFT – 300lbs x 20

HOW ABOUT THESE LIFTS BY CHRIS JAMES – ALL WITNESSED & ALSO ON FILM

880lb Barbell at rack high pin – just short of lock out – Press to Lock out and hold (same as John Grimek)

200lb Kit bag of sand plus two 56lbs coal weights inside (312lbs) – Clean and shoulder

Two 125lbs Olympic barbells. Clean one with left hand – bend down, clean the other with right hand, stand up and press both overhead.

The Chain (Die Kette) one of Hermann Gӧrner favourites. One hand dumbell snatch swing, followed by one hand press, followed by a curl or clean to shoulder and then another press. Starting at 50lbs working up to 180lbs – either hand.

One hand barbell snatch Right hand snatch to across left shoulder or left hand snatch to across right shoulder. Start weight 220lbs working up to 232lbs and Chris makes it look easy – either hand.

Continental & Push Press Behind Neck – a favourite of Arthur Saxon. 330lb barbell 2inch thick – hack lift with palms away from body – bend over lift bar to lumbar spine, roll bar to upper back – change to normal hand grip – push bar to nape of neck – Stand up Push press behind neck to lock out – lower bar to neck – push press over head – lower to front of shoulders – lower to floor.

Absolutely awesome! and no W/L belt! This is on film.

Malcolm Whyatt D.Phy., M.A.I.C 12 Nimrod Drive Hereford HR1 1UG England Tel:(01432) 358 339 Tel int +44 (0) 1432) 358 339 E-mail:malcolm@whyatt.plus.com

Warren Lincoln Travis – The Day the Weights Won

By Al Myers

The newspaper’s headlines read, “Weights He Lifted Crush a Strongman.”

Warren Lincoln Travis was the ultimate strongman performer. Here he is posing with some of the implements he would use in his strength shows.

I always love a good story.  Especially a story where the hero is faced with overwhelming obstacles that he must overcome to maintain or regain his previous status.  I know what you are thinking – Al must have a soft spot for sappy movies that have predictable endings. Well, I admit I always enjoy them more than I think I would.  But I pretend to let my wife think I only watch those kind of movies with her for her sake, and let on that I would have really preferred another action thriller movie!  This is the kind of story that would make a good movie,  and has your typical “feel good” outcome that is expected out of a “tear-jerker”. It pits the human body against iron. Flesh against steel.  Bone against metal. This is a story about a man that faced death at the mercy of weights and barbells that he was trying to lift.

Enough dramatic prelude!  I’m not writing a novel!!  Let me get straight to my story. I recently found  a news clipping from the NY Times, dated May 13 1908.  This clipping details the day the famous strongman, Warren Lincoln Travis, nearly lost his life at the hands of the weight he was trying to lift. He was only 27 years old at the time.

It all started when a janitor for the Brooklyn Athletic Club went to work one day and found our hero, Warren Lincoln Travis, lying under 1 1/2 tons of barbell plates, bars, dumbbells and even pieces of gymnastic equipment. Travis was unconscious.  The janitor quickly recruited some help and “unburied” Travis  from this heap of iron.  They rushed him to the hospital.  Upon a doctors examination, Travis had many lacerations, bruises,  possible internal injuries, and a dislocated hip.  The doctor was quoted as saying, “he will probably die”.

However, after a while, Travis regained consciousness and was able to tell his story.  He had been in training for an upcoming strength show, and was planning on doing a big Back Lift for the performance.  He wanted to lift a big platform loaded with people.  The previous times training this stunt he was able to get gym members to sit on his platform, but this day he arrived at the gym early and he found himself alone, with no other gym members around to use as his “live weight”.  So instead of waiting, Travis started loading anything he could find in the gym on his platform, which was supported by two sawhorses. Due to the weight probably being “unbalanced”, one of the sawhorses broke upon Travis placing it down after a rep.  This caused the other sawhorse to tip over, driving Travis to the floor covered by a piece of wood and around 3000 pounds of weight.  He couldn’t move to free himself and was trapped for at least half an hour before he was rescued.  The story referred to him being “senseless” when they found him, which I take as being unconscious.   This NY Times story also commented that this was the second time within a year that Travis had been hospitalized.  The other time was when Travis was doing a stunt in which an automobile was driven OVER HIM, but the driver got the wheels over his rib cage, breaking several ribs in the process!!!

But this story has a happy ending. Travis went on to an illustrious strongman career and became,  without a doubt, one of the most recognized American Strongmen of the early 1900’s.  He was more than just a strongman – I would also  say he was an early day stuntman.  Many of his performances had a high element of risk in them.  He was not afraid of becoming injured in order “to put on his show of strength”.  This accident didn’t hinder him in his pursuit of Back Lifting.  Most of his best Back Lifting was done after this accident.  On this day the weights may have won, but in the end Warren Lincoln Travis was victorious!