Choosing Indian Clubs

by Roger LaPointe

Roger and a couple of his BIG Indian Clubs!

Boy oh, boy.  I am so glad the new web site is up and running.  Now I can start addressing some of the most popular questions. If you have not been to look at the Atomic Athletic web site recently, here is a link:  http://www.atomicathletic.com/

#1 QUESTION: What size Indian Clubs should I buy?

Atomic Athletic has a full supply and selection of Indian Clubs.

Obviously, if you are a 100 pound woman, you will be using clubs smaller than what a 300 pound man is going to use.  However, I can give you some advice that will apply, regardless of your basic strength level.

1. Everyone needs to learn technique.  Start smaller than what you think you will ultimately work up to using.  Just because you regularly use 50 pound dumbbells, does not mean that you can use a 50 pound Indian club.  In fact, I would say that the ratio is more like 4:1.  I will use 100 pound dumbbells for some exercises, but I don’t use anything heavier than 24 pounds as a club.

2. Roger, you use 24 Pound Persian Meel type Indian clubs, so do you still use lighter clubs?  Yes.  I start every workout with an antique pair of 1 1/2 Pound wooden clubs.  I work up from there.  Just like dumbbells, you would do different exercises with 10 pounders and 100 pounders, but both are useful, even within the same workout.

3. Based on my body size, how heavy will I be able to go with Indian Clubs?  Well, I am 5′3” & 160 pounds and I can use up to the 24 Pound Meels, but I have met 300 pound guys who can’t do much of anything with 12 Pound Meels – until they have learned the technique.  I have also worked with some women, who have great technique that can use 12 Pound Meels as well as doing an hour with 2 Pound HIP Clubs.  So, take that for what it is.

Take Control of Your Forearms

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe training his forearms from an elevated positions, using a wrist roller and a heavy rope attached to weight. (photo courtesy of Atomic Athletic)

You can take control of your forearm growth. This is what is great about progressive resistance training. You are in control.The key is consistency. I don’t know how many times I have heard people talk about muscle confusion, chaos, or randomness being the key to training. Now, if you are simply an out of shape slob, anything will work when you first start off, because something is better than nothing. However, purely random exercises are not going to help you reach your potential.

The first step in any kind of training is learning how to use your tools. They all seem very simple. For example, how hard can it be to learn how to use a wrist roller? Technically, it is a stick with a cord that holds a weight. The learning process is more than just reading or watching a video, it includes doing something. You must actually pick up the item and start emulating what you have seen.

For example, in the Frightening Forearms DVD I show several methods of using your whole body with a wrist roller.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=VID111

In the book “72 Consummate Arts Secrets of the Shaolin Temple”, the chapter on the Pot Lifting Arts you will find out a great method on how to increase the weight you are lifting.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK072

You have read about it and watched me actually do things with a wrist roller. That is the easy part. Get out of your arm chair and be an athlete. Pick up your Wrist Roller and try the techniques you have seen.

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=KT11WR

For a few weeks, you will try something new with your Wrist Roller every single day, regardless of what the rest of your workout is like. Even if you have to use nothing more than a 1 1/4 Pound Plate, you will try the various techniques until you feel you really understand what is going on. IN THE PROCESS, you will actually be getting more exercise than you can believe!

Here is the entire Pot Lifting Arts Kit I have put together:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BK72P2

That is STEP 1 toward grabbing control of your forearm strength.

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

Designing a Dumbbell for One Lift

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe "in video action" performing a dumbbell swing.

I’ve got this really cool customer who used to be a Marine Sniper Instructor Trainer. Talk about a specialist. He had me make him a custom barbell a couple of years ago. He was very specific about what he wanted. Now, he had been buying from me for a while and I have a pretty good idea about how he trains and what he trains for today. It is not his previous job, after all, he is retired from the military. On the other hand, I know he appreciates using the right tool for the job.

I have been specializing my training around a single lift over the last year. You may have seen some of the articles and videos I’ve done on the One Hand Dumbbell Swing. As I have been doing this training, I have also been studying the literature on the lift. Some of this information is over a hundred years old. I like that old information. When I can find a tip that allows me to tweak what I am doing that little bit, it makes me feel like Indiana Jones. The archeologist in me feels like those long dead coaches are talking to me. It’s cool.

YouTube Video for the One Hand Dumbbell Swing:

http://www.youtube.com/atomicathletic

So, I am going to give you guys a list of parts/tools that will help you experiment. Think of it as an engineer’s proto – typing tool. Once you have these parts, if you want to talk to me about some of the other pieces that I play with, most of which are NOT on the web site. Then you can pick up a phone and call, but here is the starting line.

  • Long Dumbbell Bar
  • Allen Collars (I have bunches of these.)
  • Heavy Duty (3/4 Pound) Wrenchless Screw Collars(Great for quick changes.)
  • Shot Loading Dumbbell

You also need a selection of Plates. Get some larger ones, like 35 Pounders. Also get a variety of thicknesses: pancake vs. contoured with the lip. You may also want some other bar lengths. All of these variables are fun to play with. You don’t want to get hung up on what the other guys are doing, for example: experiment with back loading your dumbbell and tipping your dumbbells.

Enjoy, Roger LaPointe
“Today is a good day to lift.”

1930’s Style Dumbbell Swing Video

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe training the Dumbbell Swing at the Atomic Athletic club.

Impossible right?

173 1/4 Pound One Hand Dumbbell Swing at a bodyweight of 168 pounds, was the British record in 1930. Yep, you read that correctly. The record was an OVER body weight dumbbell swing. How did they do it with all that centrifugal force? I’ve been doing my research. Yes, I am a detail oriented guy when it comes to weightlifting. I’ve been working on it in the gym.

FIRST MILESTONE: Now I have it on video that I have passed the 50% of bodyweight milestone. Check out the video here.

http://www.youtube.com/atomicathletic

The dumbbell bars that I train with are right here:

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=WDB20

I highly recommend the Allen Collars when doing dumbbell work. (You can special order the exact bars that use in the video, by phone.)

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=COL04

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

Why a Thick Bar Steinborn Lift?

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe performing a Steinborn Lift with a thick bar shot-loaded barbell.

I have always loved the Steinborn Lift. So, the question is, why do a thick bar Steinborn lift?

Well, one good reason is if you can’t seem to clean the bar, this is a good way to get it in position for lifting the bar overhead. On a non-rotating thick bar that doesn’t have knurling, there is a good chance that I wouldn’t have been able to explosively lift it. Of course, I may have just done that lift because it’s fun to do, especially with a real shot loading barbell.

As I have been going through old photos, for a project soon to be announced, I found these great older shots of me doing a Steinborn. These shots are about ten years old and, if I remember correctly, the shot loading barbell was empty with a weight of about 150 pounds, with a non-rotating 2 1/4 inch diameter, un-knurled bar. I was lifting in the 69 kg Class at that time, or 152 pound bodyweight.

THE LIFT
Essentially, you lift one end of the bar and completely upend it. A shot loading bar is perfect for that, with the rounded heads. The shot will also help the process, as gravity makes it shift. Once you find the center of the bar with your shoulders, you cantilever it down while squatting under it. Finally, you stand up with it and put it over head with either a press from behind the next, or better yet, a jerk from behind the neck.

That is a great lift for a show, because you can have people from the audience try to lift it, then you quickly and easily have it over head and back down on the ground. Then move on to your next lift. The weight will not actually be so much that you are really exhausted. If your bar is of large enough diameter, there is no way anyone will be able to clean it.

Learn more cool show lifts and stunts here:

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

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

The Man Cave Concept

by Roger LaPointe

Framed posters are a great addition to man caves.

Wouldn’t you think that a Man Cave would have some cool fitness equipment?

“Man Caves” have apparently become big business. I was at Home Depot and saw a book on building a man cave and there is even a magazine devoted to the Man Cave. Strangely, I expected at least one of them to include weightlifting equipment, or maybe a heavy bag.
All the popular literature seems to show a man cave as being more like a modern drinking establishment, where you supply your own keg and pay the cable bill. I like large screen televisions too, but my idea of a man cave would be a place for getting drunk with my buddies.

I have been building man caves for years. Of course, they were called weight rooms. Here are some ideas for past cool man caves, for the active guy. These are tips beyond just putting in good stereo speakers.

1. Personal Flavor: For Christmas, I just gave a buddy from school an original James Bond “Thunderball” framed record album, for his weight room. Yep, it had some of that cool 60s art that makes you think of what makes James Bond cool and he is a serious fan. That old 33 1/3 rpm album art was out of this world. He also has some of my Atomic Athletic posters and reproduction, as well as original, instructional wall charts. Whatever you put up, frame it.

2. Good Looking Equipment: Try to think like an architect when putting together your man cave weight room. For example, maybe instead of the standard black heavy bag, you put in a red or dark brown leather one. I have even done custom 3 strand rope and pulley systems using antique barn or ships pulleys to hang the bag. We have put in adjustable height speed bags that have the classic worm screw for adjustment and butcher block type wood board.

3. Actually put in lighting and paint that is nice and bright. Don’t be afraid to actually use “white” paint. Just because your wife is calling it the man cave doesn’t mean it has to be dark and dingy.

4. Weights: Before you even move in your weights and your bench, or whatever, make sure they are clean. Here is a tip, if you have rusty old weights, clean them with a wire brush and some brake cleaner from the auto parts store. Then repaint with some cheap spray paint. If you are buying a new piece, like a bench or power rack, don’t be afraid of equipment colors other than white. Personally, I have been repainting my equipment a lime green candy coat with wrinkle black accents. Of course, we can run automotive paints here in the Atomic Athletic shop, but I have done that for other people as well.

5. Lastly, you should have some respect for yourself and at least paint those basement block walls, or put some dry wall up in your garage.

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

Wrist Roller Tip From Hackenschmidt

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe trains the wrist roller in strict fashion. (caption by webmaster)

George Hackenschmidt was one of the greatest wrestlers and weightlifters of all time. While his writings on weightlifting were relatively limited, if you take every word very seriously and actually do everything he recommends, you will get extremely strong indeed.

The wrist roller is a tool to which Hackenschmidt devotes more than an entire page and a two illustrations, in his book “The Way to Live”. Here is one tip, “…roll it round with both hands, winding up the cord. Continue until the weight is wound close up and then unwind to full length. Both wind and unwind with continuous and also with reverse rollings. Continue until tired. The rolling movement to be always steady and gradual.” p. 61

http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=KT11WR

Mistake #1: The Unwinding Phase
I see a lot of lifters cheat with wrist rollers. There are a lot of different techniques for seriously training with a wrist roller, but don’t cheat. The only person you are cheating is yourself. Make sure you take the unwinding phase as seriously as the winding phase. Sure, gravity WILL take that weight to the ground, but it is your job to resist gravity, using a strong, secure grip and the full range of motion.

Heavy Lift Championships

by Al Myers

Group picture from the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships: (front left to right) Roger LaPointe, Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Scott Schmidt (Back) Dave Polzin

This past Saturday Roger LaPointe, of Atomic Athletic, hosted the 2012 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships.  It was held in conjunction with his annual promotion, the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic.  After last year’s Heavies in York, I didn’t know if that meet could be topped, but after attending Roger’s event I think it was!   The combination of the championships and the picnic were a perfect fit – it led to a festive environment along with many spectators.  Roger did an EXCELLENT JOB of bringing everything together to celebrate a day of strength. Along with the Championships, there were several strength shows by other strongmen going on.  All of this was topped off with a big meal for everyone in attendance.  I won’t say anymore about the picnic activities as I will leave that story for Roger to tell later.

Myself (left) and Roger LaPointe (right). Roger did an outstanding job of promoting the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships!

The meet itself was well attended for a Heavy Lift Championships. All together 7 lifters entered – a mixture of heavy lift veterans and a couple of new lifters to the “chain lifts”.  This meet doesn’t appeal to all lifters, and generally the Heavy Lift Champs doesn’t get more entries than this, so I was very pleased with the turnout.  It ended up “being a battle” between Eric Todd and myself for the overall champion.  It came down to the last event, the Hip Lift, to decide the day’s champion.  I was in order before ET, so I pushed myself and got a 2000# Hip Lift to put a little pressure on him.  He responded well, and put up with a personal record Hip Lift of 2075# to edge me out by only 3 adjusted points. I will have to do some research on this, but I’m guessing this is the closest finish for the overall lifter EVER in a Heavy Lift Championships.  Eric was the one who “stole the show” of the day on the whole – he started off the meet with an overall ALL TIME USAWA & WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift with an unbelievable lift of 905 pounds!!!  His new record topped Chad Ullom’s 900 from last years Heavy Champs, which has now become the norm for being one of the best in the Neck Lift.   It was a really impressive lift, and I expect will inspire Chad to lift even more.  I fully expect one of these two lifters to be the first to break the “magic barrier” of 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift.  It will happen.  I was glad to see ET enter this big meet and win this championships. Most don’t know this, but ET has been competing in the USAWA longer than I have (by 6 months).  He has never really traveled far to meets in the USAWA as he has been focused on his pro strongman career.  He is a gifted all rounder and I kidded him he is still a youngster (at 37) in the USAWA and his best years are still ahead of him.

Dennis Mitchell giving an interview to the local TV station.

On the other end of the spectrum is Dennis Mitchell.  Dennis is now 80 years old and was the oldest lifter in this meet.  For his age, Dennis is remarkable.  Most guys his age would never take on lifts like the Heavy Lifts.  Dennis is a “master” at these lifts, and constantly surprises me with his lifting.  He told me last weekend that this month marks 69 years since he began lifting weights (that’s right, 69 years!!!!).   Also, he has competed throughout this whole time. That is one long lifting career!!!  I was glad to see Dennis get recognized by being interviewed by the local TV station.

Another lifting milestone was achieved this past weekend as well.  Our USAWA President Denny Habecker told me that Saturday marked 50 years since his first lifting competition – to the day!!!   I made sure to celebrate this occasion with Denny after the meet.  Denny multi-tasked all day as a lifter and as the head official, as well as bringing the heavy bar and accessories for the meet.  Many things happen in the USAWA only because of Denny!! He finished with a record lift in the Hip Lift at 944 pounds.

I was glad to see competing the two newcomers, wily veteran Olympic Lifter Dave Polzin, and the big talented young kid Thomas Casillas.  Both have tremendous abilities, and with a little practice on the Heavy Lifts will be very good Heavy Lifters. Dave really impressed me after the meet when he did a 198# Clean and Press at the age of 62 for an age group record!!!  Andrew Durniat made an appearance as well in one of the strongman shows.  I hadn’t seen Andrew in a year, but immediately I could tell that he has added some muscular size since then.  He did a 166# one arm snatch for a new record.  This is one of the best one arm snatches of the year in the organization.  Andrew’s strength in a lift like this shows that he is “way more” than just a grip lifter.  I’m hoping that we will continue to see Andrew compete in the USAWA, as he is a great person as well as a superb lifter.

Athletic Atomic club member Dave Polzin performed a 198# Clean and Press at the age of 62!!!!

Another all -round lifter who was in attendance but did not compete was the Cleveland lifter John Kurtz.  John trained under the legendary Howard Prechtel and obviously has a wealth of information.  I enjoyed visiting with him throughout the day and getting to know him.  His name is “littered” throughout our USAWA record list with impressive records, and it was nice to be able to “put a name with a face”.   He has had some health issues of late, but he still looked like he was in lifting shape to me!!!  I hope to see him get “back into action” in USAWA competition.  The only person I have not mentioned yet is Scott Schmidt.   I saved Scott for last because I want to make sure everyone knows how much he contributes to our organization.  Scott is part of the 5-person executive board that governs the USAWA, and is very influential “behind the scenes”.  He is always very helpful at meets, and one of the better officials in the organization.  He put up a great lift of 1005# in the Hand and Thigh as well and placing third overall in this meet. 

MEET RESULTS:

Heavy Lift Championships
Bowling Green, Ohio
May 12, 2012

Meet Director:  Roger LaPointe

Lifts:  Neck Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Harness Lift

Officials:  Denny Habecker, Dennis Mitchell, Scott Schmidt, Eric Todd, Al Myers

Announcer: Roger LaPointe

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Loader: Jeff Rybek

LIFTER AGE BWT NECK H&T HIP TOT PTS
Eric Todd 37 252 860 1200 2075 4135 3266.6
Al Myers 45 240 700 1100 2000 3800 3263.1
Scott Schmidt 59 249 287 1005 1400 2692 2567.8
Dave Polzin 62 215 330 750 900 1980 2090.3
Denny Habecker 69 196 0 600 900 1500 1761.4
Dennis Michell 80 154 240 400 550 1190 1756.8
Thomas Casillas 15 305 0 600 0 600 496.9

 

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

EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORDS:

Eric Todd  Neck Lift:  905#
Denny Habecker Hand & Thigh Lift: 705#
Denny Habecker Hip Lift: 944#
Dennis Mitchell Hand & Thigh Lift: 450#
Dennis Mitchell  Hip Lift: 625#
Thomas Casillas Hand and Thigh: 700#
Dave Polzin Clean and Press: 198#
Andrew Durniat Snatch – Left Arm: 166#
(33 years old, 230 lbs. BWT)

Neck Training

by Roger LaPointe

A head harness can be used to lift ANYTHING, as demonstrated by Pat Povilaitis at a recent Atomic Athletic Picnic lifting this engine block, for good neck training!

Neck training could be YOUR missing link.

When I spoke at Ohio State’s NSCA Clinic last year, the speaker who was up right after me was Mike Gittleson. For those of you who do not know anything about Mike Gittleson, he was the Strength Coach at the University of Michigan for 30 years. He started under Bo Schembechler. Mike has been on the forefront of research into the football and concussion issue, which has led to his research into very serious neck training.

Try this on for size. Mike convinced a fellow strength coach, who still occasionally competes in strongman competitions, on a very competitive level, to put several neck exercises into his program. Aside from getting an even bigger and stronger neck, he put 60 pounds on his Press! How would you like to add 60 pounds to your standing press?

You want a good place to start your education into neck training? Now is your chance to ask some of the best neck lifters in the world about their secrets. The Heavy Lifts Championships are taking place at the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic this year. This year, the lifts will be: the Hand & Thigh Lift, the Hip Lift and the Neck Lift!

Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

WEBMASTER COMMENTS:  If you are interested in buying a very good quality leather Head Harness for Neck Training, check out the Head Harness by Atomic Athletic.  Link – http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=BSMA307V

One Hand Swing

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe, of Atomic Athletic, performing a dumbbell swing with an "old school" Jackson 80# globe dumbbell at the Ambridge Barbell Club.

Quick lifts seem to be all the rage right now, for good reason.

The One Hand Dumbbell Swing is one explosive lift you do not see a lot of, but you are really missing out if you aren’t doing it. It was one of the contest lifts in Ambridge, PA last weekend, at the Ambridge Barbell Club USAWA (All-Round) weightlifting meet.

First of all, the guys in that organization are a treasure trove of information. I had been casually training the lift for about a month. The deeper I looked at it and experimented with it, the more interesting it became. As with many All-Round Association events, I came out of the meet with a far greater understanding of the lift than when I went in. You may have noticed, that I tend to repeat lifts from one meet to the next. The idea is that in a 6 month period of time, you can then have two contests where you can show some improvement from the first to the second.

EQUIPMENT

To start with, you want to lift on the most appropriate equipment. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but there are certain key factors to consider. Now, my favorite dumbbell at the meet was the one I used for my final attempt, which was a good one. However, if I were trying to set a record, or push my absolute limit, I would NOT have used that dumbbell. I like that dumbbell because it was an antique Jackson solid, globe head, dumbbell. It was down right cool. Yet, the grip area was much too long and unknurled.

Ideally, you want a rotating Olympic sized plate loading dumbbell with a handle that is similar diameter to an Olympic barbell. I have one in my collection that measures 1 1/4 inches in diameter and it is simply too big. The goal of a swing is not just to work your grip. A swing should be a test of your back, hips and traps. You also need to have very solid collars. There is no way I would trust little spring collars or something made of plastic. I use leather lined Spin-Lock Collars that you can crank down on.

TECHNIQUE

1. Make sure you get a good grip. I also like to have the thumb side of my hand cranked in tight to the inside collar.
2. Don’t do too many swings, three should be enough. More than that and you are wasting energy and explosiveness. With your final swing you want to go up more than out with a genuine triple extension.
3. Don’t forget you can also drop under it and catch it in a split. There will be more looping of the dumbbell than in a snatch, so you will want to practice the split. You could could catch it in a quarter squat type movement, but you will probably have to jump backward to receive the dumbbell. That is possibly stronger, but chancy. I started off using that method, because of my Olympic lifting background. While that swing split is certainly different from a barbell jerk split, I am gradually switching and adapting to it.
4. Finally, lock your shoulder right into the side of your head. There is a really cool screw type motion that makes it stunningly solid.

Finally, if you are not already doing full barbell Olympic weightlifting, then start. The application of that type of training to the One Hand Dumbbell Swing is so obvious as to not even warrant discussion.

Have fun. Today is a good day to lift. Live strong.

Strengthen the Jerk

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe training with the Safety Squat Bar, which are available for sale from Atomic Athletics.

It’s funny. Most people think of the Jerk, as in the second half of the Clean & Jerk, as an arm and shoulder lift. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Power for the jerk, just like the snatch and clean, comes from the hips. However, in addition to learning the technique involved in the jerk, I do see one very common problem that is related to “bodybuilding” concepts. Most athletes would benefit by getting their split lower.

Lowering the Split

Especially for the beginner athlete, there is one exercise that can really help strengthen that low split position and there is one tool that makes it so easy to start adding real weight that it almost feels like cheating. You are going to add in barbell lunges to your routine, but you are going to use your trusty old Safety Squat Bar.

Safety Squat Bars will allow you focus on foot position in the split. This means that you can really work on a long, low split. Sure, you still have to keep a tight core and high chest, etc. For many athletes, especially those new to Olympic lifting, barbell lunges, done for helping the split jerk, makes for too many things to think about controlling all at once.

Try this out. You will also find that if you are over trained for squatting and in the low back, the Safety Squat Bar Lunges can give those areas some much needed rest, while still getting in some much needed work.

Hack Squats for Olympic Lifting

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe getting ready to pull a Hack Lift.

The old school strongmen had some really innovative ways of training. Sometimes you did a lift to force someone to learn technique, they just happened to get strong at the same time.

Where did I read about this one? I have no idea. Yet, I remember reading that a deadlift, which “started from the floor and behind the calves” was helpful in learning the clean. Whoever wrote that was absolutely correct.

Use the same barbell that you will be using to do your cleans. Use the same hand position on the bar. Here are some of the things that the Hack Lift will force you to do.

1. High Chest
2. Narrow grip will make you have narrow foot position off the floor
3. Curling your wrists
4. Pulling the bar back

Try doing three hack lifts then immediately do three power cleans with those ideas in mind.

Don’t worry. You do not even have to do super heavy weight in the Hack Lift to get those benefits for your cleans.

Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

 
 
 
 

 

Crucifix – Part 1

by Roger LaPointe

Part 1 – Crucifix Holds

Crucifix using two kettlebells.

Strange lifts abound in the world of old school strongman feats, but the classic Crucifix Hold would seem to be pretty easy to understand.  Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  You simply have to start doing this movement to really grasp the coolness and easy application to a variety of training programs.

This first Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletin, covering the Crucifix Hold is going to highlight some of the many benefits, where to fit it into your routine and some initial tips for you to get started.  This will help you bypass a few of the stumbling blocks I hit along the way. 

1.  Shoulder Development:  The crucifix is just one of the exercises that Vic Boff recommends for use with kettlebell handles.  As Vic Boff says in his “Body Builder’s Bible”, “The exercises, when carefully followed through,will give excellent results when intelligently applied.” (Boff, p. 125)   I highly recommend that you actually work the various kettlebell handle exercises in Vic’s book.  They provide outstanding supplementary training for the competition lift, which is not just part of the USAWA, but frequently seen in strongman contests as well.

2.   Tools:  The old classic shots of strongmen, from fifty to one hundred years ago, almost always show the strongman doing the Crucifix Hold with some sort of globe kettlebell.  As I have a pretty good selection of equipment, including antique Milo Bar Bell globes, I figured this was the way to go.  Wrong.  Then I tried various dumbbells, which turned out to be varying degrees of “acceptable”.  The best was definitely NOT solid kettlebells, as the small solid heads and somewhat rounded handles had strange torque issues.  Maybe competition grade kettlebells would have been better, but I don’t have any of those here to try.  Certainly the best, and cheapest, were the kettlebell handles.  I would love to push sets of solid kettlebells, simply from a profit perspective, but I would be giving you my honest opinion.

3.   Timing:  I am finding that a solid warm-up with light Indian Clubs is essential, but I would be doing that for my Olympic weightlifting anyway.  Then do some of the light exercises Vic recommends, with no more than 15 pounds per kettlebell.  Then go right into progressively heavier poundages.

The USAWA Official Rulebook has the Crucifix in Section E8, which would correspond to the Top Exercise on Page 129 of Vic’s Book.

WEBMASTER’S COMMENT:  TO ORDER KETTLEBELLS OR ANY OF THE OTHER FANTASTIC PRODUCTS OF ATOMIC ATHLETIC, GO TO THEIR WEBSITE AT   http://www.atomicathletic.com/store/

Black Swamp Meet

(WEBMASTER’S NOTE:  The following was taken with permission from Andrew Durniat’s blog covering the Atomic Athletic Olde Time Strongman Picnic and USAWA Black Swamp Meet. Congrats to Andrew and his record lift in the One Arm Deadlift!)

by Andrew Durniat

Andrew Durniat and his record setting lift in the One Arm Deadlift (519 pounds).

It was a good day to lift this past Saturday, May 14 while in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was here at the Atomic Athletic Olde Time Strongman Picnic and US All-Round Weightlifting Association (USAWA) meet that I set the single arm deadlift record. My lift of 235.5kg (518.1 lbs.) on my left arm bested Steve Angell of Britain previous record of 219kg (479.6 lbs.).

The running joke at the Durniat household leading up this event was; ‘there’s my problem, I just didn’t have a world record scheduled on my calender.’ You see, when Atomic Athletic approached me about this event, they did so asking me to break a world record. I then put a plan together and executed it perfectly.

The next time a challenge is presented to you, just schedule it in writing on your calender. Put together a plan and take action. You’ll be setting records in no time.

YouTube Video of Andrew’s Record One Arm Deadlift

MEET RESULTS:

Black Swamp Meet
Bowling Green, OH
May 14th, 2011

Meet Director:  Roger LaPointe and Atomic Athletic

Lifts:  Deadlift – One Arm, Clean and Push Press

Officials:  Denny Habecker and Scott Schmidt

(All lifts besides Habecker’s and Schmidt’s were passed with 2 whites using the 3-Offical system and are eligible for IAWA World Records.  Habecker and Schmidt were officiated using the 1-Official System and their lifts are only eligible for USAWA records)

Lifter Age BWT DL-1arm C&PP Total Points
Andrew Durniat 32 103.1 228-L 105 333 277.6
Chris Rice 62 94.7 138-R 75 213 228.6
Denny Habecker 68 87.5 120-R 70 190 223.5
Michael Rogowski 25 78.6 135-R 95 230 223.4
Scott Schmidt 58 113.3 136-R 85 221 208.8
Tom Montague-Casillas 14 121.0 55-R 60 115 106.0

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight recorded in kilograms.  Lifts recorded in kilograms.  Total is total kilograms lifted.  Points is adjusted points for age correction and bodyweight adjustment. )

Extra lifts for record:

Andrew Durniat – 235.5 kgs One Arm Deadlift, Left
Denny Habecker – 125 kgs One Arm Deadlift, Right
Chris Rice – 138 kgs One Arm Deadlift, Left

Atomic Athletic

by Al Myers

This is the logo for Atomic Athletic.

I was very excited when Roger LaPointe, owner and operator of Atomic Athletic in Bowling Green, Ohio, contacted me about promoting a USAWA competition in conjunction with his Great Black Swamp Olde-Time Strongman Picnic.  This event has been an annual event at Atomic Athletic for several years, and draws in lots of people interested in all aspects of strength.   I really wish I would have been  able to attend this event on May 14th, but I had previously made another commitment on this date.  So I’ll have to miss it this year – but hopefully, Roger will sanction another USAWA event next year and I can make it!! 

Now for a little more on Roger’s company – Atomic Athletic.  Atomic Athletic sells a full line of strength related products, and caters to the serious weightlifter.  Atomic Athletic has an outstanding website (atomicathletic.com).   Check it out – and you will be surprised how comprehensive it is in regards to product selections.  You can buy high quality weightlifting bars, premium weightlifting plates, and about any piece of equipment you might want.  He also sells DVD’s, books and training courses, and even gym charts!  My favorite sections are the “Retro Strength” and “Classic Gym Equipment”.  These two areas have stuff like this for sale - kettlebells, lifting harnesses, iron boots, Indian clubs, sledgehammers, block weights, and heavy bars.  Atomic Athletic is the only company that I know of that sells a heavy lift bar.

Atomic Athletic has the full endorsement of the USAWA!  And because of this – Atomic Athletic has been added to the commercial links on the USAWA Website.

Black Swamp Meet

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

ATOMIC ATHLETIC GREAT BLACK SWAMP OLDE TIME STRONGMAN PICNIC AND ALL-ROUND MEET

Roger LaPointe, of Atomic Athletic, is hosting an All-Round Weightlifting Meet on May 14th.  Roger is not new to the USAWA as a meet director, as he has hosted a couple of competitions in the past – but it has been a few years.  I am REALLY GLAD to see him get back into the USAWA fold by promoting this meet!  Roger owns a very unique equipment company, Atomic Athletic,  that caters to lifters wanting to buy unique equipment that we as All-Rounders would appreciate.  He also sells about anything else that a lifter would need.  Take a little time and check out his website for his business -   Atomic Athletic.  

This meet will feature two popular all-round lifts – the One Hand Deadlift and the Clean and Push Press.  This day will be more than just a meet.  Roger has planned a picnic and other Strongman Shows to compliment the meet.  It sounds like a great day of fun!! 

Great Black Swamp Olde-Time Strongman Picnic Promotional Poster.

For an entry form, click here -  Black Swamp Meet Entry Form