Grip Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Scott Tully had the "top lift" at the 2012 USAWA Grip Champioships with this 394# Vertical Bar Deadlift - 2 Bars, 2". This year the 2" Vertical Bar Deadlift will be contested again, but this time with only one Vertical Bar.

For the fourth year in a row now, the USAWA will feature the Grip Championships.  This event allows the showcasing of unique strength, that of grip strength, in crowning a yearly champion.  The USAWA has in its list of lifts numerous lifts that focus on gripping strength, and these are the lifts that are chosen for this Championship.  Each year there is a different selection of lifts in this meet, which allows lifters to demonstrate their specific grip strength from year to year.  This year the lifts in the Grip Champs are:

Pinch Grip (Two Hands)
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

In addition to this being the USAWA Grip Championships, a postal challenge has been issued with the IAWA(UK).  Mark Haydock, of England, is  promoting  the British Grip Championships on February 2nd, the weekend before the USAWA Grip Championships. .  This year it has been organized that the IAWA(UK) Championships will offer the exact same events as the USAWA, thus setting up the “perfect situation” for a International Postal Grip Challenge between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK).  The IAWA(UK) President Steve Gardner and I have been in contact with each other in setting this up.

Steve  and I have agreed that the “WINNER” will be determined by averaging all the scores from each participant from each Nation to determine the winner of the challenge.  This means that EVERYONE who competes in the Championships will be part of this challenge, no one will be left out, and everyone’s performance matters. This is different than many of the postal challenges of the past, where only a set number of lifters are selected to participate in the final scoring of the event.  We were hoping to have both of our Championships scheduled for the same day, but due to scheduling conflicts we were not able to organize it this way.  Steve has promised to keep the IAWA(UK) scores “secret” till after our event is finished as to not give us the advantage of knowing what we need to beat.  This is looking to be a fun challenge and I hope lots of USAWA lifters show up to support this event!

ENTRY FORM  – 2013 USAWA Grip Championships Entry Form

JWC Around the World!

by Thom Van Vleck

Brian Hare, top Highland Games athlete sporting his JWC hat while doing some stone lifting in ICELAND!

I have had a lot of fun (and sometimes frustration) putting on meets over the years.  One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing is creating new meet shirts, and sometimes hats for something different.  I have also enjoyed seeing my shirts pop up at the most unusual places.  Recently, Brian Hare, a top Highland Game thrower posted the above photo of him doing some stone lifting in Iceland wearing his JWC stocking cap.

Front and center, you will see Bob McConaughey sporting his JWC shirt, that year he set the masters World Record in the Bench Press with 744lbs at 242lbs bodyweight.

I also got one from Bob McConaughey, a top Powerlifter and Highland Games thrower where Bob was representing the Frantz Power Team but wearing a JWC shirt!  I am not surprised when I’m in the local super market and see one of my shirts, but I was surprised when I was in Edinburg, Scotland and turned around to see one of my shirts!  Sean Betz was wearing it before throwing in the Pro World Championships!  Sean told me he took that shirt to every meet as he liked it as warm up shirt since it was roomy and had long sleeves.  I have seen photos of him in it all over the place!

Hey, I can't resist running this photo of Tully one more time!!!!! Here's a JWC shirt showing up in California! This may be the most published photo in ever on the USAWA website!

I have many more examples and sometimes I know that a shirt may be worn just because it fits well, happens to be the only one clean, or just at the top in the shirt drawer!  But whatever the reason, whenever I see it, it makes me feel pretty good and motivates me put all the negatives aside in running a meet and make plans for the next one.  If you have one of my shirts and you end up wearing one in some cool or exotic location, send me a copy!  It will make my day!

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

DINO DAYS RECORD DAY

Ben Edwards set the ALL TIME RECORD in the 2" One Arm Vertical Bar Deadlift with a lift of 251 pounds at the Dino Days Record Day.

MEET REPORT

There were not alot of records set today at the Dino Days Record Day, but the ones that were set were great!  Only five lifters showed up on this second day of the two USAWA competitions hosted by the Dino Gym this weekend; Mike Murdock, Scott Tully, Ben Edwards, LaVerne Myers and myself. Mike lead the way with setting records in 9 different lifts, followed by LaVerne with 8, and the rest of us tied at 7.  Every lifter had a record lift which I would call OUTSTANDING, and I had a hard time “choosing” just one feature picture, so I just decided I would show a picture of everyone who lifted, in which I would call their “BEST” record of the day. 

Ben Edwards showed up today to SMASH some USAWA grip records, and that he did.  Ben is the KING of the Vertical Bar, and that was the first lift he set his record breaking sights on.  I have watched Ben several times with the VB, but never have I seen him this strong with it.  He kept going up and up with the weight, finishing with an ALL TIME USAWA record of 251 pounds with his right hand.  This broke the USAWA All-Time mark held by Andrew Durniat of 250 pounds, set at the 2010 Dino Gym Grip Challenge.  I also got to see Andrew set his record, and at the time I wondered if it ever would be broken.  Well, Ben did it!  He also lifted 240 pounds in the 2″ VB with his left hand, setting the highest mark in USAWA history with the left as well.  The next “grip lift” Ben went after was the Fulton Dumbbell (of which handle is 2 inches in diameter).  He did 175 pounds with his left, and 185 pounds with his right. The “185″ is the BEST EVER that has been done in the USAWA with a one handed Fulton Dumbbell. As some of you know, the Fulton Bar lifts utilizing the 2″ handle was named after Kevin Fulton, who was one of the grip-strength pioneers in the USAWA.   It all started that day when Kevin “upset” Wilbur Miller in a competition where a 2″ handle dumbbell was deadlifted with one arm.  Bill Clark “tagged” the name of the Fulton Bar to the 2 inch handle following this incident.  Now Ben better set his goal on Kevin’s best mark from the Old Missouri Valley Record List.   Just to let you know – Kevin Fulton lifted 195 pounds in the One Arm Fulton Dumbbell in 1983.  So get to work Ben!!!

Scott Tully set the ALL TIME RECORD in the Stifflegged Deadlift with a lift of 512 pounds at the Dino Days Record Day.

Scott Tully really did some damage to the Record List today as well.  Scott doesn’t mess around with “sissy lifts” when it comes to breaking records.  He gets right to the hard stuff!  He started off with breaking the record in the Stiff Legged Deadlift with a great lift of 512 pounds.  This not only broke the 125+ KG weight class record that was previously held at 502 pounds by Matthew Doster, but the ALL -TIME USAWA record of 507 pounds held by Ed Schock and myself.  Since I knew Scott was “taking my record down” as well, and I was the head official on his lift, I made sure he kept his legs straight!  This caused Scott to attempt this lift at least 4 times until he finally got it!  And well deserving.   Next Scott went on to some other “hard” lifts like the Fulton Bar Deadlift and the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlifts, of which he got several more records.  Scott is a great grip guy, and should get more recognition for his grip strength.  His One Arm Fulton Dumbbell of 175 pounds was unbelievable, and if it wasn’t for Ben overshadowing him on this day, I would be bragging that record lift up as well.

Mike Murdock set a new age group record in the Trap Bar Deadlift with a lift of 305 pounds.

Mike “Murdo” Murdock set the most records in the most events with 9.  Mike lifted the day before in the Team Nationals and I was surprised that he was planning on doing this much today!  He did a wide range of lifts.   I felt his best record lift of the day was his 305 pound Trap Bar Deadlift.  To me a guy lifting over 300 pounds at the age of over 70 in the Trap Bar Deadlift  is like a young lifter lifting over 600 pounds.  Not too many can do it either!   Mike has had an outstanding year in the USAWA, and has lifted in as many meets as anyone.  I’m keeping an eye on Mike as it won’t be long and he will be in the CENTURY CLUB for holding over 100 USAWA records.  And when he does, I’ll pat him on the back because he will be the first to do it starting in the 70 plus age group!

LaVerne Myers "stole the show" with his 117 pound Dumbbell Walk. The reason this picture is blurry is because he was moving so fast!

My father LaVerne made his faithful appearance today at the record day.  These past couple of years he hasn’t missed an opportunity to lift in the Dino Gym Record Days.  One of his highlights was setting a personal record in the One Handed 2″ Vertical Bar Deadlift with a fine lift of 182 pounds.  I was considering doing the Vertical Bar Deadlift myself but after watching his record setting effort I decided I better not!  I was worried that I might not be able to “measure up” to the standard set by ole Dad!  haha  However, Dad “stole the show” on the last lift contested at this record day – the Dumbbell Walk.   Of course when I got out the Dumbbell Walk handle, I “threw down the challenge” to Ben and Dad so they HAD to participate.  I hadn’t done any grip stuff all day so I was hoping to use this to my advantage  (I’m a crafty one!).   I was mainly concerned about Ben being my primary challenge, and I knew Ben had totally exhausted his grip by this point when he only managed 102 pounds on the Walk. If he would have done this first thing it would have been WAY MORE!  I then played a little “psych out” game with him  and made a big jump to 132 pounds which was outside of both of our limits, but I thought it would “finish of” his grip and then I would drop back and break his 102 mark, which I did with a Dumbbell Walk of 117 pounds.  At that point I thought I had it won, and was shaking Ben’s hand when my Dad, to our surprise, picked up the 117 and made the walk!!!  What can I say???  What a great way to end a record day at the Dino Gym. 

My "highlight lift" was this 772 pound Neck Lift, which is a personal record and USAWA record in the 120 KG weight class.

MEET RESULTS

Dino Days Record Day
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
August 28th, 2011

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Officials (3-official System used):  Al Myers, Mike Murdock, Scott Tully, LaVerne Myers

Lifts:  Record Day

Scott Tully – 35 years, 346 pounds BWT
Mens Open Age Division & 125+ KG Weight Class

Deadlift – Stiff Legged: 512#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 503#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 150#
Clean and Push Press – 2 Dumbbells: 210#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm: 175#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm: 165#
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells: 290#

Ben Edwards – 36 years, 217 pound BWT
Mens Open Division & 100 KG Weight Class

Snatch – Kelly: 57#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 240#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 251#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm: 175#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm: 185#
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells: 320#
Dumbbell Walk: 102#

Al Myers – 45 years, 256 pounds BWT
Mens 45-49 Age Division & 120 KG Weight Class

Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 330#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 330#
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 330#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 120#
Lateral Raise – Lying: 90#
Neck Lift: 772#
Dumbbell Walk: 117#

LaVerne Myers – 67 years, 246 pounds BWT
Mens Master 65-69 Age Group & 115 KG Weight Class

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 125#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 125#
Two Hands Anyhow: 70#
Snatch – Kelly: 35#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 182#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbell, Right Arm: 135#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm: 135#
Dumbbell Walk: 117#

Mike Murdock – 71 years, 235 pounds BWT
Mens Master 70-74 Age Group & 110 KG Weight Class

Weaver Stick – Left Hand: 2.5#
Two Hands Anyhow: 100#
Deadlift – Trap Bar: 305#
Lateral Raise – Lying: 70#
Clean and Push Press – 2 Dumbbells: 100#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 90#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm: 115#
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm: 115#
Dumbbell Walk: 62#

Team Nationals

by Al Myers

At last year's Team Nationals, Dino Gym members Mark Mitchell and Scott Tully performed a 450 pound Maxey Press, a lift named in the memory of longtime Dino Gym member Bob Maxey. Chad Ullom and myself attempted to spot this big lift, but as you tell by the look on Chad's face that our spot probably would have been useless if needed!! 450 pounds at arms length overhead is not something you would want to try to catch!

The date has been set for the Dino Gym’s Annual Dino Days.  It is the weekend of the 27th and 28th of August.  I had to move it up a few weeks this year (from the middle of September) due to other conflicting competitions in the area in September.  This year Dino Days will be solely committed to the USAWA – with the USAWA Team Nationals being contested on Saturday and a USAWA Record Day on Sunday.  This will be the 5th year the Team National Championships has been contested (the first in 2007).   Last year we had the biggest turnout of lifters for it than ever before, and I’m hoping this year will be even better!

Team Nationals 2011

Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym  785-479-2264

Meet Date: Saturday, August 27th, 2011   10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Location: Dino Gym, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, KS 67410

Sanction: U.S.A.W.A Memberships may be purchased on meet day

Weigh-ins: 9:00 – 10:00 AM the day of the meet

Divisions: 2-Man, 2-Person, and 2-Woman

Each division will be formula adjusted for weight and age

Entry Fee: None

Lifts:

Press – Dumbbell, One Arm

Snatch – Fulton Bar

Continental to Chest and Jerk

Deadlift – 2 Bars

(After meet there will be a record day for Team Lifts only)

Registration: Send entry to Al Myers, 1126 Eden Road, Abilene, Kansas 67410

For a pdf document of the Entry Form – TeamNationals2011

The Blob

by Al Myers

Scott "THE ENFORCER" Tully demonstates a pinch grip lift of two 50 pound blobs, one in each hand!!

A very popular gripping device that originated in the mid 1990’s was the Blob.  Initially, the term “the blob” referred to only the 50 pound end of a  York 100 lb. dumbbell (the heaviest dumbbell from the casting), but since then has been applied to all weights of these York dumbbell ends.  The dumbbell in question is the York Dumbbell design from the 1970’s where the ends are round with sloping sides - a shape much like a hockey puck.  The preferred method of lifting a blob is to use a one hand pinch grip. The sloping sides add to the difficulty of maintaining a hold.  In the Dino Gym, we have a “complete set” of York Blobs – from 20 pounds to 50 pounds in 2.5 pound intervals. Often, challenges arise and we will start with the smaller ones and work our way up.  I’m usually in “this game” until we get to the 40-42,5 pounder, and then I have to bow out.  Darren and Scott always win,  as both have picked up the 50 pound blob many times.  One hand pinch lifting a 50# blob is considered the ultimate accomplishment.  It takes someone with an exceptional pinch grip to be able to accomplish this.  The “pure way” of lifting them is without chalk – and using tacky is forbidden!!

Around 2005, York discountined the production of this dumbbell style for awhile.   It made those that had York Blobs worth alot!  I remember watching ebay and seeing some of the prices paid for York Blobs.  For a while, one of these York Dumbbells was worth more as two blobs than an intact dumbbell!! You gotta say the grip guys can be quite the fanatics!  I know lots of  hard-core weightlifting collectors didn’t like to see a collector dumbbell like these getting cut up into two pieces!!  It wasn’t long after this and these dumbbells were manufactured again using the original foundry casting, and in return, the value of blobs came back down to an affordable rate.  They are now sold under the “Legacy Line” of York products.

Link to York Barbell Website - www.yorkbarbell.com

Team Spirit

by Thom Van Vleck

We have a lot of fun with our team rivalries in the USAWA.  While it is all in good fun, it has gotten heated from time to time, but that’s OK.  Sometimes that’s what it takes to get fired up for big lifts!  It reminds me a lot of the rivalry I felt when I was a Marine.  We hated the Army, Air Force, and Navy, but when we had a common enemy we quickly banded together.  In the Marines we had a saying: “You won’t find a better friend or worse enemy”.  I also believe: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” (Chesty Puller said that, the most decorated Marine of all time and a personal hero). I feel the same about my affiliation with the JWC.

A great photo of Dino Gym member and enforcer Scott Tully....in a great shirt! While I've kidded Scott about this photo, it would not be hard to find one of me in a Dino Gym shirt. And, no, that's not my bald head in the photo!

We all enjoy our training for lots of reasons.  I’m sure most of us have a primary reason for doing it and for most, that primary reason is probably to get strong!  For a bodybuilder it may be to “look strong” (I never understood why you would want to look stronger than you really were….I want to be stronger than I look!).  The reality is that we probably train and compete for lots of reasons beyond that.  One of those reasons is for the social aspect.  We are humans, we generally seek out companionship….even loners will have a dog or cat for companionship! So, for social interaction, we join teams.  Now, I’m not talking about “socializing” (although that certainly happens!) but the act of finding a common bond or thread.  Common interests, so to speak.  That’s the social aspect I’m talking about.

We also like competition.  I can recall going out to the old JWC gym at about age 10 with a buddy of mine and doing a powerclean and push press.  The first thing he did was slide on a little more weight and lift it….and it was “ON”!  We didn’t stop until we’d about killed ourselves!   Teams give us the best of both world’s.  We can hook up with like minded individuals and find the motivation of competition within our own team and then against other teams.  But we can also have mutual respect for our rivals.  I know I have a lot of respect for my “rivals” in the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Ledaig…and the rest.  That’s why I own at least a t-shirt from each and in the case of the Dino gym almost a whole wardrobe of clothes!

Teams are a good thing.  They give us motivation, friendships, rivalries, and in the end, good times.   Being a part of a team can hold us to a higher standard than standing alone.  It can also reflect a lot about who we are and if done right, in a very positive way.  So join a team in the USAWA, or start a new one and join the rivalry for bigger gains and good fun.  I’m sure Scott will love the fact I used his photo for my example….and I’m sure it will motivate him to lift a little harder the next time we compete!

Row Row Your Back!!

by Scott Tully

Scott Tully training one arm dumbbell rows with 175 pounds using a dumbbell handle specifically made for rowing.

I’m going to start this off by letting you know I’m not a writer, ha ha.  I want to write this about something that has helped me a lot in my overall training, and also want to let you know how we have tried to come up with a new handle to allow you to get even better Upper back and trapezius strength and gains.  When I started training at the Dino Gym almost 10 years ago, I had mainly competed in Olympic lifting and strongman.  One area of major weakness for me was the top end of my deadlift.   I also noticed weakness in my strongman training with stone loading,  as I could lap heavy stones but had a hard time transitioning to the load.  Al Myers and my training partners can attest I would miss many deadlifts over the knee.  We talked extensively about how to fix this.  Rack pulls  helped a little, but it seemed there was another issue.  Al recommended I add in more upper back and trap work.   I had always done lat pulls, but never that heavy and always for high reps, and very rarely any rows.  I thought I got enough of that type of work from strongman training, well I was wrong.  After we had this conversation, I started adding in heavy lat pulls,  not shying away from heavy sets of 5, and added in 4-5 sets of rows.  Rows included standing 45 degree dumbbell rows,  bent over dynamic rows (Pendlay or Russian Rows),  chest supported dumbbell rows on a incline bench, and seated cable rows.

A close up picture of the Dino Row Dumbbell Handle.

Over the years I’ve been able to make this an area of strength. It’s still not what I’d like it to be, but at least it’s  not a glaring weakness. I truly believe that I get the most out of standing 45 degree and chest supported rows with dumbbells.  The problem that myself and a lot of others run into is being able to use a heavy enough weight.  At the one gym I train at our DB’s go up to 120, and at the Dino Gym they go to 150.  The other problem with a DB is that often the plates hit your body before your elbow is far enough back to engage the lats all the way and being that a DB is totally fixed, it doesn’t rotate in your hand at all to allow the elbows up and to be able to pull back.  So I found an idea on the net for a handle and got a hold of Al, and 3 days later we had the Dino Row handle.  The problem with the one I had the pic for was that there was not enough room to add the weight needed, mind you, because I wanted to be able to shrug with these also.  We  were able to make the handle the exact height away from the loading shaft that we needed.  After using these and testing them out I think it’s the most effective way to hit your lats in a rowing movement.  This handle can go as low as 25lbs, and as high as around 250lbs.  One thing I mentioned above was hitting the traps.  The problem I have with barbell shrugs is that they wreck my lower back.  I had a microdiskectomy of my L-4 and L-5 in 2006 and a few movements still bother it, but with these handles I can hold them out to my side and take the pressure off the lower back and  extend the shrug higher. By hitting the Lats  more specifically with the rows I have taken my deadlift from the low 500’s before my back surgery to a 617 in competition and a 650 in training, and rarely do I ever miss a deadlift over the knees now.  There are pics included in this so you can see the handle, and if you’re at the Dino Gym you have to try this out, and the next day your lats will thank you for it.

Cambered Squat Bar

by Al Myers

Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, training with a Cambered Squat Bar. In this picture Scott is squatting 520 pounds for reps.

I have made lots of interesting training devices for the Dino Gym.  Some are of my original design while others I copied from someone else.  Some get used all the time, while others just get “pulled out”  every now and then.  Some of the devices are for very specific-type  training, while others are used for general strength training.   A few weeks ago Dino Gym member Scott Tully started using the cambered squat bar for his squat workouts.  I made this bar several years ago after reading about its advantages described by Dave Tate of  Elite Fitness Systems.   It has been around, or on the market,  for several years now.  The first time I had ever heard of a cambered squat bar was in an article by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell.  Most people attribute the development of the cambered squat bar to Louie. This bar has been hanging in the bar rack in the gym for quite a while so I was glad to see Scott pull it out and put it to use.  Sometimes just changing things up in your training will jump-start your strength gains.  I’m sure that is why Scott decided to use this bar in his training program – and he probably will only use it a few weeks before resuming straight bar squats.  And I predict once he gets back on the straight bar squats – his squat will be improved.

It was pretty easy to make, but did require the sacrifice of two good bars to make one unusual looking one.   The main benefit of squatting with the cambered bar is to decrease the stress on the upper back and place more muscular involvement in the hips and legs. The experts say it strengthens the posterior chain (which I say is a fancy word for the gluteus maximus.  haha look THAT one up!).  The camber (or offset) is 14 inches.  As you descend into a squat with this bar the weight “tracks” in a different line compared to a straight bar.  The result of this is that you will squat more upright with the cambered squat bar.  Also, by being able to grip it lower, using a cambered squat bar greatly reduces the stress on the shoulders and elbows.  It is perfect if you are “coming back” from a shoulder injury where your shoulder mobility is reduced or painful when gripping a straight squat bar.

This bar is also rackable – meaning you can take it out and return it to normal bar hooks in a cage or squat rack.  Spotting someone using this bar is no different than a normal bar.  The upper portion of the bar exceeds the racking hooks far enough that you can get a hold of it during a spot if needed.   I sort of have problems calling this bar a cambered bar, because in my mind “camber” means bent.  Like a Buffalo Bar or Bill Clark’s “special” one handed deadlift bar. Webster’s dictionary defines camber as “a slight curve” or “to arch slightly”.   This bar SHOULD be called an off-set bar instead.  But it has been advertised as a cambered bar for so long now, that name has stuck.  However, it is a great addition to any gym and adds variety to any strength training program.

Band Set-Up for Squat Training

by Al Myers

Scott Tully, of the Dino Gym, reps out a set of 8 with Band Squats (450 pounds on the bar, plus 150 pounds added band tension at the lockout).

John McKean’s recent USAWA Daily News story about how he uses bands in training got me thinking about one of the biggest uses of JumpStretch Bands in the Dino Gym.  Bands are VERY beneficial in adding resistance to many different exercises – but I believe the best exercise they “assist” is the squat.  This is nothing new as Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has been preaching the benefits of bands for many years now!  However, we have a band set-up for squats that is very unique, and something I would like to share with other lifters. First of all, there are two DISTINCT ways bands may be attached to a squat bar.  One is overhead, where the band tension is added at the BOTTOM of the squat.  The other is at the base, where band tension is added at the top of the squat, or at lockout.  Both have there uses, but after experimenting with both set-ups I prefer the bands to be attached LOW, so as you ascend out of the bottom of a squat the bands stretch and give you added resistance at the lockout.  I think it is best for the bands to go completely “slack” as you hit the bottom squat position and “kick in” immediately after initial ascent.  I like the feeling of “pushing against” the bands instead of the bands “pulling you up”.  I feel good squat technique is ENHANCED when “pushing against” the bands.  By the weight on the bar being lighter in the bottom position, it allows you to maintain good form in keeping your hips back and shoulders up.  By starting in the correct position, you are better able to maintain good form throughout the rest of the squat. Another reason I like the bottom attachment is that it just doesn’t seem right to me to use bands to make an exercise easier!

The top 3-prong hook band attachment, which has three different bar attachment points to adjust band tension for lifters of different heights.

Much has been written about what is the best tension at the top position, or lockout.  I feel around 25% added resistance (compared to bar weight) with bands  is about right.  This can be accomplished with two Blue JumpStretch Bands, one attached on each side.   Others have different opinions on this.  When I designed a band attachment set-up for the Dino Gym Monster Cage, several things I wanted to achieve.  First, I wanted an easy set up that could be changed quickly between lifters who may be of different heights while maintaining the same band tension at the top end for everyone.  Second, I wanted a band set-up that would “roll” out with the lifter as they set up for the squat to make band squatting safer.  Most band attachments on cages have a distinct concrete points where they attach, which makes setting up for the squat difficult. Third, I wanted to make the band set-up to achieve a 150 pound “overload” at the top position (approximately 25% increase since most of the guys in the gym squat over 600 pounds).   I spent a little time thinking of these problems, and designed a set-up that solves all of them! We have been using this band attachment set-up for several years now and couldn’t be happier!

The bottom band attachment. Notice the roller the band attaches to that "rolls back" as the lifter sets up for the squat.

The bottom attachment problem was solved by attaching the bands to a roller that “rolled back” as the lifter steps back with the bar on the back.  The problem of attaching  the bands to the bar was solved by designing a 3-prong hook which could easily be “looped” over the bar next to the inside sleeves not interfering with hand placement.  It can easily be changed between lifters. Our Monster Cage has bar hooks that adjust with hydraulic jacks so each lifter can have an optimum start height.  This allows all gym members, regardless of height, to be able to work out together.  We can change the bar height and re-adjust the band hookup in less than 30 seconds.  The length between each three-prong band hook was initially based on the heights of three gym members – Lon at 5′7″, myself at 6 foot, and Scott at 6′5″.  Lon uses the bottom hook, myself the middle hook, and Scott the top hook.  Each hook set-up yields EXACTLY 150 pounds added band tension at the top!  It couldn’t work out any better than that!!

I hope these ideas will help others in properly setting up a band attachment for their squat training.  If anyone has more specific questions, please contact me a amyers@usawa.com

Dino Strength

by Al Myers

Contact Dino Strength for all your weightlifting needs!

It is exciting to announce the latest business venture from the Dino Gym.  Scott Tully, of  the Dino Gym, has started a business catering to weightlifters in regards to lifting equipment, supplements, and weightlifting accessories.  His business is named Dino Strength.  Scott has been involved for several years in a similar business, but now has taken it to the “next level”.  All of the products sold by Dino Strength will be tested extensively by the members of the Dino Gym.  Scott will ONLY sell products that have been tested on “real weightlifters”!  This is to insure that you will be pleased with your purchases. Also, when you call and talk to Scott you will be talking to an expert and not someone just taking orders who doesn’t have a clue how to put a weightlifting belt on!

Below are a few comments from Scott, link to the Dino Strength website, and Scott’s email address.

I am proud to announce the startup of a new business and website.  www.dinostrength.net specializes in Belts, Supports and Wraps, and will be adding some exciting new equipment as well as nutritional supplements in the near future.  Most of the products have been designed and redesigned over the last 2 years, making sure that we have put out the best products for the best prices on the market.  All products are in stock and will ship within 2 business days.  If you have any questions contact us through our site or email me direct at Scott@dinostrength.net.
Thanks,

Scott Tully

Arm Over Arm Drag

by Al Myers

" A couple of weeks ago at the Dino Gym we did a training session with the Arm Over Arm Drag. These pictures show Dino Gym member Scott Tully pulling a 400# sled over a 80 foot course for time. This exercise will test the strength of the entire upper body, along with increasing your heart rate! Eric Todd is helping Scott by keeping the rope tight and out of Scott's way, while providing encouragement." - Al Myers

USAWA Members Win Big at Highlander

by Thom Van Vleck

USAWA Member Thom Van Vleck on the front page of the Kirksville Daily Express

Proving that being an All-Rounder really means being an “all around” athlete, Chad Ullom won the Middle Weight class, Scott Tully was the Heavyweight winner, and Thom Van Vleck was the top Master at the recent Missouri State Highlander competition held in Kirksville, Missouri on March 27, 2010. Highlander combines Scottish Highland Games events and Strongman events, an equal number of each, to determine the best overall athlete.

For me, while I consider Highland Games my first love, training for recent USAWA events in the off season has been a huge plus.  It has revitalized my training and some of the lifts made me realize I had weaknesses that needed to be addressed.  The pay off was a big personal record in my 56lb Weight Over Bar event.  This is a Scottish Highland Games event that requires the athlete to toss a weight over a cross bar for best height.  I cleared 15′6″ using the spin technique (much to chagrin of USAWA Secretary Al Myers who prefers the traditional technique!).  This was a full 1′6″ over my previous contest best, and considering the number of years I have been throwing, that’s a huge jump for me!  I credit the USAWA training I did for that big gain!

All-round training proves it’s worth!