Gettin’ Flipped Off!

by Thom Van Vleck

Tedd Van Vleck, part of the Jackson Weightlifting Club, works on flipping an 800lb tire

If you are a true All-Rounder you probably are always looking for new ways to train.  I would guess everyone that follows training at all has at least seen the “Tire Flip”.   It has really gained in popularity the past couple decades and is really is a “new lift” in the grand scheme of progressive resistance training.  I can say from my personal experience it is a great “head to toe” exercise and you engage every muscle at some point.  It also build cardio as I know a few flips with an 800lb tire will leave me gasping for air.

Another USAWA member, Eric Todd, has a great video on this that should be watched if you are interested in the tire flip.

YouTube Video: Eric Todd Tire Flip

Eric gives a good description.  Here is what I think about on the tire flip.

Stand about a foot or so away from the edge a little wider than my deadlift, maybe more of a squat stance.  Get low into a squat position and get my fingers under the bottom edge and my shoulders and biceps pressed into the tire so close my chin is on top or over the top of the tire.  I also set up with an angle to drive into the tire…NOT come straight up.  As I come up I’m thinking speed.  Not deadlift, but clean.  Trying to get that tire into the “2nd pull” range of the clean or the “hang clean” range and then exploding up.  When the tire is past that pulling range I take a small step with my left foot and drive my right knee into the tire trying to drive it with my hip and keep the momentum going.  That small step allows me to keep up with the tire as it moves forward.  Then I try to get my hands into a “bench press” position and get my shoulders under the tire to finish it.  If you are in a contest and doing the tire for distance, I liked to try and shove the tire as hard as I could…sometimes you can get a little extra distance on it.  At the least in practice it’s a strong finish to a good exercise.

Here are a few cautions.  First, keep in mind the tire can…and will…fall back on you and many have been seriously injured in this way.  I just try and stay aware but a spotter with a milk crate to slide under the tire as it goes up is a good idea.  We had a guy in a strongman contest I ran a few years ago have it fall back and after that I used the metal milk crate.   Another major issue is guys will try and “curl” the tire.  Trying to move weights that heavy with the biceps only is asking for a blown bicep.  Use your legs, hips, and back.  In Olympic lifting they teach the arms are just hooks and flexing the elbows can actually dampen the pull of the hips.  Finally, use a tire that’s light enough to practice good technique on and not the heaviest one you can barely turn….that’s like maxing on the deadlift every workout.  Eventually it catches up to you!

As I said, I’m seeing tires everywhere.  I think they are great, but like anything, you should know what you are doing!

JWC Expands!

by Thom Van Vleck

The newest addition to the USAWA's list of clubs: The Jackson Weightlifting Club: Transcon!

The last weekend of August the three JWC Members, Josh Hettinger, Mitch Ridout and myself made the trip over to Galesburg, Illinois where my brother, Tedd, had just bought a new house due to a work transfer.  He had a beautiful, huge garage and wanted me to work my magic and set him up with the home gym for the hardcore lifter and that’s exactly what I did.  I felt like an interior designer for hardcore lifters!

For the platform we have two layers of 3/4 CDX board with a top layer designed for two lifting platforms side by side with plywood in the middle of each and heavy duty rubber for where the bar will land.  There is a power rack that used to belong to Zach Schluender, a top Olympic style lifter who has snatched around 375 and Clean & Jerked  around 440lbs as a superheavy.  There are squat racks that once rested in the Old JWC gym that just about everyone that’s ever lifted for the JWC has used, made from old truck wheels and axles for uprights.  He has a steel log for strongman training, two full Olympic sets, adjustable squat stands, a bench that once belonged to Russ Murphy that adjusts to several angles and is heavy duty, and an assortment of other equipment.  I even made him a metal sign with the JWC logo on it.  I should start a new business in hardcore gym design…I’m sure there’s a huge market for that out there!  Not only is Tedd’s gym ready for a hardcore workout but it already is filled with history of big lifts and lifters that will inspire your workout!

A fitting end to a hard day of training: STEAKS on the Grill! On a "Green Egg" no less, Al likes these so much he has TWO of them!

This will not just be a second location for the JWC but a second club. My brother is hoping to get some local guys interested in lifting and even hosting a meet in his gym!  He even plans to register his gym with the USAWA!  We have called it tentatively the “JWC Transcon” because Tedd works for the Railroad and the “Transcon” is the busiest Rail line in his company AND since has had to move his gym twice we wanted a name that could fit anywhere he goes…..but that name isn’t finalized yet!

The weekend was about as good as it gets.  We had a work day setting up the gym and moving things in the house.  Then we went to Peoria where we competed in the Scottish Highland Games on the next day.  Then the third day was lifting and grilling big steaks on Tedd’s new “Green Egg Grill”.  So, if  you are in central Illinois area or know someone who is, there is now a place for you to train.  Stop by and see Tedd and check out the JWC Transcon!

Just for Laughs – the King of Beasts Training System

by Thom Van Vleck

What do the two guys on the left and the lion on the right have in common? They both follow the King of Beasts Training System. The program's innovator Mitch Ridout is pictured on the left, and his one pupil Tedd Van Vleck is to his right.

It is my goal in life to make the King of Beasts or KOB training system as famous as the ab roller or Tony Little’s “Gazelle” fitness system.  As a matter of fact, when you think of Mitch think of Tony Little.  For those of you unfamiliar with the KOB it is based heavily on Mitch’s keen observation of the “real” KING OF BEASTS, the mighty lion.  The lion lays around all day “recuperating” (a key principle).  He only gets up for a contest (fight) and for sex (Mitch’s wife is expecting twins).  Diet is primarily very rare meat and lots of it, followed by extended slumber.

Anyhow, the KOB training tip of the month has to do with cross training.  Mitch has taken up Scotland’s “other” sport (no, not curling). Golf, yes, GOLF!  They call it a sport and I guess it is one.  Mitch likes to cross train with golf as it requires little real effort and if you have a cart it requires almost no effort at all.  Plus, it can be quite satisfying to the ego.  Afterall, Mitch could never throw the hammer or 28 a hundred yards and he can hit a golf ball almost that far….all in the air, too.  Mitch really wows them when he takes his driver three turns around like his hammer before actually hitting the ball.  Occassionally, he actually lets go of the driver and tape measures it before moving on to the bunkers. 

So the tip of the month is:  Cross training with Golf!!!  You’ll feel like the KING OF BEASTS!!! 

(Webmaster’s comment:  The KOB Training System must be catching on.  I hear another JWC member, Tedd Van Vleck, has taken it up as well, and is making an attempt at Golf.  It is also rumored that Tedd has purchased a Big Green Egg to add the meat element to the KOB program he’s on.  Don’t be discouraged Tedd, as succeeding on two out of three key parts of the KOB Program is not that bad!!!!)

CREDIT:  Braemar Stone Tablet, Volume #1, Issue #3

2011 Nationals: Meet the Loaders

by Thom Van Vleck

Mitch Ridout and Tedd Van Vleck were the loaders for the entire meet and didn't make a SINGLE MISLOAD!

Every meet I’ve been to the loaders have been thanked and rightfully so.  I’ve been a loader before and one time at a meet with about 70 lifters!  It’s hard, thankless work.  The only time anyone notices the loaders is if there’s a miss load!  And at Nationals there were none!  So these guys were barely noticed.

Often, when you look for volunteers for loading the room will empty quicker than a request for a suicide mission during Armageddon!  But I had two guys step up to save the day.  My brother, Tedd Van Vleck, and my “brother from another mother” Mitch Ridout.  Actually, Mitch rented a room from my Mom at one time and she jokingly calls him her “favorite” son (at least I think she’s joking).  Mitch has been my friend for over 20 years and anybody that can put up with me for that long deserves a trophy……especially after the work I get out of him!

Tedd and Mitch both were signed up to lift.  But I was short loaders and I asked them to step in and they took a bullet for JWC team (or maybe Team Ledaig wouldn’t have had a cake walk for the team title!…..Ok, so maybe they would have still won since they had the best lifter in both men and women’s catagories).  But that thinned the JWC ranks out considerably.  I do know that my brother said at the end of the day he wished he’d lifted instead….he thought he’d be less sore!  I also noticed that Dean Ross, who lifted in the morning session, was helping Mitch and Tedd in the afternoon.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes these meets work!

So a special thanks to Mitch and Tedd for being our loaders and allowing the lifters to focus on lifting!  We appreciate you!

The One Best Exercise

by Thom Van Vleck

My brother Tedd is a Clean and Press man. It goes to show that different exercises work best for different lifters.

I was out throwing with Bill Leffler the other day.  We were talking training and some of our frustrations.  Between us, we have about 75 years of lifting and throwing experience and the topic became “The One Best Exercise”.

I recall many years ago in an old Ironman there was a question posed to several top lifters and trainers: “If you could do only one exercise, what would it be”?  The answers centered around two lifts.  The squat and the Clean & Press.  Debates and arguments were presented.  It kind of reminded me of a recent thread on the USAWA forum centered around Al Myers’ article on the Deadlift.

The reality is that there are exercises that are better than others, but all exercises have some merit, and it all depends on what you want and how you use it to get what you want.

1.  Does the exercise work the most muscles in the body?  The Clean & Press certainly does that,  but the Squat and Deadlift certainly work the biggest muscles in the body the hardest.  If that were the only criteria for the One Best Exercise, that would probably be the end of it…but that is not the only criteria.  I would argue it’s not even the best way to chose the One Best Exercise.

2.  Does the exercise create the adaptation that you desire?  We all lift for different reasons.  I lift mainly to improve my throwing for Scottish Highland Games.  Does the lift fulfill that need?  Do you grind out reps, or do you explode through them?

3.  Any exercise done for too long will become more and more dangerous and less and less effective.  You get stale, you get lazy on your technique, and eventually the boredom, lack of focus, repetition on the body will lead to injury.  Your body is always fighting against you because it is trying to protect itself and when it knows what is coming, it will resist damaging itself.

4.  Do you perform the Deadlift in a way that creates the muscle adaptation you desire?  The JWC has a member that has done a 4 times bodyweight deadlift.  He can’t clear 8 ft with the 56lb Weight in the Weight Over Bar event.  Al is a great deadlifter and when he was deadlifting 700 plus he could clear nearly 16ft!!!  The JWC member is very much a specialist and he’s very happy with the adaptation he has created.  Al trains for different reasons and his lifting has adapted to that.

So, my opinion is the “ONE BEST EXERCISE” changes over time and it depends on how you perform the exercise.  You have to find what works for you, and you must think outside the box from time to time.  I was stuck at 360 on my Bench Press for a year and made a point to specialize on my Bench for a year and managed only 365!  I used the best routines I could find.  So, out of desperation, I started doing 10 sets of 10 reps.  I started with 185lbs and kept adding 10lbs a week until I finally got 300lbs for 10 sets of 10.  After only 12 weeks I then maxed out and hit 400!  A 35lb jump!  I have theories on why this worked but my point is that it was unorthodox and I don’t know if I even recommend it!  So, don’t get too hung up on finding that “magic” exercise because it’s kind of like the old saying “Just when I figured it out, they changed the rules”.  Just when you find that “One Best Exercise” your body adapts and its time to shake things up and keep an open mind.  As for me….I’m doing deadlifts and squats right now, but not forever!

…And a Good Time Was Had By All

by Thom Van Vleck

Chad Ullom, Tedd & Thom Van Vleck, & Al Myers have a good time after a meet

I grew up in Schuyler County, Population about 3500. We had a weekly newspaper (long since gone) that often was filled with social items. There was this one lady that wrote about the gatherings and she would talk about who came, what they ate, and what they talked about…..big news where I came from. To be honest, I kinda miss that kind of news over the stuff we deal with now! At any rate, she would end her column with “…..and a good time was had by all”. That kind of became a “catch phrase” in my family for social gatherings.

Recently, Chad and Al came up for a contest I put on. Al’s Dad came along, too. As is usual, we all ended up at a “get together” at my place after meet. And, as usual, we ended up telling stories until the wee hours of the morning…and maybe a liquid refreshment or two. My wife went to bed at a reasonable hour (we did not!) and commented the next day, “Al sure laughs loud!!!”. The point is, we all laughed and we laughed a lot!

The next day, when we went to the Deanna meet, Al and I talked about this part of almost every meet and contest we have been to over the years. Al commented later that his dad told him, “I finally understand why you like to do these meets”. While I enjoy the challenge of competing and I have many memorable moments of contests, I have just as many stories about the trips to, and from, and the get together’s that happen afterwards. It’s all part of the fun.

I hopefully have many more contests to come in my life time, and win or lose, I will do my best to make sure they all end with “….and a Good Time was had by All!