Rules for the Anderson Squat

by Thom Van Vleck

The Anderson Squat: Old Time Strongman lift

Let’s take a look at one of the new lifts for the Old Time Strongman Nationals to be held Oct. 16 at the JWC Training Hall in Kirksville, Missouri.  First, let’s review what the “Old Time Strongman” is before we talk about this brand new lift.  Old Time Strongman in the USAWA will included lifts popularized or used by strongmen of years past.  The lifts must be loadable (So the bar can be loaded to any weight so any skill level can make the lift and not just have a heavy apparatus with a set weight).    The idea is that you will have a strongman contest that can be contested by a wide variety of skill levels and ages.

Today’s focus is on the “Anderson Squat”.  Paul Anderson, one of the greatest strongmen of all time, was famous for his leg strength.  Ol’ Paul had a lot of unorthodox training techniques often born out of necessity (in other words, “he didn’t have the proper equipment so he just rigged something up and lifted it!”).  One of the more famous lifts he employed was squatting barrels filled with junk from a hole in the ground.  The story goes Paul loaded it and dug a hole deep enough he could get under it and do a partial squat.  He would then throw some dirt in the hole, slowly filling it up, so that he would have to get a little lower each time to complete the lift.  I found a great photo of Paul doing the lift and evidently that day he was short on iron so a couple of pretty girls volunteered!  Don’t worry, if we run low on weights at the meet, I’ll be happy to climb on top for extra weight!

USAWA Rules for the Anderson Squat

 A squat (with a standard Olympic bar) done from a dead stop from a height not over two thirds the height of the lifter.  Squat is completed when the knees are locked and the lifter is standing erect.  Time limit of 1 minute is given for each attempt meaning the lifter may reset as many times as necessary to complete the lift.  Knee wraps or knee sleeves will be allowed.  An official will give a command to end the lift.

The uniqueness of this event is doing a squat from a dead stop.  It is also the challenge of it!  It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers we can put up in this event….and I don’t think Paul will have anything to worry about in regards to anyone coming close to breaking his records in this style of lifting.

Time Change for Team Nationals

by Al Myers

ANNOUNCEMENT

There has been a time change for TEAM NATIONALS this weekend on Saturday, 27th.   Weighins will begin at 12:00, and the meet will start immediately following this.  Note that this is two hours later than announced earlier.   I have not received very many entries, and the attendance looks to be small so meet time won’t be an issue and we should still be done by 4 PM.  I just want to give everyone plenty of time for travel Saturday morning.

Accepting the Aging Process

by Thom Van Vleck

None of these guys are showing any sign of aging any time soon! This "unretouched" photo shows that lifting keeps you youthful! Joe Garcia, Chad Ullom, Al Myers, LaVerne Myers, and Thom Van Vleck getting ready to down Cheese Steak Sandwichs in Philadelphia before the Heavy Event Nationals!

I have said it before, the USAWA sometimes seems like a retirement sport for lifters.   The organization has it’s fair share of older lifters and I think it’s great.  I don’t think it has anything to do with it being an organization for older lifters but everything to do with the wide variety of lifts available to the lifters.  This allows those who have injuries that keep them from Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or strongman meets to stay active and still make gains.

I have known Joe for at least 25 years, Al and Chad for 17 years, and have really gotten to know LaVerne that last 5 years.  We have all had long lifting careers and our fair share of injuries.  And yet, in the photo above we don’t seem to have a SINGLE grey hair…at least in our beards….that PROVES lifting keeps you young!

In particular, I have known Al through having his bicep reattached not once, but TWICE on his right arm a ONCE on his left.  Yet he continues to plug away breaking record after record.  Had he stuck to just powerlifting or just Highland games, that would have been difficult to do.   So that’s a second reason the USAWA is popular among older lifters, they can keep setting records and that keeps them motivated to lift hard.

Many of you know, but maybe a few don’t, that Al was a high ranked Professional Highland Games Athlete.  He even held a Pro world record!  That’s no easy feat!  It’s actually how I met him and not through my affiliation with Bill Clark and Bob Burtzloff (Al’s brother in law).  That was just one of those “small world” deals that we found out later.   There was a time when Al “retired” from throwing.  I was personally pretty sad about this because I had enjoyed our many road trips to Highland Games.  Al told me one time it was hard to stay motivated about throwing when he knew he’d peaked in that sport and would likely never be as good a thrower as he was when he was at his prime.  However, in the USAWA he could still find lifts that he could work on and set not only USAWA records in, but personal bests, too.  And that keeps a guy motivated about his training when he feels he can keep setting “personal bests”!

Now, the photo above, to be honest, was “retouched” just a little.  Al recently dyed….errrrr…I mean “highlighted” his beard because when he grew it back after a long absence (Al used to sport a beard for most of the early years I knew him) it had gotten a little grey…..OK, let’s be honest, it was as snow white as Santa’s beard!   So Al “highlighted” it a little and we gave him a hard time about it.  But seriously, Al is an ageless wonder and I have no doubt that someday he will challenge Art Montini, Dennis Habecker, and the other top record holders for most records ever.

USAWA is a sport that keeps you young at heart!

Roman Chair

by Al Myers

The Dino Gym's homemade Roman Chair, complete with an adjustable upper back safety pad.

Recently on the USAWA Discussion Forum, there was talk about the Roman Chair.   A Roman Chair has an almost mystical name that shrouds confusion.   I have seen (and read) about lifters referring to something as a Roman Chair, and when in fact, it is not a Roman Chair at all, but rather some type of Hyperextension Bench or a Glute-Ham Developer (that’s another story!).  A few of the lifts that we do in the USAWA require the use of a Roman Chair to perform them so understanding what a Roman Chair is REALLY IS  important.  That is why I’m going to try to properly describe a Roman Chair and it’s description to the use of All Round Lifts.  Like I said, some Official USAWA lifts require the use of a Roman Chair – i.e., the Roman Chair Situp, the Roman Chair Bench Press, and the Abdominal Raise on a Roman Chair. 

This is an ancient medieval Roman Chair. But instead of using this chair for exercise, it was used to torture prisoners!

You will read on the internet that Roman Chair exercises (namely Roman Chair Situps) are inherently dangerous amongst the general consensus of the cross fit lifting crowd.  You will read some bad things about this exercise and ALL of the reasons why you shouldn’t do it.  I’m not going to get into that debate here (but aren’t MOST of the All Round Lifts dangerous???, and we love them anyways!), but rather provide an accurate description, and a little history of the Roman Chair.  Professor Attila is often credited with the invention of this device, as well as the Roman Column and the Roman Board (made famous by pictures of Sig Klein performing layouts using them).  And speaking of Sig Klein, I have also read in his writings that he said the Professor didn’t actually invent the Roman Chair, but rather popularize the Roman Chair by it’s use in his gym.  Klein had mentioned once that a Roman lifter who was visiting the Professors gym actually demonstrated exercises using a device similar to a Roman Chair, which gave the Professor the inspiration to build a Roman Chair and give it it’s name after this Roman lifter. In doing my research for this piece, I found that there actually WAS a Roman Chair in the Middle Ages.  It was a chair of torture that was used up till the late 1800’s in Europe.  I found this very symbolic – and could make for a good story on how the Roman Chair we use today got it’s name.  Afterall, most Roman Chair All Round lifts are VERY PAINFUL and could constitute torture to some individuals!  Just try doing a Roman Chair Bench Press and you will get my drift.  On our USAWA YouTube account there is a video of Dave Beversdorf doing a HUGE Roman Chair Bench Press of 250 pounds (YouTube Video of Dave’s RC Bench Press), which is the top All-Time Roman Chair Bench Press in the USAWA Record List.   Read some of the goofy comments regarding his video.  It is obvious that these critics giving these comments have NO IDEA what is required and the back-splitting pain that is involved in doing a heavy lift like this!  (the comments are so absurd that I didn’t even delete them because I found them funny, and I know ANYONE who has done this exercise would agree with me!).

Past USAWA lifting legend Howard Prechtel excelled at the Roman Chair Situp. He held the All-Time USAWA record at 738 pounds for many years. Amazingly, he did this in 1990 at the age of over 60 years!

The only description of a Roman Chair in our USAWA Rule Book falls under the rule for the Roman Chair Situp.  It says, “This lift is done on a Roman Chair or similar device.  The toes must be secured at floor level.  The seat of the Roman Chair must be level and parallel to the platform and must not extend above the top of the buttocks when the lifter is fully laid back on the Roman Chair.  A second bench of lesser height than the seat of the Roman Chair may be used for safety purposes under the lifter’s shoulders when laid back”.   Not all commercial Roman Chairs would fall under this description. I have seen some where the foot pad is level with the seat, some with “rounded” seats, and some with even inclined/declined seats.  These types of Roman Chairs would not be legal for use in the execution of the USAWA lifts.   The Roman Chair I have in the Dino Gym is one that I made.  It works very well, and is of a very simple design.  The seat is 12″ by 24″, the seat sits 20″ high, the Chair is 4 feet long,  and it contains an adjustable safety back support. The feet can be braced on a bar positioned at floor level.   

There is nothing more “old school” than training on a Roman Chair.   And if it was good enough for the Professor – it is good enough for me!

Al Myers: Leadership Award

by Thom Van Vleck

Leadership Award Winners (left to right): Al Myers, Thom Van Vleck

This years leadership award went to Al Myers.  I won’t mention who was 2nd….Ok, maybe it was me.  But I must have been a distant second in the voting because Al had quite a year last year and was well deserving of this honor.

Bill Clark was the heart and soul of the USAWA for many years.  For over 40 years some member of my family was getting his newsletters.  Having done a newsletter myself for several years I KNOW the work and cost involved.  Al took over the secretary job from Bill and has upheld the high standard Bill set.  There is no doubt that for years Bill kept the USAWA going and now that mantle has fallen on Al.  Bill brought his unique skill set to the job and so has Al.  It’s like comparing apples and oranges, each one is great in their own way.  Let’s focus on some of the things that led me to vote for Al, and I’m sure others for the same reason.

First, the website.  Back in the day, I got several newsletters.  They were the way to go.  I can recall when a First Class stamp was 6 cents…now it’s 7 times that amount!  Al realized that newsletters were becoming more and more impractical and a website with daily news on it was a necessity.  He also realized that the news needed to be updated daily so that people who check back daily and keep interest up.  I’m not saying websites are better than newsletters (honestly, I enjoyed the paper in my hand reading it during a workout) it’s just more practical in this day and age.  With the younger people, they are used to fast updates, fresh news, early and often and a website is the only way you are going to do that.  Al also recruited some top notch writers (ahem….) to help him out.  He knew people would get tired of just meet reports, so get in some variety and step outside just USAWA news from time to time.  This has also shown the light of day to quite a few stories that would have never been read otherwise.  One in particular was Larry Traub’s story on “Things I Hate about the Sport I Love”.

Second, getting others involved.  Al contacted me one day and asked if I would be interested in hosting the USAWA Nationals.  He wanted a new location for the meet in the hopes that the variety might help attendance.  I knew this was a big job, but I also knew Al would not leave me hanging so I accepted.  Al has talked many of us into going to meets that we might otherwise not attended.  That’s what leadership is all about.

Third, providing equipment.  Al has produced much of the apparatus needed to perform all the various lifts in his gym.  I wonder how many records have been set at the Dino Gym?  I also wonder how many records have been set on equipment that Al made?  So he not only provides  opportunities for setting records in his own gym he has made equipment that has been used in other gyms to set USAWA records.  For example, last year he had a writing contest and the prize (and several were provided) was a thick DB handle to to the DB walk.

Finally, Al will make you feel good about yourself.  Al is a great friend to many of us and I know I appreciate that.  Often, as lifters, we should be encouraging one another and often we do not do this as much as we should.  I believe Al has encourage many and again that is the mark of leadership.

I am excited to see what will happen to the USAWA under Al’s leadership.  For many years Ol’ Clark kept things going, now Al is keeping things going.  I hope he sticks around a long as Bill did!

Meeting Agenda

by Al Myers

One of the big parts of our 2011 USAWA National Championship will be the Annual National Meeting (ANM) of the USAWA.   I have put together the meeting agenda, and it has been approved by the USAWA Executive Board.   There are no “big topics” on the agenda like there has been the last couple of years (i.e. the rulebook and the bylaws).  The biggest agenda item will be the election of officers.   All officer positions will be up for re-election (the USAWA bylaws require this every two years, on odd-numbered years).   Only those present at the meeting will have voting privileges (no proxy votes, which is also outlined in our bylaws).  So if you are upset about how the administration of the USAWA is “running the show”, this is your chance to voice your opinion or “throw your hat” into the candidate pool for an officer position. 

The ANM will be held on June 24th, Friday evening at 6:30 PM.  The meeting site will be the JWC Training Hall (for directions contact Thom or myself).  Immediately following the meeting a meal will be provided for the membership present.   Thom has assured me that this meal will be a “steak and potatoes” type of meal and NOT a “frank and beans” type of meal so bring your appetite.   The cost of this will be donations only.  

Business Agenda for the 2011 USAWA Annual National Meeting

1. Meeting called to order by USAWA President Denny Habecker

2. Reading of previous meetings minutes by USAWA Secretary Al Myers

3. Report of financial status by USAWA Treasurer Al Myers

4. Report from the Officials Director Joe Garcia

5. Report from the Website Director Al Myers

6. Report from the Records Director Joe Garcia

7. Report from the Awards Director Al Myers

8. Report from the Drug Enforcement Director Chad Ullom

9. Discussion and vote on new proposed lifts

10. Discussion and vote on Rulebook Changes

11. Discussion and vote on Online Store

12. Discussion of other new business brought forth by the membership

13. Accept bids for the 2012 National Championships

14. Election of officers

15. Meeting adjourned

OLD ADAGES, NEW ADAGES

BY DAVE GLASGOW

Dave Glasgow now knows when to "take a break" from heavy training and enjoy a little relaxation in his rocking chair (photo contributed by the webmaster, which was taken a few weeks ago when Dave very successfully promoted a big Highland Games in Wichita, Kansas).

THERE IS AN ADAGE STATING, ‘IF ONE’S GOOD, TWO’S BETTER AND THREE’S JUST ENOUGH!” HOWEVER, IN TRAINING, THIS SAYING COULD NOT BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH!! LET ME EXPLAIN.

FOLKS WHO TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS ARE, FOR THE MOST PART, SELF-DRIVEN, HIGHLY MOTIVATED INDIVIDUALS. THEY SEE A MEANS TO THE GOAL THEY HAVE SET AND THEY “GET AFTER IT.” HOWEVER, IN MANY, MANY CASES, THIS ENTHUSIASM IS MISDIRECTED.

I WILL USE MY OWN EXPERIENCE AS AN EXAMPLE. WHEN I WAS JUST OUT OF COLLEGE, I BEGAN TRAINING ON MY OWN. ALL I KNEW WAS THE SPARSE, AND OFTEN MISLEADING, INFORMATION GLEANED FROM THE BODYBUILDING MAGAZINES OF THE TIME. I TOTALLY IGNORED, AS A WHOLE, THE INFO GIVEN BY PEARY RADAR IN THE NOW DEFUNCT, BUT NONE THE LESS VERY EXCELLENT ‘IRONMAN’.

BEING THAT ABOVE MENTIONED ‘ENTHUSIASTIC’ LIFTER, I WORKED THE SAME LIFTS TWICE A WEEK. BENCH, SQUAT, DEADLIFT. FIVE SETS OF FIVE. THOSE WERE MY ‘WORKING’ SETS!! SAME WEIGHT FOR EACH SET. SET AFTER SET, REP AFTER REP. I WORKED HARD BUT COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHY I WAS MAKING VERY LITTLE PROGRESS! “IF ONE IS GOOD THEN TWO IS BETTER AND THREE JUST ENOUGH. WELL, THEN, BY GOD, FOUR TIMES A WEEK IS PERFECT!”. I THOUGHT!! WHEN WAS I TO RECOVER WITH THAT REGIME?? THE ANSWER? NEVER!! I HAD NO REAL RECOVERY TIME, AT ALL.

THERE ARE SO MANY FACTORS INVOLVED IN RECOVERY. AGE; WHAT ONE DOES FOR A LIVING; NUTRITION…. IT GOES ON AND ON. I FOUND THAT A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP AND A COUPLE OF BEERS DID NOT CONSTITUTE RECOVERY.

WHEN WE WERE LIFTING IN COLLEGE, WE WOULD GO BALLS OUT FOR SIX WEEKS OR SO, THEN HAVE TO LAY OUT FOR A WEEK OR 10 DAYS FOR WHATEVER REASON. THEN WE WOULD COME BACK AND OUR LIFTS HAD ACTUALLY IMPROVED!! WHAT THE …???? SIMPLE. THE BODY HAD HAD TIME TO REBUILD AND ADAPT. WE WERE JUST TOO NAÏVE, AT THAT TIME, TO UNDERSTAND THE PHYSIOLOGY INVOLVED.

NOW, BEING MUCH OLDER AND WISER (!!??), I HAVE COME TO REALIZE THAT MOST TIMES A NEW ADAGE THAT HAS SPRUNG UP RECENTLY IS THE COURSE ONE SHOULD TAKE. LESS IS MORE!! WHEN YOU HAVE TO DRAG YOUR BUTT INTO A WORKOUT, CHANCES ARE YOU ARE JUST DEFEATING YOUR OBJECTIVE FROM THE GET GO. IN MY OPINION, YOU MIGHT BE BETTER OFF USING THAT HOUR OR SO THAT YOU WORKOUT TO TAKE A NAP. THAT, MY FRIENDS, MAY, INDEED, BE TIME WELL SPENT.

TRUTH IS, WHAT IS GOOD FOR LIFTER ‘A’, MAY NOT NECESSARILY, BE GOOD FOR LIFTER ‘B’. WE EACH HAVE TO FIND WHAT IS BEST FOR US AS INDIVIDUALS AND SEEK OUT OUR OWN LEVEL. THIS CAN ONLY BE ACCOMPLISHED BY A CONSTANT ‘TWEAKING’ OF OUR TRAINING, ESPECIALLY AS WE GET OLDER, TO GET MAXIMUM RESULTS FROM OUR EFFORTS. THIS TAKES TIME AND EFFORT; HOWEVER, I FEEL IT IS TIME WELL SPENT. NEVER FORGET!! TIME TAKES TIME!!

TRAIN HARD, SMART AND RECOVER. YOUR BODY WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT!!

###(AS A SIDE NOTE, I WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERY LIFTER TO READ WENDLER’S “5/3/1” PROGRAM. I FEEL HE MAKES SOME VERY VALID POINTS AND I HAVE HAD GOOD LUCK WITH THIS SCHEDULE. IT ALSO FITS IN PERFECTLY WITH MY THROWING AGENDA.)###

Judging at York

by Al Myers

Joe Garcia had the last lift of the meet at the Heavy Lift Nationals with his successful 1900# Hip Lift. By this time at meets, most officials are "nodding off", hoping to be finished with their obligation. But look at these guys, they are judging like it is the first lift of the day. (officials left to right): LaVerne Myers, Denny Habecker, and Thom Van Vleck

I know I have already mentioned this in a previous story, but I want to reiterate how pleased I was with the officiating at the Heavy Lift Nationals in York.  Thom wrote a story about professionalism amongst officials in a Daily News Story a while back, and how in the “old days” officials took their job as officials serious and looked the part of officials at meets by dressing up in suits and ties.  Thom had a picture of his Uncle Phil officiating a meet in his suit, of which he changed into after competing in his singlet.   You don’t see that at any meets anymore nowadays. In the business workforce, people used to dress up for work as businesses felt it set a positive image for the company.  Then along came casual Friday, followed by EVERYDAY becoming casual Friday and dress codes became relaxed or nonexistent.  This same thing has happened to the way officials dress at meets.  I have been at meets where the officials were dressed in shorts and a ratty t-shirt, which definitely doesn’t send a good message to those watching the meet.  

It was a great pleasure to be at a meet where the offiicals came to do their job because that is what they wanted to do, and not rely on the lifters judging themselves.  I never mind judging at meets I’m competing in as I know it is an important part of contributing to the days event. But it was nice FOR ONCE to have dedicated and committed officials who only job was to make sure that everyone was officiated justly and fairly.  We are a small organization and we all are know each other and are good friends, so it is hard not to have personal bias even when we try our best not to.  But I have always felt it was a conflict of interest when an lifter is judging another competitor.  Even when you make your best call, and in turn have to turn down a bad lift, it may appear that it was turned down for other reasons.   At the breakfast table the day of the meet, Thom remarked to my father in jest that it would be best  for them to sit at another table away from us lifters.  I found this pretty funny, because in the “old days” that is how it was.  The officials were “stand offish” to the lifters as not to have any personal relationships with them that might lead to future biased judging. (However, I tried to bribe Thom the night before with free scotch but I don’t think it worked!!). 

I hope with our new USAWA Officials Program that the pride of being an official will be restored like it used to be.  We have made great progress in our Officials Program and will continue to make improvements to it until it gets where it needs to be.  It is not there yet.  I hope to someday have ALL of our meets like this one – where the officials show up to just officiate because they WANT to, and in turn get the respect and recognition they deserve.

Chad’s 900 Pound Neck Lift

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom set the ALL-TIME World Record in the Neck Lift with a lift of 900 pounds at the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships. Take notice that you can see light under both ends of the weights in this picture.

Last weekend at the Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA, Chad Ullom did what I would classify as one of the most outstanding feats of strength I have ever seen in the USAWA.  Chad set the ALL-TIME WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift with an unbelievable lift of 900 pounds.  The previous World Record was held by Joe Ciavattone set at the 2005 Heavy Lift Nationals.  In March, Chad showed everyone that he had the potential to break this record as he took an extra attempt and made a 750 pound lift with ease at the USAWA Club Challenge in Ambridge.  What made this record even more spectacular was that he broke the prevous World Record THREE TIMES in the competition.  His second attempt was 810, followed by a third attempt at 850, and ending with his historic 900 pound lift.  Often with heavy lifts, there is always speculation about the authenticity of the lift due to the nature of these type of lifts. Heavy lifts only need to clear the platform to be legal and if someone doesn’t have the right angle to view this, often people will feel like the lift didn’t clear adequately.  However, Chad’s lift was lifted so high there was no doubt among anyone in attendance.  The judging crew did an outstanding job in officiating this lift.  They didn’t get “caught up in the excitement” and they made sure Chad had to hold it at lockout the same as all other lifts of the meet.

What made this record even more special was the the largest crowd of spectators we had were present to watch it happen.  I was trying to “fire up the crowd” about what they were about to see, and I could tell many were in disbelief when it happened!  I knew before this meet that Chad had the potential to make this happen.  We trained together on the Neck Lift a couple of weeks prior and he made an easy 800 pound lift in training.  We actually considered having him open at the record, as he did this training lift as easy as an opener.  But after thinking about it for awhile, we decided a 700 pound opener would set him up better.  If you pick your attempts correctly, the first attempt shouldn’t matter anyways. 

After the record lift, Chad was "all smiles" as he posed with the record loaded heavy bar.

It is always a big thing to be the first person to break a barrier – and I consider this a major barrier.   Let me give you a little history on the Neck Lift.  Steve Schmidt was the first man to break the 400 pound and 500 pound barrier in the Neck Lift.  An English lifter, Adrian Blindt, was the first person to Neck Lift over 600 pounds.  Frank Ciavattone was the first American to Neck Lift over 600 pounds, with his lift of 603 pounds at the 1990 Strongest Man in New England.  Joe Ciavattone was the first man to Neck Lift over 700 pounds and 800 pounds.  And now Chad becomes the first man to Neck Lift over 900 pounds!!!  It makes you wonder who will be the first one to go over half a ton – or 1000 pounds! 

I have always considered 600 pounds as the “mark to hit” if you want to be in the elite club of Neck Lifters.  To date, there have been only 10 individuals who have done this or more in USAWA competition. 

USAWA Members in the “600 Club” for Neck Lifts over 600 pounds

LIFTER WEIGHT LIFTED MEET
Chad Ullom 900 2011 Heavy Lift Championships
Joe Ciavattone 804 2005 Heavy Lift Championships
Frank Ciavattone 750 2002 Heavy Lift Championships
Al Myers 750 2011 Club Challenge
Mike McBride 630 2005 National Championships
Jeff Ciavattone 625 2002 Heavy Lift Championships
Joe Garcia 623 1998 National Championships
Dale Friesz 605 1995 Goerner Deadlift
Nils Larson 603 2004 Heavy Lift Championships
John Monk 600 2000 Heavy Lift Championships

Congratulations to Chad on this amazing new record!

York Barbell Shirts

 by Thom Van Vleck

Gene Thudium, JWC member in the 50's and 60's, sports his old school York Barbell T-shirt.

I don’t know about you, but I have received about 300 meet shirts in the last 30 years.  Probably 200 I competed in, the rest I was a judge, loader, spotter, scorekeeper, patron, or meet director.  I know how many because every few years I thin them out and keep the ones that have sentimental value in a special drawer, give away some, and keep the rest for workouts.  Some shirts become “lucky”…I have a good meet or workout in it and I then use it when I need some “mojo” for a contest or record day.  Some, a select few, get retired and are never worn again.  The ones I give away go to good homes, guys who are really into the lifting or throwing and really appreciate the shirts.  I gave a fellow highland gamer 75 shirts and he made it into a quilt that was pretty cool and he hung it in his living room.  I can go over and point to different designs and almost tell you how I placed, my throws, and even what the weather was like that day. 

Recently, Al and I traveled to Colorado and met with Russ Murphy, a highland games legend.  I got some really old meet shirts from him, about a dozen or so that go back 20 to 30 years.  He even had one that was from the first meet I ever competed in, in 1995.  Mine had been “retired” so I got his and now I have one I can wear, too.  Years ago, World Powerlifting Champ and the man that broke Kaz’s total record, John Ware, gave me a shirt he wore when he broke Kaz’s record.  I kinda felt like the kid in the Coke commercial getting the jersey from Mean Joe Greene.

Shirts can be pretty special.  Today some of us will be heading to York Barbell for the USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals this weekend.  I can’t wait to get there.  I also know that Al has designed the meet shirts using the  York Barbell logo.  I have a feeling this trip will be epic in many ways, mostly me traveling to the “mecca” of weightlifting for the first time in my life!  I remember seeing many photos of Gene in his York Barbell shirt and thinking I would like to have one….now I will and it will be pretty special.  But I wonder, will this shirt become a retired one, or a lucky shirt, or will I give it away…..only time will tell.

Nomination Time!

by Al Myers

The USAWA Awards Program was established last year with the first award winners being recognized at the 2010 USAWA National Meeting.  Well, it is time to make nominations for this years’ candidates.  The rules of this are the same as last year. 

  • You  must be a USAWA member to make a nomination or cast a vote
  • Nominated individuals must be a USAWA members to be eligible
  • Only one individual may be nominated per person per award
  • The awards are for the calendar year 2010
  • An individual may be nominated for more than one award

 Athlete of the Year – This award is for the individual who has accomplished the most athletically within the last year in the USAWA. Top placings at the Nationals and World Championships should figure in high. Also, participation in other National Competitions such as the Heavy Event Nationals or Team Nationals could factor in, along with the Gold Cup.

Leadership Award – This is for an individual that has shown exceptional leadership qualities within the USAWA during the past year. Things that should be looked at are: going above the level expected of an Officer position, promoting sanctioned events with emphasis being on promoting National or World Competitions, promoting the USAWA by developing a strong club, writing articles for publications about the USAWA, or through other means.

Sportsmanship Award – This goes to an individual who possesses and shows great sportsmanship within the USAWA. The act of sportsmanship may be by conduct at all events, or by an specific example of exceptional sportsmanship.

Courage Award – This goes to an individual who shows the courage to overcome an obstacle in order to return to competition. This may be a comeback from an injury, or just having to deal with difficult personal issues but still shows the courage to compete in the USAWA.

Newcomer Award– This award goes to an individual who in new to the USAWA or has become involved again. It doesn’t have to go to someone in their first year of being involved in the USAWA.

Please send your nominations to me (at amyers@usawa.com) by June 1st.  All nominations will be kept confidential.  The awards will be presented in conjunction with the awards ceremony at the USAWA National Championships in Kirksville, MO on June 25th.

USAWA Nationals: The AWARDS

Special awards for the USAWA Nationals for 2011 (purchased at pjtool.com)

by Thom Van Vleck

The USAWA Nationals for this year will have a unique award for the participants.  The Jackson Weightlifting Club (JWC) had long been defined by Grandpa Jackson’s Anvil.  For the last few years I have used these real anvils for awards.  Each award will come with a CUSTOMIZED plaque engraved by a Jim Spalding (Jim’s Gems) who is a local jeweler and also happens to be a 6 time Masters World Champion in Highland Games.   When the results are tabulated, we will write down you address and send you an engraved plate that will fit on the award with your placing and name.  How many personalized awards do you have in you trophy case?  I bet not many!  There will also be an 11lb Anvil for the overall best lifter.  Again, it’s a REAL anvil.

The “Original” JWC anvil will be present as well and used in the strongman show at the awards banquet.  We will take it outside and give anyone who wants a crack at lifting the anvil like Grandpa Jackson used to from the ground to overhead.  It is a 150lb Anvil and it’s very “doable”!  The real challenge is to lift it by the horn with one hand, pinch grip it by top or lift it by the neck.

Grandpa Jackson's Anvil - The Centerpiece of the Jackson Weightlifting Club

I will also have a 300lb anvil present….This is the MONSTER that so far has defied all who have tried to lift it overhead.  I want to see someone put that thing overhead!  But at the least, We will have the Whiskey Barrel there and the challenge is to lift the anvil onto the whiskey barrel.   Come on out, the USAWA Nationals will be more than just lifting weights…..we will try and make some history!

USAWA Nationals: UPDATE

 by Thom Van Vleck

Private room at the Dukum Inn. This is where the banquet will happen after Nationals

Just an update on the USAWA Nationals.  I have ordered shirts.  They are POLO type shirts –  so better than your standard meet t-shirt!  They will have a stitched USAWA Nationals 2011 patch on them.  I have also ordered the awards.  These are like none you have ever received and I will be putting up a photo at a later time showing them.  Al Myer’s will be bringing his top notch equipment for the meet supplemented by my own.  If you ever wanted to lift on a set of York Hub plates or Jackson International Barbell plates, we will be using them in the meet!

I have recently confirmed reservations at the Armory and the Dukum Inn.  I recently attended a private party there and I was more than pleased.  The bar in the private room was built in 1938 and was the original bar that used to be downstairs.  There is a stage area opposite the bar that will offer a really nice podium for our awards ceremony.  You can see a big screen behind the bar and during the banquet we will scroll pictures of past and present USAWA meets and legends.  I highly recommend the onion rings at the Dukum….they are the best!

Monster Garage Meet

BY DAVE GLASGOW

MEET REPORT AND RESULTS

POWER IN SOUTHERN INDIANA

Larry Traub squats 520 pounds in the Monster Garage Meet.

Abstinence of chemical assistance when building strength has long been the message of Larry Traub. His inclination and mind set are that anything worth having is worth working (hard) for and, thus, earning.  He has preached this message to hundreds of his high school lifters over the years.  That is what led the multi-time national masters powerlifting champ to the USAWA.  It was against this backdrop that 5 of his former high school pupils/lifters returned to their mentor, joined his current protege and took to the platform.  All to be a part of the first, and now to be annual, USAWA sponsored Monster Garage Powerlifting Meet and Record Breakers Day.  The pedigrees of each of these young men is impressive.  Even the spotters were former high caliber lifters!  One of the judges, Larry’s brother Barry, can even boast a 650 deadlift!  The only mongrel in the house was yours truly!!  This was, indeed, an exceptional day of lifting.

The premise was simple. The lifts contested would be the three powerlifts. The ‘catch’ being that the rules of the USAWA would be enforced (rules are no joke!).  So, all the lifts were truly raw, and as they used to say in drag racing, ‘run what ya brung!’  With only seven contestants, the action was fast and furious. As there were a wide range of weight classes being contested, so were the weights being handled by the lifters.

Monster Garage Participants: upper left - Adam Roth, upper right - Tyler Baines, lower left - Blake Dedas, lower right - Bobby Bonifacio

The youngest of the crowd was 18 year old high school senior, Adam Roth.  His flawless technique helped him accumulate a total of 930 pounds at a body weight of 58.8 kg. (he was voted ‘best lifter’ junior and senior years at st. ‘X’ high school, Louisville).  Tyler Baines kept the momentum rolling, posting a total of 935 pounds.  Another technician, he used that along with determination to secure his place in the meet (he was teen national champ/bronze medalist at sub junior worlds).  Showing true competition experience was Felix Rodriguez.  His 455 pound deadlift was outstanding and gave way to his final total of 1070 pounds (he was 2nd at teen nationals).  Blake Dedas came to show that strongman training has left him in good stead as he posted a fine 1485 total at a 220 pound body weight (he was a subjunior team member and collegiate national champ).  Drew Traub, Larry’s boy, provided proof that strength does run in families.  He took a break from his usual 60 hour work weeks and ran up a total of 1385 pounds with next to no training for the past year (he was a teen national champ and subjunior world champ).  The new kid in the house was Bobby Bonifacio, Larry’s son-in-law (and my god-son in-law, lol).  Bobby started training about 9 months ago and to say his lifts needed help, at that time, would be the understatement of the year!! Bobby has persistence, a great attitude and a top notch coach to thank for a very creditable total of an even grand. I am certain this will spur him on to even greater totals in the future.

When the final attempt was made, the tally sheets said that it was the old man, Larry Traub himself, who carried the day!  His bench presses made one of the spotters remark, “coach!!? is that your shoulder creekin’?? It sounds like someone is trying to open an old door!!” . His 520 pound squat and 560 pound deadlift would make most lifters days, however, this was a ‘down’ day for him. Regardless, it was enough to win by 175 points on the formula.

Monster Garage Meet Participants: left - Drew Traub, right - Felix Rodriguez

As a side note, I want to mention our loaders. Mike Tullis (who was a subjunior world team member) and his running buddy, Jon Clark (who was selected to be on the world subjunior team but subsequently passed up that opportunity to ‘walk on’ as a player at the University of Louisville, where he is today) spent the competition loading for their friends and adding good stories and commentary at the ‘after glow’.  These were great kids to be around, indeed!!  Although this meet was touted as a ‘record breakers’, I think the days lifting damped spirits for any further lifting as only four USAWA records fell; two by the youngster and two by the ole man.

Plans are already being made for next year’s version of the Monster Garage Powerlifting Meet. the last weekend in April will be the permanent date. We are looking for this meet to be much bigger by then!!

Good friends, great lifting and superb food/drink - what could be better!? Plan NOW to attend next year!!  YOU WON’T BE SORRY!

SEE BELOW FOR TOTALS AND PLACINGS

Monster Garage Powerlifting Meet
Georgetown, Indiana
April 30th, 2011

MEET DIRECTOR:  Larry Traub and the Ledaig Heavy Athletics

LIFTS CONTESTED:  Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift

OFFICIAL (1-Official System Used): Dave Glasgow

RESULTS:

Lifter Age BWT BP SQ DL Total Points
 Larry Traub  57  92.0  290  520  560  1370  1433.0
 Blake Dedas  26  100.0  355  545  585  1485  1257.9
 Adam Roth  18  58.8  205  320  405  930  1129.3
 Felix Rodriquez  21  75.0  255  360  455  1070  1070.0
 Tyler Baines  23  64.5  235  300  400  935  1033.5
 Drew Traub  27  128.8  310  525  550  1385  1032.2
 Bob Bonifacio  30  118.5  205  365  430  1000  776.5

NOTES:  BWT is bodyweight in kilograms.  All lifts recorded in pounds.  Total is total pounds lifted in pounds.  Points is adjusted points for bodyweight correction and age allowance.

York Update

by Al Myers

We are now just a little over two weeks away from our Heavy Lift Nationals at York Barbell, in York, PA.   The event organizer and the person who made this whole affair happen, Mike Loncondro, just sent me the days itinerary.  There will be many activities happening at the same time.  We will have our competition in the Main Gym while the kettlebell workshop will be in the auditorium.  We will need to have our meet done by noon in order for all attention to be given to the main feature of the day – the York Hall of Fame induction of Slim the Hammerman.  In the afternoon, we will have a record day session and All-Round Weightlifting demonstrations.  Hopefully, this will give us the opportunity to introduce the All-Round Lifts to several new lifters.

The meet t-shirts are being picked up today.  On behalf of the USAWA, several of these shirts will be donated to this event to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. This charity helps wounded soldiers restore their physical abilities through the pursuit of athletic fitness.  It is truly a worthwhile cause!!  I think everyone will really like the t-shirts I designed for this.  The awards will be ordered the first of next week for the competition.  So – all the plans are “in motion” to make this day a very special day for everyone involved.   

Kettlebells For Warriors – May 21, 2011          Schedule of Events
  Main Gym Auditorium Main Hall
0800 USAWA Contest    
0830      
0900 Crossfit Workout KB Workshop Registration  
0930      
1000 USAWA/Crossfit Opening Ceremony  
1030   KB Workshop (until 0100)  
1100 BREAK    
1130      
1200 USAWA/Crossfit    
1230      
0100 LUNCH (until 0300) LUNCH (until 0300) Dan Cenidoza and Slim
0130      
0200      
0230      
0300 USAWA/Crossfit KB Workshop (until 0500) Mighty Mitts Bending
0330      
0400      
0430      
0500      
0530 Main Gym Clean Up Auditorium Clean Up Main Hall Clean Up
0600      

USAWA Nationals in TWO MONTHS

 

by Thom Van Vleck

The USAWA Nationals is in two months!  Time to get your plans made and entries sent in.  I have a had a lot of interest, but the entries have been slow.  There is no deadline on the entry form, but there is a point I need to have numbers for my banquet!  So get those entries sent in.

I will have polo type shirts with embroidered “USAWA Nationals 2011″ on it.  We will have anvils for trophies for the winners and other awards for place winners.  You will not walk away empty handed, but if you want a JWC Anvil you will have to earn it!   We will have a great banquet experience after the meet and you won’t forget it.  We will have a strongman show after the contest with world class short steel bending, hot water bottle explosions, bed of nails (like Ed Zercher used to do) and much more.

This will be an USAWA Nationals like no other!  Often in life we are faced with choices and you “can’t do them all”.  This is one you won’t want to miss!

Name This Group

by Al Myers

Picture from 2006 Gold Cup. (front): Ed Schock (second row - left to right): Denny Habecker, Elizabeth Monk, Karen Gardner, Dick Durante, Dennis Mitchell, Scott Schmidt, Kathy Schmidt, Mary Anne Durante (Back row - left to right): John Monk, Steve Gardner, Jim Malloy, and Judy Habecker. Picture taken by Flossie Mitchell.

Now I know most everyone in this picture, but I would like someone else to identify and name these members of the All-Round Weightlifting family.   I received this picture from our USAWA President Denny Habecker.  Most of the other pics that Denny has given me has “pertinent information” written on the back – but this one didn’t!!  Also – I have no idea which meet this group picture came from.  So consider this a CALL FOR HELP and help me in this quest of proper picture identification!!!  I will update the names in the caption as the proper identification is provided on the USAWA Discussion Forum.

Thanks goes to Denny Habecker for providing the information to identify everyone in this picture!

Watch Your Back!

by Jarrod Fobes

Amber Glasgow, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics Club, performs a Turkish Get Up with 35 pounds. The Turkish Get Up is a great exercise to strengthen muscle imbalances in the back.

Injuries have shaped a lot of my training, and there is nothing that will get you thinking more about how you train than an injured back. Bum knee? Work your upper body for a while. Injured shoulder? Train around it. Hurt your back? You won’t be in the gym for at least a few weeks. After my last back injury I got busy researching back health and learning what I could do to prevent any future relapses. From what I’ve learned, spinal “prehab” can be distilled down to two major factors. Here’s what they are and what you can do about them.

Muscle Imbalances

Muscle imbalance refers to any break in the symmetry of the muscular system. You don’t want your right side stronger than your left, or your front stronger than your back. Most of you have heard that to protect your back, you should strengthen your abdominals. Strong abdominals are important to provide a counter to the powerful muscles of the lower back, but they are only part of the equation. Is your left hip flexor stronger than the right? Then your hip may be pulled down on the left side, and your back will struggle to compensate for it. Are your hamstrings disproportionately stronger than your quads? That may have an effect on the stability of your knee. If your knee goes out, your hips may start compensating for your injured knee. From there the chain of compensation can easily reach your back.

Fortunately there are two exercises that are terrific for correcting major muscle imbalances. One is the Turkish Get-up, already and official USAWA lift. The other is the One Legged, One Armed Deadlift.

If you are balancing on your right leg, you will grab the weight with your left hand. Put a slight bend in the knee of your support leg. As you lean forward to grasp the weight, your non-support leg should rise up, keeping in as straight a line as possible with your back. Maintain that alignment as you stand up with the weight. As with any deadlift, don’t let your head droop forward.

Both lifts should be trained heavy, but not to failure. Within a month or two diligently giving each side of your body equal work with these lifts, you should have corrected the major imbalances in your body. But stay on guard against overworking one side or the other in day-to-day life too: if you ride a bike, don’t always push off with your dominate leg. If you carry a kid around, make sure you use both sides of your body for roughly equal time. You get the idea.

Muscle Endurance

Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle to work for a prolonged period of time. It is related to, but separate from muscle strength, which most of us focus on in the gym. Many of us have strong backs, but inexplicably still have back problems. That’s because while we may be able to lift enormous loads with our backs, we haven’t conditioned them to handling sustained, symmetrical loads. Just as being able to do 100 push-ups may not translate into a huge bench press, heavy deadlifts do little to condition our backs to prolonged work. That is why kettlebell swings are so important.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. You should have about a 90-degree bend in your knees, as well as at your waist. Do not let your back round, and keep your head up. The kettlebell (or whatever implement you decide to you use) will be in both hands tucked under your behind. Your wrists should rest on your inner thighs.

From this position, explode forward with your hips, extending the legs and back. The weight should stop at 12-o’clock, directly over head with your arms straight. A common mistake is to initiate the movement with the arms. The explosive hip extension should provide the momentum to get the weight moving. Guide the weight back down to the starting position, and repeat.

Since we’re focusing on muscle endurance, execute a high number of reps, at least 75. Focus on maintaining a high rep speed, too. This will mean starting with a lighter weight than most of us like to be seen with in the gym, but do it anyway. If 75 is too daunting, start with 3×25, and “steal” reps from the last set and give them to the first in following workouts. So following rep schemes might look like 35×25x15, 50×25, etc until you reach 75 reps. Once you can handle 75 you have the option of increasing weight or increasing reps. Besides muscle endurance, my posture has improved greatly since adding kettlebell swings to my routine. I recommend them to anyone whose shoulders roll forward. Another benefit of this exercise is the tremendous cardiovascular work it provides. If done with speed, explosiveness, and adequate weight, your heart will really be pumping by the end!

USAWA Nationals Update

 by Thom Van Vleck

Dukum Inn: Kirksville Legend and Location of the USAWA Nationals Banquet

Just a couple blocks away from the armory is the Dukum Inn.  This is a legendary establishment here in Kirksville.  Back a hundred years ago this was a huge coal mining area.  Coal mining was tough work and the miners would drink hard on the weekends.  When I was a kid, the Dukum was tough, blue collar bar.  I recall going there with my Dad from time to time when I was a boy.  He would buy me a Cherry Coke (when a the Coke was poured into a Coke Glass and cherry syrup was then added) so I wouldn’t tell Mom we stopped there.  He would play some pool with his pals and he’d give me some quarters for the pinball or I’d play shuffleboard in the sawdust.  After a couple games of pool we’d head home with Mom none the wiser!

Well, today the Dukum is pretty much an “every man’s bar” (and every woman).  It’s a lot more upscale than the old days but still has that old days charm of a corner pub.  They have a private upstairs room that now has the original bar that was there when I was a kid and the original tables.  It can seat over a hundred and has a stage that will work nicely for our awards ceremony.  Plenty of room to gather after the meet, enjoy our meal, have our national meeting and have a good time!

So, get those entries in the mail!

MIKE MURDOCK – “HAM AND EGGER”

BY DAVE GLASGOW

MIKE MURDOCK, OF THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS, PUT UP SOME BIG LIFTS LAST WEEKEND AT THE DEANNA SPRINGS MEMORIAL.

CHANCES ARE, YOU HAVE SEEN HIM BUT NEVER, REALLY, NOTICED HIM.  HE’S NOT FLASHY, HE NEVER MAKES A SCENE.  HE CAN USUALLY BE FOUND SITTING QUIETLY IN A GROUP OF PEOPLE; OBSERVING.  EVEN IF YOU DON’T NOTICE HIM WHEN HE IS THERE, YOU WILL NOTICE IF HE’S NOT THERE.

MIKE MURDOCK WANDERED (WONDERED?) ONTO A HIGHLAND GAMES FIELD ONE DAY, NOT FULLY KNOWING WHERE IT WOULD LEAD.  WHERE IT LED WAS AN INTRODUCTION TO, NOT ONLY THE GAMES, BUT AN ORGANIZATION KNOWN AS THE USAWA.  THAT, ULTIMATELY LED TO WHAT HAS NOW BECOME A STAPLE AT THE GAMES AND THE USAWA EVENTS HELD AT AL’S DINO GYM IN HOLLAND, KS., NAMELY, MIKE!  HE IS, MOST GENERALLY, ONE OF THE FIRST TO SHOW UP AND ONE OF THE LAST TO EXIT.  HE IS NOT AFRAID TO PITCH IN TO HELP AND CAN BE COUNTED ON TO A HAVE FEW GOOD IDEAS ALONG THE WAY.

RUDY BLETSCHER (LEFT) AND MIKE MURDOCK (RIGHT) LIFTED 585 POUNDS IN THE 2-MAN TRAP BAR DEADLIFT AT THE 2010 USAWA TEAM NATIONALS. THIS IS AN AMAZING LIFT FOR TWO LIFTERS OVER THE AGE OF 70!

AS ONE OF THE ‘ELDER STATESMAN’ GRACING THE USAWA IN THIS AREA, MIKE HAS SEEN A LOT IN HIS TIME AND HIS STORY IS WORTHY OF SOME CONSIDERATION.  MIKE WAS BORN AND EDUCATED IN NEBRASKA.   MOVING TO KANSAS WAS, AS HAS BECOME HIS FASHION, NOT IN THE CONVENTIONAL MEANS.  HE TRAVERSED THE 330 MILES ON A ONE SPEED BIKE IN A JOURNEY THAT TOOK HIM 3 DAYS!!  A STINT IN THE AIR FORCE FOLLOWED BY A LONGER STRETCH IN THE NAVY GAVE WAY TO HIS USE OF THE GI BILL TO GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA TO DECORATE HIS WALL.  “I TAUGHT FOR A YEAR, BUT, I KNEW I WASN’T ANY GOOD AND I DID’NT WANT TO MESS THE KIDS UP. SO, I GOT OUT”.  IN A LOT OF WAYS, THAT STATEMENT SHOWS US WHAT MAKES MIKE, MIKE.  HE IS UNSELFISH, THINKS OF OTHERS AND HAS THE WHEREWITHAL TO UNDERSTAND HIS OWN LIMITATIONS.  THAT GOES FOR HIS LIFTING, AS WELL.  A SELF TAUGHT LIFTER, HE WAS WISE ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THAT SQUATS, PRESSES, AND PULLS WERE WHAT SHOULD MAKE UP THE MEAT OF HIS WORKOUTS.  INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, HE STARTED ON AN ‘OTASCO’(THIS WAS A REGIONAL HARDWARE CHAIN BACK IN THE DAY), BASIC 110# SET IN THE EARLY SIXTIES.  HIS LIFTING, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION IS ‘ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN’.  OVER THE YEARS, HIS TRAINING HAS CHANGED LITTLE AND, THOUGH HE IS SEVENTY ONE YEARS OLD, HE ENJOYS THE WORK INVOLVED AND THE RESULTS IT BRINGS.   BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, HE IS “NOT THAT STRONG” (THIS STATEMENT, I LEAVE OPEN FOR DEBATE).   HE IS WHAT I THINK WOULD BE KNOWN IN THE VERNACULAR AS A ‘HAM AND EGGER’.  THIS IS THAT CLASS OF GUY/GAL THAT LIFTS BECAUSE HE ENJOYS IT, KNOWS HE WILL NEVER WIN ANYTHING, WORKS HARD ANYWAY AND HAS A HELL OF A GOOD TIME WHENEVER HE IS IN THE COMPANY OF LIKE MINDED FOLKS.  THIS IS THE CLASS OF LIFTER THAT I, ALSO, PROUDLY, NUMBER MYSELF AMONG!  ASKED THE LIFTS HE WAS MOST PROUD OF (HE IS THE OWNER OF A NUMBER OF USAWA RECORDS), HE QUICKLY REPLIED THAT IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ALL THE TWO MAN RECORDS HE HAS MADE WITH HIS FRIEND AND FELLOW SEPTUAGENARIAN, RUDY BLETSCHER. THEN HE SAID, WITH AN IMPISH GRIN ON HIS FACE, “THE CRUCIFIX LIFT OF 80 LBS. THAT ONE MAY STAY AROUND FOR A WHILE!”

ONE FINAL THING.   THIS WAS NOT TO BE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.   HOWEVER, I DON’T THINK I WILL GET IN TOO MUCH DUTCH IF I LET IT OUT.  AT AL’S GRIP NATIONALS THIS YEAR, THERE WAS A SILENT AUCTION, WITH PROCEEDS TO GO TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER IN SALINA.  MIKE GAVE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF CASH TO THE ORGANIZATION, AFTER BIDDING ON, WELL, NOTHING!  HE JUST, SIMPLY, DID IT!!   THIS IS WHY I LIKE CALLING HIM FRIEND!  LOOK MIKE UP AT THE NEXT GET TOGETHER AND, IF YOU AREN’T ALREADY A FRIEND, MAKE HIS ACQUAINTANCE. YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF FOR IT.  HE’S NOT THAT HARD TO FIND.  HE’S THE GUY SITTING IN THE BACKGROUND. QUIETLY LISTENING, WATCHING, LEARNING……..

Big MISTAKE!

by Thom Van Vleck

Thom Van Vleck overhead pressing with one hand a 110 pound anvil. By looking at this picture it is easy to imagine the consequences if something "goes wrong" and the anvil slips out of Thom's open grip and falls on Thom's head. My advice is to always train a new lift before attempting max poundages and leave crazy strongman stunts like this to the professionals. (photo and caption courtesy of the webmaster Al Myers)

In this article I will detail what I see as the biggest mistakes I see new guys make as they enter into the world of the USAWA.  Others might have an opinion and I”m not saying that I am right about this being “the” biggest mistake….but I think everyone would agree this can be a problem.

I entered my first “odd lift” meet 30 years ago, and since then I have been to many USAWA meets as well as all kinds of strongman, highland games, powerlifting and Olympic lifting meets.  I have also done over 200 strongman performances.  During that time I have seen guys witness a lift or feat of strength for the first time and say, “Can I try that”.  They then try something they have never done before and go 100% in the effort.  That, in my opinion, is a BIG MISTAKE!  Sure, most of the time you’ll be OK, but it’s that one time that will end a season, or worse, a lifting career.

Recently, a friend of mine was in a strongman contest that included a steel bar bend.  He sent me a video of his effort….that resulted in a  muscle tear that he is now getting surgery for.  He was trying to bend it behind his neck and dropped his elbows and ended up in a a position like someone trying to close a “pec deck” machine.  Having bent literally hundreds of steel bars in various shapes, I cringed as soon as I saw it and soon enough he dropped the bar and winced in pain!  He had never bent a steel bar before and had no plan on how he was going to bend it.  I bend them all the time in our strongman shows and practiced this many times before ever doing it in front of a crowd or a contest where the pressure is on to go all out.

The nature of the USAWA makes it the “worst” for this kind of mistake.  Other sports have a much more limited “range” of lifts which means they get practiced much more often.  You can’t train hundreds of lifts, you can only have a strategy to train all around strength.  I know Al Myers often trains one pressing movement, one pulling type movement, and one squat type, constantly mixing the specific lifts up.  I also know Al will train a particular lift until he knows exactly how to do it and exactly how much he can expect to do on it before he enters a meet.   I’m not sure if he was always a smart lifter, or if he became one as a result of many injuries (that’s how I got smart), or both.  But I do know Al is a smart lifter who knows exactly what his ranges are come contest day.  He not only knows this for safety reasons, but for strategy as well!

How often have you seen someone make a lift they have never tried before, say, “that was easy”, then say, “Throw on a couple 45’s” and then be buried by it!  It’s the nature of many of these lifts.  At best, it’s embarrassing, at worst, you get seriously hurt.  My point is that you NEVER want to go right to a maximal effort the first time.  The USAWA is full of fun, new, exciting….and dangerous….lifts.  But they are only dangerous when you don’t know what you are doing!   Take the time to learn the lift, warm up plenty, practice the lift before the meet, and pick your poundages wisely!  Live to lift another day!  Listen to the old timers….they are still lifting for a reason!

Monster Garage Meet

by Larry Traub

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

1st Annual Traub Monster Garage

Powerlifting and USAWA Record Breaker

Larry Traub, of the Ledaig Heavy Athletics, competed last year in the USAWA Grip Challenge. This spring Larry will promote his first ever USAWA competition.

I’ve been promising St. X Alumni an annual powerlifting contest and picnic at my home since I retired from coaching a couple years ago. The initial interest wasn’t quite what I thought it would be and my life has been full with kids getting married and grandkids arriving. Well, this year I decided to proceed but to expand the concept to an open contest. I am targeting not only St X alums but anyone involved in the old River City Powerlifting club from when I was in the gym business in the early 80’s. I am also hoping for participation from others who I have met along the way. My best friend and college roommate, Dave Glasgow will be traveling from Kansas to compete. Dave was my first workout partner some 40 years ago and we still seem to get a workout or two together a year. I’m hoping Ray Ganong the strength coach at U of L who has been a friend and a mentor of mine and also a friend of St. X Powerlifting might be interested. Tom Chapella a local throws coach who had a huge influence on my son’s success in shot and discus has shown an interest. Tom has a son who is in all likelihood the strongest Down’s syndrome lifter in the world who will be an inspiration to everyone involved. Basically, I’m looking for lifters that I have some connection with in the lifting world. If you are interested and you have a workout partner or someone you are training, then they are welcome.

I sanctioned this through USAWA (United States All-round Weightlifting Association). I got involved with them through my friend Dave Glasgow and I knew right away that this group created the lifting atmosphere I was looking for. USAWA has over 150 competition lift in all types of age categories and weight classes, but the traditional power lift are not included. The actual power lifting contest will be “exhibition lifts” as far as their organization is concerned, but afterwards there will be a record breaker where anyone involved can attempt to break some of their records. We will also be using their formula to determine place winners in the power lifting contest. The whole contest is on formula with coefficients for age and bodyweight. I will be giving modest awards for outstanding squat, bench press, and deadlift as well as the top five finishes on total.

Check out the USAWA (usawa.com) website for more information. It is very well organized and there are daily postings. I am planning on competing in their national contest in June.

As the information says, there is no advance registration necessary, but drop me a line at traubl@saintxfac.com and let me know your intentions. If it doesn’t work out for you this year then start training for future years. I intend to make it an annual event on the last Saturday of April.

MEET DETAILS:

1st Annual Traub Monster Garage

Powerlifting and USAWA Record Breaker

Sat April 30th

1485 Oakes Road Georgetown Indiana

8:00 am weigh in – 10:00 start

No advance registration – entry forms completed at weigh in

All lifters must buy a USAWA card at a cost of $25

ENTRY FEE – contestants must bring food for pitch in meal that will follow the competition. Bring meat for you and your family, date, etc. Lifters weighing 160 and below should bring a salad dish to be shared, lifters 160 – 230 should bring a side dish and of course those above 230 should bring desserts.

Meet t-shirts will be available.

USAWA rules will be followed. This is a raw contest. (No supportive shirts, suits, or knee wraps)

Drug testing under USAWA guidelines

Dear Dino Man

by Al Myers

I get HUNDREDS of questions per month from individuals pertaining to weight lifting or other matters since I have been webmaster of the USAWA Website. I guess that goes along with making your email address publicly known on a website. People are always looking for free advice and the internet provides plenty of it – some good and some not so good. I try to respond to most questions, but there are lots I don’t get around to. I hate to deprive the USAWA Daily News readers of these “email exchanges” so I’ve decided to start an advice column to share some of these questions and my responses. Maybe it will answer a few questions that I repeatedly receive, and cut out having to answer the same question over and over again. I have decided to name this column Dear Dino Man. I am leaving off the names of the email senders – to insure confidentially and possible embarrassment.

Dear Dino Man,

How do I go about learning these all round lifts?

The best place to start is by reading the USAWA Rulebook, located in its entirety on the website. The USAWA Rulebook contains not only the rules of the lifts, but also descriptions in how they are performed. Several of the lifts have been highlighted on the website in the past that give more details. This information can be found by doing a search on the website. We also have a YouTube account that has videos of many of the lifts. It is also linked to the website. However, the best way to learn about the USAWA is to just go to a competition and meet lifters who have experience in all-round weightlifting. All the members of the USAWA are more than willing to help someone new. Of course, if you have specific questions I would be happy to answer them!

Dear Dino Man,

What types of bows are allowed in the USAWA?

You have the wrong USAWA. The one you’re interested in is the United States Association of Wingshooting Archers located at usawa.org. We are All-Round Weightlifters and that is why, at the top of our website, we have a logo of a weightlifter instead of an archer. I just want to mention that in case that was confusing you.

Dear Dino Man,

Sorry my check for my membership dues bounced. The next one is in the mail and it’s good.

Sure it is and I’m planning on deadlifting 1000 pounds tonight.

Dear Dino Man,

When I look at the pictures of some of the lifts on your website, I can’t believe they are real. Is it possible some were done with fake plates? Those pictures of Steve Schmidt lifting all that weight can’t be real.

All lifts in the USAWA are done with real plates by real lifters. There is nothing fake about Steve’s 2000 plus pound Hip Lifts or his 3000 pound plus Harness Lifts – just hard to believe. I have seen Steve Schmidt lift first hand and he’s the “real deal”. And trust me, I’m a doctor.

Dear Dino Man,

Why can’t we wear knee wraps and super suits in the USAWA?

Because the USAWA is about REAL STRENGTH and not FAKE STRENGTH! Plus wearing that gear makes you look like a goofball instead of a weightlifter.

Dear Dino Man,

How do all the guys in your gym get so big and strong? I weigh 150 pounds and can’t seem to gain weight. Someday I hope to weigh 300 pounds of solid muscle.

Because we are on the Seefood Diet. If we see it – we eat it.   Add in an extra helping of daily heavy weight training and someday you will reach your goal.

Dear Dino Man,

Does your dino gym ever get tired of whooping it up on the JWC?

And does a kid ever get tired of eating ice cream??? NO – CAUSE IT TASTES GOOD!!

Dear Dino Man,

I just love it when you put pictures of the Champ on the website. He is so good looking and sexy!!  I would love to meet him and hopefully date him cause he’s built like a real man. Do you know if he is single?

Sorry, I’m afraid not. STUDS like THE CHAMP don’t stay on the market long.  But if you are interested, I could send you the details about joining his fan club.  He is a real All-Round Weightlifting celebrity and has the ego to match it – which you should have been able to guess by the fact that he calls himself  “The Champ”.

(WEBMASTER COMMENT:  All these are real questions with real answers.  The rumor that the Dino Man makes up stories and stretches the truth is incorrect, and is probably being propagated by jealous rivals who lack the witty repertoire of humor that bestows the Dino Man. )

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers

DINO GYM RECORD DAY

Group picture of the lifters at the 2011 Dino Gym Record Day. Pictured front row (left to right): Mike Murdock, Chris Krenzin, Tyler Krenzin, Denny Habecker. Back row (left to right): Casey Barten, Al Myers, LaVerne Myers, Scott Tully. Not pictured: Chuck Cookson, Tyeler Cookson, Matt Cookson

MEET REPORT

After the great meet the day before at the Grip Championships, I wondered if anyone had the energy and motivation to come back for “Day Two” to set some USAWA records.  I was surprised to have 11 participants!  Lots of records were set.  One of the first to walk in the door of the Dino Gym was Mike Murdock.  When I was checking Mike in, he informed me that there was a change to his “status” – he NOW was 71 years old instead of 70, as today was his birthday!  What a way to spend your birthday – breaking records in the USAWA!  Mike went on to break more records than anyone else with a total of 20.  That’s a lot of records considering Mike was going all-out on every lift. His 80# Crucifix impressed me the most – considering it was done IMMEDIATELY following his dumbbell clean and press.

The Krenzin brothers have been regulars these past few years at my record days.  These two young kids, Chris and Tyler,  keep getting stronger as they grow.  They enjoy breaking the marks in lifts that they did the YEAR BEFORE the most.  Their one arm VB deadlifts were very impressive.  Tyler did 100# and Chris was close behind at 97#.  It impressed me when Chris noticed I was wearing my lifting singlet he went back out to the truck to get his youth wrestling singlet – and then he put it on!  He wanted to look like a weightlifter too!!

Scott Tully had a great day.  The day before Scott served as the head official of the Grip Championships.  Based on the grip records he set in this record day – he should have been competing!  Scott performed a 358# Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, a 232# one arm 2″ VB deadlift, and a 414# 2 bar 2″ VB deadlift – all for overall records in the 125 plus kilogram class.   Pretty stupendous lifts!!!  He topped off his day by breaking the record in the hands together bench press with a lift of 320#, erasing the record held by the Bench Behemoth Dave Beversdorf.  (I’m just throwing this out Dave to give you a little motivation!!)

Matt and Tyeler Cookson pulled a 2-Man Team Deadlift of 860 pounds, for the highest USAWA Team Deadlift of All-Time amongst Junior lifters.

My Dad LaVerne was planning to sit this one out like he did the day before because of a recent eye surgery.  But like a true all-rounder, he decided to ignore the doctors recommendations  and “just lift light” instead. However, once he got started the lifts he did just kept getting heavier and heavier!  His lift that impressed me the most was his 77# one hand Pinch Grip.

Denny Habecker made the long drive to my place by himself (over 20 hours) and still had the energy to lift both days, and on top of that, set many records on Sunday.  His record count for the weekend had to be over 15.  All I can say is “Poor Art” because Denny has just padded his lead in the Records Race over Art Montini.  Denny did a wide range of record lifts, from presses to deadlifts.  Denny doesn’t have any weak areas that he can’t set records in.

Dino Gym member Casey Barten just came in for a Sunday afternoon training session and ended up setting a few records.  Casey always trains Sunday afternoons, and is usually training by himself.  He wasn’t really planning to do anything but I gave him some encouragement (like saying “don’t be a sissy”) and so  he added some USAWA  records to his Sunday afternoon training session.

It was mid-afternoon (and everyone was getting worn out) and I thought the record day might be done, but in walks Chuck Cookson and his two sons, Tyeler and Matt.  We didn’t know it at the time – but the show was just beginning!! Matt, at only 16 years of age, deadlifted with a 12 inch base 484#.  Brother Tyeler showed him big brother still was stronger and pulled 507# the same way.  However, Big Poppa Chuck let the boys know “who their daddy was” and pulled 661# with a 12″ base!! Only multiple time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman has done more in the USAWA with a 728# 12 inch base DL at the 1994 Texas Deadlift Classic.  Matt and Tyeler then joined forces in TEAM lifting and set several two man records. Their Team Cheat Curl of 330# was very impressive, along with their Team Deadlift of 860#.

I want to thank everyone who attended this year’s Dino Gym Record Day.  Participation is what makes these events fun.  Sorry for the short meet report, but I got LOTS of results to enter!!!

MEET RESULTS

Dino Gym Record Day
February 13th, 2011
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Certified Officials (1-official system used on all lifts): Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Scott Tully, Mike Murdock

Chris Krenzin – Age 10, BWT 157# (Age group 10-11, Class 75K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, right hand: 97#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, left hand: 92#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 140#
Curl – Strict: 35#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 40#

Tyler Krenzin – Age 13, BWT 146# (Age group 12-13, Class 70K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, right hand: 100#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, left hand: 82#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 140#
Curl – Strict: 30#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 20#

Matt Cookson – Age 16, BWT 187# (Age group 16-17, Class 85 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 484#

Tyeler Cookson – Age 19, BWT 172# (Age group 18-19, Class 80 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 507#

Tyeler Cookson & Matt Cookson (Age group 18-19, Class 85 K)

Team Curl – Cheat: 330#
Team Deadlift: 860#
Team Clean and Jerk: 352#
Team Clean and Press: 308#

Casey Barten – Age 30, BWT 180# (Age group 20-39, Class 85K)

Lateral Raise – Standing: 70#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm: 105#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#

Scott Tully – Age 35, BWT 343# (Age group 20-39, Class 125+K)

Bench Press – Hands Together: 320#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 358#
Press – From Rack: 250#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 77#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 100#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 232#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 414#
Lateral Raise – Standing: 80#

Chuck Cookson – Age 41, BWT 271# (Age group 40-44, Class 125 K)

Deadlift – 12″ Base: 661#
Press – From Rack, Behind Neck: 225#
Push Press – From Rack: 225#
Press – From Rack: 245#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 80#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 210#

Al Myers – Age 44, BWT 250# (Age group 40-44, Class 115K)

Deadlift – 2 Inch Dumbbells: 240#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 220#
Snatch – Fulton Bar: 185#
Clean and Press – 12″ Base:  220#
Snatch – From Hang: 187#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 140#
Bench Dip: 230#

LaVerne Myers – Age 66, BWT 250# (Age group 65-69, Class 115K)

Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm:  120#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 120#
Crucifix: 40#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 141#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 141#
Holdout- Lowered: 30#
Holdout – Raised: 30#
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 154#
Pinch Grip – Right Hand: 62#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 77#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Snatch – Right Arm: 55#

Denny Habecker – Age 68, BWT 191# (Age group 65-69, Class 90K)

Crucifix: 50#
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 70#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 60#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 85#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 65#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 65#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 175#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 175#
Bench Dip: 135#
Press – From Rack: 135#

Mike Murdock – Age 71, BWT 236# (Age group 70-74, Class 110K)

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 127#
Holdout – Raised: 40#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 80#
Crucifix: 80#
Clean and Press: 132#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 55#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 62#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 60#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 60#
Snatch – From Hang: 95#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 95#
Snatch – Left Arm: 55#
Snatch – Right Arm: 55#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 145#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Right Arm: 90#
Deadlift – Inch Dumbbell, Left Arm: 105#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 224#
Bench Dip: 65#
Lateral Raise – Standing: 60#

Year in Review -2010

by Al Myers

2010 USAWA Year in Review

I have finished the 2010 USAWA Year in Review, compiling all the information that has been placed on the USAWA Website throughout the year of 2010.  I do this for a couple of reasons:  1) to allow all information to be saved for prosperity in one location, and 2) to allow individuals who do not have internet access to stay informed with USAWA news.  I know it is, at this time, pretty “old news” but at least it provides an opportunity for staying abreast of the USAWA nowadays, especially since the USAWA does not provide a written publication any longer.

This is a long book.  You will not be able to finish it in one night.  It contains all 308 blogs that were placed in the USAWA Daily News for 2010.   The book is 441 pages long, and contains 164,875 words.   It has over 250 pictures.  This review book also contains the full meet reports and results for the 22 competitions that the USAWA sanctioned in 2010.

Due to the length, I have decided to forgo the color printing this year which helps lower the cost.  I plan to do another printing by the first of March – so THAT is the deadline for purchasing this Review Book.  Please make payment of $40 to the USAWA for purchase, and send to me.  I will ONLY print Review Books for those that I have payment for in hand.

BUY NOW – USAWA YEAR IN REVIEW – $40

Official’s Shirts

by Al Myers

The new USAWA Official's Shirt.

The USAWA now has new Official’s Shirts.   It has been many years since the USAWA has issued official shirts for the officials.  Several of the new USAWA officials do not have one.   Thom Van Vleck spear-headed this project.   THANKS THOM!   They are very nice looking blue knit collared shirts, with the USAWA Logo Patch on one sleeve and a United States Flag Patch on the other sleeve. They are embroidered on the front with the wording “USAWA Certified Official”.

If you would like to order an Official’s Shirt, send payment of $25 to me, with payment made out to the USAWA. Please include the size you want. Sizes available – large, extra large, and 2 XL.

Time to Cast Your Vote

by Al Myers

Who's going to win a set of my Hanging Dumbbell Handles??? It's up to YOU!!

It’s now time to vote!!!  All submitted stories have been ran in the USAWA Daily News over the past four days.  A set of my hanging dumbbell handles are at stake for the winner – so chose wisely!!!  It will be  hard to decide – mainly because all of the stories are so good.  That is why I am leaving it up to the USAWA membership to vote.  That’s right – the USAWA membership!   There are LOTS of “perks” to being a USAWA member, like getting to be part of this big decision!!   The list of choices:

1.  Hand and Thigh, Neck Training Tips by Joe Garcia

2.  Art’s Big Hook by John McKean

3.  Row Row Your Back!!! by Scott Tully

4.   Two Ounces of Prevention by Thom Van Vleck

Please send in your vote to me at amyers@usawa.com by next Friday (February 11th).  The winner will be announced on the 12th.   I promise to keep all votes confidential – so don’t worry about that!!!   I’m sure this will be a close vote so EVERY VOTE counts!!

Grip Championship Deadline Change

by Al Myers

On February 12th at the Dino Gym, the FIRST EVER USAWA National Grip Championships will be held.  Previously, I had set a entry deadline of February 1st to enter.  I did this so I would know in advance what awards to have made.  I had planned to have nice Championship Medals  for this meet as I was hoping for a big turnout.  However, to date I have ONLY received 3 entries with the previous deadline less than 10 days away.  This is NOT enough entries to pursue nice custom made awards – so I have decided to REMOVE the deadline and change the awards to Championship Certificates instead.  If you plan to attend, I still would like to know in advance.   These changes have been made to the entry form.

Click here for an entry form – NationalGripEntry

Smoking & Weightlifting: Part 2

Hey, I'm a patriotic guy!

by Thom Van Vleck

Ok, so if smoking is so bad for you why did so many lifters  do it?  And why were those lifters so successful while smoking.  The quick answer might be that they would have been even better without cigarettes.  This may surprise you, but I DISAGREE!

You may be thinking, “What! Thom is saying smoking will help your lifting”!  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.  Just like steroids, amphetamines, and the dozens of other drugs people use to increase their performance.  But don’t confuse helping your lifting and helping your health.  Also, there are better ways to achieve the same positive effects of smoking without the long term health problems that smoking brings.

First, how does smoking help.  Nicotine is a stimulant.  When you smoke, you are introducing a stimulant to your system.  A stimulant can help you focus.  By focusing, you can reduce anxiety (which is how cigarettes can calm you down when they stimulant you).  Since it enters through the lungs, it is wickedly fast in how it does it and why it is so addictive.  It has an incredibly fast stimulus-reward connection.  But you have to remember, there’s a DIFFERENCE between short term and long term benefits.

When I used to work in substance abuse counseling patients would often have a “dual diagnosis”.  They would come into treatment as a result of substance abuse, but the reason they would abuse substances had to do with an underlying problem.  I’ll used Depression as an example.  If you are depressed and you take methamphetamine you will no longer be depressed.  As a matter of fact, I’ll guarantee INSTANT results.  If you simply go on the instant results, then “meth” would be the greatest success story of all time in the treatment of depression.  But we all know there are many consequences of using “meth”.  The consequences of cigarettes are slow, but the benefits are quick.

I bring this up because when I was a teenager and I was faced with the opportunities to use alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, steroids, I would hear only that they were “bad” for you….but what I often saw conflicted with that and as a result, I would question just how “bad” they were!  I even recall people saying that steroids didn’t work at all and that it was all psychological…..yeah, right!!!  If we want to modify our behavior or the behavior of those around us for the better, we have to be honest

Now that we are being honest, let’s back up to the “dual diagnosis” example a little.  So, if you take away the way a person is self medicating, you must find an alternative or they are doomed to go back to their self medication.  With cigarettes, you must find some healthy alternative, or at least a relatively healthy alternative (when I did substance abuse counseling we often encouraged cigarette smoking to deal with withdrawal  from hardcore drugs as it was the lessor evil).

As lifters, we are always looking for an edge.  I don’t know how many supplements I’ve tried over the years.  But if we are willing to work, and wait for results, we can find effective replacements for things like cigarettes that deliver short term but make us pay long term.

Breath easy!

Smoking & Weightlifting: Part 1

If smoking makes you stronger.....this guy will be the World's Strongest Man in no time!

by Thom Van Vleck

When I was a kid and my Uncle’s were lifting on a regular basis I would often go the gym to watch them workout.  During their workout, they would chain smoke cigarettes.  Cigarette smoke often filled the gym and the ash tray was next to the chalk box!  I recall my Uncle Wayne, taking a drag off his cigarette, setting it on the edge of the platform (with the “cherry” end dangling off the edge) and hitting a set of Power Cleans.   Then he would retrieve his cigarette and, while trying to catch his breath, take a drag off of it and then cough!

Those who are under 30 won’t understand how prevalent smoking was back then.  It was normal for smoking to happen everywhere.  Even at weightlifting meets.  It was a smokers right to light up, not the other way around like it is now!  I recall going to sporting events and people lighting up right next to you, attending classes and people smoking the the classroom in college, and the only reason you wouldn’t smoke at a hospital had nothing to do with health….it was so an open flame didn’t make contact with Oxygen!  Same reason for no smoking in a theater….they were worried about a fire…not people’s health!

We are now taught how bad smoking is for you.  We have a lot of older lifters who used to smoke and if they didn’t, they were like me growing up with it wherever they went.  Both my parents chain smoked, I can’t recall my Dad not having a cigarette dangling from his mouth!  We now know just how bad second hand smoke is for you!

Today, my Dad is gone.  He passed away at age 65 and I’m certain the cigarettes cost him at least 10 years.  My Uncle’s Wayne and Phil, are in their 60’s as well and smoking has taken a toll.  They all told me they wished they had never started.  It’s an addiction and a powerful one.  My point is, these were the strongest men I knew growing up.  And Smoking cost them dearly…..and it cost those of us who loved them dearly.  My grandfather never smoked and he lived to be 85 and was in great shape.  His death was the effects of a car accident….or he probably would have lived much longer!  Sure, there’s lots of factors in that….but he removed the factor that cigarettes could have played in his health and it certainly would have been negative!

We all know smoking is bad for us, but did you younger guys realize not so many years ago that being tough and strong, often meant being a smoker and if you went to a lifting meet you could expect a wall of thick smoke.   David Rigert, one of the greatest Oly lifters of all time lifted in the 70’s and he often chain smoked at meets (and drank vodka in the warm up room between lifts) and would put down his cigarette to go lift!  Or if you joined a gym, people would be smoking….even while lifting!  Things have changed, but in this case…..for the better!

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!

2011 USAWA Nationals Photo Project

by Thom Van Vleck

If you haven’t marked it on you calendar yet, put a big circle around June 25th right now!  I am hoping to do the USAWA proud hosting the USAWA Nationals this year.  I will have Al Myers as my “consultant” to make sure I don’t screw this up.  Al is an unpaid consultant, so I have to be careful I don’t get my money’s worth!  But seriously, we are looking to do some cool things this year.

One idea that I would like to do will require some help from all you!  I want to have a powerpoint  going that will be projecting pictures from the great history of the USAWA onto a wall nearby or even behind the lifting area.  So, I’m asking all of you to submit photos to me or Al.  You can send me a photograph or photographs, you can attach them to an e-mail, you can send me a CD with photos, just get them in and we’ll put them in the rotation!  I think it would add to the inspiration of the meet to have these photos scrolling on the wall while the meet goes on!

I will also have someone photographing every lift of the meet.  These lifts plus the historic lifts will be downloaded to ONE CD and will be sold for$15.

I will also have many photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia from the Jackson Weightlifting Club on display!  I will have a special table set up for the JWC and we will have the famous (or infamous) JWC photo album out as well as some of the old trophies and medals from 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

More plans are coming along, so send your photos!

The Heavy Lift Bar

by Al Myers

Steve Schmidt, arguable the BEST OVERALL Heavy Lift lifter in the history of the USAWA, maxes a Heavy Lift Bar out with plates in the Hip Lift under the watchful eye of Bill Clark.

A very unique bar that we use in the USAWA (and is ONLY used by our organization) is the Heavy Lift Bar.  Often a lot of mystery surrounds this bar.  You will see ads on various websites advertising the sale of  heavy lift bars, but in most cases these bars DO NOT meet our rules specifications.  The Heavy Lift Bar is used for the Heavy Lifts – which include lifts like the Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift, and Neck Lift.  Our new updated Rule Book contains the specifications for the Heavy Lift Bar, which were not included in the previous Rule Book.  Section V.I. 22 of the USAWA Rule Book states this regarding the Heavy Lift Bar:

The Heavy Lift Bar must meet the following specifications.

• The diameter of the bar must be a minimum of 1 15/16 inches.

• The bar may be a pipe or solid steel shaft.

• The maximum length of the inside sleeve is 16 inches.

• The maximum length of the bar is 8 ½ feet and the minimum length of the bar is 7 feet.

• Only one hook is allowed on the bar, located in the center.

• The bar must be straight.

• The weight of the bar must be clearly marked.

• The bar must contain no revolving sleeves.

A brand new Heavy Lift Bar that I made specifically to be used at the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals, to be held in York, PA on May 21st.

The most common problem with “other” Heavy Lift Bars is they often contain TWO HOOKS.  Our Official Heavy Lift Bar can have only one – located in the center – which obviously makes the balance of the lifts much more difficult!  The Heavy Lift Bar requires several accessories.  Proper hooks for attachments are needed, along with bar lifters to make  loading easier.  Special harnesses and belts are needed, depending on which lift is being performed.  The shaft of the Heavy Lift Bar is a solid cold roll bar, of diameter 1 15/16 inches.  A hollow pipe would never hold up – it would bend (or break) immediately!  I am always surprised how much the solid Heavy Lift Bar will bend under loads of over 2000 pounds!  All of the Heavy Lift Bars that we use in the USAWA are home-made or custom-made.  Only a handful of gyms have one – the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Habecker’s Gym, Ambridge BBC, Frank’s Barbell Club, M & D Gym, Schmidt’s Barbell Club,  and the JWC.  OK – so most ALL of the Member Clubs of the USAWA have one!!  The Heavy Lift Bar will be featured exclusively at this year’s Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA on May 21st with the Neck Lift, Hip Lift and Hand and Thigh Lift being contested.  If you want to give the Heavy Lifts a try, and in the process get introduced to the Heavy Lift Bar, just sign up for this competition!

Never Too Old to Start Lifting

by Al Myers

LaVerne Myers wins his FIRST TROPHY EVER in weightlifting, at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup.

One of the very interesting things about weight lifting is that you are never too old to start!  This isn’t the case with a lot of other competitive sports.  Take a sport like football or basketball – not something you could start over 60.  First of all your body wouldn’t hold up to it, plus there are minimal opportunities for competition even if it could.  Weightlifting is really a sport where you only compete against yourself.  Sure you compete against other athletes, but you pick the attempts at weights that you know you can achieve.   You only pick attempts that you have a shot at.  The joys of success often come from achieving a goal that you have set for yourself.  Plus, you can improve at any age in some lift.  The human body is made to adapt to training, and if you are willing to “put in the time” your muscles will become stronger and you will lift more weight.   I have seen all-rounders set personal records at ages most “normal folk” would have thought impossible.

Recently, my father LaVerne started competing in the USAWA.  He had competed in a few of my gym records days in the past,  but just this year he has entered some USAWA competitions.  He is 66 – not the age you would assume someone would start an athletic career!  But he has had tremendous success.  Last spring he placed 5th overall at the Dino Gym Grip Challenge amongst a very strong field. He even tied for the top Weaver Stick lift of the day.  This past November he accompanied me to the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Walpole – and of course he competed!  He very successfully set an IAWA World Record in the One Arm Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  He was astounded that he set a World Record – something he would never have thought possible a few years ago before he became involved with the USAWA.   He should be an example for others as to what one can achieve in the USAWA!  You DO NOT need to have a lifetime of lifting under your belt to enjoy the successes of competitive weightlifting in the USAWA.  You can start NOW!!  I welcome ANYONE of any age to give the USAWA a try – and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Since my father’s involvement of competing in the USAWA, that now makes FOUR generations of the Myers family that have competed within the USAWA.   Has this been done before??  I’m sure it has but I would like to know.  If anyone knows of another family that has done this please email me (amyers@usawa.com) about them so I can share it with the readers of the USAWA Daily News.

2010 USAWA Highlights

by Al Myers

2010 is now behind us – and it’s time to start looking  forward to All-Round Weightlifting in 2011. I want to thank everyone who already sent in their 2011 USAWA memberships.  Sixteen of the most “die-hard” USAWA members have their memberships in so they can have the “January 1st” designation beside their name on the USAWA membership roster.  Memberships in the USAWA run for the calendar year, so you might as well join early because there is not a discount for waiting.  2010 was a “decent” year for memberships – the last count yielded 61 USAWA members.  Pretty much what it has been for the past several years.  Not the highest, but not the lowest either.  I know we have our critics who say our organization might as well “hang up our lifting shoes”  and “throw in the towel”.  I disagree.  We haven’t been over 100 members since the year 2000 – when we topped at 122 members. The USAWA has NEVER had over 200 members a year.  So we are far from being “down for the count”.  I want to mention just a few of the exciting highlights that have happened in the USAWA in the year 2010 that SHOW  the USAWA is very much alive!

1.  USAWA Club Membership hit an ALL-TIME high with 11 registered clubs.

2. 21 sanctioned competitions were held – the 2nd most of ALL-TIME.

3.  The first Club Challenge was held, hosted by the Ambridge BBC – marking the BEGINNING of a new signature USAWA competition.

4.  Chad Ullom won the BEST OVERALL LIFTER at the IAWA World Championships -  making him only the 6th USAWA member of ALL-TIME to ever do this.

5.  The USAWA Awards Program was created,  which recognizes outstanding accomplishments amongst the USAWA lifters throughout the year.

6.  The membership approved new USAWA bylaws which outline (for the first time) how our organization operates.

7.  We seen record growth in our USAWA Officials Program, which now has 32 USAWA Certified Officials.

8.  Scott Schmidt was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame, which marked the RETURN of the USAWA Hall of Fame Program that was inactive for close to 10 years.

9.  561 USAWA Records were set – the 5th highest in a year in our history.

10 .  Our USAWA website now averages over 250 “hits” per day – and is GROWING!

Those are just 10 things that quickly came to my mind from 2010.   It sure doesn’t sound like we are a dying organization to me?  Next year I would like to see us over 100 members again.  My opinion is that we don’t have to have a thousand members, or 10,000 members, to be successful.  But because memberships is our only form of income for our organization, we do need at least 100 members to be able to finance the general overhead expenses, our Awards Program, and our Drug Testing Program.   Also, we need at least that many members to insure that we have enough competitors at our big competitions  so the Meet Directors won’t lose a ton of money.

2010 was a great year for the USAWA!  I am very optimistic that the next year will be even better!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

by Al Myers

I'm enjoying my workouts in the Christmas Spirit!!

On behalf of the USAWA, I  wish everyone a Merry, Merry  Christmas!

Heavy Lift Nationals

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT – 2011 HEAVY LIFT NATIONALS

Welcome USAWA to York Barbell!!!

This is an upcoming USAWA meet that you will not want to miss!  For the first time ever, the USAWA will host an All-Round Weightlifting Meet at the meca of American Weightlifting – the YORK BARBELL COMPANY!  York Barbell retail manager Mike Locondro has invited us to be part of a very special day in York on May 21st.  Mike is reviving the tradition started many, many  years ago by Bob Hoffman in sitting aside a day to invite EVERYONE who is interested in lifting weights to come together at York for a day of enjoyment.  Bob Hoffman’s annual weightlifting picnics at York were always sensational, and created memories that have withstood generations of lifters.  Mike is very familiar with the USAWA, having competed himself several times throughout the 90’s.  It was very generous of him to invite us to be part of this day. This will be a special day in more ways than one.

For the FIRST TIME, we (the USAWA) will be competing in a BIG STAGE ENVIRONMENT.   That is why I proposed to the USAWA Executive Board to have our Heavy Lift Nationals on this day.  These lifts are very crowd pleasing – lifting BIG weights in OLDTIME lifts.  Due to time and space constraints, we will have only 3 hours in the main auditorium to complete our competition so this year only 3 heavy lifts will be contested – the Neck Lift, the Hand and Thigh Lift, and the Hip Lift.  If our competitor list is over a dozen, we will run two platforms. Entries will have to be in advance in order for us to plan accordingly.  I expect there will be LOTS of spectators throughout the day so this will give us the opportunity to showcase our unique lifting skills to many people.  In the afternoon (from 2 PM to 6 PM) we will move to the York gym area and  have a record day.  However, most of our purpose will be to demonstrate the many All-Round Lifts of the USAWA and talk to people coming through the show.  This will be our chance to “show the World” what the USAWA has to offer.  Hopefully, we will be able to recruit some new lifters to our organization.

The main purpose of this day is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  All proceeds from this event will go to this organization.  The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization that helps injured service men and women in physical rehabilitation.   They have a Disabled Sports Project that introduces wounded service members to new sports activities that help in their physical recovery.  Truly a noble cause.  As I said, this day will be a special day in more ways than one!

There will be several other activities going on this day besides our involvement.  The highlight of the day will be the York Barbell Hall of Fame induction of Slim “The Hammer Man” Farman, which will occur during the noontime ceremony.  Other strength demonstrations will be going on – strongman demos, bending demos, a kettlebell instructional session, etc.  Plus – I heard there might be a raffle.  You need to add in a tour of the York Hall of Fame and York Museum,  and visit the retail store.  As I said earlier, this is one meet you do not want to miss!

FOR ENTRY FORM – 2011HeavyLiftNationals

All-Round Lifting, Jungle Style

by John McKean

John McKean "places his best foot forward" in setting up for a dumbbell deadlift using the modified T-Stance.

Big bellied and bubbly, the kindly, bespeckled old timer reminded me of a favorite uncle. Indeed, he chattered on endlessly and always treated me as a long lost, cherished relative. But, as a large man, he always stood kinda funny — his rear foot constantly at a 45 degree outward angle with the front foot’s heel jammed at its center, toes pointing directly at you. Seemed narrow and uncomfortable, oddly insufficient to balance a 280 pound person. Yet, I learned later that if he ever moved that front foot toward anyone while angered, that individual would become an instant corpse! You see, this absolute MASTER of the Indonesian martial art of Silat was once written up in a major magazine series entitled “The Deadliest Man on the Planet.” And, as I was informed from his senior students, during his covert assignment by our government during WW2 many U.S. enemies, as their final sight on earth, witnessed the lightning like speed and deadly power behind that stance!

The proper foot placement for the T-Stance. It may be used for any lift that requires the heels to be together.

So, years back, from training this art and experiencing firsthand the balance and channeled strength afforded by its modified “T -stance,” I adjusted it to experiment on certain all-round lifts. Surprisingly, the unusual footwork gave superior performance in the heels together press, and as the beginning stage (before slight foot opening for position) of the Jefferson and one arm Hack, among others.

Recently I played around with the one arm dumbbell deadlift in preparation for the Boston Gold Cup meet, and found my Indonesian stance was IDEAL for that awkward lift. The problem with the big plated dumbbell pull is that the DB handle is too far out from your body, thus thwarting initial power, and twisting uncontrollably as it ascends up the thighs. So I began with my right foot jammed in between the plates, shin almost touching the bar. The foot was at the best angle I could achieve, tho not quite 45 degrees. My left foot would begin at the outward plate, a few inches from the approximate center of my inner-DB foot, then I would advance it a bit to allow room for the pull. I discovered that my arm was afforded an absolute straight down position for a perfect initial deadlift pull, and that it rested within my right thigh so as not disturb the direct path of the big dumbbell (the weight, not me!). Just a bend of my legs yielded all power from hips and thighs, rather than stress and twisting of the lower back – really, more of a squat than a deadlift.

The tribesmen living within the highland jungles of West Java, where my Silat mentor was raised and taught, knew a thing or two about pinpoint balance and exacting body positioning for exerting maximum power. In their dangerous environment they HAD to! We in all-rounds can also certainly experiment and adapt our own individual structures as a means to stand solidly and “kick butt” on the record book!

2011 Nationals Venue Set

by Thom Van Vleck

Historic Rieger Armory, location for the 2011 USAWA Nationals

I have reserved the Rieger Armory for the 2011 USAWA Nationals and I couldn’t be more pleased with the location.  It is a classic building built in 1938 that has a lot of character and history (I know what you are thinking….that means it’s OLD, but it has been very well kept up and has been the location of hundreds of major functions here in Kirksville over the years).

It is named for Col. James Rieger who is a local war hero.  He served in WWI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Purple Heart as well as numerous other medals for leading  the 138th Regiment in a brutal attack that caused the German defenses to fall back all across the front lines.  He was nicknamed the “Hero of the Argonne” and one of his men famously said in an interview that went national, “…there wasn’t one of us that wouldn’t go to Hell for him”.   The War Department donated a German Howitzer captured in WWI to Kirksville that is in Rotary Park and Col. Rieger was later tapped to return to France at one point to locate and document American soldiers buried  there.  He was given pieces of a stained glass window from a bombed out French Church that was incorporated in the First Baptist Church here in Kirksville as a token of appreciation.

Just as importantly, it is a great place to have a weightlifting meet.  Centrally located in town, you can see Truman State’s campus and the town square from Rieger.  It has a large indoor area that used to house the National Guard artillery unit in town (now a Combat Engineer unit).  It also has a large kitchen with plenty of tables and chairs for our banquet and a stage for a first class awards ceremony!  I hope everyone will try and make this.  More info to come so stay tuned! It is located at 500 S. Elson St. in Kirksville.