Grip Championships

by Al Myers

2013 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Troy Goetsch lifting 260 pounds on the One Hand 2" Vertical Bar Deadlift. Troy won BEST MENS OVERALL LIFTER at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships.

Since the first OFFICIAL USAWA Grip Championships in 2011, this meet has seen more lifters entered each year.  2011 had 8 lifters, 2012 had 11 lifters, and this year we had 16 lifters! If the Grip Championships continually experiences this type of growth it will not be long and this will be the most attended yearly meet in the USAWA. 

I was amazed at the quality of lifting that took place.  The Mens Division was STACKED.  Troy Goetsch, of Jobes Steel Jungle, came out as the BEST OVERALL MENS LIFTER in the end.   Ruth Jackson added another title to her USAWA resume with taking the BEST OVERALL WOMENS LIFTER.  Dan Wagman finished second overall, and LaVerne Myers surprised everyone with his third place overall finish.  I predicted there would be some ALL TIME RECORDS broken – and Troy made sure that happened!  His 255# Pinch Grip and his 260# 1 hand VB DL are now new USAWA All Time Records. He made these lifts look easy and performed them in impeccable form.  My next predication is that he will up both of these records within the next year.

Ken Glasgow (right) receiving his USAWA Grip Championship Award from meet director Al Myers (left).

Darren Barnhart had an excellent meet, and if not for Troy being present, would have had numbers at the very top.  Darren did a Pinch Grip with 250#, and had a very close miss at 275#.  He posted the second highest total (780 pounds) behind Troy’s total (860 pounds).  LaVerne Myers may have ended up in third, but he was NUMBER ONE for best dressed. He showed up sporting a new matching stylish short & shirt, complete with new lifting shoes. This must have given him a surge of confidence, because he ended the meet with a Personal Record in the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip of 300 pounds!  Ken Glasgow needs mentioned as well.  Ken was the oldest lifter that competed, at age 76. I was very impressed with his lifting.  Mike Pringle made his “USAWA debut” in this meet.  Mike lifted very well, and I hope to see more of him in USAWA competitions in the future. Denny Habecker came the farthest for the meet, from Lebanon, PA.  This makes the second meet in less than a month that Denny has attended at the Dino Gym! 

I have several people I want to personally thank.  First – my wife Leslie who made the lunch and provided numerous other meals to lifters over the weekend.  Next, I couldn’t have done this without the help of Chuck Cookson, who did ALL the loading.  Chuck laid off competing to load instead, which is critical for a meet to  run efficiently. I also want to mention Terry Barlet , who made the road trip with Denny.  I talked him into taking all the meet pictures.  I will have these pictures available on our USAWA Facebook Page later this week.   This Grip Championships had participants from several states – Kansas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  I felt VERY HAPPY about the success of the meet.  Thanks again to all those who attended!  It’s this type of support that keeps these events going in the USAWA.

(Dan Wagman video recorded the meet and has placed the videos on his website -  http://jopp.us/2013grip.html)

MEET RESULTS:

2013 Grip Championships
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
Saturday, February 9, 2013

Meet Director:   Al Myers

Scorekeeper/Timekeeper/Announcer:  Al Myers

Loader:  Chuck Cookson

Photographer:  Terry Barlet

Caterer:  Leslie Myers

Officials (3-official system used):  Al Myers (head), Denny Habecker, Darren Barnhart, LaVerne Myers, Mike Murdock, Chad Ullom

Lifts: Pinch Grip, Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand, Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PINCH VB DL TOT PTS
Ruth Jackson 51 108 107 110R 135 352 539.1

 EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD:

Ruth Jackson: Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2″, Right Hand 120#

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PIN VB DL TOT PTS
Troy Goetsch 26 199 240 260R 360 860 770.5
Dan Wagman 50 183 200 180R 280 660 688.4
LaVerne Myers 68 247 180 180R 300 660 679.6
Darren Barnhart 45 305 250 205R 325 780 595.5
Dave Glasgow 59 252 181 170R 275 626 593.5
Denny Habecker 70 193 125 130R 235 490 585.0
Chad Ullom 41 252 180 200R 326  706 568.9
Bryan Benzel 25 290 240 210R 320 770 567.9
Mark Mitchell 52 313 230 150R 325 705 567.8
Mike Pringle 37 193 150 165L 250 565 514.9
Ken Glasgow 76 217 100 135R 205 440 514.8
Dan Bunch 48 358 195 180L 330 705 514.3
Dean Ross 70 271 150 135R 230 515 514.2
Mike Murdock 72 206 100 110R 180 390 455.8
Doug Kressly 33 278 170 160R 250 580 436.7

 EXTRA LIFTS FOR RECORD:

Mike Pringle: Pinch Grip 175#
Dan Wagman: Pinch Grip 215#
Chad Ullom:  Pinch Grip 200#
Troy Goetsch: Pinch Grip 255#
LaVerne Myers: Pinch Grip 200#

NOTES:  All lifts recorded in pounds.  BWT is bodyweight in pounds.  R and L designate the right and left hands.  TOT is total pounds lifter.  PTS are adjusted points for bodyweight and age corrections.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS:

Womens Master:  Ruth Jackson
Womens Overall:  Ruth Jackson
Mens Senior 20-39: Troy Goetsch
Mens Master 40-44: Chad Ullom
Mens Master 45-49: Darren Barnhart
Mens Master 50-54: Dan Wagman
Mens Master 55-59: Dave Glasgow
Mens Master 65-69: LaVerne Myers
Mens Master 70-74: Denny Habecker
Mens Master 75-79: Ken Glasgow

Rules for the VB DL – 1 bar, 2″, One Hand

by Al Myers

Andrew Durniat's 250 pound Vertical Bar Deadlift - 1 Bar, 2", One Hand at the 2010 USAWA Grip Championships. Andrew was the first lifter in the USAWA to exceed 250 pounds in this lift.

This is a lift that has been contested before in the USAWA Grip Championships.  It is a very popular grip lift, and I know the favorite of several.  For those of you that may have performed Vertical Bar Lifts in other organizations, pay attention to the USAWA rules for it.  They are quite different and may affect the amount of weight you can lift.  The USAWA rules for the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand is as follows:

I23.  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1”, One Hand

The setup for this lift requires a Vertical Bar, which is a bar of one inch diameter with a maximum length of 18 inches. A collar or plate must be tightly fastened or welded to the bottom so plates may be added to the bar.  No knurling is allowed on the bar. The lifter may straddle the weight or have it placed to the lifter’s side. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The bar may be gripped by any grip with only one hand near the top of the vertical bar.  The forearm is not allowed to touch the bar. The lifting hand must not touch the body during the lift, but the weight may accidentally touch the legs provided it does not aid in the lift. The non-lifting hand may be braced on the leg or body during the lift, but must be free from the body at the completion of the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The body must then straighten, lifting the Vertical Bar from the platform. The legs must be straight and knees locked at the completion of the lift, but the shoulders and body do not need to be erect. The lifting hand must be above the level of mid-thighs at the completion of the lift. Any rotation of the bar must be completely stopped. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

I24.  Vertical Bar Deadlift -1 Bar, 2”, One Hand

The rules of the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1Bar, 1”, One Hand apply except a two inch diameter Vertical Bar is used.

I have covered this lift in several past  USAWA Daily News blogs.  I will help you out here with the search on these, as I think “refreshing” yourself on this lift may prove to be beneficial to your performance.  In several of these Vertical Bar  blogs, tips were given out.

1.  This blog was written on February 10th, 2010 by me and it outlines some of the historical significance of the VB, plus has a cool picture of Ben Edwards lifting the “then record” of 235 pounds.

http://www.usawa.com/tag/vertical-bar/

2.  This blog was written on September 2nd, 2011 by Ben Edwards. Ben gives out some training tips en route to his new record of 251 pounds.

http://www.usawa.com/2-vertical-bar-training-tips/

3.  This blog was written by me on November 5th, 2011 .  Most of it is about the 2 BAR VB DL, but some of it applies to the 1 BAR VB DL. However, most of it is myself complaining about the differences between the USAWA and IAWA rules on this lift!!!

http://www.usawa.com/vertical-bar-deadlift-2-bars-2/

Past History of the ALL-TIME USAWA RECORD in the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, One Hand:

RECORD LIFTER DATE LOCATION
168  Jim Welsh 11/2/2003 2003 Gold Cup
185  Bob Hirsh 11/23/2003 Jump Stretch RD
200  Frank Ciavattone 6/5/2004 2004 Nationals
224  Scott Schmidt 6/25/2005 2005 Nationals
231  Frank Ciavattone 10/10/2005 Franks Record Day
235  Ben Edwards 11/22/2009 Clarks Record Day
250 Andrew Durniat 2/13/2010 2010 Grip Champs
251 Ben Edwards 8/28/2011 Dino Days RD
253 Adam Glass 3/3/2012 Minnesota Meet
255 Troy Goetsch 5/20/2012 Jobes Steel Jungle RD

NOTES:  All records recorded in pounds.

As far as I can find, Jim Welsh was the first lifter to do this lift in official competition.  The VB DL – 2 Bars was done in several competitions over a few years before the one hand version was contested.  Frank Ciavattone was the first lifter to break the 200# barrier, and held the record for the longest period (2005-2009).   The past two years have seen the most activity with big lifts and new ALL TIME records being established.  Andrew Durniat was the first lifter to exceed 250 pounds.  Troy Goetsch currently holds the best mark.  I have witnessed and/or judged the record lifts by Ben Edwards, Adam Glass, and Andrew Durniat.  My training partners Scott Tully and Darren Barnhart judged Troy’s lift, and they have assured me that it was officiated according to the same standards as the others.  These four grip masters are still at the top of their game – and I would just LOVE to see them together in the same USAWA competition to decide once and for all, who is the BEST in the USAWA at the One Hand 2″ VB DL!!!

Grip Championships

by Al Myers

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT
USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

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

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

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

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

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

ENTRY FORM  – 2013 USAWA Grip Championships Entry Form

Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2 Bars, 2″

by Al Myers

Longtime USAWA member and IAWA supporter John McKean performs a 283 pound Vertical Bar Deadlift - 2 Bars, 2" at the 2010 USAWA Club Challenge in Ambridge, PA.

One of the lifts that will be contested at this year’s World Championships in Perth, Australia will be the Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2 Bars, 2″.  This a very difficult grip lift that requires grip strength in BOTH HANDS.  If one of your hands is weaker than the other, this lift will show it!   I have done this lift in several USAWA competitions to date, but never in an IAWA competition.  This event was contested at the 2003 USAWA National Championships in Youngstown, Ohio. 

A while back  I received a question regarding this lift which I thought was an EXCELLENT QUESTION, so I would like share this question and my response since I’m sure other lifters might be wondering the same thing.

QUESTION: I wonder if you could help me out with some lifting technique!?  It is with reference to the 2 x 2″ vertical bar lift for Australia – I had a go at this lift on friday night, I attempted it with one bar at either side of my legs and found the weight plates were catching my legs all the way up!!! Is the straddle stance, i.e. one pin in front and one pin behind a legal position? Also is it mechanically better?  Thanks for the help.

First, lets do a review of the rules for this lift.  By now most of you know my frustrations with the nuances of rule differences between the USAWA rules and the IAWA rules for lifts.  Well, this lift is no exception to that as you will see. (By the way, both of these rule descriptions are actually for the same lift!  It doesn’t appear that way when you read them. )  Even the names are drastically different - the USAWA calls it a deadlift while the IAWA rules just call it a lift.

USAWA Rules for the Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2 Bars, 2″

I25.  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2”

The rules of the Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 1” apply except two 2” inch diameter Vertical Bars are used.

Need to reference this rule -

I24.  Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 1”

The setup for this lift requires two Vertical Bars, which is a bar of one inch diameter with a maximum length of 18 inches. A collar or plate must be tightly fastened or welded to the bottom so plates may be added to the bars. Both vertical bars must be loaded to the same weight.   No knurling is allowed on the bars. The lifter must start with the bars on each side of the lifter. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. Each bar may be gripped by any grip near the top of the Vertical Bars. The forearms are not allowed to touch the bars. The lifting hands or weight may accidentally touch the lifter’s body or legs during the lift, provided that it does not aid in the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The body must then straighten, lifting the Vertical Bars from the platform. The legs must be straight and knees locked and the body upright at the completion of the lift. Any rotation of the bars must be completely stopped. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

IAWA Rules for the Two Vertical Bars (one in each hand) – 2 inch rods

F26.  TWO VERTICAL BARS (ONE IN EACH HAND) – 2 INCH RODS

The rules of performance are the same as for the vertical bar lift, except that the lift is performed with  two x 2 inch diameter bars / rods, one in each hand.

Causes for Failure: 

1. Causes for failure are the same as for the vertical bar lift, except that 2 x 2 inch rods are used.

Need to reference this rule -

F19. VERTICAL BAR LIFT – TWO INCH ROD 

The rules of performance are the same as for the vertical bar lift, except that the lift is performed with a two inch diameter bar / rod.

Causes for Failure: 

1.  Causes for failure are the same as for the one hand vertical  lift, except that a 2 inch rod is used.

Need to reference this rule as well -

F2.   ONE HAND VERTICAL BAR LIFT

The lifter will grip a vertical bar with one hand, and lift the bar and weight stack clear of the lifting surface, holding it motionless and under control for two seconds. On completion the legs should be erect and straight with the free hand clear of any contact with the body. The bar will be of 1 inch diameter, and can be up to 30 inches long. A collar or base plate should be tightened or welded  on the bottom to hold the vertical weight stack. The bar should not be knurled. The lifter can use an optional grip, and the lifting hand should not be in contact with or in close proximity to the weight stack, so as to avoid any tipping  or gripping of the bar  with the weight stack at an angle. The lifter should also be careful to ensure that the bar does not touch the forearm or leg, and the lifting hand is not locked against the thigh.

Causes for Failure:

1.   Any contact of the bar with the forearm or legs, or locking of the lifting hand or bar against the thigh.
2.  Any contact between the lifting hand and the weight stack, or any attempt to tip or grip the bar at an angle.
3.  Failure to achieve and maintain the finished position (weight held clear of the lifting surface, motionless and under control for two seconds, with the legs erect and straight and the free hand clear of any contact with the body.
4.  Replacing / lowering the bar before the referees signal.

Wow!  That is confusing – isn’t it???  Now add in the factor that the World Entry form, in it’s attached list of guidelines for the rules of the lifts to be contested,  has this lift misnamed as the 2 HANDS FULTON DUMBELLS DEADLIFT (I’m sure this is was just listed this way on accident),  but you can see why someone would have questions regarding this lift!  Add in the differences in rules between the USAWA and the IAWA and  it makes it nearly impossible for me to answer some parts of the question as well.

Is the straddle stance legal? 

The USAWA rules state that it IS NOT (the bars must be on each side of the lifter).  The IAWA rules don’t state that is an infraction (nothing is mentioned regarding the lifter’s stance) , so I  can assume that a straddle stance is allowed.  Now to the part about it being a mechanically advantage to use the straddle stance – I have tried it both ways and I prefer the side by side approach. It seems to me that my grip is dramatically reduced when holding one of  the VBs to the back, and since this event is limited by my grip and not my back strength, this reduces the amount I can lift. 

What are some other rules differences between the USAWA and the IAWA?

The big one that “jumps out” to me is the legal length  allowed.  The USAWA rules clearly state the VBs can not be over 18 inches in length while the IAWA rules allow a length of up to 30 inches long!  This is a HUGE difference!  Having  a VB  that long turns this lift into a partial lift.  For some short lifters, the VB may barely even clear the floor at lockout!   The USAWA rules require the lifter to stand totally upright with shoulders back (that is why it is called a deadlift in the USAWA rules) while the IAWA rules only require, as stated in the rules “to lift the bar and weight stack clear of the lifting surface”, thus I would say is why it is just called a lift. Nothing is stated in the IAWA rules about being required to stand upright (but I won’t be surprised that this will be required come meet day, and be justified with the explanation that standing upright was implied).   Here’s another question – my left hand strength on a VB is slightly less than my right hand, so can I load the VBs to different weights?   The USAWA rules clearly state NO on this - but this is not stated as an infraction in the IAWA rules so I’m going to assume I can do this (but then again I bet come meet day this will also not be allowed, with the explanation that this is ANOTHER  implied IAWA rule on this lift).  With these rule differences it appears to me that the USAWA rules are much more difficult than the IAWA rules for this SAME LIFT.  There is one rule issue that might make the IAWA rules a little more difficult than the USAWA rules as they state the weight must be  ”motionless and under control for two seconds” whereas the USAWA rules only require the VBs to be held till “the weight is motionless”.  Two seconds is a long time to hold at lockout after becoming motionless, and will definitely decrease the amount of weight that can be lifted versus getting the down command immediately when the VBs are motionless. 

Neither set of rules state limitations on the size of plates that can be loaded onto the Vertical Bars. When lifting the VBs at your side, large plates (45#s or 20Ks) will hit the side of your legs and cause drag, and in turn less weight can be lifted. I prefer loading the VBs with smaller plates(25#s or 10Ks) when performing this lift.  Hopefully this will be the way the Vertical Bars will be loaded in Australia.

I have stated my opinion on rules many times before but I’m going to repeat it.  I don’t really care WHAT the rules are for a lift as long as the rules are well written and are specific in what is allowed and disallowed.  NOTHING SHOULD BE IMPLIED WHEN IT COMES TO THE RULE BOOK.  

It also would be nice if the USAWA and the IAWA had consistent rules in all of the lifts.  We are far from that now. But if at Worlds, the Vertical Bars are 30 inches long and only need to clear the floor a 1/2″ to be a legal lift, I will adapt to that and do it that way!

2″ Vertical Bar Training Tips

by Ben Edwards

This is Ben's record lift of 251 pounds in the One Hand Vertical Bar Deadlift done at the 2011 Dino Days Record Day last weekend. This is the new ALL TIME Vertical Bar Deadlift record in the USAWA, breaking the record held of 250 pounds by Andrew Durniat. At this same record day, Ben also did a 240 pound LEFT HANDED Vertical Bar Deadlift, which is the highest left handed mark as well! (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster)

I’m going to share a few tips that have helped me push my record in the 2″ vertical bar significantly higher in my weight class over the past few years. 

The key to this lift is obviously grip strength.  But a sometimes overlooked factor that makes a big difference in the amount of weight that can be lifted is the grip taken on the vertical bar at the start of the lift.   An over grip is the most efficient grip when performing the USAWA version of the 2” vertical bar.  That distinction is made because in other grip contests that I compete in – those that are not USAWA contests – a supinated grip is far more efficient in lifting maximal poundages for most people.   USAWA rules dictate that the weights attached to the vertical bar will be lifted to the required height and then held motionless until the judge gives the down command.   When a supinated grip is used the weights will rotate quite a bit and tend to spin right out of the hand essentially.  The supinated grip is best used to lift heavy weights over short distances – 2” is the minimum height needed to be a contest-legal lift in most non-USAWA grip contests.    An over grip prevents the rotation of the plates and is therefore much more efficient than lifting the weight and then expending energy trying to stop the rotation of the weights before getting the judge’s down signal.   A handshake grip will involve less rotation of the weights than the supinated grip.  But it isn’t as efficient as the over grip in preventing rotation of the weights. 

One simple rule I adhere to in my training is to attempt to do every lift in contest-legal form.  If I fail to perform the lift in contest-legal form I note that in my training log and set my goal for the next workout a little higher than what I achieved in the last workout.   I videotape all of my near-max attempts in training.  While resting for the next set – I review the video to make sure that I performed the lift in contest-legal form.  I also critique my form to make sure that I’m not wasting energy stopping the rotation of the plates (using an over grip usually means that I don’t worry about rotation of the plates) and that I’m pulling the vertical bar in the most direct up-and-down motion as possible.

So to summarize:

  • Use the over grip exclusively in training.

-It is the most efficient grip for the USAWA 2” vertical bar rules. 

  • Perform each lift in contest-legal form. 

-That way when you’re attempting to break a record you won’t have any accidental lapses in form – due to training with a loose style that doesn’t exactly match the contest-legal performance of the lift. 

  • Videotape each near-max attempt in training.

-Review the video to ensure that all of your near-max lifts are performed in contest-legal form so that you won’t have any surprises in a contest setting.

One Inch Vertical Bar

This was a 387 pound 1” vertical bar training lift (December of 2006) that was pulled a little higher than the (non-USAWA) standard grip contest minimum height requirement of 2 inches.  What the photo doesn’t show is that the weights were rotating from the time they left the floor until they touched down again.  Standard grip contests don’t require the rotation of the weights to be stopped – or a judge’s down signal.  These more relaxed rules allow significantly more weight to be lifted compared to the strict USAWA rules.  

Two Inch One Handed Vertical Bar Deadlift by Ben Edwards.

This was my event-winning 2” vertical bar lift from the 2011 USAWA National Grip Championships held at the Dino Gym in February.  You can clearly see the over grip being put to work.  It allowed me to pull the weights straight up – without worrying about having to stop the rotation of the plates – and then lower the weights straight down as quickly as possible after receiving the judge’s down signal. 

Minimizing the time spent holding the weight is of paramount importance in maximizing your poundage lifted.

The “Vert Bar” Deadlift

by Thom Van Vleck

Rudy Bletscher performing the 2 Bar Vertical Bar Deadlift at the Club Challenge last March.

Recently, I was talking to my Uncle Phil Jackson, the second generation leader of the Jackson Weightlifting Club and I told him about the “Straight Weight Challenge”.  Phil has been my coach and training guru since day one.  He once told me that it was no use to think I could ever know more than him about training because he had learned it all and he had “forgotten more than I would ever  know”.  I said there were 5 lifts involved and named them off.  When I got to the Vertical Bar Deadlift he paused and in his usual “old school coach” fashion said, “Well! I guess I’m gonna have to ask….what the he!! is a Vertical BAR!”.

Here’s the USAWA Rule book on the Vertical Bar Deadlift, more specifically, the 2 bar lift which is what we’ll be doing in the Straight Weight Challenge:

H24. Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 1”

The setup for this lift requires two Vertical Bars, which is a bar of one inch diameter with a maximum length of 18 inches. A collar or plate must be tightly fastened or welded to the bottom so plates may be added to the bars. No knurling is allowed on the bars. The lifter must start with the bars on each side of the lifter. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. Each bar may be gripped by any grip near the top of the Vertical Bars. The forearms are not allowed to touch the bars. The lifting hands or weight may accidentally touch the lifter’s body or legs during the lift, provided that it does not aid in the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The body must then straighten, lifting the Vertical Bars from the platform. The legs must be straight and knees locked and the body upright at the completion of the lift. Any rotation of the bars must be completely stopped. Once the weight is motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Phil then asked me why I added the Vert Bar Deadlift to the contest.  I’m pretty sure he was asking because he has always been pretty critical of my grip strength (and my use of straps from time to time) and thinking, “If he isn’t good at it, why is he adding it”.  Well, to me, a good USAWA meet has to have at least one lift that tests grip in some way and, to be honest, the vert bar is one of my better gripping events.  It helps that my other two team members that have phenomenal grip!

I know that the Dino Gym has answered the challenge for the Straight Weight Challenge, I hope another club will step up!  After seeing the picture of Tully hitting that very impressive 330 Push Press….this will be a close contest!