No Stupid Lifts, Just Stupid Lifters

by Thom Van Vleck

Wilbur Miller doing a barbell leg press

Recently I got kind of sore at a guy for criticizing a leg press done by my friend Wilbur Miller.  Wilbur and my Uncle Wayne had some epic battles back in the day and while Wilbur won the overall in every meet he was never able to beat my Uncle in the Clean and Press.  Wayne took great pride in that as Wilbur was, in his mind, the greatest of his era.  I have written an article for MILO magazine on Wilbur and he continues to be involved in the USAWA to this day.

So this picture came up and this guy took it for face value and called it “Stupid”.  Well, I let him have it.  I was probably too harsh but I knew the story behind this photo.  The guy also said that if this was a good lift then you would see people doing it everywhere.  First of all, Wilbur usually did his lifting in an old York Power Rack where he could leg press in a rack with a very tight gap.  I did leg pressed that way early in my training as well.  Second of all, this photo was take out of the rack to demonstrate the lift.  Third, Wilbur did them because he didn’t have a proper leg press or leg sled.  It might be stupid to do this lift if you had a good leg press or out of a power rack….but it was dang smart to do them when Wilbur had some back issues and wanted to work his legs hard and he had no other recourse.

This got me to thinking about all the name calling and commentary from know-it-all lifters on the internet.  And to be honest, I’ve been one, too and I regret it.  A quick glance and you might think a lot of lifts would be useless or even dangerous.  But the reality is there are no stupid lift…only stupid lifters!

I would contend that ANY lift that can be done could have a useful purpose at some point of any lifters career.  Maybe because of injury, or an unusual weakness, or a lack of proper equipment.  Over the years I have made it a point to train with many of the best lifters in the country and I have found that almost ALL of the best have all kinds of unusual lifts they have developed that fits their needs.  Those same lifts, in the wrong context, could be disastrous to others.

Many times I have had a lifter tell me of a lift they do and my initial reaction is to roll my eyes and shake my head.  But in my 35 plus years of lifting there have been countless times I’ve ended up adopting that lift for my own needs.  So, my point is don’t judge, keep your mind open, and be like a U. S. Marine: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”.   In other words….don’t be stupid!

Wilbur Miller

by Al Myers

Wilbur Miller pulling a 725# deadlift in York in 1965 (above), and then close to 50 years later pulling a 457# deadlift in 2012 at the Dino Gym (below).

Anyone involved with the All-Rounds in the midwest knows “the name” of Wilbur Miller.   I am very fortunate to know Wilbur personally, and he has been to my gym several times now.  He is an ICON amongst past strength athletes in the state of Kansas, and if I was voting,  I would vote him as the GREATEST ALL ROUND STRENGTH ATHLETE ever from the state of Kansas.  I know that’s saying alot, as there have been several others worthy of this distinction as well.  The reason I’m “putting my vote” on Wilbur is his diversity in strength and how he excelled in each discipline, whether it was Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting,  Grip, or All Round.  Recently, Wilbur was at the Dino Gym when some of the guys were doing Strongman, and he  commented to me how he wished that was around when he was younger.  I’m betting if it was, and Wilbur competed in Strongman – he would have excelled in that as well!

I’m glad to see Wilbur back into “action” in the USAWA.   The USAWA has alot to thank Wilbur Miller for.  He was a big part of the “grassroot movement” that started the USAWA and the IAWA.  At the time (late 60’s to mid 80’s), there were no organized associations for All Round Weightlifting like we have now with the USAWA, and the only option for this type of lifting (then known primarily as Odd Lifting) was within the Missouri Valley Region IV by Bill Clark promotions.  Wilbur often took part in these, and set at the time many Region IV records.   These records did not transfer into the modern day USAWA record book.   But if they did – many of Wilbur’s records would STILL be standing.

A little over a year ago, Thom Van Vleck wrote a nice biography about Wilbur for MILO (December 2011, Volume 19, Number 3).   I’ve told Thom that I thought this was one of his best Milo stories ever, but I know I am biased because of the respect I have for Wilbur and what he has done for All Round Weightlifting.  I want to highlight just a few of the things that Thom revealed about Wilbur in that story. However, if you are interested I recommend you order that issue of MILO, and it is worth it just for Thom’s story alone.

Wilbur was born in 1932 in Cimarron, Kansas.   That is the reason he acquired the nickname of “the Cimarron Kid”.  He was a gifted High School athlete – excelling in all sports.  It’s hard to believe but Wilbur ran the mile in Highschool.  He ran a best of 4 minutes, 33.6 seconds. In the state finals, he placed third behind two runners, Wes Santee and Billy Tidwell, who both went on to International Fame as World Class milers (that tidbit of trivia was not in Thom’s story, but rather told to me by Bill Clark).  Wilbur became interested in lifting at the age of 23, after injuring his back in a horse riding accident.  What started out  as physical therapy to recover from an injury turned into passion that lead to lifting greatness!  Wilbur was always known for having outstanding technique.  Thom titled his MILO story this way “Wilbur Miller: Lifting Perfection” because Wilbur was well-known for having perfect lifting technique.  Wilbur had a “story book” lifting career that propelled him into the Powerlifting Hall of Fame and the Weightlifting Hall of Fame.  My feeling is the only thing missing is that he should also be in the All Round (USAWA)  Hall of Fame!  After all, it was lifters like him (and a few others) that set the “groundwork” for the future of the USAWA.  Wilbur stills trains on York bars and plates that he purchased when he was a young man. I have a picture displayed in the Dino Gym that is “personally autographed” by Wilbur.  It is one of my favorites.  One of the reasons for this is that is because the bar is “fully loaded” with straps holding the plates on because there wasn’t enough room for the collars!  At the time the main plates available were Deep Dish York 45’s with wide-flanged rims which took up a lot of room on the bar.  Thom made this comment in his story which I think is worth repeating, “Some have claimed that the reason York quit making the deep-dish 4 and went to a thinner, sleeker version was because of Wilbur’s ability to max out the amount of weight on the bar with his monster deadlifts.”   Thom then went onto to say, “How would you like to be the reason the biggest maker of weights in the US had to change its design!”

This is that "autographed picture" in the Dino Gym that shows the plates loaded to the end of the bar!

Wilbur’s best lifts in competition were: 725# deadlift, 320# clean and press, 320# snatch (split-style), and a 385# clean and jerk.  Wilbur often competed in the 240-250 lb bodyweight range, which often put him as very light heavyweight because this was at the time that the heavyweight class started at 110 kilograms.  He often gave up over 100 pounds bodyweight to his competitors!  His 725 pound deadlift was an All Time Deadlift record at the time, and was done in 1965 in York, Pennsylvania.  He weighed 245 pounds in that meet.  I did some research on his best All Round lifts and this is what I found from an old Region VI Missouri Valley Record List.  Below is just a few of his records at the time:

LIFT RECORD
Middle Fingers Deadlift 320 pounds  (1983)
Hack Lift 650 pounds (1963)
Jefferson Lift 650 pounds (1963)
2-Dumbbell Deadlift 520 pounds (1984)
Strict Curl 180 pounds (1964)
Abdominal Raise 105 pounds (1962)
Miller Clean and Jerk 135 pounds (1979)

That last lift mentioned, the Miller Clean and Jerk, was named after Wilbur by Bill Clark in 1979.  It is that “dreaded lift” where a Clean and Jerk is performed by the middle fingers only!  It is a very painful lift!   Someday I will get Wilbur to demonstrate this lifted named after him for a picture.  I asked him to do it for me this past year, but he said it’s been awhile since he did it and he wanted to “train it” for a while before the photo op! I bet he’ll match his “bar and two plates’ for me like he did over 30 years ago!!!

Wilbur Miller (left) and USAWA President Denny Habecker (right) at the 2012 Dino Gym Challenge.

Wilbur currently has 7 records in the USAWA.  Like I said, those earlier Mo-Valley records didn’t carry over so these are records he has set recently.  All of them are in the 75-79 age group, 100-105 kg weight class.  I would like to see the lifter that can break these marks!!!

LIFT RECORD
12″ Base Deadlift 457 pounds (100kg class)
12″ Base Deadlift 450 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 397 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip 350 pounds (105kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 419 pounds (100kg class)
Deadlift – Heels Together 400 pounds (105kg class)
12″ Base Squat 320 pounds (100kg class)

I have MANY MORE things and stories I could tell about Wilbur here, but I don’t want my story to be longer than the one Thom did for MILO (another reminder – BUY that issue!).  I want to close this by saying a few words about Wilbur as a person.  He is an extremely modest and humble person and it takes a bit to get him to talk about his accomplishments in the lifting game.   It is very obvious that he truly loves weightlifting and the people involved in it.  When he’s been at the Dino Gym, he’s “all smiles” and just loves to be part of day.  He’s always offering words of encouragement to the other lifters. In today’s world of BIG EGOS and SELF PROMOTERS, there are  few around anymore like Wilbur Miller who lifts  for the “love of the sport”.  I consider him a great weightlifting role model and I try everyday to have the attitude and character that he has shown.

Top Performances of 2012 – PART 2

by Al Myers

Now it’s time to finish the  count down of the TOP PERFORMANCES of 2012! 

5.  Bryan Benzel and his 355 pound Apollons Lift.

Bryan Benzel performing the Apollons Lift at the 2012 Battle in the Barn.

Bryan “THE BIG YOUNG BULL” Benzel made his “name known” at ET’s Battle in the Barn OTSM meet last spring.  Included in the list of events was the Apollons Lift, which represents the performance done by the old time strongman Louis Uni, aka Apollon.  Apollon lifted his famous Apollon’s Wheels, which weighed 366#, overhead in his show performances.   The Bull  about  beat the mark set by the mighty Apollon!

4.  Adam Glass lifting 822 pounds in the Dinnie Lift at the Minneapolis Meet.

Adam Glass performing the Dinnie Lift at the 2012 Minneapolis Meet.

Adam Glass is, without a doubt, a WORLD CLASS grip man.  I am so glad that I was able to see this performance of his first-hand, because if not, I don’t know if I would have truly believed that he could lift so much in the Dinnie Lift.   Hopefully someday Adam will have an opportunity to attempt the actual stones – because if we are taking bets I’m going to place my bet on him that he’ll lift them!

3.  Dan Wagman’s 359 pound Steinborn Lift at Worlds.

Dan Wagman performing the Steinborn Lift in route to winning the Overall Best Lifter at the 2012 IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas.

I’ve known Dan “PURE POWER” Wagman for several years, and know what an outstanding lifter he is.  I had the feeling that the OVERALL CHAMPION of the 2012 Worlds was going to come down to a battle between him and my training buddy Chad.  I felt Chad’s “ace in the hole” was going to be the Steinborn Lift, and a lift that he might be able to distance himself from Dan.  However, this was not to be (even though Chad put up his All Time best Steinborn of 202.5kg) when Dan put up a huge Steinborn Lift of 359 pounds.  I was not expecting this out of Dan – and in turn quite surprised me – and that is why it made my ranking of number 3 of impressive lifts of 2012.

2.  Wilbur Miller’s 457# 12 inch base Deadlift.

Wilbur Miller (left) and Denny Habecker (right) at the Dino Gym.

It’s been years since Wilbur Miller was nicknamed the Cimarron Kid, but at an age of 79 he still lifts like a kid!  This amazing deadlift of his has to be regarded as one of the best performances of ALL-TIME in the USAWA as well.  

1.  Eric “ET” Todd and the monsterous WORLD RECORD Neck Lift of 1030 pounds!

Eric Todd performing his World Record Neck Lift at the 2012 IAWA World Championships.

This was the most impressive lift in the USAWA for 2012. I’m sure most everyone would agree with me on this.   Following the World Championships, Eric and Chad Ullom engaged each other in an “one on one” Neck Lift Challenge to determine who the best neck lifter was.  Both guys eclipsed the 1000 pound barrier in a climatic fashion, and in doing so, set the new mark for Neck Lifting.  I would like to think that both of these guys learned everything they know about Neck Lifting from me – but I know that isn’t true! (but I did make both of their neck harnesses which might have helped them a little bit…)  

HONERABLE MENTION FOR NUMBER ONE -

1.  Chad “THE CHAMP” Ullom lifting the Dinnie Stones for 25 reps! I giving this Honorable Mention Number One because this was not a competition lift – but done within the realms of an IAWA event.

Chad Ullom lifting the Dinnie Stone.

The day after the Gold Cup in Glasgow several of us made a visit to lift the Dinnie Stones. Chad was only hoping to become the FIFTH American to ever lift the stones unassisted (without straps) when he set up for his first attempt.  However, the stones came up with EASE!  It looked like he was warming up with a 135# deadlift!  After that he decided to test himself for total reps and finished with 25 unassisted reps with the Dinnie Stones, the most by anyone in a single day (done along with Mark Haydock of England).  It was a remarkable display of strength.  His performance must have shocked the stone lifting community because afterwards he endured much criticism for this performance along with a personal attack on his character (which included being called a numpkie – I had to ask an English friend what that meant!!  haha ) .  Most of this was fueled by envy and jealousy to discredit him (along with Mark) and to try to take away from their great display of  Dinnie stone lifting.  However, both of these guys showed what class they have by not publicly responding to these personal attacks and proved to me (and others) that they are honorable  individuals.   That’s all I’m going to say about that – I don’t have the time or energy  to deal with the HATERS.

I do want to point out with all this that it was me that suggested they stop at 25 reps to mark the 25th anniversary of IAWA. That was NEVER a goal of theirs going into this day.  They could have done another 25-50 reps if they really wanted to.  Chad’s hands were not the least bit damaged, and his 25th rep was as strong as his first. His grip was not slipping at all and he could have done many more reps.  He looked to me that he was just getting “warmed up”!!  However,  lunch time was upon us and I had to think of some way to get them to stop. I was getting hungry and the fish and chips at the Potarch Hotel were calling to me!!

Building Bigger Legs

By Roger LaPointe

Wilbur Miller knows the value of building leg strength through squatting. He just recently did a 320 pound 12 inch base squat at the Dino Gyms Record Day at the age of 79!

The secret to building bigger legs is really knowing the tools of the trade. You simply don’t build a skyscraper without a solid foundation. To build that foundation you need the right tools.

I had a great conversation, which did result in a sale, with a very high level basketball coach. As you might expect, he is dealing with very tall men who really are not built to be weightlifters. Yet, they do need the strength and explosiveness in their legs that serious weightlifting will bring them. We talked about the various bars I personally use, unsurprisingly, they are the same type of bars he uses, with slight variations. I regularly use an Olympic weightlifting bar with super smooth rotation, a stiff thick bar, a shrug/trap type bar, and a safety squat bar. At a height of 5 foot 3 inches, I am using them somewhat differently than his potential NBA recruits.

These are the exercises you need to do for building big and explosive legs:
1. Back Squats
2. Clean Pulls or, better yet, Power Cleans
3. A grip building exercise, such as Thick Bar Deadlifts
4. Front squat type movement – for some coaching situations, based on sport, facility resources, and/or body type – shrug bar deadlifts or a safety squat bar squats will be best

Now you need to apply these correctly.

Live strong,
Roger LaPointe

PS. If you can possibly get there, you need to come to the Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic. The real draw is the other people who attend. We have had coaches from the worlds of: football, track & field, basketball, mma, wrestling, cycling, boxing and a wide variety of other sports. This is your chance to pick their brains. Don’t miss it. Who knows, they might surprise you and try to pick your brain…

LESSONS

BY DAVE GLASGOW

WILBUR MILLER TRAINED ALL-ROUND LIFTS ALONG WITH OLYMPIC LIFTS AND POWER LIFTS.

I DON’T SUPPOSE THERE IS ONE OF US THAT, AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, DON’T THINK, “GEE, IF I HAD ONLY KNOWN THAT BACK WHEN….” OR “I SURE WISH I WAS YOUNGER.”  FOLLOWING MY WORKOUT LAST EVENING, I HAD SUCH A MOMENT.  YOU SEE, WHEN I FIRST STARTED LIFTING, IN THE LATE ‘60s, EARLY ‘70s, POWER LIFTING WAS MAKING A BIG ENTRANCE.  BY THE TIME I LEFT COLLEGE IN THE MID ‘70s, IT WAS KING.  FOR STRENGTH ATHLETES, IT WAS POWERLIFTING AND THE REST BE DAMNED.  OR SO I THOUGHT…  THIS IS WHERE THE LESSON SHOULD HAVE STARTED, BUT WAS LOST IN THE TRANSLATION.  THIS WAS ESPECIALLY TRUE TO ME, A KID IN HIS EARLY 20s., AND NOT A BIT ‘HEAD STRONG’ , I MIGHT ADD.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO ‘EDUCATE’ MYSELF, I SUBSCRIBED TO ‘IRONMAN’ MAGAZINE.   THOSE OF YOU IN MY AGE GROUP WILL REMEMBER PERRY AND MABLE RADER AND THE VERY, EXCELLENT PUBLICATION THEY PUT OUT.  (TO MY MIND, THIS MONTHLY CHRONCILE HAS YET TO BE MATCHED.  YES, I UNDERSTAND THIS IS GOING TO START A RIFF; HOWEVER, THAT IS MY OPINION.  THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE DIVERSIFIED AND UNBIASED MAGAZINE, BEFORE OR SINCE.)  I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER PASSING OVER THE OLD TIME STRONGMAN ARTICLES, SKIMMING THE OLY LIFT STORIES AND INSTRUCTIONAL ADVICE TO GET TO THE POWERLIFTING SECTION. WHAT WERE THESE OLD GUYS FROM THE TURN OF THE CENTURY GOING TO TEACH ME?  HOW COULD OLY LIFTING POSSIBLY HELP ME?  I CAN ONLY SHAKE MY HEAD, NOW. WHAT A MISTAKE!!  I HAD ALL THE INFORMATION I NEEDED RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME BUT I CHOSE TO TOTALLY DISREGARD IT.  ALL THAT WAS IMPORTANT WAS A BIG BENCH PRESS.  ‘WHAT CAN YA  BENCH??’, WAS THE COMMON PHRASE BACK THEN.  AS I KNOW NOW, THE CATCH PHRASE SHOULD HAVE BEEN, ‘WHAT CAN YA SQUAT OR DEADLIFT??’

THE MORE I GET INVOLVED IN THE USAWA, THE MORE I REALIZE THAT I, TOTALLY, MISSED THE BOAT.  THERE ARE SO MANY LIFTS THAT INVOLVE STRENGTH, ATHLETICISM AND POWER THAT IF ONE BECOMES ‘STALE’, IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE THE FAULT OF THE TRAINEE FOR NOT IMPLEMENTING THESE MIRIADE OF LIFTS.  IT JUST STANDS TO REASON THAT AN INCREASE IN OVERALL BODY STRENGTH WILL ONLY INCREASE THE ABILITY TO PERFORM ANY OTHER LIFT TO A HIGHER DEGREE.  HOW CAN ONE GO WRONG DOING SNATCHES, CLEANS, OVERHEAD PRESSES (WHICH I TOTALLY AVOIDED IN MY IGNORANCE), ONE HANDED LIFTS, DUMBBELL WORK…….MY GOD, THE LIST IS ENDLESS.  FROM TIME TO TIME, I HAVE BEEN ASKED BY SOMEONE TO SET UP A ‘PROGRAM’ FOR THEM.  WHILE I AM ALWAYS QUICK TO HELP, I HAVE GOTTEN INTO THE HABIT OF TELLING THE INDIVIDUAL TO DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH AND GET BACK WITH ME.  IT IS AT THIS TIME THAT I WILL TELL MY OWN STORY AND STRONGLY ENCOURAGE THAT PERSON TO MAKE HIS WORKOUTS WELL ‘ROUNDED’ AND DYNAMIC.  I NEVER FAIL TO CAUTION THEM TO BE CAREFUL THEY DON’T FALL IN THE SAME RUT I DID.

MAYBE THOSE ‘OLD TIMERS’ HAD SOME LESSONS TO TEACH, AFTER ALL!!

Dino Record Day

by Al Myers

Dino Gym Record Day

The USAWA welcome Jobes Steel Jungle to their first USAWA event! (front): Gabby Jobe (back row left to right): Troy Goetsch, Corey Kenkel, Jesse Jobe, Bryan Benzel

MEET REPORT

On Sunday the Dino Gym had the most participants in a record day than EVER BEFORE.  There was a total of 15 competitors setting new USAWA records!  I haven’t done an absolute record count yet, but I won’t be surprised to see it number over 150.  There were so many outstanding lifts that it will be impossible to cover everything in this meet report, so I’m going to save some of  ”the best stories” for individual news stories at a latter date.  Plus I am under a time crunch to get this announced today, so the meet report will be short (that’s a FIRST FOR ME!). 

First of all I want to thank all the new lifters from the USAWA’s newest club, Jobe’s Steel Jungle, for attending.  I really enjoyed watching  them set new USAWA records.  They were all like “kids in a candy shop” as they got introduced to the many, many lifts of the USAWA.  One of them would do a lift and then the rest of them wanted to join in!  I also was quite impressed with Jesse’s daughter Gabby.  She is only 9 years old but I could tell she was “trained up” to do the lifts she set records in.   Jesse’s gym is in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  I made the mistake as referring to them as “the Nebraska boys”  (which NOT all live in Nebraska)  - I won’t do that again!!!  I KNOW we will be seeing more of Jobes Steel Jungle in the future. 

Wilbur Miller deadlifting 457 pounds at the age of 79!

The BIG NEWS of the day was that Wilbur Miller made an appearance – and this time he came ready to lift and set records!  Alot of the new lifters didn’t know Wilbur – but after the spectacular lifting he did they know him now!  Wilbur lifts like a man half his age.  He started off with the squat for record.  I told him the USAWA requires a 12″ base (the regular squat is not an USAWA lift), but that didn’t make any difference as Wilburs stance is close to 12″ normally.  He finished with an unbelievable 320 pounds!!!  (YES – I said that right!).  He then went to his favorite lift, the deadlifts, and set some big records in several different variations. I will be covering Wilburs performance at this record day in more detail in future stories.

Dean Ross set the most records.  Dean had A PLAN and he executed it perfectly.  He had the lifts he wanted to do and he went about setting records in a systematic fashion.  I had to take a break when I was imputing his lifts into this meet report because that alone was tiring me out!  At this rapid pace Dean is on with record breaking, it won’t be long and he’ll be in the CENTURY CLUB (and may I say faster than anyone else has ever done it!)

Chad Ullom performing a 480# Continental to Belt, the most ever done in the USAWA.

My dad LaVerne didn’t get enough “grip lifting” the day before at the Grip Champs and came to break some finger lifts.  Well, he did records on every finger including his thumb!   He was the first one in the gym to do his lifts and I think he did all of them in under 20 minutes!  Every record lift he did he had much more in him to do more. 

Dino Gym member Chuck Cookson didn’t set alot of records, but the ones he did were HUGE!  He broke the ALL TIME records in the French Press with a lift of 207 pounds and in the  Bent Arm Pullover with a lift of 195 pounds. I have seen very few people do a French Press in the proper manner as defined in our USAWA Rule Book, but Chuck’s has perfect body mechanics for this lift and performed this big lift of his very strict. His elbows stayed high and the bar touched the back of his neck easily. 

I could say so much more, but that’s it for today.  I want to thank everyone who showed up to lift in this record day.  Participation is what makes a record day a special event.  I especially want to thank Mike Murdock and Denny Habecker for taking their time officiating all day, at the expense of doing all the record lifts they wanted to do.

MEET RESULTS

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
February 12th, 2012

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials: Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Mike Murdock

Gabby Jobe – Female, 9 years old, 89# BWT

Maxey Press: 38#
Push Press – From Rack: 45#
Hack Lift: 115#
Jefferson Lift: 115#
Deadlift – 12″ Base: 115#

Bryan Benzel – 24 years old, 284# BWT

Holdout – Raised: 71#
Holdout – Lowered: 71#
James Lift: 159#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip: 259#
Miller Clean and Jerk: 110#
Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar: 253#
Continental to Chest and Jerk: 298#
Hack Lift: 507#
Saxon Snatch: 95#

Troy Goetsch – 25 years old, 194# BWT

Maxey Press: 183#
Press – From Rack: 185#
Press – From Rack, Behind Neck: 155#
Clean and Press: 192#
Continental to Chest and Jerk: 220#
Deadlift – Heels Together: 429#
Deadlift – 12″ Base: 429#
Deadlift – Civattone Grip: 429#
Deadlift – Reeves: 300#
Bench Press – Hands Together: 250#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 506#
Snatch – Fulton Bar: 143#
Continental to Chest – Fulton Bar: 220#

Corey Kenkel – 29 years old, 206# BWT

Maxey Press: 203#
Push Press – From Rack: 185#
Press – From Rack: 185#
Clean and Jerk – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 75#

Jesse Jobe – 35 years old, 225# BWT

Maxey Press – 193#
Push Press – From Rack: 205#
Cyr Press: 125#
Curl – Reverse Grip: 154#
Bent Over Row: 286#
Continental To Belt: 407#
Pinch Grip – Right Hand: 63#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 70#
Bench Press – Left Arm: 100#
Bench Press – Right Arm: 110#
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar: 385#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 451#
Rectangular Fix: 80#
Saxon Snatch: 85#

Scott Tully – 36 years old, 344# BWT

Clean and Jerk – Fulton Bar: 203#
Jefferson Lift – Fulton Bar: 403#
Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 170#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 90#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 90#
Lateral Raise – Lying: 80#
Turkish Get Up: 40#

Chad Ullom – 40 years old, 248# BWT

Gardner – Half: 110#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 159#
Miller Clean and Jerk: 110#
Squat – Piper: 230#
Continental to Belt: 480#

Chuck Cookson – 42 years old, 286# BWT

French Press: 207#
Pullover – Bent Arm: 195#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 110#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 110#

Al Myers – 45 years old, 251# BWT

Pullover – Bent Arm: 145#
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 310#
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 310#
Bench Press – Hands Together: 280#
Lateral Raise – Lying: 70#

Mark Mitchell – 51 years old, 360# BWT

Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 223#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 403#
Maxey Press: 272#
Pinch Grip: 252#
Saxon Snatch: 107#

LaVerne Myers – 67 years old, 250# BWT

Finger Lift – Little, Left Hand: 48#
Finger Lift – Little, Right Hand: 48#
Finger Lift – Index, Left Hand: 58#
Finger Lift – Index, Right Hand: 58#
Finger Lift – Ring, Left Hand: 58#
Finger Lift – Ring, Right Hand: 58#
Finger Lift – Middle, Left Hand: 78#
Finger Lift – Middle, Right Hand: 78#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Left Hand: 48#
Finger Lift – Thumb, Right Hand: 38#
Curl – Cheat: 141#

Denny Habecker – 69 years old, 186# BWT

Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 120#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 110#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 50#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 60#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 60#

Dean Ross – 69 years old, 272# BWT

Curl – 2 Dumbbells, Cheat: 80#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left: 50#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right: 50#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells: 80#
Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells, Heels Together: 80#
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 55#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 50#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 60#
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 60#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 127#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Right Hand: 127#
Bent Over Row: 179#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 223#
Pullover and Push: 135#
Curl – Reverse Grip: 104#
Clean and Press – Reverse Grip: 104#
Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 104#
Clean and Press – 12″ Base: 104#
Clean and Press: 104#
Clean and Push Press: 104#
Two Hands Anyhow: 80#
Deadlift – Trap Bar: 317#

Mike Murdock – 71 years old, 236# BWT

Bench Press – Hands Together: 145#
Bench Press – Left Arm: 55#
Bench Press – Right Arm: 55#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Right Arm: 55#
Curl – Dumbbell, Cheat, Left Arm: 60#

Wilbur Miller – 79 years old, 218# BWT

Squat – 12″ Base: 320#
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 397#
Deadlift – Heels Together: 419#
Deadlift – 12″ Base: 457#

Jesse Jobe and Corey Kenkel

Team Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 556#

Bryan Benzel and Troy Goetsch

Team Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 628#

Deadlift – 12″ Base

 by Thom Van Vleck

Wilbur Miller doing a partial deadlift, but still demonstrating the proper foot placement for the 12" base dead lift

Let’s talk about the 12″ Base Deadlift.   This lift will be contested in the upcoming USAWA 2011 Nationals held by the Jackson Weightlifting Club in Kirksville, Missouri on June 28th.  Make sure you know the rules!

The USAWA Rule Book says:

B1.  Deadlift – 12 inch Base
The rules of the Deadlift apply except that the maximum width of foot placing must not exceed 12 inches between the inside of the lifter’s heels. It is recommended that a 12 inch space be marked on the platform by a drawn line or tape.
Now, just to cover all the bases, let’s cover the rules for the Deadlift just to be sure we all understand it:
A.   Deadlift
The bar will be placed on the platform at the lifter’s feet, directly in front of the lifter. The lifter will grip the bar with both hands with any grip and any hand spacing. The lifter may use an alternate grip in which the palms of the hands are opposed. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion.  The bar may be uneven during the ascent, but it must finish evenly.  The bar may touch the legs during the ascent, but must not be rested on the legs, bounced, hitched, or lowered. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Heels and toes may rise during the lift, but foot placing must not change.  No substance of any kind may be applied to the legs. When the legs are straight, the arms are straight, the shoulders erect, the bar motionless, the lifter will receive a command from an official to lower the bar.  The bar must be returned to the platform under control for the lift to be complete.

Pretty straight forward!  At the Nationals this year we WILL have tape on the floor to help the lifters and judges make the call.

Heart of America Festival – Day 2

(Webmasters note: This is a reprint of the meet report covering the Heart of America Festival that occurred in August 1963 as published by the oldtime lifting magazine, the Lifting News. Dale Friesz passed this along to me to share, which characterizes one of the early-days All-Round Weightlifting Meets. Dale’s brother, Leonard, is included in the results as he was a member of the Columbia Athletic Club at the time. Our very own Bill Clark served as Meet Director, Head Judge, and Meet Reporter. He also competed! Past meets such as these are the reason why Bill organized All-Round Weightlifting into the USAWA. You will recognize several of the “meet stars” as they are legends in All-Round Weightlifting today. The meet was a two day affair, so I will divide the story into two parts, one covering each day. Enjoy!)

by Bill Clark

On the second day the squat and dead lift marks of Saturday are used and four other events are added to test a man’s back, endurance and will power.  The front squat opens the second day and Miller was very unhappy with his 390 front squat.  Wachholz made 385 and Friesz 380.  The Jefferson lift was next and Wachholz almost caught the lanky Kansas wheat farmer.  Miller did a straddle with 650, but Wachholz surpassed him on bodyweight with a 640 and moved within range with two lifts remaining.  Paul was able to make “only” 600 in the hack lift, but Miller endured with a 650 effort.  In the Zercher lift, Miller made 425 while Wachholz was good for only 365.   The meet was Miller’s once again.  This time with a total of 3320 and 2148 points.  Wachholz was close behind with 3020 pounds and 2072 points.  Your writer was third and felt happy with a mediocre performance after not working out more than five times since February.  He squatted 470 cold, made a 530 dead lift, front squatted 320, straddled up 560, hacked only 500 (has done 600) and Zerchered just 420 – 40 pounds under tops.  This was the meet he had planned to make a 600 squat, but baseball took care of that boast.  Maybe next year.  Too much umpiring this year and not enough time in the gym.

Lifter Squat Front Sq Deadlift Hack Zerch Strad Total Points
Miller 530 390 675 650 425 650 3320 2148
Wachholz 455 385 585 600 365 640 3020 2072
Clark 470 320 530 500 420 560 2800 1817
Friesz 445 380 490 450 385 475 2625 1790
Hahn 400 320 475 475 385 475 2530 1771
Hamilton 280 205 420 420 315 440 2080 1714
Witt 470 295 525 315 335 500 2400 1596
McPheeters 375 475 500
Lewellen 385 500 500
B. Fellows 420 315

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Officials:  Bill Clark, Don Wickell, Ed Zercher

The question here, then, is how these two great lifters rank with strong men of the past.  Surely, in two days, few men of this size have ever lifted more.  To dead lift 675, hack 650 and straddle 650 along with the others is a phenomenal performance, and Wachholz was superb.  His 640 straddle must rank with the best.

These men are not goons, as power lifters have often been called.  Wachholz has done over 800 as a mid-heavy in the Olympic lifts and won the 100 yard dash, final event of the meet, in an amazing time of 11.3 seconds, running on asphalt in tennis shoes after a hard day on the platform.  Wachholz also throws the discus well over 160 feet and has a beautiful frame, placing high in every physique contest he enters.  He’s married and has two children.  He works in a bank and travels thousands of miles a year to meets. (No relation between his work and his ability to travel).  The marks he set at the Power Festival were all personal records.  In addition, he entered several of the side contests and won them.  He was best in the bench press with 315 pounds and did a stiffarm pullover with 110.

Miller was impressive as always.  He stands 6′3″, and weighs 235.  In high school he was a top miler and turned down a track scholarship at Kansas University after finishing his senior year at Ensign (Kansas) High School.  In his final high school race, he covered the mile in 4:33.6 and wound up third behind two great runners – Wes Santee, who later ran the mile in 4:00.2 and was America’s greatest miler until barred by the AAU for excessive expense money – and Billy Tidwell, a half-miler who represented the U.S. on many international fields.  Miller has done 930 in the Olympic Lifts and was second in the Junior Nationals this year.  He won one other event in the Power Festival, doing an abdominal raise with 105 pounds.  When the meet was over, a side bet came to pass concerning Wilbur’s ability to lift cars.  He promptly picked up the rear end of a Volkswagon, engine and all, and held it a foot off the ground.  He made the lift from the normal deadlift position.

Ed Zercher Sr., an old-timer who has moved enough weight to kill an elephant in his forty years on the platform, refereed all the lifts and branded Miller and Wachholz as two mighty strong youngsters.  He pointed out that their lifting was different from that in the old days when bars were not machined, but allowed the pair could have held their own with many of the greats.  Zercher, at 56, proved to be a horse even yet.  He took 600 pounds on his feet, and without any supporting devices, made 10 reps and held his balance perfectly in the leg press.  He then built a Roman Chair all by himself with 235 pounds balanced on his feet: 145 pounds in his hands and 130 pound Art Tarwater sitting astride the chair doing presses with 100 pounds.  When Tarwater lost his balance, Zercher held the chair steady – much to the amazement of the onlookers.

This meet was held in a shelter house the first evening and on the grass under a large shade tree the second day.  People driving through the park would stop and watch the lifting until they grew tired.  The crowd changed many times and townspeople still talk about the show they say in the park – for no charge.  It seems until someone comes up with a better performance, this must go down as one of the greatest ever.

Heart of America Festival – Day 1

(Webmasters note:  This is a reprint of the meet report covering the  Heart of America Festival that occurred in  August 1963 as published by the oldtime lifting magazine, the Lifting News.  Dale Friesz passed this along to me to share, which characterizes one of the early-days All-Round Weightlifting Meets.  Dale’s brother, Leonard, is included in the results as he was a member of the Columbia Athletic Club at the time.  Our very own Bill Clark served as Meet Director, Head Judge, and Meet Reporter.  He also competed!   Past meets such as these are the reason why Bill organized All-Round Weightlifting into the USAWA.  You will recognize several of the “meet stars” as they are legends in All-Round Weightlifting today.  The meet was a two day affair, so I will divide the story into two parts, one covering each day. Enjoy!)

by Bill Clark

Wilbur Miller, the Cimarron Strongman, and Paul Wachholz, an outstanding athlete from Englewood, Colorado, waged a duel in the Heart of America Power Festival, August 3-4 in Columbia, Missouri, which brought nostalgia to the hearts of the old timers in the crowd and may have established an all-time record for weight hoisted in a two-day period.  The Power Festival, in its third year, is sponsored by the Columbia Athletic Club, Inc., and is a fun meet all the way.  Many lifts, pets of various lifters, are contested and except for eight established events, the meet follows only a vague pattern.  Often more than one contest is under way at the same time.  Last year Homer Lewellen, a mid-heavy from the host club, lifted in 34 different events and totaled well over 15,000 pounds during the two-day session.

This year, however, the number of events was cut down by the tremendous interest in the Miller-Wachholz battle.  There are two sets of trophy lifts in the meet.  On the first day, a Saturday, the contest is the jerk from the rack, squat, and dead lift.  The entire meet is on a bodyweight formula basis because never more than 15 hardy souls enter.  Medals are given for each lift and trophies back five places overall.  Leonard Friesz won the jerk from the rack with a 350 jerk at a bodyweight of 198.  Miller was close behind with 370 and Wachholz was third with 320.

Lifter BWT Jerk Squat Dead Lift Total Points
Miller 235 370 530 675 1575 1014.30
Wachholz 195 320 455 585 1360 932.96
Friesz 198 350 445 490 1285 876.37
Witt 214 225 470 525 1225 807.98
Hahn 187 275 400 475 1150 805.00
Tarwater 130 230 260 410 900 801.00
Fellows 160 265 345 400 1010 776.69
Hamilton 145 230 280 420 930 766.32
Skinner 129 230 280 340 850 760.75
McPheeters 232 260 375 475 1080 698.76
Lewellen 190 280 385
B. Fellows 238 305 420

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Officials:  Bill Clark, Don Wickell,  Ed Zercher

Friesz, an army captain stationed in Columbia, stayed in the running with a 445 squat, but Miller made 530 to grab the lead and Wachholz came up with 455.  In the dead lift, Wachholz shot ahead of Friesz with a great 585 effort and a near miss with 600.   Miller opened with 600, a weight he does five reps with, then jumped to 675.  He held the listed world amateur heavyweight record at 672 1/2 and made the 675 so easily that 700 or more seemed quite possible.  Miller is a perfect deadlifter.  The weight never touches his thighs as it goes up.  His shoulders are back before weight and thighs get together.  The 700 broke loose twice and went easily to the knees but Wilbur couldn’t get his shoulders back after such a fine effort and the lifts were no good.  He vowed that he would make 700 in Leavenworth in September.

Miller thus won the first day’s trophy event with a 1575 total and 1014.3 points.  His dead lift was a world mark and his lifts and total were all Missouri Valley records.  Wachholz made a 1360 total and established himself as a strong young man. He strengthened this fact considerably the following day.

COMING TOMORROW – DAY 2 OF THE HEART OF AMERICA FESTIVAL

Is the USAWA a “Retirement” Sport?

Wilbur Miller is a guy that had a LONG career in lifting, thanks in part to the USAWA!

by Thom Van Vleck

A USAWA member once told me that the USAWA is a good “retirement” sport.  You have to admit….there are a lot of guys that are pretty old in the USAWA!  I pondered why that was and what it meant (especially since I’m one of them!).

I was at a USAWA meet at Al’s one time and the great Wilbur Miller was there.  We were visiting and he was talking about all the options the USAWA offered to demonstrate strength.  We were also talking about Highland Games and Strongman as well.  He told me that back in his day you either Olympic lifted or powerlifted (he did both and was very GOOD at both, probably one of the best all time at both sports at the same time).  As we watched the lifters doing the lifts Wilbur said, “I wish we would have had this kind of stuff around when I was young…..I think I would have been pretty good at it”.  I don’t think…I KNOW he would have been!  Wilbur must have been inspired, because he came back after that and did some pretty amazing lifting at the same USAWA meet the next year and he’s a CURRENT USAWA member now!

Now, I know some of the old timers will point out that Wilbur and the rest were doing “odd lifts” back in the day, but today’s USAWA has many, many more contested lifts.

Most of us started in more mainstream strength sports.  I started as an Olympic lifter (and was an abysmal failure but I did learn how to power clean and squat….two lifts that have served me well!).   I then became a powerlifter (and was moderately successful).  Then came strongman & Highland Games (which I found I was even better at, with Highland Games being my greatest success relative to world class competition).   And with those, also came injuries.  Some of those have kept me from doing certain movements and if those were the only lifts on the table….then you are OUT!  But with the USAWA comes  hundreds of lifts.  If you can’t do one, pull out the rule book and search until you can find one you CAN do!  How great is that!

Of course, having all the age brackets and age adjustment formulas attract masters lifters, but that is, in my opinion, NOT why there’s so many masters in the sport.  Most athletes don’t retire because they are done, they retire because they are injured.  The desire is usually still there, the body just unable to perform.  That is why there are so many masters involved in the USAWA because it allows them to find lifts they can still do and compete at!   That’s a great thing in my opinion!  It also attracts guys like it attracted Wilbur Miller….the challenge of doing so many things and doing them well and finally finding a place to do it!

….and one last thing…..I ain’t RETIRED!  I’m just getting started!

The Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift

by Al Myers

Al Myers performing a One Arm Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift with 170 pounds at Clark's Record Day.

One of the lifts I did last weekend at Clark’s Record Day was the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift.  I wanted to do this lift to point out a mistake that was made in the new Rule Book and found by Dale Friesz.  Despite the extensive review process of the new Rule Book, I knew mistakes were still possible and here is one.  Thanks Dale for finding it!

The Rule for the Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells should be this:

The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2″ in diameter.  No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The maximum diameter of the plates used is 18 inches.

Previously, due to a typo, it stated that only 11 inch diameter plates could be used.  This typo happened  because the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift does require a maximum diameter of 11 inch plates, and the rule for this lift is close to the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift in the Rule Book.  Once again, copy and pasting created a problem for me!!  The reason for the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift requiring maximum 11″ plates is because the original Inch Dumbbell was a globe dumbbell, and the rule was written to best simulate the original Inch Dumbbells size using a plate loaded dumbbell handle.  This mistake will be corrected in next years updated Rule Book.

Now for the story on how the Fulton Dumbbell got its name….

Back in the early 80’s at a odd lifting meet in Liberal, Kansas, meet director Bob Burtzloff included a thick-handled dumbbell deadlift in the contest.  This dumbbell had a smooth 2 inch diameter handle.  Wilbur Miller, the “Cimarron Kid” and Kansas lifting legend,  was the hands on favorite to win this event.  Wilbur has huge hands with long fingers and was very rarely beaten in any lifting event that involved grip strength.  But this day was one of those rare days – when a young farm boy from Nebraska by the name of Kevin Fulton pulled off the upset! Upon Fulton’s winning – Bill Clark announced that this lift would be forever named the Fulton Lift.  This eventually lead to the naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar along with the Fulton Dumbbell.  As for Wilbur – upon the finish of the event he went back to the warm-up area and proceeded to pull more on this lift than he did in competition.  He went home knowing that he may not have won the event on this day,  but with the satisfaction of knowing he would next time!