The Hip Lift

By Eric Todd

Murdo Hip Lifting at the Deanna Springs Memorial

Murdo Hip Lifting at the Deanna Springs Memorial

This is the third and final installment of articles regarding the lifts that will be contested at the Heavy Lift Championship.  This particular article is about the hip lift, which will be the last lift contested and the one in which the highest poundages should be attained.  Not unlike the other heavy lifts (including those that are not being contested-the harness lift and the back lift), the hip lift was a favorite of many of the old timers as it allows you to lift mostrous poundages.  It is the leverages and the short range of motion that allows that.  There are very few lifts out there where lifters can legitimately make the claim of having lifted a ton, but for some lifters, it is true in the hip lift.

The most ever lifted in the Hip lift was 2525 by John Carter who lifted it at the 1994 Heavy Lift Championship meet in Columbia, MO.  Big Frank Ciavattone was nipping on his heels with a 2515 pound effort at a record day in ‘07.  All the overall records in the 85 kilo to 125+ are at or above a ton.  Big numbers can be lifted in this discipline, and I do not imagine this year’s Heavy Lift Championship will be any different.

Steve Schmidt- one of the top 3 hip lifters in the history of the USAWA

Steve Schmidt- one of the top 3 hip lifters in the history of the USAWA

The first time I did any of the heavy lifts, I did the hand and thigh and the hip lift at the Deanna Springs memorial in 2002.  The difference between my results in the two lifts was negligible, and I just figured I was good at the hand and thigh, but not the hip. My results for years were about the same.  It was until I got a heavy bar and hip belt of my own that I was able to tweak my technique and make noticeable results in the hip lift.  Now the difference in my PRs between the lifts is 760 pounds.

I will tell you the thing I learned that made the biggest difference in a moment.  First I want to get into the generalities of the lift.  The rules as stated in the USAWA Official Rulebook , 10th edition are as follows:

A Heavy Lift Bar is used in this lift. A hip belt is also used, which fits over the hips and around the waist. An adjustable chain and hook is attached to the hip belt so it may be attached to the Heavy Lift Bar. The width of the hip belt must not exceed 4 inches. Hands may be used as support on the legs during the lift, but must be free of contact at the completion of the lift. The lifter assumes a position in which the lifter is straddling the Heavy Lift Bar. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter may adjust the chain length to his/her preference prior to the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The lifter is allowed one test lift to check the balance of the weight and to make adjustments to the chain length. The lifter will stand and lift the weights from the platform. The shoulders and torso do not have to be upright upon the finish of the lift. The legs must straighten, but the knees do not need to be locked. Once the weight is motionless, the hands free from the body, and the plates on both ends of the bar are off the platform at the same time, an official will give a command to end the lift.

The execution of this lift is rather simple.  Place the hip belt around your waist.  Straddle the big bar.  I always sit on the weights to attach my chain. Run the chain through the designated space in the bar, then back up to clasp to the other end of the hip belt.  Connect it at a length where you have some flex in your legs, but not a boat load.  You will want to start with your feet placed such that your chain is perpendicular to the floor. Start with your hands on your thighs, and drive up through your feet.  When both ends of the weight leave the floor simultaneously, remove your hands from your thighs.  At that point, you will get a “down” command from your official.

Now, the key in my eyes for this lift is the belt placement.  When i started off, I would put the hip belt about where my powerlifting belt sat, around my core.  So when I executed the lift, the belt was pressing against by lower back.  The more I practiced the lift, the more I realized this placement was wrong.  It is called a hip lift for a reason.  Push that hip belt down on your hips.  Anymore it is not on my low back at all, and that has helped my results tremendously.  

So, there you have it.  Go find a big bar and a hip belt and give it a whirl.   You will lift more weight than you ever thought possible (unless you have done a back lift or a harness lift, then maybe you have lifted more). This will be the last lift contested at the Heavy Lift Championship.  It has more than once been the deciding factor in who the overall champion would be.  Now you have a primer for all three lifts.  So, time to get training and get that entry into the mail.  I will be waiting…

A video of Steve Schmidt hip lifting:

 

 

The Hand and Thigh

By Eric Todd

Big Frank Ciavattone doing a big hand and thigh.  Frank has not only promoted the Heavy Lift Championships in the past, he is a four time Heavy Lift Champion!

Big Frank Ciavattone doing a big hand and thigh. Frank has not only promoted the Heavy Lift Championships in the past, he is a four time Heavy Lift Champion!

With the Heavy lift Championship just a few short months away, I am going to continue on with my series on the Heavy Lifts.  The last article on the series focussed on the first lift we will be contesting at the event, the neck lift.  This one will focus on the second lift in the order of the meet, the Hand and Thigh Lift.  The hand and thigh lift is a quite old lift.  It was a favorite of many old timers, and was done by many of them including Louis Cyr and Warren Lincoln Travis.

Quite a bit more should be lifted in the hand and thigh than in the neck lift.  The heaviest neck lift is around 1000 pounds, while the heaviest hand and thigh is over 1900, by Joe Garcia.  However, that is quite an outlier, as most of the rest of the best hand and thighers in the USAWA are in the 1500-1600s. The rules of the Hand and Thigh in the rulebook are as follows:

A Heavy Lift Bar is used in this lift. A hand bar is also used, which must not exceed 28 inches in length and 1 inch in diameter. The hand bar will have an adjustable chain and hook attached to it in the center so it may be attached to the Heavy Lift Bar. No knurling is allowed on the hand bar. The lifter assumes a position with the Heavy Lift Bar in front of the lifter, or the lifter may straddle it. The feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Width of feet placement is optional. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter may adjust the chain length to his/her preference prior to the lift. The hand bar must be in the lifter’s grasp and will lie across the thighs. The hands must remain on the hand bar and must not change position during the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The lifter is allowed one test lift to check the balance of the weight and to make adjustments to the chain length. The lifter will stand or lean back to lift the weights from the platform. The shoulders and torso do not have to be upright upon the finish of the lift. The legs must straighten, but the knees do not need to be locked. Once the weight is motionless, and the plates on both ends of the bar are off the platform at the same time, an official will give a command to end the lift.

So, I have seen the hand and thigh done with both feet in front of the bar and also straddling the bar.  That being said, from what I have seen,  far better poundages are done with both feet in front of the bar.  I like a flat sole, such as wrestling shoes for the hand and thigh (as well as all the heavy lifts for that matter) though I am not sure if that offers any advantages or not.  Some people, me included, like to stand on a platform of sorts to complete the lift.  It seems to give you better leverage to complete the lift.  My platform comes by way of a few sawed off 4×4 timbers. Stance is optional, but I prefer a rather narrow one.  I like my shins just a few inches behind the bar so my knees can float over the bar when I bend them to dig my knuckles into the top of my thighs.  Grip is optional, but I would suggest double overhand with the thumbs in line with the fingers.  You do not need your thumb to lock in the bar, as your thighs serve in that capacity, so I have been more successful with keeping them over the top of the bar. Once you have the bar locked into your thighs, lean way back, looking up, and drive back on your heels.  The first few times I did this, I had someone spotting me from behind, because I felt I may fall over.  I never have, though.  As soon as both sides are off the platform simultaneously, you will get the down command.  As you can see in the rules, if your chain length is wrong or you are off center and only one side comes up, you do have the opportunity to make one adjustment.

Not unlike the neck lift there is no absolute substitute for actually doing the hand and thigh to train for the hand and thigh.  The technique takes some getting used to in order to become proficient at it to maximize your poundages. However, there are some movements that doing help strengthen your connective tissue.  Strong connective tissue (such as tendons and ligaments) is crucial to heavy lifting.  You could halfway simulate an hand and thigh with heavy partial barbell pulls in a rack.  You could also play with heavy squat lockouts or heavy partials on the leg press to help build strength in your connective tissue.

Check out this video of Jim Malloy performing a 1200# Hand and Thigh at the 1991 National Championships, and keep training for the Heavy Lift Championship!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrxZWECwMq0

Grip Championships

By Al Myers

2018 USAWA GRIP CHAMPIONSHIPS

Group picture from the 2018 USAWA Grip Championships.

Group picture from the 2018 USAWA Grip Championships.

It was another great year for the USAWA Grip Championships!  The Dino Gym had a full room with 14 lifters in attendance – 12 men and 2 women. Thom Van Vleck of the JWC made the trip from Missouri to Kansas to officiate the event. I plan to keep this meet report short as I need to get the results on the website today.  I apologize for the long delay in this, but it’s been a busy week for me.

First of all, I want to mention Mary Mac and her return to the USAWA.  Mary has been fighting hard against some medical issues this past year, so it was a very special seeing her back in action in the Dino Gym.  And WOW, she still has super strength in those fingers as she did a 155 Ring Fingers Deadlift!

I want to give a big congrats to Tressa for winning Overall Best Womens Lifter of the 2018 USAWA Grip Championships.  She has competed at several Grip Championships, but this was her first time being the Womens Overall.  She now joins a very select group of past Grip Champions (which includes RJ Jackson, Emily Burchett, Mary McConnaughey, and Felecia Simms).

The Mens Division was loaded with grippsters! I won’t go into detail with all the specific GREAT LIFTS, as there were many.  For the first time ever, the Mens Junior Class was extremely competitive. Calvin, Cole, and Jared lifted like seasoned veterans and put up great numbers. All three totaled over 750 pounds, with Calvin just edging out Cole (873 to 860 pts) for Best Junior Lifter. That’s as close as it gets.

Another tight battle was in the 75-79 age group between Dean and Denny.  In the end, Dean just pulled out Best Lifter in the 75-79 by only 11 points!

I was so glad to see Jason again, along with John. I could tell the two of them were having a blast lifting alongside with their sons, and if it wasn’t for that dreaded Ring Finger DL which gave them the fits, they both would have placed much higher overall.

Someone who always gets overlooked in meets within the USAWA (and shouldn’t!!) is the person who puts up the top total of the day. There really should be an award to recognize this accomplishment. At this Grip Championships, this person was Scott Tully who put up the top total at 1197 pounds. Scott also had the top lift in 3 of the 5 events (strict pinch grip 162 lbs., 1 arm VB 200 lbs., and the pinch grip DL of 500 pounds).  Scott becomes the first person to perform a 500 pinch grip deadlift.

Ben has been a consistent player at the Grip Championships through the years. I’m not sure if he has even missed any.   Ben’s a true gentleman lifter, and always super supportive of the other lifters. He is a veteran of the grip, and freely shares training advice.  He finished strong with an overall 4th place finish this year, just slightly behind last years Overall Grip Champ Chad Ullom (988 to 975) who finished 3rd overall.

And finally, for those of you that had to wonder if my dad was going to speak to me the next day after how everything went down between the two of us at the meet.  The answer is YES, he forgave me for edging him out by only 1 point!!

MEET RESULTS:

2018 USAWA Grip Championships
Dino Gym
Holland, Kansas
February 10th, 2018

Meet Director: Al Myers

Meet Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Meet Official (1 official system used): Thom Van Vleck

Lifts: Pinch Grip – Strict, Deadlift – Fulton Bar One Arm, Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar 2″ One Hand, Deadlift – Fingers Ring, Pinch Grip Deadlift

WOMENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PGS FB1 VB1 DLR PGD TOT PTS
Tressa Brooner 56 134 52 75R 80R 65 150 422 569.1
Mary McConnaughey 58 125+ 62 90R 80R 155 190 577 495.3

4th Attempts for Record:
Tressa Brooner: VB DL 2″ Right 85 lbs.
Tressa Brooner: Pinch Grip DL 175 lbs.
Mary McConnaughey: Pinch Grip DL 200 lbs.

MENS DIVISION

LIFTER AGE BWT PGS FB1 VB1 DLR PGD TOT PTS
Al Myers 51 229 132 175R 195L 170 475 1147 1066.4
LaVerne Myers 73 236 112 175L 180R 171 335 973 1065.4
Chad Ullom 46 241 122 176R 180R 215 450 1143 988.4
Ben Edwards 42 228 142 160R 185R 135 400 1022 875.6
Calvin Heit 16 152 102 100R 135L 135 280 752 873.5
Cole Janzen 16 169 122 151R  140R 80 300 793 860.3
Scott Tully 42 350 162 180R 200R 155 500 1197 833.6
Dean Ross 75 237 67 105R 125L 125 230 652 722.8
Denny Habecker 75 186 67 110R 120R 65 200 562 711.7
Jason Payne 52 325 152 130L  160R 0 400 842 665.3
Jared Payne 16 279 112 130R 150R 95 280 767 633.9
John Janzen 52 297 132 130R  130L 0 330 722 594.9

4th Attempts for Record:
Calvin Heit: VB DL 2″ 1 Bar Left Hand 155 lbs.
Jared Payne: VB DL 2″ 1 Bar Right Hand 160 lbs.
Calvin Heit: DL Ring Fingers 156 lbs.
Dean Ross: DL Ring Fingers 140 lbs.
Calvin Heit: Pinch Grip DL 300 lbs.
Cole Janzen: Pinch Grip DL 330 lbs.
Jason Payne: Pinch Grip DL 420 lbs.
Denny Habecker: Pinch Grip DL 220 lbs.

BEST LIFTER AWARDS

Womens Best Master – Tressa Brooner
Womens Best Overall Lifter – Tressa Brooner
Mens Best Junior – Calvin Heit
Mens Best 40-44 Age Group – Ben Edwards
Mens Best 45-49 Age Group – Chad Ullom
Mens Best 50-54 Age Group – Al Myers
Mens Best 70-74 Age Group – LaVerne Myers
Mens Best 75-79 Age Group – Dean Ross
Mens Best Overall Lifter – Al Myers

RECORD DAY RESULTS

Calvin Heit – 16 Years Old, 151 lbs. BWT
Clean and Push Press: 155 lbs.
Bench Press Reverse Grip: 155 lbs.
Jerk From Rack: 155 lbs.
Vertical Bar DL 1 Bar 1″ Left: 114 lbs.
Bench Press Hands Together: 165 lbs.

Chad Ullom – 46 Years Old, 247 lbs. BWT
Bench Press Feet in Air: 260 lbs.
Roman Chair Sit Up: 90 lbs.
Shoulder Drop: 50 lbs.
Deadlift One Leg: 232 lbs.

Stephen Santangelo – 65 Years Old, 161 lbs. BWT
Finger Lift Right Thumb: 42 lbs.
Finger Lift Left Thumb: 42 lbs.
Finger Lift Right Middle: 130 lbs.
Finger Lift Left Middle: 119 lbs.
Allen Lift: 17 lbs.

LaVerne Myers – 73 Years Old, 238 lbs. BWT
Deadlift Little Fingers: 95 lbs.
Shoulder Drop: 35 lbs.
Deadlift Ciavattone Grip Right Arm: 220 lbs.

Dean Ross – 75 Years Old, 236 lbs. BWT
Deadlift No Thumb Right Arm: 135 lbs.
Clean and Press 2 Dumbbells: 60 lbs.
Bench Press Feet in Air: 185 lbs.
Deadlift 2 Bars: 270 lbs.
Deadlift Little Fingers: 95 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 75 Years Old, 191 lbs. BWT
Clean and Press 2 Dumbbells Heels Together: 90 pounds
Deadlift No Thumb Right Hand: 115 lbs.
Zeigler Clean: 55 lbs.
Clean and Press Behind Neck: 100 lbs.
Holdout Lowered: 45 lbs.

Yellow Light Lifting

By John McKean

” Did you just hear an EXPLOSION??!!” spat out the angry, grumpy old neighbor. “Whatever that awful noise was, woke me from my nice nap!” screeched ole Mr. Raphaele  from his back door.

The waggish, freckle faced little lad, standing in his own driveway, couldn’t help but answer “Nope, didn’t hear a thing! Maybe you should check the rear of your undershorts!”

With the subsequent loud slamming of his neighbor’s porch door, the boy returned to easily cleaning his lightly loaded barbell, and once again shot up a press with such velocity and momentum that the barbell rocketed ,when released, about 4′ above his extended arms. Then the young lifter got the hell out of the way as the bar crashed yet another time into his gravel driveway.

This wild, ballistic training eventually set up the youth for more structured training with ever heavier weights in local weightlifting clubs around his vicinity. You may have heard of him; he was Olympian Russ Knipp, a middleweight who established 9 press world records (usually with double bodyweight), and gave the Russians fits due to his pure strength strict presses (by then the Soviets and others had devolved into doing modified push jerks).

So what does the Knipper’s early training have to do with the “yellow light” title of this article? Well, I equate it to my wife’s driving around our crowded suburban area – as she approaches a stop light and it turns yellow, she instantly accelerates and speeds up, though most often having to hit the brakes as the light goes red! Young Russ Knipp attempted to develop what we used to call “fast twitch muscle fibers” (Lord knows what the “experts” call it these days!), Marilyn just enjoys driving fast and gliding through intersections !

Paul Anderson was so adept at "speed lifting" that the author once witnessed Anderson one arm press a 275 pound dumbbell for 3 fast reps within a blink of the eye!

Paul Anderson was so adept at “speed lifting” that the author once witnessed Anderson one arm press a 275 pound dumbbell for 3 fast reps within a blink of the eye!

Years ago I wrote a story on “speed singles” using lighter weights as a backdown set from heavier near limit singles, to be done in a fast ballistic manner. Since the idea came from material that legendary Paul Anderson had given me, concerning using bodyweight high jumping squats following my squatting program, I immediately acquired a great deal of confidence in this “speed” supplement. Also,  fast repped sets as “backdown” work following heavier lifting was much of the training basis  of old pal Bob Weaver (first powerlifter to officially squat over 800# in a National Championship), and  great results in my early powerlifting career came with their application.

Recently, with revitalized interest in power rack holds for all-round lifts, it occurred to me that I should experiment with speed work (or” yellow light lifting”,in deference to my wife!) BEFORE hitting limit weights in the rack. Sort of like a tune up,to have all muscle fibers firing when following with a rack overload for a hold. Of course I needed some resistance, though not much, and wished to use something that would NOT simply accelerate and allow momentum to throw it through its range with little muscle involvement. The good ole rubber cables came to the forefront once again! I now grab a few moderate strength bands that are easy ,yet a slight bit challenging, and WARMUP, prior to rack holds, with 3 very quick sets of an explosive 4 reps. Usually I do these with three main exercises(similar in nature to the LIFTS I’ll be soon doing within a power rack), and believe me, the entire body gets totally warm, actually HOT ! The mind is on fire ,too, and I’m ready to tackle anything!

Author John McKean demonstrating one of his "yellow light" band warmups before proceeding to heavy rack overloads

Author John McKean demonstrating one of his “yellow light” band warmups before proceeding to heavy rack overloads

After the “yellow light” band work, I immediately go with just ONE all out power rack middle range hold for 3  top-strength all-round movements. These holds are done much in the manner of what world record holder Bill March did in his pioneering rack routines – starting with a very heavy weight that just allows a push off lower pins ,up to a set of rack pins 4″ higher,then a  severe isometric push (really a hold -those steel pins ain’t going anywhere!). I’ve found over the years that working the midsection of a lift only, rather than multiple positions is best for strengthening almost any lift, and to allow most progression in poundage (which should continually be increased!). I need no build up poundages within the rack as the speed band sets has me so primed and ready! Just one all-out slight movement & iso ! Even as I approach “early middle age”(ok, ok, I’m 72), I’m seeing some startling increases in rack poundages, and my usual training partner & grandson,at 12 years old, already has gained so quickly that he outweighs me by 30 very solid pounds and is a monster-in-the-making ! By the way,pick your favorite lifts for this program to really get into it ;currently young Andraes and I use the belt squat, bentover row, and close grip floor press. Our band “yellow lighters” consists of a standing band pressout at chest level (like a bench press without lying down), one arm band rows, and a sort of close grip straddle lift with bands & a kettlebell (mainly for its handle, not for much extra weight).

OK, there ya have it, a short intense system that’ll quickly boost your power to unimagined heights. And the only thing that could possibly get your excitement levels and heart pumping faster would be a drive through Pittsburgh with Marilyn at the wheel !

Fall Classic RD

By Mark Raymond

FALL CLASSIC RECORD DAY

Group picture from the Record Day.

Group picture from the Record Day.

The meet turned out to be a great success. We had 8 lifters, 3 women and 5 men. This meet had been rescheduled from October 21st, 2017. It was held at Kim Lydons Gym. Everyone shined in their lifts. Although the temperatures were cold it didn’t deter the lifters in any way.

One of the highlights of the meet was newcomer Laura Inglis. She demonstrated enthusiasm, good form, and strength in all her lifts. Laura is a mother of 9 children with a 60 plus hours work week. With all that she somehow manages to maintain a dedicated lifting/training schedule.

Kim Lydon continues to better herself with each meet and displayed an outstanding performance.

Peter Vuono, who has had 4-way bypass surgery and just turned 65 years old, pulled off a record 12″ Base Deadlift at 401 Lbs! AMAZING!

Colleen, Frank, Dave, Tony, and Mark continue to participate and set records.

MEET RESULTS:

Fall Classic Record Day
Kim Lydon’s Gym
Canton, Massachusetts
January 20th, 2018

Meet Director: Frank Ciavattone

Host: Kim Lydon

Meet Announcer/Scorekeeper: Frank Ciavattone

Officials (3 official system used): Frank Ciavattone, Rocky Morrisson, Jeff Ciavattone

WOMENS DIVISION

Kim Lydon Age: 27 Weight: 148 Lbs 70K Class – Open
Bench Press, One Arm, Right 51 Lbs
Bench Press, One Arm, Left 61 Lbs
Clean and Seated Press, 2 Dumbbells 90 Lbs
Abdominal Raise 40 Lbs
Deadlift Dumbbell, One Arm, Left 137 Lbs

Laura Inglis Age:52 Weight: 190 Lbs 90K Class 50+ Masters
Bench Press, Feet In Air 90 Lbs
Bench Press, One Arm, Left 35 Lbs
Vertical Bar Deadlift, 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand, Left 90 Lbs
Deadlift, Trap Bar 225 Lbs

Colleen Lane-Richards Age: 61 Weight: 195 Lbs 90K Class 60+ Masters
Bench Press, Feet In Air 80 Lbs
Bench Press, One Arm, Right 25 Lbs
Vertical Bar Deadlift, 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand, Right 80 Lbs
Deadlift, Trap Bar 185 Lbs
Weaver Stick, Right 2.5 Lbs

MENS DIVISION

Mark Raymond Age: 54 Weight: 246 Lbs 115K Class 50+ Masters
Deadlift , No Thumbs, Overhand Grip 300 Lbs
Deadlift, No Thumb, One Arm, Right 171 Lbs
Deadlift , No Thumb, One Arm, Left 171 Lbs
Deadlift, Dumbbell, One Arm, Right 192 Lbs
Deadlift, Dumbbell, One Arm, Left 192 Lbs

Tony Patterson Age: 55 Weight: 176 Lbs 80K Class 55+ Masters
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip 431 Lbs
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip, One Arm, Right 266 Lbs
Deadlift, No Thumbs, Overhand Grip 401 Lbs
Vertical Bar Deadlift, 1 Bar, 2″, One Hand, Right 215 Lbs
Weaver Stick, Right 4 Lbs

Dave Gago Age: 60 Weight: 173 Lbs 80K Class 60+ Masters
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip 276 Lbs
Deadlift, Trap Bar 295 Lbs
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip, One Arm, Right 155 Lbs
Deadlift, Ciavattone Grip, One Arm, Left 155 Lbs

Frank Ciavattone Jr. Age: 62 Weight: 292 Lbs 125K Class 60+ Masters
Weaver Stick, Left 7.5 Lbs
Weaver Stick, Right 8.75 Lbs

Peter Vuono Age: 65 Weight: 195 Lbs 90K Class 65+ Masters
Deadlift, 12″Base 401 Lbs

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