Monthly Archives: December 2010

All-Round Approach – Part 1

by John McKean

Bill March pressing 390# in strict style.

During the 60s renowned York Barbell Club weightlifter Bill March set national and world press records, won major Olympic lifting championships, took a Mr. Universe title, and was even invited to pro football tryouts.  At his most efficient, Bill completed his actual daily power rack lifting in 24 SECONDS!  His York teammate, Lou Riecke, did similar isometric routines, total training time of less than a minute, to break a world snatch record.  Later, Lou took his methods to the NFL as one of the first pro strength coaches – he helped a then mediocre little team known as – AHEM – the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl rings!  In this same time period, a rather large teenage track & field star named Gary Gubner used short range rack moves to build such phenomenal strength that he established world indoor records in the shot put AND earned himself a spot on the U.S. Olympic Weightlifting Team.

Unfortunately power rack routines didn’t quite stick.  Sessions seemed over before they began, movement range was too short, lifts were way too intense when done correctly, and, for the vain, no “pump” created.  Well, they did work very well for me, but even I got bored (and you guys know what a slug I am!).  So, some years ago (long after my original heavy weight power rack experiments) I started placing rubber flex bands over the barbell, did full range all round lifts thus “handicapped,” and termed them “moving isometrics.”  Like Bill March’s short range isos, momentum and acceleration were thwarted to yield solid, pure push through every inch of an exercise.  Yet the bands encouraged more SPEED and finish (actually, “pushing through” the top rather than “braking,” which somewhat discourages total effort).  Best of all, maximum results came from band/bar lifts that were NOT total, all out, explode-your-arteries, max weight killers.  In fact, from my findings, these work best with a comfortable barbell weight of 60-70% of one’s best single.  Even now, as “early middle age” (65!!!) approaches, these moving isos are giving me substantial gains on most lifts.

Coming Tomorrow

Part 2 of the All-Round Approach of properly using band resistance in your training.

Dino Challenge Fundraiser

(Webmaster’s Note:  A silent auction will be conducted at the Dino Challenge Oldtime Strongman Contest in January, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter.  This groups efforts are very noble, and by having this auction we may be able to help them just a little.  Lots of GREAT THINGS will be in the auction – from some of the Dino Gym’s unique pieces of equipment to donated items from the Dino Strength product line.  There is no entry fee for the Challenge, but plan on bringing some money for the auction.  Fellow Dino Gym member and training partner Mark Mitchell has shared information with us regarding the compassionate vision of the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. – by Al Myers)

by Mark Mitchell

The Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter was formed in February 2007 by Molly Reusser. Her initial intent was to spearhead a group of animal lovers who wanted to pet some dogs but was she in for a big surprise-she had not met Laura Mitchell,Julie Coble,Shannon Kingsley and Trish Hayden yet!! Laura and I have been going to an animal rescue ranch in Kanab Utah called Best Friends for several years to volunteer taking care of some 5000 plus rescued dogs,cats,horses,donkeys etc… combined and we knew how a first rate shelter should be operated. Now,we had a chance to do some of the same things with animals in our own back yard!  Of course,my wife and friends never do anything with half effort and we immediately jumped in to socialize the dogs and cats in the Salina Shelter and pushed hard to get them adopted locally.

Then, we started looking at the figures regarding euthanized former pets and we were astounded. What could we do to change those numbers?  Group member Julie Coble went out on a mission to help solve this. What she found has become a big lifesaver for some 500 dogs just this past year. It is called the Rescue Waggin and it is operated through Petsmart charities. Now,one would have thought our local animal shelter staff would have fallen all over themselves, thanking Julie for this wonderful idea and jumped right on our band wagon(our volunteer group,though working hand in hand with the animal shelter staff,is a separate entity). Alas,no. We were met with big resistance. Did this deter us? No,it did not. A few of us decided to pool our own money together,adopt several dogs we selected,drive a rented cargo van to Denver or Boulder Colorado to Dumb Friends and the Boulder Humane Society and pay transfer fees there because we had heard dogs get adopted in huge numbers from these facilities(Rescue Waggin now takes our dogs to Boulder). We spent thousands of dollars each for quite some time.

Finally,the powers that be saw that we were not a threat and that our intentions were good. It also did not hurt that we,as volunteers,agreed to do all of the work regarding bringing the Rescue Waggin to Salina(we are the only shelter in the nation that uses volunteers to coordinate the Rescue Waggin operation). And what a work load it has been!!  From getting volunteers trained and certified to be behavior specialsts,contracting with local vets to do the health checks to coordinating all of these efforts with the Rescue Waggin personnel(that would be my dear wife Laura’s role!!)  But it has been worth all of the hassles!!  Think of it.  Five hundred great lives and wonderful pets spared and matched with loving families in Colorado just this past year!

Our volunteers put in long hours. We are not just about the Rescue Waggin. We still provide love and care to the dogs and cats who do not qualify for transport. We are involved in fund raisers,special adoption months,hay bale giveaways for all of our outdoor furry friends. The list goes on and on. Our group is amazed and gracious that the Dino Gym has selected us for charitable contributions at the Dino Gym Old Time Barbell Challenge in January !

The Dino Gym in the Year 2060

by Al Myers

Big Al in 2060 (ha-ha)

I fumble my way into the Dino Gym for another workout. I can’t believe it has been over 70 years since the first weight was lifted in the Dino Gym, and I’m still at this obsessive behavior of lifting weights. And especially now, because the sheer thought of getting stronger is a distant memory, only stirred when my wrinkled hands grab a weightlifting bar and stimulates the thought of a long ago personal record. But besides the passage of time, and the fact that I just had my 94 birthday, not much has really changed in the gym. We still lift on all the equipment we acquired back at the turn of the century, and the same guys are still the core gym members. Tuesdays nights have become legendary in all of our minds, as this has always been the day that we have our heaviest workout of the week. These workouts come and go, but there are will always be those that I will never forget.

As has been the custom, I am always the first one to get to the gym. I like to do this because it gives me time to “clear my mind” and focus on my workout goals of the day without distraction. That is the one thing that I HAVEN’T lost – the passion to lift weights and the joy that comes with succeeding in this ongoing battle, despite the weights I lift are less than my warm-ups 50 years ago. I start my routine, and after several pops and crackles in my back, I finally get my lifting shoes on. I consider that my first stretching exercise. As I’m looking at the pictures on the gym walls, I think about the good ole’ days, and in walks my longtime training partner Chad. Chad is still one of the youngsters of the gym at only 88, and walks without a limp. I’ve always been envious of Chad’s natural abilities, and even more now that I refused to get that hip of mine replaced, and got to use a dreaded cane to move around while Chad walks like a youngster. On top of that, I see now the benefits of Chad keeping his head shaved all of his life. I counted my hair the other day and finally my age outnumbers my hair follicles. Ever ambitious, Chad is ready to start lifting! I say, “let’s warm up with some light benches”. Unbeknownst to Chad, I like to start our workouts out with the bench because that is one lift I can still get him on. I have always been able to sucker Chad into anything. I lie down on the bench and crank out 5 solid reps with the bar. I once told myself that when I could no longer bench the bar it would be time to hang it up. I’m not so sure about that anymore, as the bar seems to be getting heavier with time. “Chad, give me a hand so I can get off this bench before I fall asleep”. As you get older, workout partners take on new roles besides just spotting you on a heavy set, you rely on them to help you up when you fall down, and with simple tasks like helping you put on your lifting belt.

Next in comes part of the Salina crew – Mark, Darren and Scott. Mark is the elder of the gym, and soon will be the first gym member over 100. At least he has the Super Masters Class to look forward to and the many possibilities of new age group records. Mark in the old days was the biggest of all of us, but now he barely tops 200 pounds. His wife talked him into liposuction many years ago and now he has the slimmest abdomen of all of us. He even has a handful of dark hair still left on his head. He doesn’t look a day over 70! Darren is the next one in the door, banging his walker on the doorframe to announce to all of us that he made 4 whole workouts this month! Like THAT is something to be proud of, but some things NEVER change. However all those years of pacing himself with his workouts has helped him in the end, because besides his four archilles tendon reattachments he is still in pretty good shape. Scott brings up the rear. I remember the day when Scott was the first in the gym among the Salina guys, but now he is the last one in, and walks like a zombie on a caffeine overdose. I told him years ago that strongman was going to eventually tear him up, but he wouldn’t listen to me, and he kept competing until he destroyed every joint and muscle in his body. I have always admired Scott’s tenacity about training, and marveled at his will to push himself through pain and continue to lift. But he has paid the price for it! I have lost count of his joint replacements and back fusions. “Where’s Chuck?”, I comment to the guys. “Oh, he’s not going to make it this week, but I did see him squat 200 pounds last week”, said Darren. I think to myself “that’s Chuck, a gifted lifter who can still squat big weights and miss Tuesday night workouts”. I have always wished I had his squatting ability. Finally in walks Big John, and he’s sweating profusely. “That walk from the car was a killer!”, he remarks. He huffs and puffs a few times as he collapses on the bench. Even after all these years he still doesn’t realize that his conditioning is his biggest nemesis! I look at him and ask how his cardio training was coming along. Big John replied, “well, I hope to only use a quarter of tank of oxygen tonight”. “That would be an improvement, all that oxygen you use makes me light headed”, I respond.

The crew is finally assembled for the workout. It’s time to get started. I declare to the group, “tonight’s gonna be a big night for us, we got that All-Round Postal Match with the JWC to do, and we haven’t let them beat us in over 70 years, and I don’t want it to start now!!”

Heavy Lift Nationals

by Al Myers


Welcome USAWA to York Barbell!!!

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

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

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

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

FOR ENTRY FORM – 2011HeavyLiftNationals

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