Monthly Archives: October 2011

National Championship

by Al Myers



For the first time in a long time, the venue of the upcoming National Championship was not selected at the National Meeting.  It was voted to be left up to the USAWA Executive Board to “line up a venue” for our organizations most prestigious meet of the year.  This will be only the second time the USAWA Executive Board also served as a Meet Director.  The first was the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships held in York last spring which was overwhelmingly successful.  Lets hope this “second time around” will top the first.

Now to the big announcement for the 2012 USAWA National Championships – IT WILL BE HELD IN LAS VEGAS ON JUNE 30th, 2012.   Yes, that’s right – Las Vegas!!!  John Broz, of Average Broz’s Gym, has graciously allowed us to use his gym’s facilities for the day so we can host our big meet.  John is a very seasoned Olympic lifter and coach, and has been around serious weightlifting his entire life.  He has a great gym set up for hardcore lifting.  Plenty of room, plenty of iron, numerous platforms – so pretty much everything we need to have a FIRST CLASS CHAMPIONSHIPS.   All we need to do is show up with awards and meet T-shirts, and plenty of lifters to lift.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  I also want to mention that this coming year (2012) is a very big year for the USAWA.  This Nationals will mark the 25th anniversary of our organization.  It is only appropriate that we celebrate this occasion with having our National Championships in a “destination location”, of which Vegas is perfect for.  I wouldn’t be surprised if our turnout is bigger than normal for this Championships, because all it takes for me is an excuse to go to Vegas, and this serves perfectly.  I have been to a powerlifting meet once in Vegas years ago, and I still remember that trip as one of my favorite meet trips.

We (the Executive Board) plan to organize several group activities for any lifters who want to participate following the meet.  Details of these activities will become available at a later date when they are decided upon.  We will also pick a host hotel so we can all stay at the same place.  I plan to look into providing  travel arrangements for the lifters to the meet from the hotel.  The details of this will also come at a later date.   I plan to have several “special awards” to present on top of our regular yearly awards.  This will make this meet all that more memorable.   My advice is to mark this day on your calendar and take some days off for vacation right now because this is a USAWA National Championship you will not want to miss!


2012 USAWA National Championships
Saturday, June 30th
Average Broz’s Gym, Las Vegas, Nevada


Clean and Jerk – One Arm
Curl – Reverse Grip
Pullover and Press
Hack Lift – One Arm
Jefferson Lift

FOR ENTRY FORM (PDF): 2012 National Championships Entry Form


USAWA Online Store

by Al Myers

Last June at the National Meeting in Kirksville, I proposed to the membership that we should  develop an Online Store for the USAWA. This would allow USAWA members to purchase merchandise promoting the USAWA.   The membership was all in favor of this and voted unanimously to do it. Of course I volunteered to head up this project, and it has turned into a BIG PROJECT.  It has taken me a little longer getting this USAWA store online than I imagined  – but the GOOD NEWS is that it is finally up and running!  Initially I had big plans in setting it up, but after running into a few “roadblocks” I decided we would just start simple.   The membership allocated me $1000 to buy merchandise (which I spent every dime of) and I selected 7 basic store items to start with.  The inventory is very slim when you consider having to stock many different sizes of shirts.  Add in offering two colors (Grey and Black) and that leaves only a few shirts of each.  My plan is once our store inventory drops to around $500 worth (that means we have sold $500 worth) I’ll “beg” the USAWA Executive Board to allocate me another $1000 out of the USAWA treasury to buy more stuff. 

These are the 7 items that are now available:  Short Sleeve T-Shirts, Long Sleeve T-Shirts, the Officials Shirt, Patches, Water Bottles, Hoodies, and the Rulebook.   All profits from the sale of these items goes into the USAWA Bank Account so make sure to make your check or money order out to the USAWA.  DON’T MAKE IT OUT TO ME!!   I marked the items up sufficiently to make some money for the USAWA, but hopefully not so high that it hinder sales.  You have to remember when you order these items that the profits all go to benefit the USAWA, so in a sense when you spend this money you are helping out yourself!!  I don’t envision the USAWA making alot of money off of this Online Store, but hopefully we will make a little that could go to some beneficial cause for the organization.  I talking about the possibility of nicer USAWA Awards for our yearly awards, or even helping subsidize our National Championship with some extra dollars to make our National Meet even better.  But whatever this money is used for, it will benefit EVERYONE!  If this doesn’t “sale you” on ordering – I don’t know what sales pitch would!

The items available in the Online Store are located at the far bottom of the left-hand side of the website under the heading “USAWA Store”.  The order forms are available under “Forms and Applications”. 


Club Challenge

by Al Myers


The Ambridge VFW Barbell Club will be the hosts for the 2012 USAWA Club Challenge.

It’s hard to believe but this will be the THIRD YEAR for the USAWA Club Challenge.  It seems like just yesterday that John McKean and myself  “dreamed up” this meet, and now I would have to say that it has become one of the most prestigious meets on our calendar.  This meet will again be held on the second weekend of March, as it has been the last two years.  The Ambridge BBC will be the hosts again – directed by the Ambridge BBC FATHERS –  Art “the MAN OF STEEL” Montini and John “the BIG FISH” McKean.  These guys know how to conduct a quality competition.  They both have been prior National Meet Directors in the USAWA. 

This competition is different than most “other competitions” within the USAWA.  It is titled the CLUB CHALLENGE for a reason, because it is not about individual performance, but rather club performance.  Each club is invited to bring a three person team representing their club, and the accumulation of each lifter’s individuals scores will be added together to form a TEAM SCORE.  If you can’t get three people together for the competition, you may come with a team of two, or just by yourself.  But doing that is like John has said in the past, “bringing a knife to a gunfight” because you will still be scored against the other 3 person teams. But come regardless, because you will have a fun enjoyable day lifting weights. 

Even though it is preferred to have all members registered to the same club, this is not mandatory.  If two clubs want to “join together” and form a team that is acceptable.  Our main goal of this competition is to encourage club participation within the USAWA.


Date:  Saturday, March 10th

Venue:  Ambridge BBC

Meet Directors:  John McKean & Art Montini

Entry Fee:  None

Start Time:  1:00 PM

Sanction:  USAWA


Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm

Pullover and Press

Hack Lift

There is no entry form for this competition. If interested, contact myself (at or John McKean.

Forms and Applications

by Al Myers

This past weekend I made some MAJOR CHANGES to the Forms and Applications section.  These Forms and Applications reside under the top spot on the left hand  side of the website.  Most of these forms were in need of some serious updating, of which I did.  Please take the time to check them out.  There are FIVE major forms/applications used in the USAWA:  Individual Membership Application, Meet Sanction Application, Club Membership Application, Hall of Fame Nomination Form, and the Online Store Order Form.  I included them as both PDF’s and as Word Documents.  The Word Document allows someone to download it, and then edit the form with the needed information.  This is the way I would prefer the forms be filled out.  Most of you have handwriting as bad as mine, and it sometimes seems IMPOSSIBLE for me to read!  I also made the forms much more user friendly.  I eliminated alot of unnecessary information from them.  I combined the Individual Membership Application with the Drug Waiver Form, so now there is only ONE FORM to fill out and sign when applying for USAWA membership.   You would be surprised how many times in the past I have received membership applications and the drug waiver is missing.  I eliminated the requirement of sending in Club Bylaws and the list of Club Officers from the Club Membership Application.  This always seemed ridiculous to me to require this, as most Clubs are like my Dino Gym and we don’t have bylaws!! I greatly simplified the Meet Sanction Application.  Now only the pertinent information is required to fill out this form. 

One last note on this, and let this be a warning.  If ANYONE sends me an old Application from the Strength Journal from now on you will be DENIED MEMBERSHIP.  I went to ALL THIS WORK and I want these new forms used from now on. And in case anyone is wondering, this comment is directed towards  John McKean (I’m just joking ya John!!)

Old Time Strongman

by Al Myers

John O'Brien, of the JWC, takes a 270 pound dumbbell to his shoulder at the First Ever USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships. This new Old Time Strongman Event mimics loading events in Strongman, but instead of loading something to a platform, the lifter has to take the dumbbell from the floor to the shoulder. Only at the JWC would the dumbbell be loaded with Old Jackson plates, which is very fitting!!!

It really gave me a good feeling that the FIRST EVER USAWA Old Time Strongman (OTSM)  Championships was such a great success.  Thom did an EXCELLENT JOB of hosting this event at his gym, the JWC Training Hall.   Even though the USAWA only hosted two of these OTSM meets this year, I see this division of the USAWA as one that will grow over time.  Actually, it is probably a good thing that we are growing at a slow pace with this, as it allows us to get “our ducks in a row”.   This allows time to develop the proper protocols in administrating these competitions, as well as time to develop a good selection of OTSM events that will be contested.  I’m hoping next year to have at least four of these Old Time Strongman Competitions within the sanction of the USAWA.  Thom has already agreed to host next’s years Championship so we know we will have that as the “finale”.   Eric Todd has showed interest in hosting one in his gym this upcoming spring, and the Dino Gym has one planned for next July.  

I want to say a few general words about these changes that are happening in the USAWA.  Most USAWA lifters have been very supportive of these changes, but I have received a few comments from people, that as I would say, are “reserved” in their feelings on this.  When changes happen in any aspect in life, it is sometimes unfortable and takes adjustment on an individuals part.   It is easy to just keep doing things as they are always done, but sometimes changes are needed to “spark things”.  This is how I feel about the USAWA branching into Strongman.  We have been struggling for years as an organization in keeping adequate membership to stimulate enough revenue (in membership dues) to keep functioning.  Old Time Strongman will stimulate membership from lifters who may be only interested in these competitions, but a FEW will also compete in the traditional All Round Meets as well since they are already members of the USAWA.  It is a sure thing that it will increase USAWA membership. Strongman is no different than other “niche” competitive areas within the USAWA that already exist.  I talking specially about the Heavy Lifts and the Grip Meets that the USAWA has sanctioned.

I want to explain a few goals and formative ideas I have about this Old Time Strongman.  First of all, in no way do I want to imitate Strongman Competitions that already exist.  If a lifter wants to compete in those, there are plenty of opportunities for this.  We have sanctioned several of those Strongman Competitions in the Dino Gym by NAS through the years.  Instead, I want to share some of my “founding principles” of the USAWA Old Time Strongman so everyone will know where I’m coming from.

1.  General Rules of the USAWA will apply.  This includes using lifts that have established WRITTEN RULES in the Rulebook.  Rules of weightlifting will apply with the 3 attempts allowed per lift, and a lifter will be able to CHOOSE what weight they want to attempt.  No set weight implements will be allowed.  No events for time will be allowed.  Medley type events will not be done. This allows anyone, regardless of ability, to be able to compete.  Also, the USAWA scoring system already in place for our meets will be used.  Bodyweight and age correction will be applied to total pounds lifted.   Now if a meet director wants to have awards for BEST LIFTER for age groups or age divisions that is not a problem, as that is already allowed for any other USAWA meet. 

2.  Drug testing will be done according to the USAWA guidelines.  Most other organization’s Strongman Competitions are not drug tested. We will drug test! This will allow those drug free lifters to be able to compete against others who are also drug free. 

3.  The Old Time Strongman Events will be of such as to honor a lift/event done by an Old Time Strongman.  This goes right along with our mission statement of the USAWA, to honor lifts done by Old Time Strongmen.  No “modern” Strongmen events will be contested – such as stone loading, farmers walks, yoke carries, etc.  Like I said before, there are plenty of other places to do those events in competition.  Also, most of these Old Time Strongman Events will be done using just using a bar or dumbbell/dumbells.  The use of specialized equipment in events will be limited, however, a few events will have them.  I talking about unique lifts like the Dinnie Lift. 

4.  All of these Old Time Strongman Events will have “loose rules” compared to other All Round lifts.  Several of these OTSM events will be partial movements, unlike traditional All Round lifts.  I am hoping that eventually we will reach a list of around 20 “GOOD” OTSM lifts in our Rulebook so meet directors will have a good list to chose from for a meet. Finally, all of these lifts will have the minute clock, meaning a lifter gets as many tries within a minute to complete the lift on their attempt.  No missed attempts on technicalities!! 

I could see meet directors having an OTSM in which other All Round lifts might be included in the meet  list of events.   A lot of our other already established All Round lifts would fit “perfectly” into an OTSM meet.  Lifts like the Crucifix and Two Hands Anyhow pretty much meet the criteria of an Old Time Strongman lift.  But if these lifts are done in an OTSM meet, their rule as stated in the Rulebook must be followed, and not deviated from.  This is essential so records in these lifts can be maintained.  As you can see from these “founding principles”, Old Time Strongman will be a cross between modern Stongman and weightlifting.  I’m really excited about this – and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!

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