Monthly Archives: December 2011


by Al Myers

It’s that time of the year that lifters need to think about renewing their USAWA memberships.  Membership in the USAWA runs for the calendar year, January 1st to December 31st  – so you might as well renew now so you can enjoy a full year of USAWA membership.  I plan to list the new 2012 membership roster on January 1st and if you send me your dues before that time you will be listed with the “join date” of January 1st beside your name.  That’s something to be proud of! So far I have recieved only a handful of 2012 membership dues: John Wilmot, Dean Ross, Dale Friesz, Jim Malloy, Al Myers, Bill Clark, and Dennis Mitchell. Last year I recieved 16 memberships before the start of the year.  Let’s try to beat that mark this year!

Membership applications are located on the left side of the homepage, under the heading “Forms and Applications”.

Otto Ziegler, 1919 to 2011

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom did a 200 pound Ziegler Clean at the 2009 Dino Gym Challenge. This is the top mark of ALL-TIME in the USAWA Record List.

Recently Otto Ziegler of Baytown, Texas passed away. He was 92 years old when he died, but throughout his life made a huge impact on weightlifting and even All Round Weightlifting.  Most of us know that he is responsible for his name being tied to a very unusual lift in the USAWA – the Ziegler Clean.  But his contributions to Olympic Weightlifting go far beyond what he has done for the USAWA.  In 2003 he was inducted into the Weightlifting Hall of Fame.  He has coached hundreds of lifters throughout his life, served as a meet director numerous times, officiated Olympic Meets, conducting weightlifting clinics and seminars, along with a long career of lifting himself.

Bill Clark tried for years to get Otto involved in the USAWA, but to my knowledge he never competed in an USAWA event. However, he was a longtime subscriber to Bill’s Strength Journal and incorporated several of the all round lifts into his  training. In an old Strength Journal, Bill highlighted some of  Otto’s All-Round poundages (from the Strength Journal Vol.IV.No.5 – 1993). 

  • Bent Press – 190 LH and 180 RH
  • Dumbbell Swing – a pair of 75 pound bells for 20 reps.
  • Pinch Grip – Used a 68# two inch smooth plate and held it for 12 seconds.
  • One legged Clean and Jerk – at age 63, did 110 pounds.
  • Leg Press – Made 12 reps with 370 pounds on a six-foot bar which he took off a wooden rack and, like Ed Zercher, handled it free-legged.

However, probably the most impressive thing he did was when he did a 154 pound clean balancing a 2.5 plate on his head at age 58. Thus the invention of the Ziegler Clean!  This lift by Otto Ziegler was performed in 1977, and was included in the old Mo-Valley Record List.  It was the top mark lifted in this record list, but the number of lifters with Ziegler Clean marks was pretty small. Wonder why????  I have done this lift in an USAWA competition before and my greatest fear was that the plate would fall off my head during the lift and land on my foot, breaking a toe in the process!  

The Ziegler Clean was one of the original IAWA/USAWA official lifts.  However, it has been contested only a few times in competition. At this past Gold Cup in England, Scottish lifter David McFadzean did a Ziegler Clean as his Gold Cup lift.  He made 62.5 kilograms, which I thought was quite impressive. Maybe next time he does this lift he will exceeds Otto’s best mark of 70 kgs?!?!

I’m pretty sure when Otto Ziegler did this lift the first time he never imagined that this strange and unorthodox lift would become a fixture lift in the USAWA/IAWA  and it would carry his name as his legacy in the organization. But “hat’s off” to Otto Ziegler (or in this case “plate’s off”) for all that he has done for weightlifting with his lifetime of contributions.  He will be missed, but never forgotten.  I issue a challenge to all All-Rounders that in your next workout do the Ziegler Clean in his remembrance!

(webmaster note:  I just realized that all these years we have misprinted the spelling of Otto Ziegler’s name.  In our Rule Books, both the USAWA and the IAWA, we have printed his name as “Zeigler”.  I will make an effort to get this mistake fixed.)

National Venue Update

by Al Myers

Average Broz Gym - the venue site for the 2012 USAWA National Championships.

Last week I was fortunate to be in Las Vegas on business, so I took a little extra time to go visit with John Broz, owner of Average Broz Gym and venue site of the 2012 USAWA National Championships next summer.  For those of you that have been to Las Vegas, you are fully aware of the “hustle and bustle” of activity that goes on “around the clock” in Vegas.  But when I got to John’s Gym several blocks south of the strip, it was in a very peaceful neighborhood.  His Gym is located very close to the airport and is very easy to get to.   I am still in the process of finding a host hotel close by, of which details will be released later when this decision has been made.

John Broz (left) and Al Myers (right)

I was completely overwhelmed by Average Broz Gym.  It caters pretty exclusively to Olympic Weightlifters, and has numerous platforms with full weight sets for each.  John has a major investment in bars and weights, and he has only the BEST STUFF – Eleiko bars and Eleiko bumpers.  It will be BY FAR some of the best equipment we have ever lifted on in any of our National Meets.  John is a very seasoned Olympic Lifter and Coach.  I greatly enjoyed our conversation together – I could have visited with him all day long but he had coaching responsibilities to attend to so I didn’t want to take too much of his time.  It didn’t take me long to realize that this venue will be the PERFECT SPOT to celebrate our 25th USAWA National Championships!

During our conversation we found that we knew several people in common.  The “brotherhood of weightlifters” is truly a small fraternity and there are alot of links between individuals.  John is originally from Cleveland.  He grew up lifting weights coached by the well-known allrounder and weightlifter John Schubert.  John had several stories of his experiences with John Schubert and it was obvious to me that John had been influenced quite a bit by him.  John was just recently in Cleveland following John Schubert’s death, and was involved in liquidating Schubert’s lifting equipment.  He plans to set up a display in his gym featuring some of John Schubert’s gym equipment.  So you can tell John is familiar with All Round Weightlifting and has even done several of the All Round Lifts in the past himself!  When I told him the lifts we would be doing, he knew exactly what I was talking about. 

I am very excited and looking forward to this meet.  It will be the first time the USAWA has ever promoted a meet in Las Vegas.  Start making plans now to attend because this is an All-Round meet you will not want to miss out on!

RULE CHANGE – Feet in Air Bench Press

by Al Myers

These are the two ways the Feet in the Air Bench Press must be performed - legs straight off the bench (left) or with legs crossed (right). No longer is a support bench allowed to rest the lower legs on. These pictures were taken at the 2006 USAWA National Championships. Dennis Mitchell is lifting in the picture to the left, with head official Bob Burtzloff seated behind him. Al Myers is lifting in the picture on the right, with head official Thom Van Vleck looking on (and intently I might add!)

One of the IAWA rule changes that happened at the 2011 IAWA World Meeting involved the rule for the Bench Press – Feet in Air.   This proposed change was presented by the IAWA Technical Committee at the meeting, chaired by IAWA Technical Committee Chairman Dennis Mitchell.  The “issue” involved disallowing a support bench during the lift, which has been allowed under previous IAWA rules.  The USAWA rules have NEVER allowed the legs to rest on another (a totally separate) support bench.  This issue was discussed at this past years USAWA meeting as well.  These past couple of years rule changes have been presented to the USAWA   membership to bring our rules (the USAWA rules) into compliance with IAWA rules.  You would be surprised how many differences there are.  All of the other changes were passed at this meeting, but the USAWA membership voted NOT to allow a support bench to rest the legs on.  This decision led to this being presented to the IAWA Tech Committee to see how the IAWA membership felt on it.  There was some opposition, but the majority in attendance felt that a support bench was not within “the intent” of the feet in the air bench press.  Thus the IAWA rule is now changed, and the USAWA rule and the IAWA rule is the same on this now. The bottom line – NO SUPPORT BENCH!

As I’ve said before, there are many subtle (and some not so subtle!) rules differences between the USAWA Rules and the IAWA Rules. These rules differences can make some lifts harder or easier, depending on which rules you follow.  I would say DEFINITELY having a support bench to rest the lower legs on is an advantage as it would provide more balance to the lifter resting on the bench during the press.  That is one of the biggest difficulties in the feet in the air bench press, maintaining proper body position as you press the weight up.  The interesting thing is that this difference between the IAWA rules and the USAWA rules came about because of how the original rule was interpreted.  The original rule stated that the “ankles and heels” must not be supported or resting on the floor.  This was interpreted by IAWA as meaning the lower legs WERE allowed to be supported by a support bench, whereas the USAWA made the assumption that NO PARTS of the legs could be supported.  Again, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, THERE SHOULD BE NO INTERPRETATIONS WHEN IT COMES TO THE RULES, everything should be “spelled out” and very clear in what is allowed and not allowed! 

But this leads to an even bigger issue.  What about all the IAWA World Records that were set by lifters resting their feet/lower legs on a support bench?  Should these records still count?  And how would you go about identifying these cases? It will definitely take a much better effort to break one of these records in the IAWA World Record List from now on.  Also, what about all of the other differences between the IAWA rules and the USAWA rules where rule differences might give an “added advantage” to set World records?   These are issues that need to be worked out in my opinion.

Lance Foster – New Official

by Al Myers

Lance Foster completing the Dumbbell to Shoulder at the 2011 OTSM Championships.

I want to welcome Lance Foster to the “growing list” of USAWA Officials.  Lance just recently passed the Officials Test and now is certified to officiate within the USAWA for the next three years.  Lance has been very involved this past year with the Old Time Strongman Competitions that have been promoted by the USAWA.  He competed at my Dino Gym Strongman Challenge last January, and then again at the OTSM Championships hosted by Thom Van Vleck in Kirksville, MO.

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