Monthly Archives: December 2011

Grip Championships

by Al Myers


Mark Mitchell, of the Dino Gym, put up the best Pinch Grip of the 2011 USAWA Grip Championships with a fine lift of 174 pounds.

The USAWA Grip Championships will be hosted again this year for the second time by the Dino Gym on the second weekend of February.  As per requirement of the USAWA, all events in this USAWA Grip Championships will be official lifts of the USAWA.  A complete “different set” of lifts have been selected this year which should provide a challenge to all entrants.  This Championship is the premier grip competition within the USAWA during the year.  I want to remind everyone that traditional USAWA scoring is used in this competition, which may be different than other organizations scoring.  The “total pounds” of all the lifts are tallied together, and then amended using the Lynch Formula for bodyweight and age corrected for the lifter’s age.



Dumbbell Walk
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, One Arm
Deadlift – Fingers, Index
Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″


For entry form – 2012 Grip Championships Entry Form

Dino Gym Record Day

by Al Myers


Meet Director: Al Myers and the Dino Gym

Meet Date: Sunday, February 12th, 2011 10:00 AM-4:00PM

Location: Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas

Sanction: USAWA

Entry Form: None – just show up

Entry Fee: None

Lifts: Record Day – Pick any lifts you can set a USAWA record in!

Contact me at if you have any questions

Steve Sherwood – the new WORLD CHAMP

by Al Myers

Steve Sherwood (left) receiving the OVERALL BEST LIFTER AWARD from meet director Peter Phillips (right). IAWA President Steve Gardner is in the center.

Last month at the IAWA World Championships in Perth, Australia a new World Champ was crowned.  The new champion, Steve Sherwood, is very deserving of this title.  Steve is an amazing lifter, and he sure doesn’t look his age.  He is listed at 60 years of age, but physically he doesn’t look a day over 35!  Steve hails from Hull, England and has been lifting his entire life.  Recently at the 2011 Gold Cup held in Burton, England Steve was inducted into the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame.  I was honored to be able to be in attendance at this event.  Steve has a great all round lifting resume – but surprisingly this is his FIRST TIME being crowned the Best Overall Lifter at the World Championships.  He was third overall in 2010 in Glasgow, and third overall at the 1994 Championships in Burton.  Before that, he was second overall in the 1993 World Championships in Walpole, MA and 5th overall at the World’s in Twickenham, England.  You will notice that there has been a “break in the action” for Steve of several years of World Competition, but he has returned to the platform with the same success as when he left.   He has been close so many times to winning the overall, so I congratulate him on finally achieving this highest yearly honor in the IAWA.  The way he lifted in Australia I predict it won’t be the last of overall victories for him.  I really thought at the time that  his margin of victory (872 pts to my 793 pts for second place) might be the largest of All-Time in the IAWA World Championships, but after doing some research on this, I see that it is the THIRD largest margin of victory.  In 2008, Rick Meldon won by a margin of 85 points, and in 1995 Bob Hirsh won by a margin of 122 points.

On top of all Steve’s success as a lifter, he is one of the most modest guys I have ever met and a true sportsman. He is the perfect example of what a CHAMPION should be like. Congratulations Steve!

Proper Dress Code Continued

by Al Myers

I'm not perfect either when it comes to violating USAWA dress code. Last summer at the Ledaig Record Day I wore a cap when lifting, which is a violation of proper dress. But then again, I was lifting outside in the blinding sun and 110 degree scorching temperatures!! It was a matter of survival!!

Before I left for Australia, I ran a blog on the proper dress code in the USAWA.  I also issued a “quiz” to everyone on how many violations of dress code that are in the pictures in the USAWA Rulebook.  Well, I almost forgot all about that quiz!  But before I get to who the big winners are, let me say a few more things on this issue.  I appreciate the comments on this subject in the discussion forum.  Most of those that posted felt that our policy of allowing lifters to wear shorts and t-shirts is acceptable, and requiring singlets for competition would be too much to ask.  I do feel that this is the way the majority of USAWA lifters feel on this, even though personally  I think the requirement of a more formal attire of wearing singlets is the way to go.  But I will always try to represent the feelings of the MAJORITY and thus why the feedback on the discussion forum is so important.

Next, I would have to say I was slightly disappointed in the number of responses to this quiz.  I only got THREE RESPONSES!!  No one was “dead on” with correctly identifying the number of violations in the pictures, but our USAWA Official’s Director Joe Garcia was the closest with identifying 24 violations of dress code.  The actual number of violations is 28!  That is out of 102 pictures total in the USAWA Rulebook, which comes out to over 25% of the pictures containing some type of dress code violation!  As I said earlier, most of these pictures are from competitions, so you can tell this is something that has not been addressed in the past.  How can we expect to impose tighter dress code standards when our Rulebook pictures portray the complete opposite?!?!  The next closest answer came from Eric Todd, who gave an answer of 23.  Eric also pointed out that he himself was in violation in BOTH PICTURES of himself  in the Rulebook, and he felt  that alone should gather him a  prize.   Let me tell ya  ET – prizes like that are called a BOOBY PRIZE in my book, but since you showed the modesty of pointing that out to me (and now everyone else in the World!) I’m going to send you a water bottle as a prize for being a repeat violator!  Third in line was the latest of USAWA Officials Lance Foster – who correctly identified 20 dress code violations. I’m going to send you a water bottle as well Lance because I appreciate you taking the time to participate in this little quiz.  Now see what the rest of you missed out on – everyone who entered was a winner!   I didn’t even count the few pictures of lifters wearing shorts that appeared below the base of the quadriceps, which is a violation, because I felt this would be a judgement call on my part.  I ONLY counted pictures that contained OBVIOUS INFRACTIONS. 

I don’t want to appear to be going “overboard” on this issue, but I do think it is something that should be mentioned at meets to lifters when they are in violation of proper USAWA dress code during this upcoming year, because I truly believe the reason lifters are in violation is because they just don’t know better.  I know there are much bigger (and important!) issues regarding our Rulebook, rules, and policies than this!

One last note on this – I want to point out the lifters in the Rulebook who have 100% compliance with dress code.  This list only contains lifers who have the  three maximum pictures of them in the Rulebook.  These lifters are: Joe Garcia, Scott Campbell, Denny Habecker, Frank Ciavattone, Chad Ullom, John McKean, Al Myers, and Kevin Fulton.  However,  I WON’T point out the lifters who have the most violations!!!

The Randall Lift

by John McKean

“GOOD MORNING!” was my response to son Sean’s query as to exactly what kind of rubber band longstrength warmup maneuver I was doing.

“Hey, I’ve been up for two hours now,” curtly replied the 29-year-old. “The hearing is apparently going quickly, old man!  So what the heck kind of exercise is that, anyhow?”

“GOOD MORNING!” I responded.

“Geez,” howled Sean. “Senility is taking hold, too!”

Then I proceeded to give the sarcastic youth an iron game history lesson – the astounding story of Bruce Randall.  During the 1950s Randall, a U.S. Marine, decided to bulk up to play football on his base team.  He had access to perhaps the best weight room in the Armed Forces, and a superb coach in Chief Petty Officer Walter Metzler.  Bruce found he gained bodyweight amazingly quickly as the Marine Corps supplied tons of free food (yes, a breakfast of 28 eggs, two loaves of toasted bread, several quarts of milk, and “extras” could get you “grand-slammed” out of Denny’s in a hurry), and his strength on basic all-round lifts skyrocketed.  Soon Bruce forgot all about football, deciding he loved lifting far more; he challenged himself to see just how big and strong he could get.  A little more than a year later he was up to 401 pounds bodyweight, with some equally huge training lifts such as a 392 pound military press off a rack, 45 degree incline clean and press of 410, 2100 pound half squat, and a 228 pound curl.

Bruce Randall showed a very symmetrical physique when he won Mr. Universe.

However, Bruce was a bit uncomfortable carrying around such bulk and, after leaving the Marines, actually did not have the free, unending food supply!  So, never say die, he decided to discover what muscle hid beneath the flab and planned to enter the prestigious NAABA Mr. Universe event in London, England.  One day at a New York gym, an infamous bodybuilding “trainer of champions” told him to his face, “NEVER!”  Of course, 28 months later Randall became one of the biggest, shapeliest, and most defined contestants ever in winning the 1959 Mr. Universe (222 pounds bodyweight)!  Incidentally, the bodybuilding mogul approached him shortly thereafter for a cover photo/story – Bruce smiled, waved his finger, and replied, “NEVER!”

Of interest to us in the USAWA, Bruce Randall did not employ standard bodybuilding exercises or routines, but had a natural inclination to heavy, always progressing standing presses, dumbbell bench presses,  hack lifts, bent over rows, curls, and deadlifts.  All OUR stuff!  And his workouts were extremely sensible, rarely more than 3 sets of 3 to 6 reps for 4 or 5 lifts, even when at lower bodyweight and keying in on big time physique events.  His upper arm size alone, with some of the most magnificent triceps ever, was indicative of results from extremely heavy presses, curls (100+ pound dumbbells) and French presses (a rarely contested all-round event).

Randall’s most famous lift, however, was the GOOD MORNING. Bruce specialized on this unconventional movement since, at first, he could squat almost nothing after breaking his leg in 7 places during a nasty accident (not lifting related).

As he approached his most efficient bodyweight of 380, Bruce had worked to a typical Good Morning session of 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps with 565!  His top single was 685, back parallel to the floor, and a bare miss with a mind blowing 750 because the weight unexpectedly shifted!

To show the strengthening effects of the Good Morning, Bruce performed only 9 random singles in the squat over the months leading up to his bulkiest,  yet achieved an easy, deep 680.  And his deadlift hit 770.   Both powerlifts were certainly world class during the 50s – without ever training them!

Bruce Randall executing his famous Good Morning lift with BIG WEIGHT!

In light of the recent inception of “strongman lifts,” I’d like to propose the “Randall Lift.” Certainly this event should rank right up there with the rack-based “Anderson Squat.”  For, you see, Bruce Randall didn’t achieve his 685 Good Morning in the strict format of our USAWA rulebook.  His lift often used a cambered bar and always bent knees.  But he did get his torso parallel to the floor, even with a (necessary) rounded back.  Heck, as Al Myers once pointed out, it’s near impossible anyway to judge (or do!) a Good Morning with completely straight legs and back.  But I believe this lift’s inclusion will be an important tribute to a legendary, almost forgotten, true ALL-ROUNDER.

Typing this during early evening, Sean zoomed past, heading toward our garage gym.  “What’s up, kiddo?” I questioned.

“GOOD MORNING!” he yelled.  “I’m gonna be Mr. Universe!”

Yes, senility strikes early in this family!

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