Monthly Archives: December 2011

JWC Around the World!

by Thom Van Vleck

Brian Hare, top Highland Games athlete sporting his JWC hat while doing some stone lifting in ICELAND!

I have had a lot of fun (and sometimes frustration) putting on meets over the years.  One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing is creating new meet shirts, and sometimes hats for something different.  I have also enjoyed seeing my shirts pop up at the most unusual places.  Recently, Brian Hare, a top Highland Game thrower posted the above photo of him doing some stone lifting in Iceland wearing his JWC stocking cap.

Front and center, you will see Bob McConaughey sporting his JWC shirt, that year he set the masters World Record in the Bench Press with 744lbs at 242lbs bodyweight.

I also got one from Bob McConaughey, a top Powerlifter and Highland Games thrower where Bob was representing the Frantz Power Team but wearing a JWC shirt!  I am not surprised when I’m in the local super market and see one of my shirts, but I was surprised when I was in Edinburg, Scotland and turned around to see one of my shirts!  Sean Betz was wearing it before throwing in the Pro World Championships!  Sean told me he took that shirt to every meet as he liked it as warm up shirt since it was roomy and had long sleeves.  I have seen photos of him in it all over the place!

Hey, I can't resist running this photo of Tully one more time!!!!! Here's a JWC shirt showing up in California! This may be the most published photo in ever on the USAWA website!

I have many more examples and sometimes I know that a shirt may be worn just because it fits well, happens to be the only one clean, or just at the top in the shirt drawer!  But whatever the reason, whenever I see it, it makes me feel pretty good and motivates me put all the negatives aside in running a meet and make plans for the next one.  If you have one of my shirts and you end up wearing one in some cool or exotic location, send me a copy!  It will make my day!

Battle in the Barn

by Eric Todd


Sunday, March, 25 2012 will be the inaugural “Battle in the Barn” which will be the third USAWA Old Time Strongman event. 

Eric Todd will be the meet director for the "Battle in the Barn", the third Old Time Strongman Competition promoted by the USAWA.

Where:  ET’s House of Iron and Stone-The KCSTRONGMAN headquarters near Cameron, MO

When: March 25 at 10:00 AM

Weigh ins: 9:00 AM

Entry Cost: $20

Entry Deadline : Entries must be in hand by Sat, March 17, 2012

Divisions:  Lightweight (under 200#), Middleweight (200-250#), Heavyweight (Over 250#), Masters (over 40)

Awards:  Awards for top 3 per division.  Best lifter award.               

Events:  Appollons Lift, Crucifix, Partial Deadlift, and Goerner Stroll

Rules of the Lifts

Apollon’s LiftA 2 inch diameter axle (or Fulton Bar)  will be used as the bar for this lift.  The maximum starting bar height is 12 inches measured from the platform to the bottom of the bar.  Any method may be used to take the bar to the shoulders or overhead.  The bar or plates are allowed to retouch the platform during the lift.  If the bar is placed down or dropped, the lifter may try again as many times as he/she wants within the time limit.  A time limit of 1 minute is allowed.  Once the weight is overhead, with arms’ locked, legs straight,  and the feet in line with the torso,  an official will give the command to end the lift.

Crucifix (standard USAWA Rules) –  Two evenly loaded dumbbells or kettlebells are used for this lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The dumbbells are taken to arms’ length overhead with the palms of the hands facing each other and dumbbells touching. The lifter must bring the feet together so the heels are together and touching. The body must be upright at the start of the lift. Once in this position, an official will give the command to start the lift. The lifter will then lower the dumbbells to the side with arms’ straight and palms up. Elbows must be fully locked. The lifter may lean back to any extent when lowering the dumbbells. The wrists do not need to be held straight. The legs must remain straight and knees locked throughout the lift. The heels must remain together and the heels and toes must not rise during the lift. Once the arms are parallel to the platform, and the dumbbells motionless, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Partial Deadlift  – This is a partial deadlift, where the bar height must not be over 18″ from the platform.  The plates or bar may be supported on stands or blocks to obtain this height.  The lifter must have the bar in front of the legs, as in a normal deadlift. Lifting straps or any other gripping aid is not allowed.  It is NOT an infraction to drag the bar up the legs, bounce the bar up the legs, or support the bar on the legs during the lift (hitching).  A one minute time limit is allowed for the lifter to make a legal lift, during which time a lifter may make multiple tries.  Once the lifter is totally upright and the bar motionless, an official will give the command to end the lift.

Goerner StrollTwo barbells will be used.  The lifter must pick up both barbells at the same time, one in each hand, and walk (or run) a distance of 1 rod (or 16.5 feet).  The starting and finish lines must be marked.  The plates on the bars must be behind the starting line at the start, and finish entirely beyond the finish line at the end.  The weight selected on the bars must not be changed during the attempt.  Both bars must be loaded to the same weight.  A one minute time limit is allowed for the attempt.  If the bars are set down or dropped between the  starting and finish lines during this 1 minute time limit, the lifter may start over, but MUST restart at the starting line.  Strapping the bars to the hands is NOT ALLOWED.

All other general rules of the USAWA will apply.  Scoring will be done according to the USAWA guidelines. Each competitor will get three attempts of their choosing with the best one counting towards their total.

Entry Form – Battle_in_the_Barn_entry

Any Questions, please ask on the forum, or email me at

Hot Stove Workout

by Thom Van Vleck

A Hot Stove is where work gets done, and managing what's important means putting it up front or in back....managing your workout is the idea of this article.

I just wanted to share a workout plan I have for this winter.  As most of you know, I do a lot of throwing in the Scottish Highland Games.   Winter time for me is “off season”.  It is a time where I am trying to build strength again.  I also want to increase my conditioning and flexibility.  In season, I do a lot of throwing, and in the process I get pretty burned out on it by the end of the year and it’s good to get back in the gym for some old school training.

The first thing I need to tell you is that there is NOTHING I enjoy more than the adrenaline rush that comes with heavy lifting.  I get a high that will last for days.  Any hardcore lifter will know what I mean, that moment when the weight starts piling on and the goosebumps pop up on your arms and a chill runs down your spin and it’s “GO TIME”!  I love it.  But, as I get older I have to deal with a couple of factors:  Recuperation and Injuries.

Because of the increased recuperation time that comes with age and the injuries my body has endured, I can’t hit the max attempts like I did 20 or 30 years ago. I have to be smart!  Part of the problem is that I want to work my entire body at once and be cycling into heavy lifts that involve  my entire body.  So this year I came up with my “Hot Stove Workout”.

The “Hot Stove Workout” has my hitting the big numbers on a particular lift during my “Big Saturday” workout.  This is when I’m hitting that adrenaline rush and feeling good about moving some heavy iron (heavy for me!).  This is what I call my “Front Burner” exercise.   I am also using that time to work on my Erector Spinae and hamstrings using the Reverse Hyper, swiss ball (leg curls), and leg curling on the Reverse Hyper (a little exercise I stole from Al Myers).

Then Sunday is my conditioning day.  Right now I’m doing football agility drills with my son, who’s playing football in school, medicine ball drills, and tossing the pigskin around along with hitting the volleyball back and forth with my wife who’s on a volleyball league.

Monday is a day when I work on Grip, Neck, and Abdominal exercises, really going crazy on them.  Then my “Big Tuesday Workout” I hit two exercised that are my “Back Burner” exercises.  They are on their way to being “Front Burner” exercises and when one gets moved up, then another takes it’s place…destined to eventually make it to the “Front Burner”.  I always have three exercises and I make sure I have one that’s a leg movement, one a pressing movement, and another that’s a pulling or back movement.  It is also this day that I do any assistance work.

I then finish off with a set of 100 on the leg press.  These are very explosive, I drive up on the toes, and I usually have to crawl out of the gym after that.  By then I’ve worked out for 4 days and then I have three days to rest and get ready for the next Saturday.  I enjoy this workout very much and for now, that’s all I need to keep me lifting.  It doesn’t matter how great the workout is, if you don’t enjoy it or it doesn’t motivate you, then it’s the same as worthless.

By keeping a couple exercised on the back burner, using less weight, I’m able to be ready to switch them to the front burner.  That way I’m always hitting something heavy on Saturday and not having to build up over time for a big lift.  By lifting only once a week with over 90% poundages, I am able to recuperate and stay fresh.  I hope my workout has given you some ideas for your own training.  Everything I know about training I learned from someone else!!!!

Wayne Smith Update

by Thom Van Vleck

Wayne Smith, long time USAWA lifter and even longer time member of the Jackson Weightlifting Club was recently featured by me in two part website article.  Wayne also attended the USAWA Nationals hosted by the JWC in Kirksville this year.  Wayne has many friends in the lifting world and I thought maybe some of you would like to hear the latest.

A couple of weeks ago Wayne was rushed the hospital.  He was having some problems and they were very concerning.  I went several times to check up on him and left with more questions than answers.  The doctors just didn’t know what was going on with him.

Well, I have good news.  I visited with Wayne yesterday and he is doing much better and appears to be on his way to recovery and has moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation unit.  He was his old self again and was enjoying visits from three JWC members in one day.  Wayne Jackson had made a visit, and then Wayne Gardner, then myself.

It is nice to know that we take care of our own and the friendships made on the lifting platform are often life time ones.  We hope that Wayne will be back home soon and if you have a message for him, just let me know at and I will make sure he gets it!  He tells me he is not going to let this keep him from making his comeback in lifting!   You have to admire the dedication.

Goerner Deadlift

by Joe Garcia



Bill Clark, at 79 years young, pulling a 2-Bar Deadlift of 270 pounds at the 2011 Goerner Deadlift.

It is amazing the lengths that some people will go to in order to miss this event.  Al ran off to some little contest in Australia, dragging Chad with him,  Eric was chowing down on turkey, and from the looks of the website, Thom was writing more ‘fluff’ pieces. Everyone not here missed out on a fun day at Clark’s gym.  When I drove up in the morning, Dean Ross and Mike Murdock were already there as was Bill Clark.  Evidently, Dean and Mike had arrived in town around 3:30 AM, not wanting miss out on one of the coveted parking spots in front.  We all weighed in, including Bill, who was on the platform for the first time in over a year.  Even though his right shoulder would give him painful problems all day, he managed at least one successful in each of the thirteen lifts and sometimes a second and a third attempt.  There were no fourth attempts taken during the day.

The day started out with the Thumbless Deadlifts.  That is definitely a lift that you can go from greatness to humility in 5 lbs.  One thing we elected to do during the day was to allow the lifter to do any of the lifts that he wanted in the order he wanted with the exception that the finger lifts were contested last.  This way, the loading was kept to a minimum by the lifters-loaders-officials.  That’s right, more multi-tasking at Clark’s gym.  Next up was standard One-Hand Deadlifts, if any lift in the USAWA could be called standard.  After finishing up with the one hand stuff, attention was turned to the two hand lifts.  Dean pulled the biggest Reeves lift with a 275, could have done a bit more but took a little too big of a jump and was unsuccessful in his next attempt.  I was happy with my 225 as I don’t remember the last time I did a Reeves deadlift.  Not only did Dean do a great job of lifting, he also kept us entertained with his stories and jokes.  Problem is that I think he believes most of them.  After the Reeves, the 2 Barbell, Hack, Heels Together and Jefferson lifts followed.  Finally, the dreaded finger lifts commenced.  Everyone began with the Little Fingers Deadlift, then the Ring, Index, and Middle Finger, except for Mike, who had to go back and finish with an Index Fingers Lift.  Everyone was grateful that Mary wasn’t around to show us up.

Dean Ross had the top Reeves Deadlift of the day, with this 275 pound lift.

The organization had elected to present Bill with both a letter of appreciation and a Lifetime Achievement Award.  I was honored to read the letter to Bill and to present him with his well deserved plaque for everything he has done for the USAWA over the years.  Bill also wanted everyone to know how much he appreciated the honor.

Results of the meet are listed below.  Amazingly, I won the Goerner, a deadlift contest.  I suppose that means I will have to defend it next year.


2011 Goerner Deadlift Dozen plus One
November 26, 2011
Clarks Gym
Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Lifts: Deadlift – No Thumb, One Arm (left and right), Deadlift – One Arm (left and right), Deadlift – Reeves, Deadlift -2 Bars, Hack Lift, Deadlift -Heels Together, Jefferson Lift, Deadlift – Fingers, Little, Deadlift – Fingers,Index, Deadlift – Fingers, Ring, Deadlift – Fingers, Middle

Officials: Joseph Garcia, Bill Clark, Mike Murdock


Lifter Age Bwt DL Heels 2 Bar Hack Jefferson
Mike Murdock 71 234 225 270 135 185
Dean Ross 69 266 315 300 185 315
Bill Clark 79 235 225 270 185 185
Joe Garcia 58 203 315 300 275 275
      1 Arm R 1 Arm L 1 Arm NT R 1 Arm NT L
Mike Murdock     135 135 115 115
Dean Ross     185 185 160 160
Bill Clark     160 160 115 115
Joe Garcia     275 275 205 205
      Index Middle Ring Little
Mike Murdock     75 135 65 55
Dean Ross     120 170 120 95
Bill Clark     135 135 105 65
Joe Garcia     185 205 135 120
      Reeves   Total Points
Mike Murdock     205   1850 2004.1
Dean Ross     275   2585 2584.9
Bill Clark     135   1990 2282.0
Joe Garcia     225   2995 3158.1

NOTES:  Bodyweights listed in pounds.  All lifting poundages listed in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted.  Points are adjusted points for bodyweight correction and age amendment.

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