Monthly Archives: August 2013

Phumchaona Lift

by Al Myers

Noi Phumchaona performing a Clean and Press at the 1999 IAWA World Championships in Australia.

The USAWA is full of odd and weird all round lifts.  Some have been performed rarely – and some NEVER!  Well, at my Dino Days Record Days one of these lifts was performed for USAWA Record for the first time.  It took someone as odd as the lift itself to finally make this happen in the USAWA (and that is supposed to be a compliment!). Anyone with normal sense would have passed on attempting this lift for record.

Jesse Jobe, of the Jobe’s Steel Jungle, performed a Phumchaona Lift of 840 pounds.  This is the FIRST and ONLY record lift established in the Phumchaona Lift. I appreciate lifters like Jesse bringing recognition to the “less popular” lifts in the USAWA by performing them in record days.  If you look hard in the Rule Book and compare it to the Record List you will find there are a few other USAWA lifts that have never been performed for record.  I know which ones they are – but I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the ones!

The Phumchaona Lift was named after Noi Phumchaona, the most celebrated female USAWA lifter in history.  Noi was the OVERALL BEST LIFTER at the USAWA Nationals four times (2002, 1999, 1998, & 1997).  She was married to the legendary Hall of Famer Howard Prechtel.  Together they made a dynamic husband/wife duo, and their presence was at most every major competition during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Together they have more USAWA/IAWA Championships than any other husband/wife combo in the history of our organization. The Phumchaona Lift is an official lift of the USAWA only (not an IAWA lift).

The rules for the Phumchaona Lift are as follows:

I14. Phumchaona Lift

This lift combines a Hip Lift and a Clean and Press with two dumbbells. The rules of the Hip Lift and Clean and Press – 2 Dumbbells apply with these exceptions. The lifter gets in position for a Hip Lift holding two dumbbells at arms’ length by the sides. The dumbbells may be cleaned and pressed before, during, or after the Hip Lift. Any combination of movements is allowed. The only command from an official during this lift will be a command to end the lift when both the Hip Lift and the Clean and Press with two dumbbells are completed.

As you can see, this is a extremely difficult lift which combines a heavy lift and a dumbbell lift.  It is definitely a “one of a kind” lift.  The interesting thing is that there is not a documented case of Noi actually performing this lift.  I have done some research on when this lift originated – and I am at a dead end. I even went to the effort of contacting several of the “long in the tooth” USAWA members to give me input for this story,  and I’ve only received one email response back in which he didn’t have anything to add.  So this makes the Phumchaona Lift an all-round mystery for now.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME

BY DAVE GLASGOW

THE WEIGHTROOMS POWER RACK, COMPLETE WITH A GOOD STUMP TO SQUAT TO.

I ENJOY PRIVATE GYMS THE MOST.  MOST PERSONAL GYMS I HAVE BEEN IN HAVE THAT ‘LIVED IN’ FEELING.  THEY ALL HAVE A PERSONALITY OF THEIR OWN.  SOME OF THE MORE RECENT ONES I HAVE BEEN IN ARE FLOYD TRAUB, THOM VAN VLECK AND, OF COURSE, THE MECCA OF THEM ALL, AL’S DINO GYM.

THEY ARE ALL AS YOU WOULD EXPECT FROM THEIR OWNERS.  FLOYD’S SMALL, CONCISE, BASIC.   THOMS IS SMALL BUT CRAMMED WITH LIFTING EQUIPMENT FROM THE PAST AND PRESENT, ALONG WITH MEMORABILIA OF TIMES PAST.  AL’S IS SO JAMMED WITH ITEMS THAT IT IS SOMETIMES HARD TO GET AROUND WHEN THERE IS LIFTING GOING ON!

I SUPPOSE I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT IT UNTIL THOM CAME HOME WITH ME A COUPLE WEEKS AGO FOR A QUICK ‘LOOK SEE’ OF MY PLACE.  WHILE THERE, I NOTICED HIM TAKING A VIDEO OF THE YEAR OLD WEIGHT ROOM I HAVE IN MY TWO YEAR OLD SHOP (YEAH, I’M BRAGGIN’, JUST A LITTLE!).  I WONDERED AT THE TIME WHY HE DID IT BUT I DID’NT SAY ANYTHING TO HIM AT THE TIME.  MAYBE HE WAS PLANNING TO STEAL MY IDEAS!!!

THIS NEW WEIGHT ROOM IS THE CULMINATION OF DECADES OF PRIOR WEIGHTROOMS I HAVE HAD MY STUFF IN.  I TRIED TO COUNT THE PLACES A COUPLE TIMES AND I FINALLY SETTLED ON ELEVEN DIFFERENT SPOTS THAT I COULD RECALL.  THERE HAVE BEEN BARNS, BASEMENTS(ONE IN PARTICULAR REMINDS ME OF A STORY, BUT THAT IS FOR A LATTER TIME), AN OLD V.F.W. HALL, TWO GARAGES, A FORMER BAR (NOW DOJO), WELL, YOU GET THE DRIFT.  JUST ABOUT ANY PLACE THAT SOMEBODY WITH SOME ROOM WOULD LET ME HANG MY HAT. THE UNIQUE THING ABOUT EACH OF THESE DOMAINS WAS THAT EACH HAD THERE OWN LITTLE QUIRKS AND NUANCES.  I HAVE MEMORIES OF EACH OF THESE PLACES THAT I WILL CHUCKLE AT TO THIS DAY.  THE ONE THAT MAKES ME SMILE THE MOST, HOWEVER, INVOLVED MY BOY, DEREK.

WHEN WE HAD THE WEIGHTS IN THE OLD V.F.W. HALL, IT WAS RIGHT NEXT TO A CONVENIENCE STORE.  NOW, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, MY BOY NEVER GAVE TWO HOOTS ABOUT WEIGHTLIFTING (HE WAS 6-7 AT THE TIME), HE DID, HOWEVER, LOVE A SOFT DRINK CALLED ‘CLEARLY CANADIAN’.  IF HE KNEW I WAS HEADED OUT TO LIFT, HE WOULD WANT TO TAG ALONG.  HE WOULD WATCH ME FOR THE HOUR AND A HALF THAT I WORKED OUT, ENTERTAINING HIMSELF IN WHATEVER WAY HE COULD.  THEN, WHEN I WAS FINISHED, HE WOULD RUN TO TURN THE LIGHTS OFF AND HEAD FOR THE DOOR.  ABOUT HALF WAY ACROSS THE PARKING LOT, I WOULD HEAR, “DAD, CAN WE GET A CLEARLY CANADIAN?”  IT MAKES ME A LITTLE MISTY EYED TO THINK OF IT BUT HE NEVER FAILED TO GET WHAT HE CAME FOR AND I GOT A CHRISHED MEMORY I  WILL CARRY TILL THE END.  I EVEN TOOK TO MAKING SURE I HAD THE MONIES ENOUGH TO SNAG A COUPLE DRINKS BEFORE I LEFT THE HOUSE EACH TIME.

THE MOST ACTIVE OF THE PREVIOUS DOMICILES WAS IN THE GARAGE OF THE FIRST HOUSE GUNN AND I OWNED.  IT HAD A DIRT FLOOR UNTIL I SAVED UP ENOUGH TO PUT A CONCRETE FLOOR IN IT.  WE ALSO HAD A WOOD STOVE THAT WOULD RUN YOU OUT OF THE PLACE!!   IN THE SUMMER, HOWEVER,  WE WERE ON OUR OWN!!  WE HAD 5 OR 6 GUYS AT ANY ONE TIME AND I LOOKED FORWARD TO EACH SESSION DUE TO THE COMMERADERIE THAT IT PRODUCED.  MOST OF THE GUYS WERE FOOTBALL PLAYERS FROM THE LOCAL COLLEGE BUT WE HAD CONSTRUCTION WORKERS AND OTHER HANGERS ON THAT MADE FOR A ROWDY MIX!

LOCATING THE WEIGHT ROOM IN A DOJO GOT US SOME STRANGE LOOKS AND I LAUGHED MORE THAN ONCE WHEN WE WOULD BE LIFTING AT THE SAME TIME TAE KWON DO CLASSES WERE ABOUT TO START.  THERE WOULD BE LAUGHING, JOKING AND GENERAL ‘GRAB ASSING’ FROM THE STUDENTS UNTIL THEY SAW WE WERE THERE, THEN IT WOULD GET VERY QUET!!!  I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!??

THE ONE THAT CAUSED THE MOST UP-ROAR, HOWEVER, WAS WHEN WE PUT MY GEAR IN A BUDDY’S GARAGE.  HE HAD A THREE BAY SET UP THAT WE WOUND UP USING TWO OF THE BAYS.  THIS CAUSED ALL KINDS OF HELL FROM MY PAL’S WIFE, BECAUSE YOU CAN GUESS WHO’S STALL GOT TAKEN!!  MY PAL WAS A COP, AND HIS REASONING WAS BECAUSE, ONE, HE NEEDED TO STAY IN SHAPE FOR HIS JOB AND, TWO, THERE WAS NO WAY HE COULD LEAVE HIS UNDER COVER COP CAR ON THE STREET!!!  WHICH MEANT HER CAR WAS LEFT OUT IN ALL SORTS OF WEATHER, AND, SEEING AS SHE HAD TO LEAVE FOR WORK VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING, MADE FOR SOME TENSE SITUATIONS!!   I LAUGH AS I WRITE THIS BECAUSE KATHY DIRECTLY BLAMED YOURS TRULY FOR THE INVASION OF “HER SPACE”!  TO MY KNOWLEDGE, SHE STILL HARBORS A CASE OF THE ASS TOWARD ME!!!  (ALTHOUGH, AFTER 25 YEARS, I AM SURE IT IS MOSTLY TONGUE IN CHEEK.)

WHEN THE NEW WEIGHT ROOM WAS BUILT, I KNEW IT WOULD HAVE A FEW STORIES OF IT’S OWN BEFORE IT WAS OVER.  POSSIBLY, THE BEST STORY THAT WILL BE TOLD IS HOW A COUPLE COLLEGE BUDDIES GOT TOGETHER TO BUILD WHAT I HAD ALWAYS DREAMED OF.  I WILL NOT RECOUNT THAT STORY BUT I, MOST CERTAINLY WOULD NOT HAVE IT WERE IT NOT FOR FLOYD TRAUB.  HOW DO YOU REPAY SOMEONE FOR KINDNESSES SUCH AS THAT?? UNLESS THERE IS SOME NATURAL DISASTER, THIS WILL BE THE FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR MY EQUIPMENT. 

BEING A SENTAMENTAL SORT, I CAN’T HELP BUT HONOR ALL THOSE PLACES THAT I HAVE USED FOR MY WEIGHTS AND THE GUYS THAT SHARED THE WORKOUT TIME WITH ME.  I ALSO REMEMBER THE NAME WE GAVE TO THE FIRST PLACE.  SO, TO RECOGNIZE THE PEOPLE AND PLACES THAT HAVE MADE MY WORKOUTS MEMORABLE FOR ALMOST FOUR DECADES, I NAME THIS FINAL WEIGHTROOM, ‘SCRAPIRON WEIGHTHOUSE-#12’, THE CROWN JEWEL OF THE LEDAIG HEAVY ATHLETICS TRAING FACILITY.

My Visit to Ledaig Heavy Athletics

by Thom Van Vleck

Banner that hangs in the Ledaig gym

Recently I got to make my first trip to Ledaig since Dave built his new facility.  This is Dave Glasgow’s family gym.  I say family gym because it belongs to his whole family.  You drive down that road and it’s hard to figure out which “Glasgow” to stop at as each mailbox has that name on it. But if you know Dave and he counts you as a  friend, then you are family, too!  This sits on some family property about 30 miles from Wichita, Kansas but really miles away from anyone!  It is near Rainbow Bend, Kansas and if you can find that then you are right up there with Columbus and Magellan as an explorer.  Dave used to train in a round metal tank that would literally roast you on a hot day.  The frame for the gym was put up years ago, I believe Dave’s Dad had built a metal frame and never finished it.  Dave got it done and there is a gym, shop and garage housed in the large building.  You could park a dozen cars in there if it were cleared out, but Dave has a quarter sectioned off for the gym that is walled in and the rest is full of tools, cars, and projects!

Dave Glasgow cutting some steel rod in his gym to make stakes for Highland Games trigs.

I have been to many gyms overthe years and to me my favorites also include other “manly” pursuits.  My Uncle Phil has a reloading room attached to his gym.  Al Myers has a full scale metal shop in his gym.  Randy Richey (http://www.usawa.com/omega-force-christian-strongman-team/) has one of the coolest gyms I’ve ever seen with the a massive metal shop.   Hard to believe anyone could top Al’s gym, but Randy just might! I can’t top those guys but my gym has a workshop as well. Dave has entered the fray with a huge workshop area with the ability to cut, weld, and shape metal along with working on the two antique corvettes parked in his gym.

Some old school Eleiko bumpers at Ledaig

Another hallmark of a cool gym in my book is to have historical and cool things to lift.  Ledaig has many things, old and new to lift.  I was especially salivating over his Eleiko plates.  They are old and well used, but still cool nonetheless.  Dave has some equipment that he has used for many, many years in his gym and you can just feel the positive “mojo” in there!

If you get a chance to make it to a USAWA meet at Ledaig, it’s worth the journey.  You can fly into Wichita and that gets you close.  But if you drive there just know this:  The cell phone reception is not very good and on more than one occasion I have fielded a call from a lost lifter driving the countryside looking for “Rainbow Bend”.  Be sure you know how to get there!   Because it truly can be one of those places that “you can’t get there from here”!

Boxes for Lifting

by Thom Van Vleck

Boxes of different sizes can be a real plus to any gym.  They can be used for a variety of things.  Let’s look at some of the types.

Squat Boxes

My squat boxes with a 1 inch spacer that I can use to take them from 8" to 25". They are reinforced with a 2x4 frame inside.

Most people think of them for box squats which is what mine probably get used for the most.  I prefer to NOT do the box squats where you actually sit down on the box, but instead use mine to gauge depth.  But that debate is for another article.  These boxes aren’t always the strongest because they typically aren’t used to drop weight on.  Mine are strong enough to hold someone standing on them plus weight, but not drop the weight.  I made mine so that one box could be flipped on a side for a different height (I stole that idea from Al Myers….who probably stole it from someone else).  I have used mine for setting weights on to allow for different starting heights, as plyo boxes, and for many other things over the years.  They are just handy to have!

My "Jerk Boxes" that Al Myers made for me. These are made of metal and are a fixed height.

Jerk  (High) Boxes

These boxes are built with the intent of dropping the weight on them.  They need to be super durable.  I have some high ones that Al Myers made me that I asked for after injuring my should trying to “catch” a heavy push press.  Al made them….then liked them so much he made some for himself.  They have a thick sheet of rubber on them as well.  The High “Jerk” boxes I have are a steel frame with wooden platform on top.  They are usually made of wood.  Mine set high enough from me to do push presses and Jerks while standing over them.  I can also take squats out of them but from a low position. Usually these have a way to makes some adjustments on them, mine were custom for my height.

Pull (Low) Boxes

These are 3"-6" short solid wood boxes. They are stackable up to 9" for the Peoples Deadlift.

These boxes are also built with the intent of dropping weights on them.  In this case they are low for doing pulls and are built very strongly for dropping the heaviest of weights.  I have 4 boxes.  Two are 3″ thick and the other two are 6″ thick.  I can stack them and make them 9″ or the same as a People’s Deadlift.  Mine are scrap boards sandwiched with plywood and rubber matting.  I put handles on them to make them easy to move.  They are solid wood glued and screwed together.

Other “Boxes”.

There are many things you could use to achieve the same purpose and often it can mean re-purposing other objects.   If you are like me, you will find many other uses for these boxes in your training than what they were first built for.  This is especially true as I get older but at the same time as my kids train more and more I find them coming up with creative ways to use the boxes (and not all of it involves lifting…but that’s okay, too!).

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

The Dino Days Weekend finished off with a USAWA Record Day on Sunday.  For the first time EVER, I had a conflict and could not be present at the record day on Sunday.  However, I left Denny Habecker and Scott Tully in charge, and would you believe this – it was the BEST record day the Dino Gym has ever seen!  13 lifters showed up to tackle the USAWA record list and many new records were set.  When I got back home Sunday night, Denny “filled me in” on the day’s top performances.  I was very impressed with the quality of lifting that took place. I just HATED to miss it, especially when it was done in the Dino Gym!!!

There was a wide range of lifts performed.  Just look down over the results and you will see many different lifts mentioned.  The youngest lifter was Gabby Jobe at age ten, and the oldest lifter was Art Montini at age 85.  The lightest lifter was Ruth Jackson at 107 lbs. and the heaviest lifter was Dan Bunch at 379 lbs.  The lightest lift for record was Ruth Jackson’s Rectangular Fix at 38 lbs., and the heaviest lift for record was Eric Todd’s Neck Lift of 1040 lbs.  Several ALL TIME records were set.  ET’s neck lift, Jesse Jobe’s Continental To Belt of 513 lbs., Alison Jobe’s Continental to Belt, Alan English’s Overhead Squat, etc.  Denny Habecker and Art Montini teamed up for a 507 lb. Team Deadlift as well.     

This was a record day that will be remembered.  I want to thank EVERYONE who showed up and supported the USAWA in this meet.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Days Record Day
Dino Gym, Holland, Kansas
August 18th, 2013

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Lifts: Record Day (5 lift maximum)

Officials (1 official system used):  Denny Habecker, Art Montini, Lance Foster, Eric Todd

Gabby Jobe – Female, 10 years old, 118 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 65 lbs
Clean and Press: 50 lbs.
Peoples Deadlift: 176.2 lbs.
Anderson Squat: 180 lbs.

Alan English – 29 years old, 242 lbs. BWT

Apollons Lift: 323 lbs.
Turkish Get Up: 115 lbs.
Clean and Jerk – 2 Dumbbells: 220 lbs.
Squat – Overhead: 277.5 lbs.

Jesse Jobe – 36 years old, 240 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 230 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 322 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 513 lbs.
Phumchaona Lift: 840 lbs.
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 303 lbs.

Alison Jobe – Female, 37 years old, 250 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip: 186.2 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 186.2 lbs.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip: 236.7 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 144 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 1″, Left Hand: 130 lbs.
Clean and Press – Middle Fingers: 57.5 lbs.

Scott Tully – 37 years old, 315 lbs. BWT

Turkish Get Up: 88 lbs.
Snatch – 2 Dumbbells: 120 lbs.
Lateral Raise – lying: 90 lbs.

Eric Todd – 38 years old, 261 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 260 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together: 300 lbs.
Press – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 130 lbs.
Pullover – Straight Arms: 95 lbs.
Neck Lift: 1040 lbs.

Lance Foster – 47 years old, 322 lbs. BWT

Jefferson Lift: 360 lbs.
Cyr Press: 85 lbs.
Neck Lift: 330 lbs.

Dan Bunch – 49 years old, 379 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Stiff Legged: 396.7 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm: 206.2 lbs.
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Left Arm: 220.2 lbs.

Dan Wagman – 50 years old, 180 lbs. BWT

Clean and Press – 12″ Base: 190 lbs.
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 125 lbs.
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 125 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Bars: 550 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 300 lbs.

Ruth Jackson – Female, 51 years old, 107 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Reeves: 75 lbs.
Rectangular Fix – Fulton Bar: 38 lbs.
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 105 lbs.
Squat – Piper: 167.5 lbs.
Snatch – Right Arm: 57.5 lbs.

Denny Habecker – 70 years old, 190 lbs. BWT

Press – From Rack: 150 lbs.
Clean and Press – Behind Neck: 135 lbs.
Clean and Press – Heels Together: 140 lbs.
Clean and Seated Press: 125 lbs.

Dean Ross – 70 years old, 265 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 195 lbs.
Bench Press – Hands Together: 165 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 155 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 204 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells: 260 lbs.

Art Montini – 85 years old, 174 lbs. BWT

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 70 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 70 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells: 140 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 95 lbs.

Denny Habecker & Art Montini – 70-74 Age Group and 90 KG Weight Class

Team 2-Man Deadlift: 507 lbs.

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