Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lifter of the Month: LaVerne Myers

by Al Myers

LaVerne Myers in action with a 300# Deadlift with the Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip at the 2013 Grip Championships (I did not get any pictures at the 2014 meet because I was busy being the head official, my apologizes).

March is over so it’s time to get the lifter of the month for February announced!  I had to think “long and hard” on this decision, but I’ve made the choice of choosing my father LaVerne Myers as the 2014 USAWA February Lifter of the Month. Now before you start accusing me of “playing favorites” in my choice let me tell you why!

The only USAWA competitions held in February were the Grip Championships and the Dino Gym Record Day, which were held “back to back” on a weekend in February. They were sanctioned as separate competitions. The Grip Championships is one of our Championship events held every year so I decided the lifter of the month should come from that meet.  LaVerne placed second in a very strong men’s field (9 lifters) that included guys like Dan Wagman, Eric Todd, Lance Foster, Dave Glasgow, Keith Thompson, Scott Tully, Dean Ross, and Mike Murdock, .  It was one of the best attended Grip Championships the USAWA has had. LaVerne placed second to the “unbeatable” Dan Wagman by only 6 points in the overall.  LaVerne had a great meet – with lifts of 123# Dumbbell Walk (the top lift in the meet), 280# Fulton DB DL, 253# one arm deadlift, and 165# middle fingers deadlift.

LaVerne receiving his award at the 2014 Grip Championships (left), presented by myself (right).

Congrats to LaVerne on a being the LIFTER OF THE MONTH!!!

Buridan’s Ass

by Thom Van Vleck

The story of Buridan’s Ass is a paradox where an ass (ass as in burro or donkey….not someone’s backside) is that is equally hungry and thirst is placed between a pail of water and a stack of hay.  The ass dies of hunger and thirst because it can’t make a decision about which way to go!  It is actually based on a parable going back to Aristotle.  The more modern version you may be more familiar with is the term “paralysis by analysis”.

Regardless of where it comes from it is the state of over thinking a situation to the point that no decision is made.  There is another parable that I think describes this mental dilemma even better:

There was a fox and a cat arguing over who had the better escape plan.  The fox had hundreds while the cat had only one….run up a tree.  Suddenly a pack of hounds approached and the cat shot up a tree to safety while the fox darted back and forth trying to decide what would be his best option.  In his indecision he missed his opportunity to escape and was caught.

You can get so caught up in seeking the perfect solution that no decision occurs and you end up making mistakes, missing chances, and losing the ability to test out ideas that may have worked for fear there was a better method just around the corner.

How does this related to lifting?  In a way it’s been the story of my lifting career!  I fancy myself a pretty smart guy.  I associate and affiliate myself with the lifters and throwers.  I read all I can about training.  In my early years when I had a spare moment you would find me writing out workouts then erasing parts, adding parts, pondering it….and often never (at best) finishing the workout…or (at worst) never even starting it because I was in search of the “next big thing”.

I think every athlete has been in search of that “holy grail” workout that will bring you big lifts and massive muscles…..and hot babes hanging off your biceps!  The reality is that there is no perfect routine and the most successful athletes learn to move on quickly and decisively from one routine to the next.

So, I’m saying, don’t be an ass…..but how you might ask?

1.  Avoid being a perfectionist….which means allowing yourself to fail.  Failing happens when we take risks and if you aren’t failing then you aren’t taking risks to stretch your boundaries.  In positive psychology they NEVER call it “failure”….it’s always a learning experience.

2. Value speed!  Rewire your brain to “go for it”.  Imagine every decision as a crossroads and you have no brakes on your car.  Make a decision and power through.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You back up and take the other road?  You will still save time over indecision AND you have the learning experience of what was the other way.

3. Focus on starting.  Too often we start to look too far down that road and trying to see where it goes.  If you have an idea, take 30 minutes, or a set time, and go for it all out.  Then assess where you are at rather than sitting down and trying to figure it out.  Set aside time for analysis…like one hour, a day, or 90 days.  Make the amount of time you are in action greater than the analysis time.

4.  Break down goals, look for quick wins, and appreciate every step that moves you forward.  We too often focus only on failure and in the process we forget to look at what worked.  Remove the fear of failure and replace it with an attitude that you embrace change and find opportunity in it rather than potential failure.

5.  Develop habits and routines that avoid the paralysis.  I am reminded of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It”.  For me it’s the Bible Verse James 1:12 which tells us to “Persevere under trial” and those who do will be given the ultimate reward.  Have things that help you get focused and develop them.

Finally, don’t do to this article what I’m encouraging you NOT to do.  Analysis is good!  As a matter of fact there is a common fallacy that our first answer is more often the right answer.  Have you ever been told to “go with your gut” when you don’t know the answer on a test?  Well, I hate to break this to you but it’s NOT TRUE!  It has been proven in study after study.  More often we will change a wrong answer to a right one…almost 2 to 1!  So why is there this perception that we change right answers to wrong?  Because we tend to focus on failure!  So, it is important to keep a positive focus to avoid creating your own fallacies or misconceptions.

As my Uncle Phil told me….train smarter not harder.

Frank’s BBC RB

by Frank Ciavattone Sr.

MEET WRITEUP AND  RESULTS

Frank’s Barbell Club Record Breaker

This meet was held March 15, 2014. This meet had seven competitors, all showing up before 9:00 am. Immediately following weigh-in there was a pancake breakfast, enjoyed by all.

After that we had a list of records to be broken with a rules clinic. Lifting started promptly at 10:00 am. There were two female, two teenage and three male lifters. The women lifters did an outstanding job with newcomer Taylor Richards. She was inches away from breaking the all time Left Hand Ciavattone Lift with a weight of 167 pounds. Also not to be out-done was Colleen Lane, lifting with an injury still managed to compete.

In the teenage division we had two new members pulling off some great lifting which enabled them to get into the record books. Brenden McAuliffe, 16 years old and Matthew McCarthy, 18 years old, both lifted 1200 pounds in the Hip Lift with very little training before this meet.

In the open division we have returning lifter Joseph Ciavattone, Jr. Joesph did some unusual USAWA lifts. Joe Sr. also performed some extraordinary gripping strength and pressing movements.

Last but not least, Frank Ciavattone, Sr. Meet Director, due to injury performed a couple of lifts, all with ease and impressive form, leaving the crowd in awe.

The two referees were Joe Ciavattone Sr. and Frank Ciavattone Sr. Everyone that attended truly was amazed at the lifting and comradeship had by all. The meet ended with a buffet style banquet. All food at this meet was prepared by one of the lifters, Colleen Lane, which helped to round out this outstanding day of lifting.

LIFTERS AND LIFTS:

Taylor Richards 23 years old,   194 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 153 pounds
Hip Lift 700 pounds

Colleen Lane 57 years old,  211 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 122 pounds
Right Hand Ciavattone 122 pounds

Brenden McAuliffe 16 years old, 178 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 166 pounds
Hip Lift 1200 pounds

Matthew McCarthy 18 years old,  213 lbs. BWT

Two Hand Ciavattone 375 pounds
Hip Lift 1200 pounds

Joseph Ciavattone Jr. 20 years old,  218 lbs. BWT

Clean and Seated Press 200 pounds
2 inch Clean and Press 208 pounds
Close Grip Bench 270 pounds

Joe Ciavattone Sr. 45 years old,  225 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Ciavattone 218 pounds
Fulton Lift Left Hand 166 pounds
Fulton Lift Right Hand 142 pounds
2 inch Clean and Press 168 pounds
Close Grip Bench 240 pounds

Frank Ciavattone Sr. 59 years old, 285 lbs. BWT

Left Hand Fulton Lift 166 pounds
Right Hand Fulton Lift 166 pounds
Hands Together Bench 180 pounds

Big T’s OTSM (First Update)

by Thom Van Vleck

I have some more information on OTSM being held at the Jackson Weightlifting Club.  Entry info and a link to the first story on the meet can be found under the USAWA Future Events section.

This meet will be held outside weather permitting.  If the weather is bad, we’ll move it inside.  Each lifter will be given the chance to look at the records and attempt one record attempt on a lift outside the competition once the meet is completed.  Additional records will be up to there being time.  I wanted to mention this in case there was anyone coming that planned on trying some record attempts.

I thought I might catch some flack regarding my decision to have two champs.  One based on the formulas and the other based solely on most weight lifted.  So far not a peep.  I think it will be interesting to see if they are different!  Just so you know, it’s not my plan to do this with the OTSM Championships.

In addition, This meet will happen regardless of the turn out.  The idea of having this in conjunction with a Highland Games meet is I hope to get some new members to sign up.  You will notice I don’t have a deadline.  All comers!  So don’t worry about the meet being cancelled due to low turnout.  THIS WILL HAPPEN!

Finally, bring some shade, sunscreen, and a folding chair.  It’s pretty wide open at my place so shade is tough to find.  I don’t sunburn and don’t notice it….but we’ve toasted a few of the fair skinned lifters and throwers at my place!

Hope to see you there!

Nicknames

by Thom Van Vleck

I’ve told a story recently and reference a nickname for my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  I wanted to tell about where that came from.

A couple of years ago I hosted the USAWA Nationals.  Wayne was able to make it and was kind of a guest of honor.  At one point Al Myers noticed I called him “Staggo” and asked me about it.  As everyone that knows me, knows ALL TOO WELL, there’s a story behind that!

When I first started training at age 15 it was with my Uncle Wayne Jackson.  It was kind of a tradition to make up nicknames back in the day.  Often it was something that started out as an insult but over time became a badge of honor.  I go to a Lutheran Church and we are taught about how the Catholics used to make fun of us and called us “Lutherans” as an insult.  Now we wear it with honor.

I tended to favor the deadlift…because I was good at the deadlift.  Like a lot of young guys I tended to train what I was good at and ignore what I was bad at…which was pretty much everything else!  My Uncle Phil was the type of guy to cut right to the chase but Wayne was the type to try and use some subtle remark to get his point across.  I think he knew I had a pretty fragile self esteem so just telling me the way I was training was pretty stupid might have dealt me a blow….and I might have quit training.

So one day Wayne started calling me Bob Peoples.  If you don’t know who Bob People’s was, he was very much a deadlift specialist and I was on my way to becoming one, too.  Every time I would start pulling Wayne would say, “Well, there goes Bob People’s again” or he might say, “So is Bob deadlifting again today”.  He made his point and I started to diversify my training.  But I also had to get him back.

Wayne was kind of sensitive about his weight, considering he spent most of his life over 300lbs!  I once asked him how much he weighed at his heaviest and he told me 339 and A HALF.  I then asked, “So when you weighed 340…what were your best lifts”.  Wayne looked at me dead serious and said, “Tommy!  I NEVER weighed 340″.  He also would emphasize that a give weight was “in his street clothes” as if to say “I don’t actually weigh that much, I’m much lighter with my clothes off”!  We all have a weakness and that was his.  Now to exploit it!

We were watching one of the early World’s Strongest Man contests and there was a competitor from Holland named Staggo Piszko.  This guy was huge…and ROUND!  It was made more pronounced by the fact he had this little guy that was his “trainer” or “coach” that was dwarfed by him and kept running around him like he was on fire.  My Uncle kept chuckling every time he saw him.  So for the last 30 years it stuck!  And like many nicknames, what started out as a snappy comeback and a good-natured “ribbing” ended up being a badge of honor.

Many times I called up Wayne and said this line:

“HEY, STAGGO!  …..and he’ll be Staggo to me forever!

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