Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Race

By Eric Todd

I remember the race very clearly. I was in the 8th grade and had been lifting weights for a spell, when a couple of my school chums became interested in the iron as well. Both were rather athletic. One was the biggest guy in our grade, the star tackle on our junior high football team. The other was smaller than I, but very little body fat, and very strong for his size. Anyhow, the bigger of the two went with his grandparents to Sam’s Club where they had a membership and purchased a weight bench and a 300 pound iron weight set. As they both lived in town, they were able to spend time working out together on this new toy.

At this time, it was known that I was the strongest kid in class. I could do more pull-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups than anyone else in gym class. I was our starting fullback and linebacker, and was winning most of my wrestling matches this year. And it was this particular year that we got a new head football coach, also our PE teacher, who was invested in weight training. So I was able to demonstrate my physical superiority in gym class every couple weeks when he had us train on the universal in the boy’s locker room. It was about half way through the school year when “the race” began. Our coach decided it was time to bring in a real bench and show us proper technique during PE. After a couple times of practice, he had everyone get a one rep max. It was a fine day for me. Out of all the 8th graders in Cameron, I had the top mark of 200 pounds. However, our star tackle was close behind at 185. And when we figured the best pound for pound, the other guy was right behind me as well.

Well, the race was on. They kept training on their super slick Wal-Mart Iron, and I kept lifting on my second hand plastic clad sand weights on the milking floor. Every time one of us hit a new benchmark, the other’s phone would ring. I maintained my lead for a while. But one day the phone rang. I couldn’t believe my ears. The bigger guy hit a 215, and the smaller fellow surpassed me on pound per pound percentage. I tried to be a good sport, congratulating them on a job well done, but when I hung up the phone, I felt a rage in my heart. I had to get back to the top. I did the only thing I could think of. I went out to the milk barn. I upped my training intensity. My focus was rock solid. After I won the small fry state championship in wrestling that year, I was able to spend more time in the milk barn. Later that spring, after track practice, we were at the field house and I decided to see what I had (I could always do more on an iron set than I could with sand for whatever reason). I hit a solid 225#, putting me back ahead either way you looked at it. And there I stayed.

One day after school, I went over to the house where they trained with both fellows. They wanted to show me a neat trick. It was one they had used to take me down earlier that year. They were putting a full roll of paper towels on their chest to bounce the weight off of when they were bench pressing. While this method was a fine training tool (known as towel bench) in the old “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” program, it was a partial movement that they had beaten me with!

However, any way you look at it, it was by being brought down that motivated me to dig in, and fight to be the best. If I had not received that call, I might have been content just resting at the top of the hill. Funny thing about that weight set, too. They gave up training weights after a couple years, and sold the set to another friend of mine. He gave it up after another year or two. I think it was about my freshman year in college, that I inherited that old Sam’s Club iron weight set. It was the first real iron I owned, and it is still part of my collection.

Colorado Record Breaker

by Al Myers


Jarrod Fobes has sanctioned a record breaker day at his gym on December 27th.  The location of the meet is:

6441 E. Evans
Denver, CO

The meet will start at 10:30 AM.  If you plan to attend please contact Jarrod for further information on this meet.  He can be reached by cell phone or text at 720-202-7857.

Clarks RD

by Al Myers



Bill just sent me the results from his meet last weekend.  It looks like it was a busy affair!  I’ll start with the bad news before the good.  Bill had sanctioned the Backbreaker along with a record day on this day, but he had no entries in the Backbreaker.  The Backbreaker is a traditional meet in Clark’s Gym that consists of the Hip Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Harness Lift, Neck Lift, and the Back Lift.  Truly a grueling ordeal. I’ve done it before and can attest to the extreme soreness afterwards.  Can’t really blame the guys for passing on it!

But the GOOD NEWS is that all round lifting is still alive and flourishing in Clark’s Gym.  Six lifters took part in the record day event.  The day was highlighted by the appearance of Steve Schmidt as he attacked another Guinness World Record.  Steve was successful in adding his name to the Guinness Record Book once again.  Steve, at age 59 and 215 pounds BWT, pulled five nails from wood with his teeth in 7.44 seconds! He then set a second record for most nails pulled from wood in one minute – with an astonishing count of 27!  I will try hard to get a follow-up story on this.

Veteran gym member Joe Garcia set the pace for adding more records to the USAWA record list.  It practically fills up a full page.  I guess now since Joe has passed on keeping the record list up to date to me – he doesn’t mind making a lot of work for me!  I don’t remember him EVER doing that many record attempts in a day when he was keeping up the list!  Great job Joe – and I really don’t mind adding your name many more times! David Emslie continues to be a presence at Clark’s meets, and added many records himself. He set records in ALL combinations with the vertical bars which is quite the accomplishment. Bill Clark, at age 82, still has record setting performances in him.  I was really impressed to see the list of new records he set.  He set a new USAWA record in the Hip Lift with a fine lift of 907 pounds, but in his letter he told me that he hopes to get another 1000# Hip Lift before long.  I should remind everyone that this is done with a plethora of artificial joints, too many to count on your fingers using both hands.


Clark’s Record Day
November 8th, 2014
Clark’s Gym
Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director: Bill Clark

Officials  (1 Official System Used): Bill Clark, Joe Garcia

Results (PDF): ClarksRD-page1 ClarksRD-page2

The Smartest Man in the World!

by Thom Van Vleck

Recently I was talking to someone about lifting and why it’s a great idea to lift weights.  They seemed to struggle with the idea of lifting unless they were going to be the best at it.   Otherwise, why not find something else to do!  I enjoy weightlifting but in case you didn’t notice….I’ve yet to be the strongest man in the world.  I’ve also noticed that many people won’t enter an athletic meet unless they have a chance to win.  I think there’s a problem with that attitude.

Here’s my thought.  Nobody would say, “Well, if I can’t be the smartest in the world (or even that given day) then why bother ever learning anything….I’ll just stay stupid”.  The first thing you need to do when you start a lifting program is to do it for yourself.  Make yourself stronger.  Irregardless of who else is stronger.  Sometimes surprising things can happen.

I worked for 2 years and finally one day I was ready to attempt a 225lb squat.  TWO YEARS of HARD WORK led up to this moment.  I was 16 years old and weighed about 175lbs.  Some of you will know that I had to overcome two broken legs and a broken hip so I started not even being able to squat my bodyweight.  I had a couple buddies over to spot me.  To be honest, I had them come over to witness this and so I could show off a little.  Well, when I got done and racked the weight triumphantly one of my buddies…who had never done a squat with weights…said, “Hey, can I give that a try”.  Long story short, he squatted it with ease and threw on a couple of tens and did three reps before telling me that my lift was good, too.  Needless to say, I questioned my effort.  But I shouldn’t have.  I had went from a kid they thought might never walk again to squatting 225lbs.  I also want to point out I eventually did 600…..and that other guy never touched a weight again as far as I know!

While it’s good to have a little perspective, the guy you should always be concerned most about it the guy in the mirror.  Making that person you see in the mirror better is more important than what anyone else can do.  There’s always going to be someone stronger than you and smarter than you.  I just work on myself and let the chips fall where they may.  That’s been a tough lesson for me, but one that has led to my greatest gains.

Dino Gym Challenge

by Al Myers


“Herman Goerner Deadlift Medley”

Every year I like to change up the theme of the Dino Gym Challenge to give it variety.   I have honored several of my favorite Old Time Strongmen in the past by hosting meets in their memory, ie Arthur Saxon and Warren Lincoln Travis.   This year the meet will honor the great German lifter and strongman – Herman Goerner.   He was an outstanding deadlifter in many pulling disciplines, so this meet will feature an entire meet of various deadlift movements.  It ought to provide for a very challenging meet.

I encourage prior meet registration, or at least let me know if you plan to attend ahead of time so I can prepare accordingly.  The meet will be held in the Dino Gym on the main platform.


Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip

Deadlift – One Arm

Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip

Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip

Deadlift – Heels Together

ENTRY FORM (PDF) – 2015 Dino Challenge Entry Form

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