Author Archives: Al Myers

The Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift

by Al Myers

Al Myers performing a One Arm Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift with 170 pounds at Clark's Record Day.

One of the lifts I did last weekend at Clark’s Record Day was the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift.  I wanted to do this lift to point out a mistake that was made in the new Rule Book and found by Dale Friesz.  Despite the extensive review process of the new Rule Book, I knew mistakes were still possible and here is one.  Thanks Dale for finding it!

The Rule for the Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells should be this:

The rules of the Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells apply except the dumbbells used must have handles of 2″ in diameter.  No knurling is allowed on the handles.  The maximum diameter of the plates used is 18 inches.

Previously, due to a typo, it stated that only 11 inch diameter plates could be used.  This typo happened  because the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift does require a maximum diameter of 11 inch plates, and the rule for this lift is close to the Fulton Dumbbell Deadlift in the Rule Book.  Once again, copy and pasting created a problem for me!!  The reason for the Inch Dumbbell Deadlift requiring maximum 11″ plates is because the original Inch Dumbbell was a globe dumbbell, and the rule was written to best simulate the original Inch Dumbbells size using a plate loaded dumbbell handle.  This mistake will be corrected in next years updated Rule Book.

Now for the story on how the Fulton Dumbbell got its name….

Back in the early 80’s at a odd lifting meet in Liberal, Kansas, meet director Bob Burtzloff included a thick-handled dumbbell deadlift in the contest.  This dumbbell had a smooth 2 inch diameter handle.  Wilbur Miller, the “Cimarron Kid” and Kansas lifting legend,  was the hands on favorite to win this event.  Wilbur has huge hands with long fingers and was very rarely beaten in any lifting event that involved grip strength.  But this day was one of those rare days – when a young farm boy from Nebraska by the name of Kevin Fulton pulled off the upset! Upon Fulton’s winning – Bill Clark announced that this lift would be forever named the Fulton Lift.  This eventually lead to the naming of the 2″ bar as the Fulton Bar along with the Fulton Dumbbell.  As for Wilbur – upon the finish of the event he went back to the warm-up area and proceeded to pull more on this lift than he did in competition.  He went home knowing that he may not have won the event on this day,  but with the satisfaction of knowing he would next time!

Clark’s Gym Record Day

The Missouri All-Round Double-Header

by Al Myers

Ben Edwards performing a 235# 2" Vertical Bar Deadlift

I had one of the most fun weekends of weightlifting I have ever had this past weekend. It is not very often that I get the chance to do TWO different meets in the same weekend. On Saturday, Thom Van Vleck hosted his first ever All-Round event at the JWC Training Hall, which is Thom’s private gym. I have been to Thom’s gym several times before so I know the history of his gym – but this time was extra special since I actually got to compete there! Representing the Dino Gym was Chad Ullom and myself, and representing the JWC was Thom and Josh Hettinger. Thom’s brother Tedd was there to help load and to provide comic relief. Thanks Tedd for everything you did to help us – but next time I am going to talk you into lifting! I’m not going to go into everything Thom has in his gym except to say that the JWC Training Hall is filled with about anything an all-rounder would want, and has more autographed pictures on the walls than any gym I have ever been in!! The “environment” of the JWC Training Hall inspires you – you feel like the great lifters and throwers in the pictures are watching over you while you lift as you try to perform up to their expectations!! Chad Ullom came ready to go – and started this record day off with some UNBELIEVABLE lifting. Chad went up to the 110K class and set several very impressive records including a 475# Continental to Belt (the top ALL-TIME in the USAWA), a 510# Hack lift, a 375# One Arm Deadlift – Left, a 410# One Arm Deadlift – Right, and a 410# Steinborn Lift (breaking Bob Burtzloff’s 20 year old record). I also should note that Chad had another commitment on this day and had to leave early – so he did all this in a little over 1 hour!! After Chad left, the rest of us just looked at each other and wondered how we could top that! Next, Thom got two of his kids involved – Morgan and Dalton. They each did a few records. I was very impressed with their efforts. Josh Hettinger isn’t a newcomer to the USAWA. He lifted in one of my Dino Challenges a few years ago and it was great to see him back in action. I made Thom a Circus Dumbbell (it has a 3″ diameter handle and is very big, with 12″ diameter ends). When I brought it into the JWC Training Hall I announced that the Dino Gym Record with this DB was 165 pounds (taken to chest with two hands and then taken overhead with one hand). Josh is a pressing machine and said, “then load it to 170#”, which he made it easily. So for the time being , the JWC has a record better than the Dino Gym (but THAT won’t last long haha). Thom’s Uncle Wayne Jackson was there to watch – and after Josh pressed this massive Circus DB – Uncle Wayne said, “seeing that made coming worthwhile”. This was quite a compliment to Josh as Uncle Wayne was a great presser in his day, having done over 300# in the Olympic Press. Josh did several other impressive records as well. Thom was “a man on a mission” when he started breaking records. He must have broke or set over 50 USAWA records! Finally, I was getting worn out judging him and hinted that he didn’t have to do ALL the lifts in the record list today and maybe it would be better if he “saved” a few for another day! I could tell Thom was disappointed hearing this as I think he had planned on doing 100! (Plus I knew he promised to grill me a BIG steak for supper and it was getting late and I was getting hungry!). This record day was a first rate event – and Thom even had medals for everyone who broke records. Thom and the JWC are a great addition to the USAWA and this was a great kickoff for them!

Al Myers performing a 370# One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift

The next day (Sunday) Thom and I made our way south to Columbia, to participate in Bill Clark’s Record Day. I always enjoy going to Bill’s gym – it takes you back in time. Most of Bill’s equipment and weights have been in his gym for years – and would be “collector’s items” on ebay. There are not very many gyms nowadays where you can train on York Globe Dumbbells and then load your bar with Milo plates!! His platform is made out of solid oak planks that have withstood the years of dropped overheads. There is no shiny chrome equipment around – just rustic equipment with names like “Hospital Harry”. The gym has no A/C and minimal heating. Any thing that needs lubrication is rubbed down with axle grease. Truly a Hard Core All-Rounders paradise! I was glad to see Ben Edwards already there when I walked in the door. Ben was polishing off the record list in one of his favorite lifts – the Vertical Bar Deadlift – both 1″ and 2″. Bill was judging him hard – there were no quick down commands!! Ben finished off with a 235# 2″ One hand VB deadlift – the best of ALL-TIME. Ben next took on another one of his favorites – the thumbless grip deadlift. He came into this record day with a best of 250#, set in 2003, which had him at the number 3 spot ALL-TIME. I decided to join him on this lift, mainly to “push him a little” as he was gunning for the top spot held by Mike McBride at 266#, set in 2005. We both started at 235#, which we both got easily, and kept adding 10# until we both hit our MAX at 275# – tying the two of us for the BEST ALL-TIME. This was the highlight lift of my weekend – and I hadn’t even planned to do it. This is by far more than I have ever done in this lift and it was done under the strict judging of Bill Clark. Ben is a great competitor and friend and “friendly competitions” like this bring out the best you. We concluded the day by gorging ourselves at the bunk of the Golden Corral – A Clark’s Gym Post Meet Tradition!!

Bill Clark stepped up to the bar to pull this 135# Index Finger Deadlift after a couple of record day participants (names withheld) missed this lift.


Clark’s Gym Record Day
November 22nd, 2009
Clark’s Gym, Columbia, Missouri

Meet Director:  Bill Clark

Official (1 Official System Used):  Bill Clark

Loader:  Tom Powell


Ben Edwards –  215 lbs, 34 years old

Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Left Hand = 315 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 1″, Right Hand  = 255 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″ = 410 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, Left Hand = 235 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 bar, 2″, Right Hand = 210 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″ = 366 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Left Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells = 310 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 275 lbs.

Al Myers – 255 lbs, 43 years old

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 370 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 330 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells = 480 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 170 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbell, Left Arm = 170 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbbells = 310 lbs.
Hack Lift – Left Arm = 235 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 275 lbs.

Thom Van Vleck – 288 lbs, 45 years old

Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm = 240 lbs.
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Arm = 240 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Dumbbells = 300 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Dumbbell, Right Arm = 115 lbs.
Deadlift – 2 Fulton Dumbells = 230 lbs.
Hack Lift – Left Arm = 145 lbs.
Hack Lift – Right Arm = 145 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Right Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – No Thumb, Left Arm = 165 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Middle = 145 lbs.
Deadlift – Fingers, Ring = 145 lbs.

Charles Rigoulot and his Challenge Barbell

by Al Myers

Charles Rigoulot and his Challenge Barbell

Charles Rigoulot was born in a small town close to Paris, France in 1903.  He started to lift weights at an early age and soon became one of the strongest weightlifters in France.  Rigoulot was a specialist in the quick lifts, and excelled at the Clean and Jerks, Snatches, and Swings. He was also great in the One Handed Snatch.  So it is only fitting that Rigoulot would build a Challenge Barbell to give him  “an edge” in these lifts.  His Challenge Barbell was a special made bar that contained shot-loaded globes on the ends. The bar was over 8 feet in length and was exceedingly springy. Rigoulot mastered the technique of using this “spring” to enhance his lifts – much like the Olympic lifters of today do on the “new-age” Olympic bars.  His challengers could not easily adjust to his Challenge Barbell flexing and rebounding, and often lifted less on it than if they were lifting on a rigid bar!!

Bob Burtzloff – The USAWA’s BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk

by Al Myers

Bob Burtzloff performing a One Arm Clean and Jerk in the early 1980's. Bob is doing this outside his house in the pasture in South-Western Kansas. The bar is loaded with 10 Kilo bumpers for a total weight of 231 pounds. As you can tell, the ground is not exactly level.

As I promised last week on the USAWA Discussion Forum, I am featuring a story today on Bob Burtzloff from Liberal, Kansas.  As some of you know, Bob is my brother-in-law and one of the pioneers of All-Round Weightlifting.  He was competing in All-Round Weightlifting (or Odd Lifting as it was known then) before the USAWA was even an organization.  Lifters like Bob are the reason we have an organization today.  If it wasn’t for lifters competing in this sport before it organized – there may not have been an USAWA!!  The USAWA started in 1987, but Bill Clark was hosting Odd Lift Meets long before this.

But back to today’s story on Bob Burtzloff.  Bob was a true all-rounder – excelling at several different types of lifts.  However, one of his favorite lifts was the One Arm Clean and Jerk. Bob was a very accomplished Olympic Lifter in the state of Kansas. He won several State Championships in Olympic Lifting so it was only natural for him to be great in the One Arm Clean and Jerk.  His best official One Arm Clean and Jerk was 253 pounds, but I know he had done up to 275 pounds in training. Most guys can’t do this much in the Two Handed Clean and Jerk!!

There are two very different and distinct techniques for doing an One Arm Clean and Jerk – and Bob was the master of both.  The most common technique is to side clean the bar prior to the Jerk.  The other technique is to One Arm Clean the bar in front, much like a regular Clean.  This is very difficult to do as the rules state, “In receiving the bar at the shoulder, the bar must not make contact or rest on the shoulder or chest opposite to the lifting arm.  The center of the sternum is the line of lineation.” Very few have the ability to do this while maintaining control of the bar.  Bob also had a “stunt” he would do in the One Arm Clean and Jerk.  He would first side clean the bar with his right arm, Jerk it overhead, lower it back to the shoulder, and then TOSS THE BAR over his head and catch it in his left hand dead center. At that point he would Jerk it overhead with his left arm before returning the bar to the platform. And I’m not talking about him using light weight on this – in 1988 at the IAWA World Championships in England Bob did this with 220 pounds!!  Everyone in attendance was shocked and in disbelief!! I have witnessed Bob doing this several times in the past and can attest that it is just one of those things you have to see to truly believe.

Bob retired from All-Round Weightlifting by 1990, but he has made a few appearances at All-Round Meets since. In 2004, Bob competed in my Dino Gym Challenge and did a 175 pound One Arm Clean and Jerk which is the All-Time BEST in the USAWA Record List.  Bob was the BEST before the USAWA and is STILL the BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk!!!


1.   175 Pounds  Bob Burtzloff
2.   165 Pounds  Matt Doster
3.   160 Pounds  Barry Bryan
4.   160 Pounds  Joe McCoy
5.   154 Pounds  Al Myers
6.   154 Pounds  Bill Spayd
7.   154 Pounds  Don Verterosa
8.   145 Pounds  Mike McBride
9.   138 Pounds  Dennis Stahnke
10.  132 Pounds  Bob Karhan
10.  132 Pounds  Ed Schock

Special BonusYouTube Video of Bob Burtzloff doing a One Arm Clean and Jerk from an Odd Lifting meet in 1986. It appears the weight on the bar is over 200 pounds.

Bob Burtzloff setting the Best One Arm Clean and Jerk Record in the USAWA. This was done at the 2004 Dino Gym Challenge with a lift of 175 pounds.

The Challenge Barbell of Hermann Goerner

by Al Myers

Hermann Goerner lifting his famous Challenge Barbell. This photograph was taken in Cape Town, South Africa in 1923.

Hermann Goerner had a Challenge Barbell that only he could lift.   It had solid globe metal ends, connected by a 2-3/8″ diameter shaft, and weighed 330 3/4 pounds (150 Kilos).  It was said the Goerner could lift his Challenge Barbell overhead anytime – day or night – for over 20 years.  He didn’t even need warmups to do it – and often hoisted his Challenge Barbell overhead in street clothes.  This really demonstrated the strength of Hermann Goerner’s hands – as most other challengers could not even pick it off the ground. Goerner would use a power clean to get the barbell to the shoulders, and then put it overhead with a push jerk.

Source:  Goerner the Mighty by Edgar Mueller

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