Author Archives: Al Myers

What it feels like to lift 150 pounds with one hand

by Arthur Saxon

Arthur Saxon demonstrating the proper technique for the Bent Press.

I have often been asked what it feels like to press 350 lbs. with one hand, and perhaps to my readers the different sensations experienced will be interesting. In the first place, immediately I start to press the weight away from the shoulder I become perfectly oblivious to everything except the weight that I am lifting. The spectators are obliterated from my mind by the effort of intense concentration which is necessary to enable me to press the weight. I immediately engage myself in a terrific struggle in which the weight and I are competitors, and only one can win, either the weight must be lifted or else I fail. This concentration is, of course, one of the secrets of success in lifting. It enables me to bring forward the last ounce of pushing power, and for the time being to exert strength beyond that normally possessed.

As the weight steadily rises aloft, perhaps half way it wavers, the balance alters, and I have immediately, yet very carefully and quietly, to adjust my position to the altered balance of the bar. Then I proceed with the press, my body gradually falling lower towards the left knee, my eyes fixed all the time upon the ponderous weight balanced over my head, ready to fall at a moment’s notice should I weaken or place myself in a false position, and should at this moment anyone shout out, it might startle me, make me waver, and cause the weight to fall. Therefore, if I am attempting a world’s record in this position, I generally ask for complete silence until I have either failed or succeeded, and I might mention here that to think of failure is to fail, and always tell myself all the time that I am certain to succeed even though I am attempting a weight more than I have hitherto lifted. Eventually, my arm is straight, and before coming to an upright position I engage in another tussle with the enormous barbell, in which I have to exert all my will power to hold together the flagging powers of tired muscles, which have been strained by the tremendous pressure which 350 lbs. brings on to them in the effort of pressing aloft. By supreme effort of the will I fix the bell in a good position and then stand upright. Often the bar will roll on to the fingers instead of being directly over the wrist, in which case severe pain is inflicted, and I have to persevere with the lift under doubly hard conditions, or else drop the weight and try again.

Credit: The Development of Physical Power by Arthur Saxon

The Arthur Saxon Pentathlon

by Al Myers

The most famous picture of Arthur Saxon - performing a Two Hands Anyhow.

Don’t forget this coming weekend the Dino Gym is presenting the Arthur Saxon Pentathlon.  This meet was designed to honor the great German weightlifter, Arthur Saxon.  I have always respected the great lifts of Saxon – he was well-rounded with his lifting ability and showed the world that you could be athletic and still a great weightlifter.  He performed with his brothers, Kurt and Hermann, making up the Saxon Trio.  Their strongman act was based on weightlifting, and not gimmicky stunts which a lot of their contemporaries performed in their shows at the time.  For this meet I selected Five of Arthur Saxon’s best lifts in setting up this challenge.  A couple of them are difficult to perform, and aren’t contested very often in the USAWA, so this will give everyone a chance to do something different.  These are the five lifts and Saxon’s best mark in them:

Swing – Dumbbell, One Arm     187 pounds
Bent Press – with bar                371 pounds
Two Hands Anyhow                  448 pounds
Arthur Lift                                386 pounds
Plank Support                          3200 pounds

Arthur Saxon was 5’10” and weighed around 210 pounds at his prime.

I haven’t had a Quiz of the Week for a while now – so here is a question.

What was Arthur Saxon’s real name?

The winner will receive a USAWA patch. Rules: First correct answer emailed to me wins, and only one answer per day.

Dave Glasgow of Winfield, Kansas has already provided the correct answer to the Quiz, with Saxon’s given name being Arthur Hennig. Dave is a seasoned Highland Game athlete and is entering his first All-Round Weightlifting Meet this weekend, at the Arthur Saxon Pentathlon. Welcome Dave to the All-Rounds!!

USAWA Record Holders in the Reeves Deadlift

by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell, of the Dino Gym, has the ALL-TIME USAWA Record in the Reeves Deadlift with a record lift of 400#. His record matches the best performance of the legendary Steve Reeves. In this picture, Mark is setting a Dino Gym record in the Reeves Deadlift with a lift of 455#! Mark is planning on entering a record day soon to increase his USAWA record in the Reeves Deadlift.

The following are the overall USAWA records for the Reeves Deadlift per weight class.  Records are listed for women and men.

Lift                                  Sex  Wt.Cls     Record    Lifter                                 Date               Location

DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL F 70 65 McConnaughey, Amber 12/10/2005 2005 Goerner Deadlift Doz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL F 75 155 Paul, Andrea 12/14/2003 2003 Goerner Deadlift Doz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL F 80 135 Fritz, Misty 12/10/2005 2005 Goerner Deadlift Doz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL F 125+ 215 McConnaughey, Mary 12/9/2001 2001 Goerner Deadlift Dz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 90 275 Holcomb, Seth 12/9/2001 2001 Goerner Deadlift Dz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 95 275 Hart, James 12/9/2001 2001 Goerner Deadlift Dz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 100 225 Bletscher, Rudy 12/15/2002 2002 Hermann Goerner
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 105 325 Burks, Joe 12/9/2001 2001 Goerner Deadlift Dz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 110 225 Clark, Bill 12/15/2002 2002 Hermann Goerner
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 115 300 Myers, Al 12/6/2008 2008 Goerner Dino Gym
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 120 335 Myers, Al 12/6/2009 2009 Goerner Deadlift
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 125 335 Fulton, Kevin 12/9/2001 2001 Goerner Deadlift Dz
DEADLIFT, REEVES ALL M 125+ 400 Mitchell, Mark 12/15/2002 2002 Hermann Goerner

Do you want to see a BIG Reeves Deadlift in action?

Then check out this YouTube Video of Ben Edwards successfully lifting 352# in Reeves Deadlift!

The Reeves Deadlift

by Al Myers

Steve Reeves demonstrating the lift named after him. Notice the wide-flange plates turned outwards, to help with the grip. Steve used York Deep Dish 45# plates as his gripping plates.

The USAWA Discussion Forum always stimulates new topics for me to include in the Daily News. Recently, the Reeves Deadlift has been among one of the hottest discussed threads, resulting in several forum members issuing challenges to one another. For those that are not familiar with this unusual All-Round Lift, it is named after the late great bodybuilder Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves is a former Mr. World, Mr. America, and Mr. Universe Champion. During the 50’s and 60’s he starred in several movies, and became a movie star with his movie rolls playing Hercules. Steve Reeves used this exercise as an upper back exercise, and maybe it helped him in developing his stunning lat spread (by dineen). It has been reported that he was capable of 400# in this lift! I have found the limiting factor in this lift is the ability to hold the grip on the plates – so it is also a great grip exercise. It helps if you have long arms. The Reeves Deadlift is also known as the Rim Lift, and goes by that name in the IAWA(UK). The rules for the Reeves Deadlift are pretty straight forward:

USAWA Rule for the Reeves Deadlift:

“The rules of the Deadlift apply with these exceptions. The lift starts by the lifter gripping one plate on each side of the bar. The flanges of the plates may be turned outwards to provide a better gripping surface. A regulation bar of legal length must be used. There are no width specifications of the flanges of the lifting plates. Weight is added to the bar with smaller diameter plates so the lifter always has just one plate per side to grip.”

Coming tomorrow – the list of the USAWA Record Class Holders in the Reeves Deadlift.

Interview with Bob Moore – Part 3

by Al Myers

Bob Moore squatting at a fundraiser for a young girl with cancer. His efforts raised over $4000.

Al: I know you were involved in several big meet promotions. Could you tell me a little about the meets that you directed.

Bob: I had the opportunity to direct several large, successful USAWA and powerlifting meets, one being the 1992 USAWA National Championships. If I recall correctly, it was one of the first USAWA meets to secure major sponsors (Budweiser, PepsiCo, etc). The site for the meet was a great location, and the local hotel we worked with had a great nightclub for everyone’s enjoyment. Town officials even got involved and handed out the trophies during the awards ceremony. Other meets I directed involved a bench press meet at a nightclub; we had a huge turnout and a lively environment. I also co-promoted several meets with a close friend, Howie Waldron. Knowing that a strong support staff can make or break a meet, we worked with the Warrior Weightlifting Team, which consisted mainly of Coyle Cassidy High School powerlifters. One particular meet was held in a huge grand ballroom – with state of the art equipment, food and drink for the lifters, and huge trophies for the winners. The meet netted thousands of dollars, which in turn was donated to the Warrior team, which enabled them to take the trip to the Teenage National Championships.

Al: I am glad to hear that you will be making a “comeback” into All-Round Weightlifting. The USAWA needs individuals like you involved in our sport. Do you have any views on the future of the USAWA?

Bob: I believe there is tremendous growth potential, maybe more than any other sport, for the USAWA. However, the USAWA and IAWA need to make a concerted effort in bringing the sport to the public. Efforts should be made to recruit more lifters, and to make it more of a mainstream sport. Powerlifting and Olympic lifting are known by just about everyone who sets foot in a gym. When I was training for USAWA events, my training would naturally draw questions and interest from other gym members. When it came to presenting to Corporate Sponsors, I found they loved the idea and eagerly wanted to get involved. How many other sports can you find a 13 year old and an 80 year old competing side by side? A few suggestions would be to have trained persons work in a public relations role to make the equipment, lifts, etc, more widely know by a bigger audience than currently exists. There should be a “core” set of lifts that are familiar to the public; lesser known lifts can be introduced at a later time. Demonstrations prior to powerlifting meets would be both informative and entertaining. More head to head competition would also give the sport a needed boost, whether done by weight class or age. With a great set of records in the books, the USAWA and IAWA need to make sure these records, as well as new ones are challenged in dynamic and creative ways.

Strength sports in general have always been divided by drugs, big egos, and equipment. The future of all strength sports is dependent on the credibility of their respective organizations. The USAWA has major advantages over other strength sports; it does not have any splinter organizations, we have one set of record books, strict drug testing rules are in place and there is no equipment that affects lifts. It is my hope that the USAWA can take advantage of the huge opportunities that lie ahead of the organization.

Al: Bob, thank you very much for doing this interview. As a final question – What advice would you have for a new weightlifter that is interested in All-Round Weightlifting?

Bob: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Weightlifters love to talk! They would love a new set of ears to talk to, don’t be afraid to talk to them. The key to success in any area of your life is knowledge. When I needed help with my back lift I called the king of all back lifters, Paul Anderson. Who better to ask? He turned out to be a wonderful source of information, as well as a nice, kind individual. He also became my role model later in my lifting career, and life. To this day I still donate to the Paul Anderson Youth Home (

Young lifters should surround themselves with successful, dedicated, positive, knowledgeable lifters; there is no room for doubt or negativity when you are training. Failure is not an option. As weightlifting is an art form, young lifters also need to study the mechanics of the lifts they are going to be performing. Just because someone can lift a lot of weight does not mean they are doing lifts in the most effective way. Minor changes in hand, foot, knee or shoulder position can lead to major gains. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the All-Rounds or strength sports as everyone has different proportions, strengths and weaknesses. My 17 year old brother, Ryan, has broken several long standing teen and high school powerlifting records with techniques that are slightly different than my own. His squat and deadlifts are both well over 600, and his bench is going over 400 now at a bodyweight of 242. His body is different than mine so we made the proper adjustments in his training.

If I may say one more thing before this interview ends, all the talent in the world is of little to no value if you do not use it to help others. Use your God given talents to help others! Go out and make a difference in the world!

Bob Moore lifting a car at a fundraiser sponsored by Venture Sports on Founder's Day in Mansfield, MA. The weight of the car was 3430 pounds!

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