Author Archives: Al Myers

Conner Wins Liberty Strongman Classic!!

by Al Myers

John Conner training for the Hummer Tire Deadlift - where he pulled 905 pounds.

John Conner, the Dino Gym Phenom, won the Liberty Strongman Classic this past weekend in Philadelphia. This professional strongman contest was directed by Al Thompson, and was attended by several of the top professional strongmen in the United States. I am very proud of John, as I have watched him train very hard these past few months with a new sense of determination. I don’t think John is anywhere near his potential yet.

At times, it was estimated that over 7000 people were watching the strongman show. Here is a YouTube Video of John being the first competitor to load all 5 stones at Frawly Stadium – just watch the fans go wild!!!

More on Jack Walsh……..

by Al Myers

Jack Walsh, the New Jersey Strongman, was a strongman showman more than a weightlifter. He loved the Heavy Lifts, such as the Back Lift and the Hand and Thigh Lift because they were crowd favorites with the large amount of weight lifted. He was not a big man, standing a little more than 5’6″ and weighing 180-200 pounds at his heaviest. Thus, his best claims in the Back Lift of 4700 pounds and 1900 pounds in the Hand and Thigh Lift seem even more spectacular. His best lifts were done in the early 1950’s. He was also good at the one arm Clean and Jerk, with a best of 210 pounds done with a barbell. He excelled at the finger lifts – doing a middle finger lift of 550 pounds (using a padded ring which is not used today).

But this lifting stunt of his caught my attention more than any others – he would hang from a chin-up bar with ONLY his chin supporting him, and while in this “hanging position” perform a crucifix with a pair of 50 pound dumbbells!!! Is this possible? I have some leftover USAWA Nationals T-shirts and will give one away to anyone who sends me a picture of themselves doing this!! I’ll make it easy – Just do it with a pair of 20 pound dumbbells!!

Middle Atlantic Postal

by Al Myers

Middle Atlantic Open Postal Meet
June 2009

Meet Director:  John Wilmot

Lifts:  Clean and Press – Reverse Grip, Continental Snatch, Hack Lift

Lifter Age BWT C&P Snatch Hack Total Points
Al Myers
42 255 220 198 573 991 802.19
Orie Barnett
48 227 170 110 405 685 622.33
John  Wilmot
62 213 110 100 300 510 541.74


BWT – Bodyweight in pounds. All lifts in pounds. Points are age and bodyweight adjusted.

Best Overall Lifter    Al Myers

Is the Van Dam Lift impossible?

by Al Myers

So you think the Van Dam Lift is impossible???  Rob Van Dam, of wrestling fame, is responsible for this lift being in the USAWA Rule Book and to this date he has been the only one to perform the Van Dam Lift.  For those who are unfamiliar with the Van Dam Lift – it involves lifting a heavy dumbbell from the floor to the waist while maintaining the full splits with each foot/leg supported on a bench . Rob Van Dam demonstrated this lift with a dumbbell of 166 pounds. For those who still don’t believe it – it can be viewed on this YouTube Video and was officiated by USAWA officials.

Steve Freides, at 149 pounds, one arm pressing a Kettlebell of 53 pounds while maintaining the full splits.

Now along comes Steve Freides, of Ridgewood New Jersey, who just may be the second person to accomplish the Van Dam Lift. Steve started out childhood suffering from severe asthma and allergies, to enduring a severe back injury as an adult that left him bedridden for several months and unable to walk without limping for over a year.  At this point in his life,  Steve decided to forget about his physical setbacks and took up an aggressive exercise program involving daily stretching and training with Kettlebells. He also runs, swims and bicycles.  He has even entered several powerlifting meets, setting some deadlifting records in the process.  Steve is a certified Personal Trainer by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and was certified as a Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor by Pavel Tsatsouline.  He received his RKC Level 2 certification in 2007.

Now the question remains – will Steve enter an All-Round Weightlifting Record Day and be the only person to do the impossible Van Dam Lift besides the man himself, Rob Van Dam?  Lets hope it happens!!!!!!

Joe Garcia and the Hand & Thigh

by Al Myers

A Hall of Fame Biography is now available for Joe Garcia.  Joe is famous for his Hand and Thigh Lifting – and holds the all-time record in this lift by lifting 1910 pounds! Not only has he lifted more than anyone in the history of the USAWA, but also of All Time, even exceeding the Hand and Thigh Lifts of the old time strongmen.

Joe Garcia with the Hand and Thigh Lift

Quiz Question: Name the lifter whose all-time record was broken by Joe Garcia, and the weight of the previous record.

Rules of contest: 1 answer per day, first correct answer to webmaster wins

Winner receives a USAWA Patch!!!!

Mike McBride, of Columbia Missouri, correctly answered the quiz. The

previous Hand and Thigh Lift record holder was the New Jersey Strongman,  Jack Walsh.  He did a Hand and Thigh Lift of 1900 pounds in 1950 at Trenton, New Jersey.  This beat the previous record held by Louis Cyr of Canada, who had a Hand and Thigh Lift of 1897 pounds, set in 1896.  Will it be another 50 years before Joe Garcia’s Hand and Thigh Lift record is broken?


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