Author Archives: Al Myers

History of the USAWA – What happened 5 years ago?

by Al Myers

(It is amazing how fast time goes sometimes – and 5 years does not seem like a long time.  The following is a summary of the USAWA September news that happened in 2004, as taken from the Strength Journal published by  Bill Clark. )

USAWA News from September, 2004

Joe Garcia, representing Clark's Gym, pulls a fire truck at the Mid-Mo Strongman Competition.

Ciavattone Best at Heavy Lift Meet

Frank Ciavattone was the best lifter at the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships, which was held in Lebanon, PA and directed  by Denny and Judy Habecker. This was a big event for Frank, as it marked his 25th anniversary of beating colon cancer. This meet was attended by 13 lifters!!  Frank finished the meet with a 1902# Hip Lift. John Vernacchio was on hand to officiate.

Mid- Mo Strongman Competition

Clark’s gym hosted their first-ever strongman competition. Helping Bill Clark in the promotion was Demetrius Davis, Sam Huff and Joe Garcia.  These events were selected – clean and push press,  burlap bag hold,  medley consisting of carrying an anvil,  a farmer’s walk, and a tire flip, bus/fire truck pull, and a stone load.

Steve Schmidt at the Knox Fair

Steve Schmidt made his second appearance at the Knox Fair in Knox, Indiana  to put on a teeth pulling performance. Steve pulled a Mack truck, weighing 18,700 pounds, with his teeth down a 50 foot course on the main street of Knox.  He also put on a bending performance – bending bars over his head and nose.  Steve even bent a half-inch bar, 4 feet long, over his lower teeth!!

Is The IAWA Age Adjustment Fair??

by Al Myers

A topic that will be discussed at this year’s World Meeting at the World Championship will be the age adjustment. This was brought up last year and an IAWA committee was formed to investigate it and present a recommendation to the meeting this year.  The membership will be called on to vote on this, whether to make a change or keep things as they are.

This subject is very interesting to me as I hear arguments from both sides. Young lifters think the older lifters get too much adjustment, while the older lifters don’t feel like they get enough.  Formulas are always hard to develop and make completely fair as there are so many variables to consider.

I did a study of my own on three lifts.  I want to emphasize THIS IS NOT THE IAWA STUDY. It is merely a study which I did to satisfy my own curiosity on this subject. I think it is important that I have this information in hand in order to make an informative vote. I just collected some numbers and did a few calculations.  I am not doing this to try to “sway votes” one way or the other.  I just wanted to see what “the numbers” really show in regard to decreased lifting performance with age.

Study of the Age Adjustment

Objective:  To collect information from age group USAWA records, make USAWA and IAWA(UK) age corrections for comparison, and determine what correction for age group records are needed in order for the age group records to be the same as the overall records.

Design: I collected information from age group USAWA records in three lifts – Bench Press Feet in Air, Hack Lift, and the Zercher Lift. I picked these three lifts for these reasons: they  evaluate all areas of overall strength -pressing, pulling and squatting, and the data base for these records was full in regard to records in all weight classes and age divisions. I calculated an average of all weight class records within an age group so bodyweight adjustments would not be a factor in this study.  I utilized this formula to determine what correction is needed in order to adjust to the average of the Overall Record.

Correction Needed = (Overall Record – Age group Record) / Age Group Record

Assumptions: I used the USAWA and IAWA(UK) age correction for the top age of each division despite the record may have been set a younger age within the division. The record list does not provide that data.

All Records listed in pounds.

Bench Press Feet in Air

Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 353 353 353 0%
40-44 280 294 305 26.1%
45-49 268 295 306 31.7%
50-54 246 283 293 43.5%
55-59 228 274 274 54.8%
60-64 209 261 270 68.9%
65-69 194 252 268 82.0%
70-74 167 225 247 111.4%
75-79 141 197 223 150.4%
80-84 116 168 195 204.3%

Hack Lift

Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 538 538 538 0%
40-44 465 488 507 15.7%
45-49 401 441 457 34.2%
50-54 382 439 455 40.8%
55-59 330 396 409 63.0%
60-64 320 400 413 68.1%
65-69 321 417 443 67.6%
70-74 304 410 450 77.0%
75-79 242 339 382 122.3%
80-84 168 244 282 220.2%

Zercher Lift

Age Group
Overall Record
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Correction Needed
Overall 452 452 452 0%
40-44 372 391 405 21.5%
45-49 352 387 401 28.4%
50-54 339 390 403 33.3%
55-59 331 397 410 36.6%
60-64 296 370 382 52.7%
65-69 280 364 386 61.4%
70-74 246 332 364 83.7%
75-79 204 286 322 121.6%
80-84 180 261 302 151.1%


Age Group
USAWA Correction
IAWA(UK) Correction
Data Range
Data Average
Overall 0% 0% 0% 0%
40-44 5% 9% 15.7% – 26.1% 21.1%
45-49 10% 14% 28.4% – 34.2%
50-54 15% 19% 33.3% – 43.5%
55-59 20% 24% 36.6% – 63.0%
60-64 25% 29% 52.7% – 68.9%
65-69 30% 38% 61.4% – 82.0%
35% 48% 77.0% – 111.4%
75-79 40% 58% 121.6% – 150.4%
80-84 45% 68% 151.1% – 220.2%

As you can clearly see, the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) age corrections do not keep up with the performance decrease with increased age for these three lifts that where selected from the USAWA Record List.  No calculations were done to determine the statistical significance of this study.

What’s the most painful lift in the USAWA?

by Al Myers

I have done most of the lifts in the USAWA by now (out of a list of close to 200) and after a tough workout last night doing the Zercher Lift and waking up today with several new bruises – I was thinking – What lift is more painful than Zerchers?? Well, I have got to put my vote in for a lift that seems innocent enough but will leave you shaking your hand in pain – the Little Fingers Deadlift!!! I think my problem with this lift is that all the pain is focused on one little body part and not spread out over a larger area!! The Little Fingers Deadlift is always the last event in the Goerner Deadlift – but I always wish it was the first event so I could get it over with! It doesn’t matter what weight is on the bar – it always HURTS!!

I even think Bill Clark might agree with me on this -especially when the bar "pops out" and immediately you feel the burning sensation of your little finger's flexor tendons snapping back into place!!

So – email me your vote and I’ll keep a tally.

By the way, I don’t think Ben Edwards will be voting for the Little Fingers Deadlift. Watch him in this YouTube Video doing a Little Fingers Deadlift of 160 pounds with ease. I can’t believe anyone actually trains this lift! But that is the beauty of all-round weightlifting – there’s a lift for everyone.

Blowing Up a Hot Water Bottle

by Al Myers

Thom getting ready to blow up water bottle.

I got to see firsthand someone blowing up a hot water bottle this past weekend. At the conclusion of the Team Nationals, Thom Van Vleck (President of the JWC) amazed us by blowing up a hot water bottle in 31.62 seconds!! This takes tremendous abdominal strength and chest/lung capacity to accomplish this feat. This was the first time I had ever seen this performed – although I have heard about others having done it for quite some time.

What does this have to do with All-Round Weightlifting?

Well, for one thing all-round strength comes in many forms and sometimes not always involves lifting some sort of implement, like a barbell or dumbbell. Second, the Old Time Strongmen often performed similar feats to this (that required some sort of “special” strength) that were done purely for show performances to impress the crowds. And there is nothing as showy as watching a water bottle constantly expanding with each breath to the point that it explodes!!! Bob Hoffman, of York Barbell, wrote many articles about doing exercises that developed lung capacity and chest expansion. He would even do deep breathing exercises in between his workout sets to help in developing a larger chest.

The water bottle is about ready to BURST!

Take this as a challenge – all you need to do is buy a hot water bottle and start blowing!! A few cautions though – don’t inhale on the bottle when it is expanded or the water bottle pressure may damage your lungs and be sure to wear eye protection!!

More Coverage of the Dino Days

by Al Myers


NAHA Nationals – Class Winners

Lightweight    Justin Cantwell, Kansas City
Middleweight – Mark Wechter, Oregon
Heavyweight – Matt Vincent, Louisiana
Masters – John O’Brien, Missouri

Part of this past weekend Dino Days activities involved hosting the 2009 NAHA Nationals. NAHA stands for North American Highlander Association. This organization offers competitions that are a cross between Highland Games and Strongman Competitions, in which events are selected from both.   It was well attended with 22 athletes competing.  We had great weather and I think everyone had a great time!!  The Dino Gym had several gym members competing – Chad Ullom, Ryan Batchman, Matt Tyler, Jesse Landes,  and Darren Barnhart.

NAHA is possible because of the efforts of D.J. Satterfield and Richard “Vince” Vincent. These two guys are “for the athletes” and do everything possible to make sure that their competitions are fun and well ran.  Elite Nutrition was the official sponsor of this event, and among many things, provided $1000 in CASH as prize money!!!   I also need to thank fellow gym member, training partner, and Kansas NAHA State Chairman Scott Tully – he was the “man behind the scenes” that made this whole event happen!!!

For full event coverage – Check out the NAHA Website

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