by Al Myers
This year will be the 6th year for the USAWA Grip Championships. It officially started in 2011. The Grip Championships purpose is to recognize the best lifters in the USAWA for grip strength based on the official USAWA lifts. I have hosted this event every year at the Dino Gym. It has been a continual event since it began with no missed years! Each year it is contested on the second Saturday in February.
The USAWA has several lifts that emphasize grip strength. One of the stipulations of any Championship event in the USAWA is that it MUST contain only official USAWA lifts. Also – the scoring for a Championship event must follow the USAWA scoring guidelines.
The focus of grip strength amongst USAWA lifters started years ago when Kevin Fulton hosted several SuperGrip Challenges at his gym. They always had good turnouts. In 2010 I hosted my first grip competition at the Dino Gym, and it was attended so well that the Grip Championships was introduced the next year. Andrew Durniat won the Dino Gym Grip Challenge in 2010, setting several very good records in the process.
History of the Overall Best Lifters at the USAWA Grip Championships
|YEAR||MENS CHAMPION||WOMENS CHAMPION|
|2015||LaVerne Myers||Mary McConnaughey|
|2014||Dan Wagman||Ruth Jackson|
|2013||Troy Goetsch||Ruth Jackson|
|2011||Al Myers||Felecia Simms|
Now for a little USAWA Grip Championships trivia:
Only 2 lifters have won Best Lifter twice in the Grip Champs – Ruth Jackson and myself.
The Grip Champs is consistently one of the better attended USAWA competitions each year. The top year in attendance was 2013 with 16 competitors. It has averaged 11.4 since it started.
Only one lifter has competed in every Grip Champs. That is Dave Glasgow! Dave has placed very high each year – 2011-3rd, 2012-4th, 2013-5th, 2014-3rd, and 2015-5th.
Six lifts have been contested twice – Vertical Bar Deadlift, 1 bar, 2″, Vertical Bar Deadlift, 2 Bars, 2″, Dumbbell Walk, Deadlift-Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip, Deadlift-Middle Finger, and the Pinch Grip.
The biggest margin of victory for best lifter was 2011 where I scored 127.1 points over Ben Edwards.
The closest margin of victory for best lifter was 2014 where Dan Wagman scored 6.2 points over LaVerne Myers.
The youngest lifter to win Best Lifter was Troy Goetsch at 27 years of age. The oldest lifter to win Best Lifter was LaVerne Myers at 70 years of age.
There are several great lifts at the Grip Champs that I’ll always remember. Among these include: Ben Edwards 310# Middle Finger Deadlift in 2011, Scott Tully’s 394# 2 Bar 2″ Vertical Bar Deadlift in 2012, Troy Goetsch 260# 2″ Vertical Bar Deadlift in 2013, Darren Barnhart and a 250# Pinch Grip in 2013, LaVerne Myers Dumbbell Walk of 123# in 2014, and Kyle Jones 305# Bear Hug in 2015.