Author Archives: Al Myers

Big Inch Lifts

By John McKean

American health pioneer, Bernaar Macfadden trained extensively with cables in a manner similar to the "big inch " concept below. Even way back in 1901 Macfadden could've set USAWA records (if we had been around over 100 years ago) that lasted a century with tremendous poundages in dumbbell overhead and hold-out lifts for the 65K class!

American health pioneer, Bernaar Macfadden trained extensively with cables in a manner similar to the “big inch ” concept below. Even way back in 1901 Macfadden could’ve set USAWA records (if we had been around over 100 years ago) that lasted a century with tremendous poundages in dumbbell overhead and hold-out lifts for the 65K class!

“Andraes,” I asked my 11-year-old grandson, “did I ever tell you about my gold mine in Alaska?” Dra just rolled his eyes skyward, certain that he was about to become a captive audience and suffer through another one of my cornball stories!

“Ah c’mon, Paw” replied the wise-beyond-his-years sixth grader. “You’re sure old enough, but nobody ever mentioned you dog-sledding up North to the Klondike gold rush!”

I went on to explain that when I was his age, a breakfast cereal giant offered within each box a “genuine deed” for Alaskan real estate! The company on each deed proclaimed themselves as the “Big Inch Land Company,” and that’s exactly what the document allotted to you –  one square inch of “prime” property with a numbered lot and everything! I couldn’t stand the soggy cereal, so only acquired a grand total of 3 square inches! (My gold must still be awaiting me!!)

Explaining to Draes that this “Big Inch” name was vividly recalled by a summer-long lifting innovation, I went on to describe what soon will be his training procedure through the coming fall and winter! Of course, this will be an advancement in my usual “flex band over barbell” concept.

First, a quick history lesson. Back when Dr. John Ziegler was instructing famous lifters Bill March and Lou Riecke on the virtues of isometrics and power rack work, he emphasized that complete concentration on the iso hold and absolute maximum effort was required. Few lifters could handle that type of commitment to a non moving sticking point, so wily ole Doc Ziegler HYPNOTIZED these two future world record holders before each training session!

Well, Doc Ziegler is gone, and most of us have little access to pro hypnotists in our gyms or garages (and some, like my wife Marilyn, says ya gotta have some mind power in order to BE hypnotized, and I don’t qualify!). So I discovered a way to push myself beyond what I think is a maximum effort iso!  From other stories I’ve done on flex band isos, using various strength rubber strands over barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or just a very heavy duty band itself, you know that for practically any lift that initial experimenting will provide enough resistance that the movement won’t be permitted full extension. You will grind to a halt somewhere before completion and be forced into a severe muscle contracting iso! I USED to believe this was that 100% limit that we all strive to achieve. However I discovered that if I’d hold for a few seconds, then gutted it up slightly further, I could use still yieldable stretch of the bands to push just 1/2″ MORE! And, if I got my head really into it (SELF Hypnosis?), after a few seconds I could usually strain just moving one more half inch. Here, then, became my “Big Inch” for  achieving new maximums in lifting stress !

Take, for instance, a Straddle Lift – after finding the right weight and band combo to insure this Jefferson will not go all the way up, place a band over the barbell, then stomp on the band ends at the floor. Stand up until the band will allow absolutely no more positive movement. Hold for maybe 3 seconds. Then convince yourself that you can “probably” yet manage a mere 1/2″ more. Do it! After 3 seconds of this, WILL yourself to another 1/2 inch! Hang on for a final 3 seconds. Ziegler, March, and Riecke would be proud: You’ve managed the ultra max “Big Inch” which will go MILES toward progress and gains!

As I was detailing this procedure to young Dra, he chirped out, “Hey, Paw, I’ve got a Big Inch of my own!”

“Uh oh,” I thought. “He’s getting to be about THAT age!”

But I was a bit relieved to hear the not so little lad respond, Gramma measured my height and at 5’3 I’m now a BIG INCH taller than you!!”

New Century Club Member!

By Al Myers

Dave Glasgow, the newest member of the USAWA Century Club.

Dave Glasgow, the newest member of the USAWA Century Club.

We have a new CENTURY CLUB member!

I just got done updating the Record List and the Century Club listing and with great excitement, I announce the newest member to the USAWA CENTURY CLUB!!!

drumroll please ……….  It’s DAVE GLASGOW!!!!

This is a great accomplishment for Dave.  Dave has been involved with the USAWA for many years and has been “chipping away” at setting new USAWA records for a long time.   It’s only fitting that he accomplished this great milestone at his latest meet, one in which he hosted at his fine Ledaig Training Facility, the USAWA Club Championships.

Now Dave, let me give you some advice.  Don’t stop now with your record setting endeavors, as you can fall out of it if someone breaks one of your records and you fall below the magic number of 100.  You better keep adding USAWA records to build yourself a little cushion!

Congrats Dave and welcome to the Century Club!!!!

10th Edition Rulebook

By Al Myers

I just got all the updates and editing done for the new USAWA Rulebook 10th Edition. It is now on the website, and I plan to take it to the printers this week to get a few bound hard copies made for sale. However, I’ve found that only a few want hard copies anymore as it’s easier to just view it on the website, and thus you don’t end up with an “out of date” rulebook in a year.

It’s hard to believe that we are up to the 10th Edition.  Since I have been secretary I have updated it each year with the new rules and new lifts that are made each year at the Annual National Meeting of the USAWA.  In the first 22 years of the USAWA there was only 1 update to the original Rulebook, and now we have had 8 updates in 8 years. So either the membership was sitting on their hands and NO CHANGES were made in those early years, or the membership voting decisions were not being put into force.  I would lean towards the later.

Now for a little “trivia” on our USAWA Rulebook:

  • Has 126 pages and over 35,000 words
  • Contains rules for 184 Individual All Lifts
  • Includes the Official Bylaws of the USAWA
  • Includes Scoring Sheets and the Lynch Factor Chart
  • Includes pictures of 108 Lifts
  • Includes pictures of 67 different lifters

I always try to add a few new pictures each year to give illustrations of the lifts being performed. Still over half of the official lifts don’t have a picture with them in the Rulebook.  Early on I put a “cap” on the number of times one individual could be in the Rulebook to spread things around a little.  This limit is three times. This makes it harder for me because there are a few lifters I have many pictures of, and several lifts I have many pictures of.  I welcome people to send me new pictures for future Rulebooks.  So if you want a little “USAWA fame” this is your chance!

These are the lucky few who got in the Rulebook three times: Joe Garcia, Scott Campbell, Al Myers, Denny Habecker, Frank Ciavattone, Chad Ullom, John McKean, Mark Mitchell, Kevin Fulton, Scott Schmidt, Dan Wagman, and LaVerne Myers.

The USAWA Rulebook is something that we should be very proud of. It is the backbone of our organization as it guides us in every competition. With every update it gets a little better, but there are still issues that need addressed with it. As these issues come up during the year they are addressed at the National Meeting and improvements to the Rulebook can be made.


By Al Myers

(Webmasters Note: Over the next month I will be running a series of biography blogs covering all past USAWA Hall of Fame members.  These bios will be added to the history section, under Hall of Fame.)




Chad lives in Topeka, Kansas with his wife Tasha. He has a daughter and 2 stepsons.    He has a BS in Pharmacy and is currently a Pharmacy Manager with Walgreens.  Before he became involved with the USAWA he was a multi-sport athlete in High School, where he played football, wrestled, threw the shotput and discus, and was a yell leader.  After High School he played football at Coffeyville Community College and was part of a national championship team in 1990.  After college he played semi pro football for 2 years before getting involved in the Scottish Highland Games where he competed for over 20 years.

Chad started weight lifting when he was 13 years old when he was training for other sports.   His first competition in the USAWA was in 2005.  Chad was introduced to the USAWA by Al Myers and is part of the Dino Gym Club.  Chad commented, “Al has been a great training partner over the years and I wouldn’t be nearly involved in the USAWA if it wasn’t for Al.  We have travelled to many meets together across the United States and all over the World.”

Chad has long lengthy resume of USAWA National Championships he has competed in. To date he has competed in 8 National Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).   In each one of these Championships he won the National Championships in his age/weight class.  In 2014 he won the Overall Best Lifter at the Nationals.  In all of his National Championships he has placed very high overall with two second places, three third places, one fourth, and one fifth.    He also has competed in 8 IAWA World Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015).   In the 2010 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland he won the Overall Best Lifter Award at the World Championships.   Chad is one of the very few USAWA lifters to have competed at the World Championships in all the countries that have hosted a Worlds – United States, England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia.

Chad has also been very involved in the organization besides just as a lifter. He has been the USAWA Vice President since 2010 and has been the Drug Enforcement Director since that time as well.   He has served as a IAWA Vice President since 2012.  He is also a certified USAWA Official and has officiated at many Championship events including at the IAWA World Championships and the IAWA Gold Cups.  In 2012 he was Co-Meet promoter of the 2012 IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas.

Chad has won many USAWA Awards. He was awarded the USAWA Athlete of the Year in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  He received Runner Up Awards for the Courage Award in 2015, and the Athlete of the Year in 2009.  He has been an active participant in USAWA Championship Events.  He was the overall best lifter in the 2015 USAWA Grip Championships and the 2012 Old Time Strongman Championships.  He has been the Overall Best Lifter (with teammate Al Myers) in 10 USAWA Team Championships.  He has been the USAWA Lifter of the Month 4 times – April 2012, July 2013, June 2014, and February 2017.  Chad has been very active in the USAWA Postal Series. He has won the Overall Best Lifter in the USAWA Postal Championships 2 times – 2008, and 2012.   In 2012 and 2014 he was the Overall Best Men’s Lifter in the USAWA Postal Series, and has placed in the top ten many times.  In 2012 Chad won the World’s Strongest Two Man Team Postal with teammate Al Myers. Chad owns several USAWA records and is in the top ten of all record holders with over 250 USAWA records.

Chad’s favorite All Round Lifts are the Arthur Lift, Steinborn Lift, and the Neck Lift. In the Arthur Lift he has the top ALL TIME record in the USAWA with a lift of 297 pounds, set at the 2007 USAWA National Championships. He has done a 446 pound Steinborn Lift, which is also an All TIME mark in both the USAWA and the IAWA.  This was done at the 2012 IAWA World Championships.  Chad was the first lifter to break the 900 pound barrier in the Neck Lift, done at the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships. He is currently one of only two lifters who have exceeded 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift.  Chad always has saved his best lifts for the big meets in front of the best officials and many witnesses.  No one can question the authenticity of his great lifting ability and records because of this.


Chad is a very modest Champion.   He often downplays his success and is always a great supporter of the other lifters.   He will help anyone out, and often at meets will be lifting, officiating, and loading all at the same time.  After the meet he will be the one doing the most work cleaning up.  At the banquets and social functions associated with the USAWA Chad is always the life of the party.  Anyone who knows him knows he just truly enjoys being part of the overall meet experience.   When asking him about his favorite part of competitions, he responded, “I love to compete and test myself but I really enjoy the comradery with the other lifters more.   I have some great friends that I only get to see at competitions and it’s always a great excuse to travel!”

That sums up Chad Ullom, a truly humble well-liked Champion in the USAWA.

Presidential Cup

By Al Myers



Group picture from the 2017 Presidential Cup (front Left to right): Barry Pensyl, Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Aidan Habecker, (Back Left to right): Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, Al Myers, Collin Cortez

Group picture from the 2017 Presidential Cup (front Left to right): Barry Pensyl, Art Montini, Denny Habecker, Aidan Habecker, (Back Left to right): Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, Al Myers, Collin Cortez

We just had another GREAT Presidential Cup last weekend! This is now the 6th year in a row this Championship Event has been held.  It was hosted by the President of the USAWA, Denny Habecker and held at Habecker’s Gym.

We had a number of newcomers to this meet as well as several past PREZ CUP winners were present.  The new lifters were Collin Cortez, Cale Dunlap, Jenn Tibbenham, and Barry Pensyl.  The past winners who were present included Aidan Habecker, Art Montini, and myself.

It was great to have Jenn from England compete in the Presidential Cup!  One of her lifts was the Reeves Deadlift.

It was great to have Jenn from England compete in the Presidential Cup! One of her lifts was the Reeves Deadlift.

The BIGGEST surprise of the meet was having an International lifter in attendance – Jenn Tibbenham.  Jenn lives in England and lifts for the IAWA(UK), but was here on vacation with her husband Graham.  She wanted to take part in a USAWA competition, and we were delighted to have her compete. I’ve seen Jenn lift before and she always really impresses me.  She gives 110 PERCENT on the platform and puts up huge lifts. She came to break some World Records and that she did.  Her 72.5 KG (and close miss at 82.5KG) with the 1 handed VB impressed me the most.

Also – it’s always nice to see new lifters in the organization.  We had that at the Prez Cup when Collin Cortez, a lifter and Navy man from Norfolk, Virginia entered.  This was the very first USAWA competition for Collin.  It didn’t take him long and he fit right in with the USAWA crowd. He put up a great  Cup lift in the Hackenschmidt Floor Press which won him the Presidential Cup!  I sure hope we see more of Collin in the USAWA.

Newcomer Collin Cortez (right) won the 2017 Presidential Cup Award, presented by the USAWA President Denny Habecker (Left).

Newcomer Collin Cortez (right) won the 2017 Presidential Cup Award, presented by the USAWA President Denny Habecker (Left).

It’s always a pleasure seeing and lifting with Barry Pensyl.  Barry has a long track record with the USAWA (close to 20 years), but due to injuries he is making his comeback in the organization over the past couple of years.  He’s “knocking on the door” of the Century Club and I predict he will be one of the next members. His PC lift with the Abdominal Raise impressed me the most of his lifts, and unofficially I would say it was the Runner Up lift for the Presidential Cup Award.  Maybe next year Barry the Cup will be yours?

Young Aidan Habecker came into this meet as last years Cup Winner. I think he had his sights on winning it again!  However, he opened a little too heavy on his Cup Lift with the 2″ VBar, and had to fall back on his second lift, the 1″ V bar Lift for his Cup Lift.  He then went on to set a couple more very impressive records.

The MAN OF STEEL Art Montini made yet again, another fantastic appearance on the platform.  Art worked in the Steel Mill all his working life, and is a tough as nails.  It won’t be long and he’ll be in the 90-94 Age Group and I’m betting he will still be setting records.  I don’t see any signs that he is slowing up with the weights.

Denny, on top of hosting this fine event, still performed a couple of record lifts himself.  He first filled his tank and got all “gassed up” with a big jug of chocolate milk, and then put up some fine lifting.  I was BY FAR the most impressed with his Steinborn Lift of 75KG. It took all he had, and then afterwards realized it was loaded to 75KG instead of 55KG which he thought it was!

I want to really thank Denny and Judy for hosting the event.  Judy prepared all of us a great breakfast after weigh-ins.  You don’t find that kind of hospitality everywhere, but you DO in the USAWA.

Meet Results:

2017 USAWA Presidential Cup
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA
August 5th, 2017

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Officials (3-Official System Used): Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini

Lifts – Record Day Lifts

Aidan Habecker – 14 years old & 146 pounds BWT
Vertical Bar Lift – 1 Bar, 1″, Right Hand: 57.5 KG
Continental to Chest: 52.5 KG
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 Bars, 2″: 105 KG

Cale Dunlap – 22 years old & 164 pounds BWT
French Press: 55 pounds

Collin Cortez – 29 years old & 217 pounds BWT
Hackenschmidt Floor Press: 157.5 KG
Snatch – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 117 pounds
Bench Press – Hands Together: 271 pounds

Jenn Tibbenham – 33 years old & 219 pounds BWT
Hack Lift – 2″ Bar: 105 KG
Reeves Deadlift: 223 pounds
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 1 Bar, 2″, Left Hand: 72.5 KG

Al Myers – 50 years old & 231 pounds BWT
Bench Press – Hands Together: 105 KG

Barry Pensyl – 69 years old & 151 pounds BWT
Abdominal Raise: 21 KG
Bench Press – Alternate Grip: 127 pounds
Curl – Strict: 27.5 KG

Denny Habecker – 74 years old & 192 pounds BWT
Curl – Cheat, Dumbell, Right Arm: 55 pounds
Steinborn Lift: 75 KG

Art Montini – 89 years old & 163 pounds BWT
Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip, Fulton Bar: 60 KG
Hack Lift – 50 KG
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 70 KG

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