Bob Burtzloff – The USAWA’s BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk
by Al Myers
As I promised last week on the USAWA Discussion Forum, I am featuring a story today on Bob Burtzloff from Liberal, Kansas. As some of you know, Bob is my brother-in-law and one of the pioneers of All-Round Weightlifting. He was competing in All-Round Weightlifting (or Odd Lifting as it was known then) before the USAWA was even an organization. Lifters like Bob are the reason we have an organization today. If it wasn’t for lifters competing in this sport before it organized – there may not have been an USAWA!! The USAWA started in 1987, but Bill Clark was hosting Odd Lift Meets long before this.
But back to today’s story on Bob Burtzloff. Bob was a true all-rounder – excelling at several different types of lifts. However, one of his favorite lifts was the One Arm Clean and Jerk. Bob was a very accomplished Olympic Lifter in the state of Kansas. He won several State Championships in Olympic Lifting so it was only natural for him to be great in the One Arm Clean and Jerk. His best official One Arm Clean and Jerk was 253 pounds, but I know he had done up to 275 pounds in training. Most guys can’t do this much in the Two Handed Clean and Jerk!!
There are two very different and distinct techniques for doing an One Arm Clean and Jerk – and Bob was the master of both. The most common technique is to side clean the bar prior to the Jerk. The other technique is to One Arm Clean the bar in front, much like a regular Clean. This is very difficult to do as the rules state, “In receiving the bar at the shoulder, the bar must not make contact or rest on the shoulder or chest opposite to the lifting arm. The center of the sternum is the line of lineation.” Very few have the ability to do this while maintaining control of the bar. Bob also had a “stunt” he would do in the One Arm Clean and Jerk. He would first side clean the bar with his right arm, Jerk it overhead, lower it back to the shoulder, and then TOSS THE BAR over his head and catch it in his left hand dead center. At that point he would Jerk it overhead with his left arm before returning the bar to the platform. And I’m not talking about him using light weight on this – in 1988 at the IAWA World Championships in England Bob did this with 220 pounds!! Everyone in attendance was shocked and in disbelief!! I have witnessed Bob doing this several times in the past and can attest that it is just one of those things you have to see to truly believe.
Bob retired from All-Round Weightlifting by 1990, but he has made a few appearances at All-Round Meets since. In 2004, Bob competed in my Dino Gym Challenge and did a 175 pound One Arm Clean and Jerk which is the All-Time BEST in the USAWA Record List. Bob was the BEST before the USAWA and is STILL the BEST in the One Arm Clean and Jerk!!!
1. 175 Pounds Bob Burtzloff
2. 165 Pounds Matt Doster
3. 160 Pounds Barry Bryan
4. 160 Pounds Joe McCoy
5. 154 Pounds Al Myers
6. 154 Pounds Bill Spayd
7. 154 Pounds Don Verterosa
8. 145 Pounds Mike McBride
9. 138 Pounds Dennis Stahnke
10. 132 Pounds Bob Karhan
10. 132 Pounds Ed Schock
Special Bonus – YouTube Video of Bob Burtzloff doing a One Arm Clean and Jerk from an Odd Lifting meet in 1986. It appears the weight on the bar is over 200 pounds.