Category Archives: USAWA Daily News


by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell lifting 455 pounds in the Reeves Deadlift for a Dino Gym Record in December of 2009.

Mark Mitchell lifting 455 pounds in the Reeves Deadlift for a Dino Gym Record in December of 2009.

The Reeves Deadlift is the final lift in the USAWA Grip Championships.  This is a lift popularized by famous bodybuilder and actor Steve Reeves.  It takes long arms and a strong finger grip to be good at this lift.  The USAWA Rules for the Reeves Deadlift is as follows:

B15. Deadlift – Reeves

The rules of the Deadlift apply with these exceptions. The lift starts by the lifter gripping one plate on each side of the bar.  The flanges of the plates may be turned outwards to provide a better gripping surface. A regulation bar of legal length must be used.  There are no width specifications of the flanges of the lifting plates. Weight is added to the bar with smaller diameter plates so the lifter always has just one plate per side to grip.

The IAWA(UK) have a similiar lift to the Reeves Deadlift called the Rim Lift.  The Rim Lift is NOT an USAWA official lift, but rather just an IAWA(UK) official lift. As you can see these are two completely different lifts! The IAWA(UK) even has a lift called the Reverse Rim Lift.  The difference being that the gripping plates are reversed with plate flanges facing inwards!!


The lifter will deadlift, hacklift or straddle a loaded barbell whilst holding only the rims of the discs. The maximum sized discs for the is lift are 18 inches. On the inside the discs must be flat and smooth, and on the outside the rim cannot be deeper than 1inch. The lifter must not grasp any handles, holes or specially prepared areas, only the thumbs on the smooth inside and the fingers on the outside rim. Any bar can be used as the distance between the collars is optional. Whatever style of lift the lifter chooses the lift will always be finished in the correct fashion, with an erect posture. On completion the referee will signal to replace the bar.

Causes for Failure:
The causes for failure for the deadlift, hacklift or straddle will apply, depending on the style elected.
Failure to achieve the correct fully erect finishing posture.
Lowering/replacing the bar before the referees signal.

Obviously the Rim Lift is a much easier lift than the Reeves Deadlift.  The use of a narrow bar and being able to straddle lift it would enhance the amount of weight that could be lifted.

The pictures I’ve seen of Steve Reeves performing this lift he always used a regulation bar (which really show-cased his awesome lat spread!).  It has been reported that he did over 400# in this lift.  There have been some excellent Reeves Deadlifts performed in the USAWA in official competition. The “best to date” are as follows:

1.  Mark Mitchell 400 pounds – 2002 Goerner Deadlift
2.  Phil Rosenstern 355 pounds – 2012 Club Challenge
3.  Kevin Fulton 335 pounds – 2001 Goerner Deadlift
4.  Al Myers 335 pounds – 2009 Goerner Deadlift
5.  Joe Burks 325 pounds – 2001 Goerner Deadlift

Deadlift-Fingers, Middle

by Al Myers

The Middle Finger Deadlift has always been part of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen at Clark's Gym.  You can see the pain in my face performing this lift at the 2009 Goerner's.

The Middle Finger Deadlift has always been part of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen at Clark’s Gym. You can see the pain in my face performing this lift at the 2009 Goerner’s.

This lift probably has been in the USAWA Grip Championships more than any other and each time it’s in the meet I’m asked by lifter’s — WHY?  Well, maybe because I just love to watch the pain in your face as you are pulling with all your might using only your middle fingers!  And because the USAWA Grip Champs HAS to have at least one painful lift in it.

The rules for the Middle Fingers Deadlift is as follows:

B7. Deadlift – Fingers, Middle

The rules of the Deadlift apply except only the middle fingers of both hands may be used. The middle fingers of both hands may grip the bar in an alternate manner. The thumb must not be in contact with the lifting fingers.

I have written blogs in the past about the Middle Fingers Deadlift and the famous old time German Strongman Hermann Goerner. I want to share again part of a story I’ve written before.

David Willoughby in his book The Super Athletes listed Goerner as having done a MF deadlift of 140 kilograms (308.5 pounds) around 1925.  I have always considered this the mark to beat to be outstanding in the middle fingers deadlift.  Now, compared to what Hermann has reported in his other finger lifts, this lift of his seems to be a sub-maximal effort.  None the less, it is a very good lift (and is actually believable compared to some of his other claims).   However, this 308.5# middle finger deadlift is not listed in Hermann’s autobiography by Edgar Mueller’s Goerner the Mighty.  I have read this book several times, and I don’t ever remember seeing this lift listed.  Mueller does talk in one chapter about the wide deviations of grips that Hermann uses for his deadlifts, and mentions a middle finger overhand grip  deadlift (of which he lists Goerner as having worked up to 220 pounds), but nothing about using an alternate grip as we allow in the USAWA for the Finger Deadlifts.

I’ve always considered  Goerner’s Middle Finger Deadlift of 308.5 pounds as the mark to be considered outstanding at this lift. Only a handful of USAWA lifter’s have achieved it in USAWA competition and are part of the USAWA “Goerner’s Club”.  This is the short list:

1. Kevin Fulton 400 pounds – 1999 SuperGrip Challenge
2. Ben Edwards  310 pounds – 2011 USAWA Grip Championships
3.  Bill DiCiccio 309 pounds – 1994 IAWA Gold Cup

I’m hoping someone else will join this list at the 2016 USAWA Grip Championships!

Holland Pulling Wheels

by Al Myers

Holland Pulling Wheels

Holland Pulling Wheels

I love deadlifting – and I mean all kinds of deadlifting movements. One way to really “mix up” your training is to do different pulling movements that directly transfer to deadlifting a bar off the floor.  I have over 20 deadlifting movements that I incorporate into my deadlifting training at various times.  Sometimes these are primary exercises of the day – other times they are done to supplement floor deadlifts.

Darren Barnhart getting ready to pull on the Holland Pulling Wheels as they are elevated on blocks.

Darren Barnhart getting ready to pull on the Holland Pulling Wheels as they are elevated on blocks.

I’ve always enjoyed high bar deadlifts.  These are excellent supplemental exercises to a deadlift training day as the range of movement is less and you can overload your pulls. I’ve often pulled deadlifts off blocks in the past, which I like much more than pulling in the rack off a pin.  Lately I’ve been using the Holland Pulling Wheels and like them better than blocks. These are over-sized 24″ in diameter steel wheels which place the bar at 12″. One thing you will notice right away is how easy it is to add plates as the added plates are off the floor!  No need for a deadlift jack here! Another feature I really like about them is that there are cut out sections which provide a perfect place to grab and move them which makes them very easy to load on a bar.

These Holland Pulling Wheels are very well made – consisting of 1/2″ steel plate. There is no rim on them to bend. The only issue with this is that they can damage the floor, so I throw a rubber mat under each wheel to protect the floor.  This works well as I can add more mats if I want to increase the height of the bar. These wheels have a center bushing which makes them very stable on a bar.

Holland Strength and Fitness has a very good price on these Holland Pulling Wheels (some bumpers cost more per pound!).

Check them out at:

Deadlift-Dumbbell, One Arm

by Al Myers

John McKean performing a One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Boston.

John McKean performing a One Arm Dumbbell Deadlift at the 2010 IAWA Gold Cup in Boston.

The third lift contested at the 2016 USAWA Grip Championships will be the Deadlift – Dumbbell, One Arm.  The name of this lift is pretty explanatory – it’s a deadlift using a dumbbell with the use of only one arm.  The choice of arm to use is up to you so pick the one you’re strongest with.  And remember you must stay with the arm you start with throughout all attempts.  I was once at at meet where a lifter tried to switch arms on his last attempt, and when told he couldn’t do that replied, “I was saving me strong arm for the hard lift!”.

The rules of the Deadlift – One Arm with barbell are followed by this lift.

E12. Deadlift – Dumbbell, One Arm

The rules of the Bar Deadlift – One arm apply except one dumbbell is used. The dumbbell may be placed to the side of the lifter or the lifter may straddle the dumbbell. The dumbbell may touch the lifter’s legs during and at the completion of the lift as long as the dumbbell is not supported by the body. If the dumbbell is loadable, the plates used may have a maximum diameter of 18 inches.

At the Grip Champs we will use a loadable dumbbell so we can add larger diameter plates.  The dumbbell handle will be a USAWA regulation handle.  For those unfamiliar with the rules of the One Arm Deadlift with bar, the main things to remember is to finish with straight legs, non-lifting hand removed from the body at finish, and center line of bar higher than the knees.  You do not need to be standing upright upon completion.  Once the lifter and implement is motionless, a down command will be given by the head official.

1 2 3 4 290