Category Archives: USAWA Daily News

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.

The JWC Perspective on Team Nationals

by Thom Van Vleck

John O'Brien (of the JWC) loading the last stone at the NAHA Nationals to secure his first place finish!!

John O’Brien and I have trained together for about 6 years now. John is one of my partners on our Strongman Evangelism team and since we are similar height and strength, we figured this would be a good event for us.

Believe it or not, I last competed in an “odd lift” meet nearly 30 years ago. I have helped with USAWA meets and even helped coach John in his USAWA efforts over the years, but I was so focused on my Highland Games career I just hadn’t had the right time to do a meet. Well, having just finished the NAHA Highlander meet the previous day, I had no excuses so John and I joined in. I soon realized what I was missing out on!

Team lifting puts a premium on team work. You have to match your partner’s efforts while applying your own maximum effort into the lift. Timing is everything. A lesson learned on the first lift of the day, the Two man one arm Snatch. John and I can both power snatch around 225lbs…..but it ‘s a whole new ball game when you have to do it together. We managed 215lbs. On the other lifts, the Straddle or Jefferson Lift, the thick bar Ciavattone grip deadlift, and the Bench Press Feet in Air did not require split second timing, but still you had to lock out together.

I don’t think at any point John and I felt we were a threat to Chad and Al…..they had been training for this event while John and I had not. We just might have to put some more effort into it for next year and see if we can catch Al and Chad napping. We did manage to beat them on one lift, the BP with Feet in Air with our age handicap, but to be honest, their last attempt looked easier than ours.

It is a lot of fun to walk up to a bar loaded to 850lbs and think that you are going to lift it. Even if it’s a two man lift, seeing all those plates rise up is a real adrenaline rush. I know we were too tentative on this lift and next year I see 1000lb as a real possibility.

I think the best part of All around lifting is the fun of trying new things and having so many ways you can set a record. You get sore in ways that regular training will never make you sore. You also learn how to “lift on the fly”. What I mean by that is that many guys train a limited number of lifts and their strength gets very specific. In other words, a powerlifter will get very strong on the Bench, Dead, and Squat, but they ever find themselves in need of tapping into that strength outside their usual training range of motion, they’ll find themselves coming up short. All around does just that, it trains you to be all around strong.

At any rate, it was a blast. I look forward to the Dino Gym/JWC rematch next year. I plan on bringing more than one team of lifters to take out the Dino Gym crew once and for all! Anybody going to stop us! It was great fun, how lifting should be.

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

GROUP PICTURE

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

Team Nationals

Team Nationals – The Dino Gym versus The JWC

by Al Myers

Front row (left to right) - Al Myers and Chad Ullom Back row (left to right) - John O'Brien and Thom Van Vleck

The Dino Gym and the JWC squared off against each other as the only two entries in this year’s USAWA Team Nationals. The Dino Gym Team consisted on Chad Ullom and myself,  while the JWC Team consisted of Thom Van Vleck and John O’Brien.  Team Dino Gym took the early lead and held on for the Overall Win – but there were no losers in this event as both teams were in different weight classes and divisions.  Several difficult lifts were contested this year that required the teams to work well in unison. The meet started out with the Team One Arm Snatch.  Performing an One Arm Snatch by yourself is difficult enough – but it is twice as hard when doing it as a Team.  Both lifter’s lockouts have to be in perfect synch with one another – or the weight will shift to the lifter with the slower lockout and make it impossible for that lifter to finish the lift. The next lift was the Team Deadlift with the Fulton Bar, done with a Ciavattone Grip.  Again, both lifters need to pull with the same speed and style because if the bar doesn’t come up even, the weight shifts to the lifter on the low side and you will lose your grip. The Team Bench Press – Feet in Air had to be the most difficult (and unnerving) lift in the entire competition.  Balance was a big factor in this lift, and not only did it require total confidence in your team partner but the other team as well. After all, we had to spot each other!!!  Both Teams could have done more in this lift.  The meet ended with the Team Jefferson Lift.  The Team Jefferson Lift is much easier together than you would originally think. By positioning your feet “opposite of each other”, the bar comes straight up and doesn’t want to twist.  Several new USAWA Team Records were set today and much fun was had by all in this “friendly” competition.  In fact, Thom and John wanted a rematch – and Chad and I accepted. So there will be more to come involving the Dino Gym versus the JWC.

FULL MEET RESULTS:

Team Nationals
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
September 20th, 2009

Meet Director:  Al Myers

Lifts:  Team Snatch – One Arm
Team Bench Press – Feet in Air
Team Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip
Team Jefferson Lift

Officials (3 official system used):  Scott Tully, Al Myers, Chad Ullom, Thom Van Vleck, John O’Brien

Scorekeeper:  Scott Tully

Dino Gym Team:
Al Myers –  43 years old, 255 pounds BWT
Chad Ullom – 37 years old, 232 pounds BWT
OPEN DIVISION & 120 KG WEIGHT CLASS

JWC Team:
Thom Van Vleck – 45 years old, 293 pounds BWT
John O’Brien – 40 years old, 280.5 pounds BWT
MASTERS 40-44 AGE GROUP DIVISION  & 125 KG PLUS WEIGHT CLASS

Results:

Team Snatch Deadlift Bench Press
Jefferson Total
Points
Dino Gym
235 606 575 1000 2416 1897.8
JWC
215 518 575 850 2158 1600.0


All lifts recorded in pounds.  Points are bodyweight and age adjusted.


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