Fulton Bar Debate Continued
by Al Myers
I said I had more to say on this subject – so here it is. As most know, the USAWA has different names than the IAWA(UK) for several of the same All Round Lifts. There are also MANY rule differences between the USAWA Rulebook and the IAWA(UK) Rulebook. The Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip is just one of many, with the main difference being the IAWA(UK) allows the Fulton Bar to be hooked gripped whereas the USAWA does not. This does not apply to most lifters, but for those few that have big hands and long fingers it makes a HUGE difference.
Before the 2009 USAWA Rulebook, some USAWA lifts had different names as well (which most still didn’t match the IAWA-UK names). However, several lifts were renamed to give a more clear naming that properly described the lift being done. I think this was a good thing. It was at this time the Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip become an official USAWA lift for the first time even though it had been contested several times in competition before this.
I’m sure there are those that ask, “Why was this rule written this way, requiring a Ciavattone Grip?”. Especially in the light that the IAWA(UK) already had a lift in their Rulebook with a comparable lift. I am going to explain that, as I was a big part of this “updated USAWA Rulebook”. The most important thing in establishing rules for any lift is this question – WHAT WAS THE INTENT OF THE LIFT? The Deadlift – Ciavattone Grip (which the IAWA-UK calls the Two Hands Ciavattone Deadlift) was originally called the Two Hands Ciavattone Lift in the USAWA Rulebook. This lift was introduced to the All Rounds by Frank Ciavattone, and it’s intent was to test the lifter in a overhand grip deadlift, without the use of a hook. For most lifters, the limitation is the grip since a hook grip can not be used. I know for myself that it amounts to close to 200 pounds difference in comparison to a overhand deadlift which I’m allowed to hook. The lift Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip is an extension of that lift, with the difference being a Fulton Bar is substituted for a regular bar. This change makes it even more of a grip lift, which is the INTENT of the lift. It’s meant to be a grip lift. I would argue that by allowing a hook grip this intent is taken away. Most grip competitions that use a 2″ bar for overhand deadlifting DO NOT allow a hook grip to be used for that EXACT REASON (like the recent Visegrip Viking Grip Competition at the LA Fit Expo where Mike Burke lifted an unbelievable 235 kilograms!).
It is obvious to me that there was no clear communication between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK) on this lift when the rules were written. I say this because the ORIGINAL RULE for the USAWA Two Hand Fulton Deadlift was for a lift that allowed an alternate grip on a Fulton Bar under the rules of a deadlift (so hooking is allowed). The IAWA(UK)’s original rule for the exact same name, Two Hands Fulton Deadlift, was an entirely different lift requiring an overhand grip! That’s a major difference, and one in which I think the IAWA(UK) got wrong. Back to intent, the original Fulton Deadlift was intended to be done with an alternate grip on a Fulton Bar. This is supported by the original rule in the USAWA Rulebook (along with the picture of Kevin Fulton originally performing it this way!).
Back to lift names, I will say the USAWA Rulebook definitely has clearer and more descriptive names than the IAWA(UK) Rulebook. Anyone who reads the name Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip knows EXACTLY what is expected out of the lift by the name alone. You really don’t even need to read the rules for it. However, the IAWA(UK) name of Two Hands Fulton Deadlift can be misleading. You MUST read the rule to fully understand what is expected out of the lift, and even then, it DOES NOT state whether a hook grip is allowed or not. You just have to “assume” a hook is allowed, because it doesn’t say you can’t. Assumptions have no place in a rulebook. Rules should be clear and precise, and after reading a rule one should know EXACTLY what is allowed. This also applies to the naming of the deadlift with a Fulton Bar allowing an alternate grip. The USAWA has this lift named Deadlift – Fulton Bar. That name is very clear – rules of the deadlift using a Fulton Bar. The IAWA(UK) calls this lift Two Hands Deadlift – 2 Inch Bar, which is clear in name description, but leads to confusion as to why it is different than the other lift, the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift? I remember this happening several years ago in the IAWA World Postal Meet hosted by the Australians. One of the lifts contested was listed this way – Fulton Dead Lift with Smooth Bar. Well, when the results were turned in a couple of Americans performed the lift using an alternate grip instead of an overhand grip as intended. Innocent mistake if you ask me considering the ambiguous naming of the lift. These kind of things would NOT happen if all lifts had more descriptive names given to them.
I’m sure some of you are thinking that all this is just nonsense – and we should “just lift” and not worry about things. But I want to see things improve to a point where we don’t have the problems associated with this kind of confusion between the USAWA and the IAWA(UK). Which brings me to my next task of the day – of contacting World Record Registrar Chris Bass and telling him that the my listed IAWA WORLD RECORD in the Two Hands Fulton Deadlift of 215.5 kilograms was actually done with an alternate grip!!! Point made.