History of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen

by Dale Friesz

Dale Friesz, who holds the unofficial title as Historian of the USAWA, provided me with this chart of the past winners of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen. It not only includes the winners each year, but also the winner’s total and adjusted point totals. As you can see from this chart, Dale has the distinction of being the winner in the very first Goerner Meet. The lifts contested in the Goerner Deadlift Dozen are as follows:

Deadlift – Heels Together
Hack Lift
Jefferson Lift
2 Bar Deadlift
Right Hand Deadlift
Left Hand Deadlift
Right Hand Deadlift – Thumbless
Left Hand Deadlift – Thumbless
Index Fingers Deadlift
Middle Fingers Deadlift
Ring Fingers Deadlift
Little Fingers Deadlift
Reeves Deadlift


YEAR LIFTER AGE BWT TOTAL POINTS
1995 Dale Friesz, Virginia
53 183 2800 3028.09
1996 Rex Monahan, Colorado
72 186 2742.5 3396.58
1997 Rex Monahan, Colorado
73 198.25 2685 3229.48
1998 Rex Monahan, Colorado
74 197.25 2615 3176.52
1999 Kevin Fulton, Nebraska
39 260.5 4195 3257.42
2000 Kevin Fulton, Nebraska
40 260 4200 3301.12
2001 Seth Holcomb, Nebraska
16 192 3340 3359.51
2002 Al Myers, Kansas
36 272 4020 3058.42
2003 Bill Clark, Missouri
71 237 2765 2996.41
2004 Mike McBride, Missouri
27 225 4025 3372.15
2005 Mike McBride, Missouri
28 229 2755 2231.83
2006 Al Myers, Kansas
40 251 4020 3214.90
2007 Cancelled Due to Ice
2008 Al Myers, Kansas
42 248 4325 3547.00


POINTS – formula adjusted for age and bodyweight

Discussion of the Age Adjustment

by Al Myers

At the recent USAWA National Meeting, a topic was brought up that created a lot of discussion. It was not brought up by anyone as a motion, only as a point of discussion. No official action was taken and no vote was taken by the membership. It involved the IAWA study into the age allowance, or as what the USAWA refers to – the age adjustment. Last year at the IAWA Meeting, this topic was brought up and a committee was formed to investigate it. The committee has done a study of three lifts and the decrease in performance of these three lifts with age. The summary of this can be viewed here – Study of Age Percentage Allowance. As of now, IAWA uses the same age adjustment percentages as the USAWA which is one percent per year starting at 40 years of age.

IAWA(UK) uses a somewhat different age correction where a lifter gains one percent per year starting at 36 years of age, until the age of 66 years where it increase to 2 percent. This 2 percent is only for the years of age over 66, not all the years. So you can see, the IAWA(UK) system favors older lifters slightly more than the USAWA system.

The big question is – What is fair? The majority amongst those present at the USAWA Meeting involved in the discussion felt that the current system is fine as it is – but that only applies to the USAWA. What is decided at the IAWA Meeting may be completely different as lifters from other countries will be involved in the discussion, and the vote on it if there is one.

Bill Clark made these comments in the last Strength Journal stating his viewpoint on this, “As a 77 year old, I get 38 percent and can come close to winning if I have a good day. I don’t expect to beat anyone simply by raising the percentage. For all purposes, we weren’t meant to beat up on a strong 30 year old by a formula. I’m very happy with my 38 percent and often feel guilty taking it. There’s no way I deserve 54 percent at age 77. Next thing, I’ll be taking steroids to enhance my 54 percent. Come on, get serious.”

If anyone wants their viewpoints on this stated, please send them to me and I will make them known. I will also try to obtain the graphs of this study so you can evaluate them yourself.

NEWS FROM THE DINO GYM

by Al Myers

This past weekend, the Dino Gym promoted two competitions on Saturday, July 18th. The first was a Bench Press/Deadlift Competition sanctioned through the organization 100% Raw Powerlifting. The second was the Central Plains Highlander sanctioned through the North American Highlander Association. NAHA is a new organization promoted by D.J. Satterfield, that provides competitions that are a combination of Highland Games and Strongman. This sport requires the athleticism of Highland Game athletes along with the strength of Strongman to be successful at it. The Dino Gym is promoting the first NAHA Nationals at the Dino Gym on September 19th, 2009. 100% Raw Powerlifting is an organization that limits the use of lifting gear (allows belts only!) and the meets are drug-tested. Both of these are good fits for the Dino Gym!!!! Even though the turnout was small and most of the competitors were gym members, the quality in these two competitions was outstanding!!!

Rex Monahan

by Al Myers

Rex Monahan, in 2003, training his favorite lift - the one handed Deadlift - in preparation for the World Championships.

We have a WINNER to the quiz of the week – Joe Garcia of Sturgeon, Missouri, correctly identified the oldest lifter to ever win the Goerner Deadlift Dozen as the late Rex Monahan of Sterling, Colorado. Rex won the Goerner Deadlift Dozen in 1996, 1997, and 1998. In his last victory he was 74 years old. Rex died January 19th, 2009 – 6 weeks after this past year’s Goerner Meet – and one in which he had hoped to compete in. He had made plans to ride with me to the meet, and even said it would probably be his last meet. I was disappointed when his declining health prevented this from happening. Rex was a Deadlifting specialist – having Deadlifted with heels together a best of 325#, a Hack Lift of 369#, and a Jefferson Lift of 375#. All these lifts were done over 70 years of age and under 200 pounds bodyweight. His best lift was the one handed Deadlift – where he pulled 353 pounds when he was over 75 years old!!!! That record may last as long as Hermann Goerner’s One Handed Deadlift record!!! Rex was also outstanding in the Finger Deadlifts. He has done 150 pounds on the Little Fingers Deadlift!! Rex was a great supporter of the USAWA, and went to every National and World event he could and won many championships. He has over 100 USAWA records. He was inducted into the USAWA Hall of Fame in 2002. As a special tribute to Rex, the Overall Best Lifter Award at this past year’s National Championships was named the Monahan Award.

Middle Fingers Deadlift Showdown

by Al Myers

Chuck Cookson pulling 340# in the Middle Fingers Deadlift.

More on the finger strength of Hermann Goerner…

Hermann Goerner trained the deadlift in many different ways. Pulling was always a part of his workouts – but he never really trained to have a maximum deadlift. He considered the variations of the deadlift to be more “showing” and useful in his strongman performances. He did one arm deadlifts in many different ways – thumbless grip, normal grip with no hook, grip with a hook, bent arm style, etc. He also did two hand deadlifts with different variations – such as an overhand grip with no hook, bent arm style, 2 bar deadlifts, finger deadlifts, etc.

This brings me to the topic of the day – The Middle Fingers Deadlift. Of all the Finger Deadlifts, the Middle Finger is the one where the most weight can be lifted. The rules of the Middle Fingers Deadlift are simple – you grip the bar with the middle fingers only (No other fingers may touch the middle finger when it is gripping the bar) and you do a deadlift. It is allowable to use an alternate grip on the bar.

Sam Cox topped Chuck's lift, with a lift of his own of 345 pounds.

Hermann Goerner claimed a best in the Middle Fingers Deadlift of 308 pounds set in the 1920’s. Compared with his other finger lifts, I don’t feel this “best” was anywhere near what he was capable of doing. The other day in the gym we had a Middle Fingers Deadlift impromptu competition – just to see what could be done. None of the guys participating in this are in training for finger lifting competition – and several of them had never even done a Finger Deadlift before. I was very surprised how well a couple of them did.

What is the best Middle Fingers Deadlift of All-Time???

I did some research of past USAWA record lists, and a brief internet search, and this is what I have found. I do not present this as an official list of the best Middle Fingers Deadlifts, as I am sure there are Middle Fingers Deadlift marks that I am not aware of. Also, some of these marks may have been judged by different standards. Some were in competitions and some just witnessed.

(Only lifts above Goerner’s Middle Fingers Deadlift of 308 pounds need apply)

Top List for the Middle Fingers Deadlift (that I am aware of)

1. 411 pounds by John McLoughlin.  Done at the German-American Athletic
Club in New York City in 1954.
2. 403 Pounds by David Horne.
3. 400 Pounds by Kevin Fulton.  Done at the 1994 Super Grip Challenge.
4. 345 Pounds by Sam Cox.  Done at the Dino Gym in Abilene, Kansas
in 2009.
5. 340 Pounds by Chuck Cookson.  Done at the Dino Gym in Abilene, Kansas
in 2009.
6. 330 Pounds by Steve Sherwood.  Done at the 1992 British Grip
Championships.
330 Pounds by Steve Gardner.
330 Pounds by John Gardner.
9. 309 Pounds by Bill DiCioccio.  Done at the 1994 Gold Cup.

If anyone knows of other lifters who have exceeded Goerner’s Middle Fingers Deadlift of 308 pounds, please let me know and I will gladly give them credit and put them on the list. Or do it yourself – and beat a “Best” of Hermann Goerner.

Other Middle Fingers Deadlifts that should be mentioned:

230 Pounds by Mary McConnaughey. Done at the 2005 Goerner Deadlift Dozen. This is probably the top women’s mark of all time.

237 Pounds by Roy Mason. This is probably the best Middle Fingers Deadlift for a lifter over 75 years of age. Roy weighed only 150 pounds when he lifted this.

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