Spec Equipment – 3″ Bar

By Al Myers

3" Bar

3″ Bar

Now here’s a very special piece of Spec Equipment for the USAWA  – the 3″ Bar.  Only ONE OFFICIAL USAWA lift utilizes the 3″ Bar, and that is the Deadlift with the 3″ Bar.  A 2″ bar is very common now in gyms, but I doubt if many training facilities have the 3″ Bar.  The USAWA rules for the 3″ bar are pretty simple: contain no knurling, have no revolving sleeves, and be 3″ in diameter.

The 3″ Bar Deadlift has been done only a few times in the USAWA. The first USAWA competition it was held in was the 2001 SuperGrip Challenge, hosted by Kevin Fulton.  At that meet Matt Graham hoisted up 600 pounds, which still stands as the ALL TIME USAWA record.  A picture of Kevin Fulton performing the 3″ Bar Deadlift graces our Rulebook in the rule for this lift which was done at that competition. It’s also been done at the 2011 and 2017 USAWA Grip Championships at the Dino Gym, plus a couple of record days at Clark’s Gym.  So that leaves 3 gyms that I know of that have a 3″ bar.  If any other USAWA gyms have one please let me know on the USAWA Discussion Forum.

The 3″ Bar has been added to the USAWA Online Store, under “USAWA Spec Equipment”.  I would say this would be an excellent addition to any USAWA Club!

Scott Lift

By Al Myers

Chad Ullom performing the top Scott Lift of All Time in the USAWA, at the 2010 Dino Gym Record Day.

Chad Ullom performing the top Scott Lift of All Time in the USAWA, at the 2010 Dino Gym Record Day.

I have tried at one time every lift in the USAWA Rulebook.  Now – I’m not saying I’ve been capable of actually performing every USAWA lift, but I’ve tried them.  Many I’ve done USAWA records in at meets or record days thus the reason I have USAWA Records in over 150 different USAWA Official Lifts, more than any other USAWA lifter. Early on a goal of mine was to learn and try all of the USAWA Official Lifts.

One lift I wanted to do at this past years Presidential Cup was the Scott Lift.  However, my back at the time was not cooperating thus I had to pick another lift.  I have written many blogs on this website covering different lifts, but the Scott Lift is one that has NEVER been written about.  Let’s review the rules for it:

D26. Scott Lift

The rules of the Zercher Lift apply with these exceptions. The lifter starts the lift on the knees with the bar placed in the crooks of the elbows. The lifter may roll the bar on the platform in order to gain momentum to start the lift.  With the bar fixed at the elbows, the lifter will then stand fully erect while keeping the bar in place. During the rise from the knees, the feet are allowed to move and the bar may be lowered, but the bar or plates must not touch the knees or the platform. Once on the feet, feet placement is optional, but the feet must not move. However, the heels and toes may rise.

All of our USAWA lifts have some sort of history associatied with them, and I’m sure people got to wonder about the history of the Scott Lift.  How and why did it get presented?  I know very few USAWA members have been around long enough to remember the origins of the Scott Lift.  And why was it named the Scott Lift?  Well, it has nothing to do with USAWA Hall of Famer Scott Schmidt, past USAWA lifter Charlie Scott, or even the great bodybuilding legend Larry Scott.  Strangely, it has nothing to do with anyone who ever lifted a barbell.

I’ll try to tell the story the best I can remember it.  In 1996 our past president Howard Prechtel witnessed a young nurse in a care facility pick up a patient from a lying position on the floor and placed the patient onto a bed.  She got down on her knees, placed her arms under the patient much like we do when holding a Zercher Lift, proceeded to stand up onto her knees with the patient in her arms, at which point she got one foot under her and then the over and stood up placing the patient on the bed.  Howard was inspired by this act of  lifting as she lifted from the floor more weight than her own bodyweight to a standing postion! It just so happens that this young female nurse had the last name of Scott.

Howard presented the Scott Lift to the USAWA in 1997 and it was passed as a USAWA Lift.  It was also presented at the IAWA meeting that same year but failed, and never was submitted to IAWA again.

The Scott Lift has been rarely contested in the USAWA. Only once has it been in a competition (the 1998 Louis Cyr Challenge at Clark’s Gym), plus done a few times at Record Days. Only 3 lifters have ever exceeded their bodyweight in the Scott Lift – Abe Smith (250 lbs), Chad Ullom (254 lbs), and myself (254 lbs).

I find myself doing this movement at work several times a week picking up anesthetized dogs to carry and place onto the surgery table. It is by far the safest way to pick up a recumbent patient. So that young nurse knew what she was doing!  The next time you want to try a different USAWA Lift – give a go at the Scott Lift and see if you can lift more than your own bodyweight so you can match the efforts of that young nurse who never lifted weights.

New Proposed Lifts

By Al Myers

Recently in the USAWA Discussion Forum there’s been talk of new lifts.  That’s what inspired me to write the blog the other day on the rules involving new lift approval. We have rules into place that make sure any new lift in the USAWA is considered a “good lift”, with proper written rules in place BEFORE it is proposed.  Which has not been the policy in the old days – thus why there are so many strange official rules and lifts in our Rulebook.

I’m in the mood to do a little rambling today about my opinion on all this. Of course, these are just my opinions and may not represent the viewpoints of others on the Executive Board.  The USAWA has MANY more official lifts than the IAWA(UK). What’s considered official IAWA lifts is generally what is in the IAWA(UK) Rulebook. I tend to agree with this, because unlike the USAWA, the IAWA(UK) only considers “new lifts” as those passed at the AGM of the IAWA while the USAWA proposes and accepts new lifts at our USAWA meeting which only represents the USAWA.  The IAWA(UK) does not accept new lifts at their IAWA(UK) annual meeting.  The ARWLWA primarly uses the IAWA(UK) Rulebook as their official rulebook, but does use the USAWA Rulebook for the OTSM lifts.  So to sum it up, the USAWA has official lifts that the IAWA(UK) does not.

What do I consider in voting on a new proposed lift?  Simply put I look at THREE THINGS before casting my vote.

1. Is it a new, novel lift?

What’s the point of passing a new lift that is just a knockoff of a lift we already have.  Here’s an example of a lift I wouldn’t be in favor of – say – the heels together Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  We already have the Ciavattone Grip Deadlift, and we already have the heels together deadlift.  I just don’t see the point of combining these. After all, anytime a Ciavattone Grip is used it comes down to grip strength anyways. I don’t have a problem with a “one deviation” difference from a traditional lift, but after that it just becomes confusing and redundant.  I won’t even get started venting about the Lano Lift.  That’s a story in itself how that lift got passed!

2. Does it represent an old time All Round Weightlifting movement or lift?

Our mission statement has always stated that the USAWA “strives to preserve the history of the original forms of weightlifting”.  I hope we never forget this, as I feel that is the purpose of our organization.  If you’re interested in the “new age” strength lifts, go compete in cross fit. That’s not what we are about.

3. Is it a lift that can be performed properly by the majority of our members?

We already have enough “trick lifts” and “pet lifts” in our Rulebook. We don’t need more.  I understand that the USAWA gives opportunity to express hidden strengths in obscure lifts, but enough is enough.  I understand why the Van Dam Lift got approved (it was for a personal publicity stunt which we agreed to participate in, hoping it would give us some exposure), but come on, that’s a ridiculous lift to have in our Rulebook.  I can think of over  50 new lifts that we could have that would be better than that one! I feel any new USAWA official lift should be one that at least over 50 percent of lifters can perform.

On the IAWA front the USAWA has always been very open to new lifts, more so than the rest of the IAWA crowd.  I could state my reasons why I think that is so – but won’t publically as I know I would offend some people.  I do know some think we have enough All Round lifts in “the books” now, but if a new lift is proposed that is good I am all for it.  Maybe we should get rid of some official USAWA lifts? Again that is a story for another day!


Spec Equipment – 2″ VB

By Al Myers

Official USAWA 2" Vertical Bar

Official USAWA 2″ Vertical Bar

I’ve made an addition to the USAWA Online Store today.  In addition to the USAWA Merchandise section I’ve added a USAWA Spec Equipment section. This section will contain equipment specially needed for the various odd USAWA lifts that require special equipment.  I’ve found often the limitation of people being able to perform several of the USAWA lifts is that they don’t have the special equipment to do them! All of the equipment that will be listed conforms to the rules and standards set forth in the USAWA Rulebook.

Also, all of the equipment listed has been donated to the USAWA so the proceeds from this will be 100 percent PROFIT to the USAWA!

The first USAWA Spec Equipment item has been listed, and it is the 2″ Vertical Bar.  For those of you that have used the 2″ VB in the Dino Gym, these are identical.  With time, more USAWA Spec Equipment items will be added to the USAWA Online Store.

Lurich Lift Passes EB

By Al Myers

It’s always exciting to see new lifts make their way into our USAWA Rulebook!  Today a new proposed USAWA lift, the Lurich Lift, passed by majority vote of the USAWA Executive Board so it will be on the agenda at our National Meeting for membership vote. However, this is just one step in becoming a new official USAWA Lift. Today I’m going to go over exactly how new USAWA lifts are approved.  The days of before, where a lifter could just shout out a new lift at the National Meeting with no idea of what rules are needed to be in place and no in depth review of the technical aspects of the lift, are a thing of the past.  Many of our USAWA lifts in the past were put into the rulebook with that flim-flam method. I’m glad we have advanced past that and actually now put a thought process into approving new lifts .

Things are very laid out in the USAWA Rulebook how a new proposed lift becomes an official USAWA lift in the very first section:

  1. Rules of Lift Approval
  1. The USAWA recognizes the various lifts not currently governed by other international weightlifting or powerlifting organizations. This includes the Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Squat, Bench Press, and the Deadlift.
  2. New USAWA lifts may be added to the current list of approved lifts by submitting a description of the lift and rules of the lift to the executive board for review 30 days prior to the Annual National Meeting. The executive board may ask for more description or added content to the submitted written rule before a vote is taken. Upon the board’s approval by majority vote, the submitted lift will be presented to the membership at the annual meeting and voted on by the membership. The lift must receive majority vote by the membership present to be approved. No amendments or changes to the submitted lift may be made at the Annual National Meeting. If the lift fails membership vote, it may be resubmitted at future meetings following this same protocol.
  3. New approved USAWA lifts or any other approved lift of the USAWA may be presented to the IAWA for IAWA approval if membership deems so by majority vote. At the Annual National Meeting a call to the membership by the President will be made to initiate this process. Only lifts following this protocol will be presented to the IAWA for IAWA approval. A USAWA representative of the IAWA Technical Committee will be the person responsible for presenting lifts to the IAWA.

The USAWA rules of lift approval ensures that all new proposed lifts have been properly reviewed before becoming official lifts. The Executive Board encourages new proposed lifts to be “tried out” as exhibition lifts before proposal.  The Lurich Lift was tested at the USAWA Old Time Strongman Championships as an exhibition lift after the meet to get lifter feedback.  All that tried it thought it would make a great new USAWA Lift!

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