Tag Archives: Art Montini

Lifter of the Month – Art Montini

by Al Myers

Art Montini recieved a birthday cake in Scotland to recognize his 88th birthday.  The cake was presented to him by Judy Habecker, Janet Dick, and Karen Gardner.

Art Montini recieved a birthday cake in Scotland to recognize his 88th birthday. The cake was presented to him by Judy Habecker, Janet Dick, and Karen Gardner.

The USAWA Lifter of the Month for October is ART MONTINI! Art was an obvious choice as he had a busy month of lifting in the USAWA for October.   Art won another IAWA World Championship in Glasgow, Scotland to start the month of, followed by hosting his annual Birthday Bash the next weekend in which he set several new USAWA records!  I should mention that Art turned 88 when he was competing in Scotland.  He was the oldest competitor in the meet.  I had the priviledge of traveling and rooming with Art in Scotland, and he does not act act 88. When we we arrived in Glasgow we made a trip to Stirling to visit the Wallace Monument (a place I’ve been to several times and always enjoy), and even after a long “red eye” flight the night before, Art made the trek to the top with Chad and me.   Art is a true inspiration to everyone in the USAWA and the IAWA!

Round Up Training

By John McKean

John Grimek performing a one arm overhead lift at the old York Barbell Club.

John Grimek performing an one arm overhead lift at the old York Barbell Club.

Surprisingly, the fabled super human did not squash me like a bug, spit in my direction, or merely ignore an insignificant little nobody like me! At the time I was a wide eyed college student witnessing the parade of Iron Game icons who were milling about at one of the famous York Barbell Club picnics at Hoffman’s wooded Brookside Park. Brushing my right shoulder, John Grimek and his wife casually strolled by, causing an instant,massive lump to clog my throat! Best I could think to do was croak out a meek “Hi, John!” The mighty Grimek, huge arms in full display in a cut sleeve t-shirt, merely extended his hand in warm greeting and genuinely replied ” Hey, great to see you! How’s your training coming along?” Then he started gabbing  as if we’d been long time buddies and avid training partners! Naturally a crowd quickly built around our discussion, amid other queries from the group, when it occurred to me to ask about a point made in a recent issue of John’s MD magazine.

Questioning him about a very interesting, unique arm building article (written by Mr Universe, Tom Sansone), where the major premise was always to keep training time short by constantly CHANGING bi/tri exercises every workout, I was wondering if John himself shared that author’s conviction.” Oh,yes, ABSOLUTELY” emphasized John, “especially if you desire to greatly increase STRENGTH as well!” That statement shocked and puzzled me, as I’d assumed that one had to labor through a movement for quite a while in order to reach decent poundage. Only much later in life did I come to realize that this all-knowing lifting guru had provided the quintessential KEY to much of his  own fabled super strength, and gave a glimpse  to the brilliance he acquired from instinctual power work during his youth.

Of course, VARIETY is also the essence of ALL-ROUND competition ,which I’ve been involved with exclusively for the past 3 decades.( In fact, John Grimek was our first inductee to the USAWA Hall of Fame!) However, for most of that time it’s been a struggle to include a fairly good range of official lifts (we have nearly 200 events!)into workouts without spending entire days in the gym. So, to chase Grimek’s lead , I read “between the lines” in accounts of his earliest training ; seems he followed a basic,constant pattern in standard ,heavy exercises, but usually ended with a single massive effort on some odd strength feat. Never much in favor of “sets/reps”, he’d just extend one big all-out push,pull,partial, or hold. And,of course, ALWAYS experimenting with something new, unusual, or differant.

Now, it occurred to me, some 50 years since I first marveled over Grimek’s sage advice , that I can save time in the gym, yet train a bigger variety of lifts more effectively if I only tweek John’s essential power building KEY a bit. Simply, I needed  to start with a  moderately loaded barbell, build up weight in increments (such as 20 pounds each set), and perform a semi-challenging LIFT that will “FIT” each differant poundage. For example, the other day I began with a fairly heavy curl, added 2 ten pound plates, did a single bent arm pullover off the floor, then an increment up for a row. Twenty more pounds for an easy one arm deadlift. And on up (lots of ten pound plates laying there!) through subsequent singles for a hack lift, Ciavattone pull, heels together deadlift, Jefferson (or straddle), 12″ base deadlift, 2 bars deadlift, and finish with our heavy Kennedy lift .Yep, an eleven “event” total, great variety,decent strength output (mostly along similar “off the floor” lines),and ,most importantly, no multiple set drudgery or boredom at all! Heck, I thought I was competing in one of the USAWA’s exciting “record day” events (in itself, a form of this training system)! At the rather fast  termination to the workout, in fact, my mind& mood were as “pumped” as my legs and back were!

Next workout, if I don’t decide to change the list completely, I’ll merely add 5 pounds to the initial lift in that sequence,which,of course, puts an additional nickel on EVERY lift. Advancement will continue until some weak link in the chain becomes a “partial”; there’s never such a thing as a “miss” -max effort is always a BUILDER ! Besides, no lift stays stuck for long, as each in the series tends to boost and strengthen all others!

My training partner, 88 year old (!!) USAWA patriarch Art Montini, has been following his own version (Art’s  well thought out plans feature 28 lifts, not done all at once, but 7  lifts per session, alternating each workout) of this “Round-Up”  for years with considerable success. Art recently won (again!) the IAWA World Championships in Scotland, and is second all time on our national record list with over 400 current marks in various age and weight divisions. His brief, variety enhanced workouts begin at 4 AM, EVERY morning, finish quickly before 5, then has him bounding through the day with unbelievable vigor !

Want the strength of Grimek and the longevity of Montini? Forget all useless, time robbing set/rep systems and “Round-Up” for an instant power surge, vastly increased energy, and all-round versatility!


Art’s Birthday Bash

by John McKean

Art’s 88th birthday & BD Bash

The previous week on his 88th birthday Art Montini won another World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The previous week on his 88th birthday Art Montini won another World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Not a beautiful Autumn morning like usual, it was SNOWING out side my house! Seemed a bad sign, as I was, unbelievably for me, already in a bad mood, over worrying that attendance would be minimal, since the previous week’s IAWA World Meet had usurped Art’s long standing birthday meet date (next time ,meet directors, if your plans are on or just after Oct 12,suck it up! Art has had claim to this date for 88 years!!!). To bottom out my bad start this morning,our cat upchucked over my nice meet shirt, which was carefully laid out on the kitchen floor for packing!!

Glumly entering the VFW gym, my mood instantly changed and I was immediately inspired seeing the GREAT Dean Ross, all the way from Oklahoma, about to begin a series of finger lifts! Dean had left his home, stopped over in Missouri for a Highlands Games event, then drove without sleep to Ambridge and did his lifts. He then, after his usual hilarious jokes & stories (don’t ever accept a quarter from this guy!!), hit the road again, promising to find sleep in a motel  somewhere hours away, and then get home to OK! “Hey”,he quipped, “I do have to work tomorrow morning!” At 72 years of age and looking as strong as he displays, this is what I call a true IRON MAN !!

Then in bounced a spry Steve Santangelo and his lovely, personable wife, all the way from Kentucky! Steve lifted great and showed us a lift rarely performed in the USAWA meets – a NECK BRIDGE pullover and press! Not bad for  a 63 year old!

Travelers weren’t over, either, as Cleveland and Vermilion, Ohio were represented by the wonderful Schmidt family, Scott and wife Kathy, with Bob Geib and Tony Frasso driving in from V-town. They all promised if we hold an “in-the-works” record day in December (for MY 70th birthday!!) that they’ll brave Dec weather to make the trip again!

We hadn’t seen local boxing coach Andy Root for a few years, as he and wife Angela (of 240# bench press fame at a petite 120 some bw!) have a new baby to take care of (congrats mom&dad!). But Andy did some terrific deadlifting and took some wild stabs at heavy bent pressing (not as easy as it looked,huh Andy?!)

Of course, birthday boy Art, tho still sore from last weekend’s World win, looked fresh as a donut,err, I mean daisy! Not only did he perform his usual great finger lifts, but took a stab at a brand new event -the Dinnie Lift- and discovered he was MADE for this lift!! Yeah, he drove me crazy in making me compute the 75% for the smaller rod each time, but it was worth it to watch the ole boy delight in his own efforts!

We left the gym, and tho cold outside, the sun and brilliant tree colors were now out to make for a great Fall day, after all! Bob Geib was treating Art to a birthday dinner at the famous Ambridge roast beef restaurant, and I’d caught some nice rainbow trout on Friday, which Art will bake for a later bd snack! Yes, Art does the eating even better than he lifts!


Art’s 2015 Birthday Bash Record Day
Ambridge, PA
October 18th, 2015

Judges (3 official system used) – Art Montini, Scott Schmidt, John McKean

Stephen Santangelo BW 162  Class 75 K (60+)  age 63
2″ vertical 2 bars deadlift  292#
2″ Dumbbell deadlift left    130#
2″ Dumbbell deadlift right  130#
Neck bridge pullover and press  80#
No thumb deadlift  280#
No thumb deadlift Ciavattone  265#

John McKean  BW 164.5 Class 75k(65+) age 69
Dinnie Lift  320.5#
Ciavattone2″ bar deadlift 175#
Right arm Ciavattone deadlift 145#
Left arm Ciavattone deadlift 135#
bench press fulton bar  104#
Heels together deadlift  224#
Rectangular fix  65#
Fulton bar rectangular fix 40#
deadlift 12″ heels  224#

Art Montini  BW 173 class 80k (85+) age 88
Left Ciavattone deadlift 2″ bar 60#
clean &press 2″ bar  60#
Index fingers deadlift with olympic bar 75#
Ring fingers deadlift with olympic bar 75#
Dinnie lift  283#

Kathy Schmidt BW 175  class 80k (f 55+) age 58
Left hand 1″ vertical bar deadlift 47.5K
Dumbbell deadlift (L)  47.5K
Ciavattone deadlift 60K

Scott Schmidt bw 234 Class 110K (60+) age 62
Right hand 2″vertical bar deadlift 75K
Left hand 2″vertical bar deadlift 75K
2 hands 2″ vertical bars deadlift 110K
left hand dumbbell press 25K
French Press 40K

Dean Ross bwt 253 class 115 k (70+)age 72
left little finger deadlift 57#
left ring finger lift 67#
left middle finger lift 72#
left index finger lift 72
right little finger lift 57#

Bob Geib bw 258 class 120K (70+) age 72
Dinnie Lift 309#
Fulton deadlift 270#
Straddle deadlift 305#
Stiff leg deadlift 209#

note : all Dinnie lifts were with lighter weight at 75% or slightly less of heavier rod thanks to Al for great rings!!

OTSM Championships

by Eric Todd


Group picture from the 2015 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championship (left to right): Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Art Montini, Lance Foster

Group picture from the 2015 USAWA Old Time Strongman Championship (left to right): Denny Habecker, Eric Todd, Art Montini, Lance Foster

September 26, ET’s House of Iron and Stone played host to the fifth annual USAWA Old Time strongman Championship. Though turnout was rather small (mostly due to poor scheduling by the promoter), the lifting was fantastic and the camaraderie was even better. President Denny Habecker and his trusty sidekick Art Montini made the trip from Pennsylvania to lift. Lance Foster came all the way from from Platte City, MO, and I came all the way across the lawn from inside my house. We started off with Thor’s Hammer, which would have the smallest amount lifted of all the disciplines. Lance and I tied for top honors here, both lifting 35.5 pounds. Denny was not far behind with at record breaking lift of 25.5. In the Saxon snatch, Lance and I tied again with lifts of 80 pounds apiece. In the Apollon’s Axle, it was all Lance. At first, it appeared that he had shot himself in the foot, as he missed his first and second attempts. However, he came back on his third and nailed 165 pounds. Denny struggled with the continental, or he would have given Lance a run for his money. The final lift of the day was the People’s Deadlift. It was a battle. Art set the bar with a lift of 300, a record lift of 320, and he was still grumbling afterwards that we had let him start too light. Denny topped him with a 365, then ground out a record 375. At this point, Lance started lifting and topped out at an impressive 460. This lift ultimately allowed Lance to sneak by Art by one point for second place. Top honors, however, went to his majesty, the President, Denny Habecker. It was a beautiful day to catch up with friends and throw around some iron.


2015 USAWA OTSM Championships
ET’s House of Iron and Stone
Turney, MO
September 26th, 2015

Meet Director: Eric Todd

Scorekeeper: Eric Todd

Officials (3 official system used): Eric Todd, Lance Foster, Denny Habecker, Art Montini

Lifts: Thor’s Hammer, Saxon Snatch, Apollon’s Lift, People’s Deadlift


 LIFTER AGE BWT Thor Sax Apoll People Total Points
Denny Habecker 72 87.3 25.5 50 120 365 560.5 680.8
Lance Foster 49 149.1 35.5 80 165 460 740.5 566.7
Art Montini 87 79.1 10 25 60 300 395 565.8
Eric Todd 40 117.3 35.5 80 110 135 360.5 284.1


Denny Habecker: Saxon Snatch 60#
Denny Habecker: People’s Deadlift 375#
Art Montini: People’s Deadlift 320#

NOTES: Age in years. BWT is bodyweight in kilograms. All lifts recorded in pounds. Total is total pounds lifted. Points are adjusted points for age and bodyweight corrections.

Presidential Cup

by Al Myers


Group picture from the 2015 Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Dean Ross, and Denny Habecker

Group picture from the 2015 Presidential Cup (left to right): Art Montini, Al Myers, Dean Ross, and Denny Habecker

For the fourth year annually, our USAWA President Denny Habecker has held the USAWA Presidential Cup.  This Championship Event recognizes the “best of the best” amongst record days.  It IS the championship record day in the USAWA – much like the Gold Cup is the Championship Record Day in the IAWA. Every year our Prez picks a lift and lifter for the winner of the Presidential Cup.  This is based on what impresses him the most – that is the criteria for being awarded the Presidential Cup.

This year 4 experienced USAWA members took on the challenge.  It was interesting to me that these four lifters (Denny, Art, Dean, and myself) are also TOP TEN members of the Century Club, which shows that all of us have competed in the USAWA quite some time now!  Each of us took turns with our lifts on the platform. Art continues to amaze me.  He did a 26# Abdominal Raise – which would be a very difficult lift for anyone.  I thought that could be the Presidential Cup Lift that might win.  As it turns out that was the only record lift Art did.  When we had time for additional record lifts Art couldn’t decide on another lift to do as he has ALL the records in his age/bodyweight class in the record list and Art doesn’t like to break his own records!

Dean Ross made the trip to Pennsylvania again this summer (Nationals in York was the other).  Dean picked the One Arm Zercher, which is a very difficult lift to perform. He lifted an impressive 160 pounds!  As it turns out – THAT was the lift to win him the Presidential Cup!  Well deserving I must say.

This was a great competition.  I want to thank Denny and Judy for being such great hosts.  We are very fortunate to have Denny as our President and Judy as the “first lady” in the USAWA. They work tirelessly to keep things going, and give back SO MUCH to the organization.

(Tomorrow I’ll give a report on the history of the Presidential Cup and a listing of all past winners. )

Meet Results:

Presidential Cup
Habecker’s Gym
Lebanon, PA
August 22nd, 2015

Meet Director: Denny Habecker

Official’s (3-official System Used): Denny Habecker, Al Myers, Art Montini

Al Myers – 48 years old, 228# BWT
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2″, 1 Bar, Right Hand: 193#
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2″, 1 Bar, Left Hand: 193#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Right Arm: 171#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Left Arm: 171#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 303#
Deadlift – One Leg, Right: 242#

Dean Ross – 72 years old, 253# BWT
Zercher – One Arm, Left: 143#
Zercher – One Arm, Right: 160#
Ziegler Clean: 93#
Swing – One Arm, Right: 55#
Swing – One Arm, Left: 45#

Denny Habecker – 72 years old, 189# BWT
Pullover – Straight Arm: 60#

Art Montini – 87 years old, 173# BWT
Abdominal Raise: 26#

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