Tag Archives: Chad Ullom

Neck Lift

By Eric Todd

With the Heavy Lift Championship on the Calendar for May 5, I was under the assumption that people were going to be wanting to start training.  So, I thought I would do a series on how to execute each of the heavy lifts.  They are like no other lifts out there, where the lifter is capable of lifting monstrous poundages.

This particular article will focus on the first lift to be contested that day, the neck lift.  When I first heard of the neck lift, I envisioned the lift I did in high school with a neck harness I bought at Champs Sports with a 45# weight looped through the chain.  I was concerned, as I knew there was no way I could lift hundreds of pounds like this, even though that is where the records stood.  As luck would have it, it was not that lift at all, and I was capable of more than I thought.

The rules of the neck lift are as follows:

A Heavy Lift Bar is used in this lift. A neck harness is also used, which fits over the head. Any style of neck harness is acceptable, provided that it is held in place entirely by the head during the lift. The neck harness must not contact the neck or trapezius muscles. A pad, such as a towel, may be placed between the head and the neck harness. An adjustable chain and hook is attached to the neck harness so it may be attached to the Heavy Lift Bar. The lifter assumes a position with the Heavy Lift Bar in front of the lifter or the lifter may straddle it. The feet must parallel and in line with the torso. Width of feet placement is optional. The feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter may adjust the chain length to his/her preference prior to the lift. The lifter must not touch the chain or straps of the neck harness with the hands during the lift, but the chain or straps may touch the lifter’s body. Hands may touch the body during the lift, but must be free of contact upon completion of the lift. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The lifter is allowed one test lift to check the balance of the weight and to make adjustments to the chain length. The lifter will stand and lift the weights from the platform. The shoulders and torso do not have to be upright upon the finish of the lift. The legs must straighten, but the knees do not need to be locked. Once the weight is motionless, the hands free from the body, and the plates on both ends of the bar are off the platform at the same time, an official will give a command to end the lift.

Some people neck lift with a narrow stance, but I prefer a very wide one.  I point my toes outward right next to the plates.  With the harness on my head, and the hook in the loop on the bar,   I take the straps  and spread them out wide so they are more to the outside of my body rather than hanging down in front.  I also like to lift my arms up while executing this lift..  At this point, look up, lean back, and drive off your heels.  When both sides of the bar come off the ground at the same time, the official will give the down command for a good lift.  In the image below, you can see Chad Ullum and myself using very similar styles:


As far as training for the neck lift, I imagine any kind of neck training could be beneficial, such as the neck harness I referenced above or a neck machine.  However, I am not sure there is any real substitute for actually neck lifting.  The technique takes some getting used to, and it is ideal to condition your neck for the feel of these poundages.  Check out the video of Chad’s record setting 900# attempt which was set at the Heavy Lift Championship that was held at York Barbell:


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.


By Al Myers

(Webmasters Note: Over the next month I will be running a series of biography blogs covering all past USAWA Hall of Fame members.  These bios will be added to the history section, under Hall of Fame.)




Chad lives in Topeka, Kansas with his wife Tasha. He has a daughter and 2 stepsons.    He has a BS in Pharmacy and is currently a Pharmacy Manager with Walgreens.  Before he became involved with the USAWA he was a multi-sport athlete in High School, where he played football, wrestled, threw the shotput and discus, and was a yell leader.  After High School he played football at Coffeyville Community College and was part of a national championship team in 1990.  After college he played semi pro football for 2 years before getting involved in the Scottish Highland Games where he competed for over 20 years.

Chad started weight lifting when he was 13 years old when he was training for other sports.   His first competition in the USAWA was in 2005.  Chad was introduced to the USAWA by Al Myers and is part of the Dino Gym Club.  Chad commented, “Al has been a great training partner over the years and I wouldn’t be nearly involved in the USAWA if it wasn’t for Al.  We have travelled to many meets together across the United States and all over the World.”

Chad has long lengthy resume of USAWA National Championships he has competed in. To date he has competed in 8 National Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014).   In each one of these Championships he won the National Championships in his age/weight class.  In 2014 he won the Overall Best Lifter at the Nationals.  In all of his National Championships he has placed very high overall with two second places, three third places, one fourth, and one fifth.    He also has competed in 8 IAWA World Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015).   In the 2010 IAWA World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland he won the Overall Best Lifter Award at the World Championships.   Chad is one of the very few USAWA lifters to have competed at the World Championships in all the countries that have hosted a Worlds – United States, England, Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia.

Chad has also been very involved in the organization besides just as a lifter. He has been the USAWA Vice President since 2010 and has been the Drug Enforcement Director since that time as well.   He has served as a IAWA Vice President since 2012.  He is also a certified USAWA Official and has officiated at many Championship events including at the IAWA World Championships and the IAWA Gold Cups.  In 2012 he was Co-Meet promoter of the 2012 IAWA World Championships in Salina, Kansas.

Chad has won many USAWA Awards. He was awarded the USAWA Athlete of the Year in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  He received Runner Up Awards for the Courage Award in 2015, and the Athlete of the Year in 2009.  He has been an active participant in USAWA Championship Events.  He was the overall best lifter in the 2015 USAWA Grip Championships and the 2012 Old Time Strongman Championships.  He has been the Overall Best Lifter (with teammate Al Myers) in 10 USAWA Team Championships.  He has been the USAWA Lifter of the Month 4 times – April 2012, July 2013, June 2014, and February 2017.  Chad has been very active in the USAWA Postal Series. He has won the Overall Best Lifter in the USAWA Postal Championships 2 times – 2008, and 2012.   In 2012 and 2014 he was the Overall Best Men’s Lifter in the USAWA Postal Series, and has placed in the top ten many times.  In 2012 Chad won the World’s Strongest Two Man Team Postal with teammate Al Myers. Chad owns several USAWA records and is in the top ten of all record holders with over 250 USAWA records.

Chad’s favorite All Round Lifts are the Arthur Lift, Steinborn Lift, and the Neck Lift. In the Arthur Lift he has the top ALL TIME record in the USAWA with a lift of 297 pounds, set at the 2007 USAWA National Championships. He has done a 446 pound Steinborn Lift, which is also an All TIME mark in both the USAWA and the IAWA.  This was done at the 2012 IAWA World Championships.  Chad was the first lifter to break the 900 pound barrier in the Neck Lift, done at the 2011 Heavy Lift Championships. He is currently one of only two lifters who have exceeded 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift.  Chad always has saved his best lifts for the big meets in front of the best officials and many witnesses.  No one can question the authenticity of his great lifting ability and records because of this.


Chad is a very modest Champion.   He often downplays his success and is always a great supporter of the other lifters.   He will help anyone out, and often at meets will be lifting, officiating, and loading all at the same time.  After the meet he will be the one doing the most work cleaning up.  At the banquets and social functions associated with the USAWA Chad is always the life of the party.  Anyone who knows him knows he just truly enjoys being part of the overall meet experience.   When asking him about his favorite part of competitions, he responded, “I love to compete and test myself but I really enjoy the comradery with the other lifters more.   I have some great friends that I only get to see at competitions and it’s always a great excuse to travel!”

That sums up Chad Ullom, a truly humble well-liked Champion in the USAWA.

Dinnie Stone Gathering

By Chad Ullom

Group photo of the Dinnie Stone lifters.

Group photo of the Dinnie Stone lifters.

When I first heard from Stevie Shanks that he was hoping for a gathering of anyone that had lifted the Dinnie Stones to come together at Potarch I couldn’t have been more excited!  I got my Dinnie trainers back out and started working up to the full weight.  At some point in May, I saw that there were plans to walk the stones over the bridge!  I let my ego get the best of me and sent Stevie a message that I’d like to give the walk a shot! Just as I was thinking this was a bad idea, Stevie sent me the schedule with the rules.  A carry and drop would be allowed and you can continue as long as your hands don’t let go.

My wife and I really made a great trip out of this!  We did a great tour of Scotland, spent a couple of days on the Orkney islands and really had a great trip.  Even managed to lift the Dalwhinnie Stone a few days prior.  The night we arrived in Aberdeen we met a really nice American staying at our hotel who didn’t have a car or anything to do so we invited him to the Aboyne games with us the next day.  The Aboyne games were amazing!  As we were walking into the gate, we hear “and now her Majesty the Queen will douse the new caber with Scotch to officially dedicate the newly made Aboyne games caber…”  What???!!  The Queen was here??  The crowd was huge, so we never got a chance to see her, but on the news that night saw that, sure enough, it was Queen Elizabeth.

I knew the Dinnie stones were usually at the Aboyne games, but couldn’t see them anywhere.  We met up with Travis Willingham and decided to walk around after watching some the Highland Games comp and finally went to the overseas tent.  There they were!  We had walked right past them when we arrived but the crowd was too big to see.  The butterflies started right away!  Jim Splaine, Jack and Stevie Shanks along with James Grahame from Australia were posing for a pic right when we got there!

The morning of the gathering I could hardly sleep.   Our new American friend, Roberto, was really interested so we invited him along.  This really helped Tasha, because I wasn’t in much shape for conversation for the whole day!   As soon as we were ready to make the drive, the butterflies started.  We got registered and just started talking to old friends and making new ones.   It was great to see the people that showed up for this, Stevie did an outstanding job.  Terry and Jan Todd from Texas were there, David Webster, Bruce Aitken (maybe the greatest scottish hammer thrower of all time!) and many others.

Chad setting up for the Dinnie Stone walk.

Chad setting up for the Dinnie Stone walk.

The lifting started at noon and I was scheduled to walk at 2:50! The waiting was really tough!  It was even harder because a lot of people that had lifted the stones in the past were really having a hard time.  I was starting to second guess my walk attempt and thought seriously about just jumping in  for a lift.  As I was on my way to the car, Mark Haydock talked me out of it.

After the lifting attempts were finished, they moved the stones to the bridge.  They had us all line up and we paraded up to the bridge being led by a pipe band!  That was a great moment.  Luckily, I was second up so I didn’t have to wait too long.  There were mats laid out across the bridge and the first person to attempt, Brian Irwin from Northern Ireland, made it all the way!

Finally, it’s my turn.  To make sure I had enough energy to go as far as possible after talking to some people about, I was trying to pull just enough to clear the ground and move them.  For some reason, the light stone was giving me more trouble.  At one point, I dragged it to catch up and got a warning for this from Stevie.  If it happens a 3rd time, you have to stop.  I think I made it about 10 feet and my legs just gave out on me, I wasn’t getting any more clearance at all.

Travis Willingham, Stevie Shanks, Jim Splaine, Chad Ullom, Jack Shanks, and James Grahame at the Aboyne Games.

Travis Willingham, Stevie Shanks, Jim Splaine, Chad Ullom, Jack Shanks, and James Grahame at the Aboyne Games.

After two more attempts, Mark Haydock was up last and he really put on a show!  I had been watching his training leading up to this, and the only question in my mind was if he was going to try and carry them side by side the whole way!  In the end, Mark did the straddle like everyone else.  He completed the 17 feet in 1:40! About 2/3 of the way, he smashed the small stone into his right ankle and there was concern that he had really damaged it or possibly torn his Achilles.  In the end, it turned out to be nothing serious (thankfully).

This was such a special event to be a part of, I really wish Al and James Gardner could have been there, but each had other commitments.  I was extremely honored and humbled to be a part of it.  I can’t thank Stevie Shanks enough for putting this together.  It was conceived while they were making Stoneland.  If you haven’t seen that, put that on your list immediately!  It has been viewed over 16 million times on youtube.

Lifter of the Month – Chad Ullom

Al Myers

Chad Ullom pulling 195 pounds on the Fulton Dumbbell for a new USAWA record at the 2017 USAWA Grip Championships.

Chad Ullom pulling 195 pounds on the Fulton Dumbbell for a new USAWA record at the 2017 USAWA Grip Championships.

The USAWA LIFTER OF THE MONTH for February is Chad Ullom.   Chad won the overall Mens Best Lifter in the USAWA Grip Championships in February against a very tough field of grip lifters.  He finished the meet off strong by setting a big lift in the Fulton Bar Hack Lift.

Congrats Chad!!!

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