Tag Archives: Dan Wagman

Colorado RB

Dan Wagman is back in action, performing a USAWA record lift in the Wrist Curl! (photo courtesy Dan Wagman)

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

MEET REPORT:  2014 Colorado Record Breaker

On December 27, 2014 four lifters got together at Denver Martial Arts (DMA) for record-breaking attempts in varied types of all-round lifts. Jarrod Fobes, our meet director, trains and teaches martial arts at DMA and they have a weight room in the basement that’s equipped with the essentials, so I had to bring some of my all-round toys. Prior to commencing the Record Breaker, Ruth Jackson and I “warmed up” via maximal efforts in the Postal National lifts. Although the results of all lifters across the country competing in this Postal event will be posted soon, I’m happy to report that Ruth’s pullover and push broke the USAWA record by a large margin, as did my deadlift-dumbbell-one arm-left.

I suppose I was the one to start the Record Breaker festivities because immediately after pulling the deadlift-dumbbell-one arm-left for the Postal I pulled the same weight with my right arm, thus registering the first Record Breaker lift of the day. After Ruth completed her Postal lifts she transitioned smoothly into her Record Breaker attempts while meet director Jarrod Fobes and new USAWA member Marcus Lucero were going through the record book in an effort to determine which lifts to choose for record attempts.

Ruth seems to have never-ending passion for lifting weights and putting scientific training to the test on the platform. Besides the three Postal lifts, she broke records in 17 additional lifts. Although women-specific research into an athlete’s muscles does account for why a woman could do so many maximal attempts more easily than a man, I’m amazed that she has the psychological wherewithal to do so. After the meet Ruth explained that she was most proud of her finger and grip lifts. She recalled that it was exactly two years ago that she first met Jarrod when he put on a Record Breaker. At the current event she was able to increase her strength in the little finger lift by nearly 20 pounds, in the ring finger lift by 12 pounds, and in the middle finger lift by 34 pounds. She was also stoked about taking her dealift-no thumbs-overhand from 155 pounds to 175 pounds.

Ruth is a perfect example of how shedding old training fiction from one’s programming and replacing it with new science-based information can result in unparalleled and continuous gains, but there can also be a dark side to doing so. You see, I had employed one of the latest science-based training methods referred to as Intra-Set Rest or simply ISR.* In addition, since there was no need to travel the day prior to the meet I was able to train most of my competitive lifts heavily the day prior. As a result I ended up severely underestimating my strength in most of my lifts. To illustrate, my deadlift-dumbbell-one arm ended up being 35 pounds over what I had thought I could do. In the deadlift-middle finger I had projected a training gain of about 10 to 15 pounds over the record I set a year ago but ended up turning an almost 40-pound increase into repping weight and running out of attempts. The situation was similar with almost all other lifts. Bear in mind that in general terms, these training approaches take the knowledge exercise scientists have acquired about neuromuscular physiology to provide you with something akin to a rubber band effect in which your gains slingshot ahead (in science lingo referred to as supercompensation, a term often misapplied and misunderstood when training for it). The dark side of this, however, is that it’s difficult to know exactly by how many pounds your performance will slingshot ahead on competition day. That, however, is a downside I can live with. Heil science!

Jarrod’s passion for martial arts is undeniable and it has resulted in a world championship win. But he’s one of those guys who understands to what extent lifting weights can enhance his performance on the mat. And when he approaches the weights, he does so as if all Norse warrior gods are behind him. Sadly, a back injury has prevented him from training to the extent that he’s used to and thus he tried to keep his record attempts to only four lifts. Despite his lack of training, his Turkish get up with a barbell was smooth and solid and it seemed as though he derived the most pleasure out of quickly getting a feel for Thor’s hammer, a lift he’s never done before. His 40.5-pound attempt shows that with more practice he’s going to turn that lift into “Jarrod’s Mjölnir.”**

Showing up out of the blue was Marcus Lucero. Initially, as Ruth and I started with our Postal lifts, I got the impression that he was one of the martial arts guys who just got done training upstairs and wanted to see what all the yelling, grunting, and groaning—mainly by Ruth—was all about. Turns out, however, that he’s been an avid reader of old-time strongmen and one book/article made reference to USAWA, he learned about the Colorado Record Breaker, and decided to head down to Denver from northern Colorado to see what all-round is all about. Jarrod was very welcoming and gave Marcus a quick primer on the basics, then they both started to sift through the record and rule books. Marcus was, in my estimation, a bit overwhelmed by all of the possibilities in all-round. As he seemed to contemplate his approach he was helpful in loading the bars for us and decided that the dumbbell side press would be his first lift. Unfortunately he got out of the grove in his first attempt at 84 pounds. Yet after some rest he came back and smoked it. His dumbbell Turkish get up was so smooth, you’d think that’s the way he gets out of bed every morning. He revealed to us that he’s had some practice through wrestling in a similar movement. He then decided to join Jarrod in tossing Thor’s hammer, but although he was able to register a USAWA record, the requisite coordination and balancing strength in his wrist proved a real challenge. Although he’s a much quieter and reserved lifter than Jarrod and I, he seemed to have enjoyed the challenge and I hope to see him in many more USAWA meets.

I’d like to thank the owners of DMA for allowing us to lift in clouds of chalk and Jarrod for putting on another Record Breaker. And the fact that Ruth and Jarrod also judged is much appreciated. Till next time…

*Disclaimer: Implementing ISR is a complicated process in which you need to manipulate all training variables based on physiological adaptation patterns specific to your goals. Without doing so you’ll end up like the guy who wants a faster truck, throws in a 600 hp engine, and wonders why he keeps snapping axles and his driveline, and why his stock tranni ends up on the asphalt behind him. Thus, simply “doing ISR” will prove ineffective on one end of the spectrum and injurious on the other.

** Mjölnir is the name Thor gave his hammer.

MEET RESULTS:

Colorado Record Breaker
Denver, Colorado
December 27th, 2014

Meet Director:  Jarrod Fobes

Officials (1 official system used); Jarrod Fobes, Ruth Jackson

Lifts: Record Day Session

Ruth Jackson – 53 years old, 106 KG BWT
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 100#
Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip: 175#
Curl – Wrist: 115#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Left Hand: 170#
Press – Dumbbell, Left Hand: 40#
Clean and Press – Fulton Bar: 73#
Clean and Push Press – Fulton Bar: 83#
Thor’s Hammer: 20.5#
Finger Lift – Little, Left: 28.8#
Finger Lift – Little, Right: 33.8#
Finger Lift – Ring, Left: 48.8#
Finger Lift – Ring, Right: 48.8#
Finger Lift – Middle, Left: 68.8#
Finger Lift – Middle, Right: 78.8#
Pinch Grip – Left Hand: 50.4#
Pinch Grip – Right Hand: 55.4#
Teeth Lift: 52.8#

Jarrod Fobes – 37 years old, 197# BWT
Bench Press – Left Arm: 95#
Turkish Get Up: 96#
Abdominal Raise: 45#
Thor’s Hammer: 40.5#

Dan Wagman – Open Age Class, 185# BWT
Deadlift – Middle Fingers: 275#
Deadlift – No Thumbs, Overhand Grip: 345#
Bentover Row: 320#
Deadlift – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 350#
Curl – Wrist: 275#

Markus Lucero – 23 years old, 170# BWT
Side Press – Right: 84#
Thor’s Hammer: 35.5#
Turkish Get Up: 119#

Postal Series 2013

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman performing a 350 pound Reverse Grip Bench Press at the recent Dino Gym Record Day.

As the first quarterly postal meet of 2014 is less than 30 days from being completed, I finally got the results from the 2013 Postal Series tabulated.  The USAWA has 4 postal meets per year (March, June, September, and December), with the last one being designated as the Postal Championships.  All these together make up the Postal Meet Series.  Each postal meet a lifter competes in generates points for him/her, that total up for the final Postal Series Ranking.

The way the points are generated is pretty simple.  I take the overall placings of the meet and then reverse “the count” for the points earned for each lifter.  I.E – if three lifters compete lifter number 1 gets 3 points, lifter number 2 gets 2 points, and lifter number three gets 1 point.  The Postal Championships is worth “double points”. Obviously then, as more lifters enter more points can be earned for winning the meet, and ALL lifters earn points regardless where they place overall.  Just entering will earn points toward the Postal Series Ranking.

Overall there was good participation in the USAWA Postal Meets last year.  A total of 18 lifters competed in the various postal meets.  The first Postal Meet had 17 lifters, the second had 9 lifters, the third had 9 lifters, and the Postal Championship drew 11 lifters.   Several lifters competed in ALL of the postal meets last year and they deserve to be recognized.  These lifters are Ruth Jackson, Dan Wagman, Sam Rogers, Orie Barnett, Denny Habecker, and John Wilmot.

Now for the overall rankings for the 2013 USAWA Postal Series!

WOMENS DIVISION – TOP TWO

PLACING LIFTER MEETS ENTERED POINTS
1 Ruth Jackson 4 6
2 Gabby Jobe 1 1

MENS DIVISION – TOP TEN

PLACING LIFTER MEETS ENTERED POINTS
1 Dan Wagman 4 51
2 Orie Barnett 4 35
3 Al Myers 2 32
4 Sam Rogers 4 30
5 Barry Bryan 2 29
6 Chad Ullom 2 26
7 Eric Todd 3 22
8 Denny Habecker 4 18
9 John Wilmot 4 15
10 Les Cramer 2 15

Congrats to Ruth Jackson and Dan Wagman for being the OVERALL WINNERS of the 2013 USAWA Postal Series.  On top of winning the series both of these lifters won EACH and EVERY Postal Meet of 2013!  That has never been done before in the history of the USAWA Postal Series.

Dino Gym RD

by Al Myers

Dan Wagman performing a Feet in the Air Bench Press at the 2014 Dino Gym Record Day. Dan set a new record with a lift of 375 pounds!

Last weekend was a full weekend of great lifting at the Dino Gym!  Sunday picked up where Saturday left off with 5 lifters attempting to break/set new USAWA records.  I was surprised to see 3 new faces on Sunday who could not make the Grip Champs – Chad Ullom, Doug Kressly and Logan Kressly.  Dan Wagman and Ruth Jackson where the only Saturday lifters who made the full two day competition.

The record day started off strong with Dan setting a new USAWA record in the Bench Press – Feet in Air.  Dan broke a long standing record held by the great Barry Bryan (at 374 lbs. set in 1990) with a lift of 375 pounds. It was a very impressive lift.  Dan then backed it up with a record in the Bench Press – Reverse Grip at 350 pounds.

Ruth lifted fantastic as usual.  She set several new records – with some outstanding lifts in the Vertical Bar Deadlifts. She also completed her official’s practical on this day.  Once the paperwork has been approved – she will be added to the official’s list as a Level One Official.

Chad Ullom picked several of his favorite lifts to set new records in (Arthur Lift, Ziegler Clean, Continental to Belt).  Looked solid and strong as ever!

I was glad to see Doug and Logan back to the gym.  These two made my Dino Challenge in January as well.  Doug upped his teeth lift record from the Dino Challenge, and then helped Logan to many new records.  Logan had some tremendous marks – Fulton Bar Deadlift of 352, Dinnie Lift of 550, and a front squat of 300.  He tried 320 in the front squat, and took it way too deep to recover from. That’s a huge front squat for a young kid only 15!

Overall, a great day for the everyone!!!

My companion in the gym during the meet - Dan's dog Gram - short for Hamilton vom Naglersee.

MEET RESULTS:

Dino Gym Record Day
Dino Gym, Abilene, Kansas
February 9th, 2014

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials (1-official system used): Al Myers, Chad Ullom  In-training Ruth Jackson

Scorekeeper: Al Myers

Lifters and Lifts:

Ruth Jackson – 52 years old, 108 lbs. BWT

Clean and Press – Alternate Grip: 80 lbs.
Jackson Press: 75 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 2″: 176 lbs.
Vertical Bar Deadlift – 2 bars, 1″: 202 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 187 lbs.
Squat – Front: 120 lbs.

Logan Kressly – 14 years old, 168 lbs. BWT

Squat – Front: 300 lbs.
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 352 lbs.
Deadlift – Reeves: 155 lbs.
Dinnie Lift: 550 lbs.

Dan Wagman – Open, 184 lbs. BWT

Bench Press – Feet in Air: 375 lbs.
Bench Press – Reverse Grip: 350 lbs.
Bent Over Row: 300 lbs.
Curl – Cheat, 2 Dumbells: 160 lbs.

Doug Kressly – 34 years old, 286 lbs. BWT

Teeth Lift: 179 lbs.

Chad Ullom – 42 years old, 255 lbs. BWT

Ziegler Clean: 182 lbs.
Teeth Lift: 200 lbs.
Arthur Lift: 220 lbs.
Continental to Belt: 440 lbs.
Snatch – On Knees: 115 lbs.

Top Lifts of 2013

by Al Myers

Art proudly displaying his homemade Teeth Bit!

Today welcomes in a New Year, and  with it comes the excitement of another very promising year in the USAWA.   2013 had to be one of the best EVER in the history of the USAWA.  There were many great competitions and great individual performances.  Of the 22 official competitions that occurred in 2013 in the USAWA, I was a participant or attended 18 of them!

As I’m sitting here sipping a cup of coffee in the early morning hours of 2014 (my internal clock would not allow me to sleep in!), I’m reflecting on some of the fantastic lifts I was able to witness “first hand” in the USAWA in 2013.  It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of over 20, but I’m gonna narrow the list today to the TOP TEN lifts that impressed me the most. I want to reiterate  that this is MY LIST of the lifts that I was able to watch, and only reflects my viewpoints.  Many, many others were extremely impressive that did not make the list. A few individual lifters had multiple lifts that impressed me, but I’m only including THE ONE that impressed me the most by an individual lifter.  It took me three times as long to come up with my list as it did to write this blog!  Here it goes – counting down from number ten:

10. Lance Foster and his 575# Dinnie Lift at the OTSM Championships

This had to be one of the most tenacious lifts of the year.  Lance struggled at the Battle of the Barn with the Dinnie Lift, but came back a month or so later to up his performance by 75 pounds! If the USAWA offered a TRUE GRIT AWARD Lance would win it.

9.  Jera Kressly and Logan Kressly 600# heels together deadlift at the Team Championships.

Jera and Logan did this mixed pair (man/woman) lift quite easily at the Team Champs.  I should mention that Logan was only 15 at the time!  That’s a big deadlift for any mixed pair with a normal stance – let alone having the heels together!

8.  James Fuller and his 60 KG Bent Press at the Gold Cup.

James has been on a mission to mastering the Bent Press this year.  The Bent Press is one of the MOST old and obscure lifts of all round lifting.  Very few even know how to go about doing one.  I first saw James bent pressing Frank’s axle at the Heavies, with was extremely cumbersome to handle.  I was going to include that effort instead of this one for James, but his Gold Cup lift really deserves it more as it was done in a big competition.  It won’t be long before James puts up the highest Bent Press record of All Time in the USAWA.

7.  Joe Ciavattone Sr. and his 805# Neck Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

This HAD to make my list.  Joe is one of the best neck lifters in USAWA history, and held the overall record for many years.  To come back and hit a personal record now several years later shows true ability.  I was glad to be able to witness his lift (as I had not seen his previous record lift).

6.  Troy Goetsch and his 260# one handed Vertical Bar Lift at the Grip Championships.

I’ve seen many great VB lifts in the past, but Troy’s is one of the best.  Troy won the overall lifter at the Grip Champs, and his VB was the lift that I will remember from him on that day.

5.  Frank Ciavattone and his 202.5 KG Ciavattone Grip Deadlift at Nationals.

Frank still has some great lifting in him, as shown with this big lift at our National Championships which is named after him.  I never get tired of watching Frank do Ciavattone Grip Deadlifts – and this is one I’ll never forget.

4.  Dan Wagman and his 120# Pullup at the Dino Gym Record Day.

YES – that’s 120 pounds strapped to the waist and then performing a pullup with the chin OVER the bar with no kipping!!! And hold for a down command!  Not too many around could even come close to this performance of Dan’s.  I’ve seen a lot of great lifting out of Dan and often what he does does not surprise me – but this pullup did!

3.  Joe Ciavattone Jr. and the 1400# Hand and Thigh Lift at the Heavy Lift Championships.

Junior doesn’t realize yet that he will be a future superstar of the USAWA, but I see it.  His untapped strength is unreal, and this big H&T proves it.  He just finished with a 1200 at the meet,  I gave him a couple of tips between lifts, and then he adds 200 pounds and gets it easily!  Impressive to say the least…

2.  Eric Todd and this 1000# Neck Lift at the Battle of the Barn II.

ET has put up 1000 pound Neck Lifts before several times – but this one was done with rules beyond those of the USAWA.   He cleared the floor substantially, and then HELD the lift for over 2 full seconds recorded on a stop watch.  I’m still shaking my head after seeing that effort!

1.  Art Montini and his 107# Teeth Lift at the Presidential Cup.

All I can say is that I still don’t know how he did this!  Art is 85 years old and has FALSE TEETH.  This lift won him the Presidential Cup of the USAWA for the year, and I would say deserving of the lift that impressed me the most!  Art has been one of the most active lifters in the USAWA this year – attending most of the championship events, attending the “Big Three” (Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup), and still involved with promoting his annual Birthday Bash.  He has a deeper resume than anyone in the history of the USAWA, and I’m glad to name Art’s lift as the most impressive lift of 2013.  Congrats Art!!

The Wagman Log – Not So Pristine

By Dan Wagman, PhD, CSCS

Publisher/Editor in Chief: Journal of Pure Power (JOPP)

Consultant: Body Intellect Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium

Dan Wagman's homemade wooden log.

Recently Thom Van Vleck wrote a wonderful article about the Jackson Stones on his farm. One of the responses to that article on the USAWA Forum mentioned how strongman should be about lifting such oddly shaped stones, not what you find today with the “pristine standardized stuff you see anymore.” I immediately thought to myself, “Yeah, just like the silly perfectly balanced steel logs they use anymore.” So allow me to introduce you to my log—a real log.

Dan pressing Kaz's wooden log in the 1991 USA Strongman Championships.

In the early 90’s Bill Kazmaier put on the first USA Strongman Championships and I wanted to compete. Of course one of the events included the log press. My gym owner was very supportive of my powerlifting and we even put on a State Bench Press meet together. So as soon as he heard that I wanted to compete in strongman USA’s, he offered to “sponsor” me—by cutting down a tree in his yard so I could practice the log press. I thought he was kidding…until he pulled his truck up to the front of the gym, gesturing me to hop in. We proceeded to head to his place to take down a tree. It actually didn’t take very long at all. He had a chain saw, cut that thing down, cut off the branches, cut the log to four feet, and then used the tip of the chain saw to cut out hand-holds through which we drilled holes and inserted 1-inch pipe as grips—done!

We threw the log in his truck and went straight back to the gym. Next step, weighing the log…200 pounds. Next step…lifting it. My friend had first crack at it and couldn’t lift it. Then I went and with much, much difficulty I was able to press it out for one rep. After applying some of that new science I learned since I had just started my graduate work in exercise science, I was up to 16 reps in two weeks and then over 20 at the end of a month. At Kaz’s meet I ended up with the highest log press rep-count by knocking out 22 reps with Kaz’s real log. Those were the days…

After several months the log dried out and started to lose weight. To make it heavier I would periodically hose it down with water, but that made no difference and it stabilized in weight at 155 pounds. Of course I had to find a way to add weight, which I did by bolting floor flanges to each side and screwing in 2.5 inch pipe; now I could add plates. Time to crank!

After perfecting the clean and press or push-press with that log and then having to press a wonderfully balanced steel log, it’s no wonder why I tend to spank my competition in the log press. I’d go as far as saying that lifting a perfectly balanced steel log serves to limit your strength gains. It’s probably the same thing with stones…Maybe in this day and age STRONGMAN should be renamed to something more pristine such as not-as-STRONG-as-I-could-be-MAN.

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