Tag Archives: Darren Barnhart

Holland Pulling Wheels

by Al Myers

Holland Pulling Wheels

Holland Pulling Wheels

I love deadlifting – and I mean all kinds of deadlifting movements. One way to really “mix up” your training is to do different pulling movements that directly transfer to deadlifting a bar off the floor.  I have over 20 deadlifting movements that I incorporate into my deadlifting training at various times.  Sometimes these are primary exercises of the day – other times they are done to supplement floor deadlifts.

Darren Barnhart getting ready to pull on the Holland Pulling Wheels as they are elevated on blocks.

Darren Barnhart getting ready to pull on the Holland Pulling Wheels as they are elevated on blocks.

I’ve always enjoyed high bar deadlifts.  These are excellent supplemental exercises to a deadlift training day as the range of movement is less and you can overload your pulls. I’ve often pulled deadlifts off blocks in the past, which I like much more than pulling in the rack off a pin.  Lately I’ve been using the Holland Pulling Wheels and like them better than blocks. These are over-sized 24″ in diameter steel wheels which place the bar at 12″. One thing you will notice right away is how easy it is to add plates as the added plates are off the floor!  No need for a deadlift jack here! Another feature I really like about them is that there are cut out sections which provide a perfect place to grab and move them which makes them very easy to load on a bar.

These Holland Pulling Wheels are very well made – consisting of 1/2″ steel plate. There is no rim on them to bend. The only issue with this is that they can damage the floor, so I throw a rubber mat under each wheel to protect the floor.  This works well as I can add more mats if I want to increase the height of the bar. These wheels have a center bushing which makes them very stable on a bar.

Holland Strength and Fitness has a very good price on these Holland Pulling Wheels (some bumpers cost more per pound!).

Check them out at: http://www.mcssl.com/store/hollandstrengthandfitness/holland-pulling-wheels

Introducing the DRAGSTER

by Al Myers


I’m constantly thinking up new ways to impose self-induced torture on my training partners.  It’s the DINO GYM mentality!  We have a 150 foot cement “runway” in front of the gym that is perfectly level – that we use for pulling sleds, walking with yokes and farmers implements, carrying kegs,  and the like.  It’s a great way to get in a little “cardio” after a lifting session, and after a few runs, you are totally “wiped out”.  Plus doing these activities are WAY MORE fun than sitting like a puppet on the stationary exercise bike or walking  aimlessly to nowhere on the treadmill.  That type of cardiovascular training bores me to tears.  Actually, I can’t even stand it its so boring.  I just watch the clock constantly – waiting for my 30 minutes to elapse so I can quit.  Training is suppose to be fun!!!!!

Al "the DINOMAN" Myers giving Darren Barnhart a fast run on the DRAGSTER.

Well – NOW IT IS!!!  I’ve pushed on all types of prowlers, and love them.  But I always felt like the prowler could be improved, so thus, the invention of the DINO GYM DRAGSTER!  You can think of the dragster as the “ultimate prowler”  – it takes the prowler to a whole nother level!  I’ve spent a lot of time on this design, and after much prototype redesigning, it finally is perfected. 

Last weekend was the BIG TEST DAY for the final design of the dragster. I gathered several of my training partners for this grueling experiment, and we spent a couple of hours being test subjects.  I had no idea how exhausted I was becoming because I was having so much fun!  The next few days I paid the price with my front quads being so sore I couldn’t go up steps. The unique thing about the dragster is that it can take “live weight” along with added plates.  Of course, when I say “live weight” I mean one of your training partners.  Actually, I had as much fun riding the dragster as pushing it.  Sorta made me feel like a kid again riding my sled down the hill when it snowed.  This “live weight” added a whole new dimension to the training as when you were the one pushing you wanted to give the other guy a fast run – thus the reason for the name DRAGSTER!!!

This is the perfect training implement for everyone – lifters, athletes, strongmen, etc.   I’m going to take the Dragster to production. If anyone is interested in one – send me an email and I’ll give you a quote.

Dino Gym Shooting Competition

by Al Myers

Dave Glasgow won the Handgun Division, as well as the Small Bore Rifle Division.

I’m sure everyone is wondering how the shooting competition following the Dino Gym Challenge turned out.   Well, it ended up taking about as long as the meet to complete!  I had several entrants in each shooting division, with some outstanding marksmanship taking place. Luckily, we had a perfect day of weather with very minimal wind.  Four divisions were contested, and each person could enter whichever division they wanted, depending on what their shooting expertise was.  Darren Barnhart was the only one to  enter all four divisions.  The four shooting divisions were:

1.  Shotgun Trap Shot
2.  Small Bore Rifle (.223 caliber and smaller)
3.  Large Bore Rifle (above .223 caliber)
4.  Handgun

Darren Barnhart entered all four divisions, showing his diversity as a shooter. He's indeed an All-Round shooter!

The TOP THREE in each division are as follows:

Shotgun Trap Shot  – 25 blue rock targets were throw from an electric trap thrower, with each shooter getting one shot per target.

1.  Darren Barnhart – 18/25
2. Thom Van Vleck – 16/25
2 (tie). Chad Ullom – 16/25

Small Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Dave Glasgow – 61 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 58 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 36 points

Large Bore Rifle – 5 shots at 100 yards and 5 shots at 200 yards.

1.  Thom Van Vleck – 71 points
2.  Darren Barnhart – 16 points
3.  Dan Wagman – 0 points!

Handgun – 5 shots at 3 yards, 5 shots at 7 yards, 5 shots at 10 yards

1.  Dave Glasgow – 176 points
2.  Dan Wagman – 152 points
3.  Chad Ullom – 96 points

World Champ Dan Wagman takes aim - I just don't know at what!!!

Now for a little commentary on the days shooting.  First, I didn’t compete, but instead acted as the official to make sure everything was done on the “up and up”.  I was most surprised by Chad  Ullom.  Chad continues to show everyone that he seems to be a natural at everything.  He doesn’t even own a gun, and very rarely has ever shot one, but wanted to compete so he borrowed a shotgun from Darren to enter the shotgun contest.  He started off miserably – missing his first half dozen shots. At this point – he made a newbie mistake and jammed up Darren’s gun so it wouldn’t work anymore.  I then had to let him borrow one of mine to finish his shoot. At this juncture I gave him a few shooting tips and reminded him of the value of my shotgun, and that I would hold him accountably for it if he broke it.   Well, this motivational talk of mine must have got him focused and he seemed to “get on fire” and started hitting every target!!!  Thom was solid as expected in the Trap Shoot, but still ended up with a tie with Chad for second.  Darren won the event with a very good 18 out of 25.  Next up was the small bore rifle competition.  Again, Chad was up against a couple of seasoned shooters in Darren and Dave, but made a fine showing to get third with again a borrowed rifle, edging out John O’Brien who scored a 27.  Darren had the lead after round 1 at 100 yards, but sharp-shooter Dave eclipsed him in round 2 at 200 yards to win the small bore.  The large bore rifle had three entrants: Thom, Darren, and Dan. A controversy immediately resulted as Dan was going to enter using his 5.56 M4 Colt Carbine.  A discussion ensued that this division was for .223 caliber and above, but after a group consensus, it was determined that the 5.56 caliber was indeed just slightly larger than the .223 caliber, and thus within the rules to be entered.  Thom was one hand with his trusty 6mm Remington rifle.  I could tell by the way he carassed his gun that it was a trusty ole friend of his, and that he had an intimate relationship with it.  I want to mention something here about rifle shooting.  Long distance rifle shooting requires a steady hand and a silent concentration – not exactly the mindset that most  weightlifters have.  Most of us that have been around Dan in the weightroom know that he gets about “as jacked” as any lifter could before an attempt.  I could see his jugular pulse beating away as he set up for his shots.  I thought for a moment that he was going to pull an ammonia cap out of his pocket to give him more of an adrenalin rush.  Add in the fact that he was shooting “open sights” and that the M4 Colt is designed to be shot as “accuracy through volume”, it was not adding up well for him.  I was slightly embarrassed to tell him that not only did he not hit the target once – but that he wasn’t even on the paper!!!  Now Thom was another story.  He destroyed the target with each shot using his bolt-action rifle in systematic fashion, and won by a HUGE MARGIN.  But Thom told me afterwards that his years in the Marines trained him well for distance shooting, and that paid off in his victory in this division.  We finished the day with the handgun division.  We conducted the event under the rules established for qualifying for the Kansas concealed license.  Darren was shooting a ultralight handgun that looked like it would fit in your front pocket without being noticed.  Chad borrowed a .22 pistol from Darren, Dave was shooting a 9mm semiautomatic, and Dan was shooting a huge 45 caliber.  Quite a diverse set of handguns for this competition.  Dave showed his years as a policemen training on the 9mm that he was in a “class of his own”.  His shooting technique was superb and hit the center on practically every shot.   Dan shooting his huge 45 made it about impossible for me to tally his score as he shot the entire center of the target out, and Chad really surprised me by hitting the target on every one of his shots.  Overall, this was a great competition and a fitting ending to a great day at the Dino Gym!!!

The Dumbbell Walk

by Al Myers

Darren Barnhart, of the Dino Gym, performing the Dumbbell Walk last Saturday at the Dino Gym.

Often in the Dino Gym when the workouts are over, different odd training toys get pulled out for impromptu challenges.  This happened the other day in the gym with an official USAWA lift, the Dumbbell Walk.  The Dumbbell Walk is one of the most unique and strange lifts in the USAWA Rulebook.  Years ago when I first read the rules on it, I thought “now there’s an odd one”.  This lift is surrounded with mystery.  How did it come about?  I took a little time and looked through all my collection of back Strength Journals, books, and other mostly irrelevant strength information.  I could not find one single bit of research on it!  Who came up with it?   It was one of the original lifts in the USAWA, meaning it was part of the group of lifts that got “adopted” with the first rules were adopted.  It is an official IAWA lift as well as is included in the IAWA(UK) Rulebook.

The rules for the Dumbbell Walk are as follows from the USAWA Rulebook:

A distance of 10 feet will be marked out on a surface before the walk. The dumbbell and lifter must be behind the line at the start. The handle of the dumbbell must be 3 ½ inches in diameter. The lifter must hold the dumbbell with one hand only. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. It is recommended to straddle the dumbbell during the walk, however, the lifter may carry it to the side. Once the lifter lifts the dumbbell and begins the walk, the dumbbell must not touch the walking surface before the finish line or it will be a disqualification. The dumbbell may be lifted to any height during the walk, but it must always be hanging at arm’s length downwards. The lifter must put the dumbbell down under control completely past the finish line for the walk to be complete. The non-lifting hand must not touch the dumbbell or lifting hand and arm during the walk. The non-lifting hand may be placed on other parts of the body. It is acceptable for the dumbbell to accidentally touch the legs or body during the walk, provided it does not aid in the walk.

This is the 3.5" dumbbell handle that must be used for the Dumbbell Walk.

This is one of only two USAWA lifts where a distance must be covered in the execution of the lift (can you name the other?).   It has been contested only once in USAWA competition – at the 2010 Dino Gym Record Day.  Only myself and training partner Darren Barnhart have a USAWA Record in the Dumbbell Walk.  At this record day a Challenge ensued between us and Darren edged me out, 100 pounds to 95 pounds.  I’m pretty sure the reason the Dumbbell Walk has not been contested more often in competition is due to the special dumbbell required, with the 3.5″ diameter.

This is an outstanding grip exercise.  I think I might even put it in next year’s Grip Challenge at the Dino Gym.  It is also one of those grip exercises where when you add just a little bit more, say only 5 pounds, and the exercise goes from easy to impossible!

This is a YouTube Video of Darren performing the Dumbbell Walk with 100 pounds at the 2010 Dino Gym Record Day.