Tag Archives: Dino Gym

Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Members of the Dino Gym that were present at the 2014 Nationals to recieve the Club of the Year Award, (left to right): Al Myers, Dean Ross, Chad Ullom. The award was presented by Mike Murdock (right).

At the USAWA National Championships this summer, the USAWA awarded a Club of the Year for the past year.  I am extremely proud of the members of my Dino Gym for winning the award!  It takes an entire club’s involvement and participation to win this award in our organization.  Runner up went to Habecker’s Gym, ran by the USAWA President Denny Habecker.  These awards were presented by members of last year’s Club of the Year, the Ledaig HA.  Mike Murdock and Logan Kressly had the honors of presenting the awards on behalf of the Ledaig Club.

CLUB OF THE YEAR – DINO GYM

RUNNER CLUB – HABECKER’S GYM

Logan Kressly (left) presenting the Runner Up Club of the Year Award to Denny Habecker (right).

Dino Gym Club of the Year

by Al Myers

Every year the USAWA gives out yearly awards honoring special achievements amongst the membership for the prior year.  This Awards Program began in 2009.  The award recipients are voted on and chosen by the membership with the exception of the Club of the Year.  This award is earned on merit -with points being accrued by participation in the USAWA by each registered club.  I just calculated the club points for all registered clubs in 2013 – and I’m excited to announce the Club of the Year for 2013 is the DINO GYM!  This is a team effort with each club member earning points.  For this I want to congratulate the Dino Gym members: Darren Barnhart, Rudy Bletscher, Scott Campbell, Chuck Cookson, Ben Edwards, Tasha Ullum, Alan English, Mark Mitchell, LaVerne Myers, Molly Myers, Dean Ross, Scott Tully, Brianna Ullum, and Chad Ullom.  Extra points were generated by club participation in the “big meets” by Molly, Bri, LaVerne, Dean, Chad and myself.

Club Awards are determined by adding up club points using this 4-Step System:

1. One point awarded to the club for EACH USAWA registered member that lists the club as their affiliated club on their membership application. This designation is also listed beside the members name on the membership roster.
2. Two points awarded to the club for EACH club member that participates in the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup. Points are awarded for each competition, so if one club athlete competes in all three of these big meets it would generate 6 points for the club.
3. Three points awarded to the club for EACH USAWA sanctioned event or competition the club promotes.
4. Four bonus points awarded to the club for promotion of the National Championships, World Championships, and Gold Cup.

Habecker’s Gym won the Runner Up spot in the Club of the Year Award.  Despite only having 3 registered gym members (Denny Habecker, Judy Habecker, and Barry Bryan), thru big meet participation and promotion of the 2013 Nationals and 2013 Gold Cup by club leader Denny, they secured a solid second place finish.

Club of the Year Final Standings (Top Five Listed)

1.  Dino Gym – 46 points
2.  Habeckers’s Gym – 28 points
3.  Frank’s Barbell Club – 20 points
4.  Ambridge BBC – 10 points
5. (tie) Clark’s Gym – 7 points
5. (tie) – Jobe’s Steel Jungle

Frank’s Barbell Club came in fourth by being “well rounded” in their point generation, and getting points in all areas. The club had 5 registered members (Frank Ciavattone, Jeff Ciavattone, Colleen Lane, Jessica Hopps, and James Delaney), had participation in the Nationals and Gold Cup by Frank and Colleen, and promoted three meets (including the Heavy Lift Championships).

Ambridge BBC came in fourth – all due to one man! Art Montini was the only one from the Ambridge Club to register membership in the USAWA for 2013, but thru Art’s devotion to the USAWA by participation in Nationals, Worlds, and the Gold Cup, plus promotion of his annual birth day bash he generated all the points himself!

You may notice that the 2012 Club of the Year Ledaig HA is not listed on the above list.  There’s a reason for that – the defending Champ is not eligible the following year.  This was put in place originally as to not allow the same club to win the club of the year award year after year.  The Ledaig HA Club will have the honors of presenting the Club of the Year awards this year at the National Championships during the awards ceremony.

All together there were 13 registered clubs in the USAWA for 2013.  All of these clubs need mentioned as they are the “backbone” of our memberships.  Over 75% of our yearly membership comes with lifters affiliated with a registered club.  The USAWA Clubs for 2013 were: Al’s Dino Gym, Ambridge VFW BBC, Clark’s Championship Gym, Frank’s Barbell Club, Habecker’s Gym, Jackson Weightlifting Club, Joe’s Gym, Jobe’s Steel Jungle, KC Strongman, Ledaig Heavy Athletics, Salvation Army Gym, Schmidt Barbell Club, and M&D Triceratops (owned and operated by the late Dale Friesz).   Making the “TOP FIVE” is a great achievement for any club, and one each USAWA club should strive for!

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.

My Plate Collection

by Al Myers

The plate collection in the Dino Gym.

I’ve never been much of a collector – I’ve always thought why get something to just look at and not use?  However, I do have a plate collection in the Dino Gym from several different weightlifting plate manufacturers.  This collection started several years ago when my buddy Thom gave me a few different types of plates in one of our “topper gift” exchanges.  It contained mostly 1-1/4 and 2 1/2 pound plates.  Since then I’ve added to this collection.   Most of these plates were made by “iron casters” that are no longer in business – which makes them so unique and special to me.

This is a Milo Bar Bell plate that is over 100 years old!

This is the list of plates that I currently have:

Kung Cheng
Hercules
Milo Barbell
Champs Barbell
Healthways Hollywood
Beerbell
All American Ways to Health
Dan Lurie Brooklyn NY
Pro Gym Barbell
Fit for Life
Weider Barbell
Jack LaLanne
Keys
Billard Barbell
Prosport Fitness
York Barbell
Golds Gym
Paramount Las Angeles
DP
Intersport
Sunsport Champion

A few of these brand name plates were obviously cast by the same mold.  Champs Barbell, Healthways, and the All American Ways to Health look very identical in shape and size.  Altogether, I have 21 different plates out of well over 100 plate manufacturers that has been in existence.  My favorite is the Milo Barbell plate, that was cast by Alan Calvert and his Milo Barbell company that was the precursor of York Barbell.  It is the exact casting of the “first generation” York plates.   The one very unique plate in the above collection, which has NOTHING to do with being used to place on a bar to lift, is the Beerbell.  It is a 1 1/4 lb. plate that is shaped to sit a cold can of beer on!!  Other favorites of mine are the Jack LaLanne plate, the Dan Lurie plate, and the obscure Kung Cheng and Hercules plates.

I decided today would be a good day to run this story about my plate collection since Christmas is coming up.   I know I’m a hard guy to find a gift for – so I’m just throwing out some ideas here!!! LOL  I could always take a few additions to my plate collection.

A good POWER RACK is hard to find

by Al Myers

This is the custom-built Power Rack in the Dino Gym, which I made many years ago. It has many unique features (like hydraulic jacks attached to the bar hooks for easy adjustment of a loaded bar) that benefit lifters and lifting!!

I’ve spent a good part of my adult life in the gym training, and with that experience comes exposure to many different type of power racks.  Some good, but most have deficiencies in my opinion.  There always seems to be some feature that is less than optimal on each one I have used.  But Power Racks (or often called Power Cages – same thing, different name) have come a long ways since the early York Cages or Iron Man Power Racks.  I consider a good power rack as the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT piece of equipment in a gym (behind bars and plates).   A good power rack is the centerpiece of any serious gym, and often the most used piece of equipment in a free weight based training facility.  Up to 50% of my training time is spent in the “rack” each week doing a multitude of different lifts.  Having a good power rack to fulfill your training objectives goes a LONG WAYS to making continued strength improvement.  Today I’m going to go over power rack features that I feel are very important in having the ultimate power rack, from most important to least important. 

1.  Sturdy construction and Size

There are many racks on the market made out of lightweight tubing, with bolt-on construction.  A Power Rack should be heavy duty and not “bouncing around” every time a squat is racked in it.  A frame made out of at least 2.5″  11 gauge square tubing is necessary.  Also – the side frames should be welded and not bolted together.   Most commercial racks that are sold will use bolt-on construction to minimize the shipping costs – but in turn will cause inherent weaknesses in the power rack.  Bolts will loosen up with time, and bolted construction allows “wiggle room” in the joints.   Depth of power racks is also important to give plenty of room for lifting.  The depth of a power rack should be at least 36 inches.  The power rack should be high enough to not interfere with any type of overhead lifting you want to do – but this is often limited by ceiling height.

Power Racks have come a long ways since this "top of the line" power rack advertised in a 1966 issue of Iron Man.

2.  Bar Hooks (or J-hooks as they are normally called)

I think the bar hooks (which holds the bar in the power rack) either “makes or breaks” a good rack.  They are the most functionally used piece of the Power Rack, and should be of the highest quality, yet often good racks have junky bar hooks.  A bad bar hook will be an ongoing frustration and will soon completely overshadow all other aspects of your power rack.  Most bar hooks are made by utilizing bending, which often gives an inconsistent product.  Most  bent- type bar hooks I’ve seen have a sloppy fit on the rack.  The reason for this because of the bending a good consistent tolerance can’t be maintained – and thus manufacturers make them loose to insure that they will fit in all cases.  I just hate bar hooks that “swing in the breeze” on a rack.  Every time the bar is moved the bar hook will slide to the side.  Bar hooks should also be of adequate length, but at the same time not too long as to catch the bar as a lifter comes up from a squat.  Short bar hooks are a bigger problem.  A bar hook should be of length to allow a lifter to rack the weight easily.  Another important feature is NO SHARP EDGES.  I have scars on both of my shoulders that occurred as the result of bar hook injuries in the gym.  Both times I wasn’t paying attention and caught the edge of my shoulders on bar hooks attached to the front of the rack.  Add in the number of times I’ve cut the outside of my palms from sharp edges on hooks as I was racking a heavy squat, and you can see why I think this is an important feature.  Bar hooks should also be easy to adjust to different heights, and not require specialized wrenches or tools to do this.  

3.  Elevated bottom cross member

Most of the commercial power racks available DO NOT allow a wide based squatter to get proper foot placement.  A floor cross member interferes with the feet when trying to take a wide stance squat  (often limited to 43″ or 44″ at width).  This problem is easily addressed by raising the bottom cross member  up 12 inches.  That’s it – but for some reason power racks often are not designed that way.   A good power rack should allow for “sumo stance” lifting.

4.  Multiple adjustments

A good power rack should allow for any spacing of the bar hooks or safety supports.  I’ve seen some manufacturers go way overboard with the number of holes they place in their uprights (and make a holey looking rack, haha), but most have hole spacings that are too far apart, thus making it more difficult to get the correct setup for the hooks and supports.  Most serious lifters like their bar height setting for unracking a bar down to an inch of being correct.  I think anything over 2″ spacing is too much.  But placing more holes in tubing is an expensive manufacturing cost – so this is often compromised in providing a top quality product.

5.  Safety supports

A good power rack will have quality safety supports.  Safety supports are the adjustable cross members that will catch the bar in case of a failed lift.  Think of them as your safety net.   They should adjust easily, yet be very sturdy and secure.  Often you will see a rod inserted through the holes of the rack for this.  That is a poor design in my book as no rod is going to stay straight after dropping a loaded bar on it.   Some manufacturers have a pipe that you insert the rod through for the safety supports.  Again that is a cheap poor solution to safety supports.  Safety supports should be strong enough to lift off of – like doing rack pulls.  For this they need to be well made.   Having them lined with rubber to protect the bar is also a good idea, yet most all of them don’t have that.  They should be easy to adjust to different height as well.

6.  Able to take Add-ons

Add-ons for power racks are the new thing amongst the leaders of manufacturers of power racks.  However,  I prefer a power rack that “looks like a power rack” and not cluttered with unneccesary appendages hanging off it at all angles, but I know I’m in the minority on this.   As for the add-ons I’m talking about here – chin up bars, plate storage, bar racks, band/chain peg attachments, land-mine attachments, chain/band storage, dip attachments, front safety supports, med ball bounce plates, etc.  And there’s even more!!!  Before long the  power rack doesn’t even look like a power rack anymore.   Gyms and training facilities like to keep a “clean house” and with all the new training devices being used nowadays, it is hard to find a place to store them so the solution seems to be to just hang them on the power rack.   The important thing here is to have a power rack that has the capability to utilize whatever add-on YOU WANT.

I know I’ve covered a lot here – but Power Racks are something that I’m passionate about.  If anyone ever wants to either discuss power racks, or has specific questions about them just drop me an email (amyers@usawa.com) .  I’m always glad to hear from other power rack enthusiasts!

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