Tag Archives: James Gardner

James Gardner Lifts Dinnie Stones

By Al Myers

James Gardner lifting the Dinnie Stones unassisted in front of the watcher of the Stones, David Webster.

James Gardner lifting the Dinnie Stones unassisted in front of the watcher of the Stones, David Webster.

I can’t believe I haven’t done this blog yet.  In fact – it’s BIG NEWS to me when someone lifts the Dinnie Stones unassisted (meaning bare hands only – no straps). It even means more to me when it’s someone I know, and someone who I consider a good friend as well!  James Gardner, of Barton under Needwood in England, accomplished this great feat on August 6th, 2016 at the Aboyne Highland Games in Scotland.

At the Aboyne Games they held a competition with the Dinnie Stones. Many stone lifting dignitaries were in attendance, including David Webster, Dr. Terry Todd, Bill Crawford, and others. James performed two unassisted lifts with the Dinnie Stones, and then later won the competition for hold for time with the stones, with a lengthy 13 second hold. This secured James a spot in the Dinnie Stone legacy.

The history of the Dinnie Stones was on display at the games.

The history of the Dinnie Stones was on display at the games.

I have lifted with James many times, and he has one of the best hook grips I know of.  He’s been performing big single arm deadlifts for years and through his years of competing in tug of wars has developed an unbelievable grip so I’m not surprised one bit that he was able to lift the Dinnie Stones.

Congrats to James!!!!

Gold Cup

by Steve Gardner

James Gardner won the overall Gold Cup Award, the Prechtel Memorial Award, with this amazing lift in the Shoulder Drop of 92.5 kilograms!

The Gold Cup took place at the Burton Powerhouse All Round Weightlifting Academy in Burton on Trent on Saturday 25th October. In short…it was a fantastic day! We had 56 lifters entered for the day, the biggest turnout in IAWA’s 28 year history for an International event, with 6 Nations represented (Unfortunately Kim and Graham Alway had to leave before the event started due to a death in the family and our deepest sympathy goes out to them) but it was still a massive event.

I was so proud to be there on the day with so many great people and to witness them performing so many outstanding lifts. Thanks to all the overseas lifters who brought the International Flare. Every lifter brought new energy to the platform and we saw about 50 different lifts performed to exceptional standard, I wish I could mention them all in this report but there are just too many.  There were several records on the day that were the ‘heaviest ever performed’ in IAWA. I know big Mark Haydock had two….one in the 2 Inch Bar Deadlift and one in the Alternate Grip Clean and Press. James Gardner also with a massive 92.5 kilos in the Shoulder Drop, and Neil Keddy too with the French Press I think. James’s lift earned him the ‘Howard Prechtel Memorial Award’ which was presented to him by last years winner  Al Myers’ and Neil Keddys exceptional 60k French Press saw him in the Runners Up spot. The lifting was just ‘Outstanding’ and Frank Ciavattone hit big numbers in the Ciavattone Deadlift. It was great for me to see my 8 year old Grandson Dominic perform a lift to earn a Gold Cup, and my heart melted when I heard he asked his Mum if the cups were real Gold. So proud to have lifted on the same platform as my Wife, and my two Sons: John and James and also my Grandson..three generations! I am so very pleased with the tremendous help from my team members at our Burton Club as they helped load all the lifts for the other loaders. Everyone helped everyone else, and that is what enabled us to get through at least 275 record attempts. The final showdown between Al Myers and his Dad Laverne brought the house down as they went head to head in the struggle for supremacy in the One Hand 2 inch Dumbbell Deadlift, Laverne winning out over Al in the finish. It was most refreshing to have 12 female competitors really leading the way for the Ladies..well done girls, and 8 Junior lifters as well, from young Dominic at 8 yrs, Elena De La Mata at 9yrs through to Matt Jones at 18yrs and Maddie Ell at 19 yrs, well done young ones you are the future of our sport. Our Masters division was really well represented too with 78 yrs old Gerry Davidson our most Senior lifter on the day.

Steve Gardner (right) was presented this new gym sign by IAWA President Al Myers (left) for all his hard work in promoting the IAWA Gold Cup on behalf of the IAWA membership.

It was just so great to have so many people from the IAWA family with me, and the evening Dinner and Presentation was also tremendous. As well as the Gold Cup presentation, I was knocked out by the super present given to me by Al Myers..the stunning Gym sign to hang in the Burton Powerhouse, thanks again big Al. And then later in the evening, well how could anyone forget Nick Swain and his mate Ben performing as ‘ The King Elvis’s..Lol! Just Priceless.Thanks again to everyone, and I mean everyone who helped me to make the day a great success…..Long Live IAWA!


2014 IAWA Gold Cup
Burton Powerhouse Gym
Burton, England
October 25th, 2014

Meet Promoter:  Steve Gardner

Announcer: Steve Gardner

Recorder: Judy Habecker

Record Keeper: Chris Bass

Loaders: All members from Powerhouse Gym

Officials:  Several IAWA Officials in attendance

Results (PDF) – Gold Cup 2014 Results

Gardner wins Prechtel Trophy!

by Al Myers

James Gardner wins the Prechtel Trophy as the BEST LIFTER of the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup.

For the first time ever, an award was given at the IAWA Gold Cup to represent the event’s BEST LIFTER.  This award is given in remembrance of the late Howard Prechtel, who served three terms as the IAWA President.   The concept of the Gold Cup was Howard’s idea – and the Gold Cup has indeed blossomed into one of the major IAWA events. This award will from now on become an annual award, and appropriately called the Howard Prechtel Memorial Trophy. 

This year’s winner goes to JAMES GARDNER of England, having performed an outstanding World Record Turkish Get Up of 75 kilograms.  James is more than deserving of this award, and showed unbelievable tenacity to even be there competing.  James showed up late, as he was suffering from the intestinal flu the night before, and looked like he was not going to be able to do anything, let alone a big lift like he did!  Congrats James – you earned it!

The rankings were done by using the Blindt Formula.  This formula multiplies a Blindt Factor against total adjusted points to put all lifts on a “level playing field”.  Each lift is assigned a different factor, depending on the lift.  The top placements using this formula were:

1.  James Gardner – 75 KG Turkish Get Up
2.  Steve Sherwood – 125 KG Lunge Squat
3.  Luke Davis – 50 KG Turkish Get Up
4.  Timo Lauttemaus – 127.5 KG Index Fingers Deadlift
5.  Gary Ell – 185 KG 2″ Bar Hacklift

Are you fit?

by Al Myers

James Gardner "in action" in the Tug of War competiton held the day after the Gold Cup at the Holland Sports Club. The Holland Tug of War Club competes at the World level, and in a few weeks will be competing in Belgium.

A couple of  weekends ago  at the Gold Cup in England, my daughter Emily was explaining to my English mate James Gardner what a sorority was in the United States.  She was telling him about her sorority that she lives in at the University, and how it is an organized group house with 50-100 other girls and how they participate in philanthropy on the campus and  in the community.  I found the whole conversation quite comical, but when James asked her if  “the girls were fit?” and Emily replied, “yes, we all work out at the fitness center”, I knew her answer was not what was meant by James’ question!  He was wanting to know if these girls possessed certain beautiful traits to his liking, while Emily thought he was talking about their level of  physical fitness.  Later that weekend on the Sunday after the meet, I was privileged to attend a benefit to raise funds for breast cancer hosted by the Holland Tug of War Club, which James is a part of and his dad Steve is the coach.  Several Tug of War teammates and pullers from other teams showed up to support the cause.  Steve divided all in attendance up evenly and a short tournament was contested.  It was when Steve announced to the crowd that the winning team would be taking on the AMERICAN DREAM TEAM (and pointing to Denny, Emily, and myself) that I started to get worried.  Sure, I have particapated in Tug of War contests in my college days, but after watching these seasoned Tug of War pullers go “after it” in serious competition  I knew I  was nothing more than a rank amateur with very little Tug of War skills, and for sure would make a fool of myself!  But I don’t turn down a good challenge, so when the time came to perform I gave it all I had.   I would say the first 10-20 seconds I felt pretty good about things, but the next couple of minutes were sheer torture.  Finally it was over and I thought that was it, but then Steve said it was going to be the “best of three”.  Well, let me tell you I was still bent over “huffing and puffing” when it was time to start the next pull!

This is a picture of James perfoming a 70 KG Turkish Get Up with a bar at the 2011 Gold Cup. This is the most ever done in the IAWA. James is one of those very unique athletes who is able to "be fit" to compete in two different sports at the international level.

This story brings me to a discussion Steve and I had later that night in the pub when I was telling him how impressed I was with his Tug of War Club.  Steve explained to me the training they do weekly, and the things they do to prepare for a full day of pulling, which may consist of 50 or so pulls in a day.  That takes lots of conditioning and stamina.   That brings us to the title of today’s story – ARE YOU FIT?  After talking with Steve, it is apparent to me that this question is a  very vague one, and only applies to whatever sport you are trying to be FIT FOR.  Just like James’ definition of “being fit” was different from Emily’s, there are many other different definitions of “being fit”.    I feel like I’m fit for a weightlifter, but obviously not for other strength sports, like Tug of War. I plan my training to prepare myself for a full day of weightlifting competition.  At least once per week I have a long training session (over 4 hours) so when meet time rolls around I still feel strong at the end of the day.  Sometimes I even take a long break during my workout (30-60 minutes) and resume training to simulate a long day with a break at a meet.  I have been around alot of lifters and throwers who don’t realize this is an important training effect and neglect it, only to be “totally shot” by the end of the day and end up deadlifting a lot less than they could in a powerlifting meet since the deadlift is last, or missing that last height in the WOB at the end of the day that they should get because they are worn out by that point.  It is all about being “FIT” for the sport you do, and that is what your training should be preparing you for.  I have had young highschool boys come the Dino Gym to workout, and after putting them through a squat workout that is less than I do weekly, it leaves them sore for days, sometimes unable to walk.  And these are kids who play football, are in good shape, can run windsprints all day long, but not “FIT” for lifting weights even though they are “FIT” for football.  

It is IMPOSSIBLE to be FIT for everything.   Pick what’s important to you and focus your training on that.  And when it comes time to compete, it will pay off and you can call yourself FIT.

My take on the Gold Cup

by Al Myers

A highlight at the Gold Cup for me was performing two 2-person lifts with my daughter Emily. On our first lift we did a 757# Straddle Deadlift, and on our second lift we did a 804# Deadlift. Both of these marks are ALL-TIME RECORDS in IAWA for a male-female team.

This is not intended to be a meet report, but rather “my take” on the 2011 IAWA Gold Cup held last weekend in Burton on Trent, England.  First of all, initially I was not planning on attending this meet since I’m going to the IAWA World Championships in Australia next month.  But when my good “mate” (that’s american for friend, haha) James Gardner invited me to stay at his place I could not turn him down. And after the fun-filled weekend I had, I’m glad I went! I made a quick trip out of it, only staying for the weekend.  I call a trip like this “pulling an Art” – after the the MAN OF STEEL  Art Montini and his reputation of going oversees to a big meet and only staying for the meet itself.  This weekend was EXTRA SPECIAL for me since I had my oldest daughter Emily traveling with me.  This was her first weightlifting meet EVER, and she only agreed to compete because that was the stipulation I had for taking her along!  

The person who made this event happen was our IAWA President Steve Gardner (in middle). To Steve's right is Chris Bass, who is the "official scorekeeper" for the IAWA.

Now for a  few general words on the Gold Cup.  This meet is one of TWO big IAWA competitions held each year (the World Championships is the other).  It was started years ago by Howard Prechtel as a meet to celebrate World Record Lifts by World Champions.  Initially, the only lifters who were eligible to compete were current World Champions.  A rule from the beginning in the Gold Cup is that the lifter must OPEN on his first attempt at a World Record in the lift of his choosing.  Also in the beginning each lifter could chose only one lift to perform their World Record in. You could call it the “ELITE OF RECORD DAYS” .  Since then the stipulations have been lessened and anyone can compete in the Gold Cup, regardless of whether they are a current World Champion or not.  If a lifter can not find a World Record they can break, they can enter the Silver Cup instead, and go for a National Record, or even just a personal best.  This way no one is excluded from this prestigious international event.  Also, at several Gold Cups of recent, time has allowed the lifters to have a second choice lift which they can perform as well.

I finally got to meet Steve Angell from England (right). Steve is a three time Overall Best Lifter at the IAWA World Championships (1996, 2000, 2001).

I felt the turnout for this meet was very good – 25 lifters took part.  Our IAWA President Steve Gardner was the meet promoter, and as he always does, promoted an exceptional meet.  I was glad the meet was held at his club in Burton, the Powerhouse Gym.  I like to experience the feeling of lifting in other all round clubs.  You feel “connected” to their involvement in All-Round Weightlifting.   Several outstanding records where set by the lifters in attendance. One of the neat things about a Gold Cup is that you get to see lifters perform the lifts that they are the best at, and in turn get to witness some great lifts.  The Gold Cup is not like any ole record day where the lifters go about their business lifting and doing records in a chaotic fashion.  One platform is set up and when it is YOUR time to lift you get it all to yourself while everyone else watches.  You perform all three (or four) of your attempts back to back, and the stage is all yours.  This allows one to watch EVERY LIFTER and gives each lifter a little extra recognition.  Like I said earlier, the Gold Cup is the ELITE OF RECORD DAYS.  The experience is WAY MORE than just setting a World Record, as it is about being part of something special offered by the IAWA.  I highly recommend that every All Round lifter go to the Gold Cup at least once in their life.  

James Gardner and his 96.5 KG One Handed Fulton Bar Deadlift. This is the most EVER lifted in this lift!

Now on to the lifts done.  I have done a lot of thinking what I would consider the BEST RECORDS of the day were.  This was a hard decision for me because I was very impressed with EVERY lifter, but I did come up with my TOP FIVE.   My vote for the NUMBER ONE GOLD CUP RECORD  was done by James Gardner.  James first lift was the newly formed IAWA lift, the Turkish Get Up.  In this he did the MOST ever done with a very fine lift of 70 KG.  But that’s not the lift that impressed me the most.  It was his second choice lift, the One Hand Fulton Bar Deadlift.  In this lift he lifted an UNBELIEVEABLE 96.5 KG (212 pounds).  This record is now the most EVER lifted in this lift, exceeding Frank Ciavattone’s mark of 210 pounds.  I consider Frank the BEST ONE HAND GRIP LIFTER in the history of the USAWA, so this really says something about James’ achievement in this lift.  Another lifter and lift that really impressed me, and was my second pick,  was Mark Haydock of England. Mark performed a 210 KG Front Squat breaking the previous World Record in this lift held by the current IAWA World Champion Chad Ullom.  I officiated Chad when he set his mark, and I remember how deep he took his front squat when he did it.  I was glad to see Mark break Chad’s record by taking his front squat just as deep.   My “third choice” in best records goes to England’s Steve Sherwood and his Ciavattone Grip Deadlift of 180 KG.  That is pushing 400 pounds for a lifter who is 60 years old and only weighs 80 KG!  What a grip!!   Later that night at the Gold Cup banquet Steve was inducted into the IAWA(UK) Hall of Fame, and it is no wonder why.  He lifts poundages that I would not expect him to lift.  He second choice lift of a 140 KG Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift was impressive as well.   Number 4 on my list goes to John Gardner and his 140 KG (309#) middle fingers straddle deadlift.   I would call John the “sleeper” in this group of great lifters because I didn’t expect a lift like that out of him.  That is a WORLD CLASS finger lift and on top of that, it appeared to me to be a submaximal effort on his part.  He made it look way to easy!  The last of my top five goes to the Scottish lifter Andy Tomlin and his 185.5 KG left handed deadlift.  Breaking 400 pounds in the one handed deadlift is always very impressive to watch, and currently there are only a small group of IAWA lifters who can do it.  To make Andy’s lift even that more impressive, is that he suffered a back injury a week earlier and wasn’t sure he would even be able to compete!   I will tell you this, later that night at the banquet when he was feeling really good (after a few pints of instant pain relief) he was really talking big – and issued a 2-man one arm deadlift challenge against Chad and myself at next year’s Gold Cup in Scotland.   He recruited Steve Angell to be his partner before even asking him, and of course I couldn’t turn him down even before asking Chad to be my partner.  Before long another “team” joined in this challenge as well (Mark Haydock and James Gardner).  So it looks like the 2012 Gold Cup is setting up to be a BIG SHOW of international competition in the 2-man one arm deadlift.  I did remind Andy that Chad and I have the BEST MARK ever set in this lift (done last year at the 2010 Gold Cup) of 800 pounds, so they better be in form “to bring it”.

Mark Haydock performing his record Front Squat of 210 KG.

I could go “on and on” about last weekends trip but I’m going to stop at this.  I especially want to thank Steve Gardner for his efforts in promoting this outstanding  meet.  It was a meet I will never forget.

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