Tag Archives: Neck Lift

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:


Neck Lift Challenge at Worlds

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (left) and Eric Todd (right) both lifted over 1000 pounds in the Neck Lift Challenge!

OK – I promise that this will be the blog that “wraps up” the news from the 2012 World Championships.  I know I have said that already a few times. However, I want to HIGHLIGHT a special event that will “go down in history” in several peoples minds that were there to witness it first hand.  It was quite a spectacle and one of the most memorable events that I ever remember happening at any lifting event I have ever been at.   Chad Ullom and Eric Todd had agreed to a NECK LIFT CHALLENGE to determine “once and for all” who the Worlds best Neck Lifter is.  They have been trading the Overall World Record “back and forth” between them over the past couple of years. 

Frank Ciavattone (center) served as the Head Official of the Challenge.

Neck Lifter EXTRAORDINAIRE  Frank Ciavattone assumed the role of Head Official.  It is only appropriate that Frank perform this duty – as his Neck Lifting resume is a mile deep!  I took on the roll of the announcer, and I have to admit that I got “caught up in the moment”.   The parameters of this Challenge was laid out beforehand to stimulate competitiveness – unlimited attempts with each lifter getting to choose what they wanted to go to next.  I made a call of a weight, and then they could decide if they wanted to try it or not.  The weight on the bar for THE FIRST warmup was 500 pounds!! It wasn’t that long ago when 500 pounds was considered a world class lift in the Neck Lift.  However on this day it was just the first warmup!!  It wasn’t long and both lifters were over 700 pounds.  At this point – each lifter started using a little strategy to gain an advantage over  the other.  The Champ went to 800, and got it easily.  ET countered with 850, and then Chad went after a NEW WORLD RECORD of 920#, which appeared as a very easy attempt.   ET then made the call to go after the BIG 1-0-0-0.   At this point things were really heating up.  Eric got the 1000 pounds, and became the first lifter to break the 1000 pound barrier in the Neck Lift.  However, Chad then moved the bar to 1010 and with a great effort, made a successful lift.  TWO LIFTERS over 1000 pounds for the first time, and all happened in under 5 minutes!  ET then raised the weight to 1030, which maxed out the Neck Lift bar.  He made the lift in a dramatic fashion.   Chad countered with 1040, but it was just a little too much for him on this day.  After all, he had just completed a 2-day World Meet with many max lifts over the weekend before this monstrous challenge event!

An event like this we could have sold tickets for.  It was a climatic ending to a great weekend of lifting by all.


Neck Lift Challenge
Dino Strength Training Center
Salina, Kansas
October 7th, 2012

Officials (3 official system used):  Frank Ciavattone, Frank Allen, Denny Habecker

Lift: Neck Lift

1. First Place – Eric Todd:  1030 pounds
Age 37 years, BWT 118 KG

2.  Second Place – Chad Ullom: 1010 pounds
Age 40 years, BWT 112.0 KG

Neck Lift Showdown!

by Al Myers

Chad Ullom (left) VERSUS Eric Todd (right) in a Neck Lift Challenge! Will one of these SUPERMEN exceed the 1000 pound barrier?

We are in for a SPECIAL TREAT this weekend at the 2012 IAWA World Championships. The two best Neck Lifters in the WORLD have agreed to have a duel – a NECK LIFT SHOWDOWN! Last year at the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in York, PA, Chad Ullom became the first man to exceed 900 pounds in the Neck Lift with a lift of 900.  Then this year at the USAWA Heavy Lift Championships in Bowling Green, OH  Eric “ET” Todd broke Chad’s record with a outstanding 905 pound effort.  However, ET’s record didn’t last long, as Chad upped it to 915 pounds at a record day in the Dino Gym this summer.  Well, that didn’t set well with Eric so this challenge was issued! (ok…in reality I set it all up, but it sounds better this way!!!!).  Both of these guys are “on the hunt” to be the first man to break the magical 1000 pound barrier.  Maybe this challenge on this big International stage will bring it out in them?  This will be a good ole’ fashioned ONE ON ONE DUEL, reminiscent of past circus shows between strongmen. 

The greatest Neck Lifter in HISTORY Frank Ciavattone will be on hand to be the head official for this duel.  Frank holds the Guinness WORLD RECORD in the Neck Lift at 808# under the strict judging criteria of Guinness.  This is the link to Frank’s Guinness World Record:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-4000/heaviest-weight-lifted-by-neck/ .  This battle will occur right after the finish of Sunday’s competition, while the meets scores are being tabulated. It is something that you will NOT WANT TO MISS!!

Dino Days Record Day

by Al Myers

The first Team (2-Man) Neck Lift ever performed, by Al Myers and Chad Ullom, at the Dino Days Record Day. We lifted 1205 pounds.

Seven lifters performed record attempts at the Dino Days Record Day on August 12th.  Of these 7, three made it that didn’t compete the previous day in the Dino Gym – Tim Songster, Mike Murdock, and Molly Myers.

I’ll start the report with the youngest lifter of the day.  My daughter Molly continues to amaze me with her lifting ability. She has spent some time in her young life training, but never anything consistent.  I keep telling her that she has great ability lifting weights, but I haven’t over-pressured her to be a weight lifter.  Usually in record days, I have picked lifts for her that she could set records in easily, as I didn’t want her to feel disappointed if she couldn’t exceed a previous record.  But this time, I picked a few records that I knew she would have to get a great performance to exceed the current record on the books.  The first choice was the Fulton Bar Ciavattone Grip Deadlift.  The previous record was 148# (which I consider a very good mark) and Molly exceeded it with her last attempt at 151#.  This got her very excited and after that the records fell at a rapid pace, ending with a very fine 130# 12 inch base squat.

Mike Murdock performing one of the "first ever" Jackson Presses at the Dino Days Record Day.

Since I’m reporting in the order of age, that makes Chad at 40 the next in line!  Chad started the day off with a 135# Jackson Press.  When he finished he made the comment that he picked that lift to recognize the JWC, since none of the JWC members were in attendance.  He then started focusing on regaining his Neck Lift record, which he lost to Eric Todd at the Heavy Lift Championships.  I decided I would join him in the Neck Lift, but I knew I would only be his “pace car” as he proceeded to heavier and heavier poundages!  I dropped out at 700 but to Chad it seemed as he was still just warming up.  He finished with 915# for the new ALL TIME record in the Neck Lift. After that we decided to do some 2-Man Neck Lifts.  This was our first time trying out this new bar apparatus I had made to do this lift, and we finished with 1205#.  We could have done alot more, but we need some more training time to synchronize our efforts.  Unlike other 2-Man lifts, this one is performed “totally blind” as you are looking up and have no visual cues.  Add in the element of danger, and this lift becomes much more difficult than other 2-Man lifts.

I was glad to meet another lifter from Jobe’s Steel Jungle.  Tim Songster made his first appearance in the Dino Gym. Tim set 8 new records in various different lifts.  I could tell Tim is a true all-rounder, as he seems to really enjoy the variety of the different lifts.  If someone else was trying a different lift, he wanted to “give it a try” as well, and in the process learn how to do this new lift. Welcome to the USAWA Tim!

LaVerne made an appearance on both days at this year’s Dino Days.  The day before he teamed with Dean Ross in the Team Championships. It appeared to me that he must have still been on this “team approach” as it seemed they did all the same lifts!  LaVerne, Dean and Mike started the day off doing the Bear Hug. The Bear Hug is a lift very rarely contested in the USAWA, and it seemed like they were doing it for over an hour.  They must have tripled the weight they started with.  LaVerne ended up on tops with a lift of 206#, followed by Dean at 181#, and then Mike at 156#.  However, in the new USAWA lift, the Fulton Bar Bench Press, Dean and Mike had the best lifts (178#), followed by LaVerne at 123#. Another lift that “stuck out in my mind” was the 1250# Back Lift by Dean.  That is a huge lift!

Again, I want to thank everyone who attended this record day.  I really enjoy watching others have fun lifting weights, and afterall, that is what it should be all about.


Dino Days Record Day
Dino Gym
Abilene, Kansas
August 12th, 2012

Meet Director: Al Myers

Officials: Al Myers, Mike Murdock, Chad Ullom, Jesse Jobe, LaVerne Myers


Molly Myers – Female, Age 13, 164# BWT
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 151#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar: 201#
Deadlift – Heels Together: 182#
Bench Press – Feet in Air: 100#
Curl – Cheat: 75#
Jackson Press: 45#
Press – From Rack: 45#
Squat – 12″ Base: 130#

Chad Ullom – Age 40, 253# BWT
Jackson Press; 135#
Clean and Press – On Knees: 211#
Neck Lift: 915#
Turkish Get Up: 71#

Tim Songster Sr. – Age 45, 208# BWT
Bear Hug: 181#
Swing – 2 Dumbbells: 130#
Swing – Dumbbell, Right Arm: 85#
Turkish Get Up: 53#
Extension – Back: 110#
Swing – Dumbbell, Left Arm: 85#
Bench Press – Roman Chair: 65#
Jackson Press: 160#

Al Myers – Age 45, 248# BWT
Neck Lift: 690#
Extension – Back: 140#

LaVerne Myers – Age 68, 249# BWT
Jackson Press: 75#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 123#
Bear Hug: 206#

Dean Ross – Age 69, 275# BWT
Jackson Press: 95#
Arthur Lift: 75#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 178#
Bear Hug: 181#
Turkish Get Up: 35#
Back Lift: 1250#

Mike Murdock – Age 72, 225# BWT
Jackson Press – 115#
Bench Press – Fulton Bar: 178#
Bear Hug: 156#
Deadlift – Fulton Bar, Ciavattone Grip: 201#

Al Myers and Chad Ullom
Team Neck Lift: 1205#

NOTES:  All lifts are recorded in pounds.

ET’s 905 Neck Lift!

by Al Myers

Eric Todd established a new Overall World Record Neck of 905# at the 2012 Heavy Lift Championships. Longtime allrounder John Kurtz is in the background watching this impressive lift.

I didn’t think it would be possible – seeing Chad’s big WR Neck Lift of 900 pounds get broke so soon.  But it did happen, and just like last year, happened at the event highlighting the chain lifts, the Heavy Lift Championships.  Eric Todd, of Cameron Missouri, put up successful lifts last weekend in the Neck Lift of 700#, 800#, 860#, and then with his extra record set the record with a lift of 905#!  As I said yesterday, the 900 barrier is now the level to shot for to be considered as “one of the best” in the Neck Lift. I always knew ET might have this ability in him.  He is a former wrestler and has a neck like a NFL linebacker.  I also knew he had the mental toughness to not be intimidated by this large amount of weight.  He made the lift rather easily as well.  Congratulations Eric on setting this new record!!!

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