Tag Archives: Total Poundage

Cancer Benefit by Powerhouse Gym

(WEBMASTER:  The Powerhouse Gym in Burton, England recently did a weightlifting fundraiser for Breast Cancer and Cancer Research.  The following writeup was done by Steve on the IAWA(UK) Facebook page, but I feel it is noteworthy to on the USAWA website as well.  Well done to Powerhouse Gym!!!)

by Steve Gardner

Powerhouse Gym Charity Weightlifting Record Attempt

Participants in the Charity Benefit from the Powerhouse Gym.

At 6pm on Monday 14th January 2013, ten members of the Powerhouse Gym took part in an epic attempt to lift as much weight as they could in three hours and nine minutes: as per the IAWA World Record criteria. The event was run to raise money for Charity as well as for the individuals to attempt to set new records in the lift. To complete the challenge the lifters used the hand and thigh lift with varying weights from 50, 100 and 150 kilos for repetitions. As the event proceeded the lifters grip started to suffer and were callouses torn, with a great added pressure on the referees and organising officials as the constant counting and officiating of all the repetitions, and keeping the lifting to a regular order, making sure every attempt w…as properly completed and recorded, took its toll. The last 30 minutes was at fever pitch as lifters used every last ounce of enthusiasm to complete as many lifts as possible within the time, and when it was all over the officials and lifters were mentally shattered as well as physically.

Promotion for the Charity Lift Off.

At the end of the event, the team had amassedan amazing total of One Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty One Thousand and Seven Hundred Kilos (1,981,700.00) a mind boggling amount. Karen and Steve the main organisers of the event are very proud of the lifters who completed the challenge and now hope to be IAWA record holders with: Paula De La Mata 45,500.00 Jason Dorn 199,250.00 Graham Saxton 182,000.00 Mark Price 264,000.00 Simon 232,000.00 Luke Davis 268,000.00 James Gardner 300,000.00 and John Gardner 337,000.00.

Hopefully the team will have raised a good sum of money for Breast Cancer and Cancer research and we will keep people informed once we have the grand total, and Karen will arrange for a representative from the Cancer unit at Burton Hospital to come along and receive the money – Once again..Well done all, and a big thanks to all who sponsored the team!!

Gary Ell – The Tiverton Dynamo

by Al Myers

Recently I had the great fortune of interviewing  “The Tiverton Dynamo” Gary Ell.  Gary lives in Tiverton, Devon, England.  He trains at the Tiverton Weightlifting Club and has been competing at the IAWA World level for several years now.   Gary is a very dynamic lifter – and recently performed a very exhausting lifting marathon as a fundraiser for hospice.  Most don’t know this about Gary, but in March of 2007 he was in a serious car accident.  As he was sitting in his stationary car, another vehicle going 70 mph smashed into the back of his car! The doctors said he would never walk right again, let alone ever lift!  He has proved them all wrong.  Initially all he could do is Bench Press as he suffered a serious back injury. The other guys in the club had to actually lift him off the bench after his sets since he couldn’t get off the bench by himself!!!  Gradually, through persistent training he has been able to regain most of the lost strength.  Gary has a lifting tenacity that few have – thus earning the nickname of the Tiverton Dynamo!! Last month I was able to “catch up” with Gary at the Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland – so let’s get to the interview!

Gary Ell performing a 2" Bar Hack Lift of 185 kilograms at the 2012 IAWA Gold Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. This was the FIFTH BEST performance of the Gold Cup, based on the Blindt Formula.

AL:  Please tell me a little about yourself. I have known you for a few years now, but I don’t know much about your personal life.

GARY: Al, I have been married to Jackie for 18 years (Jackie works in a bakery).  I have one stepson Kris who is 22 and a chef, and 2 daughters Maddy (17) in the Royal marines band (saxophonist), and Mina (15) who is studying at high school. I worked previously as a brewery engineer and before that as a beer taster. For the past four years I have worked as an Ambulanceman. The other sport I play is Water Polo and I represent Tiverton playing in goal.  I have played many sports over the years including cricket, soccer and rowing.  My ‘weights’ career started in powerlifting, graduating into All-Round lifting for fresh challenges. I love the variety of lifts and never lack for a challenge,  always encouraging the youths at the club to try new lifts. No two workouts of mine are ever the same!

Gary Ell receiving congratulations for his fundraising effort!

AL:  Recently, you performed an IAWA lift (Total P0undage Lift)  that is not very well known for a charity cause. Could you elaborate on this? I’m interested in what motivated you to do this and why, as well as the specifics of your record setting effort.

Gary performing an overhead lift during the lifting marathon.

GARY:  I had decided to raise some money for charity (hospiscare – who look after cancer and other terminally ill patients).  I visit the hospice and I know the nurses who provide great help and support in the community as well. 1 in 3 people get cancer during their lifetime, some survive and unfortunately some don’t make it. Having read Steve Gardner’s tribute to Andy Goddard (although I hadn’t met Andy), this cemented my plan to do something positive.  Having found the Inman mile I persuaded the lads at the club to give it a go earlier in the year.  I looked for a fitting challenge.

Then the F4 lift “total in 3hrs 9 mins” was discovered. I mentioned it at the club that I wanted to give it a go. After putting together the necessary helpers, refs, etc, Mark Rattenberry said why don’t you do a variety of lifts? And so the ‘Century Lift a thon’ was born, comprising of 100 different IAWA lifts to be completed in the time limit.  I proceeded to construct a true all body list of the 100, incorporating Power, Dumbell, Olympic, Speciality(Steinborn, Zercher, Shoulder drop etc) and 2″ bar grip test as the lifts.  All the lifts had to be unaided, no harnesses or equipment lifts.  And all through just the hands.  (the Travis was included, but executed with just hands and no special belt).  The first challenge was to do the 100.  The second challenge was to look at the masters records and list them all, to see if any were possible!  The third challenge was to try and lift 15tons through the hands in the time.

And so the exhibition began, the lifts being done pretty much in order, no warm ups ,straight in , a blend of maximal lifting , repetitions, and speed lifts, one after the other (to catch up time).  Pauses and more attempts for the records, some just done and moved on to the next.  It became a battle of endurance and fatigue was a very big factor around the 2 hr mark. I’d left most of the deadlift style exercises to the end of the list, but only ended up with 1 rep straddle, hack and deadlift as the power had all gone.  All 100 exercises were completed, totalling 400 successful lifts, and 36522.7kgs (80349.9lbs)

Gary performing a hands together bench press during the event. Gary did 100 different All-Round lifts during his record setting performance!

AL:  That’s an amazing accomplishment! I’m sure you were pretty sore the next day! Surely, you had to have several helpers to make this effort happen? Also, I know you did this as a fundraiser. Did you met your goal?

GARY: Hands – Very sore, after the lifts I couldn’t straighten my fingers naturally and I had claw-like hands.  I ripped off four callouses, which are now healing.  Even today (Thursday) I have ‘Traps’ of iron, and surprisingly, sore hamstrings.  The guys at the club, Mark Rattenberry, Thomas Cleverley and Axel Amos, did refereeing and loading, and one of our younger lifters Dion Maynard loaded nearly every lift as well. Everything was set out at four lifting ‘stations’ and without the help of the guys it wouldn’t have been possible.  I set myself an optimistic goal of raising £250,  and when it has all been collected the total will be very close to it.   I am very pleased to be able to make a contribution to the charity.

Just another lift done - the seated press.

AL: I commend you on using your given abilities in this manner. That is a noble cause in raising money for hospice, as cancer affects nearly every family. Are there any plans in the future to do this again?

GARY: As for any plans, I told the guys it was one of their turns on this event next year!  I was told , “We ain’t mad enough – only you are!!”,  which I found funny as well as honoured in an odd kind of way.  I am sure we will as a club do the Inman mile challenge again sometime in 2013.  As for me, I probably will come up with a madcap challenge at some point. I think I am likely to come up with a power rather than endurance event,  ” but I’m mad so who knows!!”.

AL: In closing, I want to thank you for allowing me to do this interview with you. Are there any more comments you would like to make?

GARY:  Al, I am deeply honoured that you wanted to do an article on this,  and I have had a beaming smile since being asked. I often read the articles on the USAWA website, and to be featured amongst the legends of the sport is a high honour for me, inspiring me to do more. It was all made possible by the help I got from the guys, and I have had a positive response and support from the charity calling me inspirational.  That is deeply touching and humbling.  It made all the pain and effort so worthwhile.

Rules for the Total Poundage

by Al Myers

This was the day that Steve Schmidt set the ALL TIME RECORD in TOTAL POUNDAGE.

Steve Gardner wrote a really nice piece last week about the origins of the unique lift – the Total Poundage.  This lift is unlike all other all-round lifts.  It is NOT a lift done for maximum weight.  It is about TOTAL POUNDAGE established over a time frame.  It is more than just a “repetition lift”, as the lifter can stop & go on repetitions (which is not allowed on lifts for repetition).  Let me get to the rules here:

USAWA Rule for Total Poundage

The accepted time limit is three hours, nine minutes.  The lifter may choose any lift and perform the lift for repetitions in any number of sets and poundages. The reps in the sets, and the poundage used in the sets may be changed or varied throughout the time period.  Each repetition must be properly completed, with the exception of the down commands in which the repetition does not need to be held motionless at completion.  The lifter is permitted to take rest periods.  The repetitions are multiplied with the pounds lifted to determine the total poundage lifted in the allotted time period.

Of course to establish a high total for poundage, the lift selected becomes very important, as some lifts more weight can be lifted in than others.  The usual choices for TOTAL POUNDAGE have been lifts like the Back Lift, Harness Lift, Travis Lift, and Hip Lift.  Another important destinction is that the repetitions done DO NOT need to be held for a down command (which is different than lifts done for reps, as each rep needs to be judged as it was a single, which includes an officials down command).    The IAWA rule for this lift is written with the same intentions, but doesn’t point out this rule stipulation.


The lifter has a time limit of three hours and nine minutes to lift as much weight as possible to create a time limit total. The lifter can choose any manner of lifts to perform, with any combination of sets or reps, but each repetition must be completed properly for the weight to count towards the time limit total. The total poundage creates the record.

Causes for Failure:
1. Failure to complete any lift or repetition in the correct fashion will exclude that particular lift / repetition from the overall total set in the time limit of three hours and nine minutes.

I was fortunate to be present the day the best record ever was established in TOTAL POUNDAGE.  On December 14th, 2002 Steve Schmidt Back Lifted 8,087,095 TOTAL POUNDS at Clarks Gym.  This broke the overall TOTAL POUNDAGE record held by Howard Prechtel  at 6,066,060 pounds set in 1982.   Back in 2009 I wrote a blog outlining the details of Steve’s performance – http://www.usawa.com/quiz-of-the-week-4/   To date, I believe these are the only two lifters that have exceeded Warren Lincoln Travis mark (5.5 million pounds), which should be considered the mark to beat.  WLT set the bar on this lift, so to speak.

Total Poundage

by Steve Gardner

Some were asking recently about the history of the IAWA Record for Total Poundage in 3 hours and 9 minutes. It was started by the late great Warren Lincoln Travis.

Here is the story:
Warren Lincoln Travis was the first famous strongman in the United States and a world champion back and hip lifter, who performed feats of strength on Coney Island in the first quarter of the 20th century.  Travis was born in Brooklyn and turned professional at age 21. He weighed only around 200 pounds at his prime. In 1906, he was awarded the “World’s Greatest Weightlifter” by a popular strength publication and received a jewel-studded belt.
His favorite lifts were the Heavy Lifts, such as the Harness Lift and the Back Lift, and Finger Lifts.  In front of witnesses, he lifted 3,985 pounds in the Harness Lift and 4,140 pounds in the Back Lift. In 1907, he lifted 667 pounds with one finger.

Travis was a successful as a businessman and became very wealthy. For 55 years, he held the record for total poundage lifted, that is, lifts done for repetitions, where the lifter may choose any lift and rep/set scheme, to lift the most weight within a given time frame. The standard for this record was initially set by Travis in 1927, when he Back Lifted 5.5 million pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes.  He did this by doing 5500 reps with 1000 pounds. His record was broken in 1982 by Howard Prechtel (who later became first President of IAWA) who Back Lifted 6,066,060 pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes.

Quiz of the Week

by Al Myers

In the USAWA, lifts done for repetitions may be contested in competition and for records. The ultimate record for repetitions is the TOTAL POUNDAGE, where the lifter may choose any lift and rep/set scheme, to lift the most weight within a given time frame.  The standard for this record was initially set by the great Warren Lincoln Travis in 1927 when he Back Lifted 5.5 million pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes. This was done by doing 5500 reps with 1000 pounds.

Name the TWO USAWA LIFTERS who have exceeded this, along with their TOTAL POUNDAGE.

Steve Schmidt setting the all-time record for TOTAL POUNDAGE on December 14th, 2002

Congratulations to the Winner of this week’s quiz –  Tom Ryan of Acworth, Georgia – who correctly identified the two USAWA lifters as Steve Schmidt and Howard Prechtel. Tom had an advantage in this quiz, as he was a witness and assisted in the counting of repetitions during Steve Schmidt’s record. Howard Prechtel initially broke Travis’s record in 1982 by Back Lifting 6,066,060 pounds in 3 hours, 9 minutes. It was accomplished by doing 5460 reps with 1111 pounds. This was then upped by Steve Schmidt, on December 14th, 2002 at Clark’s Gym, in which he lifted 8,087,095 pounds in 2 hours 50 minutes. Steve was 48 years old at the time and weighed only 209 pounds. He accomplished this by lifting 1,115 pounds a total of 7253 times, using the Back Lift. Bill Clark was the official judge and counter of this Herculean effort. I was fortunate to also have witnessed this event and can attest to the stamina Steve exhibited in accomplishing this feat.  He was performing 45 reps per minute, which gave him only about 30 seconds rest per minute.  He maintained this pace for two hours!!!!  Steve broke Howard’s record in 1 hour, 57 minutes.   The conditioning required for something like this must be much the same as that of a marathon runner. I was amazed how quickly Steve recovered following this endurance record, as he did not seem out of breath at all afterwards and even joined in with us on some other record lifts.  Will this TOTAL POUNDAGE record be broken in the next 100 years?   Only time will tell…..