Tag Archives: USAWA Rules

Membership Required

By Al Myers

The biggest financial support of the USAWA comes from individual memberships in the USAWA. Membership fees are critical for our organization to survive.  All membership fees go into the USAWA bank account – there’s no money siphoned off for administrative fees.  In turn, all of the money the USAWA spends goes back to the membership in one form or another. We operate on a “bare bones” budget.  It’s so bare there’s no areas anywhere where cuts could be made without taking away services the USAWA offers to the membership.

Today I want to emphasize how important it is for meet directors to ensure that the lifters in their USAWA meets join the USAWA.  The following rule is part of the USAWA Rulebook.

VIII. The Competition

11. The Meet Director is responsible for verifying that all competitors are current USAWA members, and must submit new member applications along with the membership dues to the USAWA secretary immediately after an event. Failure to do so may result in loss of meet sanction following a competition or event.

It should be an obvious assumption that you must be a current member of the USAWA in order to receive the benefits of an USAWA sanctioned event.  And a member THE DAY OF the competition – not the next day or the next month or the next year.  Current means RIGHT NOW.  I will leave lifters off meet results if they entered a competition and are not a member of the USAWA the day of the meet.  I’ve heard a meet director complain that his lifters didn’t get listed because of a technicality.  Well, not being a current member the day of the meet is NOT A TECHNICALITY.  That’s a rule violation.  A technicality would be forgetting to sign your membership application, or forgetting to list your zip code on your membership application. I have never disqualified someone for those things. In those instances I notify the lifter in question to redo their application so it’s right (assuming the payment is good!!!).

As stated in the rules it’s the meet directors responsibility to make sure everyone is a member. Most lifters register before they enter a competition, but if not a meet director should collect membership applications and dues the day of the meet.  Now it’s super easy to confirm membership status (membership roster is always up to date on this website).  Then come Monday morning after a weekend event mail the applications and dues to me.  I know the mail can be slow at times, but by the end of the week I should have everything “in hand”.  I give a 1 week “in the mail” buffer, but after that time it’s obvious to me that it was not taken care of when it should have been.  Then it’s too late. And not my problem.

Now if a meet director wants to let someone enter a USAWA meet they’re promoting who is not a member that’s their business, but DON’T include this lifter in the meet results you send to me because then it becomes mine and the USAWA’s business.  Just leave the lifter out of the results.

Enough said.

Deadlift – Middle Fingers

By Al Myers

Our USAWA President Denny Habecker getting getting a good stretch on his middle fingers doing the Middle Fingers Deadlift at the 2011 Grip Championships.

Our USAWA President Denny Habecker getting getting a good stretch on his middle fingers doing the Middle Fingers Deadlift at the 2011 Grip Championships.

The THIRD lift contested at the USAWA Grip Championships is the Deadlift – Middle Fingers.  This is a “love or hate” lift for most lifters. It’s one that has been contested before at the Grip Championships. A USAWA Grip Championship wouldn’t be complete without at least one finger lift in it. A lot of other grip competitions ignore the finger lifts as grip lifts, but not the USAWA!  Out of our over 200 officials lifts, 17 are done with an individual finger/fingers (I’ll give a prize to anyone that knows them all).

The USAWA Rule for the Deadlift – Middle Fingers is:

B7. Deadlift – Fingers, Middle

The rules of the Deadlift apply except only the middle fingers of both hands may be used. The middle fingers of both hands may grip the bar in an alternate manner. The thumb must not be in contact with the lifting fingers.

Pretty simple – just hook your middle fingers around the bar and pull!  The key is to block out the pain and the rest is easy.  I’ve written several past blogs on the Middle Finger Deadlift (you can search and read them on this website if you want to), and in a few of them I’ve mentioned what I like to call the USAWA Goerner Club. The great German Strongman Hermann Goerner claimed to have lifted 308.5 pounds in the MF Deadlift around 1925. I consider this mark the ultimate goal for the Middle Finger Deadlift. Only a few USAWA Lifters have accomplished this. This is the short list for the USAWA Goerner’s Club.

1. Kevin Fulton 400 pounds – 1999 SuperGrip Challenge
2. Ben Edwards 315 pounds – 2016 USAWA Grip Championships
3. Bill DiCiccio 309 pounds – 1994 IAWA Gold Cup

That’s IT – only three lifters.  Several others have been very close to making it in official USAWA competition (Joe Garcia 305#, Myself 305#, James Fuller 303#, and Chad Ullom 300#). But being close doesn’t get you in the club!  It doesn’t even get you a pat on the back. As much as I hate the Middle Fingers Deadlift, it really intriques me as I admire any lifter who wants to punish themselves for the fun of it.  I’ve looked through most all past USAWA meet results (but still may have missed something), so I’m pretty confident that the USAWA Goerner Club stands at three.

But yesterday I got to thinking about how much the pre-USAWA All Rounders loved the MF deadlift.  They also did the MF DL in official competitions so their results are not just some “gym story” of someone doing a big MF deadlift in training somewhere.  The precusor and inspiration for the All Rounds came from the early Missouri Valley Weightlifting Association, whereas Bill Clark promoted Odd Lift competitions for many years. Lets see how the modern age USAWA lifters match up against these old timers! The following is a list I developed from old record lists and meet results from the early days.  I only listed marks that have exceeded Goerners famous 308.5# lift.

1.  Ken McClain, Missouri 350 pounds – 1984
2.  Bill Broadnax, MSP 350 pounds – 1981
3.  Joe Nanney, USP 345 pounds – 1961
4.  Daryl Johnson, Arkansas 335 pounds – 1980
5.  Wilbur Miller, Kansas 320 pounds – 1983

That’s FIVE LIFTERS that I found! There were probably more.  It looks like the USAWA has some catching up to do.  Let’s make that happen at this weekend’s Grip Championships.

Pinch Grip

By Al Myers

Troy Goetsch lifting 255 pounds in the Pinch Grip at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships. This is the top record in the USAWA Record List for the Pinch Grip. Troy went on to win Overall Best Lifter in the Grip Championships.

Troy Goetsch lifting 255 pounds in the Pinch Grip at the 2013 USAWA Grip Championships. This is the top record in the USAWA Record List for the Pinch Grip. Troy went on to win Overall Best Lifter in the Grip Championships.

The USAWA Grip Championships will be here soon! The first lift of the day will be the Pinch Grip.  I’m going to go over the basic rules for the Pinch Grip.

I15. Pinch Grip

The setup for this lift requires two metal plates joined together with smooth surfaces facing outward. A bar may be placed between the plates to hold them together, and should be long enough to add plates to it. Front hang or back hang is allowed to the loading of the center bar. Collars should be used on this bar. The lifter’s fingers must not touch any added plates. The width of the two plates joined together must be between 2 ¼ inches and 2 ½ inches. The lifter will straddle the weight, with the weight being placed in front of the lifter. Width of feet placement is optional, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise.  The lifter will then grip the plates with both hands on the top of both plates. The palms of the hands must be facing the lifter. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight must be lifted to a point where the lifter’s legs are straight and the body upright. Once the weight is motionless, an official will givThe setup for this lift requires two metal plates joined together with smooth surfaces facing outward. A bar may be placed between the plates to hold them together, and should be long enough to add plates to it. Front hang or back hang is allowed to the loading ofthe center bar. Collars should be used on this bar. The lifter’s fingers must not touch any added plates. The width of the two plates joined together must be between 2 ¼ inches and 2 ½ inches. The lifter will straddle the weight, with the weight being placed in front of the lifter. Width of feet placement is optional,but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Feet must not move during the lift, but the heels and toes may rise. The lifter will then grip the plates with both hands on the topof both plates. The palms of the hands must be facing the lifter. The lift begins at the lifter’s discretion. The weight must be lifted to a point where the lifter’s legs are straight and thebody upright. Once the weight is motionless, an official e a command to lower the weight.

One special treat for the lifters is that I have a pair of old style milled York Plates to use for the Pinch Grip.  These plates are unique in that the “backsides” have a some milling marks which slightly enhances the grip on them. The plates will be connected with a loading pin (actually a 2″ Vertical Bar).  I will also have some 25’s and 35’s if lifters are going to start under two 45 pound plates. The USAWA rules for the Pinch Grip differ from the IAWA(UK) rules.  The USAWA requires two steel plates to be used while the IAWA(UK) allows a single smooth bumper plate to be used as the gripping plate.  The USAWA rules allow front hang and/or backhang while the IAWA(UK) rules require equal loading on each side.  These are major differences in the Pinch Grip rule. However from what I’ve seen the IAWA(UK) advantage of the use of the bumper plate nearly balances the USAWA advantage of allowing fronthang in total weight lifted.

No substances other than chalk is allowed on the hands.  I will be officiating and this is one thing I will watch for! I expect some big lifts in the Pinch Grip and expect a few USAWA records to fall.

OVERALL USAWA RECORDS IN PINCH GRIP

WT CLASS LIFTER POUNDS
70 KG Colby Howard 100
75 KG Stephen Santangelo 141
80 KG Chris Jaeschke 150
85 KG Dan Wagman 226
90 KF Mike Pringle 175
95 KG Troy Goetsch 255
100 KG Ben Edwards 162
105 KG Al Myers 215
110 KG LaVerne Myers 190
115 KG LaVerne Myers 200
120 KG Matt Graham 200
125 KG Matt Graham 200
125+ KG Mark Mitchell 252

 

Deadlift-Reeves

by Al Myers

Mark Mitchell lifting 455 pounds in the Reeves Deadlift for a Dino Gym Record in December of 2009.

Mark Mitchell lifting 455 pounds in the Reeves Deadlift for a Dino Gym Record in December of 2009.

The Reeves Deadlift is the final lift in the USAWA Grip Championships.  This is a lift popularized by famous bodybuilder and actor Steve Reeves.  It takes long arms and a strong finger grip to be good at this lift.  The USAWA Rules for the Reeves Deadlift is as follows:

B15. Deadlift – Reeves

The rules of the Deadlift apply with these exceptions. The lift starts by the lifter gripping one plate on each side of the bar.  The flanges of the plates may be turned outwards to provide a better gripping surface. A regulation bar of legal length must be used.  There are no width specifications of the flanges of the lifting plates. Weight is added to the bar with smaller diameter plates so the lifter always has just one plate per side to grip.

The IAWA(UK) have a similiar lift to the Reeves Deadlift called the Rim Lift.  The Rim Lift is NOT an USAWA official lift, but rather just an IAWA(UK) official lift. As you can see these are two completely different lifts! The IAWA(UK) even has a lift called the Reverse Rim Lift.  The difference being that the gripping plates are reversed with plate flanges facing inwards!!

RULE FOR IAWA(UK) RIM LIFT:
E33 RIM LIFT

The lifter will deadlift, hacklift or straddle a loaded barbell whilst holding only the rims of the discs. The maximum sized discs for the is lift are 18 inches. On the inside the discs must be flat and smooth, and on the outside the rim cannot be deeper than 1inch. The lifter must not grasp any handles, holes or specially prepared areas, only the thumbs on the smooth inside and the fingers on the outside rim. Any bar can be used as the distance between the collars is optional. Whatever style of lift the lifter chooses the lift will always be finished in the correct fashion, with an erect posture. On completion the referee will signal to replace the bar.

Causes for Failure:
The causes for failure for the deadlift, hacklift or straddle will apply, depending on the style elected.
Failure to achieve the correct fully erect finishing posture.
Lowering/replacing the bar before the referees signal.

Obviously the Rim Lift is a much easier lift than the Reeves Deadlift.  The use of a narrow bar and being able to straddle lift it would enhance the amount of weight that could be lifted.

The pictures I’ve seen of Steve Reeves performing this lift he always used a regulation bar (which really show-cased his awesome lat spread!).  It has been reported that he did over 400# in this lift.  There have been some excellent Reeves Deadlifts performed in the USAWA in official competition. The “best to date” are as follows:

1.  Mark Mitchell 400 pounds – 2002 Goerner Deadlift
2.  Phil Rosenstern 355 pounds – 2012 Club Challenge
3.  Kevin Fulton 335 pounds – 2001 Goerner Deadlift
4.  Al Myers 335 pounds – 2009 Goerner Deadlift
5.  Joe Burks 325 pounds – 2001 Goerner Deadlift

Deadlift-Fingers, Middle

by Al Myers

The Middle Finger Deadlift has always been part of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen at Clark's Gym.  You can see the pain in my face performing this lift at the 2009 Goerner's.

The Middle Finger Deadlift has always been part of the Goerner Deadlift Dozen at Clark’s Gym. You can see the pain in my face performing this lift at the 2009 Goerner’s.

This lift probably has been in the USAWA Grip Championships more than any other and each time it’s in the meet I’m asked by lifter’s — WHY?  Well, maybe because I just love to watch the pain in your face as you are pulling with all your might using only your middle fingers!  And because the USAWA Grip Champs HAS to have at least one painful lift in it.

The rules for the Middle Fingers Deadlift is as follows:

B7. Deadlift – Fingers, Middle

The rules of the Deadlift apply except only the middle fingers of both hands may be used. The middle fingers of both hands may grip the bar in an alternate manner. The thumb must not be in contact with the lifting fingers.

I have written blogs in the past about the Middle Fingers Deadlift and the famous old time German Strongman Hermann Goerner. I want to share again part of a story I’ve written before.

David Willoughby in his book The Super Athletes listed Goerner as having done a MF deadlift of 140 kilograms (308.5 pounds) around 1925.  I have always considered this the mark to beat to be outstanding in the middle fingers deadlift.  Now, compared to what Hermann has reported in his other finger lifts, this lift of his seems to be a sub-maximal effort.  None the less, it is a very good lift (and is actually believable compared to some of his other claims).   However, this 308.5# middle finger deadlift is not listed in Hermann’s autobiography by Edgar Mueller’s Goerner the Mighty.  I have read this book several times, and I don’t ever remember seeing this lift listed.  Mueller does talk in one chapter about the wide deviations of grips that Hermann uses for his deadlifts, and mentions a middle finger overhand grip  deadlift (of which he lists Goerner as having worked up to 220 pounds), but nothing about using an alternate grip as we allow in the USAWA for the Finger Deadlifts.

I’ve always considered  Goerner’s Middle Finger Deadlift of 308.5 pounds as the mark to be considered outstanding at this lift. Only a handful of USAWA lifter’s have achieved it in USAWA competition and are part of the USAWA “Goerner’s Club”.  This is the short list:

1. Kevin Fulton 400 pounds – 1999 SuperGrip Challenge
2. Ben Edwards  310 pounds – 2011 USAWA Grip Championships
3.  Bill DiCiccio 309 pounds – 1994 IAWA Gold Cup

I’m hoping someone else will join this list at the 2016 USAWA Grip Championships!

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