Tag Archives: USAWA

Championship Entry Reminders

by Al Myers

I just want to remind everyone that the entry deadlines for the Heavy Lift Championships and the USAWA National Championships are coming up.   Frank Ciavattone is hosting the 2013 USAWA Heavy Lift Championships on May 4th in Boston, MA  and Denny Habecker is hosting the 2013 USAWA Nationals Championships on June 29 & 30th   in Lebanon, PA. However, both of these MAJOR COMPETITIONS require prior registration to enter so you need to get your entry in by the entry deadline. I know I’ve “harped” on this issue before, but here I go again.  It takes considerable planning and upfront expense to promote a major event and a meet director needs to know in advance how many to “plan the party for”.  I consider it disrespectful to think you can enter at the “last minute” when there is an entry deadline in place.  That’s why I’m reminding everyone of these dates now.


Heavy Lift Championships  – April 19th

National Championships – May 28th

The entry forms for these meets are located in USAWA Future Events on the right column of the website.

USAWA Signature Events

by Al Myers

One of the terms that Bill Clark often used in his Strength Journals was the expression “Signature Events”.  What exactly is meant by this?  I always took it to mean events/competitions that were the most important ones in the USAWA.  Obviously, this changes with time.  In the past few years the USAWA has began to offer yearly CHAMPIONSHIPS that recognize specialities within the organization.  I would say that these Championships are the signature events in the USAWA today.  These events symbolize the BEST of the BEST – and gives each lifter the chance to prove to the USAWA that they are indeed a champion.

The USAWA offers 8 different Championships.  With the USAWA Grip Championships being held tomorrow, I want to remind everyone of it’s importance and why if you are an all-rounder who excels in grip lifts this is a meet you should be at so you have the opportunity to be in the running for the USAWA Grip Champion!!!


Grip Championships 2nd weekend of Feb. Dino Gym Al Myers
Club Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of March Ambridge John McKean
Heavy Lift Championships 1st or 2nd weekend of May rotates rotates
National Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of June rotates rotates
Presidential Cup 1st or 2nd weekend of Aug Habeckers Gym Denny Habecker
Team Championships 3rd or 4th weekend of Aug Dino Gym Al Myers
Old Time Strongman Championships November JWC Thom Van Vleck
Postal Championships December Postal John Wilmot


The DADDY of all these Championships is the USAWA National Championship.  The reason  is that it recognizes the best ALL-ROUND lifters in the organization.  It contains a selection of ANY lift within the organization (out of around 200), and often contains a good balance of all types of lifting.  A few years ago I had a good discussion with Dale Friesze (and we ALL KNOW Dale doesn’t mind sharing his opinions! LOL), and he felt the name NATIONALS should just be used for the National Championships to identify its significance as the only “true” Nationals in the USAWA.  Well, I couldn’t argue with him so from that point on I have been referring to our yearly BIG MEET as the National Championships and the rest of these important meets as the Championships. This hasn’t always been the case, and in years past meets like the Heavy Lift Championships was called the Heavy Lift Nationals. But from now on it will be called the Heavy Lift Championships.

Each of these other Championships represent unique areas within the USAWA.  The Grip Championships only includes official USAWA lifts that test the grip, the Heavy Lift Championships contain only Heavy Lifts, and the Old Time Strongman Championships only include OTSM lifts. The Club Championships is unique in that it recognizes the top performing USAWA club, as it scored using a team score of 3 club members added together. The Presidential Cup is hosted by the USAWA President to recognize a top Record Day performer. Think of it as the Championships of Record Days.  The Team Championships is the championships that recognizes Team Lifting (2-man, 2-women, 2-person).  The Postal Championships recognizes the top performers in the postal meets.  The beauty of having these different Championships is that if you have special skills in lifting you can find an avenue in which you can compete in a specialized Championship.  It’s just one of the ways that the USAWA gives opportunities to lifters who like to specialize in the different areas of all-round strength.

As secretary, it is my job to sanction events/competitions.  Since these are our organizations most important events (ie Signature Events) I try not to allow other meets to be sanctioned on the same day as one of our Championships.  I know this hasn’t always been the case, but from now on I will try to make sure there are no other USAWA meet conflicts on the same day as one of these Championships.  Now since I have announced the “yearly dates” of these Championships, the Championships have “first dibs” on those dates for sanction.  This way no one will have any USAWA reason NOT to attend any of the USAWA Championships!

My Training Adventure in Graduate School

by Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, of the JWC, pulling a 604 pound Peoples Deadlift at the 2013 Dino Gym Challenge, his first USAWA competition. (caption courtesty of the webmaster)

I am a graduate student at A.T. Still University, an Osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. I have had the pleasure of meeting many great people while working on my master’s degree. I have also found the time and motivation to re-discover my passion for weightlifting. This is something I had been away from for many years prior to moving to Missouri. One of the people I have formed a great friendship with is Thom Van Vleck. Thom has written a story about the Osteoblasters before and I’d like to extend upon it. Thom has introduced me to the USAWA and Highland Games, both of which I have come to love for the competition and camaraderie. A few weeks ago I was able to experience my first USAWA event at The Dino Gym and this was just awesome! Well, that’s a little about me, now, on to my story.

“You are your own first healer”… “I am my own first patient”… These principles are repeated hundreds of times throughout the educational adventure known as medical school. However, the time crunch and fast paced learning environment make it very difficult for students to truly embrace this attitude. It seems as though one of the first things to be put on the back burner is personal health and wellness, especially when it takes so much time, commitment, and energy to stay afloat in such a demanding curriculum. Motivation quotes are plastered throughout the internet but one of the easiest to believe, and one of my favorites is that “a one hour workout is only four percent of your day, no excuses.” This is the very attitude that is pushed at A.T. Still University by the Osteoblasters Weightlifting Club (OWC). I put in so much time and work to officially establish the OWC as a University club because I honestly believe that the benefits of exercise go far beyond the body; to the mind and spirit. This trifecta, “Body, Mind, and Spirit” is another principle that is mentioned countless times at any Osteopathic medical institution. With the help of Thomas Van Vleck, the director of counseling, Dan Martin, the director of the Thompson Campus Center and Jared Nichols, a medical student, I was able to see my dreams for this club come true.

Mike performed a 410 pound Hackenschmidt Floor Press. He was one of only 3 lifters who exceeded 400 pounds at the meet. (photo and caption courtesy of webmaster).

With the New Year (2012), came the beginning of the Osteoblasters. I started to design a fitness approach that would be fun, effective, and fit within the confines of about an hour. Even if I could reach out to only a dozen students I was going to consider this a successful endeavor. I designed a blend of circuit training, powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman training, Crossfit, and I even incorporated exercises to promote the maintenance of basic movement skills, and what I came up with has evolved into the “Osteoblasters.” If people who cherish time so much are willing to devote an hour to me several times a week I figured I owed it to them to make every minute worthwhile.

At the end of my grueling workout, with several people near complete exhaustion, some people seemingly in pain, I walked around to ensure that everyone was okay and get some feedback. What I got back were “high-fives”, some “wows”, and even some comments that are inappropriate to put in print. Thinking I may have scared some people away I prepared for the next class to be smaller and have less energy overall. What actually happened was over 50 people showed up! It did not take more than a few days for the word to spread about how great this “Osteoblasters” program was and how much everyone enjoyed the challenge. I was in no way prepared for this influx of people and was forced to scramble to adapt a workout that would accommodate fifty or so people. It was not easy but I made it happen.

This blend of so many exercise styles seems to be appealing to everyone. We are not training for a competition, a race, or even to get better at a sport, we are training for life. Everyone can find at least a few things they are good at, and I force them to work through things that they may find difficult. One of the things that I never imagined would become part of this workout “class” was the camaraderie most people experience when being part of an athletics team. The majority of people do not continue competitive athletics after high school so this is an area that is easily lost as we “grow up.” The Osteoblasters are just that, a team. We are a team of individual working towards a common goal, not to win a competition or break a world record, simply to get better. Everyone is always looking to break their own personal records whether it is the number of pull ups, weight of a deadlift, or the duration of a hand stand, everyone shows up to get better. This camaraderie extends far beyond the gym as well. I see these people studying together, working together, and hanging out together. This makes all the time and work that I put into this program completely worth it.

I have been able to reach beyond the student population as well and have members of the faculty, staff, and even significant others of students as members of the OWC. We have established a great program that I hope will last for many years. Sometimes people need a push to remember that you are your own first patient. It is extremely important to study and do well while in school but it is also very important to remember your own personal health and wellness. The OWC takes this responsibility to the core of its mission statement: “The OWC will work to improve the well-being of its members through strength training and conditioning. The OWC aims to reach out to people of all levels of experience and offer a safe and structured platform for physical health and wellness.”

Hope you all enjoyed this little story of how I am keeping weightlifting and competition alive and well, even in the demanding environment of a medical school!

Writing Contest

by Al Myers

It’s been awhile since I have had a writing contest for the USAWA Daily News – so I think it’s time for another one!  The topic I’m going to choose for this contest is a “report on an unusual training implement/device that you use in your gym for training”.  The more unique the better.  I would like to hear about the purpose or function of the implement/device, as well as its history.  Every club gym I have been in has a few pieces of unusual equipment that is not seen in most other gyms – so pick something you like and write a little story on it.   The deadline for story submission is by the date of the USAWA Grip Champs – February 9th.   The stories will run on the USAWA website.  I have not decided yet on prizes – but there will be nice prizes for the winners. I promise!

Rules for Contest

1.  Submit story by February 9th
2.  Must include a picture with story
3.  Story length between 500 and 1000 words

You may submit your story to me by email, through a letter, or by writing it yourself on the USAWA website.  If you want to write it on the website and you  don’t have “author status”, send me an email and I’ll make the changes to give you this access.  It’s not hard.  My goal with doing this is to increase future writing contributions to the USAWA website.  I want to keep reminding everyone that this website was set up to represent the viewpoints and contributions of the membership, not just mine.  Now get to work!!!!!

Lifter of the Month: Ruth Jackson

by Al Myers

Congratulations goes to Ruth Jackson for being named the USAWA Lifter of the Month for December 2012.  Ruth was the OVERALL BEST WOMENS LIFTER at the 2012 IAWA World Championships in her first All-Round competition.  She followed up that stellar performance with setting 43 records at the Gracie Judo Club Record Day on the 1st of December.

I have been keeping a listing of the PAST LIFTERS OF THE MONTH on the website.   So when a lifter wins this title – they will FOREVER be listed in the USAWA Archives.  If any of the winners would like a certificate of their accomplishment just send me an email and I’ll send you one.  And please don’t ask because you think it will cause me more work – I can make a certificate for you in less than a minute (but don’t expect anything fancy haha).  

Below is the listing of the 2012 Lifters of the Month.  I have included links beside each name that links to the story of their Lifter of the Month blog.


January none  
February none  
March none  
April Chad Ullom http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-chad-ullom/
May Eric Todd http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-eric-todd/
June Al Myers  
July Bryan Benzel http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-bryan-benzel/
August Dale Friesz http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-dale-friesz/
September Barry Bryan http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-barry-bryan/
October Dan Wagman http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-dan-wagman/
November Denny Habecker http://www.usawa.com/lifter-of-the-month-denny-habecker/
December Ruth Jackson  
1 3 4 5 6 7 44