The Heavy Lift Bar

by Al Myers

Steve Schmidt, arguable the BEST OVERALL Heavy Lift lifter in the history of the USAWA, maxes a Heavy Lift Bar out with plates in the Hip Lift under the watchful eye of Bill Clark.

A very unique bar that we use in the USAWA (and is ONLY used by our organization) is the Heavy Lift Bar.  Often a lot of mystery surrounds this bar.  You will see ads on various websites advertising the sale of  heavy lift bars, but in most cases these bars DO NOT meet our rules specifications.  The Heavy Lift Bar is used for the Heavy Lifts – which include lifts like the Harness Lift, Hand and Thigh Lift, Hip Lift, and Neck Lift.  Our new updated Rule Book contains the specifications for the Heavy Lift Bar, which were not included in the previous Rule Book.  Section V.I. 22 of the USAWA Rule Book states this regarding the Heavy Lift Bar:

The Heavy Lift Bar must meet the following specifications.

• The diameter of the bar must be a minimum of 1 15/16 inches.

• The bar may be a pipe or solid steel shaft.

• The maximum length of the inside sleeve is 16 inches.

• The maximum length of the bar is 8 ½ feet and the minimum length of the bar is 7 feet.

• Only one hook is allowed on the bar, located in the center.

• The bar must be straight.

• The weight of the bar must be clearly marked.

• The bar must contain no revolving sleeves.

A brand new Heavy Lift Bar that I made specifically to be used at the 2011 USAWA Heavy Lift Nationals, to be held in York, PA on May 21st.

The most common problem with “other” Heavy Lift Bars is they often contain TWO HOOKS.  Our Official Heavy Lift Bar can have only one – located in the center – which obviously makes the balance of the lifts much more difficult!  The Heavy Lift Bar requires several accessories.  Proper hooks for attachments are needed, along with bar lifters to make  loading easier.  Special harnesses and belts are needed, depending on which lift is being performed.  The shaft of the Heavy Lift Bar is a solid cold roll bar, of diameter 1 15/16 inches.  A hollow pipe would never hold up – it would bend (or break) immediately!  I am always surprised how much the solid Heavy Lift Bar will bend under loads of over 2000 pounds!  All of the Heavy Lift Bars that we use in the USAWA are home-made or custom-made.  Only a handful of gyms have one – the Dino Gym, Clark’s Gym, Habecker’s Gym, Ambridge BBC, Frank’s Barbell Club, M & D Gym, Schmidt’s Barbell Club,  and the JWC.  OK – so most ALL of the Member Clubs of the USAWA have one!!  The Heavy Lift Bar will be featured exclusively at this year’s Heavy Lift Nationals in York, PA on May 21st with the Neck Lift, Hip Lift and Hand and Thigh Lift being contested.  If you want to give the Heavy Lifts a try, and in the process get introduced to the Heavy Lift Bar, just sign up for this competition!