The Reverse Grip Curl Controversy
By Al Myers
I was recently visiting with Hall of Famer Scott Schmidt. We had a nice phone visit the other day talking about this years National Championships amongst other things. One thing we talked about was the Reverse Grip Curl. This has always been one of Scott’s favorite USAWA lifts, and one he has done many times with many records. He mentioned to me that he had once done in strict style, 143 pounds, in the Reverse Curl but it’s not listed in the USAWA Record List.
Well, he was correct (this record is now listed though as I cross checked old meet results and verified it), and I have some explaining to do!
The Reverse Curl has always had controversy surrounding it in the USAWA. Most of this resulted from old written rules that weren’t clear and lifters doing the lift in different fashions, under different assumed rules. Some were doing the Reverse Curl very strict while others were doing it with some backbend. Others were doing it like the Cheat Curl with big dips and bar swings. Results of all these variations were entered into the Record List under one lift name. Obviously the “cheaters” had higher record numbers which wasn’t fair to the lifters doing it strict style. However, lots of lifters really liked the “Cheat Style” and this resulted in a new lift in the USAWA, the Curl – Cheat, Reverse Grip. It has been a popular lift and has been in several competitions (including the 2012 and 2015 National Championships). This lift was passed as a new lift in 2010. So now there are two official Reverse Grip Curls – the Curl Cheat Reverse Grip and the Curl Reverse Grip.
The difference in rules for the Reverse Grip Curl is that the Cheat version utilizes the rules of the Cheat Curl while the strict version uses the rules of the Rectangular Fix. This creates a big difference in the amount of weight that can be lifted! I won’t go over the other details of these rules as you can look them up in the USAWA Rulebook.
Now back to the Record List. When I took over as Records Chairman I noticed that this was a problem as many of the record lifts in the Curl Reverse Grip were obviously (and many I witnessed first hand) done with the Cheat technique. Since there was no way I could break this down and determine “which was which” I grouped all of them into the Curl-Cheat, Reverse Grip and started a new listing for Curl – Reverse Grip. I figured even if it had been done “strict style” it would conform to the rules for the Cheat Style. However, I knew several of the older records where done with the Strict Style but just not specifically which ones.
So if anyone has done a STRICT Reverse Grip Curl in the past and it is not recorded in the Record List properly please let me know so I can get it fixed and give you the credit you deserve. I will need meet result verification and one witness to support the record to make this change.
I have changed the name of the Curl – Reverse Grip in the Record List to Curl – Strict, Reverse Grip and this will be done in the next Rule Book edition as well. I hope this will help better clarify the differences between these two lifts in the future.
But I have to mention Scott again! Scott’s big STRICT Reverse Grip Curl at Art’s Birthday Bash in 1998 is the TOPS in the USAWA Record List. That day he lifted 65 Kilograms (143 pounds) in the 115KG class.