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16 September 2014

The Lemmy Of Strength Sports- Inside The World Of The USAWA #2

I'd fuck her, but then I also like odd lifts.

As we covered in the previous installment of this series, all-round lifting is about as popular in the strength world as an obese woman in a thong is on a Miami beach.  Part of the reason behind this, one might surmise, is the complete ignorance of the vast majority of lifters that all-round lifting exists.  The only magazine to acknowledge the existence of the sport is Milo, which though awesome could hardly be described as well-known.  In spite of their obscurity, the competition lifts of the USAWA / IAWA seem like they might be fun to try.  That said, one could write the coolest fucking book on the planet, but who gives a shit if it's printed on newspaper in the back lot of a porn shop in Detroit?  No one's ever going to have the chance to read it, so the hilarity and awesome inside will languish in some sticky, unlight corner of Detroit's back alleys... just like all round lifting.


As such, it's time to get the word out about odd lifting, as it'll serve a s a break from the tedium of doing the same things over and over in the gym, if nothing else.  There are over 170 contestable lifts in the USAWA, ranging from the commonplace to the comical to the ridiculous.  I'm not going to bore you guys with the complete list of lifts and how they're to be conducted, because that'd be a waste of everyone's time and the USAWA handbook, which contains all of the lists, is available online if you wish to check it out.Instead, I'll just cherrypick some oddities and obscurities you might find interesting, compelling, or at least a pleasant distraction for whatever boring bullshit you happened to be doing before reading this.


Allen Lift: As many of you know, I'm a hell of a researcher, and I take my research seriously.  In spite of that fact, I occasionally come up short- the only place I could find any information on this lift at all was in the USAWA rule book, so I have no idea who this is named after, when people started doing it, or why.  As for what it is, it's a sit-up from the ground with arms locked overhead, holding weight.  If the bar moves inside a straight line from hip to shoulders or arms bend, the lift is disqualified.  In that way, it's similar to a competitive stone lift I've written about before from India.  Lest you think there are people out there with abs that make Ross Enaimit look like a doughey chump, no one in the IAWA has used more than an unloaded bar for this, and most lifters are considerably weaker than that.



Arthur Lift: The Arthur Lift is so named, if you couldn't guess, because it seems to emulate a trick lift Arthur Saxon used to do in his act.  That lift, however, used a powdered ovoid bag with no corners to grab filled with flour, and one end of the bag had a loose, heavy block of iron in it to make grabbing and balancing it more difficult.  Edward Aston stated of the Saxon Sack, "I do not believe that any man in the World, save Arthur Saxon himself, could lift and carry off his sack in the manner on which he insisted. This style compelled one to grasp and lift the sack from the floor to the knee, then to the thighs, and thence to the shoulder and finally overhead" (Aston).  That sack weighed 280 lbs, and the other sack used for similar competitions the Apollo sack, was heavier and had to be walked off stage on the lifter's back.  Apollo's sack, however, could be raised any way the lifter liked, so both Aston and Saxon lifted it by laying on the ground and pulling it onto their back, then standing with it.  The Arthur Lift seems to be a weird Sci Fi Channel monster-style chimera of the two lifts mixed, and it appears (very anecdotally), that Saxon himself did 386lbs on this movement.  Modern lifters haven't come close to that- record lifts range from 105kg to 135kg between the 65kg and 105kg weightclasses, and superheavies (who outweighed Saxon by at least 40 lbs) have only managed 135kg.  Essentially, if you're moving 200-300 lbs on this lift, you're a bona fide Chuck Norris-esque hardass and likely grow a full beard in a single day.  You also have way to much fucking time on your hands if you're doing this silliness with any regularity.

Danny Padilla, "The Giant Killer", busting out a sick 225lb cheat curl at a bodyweight of around 180lbs- a 1.25x BW curl!

Cheat Curl with 5' straight bar.  Before you scoff at the picture above due to indoctrination propegated by halfwits on internet messageboards, bear in mind that Arnold was famous for doing these and was quoted as saying "cheating barbell curl stands alone for building mass” (Muscle and Fitness Editors).  Not even the USAWA give a shit if this turns into a bizarre reverse power clean- Arnold started this lift with a huge forward lean and then ripped the fucking bar up in a half swing/half hip thrust aided reverse grip clean.  Per the USAWA, the lifter stands upright at finish of lift, but there is no rule about how the rest of the lift is conducted- just get the fucking bar up and eat a steak so you can bath in the gainz that are surely coming.  In competition, spotters can lower the weight after the "Down" signal.  If you want metrics for what's awesome, the tiny 55kg guys are curling 62.5 kg, and the range pretty steadily increases by weight class to 110kg for the superheavies.  or the ladies, the grouping is much tighter- ranging from 42.5 kg to 50 kg between 50kg and 105kg in bodyweight.


Strict Curl.  This record might still be held by none other than rambling, jacked Youtube sensation CT Fletcher, who busted out a 225 lb strict curl with a cambered bar about 25 years ago.  Since then, the there's not really been a single federation or a single source to determine who's the best at the lift, so I doubt anyone's sure who the superheavyweight record holder actually is.  In the USAWA, the lifter's ass and upper back must stay in contact with wall, and they must use a 5' bar (the fed CT set his record in allowed a cambered bar).  Spotters can lower the weight after "Down" signal.


1 Person 1 Finger On Each Hand Deadlift:  A favorite of Hermann Goerner, I can attest personally to the fact that this lift fucking hurts.  You never know what true soreness is until your fingers are swollen and achy from one finger deadlifts.  Well, I would surmise it'd be not unlike the saddle soreness a chick might get after a 100 man gangbang.  Yeah, it's that painful.  In competition, the spotters can lower weight if need be, so the lifter really just needs to get the weight to lockout.

The IAWA actually contests this lift with each one of the fingers (I cannot imagine trying to deadlift with pinkies only), so if you want to give some of these a shot and see how you stack up, go here.


Ziegler Clean: Quite frankly, I cannot imagine how in the fuck this lift could be completed- it's a clean while balancing a 2.5 lb plate on your head.  If the plate falls, it's no lift.  In an effort to locate the source of this lift, I came up empty.  The only possible attribution one could give this lift is to Dr. John Ziegler, who was the physician who came to be known as "the Father of Dianabol" after supplying Bob Hoffman's lifters with gear in the 1950s.  Ziegler wasn't just some pasty-faced nerd, though- at 6'4" 240lbs, he met Hoffman's lifters in a Maryland gym.  While I can't state definitively that this goofy nonsense was thought up by the man responsible for the proliferation of steroids in the US, it's not outside of the realm of possibility (Fair).



Judd Clean and Jerk: This, for me, is a recipe for disaster- I have all of the balance and grace of a drunken Andre the Giant.  As such, attempting a clean and jerk while standing on one foot seems on par with Hitler's decision to make a three pronged attack into Russia.  Normal people who aren't as wide as they are tall might enjoy this lift- frankly, I have no idea what normal people enjoy.  If you want to give the Judd a shot, you just follow the rules of the normal clean and jerk, but must be done on a single leg only, and your non-lifting leg cannot touch the ground or your body at any time.


Kneeling Military Press: Being the witty motherfucker I am, I prefer to think of this as the Gloryhole Press.  As you can imagine, it's just a strict press from a kneeling position.  The lifter must clean the weight from the floor while kneeling, then press without excessive layback.  For the skeptical amongst you,  I'll remind you that world destroying strongman and log press world record holder Zydrunas Savickas (499lb log press) is famous for doing seated overhead presses on the floor, in the rack.  As I lack the flexibility to sit on the floor like that, this seems like a viable alternative.



Miller Clean and Jerk: The Miller clean and jerk is an odd one- it's an ultra painful clean and jerk using only the middle fingers of each hand, and only a couple of lifters in history have beaten his 135 lb effort in this lift.  Wilbur Miller was a top ten heavyweight in the US at Olympic weightlifting, and for a while was the world record holder in the deadlift at 242 with a 725 pull.  For any of you who've seen the ancient, deep dish York plates in an old gym, it's said that Miller was the reason York ditched them- he couldn't fit enough weight onto the bar to max out (Myers). In any event, if you manage 135 in this lift, you're kicking the ass of an American strength sports legend, and if you can hit 167 you've beaten the heaviest effort ever recorded on this lift.



Jackson Press: Named after one of the founding members of the USAWA and rival lifter to the aforementioned badass Wilbur Miller, the Jackson Press is so named because USAWA lifter Wayne Jackson was famous for his 300lb reverse grip clean and press.  Some of you may recall this seemed to be a popular lift in the US for some time, as John Grimek is legendary for having nearly been beaten in a competition at that lift by a drunken, geriatric longshoreman.  The Jackson Press omits the clean, though, and is simply a press from the racks, using a reverse grip.  Start position for the lift is with the bar on the chest, at least two steps away from the rack.  At the press command, the lifter presses, and holds the bar at lockout until they receive a down command.  No world records are listed for this one, but if you find yourself in the 70+kg range, you're in with the world record holders on the reverse grip clean and press.


Scott Lift: In spite of diligent searching, I've no fucking clue where this exercise comes from- even the USAWA admits it's obscure.  It is, however, a Zercher Lift that starts with the the lifter on their knees with the bar placed in the crooks of the elbows.  If need be, momentum can be built by rocking the bar back and forth, but the lifter must stand with the bar in the crooks of their elbows.  This is basically the USAWA's lifting version of Kuato from Total Recall, if you could imagine making Kuato even more disgusting and less easy to understand.



Kelly Snatch: This lift is also known as the Reverse Swing and is as obscure as it looks painful.  Looking at this lift, I'm wondering if the USAWA lifters would start jamming sewing needles into their taint and rose stems up their urethra to get an extra 50 lbs on their bent press if they discovered Albert Fish secretly broke Saxon's record.  Granted, is it worth trying out with a dominatrix just in case?  Probably, but that still wouldn't have me in the gym doing Kelly Snatches, which seem far more likely to rip my shoulders out of the sockets than they do useful.  In any event, for these, the bar is behind the lifter on the floor, as in an Arthur Lift.  Grip width and foot placement is up to the lifter, but the feet must be parallel and in line with the torso. Then, through a combination of bad decision making, double jointed shoulders, child sacrifice, and sorcery, the bar is somehow teleported at arms length over the lifter's head.  No world records are listed for this bad boy, either, presumably because people really like having full use of their arms.



That'll do it for now, as you'd not imagine how much random research goes into hunting down these lifts.  I'll hit you guys with another installment of wacky lifts soon, however, just in case you've got a bug up your ass to crack a world record in a sport not even the guys at your gym are aware exists.

Sources:
Aston, Edward.  The physical superman.  The Superman Magazine.  Dec 1930.  http://www.davidgentle.com/sandow/aston/hints.pdf

Fair, JD.  Isometrics or Steroids? Exploring new frontiers of strength in the early 1960s.  J Sport Hist. Spr 1993;20(1):1-24. http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH1993/JSH2001/jsh2001b.pdf

Glassman, Greg.  The odd lifts.  The Crossfit Journal Articles.  Jan 2003;5:1-3.  http://www.crossfit.com/journal/library/05_03_The_Odd_Lifts.pdf
USAWA Official Rulebook

IAWA World Records.  IAWA.  8 Jan 2012.  Web.  16 Sep 2014.  http://www.havengym.org.uk/PDF/WR_Index.pdf

Myers, Al.  USAWA Official Rulebook.  8th Ed.  Web.  16 Sep 2014.  http://www.usawa.com/USAWA%20Uploads/2010/05/RULEBOOK-8th-Edition.pdf

Myers, Al.  Wilbur Miller.  USAWA.  16 Apr 2013.  Web.  16 Sep 2014.  http://www.usawa.com/tag/wilbur-miller/

Smith, Art.  Wilbur Miller, power perfectionist.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  24 Sep 2009.  Web.  16 Sep 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/09/wilbur-miller-power-perfectionist-art.html

Van Vleck, Thom.  Wayne Jackson: chasing strength.  USAWA.  20 Dec 2013.  Web.  16 Sep 2014.  http://www.usawa.com/tag/wayne-jackson/

17 comments :

  1. Casey Viator doing the cheat curl not Padilla

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  2. I have no idea about what to make of having 170 official lifts. Some thoughts:
    1. Absolutely ridiculous
    2. Absolutely fun in the freedom of choices to lift.
    3. An opportunity to be weak yet still have a record. In other words, a variation on the, "everyone wins and gets a medal," mentality.
    4. A missed opportunity. This could be more popular than it is because lots of these lifts clearly have some entertainment value from not simply doing but also watching. That's something that nearly every strength sport (except maybe strongman) clearly misses the point on.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with your initial thought and said the same in an earlier edition of this article, then removed it... because CrossFit. As much as I hate #3, you're right- but it still seems with the right backing the sport would be awesome.

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    2. You could argue having a shitton of lifts also promotes strength. With so many crazy lifts, you can't get into the specialization that exists today. It's sort of like how the old strongmen you can read about on this blog do not necessarily have earth shattering lifts by today's standards, but were generally much stronger, because they were just fucking strong and not just in a few movements.

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  3. It's great combining heavy pl type lifts with quick lifts and db lifts. Also they do the heavy partial lifts like hip lift, hand and thigh etc. Did you see them?

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  4. Replies
    1. Weird. The only place I've ever heard of them is on Irongram, and when I happened across them looking for the draw weights of bows for my article on historical weightlifting. Is it worth owning?

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    2. To be honest, not really. It seemed great when I was a kid in the '80s though. A good set of cables/chest expanders would be much more useful.

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    3. Good to know. Throw that on the pile with the Heavyhands dumbbells!

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  5. so not sure if my comment posted earlier bc i suck at posting on threads...but that kelly snatch resembles a lift done by javelin throwers to help their javelin throw called the reverse snatch. heres martin rooney demoing it with some jav guy bobby smith, i know breaux greer is supposed to have done 135 with it. its kinda one of those risk vs reward movements- most jav throwers have good shoulder flexibility, but in a sport that already has so much high impact whats the point of adding a exercise that mimics the throw with more weight
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bI1zJLTg3w&list=FLsDtForc6oUuVF-HaXcY3LQ&index=72

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    Replies
    1. Not only could I not do that, I can't envision a scenario in which I'd want to.

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  6. I could see odd lift competitions gaining traction if they held them in bars, much like what's going on with armwrestling right now. Certainly not a new idea, I know I've read here that the Germans used to hold competitions in beer gardens. Sounds like a lot of fun, I'd definitely go.

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    Replies
    1. Sarah Backman Kelly snatching in a thong at a beer hall?

      I'm in!

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  7. You once posted Bailey Jay, and now you've posted Sabrina Valentina. You've got good taste in trannies.

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  8. Yo check out this song:
    Contra Shattered Soldier - Survival of the Fittest
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_gRBR-K-nY

    ReplyDelete