8-28-11 USAWA Dino Days Record Day Write-up: Part 1

8-28-11, Sunday


The Dino Days Record Day was held at Al Myers’s awesome gym – the Dino Gym – in Abilene, Kansas.  The weather was excellent – low 80s.  It was held inside anyway so the weather wasn’t a factor.  I enjoyed my 2-hour drive to the venue from Lawrence, Kansas. 

Record Days are one of my favorite contests.  There is no head-to-head competition usually.  Unless you have another competitor in your age and weight class at the Record Day.  Then the sparks can fly if you’re both competitive in the same general type of lifts. 

Part of what makes Record Days so great is watching the other lifters break records.  That’s what Record Days are all about.  Just breaking existing USAWA records in your specific age and weight class.  There were no female competitors this time around. 

I didn’t have anyone in my weight class or age.  So I my game plan was to target the grip lifts for the most part.  That plan unraveled before I could even start warming up on the 2″ vertical bar. 

One of the lifters – LaVerne Myers (67 years old, 246lbs bodyweight) – was doing an exercise that I had only read about.  In the USAWA it’s called the Kelly Snatch.  It used to be known as the “reverse swing” – according to Al Myers. 

Describing the lift is really not going to do it justice.  So I’ll hold out and hope that someone took video of the lift.  If there was no video taken – I’ll need to video some training lifts in my garage and post them on YouTube so people can see how awkward this lift is. 

I asked if I could work in and almost wiped out on my first attempt with 25lbs.  Yeah, a lift with 25lbs was a bit challenging due to balance issues.  Next I did a successful lift with 35lbs.  Then I jumped to 57lbs and nailed that – for a record in my age and weight class.  I got cocky and loaded 81lbs and didn’t even get close on that.  I may actually train this lift a bit and target it at the next Record Day at the Dino Gym.

Well I felt warmed up after the Kelly Snatch so I spent the better part of the next 30 minutes just walking around and gawking at the massive amount of equipment and memorabilia in the gym and outside the gym. 

There is a massive train axle outside the gym – in the parking lot.  Well, actually there are 2 train axles at the gym.  One is much larger than the other one but I think it weighs less than the more compact one near the gym’s side entrance.  I will load some pictures on Facebook and here on my blog in the next day or two of the gym and the outside training area.  Finding a gym more impressive – anywhere in the world – than the Dino Gym is a tall order. 

I enjoyed watching the other lifters break some records while warming up casually for the 2″ vertical bar.  On my 1st warmup weight – 182lbs – LaVerne Myers strolled up and pulled it with ease with his right hand!  That’s a very solid poundage on that lift.  Especially when you consider that LaVerne is 67 years old!  He has a very impressive thick and strong hand.  The result of lots of hard work over his lifetime. 

I pulled 182lbs both hands and then loaded 215lbs and pulled that easily with both hands – so I knew it was going to be a strong day for me judging by how easy 215lbs felt.  215lbs was actually the right hand record (already held by me – 210lbs) so I racked up my first record of the day on a warmup. 

Next up was 240lbs and I pulled that with authority on both hands!  New records on both hands.  Pretty cool!  I had already told Al Myers and Scott Tully (both were judging) that I was going to quit at 240lbs.  But I had to change my mind when 240lbs came up so solidly. 

I loaded 251lbs because the all-time USAWA record at that point was Andrew Durniat’s very strong 250lb performance at the 2010 Dino Grip Challenge at the Dino Gym.  I pulled 251lbs to the required height and paused the weight…but forgot to take my brace hand (left) off my thigh at the top!  So that meant I failed on the lift.  I decided to rest 10 minutes and give it one more shot.  I also tried lefty and didn’t get more than a few inches off the ground. 

Al got his camera fired up again and I rechalked the bar and my hands and went to my “happy place” before stepping up to the vertical bar…I pulled it to the required height – paused the weight plates – got the “down” command – and lowered it under control.  New all-time USAWA record in the 2″ vertical bar in ALL weight classes.  Very proud of this lift! 


About bencrush

42-year old multiple USAWA record holder who enjoys grip strength training, bending steel, and sharing my knowledge of training in both areas.
This entry was posted in 2" vbar, Al Myers, Grip Contest, Grip Strength, Record Day, USAWA, USAWA contest, USAWA Record Day and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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