Wednesday, 1 January 2014

All Round Lifting: Old School Strength Regenerated

Back in the day's before powerlifting and Olympic lifting were officially sanctioned sports weightlifting competitions used to consist of a wide range of various lifts referred to as the odd lifts. These harkened back to the times of old strongman such as Aurthur Saxon and Eugene Sandow who would perform such lifts in exhibitions. Even the Olympics consisted of varied lifts mainly one arm lifts and variations on the traditional Olympic lifts. Later Olympic lifting dropped to just 3 lifts and in the 70s down to just 2. With powerlifting taking off at a similar time it spelled the death of the odd lift competitions.

In recent years a new federation has sprung up called the IAWA which seeks to revive all round lifting by holding competitions consisting of any of 150 different contested lifts. These range from the usual power and Olympic lifts, typical gym exercises such as the military press, strict curl or front squat, old time lifts such as the bent press, the dumbbell swing or two hands anyhow to the completely bizarre such as the behind the back clean and jerk, zercher lift and teeth lift.

When I first started powerlifting I was coached by a man who was considered Britain's best all round lifter. He was a fantastic Olympic lifter, powerlifter, and won countless all round and one arm lifting competitions. One of his more impressive feats was a dumbbell swing of 75kg at a bodyweight of 75kg. I certainly found many of his feats of strength inspiring and would have liked to have a go at the kind of thing he used to do. If I can attain his permission I will write a blog post about him paying homage to british strength like I did for Edward Aston.

Lately i have become bored with training for just the big 3 and think it would be fun to have a go at some all round lifting competitions. While not only adding some variety and fun to my training it will also help develop all round strength as part of being strong to be useful. This philosophy is not just being strong in the big 3 but being strong in all ways.

When it comes to training you do not try and train all 150 lifts. That would be silly and tedious. Instead you maintain focus on your main compound lifts but put more emphasise on overhead lifting, grip strength and Olympic lifts or variations. As you get closer to a competition you focus on those contested lifts

Being an all round weightlifter is something different and is rising in popularity. You would still be able to steadily increase your main lifts which I consider to be the Squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, chin up and powerclean but could also have fun trying different lifts and may even find new ways to improve your compound lifts.

For anyone interested membership is £20 a year. The 2014 calender is on the IAWA website along with the british and world records for the lifts. There are some very interesting and impressive feats on there. Check it out for some new challenges to your strength.