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Strength Events

  • Head Shot

    Black eyes and bloody noses are what most people think of when talk turns to head shots in this industry, but I'm happy as heck to have gotten one this time. You see, earlier this week the Sentinel-Tribune Newspaper photographer did my head shot with his camera.

    I've got a new monthly print column starting called “Body of Work”. Bland bouncy “fitness trainer” fare this is not. I'm writing an old fashioned exercise column with a twist. You should have seen the news room when I walked through to the photo studio. The Editor wasn't kidding when she said that my pieces had made the rounds to the various desks.

    It's really just a matter of time before they start rolling out, so stay aware and I will post when the first one goes to print. I know it's just once a month, but I'm super stoked about this.

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe

  • Darth Vader and York Barbell

    “Roger LaPointe to the store front desk, please.”

    Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader, at York Barbell
    Dave Prowse choking Roger LaPointe in the York Barbell Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

    I loved to hear that request echo from the tinny, feedback filled York Barbell intercom.  It was ALWAYS going to lead to something interesting.

    That day was no exception.  Twenty years after I first encountered him on the big screen, I met Darth Vader, I mean Dave Prowse.  Yes, I instantly became that shocked six year old in a movie theater seeing a light saber for the first time. It was 1997 and Dave Prowse wanted to meet “the lifter” at York Barbell.  Fortunately for me, Dave had dealt with plenty of star struck fans.  It didn't take long before we were talking about weightlifting, gyms and the fun of a real Highland games.  We genuinely had interests in common.

    Dave has a really outstanding sense of humor and loves the strength sports.  He also has a great voice to top off his commanding presence.  The photo above shows Dave choking me in the York Barbell Weightlifting Hall of Fame.

    Years before, Dr. Bob Suchyta had told me that if I take my lifting seriously, it will take me to amazing places. The beauty of weightlifting is that it is just you and a barbell.  The barbell is an inanimate object.  If you don't do anything, then it will also do nothing.  The same can be said of stone lifting, or throwing a caber.  The lessons of the iron are great.

    Dave Prowse told me the same thing as Dr. Bob.  In their humility, just meeting each of them was already something great.  Look up Dave's biography.  It reads like Charles Atlas.  He really was the sickly kid who went on to lift the unliftable stones.  Little did I know, my lifting would take me to the stars, to battle with the most notorious villain of all time, or at least the actor who played him.

    All the best, 

    Roger LaPointe

    Today is a good day to lift.”

    P.S. My, now seven year old, son tells me that it's obviously not Darth Vader choking me in the photo, after all, “where is his cape and helmet?”  (Raspy breathing sound effect: “Jackson, I am your father.”)

  • Throwing Down a Pint

    joe-marino-bodybuilder
    Carry On, Joe Marino - Joe has always promoted the idea of camaraderie in strength sports, especially through the AOBS.

    As you can imagine, I'm not a big drinker, but that was great fun. I've been working so long and hard on the Atomic Athletic web site that my social, camaraderie oriented side of life has been lacking. I almost titled this Bomb Proof Bulletin “Extending the Conversation”, which would have been descriptive, but didn't have the punchy flavor I wanted, but you get the idea.

    Just Did It
    You see, like any other sport, you can only “do” strength sports for so long. I'm also not talking about age here. We have Masters athletics for those of us who want to compete in age group sports. I'm talking about being a spectator. It's the art of watching the game with buddies. Most of us at the Pub had done some sort of coaching and recruiting for the Open Curling we have, thanks to the advertising power of the the Olympics being on television. By Friday, we were done for the week. It was time to relax and talk about the sport. Tell some jokes. You get the idea.

    Last week, I met with my buddy, Dr. Bob Suchyta, at his bar, Doc's Sports Retreat. Dr. Bob is the guy who got me into Olympic style Weightlifting. Believe me, he was a much better lifter than I have ever been, having been trained by Norbert Schemansky, at the Astro Club. We had a blast talking about lifting and checking out all of his sports memorabilia. His place is a modern sports bar that shows off a collection that includes pieces from Gordy Howe, other Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, Pistons and of course, weightlifters. There is at least an entire case of memorabilia just about Norbert Schemansky, but other lifters, strongmen and bodybuilders are represented as well.

    Click this link if you want to check out Doc's Sports Retreat: http://www.docssportretreat.com/

    Both Vic Boff and Joe Marino drummed the concepts of camaraderie and fellowship into my head. They are essential for any sport. In case you didn't know, the AOBS (Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen, which Vic founded) started as an informal get-together to celebrate Sig Klein's birthday. Make sure to get together with your lifting buddies. If they have all disappeared, find new ones. Make sure to add in some young guys, or even “old guys” who are new to the sport.

    Vic Boff Collection: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/vic-boff-collection-2-books-dvd.html

    Continue to check out the Atomic Athletic BLOG for more. I add bits & pieces to it, that are not long enough for a Bulletin.   Of course, not all the Bulletins make it to the BLOG.  They really are different entities.

    Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic Collage
    Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic Collage

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

  • Vibrant Living Radio Show

    Glenn Brooks "Vibrant Living" Radio Show on U92.3 FM
    Glenn Brooks "Vibrant Living" Radio Show on U92.3 FM

    Atomic Athletic President Roger LaPointe will be on the radio!

    Check out U92.3 FM in the Bay Area of California today between 8-10 AM, west coast time.

    http://www.u923fm.com/app/view-profile/100060

    Roger will be speaking about Indian Club training and how to incorporate Indian Physical Culture into your western weightlifting program.

    Listen to it live and streaming on your computer with their iTunes or Android download, at the top right of their screen.

  • Brodie's Saloon & the Kennedy Lift

         "Steve Brodie, the man who took a chance, he jumped off the Brooklyn

    Chain Bar Heavy Lift Strongman Hip Lift with Train Wheels

    Bridge(so they say) had a saloon on the Bowery back in 1892 with a gym in the rear. This was not unusual. A lot of barrooms supported gyms. The author (York Barbell's Gord Venables) visited the Turnverein in Union City, New Jersey, in 1960 and it was back of the bar in a Swiss Restaurant.

         Bill Kennedy, a New York carpenter, performed nightly at Brodie's Saloon, lifting 1500 pounds in the straddle deadlift with handle and chain. The lifting feat became popular among strongmen of that era and it now bears his name - The Kennedy Lift." (Strength & Health, “Incredible Feats of Strength”, Venables, Oct-Nov 1974, p. 59

    Atomic Tip: Using the Hand & Thigh Bar with the Chain Lift Bar for a Kennedy Lift will allow you to go much heavier than a Jefferson Lift (barbell Straddle Deadlift), as you can “set” the bar in the partial movement. While you certainly can use bumper plates, cast iron 100's are far more dense. Make sure you use accurate ones, or at least weigh them so you can get the weight right from one end of the bar to the other. Obviously, you want the chain lift bar to have a balanced load, without loose wobbly collars.

  • New Masters Lifting Writer

    “Rog, start sending me everything you can find with old guys lifting.” I don't get requests like that. I really don't get that sort of request from genuine icons of strength.

    David Shaw Powerlifter
    David Shaw Powerlifter

    Coming up will be, what I am hoping, is the first of many, many articles by a “new” master writer. No, I have not raised Bob Hoffman from the dead, although I am sure he is still clutching his pen, but this guy has done some great writing and a lot of serious lifting.

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/books-and-videos/strength-health-magazine-package-special.html

    I know, you are thinking that this will be some Olympic weightlifting guy that I have known for years.

    Wrong.

    This guy is from the world of powerlifting. He has set 5 world records. He has won the Nationals and been in the Guinness Book of World Records. While he did all the amazing things you can read about on the inter-webs, he was training alone in his garage and pushing his education through two Master's Degrees.

    Guess where he lifts today? In his garage.

    While he no longer competes, he still lifts. He could lift in a modern corporate facility, which he happens to manage for a major, large corporation, but he doesn't.

    I know you are wondering who he is. Well, it's David Shaw.

    Let me tell you one of the coolest things about David Shaw. It isn't his past records or tales from meets back in the day. Sure, those are interesting things, but not nearly so cool as the day called me up, with an urgency in his voice and asked for that info on old guys. I asked, “Why? You did more than the old guys.”

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/books-and-videos/usawa-2000-nationals-dvd.html

    “I'm sorry, you misunderstand me,” he very politely said. “I want to see what guys are actually lifting and breaking records at, who are 60, 70 or a 100 years old. This is what I am going to aim for.” So, Dave is building his list. Some of his information is old, like his reports on what Ed Zercher did. Some is very recent, like the footage and results from my 2012 Atomic Athletic Great Black Swamp Olde Time Strongman Picnic. So, as Dave gets older, he will be looking at what guys did, and are doing, at his current age, even if the guy he's competing against has been dead for 50 years. Dave is constantly adapting, changing and trying to improve on what has worked in the past, with some very definite goals in mind. That's really cool.

    Because of his attitude, I had to get him to write for me. This weekend you will have Dave's first article. It's a short piece on dumbbell benching. Don't worry, everyone will get something out it, regardless of your age. Dave writes from a position of ageless truth.

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

  • Man in the Arena by Teddy Roosevelt

     

    Heavyweight Boxer Billie Miske 1922
    Heavyweight Boxer Billie Miske lost to Jack Dempsey at Benton Harbor, MI in 1920. For the 3 round fight Dempsey won $55,000 and Miske $25,000.

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

    President Theodore Roosevelt

  • Stone Sphere Lifting

    Atlas Stone Lift Sequence PHoto 1 EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 1 - Roger LaPointe

    Stone lifting is such an ancient sport that the ancient Egyptians made record it. I have a small course on stone sphere lifting from India that was printed in the early 1950s, but that is apparently a reprint from a much earlier physical culture article, date unknown. There is clearly much older recorded stone ball lifting from the Basques, Greeks, Celts and Chinese. Basically, this is not new stuff, but it is also enduring.

    Of course, real stone will stay around for thousands of years. More than that, it is a form of sport that ties us to the past. You can go to Scotland and lift manhood stones that have been lifted by generations of athletes. Even when you don't lift a known lifting stone, there is still that primitive tie to the past. It is a basic movement that is appealing on its own merit, both for fitness purposes and because it is simply enjoyable. Talk to anyone who has played with real stones and you will see it in their eyes.

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 2 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 2 - Roger LaPointe

     

    Stone Sphere Lifting Technique

    There are really two different ways to lift a stone ball and the methodology you use will be highly dependent on your goal and the type of lifting in your background.  My formal lifting training is as an Olympic lifter, which fits with the fast, explosive style of the Basques.

     

    Many people have tried to pin the Basque Weightlifters in to lifting categories, stones are merely another type of weight in their culture, but that is a real disservice.  Instead, one needs to think of the object and the objective.  For stone balls, they typically lift only one, but they do it for repetitions in a fixed time period, for example: 1, 2, or 3 minutes.  A 100 Kg granite ball would be typical.

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 3 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 3 - Roger LaPointe

    Their style, for this type of contest would be like an Olympic weightlifter doing power cleans with a barbell, for repetitions.  It's all about speed with a relatively easy weight.

     

    The second style of stone sphere lifting is more slow strength than speed oriented.  Think of the Olympic weightlifter who cleans a barbell and sits in the bottom, readjusts then easily stands up with it for the jerk.  You can almost think of the clean as a two part movement.  With a stone ball, most guys would re-adjust the arms while the stone is sitting in the lap.  Sometimes, you will hear a stone lifter say that a guy lapped the ball, but couldn't stand up with it.  In the Basque style, there is no "lapping" the ball.  It goes straight to the shoulder.

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/poster-a-gathering-of-stone-lifters.html

    Stones are not made for pushing records. Even

    EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters 163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 4 - Roger LaPointe EVENT: A Gathering of Stone Lifters
    163 Pound Granite Sphere Sequence 4 - Roger LaPointe

    stones that have been cut and shaped by man are simple basic shapes. As much as I like Olympic lifting, barbells are made to be efficiently lifted for the purpose of pushing record attempts. There are no needle bearings for a granite ball. It is simply a spherically cut piece of granite. The Greek stone mason who first carved a granite ball and picked it up is doing the same thing that we did last weekend at Atomic Athletic's “A Gathering of Stone Lifters”.

    The Poster for “A Gathering of Stone Lifters” is available with FREE Shipping right now. Get your copy here: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/poster-a-gathering-of-stone-lifters.html

    All the best,Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

    PS. When you go to the BLOG make sure to check out the upper left column and check out the new VIDEO BLOG section.

  • Classic Strongman Yoke Walk Performance

    Folks, there is nothing new under the sun.  Check out this classic strongman feat of strength called, "The Yoke Walk".  If you would like to see a modern Yoke Walk, try this link:

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/super-yoke-walk.html

    Classic strongman Yoke Walk demo.
    The competitive strongman event called "The Yoke Walk" is nothing new! Check out this outstanding old photo from Strength & Health magazine.
  • Marines With Stones!

    The Marine Martial Arts Instructor Trainer division is one of the most intense group of guys you will ever find. When I met with them, for their equipment delivery and seminar on traditional strength

    Olympic Weightlifting Instructions with the Marines
    Marine Martial Arts Instructor Trainers Division - Traditional Strength Training Clinic

    training, I had no idea what to expect. I knew they wanted old school and I knew what they had already purchased.

    How intense are these guys? Well, they brought in their top guy, who summed up the Marine Martial Arts Instructor Trainer Division goal and definition. Marine Martial Arts were defined to me as all the fighting done when the Marine runs out of bullets. His gun is still in his hands and that will be his first choice weapon. Their goal: do any training that will extend his life even one second. Each second added up for 100 men is 100 seconds. That single small time increment can easily turn the tide of a battle and a won battle can win a war.

    So you ask, why did they choose Atomic Athletic? That is a fantastic question and one that I certainly considered. Their answer surprised me. It’s funny, but with their files, they knew more about me than I did!

    My seminar was very strange. It was as much brainstorming as it was training. I have to compliment them. They were the fastest learners I have ever met. Not just mentally, but they physically caught on faster than anyone I have ever seen.

    They wanted to see both the most advanced in free weight strength training and the most basic. They wanted different ideas on how to train individuals and how to train groups. They wanted fine details and basic concepts.

    Several ideas absolutely floored them. These guys were doing R & D for training the elite forces of our military’s trained killers and the concepts I grew up with floored them. This was exactly what they wanted because they felt that for too long there had been too much reliance on a bodybuilding mentality built around strength machines. It was time to go old school and do training that could be done in the middle of nowhere without a gym full of machines.

    Not the concepts.

    The Marines have been polishing their martial arts for over 200 years. I was not going to surprise them with a new concept. Everything is there in the historical record.

    It was the approach that floored the Marines.

    Marine Strongman Globe Dumbbell Curl
    Marine Martial Arts Instructor Trainers Division - Atomic Athletic Traditional Strength Training Clinic:Thick Handled Globe Dumbbell Curl

    I will get to that in later Bomb Proof Bulletins, but it is there in my Stone Lifting Wall Charts. Yes. The Marines are once again lifting stones.

    Get some ideas here: http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/gym-art-charts/atomic-athletic-stone-sphere-instructional-chart-set-posters-1-2.html

    If you want to get the feel for real stone lifting, then you just might be someone who would enjoy the Atomic Athletic “A Gathering of Stone Lifters”. It is a new thing for us and unlike anything you have probably been a part of. It will be smaller than than our strongman picnics and should have a completely different feel. Check out the details at this link:

    http://atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/a-gathering-of-stone-lifters.html

    All the best,
    Roger LaPointe
    “Today is a good day to lift.”

    PS. If you enjoyed this Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletin, make sure to re-sign up for it, as we are in the process of upgrading it. In a short time, this version will completely disappear and you will no longer get a bulletin, if you do not re-sign up. Here is the link: http://eepurl.com/AjKQz

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