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RVD'S Profile
VAN DAM Lift
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I've done this "special stretch" for years and years, ever since I invented it to help me achieve my goal of doing a complete split. Unlike what most "can't-doers" will tell you, it took a lot of work for me to achieve this. I've heard many people stating their belief that anyone who does the splits has a born ability to do so.

Although I agree the shape of one's body has a lot to do with their range of flexibility. I believe the average-shaped Joe can work at, and eventually accomplish, a split. I started stretching at an early age, early enough that my body had not yet developed into this extreme specimen you look at now, and that gave me an advantage. Had I only began to stretch yesterday, I still could learn to stretch into a complete split. I would just have to work my ass off to do it, and probably for a long, long time.

When I began to stretch, I stretched everyday. I watched my progress until I could progress no further. Even though I stretched everyday, I had reached a sticking point that I couldn't seem to overcome. I saw myself getting no closer to a split despite my every effort.

Here's what I did. I placed two kitchen chairs a few feet apart from each other and I sat between them on nothing but air, my legs supported by the chairs. I tried to do the splits this way, with my weight pushing my body down. This caused much pain, especially in the groin area. I could only do this for a few seconds at first, having to hang onto a broomstick for support. This helped me to stretch past that sticking point and, eventually, accomplish my goal of doing a full split.

Due to my ticket-selling nature, I was eventually showing off in the gym, jumping in the air and landing in the split position across two benches. I later came up with the idea of lifting weights while in this levitated split position and, over the years, have had several promotional photographs taken of this feat. As I grew heavier and stronger, I lifted heavier weights and, of course, this became pretty damn impressive. But hey, I don't need to tell you that.

Pictures of Rob Van Dam doing a split across two benches and lifting heavy weight appeared in wrestling magazines, karate magazines, weightlifting journals and even television. I pursued any exposure I could get for my lift and, hopefully, have it established as a legitimate feat of strength. As of today, the appropriately named Van Dam Lift is listed among the registered lifts open for all competitors to do at any USWA weightlifting meet. Recently, I set the national record by lifting a dumbell of 166.5 pounds. Any of you dumbells want to give it a try?

In 1998, I was able to get the Van Dam Lift approved by the IAWA (International All-Around Weightlifting Association.)

So far, no one comes close to challenging my record. A list of specifics is on file. The lift is done while in a split across two benches and the weight is lifted from the floor to a stopping point above the waist, making an upright row.

To do this, you have to have the perfect combination of flexibility, damn good balance, and have an awful lot of strength. I believe only one man can do it. But then again, there's only one Rob Van Dam.

For more information on the USWA, contact Bill Clark, Missouri Valley AAU, 3906 Grace Ellen Drive, Columbia, MO 65202-1796.