Dan John: Wandering Weights, Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 5

Bowl Season is starting, so I will be a drooling mess in front of the TV for a few days. I love college football. Forgive me, but I do.  

Before the drooling begins, let me take these last few minutes to get you thinking about some things. The holidays can be a stressful time, so get your training and your thinking about training aligned. I have your annual New Year’s Res ready for you, too.  

I almost had a workshop with Tom Furman a few years ago, and I regret that we just couldn't pull it off. I am a big fan of his and I own the bulk of his written work. It's sensible stuff and not at all “out there.” Online, it seems, once we get to a certain point in our careers, many people attempt to solve all the riddles of religion and space and time…as well as increasing hip mobility. Tom does not—I like his work a lot. See it here:Tom Furman blog. If that link doesn't work for you, type tomfurman.com in your browser address bar.

When I realized I'd be linking to Tom's work this week, I asked Laree to figure out a way to get you a free listen of Tom's audio talk The Ability to Move over on movementlectures.com. Have at it.  

As you might suspect, I'm comfortable with conflicting thoughts. Winston Churchill said it best: “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.” Last year, I wrote an article for Men’s Health about the goal for 2015 being ONE pound lighter than on January 1, 2014. Well, not many liked that idea. Short version of the next few paragraphs, I bet most people failed this simple goal. Why? No system in place!  

Goals and systems are not always the same. We need to understand that, and I thinkJames Clear makes it, um, clear here.  

I love contradiction and conflicting thoughts and ideas. We might say one thing here trying to explain “this,” and one thing there discussing “that,” and it takes the people at the Big Kids Table to sort through it. I have favorite example from Max Shank, my good friend and the author of a great new book Ultimate Athleticism. In this article, he argues brilliantly for swings and getups.   

Recently, he came out with another article, Swings and Getups Are Not Enough, that upset a lot of people. Yet, I don’t know of someone who works hands-on day in and day out who wouldn’t agree with Max on this. Listen: if all you have time for is swings, goblet squats and getups, that is what you do. Or, bench  press and rack deadlifts. Or whatever. As your time expands, so should your training. I liked BOTH articles, and nodded while reading both of them.  

I have often thought this line from The American President speaks volumes about this insight:  

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.'"  

For my non-American readers, I don’t want to appear jingoistic, but I think you understand my point. And my point? It’s okay to do swings and getups!   One of things that always helps me when I work with pro teams is understanding “gaps.” These players tend to push, pull, and do some other stuff, but rarely do we see authentic squatting and loaded carries. This is my explanation of the philosophy of this, done during an event with Chip Conrad.


The full Systems Approach video is available from OTP, but for whatever reason, not too many people bought it. That’s good for you: You're ahead of the rest if you have it. The next video in the Youtube playlist above has the “etching” and “transition” insight of, as in last week’s Wandering Weights we noted, don’t trade inches for angles. Think about that with everything you do in performance.  

And, for 2015?  

Stretch what is stiffening.

Strengthen what is weakening.

Eat like an adult.

Seek mastery.  

On January 1, 2016, try to be one pound lighter than January 1, 2015.  

Enjoy the Holidays.



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