Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 105

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 105

New on OTP this week: Joel Jamieson on how to write a conditioning program

I’m just getting ready to go home after a long weekend in Washington, DC. I did a KB cert (HKC) and a one-day workshop. It’s been nice; one more trip until Thanksgiving. I really found myself going deep this week with reading…and editing my next book, Now What?

I changed hotels so I could be with Tiffini—she is here for a big deal with her work. If I didn’t see her last night, I wouldn’t see her again for about two weeks.

But, Thanksgiving is on its way. It’s my favorite holiday…as most know. I love the fact that capitalism hasn’t completely ruined it. I also like the fact that we do Practice Thanksgiving almost every month, just to keep our training in.

Across the web this week, I found this great speech by Nassim Taleb and I got smarter reading it. “Skin in the game” is the label, the perfect label, for most of the crap information I usually get from people. During our FOURTH round of trying to figure out how to make the 10,000-swing challenge work, someone noted “a better way” to do it. It was the day we had 39,500 swings in the tank. But, this person had no “skin in the game.” Like those horrible fathers (do you want a list of names?) who scream down to the coach to “do this” or “do that,” they have no skin in the game. They don’t realize the burden their own child is overcoming with such awful genetics.

“I am just describing my life. I hesitate to give advice because every major single piece of advice I was given turned out to be wrong and I am glad I didn’t follow them. I was told to focus and I never did. I was told to never procrastinate and I waited 20 years for The Black Swan and it sold 3 million copies. I was told to avoid putting fictional characters in my books and I did put in Nero Tulip and Fat Tony because I got bored otherwise. I was told to not insult the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; the more I insulted them the nicer they were to me and the more they solicited Op-Eds. I was told to avoid lifting weights for a back pain and became a weightlifter: never had a back problem since.

“If I had to relive my life I would be even more stubborn and uncompromising than I have been.

“One should never do anything without skin in the game. If you give advice, you need to be exposed to losses from it. It is an extension to the silver rule. So I will tell you what tricks I employ.

  •  Do not read the newspapers, or follow the news in any way or form. To be convinced, try reading last years’ newspaper. It doesn’t mean ignore the news; it means that you go from the events to the news, not the other way around.
  •  If something is nonsense, you say it and say it loud. You will be harmed a little but will be antifragile — in the long run people who need to trust you will trust you.

End quote

On the same track, I found this classic from “Mister Minimalism:”

“What happens to your approach when you apply the golden rule?

“You cut the unnecessary. From everything. – Sitting back and taking the approach of decluttering highlight how much time, money and effort you waste on things. This can be buying the latest gadget that you will never use, spending hundreds of dollars on clothes you will never wear or spending your whole weekend in a drunken stupor. Either way, we waste a terrible lot of brain space on things that simply don’t matter.

“Life becomes simple. You prioritize. – By cutting the unnecessary you simplify your life. You find that you instantly have more time for the things that matter and the people you wish to help. Having one or two extra hours found in your week adds a massive amount of productivity to your life.

“Results start to happen. Almost instantly. – By following one and two, number three just happens. You notice that since you’ve stopped forcing results andprioritizedd what matters to you, the things you are chasing just fall into place.

I did an RKC II last week and offered to share information on my WW with any of the participants. The streak stays alive…one person (only one!) took me up! Congrats to you!

Pat Flynn gets a double mention this week, I thought this list was good.

Where’s Can You Go?

Just as I was finishing up typing this week’s edition, Pat popped this up:


So, the exercises (along with their respective category) are:

  • Double Military Press – Pushing
  • Double Kettlebell Clean – Hinging
  • Front Squat – Squatting
  • Chin Up/Pull Up – Pulling
  • Loaded Carry – Carrying

I recommend doing presses and cleans on day 1, front squats and chin ups and loaded carries on day 2. For example:

  • Monday – Day 1
  • Tuesday – Day 2
  • Wednesday – Off
  • Thursday – Day 1
  • Friday – Day 2
  • Sat – Off
  • Sun – Off

Keep reps low and weight high (5 reps or less, of 3-4 sets). Focus on consistency and accuracy of technique. Use tension and don’t forget to breathe.

End quote

Floss! I thought this was a fun article and the first mention of one of the keys to longevity.

“The Qesem dental plaque revealed starch granules and also chemical compounds common to seeds and nuts. Additional recovered plant fibers could mean these people were processing raw materials or even using toothpicks for oral hygiene. Together, they are the first direct evidence that hominins were eating plants in the Lower Palaeolithic period. Hardy emphasizes that these hominins ‘were aware that a range of dietary sources must be consumed in sufficient quantity to ensure optimum survival.'”

This article also appeared with a similar theme:

“‘In old hunting methods from a hundred years ago, people described coming up behind the whale,’ he says. If Saqqaq hunters were to have ventured out to sea in kayaks, Seersholm says they would have to have had small teams.
Maneuvering against the wind and tide, hunters can avoid detection and creep up on resting whales at the surface. ‘If you stab it with the lance just below the flipper, you can hit it straight into the heart,’ Seersholm says. ‘With just small boats and three men, you should be able to kill them.'”

“Then, after dragging the whale on land, people would butcher it and carry the meat and blubber back to the settlement for consumption and leave the heavy bones behind, explaining the lack of whale bones from the excavation.”

My friend, Anne Reuss, has a new blog. You need to read it for the whole insight on communication. “Fit in the City” is a fun title, but the discussion of “discussion” is worth everyone’s time.

This is a fun little present from friend and reader, John Karrasch. Enjoy!

Easy Strength Notes

•           ES and EES are a bit different but similar. 40 day workout falls under even easier strength.
•           The impact of strength training on success in sports really depends on the sport!
•           Spend time thinking about the actual impact of strength training in your sport.
•           “Do no harm” is often disregarded. DFYU.
•           Practicing the specific w/o the general usually leads to short term gains followed by injuries. See plyos w/o a good strength base…
•           Safety, simplicity, basic movements, all aroundness, strength carryover
•           If trying another sport as an adult treat it as a noncompetitive activity. You can only serve one master.
•           Must find optimal compromise of strength, power, endurance, skill for each sport.
•           Aerobic conditioning has value for all athletes, but dose varies.
•           Swings are a great safe alternative to traditional plyos
•           There is value in bilateral and unilateral lifts and bodyweight exercises.
•           80% on your sport, 10% strength, 10% everything else.
•           Kids are the ultimate generalist. Concentrate gains on competition and strength Don’t spread yourself too thin. Do your sport and get stronger!
•           Getting strong is easy, so do it the easiest way possible.
•           For self trained athletes, some level of coaching has value. Don’t totally go it alone
•           “A chain is only as strong as its weakest links” Get screened and tested.
•           Strength regimen must deliver great strength gains without exhausting the athletes energy or time. These are park bench programs.
•           ES Guidelines: 2 or 3 big bang exercises. Lifts 2-3 x a week. Reps in 1-5 range, emphasize doubles and triples (4 or 5 creeps into hypertrophy). Volume 10 reps a session or 6 singles. Rest around 5 minutes between sets. Train 80-95% 1RM, keep one or two reps in the bank. No all out maxes. Vary intensity every workout. Don’t stop in season but cut volume by two thirds to one half or possibly switch to 2 workouts a week instead of 3. Finish workout feeling stronger than when you started. Get over the pump and burn mentality.
•           EES guidelines: It is organized grease the groove. 40 day workout fits in here. Uses 40 to 80% 1RM. Stop sets very far from failure (maybe 10 reps with one you coulda done 20 reps). Increased frequency, up to 5x weekly. Allows some higher reps, up to 10. Allows very short rest periods. For 40 day workout do 5 exercises and focus on 2×5 reps usually for push, pull, DL, swing (20-50 reps) and ab wheel (1 set of 5). Saves the energy for the sport. Justa DL and some other plans fall under EES also.
•           Plyos  are important once many other things are in place, including double BW squat, high technical skill etc.
•           The heavier the sport implement, the more power gains and athlete can squeeze out of more strength training and vice versa…think pitcher vs shot putter.
•           Steve Maxwells fave KB drills to loosen up are halo drills, goblet squats, and windmills.
•           Trust the experts who have excelled in your sport before you
•           Be careful mixing up sport specificity and strength training. If you aren’t sure do your sport and get stronger in the basic lifts and movements. Skip all the junk.
•           Peaking and periodization don’t really work. Proof? Olympics! Another benefit of simply doing sport and EES.
•           Daily monitoring of athlete helps. Weight , RHR, hours slept. Recovery index from Dick Brown. RHR 10% above normal watch for fatigue.
•           The goal is to keep the goal the goal. Steal others paths who have already done well. 80% of time on sport, 10% strength, 10% correctives and other voodoo you think helps. Most of year should be devoted to “punch the clock” workouts in a series of ES or EES cycles. In fact, this could possibly be the only training an athlete needs.
•           For yearly planning write out goals and dates, and a general plan based on what has worked in the past and what has worked for others. Acknowledge times of year you cannot train much.
•           Consider CNS tap test to monitor training.
•           Make checklists and follow them. Keep your brain free.

All in all, not a bad week for WW. Until next time, keep lifting and learning.


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