Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 158

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 158

According to Mike Boyle, Rotational training is really the blending of core training and strength training and is, in fact, an essential part of both core training and proper strength development. Read more from Mike…

 

It seems strange to type this week’s WW from my living room. I have been a series of road trips and it’s nice to be home. My buddy, Niall, from Belfast, is upstairs asleep after doing the Gym Jones cert and we are welcoming, Ole, from Denmark, here tomorrow, too.

So, I have turned my house into a hotel.

Workouts have been going well. We are working with an idea that my friend from Germany, Gernot, told me about in Munich: 30 seconds on/30 seconds off (rest) for 30 minutes doing as many exercise variations as possible. It ties in well with what we were told at the USOC in 1984 (or so) about mixing intervals with rest. Plus, I get to do just a bunch of different stuff and don’t have to count anything as the stopwatch dictates the workout.

Life is going well, too. As everyone knows, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I am so excited to celebrate this year. I have loads to be thankful for always, but this year is special.

Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving!

I enjoyed swimming the waters of the net this week. I liked this article about simple finances as everything is pretty true.

Quoting:

The card came out of an RBC chat I had with Helaine Olen regarding what I view as the financial industry’s basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter, Alex M, asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter’s note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history. (Here’s the picture and post.)

End quote

This article is a simple way to keep your health deep into life…again nothing fancy.

Quoting:

Three steps to maintaining your muscles

1. Don’t resist resistance

Government recommendations are for 2 resistance sessions a week which activate the six major muscle groups: legs, abdominals, back, chest, shoulders and arms. Book a session with a personal trainer to take you through the exercises and build confidence.

2. Prioritise protein

Include a serving of protein with each meal. This keeps a regular supply to the muscles. Include a portion of lean meat (fish, poultry) on your plate, or extra nuts, seeds or beans.

3. Reinvent breakfast

This is often where the protein can be low. To meet your needs, really you should have more than tea and toast in the morning. Eggs, porridge or cereals (with milk) are all good options. If you are in a hurry, even adding a glass of milk or Greek yoghurt to your existing breakfast can help to make the meal more functional.

End quote

Ground beef for mass! This article was fairly interesting and it made me go “Hmmm.”

Quoting:

Okay, this one doesn’t really rank up there as an Eternal Law of Muscle. But it’s cool. In one of the “glowing cow” studies, van Loon and his colleagues compared ground beef to steak. The ground beef was absorbed more quickly, with 61 percent of the tracer amino acid in the ground beef appearing in the bloodstream within six hours versus just 49 percent for the steak.

How significant this is remains a bit unclear (rates of muscle protein synthesis weren’t significantly different in the study), but it’s worth noting—particularly because we tend to get less good at chewing our food as we get older. In fact, van Loon says, studies in the 1960s found that people who retained more of their own teeth tended to have more muscle. Bizarrely, body position also matters: When you eat lying down, you slow down protein digestion and likely reduce the synthesis of new muscle protein.

End quote

I gave one of my students my collection of the Five Foot Shelf of Books. It was the right thing to do, yes, but you can now have this wonder on your computer. This week’s readings (click “November”) are fun. Fifteen minutes a day can change your life.

Quoting:

Liberal Education Defined

“Liberal education accomplishes two objects. It produces a liberal frame of mind, and it makes the studious and reflective recipient acquainted with the stream of the world’s thought and feeling, and with the infinitely varied products of the human imagination. It was my hope and belief that fifty volumes might accomplish this result for any intelligent, ambitious, and persistent reader, whether his early opportunities for education has been large or small. Such was the educational purpose with which I undertook to edit The Harvard Classics.”

End quote

Another interview for you to enjoy!

Material on Bondarchuk is usually very good. He is a throws coach, so the measurement, “distance,” is always true. If it goes farther, it worked. For the rest of the coaching world, adapting his work is going to be tougher, but this is excellent.

Quoting:

When working with data, a tendency is to look at the details. While details are important, you cannot lose sight of the big picture. Suppose the data shows that the trend is going down. Should you change what you are doing? Not necessarily. Ups and downs are part of the body’s normal adaptation process. Bad days can be expected – and indeed are needed – if you want to press the body enough to stimulate adaptation. I mentioned that with Bondarchuk we will typically take the same program and repeat it until an athlete reaches a new peak. The road to the new peak is not always up: with most athletes their result will be flat for a few weeks, before falling off and then rebounding to the new peak. If you react too quickly and change things when the results are down, then you will lose out on the new peak. Data can also include outliers which could be due as much to randomness as to training. Therefore it is important to look at the big picture before making any important decisions based on training.

In other words, listen to the signal and not just the noise.

End quote

Another article stating the obvious: early specialization just isn’t a good idea.

Quoting:

A former member of the Canadian national team, Layzell encourages kids in his three-day-a-week program to participate in other sports. They also spend one of their three sessions off the ice, learning a complimentary foundational sport with the help of a multi-discipline advisory board that includes Olympic bobsleigh gold medalist Kaillie Humphries and former Alpine Canada president Max Gartner.

“We just finished learning to wrestle,” Layzell says. “The idea is that the hockey players will learn how to better take a fall. We bring in the best coaching professionals from other sports to teach proper foundational athleticism. They’ve learned how to run, jump and throw a baseball, all from the best in their respective sports. The principles of those movements will help them later on, either in their hockey career or in whatever sport they choose.”

Other sports are also seeing a move away from specialization.

End quote

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy. And, until next week, keep lifting and learning.

Dan
DanJohn.net

According to Mike Boyle, Rotational training is really the blending of core training and strength training and is, in fact, an essential part of both core training and proper strength development. Read more from Mike…

Picking up with “The Sword in the Stone” (Part 16)

Quoting:

The Wart found it difficult to be a new kind of creature. It was no good trying to swim like a human being, for it made him go corkscrew and much too slowly. He did not know how to swim like a fish.

“Not like that,” said the tench in ponderous tones. “Put your chin on your left shoulder and do jack-knives. Never mind about the fins to begin with.”

The Wart’s legs had fused together into his backbone and his feet and toes had become a tail fin. His arms had become two more fins—of a delicate pink—and he had sprouted some more somewhere about his stomach. His head faced over his shoulder, so that when he bent in the middle his toes were moving toward his ear instead of toward his forehead. He was a beautiful olive-green, with rather scratchy plate-armour all over him, and dark bands down his sides. He was not sure which were his sides and which were his back and front, but what now appeared to be his belly had an attractive whitish colour, while his back was armed with a splendid great fin that could be erected for war and had spikes in it. He did jack-knives as the tench directed and found that he was swimming vertically downward into the mud.

“Use your feet to turn to left or right,” said the tench, “and spread those fins on your tummy to keep level. You are living in two planes now, not one.”

The Wart found that he could keep more or less level by altering the inclination of his arm fins and the ones on his stomach. He swam feebly off, enjoying himself very much.

“Come back,” said the tench. “You must learn to swim before you can dart.”

The Wart returned to his tutor in a series of zig-zags and remarked, “I do not seem to keep quite straight.”

“The trouble with you is that you do not swim from the shoulder. You swim as if you were a boy, bending at the hips. Try doing your jack-knives right from the neck downward, and move your body exactly the same amount to the right as you are going to move it to the left. Put your back into it.”

Wart gave two terrific kicks and vanished altogether in a clump of mare’s tail several yards away.

“That’s better,” said the tench, now out of sight in the murky olive water, and the Wart backed himself out of his tangle with infinite trouble, by wriggling his arm fins. He undulated back toward the voice in one terrific shove, to show off.

“Good,” said the tench, as they collided end to end. “But direction is the better part of valour.

“Try if you can do this one,” it added.

Without apparent exertion of any kind it swam off backward under a water-lily. Without apparent exertion—but the Wart, who was an enterprising learner, had been watching the slightest movement of its fins. He moved his own fins anti-clockwise, gave the tip of his tail a cunning flick, and was lying alongside the tench.

“Splendid,” said Merlyn. “Let us go for a little swim.”

End Quote

The tench is a freshwater fish and, yes, it is also called the “Doctor Fish” as, it was argued, it’s skin could cure psoriasis. In just a few moments, Merlyn’s skill will be called upon to aid a sick fish.

This small part of the book really is another primer on education. In this case, we will also get some insights on lifting weights and general physical training, but it is easy to overlook this first line:

“He did not know how to swim like a fish.”

There is a learning curve in every sport, game or employment (“utor” if you remember your Latin from earlier). Every job I have ever taken on enjoys a learning curve. You need to learn the “how things are done around here.” And, yes, often the new person will see some things as stupid.

When I started at Judge Memorial, we worked on “Judge Time.” The clocks were all set back four minutes. Why?

Yeah…why? Well, the city bus with the most students arrived exactly at 8:00 am. On paper, the day began at 8:00 am. Now, since the tail always wagged the dog at JMCHS, instead of changing the schedule for the day to start at 8:05, the answer was to have an entire building with the clocks set on the wrong time.

The students arrived at school at 8:00 and had four minutes to get to class at…8:00.

When I first arrived, I didn’t know how to swim like a fish. Oddly, almost forty years later, the idea of having clocks on the wrong time still seems, um, wrong.

When you first arrive in a new environment, there is a learning curve. Things are done in a certain way, some people have an unusual amount of power even though their official status wouldn’t suggest the power they shake and swing, and “don’t ask questions” about certain things that maybe should be questioned.

“Without apparent exertion—but the Wart, who was an enterprising learner, had been watching the slightest movement of its fins. He moved his own fins anti-clockwise, gave the tip of his tail a cunning flick, and was lying alongside the tench.”

I think Wart has given us a great life lesson about adaption and learning here. I like the phrase “Enterprising Learner;” it would make a great annual award for students. He is watching for the “secret” to mastering this underwater environment.

I was explaining to someone the other day about why the media covers religion so badly. I usually explain that theology can be foggy to most people. The news people don’t want a complex explanation of Genesis One and Two, the importance of the choirs of Angels, the order of the Theological Universe and the importance of understanding eternal, everlasting, infinite and immortal before going into…

Yep, we lose them there. So, they ask about sex. (Seriously) “Can/Can’t? Yes/No?” Sex…and perhaps lack of…is the rope the news people look for in theology. It’s their safety rope out of the fog and back to the stories about miracle supplements that will burn fat.

When you start a new job, you might find a safety rope to help your way out of the fog. I had Tony Crandall, a fellow teacher at Judge. He explained things clearly from attendance policies and how to keep ahead of them and the notion that “whenever something doesn’t make sense, think how this is affecting the boy’s basketball team: If helps them, we do it; if it doesn’t we don’t.”

Boom! The rope appeared!

“”Use your feet to turn to left or right,” said the tench, “and spread those fins on your tummy to keep level. You are living in two planes now, not one.””

Merlyn is giving Wart a lesson here about more than the life of fish. As you advance in any business or sport…or anything…you soon learn that you live in two planes. In my work on Beowulf, I discovered that warriors only spoke in the pure present, while kings always spoke in the pattern of “past-present-future.”

Wart needs to learn to live in several planes to become an efficient King Arthur. We will soon meet a Pike (Luce) that will see power in one plane, but that is a few weeks away.

“”The trouble with you is that you do not swim from the shoulder. You swim as if you were a boy, bending at the hips. Try doing your jack-knives right from the neck downward, and move your body exactly the same amount to the right as you are going to move it to the left. Put your back into it.””

Of course, this point, put your back into it, is going to be important when he pulls the sword from the stone. Finally, this line: “But direction is the better part of valour” is T. H. White at his punniest best.

Until next week.

Dan

As Dan noted above, the argument against early specialization is a strong one, but Chris Holder believes that an early focus on one sport can be beneficial, if done correctly with a dedicated, well thought out strength and conditioning program.

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