Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 249
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 249
I’m at probably my favorite airport in the world, Long Beach, waiting to go home. The Boathouse Café is always good for me.
The RKC weekend went well and thanks to Joe and Jason for helping and the participants for being so on task. My voice is rough this morning and my hamstrings are sore, a good thing, but I will survive.
I keep coming up with simpler and simpler ways to cover the material. I mixed the 30/30 workout with a review of the corrections, corrections, regressions and progressions and it was like stealing. Plenty of extra work for everybody, but a wonderful review.
This week, I head off to a celebration in Nashville and the following week in Ohio. Lots of late summer fun is in store for me. Life is going well. I am bringing home a fair amount of Disney swag for the grandkids as I continue to spoil them.
For those interested, I have an HKC next month in St. Louis plus a “Dan John” workshop the next day: HKC516 | Dragon Door
For the one-day workshop, go to this link.
My Portland event is coming up, too.
This week’s podcast with Pat Flynn, filled with information, went well. Be sure to write a review to get the “free program” from Pat.
This week on DanJohnWorkouts.com we continued to expand essays, workouts and extra materials. Here is a note from the webmaster, Brian:
First off, thank you to everyone who has signed up! The response to the site has been amazing. We started this project as a convenient way to deliver workouts online, it’s quickly evolving into a massive source of content.
In the past two weeks, I’ve added an “Essays” section with explanations for all of the “Bus Bench” programs as well as a couple of new essays on goals. New essays will be posted almost daily, so be sure to check the essay section when you log in to get your workout for the day.
I’ve also added a “Member’s Area” that holds longer-form content including a full copy of Mass Made Simple. Dan tells me there is a new volume of Easy Strength on the way as well. Because the Member’s Area content would ordinarily be books that are sold, we are restricting that section of the site to those that have purchased memberships.
Dan and I have been discussing a long list of features and content we will be adding to the site over time and our goal is to make this an amazing resource for you.
Thank you again, Brian
Speaking of Easy Strength, let’s continue our discussion on the Quadrants: Training for QIV
One of my heroes is Bill March. He was not only a world class bodybuilder, but one of the strongest men to ever walk this planet. Late in his career, he cleaned and pressed 390 pounds so strictly that people still talk about it fifty years later.
Yes, people have done more, but with help from the legs and massive lean back. Bill did 390 with no back bend and locked out legs.
Bill “trained differently.” He was a pioneer of isometric contraction. He drove 115 miles several times a week to work out in a home gym. The workouts lasted 36 seconds.
That’s right: 36 seconds. Three tugs of 12 seconds each: one day in a low position for the push, pull and squat, another day in a medium position and a third in a high position. When he recently explained this program, he made an important point:
He didn’t think it was right.
But it was.
That’s QIV thinking. To achieve the highest levels the human body has ever achieved, you might not be able to follow the well-worn path. You may have to blaze a new trail.
Barry Ross does not allow his sprinters to do anything but go fast. No jogging or slow running. His conditioning workouts are oddly just a series of 12 walks where the athlete tries to go just a bit farther each time: don’t be stupid and go hard on day one!
When I first heard about this, I thought it was crazy. There was no way it could work.
But it did.
The most elite lifters in the world, in all disciplines, continually explore and experiment with ideas and tools no one has ever tried before now. That’s QIV training.
And, it’s a tough lesson: if it works, no matter how crazy it is, it works.
And if it works: it’s right.
Let’s zip around the internet. Like flossing, sometimes improving health and longevity is some simple stuff. And, sometimes it is NOT doing something. I like what I hEAR here.
First things first, there’s no good reason to stick cotton swabs in your ears, as every product nowadays reminds you. “Oh, but what about my mammoth, massing mounds of earwax!?” you might protest. Well, the collection of skin cells, oil, and hair shed by our ears that we call ear wax is actually good for us. It helps lubricate and waterproof the skin along the ear canal, while also keeping certain bacteria from overgrowing.
More importantly, our ears slowly push earwax out as it accumulates, aided by the movement of our jaw. In other words, the ear is already self-cleaning.
This is a nice piece from my good friend, Anne. I think this is an article with a lot of life truth.
What I’m about to suggest requires going out of our comfort zones just slightly, setting aside stubbornness, for both me and you.
1. Eye contact. Lock eyes with someone you’re talking to a little longer than normal and let me know how it feels.
2. Use the A.R.E Technique. Anchor, reveal, encourage.
Anchor: General observation about something you are part of with the other person.
Reveal: Share something about yourself, inviting the other to reveal something (or vice versa – be sure to reveal if the other does it first).
Encourage: Fuel the conversation by asking open-ended questions.
3. Remove your emotions from the situation briefly. View it at a birdeye’s view. What could this person/people be feeling? How are the dynamics? What can everyone do to improve it?
4. Don’t worry about being judged or looking silly. We usually judge when people DON’T do anything! Accept responsibility.
5. Be upfront if you feel left out, OR if you don’t know what to do. Say, “I realize something seems off. What can I do to make this more accessible?
6. Use body language. Gesture, gesture, gesture! Keeps your shoulders toward the person, or keep it rotating in a group conversation. Mimic the things you’re trying to tell me if I don’t understand. It’s very helpful. Body language as part of our vocabulary is extremely beneficial. Have you noticed how expert travelers get by? How your dates (good and bad) behave towards you? What about brilliant TED speakers on YouTube?
7. Talk slowly. Not. Sloooowly. Not like that. But at a pace where people gravitate towards you because they know you’ve got something to say and you’re invested in the conversation. Being rushed just…costs you the opportunity to nurture the connection. It doesn’t matter if there’s a language barrier or none. Show you’re not in a hurry.
8. Be vulnerable. Vulnerability comes before trust develops. I know this is easier said than done. My advice is to take one interaction, one opportunity, privately or publicly (like this blog) to share something you don’t normally do.
Showing empathy makes us more accessible as team members or professionals.
I called JL right after reading this and thanked him for writing this. I like deep squats for lifelong mobility and flexibility, “maintain the squat,” but MY experience with heavy squatting has never been as positive as many claim for performance. This is an excellent point.
As strength and conditioning burgeoned, everyone adopted this arbitrary standard for squatting as the golden rule. But look, a squat is nothing more than joint movement at the ankle, knee, and hip. It doesn’t matter if you squat down one inch or to the floor – both qualify as squats. Yet, for some unknown reason, the rule that applied to the sport of powerlifting was universally applied to everyone who put a bar on their back and started to descend.
Sure, standards are good. They’re designed to keep all of us from sucking. But being focused on depth doesn’t even consider one of the major joints involved in squatting: the ankle.
On top of this, and most importantly, it doesn’t even take into account the most important factor in determining strength and performance gains, which is the range of motion (ROM) through which the joint is worked. Yes, range of motion at the ankle, knee, and hip should be the standards by which you’re coaching, assessing, or doing the squat.
Ear wax, empathy and squat depth. That’s enough to think about for most of us. I will continue looking around for more material next week.
And, until then, keep on lifting and learning.
For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.
The Sword in the Stone, Part 103
I want to jump to the key moment of the book, from the 1939 edition, to show the importance of T. Natrix. It is so much more logical than the version with the ants (1958).
“Come, sword,” he said. “I must cry your mercy and take you for a better cause.
“This is extraordinary,” said the Wart. “I feel strange when I have hold of this sword, and I notice everything much more clearly. Look at the beautiful gargoyles of the church, and of the monastery which it belongs to. See how splendidly all the famous banners in the aisle are waving. How nobly that yew holds up the red flakes of its timbers to worship God. How clean the snow is.
I can smell something like fetherfew and sweet briar-and is it music that I hear?”
It was music, whether of pan-pipes or of recorders, and the light in the churchyard was so clear, without being dazzling, that one could have picked a pin out twenty yards away.
“There is something in this place,” said the Wart. “There are people. Oh, people, what do you want?”
Nobody answered him, but the music was loud and the light beautiful.
“People,” cried the Wart, “I must take this sword. It is not for me, but for Kay. I will bring it back.”
There was still no answer, and Wart turned back to the anvil. He saw the golden letters, which he did not read, and the jewels on the pommel, flashing in the lovely light.
“Come, sword,” said the Wart.
He took hold of the handles with both hands, and strained against the stone. There was a melodious consort on the recorders, but nothing moved.
The Wart let go of the handles, when they were beginning to bite into the palms of his hands, and stepped back, seeing stars.
“It is well fixed,” he said.
He took hold of it again and pulled with all his might. The music played more strongly, and the light all about the churchyard glowed like amethysts; but the sword still stuck.
“Oh, Merlyn,” cried the Wart, “help me to get this weapon.”
There was a kind of rushing noise, and a long chord played along with it. All round the churchyard there were hundreds of old friends. They rose over the church wall all together, like the
Punch and Judy ghosts of remembered days, and there were badgers and nightingales and vulgar crows and hares and wild geese and falcons and fishes and dogs and dainty unicorns and solitary wasps and corkindrills and hedgehogs and griffins and the thousand other animals he had met. They loomed round the church wall, the lovers and helpers of the Wart, and they all spoke solemnly in turn. Some of them had come from the banners in the church, where they were painted in heraldry, some from the waters and the sky and the fields about-but all, down to the smallest shrew mouse, had come to help on account of love. Wart felt his power grow.
“Remember my biceps,” said the Oak, “which can stretch out horizontally against Gravity, when all the other trees go up or down.”
“Put your back into it,” said a Luce (or pike) off one of the heraldic banners, “as you once did when I was going to snap you up. Remember that power springs from the nape of the neck.”
“What about those forearms,” asked a Badger gravely, “that are held together by a chest? Come along, my dear embryo, and find your tool.”
A Merlin sitting at the top of the yew tree cried out, “Now then, Captain Wart, what is the first law of the foot? I thought I once heard something about never letting go ?”
“Don’t work like a stalling woodpecker,” urged a Tawny Owl affectionately. “Keep up a steady effort, my duck, and you will have it yet.”
“Cohere,” said a Stone in the church wall.
A Snake, slipping easily along the coping which bounded the holy earth, said, “Now then, Wart, if you were once able to walk with three hundred ribs at once, surely you can co-ordinate a few little muscles here and there? Make everything work together, as you have been learning to do ever since God let the amphibian crawl out of the sea. Fold your powers together, with the spirit of your mind, and it will come out like butter. Come along, homo sapiens, for we humble friends of yours are waiting here to cheer.”
The Wart walked up to the great sword for the third time. He put out his right hand softly and drew it out as gently as from a scabbard.
Next week, we will finish T. natrix’s history lesson.
DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications
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