Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 278
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 278
My traveling kicks back up this week. I’m gone, basically, from now on. I like the travel, I certainly enjoy the people (Soylent Green is NOT what I meant) and I think this is what I am supposed to do.
Sometimes, sitting in a room alone as everyone I know celebrates something does make it hard. But as most readers know: in the big picture, it’s worth it.
I am really enjoying “rediscovering” complexes. Complex C has been eye-opening after all my loaded carries and prowler work for the past few years. My hammies are growing!
And, for some Americans, let’s not talk about my Moon over My Hammies. It’s a Denny’s joke.
Snatch Grip DL
It’s a lot of hinges and a lot of squats. And…my body likes it.
Overall, my training is going well. I’m working hard on a lot of new material and answering lots of problems for people. My job now is more “problem solver” than anything else. With my military work, there is more of a need for “Do This” than before, and much less of a need for macho posturing. I’m heading out to work with several groups and my new workshops reflect what I have learned.
As I tell people, if it works for elite performance and it works for special needs population (elderly, deaf, injured, ill…for examples), it’s going to work for the broad middle too. I look for those “its;” those things that simply work across all populations. Sleep, water, veggies, and the fundamentals aren’t sexy, but they work.
These kinds of things, and presenting them with conviction and clarity, fuel my career.
Pat and I kicked around an interesting discussion concerning fat or food on this week’s podcast. Enjoy!
I have a workshop in Sweden coming up and quite a few others in Europe. Over the next few weeks, I will share the details with you.
In July, I will be back in England.
If you want a discount, here you go, from the people running the clinic:
“We’ve sorted you a personal discount code which you can send out to your network. They can use code DAN10 at checkout for 10% off the current listed price. The pre-sale rate elapses at the end of February, so be good to get this out into the ether before it expires.”
Someone tried to use the checkout code and told me it didn’t work, but IFBA convinced me that it is working.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Episode 29 is live! We were a day late on this one due to some technical difficulty, but it’s up and it’s a good one. Dan has a really nice discussion on the feedback loop of coaching. It’s worth a listen.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
I was thinking about this when I taught ESL
I hate New Years
Somebody Asked Me About Time Management
I have a personal favor to ask this week. We have some ideas for the site to make it more valuable, but we really want to give you what you want, so I have a little survey for you. If you’d send an email to [email protected] with your answers, I’d greatly appreciate it and we’ll make sure to keep improving the site in the right direction.
What are the most and least valuable aspects of the site to you?
What do you think is missing from the site?
Along with the upcoming course, we’re looking at some other ideas including a forum, so your feedback will be very helpful.
Have a great week!
Let’s whip around the internet this week.
My boss at St. Mary’s, Dan Cleather, wrote this fine piece about objectivity and science. As much as I appreciate science in sports, guys like Dan remind me to constantly keep moving ahead and staying open to new ideas.
But is science objective? Of course not! We all have conscious and unconscious biases that affect the way that we think. One of the key strengths of science, however, is that we study our biases. The naive scientist believes that this process allows them to eliminate bias. Better scientists try, instead, to understand how their biases affect their thinking.
The apparent dichotomy between science and common sense is false. Both forms of thought are based on reason, and on using evidence to understand the real world. Scientific training is simply based on refining these skills and understanding how bias can mislead us.
The solution to vaccine hesitancy or climate change scepticism does not lie in disenfranchising science deniers because we believe they have an inability to listen to reason. For instance, public health messaging is more effective when a sustained effort is made to listen and respond to public concerns. Scientists need to demonstrate how they use evidence to arrive at their positions. They need to show how the human factors that preoccupy science deniers are also captured within scientific debate, and that scientific consensus does account for their concerns.
It is disingenuous to claim that science is objective, and the public can see through it. Rather, scientists need to be honest as to the strengths and limitations of science, and be open to alternate points of view. Who knows, if we listen to the concerns of science deniers we might learn something that can help us.
Literary Hub (Crimereads.com) has become a “go to” place on the internet recently. This article, obviously for writers, is just good reading.
It is hard to hit someone with a handgun, or even with a long weapon.
Here’s the opening of a September 27, 1989 article in the New York Times:
“A dozen off-duty soldiers from Fort Lewis engaged in a 30-minute gun battle last weekend against a group of alleged drug dealers. Hundreds of rounds from handguns, shotguns and semiautomatic weapons were fired, witnesses said, but no one was hurt.”
The soldiers were from the US Army’s elite 2nd Ranger Battalion. They train all the time with their weapons and are as prepared as soldiers anywhere in the world for the stress of a gun battle. And yet no one on either side was hurt.
Can your character get off a lucky shot at extreme range that saves the day? Sure. Just keep in mind that most people, even at a short range, are going to miss much more often that they hit the target. Someone who has been trained—such as law enforcement or the military—and is in a life-or-death gun battle is going to keep shooting until the target is down or the ammo is gone. If you’re striving for realism, your character will run out of bullets at some point and will have to do something to get more.
Great advice from Phil Maffetone during this season of colds and flus…and this new virus. This is worth reading from beginning to end.
A reason to avoid the hype and hysteria, such as we are experiencing with the Coronavirus, is that it can cause significant stress. Most of this information promoted by the media is not helpful, and promotes panic. Any physical, biochemical and mental-emotional stress is a common and primary cause of poor immunity.
Even the healthiest among us can get sick sometimes, and it’s usually during, or after, times of high stress (sometimes even after a vacation).
Recovery from stress is important too. This includes recovering from a busy work day, travel, and other forms of stress. The most important way to accomplish this is sleep — 7-9 hours a night, uninterrupted.
Exercise can impair the immune system too, due to stress. This occurs primarily during higher-intensity workouts, above MAF 180 heart rate, including competition, and long workout sessions.
Of course, getting a flu shot is artificial immunity but it only protects against a few strains of a flu, often not the latest one. At this point in time a vaccine for the Coronavirus is still months away.
This might be the best recovery article I have ever read. We all know the importance of sleep for recovery…and maybe that’s the ONLY thing we need. Of course, FOMO is a big issue.
An old boss and current college track coach told me a few months ago that his job in 2019 meant dealing with his athletes’ stress and anxiety was a higher priority than their shin splints and stress fractures. Move some causation around, and you’ve basically got the thesis of Good to Go — that the primary inhibitor of recovery is stress, no matter the source, and the best way to recover is to relax. (And being that the ultimate state of relaxation is sleep, Good to Go contains a nice quick tour of the science reminding us that sleep actually achieves the gains in recovery and performance that a million products put together couldn’t.)
The heuristic that I took away from Good to Go is that any recovery method that requires doing something is inferior to one that requires doing nothing. The implications of this are profound. Sitting on your ass outperforms nearly all of the products and techniques of a billion dollar industry — what does the demand for and the creation of that nearly worthless industry say about How We Live Today? Save a few paragraphs here and there about the dangers of FOMO, Aschwanden answers that with a blessedly light touch, which is an enormous relief, and perhaps characteristic of what she learned while researching the book. Not only is doing a ton of shit to recover ridiculous, it doesn’t work. To do more, do less.
Michael Warren Brown wrote this a while ago, but it popped up on my screen this past week and I was pleased to see that my book, 40 Years with a Whistle, reflects Mike’s experiences, too.
Dick Notmeyer, an Olympic weightlifting coach at Pacifica Barbell Club, was the first coach with a true training philosophy to take Dan under his wing. Dick preached several principles and rules here are a few:
Train How You Compete: Dick would not allow his athletes to do anything in training that they wouldn’t do on the platform. This meant training was comprised almost entirely of full cleans and snatches, with no power variations. You can see this later in Dan’s track and field coaching: runners run, throwers throw, and jumpers jump.
Repetitions: Dick felt that “more reps” was the answer to most problems. You simply needed more time under the bar, and over years. Time and reps became a reoccurring theme throughout Dan’s athletic career.
Protein Answers All Problems: Lifts stalling? More protein. Girls don’t like you? More protein. I’m glad I was not alive to experience a car ride with Dan after putting away some of Bob Hoffman’s protein shakes.
There was a great discussion on standards over at the Q and A this week. These three sites serve up a nice collection. Don’t think I am telling you to follow these exactly, but use these as a good guide for most of us: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
The Track and Field standards are something I wish I would have done a better job with in my career. I had some good ones for throwers, but I should have taken the other events more seriously. It was nice to read this and discover that I maxed the standards by almost 15 meters at age 20.
Well, this should be enough for this week. One small thing, before we go (great title for a book), is that I went back and read some of our original WWs. This article made me happy: Squat, Swing, Carry for Lean Muscle
I might need to go back and reread all the materials I have shared….and pay attention this time!
Until next week, 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 131
So King Pellinore was bent over the dead beast amid loud huzzas, and the protesting monarch was given a hearty smack with a sword blade by Sir Ector. The King then said, “I think you are all a lot of beastly cads,” and wandered off mumbling into the forest.
The boar was undone, the hounds rewarded, and the foot-people, standing about in chattering groups because they would have got wet if they had sat down in the snow, ate the provisions which the young women had brought in baskets. A small barrel of wine which had been thoughtfully provided by Sir Ector was broached, and a good drink was had by all. The boar’s feet were tied together, a pole was slipped between his legs, and two men hoisted it upon their shoulders. William Twyti stood back, and courteously blew the prise.
It was at this moment that King Pellinore reappeared. Even before he came into view they could hear him crashing in the undergrowth and calling out, “I say, I say! Come here at once! A most dreadful thing has happened!” He appeared dramatically upon the edge of the clearing, just as a disturbed branch, whose burden was too heavy, emptied a couple of hundredweight of snow on his head. King Pellinore paid no attention. He climbed out of the snow heap as if he had not noticed it, still calling out, “I say. I say!”
I say. I say.
I may have ruined what’s about to happen with my big overviews of the story, but this section makes for a little picnic and break with some provisions and a nice bit of wine.
One of my secret training protocols, and please don’t share this with anyone, is a Wine Walk. Tiffini and I have been doing these since the kids were old enough to leave alone for a bit. Bringing a dog, by the way, works out well…bringing kids is not so well.
We venture off into the park or woods and look for a quiet place. I carry a specialty backpack that I open when we sit down. I pop open a wine bottle, uncork it and serve us a glass.
Sometimes, we do cheeses or nuts. Fruit is excellent.
The joke is always that the walk home takes longer as we “wind around” a bit more with a belly full of wine.
This scene after the death of the boar is the first time we have relaxed since this chapter began.
Pellinore, however, has something to tell us!!!
DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications
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