Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 294

I’ve been working on a question for a few weeks about combining Easy Strength ideas with basic cardio for fat loss. I’m always amazed how much traction both Easy Strength and the 10,000 Swing Challenge seem to have attained during this pandemic. I think it is because neither needs a lot of equipment and one doesn’t have to think a lot once you get going.
I’m researching free fatty acids a lot. I’m not biochemist but the deeper one dives into the role of exercise in fat loss, the murkier the waters. Right now, I am pretty sure that maybe, with luck, in a roundabout way, I might have some of these ideas right.
Get a good night’s sleep.

Wake up and drink coffee (or take a caffeine pill…not for me)

Keep fasting until you train.

            Ab Wheel: 2 x 5 or 1 x 10
            Vertical Press: 3 x 3
            Vertical Pull:  3 x 3 or Six singles (adding load or staying the same),
            Deadlift Variation: 3 x 3
            KB Swings: Up to 75.

On the last rep, walk out the door and go for about 45 minutes without getting the heart rate over 180 minus your age. (The goal is for one-hour workouts…maybe five days a week)

Veggies and proteins at meals. Drink water all day as appropriate

Two “Gut Biome Breaks:” Fermented food (I like sauerkraut) and a piece of fruit (I like apples, my daughter can’t eat them)
I have been discussing this with a lot of women. I am convinced, after lots of long interactions, that hormone tests (and appropriate follow up), gut biome “stuff,” and strength training lead to a lot of success for many women.
The devil is in the details. I am looking into explaining this program with a single kettlebell, I get that request ALL the time, various barbell variations and dumbbells.
Speaking of Easy Strength, I sent Laree (the world’s finest person) my final draft of Attempts: Essays on Fitness, Health, Longevity and Easy Strength. The audiobook is basically finished with a few items we need to fix.
It’s not my fault. The City of Murray decided to rip up my sidewalks, curbs and streets. It is LOUD and I can’t work around all of it. I’m working on this new material (ES for Fat Loss) separate from the book.
So, yes, I am staying busy.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
The workshop this week is excellent and will certainly be of interest to you. This one is titled “Coaching 101.
Episode 49 of the podcast.
I’ve added the Mountain Climbing Program to the workout generator in the formal training program section. Be sure to check that out if it tickles your fancy.
We were hoping the Covid crisis would calm down and we could quit running our special, but we haven’t been so lucky. We’ll keep it going until the need stops. Use CORONA on the payment page and receive 3 months for $29 on the site.
Have a great week!
Pat and I had an interesting talk…sadly my internet was barking at me!
My brother-in-law, Geoffrey Hemingway, among others calls me “The Bodfather.” This is an interesting little take on my work.
This is a great version of the method I used to teach the Overhead Squat.

If you have a bar or dowel close by (broom handle will do), you can work your overhead position. This will open up your shoulders and thoracic spine, curing you hunch back. It is also transferable to over head squats. Wider is easier, I usually start wide and work my way in.
I tend to perform these once a day just for general well being. If I find a position that is uncomfortable I will hold and sometimes rock in that position until it feels comfortable. Have a play around – your body will thank you for it!

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I’ve been doing a deep dive into the work of Rusty Moore. It’s a funny thing, people will read my work and wonder why I teach this or that. “Well, that’s for a thrower.” Then, I will recommend Rusty Moore or Greg O’Gallagher (or Marty Gallagher!) and people think I am saying something bizarre. No. Programs need to be appropriate to your goals. Moore’s insights are probably more (ha!) true for the goals of many people. This article, by itself, is something I can use in my life (especially for wedding photos!): How to Lose Face Fat: 5 Effective Ways to Slim Your Face.
Tip 1: Increase Potassium to Reduce Face Bloat
This is a quick hack to reduce water retention in your body and face.
    Most people probably know that sodium can increase water retention, so they REDUCE their intake of salty foods so they don’t look smooth and puffy.
This helps, but INCREASING potassium takes this a step further.
You see, potassium opposes sodium.
Typically, when you increase potassium you decrease the effects of sodium.
Here is a partial list of face slimming potassium-rich foods.
    White beans
    Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
    Swiss Chard
    Oranges & Bananas

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An old friend linked up with me this week and shared some work he has done on my work. You will quickly see that Scott is a bright guy!!!


Fano Plane of Dan John’s Fundamental Movements

Origin story:  Dan John is one of the Great Teachers. He’s a strength coach, multiple record holder, Fulbright Scholar, and all-around fantastic human being. If you’ve ever done a kettlebell goblet squat, or carried a slosh pipe, or done a round of “get back ups”, you have him to thank.
I had the distinct pleasure of spending an evening with him at a discus camp (no, I don’t throw). Over the course of a couple hours with him and two of his talented student coaches, I presented the Fano Plane as a possibility for a visual model that tied together his thoughts on his six fundamental movements – push, pull, hinge, squat, carry, and groundwork, and we worked out the details.
No model will ever be all-encompassing or perfect, but for simple, effective and balanced exercise programming, this one is still pretty good and useful. ​
Six fundamental movements
In his many books, videos, and blog posts, Dan John has long discussed his training concept of the Six Fundamental Movements – ​push, pull, hinge, squat, carry, and groundwork.
In July 2015 I was fortunate to be welcomed into an evening of strength training conversation with Dan and two of his student coaches (Kelton Mehls and Chase Kallas). It was during an annual discus camp held down the street at Denison University. When Dan mentioned he was looking for a visual model to help explain this concept, it occurred to me that a Fano Plane has six points, and it might be interesting to map the movements to the points and see what happens.
This is what we developed. It allowed you to place each the six movements, and then move around the plane to connect them in various ways.​The corner points indicate a focus movement (harder effort), and the edges are a movement to maintain (medium-to-easier effort).

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And, more from Scott:


I made a dice set based on Dan John’s Six Fundamental Movements – push, pull, squat, hinge, loaded carry, and groundwork. I read somewhere that Rotate/Anti-Rotate was being discussed as an additional pattern, so I added it to make a set of seven dice.
​In Dan’s book Intervention, he talks about the movement patterns and how you can program them in different ways from the most basic (patterning) to the most complex (ballistic). I made one die for each fundamental movement, and made each side of each die a different programming option – pattern, mobility, endurance, ballistic, and slow heavy grinds, and rest.

To randomly program the day’s workout, simply roll the dice! I then like to re-arrange whatever I roll into this order:
    Mobility (as a movement-based stretch)
    Pattern (as a warm up)
    Ballistic (power expression)
    Grind (heavy and slow)
    Endurance (lower weight, higher reps, typically intervals)
    Rest (skip this movement pattern)
If I don’t roll a category, I skip it. Hey, it’s random!
In the example photo below, I could do this:
    Pattern Rotate – unweighted Turkish Getups
    Ballistic Pull, Ballistic Squat – full squat cleans (clean the barbell from the floor and catch in a deep squat)
    Grind Push – one-arm kettlebell overhead presses, or weighted TRX pushups
    Endurance Ground, Endurance Carry – alternate Spiderman crawl and slosh pipe carry until I’ve had enough
    Rest Hinge – skip this time
Of course, you can swap in any specific movement for each category based on your gear, skill, or interest. For example, Squat could be goblet, front, back, bodyweight, lunge, etc.

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I really enjoyed this article on the whole notion of paleo eating. This conclusion makes sense to me:


As for me, I’ll choose to eat the fruits and nuts like my early ancestors, not because they are the perfect paleodiet but instead because I like these foods and modern studies suggest that consuming them offers benefits. I’ll supplement them with some of the great beans of agriculture, too much coffee, maybe a glass of wine and some chocolate. These supplements are not paleo by any definition, but I like them. What should you eat? The truth is that many different diets consumed by our ancestors—al insect diet, mastodon diets or whatever you please—would be, although some perfect panacea, better than the average modern diet, one so bad that any point in the past can come to seem like the good ole days, unless you go too far back to a point when our ancestors lived more like rats and probably ate everything, including their own feces. Sometimes what happens in paleo should really stay in paleo.

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Well, that should be enough to keep you busy for a few days. I will be washing my hands, wearing my mask and trying to keep on reading great books for a while here. And, of course, until next time, 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 147

Archimedes kissed her tenderly. He was not overawed by her, but saluted her almost with pity, as if he were a man of the world visiting his sister, a num who did not understand how to get on in his world, or perhaps a prosperous banker who had always tried to be reasonably decent, meeting the man whose destiny it was to be nailed up and left to die of sunstroke, agony and exhaustion, in order to save the prosperous banker.
Even Archimedes did not understand her.
She knew this.
“Hail mother,” said Archimedes. “I have brought you a young human, who is to learn things, by decree.”
When the Wart came to think about it afterwards, he realized that he had never seen the goddess but that he had also never heard her speak. The owl spoke, and he spoke; but the words of Athene did not come out of a mouth.
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I’m reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin discusses visiting a woman who lived upstairs from him who tried to live the convent life (nunnery) and, for reasons beyond this discussion, decided to live that life alone above her sister. Franklin’s description of the woman ties in well with our image of Athene here. I think this line is beautiful:
“or perhaps a prosperous banker who had always tried to be reasonably decent, meeting the man whose destiny it was to be nailed up and left to die of sunstroke, agony and exhaustion, in order to save the prosperous banker.”
I think this line rivals the work of W. R. Rogers’ insights about Jesus in Roger’s poem(s), A Resurrection Sequence. I’ve used this section before here.

In agony. Ebb and flow, to and fro, Yes and No;
Doubt assailed him. Which and what to do? This much must be
We live between two worlds, faith and doubt,
Like breath. The air that one breathes does not care
Whether it’s in or out; it’s not in love with life
Or death. And yet we do not dare to hold it long,
But must let it go to find again. So with faith,
With love, with everything.

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The “reasonably decent banker” is something I need to sit back and reflect upon: am I a reasonably decent strength coach?
Am I worth the sacrifice? It’s a question that I don’t just want someone to have kindergarten answer: “Yes…yes, of course.”  Reading Franklin and rereading this section has me on a deep dive into my “virtuous life.”
Is Athene “there?” Well, we have a talking owl and a boy transfigured into an owl, so go ahead and present your arguments.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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