Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 307

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 307

Every few months, I head over to the Red Cross and give them my blood. I do a thing called Power Red and it involves me giving two full units of blood cells but they whoosh my plasma back into me.
Years ago, I read that giving blood is one of the best things men can do for their heart health. Iron is a great mineral, but too much can be an issue. See Protein Power Lifespan Program by Dan and Mary Eades for more on this subject. Oddly, for your heart health, flossing your teeth is as valuable as just about anything else you do, too. As my dentist notes: “Every time your heart pumps, you send that tooth infection gunk around the whole body.”
It’s not strange that I mention my dentist. I have noticed that my blood donations and my visits to the dentist are often very close together. Power Red takes a few months of adaption and these appointments are stacking up within a week of each other.
Honestly, I’m not fan of either. My heart rate shoots up to 70 at the blood donation center! C’mon!!!
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find those simple things, remember “simple, not easy,” that impact health, fitness, longevity and performance. The discus is as simple as “Stretch-1-2-3,” yet you could spend decades searching for mastery.
Like me.
Much of life is simple. I finish every email with this:
Make a difference.
Live. Love. Laugh.
Balance work, rest, play and pray (enjoy beauty and solitude).
Sleep soundly. Drink Water. Eat veggies and protein. Walk.
Wear your seatbelt. Don’t smoke. Floss your teeth.
Put weights overhead. Pick weights off the floor. Carry weights.
Reread great books. Say thank you.
All simple. Not all are easy.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 61 of the podcast.
I’ve just added a new ebook to the Downloads section for members of the site. Marty Gallagher’s Five Phases of Mastery is an exceptional breakdown of the best Power Lifting practices in the sport. He breaks down progressions for all the big lifts and walks you through how to program them in a sensible way. Marty is one of the best coaches in Power Lifting and we were super excited to add this book to the site. You can find it in the Downloads section of the Resources tab.
Have a great week!
Like I say every week, I have been doing a lot of podcasts. I have not, however, received a lot of the final product to share with you.
Sleep, Eat, Perform, Repeat. That’s the title of the site…and that’s a winner! Fun talk here.
Pat and I continue to enjoy our weekly discussion. Here you go.
Some weeks I just don’t find a lot of new lifting stuff. I am beginning to wonder if I have found every great/good article on the internet. Maybe not.
I enjoyed this article. I’m a proud believer in the education of the “free person.” My degrees are basically Political Science, History and Religious Education but I also took a wealth of science courses (especially geography).

Authoritarianism—defined as enforcing “group conformity and strict allegiance to authority at the expense of personal freedoms”—seems vastly more prevalent among those with only a high school education. “Among college graduates,” Elizabeth Redden writes at Inside Higher Ed, “holders of liberal art degrees are less inclined to express authoritarian attitudes and preferences compared to individuals who hold degrees in business or science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.”
The “valuable bulwark” of the liberal arts seems more effective in the U.S. than in Europe, perhaps because “American higher education places a strong emphasis on a combination of specific and general education,” the full report speculates. “Such general education includes exposure to the liberal arts.” The U.S. ranks at a moderate level of authoritarianism compared to 51 other countries, on par with Chile and Uruguay, with Germany ranking the least authoritarian and India the most—a 6 on a scale of 0-6.

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Marty has been pumping out great material for decades. This article aligns with one of my core beliefs about training. There was something special about the look of O lifters when they still did the press (preceded by the clean!).


Overhead pressing using a shoulder press machine or mechanical device is physiologically inferior to doing the same exercise using free weights. Exercise machines are akin to lite beer; free weights akin to 12-year old scotch whiskey. Exercise machines eliminate the need to control side-to-side movement, the 3rd dimension of tension. Machines have a frozen motor-pathway that cannot dig near as deep a muscular inroad as free weight equipment. Resistance training machines are decidedly and undeniably less effective than the free weight exercises they mimic.
The barbell press became extinct, seemingly overnight. Like the Jefferson lift, Bent Press, Zottman Curl or the Roman Chair sit-up, the clean and press was relegated to the scrap heap of abandoned exercises. The clean and press was (literally) legislated out of existence in 1972 when the press was kicked out of Olympic weightlifting. Olympic weightlifting consisted of the press, snatch, and clean & jerk. To shorten the competitions, the press was tossed. The banning of the press helped give rise to the bench press. Not coincidentally, the popularity of the overhead press plummeted.
Young men wanted the massive pecs, delts and triceps that big benching built. Young men wanted and preferred the muscled-up physiques of the champion powerlifters to the leaner physiques of the cat-like Olympic weightlifters. Weightlifters never trained arms or chest and it showed. You could handle a lot more poundage in the flat bench than in the overhead press and you did not have to clean a bench press. All of which contributed to the rise of the bench press.

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I have been following this countdown for a while (you can see some of my comments as you scroll through). This list of the best crime films of all time was a lot of fun. I don’t know why the “winner” isn’t on this final list; it’s The Third Man (1949) starring Orson Welles. I also loved that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? made the top fifteen.


11. Psycho (1960): dir. Alfred Hitchcock
        A woman on the run checks into a motel run by a man oppressed by his mother.
10. The French Connection (1971): dir. William Friedkin
        Two NYPD narcotics cops discover an international drug case.
9. White Heat (1949): dir. Raoul Walsh
        An insane criminal escapes from jail and reunites his gang for a big score.
8. Out of the Past (1947): dir. Jacques Tourneur
        A private eye’s past catches up to him.
7. The Thin Man (1934): dir. W.S. Van Dyke
        A boozy, wealthy couple investigates a missing person’s case.
6. Laura (1944): dir. Otto Preminger
        A detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating.
5. The Godfather: Part II (1974): dir. Francis Ford Coppola
        The origin story of Don Corleone.
4. The Godfather (1972): dir. Francis Ford Coppola
        A mob patriarch hands the family business to his son.
3. Chinatown (1974): dir. Roman Polanski
        A PI is hired to find a cheating husband but stumbles on a bigger mystery.
2. The Maltese Falcon (1941): dir. John Huston
        A PI is hired to find a missing girl, but winds up on the trail of a murderer.

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I like this whole article. I learned during my Great Books classes of my youth a LOT of vocabulary just to follow the stories. Many of the nautical terms in Swiss Family Robinson or Treasure Island (or the whole Horatio Hornblower series) needed to be understood to get the point (for example). I highlight only this one section, but the whole article is worth your time.


2. Expands vocabulary knowledge
Research shows that possessing a broad vocabulary is essential to making sure that children have access to a range of different words with different meanings.
It makes sense that the more words that children know when reading independently, the more they’ll enjoy what they’re reading.
While vocabulary lessons are taught in schools, parents can also assist in helping their children learn new words at home by reading favourite books aloud.
Before reading a book for the first time, flick through the pages with your child. Look for any interesting words that your child might not have seen before. Talk about what these words mean and where they may have seen them before.

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A question came up about Drumline Training and I was looking for some extra material to help explain it. This author that I found might have a future in writing about lifting: Variety with Purpose: “Drumline” Strength-Building Kettlebell Workouts
It’s basically this: In a fairly random order, stretch out a few kettlebells (or dumbbells or other weights) in a line. Have some space between each—this will depend on your facility and number of bells—so a person can do the lift safely and not hit a partner. I have 26 KBs in my home gym, so we lay them out down the sidewalk. The most basic workout is this:

Drumline Option 1
    Clean and press the first bell with the left arm—just one rep.
    Move to the next bell and clean and press it with the right arm.
    Continue along until you do all your bells, and begin again with the right arm.
There will be a lot of load changes and variation along the way, and you can accomplish a pretty substantial amount of work without ever feeling, well, worked. If a bell is too heavy to press, skip it, clean it, or just deadlift it with good form.

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Well, this should keep you busy for a while. I had to send this WW into Laree a little early, so that gives me some more time to set up next week’s materials. 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 161

“There was once discovered at Rome,” read Reverend Sidebottom through his nose, “an uncorrupted body, taller than the wall of the  city, on which the following words were inscribed-‘Pallas, the son of Evander, whom the lance of a crooked soldier slew, is interred here.’ A candle burned at his head which neither water nor wind could extinguish, until air was admitted through a hole made with the point of a needle beneath the flame. The wound of which this giant had died was four feet and a half long. Having been killed after the overthrow of Troy, he remained in his tomb two thousand two hundred and forty years.”
“Have you ever seen a giant?” asked Merlyn softly, so as not to interrupt the reading. “No, I remember you haven’t” Just catch hold of my hand a moment, and shut your eyes.”
The vicar was droning on about the gigantic son of Evander, Sir Ector was staring into the fire, and Kay was making a slight click as he moved one of the chessmen, but the Wart and Merlyn were immediately standing hand in hand in an unknown forest.
“This is the Forest of the Burbly Water,” said Merlyn, “and we are going to visit the giant Galapas. Now listen. You are invisible at the moment, because you are holding my hand. I am able to keep myself invisible by an exercise of will-power-an exceedingly exhausting job it is-and I can keep you invisible so long as you hold on to me. It takes twice as much will-power, but there. If, however, you let go of me even for a moment, during that moment you will become visible, and, if you do it in the presence of Galapas, he will munch you up in two bites. So hold on.”
“Very well,” said the Wart.
“Don’t say ‘Very well.’ It isn’t very well at all. On the contrary, it is very ill indeed. And another thing. The whole of this beastly wood is dotted with pitfalls and I should be grateful if you will look where you are going.”

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Harry Potter fans should instantly recognize those scenes where Dumbledore travels with Harry using magic. We first see this with the adventure of meeting Professor Slughorn, but we also find this in the adventures of finding a fake horcrux.
Like the story of the Pike (in the underwater adventure) and Wart’s evening with the raptors, this is dangerous business. We leaped from a cozy fireplace to the edge of the giant’s realm. There are dangers ahead.
Merlyn never feels afraid to put Wart in harm’s way.
Dumbledore never feels afraid to put Harry in harm’s way.
Oddly, I have coached teens who have both mother and father “helicoptering” around them at every turn (Ha! Discus coach joke) and protecting them from some of the safest moments of life. One of these parents would then stock the house full of alcohol and let Junior have a massive bash at the house without adult supervision.
I would rather take my chances with a giant.


Wandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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