Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 316

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 316

I picked up an ear infection this past week. I was Boogie Boarding with my grandson and got a nice batch of ear goo. I knew something was coming on Thanksgiving and by Thanksgiving Friday, I was down for the count.
Oddly, I thought I was hungover on Friday at first. And, true, it was not a conclusion worthy of Sherlock as Thanksgiving can be over the top. I only figured out the ear when I leaned a bit and felt that terrible feeling of having an ear infection. I get one of these about every five years and it must be time again.
I’m far better today. I was able to train yesterday and I can hear again.
2020 has just been a year. I lost another two friends this week, a neighbor and a former student. Covid. The economy. I could go on and on here. All in all, I should have expected an ear infection this year.
I only get ear infections in my right ear. I’ve broken my nose at least six times and I have had three surgeries to deal with my face. I have that lovely fake tooth and damage throughout that whole channel of my sinuses on my right side. So, there just isn’t a lot of room for drainage when things come up.
Yeah, I know….gross.
I’ve discovered that basically leaving the ear alone and just living with it for a few days seems to be the best “cure.” My mom used to teach us this great cure for the common cold:
Do nothing and it lasts two weeks.
Do something and it lasts fourteen days.
I’ve learned that the last line of The Count of Monte Cristo to be wise advice for much of life’s short-term miseries: “Wait and hope.”
For many of us, 2020 has stressed our ability to wait and hope. Ideally, as Alex Trebek reminded us just before his death in his Thanksgiving message, we will come out of all of this better:
“Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentlemen. You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful. There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing. Keep the faith. We’re going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.”
After any cold, flu, or ear infection, I always come through “better.”
And that is pretty good.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 70 of the podcast.
I trust and hope everyone had a safe, happy, food coma-inducing Thanksgiving. I’m grateful you are part of our community. Thank you.
Have a great week!
Pat and I met up for our weekly chat. The discussion of holiday binging came up and, as always, I have never been concerned as much about that issue. It’s the binging during the other fifty weeks a week that gets many in trouble.
Taking the advice from last week’s reading from Ray Bradbury, I am doing the daily short story and poem reading. He was right about modern poetry. I found a site that has a lot of modern work and much of it reads like a thesaurus. But this site really has me excited.

This site “feels” like my English classes as a kid: we read a lot of short stories. A few here, like the one by William Carlos Williams, instantly made me reread it after finishing it the first time.

Gabriel García Márquez’s work here is a delight. It was fun to find Frank Stockton’s classic, The Lady or the Tiger, and be frustrated again.

As I was whipping around the world wide web this week, I didn’t find a lot of material for you, Gentle Reader. Maybe it is the holiday here in the United States or just general fatigue. Let’s look at what I found:
When I first came online, I met some women at a site called MOOCOW. This was an Atkins Diet page and they had a great list of training ideas. One woman summed up her success (100 plus weight loss) as:

1. Eat meat
2. Drink water
3. Sip oil
I tried sipping olive oil for about a year after this discussion and things went well. Maybe it’s time to reconsider this after reading this article.


Complex high fat foods such as extra virgin olive oil, when eaten with a wide variety of other healthy polyphenol-dense foods, provide the basis for a rich and diverse community of gut microbes. This diversity is increasingly being shown to be important for our health. The original PREDIMED study didn’t measure gut microbes directly (although subsequent research is doing so) but the striking benefits of the Mediterranean diet and particularly extra virgin olive oil are that they are superb gut microbe fertilisers and improve gut health.
Critics of olive oil, who usually promote untested alternatives, suggest its lower burning temperature make make it more likely to produce potential carcinogens in cooking. But the Spanish participants in the trial regularly cooked with the oil, reassuringly with no obvious health consequences.
Eating extra virgin olive oil as part of a diverse Mediterranean diet is clearly beneficial in Spanish adults. And although genes partially control preferences, there is no reason to believe it won’t work in other cultures and populations. If we start educating people to use high-quality extra virgin olive oil early in life and change its stigma as a medicine or punishment, we could make our populations and our gut microbiomes healthier. Although we are unlikely to ever match the Greeks.

End quote
Okay, honesty time: I don’t really understand this. I just thought it was interesting. I don’t know about Liver Clocks.


In his recent study on mice, Sassone-Corsi showed that 24 hours of fasting had some strange effects on the clock genes in liver and muscle cells of his otherwise healthy mice. When the mice fasted, he noticed that the “rhythmicity” of their core clock genes was blunted, far more so in the muscle than the liver cells. Those genes seemed to be adhering to different rhythms, expressing different genes than they normally would during a normal feeding schedule. But when he re-fed his mice, the clocks in those two tissues synced back up again.
“What fasting seems to do, at least in liver and muscle, which we studied in this particular paper, was that it was able to make [the clocks] more coordinated between the two,” he says.
This study isn’t an excuse to food-deprive yourself in order to beat your internal clock into submission. Instead, the researchers believe that strategically timed fasts might be a good way to look at treating age-related diseases that come from misaligned cellular clocks. Sassone-Corsi and his co-authors say that fasting can reorganize the way genes are expressed in each cell and “prime the genome” so when feeding starts again, the clocks in each tissue are back in sync. In short, it could hit a hard reset on an internal clock that might have gone rogue.
“Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to confer robust circadian oscillation that ultimately benefits health and protects against aging-associated diseases,” they write.

End quote
Once, working Wednesday Night Bingo with Steve Cramblitt, he explained “ruining the shoelace” for baseball pitchers for me. It literally changed the way I taught all the throws. I like this author a lot and this article got me going back to really ancient (1960s!!!) articles on throwing.


What is the difference between a lazy ankle and an active one? Roughly 70 degrees of rotation. Something so minor that can make a huge difference in power output.  Notice that with the lazy ankle the hip is well behind the optimal position. If the hip fails to open up all the way, there is energy left on the table. Even if the hip is able to open all the way from the bad foot placement, it takes much longer than with a forward-facing foot.
Many people will land with this bad foot position, even on an elite level, and then rapidly rotate the ankle around.  This works great for some people who have mastered the movement. Some argue that this allows them to keep their throwing shoulder back, making for a longer pull (or push) on the implement.  While that may be true, the same effect can be achieved with a front-facing foot and proper flexibility training in the lumbar, thoracic and shoulder regions.  This is also why becoming muscle-bound can be detrimental to throwers. That is another article altogether though.
I prefer to land with my foot facing forward, allowing a better hip position and a more efficient pull as soon as I make contact with the ground. I achieve this by the slightest rotation of the foot, and only the foot, in my final crossover.  This was not always the case and was quite a hard habit to break. After a summer of 5,000+ reps of drills that focused on the problem (in addition to better overall form), I noted a 10m gain on my throws (javelin) the following Fall.

End quote
Marty reminds us of something I have rediscovered, as we all do past a certain age, the need for power, spring, explosiveness or whatever you wish to call it. I still do my Olympic snatches mixed with my overhead press work as the foundation of my training. Along with lots of other stuff, of course.

I decided to go back to kindergarten in all my resistance training lifts. I took a vow that I would not allow myself to grind. I would explode the concentric on every single rep. The instant any grind appeared that set was curtailed. Naturally, my poundage took an ego-crushing plummet. I was good at grinding. But I was at a grinding dead-end. I needed a radical change. If I were to rocket up reps Karwoski-style, I would be forced to use embarrassingly light weights.
Still, it was exciting as hell and really different: my techniques after 60-years of immersion were fine so I could dedicate 100% of my training focus on exploding the concentric. This would be accomplished by staying 100% mindful during the set. On every rep, I would use internal mental command, a single word yelled internally at that exact instant when eccentric becomes concentric. That single word, yelled at the top of my internal voice was “SPEED!!!”
I would use perfect techniques, a full range-of-motion, create a coiled eccentric followed by explosive concentric and always initiated with the Speed! command – no grinding allowed! (for now) Lighter poundage handled with greater velocity complimented the Alone eating strategy perfectly. Now the game was not grinding out massive poundage, the name of the game was moving lesser payloads as fast as humanly possible.

End quote
In hindsight, these are some pretty good readings. I hope you get something out of some, or one, of these offerings. 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 170

There was really nothing to do, but the magician’s louder cry had altered matters into a crisis. Forgetting to be silent as well as invisible, Merlyn had spoken too loudly for the safety of his expedition.
“Who’s there?” shrieked Galapas, wheeling round at the fifth cell.
“It’s nothing,” cried Merlyn. “Only a mouse.”
The giant Galaps whipped out his mighty sword, and stared backwards down the narrow passage with his torch held high above his head. “Nonsense,” he pronounced. “Mouses don’t talk in human speech.”
“Eek,” said Merlyn, hoping that this would do.
“You can’t fool me,” said Galapas. “Now I shall come for you with my shining blade; and I shall see what you are, by yea or by nay.”
He came down towards them, holding the blue glittering edge in front of him, and his fat eyes were brutal and piggish in the torch-light. You can imagine that it was not very pleasant having a person who weighed thirty-five stone looking for you in a narrow passage, with a sword as long as yourself, in the hopes of sticking it in your liver.
“Don’t be silly,” said Merlyn. “It is only a mouse, or two mice. You ought know better.”
“It’s an invisible magician,” said Galapas. “And as for invisible magicians, I slit them up, see? I shed their bowels upon the earth, see? I rip them and tear them, see, so that their invisible guts fall out upon the earth. Now, where are you, magician, so that I may slice and rip?”
“We are behind you,” said Merlyn anxiously. “Look in that furthest corner behind your back.”
“Yes,” said Galapas grimly, “except for your voice.”
“Hold on,” cried Merlyn, but the Wart in the confusion had slipped his hand.

End quote
A “stone” is 14 pounds. The Highland Game events reflect this, mostly, with the 28 and 56-pound weight throws. 35 stone would be 490 pounds and that is a fairly large amount of mass to contend with any time…and terrible in a dungeon hallway. Hand our giant a human-sized sword and Wart and Merlyn are facing a lot of danger.
Again. This is a dangerous book for boys!
Remember: I warned everyone about speaking loudly when invisible near a giant. I thought I was clear about this and Merlyn makes this fundamental error. His imitation of a mouse has always been funny to me. I think all of us have some experience where we tried to throw a conversation into another direction so we can make an escape.
It’s like when you go to your accountant’s annual pool party or neighbor’s fourth wedding or whatever event you attended and snuck out the bathroom window. Reminder: unlock the bathroom door before you dive out the window. It’s called “polite.”

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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