Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 38

Bret Contreras is always fun to read, but I thought this article really summed a LOT of knowledge in one quick easy-to-do system. I always like Bret’s work, but this one is special. Squat, hamstring stretch, pecs and biceps stretch and a glute squeeze. Overall, that is a pretty simple list.

“In fact, a recent study showed that prescribing isometric glute squeezes to patients who suffered from spinal cord injuries increased their usage of the glutes while walking, enabling them to walk faster.
 
Your glutes are likely not functioning to their full extent and simply performing a maximal glute contraction each day will go a long way in allowing them to retain (or even build) their neuromuscular capacity.
 
"The gluteus maximus transfers force throughout the body, compensates for other muscles when needed, and protects the SI joint, low back, knees, ACL, hamstrings, and anterior hips from injury."
 
The Art of Manliness has become a daily stop for me. I liked this very simple, but game-changing article.

“It is a great pity in life that all the greatest words are most degraded. We hear people say: “I do so love to study character, in the cars and on the street.” They are not studying character; they are merely observing characteristics. The study of character is not a puzzle that a man may work out over night. Character is most subtle, elusive, changing and contradictory—a strange mingling of habits, hopes, tendencies, ideals, motives, weaknesses, traditions and memories—manifest in a thousand different phases.”
 
After my trip to Germany, I began getting a lot of emails and blog ideas. This site has the standards from Never Let Go in them—the standards…in German.
 
 
Vox has some great ideas and articles, but this one is going to make you think a bit.I noticed this in Costa Rica: the strawberries tasted like strawberries. So much so that one would announce: “These strawberries taste like strawberries!” In the topsy turvy world of food science, very soon, you will have to eat fast food to taste anything. This is a great article.

Wow…and woe!

“All the good stuff we grow—tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce—has gotten continually more bland. This has been measured. They have become diluted of nutrients, as well. As we selected crops for agronomic traits like yield, shelf life and disease resistant, we never selected for flavor. And we lost flavor as a result. It's reverse evolutionary pressure.”
 
I found this whole blog to be fun, but listing all these exercises is a fun regression and progression chart for the rest of us. Enjoy.
 
Here's a selection:

Balance-
 
Feet Moving:
 
·         Broad jumping – single or double leg with quick repeats
 
·         Lateral jumping – Single or double leg with quick repeats
 
·         Bosu Ball Jumping – Landing on and jumping from an unstable surface with quick repeats
 
·         Slack Line – Forward, backwards, fast, slow, ext.
 
·         Pipe Walks – Running or walking along a hand railing or on a rolling pipe
 
·         Pod Walks – Running or walking across balance pods(spacing should be varied over time)
 
·         Agility Ladder
 
I am a big fan of Percy Cerutty. If you read my work, your response would be: “I know.”This site is a great collection of Cerutty’s works, plus some nice meditations on the material.

“Sometimes when we commit to achieving certain goals in running there is the possibility of becoming so preoccupied with reaching them our running turns into something it never should be a chore or a job. I've known many runners over the years who became so obsessed with performance that running was no longer an enjoyable activity. Perhaps you have known people that this has happened to. In the following quote Cerutty reminds us what athleticism should be:

"Our athleticism must be, and should be, adult play. It is when we make it work—dull, routined, scheduled, treadmill work—that we depart from the natural; the joyous; the exhilarating. Those who slavishly follow the printed schedule, the daily do this coach authority, are little likely to know the joys and pleasures that true athleticism can bring us, young or old." What made Cerutty's teachings so unique and timeless is that he showed that you can achieve success in athletics without making the process rigid, regimented and unnatural.”

I have been a huge fan of Percy Cerutty since 1993 when I discovered his books at the Denison University library. He gave me the structure for coaching year-round athletes. It's a fun site.
 
Interval training seems to have that “good-bad” issue like coffee and wine. One of the things that has happened with gym guys trying to mimic what track athletes are doing is that they are taking a good concept, interval training for improving track performance, and making it a fat-loss protocol for maintaining a massive amount of muscle and burning fat. That…THAT!…is hard to do!!!
 
Greg offers a counter argument and offers a better idea: long walks.

“That means if you were to burn 400 calories in a 30 minute interval training workout, best case scenario, the afterburn effect would result in an additional 60 calories!
 
"That’s like a small apple. Nothing to write home about! So really, all interval training does is burn calories! It has no direct effect on fat loss, except that it burns calories.
 
"That said, the problem is, it’s a horrible time investment. Having to slave away and kill yourself for 30 minutes to burn some calories is massively inefficient and not exactly the most productive use of time.
 
"What’s more, interval training may drive up your appetite and deplete your will power reserves, making dieting more difficult.
 
"This has been the case with myself, and many other people that I’ve worked with! As well, interval training will cut into recovery for your important training sessions, you know, your strength training sessions!”
 
There's a lot to chew on in this week’s Wandering Weights. Nothing seems to be absolutely right or absolutely wrong in these readings, so take some extra time to think out your nutrition and training models and goals.
 
Keep training and I'll see you next week.

Dan
DanJohn.net

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Publisher’s note: Dan mentioned Never Let Go above. Is there any chance you haven't read that yet? If that's the case, here's an excerpt for you.

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