Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 43

My friend Bob died this morning. I mentioned him a few editions ago. He was a WWII vet, college professor, father and grandfather. He was also a good friend. He had a great sense of humor filled with awful puns and bad jokes.

So, next weekend, in the midst of a Highland Games and the St. Joseph the Worker Folkfest, we will bury him. He’ll be missed. An amazing generation is slowly passing away and many lessons will be going with them.

On the lighter side, I am doing a 300-swing challenge called for by Rose and Geoff Hemingway. Rose will be back on Broadway soon with the musical Moonshine, andGeoff is a trainer at Mark Fisher Fitness, my vote for America’s finest gym. I’m using a 36-kilo kettlebell and learning where my hamstrings are every workout.

This week’s WW attempts to touch on a few topics here and there. Overall, it seems I like writers who bring some kind of balance to our training. Let’s look at the first one.

Don’t be surprised if you see this template in a future article. I think this is brilliant stuff. This alone is worth bringing to memory:

“An idea that I find reasonable is one that fits with my perceptions and current knowledge. An outrageous idea doesn’t agree with my perceptions or preconceived notions of reality i.e., current theories of the natural world. (The word current is key: an outrageous idea can become reasonable over time.) A true idea has been thoroughly tested and agrees with available evidence. Note that scientific truths are provisional and can be upended by new evidence. A false idea is one where theory and reality don’t agree. That is, the phenomenon being studied can be explained by a different concept than the one proposed or it cannot yet be explained.”

There is nothing fancy or amazing here save perhaps the commute and television numbers, but I like this kind of article. It always brings me back to WIN: What’s Important Now.

“After a certain point, money and possessions don’t matter much. Time is more precious. So maximize your time and prioritize the things that are most important to you.”

These parents are NOT getting their money’s worth. Most of the training techniques you see here are pretty common. We would have called much of this “Tuesday” at JDCHS. But parents love this stuff.

Waitbutwhy is a popular discussion site on the Q and A forum. This article got me thinking about a couple of things. I have rarely found that following the herd is a good idea, but the article clarifies a few things.

“Above all, mammoths want to fit in—that’s what tribespeople had always needed to do so that’s how they’re programmed. Mammoths look around at society to figure out what they’re supposed to do, and when it becomes clear, they jump right in. Just look at any two college fraternity pictures taken ten years apart.”

Included is a funny shot of hair styles and the rest. At the U of U, the Frat boys wear a prep school uniform that is exactly the same from group to group.

This is a fun contrarian article. I got this from Patrick Riedl, a good friend from Germany who occasionally plays Yahtzee with us here in Utah. A great insight for thinking.

“Or at least that’s what people thought, until Wald flipped conventional logic on its head. He said the military didn’t need to reinforce the spots that had bullet holes. They needed to reinforce the spots that didn’t have bullet holes.”

Each session I teach, I discover something that’s more and more true. It’s an odd thing to explain, but you might want to read this article. After reading the article, don’t teach tumbling, don’t teach self-defense and wear a helmet while overhead pressing.

“So it’s not hard to imagine why students arriving on campus today might be more desirous of protection and more hostile toward ideological opponents than in generations past. This hostility, and the self-righteousness fueled by strong partisan emotions, can be expected to add force to any moral crusade. A principle of moral psychology is that “morality binds and blinds.” Part of what we do when we make moral judgments is express allegiance to a team. But that can interfere with our ability to think critically. Acknowledging that the other side’s viewpoint has any merit is risky—your teammates may see you as a traitor.”

For one of the “answers,” you might enjoy this classic Earl Nightingale audio discussion. “The Formula” might seem a lot like a lot of books and articles you read recently. The checklist idea is, of course, a key to success in everything.

Also, Ike’s Matrix is worth reviewing here, too.

More on checklists.

Those three readings alone will do much for you on the path towards success.

Walt Dorey not only knows the bent press, he is also an authority on some of the more “rough and tough” aspects of physical training. I simply love his article here in Breaking Muscle.

“Certain exercises can have a callusing effect on the body, toughening up the skin and underlying tissues. Other exercises help create greater bone density and muscular density. Personally, I’d rather trade punches with some marathon runner than a well-practiced gymnast. If you can’t figure that one out, well, I can’t help you.

“Armor building also helps you develop the mental capacity to tough it out, grit your teeth, and keep going when you take a hit. I’ve seen first-hand how proper training helps a person get tougher, bounce back, or keep going like nothing happened. Whereas other people take a good whack and that’s it, they’re done.”

While trying to get through the mountains, mire and mud of Breaking Muscle, I found an article I missed by Marc Halpern. The points are for bodyworkers, but the insights are good for all of us. I thought this was especially helpful:

“Giving a massage tends to force you into a hunched over, downward-pushing position. This imbalance can lead to a locked-up thoracic spine and increase the risk for a shoulder injury in overhead movements. I love a good thoracic-spine opener and batwing planks are quick and easy ways to get the shoulder blades moving in different planes. In addition, batwing planks are not taxing on the grip when compared to rowing movements.

“To do the batwing plank:

Make sure your body is tight like in a regular plank.
Constantly think “thumbs to armpits.”
Hold for thirty seconds to a minute.
You can increase difficulty by moving your feet further from the wall.”

Until next week, let’s keep swinging away.


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Publisher’s note: As we gear up for the Never Let Go sequel, due out pre-Christmas,here’s an excerpt from the original for anyone who missed it.

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