Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 44

Last week, I put the final touches on my edits of my next book, Never Let Go II. For those of you who missed my long rambling explanations on education, I put forth two basic methods: systematic and systemic. NLG and NLG II represent the systemic method of trying things and then looking at the results. This is sometimes called “Black Box,” but most of us have learned that a mistake or two in cooking often makes things better.

Can You Go?, of course, and its “companion,” Intervention, would be more the systematic method. These are step-by-step approaches to training where you’re looking for a program or method that answers the questions that arise in processing the person. If you haven’t read my page on Can You Go?, enjoy it here.

Don’t miss the Youtube channel (link on the page above). It gives you the basics of our approach to technique.

Let’s scroll around the internet a bit.

Habit-based training and dieting is very popular. Ignoring the contributions of Josh Hillis to this field would be sinful. In this short blog post, Josh talks about a key to success using the habit-based model. This is also true with training: people want to do “everything,” which could include running, sled pulls, hills, O lifts, powerlifting and all the rest, rather than focus here, then here and then there.

“From a success standpoint, people are most effective *focusing* on one habit at a time. The previous habits, some will stick and some don’t. Which is why after every 4rth or 5th habit or so, you should recycle the whole series and do them again, taking them up a level. This frees you up to totally focus on one habit at a time.  Each time you go through the cycle, you up your game on each habit as you move through.”

While you’re at Josh’s site, revisit this excellent article about movement progressions. Complexity and increasing load can sometimes get in the way of actual training. Yes, an odd statement, but Josh walks us through it well.

Matt Foreman does a nice job discussing the issue of mental prep. Honestly, “trying” is a pretty good method of overcoming so much in lifting…and life.

“How did the Olympian guy break through his mental barrier? What did he do that allowed him to move up to a higher level of performance? He did the same thing I had to do, and it’s the same thing you’re all going to have to do. He just kept trying. Obviously he used sensibly planned training, made technical improvements, changed things when they needed to be changed, all of those essential components a competitive athlete has to manage to be successful. But once those pieces were all snapped into place…he just had to keep trying. Same as you.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this post from James Clear. It is amazing. Two quick quotes:

“There might be thousands of athletes who train in a very similar way to LeBron James, but never made it to the NBA. The problem is nobody hears about the thousands of athletes who never made it to the top. We only hear from the people who survive. We mistakenly overvalue the strategies, tactics, and advice of one survivor while ignoring the fact that the same strategies, tactics, and advice didn’t work for most people.”

“For example, research by Steven Pinker at Harvard University has shown that we are currently living in the least violent time in history. There are more people living in peace right now than ever before. The rates of homicide, rape, sexual assault, and child abuse are all falling.”

This is an excellent article that provides history and application. I signed up for a MovNat workshop about two years ago, but it was cancelled since I was the only person to sign up! I love this stuff, but it doesn’t sell. This part on history is a nice thing to study in the future:

“In 1815 in Germany, Friedrich Jahn, the “Father of Gymnastics” developed exercise clubs called the Turnenvereins, which were outdoor exercise facilities with apparatuses designed for running, jumping, balancing, climbing, vaulting, etc.

“In France in 1819, Francisco Amoros, a military man originally from Spain, organized the Normal Gymnastic Civil and Military School. He developed a system of gymnastics that also included work on apparatuses and calisthenics. In 1830 he published a book titled A Guide to Physical, Gymnastic, and Moral Education. His system became known as the “natural-applied” system.

“In 1905, Georges Hebert created a similar system called “Physical, Virile and Moral Education by the Natural Method.” Similar to his predecessors, the whole method relied on the practice of natural and utility exercises such as walking, running, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, carrying, etc. He advocated a “reasoned return to nature” to be beneficial to the “weak and degenerated” civilized man.

Here is a nice workout series from Pat Flynn. It might seem odd coming right after this history reading, but “time crunched” is what a lot of people feel like today. As to “why” get in shape, Pat has another article on that.

This article by James Cerbie makes a good point. Double-KB front squats make the list for very unpopular movements in the gym. It builds that weird “anaconda” strength I talk about sometimes. For more, here. 

This is, of course, nothing new. Artistotle said it better:

“Strength consists of the power of moving another man as one wants. For this it is necessary to pull or push, to lift, to squeeze, or crush. A strong man is defined as being strong by virtue of his ability to do some or all of these things….Athletic excellence in a body is defined in terms of the above: strength and size, as well as in terms of speed, for to be swift is to be strong.” ~ Aristotle, Rhetoric

Until next week, keep crushing.


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