Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 71

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 71

Newest on otpbooks.com: Shoulder Health: An Overview of Anatomy and Injury

I had a wonderful weekend at Strength Matters in San Diego. It was the first time I gave my Strength Training for the Elite Athlete workshop. Giving a presentation live brings so much clarity to certain points. On the flight back I completely redrew the graphs and most of the slides.

Clarity. That’s the most important thing in coaching and that is sometimes just seeing reality. A few years ago, I asked a Pac 12 school strength coaching team how they walked senior football players back into “normal” life. They had nothing! So, this article really makes me happy.

“Cliff Dooman, Navy’s director of Olympic sport performance, brings together the seniors annually. He changes their workout plans and encourages them to buy new shoes. The linemen had spent their entire careers lifting heavy weights and doing short sprints. Now they would have to lose muscle mass and prepare to run 11 /2 miles in under 10 minutes 30 seconds.

“‘It’s usually the run they struggle with the most,’ Dooman said. Mike and Mike also discuss this.

And, now, for something completely different! I liked this article for the contrarian ideas, but some of them will shock you.

“Nicotine is a mental stimulant, ergogenic aid, appetite suppressant, and focus enhancer, a lot like caffeine. The Japanese have even put it in their energy drinks. Just don’t start using it unless you’re okay with potentially footing the bill for multiple boxes a month for a long time. Nicotine is highly addictive, even in gum form. It may not be much of a health-hazard, but it’s a money-gobbler.”

I read this book as a child—I had forgotten all about this, but it is a fun thing to do. We did these kinds of memory games for the girls and it really helps. Just fun.

“In Rudyard Kipling famous novel Kim, Kimball O’Hara, an Irish teenager, undergoes training to be a spy for the British Secret Service. As part of this training, he is mentored by Lurgan Sahib, an ostensible owner of a jewelry store in British India, who is really doing espionage work against the Russians.

“Lurgan invites both his boy servant and Kim to play the ‘Jewel Game.’ The shopkeeper lays 15 jewels out on a tray, has the two young men look at them for a minute, and then covers the stones with a newspaper. The servant, who has practiced the game many times before, is easily able to name and exactly describe all the jewels under the paper, and can even accurately guess the weight of each stone. Kim, however, struggles with his recall and cannot transcribe a complete list of what lies under the paper.

“Kim protests that the servant is more familiar with jewels than he is, and asks for a rematch. This time the tray is lined with odds and ends from the shop and kitchen. But the servant’s memory easily beats Kim’s once again, and he even wins a match in which he only feels the objects while blindfolded before they are covered up.

“Both humbled and intrigued, Kim wishes to know how the boy has become such a master of the game. Lurgan answers: ‘By doing it many times over till it is done perfectly — for it is worth doing.’

“Over the next 10 days, Kim and the servant practice over and over together, using all different kinds of objects — jewels, daggers, photographs, and more. Soon, Kim’s powers of observation come to rival his mentor’s.”

Most of my readership will enjoy this article!

“If you think 42 sets is too much, consider what Arnold’s mentor, Reg Park, once said: ‘I realize I was doing about 90 sets a workout, which I am sure was far more than any British bodybuilder was doing in 48/49. By March/April 1949, I entered and won the Mr. N.E Britain, beating the previous national winner. Not bad for only 7 or 8 months of serious training.'”

You HAVE to read this…

I’m not explaining it, read it.

Holea is doing some great things in Minnesota. This piece is really interesting and does a nice job with an “issue” with many female strength trainers.

Chris Holder might be doing the best work in the field right now. He starts off with a great point and builds up and up on it.

“One of the hottest movements in the fitness/strength world right now is the mobility craze.

“I won’t call it a fad for one ‘pink elephant’ reason: we as a species are currently devolving. We all move like crap and with the advances in technology and our incessant need to sit, the human form is beginning to change. Unlike the old days where our grandfathers and great grandfathers’ bodies began to lose function because of a lifetime of physical labor, many of our kids and young adults are beginning to show similar signs of breakdown – but for the opposite reason.

“How many of you have ever had a significant injury? One that required a time where a joint, or joints, needed immobilization?

“Remember when the cast or brace was removed that first time? For those of you who haven’t experienced this, that limb, or ankle, or hand felt almost like it doesn’t belong to you.

“Stiff, sore and weak are all familiar adjectives when starting over.

“Why is this? Why is an ankle so tight, and almost frozen after wearing a walking boot for three weeks?”

So, until next week, keep lifting and learning. I will be in Germany next week, then Nebraska. I think I will sleep sometime soon…


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