Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 72

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 72

Newest on otpbooks.com: Fat Loss Happens on Monday book excerpt, The Hard Talk

Interested in a free lecture and a chance to be on a DVD? On April 16 in Santa Cruz, I’m delivering Now What? Training after Assessment. You’re welcome to come, just let us know by emailing Laree at ld@otpbooks.comWe begin at noon…precisely!…and will go for about three hours. The location info can be found here.

As I type this, I just finished cleaning up Easter Brunch. My neighbors, Greek Orthodox, came over and now we get to celebrate Easter with them in a few weeks! So…the Blessings of Easter, Spring and more daylight upon you and yours.

I love goal-setting articles. This one is so simple and clear, the point might be easy to miss.

“So how can you set powerful behavior goals today?

  1.     Write down one outcome you want. Don’t overthink it. Just name the desire you want most right now.
  2.     Write down some of the skills you think you’ll need to get that outcome. If you’re just starting out, focus on foundational skills. What are the basics that make everything else possible? (For instance, if you want to manage your time, you need to learn to use a calendar.)
  3.     Related to each skill, write down a behavior or two you can do today that’ll help build those skills. This can be really easy, like walking through the gym doors or even packing your gym bag for tomorrow morning.
  4.     Do the behavior today, and tomorrow, and so on. And, keep in mind, if you don’t follow through on a given day, don’t let it derail you. Each day is a clean slate.

Speaking of “clear,” and, yes, I crack myself up, James Clear offers this insight into the process of goal setting.

Fall In Love With Systems

“None of this is to say that goals are useless. However, I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.

“Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.”

If you have time, my good friend, James, strips away the basics of training for anything by anyone. It’s a web talk, but the PDF and the talk are well worth your time.

Ashley Palmer. Write down that name. You can tell people a year or so from now: “Oh, yeah…love her work. Big fan.” Another gem from Ashley. This article is perfect.

“But you can’t buy health and fitness at the click of a button (although some internet fitness marketers would make you think you can.). Your healthy body is earned through your daily effort, and your daily actions. I know I lose business every time I meet with someone and tell them that their goal of losing 50-100 pounds may take a year or more. No one wants to hear that. We want it now. We’re used to everything now. But I’m not going to sugar coat it: making permanent change takes time. Patience requires self acceptance, and a willingness to be happy before change is made. Can you see why loving yourself as you are is SO important?”

The “Glutes Question” came up again in a workshop the other day. Here you go, Bret will tell you everything. This is true:

“The hip thrust might be intimidating or embarrassing at first. After all, the movement mimics a humping motion. However, celebrities as well as professional athletes in bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, UFC, track and field, rugby, wrestling, figure, and bikini are all using the hip thrust to strengthen their glutes and build their strength, speed, and power. If they can do it, so can you. Start hip thrusting today, your glutes will love you for it.”

If you need more evidence, look at this.

This article brings out the importance of community in training: 

“This motivates me even more, motivates me to not let coach Harbaugh down for taking this chance,” Richardson said. “I had to readjust and come back and write my playbook over. If I didn’t, what was I going to get back? The same results? Nah. Just came back, doing what I did to get here and get past here and to get to a Pro Bowl, and I want to be that yellow jacket (a Hall of Famer). I know I’ve got that talent. I know I’ve got that pedigree. And I’m going to be that. That’s what I need. That’s what I’m going to be.

“And whether they want to hear it or not, I’m going to show it. This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to prove it. And like I keep saying, it’s going to be fun looking people in the eye and hearing what they have to say after this year.”

Frankly, I’ll just give you this article. I have no idea what to say:

“Do I have any regrets? If I had a chance to do it all over again would I change anything? Yes if I had a chance to do it all over again I would change one thing. That is when I squatted that 800lbs I would do 4 reps instead of 2, that is my only regret in my career. Those 2 reps I did still haunts me today because I know I had 4 in me but the coward in me only did 2. That is my only regret.””

Read the article. Discuss.

A little on one of my favorite workouts. When I give a workshop on strength training, there is a moment when people tell me: “You always say that.”

It’s not the stupid jokes (and I have plenty). It is this:

“If all you did was add some goblet squats and loaded carries to your training, you would be doing fine.”

And, like so often in life, the answer is simple but the implementation is the issue. Let me offer a simple, repeatable workout that gets you squatting and walking with load.

I name loaded carry workouts after the birds of the Raptor family. It started off as a joke about how we are picking up things and moving them, but we soon found that this was a nice way of organizing things. This workout is called the Sparrow Hawk or Sparhawk.

You need a reasonable ‘bell, kettlebell or dumbbell. You will be doing goblet squats and suitcase carries. Suitcase carries are like farmer walks, but you only load one side…like you are carrying a single suitcase. Do Sparhawk once with a lighter load than you think, maybe in the 35- to 50-pound range. Yes, you can go heavier but do it once first.

It’s simple:

8 Goblet squats, then march away with the bell in the left hand about 60 feet (gym length is best)
7 Goblet squats, then return to the original position with the bell in the right hand
6 Goblet squats, left-hand suitcase walk
5 Goblet squats, right-hand walk
4 Goblet squats, left-hand walk
3 Goblet squats, right-hand walk
2 Goblet squats, left-hand walk
1 Goblet squat, finished

That is 36 squats, but you are under load for about three minutes. Your anti-rotation muscles are going to be working overtime with the asymmetrical walking and then will still have to join in to support the squats. You get the benefits of squatting, including the mobility and flexibility work plus the additional boon of three minutes of time under tension.

Mix in some presses, pulls and some swings and you have a nice, quick full-body workout that won’t take very long.

If you like training outdoors, extend the walks and learn why many, including back expert Stu McGill, consider the suitcase walk one of the best core exercises you can find.

Until next week, keep lifting and learning.


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Publisher’s note: Here’s more from Dan on the importance of loaded carries—Dan John: 5 Basic Human Movements