Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 88

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 88

New on OTP this week: Gray Cook’s Lecture Compendium (ebook and audio book)

I received two nice text messages about Wandering Weights. Both were from professional team coaches and I am pleased the WW gets passed around the locker rooms. I’m in Chicago, getting ready to kayak, but am just back from Perform Better. I love those packed rooms and the dozens of questions following up. My topic is “Now What?” and, as I always tell people who want more…get the DVD!

This is a great summary of time management models…something I live my life thinking about.

“For example, here are three ways of thinking about productivity:

  •     The 2-Minute Rule: If something takes less than two minutes, do it now. The goal of this rule is to help you stop procrastinating and take action.
  •     The Ivy Lee Method: Create a to-do list by writing down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow, prioritizing those items, and working on them in order. The goal of this method is to help you work on the most important things first.
  •     The Seinfeld Strategy: Pick a new habit and draw an X on the calendar for each day you stick with the behavior. The goal of this method is to help you maintain consistency and keep your streak of good behavior alive.

“Are any of these models perfect? Of course not. But if you combine them, then you have a strategy that can help you take action right now (The 2-Minute Rule), a strategy that can help you plan your day more effectively (The Ivy Lee Method), and a strategy that can help you maintain consistency in the long-run (The Seinfeld Strategy).”

This is just a cool thing. Listen to the video for the perils of reading “cold.”

I talk a lot about falling and tumbling. This is a great article on breakfalling.

“Break falls must be practiced safely like any other activity. Repetition is also required to build up muscle memory and create a new ‘reflex’ to a falling situation. Once the back break fall has been learned, two more helpful falling reactions should be trained; the side break fall and standing forward roll.”

I enjoyed this article, especially this part:

“Shift focus to how you function, not look, and a number of positive things will happen (and you will still look attractive. Actually, probably even more attractive, because energy is not wasted on fretting over how to get these calves or traps “pop out” more.)

Still quoting:

To list a few:

1. Less limitations: I was able to hike 7.5 miles without worrying about my performance, and be able to walk around downtown after the hike. I was running late for my flight home so a few unwelcome sprints occurred. If you’re not injured, how is sitting down on a machine to do chest flys and eliminating your core strength going to help you carry your suitcases?
2.  Indulge: I was able to enjoy fried chicken and waffles without stressing about ruining my progress. Muscle increases your fat metabolism.
3.  Spontaneity: I had the confidence and energy to do a last minute trip. Most people think things will fall apart if they skipped town for a few days or they wouldn’t be able to handle it.  You manage your energy flow more efficiently with a strong and functional body.”

Reader Mike Moore sent this in.

“The great irony of all this is athletes for years had already been trying to avoid cramps not simply with water and bananas but also with pungent liquids, such as juice from pickles, beets or sour cherries. They drank the pickle juice believing its high sodium content would replace an important electrolyte, and they drank the beet and cherry juice because they are rich in antioxidants that athletes thought could help prevent cramping.

“The idea was to get those ingredients into the bloodstream and muscles. In some cases, the pickle, beet and cherry juice worked, but in the view of Dr. MacKinnon and a growing number of other scientists, not because the nutrients were reaching their muscles since research showed their blood content was largely unchanged.

“’We often find in science we are doing the right things but for the wrong reason,’ said Philip Skiba, the director of sports medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., who has worked closely with Olympians both in the U.S. and Great Britain to develop training programs. ‘The sensory experience may have been what was having the effect on the legs.’”

I am a huge fan of the O lifts. When appropriate. This article clarifies the point:



·      The technical demands.
·      The time it takes to “master” the lifts.
·      The fact that their ultimate benefit depends on the full squat versions. (And if you want to get technical, they’re necessary if you want to replicate the benefits the athlete’s showcased at the Mexico Games.)
·      Is the stress, wear, and tear they expose the body to—compounded upon what your sport already brings—too much? (The answer here is almost always yes.)
·      You can still reap similar benefits from safer, easier exercises.
·      Your goal is to become better at your sport, not a champion Olympic weightlifter. The two are mutually exclusive.
·      No great athlete—Olympic weightlifter aside—was ever remembered for their ability to snatch or clean.
·      You can’t tell which athletes use certain training methods on the field. The Pittsburgh Steelers training facility, for instance, has no squat rack. It’s mostly dumbbells and hammer strength machines. They won two Superbowls in the past decade.
·      You have to realize that Olympic weightlifting is its own sport and that you’re merely ‘borrowing’ it for your own use. Olympic weightlifters don’t play football to get explosive.”

Off I go. I’m looking forward to a little down time, but I will be back again next week. Until then, keep lifting and learning.


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