Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 90

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 90

New from Gray Cook on the OTPbooks.com site: What I Look for in A Functional Movement Screen

I read a great book this week, “Stoner.” It only sold 2000 copies when it came out about half a century ago. It is a book about a man who lives, grows old and dies. But, it is brilliant. A thank you to Mike Warren Brown for telling me about this.

“Lust and learning. That’s really all there is, isn’t it?” ― John Edward Williams, Stoner

(And lifting.)

Around the web this week, there was some excellent material to think about and digest.I liked this a lot.

Quoting: Carries

“Think about how many times per week you carry stuff around in your hands. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.  Twice, five, ten times?  Now doesn’t it make sense to train this ability in the gym to make your life easier?  I’d thought you’d see it my way. J

“Carries will improve your grip, upper back, shoulders and leg strength. They are quite possibility the biggest bang for your buck exercise, providing numerous benefits.

“But be warned, carries are simple but not easy.”

Ashokha did a great job here summing a bunch of intersecting concepts. Great work.

Quoting: Hip Hinge

“Moving comfortably and efficiently from the hip is important for the proper execution of throws and other movements in Judo. The main movements in the hip hinge are bending (flexion) and straightening (hip extension) when standing back up. A good Judo athlete must be able to properly hinge from the hips when setting up for or defending a takedown. I have seen a direct carryover from the explosive hip snap action of swinging kettlebells to the mat, especially for throwing.

“Colton told me, “Judo is 90% hips, so when there’s a lot of kettlebell swings in my program my hips feel powerful—especially in my defense. When guys come in and try to throw me forward, I’m able to use my hips to block throws a lot more effectively.” Every time Colton sets up for kettlebell swings, he has to start from an athletic position before hiking the kettlebell back. Anytime your athletes can practice getting into the athletic position during training you’re on to something good. In grappling, the athletic position is critical for defending and blocking throws.”

I get lost sometimes in science about lifting, but I thought this had merit.

“The researchers concluded that these results indicate that ‘force vector’ is a key factor determining the extent to which exercises transfer to sports performance. The front squat has a vertical force vector, and transfers well to athletic activities with a vertical force vector, like the vertical jump. In contrast, the hip thrust has a horizontal force vector, and transfers well to as athletic activities with a horizontal force vector, such as sprint running. This places ‘force vector’ among other important factors that affect exercise transfer to sprinting, like velocity, and muscle group emphasis.”

This is a brilliant point. Well worth your time watching the video, too.

“If someone cannot explain something in plain English, then we should question whether they really do themselves understand what they profess. If the person in question is communicating ostensibly to a non-specialist audience using specialist terms out of context, the first question on our lips should be: ‘Why?’ In the words of Feynman, ‘It is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudoscience.'”

Reader Stephen Gurtowski sent this in. It a nice “why,” if you will, to help Feynman-esque readers.

“‘If you diet without strength training, you have to eat less and less,’ he said. ‘If you diet with strength training, even when you hit your goal weight you can eat more, because you have more muscle mass and most likely a higher resting energy expenditure.’

“Obesity specialists also emphasize that less extreme weight loss — just 5 or 10 percent of a person’s weight — tends to be more sustainable.

“Here’s some of the most heartening news from Westcott and the fitness center in the basement of Quincy College where he runs exercise studies: You’re never too old to build muscle. Among his regulars are a couple of World War II veterans — and Rick Kielmeyer of Cohasset, who recently did his first triathlon the day before his 70th birthday.

“’I’m surprised that I gained muscle,’ he said. ‘But some of these machines — one I maxed out on, some of them I doubled the weight I could lift.’”

I’m busy traveling and writing and lifting, but I am seeing real progress on the next book.

Until next week, keep lifting and learning.


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