Dan John: Wandering Weights, Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 31

My annual two weeks in Ohio at the John Powell discus camp have begun. I enjoy it and I learn more than the campers. The library here has a great sports section, and this is where I first learned about Percy Cerutty. His information got me working on extensive versus intensive training, whole body movements like the swing, and year-round general training. This article, more recent than most of the information on Cerutty, provides an introduction.
Speaking of track and field, I thought this article on Ben Johnson tied into the basics of proper training: 6 Things Every Sprinter Should Do.
“Sprinting is an explosion of energy in a short burst, and because of that, people have a tendency to overrate the amount of energy that’s necessary for optimal performance. In Ben’s case, he did everything he possibly could to conserve energy before his races, and this self-discipline extended to both his meals and his social practices around other athletes.”
If you're interested in running…and, yes, some people are interested in running, this little article is a reasonable start to running more.
“I like to begin with sets of five minutes. The first stage is thirty minutes total—jog one minute and walk four, repeated six times. Perform this three times per week.
    Week 1 – Jog 1/Walk 4 x 6
    Week 2 – Jog 2/Walk 3 x 6
    Week 3 – Jog 3/Walk 2 x 6
    Week 4 – Jog 4/Walk 1 x 6

"Now we start adding time to the intervals and push that out to ten minutes…"
While poking around the site, I found this: How to Be An Expert: Never Believe You're An Expert. Now, this truth has been hashed out by Socrates and Einstein (two big names in the field of being smart), but this is a nice reminder from Chet Morjaria. This is “truth” or “truthiness:”

“So by all means, spread the good word about your approach to exercise, strength, movement, or anything else, but realize there are other options. And not only that, but realize these alternative approaches aren’t inferior to yours. They may, in fact, be superior for others or at least fit their beliefs better. And if a goal aligns with our fundamental beliefs, we are more likely to achieve results.”
Which brings me to this article by Bret: Why Swings Over Jump Squats and Oly Lifts? Bret is a bright guy and a great person to hang out with. And he also understands he could be wrong. I like this section:

“If a coach went with any combination of back squat/front squat along with power clean/power snatch/heavy kb swing (and tossed in some posterior chain work such as hip thrusts, back extensions, American deadlifts, and glute ham raises), I can’t see him going wrong. As previously mentioned, I don’t think the results using the combo I proposed would be incredibly different than other good combos, for example back squats and power cleans. But personally, I’d probably go with the front squat and heavy kb swing and I’d hypothesize that this approach would lead to slightly greater speed adaptations due to slightly superior hip extension power (with no losses in jumping ability).
"Just my two cents! Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m wrong :)”
It's always important to remember there's a possibility of being wrong. I used the word "hubris" in a Facebook post recently and few, I think, caught the point. This post illuminates the great hero Thor and his skill set.
“You see, even gods have limitations. The greatest of men cannot defeat the forces of nature — be it natural calamities or the onslaught of disease and old age. Hubris is one of man’s greatest foes; humility one of his greatest allies. Rather than becoming enraged at 'failure' over these elements, it’s best for a man to understand that not everything is in his control. When realizing that there are greater forces at work in this world, he is actually free to take charge of what he can control, and simply do the best with the cards that life has dealt.”
Not everything is in our control, gentle readers….although I could be wrong.

This is a wonderful page from a great site. It might be heavy reading for the general fitness enthusiast, but so much of strength, health, fitness and longevity seem to be based in self study. In the discus, “this” guy becomes great just doing bench press and deadlift, but over here, “that” guy just does the Olympic lifts… and both are great.
And I think that's wonderful. The deeper we swim in any topic, the more we realize it's both much more complex and much simpler than we thought. If that doesn’t make sense, hold a baby next to a roaring fireplace during a winter storm and that should clarify things. I liked the whole discussion, but this point leaped out:

“René Descartes, the seventeenth-century French philosopher who was one of the foremost prophets of the modern, rationalistic worldview, held that some truths are simply self-evident and cannot be called into question. Tellingly, the principal notion that Descartes pointed to as a self-evident truth from which other truths could be deduced was, 'I think, therefore I am.'
"But no truth is self-evident. If there were such a thing as a self-evident truth, everyone, everywhere, would already believe in it, and argumentation would be unnecessary.”
If something were true, we would all agree with it and no one would argue. The internet would vanish overnight! I also purchased his book (linked at the end of the article,) and I probably will add it to the texts for my Religious Studies course. And, yes, studying Norse religion seems to declutter my brain so I can coach the throws better.
Speaking of decluttering, Marc Halpern’s article on nutritional habits is exactly the kind of information most people need to achieve their body composition goals. It has to be simple to work for most people and Marc makes it almost foolproof. Almost.
I don’t think linear periodization or peaking actually works for most of us. This article does a great job taking on the myth of Milo, and describes how it might not apply to you or me today. Then, we get some great options. The summary is excellent, quoting:
·      Milo lied to you
·      Progress is never linear
·      The more advanced you become, the smarter you need to be with your training
·      Increase training density by doing the same amount of volume but in a shorter time frame
·      Increase the number of sets done in a workout if you find that you aren’t able to add weight to the bar or increase the number of reps done.
·      One of the simplest ways to employ progressive overload is to improve your form [also because quarter squats suck ass]
·      If you are currently hitting every body part once a week and find that you aren’t progressing anymore, bump up the training frequency by hitting the same body parts two or three times per week.
Time for the next session here at Discus Camp: eating three times a day and training four is a difficult time-management task. Until next time, lift and train and make the world a better place.


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Publisher’s note: Since it goes hand in hand with Dan's new book, Can You Go?,here's an excerpt from Dan's Intervention book, and an exclusive clip from theIntervention DVD.

Dan John Intervention DVD image

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