Training Program Assessments and Program Design for the Active Athlete and Everybody Else
by Dan John
Foreword by Chad Harbach
Dan John’s Straightforward Assessment Method For Discovering What Your Clients Really Need In Their Training
Everyone has different needs and goals when it comes to training.
…A 300-pound offensive lineman looking to break into the NFL will train different than the young mom looking to lose her pregnancy weight.
…A pro baseball player will train different than the weekend warrior who spends 50 hours a week sitting at her desk.
…A high school basketball player will train different from the severely overweight client who’s looking to completely overhaul his body and health.
Different people must train differently according to the individual goals they have.
So why is it that so many people insist on doing cookie-cutter programs designed for another person?
Why is it that so many people see things on TV shows like The Biggest Loser, in videos their friends send them, in new articles they read on the Internet… and blindly try to copy them?
Why is it that people are happy to do the same ‘workout of the day’ or the same training programs as other people, despite having very different goals, experience levels and existing issues?
It not only doesn’t make sense, but can lead to serious injuries, plateaus and frustration.
This issue—doing exercises, diets and training programs designed for someone else—remains one of the biggest problems in the world of fitness.
And it can make life very hard for coaches and trainers working with clients who fall prey to this mistake.
You see, if you’re a coach or trainer, you know that a lot of clients walk through the door with no clear idea of what they want.
Or worse, they come in with a WRONG idea of what they want or what they should be doing.
Like the forty-year-old who hasn’t exercised since college, yet insists that the ‘NFL workout’ he found on the internet is JUST what he needs to get back in shape quickly.
Or the newbie with no weight training experience, who is riddled with dysfunction, yet INSISTS he should be doing the advanced workout he found on a bodybuilding website because it promised he could ‘put six inches on his biceps in six weeks.’
Sometimes clients can have themselves completely convinced that what they WANT is truly what they NEED.
Even if what they want is wrong.
But usually it’s not their fault.
They just don’t know better.
Your clients get bombarded by the posts they see on the internet, by the YouTube videos their friends forward to them, by the opinions of their family and friends.
It’s no wonder their beliefs about what they should be doing to get the results they want are misguided.
But as a coach and trainer, how can you help them?
How do you get them to stop listening to the viral videos they watch and the wild things they see others doing…
…And start listening to what YOU have to say?
How do you not only find out what your clients need to improve, but help THEM realize it for themselves?
The answer is assessments.
Training program assessments are a powerful tool that not only help coaches and trainers identify what their clients need, but also help clients realize it for themselves.
Assessments allow you to SHOW, not just tell, your clients what they lack, what they should be working on and that the things they’ve been doing in the past haven’t been working.
Assessments help get buy-in of YOU as the coach and trainer.
And when that happens, your clients will start to trust and listen to what YOU tell them, and start ignoring all the confusing fitness ideas floating around the periphery.
In his book Can You Go, Dan John lays out a straightforward Training Program Assessments method gleaned from over thirty years experience coaching and training.
Using his 1-2-3-4 Assessment, he’ll show you what your clients need to do. And with his Five Tools of Fitness and Nutrition, he’ll then show you what they need to do next.
Wondering if your client should focus more on mobility? Great, Dan will show you how to find out and design a workout program.
Wondering if your client should focus more on strength? Great, Dan will show you how to find that out, too.
Wondering if your client should focus more on improving body composition? Yep, he’s got that covered.
Whether you train competitive athletes trying to break into a higher level in the sport they play…
Or average Joes and Janes who just want to look better, feel better and enjoy their favorite activities for as long as possible…
…Dan will give you the assessments you need to create the right programs for them.
You’ll never be left confused about how you should train your clients and most importantly, you’ll be able to help your clients cut through all the confusion and realize for themselves how they should be training.
Get Your Training
Program Assessments Copy Today
If you’re looking for a straightforward method of assessing clients from all walks of life—from the beginner just looking to lose weight to the competitive athlete—check out Dan John’s book, Can You Go.
Inside you’ll learn how Dan John Workout Programming helps his clients realize what they REALLY need in their training. You’ll be able to easily figure out what your clients need right now and what they should be doing next to move them toward their fitness and performance goals as quickly as possible.
What’s Covered in Can You Go
- How to judge whether progressions and programs work. pg.6
- Why certain people struggle with reaching the fitness goals they set for themselves, and how you can avoid making the same mistake. pg.8
- How to know which qualities to train and at what level using Dan John’s concept of Quadrants. pg.9
- What Dan focuses on in his training plans for active athletes. pg.11
- How much an elite discus thrower should be able to bench, squat, snatch and clean. pg.12
- The two things strength coaches who work with Quadrant Three athletes must focus on. pg.13
- Three things traveling athletes should do the moment they get into their hotel rooms to get rid of the stiffness that happens when traveling. pg.14
- The simple method Bud Winters, the head track-and-field coach of the legendary San Jose State teams applied to his athletes to help them lead the world in sprinting, discus and pole vault. pg.15
- The muscles that weaken and need strengthening as we age (even if you’re not aging, strengthening these muscles will boost your athletic performance). pg.18
- What rep range you should work in for most movements—this applies to both beginners and elite athletes. pg.18
“In strength and fitness, it’s hard to beat Dan John. I wish like heck somebody had told me about his work in 1981, when I started playing organized sports (I was five), or at least in 1996, when I started lifting weights, but oh well. At least I know it now.”
The 1-2-3-4 Assessment
- The three most important qualities for athletes and clients in Quadrant Three that need to be emphasized in training and lifestyle. pg.21
- At what age Dan considers a Quadrant Two athlete “old” (Quadrant Two athletes participate in collision sports or occupations that take a huge toll on their bodies), and how this affects what he focuses on in their training plans. pg.22
- The seven categories of Quadrant Three and what qualities each category should focus on—find out which category your clients fit into and discover if you’re focusing on the right qualities in your training programs. pg.23
- Dan John’s 1-2-3-4 Assessment: how to conduct the assessments, what standards your clients should meet and what to do if your client can’t meet those standards. pg.24
- The two often-neglected issues that hold people back from reaching their fat-loss goals. pg.29
- A simple test of physical strength, flexibility and coordination for all ages—if you’re middle-aged or older and can pass this test with flying colors, you’re probably going to live longer than those who don’t. pg.34
- A quick but optional test you can do to find out whether your client suffers from a lack or power or lack of mobility. pg.39
Grade the Mirror: Assessing the Program
- The two tests that should improve after implementing a program, new exercise or idea. pg.46
- Answers to the most common questions about the 1-2-3-4 Assessment: Do you use the same 1-2-3-4 every two weeks? What if a person “passes” all three of the tests? What does this assessment do? What’s next? See pg.47
The General Application of the 1-2-3-4 Assessment
- How to use the 1-2-3-4 Assessment with someone who doesn’t currently have any issues. pg.51
- The three principles Dan bases his clients’ daily programs on. pg.53
- How to overhaul a diet and improve body composition. pg.55
- How to quickly address most people’s strength deficits. pg.56
- Two kettlebell workouts for fat loss. pg.57
- Do your clients spend hours sitting at a desk or commuting to work? Which muscles you should focus on in their mobility work. pg.58
- Training elite athletes and those involved in collision occupations such as special forces soldiers. pg.59
- Three secrets to good programming. pg.61
“Extraordinary power, marvelous skill and masterful technique have been earned through years of training and practice and scrutiny, failure and success. A generous servant, a giver of gifts, his words come alive with experience and fact for the reader, the hungry student, the one bound to learn. Dan doesn’t paint by number and help you pick out the colors. He draws a picture and invites you, encourages you, inspires you, to become a part of it.”
The Five Tools
- The five tools you need to help your clients feel better, move better and live better. pg.64
- What’s the best diet? Dan’s answer on pg.66
- Five ways to improve a diet. pg.67
- Fat-loss advice from a 5th Century BC Greek philosopher. pg.69
- Pavel Tsatsouline’s simple two-point diet advice for athletes. pg.69
- Dan John’s favorite fat-loss exercise. pg.70
- The three kinds of strength training you need to include in your training programs. pg.72
- The principle that separates good coaches from bad coaches. pg.73
- What equipment Dan John has in his gym. pg.74
- The six movements everyone should have in their programs. pg.76
- The three things you need to focus on when designing multi-year, yearly, seasonal or daily programs. pg.77
- Do your clients want to look younger? What muscles to strengthen and what muscles to stretch as they age. pg.80
- How to motivate your clients to change: advice from Tony Robbins. pg.82
“Dan’s work helps us return to the foundations of training by getting us to think about a return to the principles that have worked for literally hundreds of years, while introducing his current thought as to what he has learned through his decades of coaching, teaching and participating as a world-class athlete. His books forcefully get us to rethink everything we think we know about training and replace much of the ‘not needed’ with plenty of the ‘can’t live without.’
“Dan represents what we all should be, which is a seeker of what works, not only in training, but in life as well.”
The Mental Aspect of Making Tiny Changes
- How to get your clients to eat more vegetables. pg.83
- How to get your clients to drink more water. pg.84
- The dangers of training and coaching yourself. pg.87
- How to motivate yourself to train even when you don’t want to. pg.89
“After listening to Dan John lecture or reading his work, I envy his athletes not only for the good fortune of receiving his coaching expertise, but also for the lessons that will carry them along through life. Dan is a common man, but an uncommon motivator.”
Enough is Enough and The Goldilock’s Effect
- The problem with the way most people train that holds them back from superior results, according to legendary sprint coach, Charlie Francis. pg.96
- Equipment you should have in your gym. pg.97
- Why Pavel Tsatsouline thinks you should only use forty-five pound and twenty-five pound plates for the barbell, and toss out the rest. pg.100
- How Dan finds the right load to use on exercises. pg.101
- Why Dave Tate throws out a program when he sees it call for a 90% lift or above in the first few lines. pg.102
- The pitfalls of using max percentages to determine load. pg.103
- The types of gyms that have huge dropout rates and lots of physical therapy issues. pg.105
- Dan John’s Hangover Rule: how to stretch yourself and set yourself up for PRs. pg.105
- Movements that work for hypertrophy AND mobility. pg.106
- A simple strength workout including warm-up and a finisher. pg.107
“If mastery takes 10,000 hours, Dan John has mastered the art of teaching and coaching many times over. He renders the complicated simple, and the simple clear. The hours I have spent learning from him changed my life.”
- The two things good coaching involves. pg.111
- Three ways the 1-2-3-4 Assessment helps coaches. pg.112
- The three qualities of a good teacher. pg.114
- The five categories of trainees and how to train them. pg.114
- Three ideas that will keep you sane as a trainer or coach in the midst of the thousands of diets, training methods and ideas floating around. pg.118
- Managing risks in training. pg.120
- Three basic coaching principles to help you stay on the right path. pg.124
“Coach Dan John is one of the premier instructors in the world of movement, strength and athleticism. His lectures on athletic training have revolutionized the thinking of thousands and will set the standard in safer, smarter, more productive training methods.”
Dr. Mark Cheng
The Coach’s Ten Commandments
- The best way to find out how to train appropriately for a goal. pg.128
- Coach Maughan’s approach to coaching a great discus thrower. pg.129
- The one thing Dan would do to improve his Olympic lifts. pg.129
- One problem with using performance-enhancing drugs. pg.130
- How to warm up and cool down. pg.131
- How to prepare a body to handle an increase in training intensity. pg.132
- A deceptively simple conditioning exercise by legendary sprint coach Barry Ross. pg.132
- How many weeks Dan likes to program training blocks for. pg.132
- The ticket to success in any goal-setting experience. pg.134
“I’m a big Dan John fan.
“I’ve been one for many years.The really cool thing about Dan is that he writes about real life in a real sense and, he also knows a ton about training.”
The Big Picture of Training Systems
- The three rules to abide by when developing a training system. pg.137
- One of Dan John’s key pillars to long-term success as a coach. pg.138
- Three things that help keep a person focused and progressing towards a goal. pg.139
- What the two best programs Dan ever did for pure strength and preparedness for throwing had in common. pg.141
- How to evaluate whether new training ideas have a place in your training system. pg.149
“Dan John has been in the lifting weights since about the history of recorded time. He’s seen it all, done it all, and tried it all. His knowledge and experience is encyclopedic… coupled with his willingness to share that information with anybody who cares to show interest.”
- Suggestions for Further Reading and Review—including a link to video demonstrations of the exercises discussed in the book
- Programming for the Quadrant Three Client
- Classic Conditioning in X Moves: A Monthly Training Program in Ten Movements—A training program that works on strength, cardio, mobility and flexibility that you can do in fifteen-minute sessions, three times a week.
- The Basic Weekly Training Template: Basic Training for the Seasoned Trainee
- Hypertrophy and Mobility Complex
- Climb Every Mountain! A six-week mountain climb preparation program
- Training the College thrower—a weekly training scheme involving lifts three days a week.
*Exclusive On Target Publications Bonuses*
Buy directly from On Target Publications and get your FREE instant download bonuses.
On Target Publications
Buy directly from On Target Publications and get your FREE instant download bonuses.
- Dan John: The Quadrants of Diet and Exercise— a 22-minute MP3 audio recording, accompanied by a 5-page PDF transcript. Normally $3.95 on MovementLectures.com
- Josh Hillis: Fat Loss Nutrition Coaching Session— a 54-minute MP3 audio recording, accompanied by a 14-page PDF transcript. Normally $7.95 on MovementLectures.com
- Gray Cook: Apprenticeship— a 35-minute MP3 audio recording, accompanied by a 7-page PDF transcript. Normally $3.95 on MovementLectures.com
Dan John’s ‘Can You Go’ is a must read for trainers, athletes and just about anyone trying to get into shape. Whether giving a client an assessment, assessing yourself, or developing your own training techniques this book will educate and invigorate you for the process. Though there is plenty of science, referenced research, even Venn Diagrams, it is an easy read full of laugh out loud quips, humorous anecdotes, and personal experiences that give the material a playful richness you would never expect.
If you have read anything else by Dan or watched his videos you will recognize his signature verve, his unique ability to convey information in a way that is accessible and enjoyable.
Ryan D –
As a trainer and coach, I have had the opportunity to take numerous courses,certifications etc. But I find I always come back to Dan John..Why? because he has the unique knack of making what people need to do simple…..not necessarily easy.. he cuts through the crap! This book is highly entertaining, and good solid lessons in there. BUY IT! and BTW the major reason I listen to him? Something I heard him say…”If you don’t have a list of your ten favourite books of all time by the time you are thirty..something is wrong..”
Huw Davies –
As both a coach and a coach educator I can safely say that this book covers most of what the client/athlete needs and what the coach needs to do. Excellent resource.
Shane MCLEAN –
Dan has a knack for cutting through the clutter and reminding the reader what is important when it comes to their health and fitness. A must read for every training professional.
Ellen S –
I listen to this audio book when I find that I’ve strayed too far into the theory and the academics of strength and fitness. This is the back to reality path for me. In it he helps his reader/listener clear cut down to what really matters: where are you now, what is needed, and how much is enough? Note that I’m not in the fitness industry and would not really even call myself an athlete. I just aspire to keep this 40-something-ish body strong and pliable enough to still be pushing, pulling, and lifting heavy things for another few decades. Dan’s spirit motivates me to stay the course.
João Almeida –
A wonderful book on fitness. Full of simple important but often neglected notions. If it is important do it every day. Which reminds me, I have to read the book again.
An excellent resource for coaches, trainers and fitness enthusiasts. This can be the one book to answer 99% of your training questions. Dan John’s writing is fun to read and brilliant in its simplicity.