T Nation

Dan John Prime Time: Tuesday

Back at it again, tonight. Monday, I set up my Mosquito Killer and mixed that with sets of Thick Bar Deadlifts in a wind/rain storm that knocked traffic lights out all across the state.

In other words, you will be asking advice from someone who set up an electric device with propane gas in a lightning storm while training with an oversized Olympic bar in the rain.

So, let’s just say you have been “alerted.”

here is another general one:

Do you think we (as trainees) tend to overthink all this stuff? ratios…how long is a perfect rest period…etc?

I see/hear so many people just doing “by feel” and listening to their bodies…and appear to be getting the results they want…so there must be something to that also, right?

Or is it the “Just shut up and lift,” basically?

Any random thoughts?

TB

Good morning Dan.

  1. Do you think that certain body types gravitate towards certain sports? Ex: shorter/smaller men like and excel at bodyweight stuff and gymnastics, tall/slim men like and excel at basketball, thicker men throw/power lift/etc. Of course these are generalizations and there are always exceptions to the rule but in general do you agree? I mean you look like a pretty big guy (bigger than the average guy) so lifting heavy weights would be your niche but me at 6’2 180 lbs is a different story. As Charles Staley would say, “I don’t have the levers like you do for lifting big weights”

  2. I’ve played basketball w/a lot of playground guys (even young guys in middle school and high school) that had good to amazing vertical leaps and never squatted or olympic lifted in their lives. Do you attribute this to genetics mostly or from just practicing jumping a lot by playing basketball (specific practice.)

It’s funny how Trailblazer and BPC are basically asking the same questions.

I’m going to ask a favor, I would like you to both read:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=575136

It is an article I am quite proud of…as I try to avoid ending a sentence in a preposition…and think it answers some of the issues here.

No question: Genetics ARE a factor that we just can’t ignore. That’s why some people are so damn good at things. BUT, we never know how good we could be at the things WE DO!

I, however, toss environment into the mix probably as much (more? maybe?) as genetics. I come from a Track family. I did track. If my brothers would have played more organized baseball, I would have played more organized baseball. My elementary school growing up emphasized reading and writing…ahem.

So, if you watched the neighborhood boys slamming in high school, you might find yourself slamming the hoops, too. Why? I don’t know…but, I know that the best way to have a great discus thrower is to surround a young kid with great throwers. Once they see “everyone” toss over 170’…they do, too!

So, read. Then, after your homework, post.

[quote]The P.B.B.C. program lends itself to great leaping abilities. One day, a small cadre of runners came to the gym to look around. One asked Dick: “What good is lifting?” Dick simply said: “Jump up and touch the ceiling.” The runner could not, he couldn’t even get the beams. “Dan, come over here.” Dick handed Dan a 45 pound plate and said: “Touch the ceiling.” Holding the weight, Dan leaped up, slapped his palm against the ceiling, then returned to training.
“That’s what’s good about lifting.” [/quote]

Questions for today’s Prime Time:

  1. Was the Dan in the above quote you?

  2. There’s a few pictures on your site of you enjoying yourself. You also seem to like the social side of the Highland Games. I think that the word “beer” appears sometimes. Given that most diet people swear off it for ever, name it as poison and general vow that “thou shalt never grow consuming alcohol” - what’s your take? Do you do anything in particular to make up for a hard night’s celebrating?

  3. What is it about lifting/throwing that gets you? Why not rugby/furniture moving/dreadlock plaiting?

  4. What’s the worst/standard punishment for misbehaviour from one your athletes?

  5. Has the mosquito killer fallen over yet?

From an earlier post of yours:

Still have more on this?

[quote]Danny John wrote:
It’s funny how Trailblazer and BPC are basically asking the same questions.

I’m going to ask a favor, I would like you to both read:

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=575136

It is an article I am quite proud of…as I try to avoid ending a sentence in a preposition…and think it answers some of the issues here.

No question: Genetics ARE a factor that we just can’t ignore. That’s why some people are so damn good at things. BUT, we never know how good we could be at the things WE DO!

I, however, toss environment into the mix probably as much (more? maybe?) as genetics. I come from a Track family. I did track. If my brothers would have played more organized baseball, I would have played more organized baseball. My elementary school growing up emphasized reading and writing…ahem.

So, if you watched the neighborhood boys slamming in high school, you might find yourself slamming the hoops, too. Why? I don’t know…but, I know that the best way to have a great discus thrower is to surround a young kid with great throwers. Once they see “everyone” toss over 170’…they do, too!

So, read. Then, after your homework, post. [/quote]

Thanks Dan! I’ve read that article before and it is GREAT!

Re-Track-if I had participated in track in high school (which I wish I would have done, I played basketball and tennis), I would have ran some sort of sprint or medium run. I have really long skinny legs but can run and jump and like to run and jump!

Do you think it’s possible to get REALLY strong doing bodyweight stuff/gymnastics stuff plus sprints/various jumping drills? I do have some left over fear of lifting heavy because of my pec injury and also w/time constraints/family obligations, traveling,etc It’s very convenient and accessible to not always have to go looking for free weights. A gymnast (world class) can obviously push his own bodyweight over his head easily (and then some) so wouldn’t that be like an equivalent to a heavy overhead press or jerk?

I should get paid by the volume of questions!!!

  1. Was the Dan in the above quote you?

Yep, that was me. Funny stuff. The look on the runner’s face when he tried…in vain…to touch about two feet over his head…

  1. There’s a few pictures on your site of you enjoying yourself. You also seem to like the social side of the Highland Games. I think that the word “beer” appears sometimes. Given that most diet people swear off it for ever, name it as poison and general vow that “thou shalt never grow consuming alcohol” - what’s your take? Do you do anything in particular to make up for a hard night’s celebrating?

It’s the typical thing we talk about all the time…first, I am an adult…but, there is a time for everything under the sun. One of my favorite fitness authors, Art DeVany, has a Bud with nearly every lunch…not a big deal. Last night, for example, I had some scotch (JW Black) in a glass with ice. I then sat down and read for two hours. At the end, I still had half a glass…

I guess the idea is this: I will dance at my daughter’s wedding (or when they join the convent) and I will have one or two. I drink for MEDICINAL purposes during Highland Games…ahem.

So, yes, enjoy life. Within reason.

  1. What is it about lifting/throwing that gets you? Why not rugby/furniture moving/dreadlock plaiting?

My family moves machines. My brother, Gary, owns the business. They get pissy when I throw stuff.

I don’t know, but…honestly…to quote my wife “To watch Danny throw is amazing.” I can make things go far…it’s cool.

  1. What’s the worst/standard punishment for misbehaviour from one your athletes?

The worst? Banishment to Provo, Utah.

Generally, I just ignore people when they break my rules. I just leave them alone. I have stories, but it is under the bridge.

  1. Has the mosquito killer fallen over yet?
    No, slung low to the ground…

I hate this bodyweight question because I have good friends that are masters of this kind of stuff. Sure, you can get really strong, but I am an iron guy.

There is a guy who basically says “You can’t do a pullup? You’re a puss.” I’m not going that far, but, yes, you can get damn strong doing bodyweight stuff. You can also get really strong moving iron. You can get even better results doing both!

[quote]Danny John wrote:
I should get paid by the volume of questions!!!
[/quote]

Agreed! Quantity IS quality!

I’ll admit - I was fishing for some.

It’s quittin’ time here in Madrid, well past it actually. So I’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see what I missed. Thanks for the answers and have a good one.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
I should get paid by the volume of questions!!!

  1. Was the Dan in the above quote you?

Yep, that was me. Funny stuff. The look on the runner’s face when he tried…in vain…to touch about two feet over his head…

  1. There’s a few pictures on your site of you enjoying yourself. You also seem to like the social side of the Highland Games. I think that the word “beer” appears sometimes. Given that most diet people swear off it for ever, name it as poison and general vow that “thou shalt never grow consuming alcohol” - what’s your take? Do you do anything in particular to make up for a hard night’s celebrating?

It’s the typical thing we talk about all the time…first, I am an adult…but, there is a time for everything under the sun. One of my favorite fitness authors, Art DeVany, has a Bud with nearly every lunch…not a big deal. Last night, for example, I had some scotch (JW Black) in a glass with ice. I then sat down and read for two hours. At the end, I still had half a glass…

I guess the idea is this: I will dance at my daughter’s wedding (or when they join the convent) and I will have one or two. I drink for MEDICINAL purposes during Highland Games…ahem.

So, yes, enjoy life. Within reason.

  1. What is it about lifting/throwing that gets you? Why not rugby/furniture moving/dreadlock plaiting?

My family moves machines. My brother, Gary, owns the business. They get pissy when I throw stuff.

I don’t know, but…honestly…to quote my wife “To watch Danny throw is amazing.” I can make things go far…it’s cool.

  1. What’s the worst/standard punishment for misbehaviour from one your athletes?

The worst? Banishment to Provo, Utah.

Generally, I just ignore people when they break my rules. I just leave them alone. I have stories, but it is under the bridge.

  1. Has the mosquito killer fallen over yet?
    No, slung low to the ground…[/quote]

Re-the runner who tried to jump and touch the ceiling w/a 45 lb plate in his hand-if the ceiling was 2 feet over his head then he wouldn’t even have to jump to touch the ceiling or if he did, it would only be a few inches.

Example: I’m 6’2 and can touch a standard 8foot ceiling standing flat footed (maybe I have long arms). However, since I’ve read virtually EVERYTHING on your site, I tried touching a 9foot ceiling (that’s a 12 inch difference if my stand and reach is 8 feet) and it was easy w/a 45 lb plate. That runner must have been weak. Was he a long distance runner?

"That runner must have been weak. Was he a long distance runner? "

I can’t distinguish anything in those two sentences in the modern world. Back in the day, runners were athletes. Mark Enyeart was a stud, Percy Cerutty’s athletes were all serious lifters…then, the high carb, flexibility worshipping, volume over intensity jogger took over…alas.

It might have been a higher ceiling, but the point is this: he barely got off his shoes…

[quote]Danny John wrote:
I hate this bodyweight question because I have good friends that are masters of this kind of stuff. Sure, you can get really strong, but I am an iron guy.

There is a guy who basically says “You can’t do a pullup? You’re a puss.” I’m not going that far, but, yes, you can get damn strong doing bodyweight stuff. You can also get really strong moving iron. You can get even better results doing both![/quote]

I totally understand. Whatever floats your boat right? To me, strength is strength, I don’t care how you achieve it. Actually, to be honest w/you, I do both. I go to the YMCA and do overhead squats sometims and I have the following dumbbells at home: 25, 30, 50 and clean/press/snatch, etc with them pretty frequently. I guess the appealing thing about bodyweight stuff to me is: accessibility, less chance of injuries,etc.

Just out of curiosity, what’s your vertical/broad jump?

“Back in the day,” I could jump. Eric Seubert and I had these awesome jumps from doing the O lifts all the time. He could stuff two handed at about 5’ 10" flatfooted. I weighed 208-218 and did some fairly good lifts, so my weight to strenght ratio allowed me to do some fun stuff.

I know I went over nine on the Standing Long Jump, but that was nothing compared to the tens and elevens of John Richardson and Paul Northway. Be careful when you compete against discus throwers…they will be good at something…

Hey Dan (or is it Mr. John?), I have a question for you regarding hamstrings. I know that you are a huge proponent of RDL’s, but what is your stance on glute-ham raises? I know the guys at Westside say they are the best lift for the hamstrings, and I just wanted your take. Thanks a lot!

Oh, and if I might have one more question, I have Jim Schmitz’s Ironmind manual and tape for the Olympic Lifts. What is your take on them? For one thing, he recommends going up on your toes for the O-lifts, but you recommend staying on your heels.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
“Back in the day,” I could jump. Eric Seubert and I had these awesome jumps from doing the O lifts all the time. He could stuff two handed at about 5’ 10" flatfooted. I weighed 208-218 and did some fairly good lifts, so my weight to strenght ratio allowed me to do some fun stuff.

I know I went over nine on the Standing Long Jump, but that was nothing compared to the tens and elevens of John Richardson and Paul Northway. Be careful when you compete against discus throwers…they will be good at something…[/quote]

I’m basically researching everything (bodyweight, olympic lifts, plyos, etc) to see what will give me the best bang for my buck because like you, I’m a really busy guy. Really I’m already pretty athletic (I think it’s largely genetic for most), only play basketball on the weekends for fun, but want to get strong as the incredible hulk as my main goal:) Seriously though, very strong in a nutshell.

Do you think lifting heavy weights say in the overhead press can cause more injuries than say doing a similiar movement like a bodyweight movement version like handstand pushups, etc?

I’ve actually been doing a lot of the olympic lifts lately and have noticed my leaping abilities been very good w/out practicing jumping very much-do you think you can sprint fast too just by olympic lifting or is that a separate skill requiring it’s own devoted time? Some people have said for years that sprint times/vertical leaps have high correlations.

Iron DJ,

A couple of questions for your reading pleasure. First, I am getting ready to start a new job as a production supervisor/engineer this position will require 12 hour days M, T, F, S, Su. The next week I only work Wednesday and Thursday. I am thinking that I could workout twice on the Wed and Thursday that I have off on week one and once a day on the following week except Wed and Thursday. I doubt that I will have much ambition to go to the gym on the days that I work but I dont know that yet. Do you think that the two a day approach would be too much?

Second question, I am almost sure that I have read a response to this previously so I apologize in advance, Do you feel that OLAD is a program that more experienced lifters should follow rather than newbies? I have lifted some in the past but the last 6 months have been an awakening to me and I have been very diligent in my iron studies. So far I have completed one cycle of OLAD and a few other programs by Waterbury. I am currently doing his ABBH-1 routine but when I switch to the new job I would like to return to OLAD.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
"That runner must have been weak. Was he a long distance runner? "

I can’t distinguish anything in those two sentences in the modern world. Back in the day, runners were athletes. Mark Enyeart was a stud, Percy Cerutty’s athletes were all serious lifters…then, the high carb, flexibility worshipping, volume over intensity jogger took over…alas.

It might have been a higher ceiling, but the point is this: he barely got off his shoes…[/quote]

That’s really pathetic and sad. I run and lift weights but I run short sprints not miles and miles and miles. Even for my endurance/cardio work, I do short (6 minutes or so) high intenisty interval stuff like gpp (jumping jacks, shuffle splits, burpees, mt climbers) which is wayy better than jogging for 10 miles.

TG, well, everytime I do those GHRs, I end up with a back issue. I just don’t seem to be cut right for the machine. So, for me…I don’t like them.

The Bulgarian method I learned is what the best of the best are doing…as I understand it. I am an Old Friend of Jim’s, I lifted for his team, The Sports Palace, and I like his stuff. I would also recommend Tommy Kono’s book to you. Search for it, don’t ask me how to get it…

[quote]TunaGill wrote:
Hey Dan (or is it Mr. John?), I have a question for you regarding hamstrings. I know that you are a huge proponent of RDL’s, but what is your stance on glute-ham raises? I know the guys at Westside say they are the best lift for the hamstrings, and I just wanted your take. Thanks a lot!

Oh, and if I might have one more question, I have Jim Schmitz’s Ironmind manual and tape for the Olympic Lifts. What is your take on them? For one thing, he recommends going up on your toes for the O-lifts, but you recommend staying on your heels.

[/quote]

[quote]Snoop wrote:
Iron DJ,

A couple of questions for your reading pleasure. First, I am getting ready to start a new job as a production supervisor/engineer this position will require 12 hour days M, T, F, S, Su. The next week I only work Wednesday and Thursday. I am thinking that I could workout twice on the Wed and Thursday that I have off on week one and once a day on the following week except Wed and Thursday. I doubt that I will have much ambition to go to the gym on the days that I work but I dont know that yet. Do you think that the two a day approach would be too much?

Second question, I am almost sure that I have read a response to this previously so I apologize in advance, Do you feel that OLAD is a program that more experienced lifters should follow rather than newbies? I have lifted some in the past but the last 6 months have been an awakening to me and I have been very diligent in my iron studies. So far I have completed one cycle of OLAD and a few other programs by Waterbury. I am currently doing his ABBH-1 routine but when I switch to the new job I would like to return to OLAD.

[/quote]

Here:

Training for the Busy Working Guy
A couple of principles that I follow might help the “thinking process” of someone who works a normal job, has a social life, and still wants to train.

First, embrace the concept of “Pareto’s Law.” This Italian economist discovered the “80-20 Rule” :that is, 80 percent of your results comes from 20 percent of what you do. In a football program, you will find that 20 percent of your athletes produce 80 percent of the yards, the tackles and the points. In training, 20 percent of your program will get you to that 80 percent mark. That other 80, of course, gets you ever closer to that elusive moment when you produce a “100 percent effort.” That could mean one’s lifetime best lift, throw, or physical condition.

I have recommend for years that athletes attend to this 20 percent as early as they can in the athletic career. It can be summarized in a simple question: if, for some reason, you could only train 45 minutes a week (three sessions of fifteen minutes), what would you do? The answer to this question, if honestly addressed, is the key to a busy working guy’s training. Would you warmup? Do yoga? Well, then, what? As a discus thrower, I answered this question with a couple sets of overhead or front squats, then half-turn drills with a powerball into a wall. I could easily hold “80 percent” on that schedule.

So, what are your goals? If you are an O lifter, what would you do in those 45 minutes? I might alternate snatches and clean and jerks through those 15 minute workouts. What about this or that or this: yes, they are important…but I only have a few minutes!

So, the working guy has to take the long-term goal and run it into the “Prison Riddle,” the 45 minute question first. What ever answer arises…is the beginning point of the solution to the quandary of being a full-time person and a full-time athlete.

Second, take a touch of insight from the book, Dinosaur Training. On page 113, Brooks notes an old IronMan “Roundtable” where John Wooten describes his training:

"I started out on a strength routine, really piling on the poundage in the following exercises:

  1. Two hands deadlift, favorite exercise of Goerner
  2. Walk with weight, favorite exercise of Milo of Crotona
  3. Carry bar in dead lift position, favorite exercise of Arthur Giroux
  4. Bent Presses, favorite exercise of Saxon
  5. Reverse Continental and jerk from behind neck, favorite exercise of Saxon."

Well, there is a great insight here: what is the favorite lift of the “heroes and heroines” of your sport? Westside guys should look at Box Squats, O lifters who like Bulgarian training, should think about Front Squats, fans of Russian training should look to squats, power cleans and heavy spinal erector work.

I have been collecting “gems” of lifting and recording them in a little red notebook since 1975. Every time I hear a point that just “rings true,” I add it to this book. I have found through the years that one exercise keeps showing up as a “favorite lift:” the power clean. John Terpak, George Woods, many Soviets, lots of American lifters and throwers have labeled the power clean as “key” to athletic success. Certainly, take a little bit of this advice, no matter how busy, and toss power cleans into your program.

Read what the greats do, and follow their advice. Not blindly, of course, but when enough people argue for this or that as the key to success, listen. I’m a contrarian at heart, I like to go the opposite direction of the crowd at times, but, trust me, adding the O lifts, one hand lifts, overhead work or strongman moves is as contrarian as anyone can get in the last two decades.

Finally, Andy’s question dealt with an interesting idea*what lifts give the most bang for the buck?

My short list:
Clean and Press: if all you did was Clean and Press, you could be awesome

Front Squat: flexible, solid and strong

Power Snatch and Overhead Squat Combo: Tony Nielson, a young man I coached for a few years, was the smallest football player on the field, yet I watched him run for 200+ yards in several games. His reason: this combo. Easy to learn, difficult to master, excellent long term benefits.

Dragging a sled, pushing a car or hill sprints:shoot me, but I believe these are superior to squats for most athletes.

Power Clean:'nuff said

Farmer Walk:a year ago, I would have laughed at these*now, I don’t laugh

One arm lift of some kind:they work, they are simple to learn, they work

Total equipment needs: bar, weights; a revolving Olympic dumbbell is nice, a pair of Mike Rosenberg’s thick dumbbells are nice; all you need is a bar and weights.

Option One: Saturday and Sunday Superstar

This kind of program is designed for the person who has some time on the weekends and not much the rest of the week:

Saturday

Lift Day

Power Snatch
Power Clean
Front Squat
One arm lifts (Clean and Press to max each hand)
Whatever reps and sets you like; I like 3 x 3 or 2 x 5 or Singles (after warm ups, these are the “meat” sets)

Sunday

Strongman or Highland Games or Whatever you like Day

Power Clean and Press (Singles up to a Max)
Sled dragging, car pushing, hill sprints
Anything else you would like to do!!!
Farmers Walk (Death March Style)

One other day a week (Wednesday???)

One lift: either Power Clean and Press, Power Snatch and Overhead Squat (might be best of the lot), Front Squat, Power Clean Some kind of carry: Farmers Walk, maybe that “Dead lift carry” idea, sandbags.

That’s it. Now, O lifters would do the classic lifts on perhaps Saturday, and the power moves and squats on Sunday, with the “other” workout being an 80 percent (or less) total day. Highland Gamers would add an event or two on the back end of each day, although I would keep the walks and the dragging stuff.

Option Two:

Abbreviated Training Clusters:

Week One

Day One
Power Snatch
Front Squat
One arm Clean and Press
Farmer Walk

Day Two

Power Clean
Power Clean and Press
Overhead Squat
Sled Dragging, Car Pushing or Hill Sprints
Week Two

Day One

Power Clean and Press
Power Snatch and Overhead Squat
Front Squat

Day Two

One arm lifts (Presses, Snatches, Swings, deadlifts, whatever…have fun!)
Sled drag, car push, hill sprints
Farmers Walk

[quote]BPC wrote:
Danny John wrote:
"That runner must have been weak. Was he a long distance runner? "

I can’t distinguish anything in those two sentences in the modern world. Back in the day, runners were athletes. Mark Enyeart was a stud, Percy Cerutty’s athletes were all serious lifters…then, the high carb, flexibility worshipping, volume over intensity jogger took over…alas.

It might have been a higher ceiling, but the point is this: he barely got off his shoes…

That’s really pathetic and sad. I run and lift weights but I run short sprints not miles and miles and miles. Even for my endurance/cardio work, I do short (6 minutes or so) high intenisty interval stuff like gpp (jumping jacks, shuffle splits, burpees, mt climbers) which is wayy better than jogging for 10 miles.

[/quote]

There is a difference between runners and athletes. You are an athlete.

I compete in triathlons and DJ’s One Lift A Day is now an important aspect of my training regiment. I go on 3 wk x 1 wk build cycles. You can bet that each 3 wk stint has the OLAD program in it. It helps establish a good strength balance and increase my avg power outputs in all three disciplines. Plus, the lifts usually match as a direct antagonist pr synergist to the specific endurance work of that day.

Great stuff.