T Nation

Dan John's Zen Approach


I read a great article by Dan John a while back suggesting a "Zen" approach for intermediate to advanced lifters:

At intervals throughout your training career, back off and try a beginner program once in a while. Approach it with a clean slate, use perfect form and lighter weights.

I was reading the great squatting article by Neupert and Robertson recently and saw their squat progression...and also Jeremy Frisch's 100 tips had a nice progression for cleans.

So I borrowed ideas from all three places and made this 6-week "Re-Progression" for intermediate/advanced lifters to use a beginner approach for 6 weeks.

Coming up:


Six Week Beginner Progression (or Re-progression)

1 week of Box squat, single-leg drills (Bulgarian split squat, single-leg RDL), lots of prying...2-4x8-12
1 week of Goblet squat, single-leg drills (single-leg RDL, lunges) 2-4x8-12
2 weeks of BB front squat, pistol squat, pull-throughs, 3-5x5-8
2 weeks of full Olympic back squat, 3-6x3-6, adductor/abductor work
Reps for assistance exercises: 1-3x6-13

2 weeks DB military press
2 weeks DB push press
2 weeks BB push press

2 weeks of hang clean with 3-second pause at bottom, glute activation work, light core work
1 week of hang clean with slow eccentric, glute activation work, core work
1 week of ballistic hang clean, RDL, trap work
2 weeks of power clean, core work, trap work
Reps for assistance work: 2-4x6-10

2 weeks of one-arm DB bench press and pushups-plus
2 weeks of DB floor press, explosive push-ups, and anterior deltoid work
2 weeks of full BB bench press and triceps volume work
Assistance reps: 2-3x12-15

2 weeks of chin-ups, no weight added and pullovers, hammer curls
2 weeks of neutral-grip pull-ups
2 weeks of wide-grip pull-ups, bent-wrist curl Pavel style
Assistance reps: same as pull-up reps

2 weeks of chest-supported rowing
2 weeks of one-arm supported DB rowing
2 weeks of bent-over BB rowing

The template:
Day 1
Squat variation
Vertical press

Day 2
Horizontal press variation
Row variation

Day 3
Clean variation
Pull-up variation


So basically you work out three days per week, doing the given variations on the specified days, and you progress each exercise weekly or bi-weekly, depending.

I plan on using this after I reach my next mini-goal of muscle-mass. It really does help to re-assess and re-progress in your lifting.

Any thoughts? Just wanted to post this in order to get feedback. Thought it was a pretty cool idea.


First, let's have you "reexplain" this with just week one. I think your third post clarified things, but then, I though, "wait, no..."