T Nation

Danny John


I've been to your throwing page, and really enjoyed it. I found the layout of particular routines(especially yours) hard to grasp. Could you elaborate on a kick ass routine for a man in this category? I know many factors come into play, but this is just for shits and giggles. I'm currently doing Joe Defranco's strong man training and thought about mixing it up with Charles EDT bodybuilding.


I'm not sure what you want here. My typical training is "sorta" broken up over the year.


I train in my garage in Utah. So, in the summer, I do a lot of outdoor lifting...I drag bars and plates outside and train. I do lots of carries, sprints and sled work. In the winter, I survive. This is what I have been doing this winter:

  1. Deadlift...any variation
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Chins
  4. Swings with kettlebells
  5. Ab isometrics...either hanging leg raise or L-Sits or whatever...or Ab Wheel

When I can, I add some walks with weights or some sledding...although it has been really wet this year. I throw when I can.

I didn't do any chains this year as I had a goal of a 300 incline...which I got in December, then decided to do a 315 incline. Chains work...for me...better when it is warm.

Spring is usually when I morph my program into a couple of things because of O lifting meets, Highland Games and track meets. I just have to look at two week blocks.

Fall is ALWAYS when I work my weaknesses...too fat, too weak here or there...whatever. The incline (pressing, actually) was my weakness from last year, so I really attacked it.

So, this is the general "thought" process...detail what you are asking...


Could you elaborate on "chains." You mention them several times at your web site but I have not been able to find a description. I presume you are not talking about putting chains onto the barbell, ala Westside. If so, how does that work for front squats?



My chains are from "Bigger FAster Stronger" and they did a great thing for the home trainer by making the chain a collar...so you have this anchor chain connected to a wingnutted collar. All you do is slap them on the ends of the bar, lightly tighten and squat, press or deadlift. As the bar goes down, the chains gather on the floor...making the bar lighter...at the bottom, each link starts coming off the ground...making the bar heavier and (trumpets blare!) MAKING Dan's fat ass accelerate!!!


Dan John,
Thank you for replying, that was what I was looking for, however I was hoping that there would have been a greater response/interest in what you are currently doing and the thread would have gained a little more momentum with readers trying to delve into your personal training. I was wondering the % of weight you are using and a general set/rep scheme you find favorable. You may have covered this in your most recent article.
Again, thank you.


I have a fairly big leap from training weights to maxs. I'm not one of those 95% for five guys. I struggle in training with a 255 Clean and Jerk...but think nothing of taking 321 in the meet. In fact, I can never get a handle on my discus throwing either...I add some SERIOUS distance from training to comps. I win a lot of stupid "bets" that way, too, at discus camp...

A good example would be today. I was told a couple of things back in 2002 when I blew my wrist apart:
1. I would never Olympic lift again...I waited almost five months to prove this wrong
2. I shouldn't rollerblade any more...my wrist fracture probably would be "bad" to repeat (see two issues ago of Get Up for details)

So, these past few weeks, I have started rollerblading again...twenty to forty minutes on the Murray Parkway Trail behind my house. It is great for some of my yearly goals. I literally got "fat" in the past three years because I think I avoided anything that had a "fall" chance...okay, that's a rationalization...but, I almost believed it.

So, I rollerblade for 40 minutes, get home and deadlift. The Plan was to do Alactic reps with 400...do a rep, rest ten seconds, repeat for "as many." I only got to four when my back twinged. It's the rollerblading...I tend to get a little cramped up when I do it. So, I just backed off to 225 for a bunch of Romanian Deadlifts and Shrugs. Then, two easy sets of two in the Incline Bench with 285, discus drills, some chins, some Ab Wheel, and some kettlebell play. I was under a little time constraint because of some Mr. Mom duties.

This is one of the "little" workouts that will quickly be forgotten but provide the base for most of what I do...a few things DAILY...some hard workouts here and there (very scientific)...try not to overthink...and just keep adding to the barrel, so to speak.

Not all workouts have to look like a scene from "Pumping Iron." In fact, I often argue that these moderate workouts...the punch the clock workouts...are the ones that make champions. Hell, everyone is willing to work hard the week of the State Championship: I think what separates champs is the willingness to just get "them"...the workouts...in.


Question regarding your wrist injury. How did you train around it? I injured both my wrists a Olympic Weightlifting Meet a few weeks ago. I tried to save my last C&J, lost my balance and fell backwards onto my back, my elbows hit the platform, and the bar jammed my wrists back. It is a soft tissue injury only, and though I'm gaining some strength back, I certainly cannot do front squats or any O-lifs or heavy upper body lifting. I've been basically back squating, and low clean pulls, and some light military presses. Any other suggestions to help recovery? thanks.


This right here is something I think needs to come with age.
Like one day last week. I was supposed to do back. Starting with power cleans. I had a hell of a time even getting the warm up weight up. I tried 3 or 4 different times, same result. Years ago I would've said screw it, I'm weak today, obviously unrecovered or whatever, and gone home. Now, the power rack is in the garage, so I have to think about my $1500 investment sitting out there rusting quietly in the cold, and I've had an additional decade to learn things you'll never see in Muscle & Ironman or whatever it is. So I tried chins, found those worked for me, and did 100 (or so, divided into sets of 10, then 8 then down to 5 or 6).

Thanks, Dan, that was from you--but I got done, felt better about myself, and got nice and sore. And stronger.


Always glad to help...in fact, that is my favorite workout. Finding the 'gem' in a bad workout and then polishing it (this analogy needs to end...now) is a great thing. I like it when I decide that "this ain't working" and find something that does. I have a workout where I just put together literally everything I have and try to do circuits of this/that/this/that/this/that.

It is fun, because I use a lot of equipment and no single thing is hard.

ON the wrist injury, it was tough balancing surgeries and training. Tiffini went out and bought a nice squat rack for me, loaded up the thing and I did arm free Front Squats almost within hours of surgery. We also bought the "nice" sled and I started doing lots of mule work.

Honestly, and this is not BS, I have had a pretty good career, but I think overcoming that wrist injury is my proudest moment. Nobody really "got it" when I Clean and Jerked 264 three months after surgery, but I had been told I would never lift again. It was a slooooooooooooow process...


Thanks for your feedback Dan. That is quite an accomplishment to come back from your wrist injury and lift at all.


I knew there was a reason I loved to read Dan John stuff so much. This guy seems to have a huge heart and a sensible mind. I have Dans' site as one of my favorite "favorites". I also posted his "commandments" for training... ie; "water is the best anabolic" etc. on my "studio" wall. Thanks. Dan for being so cool!


I followed that "Top Ten List" with an article here at T-Nation.

Thanks for the kind words. I Clean and Jerked 321 just a few weeks ago for a new state record for masters. I discussed this in the next to last issue of Get Up...the little newsletter on my site.

It's funny about that original list, though. Some claim that Mel Siff wrote it because it was on his site and it has been credited to about six other people. I wrote it for the "old" Old School Forum and punched it out in about twenty seconds...looking back, I should have patented it somehow.


Congratulations on the State record Dan, well deserved. Now, try to break it!


Hey Dan,
Reread your 10 tips article, yet again, and began to wonder, "how would Dan go about designing a program to assist an individual to 2x bodyweight deadlift, body weight military press". Just to be clear, are we talking strict military press, or a "pushpress"


Go to the last Get UP...I detail "an idea" for this.

Of course, a strict military...or, a snatch...


Thanks again for your time. I'm on my way over to the site now. I'm just amazed "we" seem to have you one on one here, and yet the cotton short posting is getting more hits, absolutely ludicrous.


Hey! I'll have you know that I'm going to participate in the next local Highland Games and have incorporated the overhead squat into my workouts due largely to Dan John's site and articles. Furthermore, I just purchased an all-cotton kilt from sportkilt.com by the recommendation of Dan John (the site that is). Can I help it I'm a slave to the luxurious feel of all natural cotton?


Props to Danny John for taking part in the site. I wish I had a question to ask but honestly, I need to work harder before I go looking for some more answers. It's a downside of T-Nation - if you sit back and think for a while, you realise that you have enough information to keep going and you should be doing more, not just asking more.

Keep up the good work, DJ. And your site is a really good read. I like the stories, post more.


If I miss a question or a post, be sure to either PM me or email me and I will get right on it. Sometimes, I just don't "see" the new stuff on the threads.

By the way...buying the kilt and signing up for the HG is EXACTLY my training philosophy. You will learn more with one HG than all the discussion in the world. Nice work.

I'm working on a new "thing"...I hate to call anything I write on the net a book...about lessons I have learned. Now, I don't think I am a legend, but I have kept fairly good journals since 1971 and the lessons are well worth considering. I will make it available asap...but, I do have these "careers" and "life" that get in the way sometimes...


DJ, if your latest project contains stuff like:


or my personal favourite:

I'll be signing up for it!