T Nation

DJ Prime Time: Monday, May 23

I figured since Ricky Williams is considering making a comeback, I would return to Prime Time, too.

Well, what do we need to discuss?

Hi Dan, I was just wondering about the catch portion of a clean: I have great trouble brining my elbows up and find it hard to rest the bar on my clavicles, could this be a spinal erector weakness and a wrist problem or am I just not built to clean? I also cannot do an olympic front squat becuse I just cant get those friggin’ elbows up at the bottom of the movement… thanks for any help
John.

Meeting Bill Crawford for my throwing initiation yesterday barring torrential rain and flood.
Been watching the VP-Production DVD’s, but I’m still finding it hard to get my legs to power the throw.
Any last minute tips/suggestions etc.

Per your suggestions snatches (such as they are), front squats and cleans.

Should I just be thinking leg drive the whole time?
Or will it come with more practice?

Thanks.

Dan,

Always great to pick your brain:)

  1. If I’m trying to increase my 1RM in the dumbell clean and press, should I practice many sets of singles or include sets of doubles and triples as well?

  2. Performing the olympic lifts w/out practicing jumping per say improves your jumping abililites. Do you think the olympic lifts will improve your sprinting (short sprints like 40 yards)w/out practicing sprinting as well?

  3. This is a VERY generalized question but would you say that strength or speed (aside from technique) is more of a deciding factor in sports like mixed martial arts/wrestling?

Some of the Front Squat issue could be core strength (spinal erectors) sure, but really you have the most common of problems. Sorry. All you can do is Front Squat, FS, FS until you get the flexibility in the wrists, elbows and shoulders to hold the bar right. Now, you could have an odd build, but I got 7’4" guys to do it, so anyone is probably ahead of that.

I have one little trick. I keep my wrists in warm water while I stretch them and then do the Front Squats. It really helped me come back after I busted my left wrist.

[quote]JohnGullick wrote:
Hi Dan, I was just wondering about the catch portion of a clean: I have great trouble brining my elbows up and find it hard to rest the bar on my clavicles, could this be a spinal erector weakness and a wrist problem or am I just not built to clean? I also cannot do an olympic front squat becuse I just cant get those friggin’ elbows up at the bottom of the movement… thanks for any help
John.[/quote]

Should I just be thinking leg drive the whole time?
Or will it come with more practice?

It is funny, but most guys when we finally convince them to use their legs simply lock out their knees. So, you are on the right track, but let’s avoid the lock out finish. You can get away with it with a discus, but not HG. That’s why I like sled pulls for throwing…and hills…because you get used to driving the legs instead of just becoming “stick man.”

I coach people to try many throws with “soft legs” and strive to point the belly button in the direction you want “whatever” to go. Soft legs means that you “keep moving them” or don’t lock them out or really whatever makes sense, but you are thinking belly button on the target…then push the belly button towards the place you want it to go.

Not much to tell you for tomorrow, save bring a notebook and have an empty mind. Fill the notebook with anything that flows over from your brain…

  1. If I’m trying to increase my 1RM in the dumbell clean and press, should I practice many sets of singles or include sets of doubles and triples as well?

DJ: it will all work. It is such a simple move that you are lucky: everything will work. Depending on your weakness, though, you might consider two cleans and one press, one clean and two presses (or whatever) and focus on your weaknesses.

  1. Performing the olympic lifts w/out practicing jumping per say improves your jumping abililites. Do you think the olympic lifts will improve your sprinting (short sprints like 40 yards)w/out practicing sprinting as well?

IF you have any form at all: yes. If you run all over the place, maybe, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some O lifting and some top end work. I have always thought that sprinters would make some interesting progress with a pure O lifting program. On dragondoor.com they have an interesting article about a sprinter’s lifting program …Alyssa something…worth a read.

  1. This is a VERY generalized question but would you say that strength or speed (aside from technique) is more of a deciding factor in sports like mixed martial arts/wrestling?

In wrestling, if you have the basics and have the courage, a vise like grip can be as useful as a lightning strike. But, you might be appling and oranging here: I have rarely seen a top athlete who was strong who was not quick at his sport and the opposite, too, obviously. You don’t get good with “one trick pony.”

[quote]Danny John wrote:

  1. If I’m trying to increase my 1RM in the dumbell clean and press, should I practice many sets of singles or include sets of doubles and triples as well?

DJ: it will all work. It is such a simple move that you are lucky: everything will work. Depending on your weakness, though, you might consider two cleans and one press, one clean and two presses (or whatever) and focus on your weaknesses.

  1. Performing the olympic lifts w/out practicing jumping per say improves your jumping abililites. Do you think the olympic lifts will improve your sprinting (short sprints like 40 yards)w/out practicing sprinting as well?

IF you have any form at all: yes. If you run all over the place, maybe, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some O lifting and some top end work. I have always thought that sprinters would make some interesting progress with a pure O lifting program. On dragondoor.com they have an interesting article about a sprinter’s lifting program …Alyssa something…worth a read.

  1. This is a VERY generalized question but would you say that strength or speed (aside from technique) is more of a deciding factor in sports like mixed martial arts/wrestling?

In wrestling, if you have the basics and have the courage, a vise like grip can be as useful as a lightning strike. But, you might be appling and oranging here: I have rarely seen a top athlete who was strong who was not quick at his sport and the opposite, too, obviously. You don’t get good with “one trick pony.”[/quote

First, thanks for your response and time.

I’ll try to apply these answers.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
Should I just be thinking leg drive the whole time?
Or will it come with more practice?

It is funny, but most guys when we finally convince them to use their legs simply lock out their knees. So, you are on the right track, but let’s avoid the lock out finish. You can get away with it with a discus, but not HG. That’s why I like sled pulls for throwing…and hills…because you get used to driving the legs instead of just becoming “stick man.”

I coach people to try many throws with “soft legs” and strive to point the belly button in the direction you want “whatever” to go. Soft legs means that you “keep moving them” or don’t lock them out or really whatever makes sense, but you are thinking belly button on the target…then push the belly button towards the place you want it to go.

Not much to tell you for tomorrow, save bring a notebook and have an empty mind. Fill the notebook with anything that flows over from your brain…[/quote]

Thanks Coach. I’m actually a little nervous–I don’t know how to throw…!
I don’t have to work hard to get the empty mind thing though.
LOL!
Thanks again.

DJ,

Do you have any goals set for the near or far future?

Be them family, career, training?

Any wisdom for the T-Crowd?

Dan-

Do you think that the meat,leaves, berries, diet applies to everybody or is that just what has worked best for you?

Hill sprints-what is your response to the statement that hill sprints negatively affect your stride rate/frequency?

Highland games-I’m sure most the guys that compete and are successful are pretty big correct? Would you say that a 6’2 180 lb guy wouldn’t stand a chance unless he gained some weight? Is size that crucial honestly?

[quote]TriGWU wrote:
DJ,

Do you have any goals set for the near or far future?

Be them family, career, training?

Any wisdom for the T-Crowd?[/quote]

DJ: Well, my goal for this year is to set a World Record (age group) in the Weight Pent. I had a physically bad day in Arizona and still broke the American Record. In this last Get Up, I “detail” my ideas…which for me is a long, rambling discourse.

I don’t know if you read my little “To Grad, From Dad,” on my site…go to “The Book” on http://danjohn.org/coach and check it out. I am very proud of the book for my daughter, Kelly. If you have some wisdom to add, I am starting on a volume for Lindsay…my number two.

[quote]BPC wrote:
Dan-

Do you think that the meat,leaves, berries, diet applies to everybody or is that just what has worked best for you?

Well, it’s the best thing I ever did. “Everybody” won’t do everything so we can’t be sure…but MOST people who try it feel better than ever.

Hill sprints-what is your response to the statement that hill sprints negatively affect your stride rate/frequency?

Personal: who cares? Have you seen me sprint? I scare people for miles…

I don’t care about that kind of thing. If you are a nationally ranked sprinter, you wouldn’t be training with the riffraff at my gym…

Highland games-I’m sure most the guys that compete and are successful are pretty big correct? Would you say that a 6’2 180 lb guy wouldn’t stand a chance unless he gained some weight? Is size that crucial honestly?[/quote]

I have done well at lighter weights. But, to be honest, you need some butt to counter the 56 WFD and the 56 WOB. Doesn’t hurt to be huge in the caber, if you throw right…so, well, yes and no.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
TriGWU wrote:
DJ,

Do you have any goals set for the near or far future?

Be them family, career, training?

Any wisdom for the T-Crowd?

DJ: Well, my goal for this year is to set a World Record (age group) in the Weight Pent. I had a physically bad day in Arizona and still broke the American Record. In this last Get Up, I “detail” my ideas…which for me is a long, rambling discourse.

I don’t know if you read my little “To Grad, From Dad,” on my site…go to “The Book” on http://danjohn.org/coach and check it out. I am very proud of the book for my daughter, Kelly. If you have some wisdom to add, I am starting on a volume for Lindsay…my number two.

[/quote]

Not to suck up or anything (not like TRIgwu!! LOL) but that dad to grad was a very good read.
I’ll be interested to see how you change/update it for Lindsay.

We allow sucking up. There is no gum chewing and you must raise your hand before you ask a question.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
BPC wrote:
Dan-

Do you think that the meat,leaves, berries, diet applies to everybody or is that just what has worked best for you?

Well, it’s the best thing I ever did. “Everybody” won’t do everything so we can’t be sure…but MOST people who try it feel better than ever.

Hill sprints-what is your response to the statement that hill sprints negatively affect your stride rate/frequency?

Personal: who cares? Have you seen me sprint? I scare people for miles…

I don’t care about that kind of thing. If you are a nationally ranked sprinter, you wouldn’t be training with the riffraff at my gym…

Highland games-I’m sure most the guys that compete and are successful are pretty big correct? Would you say that a 6’2 180 lb guy wouldn’t stand a chance unless he gained some weight? Is size that crucial honestly?

I have done well at lighter weights. But, to be honest, you need some butt to counter the 56 WFD and the 56 WOB. Doesn’t hurt to be huge in the caber, if you throw right…so, well, yes and no.
[/quote]

How about height?
I’ve been reading about the advantage of height a lot?

Hey Dan,
I was reading of your book, “From The Ground Up!!!” and noticed that you don’t seem to a huge fan of backsquats. I know that you’re a competitive thrower and highland games athlete, but do you think that the back squat isn’t a great choice for alot of people out there? What would you recommend (in addition to front squats) to those that fall into this category?
-Greg

Dan,
I wonder if I could get you to elaborate on the concept of “leakage” a little more and your thinking about how to minimize it in the shot. The thought was prompted by your comments on leg above. I saw the “Bootcamp” tape but was curious how you were applying that concept to the throws. Thanks in advance.
old dogg

There is nothing “wrong” with Back Squats, I have done millions. It is just that for what I ask of my athletes, the Front Squat is miles better. Getting a huge back squat rarely has a correlation to a “big throw,” or even a snatch or clean and jerk. So, over time and experience, we sorta moved in a different direction. They are great…but, like some other things, there might be some better things to do.

[quote]novamcglone wrote:
Hey Dan,
I was reading of your book, “From The Ground Up!!!” and noticed that you don’t seem to a huge fan of backsquats. I know that you’re a competitive thrower and highland games athlete, but do you think that the back squat isn’t a great choice for alot of people out there? What would you recommend (in addition to front squats) to those that fall into this category?
-Greg[/quote]

And really, for most “gym” guys…a big deadlift might be a better option than a big back squat. Hell, if you are lifting in a Smith machine or whatever crap they have, you might as well go with grandma on the Adductor machine…

So, maybe a big deadlift might be a better option…and some hills or sleds…