DJ: Prime Time Thursday

From Art DeVany’s site, I read his insights about a book called “Freakonomics.” This is a book about an economist, Steve Levitt, who looks at numbers a little different. I really think the section discussing parenting and children’s school success to be really interesting. Basically, the research is telling us that “who you are” as a parent is a bigger factor than “what you do.” It’s interesting because my mind has been spinning with applications about sports.

When I work with athletes, they will worry more about the supplement they take on game day rather than the 300 straight breakfasts they didn’t eat leading up to the day of competition. They worry about wrist wraps more than the fact they don’t know how to squat. Interesting…

Hi Dan
You wrote in an earlier post (05/12/05) “I think cleans are better than deadlifts” If Im not taking this out of context, would you mind explaining this a little further?
Thanks!

Dan,

I’ll have to check out that book. Sounds interesting.

Are you saying that basically, the athletes you work with focus too much on minor details and don’t really grasp the big picture? For example: learning to squat is wayyyy more important than whether you wear wrist wraps or not.

From the your previous Prime Time, you suggested that front squats and even deadlifts are more beneficial for athletes than striving for a big back squat. Right now I’m taking your advice from your site and making the overhead squat my main lift that I’m working on. I’m also doing hill sprints. For all around strength, pretty much all athletes (football, basketball, martial arts, throwers), etc would you say that overhead squatting is more beneficial for them than even front squats or deadlifts?

21 pullups is pretty dang good for a big guy like yourself (really for anybody)

You say that the GPP based system (crossfit) to not be useful for strength and power athletes. May I inquire why not.

What are your recommendations in regards an athlete considering starting the discus. The only problem is that this athlete isn’t quite 6ft tall (5ft 10 actually) would this be a disadvantage.

[quote]Springcoil wrote:
You say that the GPP based system (crossfit) to not be useful for strength and power athletes. May I inquire why not.

DJ: When the hell did I say that? Was I drunk? I speak at the crossfit seminars. I think that “accumulation” is one of the keys to outstanding performance. Certainly, you can’t JUST do crossfit, but I think you can really get “close” with the crossfit ideas. Having said that: you also better have your absolute strength and technique ratcheted up to compete as a thrower or HGer. Don’t tell me about pullups when you throw the 56 WOB…

What are your recommendations in regards an athlete considering starting the discus. The only problem is that this athlete isn’t quite 6ft tall (5ft 10 actually) would this be a disadvantage.[/quote]

I weighed 120 pounds when I started and bulked up to 162 pounds as a senior in high school. I didn’t hit six foot until college…so, yes, I think you can get away with being a thrower. Now, I also had a belief that I could master the event, too. There I was wrong…

You would have to remind me about the discussion. To improve your deadlift, I think cleans help more than simply doing more deadlifts. To improve you clean, I think deadlifts help more than “many/much/more” cleans. I always like to find ways “around” a lift or sport to improve it…beyond absolute specificity…which works, at a price.

I like cleans as you might find in my readings, but I also like deadlifts. People try to make blanket statements: Front Squats are superior to blah blah blah, but, in truth, there is a time for everything (under the sun).

[quote]Jules wrote:
Hi Dan
You wrote in an earlier post (05/12/05) “I think cleans are better than deadlifts” If Im not taking this out of context, would you mind explaining this a little further?
Thanks!
[/quote]

I thought I responded to this? But, I guess I didn’t…I think crossfit rocks.

A simple question, why throw the discus?

Thank you very much for the responses, Mr John.
About the crossfit concept. If one is fairly new to lifting (I’m only about a year into this sport) would it be better on focusing on bringing up numbers (i.e 2x BW deadlift, etc) or would it be better to work on GPP first.

I’m a rugby player who wishes to increase his speed and strength in the off season. I’m aware that one of your writers at Get-Up plays the sport, so I assume your familar with it.

I think you can get a double bodyweight deadlift, bodyweight press and train for a sport with just about any program. Give yourself a window…two months maybe…and try something like crossfit. Nick Aiello, who trains with me at night, does nothing but crossfit and he (at 6’5") got a double bodyweight deadlift doing just the crossfit ideas.

You really should go back and read my little article on Systematic and Systemic training. I think you are at that point (one year) where you have lots and lots going on, but no logical plan to lay it all out. So, read. Then, let’s talk.

Oh, and why the discus? Why not?

Hey Dan,

Your squatting article in your magazine, the one where you talk about “squattting between the legs instead of over them” would make a great article for T-Nation.

At the very least a link to it would be helpful.

KJ, that’s a good point. It’s funny, I was just talking about that stuff last night.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
You would have to remind me about the discussion. To improve your deadlift, I think cleans help more than simply doing more deadlifts. To improve you clean, I think deadlifts help more than “many/much/more” cleans. I always like to find ways “around” a lift or sport to improve it…beyond absolute specificity…which works, at a price.

I like cleans as you might find in my readings, but I also like deadlifts. People try to make blanket statements: Front Squats are superior to blah blah blah, but, in truth, there is a time for everything (under the sun).
Jules wrote:
Hi Dan
You wrote in an earlier post (05/12/05) “I think cleans are better than deadlifts” If Im not taking this out of context, would you mind explaining this a little further?
Thanks!

[/quote]
I always like to find ways “around” a lift or sport to improve it…beyond absolute specificity…which works, at a price.

Dan, can you please elaborate on this?

What do you mean “works at a price?”

I mean, isn’t the best way for an athlete to get better at playing basketball or boxing is to play lots of basketball or box a lot?

I know countless numbers of guys who can box or wrestle their butt off but can’t do overhead squats, pistols, olympic lifts or have big bench presses. I’m starting to think that the old school coaches who were against lifting heavy weights for improved sports performances were halfway right. The old way to train boxers was: calisthenics, jump rope, running/sprints, medicine ball/plyometrics, etc not heavy bench pressing and squatting. I mean some athletes tend to get too caught up with lifting weights that they practice their sport too infrequently.

What’s the best thing to do? Be very specific and clear when an athlete establishes his/her goals?

Comments?

Well, the boxing guy on dragondoor found that his boxers who started to deadlift began to have better fight stamina and were tougher in the later rounds.

Here is the thing: you keep proposing ideas and that is fine…but you need to test them out. If you have 10,000 ideas that is fine, but I get one new thing and go into the gym or field and give it a go. Philosophy is fine, but it is very hard to beat your competition with debate points…outside of debate.

So, yes, everything works.

About “specificity works, but at a price” ask a marathon runner to help you move a couch up a flight of stairs.

“I know countless numbers of guys who can box or wrestle their butt off but can’t do overhead squats, pistols, olympic lifts or have big bench presses.”

I can’t think of a more “apples” and “oranges” point. I know of countless wrestlers who can’t throw the discus over 180 feet. Ergo, therefore, one could infer…

[quote]Danny John wrote:
Well, the boxing guy on dragondoor found that his boxers who started to deadlift began to have better fight stamina and were tougher in the later rounds.

Here is the thing: you keep proposing ideas and that is fine…but you need to test them out. If you have 10,000 ideas that is fine, but I get one new thing and go into the gym or field and give it a go. Philosophy is fine, but it is very hard to beat your competition with debate points…outside of debate.

So, yes, everything works.

About “specificity works, but at a price” ask a marathon runner to help you move a couch up a flight of stairs. [/quote]

Gotcha.

Basically, do specific work and general work (I already do that anyways). I just have a really analytical mind that likes to ask questions and try to figure things out.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
“I know countless numbers of guys who can box or wrestle their butt off but can’t do overhead squats, pistols, olympic lifts or have big bench presses.”

I can’t think of a more “apples” and “oranges” point. I know of countless wrestlers who can’t throw the discus over 180 feet. Ergo, therefore, one could infer…
[/quote]

I understand.

Dan John,

There is another thread out here on punching power. Since you talked to someone at drangondoor about boxing, could you give us any other insights into how train to develop punching power?

Don’t want to get off topic but since you are somewhat on it…

thanks,

soco

Soco, not off topic at all. Most throwers are fairly comfortable with Martial artists and boxers because of the nature of explosive movement.

The little I know:

The snappier your hip flexors, the better. So, if you have to have flexibility do the “long stretch.”

The stronger your core, the harder you hit/throw. So, big deadlift is nice. Big.

It doesn’t hurt to have big numbers on the press (any variation) and have some opposite strength (pullups/rows/whatever).

Loose is fast. Smooth goes far. Cut out all the extra stuff and put the effort in the punch/implement.

If you had to choose between six pack ab exercises and big oblique movements, you would pick the Obliques. I think Suitcase Deadlifts and Suitcase Walks are the two best…from my experience. Easy to do and quick to learn.

For training, then: Big Deadlift. Do two sets of two EVERY day until you get it up there. Big press. Some kettlebell work for the other stuff.

Done!

Focusing on the little things. Dan came out to throw with me at a meet last year and gave the kids I coach a “lesson” in discus throwing. We all go out to the ring together, Dan looks down at one of my throwers (middle school) and says, “Tie your shoes”. Now, the first thing I look for is tied shoes.