T Nation

Prime Time, Thursday with DJ


Interesting thing: I was told years ago that many Div One football coaches ask their strength people "how will the team do?" It's amazing because I have become an accurate predictor of the team by the intensity of the effort in the weight room.

I have been mulling this around all morning (I have the day off) and I have concluded...you can't turn discipline/intensity/courage/integrity on and off like a light switch.

So, how may I be of service to you today?


Dan, I don't have any questions yet...maybe as more coffee starts to kick in...?

But, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the great and very educational time last Saturday. As a lawyer, I am around professional speakers all the time....and I have to say that you (and the whole lot of the folks presenting) put on as good a show as I have seen.

Also, just read last night the copy of "From the Ground Up" that you put on your DVD (which I picked up Saturday). I strongly recommend it to T-Nation.


In my years of coaching, I found that the best start by having a focus on a quality long term goal. The rest seems to follow in place.

Second day back to work and still in a fog litterally.


Thank you very much. Tomorrow, Kelly is coming over to film the lifting thing. I am hoping to have clarity on this one, too.

"From the Ground Up" is kind of good for free...


Being from South San Francisco, being in the fog just becomes part of life...


Dear Coach,

Predictors of success are notoriously inaccurate, usually because of unforeseen variables. A classic example would be a tremendously strong, prepared, intelligent team that has a string of injuries and finishes far short of expectations.

But if the qualities you mention (discipline/intensity/courage/integrity) have been instilled in the atheletes, then the real winning part has already occurred, hasn't it?


PS. I'm climbing towards bodyweight on the powerlifts, 'cept deadlift where I'm @ about 150%. Thanks for steering me towards the simple, productive lifts and away from swiss ball tricep kickback balance work.


This snatch thing is still difficult for me ... but now I really appreciate your instruction last Saturday. Tuesday night I snatched for the first time since returning/recovering. I did many low intensity sets ... most of my attempts were crappy ... BUT on a few of them ... I really got it ... NOW I know what I'm after, so thanks.

Now I'm going to practice, practice, practice with 45#s or 65#s or etc ... I hear you like broomsticks, but I don't get it that way ... same with OHS (I CAN OHS wrong with a broomstick or even a bar, but not with much more because, well, I fall over) ... I need a little resistance to do it right ... kinda like those trees? thoughts?



It's funny, but we won by over 35 points last night and everybody is disappointed. Why? Because you listed what everyone looks at (and I liked how you combined your list with mine), yet more and more of us are looking at my list. You know, the old "Looks like Tarzan, Plays like Jane" thing.

I have gone into the field with athletes who couldn't make third string on the opposite team and beat them. Many times...many sports. I honestly think...and forgive me for saying this...is that I focus on the Whole Person and care more about integrity than max bench.

Max bench is great in the gym. On Fourth and Goal...I want the guy that doesn't jump offsides "cuz I thought it was on two" or cheap shots the other team and gives a fresh set of downs...or, let's his receiver get behind him because "I thought the FB had the ball."

Truth is...what the hell is sports about save teaching about life? I mean, who cares what Bill Gates squats? Mother Teresa barely could deadlift 400..


I can't do it either with PVC or sticks. I start playing Jedi Master and attacking people.

The best weights seem to be 65 pounds and 95 pounds in the beginning. I jumped right into 135 through 155 the first week or so, but it wasn't for a few months that I started doing more than a "grip and rip." You will find that doing "my" method of stopping and checking the positions is only good when you also build right up (within minutes) to full lifts...then go back to the trouble areas. If you are alone and don't know your problem...ALWAYs stop at "Heels." Every third rep, stop at "Up," too.

Like I know what I am talking about...

Exactly like the trees...if there is an overriding message to my life: the lessons come from the stress/bad times/problems...


DJ any advice to a young performance enhancement coach wanna-be, trying to get into a masters degree program, trying to get his CSCS, all while being stuck in a current training job that has him behind held back?

Could you tell I need some inspring after a short but hard day


Say Hey Coach,

I was wondering what your experiences were with respect to the MLB plan and cholesterol and/or high blood pressure? My gal's trying to limit her sodium intake, and I was wondering if that would be easier, or more difficult, with MLB.

Also, your opinion of what happens when kids (a slightly underweight 11-year old, and a slightly overweight 15-year old) mix with MLB? I'm not a fan of putting kids on "diets". I was looking more for a super-simple way to cook healthy for everyone (since I'm the main dinner-cooker-upper), and was considering giving it a go.

If it's not too intrusive, can I ask how your kids ate/dealt when you and the Mrs. went MLB? As always, thank you.


That is because the deadbodies she was lifting were underfed. If she would have worked with poor Americans she would have been deadlifting at least 600.

Dan, I love your writing. I am considering joining the Dan John Koolaid Klub.

I started your one lift a day program last week.

Mon Deadlift
Tues Bench
Wed Bent Over Row
Thurs Off
Fri Front Squat
Sat Curls, Calves and a lot of jump rope

Week One was brutal!

I have a couple questions.

It looks like Saturday is just a "do whatever" day. Do I have your blessing to follow a different rep/set scheme for this day?

Do you recommend I jump back into OLAD after my off week or is it best to do something else for a few weeks?



Dan i have seen on your site on the get-up archives what seems to be a russian doing some gpp(swinging on rings in a circle for example). I was wondering if you do any of these exercices?
Brandon Green


My friends tried to get me to swing on the end of a rope, but my lawyer sobered up and came through...

No. I do lots of stuff with pullups and med balls, but without a high bar, high bar activities are limited. I would be interested to know the number of gym rats who have a high bar in the gym...


Hmmm. Here you go.

I got my first Masters in History, my second in Religious Education. (I worked in a cheese factory to pay for my first degree...life anyway, not the funding for school). I worked for a long time teaching religion, ethics, Scripture, economics, chess, and history.

I refuse to take any course work in the area of fitness or lifting.

I get paid an incredible amount to coach lifting.

All I am telling you is this: the best stuff you are going to get is from the gym rats like me who pay their damn dues. The important stuff you will learn is from the people who have been there. You can be a "certified Olympic lifting coach" without having ever touched a bar!!!

So, keep doing what you are doing: but please be sure to spend quality time in the gyms and fields. One day with an elite thrower will teach you more "real" than all the "Cantilever the hydronousm throught the axial plane" crap they hand out. I don't even know what a femur is...


You know, all I monitor is blood work. I have an overwhelming good HDL to Trig ratio...which (according to my doctor) is probably the single best measurement of what the hell is going on in your body.

My athletes eat fries and chips for lunch. They eat Trix for breakfast. They drink tons of soda. Getting them to move to protein at every meal, some fiber at every meal, and fish oil has radically changed their skin tone, athletic ability (they don't pass out in class) and mood.

So, long story short: ANYTHING you do is better than what most Americans do. In soups and stews, add root veggies, cut up three different fruits for dessert (no idea why...but kids will eat a mixture of three fruits. One, no. Three...yummee, Daddy). My kids are actually pretty good about things. My youngest is a carboholic and I am...just between you and me...worried about it long term. She thrives without carbs, but can't stop once she goes down the sugar/chocalate/sweets road.

So. Do your best. Do anything. Do.

Your kids may not thank you now, but they will get it...


Zap, read the articles, too. I think you need two, maybe three, full cycles of OLAD just to get the right reps, sets and weights.

I saw you were doing calves. Why? Every single buddy of mine who is a thrower has massive calves...including me (as I was told Saturday). Calves will grow with other stuff, it might not be worth doing them...


Yet again, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this. It's actually easier to get the feel of the lifts when there's some weight on the bar, even if it's just the bar or two tiny plates on the end.

annoying when people figure out how to add these font tags to their posts and start adding them [b][u]for no apparent reason?[/b][/u]


It's a little furry animal that lives underground.


DJ, thanks for your time once again.

Not sure if my first message went through. Here it is again:
Accomodating resistance (Bands and chains)? Any use for the OL lifter for increasing explosiveness? How to implement?