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Question about an Interesting Dan John Article


I have just read a very interesting Article where he says something about progresing weight.

he says instead of moving up in tiny increments all the time by adding 2.5kg plates he says to use 10kg and 20kg plates.

The idea is to keep on that weight untill you "own it" so if you pressing 40kg, for 5 reps, dont move up untill you can do higher reps easily with it, then make the jump to a heavier weight.

I think this way might be slower to add strength and size, but, if you do it this way won't you get the best of both worlds? strength and endurance - and wont it be healthier for you in the long run?
so you stay with the weight from low reps to high reps.
You almost get a small deload period with the higher reps.

Im going to try this for myself and see how it works.

At the moment I can press 40kg for 8 - 7 - 6.

I'm not going to change the weight untill I can can do 3 x 20 then I will move up to 50kg as I think jumping to 60kg is too big a jump. but it depends how I feel after I've carried this out.

Does this make sense to anyone or have I just written a load of double dutch?

Whats your thoughts on this?


Heres the link.



I think... that you think about these things too much.


Not really tbh. Had a bit of downtime and I was bored so I thought I'd read an article



remember dan john is coach. he helps to condition athletes. so IMO he writes things that come from that view point. and lifting weights for [most] athletes is a supplement to their sport not their sport.

as for how to do this, i probably would not go to 20 reps before upping the weight 10 or 20KGs. in your example if you are doing a 3x8 you can go to a 4x12 or 3x15 or 2x20 then move up the weight and back to 3x8. IMO he was trying to break people of overthinking and underperforming. get under the bar and work your body, keep it simple.


If i read the same article (love dan john) didn't that happen because that's all the plates they had available. ??

As a beginner i am quite happy with the smallest plate progression available on some of my lifts !!
I do however work to the principle of really 'owning' a weight ,especially on the dl before progressing.
Might be that my progress will be slow--don't mind about that, would rather progress slowly than crash and burn with an injury.

Those little 1.25 kg plates are my friends !!


I think that as long as you are adding weight to the bar over time and progressing, that is good.

however, if you are the typical gym rat and you throw 45 lb on the bar and you have poor control over the movement at best at that weight, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. form will break down somewhere and it will be much harder to correct with another 45 lb on the bar as opposed to another 5-10 lb. persisting with poor form can end in injury. injury stalls progress.

does this approach work at all? sure, if you just generally need to man up in the first place, test a new 1RM that you haven't tested in a while or if you're an athlete and your career depends on your performance. for the average joe, though, it just seems too dangerous otherwise.


i think there is a lot to be said for owning a weight before increasing the weight on the bar. i've been fairly recently wondering about just what you are talking about, actually. i'm an olympic lifter and used to doing singles... working up to a 1RM in 2.5kg, 1kg, or sometimes even .5kg increments. recently my coach has got me doing doubles and triples (which i'm not used to).

he also doesn't seem to acknowledge the existence of anything smaller than 2.5kg (in training). it got me thinking of precisely this... maybe it is better to own the weight and only then add 2.5kg instead of not quite owning the weight yet (but just making it) and trying to lift .5kg or 1kg more than that (which if got is pretty much a fluke).

i see the sense.


i think he said it in the context of back in the old days when people didn't have all the tiny little increases available to them. they only had the weights they had and they simply didn't run small so they were forced to own it then move to attempting the next one. people surely got strong that way. i think i do see the sense.


oh. that was a bit different from how i interpreted it. why do you want to do sets of 20 for???

i thought the idea was more...

lets say one is doing a 5x5 rep scheme. one starts out and maybe one fails the last rep on the last 2 sets or something like that. one persists... eventually one gets through the 5x5 with that weight. but only just. what people are often inclined to do then is to add something small like .5kg or 1kg to the bar and use that for the next time they do the 5x5.

i thought Dan John's idea was to wait until one has really owned the weight on the 5x5 before taking a bigger jump in increasing the weight (so increasing it by 5kg or something like that). it might take a month or so until the 5x5 feels easy or smooth enough such that one is ready to really properly attempt it with 5kg more on the bar.

i thought that was the basic idea. more of a quality of owning it kinda thing. feeling like one is activating things properly the way they are meant to be activating fairly smoothly rather than doing any kinda cheat to get it up (which will only compound if you increase the weight).


Reading what you have written, 20 reps is a bit steep. I eventualy want to press bodyweight and I thought 20 reps of bodyweight in the press would be a cool number to aim for (if a little wishful)

the last paragraph you wrote pretty much explains what I was thnking but in a much better way. I like it