T Nation

Thursday, Prime Time - SoCal Style


I imagine I will say "Dude."

Yesterday, I discussed my new article, one I am putting together concerning One Lift a Day. I would love some further "issues" about it.

I threw about 10,000 times yesterday and I am sore.


Did you write a followup to the One Lift a Day article? That would be great!!


DUDE!!! SoCal huh? I live in Long Beach.

Ideas for the OLAD Part 2 article? How about the title being, "One lift a day Part 2-no really, only ONE lift a day not two, only uno" would be good:)

  1. I'm not a thrower but for enhanced overall explosiveness, do you think me throwing a dumbbell (say 25 lb one) for distance (one handed scoop kinda throw forwards-kinda like a dumbbell swing but actually throw it) could reap some benefits?

  2. I know conditioning is good for (fat loss, overall health, etc which is VERY important don't get me wrong) but why did you do 3 sets of 15 reps in the overhead squat w/135lbs yesterday (with 400 yard runs in between sets)? Isn't that more of a strength endurance type workout? Why didn't you do say 8 sets of 3 reps w/a heavier weight (185 or 225) in the overhead squat and leave out the 400 yard run for more strength/explosiveness?

I mean as a thrower you are looking for one maximal explosive throw as far as you can right? Not being able to sustain for a few hours.

Please understand that I'm not in ANYWAY knocking your choice of training yesterday but rather I'm just trying to understand the thinking behind it.

  1. Per your usual advice to me to "do" and don't "think", I just want to let you know that I AM doing.

I'm currently working out pretty much everyday (varying the intensity/volume of course) focusing on the big lifts (clean/press, farmer walks, pullups,hill sprints, sledgehammer stuff, playing basketball 2 times per week) but my brain wants to constantly explore new ideas and make sure I'm working out optimally.


Coach John,

Here are my thoughts on the new OLAD article:

I used the OLAD program a couple months ago for two basic reasons:
1) It was simple.
2) It was difficult.

At the time, I was coming off a hospitalization. It is embarrassing to say, but important to get my point across: I attempted suicide with an overdose of my bipolar medication. Coming back from that physically is infinitely more difficult than any of the broken bones or torn ligaments that I have suffered. Therefore, I wanted to get back into lifting (the best time for me to focus on a simple task and have a clear mind) with a program that was going to challenge me physically but not require a great deal of mental strain (ok, I did the max effort 2-board press last week, now should I do the floor press or the reverse band bench this week?).

The OLAD program was perfect for this. I chose clean and press, snatch grip dead, overhead squat, power curl, and snatch. Simple stuff I could do at home with my bumper weights and no power rack or bench needed. To tell you the truth, I only made it through two weeks (like you said at the end of the article most want do the entire month. You are a prophet!); but, I really gained a lot of strength back, and I more importantly I gained confidence to go back to lifting big and often.

So what does all this have to do with the new OLAD article? My suggestion is do not make it complicated. So much of your brilliance is in your simplicity of approach and presentation, while still providing the most challenging workouts despite their lack of all the big scientific words and crazy rep/set/tempo/rest period/warm up/cool down prescriptions.

Hey, I am all for big words and intricately detailed lifting programs. I just know that the power and challenge of an OLAD program would be compromised with their inclusion.

My humble suggestions:

(This is not my idea; somebody suggested it yesterday.) An OLAD centered on fat loss or getting back in shape or whatever. I see tabatas, all sorts of the crazy carries from your carried away video (which is great everyone, worth the price to hear Coach talk about having the dogs taunt him while he is lugging Judy around), hill or stair sprints, maybe some throws, or whatever! This also sounds good because it would be a great way to change gears, get people out of the gym, and no worry about improving lifting numbers all the time.

An idea I have is even more basic: one lift a month! I know, no one would do it, but I did two lifts for an entire month from the middle of June to two weeks ago. Just wanted to get my strength back up on Standing Military Press and the Dead lift, so I followed something along the lines of Pavels PTP/Ladders hybrid workout. I started light, a 135 press and a 295 dead, and finished pressing 185 and dead lifting 405 (ran out of weights to put on the bar... only have 4 45s... I picked two more up at play it again sports).

I figure if people are not competitive power lifters or Olympic lifters, but want to increase performance in that lift, sticking to just that for a month would really bring that lift back up to par.

Something that might ?sell? better is an OLAD for in-season athletes, perhaps football players (what, there are other sports besides football?). Obviously this might be lower volume or intensity, but I think it would be a better method than what we did the past two years in college. We lifted twice a week in-season, two whole-body sessions, one on Monday and one on Wednesday. I think if we only did one lift a day, we could easily increase that to four lifting sessions a week, while cutting down on the total amount of time spent in the weight room!

Actually, I think that a modified OLAD program would be the best program for maintaining strength in season. For ball players, I think maybe a dead lift variation, a clean and press/push press/jerk, a squat variation, and a chin or row variation would be a good combo in season.

Well, looks like I pretty much wrote an article myself. I apologize for the length; I just really appreciate all your time and effort.

Thanks Coach.


First off, welcome to So Cal. Where are you staying?
Next, miss you and your avitar over at the CF board.
Third, no real suggestion for the article. I'm just not that smart when it comes to training; which leads to. . .
Finally, my deadlift really stinks. I have a feeling I know the answer here before I ask it, as any attorney should, but how can I get it going?

Right now, the limiting factor seems to be the pain in the right side of my lower back.
I guess I'm interested in knowing what you think is the single best way to improve this lift.

BTW, I've been deadlifting as part of crossfit for the past year. Before that, hardly at all. Read: never.


I'd recommend for the one lift a day program to have some unilateral exercise in that week, I mean MR points out a major flaw in most old school workouts is a lack of unilateral exercises.

If you don't like this suggestion, you had in one of your get ups a lot of list of 3's - Staley said DB Snatch, Hang Clean and Push Jerk and Bulgarian Split Squat, surely those exercises and the Overhead Squat would make an excellent one lift a day program.

Personally I'd like to see several variations, the 4 lifts I suggested would be fantastic for an athlete in season, however what about the off season guys, bodybuilders.
I'd also like to see how you incorporate GPP into such a program.


I'm definitely not Dan but I think it's fun trying to answer in Dan Johnese:)

Here goes:

First, avoid anything that's giving you pain especially if it's significant pain.

Single best way? Probably power cleans or overhead squats or power snatches or whatever. I've asked Dan this question before.

Besides, the pain, what seems to be the limiting factor or weak link?


This is the single greatest post in the history of the internet. Fantastic stuff here...

Everyone: read this:


I generally follow your One Lift a Day program. I lift five days a week M-F twenty minutes each day focus on one big lift. I also do a few pull-ups and frogs with each workout. I'm 48 and this does not over train me. My biggest problem is that I have this urge to always add more, always a mistake. I go for a new max once a month and usually get it.

Finally, I do spend a lot of time on the aikido mat, which makes my heart pound so hard I think my head will explode. I don't know how you could improve this program.


I live in Japan due to my job. What time are you on this forum "live." I'll convert to Japanese time. Finally, I stopped making gains years ago. Then I found your web site. Now, I'm as strong as I've ever been and setting new lifetime PRs in just about every lift. Thanks, jim


You make a valid point. How do you improve a program? You know, you need measurements...my favorite is simply "am I still training?" If "yes," and I still feel good=good program!

I think you have hit on a good combo for a martial art and lifting...


Jim, the actual forum is from 7-10 pm on Eastern time. I come in early to get questions and I vary on the time I can stay. "Live" is not actually what we do here with a monitored forum, but you can always email me...


Right lower back...

Questions: are you right handed? Are you a former thrower? Is this an old injury...something went once...or just a "thing?"


I'm working on a follow up to the article...I am taking some of the ideas and working them into an additional point that I think is important...


Oh, I'm in the Webb Schools library in Claremont...


By the way, I liked Shug's article a lot...


I got knocked off the internet...sorry...


You asked Charles the same questions...

As for my workouts, never draw a straight line between training and competition. If all a thrower did was singles and explosive stuff, that would work...or fail terribly. I have other things to consider, by the way, than throwing, too. I enjoy these kinds of workouts. Again, you can ask away on a forum forever, but if you have never done and Overhead Squat/400s combo...it is just armchair coaching about whether or not it works. I developed this from a fairly good (Gold medal in the Olympics) athlete's advice. I thought he might be worth a listen...


I'm working on some interesting ideas for the next few months. I will try to put together some articles and stuff to reflect all this stuff...


In your original OLAD, you gave a list like 7sets of 5, then 6 sets of 3 (half vol) then 5, 3, 2, then off. Just curious. Are those written in stone, or can I play with them, being sure to halve the vol the second week (I'm probalby going to play with the numbers anyway, just asking)