T Nation

Tuesday With DJ - PT


I'm just learning more and more everyday with my classes.

Also, I will be in Tempe this weekend at the Charles Staley Bootcamp. I will be speaking as well as hanging around the whole time...


Hello Dan,

I haven't got any questions, just a lengthy comment.

I'm a practicing judoka and for the last five years I've been seriously lifting weights to help me with my judo.

Quite a lot of this time was spent trying to reconcile a martial art with a PL-oriented strength routine. Although I've made substantial progress, frustrations and anger regularly occured because my routine expected me to do deadlift with 82.5% of 1 RM and my back was sore because the evening before I was slammed 20 + times into the mat.

Since I started reading your newsletters and online material I became more "laid-back" as far as routines are concerned.

I do compounds: cleans, presses, deadlifts, snatches and lots and lots of front squats. Sometimes when my recovery allows, I do some BW-oriented stuff from crossfit.

I mix up my routine, usually using your "dice" approach, but with some deterministic factors dictated by my judo sessions.

I'm stronger than ever before. Incredibly, I'm having fun lifting. And that is something that hasn't happened in a while.

So thanks.


Wow. That is exactly the "thinking" I expect from athletes. I had this "slave" mentality we seem to see in training: the piece of paper says to go heavy...I go heavy. I have a Liberal Education and I can't help but immediately tweak and change everything I see to fit my particular needs.

Hey, best post of the day!


Hi Coach;

Thanks for sharing all of your expertise.

I have a quick question.

I work out hard and heavy by myself in the gym using a variety of compound exercises, heavy weight (80-90% of 1RM) and mostly 5x5 protocol, although I recently started doing your 1 lift a day somewhat altered to one plane a day.

Some people comment that it hurts them just by watching me train hard and heavy. I think that's why they leave me alone.

Part of my routine includes power cleans, cleans and presses, and standing presses with barbells and dumbbells. I just really started to incorporate front and overhead squats which are really growing on me.

I am thinking of incorporating the power snatch into my training, but have only done 1 arm snatches with dumbbells so far.

For someone who trains by himself with no spotters, and no experienced olympic lifting coach or former olympic lifters in the gym, what steps should and can be taken by an individual to successfully introduce and perform olympic lifting movements into a training routine??

I have no one to observe or critique my technique or make recommendations. So far, it has been a matter of trial and error.

Thanks coach


Say Hey Coach,

What would you say the main variables are when training athletes vs. Average Janes and Joes?

Meaning, if I had identical twins, and one played a sport, and the other didn't, would their training programs be vastly different in terms of what they do (exercises, sets, reps, whatnot)? I imagine the "intensity"/focus/motivation of the athlete would be stronger, and that would carryover into the weight room, but would you expect other differences?

Is it simply a case of "treating all people equally, regardless of race, creed, color, or training goals"? Thanks.


Not sure if you ever addressed the question, please forgive me if you have.

I am practicing the front squat, really new at it. I have been trying your door knob trick and will continue till I memorize the move.

One question though; How do you know when you have your feet placed correctly, spacing wise?


This is a totally nonselfserving answer: I'm making a DVD this month on the topic of O lifting and correct squatting for the home gym guy...I just talked with Kelly, my film guy and we are going to make it next week. I'm taking all my "rules' and hints...and making it into a gym rat DVD. I have some other ideas, too...I will zip them up here as the day goes on..


I strongly following Maffetone's advice here:

"Everybody is an athlete!"

It is a near mantra with me...

Kono has a wonderful section about this in his book and Art deVany has a follow up to this on his site.

You make an interesting point...I have always thought I have a better body for probably other sports but I chose throwing...


I have two questions:

I have recently started lifting weights again (about 2 months now) after a seven year layoff. I'm lifting in my garage and since I haven't been able to buy anything other than the standard barbell set, not even a bench (I use the cardboard from the plate packages to keep the weights from hitting the concrete).

Because of the limited facilities, I have been doing mainly cleans, front squats, variations of deadlifts and rows.

Question 1
I have recently noticed that my shoulders have been fairly sore, I think from the cleans. Is this common? If so what is the best way to remedy the situation. I have had minor shoulder ploblems in the past (years ago) from contact sports (rugby and hockey) but no pain for a few years.

Question 2
As I mentioned, I have been doing front squats however I'm having an issue with resting the weight on my upper chest, I don't seem to have the flexibility. I can lower the weight to my body but I have to keep my elbows low. Is this normal? Any thoughts on how to correct it?

Thanks for the help and the great articles here and on your site.

PS-Tabata front squats kicked my butt...however I'll be back (it was fun...in a strange sort of way).


A simple way to get a "rough idea" is to simply jump up and down three times. The position on the third landing is going to be "around" the right place...



I was just curious what stretches you do to loosen up your psoas. I think I read in one of your past issues of "Get Up!" that your back hurts sometimes after doing front squats, and that you stretch your psoas. Well, my back ALWAYS hurts after I do front squats.

I KNOW that I use very good form, btw, so that can't be it (I've even had an expert O-lifting coach tell me my form was perfect).

I do "no-no-no" squats, could that be the reason? Maybe my abs are too weak or my back is or...Any help would be appreciated.


You worked out contractual arrangements with Lexie ... or not yet?

Seriously though ... I'm excited.

Now, for some unheralded criticism ... I hope you find a better avenue for distribution ... think BlockBuster.



All the years of throwing leaves me with some hip issues. I have a tender left psoas (or whatever) sometimes. I do a Long Stretch recommended to me by Pavel. The goal is a front split. Flexibility is no cure, by the way. It helps, but when you step in a hole with a caber at a Highland Games, bad things happen fast.

You know, it's funny. Guys have all these stories of getting hurt in the damn gym doing stuff like weird angled bench press or curls. I get hurt:

Making a tackle in a football game.
Stepping in a hole with a caber.
Trying to lift a state record.

My injuries almost always have a "moment." I don't usually get a lot of those "accumulation" injuries. I can usually...not universally, though...point to the exact moment my body came apart.


We talk about this to death with the FS: wrist flexibility. On issue one, though, I am going to tell you that you have existing conditions (as you noted), so I reallly recommend that you do one set of pullups or chinups for every set of FS.

T-Nation family: how do you get better wrist flexibility..


T-Nation family: how do you get better wrist flexibility..

What are front squats, Dan?



Speaking of accumulation injuries (at least I didn't get them curling...):

I have recently acquired some wierd pain in my second-to-last finger that flared up when I did snatch pulls today. I think this may just be a consequence of all the snatch pulls that I've done over the past two weeks.

I also have wrist pain that is a limiting factor in my ability to do repetitions in the overhead squat. This probably has something to do with the fact that I've only been overhead squatting once a week for the past several weeks, and haven't been going heavy (although I have been snatching more frequently). However, this wrist thing has always been rearing its ugly head, even when I was overhead squatting twice, snatch balancing once, and snatching twice a week.

Do you have any idea why these injuries like me so much, and I what I could to do to shoo them away?


Well, wrists bring with them a lot of oddness. They are complex (with the hand et al) and don't seem to like to be nice to O lifters.

I got nothing for you here, Ross. When stuff bugs me, I back off and play with some new toy, like Front Squats with chains or something...


I don't think...in hindsight...that the method (no-no-no) is an issue at all...


I would love to see people follow up on this point...it is quite a question, really...


I don't remember exactly, but I think it was you whom suggested underwater wrist stretches.