T Nation

Tuesday...With Iron John (Dan John)


I have slept. The world is a better place. I have eaten. I am now ready to answer any questions.

Tonight, we will also have a special prize to anyone who answers a question in their best "Dan Johnesque" writings.

  1. Look for sarcasm.

  2. Appreciate some level of self pity and self loathing.

  3. Admit to have done everything and anything, yet still have no opinions on, well, everything and anything.

  4. Points will be taken off for "well, it depends on your goals," as the U.S. Patent Office says that someone else own's the rights....


What objects are you gonna throw today?

In the meanwhile, I again will listen to your D-Tap interview to get my mind immersed in and prepared to verse in "Dan Johnese".



Hahahahahah-Glad you are feeling better Dan.

  1. Do you think it's necessary to perform unilateral movements such as: single leg squats, bulgarian split squats, lunges, step ups, etc in order to prevent imbalances, injuries, etc?

  2. When you placed 2nd at the Kettlebell throwing contest, what style of throw was required?

  3. Some strength coaches say that max strength is the foundation for all other forms of strength (strength endurance, speed strength, etc) and that by working on increasing your 1RM on lifts (max lifts) your ability to do higher rep ranges will also benefit w/out direct work. Basically they are saying to perform most of your work in the 1-3 rep range only for strength.

However, I have noticed that by me doing 1 set everyday of bodyweight pullups (varies between 8-12reps)that w/out even practicing weighted pullups I was able to do a single pullup w/50 lbs attached. Why is that? Just like you often say "64 reps in the tabatas" or 3 sets of 8 in the overhead squat (totalling 24 reps) will teach your body how to perform that movement.

I guess the question is: will practicing higher reps (like sets of 8 reps) improve your 1RM?


You make me laugh, sometimes very hard. Do you ever get the impression you are living the movie, "Groundhog Day"? I read each of your threads and it seems like you are answering the same questions over and over and over, sometimes even in the same thread.

By the way, I have been following your advice and just getting in the gym (garage/basement/back yard) and working hard, not thinking about things too much and I have been making good gains, having fun and looking forward to each workout - all things I have struggled with in the past. Funny how I'm gaining mass, explosive power and trimming fat too. Tried Front Squat Tabatas last Sat. night (oly bar only for the 1st time) and I loved it. I couldn't remember if you go for 4 minutes or 8 minutes? (I went 4).
God bless you man and keep up the good work.



Coach John,

What's your take on using a bar and pulling it to lightly above the belly button, as in the position where the second pull is completed in the clean, and for that matter the snatch, and merely droping under from there to catch the bar in a full front squat position and full squat snatch position, respectively?

I missed my last clean attempt at the meet on Saturday, first thinking the weight was 100 kg., but in fact was 97.5? I know it was because I didn;t drop under fast enough.

I hit my goal of 160 kg total. I also power snatched a PR of 67.5. I weighed a wafer thin 83.5 at the weigh in and then proceeded straight to the steak house for a bleu cheese sirloin prior to the meet! I feel I really need to drop under better and having read your book From the Ground Up, Dick Nottmeier stated that if you can front squat it three times you can clean and jerk it once. I can front squat for a triple in excess of 111 kg., but my clean is no where near that right now.

At the meet my best was 92.5. It was actaully a power clean, which is strange because I squat cleaned and jerked 90 kg. for my opener. The 92.5 in fact ended up being my best C & J. There was one other lifter who competed in the 85 kg weight class, but in the open section, and he beat me by 2.5 kg on the total. Any advise you can proffer is truly valued as usual Obi One John. Thanks in advance.



On my website, there are a couple of more interviews. I always sound like I'm talking inside of a hole, so just accept it.


Ohio is in the middle of a downpour, but this morning I worked with a heavy discus for a while and a bunch of kettlebell things. I wanted to toss the shot, but it isn't a great idea in a lightning storm...


DJ: lots of value. Or, none. I was talking with Yuri Sedykh yesterday, WR holder in the hammer and he said a great thing..."when you eat, what do you think about? The meat. Not the salad or what is over here. You focus on the meat."

So, when you train...focus on the meat.

DJ: I appreciate you reminding the world that I took second. Just overhead backwards with one hand...

DJ: yes.


I'm glad to hear that. I think we focus waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much on the little details, but it is the big picture that counts.

We could call it "Monet" training. Up close, a bunch of dots, but far away it looks pretty good...


I'd like to get your opinion on what I'm doing. Lately I've felt that there's been too much fluff in my workouts. I had previously been thinking I better do this or that movement to hit the lower clavicular deltard or the anterior lateral rhombizoid lest I create imbalances.

Now I decided to knock that crap off and stick with mostly compound movements, just more sets/reps. So here's what I've got going now.

Day 1 - Dips 7x7, Standing Military Press 7x7, Flat Bench Press 7x7.

Day 2 - Circuit Sprints

Day 3 - Chins 7x7, Bent-over Rows, 7x7, Power Curls 7x7

Day 4 - Hack Squats 7x7, Zercher Good Mornings 4x6, Zercher Lunges 4x6, Zercher Step-ups 4x6

Day 5 - Circuit Sprints

Day 6 - Deadlifts 5x5, Rope Pulls (to the neck) 4x6, Standing Cable Ab Crunch 4x6, Standing Cable Oblique Crunch 4x6

Day 7 - Off

What do you think? Too much? Too little? Let me have it. If you're wondering why all the Zercher-style movements, I work out at home with no rack. Consequetly I work off sawhorses and I can't get under the bar to place it on my back.


Here goes:
1. Yes. If you don't do unilateral movements, you will ultimately end up being able only to walk in circles due to the imbalances you will develop.

  1. Whatever style they told me to throw. Honestly, I don't remember. Kettlebell tossing memories were thrown from my brain a long time ago.

  2. Everything works...to a point.

Tada. How's that?




Here is your answer.

Stop power snatch. Stop power clean.

You must do nothing but the full lifts.

Sorry. Simple answer. Not easy answer.


Or, just do one of the exercises listed each day. Try that! Maybe one week, do the first thing, the second, the second...

This looks good to me. The Zerchers, by the way, might be one of the great secrets of training....


I'm close to tears. You seem to have grasped the basics of sarcasm and my...um...what were we talking about?


If a squat is the steak, what is the chicken?

Are we allowed potatoes?


  1. the meat huh? That's good. I often say to people "the meat and potatoes of a routine is....."

  2. I'm sorry about that:) :slight_smile: Still 2nd is good!!!!

  3. I just figured that out at my lunchtime workout. I have been doing too many singles on my db clean and press and not enough reps. I'll get it though.

Thanks for your time.

Until my next question.........


Dollar bill

Not bad, not bad:) :slight_smile:


First-time post here.

Thank you, Coach, for your insight. I read your posts here and at your website. From these I have overhauled my strategy to include a lot more basic movements. The results have been dramatic, clearly focusing why I gravitated away from them in the first place . . . they're HARD.

I've made some progress since, as I build towards my eventual goals.

But, I digress . . . my real question is should I push my little fingers out on both hands while performing triceps kickbacks?


You can also use Monet to describe women that you may meet at a bar, club, etc.

"Good from afar, but far from good."


Richie, the triceps kickback is a very important exercise. It has a great value. In case one is ever strapped to a chair by duct tape and only has one arm free to smite a foe, one could easily smite said foe with the power of a triceps kickback.