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Wednesday, Mr. Pragmatic!!!

Hey…what’s going on? Let’s talk about long term stuff tonight…

I’ve been kicking around a lot of new ideas lately, but I need to seek clarity.

How about some advice on staying away from injuries in the long term?

I would like to maintain my current injury-free status in the years to come, particularly my shoulders.

I notice that you advocate the use of military presses. I also like these exercises, using behind-the-neck presses and DB presses as my sole direct shoulder work.

Any tips on how to keep them (shoulders) healthy for the long-term?

Any other tips about general injury prevention, or general training/life advice would also be welcome.

Shoulders…yes, stop doing behind the necks more than say once every two weeks. I don’t necessarily believe the “anti-BHP” hype, but I noticed that “clicking” sound when I start doing them too often. I seem to be able to get away with Militaries up to three times a week…in the past…but BHPs start to hurt me at twice a week. So, try doing them maybe like this:

Week One:

One Day: Military Press

Another Day: Bradford Press (that’s where you do a military press, followed by a BHP, followed by a MP, followed by a BHP)

Test your shoulders…if you feel great,

Next week:

One Day: Military Press

Another Day: BHP

Test 'em out…feel great, stick to this!

I think the “over 35 lifter” needs a lot of variety…same, but different, as Pavel says…but you also need to stay focused on the area.

If you “squat,” it could be Overhead Squat, Back Squat, Front Squat, Jefferson Squat, Hack Squat, whatever. Don’t get locked into the lift…get locked into the movement.

How about long term strategies for being as “fit” as possible. This is for us guys who want to be a jack of all trades, strong, “ripped,” athletic, etc.

Dan John,

      What upper-body pulls do you like to do? (Pull-ups? Rows?)

Long term…
to “sorta” quote Art deVany…“don’t get fat in the first place.”

The best advice is to take care of business in your twenties. You know the don’t list…

Don’t smoke
Don’t drink and drive
Don’t get a beer gut
Don’t…

If you can get into your 30’s in reasonable shape, you can manage to hang in there when you start sitting down at your job 8 hours a day.

The best advice I know is that you need a full quiver. I use the word ‘quiver’ for this, basically, you need to reach into your bag of tricks and do something a little different each month, week or day.

For example, for cardio…which is a concept I hate…you can rollerblade, downhill ski, crosscountry ski, hike, bike, mountain bike, play flag football…well, you get the picture.

For legs, you can do all of the above and squat and deadlift and clean and snatch.

What I am saying is this: the more skills you have, the longer you will keep playing as ripped and conditioned as you can handle.

If you only rely on one thing, you will find “stuff” creep up (life, weather, wife, crap, kids, stuff, whatever) that won’t allow you to play your pet game or sport. If you can do 100 things, you can keep morphing your training to fit the weather, kids, spouse, whatever.

So, learn new stuff. Have a couple of options, pick up a new skill, try a new sport, mix and match stuff, jump in.

For pulling stuff: I like snatches, cleans and swings. Next, would be the chin up and pull up, last…would be the rows and pulldowns. I just have never had much luck with long term bar or dumbbell rows.

DJ, your thoughts on improving OHP? Sets/reps? Right now I’m OHPing twice a week, Monday after I do chest, I’ll do 3 sets of 3-4 reps barbell seated miltary. Thursday when i do shoulders I start with either seated or standing db’s pyramding down 8,6,4,3 and another OHP after a set of laterals

Here is what worked for me about five or six years ago. I did Military Presses twice a week…some nights I added some extra…and did this:

Day One:
3 sets of 8 with a minute rest. The goal was to get reps, reps, reps…as smooth as I could get them done.

Day Two: Max Clean and Press. I strived for very small jumps, then did a bunch of medium or light singles. My max shot up really fast doing this. I think you need to get that groove.

Now, back in the day, the old O lifters used to military every single day…they had huge delts from this and felt that you could hammer the press every day. Strict militaries, yes, layback militaries…no.

Quiet night…

Here’s a tough one for you - how to lose fat without impacting the rest of my training.

My goal is to cut my weight from my current 260 down to the 231 lb weightlifting class by the end of the year, while continuing the strength gains I’ve been making. I’d like to take a shot at the National Masters 105kg snatch record (it’s fairly soft at 125.5) in the 40-44 age group before Jim Storch turns 40 next year.

I’m currently training for some Highland Games competitions this summer and fall and have been making good progress on a hybrid program combining elements of your 40-day workout and Pavel’s 5x5x5 routine. Mon-Fri mornings I do RDLs, Front Squats, Rows, Ab Wheel (and sometimes push presses). M-W-F afternoon I throw and then lift at the gym (incline dumbell press, one-arm dumbell press, one-arm snatch, ab work). About once every two weeks I Snatch/C&J. With my lifting background, I know that if my RDL and Front Squat are up, I can get my Snatch and C&J up to competition levels with a couple months of concentrated work, which I would plan to do after the Highland Games season is over (last games is Oct 8).

I’m making good progress, but I want to start working gradually on the bodyweight. I have a track background (decathlon), so have no problem with getting into hills, sprints, intervals, etc, and know that I could get my weight down tht way. However, I am barely recovering from my workouts now, so I am hesitant to add too much, especially for the hamstrings.

Here’s some options I’ve thought of. Let me know which ones you think could work. Remember, I’m working on a 5-6 month plan here.

  1. Watch diet very closely - This is a hard one for me. I’m eating fairly clean right now - eggs, meat, protein powder - but could probably cut some things out.

  2. Change one of the morning workouts to a Tabata protocol (e.g. Tabata Front Squats).

  3. Add a 400m repeat workout once a week (e.g. Saturday or Sunday), like Christian Thibadeau’s “Running Man” workount.

  4. Add sprints to the end of one or two throwing workouts per week (e.g. 5x50 yd at medium fast with short recover).

  5. Add a tempo workout like Charlie Francis recommends (e.g. 3 sets of 4x100m at 65% speed).

  6. Some ciruit combination of hills/weight swings/pushups/sprints done once a week after throwing.

Sorry for being so long and thanks for any help.

[quote]Danny John wrote:
Quiet night…[/quote]

Dan John; Would you consider Hang Cleans a good exercise to use before the Deadlift/ Is it consider a Back or more trap exercise??

Since time is your friend, why not try losing weight…and I am guessing that is what we are talking about, not necessarily fat…in an off season? As long as you are training twice a day, I think if you start cutting food and adding sprints…

Things could go bad fast. (I have done it…that’s why I am sorta warning you)

If you combine something like one of the variations of the Anabolic Diet (see Chris’s article in the archives called “Eat Like a Man”) with maybe three days a week of lifting (none of it really serious stuff) and one, maybe two days of serious sprint training (and I would also include a long walk, hike or bike one or two days a week), you could ‘detrain’ a little and drop some pounds off. Also, if you do decide to diet really hard, you won’t stress yourself too much.

Losing weight is…in my humble opinion…first, not the same as losing fat, and, second, maybe the hardest thing the body has to do. That is why doing hard dieting and increasing exercise rarely works out for most people. They crash and burn and the body responds by laying the fat on thicker.

So, maybe we can trick your body into the 105 class. As long as you are HGing and lifting twice a day, I don’t see you being able to do it. Again, something has to give and it could be a joint.

Traditionally, O lifters lost the bulk of their weight two days out from weigh ins. I have done this a few times…yes, for the Fitness Police…it is dangerous and I should be lucky to be alive. But, it works. You might want to experiment with a few quick drops and see how you feel. I’m thinking if you can get “close” to 105 and drop the last bit fast, it makes your goal easier.

Probably the best investment you can make is a one year calendar. Mark out your HG schedule, your O lift plans and maybe an 8-12 peak for an O meet that you want to break the record. Then, find the three plus week gaps in this calendar and maybe consider these times as your accelerated fat/weight loss program.

As an O lifter, you must have some technical or physical issue you could address during these times…maybe dedicating those hard dieting/ serious sprinting periods to weakness obliteration training (WOT?) could be the right balance of one goal on the other.

You have a lot of ideas that are all on the right path, but I think you need to put them into the right time of year…

Easy to type that sentence…hard to figure.

I think cleans are better than deadlifts, but that isn’t what you are asking. We did something in college that I liked a lot:

Power Snatch
Power Clean
Clean Pull
Deadlift

(You could stick the Hang in there). The idea was to keep adding weight to the bar, but change exercises. I found this to really be a great back workout and the carryover into the throws was excellent. You got volume and intensity without really thinking about it.

I don’t think of most exercises (worthy of study) as “this” or “that” builders. Get your Hang Clean up over 500 pounds for a couple of reps and you will have a strong back from top to bottom…

Hi Dan

Ive been doing the ‘40 Day Workout’ for 3 or 4 weeks now, (about 3-5 times a week) and its been great.

“The upside of this training idea is that there is no single great workout or lousy workout. It is simply one of forty”.

I find this to be particularly true, and for me, somewhat liberating. My main sports are rock climbing and surfing (and skiing in season) so having a program where Monday is X etc, means that if I wanted to go surfing or climbing that day I probably couldnt get a workout in so it could be a couple of weeks before I do those particular exercises again. This feels limiting because I either have to sacrifice sports (which are social as well) or my ‘training’ (also fun/satisfying). I find the ‘40 Day Workout’ can slot in anywhere and is brief enough to do in conjunction with other sport without being over taxing, or can really be pushed for good intense workout.

So no real question, just thanks for sharing a great idea! Although Id appreciate any comments on what Ive been doing, outlined below. To everyone else, I recommend giving it a go, especially if youre working on weaknesses or trying to improve a couple of specific lifts or dont want to be too stuffed after to do anything else (work/sport etc.)

This is what Ive been doing:

‘Warm up’ (ie lighter weights, couple of set of ‘lots’ of reps)
pushups or burpies (find these help surfing a bit)
OH squats (thought Id see what all the fuss is about :slight_smile:
Back (hyper?) extensions (I find them a good w/up for DL and my back feels better than when I didnt do them. I do them over a keg at home)

‘Core exercises’ (2 x 5; 3 x 3; 5,3,3 etc)
1 arm military press
Deadlift
Weighted pullup
Weighted ab work
Curls and something for rear delts (if time/inclination - they seem to help paddling & climbing)

I do a bit of shoulder prehab at the end or whenever.

‘Conditioning’ (same day or hard as a separate workout - depends how I’m feeling): sled dragging, hill sprints, sand bag carry up hill etc, farmers walk up the fire stairs at work with a 15 L water-cooler bottle in each hand (good use of lunch time!) Surfing, maybe after a surf pick up a rock at the beach and carry it overhead through the soft sand and/or throw it for a bit, etc.

Ive been doing PRs on all these lifts and I think its helping my surfing/climbing (but its a bit hard to tell yet as they are such random/skill sports), although some of the girls at the climbing gym have started calling me ‘Fatty’ because my obliques are getting bigger/more defined! Oh well, could be worse!

Might try something like Squats, Dips and Rows for the next ‘40’, with some handstand practice and pull-ups to warm up…

Cheers
Julian

Come to think of it, I do have a question that relates a little to todays theme (if its still Wednesday in the US). I dont know if you have discussed this elsewhere, but I would be interested in hearing your approach to ‘warming up’, generally, and also with regard to the ‘40 Day Workout’.

Regarding the ‘40 Day Workout’, I think you wrote that you put the weight up when it feels light? how light? And how does this affect what you do to warm-up? I appreciate that this is very subjective, but do you consider light when it feels you could do eg. 1 more rep, 3 more reps, you feel like youre no longer getting benefit from that weight? Ive been going up when it feels like I could consistently do a couple more reps, but I’m interested in what you do.

I also notice youve mentioned/do KB/DB swings and that you have a ‘core blaster’ (kind of like swings? correct me if I’m wrong!) what are the benefit of doing swings? Id like to give them a go sometime, its just too bad I cant do everything at once!

Thanks heaps for your time!

Julian

[quote]Danny John wrote:
Hey…what’s going on? Let’s talk about long term stuff tonight…

I’ve been kicking around a lot of new ideas lately, but I need to seek clarity. [/quote]

This probably isn’t what you were thinking when you wrote that but I would like to hear you philososophise/rant/discuss the impact that training has had on your life in general.

Most of the people I know here “know” that (insert appropriate term) is bad for you or they shouldn’t be doing it. These are intelligent smart people I respect yet I look at the their lifestyles and hear them say their not going to go mad training or give up their way of living and I think to myself “Why?” They won’t do anything at all, not even a start.

Dan, you come across as being a very grounded and regular guy (as well as Super Iron Coach Danny John, Esq.). Your articles always convey a sense of “I Also Have A Life And It’s A Good One” which is why I’m pitching the question above to you. Hope this still counts as Wednesday (it’s Thursday evening in Madrid). Thanks.

The timing on this question…even though Thursday in Madrid is still 150 years ahead of Utah time…is amazing. I was listening to Anthony Robbins on the way to work, “The Power of Passion,” I think that is the series.

Anyhow…he asks two great questions in my mind…

  1. What are your “must nevers?” What is the list of things that you “must never” do? It gives you a real sense of what your personal rules are…if you say “I should never do drugs,” it gives you a little wiggle room…some personal rationalization…versus “I must never do drugs.” As you work through this list…I would suggest thinking this through, you get some great life…and amazingly, training…insights. I couldn’t think of one training idea…or even competitive idea…that was a “Must Never.” Now, there are guys in this forum who would say: “I must never squat deep.” Logically, I could write “I must never compete in the uneven parallel bars” but “should never” works actually just as well.

The other question just came on as I pulled in the parking lot. It basically is something along these lines:

“When I Feel ------, I am doing -----.” When I feel loved, usually I am loving someone, as an example.

For me, when I feel successful is when I an making an impact/a difference in other people’s lives. What is strange is that money/fame/rewards seem to just pour from the sky when I help others freely and wholly.

So, and this sounds like an odd take on Adam Smith’s capitalism, but the more I give in life, the more I get. I have to put the wood in the fireplace, light the kindling, then I get heat. I get a lot of heat!!! Most people I know…I swear to God this is true…just walk up to the fireplace, as Earl Nightingale used to say, and tell it “Give me heat!”

Once we answer these questions…and certainly, these are just two examples, you get some clarity on what rules you need to be happy/successful/fulfulled/whatever.

So, for me, if I break my “rules,” my “must nevers,” I disappoint me. I also know that if I want to pull myself up out of a ‘bad’ time, the best way to do it is to give of my time, treasures or talents.

More on this…

So, how does this impact my training…

I have few, if any, “must nevers” in training. So, I am willing to learn and to take the time, energy, effort and finances to experiment. I have 7 kbells. Chains. Sleds. Two kinds of farmers bar. Multiple med balls from every company you can imagine. An assortment of devices invented by friends to train with (Mike P’s 50 pound hammer device, Ironman’s core blaster, Eric’s thick O bar).

Some work…

Next, I know that my training explodes when I get the synergy from an intelligent discussion. Pavel and I met in Las Vegas and I swear we were childhood friends who just never met. Instant bond. Why? We both exploded in conversation…and it was hard to say who said what and who taught whom when. (Record for “w” words in a sentence)

So, the more I give, the farther I throw!

Jules, so many questions, I had to cut and paste!

Come to think of it, I do have a question that relates a little to todays theme (if its still Wednesday in the US). I dont know if you have discussed this elsewhere, but I would be interested in hearing your approach to ‘warming up’, generally, and also with regard to the ‘40 Day Workout’.

DJ: well, on paper, we have a warmup in my gym:
Overhead Squats with 65 pounds
Chinups
L Sits
Some pullups/dips

Sometimes I do them! Often not. I don’t hold much to warming up. I learned this through the years and then discovered that research supported my experience. (Although, I never trust research over experience)

Now, if you do these four, your 40 day workout now has nine movements…not a big deal, just a point to make.

Regarding the ‘40 Day Workout’, I think you wrote that you put the weight up when it feels light? how light? And how does this affect what you do to warm-up? I appreciate that this is very subjective, but do you consider light when it feels you could do eg. 1 more rep, 3 more reps, you feel like youre no longer getting benefit from that weight? Ive been going up when it feels like I could consistently do a couple more reps, but I’m interested in what you do.

DJ: remember, I don’t warm up. So, I did my sets and said “Hey, that was easy” and loaded up the bar for the next workout. That is all. If you are doing something like a press, it is much easier to get a feel…when you lift “machine like”
SSSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,
SSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,
SSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,
SSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,
SSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,
SSSSSSSS-----PUUUUUUU,

with all the same snap and feel, move up. If your left side doesn’t come up, or the bar is quaking and shaking…don’t move up.

I also notice youve mentioned/do KB/DB swings and that you have a ‘core blaster’ (kind of like swings? correct me if I’m wrong!) what are the benefit of doing swings? Id like to give them a go sometime, its just too bad I cant do everything at once!

Swings have all the benefits of the O lifts with a ten second learning curve. Crossfit.com has a video of it, and dragondoor.com has a ton about it in the archives. Ask others, too. I like 'em, but…can I be trusted?

I was just thinking of OHP myself. Hopefully you revisit this thread…

Is this one set of one rep of max clean and press?

And when a man named “Iron John” says “light” what does he mean? His 3RM?

Thanx,
JOHN K

[quote]Danny John wrote:

Day Two: Max Clean and Press. I strived for very small jumps, then did a bunch of medium or light singles. My max shot up really fast doing this. I think you need to get that groove.