View Full Version : Dan John - Never Let Go and other stuff

06-02-2011, 10:06 AM
Dan John's Never Let Go was just released for the Kindle last week and I grabbed it right away. I've been reading his articles and the more I read the more I like his philosophy on lifting and living. It's a cut-through-the-bullshit account of his 40+ years in the iron game, with references to greats in literally all aspects of athletics, from body builders to power lifters to track and field to olympic lifting to basketball and baseball and football and coaching etc. Names like like Arnold Schwartzenegger, Frank Zane, Robby Robinson, Franco Columbo, Tommy Kono, Pavel Tsatsouline, Wilt Chamberlain, Dave Tate, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Powell, Chris Shugart, Charles Poliquin and on and on and on.

There is something for everyone in here.

Add him into the mix with Rippetoe, Pendlay, Kono, Tate, Wendler, Starr, Simmons, Kroc, Cressey, Tsatsouline, Weider, Schwarzenegger, etc and you might just learn something

It is much easier to stand on the shoulders of greatness than it is to reinvent centuries of knowledge.

http://danjohn.net/ Dan's website
http://www.davedraper.com/fusionbb/showforum.php?fid/73/keyword/Dan+John/ Dave Draper's Irononline forum with a Dan John section that he is very active in
http://davedraper.com/The_Gospel_of_Dan_John.zip Link to a collection of Dan John articles in pdf format (40+)
http://www.t-nation.com/ALSAuthor.do?p=Dan%20John&pageNo=1 Dan's articles on T-Nation

06-02-2011, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by Dan John
1. Pick Stuff Off the Ground 2. Put Stuff Overhead 3. Carry Stuff for Time and Distance.

I said it was simple. Not easy.

So awesome.

06-02-2011, 02:20 PM

Thanks for the post lint!!

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

06-03-2011, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by max_boost
So awesome.

Sadly, I can’t use machines. Um, let me say this nicely: I have testicles... I can’t use machines. Sorry.

06-08-2011, 03:07 PM
Great stuff :thumbsup:

09-15-2011, 08:35 AM

5 Great Lessons
by Michael Boyle – 9/15/2011

I'm a big Dan John fan.

I've been one for many years. I read Dan's first book, From the Ground Up, and his second, Never Let Go, long before we finally met. I've also read many of his published articles at T NATION along the way.

Recently, I started listening to the audio recording of his Intervention seminar and my appreciation for what Dan John brings to the strength and conditioning table has grown even more. He inspires while he educates, and it's that inspiration that prompted me to write this article.

Dan John gets it. He's walked the walk as an athlete and as a coach for nearly 30 years. And it shows.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom that I've taken from Dan's books and seminars. The key to being a great coach is to never think that you're too good to learn and change. As you'll see, there's no one better to learn from than Dan John.

1. If It's Important, do It Every Day. Reading Dan John is a funny thing. Sometimes it takes a while to get the meaning behind what he's talking about. When I first read this concept I thought, "Man, Dan is losing it! You can't squat every day!"

As I continued to read, I realized that we're talking patterns, not lifts. The message was "if a pattern is important, practice it every time you train." I took this to heart and now ensure that my clients' programming includes some type of single-leg knee dominant exercise and single-leg hip dominant movement every day.

In Dan's words, we do a squat and a hinge every day. For us, it might mean that on an upper body training day we split squat or lunge and do reaching one-leg straight leg deadlifts as a warm-up. The take home point is, we make sure we're doing legs and core work every day.

2. Loaded Carries. I had Dan as a guest speaker for our annual Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning Winter Seminar this year. The big thing I took from Dan that day was the importance of loaded carries. Stuart McGill had already convinced me that carries were just moving planks, but even though I liked the idea, we hadn't really incorporated them. When Dan was done, I'd officially drank the loaded carry Kool Aid.

This year we added suitcase carries and farmers walks in as a "rest" between our sets of sled pushes. Was it the perfect place to put them? I'm not sure, but we had our athletes out on a long length of turf and it made sense. This was a case of simply looking at another great coach's program, comparing it to ours, and correcting an obvious weakness.

3. Goblet Squats. I doubt that Dan invented the goblet squat or even the term "goblet squat." I only know that he was the first person who exposed me to – and sold me on – the idea.

One weakness in Dan's early writings was a lack of video or pictures. Back then Dan would go on and on about goblet squats and I'd look at the page thinking, "I have no flippin' idea what he's talking about." Keep in mind, youngsters, that this was before message boards, YouTube, even TNation.

I remember finally getting around to trying goblet squats in my business in the summer of 2010 after years of hearing Dan go on ad nauseum about their supposed greatness. I went into our facility and instructed our coaches to switch the worst squatters from whatever type of squat we had them attempting to goblet squats. Some were trying to learn to front squat, others were simply bodyweight squatting.

The addition of the dumbbell in the goblet position was nothing short of a miracle. Every single athlete, all chosen for his or her lack of squatting technique, improved dramatically. I was sold – so sold that we decided the first loading position for any athlete in any squatting movement would be the goblet position.

4. Standards. I'm a numbers kind of guy, so I love the idea of standards. This was another gem that I'd taken from Dan's talk at our winter seminar that was reignited in my mind as I listened to the Intervention tape during my drive in to work.

Dan has a way with words. In Intervention, he uses the line "My Standard Standard." I thought it was funny. I also thought it was brilliant. Dan's "standard standard" is simple:

Bench press = front squat = power clean

Many readers will take issue with this, but if you train athletes this couldn't be truer. The reality is that if you can bench press 300 pounds, you can also front squat it and clean it. If you can't, the reason is simple. You aren't trying hard enough.

Dan goes on to provide a standard for high school football:

Clean: 205 pounds
Bench press: 205 pounds
Squat: 255 pounds
Clean + Jerk: 165 pounds

While not overly impressive numbers, they do add up to a good athlete who's spent some time in the weight room doing the right things.

Dan went on to describe one more standard in the loaded carry category. If you can farmer's walk your bodyweight (split between two dumbbells) for 50 yards, you're pretty strong.

Standards. You can argue them till you're blue in the face, but the fact is, they make sense. I also have a standard with my Boston University hockey players, although slightly different.

Bench press 5RM = Hang clean 5RM = Rear foot elevated split squat 5 RM

If my guys can do that, I know they're working hard in all areas. If they're exceeding the bench in the hang clean and RFESS, all the better. I always tell my guys, "If you are going to suck at one lift, suck at the bench. It's the least important."

Our last standard?

Bench Press 1 RM = Chin-up 1 RM

The chin-up is the combination of bodyweight plus the weight on the dip belt. If you can do this, you're unlikely to get a shoulder injury and are also quite strong. Our average player will do 1 chin-up in a test situation with 90-120 pounds attached.

5. Reps. The last bit of Dan John wisdom relates to the idea of reps. Dan has what he calls The Rule of 10.

In Dan's world, the Rule of 10 applies primarily to the deadlift, clean, and snatch. According to Dan, a good workout in these total body lifts calls for 10 reps. It could be 5-3-2 or 2x5, but the total is 10 reps.

Dan goes on to say that in what he calls "half body lifts" (bench press for example) you can do up to 25 reps, but to me the rule of ten can apply to every lift. In an 80-20 world, 80 percent of the workouts should have sets adding up to 10 reps. 20 percent of the time could be higher or lower.

Dan notes that most classic workouts tend to total about 25 reps. However, my feeling is that after warm-ups most good workouts still come down to about 10 good quality reps.

The Big Takeaway

There are lot of books and reading you can be reading, whether it's business, self help, or even boring old strength and conditioning. My advice is to read some Dan John. There's plenty there far beyond the iron and dumbbells to make you a better lifter, coach, and person overall. After all, thirty years of experience is one heck of a deep well to draw from.

10-16-2011, 11:14 AM

The Best Cardio Workouts You've Never Tried

Does your treadmill workout make you feel like a rat on a wheel? Then it's probably time to change up your routine. And not just because you're bored. "The human body wasn't designed for conveyor-belt training or repetitive, one-dimensional movement," says Dan John, a fitness coach in Burlingame, California, and the author of Never Let Go. So try one of John's novel cardio drills below. Or better yet, try all three. You'll blast fat and improve your fitness quickly. And the best part: You won't have to find ways to distract yourself during these workouts -- you'll be too busy getting in shape.

The "55" workout
Start by doing one body-weight squat and 10 pushups. Rest for 30 seconds, and then do 2 squats and 9 pushups. Gradually work your way up to 10 squats and down to 1 pushup. You'll complete 55 reps of each exercise by the time you're done -- and reap both the cardiovascular benefit of aerobic training and the muscular pump of a strength session.

10-meter sprints
Find an area in your gym where you can sprint for 10 meters. Once you've covered the distance, pause just long enough to inhale and exhale once through your nose. Sprint back and pause, this time inhaling and exhaling twice through your nose. Continue the drill -- breathing normally as you sprint, and adding an additional nose inhalation and exhalation when you pause -- until you can no longer breathe through your nose. "It takes more effort than breathing through your mouth -- even during rest -- which increases the intensity of the exercise," John says. The result: more gain in less time (and distance) than on a treadmill.

Jumping-jack pyramid
Do as many jumping jacks as you can in 10 seconds. Rest for an equal amount of time. Next, do as many jumping jacks as you can in 20 seconds, and rest 20 seconds. Then do 30 seconds of jumping jacks followed by 30 seconds of rest. Now work your way back down the pyramid (30, 20, 10). Repeat three times. This will change the way you think about jumping jacks forever. And for more than 80 lightning-quick workouts that will get you in shape fast, check out The Men's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts and The Women's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts.

10-16-2011, 11:18 AM

The Superman Workout: 100 Moves To Build Your '300' Body

When the epic Immortals premieres next month, theater-goers are sure to agree that the film's leading man, Henry Cavill, does indeed have a body worthy of a Greek God. But turns out, the actor was just getting warmed up.

Soon after wrapping Immortals, Cavill began prepping for his role as the next Superman. To become a little more super, he turned to Mark Twight, owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City -- the same fitness expert who transformed the cast of 300 into an army of men with washboard abs. Twight uses a punishing training routine called the "tailpipe": a 100-rep workout that'll smoke calories, torch fat, and leave you exhausted (ha!). The tailpipe has two "sides," exercise and recovery, explains Dan John, Twight's colleague and fellow strength coach. "The exercise portion is designed to get you gassed," he says. "but the recovery is just as important."

Twight's tailpipe recovery method: the moment you finish an exercise, calmly take eight controlled breaths in and out of your nose. "Fight the urge to gasp, throw yourself around, or change songs on your ipod," says john. Then immediately start the next exercise.

Bonus: The tailpipe can also improve your sports performance, John says, because it helps manage "the stress of extreme fatigue." After your final tailpipe recovery, attempt a fundamental sport skill. For example, take three free throws, using three basketballs that you've placed nearby ahead of time. "Become better at dealing with this stress, and you might suddenly find yourself becoming a clutch player."

Use this routine at the end of your regular workout, or as an intense circuit you can do almost anywhere. Perform the exercises in the order shown; a 16-kilogram (35-pound) kettlebell or dumbbell is recommended for the movements that require a weight. (If that's too hard, downsize.) Do 25 reps of each exercise, using the tailpipe recovery technique between each move (and after the last).

1. Goblet Squat
Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and stand with your feet just beyond shoulder width. Cup the weight with both hands and hold it vertically next to your chest, your elbows pointing down. Keeping your back naturally arched, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as far as you can. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat.

2. Kettlebell Swing
Bend at your hips and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands at arm's length down in front of you. Rock back slightly and "hike" the kettlebell between your legs. Then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the weight to shoulder height. Allow momentum to swing the weight. Reverse the move between your legs, and keep swinging.

3. Squat Thrust
Stand with your feet slightly beyond shoulder-width apart. Bending at your hips and knees, squat and lower your body until you can place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs backward into a pushup position, and then immediately reverse the move and quickly stand up from the squat. That's 1 rep. To add to the challenge, jump up from the squat instead of standing up.
Want to learn more great moves to sculpt your body? Then check out The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises and The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises, where you'll find full-color photos of more than 500 exercises, and dozens of great workouts.

4. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Simultaneously raise your arms above your head and quickly kick your legs out to the sides. Without pausing, reverse the movement. That's 1 rep.

01-31-2012, 10:13 AM
Never Let Go is being offered FREE from the Kindle store!! The best $0 you will ever spend.