Dan John has been lifting weights since 1965 and coaching for more than 30 years. He holds the American record in the Weight Pentathlon event, won the American Masters Discus Championships several times, and has competed in Olympic weightlifting and the Highland Games.
Dan has a common sense approach to fitness that appeals to most of the strength coaches and trainers that I know. We talk about strength training for women, mindset in competition, why he hates terms like cardio, core and functional, the cult of stretching, the goblet squat and more.
- Dan is often described as a Renaissance Man, but he thinks of himself as a student of the body, mind and soul. It’s all one.
- He loves the discus because it’s one of the few things in his life that put him on the road to mastery.
- Works with all kinds of people from elite athletes to average person trying to gain strength.”What we’ve figured out is if it works with athletes and people with Cystic Fibrosis, then it’s gonna work for everyone in the middle. And this comes from Dr. Thomas L. DeLorme who wrote progressive resistance exercise. He worked with elite athletes and he worked with victims of polio and guys injured in ww2. He discovered that it worked for everyone.”
- People come to work out with him in his garage gym every day. It’s a different group every time. When you have a blend of people like that you find areas where you can train together and complement each other.
- Who trains Dan? He has a team of people he trains with to prep for competitions. “If you train yourself you have an idiot for an athlete”
- Some of Dan’s client assessments. Can you balance on one foot for 10 seconds? How many pillows do you need to sleep at night?
- It’s easy to get men to lift weights. It’s easy to get women to stretch. The opposite is what’s needed. Men need more mobility and women need more strength.
- It’s not what the client wants to do, it’s what the client needs to do.
- Cardio is a beat up stupid word in our industry.
- The idea that we have 609 muscles is out. We have one muscle.
- 5 fundamental human movements: push, pull, hinge, squat, the loaded carry. and the 6th movement which is everything else.: integrity with vertical environment – brachiating, and with the horizontal – tumbling, bear crawls, cartwheels, etc. People fall in love with the 6th movement too much.
- The goblet squat was my answer to teaching the squat to large groups.
- the value of tonic (as in gin and tonic) workouts. Sometimes just going to the gym and moving is all you need. And suddenly 10 minutes later, you feel pretty good.
- Mindset before competition. Affirmations and meditation is helpful but learning to take a nap on command is probably more valuable than all of that. The best is to practice with the appropriate arousal level for competition. To practice the stupid stuff that can comes up.
Related Links and Mentions:
The Vertical Birddog
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