It has been a busy January for me. Between coaching 2 youth basketball teams, work, going to the Boston Wine Expo with my wife and rooting on the Patriots, I haven’t written in a while. How about Seal and Heidi Klum calling it quits? I saw a picture of him with this big grin on his face like he lost 120 lbs., but I digress… As far as the Patriots go, they will exact revenge on the Giants. Tom Brady isn’t losing this game. As a Patriots fan for the last 37 years, and season ticket owner for the last 18, this might be the most aggravating good team I’ve ever watched. Their defense is shaky, they fall behind by big deficits and at times, play down to their level of competition. Hopefully we hit the Super Bowl lottery again for tickets. My prediction is 38-27 Pats. For the next fortnight, Brady is going to have to listen to people saying they would rather have Eli Manning right now and he will be on a mission. At least there will be a Manning playing quarterback in Indianapolis this year.
I’ve been doing Dan John’s 40 Day Program for the past 23 workouts. By the way, if you are interested in strength, read everything you can find on the internet that he writes He is an expert and he just makes so much sense. It’s a 40 day workout that builds a foundation of strength. You take a weight that you can handle and perform 5 exercises. Deadlift, Push, Pull, Conditioning, and Mid section (I don’t use the word core). The first three exercises you do 2 sets of 5. Use a weight that’s about 50% of your one rep max and build up from there. Make sure you get the reps. The conditioning exercise, you do one set between 20-50 reps and for the mid section, do one set of five. You can wave the reps and weights up and down based on how you feel. Some days you feel like you’re 22, other days, 62. So here’s how I have been attacking it.
Warmup 2 sets of 5 Double Kettlebell Squats, all the way to the floor
Deadlift 2 sets of 10. My 70′s only weigh 140 combined so I added reps
Double Row Outside the Knees. I found this exercise on Mike Mahler’s Age of Quarrel DVD It allows for a longer range of motion. If I’m at the gym, I do Pullups instead. Both 2 sets of 5
Double Military Press. One of my goals this is year is to press the double 70′s 10 times with one clean. Depending on how I feel, I’ve done 3 sets of 3, 2 sets of 5, or Rest Pause 6 reps with 10 seconds in between
Double Swings or Heavy One Arm Snatches. 10-15 reps with a 70 for the snatch, or 25 double swings
Double Windmill One set of 5.
Do this 5-6 days a week until you reach 40.
Here is my take on the theory behind it. Building strength is practice. Think of playing the piano. Are you better off practicing 90 minutes a week by doing it all in one day or 15 minutes a day 6 days a week? I believe the latter. I explained this to my buddy Billy yesterday. He said, ”This flies in the face of everything I’ve learned.” I said, “How is that coming along?” “A bum shoulder and benching less than he did five years ago.’ was the reply. It’s a paradigm shift for most people. Let’s say you do chest, today on Monday. I mean everyone knows Monday is National Chest Day. You bang out 50 reps between Bench, Incline and Dips. If you do this 40 day program, 5 days a week, you’re still getting your 50 reps. BUT, your body is fresh because you are not working past fatigue. There is a theory that, once your reps slow down, end the set, right then and there. So by practicing, you get stronger, your reps are much better. Better reps = Strength gains.
I love this workout. It takes about 20-30 minutes tops. You can use barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells. If you want, add some finishers a couple of days a week. I’ve been doing some double clean and jerks, snatches and work with the bulldog. Most importantly it works. My all time best pressing double 70′s was one set of five when I started. Last week, I set two personal records in one day. I did two sets of five. I also was finally able to clean and push press the 88 with each arm. I cleaned it crisply, flexed the lat, dipped the knees and up it went. Today I did three sets of five. I also think doing clean and jerks helped me with the 88. The knee dip and timing are pretty similar and using your chest to bump the weight up as well as having a crisp clean.
The way I look at it, you can keep doing what you’re doing and not make strength gains, or you can try something different and see what happens. If 2 personal records 1/2 way through a program doesn’t motivate you, what does? As I said to Billy, “It’s 8 weeks, do you think you’re going to lose it all in 8 weeks?”