Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Spotify | Listen on YouTube

In this podcast, I interview Dan John, and we chat all about his concept of “easy strength.” 

Easy strength is a style of training Dan writes about at length in his latest book, Attempts: Essays in Fitness, Health, Longevity and Easy Strength, which I highly recommend.

We’ll get more into the nitty gritty details in the podcast, but “easy strength” is all about effective workouts done with key exercises that you can get done quickly. This gets you in and out of the gym quickly, giving you more time to recover and train for your sport. The best part is you’ll get stronger without beating up your muscles and joints, which means less soreness and joint pain.

If you’re skeptical, I understand, but Dan isn’t exactly the new kid on the block. In fact, he has quite the resume—he has competed in the Highland Games, written more than 14 books, and coached athletes and weightlifters for over 40 years now. As you can imagine, he has seen and heard it all, and knows a thing or two about coaching athletes.

In this episode, Dan and I discuss . . .

  • The benefits of not “destroying” yourself in the gym
  • Exercise as practice
  • The importance of not missing reps
  • How to program your workouts and progressively overload with “easy strength”
  • And more . . .

So, if you want to learn how to incorporate easy strength workouts to get stronger without beating yourself up or spending hours in the gym every day, listen to this episode and let me know your thoughts!

Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!


14:00 – What style of training is easy strength?

23:20 – Is the easy strength method your go to?

24:51 – What does the frequency look like on these exercises?

30:00 – With the easy strength method how do you progressively overload?

Mentioned on the Show:

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hey, Dan, welcome back to my podcast. Thanks so much. How are things fine. Fine. Getting ready to move. I’m moving to Florida. That’s happening in a month. Be sure you bring some exotic animals that will breed rapidly. Okay. That seems to be part of what we guests do when they come to Florida. 

Dan: Yeah. Maybe a new type of Python or something like that.

Mike: Yes. That’s what the state needs. bringing Raptors or something, yeah. 

Mike: Ironically. Yeah. I’m from Florida. I’m not a big fan of it objectively, but now in the post COVID world, I am a fan of it. So I’m moving to the. State Ocala. It’s got a horse community, basically my wife’s into horses. Oh. And we bought a bunch of land and we’re gonna build a horse farm and I’m not gonna see any more double masks.

That’s gonna be a nice change. I’m in Northern Virginia right now, outside of DC. So I still see people driving with masks and face 

Dan: shields, I have a grandson who was born really premature. And so we’re concerned about him getting, cuz his lungs aren’t developed. And then my good friend, he just told me something, he’s a blood cancer survivor and turns out the vaccinations do nothing for him.

So we mask up just an honor of my grandson and my friends with blood cancers. And it’s weird that I have two or 

Mike: three. Yeah. And I understand that those are unique circumstances. I don’t think there’s any logical argument for somebody going out for a jog by themselves wearing two mask. All right, let’s get cracking.

anyway, I recently read your book attempts and I liked it. I’m gonna cover it in I do. I like to do book club episodes. I do it like once a month. I just talk about a book I like and share some takeaways and stuff. And there are quite a few essays in there and quite a few of your ideas that I liked and to talk about all of them would take a long time, but I wanted to hone in on this easy strength, programming, this easy strength approach to getting strong, because it’s unique. 

Dan: And it’s something  that most, it’s funny to say that cuz it’s not, it is the way people trained almost forever. It’s interesting. I also have a master’s in history, so you get, you get a little weird when you study history, Up until the, until body building took over what we call the steno symbol of weight training.

This is how people train. Yeah. This is how, if you read George Hacken Schmitz the way to live. If you read the early works of sorority it’s tomor who comes up this idea of sets and reps during world war II. So the idea sets and reps, as we know now with relatively new and it really wasn’t accepted, they did a study on the Mr.

Britain contest of 1951 or something like that. And the bulk of the guys at the Mr. Britain contest of 1951 were still training like strongman. And the idea is that this idea of blitzing and terrorizing your triceps and all this. Post pumping iron stuff, by the way. I was at the premier of pumping iron, so it’s not like this isn’t my first day.

And certainly I have great respect for Arnold and his impact, but this idea that by, okay, what steno symbol is, it’s when a phrase or word has a single meaning. If I say I’m lifting weights to my grandson, Danny he’ll show me a double bicep. If you talk to a team of basketball players, we’re gonna start doing more weight training.

They’re gonna start talking about how they’ll look good on the beach. This is all relatively new in our field. The idea that you would go into just you would practice getting stronger is the tradition. So easy strength is I always explain it. Like it’s like learning how to type. I got a keyboard here.

And if I just grabbed your finger and smashed it on a to failure, you wouldn’t be a better typist. Your left pinky would be exhausted. And so the traditional way of getting strong is the same way you learned at the type play, the guitar it’s practice over time, and then the nervous system adapts.

And then after a while, those adaptions cause a stress in the body because of the load is getting bigger. And then that beautiful phrase that Rob Wolf says, and then the hormonal cascade happens. And that’s when you develop hypertrophy in those other 

Mike: qualities. And that’s a different way of looking at exercise, right?

As something as practice as another type of athletic activity again, versus the bombing blitzing of muscle groups. And one thing I like about that view is it puts you into the longer term kind of framework, as opposed to, again, just trying to get in the gym and destroy yourself day after day and week after week.

And if after a month of that, or after six months of that, you haven’t gained some predetermined amount of muscle or strength that somebody on Instagram said that you can gain. If you do it that way. Then maybe you should 

Dan: just stop. It’s a bunch of crap. I’ve been lifting weight since 1960. If I’ve been blitzing and bombing since 1965 I don’t know if my, if I’d have a joint that still worked, what bothers me about these Instagram clowns and the crap and thankfully magazines are disappearing.

Sadly, the internet took over, but it’s this nonsense. And I’ll hear people say someone critiqued one of my books by saying, that’s not how Mr. Olympia trains. It’s if you wanna train like Mr. Olympia, your pharmacy. Is gonna be more than probably most people listening’s rent and you’re gonna have to make a lot of life 

Mike: decisions that might just be your GH bill alone.

Dan: yeah. And the problem is, that’s why I love track and field and swimming so much is you got these two sports that you can see when anything you’ve added works or doesn’t work. And you can just see it. If the discus goes farther, you jump higher, you run the hurdles faster, whatever we did, even if it’s stupid worked.

And my knock on hypertrophy work for athletes and even general population is that, the old phrase and it’s a bit sexist, but I still like, it looks like Tarzan plays like Jane. And that is I think, a real truism, I’m still, I’m 64 and I’m still the person people call when they wanna move a couch.

I’m 64 and I still win Highland games with the opens. And it’s because these guys, God bless them. They’re training like bodybuilders to do an explosive throwing sport and it’s just wrong. And the truth is. When you’re in the world of sports, there’s a phrase from Charlie Francis looks right. Flies, right?

Your body will. If you want a great body gentle listener, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to train like an Olympic 400 meter runner. Don’t worry about diet. Don’t worry about any of that stuff. When you run 400 meters as fast as you can, you don’t have to worry about what you had for lunch, because.

Lunch will be on the inside track at the finish line. That’s where lunch will be probably the second 400 meters. That’s where breakfast from two days ago will be. And trust me, you’re gonna lean out because that’s the adaptions your body will have. So when I look at this stuff online, I’m always wondering why they just don’t the simpler way.

Go to the, if you wanna look lean and all this stuff go train like a 400 meter. You’ll lean 

Mike: out. I may prefer just following a meal plan. That might be . 

Dan: Exactly. Yeah. But however you do it’s yeah, so we’re in a strange time in the fitness industry, I thought you couldn’t get worse than what we had in the eighties and nineties, but you 

Mike: think it’s worse now?

Really? Oh yeah. The evidence based movement has grown. I think it’s a positive, like a lot, I’ll say a lot more people. I think just everyday people understand, let’s say energy balance and they understand macronutrients and why you need enough protein. I think a lot more people understand that now, maybe I’m wrong than again.

You’ve been in this game a lot longer than I have. It just seems 

Dan: like when’s the last time you’ve been to Dolly Parton land. 

Mike: What does that even 

Dan: mean? go to any amusement park and. Get back to me on what 

Mike: you just said. Yeah. I was at Disney world six months ago or something. Yeah. It wasn’t 

Dan: encouraging.

What did the French come back when they get back from Disney world? What do they talk about? They talk about this thing called the balloon people. the people who are so inflamed that they begin to be look like balloons. No, I don’t disagree 

Mike: with you now, but I think that’s different though than I’m just saying like fitness people, quote unquote people who at least care a little bit about 

Dan: this stuff.

That would be true. Yeah. The role. Honestly though, if you ate like what grandma would’ve told you, you’d probably be better, eat veggies, eat. Sure. Eat your protein, eat veggies. You like an adult. You like to say right. Now there’s an adjective before the word adult, but yeah. . 

Mike: Yeah. Which is, again, that’s even now the evidence based way to eat is basically that it’s get most of your calories from this nutritious stuff that you basically prepare yourself, eat your vegetables.

Yeah. Eat your fruits, eat your legumes, seeds, whole grains, eat your protein. And you have a lot of foods to choose from. Don’t listen to the people who say that you can’t eat potatoes or sweet potatoes or that things have to be gluten free, blah, blah, blah. So again, in my experience, just with people again, I would say who care enough to work out at least a couple times per week, right?

And actually attempt to follow something of a sensible eating regimen for those people. I think conditions are a bit better now, at least than when I even started doing anything in the fitness space, which I guess was 2012, but 

Dan: I may be wrong. Yeah. And you also came in a time where it’s a little bit easier to pick and choose back in the day when there was only strength in health magazine and muscle development from York, and then all American athlete and muscle and fitness from Wheater one sold supplements with a soy base and the other one sold supplements with a soy base.

And that was the difference in those two C. Nowadays you have a lot, and I do think some of the supplement companies are a lot more responsible now I think, but then the next day I’ll read about something else and I’m like, oh, here, how do we get back to 

Mike: that? Yeah. Supplementation is its own thing.

I don’t know how much that space 

Dan: has, but it’s the engine that drives most of the nutrition in the income from supplements. It’s I tell people, I’m not gonna get a lot of money telling you to eat kimchi, oatmeal, broccoli, get more, sleep, drink more water. I’m not gonna make a ton of money on that.

And gentle listener. Hey, only I have a special on, super rip guy, 

Mike: 5,000. Oh, you can get rid of the vegetables. If you take my green supplement, that gives you 72 servings. Actually you actually, you get an entire week’s worth of your greens in one scoop. That’s it. How simple 

Dan: is that? Oh my God.

I don’t know. Whoever came up with that marketers. Oh, the taste of marketers. Oh, so bad, but let’s continue. Sorry, I didn’t wait 

Mike: to say what you answer. So coming back to easy strength. So what style of training is that then if it’s not your traditional body building? Okay. Yeah. I’m coming from, I’m a newbie in your eyes in terms of how much time I’ve been in this space, but it’s not for a lot of the listeners when they think of quote unquote traditional.

So they’re thinking of body building training, or even strength work. If they’re thinking of strength training, they’re gonna probably think of repose stuff. They’re gonna think of five by five. They’re gonna think of Wendler stuff. So what is easy 

Dan: strength? Easy strength is an idea obvious been around a long time.

And really it’s where it really boomed is that Charles Staley used to have a thing called the bootcamp and he invited speakers to come down. One year his speaker canceled just a few days before. So Charles, a friend of mine told Charles invite me and it went down. This actually started my career.

Pavel sat Suland and I sat down after and were talking and he said, how busy are you? And I said, I’m, I’m working two full-time jobs at the time. I was an administrator and a college professor and two full-time jobs. I got two daughters at home balls are in the air. And he said, for the next 40 days, pick five lifts, never go to failure, never do more than 10 total reps.

So that’s three sets of three, two sets of five is a standard in a single workout. This cutting edge workout is exactly what you’ll get in this book here. From 1962, the Sears barbell and dumbbell exercise program from Ted Williams. It’s funny how he told me the program. I said, I’ve heard this before.

It’s the way people train when I was young and I followed it to the absolute team, the key is this. And for example, I, one of the exercises I picked was incline bench press. And so I started off with two sets of five with 1 65, which is, air. And I kept doing that until, like he said, it felt so light.

It was silly. So I jumped to 180 5. I jumped a week or so later I’m at 2 0 5 a week or so later up 2 55, all two sets of five with that exercise. And then one day by myself in my garage and it’s winter, December. So it’s freezing here in Utah. I benched three 15 for a double, no spotter with a car at my feet that if I a brand new car, if I missed the lift.

So my incline bench had been only 300, but I did three 15 for a double. So 15 pound jump in my PR. For a double easily could have gotten more, but rack it. Cause I didn’t want to do any damage to myself or the car. And then I thought to myself, when I put the bar in, it’s okay, this is 22 days. So basically we’re looking at what week five ish, cuz I lift five days a week and I had added 15 pounds to a lift.

And I’m not some guy who just showed up. I’m pretty experienced lifter. I was an international level thrower at the time and I’m like, this is too good to be true. Many of the workouts I did workout one time on the light day where I was boiling a pot of water for something for dinner. I put the pot of water on when it came to a boil, the workout was over five exercises.

That was a light day. So it was just the one set of 10, just a tonic. And then that season I go out and I’m throwing the discs and I’m doing Highland games and people keep coming up and going, Hey man, what are you on? And I’m like, I’m on nothing. This is the workout I’m doing. And I would tell them literally line by line, point by point on a nap, can at a restaurant going to the exact numbers I’m using.

And they’re like, no, really? What are you going? You’re working out two hours a day in the weight room and I’m working out 15 minutes and I’m throwing farther than you, at least show some intellectual integrity and think through what I just said. And they can’t because of the same problems I guarantee the bulk your listener’s gonna have.

The problem is if something easier comes by and it makes you go wait a sec, so I can do less and get more. It makes you very angry and literally unable to almost. 

Mike: Or rightfully skeptical. It does sound too good to be true, 

Dan: right? Yeah. But if you were to tell me that you’re gonna build an elite athlete program by following Mr.

Universe’s program, and they’re gonna be elite American football players, they would look good with their uniforms off, but they get destroyed on the field of play. And when these guys show up at Highland games and they brag, they wear that stupid, where they take the shirt and they roll it up the edges, they do that thing.

And when someone says, when they ask me what I bench that’s when I feel, oh, this is gonna be a fun day beating 

Mike: this guy. I think the key distinction there for listeners is we’re talking about aesthetics versus athletics. Like I would say, and you correct me if you think I’m wrong. But if your primary goal is to achieve a certain body composition and a look, and that requires gaining about as much muscle as is genetically available to you, you’re not gonna get there doing 15 minute workouts.

It’s just not gonna happen. 

Dan: Now. I wouldn’t agree with that really, but I’ll just say this January 1st, I weighed two 50 and I decided to get down to a hundred, two kilos for this meat. Three months later, I weighed two 20. I lost 30 pounds in three months, not dieting. And what I did for my workouts was easy strength for Olympic lifting, which is, oh, I don’t know, three sets of three in the snatch, five singles in the cleaning jerk, and then went for a walk.

I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in since the 2007, eight seasons and I’m training. Okay. The walk takes a half an hour, 45 minutes, but the weight just poured off of me and I feel better. One of the things, when you go to an Olympic lifting meet just about every Olympic lifter, it looks as better than most body builders.

Now it’s true. Everyone thinks super heavys, but those guys never do more nowadays. It’s rare for an Olympic lifter to do just anything but singles. So it is possible. But again, the steno symbol is when we have a word or phrase that has one meaning. When the bulk of your audience is listening, they’re thinking body composition.

I’ve heard people say I wanna look good naked, then I’ll follow up. Why do you want look good naked? Because I wanna have sex. And I keep telling ’em if you had any kind of dental hygiene, you learn how to dance and you learn to talk to people. You’re interested like human persons you’d probably do better anyway, versus, looking good naked.

Mike: It’s probably easier to get abs though. than all those other things you could change your personality or just get 

Dan: some abs. Yeah. But if you’re showing your abs off at a dance floor, that’s good for you. And good luck on that marriage. Long term marriage is said that happens later, at Mike, how old you now?

  1. Yeah. Okay. How many years have 

Mike: been lifting then? I started when I was 17. Okay. How long? I didn’t know what I was doing though for the first seven years was I bought body building magazines. They were always body parts splits and tons of volume. And obviously it worked to some degree cuz anything works in the beginning.

Yeah. For six weeks. Yeah. 

Dan: Until it doesn’t work anymore. So after 35, I don’t mind traditional body building for anybody. I think there’s real value. Cuz after 35 it just seems like the body conspires to get rid of lean body mass. It wants to get fat and it wants to lose muscle. And what you’ll find over the next few years is that you probably had, okay, you probably have this much wiggle room.

When you’re 35, you got this much at 45, you got this much at 55 and my age, the wiggle is out of the wiggle room. And so you better show up at 64 in pretty good shape because it’s real hard to move from there. But you probably at your age now, if I’m wrong, you could probably well, okay. I gotta be careful this.

One of the best ways for people to lose weight, I think is to go on all inclusive vacation to Jamaica, sleep in, hang around the sun all day, go to those buffets and eat all you can. If you wave before you leave and you wave and you come up very often, people lose weight on those trips because they lose that stress held the inflammation of life.

The boss, the commute, the kid. Thing and the masks the thing. And when they let that go for a week, the body responds by going, ah, but you could probably make some bad cake decisions and get away with it. And 10 years from now, you can make a cake, bad decision, 10 years later, maybe half a cake , and that’s just, and yeah, so don’t think I’m against anything, but when you’re talking about easy strength, truth is most people literally cannot hear you.

They just cannot hear you. I think strength is the most important quality a strength coach can do. It’s in the name because what we say, especially in the kettle ball community, is that absolute strength is the glass. And all the other qualities are the liquid in the glass. I’ve gone out with some of the best female athletes in the world.

And one of the interesting things is they’ll sit next to you and drink a picture of beer. And the next day you see ’em walking past and it’s their glass is a keg and they can get away with a lot. Some people, because they’re not strong enough, they have a shot glass of strength and they gotta keep an eye on every drop that goes into that shot glass.

I think as we age, we go from keg to pitcher, to drinking glass, to high ball glass, to shot glass. And I think that’s why it’s so important that you have a tool like easy strength in your coaching pocket, because if I’m working with a traditional older client, any in my world, anybody older than 22 is old in sports.

Okay. Once you’re 22, you’re ancient, that’s, the clock she is ticking. , that’s a fun phrase to. So when I’m working with an agent athlete, I always keep about, oh, I would say two to four months, a year as an easy strength protocol. And then two, three to six week ramp up programs, your bikini program, whatever, you know what I’m saying?

Your three week body comp program, your six week, whatever you call your January to second week of February program, your may BI king, whatever those. But I do think in between those getting stronger gives you a better ramp to improve off. The next time you go 

Mike: for it is the easy strength approach. Your go-to.

If that’s in the book, I don’t remember that. I remember it. You talking about it as a method. 

Dan: Oh, yeah, it’s a method. So if I’m working with a discus thrower, easy strength would come and go through the season appropriately. We might have a real focused Olympic lifting three weeks, and then go easy strength.

After that in the off season with a thrower, you might be on a mass building program, high rep squats and things like that. If I’m working with a general client, you probably tap out on the easy strength. We say the 40 workouts, but honestly, I’ve discovered six to eight weeks of it. You pick five exercises, you do a total of 10 reps, three sets of three, two sets of five, whatever at about two months, you’ve pretty much tapped out.

Now I think easy strength can continue to get you stronger, but we’re not dealing with machines. We’re dealing with humans and you gotta change things up. Tommy Kona, the great American Olympic lifter was also Mr. Universe. He would prepare himself with an eight week buildup for an Olympic lifting meet.

And the Monday after start body building again, until he got close to an Olympic lifting, meet eight weeks out and then. Of all the things I’ve ever seen in my career, that seems to be the most sensible approach. If you’d want to flip that script a little bit, eight weeks of getting strong, then traditional body billing.

And I gotta tell you that would be not a terrible way to go through a year, January, February, easy strength, March, April, ramp it up. You know what I’m saying? That wouldn’t be a terrible, certainly you could do it a little bit more logical with how people’s real lives were, but that’s not bad at all.

Mike: Yeah. And as far as the programming goes, what does the frequency on these exercises look like? Like you had mentioned what you did with your incline and bench, how often 

Dan: were you benching. I like the program that goes five days a week. I have a two week template. , you’d remember that from the book.

And I put that together just to get people to stop asking me questions cuz to me the whole thing’s so easy, but it’s just mentally a very easy thing for me. And I have to remind myself that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everybody. If you’re doing five days a week, you’d have. Probably three of the workouts, be two sets of five, just 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Good. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Next exercise. One day a week, maybe a set of 10 light, 40, 35% of your max. Light, just greasing the groove. As we know that. And the nervous system is still working on that one. And then one day a week, like a 5 32, where. You gotta make that double, which is gently heavier.

That would be great. I have also had some good success with having now with the Olympic lifts. I’ve been experimenting with this where basically I have three lightish days a week, but now this is the Olympic lifts. The bar starts on the floor. It goes overhead. I stand up, I drop it. It’s whole body movement.

So you might be able to get away with more light and medium with a full body movement than you would with a pullup, which is, pretty, the pull up stroke is that’s not very long the stroke or the overhead press. Those are pretty short strokes. Actually, the workout I usually recommend for most people is a vertical press military press, a vertical pull, generally pull up chin up neutral.

Pull up LA pull down. If you have 

Mike: to, or maybe an assisted 

Dan: pull up, if you need to that. Yeah. If you need to sure. A dead left variation. And usually I recommend either like dead left off the racks. So you don’t even have to worry about bringing the bar off the floor, the AB wheel, and then something like a farmer walk.

That’s one of my favorite to GOs. And then if you wanna lose fat, you go for the walk. It could be that easy. So here’s your workout for Monday two sets of five on the press with a really lightweight two sets of five on this assisted pull up thing, which I like, cuz it’s easier to play around with the numbers.

Two sets of five on the rack deadlift with, I dunno, 50% of what you think you can do. Set a 10 in the AB wheel, some pick up two, 120 pound dumbbells and. Down to the wall and back, and you’re 

Mike: done. And this point of never missing a rep is something I know you stressed in the, because zealous weightlifters would hear that.

And it would quickly turn into not what you’re talking about. Cause they’re like, oh, that’s easy. I’ll just add 

Dan: more. I’ll just add more. Yeah. My surgeons like the training program, they like me to miss in my training, my surgeons. They’re like, oh geez. I hope I want my kid to go to Harvard.

Maybe I should give him a call. 

Mike: Damn this. Maybe I should encourage him. Yeah. Can we FaceTime? Can you, how much you 

Dan: bench? Can you show me? Yeah, the never miss. So we had a guy, I used to have this great newsletter back in the odds and it was really good. And I would get articles from all over the world because I would publish anything.

You didn’t need references. You didn’t have to go through anything. You just sent it to me. One of the. Was in Bulgaria for work about 2003. And he hears that noise. Now, if Olympic lifting, it has a, there is a noise that Olympic lifting makes as you walk past the building. If it ain’t the Bulgarian national team training, so he asked and he, it works out, his Bulgarian was good enough to ask if he could watch.

And the guy there was good enough to say you can come anytime you want, cuz you’re an Olympic lifter. So he probably watched maybe 10 sessions in two weeks, which. Money. And the one thing he told me, he never saw anybody on the Bulgarian national team, miss a lift and Tommy Kono again, getting back to him.

He once said, every time you miss a lift, it should take you three a makes to undo the miss I’m to the point that I think it takes you about 30 to undo the miss. So the downside of missing big lifts is that a they hurt you. This surgery is from Amis. Both of those surgeries are from misses. In fact, I can probably go through them, all the surgeries I’ve had, and most of the time it has failed attempts.

But at the second level is we’re trying to teach the nervous system to be as efficient as possible. And if you miss you’re not teaching the nervous system. What happens very quickly? Like you say, you can’t see how you can get hypertrophy from it. But I remember one time, my friend, John Price, and. We both bench 365 for 10 reps.

And my thought process is for the gentle listener, it was only one set of 10, I don’t know about you, but if you bench 365 for 10, there’s a chance your body is going to respond somehow to that load. That’s a lot of weight. It’s. Yeah. It’s a lot of weight when the bar bends when it touches your chest.

Yeah. If you’re, if you’re squatting 6 0 5, like my friend Bush used to do for 10, there’s a good chance. Your body’s gonna go, Hey, we better do something growing here because some happen out there. So I think you can, by train the nervous system, hard enough, getting the loads reps and sets appropriate load appropriate, but over time you will get the hormonal response.

Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, bigger leaner, stronger, and Thinni leaner stronger as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded chef people listening may wonder.

Okay. All right. I get it. Make sure the weights are light. Definitely not gonna miss any sets, but how do I progressively overload? How do I get stronger? How do I go from where I’m at to ending this eight weeks with heavier 

Dan: weights? Mike, that’s the hard part. And when I first wrote the book, easy strength of Pavel, we had this great conversation, I hate percents.

I think percents are just idiocy. When I’m working with a junior high boy who benches a hundred, there’s a good chance he can do 90 for 10 reps because he’s brand new to weight lifting. If you bench 200. Say you’re an 18 year old or 18 year old and you benching 200 and 90% for two. 180 for two is pretty believable.

When you get a little bit more water on the bridge and you bench 300 and two 70 for two, you go, yeah I take a week or two. I could do that when you get to 490% is 360 and you have to do that for a double. That’s a good size weight. When you bench five and a double is four 50, here’s what I’m trying to get across is that those are all 90%.

But four 50 for a double might take months to build back up to versus the person who’s just started, two or three days ago, two or three months ago, one or two years ago. 


Or somebody who’s never gonna be able to move that weight ever. I will never just my body. I have a small skeleton, long arms, long lead.

I’ve good levers for lifting whatever 

Dan: Arms. Okay. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. The best I’ve ever benched. Now I haven’t trained specifically for it. My training is for a long time now it’s been like a strength base with some body building stuff added into it. But my best is maybe 2 95 for two. So looking at, I wait a bit more, so I’m getting back to that.

Now I weighed probably 2 0 5 when I did that. I weighed about 1 93 right now, but I just don’t see how my body could ever get far beyond the 3, 4, 5 benchmark, right. Three plates on the bench. Four on the squat five on the deadlift, based on where I’m at and how much work I’ve put into it. So I talk about that too, that I think, cause I, I like to give people realistic expectations for both muscle and strength gain.

So I’ve shared that with that’s for guys, obviously women, it would be 

Dan: a bit lower, but mark Dwight and I had this, you know who mark Dwight is. And if you don’t, he hates it. When I summarize his career, but 300, he was the guy who trained the people in 300. He also trained Superman, the original Jim Jones guy.

We were working out one time. He goes you should easily be able to do this workout. He, and so it took me a while to come around, to explain to him that when you’re working with people who deadlift 300, and then you’re working with people who deadlift 600, these rules of 95% and 90 don’t work. So that’s where I came up in this very important part of easy strength.

So one of my best lifts of my life was at the national championship. If I make the lift I’m national champion, if I miss I take fourth place, I make the lift. Now here’s the thing. Could I ever equal that lift if someone says me okay. So your workout today is 90% of that. No. That was to win the nationals in Baton Rouge, under a ton of pressure, pull it outta my rear end.

It was a one off lift. So what you have to do with easy strength is you have to really figure out. And the words I use are soda max. And the one I just said is max, an unrepeatable lift longer you’re around people. The more you’ll have a story with every single attempt. Every single max I have has a story because you had to make a choice.

It was for a contest. You were trying to break a state record. You were trying, there’s always a story to it. So one of the problems we have with easy strength is that conversation about what is easy, what is light people want percents, when you deadlift, if I’m working with a guy who deadlifts 800, a 50%, deadlift is four now.

The recovery inroad that an easy 400 pound deadlift is still a huge inroad into recovery abilities. So if you deadlift eight, your light day might be 2 25 and you wait, that’s ridiculed. That’s not a percent. Yeah, I know. I know. So that’s where the, this is where the art of easy strength comes in.

You might have some listeners here who want to try it, and they’re gonna try to do 50%, but their bench press is say 150 pounds. They’re gonna put 75 in their mail. I don’t get anything out of it. Yeah, because there’s light and there’s reasonable. But you have to dial that in for yourself. So easy strength is not for somebody who doesn’t wanna be tuned into their body, tuned into their training history.

If you wanna be told exactly what to do, just go online and buy someone’s program. But if you really wanna experiment with what you’re. Your abilities can be an easy strength is 

Mike: an option. Do you like to maybe think about for people just listening? You use the technical term of reps and reserve, but a weight that when you’re, let’s say you’re doing your two sets of five.

So by the fifth, you feel like you could do another five 

Dan: plus 3, 4, 3, 4, 5. Okay. Okay, good. Yeah. And especially early. And the thing is, it was so natural for me. I honestly felt, I remember jumping from that 1 65 to the 2 0 5. Let’s say that happened in a week. And the reason I felt it as I felt like someone was Woody body builders call that thing where you help somebody forced around spotting for a bodybuilder is what we call in my world.

Deadlifting yes. . I used to work with a coach and all of his athletes all had these massive bench press numbers. I went to the gym one time. The athlete was benching two. He was deadlifting two, 400 pound bench. Yeah. 

Mike: Or barbell 

Dan: rowing. Oh, he has a strong row. Yeah. When I’m doing the program, right?

The weight seem to almost feel like they’re being lifted off of me. And that’s when I know my nervous system is wired. Every single listener knows what it’s like to if you’ve ever driven a clutch, once you’ve driven a clutch, your muscle memory is there to do it so much of the first week or so of easy strength is riding a bicycle.

There’s a better, you, haven’t rid a bicycle in 10 years, you jump on, you remember how to ride a bicycle, maybe your butt isn’t ready for the seat, but you remember how to do it. And that’s the way easy strength works. It almost takes a week and a half, two weeks to figure out, okay, that’s what light means for me.

And by the time you get there, light is already, it’s already morphed into more 

Mike: weight. And so is the idea then both of your sets let’s even look at like the final rep on set too. Let’s say you’re doing fives or even that one has that, that snap feeling like, yeah. Okay, good. So they’re all, they 

Dan: all feel that way.

I think so. Yeah, because you don’t want crappy reps. Yeah. If you start to drive the elbow out or you start 

Mike: to, or even start to struggle, like maybe you’re now you’re getting to where you’re like maybe I could do two. That’s, it’s not gonna move. 

Dan: Like you’re, that’s what it says in the book.

I think it says don’t even struggle. So again, that’s hard to learn. Okay. So the first two weeks you’re like, I just don’t get it week four. You’re using what like for example, you’re doing, I wanna, okay. Let’s say you’re doing front squats and in week four, your two sets of five is with three 15.

Trust me. And it’s easy. It’s popping up every time. Trust me, there are hormonal changes going on. You are gonna 

Mike: look different. I’ve never done three 15 on the front squad for one, but I hear you. 

Dan: okay. My friend, Chris long always says instant gratification. Isn’t fast enough. So that’s why I think easy strength works with people.

Who’ve been around the block a little bit, not cuz they know. They do know one thing. They know what easy feels like. That’s the one gift they have, but they’ve also slammed their face against that wall enough to know that I don’t wanna slam my face into the wall much 

Mike: longer. And when you’re adding weight, how much do you add?

Okay, so you got your sets. They’re easy. You’re now ready to move up and wait, 

Dan: is that here’s something I was fortunate when I first did the program, cuz all I had was 30 fives and 20 fives. So those are my options. Then I got a 45 pound plate. So you’ll notice my options went 1 65. That’s a 35 plus 25, 180 5 45 plus 25, 2 0 5 45, 2 55.

So it was nice. So for me, I don’t wanna see you adding tiny plates on the sides. I’d like to see big jumps. Okay. Now Pavel is really an interesting about that. He believes there should only be two plates in a gym, the 45 pound plates in the 25. And his idea on this, if you’re gonna jump from 180 5 in the bench to 2 25, you’re gonna spend a lot more time at 180 5 practicing good technique and making things are clean before you jump boom to the two big plates.

When I talk like this sometimes and this has gotta be careful about this, Mike, I did not tell anybody that’s what you have to do. This is a intellectual discussion about. What would be a really good way for most people to figure things out. I like substantial 

Mike: jumps and it makes sense also given that things are supposed to be easy.

So if you have experienced enough adaptation, a 20 pound jump seems reasonable. Again, if we’re talking about a weight that you feel like you could do five more reps with, and then you’ve worked with that and that’s gotten even easier. Okay. Add 

Dan: 20 pounds. Yeah. Yeah. Make a big jump. Yeah. And there’s another side and it’s, and this is just, I have a nice, happy ego.

1991, I guess it was two. Maybe I was. We’re getting at we’re at this meet and Dave Turner and I are talking about my last attempt and he goes, you really should take 180 and I’m go, and I gotta take 180. I’m gonna take 182.5 because in kilos, 180 is 3 96 and 180 2 0.5 is 4 0 2. So ain’t no way I’m gonna come back to English speaking.

Murray, Utah. So how gonna jerk 3 96, cuz what would the, every single thing people would say, 

Mike: why don’t you shortchange yourself? It’s like the reverse psychology of pricing, right? Don’t go with 40. You go with 39 

Dan: 99, 39, 99 is infinitely cheaper than 40. Exactly. And so one of the things that’s nice AB if you do take this idea, Mike, about this approach we’re discussing with the big plates is it is a little bit satisfying to your head space and 

Mike: yeah.

The fractional 

Dan: plates yeah. You’re we used to have those, oh gosh, we used to have these things at Dick, not Myers gym. They’re about this big and they weighed Oh, I don’t know. I can’t re it was just one, it was 25 grams or something out. There we go. So you, if you’re snatching 185, you’d slap one of those on, and you’d tell everybody you got a new PR listen, I don’t think, I’m an easy strength missionary and I’m a failing miserably selling it.

And I know that because it is. Brett contrast. I love Brett good friend of mine. And every time I go to his Instagram account, he has multimillion dollar hot models in the tightest shorts God has ever made. And they are doing hip thrusts. Now they, he has a lot more followers and people listening to him because, and I think a tiny bit of it is that really hot girl in those shorts.

I, I honestly I know you’re shot. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I know you’re sitting there. Disbelief. I don’t believe you. Then you got this old Chung bastard looking like me, 64 cranky son of a bitch, talking about this stuff and I get it. I need to start wearing the thong is the answer to this, 

Mike: Or you need to be even more prickly look at mark. Rippetoe 

Dan: he makes it work well. Yeah, but you get to a point with prickly where you’re just done with it too. So this is just one of my libraries. These magazines go back to the 1940s and no, I’ve got thousands of magazines.

I’ve got hundreds of books. And I read them. And then every, so often I still stop at Barnes and noble sometimes. And I go to the fitness section just to see what the competition is doing, frankly. And I realize that no matter what I do or say, Suzanne summers, who’s most famously known for being on three’s company and being blonde sells more fitness books than I’ll ever sell my whole life.

She has a bigger impact on fitness in America than every strength coach at every university. And everybody like myself who teaches in college, Suzanne summers can say that this vitamin I’ll pick this thing up again. This vitamin gets rid of cell elite off the inner thighs and she’s gonna outsell me.

So all I can really do is talk about. It does work. It’s not sexy and that’s gonna be hard to 

Mike: sell. Something that could help, and this is just reader feedback is if you made it, let’s say people listening, and they’re like, sure, I’ll give this a try. This sounds interesting. I guarantee you, they’re not clear about how to go about it and they could read your book and I’d recommend reading it attempts, but reading through it, it’s not that you can’t figure it out, but you have to sit down and you have to think about it and you have to write it out.

That’s what I would have to do. And I know that sounds silly, but if I would say, for example, if you gave some example workouts in there and gave a little bit more, just take the thinking out of it where make it more prescriptive, just do this 

Dan: and you’ll be, yeah. So if you want that, just go to Dan, John that okay, good.

Then we have the easy. So in fact it even comes, then it pops up on your, you get an email and you press the button and it tells you what to do. Yep. So yeah, the other issue, and this is something I’ve learned, I’ve been online with a blog or whatever since 1998, and I’ve probably answered. I saw my, the other day that I have 30,000 emails in my sent, so let’s say 27,000 of those are exercise emails.

Okay. That’s just that one account. Okay. Let me just go through the list though. The very first thing we have to establish is what equipment do you have? See, that’s the problem. And this is why the workout generates on the Dan John university. Cuz the very first question is what equipment do you have?

Yeah. So if you were like, like what I have now in my little home gym, I have three Olympic bars, 26 kettlebells, four TXs, bunch of suspensions, trainers bands, squat, rack, a dip rack, a pullup rack, two different hip thrust machines, every carrying equipment, every Highland thing, every, okay.

So if little Danny sees a program, it’s a rare program. I can’t do your home gym. For example, Mike invited me this morning. He has, I have dumbbells. He has a 28 kilo kettle bell and that’s his whole home gym. Oh, that’s it. Okay, good. But that’s fine. Because I can come up with now that I know what equipment you have, then I can answer the question of how to design the ES for you.

And that was the hardest lesson for me to learn. And by the way, attempts being about a year and probably a half old from the writing, even though I knew it right in the book a year and a half ago, it wasn’t as clear as it should be. There should have been a chapter in the easy strength thing called equipment first.

Mike: Doesn’t that shit bother you as somebody who’s done a lot of writing. I still just, when I go back through stuff and I’ve done many iterations, especially my flagship books, it just bothers me when I find major, like how did I not think of this? And then I have to fix it. And then I’m annoyed that people are buying currently.

What’s not fixed 

Dan: yet. and I think that’s why I’m moving to more like web courses versus books. Because I, if I do come up with something it’s a very easy, yeah. Versus, writing a new book, but if there was an error and I apologize to the listeners who I should always ask, what equipment do you have?

Question number one. But the follow up is what do you know how to do? So when I say squat, I have a very clear definitive mental image of what I mean by squat. And then when many of our listeners are thinking squat, they have this, they’re doing this bizarre thing. That’s not Squatty. When I say hinge, like in the deadlift swing, snatch clean, I have a very clear image of what I’m talking about.

Those would be the first two. So what equipment do you have? What do you know how to do? How many days a week do you wanna work out? Cause we can do three. We can do, like when I did the 10,000 swing challenge to start the year off with that group, January 1st, we’re all gonna swing 10,000. I did the 10,000 swing challenge in the first 20 days.

So I did the 10,000 swing challenge straight and didn’t miss a day, 500 swings. Somebody else says, how did you finish so fast? And then I go how many days a week you doing while I’m doing three? I did those extra those four extra days a week allowed me to get a little ahead of you after that.

An important question is, what intensity do you want to do that? Do you want to do it to prepare yourself? Some of my best athletes with the 2012 Olympics. And we really had a nice, easy strength thing going on in 2011, because these athletes trusted with that extra year to have that year of experiment.

So a few of them did very well by the way, had that extra year to go, okay I’m cool with this, if the Olympic trials are next Saturday, we’re not gonna, we don’t have time. Does that 

Mike: make sense to you? A little? Yeah. They don’t feel under the gun or 

Dan: They’re not under the gun.

Yeah. So those would be the things that made it a little harder for me to say, do this, but now I feel much more comfortable. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. And again, people listening who want to give it a go at Stan, John, and then cuz I guarantee you, the majority of people who want to try it would appreciate some sort of template that they can look 

Dan: at.

And honestly, gentle listener, just do the workout generator for a couple of weeks first, just to get a sense to see. And then when you slide over to easy strength that won’t actually, I’ve had a couple of people do this. If you don’t mind, Mike is they do an easy strength template. Get strong. Then do the workout generator for a traditional three day week, whole body hypertrophy program.

And guess what happens when you do a three days, three day, week hypertrophy program? When you’re stronger, you get better results. Yeah. You gain more muscle for sure. Yeah. I think we just invented that. Write that down. 

Mike: you can lift heavier weights, therefore. Yeah. It’s 

Dan: a better training space. Yeah. It’s night and day, but you’re right.

And your point was good. And I think it is a lesson. A lot of us have been learning since 19 98, 99, 2000 with the internet. I dunno if you’ve ever read Mrs. PI wiggle books. I know some of your listeners ask Mrs. PI wiggle. It’s called the, I thought you said chapter it’s when little kids you’ll say something and say, oh, I thought you said in, something, my brother is dying of cancer.

I thought you said he was dying of reindeer. It’s that it’s a very annoying thing. Little kids do, but I thought you said is something that a lot of us were struggling with back in the sixties and seventies and eighties, early nineties. When I would read about a program, I’d be like, what in the hell are you doing that for?

But then when you saw the person’s training facility, are you saw what they were dealing with or you saw what they didn’t have, you would go, oh, I see. And when I was an administrator, I was a strong believer in something called management, by wandering around where I would drive and go to the person’s office, who I was having problems with and very office, by the time I sat down, we didn’t have any problems.

I understood it was a situation, not the. So sometimes, for example, Charlie Francis is why he had his sprinters do so many 60 meter runs cuz that’s the track they trained on indoors was 60 meters. It wasn’t magic. That’s all he had. And all of a sudden you go, oh, okay. So if you’re telling me that all your athletes are bulking up because they’re doing snatch and clean and jerk and I’ll be like, wow, what do you?

And then I come see your facility and it’s a world class Olympic lifting training place where you’ve got platforms and everything and coaches on every platform I’ll go, oh, I see. Okay. But if you’ve got 66 kids and one Olympic bar, you’re gonna have to do something radically different. Makes sense. Yeah.

That’s been the gift for me of the internet is I understand now why sometimes people just don’t. And it’s not their fault. They don’t have the equipment. I have the, whether I have the facility the support I have, or they have better this better, that better this, and they don’t need to go through this idiotic thing that I have to, it gets taken care of as working with an athlete from a European country.

Who’s. The physical education program at that European country was so advanced that everything we basically worked with her, she had done that in the fifth and sixth grade already. You got this collegiate athlete, who’s got this great background in sprint technique ply metrics, Olympic lifting kettlebells med ball, and she knew a thousand med ball exercises.

You had to take that athlete and go, okay. Now let me work with these Americans from whose ideas, what PE was Dodge ball and pick up basketball. Literally what I did for PE. That was fun though. oh, it was fun, but you didn’t learn sprint technique and the Olympic lifts and cattle bells and medicine ball work.

Yeah. Tumbling. They had a whole course UN tumbling. She was, and I guess my point is the joy of the internet for me and your point. The downfall is once again, this is the greatness of the internet, is that you can share that with me. I can share my issues. And I think we’re both better at the end of the 

Mike: conversation.

I’ve seen that effect again, in the, particularly in the evidence based fitness space, at least that type of information is becoming more popular. Not all of it is good. A lot of it though is better than the standard of information. When I first got in, when I was just like, like you were saying, I had the magazines and you had the big, huge bodybuilders and this is supposedly how they trained.

And that was 

Dan: really it. Yeah. I’m surprised they haven’t been candid about the pharmacy issues in that world. have friends who will talk to me unfiltered and frankly it scares me. Oh, they’re like chemistry experiments. Oh it’s amazing ingesting, basically rat poison to lean 

Mike: out. All kinds of things.

I don’t know if we’ll ever really have research on because of the ethical implications. So you just have case studies of people who are injecting all kinds of interesting chemicals. And I guess we’ll just see what happens. That’s pretty 

Dan: much it. I don’t know if I can support that as a dad and grandfather, but Yeah. Yeah, it’s true. And I’m a big believer. In fact in theology, common sense is considered the highest form of reason. I like experience, but then experience runs in and by the way, I’m not discounting Bigfoot or anything, or the Lochness monster. And if you have seen Bigfoot gentle listener, please don’t 

Mike: email.

I saw a headline actually recently in the Lochness, somebody had taken a video. It goes, I don’t know, who knows. I don’t, I could care less one way or another. What does it really matter? But there did seem to be some weird snakey thing going through the water. I don’t 

Dan: know. Sure. Evidence, eyewitness is if you’ve ever been in an auto accident, I was at a court case one time and I know what I know.

I know what I saw and it’s not 

Mike: what happened. Yeah. Yeah. Seven different people all saw different 

Dan: things. Yeah. Yeah. But I saw I’m a big believer in experience. With an asterisk. So I like experience, and God bless him. He just the idea other day, Mark Eaton, the great Utah jazz center, who I helped in the weight room.

When you meet Mark Eaton, one of the first things you realize is that you’ll never play center in the national basketball association. He was a normal size human at seven foot four. He held my daughter Kelly in his hand like this. Like this, he had a baby in his hand, like this, that’s a big guy. So if mark is teaching your 12 year old son, how to play center, that’s great, but there’s a good chance your son’s not gonna make it to the NBA.

So I am a great fan of experience and I’m a great fan of us sharing the information, but there’s always an asterisks on it, and when you read articles and you find out a buddy of mine was a real druggie and he died young. And when he died, a whole bunch of his friends defended him, cuz people said he was a druggie and then a documentary came out about him and they have his journals in there and he talks about all the drugs he’s doing.

It’s okay. You could not do the things he did physically without some kind of massive support from 

Mike: stuff. And that’s in a lot of sports, a lot of athletics, something I’ve commented on tangentially. It’s not particularly relevant to my focus, which is just helping normal people get into good shape, but it is.

Again, I mentioned this earlier in the context of expectations and what you see online, cuz you have a lot of men, it’s more of an issue with men obviously, but in some cases, women, mostly men. Yeah. They look great. They’re the trifecta, they’re big and by big, big they’re strong, actually strong and they’re lean, right?

And they’re like that all the time and they claim to be natural and that’s all they talk about is how natural they are, which is a red flag, by the way, anybody who consistently says they’re not on drugs. If they are big lean and strong and they consistently claim that they are natural. There’s a good chance that they’re not, but the problem is, and I know this first hand having heard from so many people over the years, guys in particular is they’re getting into this thing and they see this guy on Instagram and they go, oh, they take his claims at face value.

And now they think that. This guy’s experience is not only possible for them, but maybe even normal. And some of these people, they promote their personal story as if this is just the normal thing. You don’t need outstanding. Some of ’em go as far as saying, look, I didn’t have good genetics. I was this skinny little wimp when I first started lifting and now I’m jacked and you could do this too.

And so it sets guys up for failure because they’re expecting to be able to gain far more muscle and strength than they are going to be able to gain. They’re expecting to do it a lot faster. And then when their experience doesn’t meet these false expectations they can go in different directions.

It can be they process the disappointment and they just move on. Or in some cases it actually leads to drug use because they think that’s the only, there’s just something wrong. They must have such bad genetics that they should just. Accept reality and get on 

Dan: drugs. On the female side between plastic surgery and Photoshop and painting the face, 

Mike: I was gonna say makeup as well.

Dan: You really can produce a false narrative that I think has an impact on especially young ladies. My daughters this is tough. It’s tough for me to talk about. My daughters were both throwers and my daughter, Lindsay, who’s upstairs with my grandson, Leah, she threw for the university of Utah, the hammer, I’ll be honest with you.

It’s when you’ve got a daughter who’s in the weight room snatching and cleaning jerking and doing squats, there’s a little bit of you. It’s like this. Isn’t the itsy bitsy. College cheerleader, and this isn’t the SHA the cover of shaped magazine girl. I talk about it in a number of, and in fact, I have a whole chapter on it in Josh Hill’s book where I talk about it.

Not only is it a false narrative from these Instagram models and some of these celebrities, but I think it rains down on some of these poor adolescent females who are struggling with the realities of reality and I do my heart. It hurts my feelings. And you’re 

Mike: talking about beauty standards 

Dan: talking about beauty standards and the physical standards just yeah.

Mike: Yeah. And the pressure that, that young women feel to look a certain way. 

Dan: A woman told me here, she’s a counselor at the schools and the impact of porn on the adolescence and what they consider sex. And it was like, I’m not prude at all. I’m just saying that when she finished talking to me, all I could think was, oh dear God.

I’m so glad my daughters are thirties. When I was young, getting a porn movie was hard. You had to get out, was hard to get. And now you, is that a real to 

Mike: real projector. 

Dan: Yeah. And now, the kids think that this is what happens and it’s oh boy. And you take that and you just slide over to how you should also look and how you should also be in relationship.

And I’m just glad that a lot of kids come out of it. Okay. Yeah. 

Mike: And unfortunately, we’re gonna see in the next 10 to 20 years, what the effects. We know I’ve spoken about porn some time ago. I do an episode every month or so, where I address something that people disagree with me on.

So I ask people to tell me something you disagree with me on. Oh, interesting. So I call it says you is the little series and I had commented on porn previously that I think we’d be better off if it were banned, I would be totally okay with it being banned. I think in Israel, they banned it.

Why can’t we do it here or in the UK? I think they’ve already either going to, or they already have put. Something in place where you have to, you actually, and this is very British, cuz they don’t give, they’re essentially a police date. You have to put in a government ID, like you have to have a government ID and you have to input the information to access porn and it’s for, you have to be 18 or older.

So I did a little episode cause somebody disagreed with me that the porn’s not that bad or even that it’s good. And I went over some of the research that’s on porn and yes, particularly with younger people, I think that you can make a good logic and evidence based argument for adults.

But particularly even starting at BI the changes to the brain and it messes kids up and well like alcohol 

Dan: for teenager. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I started looking at porn when I was probably 13 and then I did it for a while and I eventually stopped and I haven’t looked at it once in many years and fortunately for whatever reason, I guess I got out of it fairly unscathed, but it definitely, it minimally warped my perception of sex.

In a negative way and it didn’t go as far as like erectile dysfunction 

Dan: or choking someone or hurting 

Mike: someone. Yeah. Or turning it into pain type stuff. Although I know some people, I don’t know if it’s porn that did it, but I know some people who have gone sex, the only way they could enjoy it anymore was it had to be degrading to the woman.

That was the key, guess we’ll see again, there’s more and more evidence that we would be better off without it. And of course it’s more popular now than ever. I’m assuming I haven’t looked at that data anytime recently, but I doubt it has gone down in popularity in the last several 

Dan: years.

Well, Theresa Rodriguez, she’s a researcher down Arizona state, she actually did an interesting study on it. And the thing that was the most damning from, and I actually used. Just before the 2002 Olympics on women in sport as a, that was asked to do a workshop here locally about how it warps the male perception of a normal female.

And I thought that was fascinating folks. I’m not moralizing. I’m not getting on a high horse. I’m just speaking. 

Mike: Okay. I don’t even give that disclaimer, because. It’s not about me claiming that I’m better because I don’t look at porn. No. I looked at porn for a long time and I could talk about my personal experiences of positive experiences of not looking at it.

But really when I was talking about it, I was just going over the research that’s on that is available on it and saying, Hey. I’m not one for SCIM. I’m not one for just blindly bowing to whatever the quote unquote science is. But when you have a lot of anecdotal evidence and you have a lot of firsthand experience, a lot of people listening have probably looked at porn and have probably done it consistently and have experienced some negative things firsthand.

And you have scientific evidence when you have all of those things converging. That’s when I think we really need to pay attention. 

Dan: And that brings us back to honestly, the role of science and art in what I do. So much of what I do in the strength world is scientifically based from the research of the forties and fifties.

I start doubting things when the sixties start the roll around because of the use of peeds, of course, cancer . But then at the same time, there is an art to what I have to do, and my athletes don’t have the time for the researcher to get it right. And science 

Mike: moves slowly. 

Dan: It just does well.

That’s why I always go back to the German and American studies of the forties, fifties in early sixties. And I look at that in. As my foundation. Okay. This taking vitamin D in the winter seems to help athletes. That’s a German study. Header’s book, the physiology strength. Okay. If you get injured, your return time to normal to your previous strength levels happens much faster than the original.

And every time you get hurt, after that, it gets faster and faster. It comes up never ch that stuff is never changed, but then there’s the art side is the, I gotta take this information and I’ve got six weeks to get Mike in a place where he can perform as well as he can at the Olympic 

Mike: trials, which is harder than just into great shape.

Like you were saying, that’s, it’s, that’s quantitative. It’s not qualitative subjective. Oh yeah. My biceps do look a little bit better. Don’t they? 

Dan: It’s we always say the problem with strength and conditioning is it’s strength and more and more conditioning for what? When I was young in high school, the us army used to give us these little things and I’ve bought ’em back called conditioning for a purpose.

And I love that little. There was a reason why you got in shape. And I still talk about this all the time. And I look at some of the things you push these, it’s getting better by the way, but what you do with American football players and they just beat the hell at run kids off. And it’s I played the game and the only time my condition ever came in and I learned this as a defender, if we had a pick six intersection, go for a touchdown, I would no longer get excited cuz I was on the PA team.

So I was on. Score P a T kickoff. And now I’m back on defense and I, because the kickoff and if someone went offside well, that’s the only time I haven’t really needed conditioning. I’m in shape right now to play the position I played. I mean that, I dunno if I’d last, but the idea is that there’s conditioning that’s for a purpose that’s appropriate.

That’s enough. And part of the problem with the American experience in strength conditioning is that we tend to fall in love with the Gatorade commercial, everyone’s sweating and high fiving, and that’s not a good image for what actual conditioning is to quote that great 1970 song enough is enough is enough.

I can’t go on. I can’t go on enough. Is. Condition. Yeah, I like 

Mike: it. This has been a great discussion. I really appreciate you again, taking the time. And why don’t we wrap up with I’ve mentioned the book that against instigated, this was attempts. And so anybody listening, if you’re still listening, you’re gonna the book, just pick it up.

And then where can people go? You mentioned Dan John university. Is there anything else you want them to know about? 

Dan: Sure. If you want literally 3000 pages of free material and I say pages, pages. I got a book on raising my daughters. I got a book on discos throwing. I got a book on kettlebells and I got a book on weightlifting all for [email protected].

It’s all free. Help yourself read through it. If you think, you know something, go start reading some of those archives and put your their stuff from the Chinese national team, the Bulgarian national team world record holding a triple jump. And then Dan John We just came out with the course on how to program for normal people.

People want me to do a programming for elite athletes, and it’s just I don’t know if it have any value, to be honest with you because there’s so 

Mike: much of the art. Is that why? Yeah. And, there’s not a big addressable market if you’re looking at it from like a, an economic. 

Dan: Yeah. And when I talk an easy strength about working with sprinters, they were born and God hit ’em with a lightning ball.

Yeah. It’s like major league pitchers. I remember this dad one time talking about his son. He threw the ball at 83 miles an hour. It’s damn, that’s a change up for a junior college pitcher. That’s not a, that’s not a fastball. I had a kid who threw 95 miles an hour and the major leagues didn’t even sniff at him nowaday.

Mike: 95. That makes me think of something you mentioned in your book, which is I forget who said this, you were quoting somebody else, but like I’m paraphrasing and you can let me know if I’m remembering correctly that if you’re not at the highest level of your sport within a couple of years, like you’re never gonna be world class.

Just forget about it. You’re not 

Dan: good enough, Tommy Kono said that still did my friend, John Powell at the disco store. 

Mike: John Powells are remembered, but I didn’t know if that was 

Dan: correct. If you specialize and you’re not world class in two to three. You’re not good enough. And I tell you that breaks your heart a little bit.

No. Having said that’s world class that’s world class. Exactly. So it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy. 

Mike: I remember that correctly. Of course. You’re not saying you can’t get really good at something like that’s not the point. 

Dan: Yeah. Oh yeah. And it, and I’m sure you got a person or two in the audience who plays a musical instrument and I can guarantee when they’re playing their guitar in their basement, man, you should really go on tour.

And you’re like, yeah, I’m good. But I’m not that good. 

Mike: yeah, that reminds me when I was taking up golf and I grew up playing sports and I’ve always been fairly good at various athletic things. Just coordinated, whatever. I’ve been lifting weights for a while. So I was strong and that helps with golf and most golfers are not strong at all.

And so I remember getting some lessons with a teacher and he was trying to pitch me on stop doing what you’re doing. Just pursue golf. Like maybe you can go all the way maybe. And I was like, no, I hadn’t come across this John Powell thing yet, but I just knew I was like no. Cause I actually had a little bit of experience.

I’ve shared this story before on the podcast. It’s been a while though. So I played a lot of ice hockey. And so when I was young and I was a teenager, I thought I was really good. And it turns out I was like, okay, for my age, that’s it. I thought I was better than I was my friends. And I thought we were all hot shit.

One of them ended up playing D one, which is so he was a good, he was good. You know what I mean? But we thought we were really good. So we were at a camp and it was being run by a guy named John Tucker, I believe, played on the lightning at the time. And he was at the time the lightning were terrible.

I think they were the worst team, worst record in the league. So we’re in the locker room putting all of our shit on, getting ready for the camp. And we’re just talking shit. We’re like saying, why are we at John Tucker’s. Hockey camp he was on the worst team in the league and we would joke that he was the worst player on the worst team.

Like when we would watch him on TV, he looked sure. So slow and useless. You might as well just had a blow up doll, on a stand, just whatever, moving around on the ice randomly. And so we had this little attitude and so we get into the camp and one of my friends, the friends, the kid who went and end up playing D one, I think at Boston.

So he’s challenging. Yeah. His name was Nick, nicky is what we call him. So he’s challenging John to one on one in front of there’s maybe 60 of us or whatever. 50, something like that. And John’s blowing him off. And finally John sees oh, okay. So this kid, I don’t know, what’s he sees, there’s something that this kid’s trying to show him up.

And so we’re probably like 14, and John’s a fucking adult right. NHL player. And it was just a rude awaken when he finally was like, all right, come on. Let’s go one on one. And this guy could skate backwards. Twice as fast and agilely. If that’s a word as Nicki could skate forward, like they could go a thousand times and Nicki would’ve never gotten by once.

Impossible John was way. He would just knock the puck away every time. Just there’s just nothing Nicky do. So after that, we were like, holy shit, actually, because again, when you watch these players on TV, John looked terrible. He really did look bad yet. It’s such a, oh man. And so throughout the course of that camp, we got to interact with John and he was showing us different things and he was.

By far the best hockey player I’d ever been on the ice with. Of course, he was in the NHL, but we just didn’t understand like what it really means to be world class it’s super freak. Like how do you even do that kind of level? I 

Dan: know, but gentle listener. Remember you , you can have a great life and be in great shape, move.

Correct. Great kids and grandkids read good books, make a difference in your community, but not everybody’s gonna play center in the NBA. And 

Mike: I’ve talked about this in the context of business even, right? So what’s the business equivalent of that. What net worth is the business equivalent of that?

I don’t know. Tens of millions of dollars 

Dan: probably. Bill gates was on the internet before most people had home computers, cuz his dad was working on the internet at home. That little advantage. If you grow up in a family with professional hockey players in your family, you’re gonna be better at hockey because your typical.

Pass around is gonna be at a higher level. Those little advantages, man. Geez, they’re huge. 

Mike: Totally. Yeah. But anyways again, great discussion. Thanks again for taking the time. I’ll think of another one. If you wanna do it again, sometimes I’ll shoot you an email. It’d be a fun to do a follow up.

Dan: Absolutely. This was fun. Thanks my friend. Okay. 

Mike: All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in because that not only convinces people, that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.

And of course, if you want to be notified, when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at Mike muscle for, just muscle R and share your thoughts on how I can do this better.

I read everything myself and I’m always looking or constructive feedback, even if it. Criticism I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well. Or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with. Definitely send me an email that is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple

And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode. And I hope to hear from you soon.

View Complete Transcript