Dan John's "Big Three"

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Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
Exactly. And I would even add that people should spend more time working on and improving their TGU/lunge pattern. It always seems to be my "go to" position when lifting something heavy/awkward that is low to the ground. It is also my primary method of getting up off the ground. Those two activities seem pretty important to me, no matter what your age or profession is.
 

Kyle Schuant

Level 1 Valued Member
Yes you should be able to rest in the deep squat position instead of using chairs, but there's absolutely no need to load up that movement with any weight.
There's as much reason to load it up as any of the other basic movements. Note: this does not mean everyone needs to squat 200kg for their health. But they also don't need to deadlift 200kg for their health, or do a TGU with a 40kg bell. It's just cool. But inasmuch as we need to load any of the movements, we need to load the squat.

Now here's the thing. When we make the squat stronger, the deadlift and TGUs get stronger even without training them at all. The reverse is not true. Now, obviously if you train the squat and train DL/TGU, the DL/TGU get stronger still. But simply training the squat makes other things better.

If you teach an older person to squat, you give them their life back. And yes, load makes a difference, I have seen this with my clients. The woman Rose in her 60s who can put her bodyweight (62kg) on the bar and squat it for reps has a better quality of life and is more able to do things outside the gym than the woman Nandita who can squat half that. In our case, Rose is now up to 85kg for a single, I don't think she's much better off than when she could do 60kg. With strength as with money or anything else there's a point of diminishing returns.
 

Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
I think I agreed with some of that in my previous posts. I do agree that, loaded or not, squatting makes you more mobile, and probably stronger, for any activity. I'm not against loading the squat either. I just only do so in a way that translates to my needs. Goblet squats, front squats, zercher squats, all seem to be a natural movement pattern. I think it all boils down to what we are debating, which seemed to get lost somewhere in the thread. I think the question was or is something similar to "can you be strong/athletic/capable without squats being a main focus in your training? Even though I agree with a lot of what you said, I still think the answer is yes. Thankfully, I think this community already agrees that squats (in one form or another) do have a place in our training, so that settles it for me.
 

rickyw

Level 7 Valued Member
I think Dan John's been around the block a few times more than the rest of us combined... If he left the squat out, he did it for a good reason. Which is interesting, because he has some very good things to say about squatting. I'm still ruminating about it all
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
@Kyle Schuant & @Rambro1*
maybe there are different needs for different groups of people. Kyle talks about the elderly, "weak" woman, while Rambro mentions his comrades, which I assume are already trained to the point that all of them have a 1x-2x bodyweight squat. I think most people on this forum fall into the latter category and that's why many of us (especially me) think that "work your deadlift, maintain your squat" is all you need.
 

Glen

Level 7 Valued Member
Its weird that most powerlifters i encounter seem to be of the opposite opinion - train the squat and the deadlift progresses. It's always an interesting debate between which is more beneficial - a squat or a hinge pattern.

For me with short limbs long torso i love the squat and cant imagine not performing it regularly. At present has been my longest stint ever without back squatting - just about psychologically dealing with it through KB front squats and the deep recieving position of a barbell clean but its not the same!
 

banzaiengr

Level 7 Valued Member
This is a great conversation, gets into something Perry Rader told me many years ago. He always pushed the squat and then added, "deadlift from time to time". There is no doubt that both lifts can arguably put tremendous strain on the the body and CNS. Let's assume for now that the deadlift done correctly has many benefits in the real world. Now lets take a look at what's been said about the squat.

You rarely have something on your back and then lift it. This is very true, and I would add that there is good reason for that. Placing a bar loaded with anything over body weight on the cervical vertebrae is a bit peculiar. @rickyw what are your thoughts on that?

@Kyle Sichuan brings up a very good point though, try increasing the deadlift without squatting. It can be done I suppose, personally I've never heard of anyone using the front or zercher squats to increase the DL.

Mr. Rader was a big proponent of 20 rep squats and there is a lot of debate if they are the answer to getting big that many claim. But obviously they would be done with less weight than a 5 or even 8 rep set so that may be a plus when considering the amount of weight on the neck. If we use high rep back squats and cycle them with heavy deadlifts, could this be an answer for including both movements and getting the benefits from both?

Just a thought, I think Mr. Johns comments were if you could only do three what would you do. I don't believe he was meaning don't squat. Or for that matter don't do the turkish get-up. I would be interested in if high rep squats would benefit carries by building "that" kind of endurance. Say carrying a given weight 100 yd. rather than 30. And again, personally I've never heard of a strongman doing high rep squats. On the other hand you don't hear about trainees doing high rep squats generally now days.
 
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Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
I don't doubt the validity of all those primal movement patterns.

The example I shared was that, in my personal and professional life, I see the three movements mentioned by Dan John, more than I do the squat. Im not saying they are better, but seem to be more default patterns when trying to move awkward weight in an unconventional environment (i.e. Everywhere but the gym).

I assume I am unlike most people in the strength community, which seems more relevant as this thread continues. Instead of wanting to endlessly get stronger, I just want to be strong enough to do what I need to do in my personal and professional life. I'm not saying people shouldn't continue to seek strength, if it works for them, but I don't seem to need it. I don't lift heavy in any of the "big lifts". I can't afford to get hurt, or to be too sore to "suit up" and "punch in" when it's time to go to work. A slightly modified S&S does that for me.

I seem to recall something about it being vain to do more than what is needed (not an exact quote). I have found this minimalist approach to operational readiness, simple (not easy), time efficient, and it continues to keep me in the game. I wish the same for all of you.

Strength and Honor
 

banzaiengr

Level 7 Valued Member
I don't doubt the validity of all those primal movement patterns.

The example I shared was that, in my personal and professional life, I see the three movements mentioned by Dan John, more than I do the squat. Im not saying they are better, but seem to be more default patterns when trying to move awkward weight in an unconventional environment (i.e. Everywhere but the gym).

I assume I am unlike most people in the strength community, which seems more relevant as this thread continues. Instead of wanting to endlessly get stronger, I just want to be strong enough to do what I need to do in my personal and professional life. I'm not saying people shouldn't continue to seek strength, if it works for them, but I don't seem to need it. I don't lift heavy in any of the "big lifts". I can't afford to get hurt, or to be too sore to "suit up" and "punch in" when it's time to go to work. A slightly modified S&S does that for me.

I seem to recall something about it being vain to do more than what is needed (not an exact quote). I have found this minimalist approach to operational readiness, simple (not easy), time efficient, and it continues to keep me in the game. I wish the same for all of you.

Strength and Honor
I don't doubt that you are using S&S the way it was meant to be used. S&S is meant to be the best thing you can do in the least amount of time to keep yourself ready for what life throws at you. I would question your need to seek greater strength though? JMHO Who couldn't use more strength? Whether it's the ability to do 18 pull-ups in full tac gear rather than 10 or whatever.

No one wants to get hurt and no one should when training if done correctly and in a smart manner. But as they say, boys will be boys and we all like a good challenge now and then.

Another gentleman on this forum has similar interests as you do and has great success with Al Ciampa's snatch protocol. I would offer to you to message @Miguel and ask him a few questions about how this has improved his training.
 

rickyw

Level 7 Valued Member
Placing a bar loaded with anything over body weight on the cervical vertebrae is a bit peculiar. @rickyw what are your thoughts on that?
My only experience with it was with an Oly lifter colleague of mine who was always sore (not muscle sore, but sore over the vertebra) in that area when he would do high volume and fairly heavy back squats. He was always wanting that area treated. But that kind of comes with the territory-there's a lot of pressure across the cervicothoracic junction with that style of squat. I don't have any solid data saying it is detrimental to that region of the spine though.
 

Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
Thank you. I will check into that. I don't think it is that I'm against getting stronger, it's just that I have specific needs, and tight time requirements. I also can't afford to get injured or incapable of doing what needs to get done. Don't get me wrong...I have chased numbers, and am tempted by getting stronger. In addition to that, my interest sometimes wanes, and I try something new. But in the end, I always seem to end up back with what I'm doing, and it's performance based.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
The opposing concept of squat everyday produces some disciples too - not always back squatting though. Places like Westside don't deadlift much at all while producing great DL numbers. I feel that squatting will help your deadlift but deadlifting won't help your squat equally. Front squat # is usually the limiting factor for oly lifters too. If you can get it out of the hole, you can usually clean it. I think deadlifting is a lift that is really easy to put more weight on the bar than you should. Too many people let their ego get involved and let their hips come up before their shoulders. Squatting is bit more self-modulating.

Lift Big Eat Big had a program that used "picks" or deadlifts for reps to start their farmers. Doing so almost gets a person down to famer carries accomplishing almost everything for you. Doing the same thing with overhead presses for reps directly into an overhead carry would seem to do the rest.

Unilateral carries of any kind (including TGU) are the movement that I believe prevents injuries more than anything because they strengthen stabilizing muscles - like waterskiing.

If I had to limit myself to 3 movements to become really powerful: Clean & Jerk, Front Squat, Famer Carry. KB only: TGU, Swing ;-)
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
The squat and the deadlift use the same muscles. I don't know how people can say they do not assist one another.
 

Miguel

Level 5 Valued Member
Thank you. I will check into that. I don't think it is that I'm against getting stronger, it's just that I have specific needs, and tight time requirements. I also can't afford to get injured or incapable of doing what needs to get done. Don't get me wrong...I have chased numbers, and am tempted by getting stronger. In addition to that, my interest sometimes wanes, and I try something new. But in the end, I always seem to end up back with what I'm doing, and it's performance based.
Sir,

What are you chasing? You mention "strong enough", what defines that for you? (Disclaimer, I did not read OP from the beginning) Based on what performance?
 

Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
Miguel,

Thanks for your interest. That is a big question with a myriad of debatable answers. Because you took the time to ask, I will try to summarize in two parts without being unnecessarily specific.

First, to be able bodied enough to move freely and be a useful active person. One who can jump into an adhoc physical event competitively, be useful in whatever tasks come about in day to day life, and to at least appear to be the superhero my kids think I am (even if I have to hide the pain and soreness later ).

Second, to fulfill the oath I swore to the community I serve. I wear two hats at my job, and both require different levels of dedication and preparation. When people call, they want "Superman" not "Clark Kent" to show up, and I do all I can, to be that salvation when hope seems lost to those in need. To be fleet of foot, competent physically, and to never give up. To have enough of a "cardio" engine, physical strength, and mental fortitude, to show up everyday and be ready for the unknown. To move effectively and purposely in a constantly evolving environment, wearing up to 50 pounds of gear, and carrying additional loads of varying weight/distribution, sometimes for days straight, sleep deprived, and in less than optimal positions and conditions. To do this leading from the front, never showing fear, weakness, or fatigue to the men I ask to follow and trust me.

Depending on who you are, this explanation either says everything or nothing. I want to clarify that I was not vague in my answer to be insulting or belittling to anyone. I also did not intentionally romanticize my job to make it sound better than what anyone else may do. Far from it. The truth is that I respect those in this community immensely, and wouldn't be here if I didn't. I have never been part of a blog or anything else before, and only committed to this because of my belief in what Strongfirst is doing. I could have tried to sum it up in one line, but it would not have really explained how I interpret my needs, which is important. The cover of a book never fully reveals the content within.

The truth is that I don't know how to explain my needs in any other way. I have to always be ready for what I don't know will be required. I can't let age, injury accumulation, fatigue, soreness, fear, time constraints, or anything else be a limiting factor or excuse. I'm sure there are lots of options to approach this, and I'm not against any of them. I just have found a consistent meeting of my needs using a modified S&S, and have shared that in hopes it might help someone else find what I have found. I am a glass half full, and try to be better every day. If anyone has any input or protocols to recommend/add, I'm always open and appreciative. Thank you.

Strength and Honor to all of you
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I assume I am unlike most people in the strength community, which seems more relevant as this thread continues. Instead of wanting to endlessly get stronger, I just want to be strong enough to do what I need to do in my personal and professional life.
I appreciate your point of view. My career doesn't require nearly what yours does in the way of strength and endurance, yet I find there is much to be gained by being stronger than I would be if I didn't pursue strength.

I'm not saying people shouldn't continue to seek strength, if it works for them, but I don't seem to need it. I don't lift heavy in any of the "big lifts". I can't afford to get hurt, or to be too sore to "suit up" and "punch in" when it's time to go to work. A slightly modified S&S does that for me.
Indeed, it sounds like you've found what works for you. I find, as the years wear on, I tend to rotate through a series of basic strength tasks, which I do pursue to achieve bigger numbers because that pursuit keeps my training focused and because I also really enjoy it. E.g., I did a good-for-me-deadlift almost two years ago at a meet, but then put it away for a while, and when I came back, I wasn't as strong, so I'm off in pursuit of my number from two years ago and, hopefully, more than that.

I seem to recall something about it being vain to do more than what is needed (not an exact quote). I have found this minimalist approach to operational readiness, simple (not easy), time efficient, and it continues to keep me in the game. I wish the same for all of you.
There is need, and there is hobby/enjoyment, and often a big grey area in between. For someone whose strength and endurance is a job requirement, I agree with you - it would be not only vain, but likely raise your risk of injury to do more than you need, and an injury could prevent you from doing the job you were trying to get strong for in the first place, and that makes no sense at all.

Strength and Honor
Two words by which I try to live my life - I wish the same to you and to everyone here, and thank you for serving the common good.

-S-
 

tangozero

Level 6 Valued Member
Great discussion. I love squats and deadlifts. But you don't train squats just so you can lift something heavy on your back in real life mimicking the movement, you train squats to strengthen all the muscles and structures that a squat improves. It has far more carryover than throwing something on your back and lifting it up and down. For example, if you ruck march, you're using muscles and structures that squatting will strengthen.

Saying squats don't carry over to real life movements is like saying I don't need to swing kettlebells because in real life I never stand in one spot swinging a hunk of metal up and down.
 

Rambro1*

Level 2 Valued Member
I agree that squatting, including back squats, can make all your other movements stronger, even if isn't as often a default used pattern outside the gym. I agree that when training, your movements don't need to replicate actual activities.

Addressing what helps improve performance, I personally have found that things like Spider-Man crawling, TGU, pallof presses, stir the pot, rkc planks, and the full contact twist have made the biggest difference in performance all around. I think it all boils down to learning how to brace and transfer energy through the core. Doesn't matter how strong your hips, legs, or shoulder girdle are, if you can't effectively transfer it through the center. Once you learn to brace, then things like the squat really become effective at improving performance.
 
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