Does Easy Strength make all other programs obsolete??

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
his posts are excellent and filled with knowledge!
I agree, but...

@Steve Freides SF needs to hire @kennycro@@aol.com as an article writer ASAP,
The articles put out by StrongFirst (rightly, in my opinion) explain and promote the StrongFirst system. Consistency in the approach, method, and resources is important for any "school of strength." Kenny's approach and knowledge is much more broad and varied. Not saying it's conflicting or contradictory or anything else negative, just that it's generally not very aligned with the StrongFirst method. My observation...
 

KIWI5

More than 300 posts
There is a simple reason why I can now press the 24kg KB- despite having not trained this move for some time, the reason is that I have become stronger. Before I started my easy strength cycle I loaded up 32kg on a dumbbell and tried a suitcase carry. I didn't get far and wow did it feel heavy. I can now farmers carry 32kg in each hand for around 45 seconds. I am up to chapter 7 in the kindle book of E.asy Strength and everything is starting to make sense in respects to why the Easy Strength program is so amazing. Kenny Croxdale has been providing some outstanding information on muscular adaption so I am developing a much better understanding of how to program my training. A couple more days of testing then back for the final two weeks of this cycle of Easy Strength . I'm not loving the snatch grip rack pull- but my posture and rhomboids are! My next cycle of Easy Strength is going to have some awesome lifts....the 'squat stance deadlift' is one of them (thanks Kenny Croxdale for the heads up on this kick axe movement!) and I'm bringin in the OS crawl. Speaking of Original Strength- 15 minutes of OS resets along with arm bars, pumps and prying squats - done almost every morning- has been a vital part of my progress.
 

KIWI5

More than 300 posts
Looking back on my notes from week 3, I originally planned to do a few cycles of Wendlers 5/3/1 after Easy Strength. But this made no sense- why would I want to do things the hard way?

Why choose Difficult, when you can do Easy?
So I will 'keep on keeping on' (as Dan John says) with Easy Strength. For me, this program does render all other strength programs obsolete.
 

Denny Phillips

Triple-Digit Post Count
Looking back on my notes from week 3, I originally planned to do a few cycles of Wendlers 5/3/1 after Easy Strength. But this made no sense- why would I want to do things the hard way?

Dan John himself has recommended going on a cycle of Wendler's 5/3/1 after completing ES. I have done just that and liked it, but it is more time-intensive than ES. Because of that I opted for cycles of "Dry Fighting Weight" as one of the alternatives between cycles of ES.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
When I think about the daily training programming of Easy Strength- my thoughts turn to some of the strongest and best conditioned guys I meet. I am referring to some of the guys I know who work in forestry and fencing jobs (this would apply to many other physical professions as well!). They engage in daily, sub maximal lifting. Their strength training varies through the loaded carries, low rep heavy lifting, explosive movements and constant aerobic activity- rarely going into the Crossfit 'MetCon' zone. Zero 'gym' time, and yet their strength and conditioning is outstanding. My job does not provide this sort of training so 'Easy Strength' programming is the next best thing. Funny thing- all the aforementioned lads never seem to get 'weaker' despite 'lifting' the same weights year in and year out.....I loved reading 'Rock Iron Steel', there were many fantastic tales of some seriously tough hombres- all who worked at heavy lifting activities on a daily basis. Great stuff.
Another thing many have in common is the use of partial ROM movements, isometric or static holds, virtually everything done with feet on the ground or one knee down.

One of the toughest physical jobs i used to have was working night stock for a large grocery chain (Wegmans). In those days they hadn't standardized their logistics across every store, so a handful of people had to literally break down an entire tractor-trailer of dry stock and arrange it by isle.Bigger stores would have multiple trailers per.

A skid would be pulled to the center of a 20-25 foot circle and two guys would start pulling cases, calling out the isle and throwing them to catchers who are jogging around putting them on pallets and runners. The catchers would spell the throwers as they wore out. This was a full-bore, dew rag, no shirt metcon that might last an hour or more if the full complement wasn't on hand. Case weights average around 15-20 lbs. And then you have to stock the place, with much lighter loads obviously, but still at a frenetic pace (determined by veteran employees timed per case in a controlled environment). Your performance was then graded on an average of your case count % vs the ideal.

Despite virtually every person on the crew being a smoker, drinker, lousy diet, every one was in great shape. Amazing grip strength and dexterity.
 

KIWI5

More than 300 posts
While I would love to just run Easy Strength for ever-more, I do need to focus on some other qualities- so after this next cycle of Easy Strength a KB focused strength endurance cycle would be good- Denny Phillip's suggestion of 'Dry Fighting Weight' is a solid suggestion. I ran this program last year and had some great fun with it, but I'm thinking of reading back through all my Neupert and Gutierrez material and trying something new- yup, before summer fully kicks in and my wood chopping chores come due- I should focus on work capacity. Meanwhile, another fantastic month of Easy Strength lays ahead.
 

Bill Been

More than 500 posts
Aaaaand here comes Bill Been to rain on everybody's parade.

What you're experiencing is the Novice Effect which in a nutshell means anything an untrained human does serves as an adequate stress to disrupt homeostasis and create an adaptation. You are rightly enthusiastic about the possibilities contained in your newly increased strength. But the undeniable utility of increased strength does not speak to the effectiveness of the program used to develop it. You also provided a nice example of why I keep insisting that "strength is a general adaptation" that need not be developed in stances and postures that mimic the expression of that strength later on, either on the field or in life. You got stronger in a general, broad way - and it made you stronger at the press without specifically training the press.

One implication of being able to increase your press without pressing is that provides pretty convincing evidence that you need a general strength program. After such a program - one that methodically extracts all the Novice gains - you no longer experience a stronger press by squatting or deadlifting. Your press now must be trained and if you decided to pause your Press training to focus on something else, your press will detrain and in my personal experience it will detrain rapidly and fairly profoundly much to my displeasure. Anyhow, this is all a very long-winded way to say that, yes Easy Strength "works" but it's a very long way from that admission to "makes all other strength programs obsolete" because your progress is actually fairly modest compared to what's available to you. If you really examine the concepts behind Easy Strength through the lens of adaptive physiology, you can better place it on the spectrum of training approaches and use it when it's appropriate. My personal opinion is that it might be applicable to already-very-strong guys and gals who lift competitively and like to take a bit of a break from the stringently-programmed workouts that have comprised the preparation for a recent meet. They have another series of such specialized programming coming up in 6-8 weeks and don't want to detrain nor do they want to be super strict in the gym. It might also be a decent program to do as the competitive season approaches, and an athlete needs to work on a bit more conditioning than his strength program supports. He could condition and use ES to keep his strength level high and even allow some residual fatigue to subside and PR a lift or two.

The Novice Phase is a wonderful place, full of continual PRs, very simple programming, and carte blanche to eat like it's your job as you grow to the size you should be. But the fact that almost anything works to one degree or another camouflages everything from really awful crud to programming that "works", but not nearly as well as something designed to systematically exploit the Novice Effect and which might be more appropriate at some other time.
 
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vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
I recently read the emails between Dan John and Pavel discussing and testing the original concept before the book. I don’t think those were novice gains, since I don’t think Dan John was a novice.
 

KIWI5

More than 300 posts
Interesting theory Bill- I'll take the gainz any way I can! Whether I am the correct specimen to base the effectiveness of the Easy Strength program is an interesting topic- you'd have to know my full training history to understand whether I was still in the novice phase or not. Having said that, going back to Easy Strength (and the other ES style programs like Justa Singles, Daily Dose Deadlift, etc)- the daily, sub maximal lifting programs almost always produce solid results. And with so little effort! You could just do Easy Strength '4 ever' with easy Maff aerobic supplemental training and end up being a beast....
 
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