Easy strength


Have any of you tried Dan John/Pavel Tsatsouline easy strength program or 40 workout strength challenge?

One of my friends (master athlete) had a ton of success with it and had nothing but great things to say about it.

Here are the rules of Easy Strength

Use a limited number of “big bang” exercises (deadlifts, squats, presses; powerlifting 101)
Lift 2-3 times a week
Keep reps between 1-5 emphasizing doubles and triples
Keep the volume around 10 reps or 6 when using singles (that’s total reps for the exercise)
Rest approx. 5 minutes between sets (practice fast and loose drills)
Train in the 80%-95% 1RM intensity zone (always leave 1-2 reps in the tank)
Go for a PR, single rep, when feeling exceptionally strong but stop short of an all-out max (always back off for at least 2 weeks following)
Vary intensity every workout
Don’t stop strength training in season but rather reduce volume by 2/3’s to ½
Finish your workout feeling stronger than when you started

While I didn’t follow this specific workout, I’ve lifted like this with success for a while now. I basically combine Charlie’s guiding principles for vertical integration and his approach to speed training with Barry Ross’s lifting approach. When I’ve ventured off that lifting approach, I got into trouble. Barry simply advised the following:

Aim for 10 total reps for an exercise. Never do more than 5 reps in a set. Rest 5 minutes between sets. Do 1 set of plyos (box jumps) between sets. Lift 2-3x per week. Continue to push your virtual max. The two lifts are deadlift and bench.

The workout you posted above looks damn near identical. When did they come up with it?

Why do I like this approach? I never am sore the next day. It teaches me intense focus (deadlifting 90% of max means you can’t be mentally off). It’s quick to get in. You don’t need a bunch of goofy equipment; every gym has the necessary stuff. You hit 95% of skeletal muscle with these two lifts. You can measure your output.

I actually end up feeling looser after an intense deadlift session. It’s as if it wakes up my nervous system and allows more ROM. I’ve also done the lifting before speed workouts in past. In fact, my 30m block PR came after attacking triples in the deadlift.

I will do something similar in the near future.

Sounds good.

I’m basing my lifting around these principles. When the forums were active, I had a conversation with PJ and his advice to me at that time was very similar.

  1. Use no more than 15 reps per exercises including warm-ups.
  2. Your gains won’t come from increasing max strength since your numbers are very high for a sprinter. You can work within 80-100% range but few reps give priority to sprints and stay lean!
    So far, I have felt great. Feels good getting up every morning and having fresh legs!! My legs are never fatigue and every single-track session feels good. The squats were becoming too fatiguing and it wasn’t fun squatting 400lbs etc. after sprinting. I notice in gpp that my deadlifts strength wasn’t impacted much from the speed sessions, but the squats felt the complete opposite. Wasn’t any great coaching by me - I stumble onto using deadlifts because of the bone bruise in my right knee from crashing into a weightlifting bar it was my only option for a solid lower body stimulus.

The original Dan John paper describes a protocol of using the same lifts for 5 consecutive days per week for 8 weeks. Leading to gains in those lifts of between about 10% and 14%.
If you do anything 5 days per week on an extended basis you will get better, if you dont get injured. Especially if you are measuring performance improvements for those specific movements. Neither does it measure transference to other sports such as sprinting. And with 5 days per week you have no time to sprint, play basketball or whatever.
A proper study would compare it with doing say 3 days per week of 5-3-1 method, or Texas method etc.
So the typical mistake as with many sports studies of no comparisons or controls.

Nevertheless, the variants as described by RB and Actuary make much more sense to me. But IMO they are fundmentaly different in the values/frequencies.

By the way, I once saw a video of DJ doing some kind of dynamic strength work (kettlebell ?). Sure he is very strong but he just looked like an overweight neanderthal trying to learn aerobics steps. Not the way you want to end up in late middle age.

Couple points - This is from Dan John regarding the squat. I think I have been more than candid that focusing on the squat was the biggest mistake in my career.

I think with anything even Charlie programs you need to take the general program and make the necessary changes for your sport and athletes. I may be wrong, but I think the same lifts over 5 days was part of a 40-day challenge. https://www.t-nation.com/training/40...ngth-challenge

This is another article - https://medium.com/@danjohn84123/a-s...m-79c7a2970cc8


Most of Barry Ross and Dan John work seem to be from Pavel Tsatsoulines training which utilizes the “Grease The Groove” principle of training a lift fairly frequently with low volume for pure relative strength increases.

What’s your thoughts on these articles? I think most of Dan stuff is for people looking for general strength etc. but could be useful to athletes.