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“The Secret Workout”

November 23, 2004 10:20 AM

One of my 'secrets' to training athletes is so simple that you may ignore how good it is until you try it. Really, I think improving performance comes down to two things:

1. Make it a habit. How many people have come away enthused from a workshop or clinic, then never make a single change? Why, knowing they have seen a better way, do they continue to live in their, well, bad habits? Make yourself a slave to good habits!

2. You need, as Pavel always says, to train the "same, but different." Great. How do you do it?

Hey, I've been there. If you want to be a great Olympic lifter, you need to Front Squat, Snatch, and Clean and Jerk. You want to be a great discus thrower? Throw the discus a lot. Soon, though, you get bored. Really bored. I found myself not long ago improving at a shocking rate, yet my workouts got a little, you know, just kinda, well, boring!

Well, my workouts needed variety. My mind gets bored doing the same thing, um, twice. (I got bored writing this and forgot what I was doing. Sorry.)

My answer was the 'WoR 2004' ?the ultimate 'Workout Randomizer'! Those of you who went to the recent Bootcamp in Las Vegas might recognize my invention as you may have seen it on the craps tables.

To the neophyte with an untrained eye, it looks like 'a dice'. However, those familiar with the WoR 2004 know that we only use one 'die', not both (a radical change). By simply rolling the dice each morning, I can train the "same, but different."

The Three Rolls (Is this about most guys' bellies?)

* Roll One: Lift of the Day
* Roll Two: The Program
* Roll Three: The Finisher

The First Roll: the Day's Lifts

Roll a One *Press
Roll a Two *Squat
Roll a Three *Snatch
Roll a Four *Clean (or Power Curl)
Roll a Five *Deadlift (any variation)
Roll a Six *Clean and Jerk

Certainly, you can put in your own options, but this isn't bad! Now, for the confusing part, with the first roll's lift you do the workout that you get with the second, prorgram, roll.

The Second Roll: the Program

Roll a One
Litvinov Workout.
Do eight reps with the lift, then run something. I choose 400's (one lap around the block).

Roll a Two
My favorite "secret" workout. It only takes a few minutes but you can really shoot up a couple of great lifts.

Roll a Three
3 Sets of 8 with one minute rest.
I usually do two exercises with this roll -overhead squats for three sets, rest, then front squats, that kind of thing.

Roll a Four
Max out. Not necessarily a 'max max', but a really solid top end lift.

Roll a Five
Go light, light, light here! Twenty seconds of lifting is followed by ten seconds of rest for a total of eight circuits.

Roll a Six*
The Big 55
55 reps of the lift any way you want. 55 Singles, 11 sets of five, etc. I like to pick one weight and see how quick I can do all the reps. A set of 55 may or may not be faster than 5 sets of 11!

The Third Roll: Good Old Fashioned 'Finishers' ("Gassers for Geezers!")

Roll a One
Sled sprints

Roll a Two
Sleds carrying a rock

Roll a Three
Rock runs

Roll a Four
Sleds with a heavy pack

Roll a Five
Sleds with a heavy pack carrying a rock

Roll a Six
Farmers Bars to death!

Again, make your own variations!

A WoR 2004 Day
Wake up, roll the die three times. For example, you get a three, a two, and a five.

3+2 = Snatches x 5-3-2
5 = Sleds with a heavy pack carrying a rock

The WoR 2004 provides the athlete with 216 possible workouts. Some have noticed that it is possible to have back-to-back squat workouts for example. The answer to these questions would be to do the workout as rolled and hope for the best in the long term. Others have said, "There are no rest days!" Well, every second, third or fourth day, just rest. Or, perhaps, work in your own variations that rolls of five or six are always rest days. As long as you work in some kind of 'random pattern' things will be fine.

If you are doing kettlebells only, you could easy have two rolls of the dice, for example:

The First Roll

Roll a One
One armed swings

Roll a Two
Two armed swings

Roll a Three
One armed snatches

Roll a Four
One armed cleans

Roll a Five
Turkish get-ups
Roll a Six
Figure eights

The Second Roll

Roll a One
One-arm military press

Roll a Two
Two-arm military press

Roll a Three
Front squats

Roll a Four
Bent Presses

Roll a Five

Roll a Six
Squat Jerks

Now, these are all basic kettlebell exercises, but you could easily substitute them for others. To train, roll the dice and do the workout! Certainly, these lists can go on forever if the athlete wants lots of variety.

But, don't settle for cheap substitutes! Get the original WoR 2004 directly from the editor! Send a check for $480 and get the shipping for free!

Dan John is the Diocesan Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Salt Lake City and a full-time "on-line" religious studies instructor for Columbia College of Missouri. Originally from South San Francisco, Dan came to Utah to throw the discus for Utah State University and never left. Dan has Masters degrees in history and in religious education, as well as intensive work at the American University in Cairo, University of Haifa, and Cornell. Dan has written articles for "Catechetical Update" and "Utah Historical Quarterly," as well as being a columnist for the Intermountain Catholic. Dan has been teaching for over twenty-five years.

At home, he is humbled by his lovely wife, Tiffini, whose middle name is not "long suffering" no matter how often it is repeated and his two daughters, Kelly and Lindsay. At home, Dan wins arguments with the dog, but not the cat.

Currently, Dan is ranked Number One in the world in the Highland Games, ages 45-49, broke the American Record in the Weight Pentathlon last August, holds numerous National Championships in weightlifting and throwing and maintains a full-time free internet coaching site at