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Easy Strength

How to Get a Lot Stronger Than Your Competition—And Dominate in Your Sport

By Pavel and Dan John

288 pages. PDF eBook

Read Easy Strength foreword by John Du Cane
About Pavel
About Dan John

Listen to the Easy Strength Secrets Teleseminar with Pavel & Dan here
Read the Transcript of the Teleseminar here

Pavel and Dan John’s landmark Easy Strength delves deeply into the role and impact of strength training in fitness, sports, and life. Whatever your chosen physical activity and whoever you are, there are proven methods that can get you and your athletes to their goals faster and more effectively.

For too long, sports strength training was just bastardized bodybuilding, power lifting, Olympic lifting or more recently— strongman training. This book goes a long way in revolutionizing the way the modern coach should be approaching sports conditioning.

You'll gain an incredible amount of insight for training beginner to elite athletes, and you'll discover the tricks for knowing when it’s overwhelming their capacity. Plus, there's a lifetime worth of sample training regimens divided into the 4 quadrants of physical activity.

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How To Look Like Tarzan, Play Like Tarzan—

And Win Like Tarzan

What It Takes to Stack the Strength-Deck in Your Favor

"If football were played in the weight room or on the track, I could guarantee that each year, the team that won the championship would NOT be the team that won on the field of play. And that is absolutely true in every sport and every game. It’s a rare track meet that you don’t hear someone rhapsodize about training numbers and then see him or her lose badly. In football, we have a phrase for this: ‘Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.’ —Dan John

Pavel and Dan John’s landmark 3-Day Easy Strength seminar delves deeply into the role and impact of strength training in fitness, sports, and life. Whatever your chosen physical activity and whoever you are, there are proven methods that can get your to whole goal faster and more effectively. Discover those performance secrets within Easy Strength—and begin to look, play and win like Tarzan…


What can you expect from reading this book? 

•  You will learn some history. You will discover that almost everything discussed in the fitness industry has been done before—and often better.

•  You will reexamine the role of strength training as it applies to sport. Doing so may serve as the greatest timesaver in history!

• You will find that, like a medical doctor, a strength coach must be committed above all to ‘Do no harm’—a pledge that’s often disregarded.

• You will be exposed to the concept of systematic education and the need to build an athlete (or anyone!) using some kind of intelligent approach.

• You will be exposed to another educational system—along with a way to harness its powers—that will give you clarity into all the various fitness, health, and nutritional information being tossed at you daily.

• You will discover the tools for teaching an entire team to improve in a sport—and why these great tools may be of no value to you in your training!

• You will be exposed to what the best in sports do in the weight room, and you will discover why it will apply to everything you decide to do.

• You will learn many of the ‘champion’s secrets’ and be amazed at the simplicity, as well as the insightfulness, of what the best do. "

• How to program and organize group strength workouts"

—Dan John, from the preface to Easy Strength.


Advance Praise for Pavel and Dan John’s
Easy Strength:


"Easy Strength is one of the best books on strength training for sport that I've ever read (and trust me, I've read them ALL). To be fair—it's unfair to characterize Easy Strength as a ‘strength training for sport’ book. It's way more than that. It'll go down as one of the best fitness and conditioning books period.

For too long, sports strength training was just bastardized bodybuilding, powerlifting, olympic lifting or more recently— strongman training. This book goes a long way in revolutionizing the way the modern coach should be approaching sports conditioning.

The section on the 4 quadrants alone is worth your entire investment. It will really help ‘laserbeam focus’ your programming for your athletes."

—Alwyn Cosgrove, author of The New Rules of Lifting series

"Our most quoted teachers do not seek to dazzle us with their complexity. The great ones use their position to promote understanding and communication of complex material simply and easily. Easy Strength is just that kind of work and Pavel and Dan are those kinds of teachers. They provide useable examples and fundamental simplicity.

Both men are athletes, coaches, experts, and both ask the most fundamental question of a leader: They do not ask what is our role? They ask what is our impact on the people who depend on us?

The difference makers always dispense with titles and focus on results. Easy Strength is not simply a position statement about fundamentals. It is a step-by-step lesson on how, when and why to use them!"

—Gray Cook, author of Movement, co-founder of FMS

"I am currently reading Easy Strength for the second time. It is absolutely brilliant in its approach to the varying levels of athletes, as a coach for Q3 and Q4 athletes it should be read by every elite level strength coach handling that level of athlete. I am making my entire staff read the book when I am finished."

—Stan Kellers, Assistant Coach of Strength and Conditioning, Cleveland Cavaliers

"I made the mistake of cracking open my review copy of Easy Strength at 11pm last night. It grabbed me from the first page and the next thing I knew I had pulled an all-nighter finishing the book in one sitting. Not a common thing in a strength book! It is that good. Easy Strength is a work of art and sure to be a classic go-to book for the modern coach. The pages are so full of gold you should consider changing the title to El Dorado."

—Jon Engum, Senior RKC, Grandmaster, 7th Degree Black Belt, Taekwondo 


"Easy Strength is difficult to stop reading because it paves a shorter, smoother path to physical prowess by giving the athlete room to develop. It’s too easy to smother growth and potential. That’s a lesson most coaches take decades to learn, if they learn it at all. The four quadrants that Pavel and Dan outline help you quickly determine which range of training qualities are ideal for any athlete. In most cases, that range is much narrower than you think.

You’ll learn that doing a little bit of everything is a recipe for failure as you reach and require higher levels of performance. The authors effectively strip away the complexities of training that were made from novice coaches who constantly pushed their athletes to the brink.

You’ll gain an incredible amount of insight for training beginner to elite athletes, and you’ll discover the tricks for knowing when it’s overwhelming their capacity. Plus, there’s a lifetime worth of sample training regimens that give the muscles and nerves just enough of what they need. As this book so eloquently states, ‘we should coax gains, not force them.’ Kudos to Pavel and Dan for elucidating this often forgotten fact of physical development."

—Chad Waterbury, neurophysiologist, author of Huge in a Hurry

"A fascinating book that challenges many established ideas about strength and power training for athletes. Must reading for champions, champions to be, and those who coach and train them."

—Brooks Kubik, author of Dinosaur Training

"While this book has broad applicability for every fitness adherent regardless of age, sex or degree of fitness, when I read Easy Strength my mind kept honing in on the young up-and-comers: what a spectacular learning tool this book is for the young athlete. This is the best single book imaginable for the apprentice athlete looking to excel within their chosen sport.

Regardless the sport and regardless the young athlete’s current condition, capacity or capabilities, reading, absorbing and applying the strategies contained in Easy Strength will result in improvement in every aspect of the athletic equation. My feeling is that the integration of disciplines in Easy Strength is its strongest attribute: blending disciplines in a balanced, realistic, effective way is the highest expression of the art and science of performance improvement.

My highest recommendation."

—Marty Gallagher, author of The Purposeful Primitive, 3-Time World Master Powerlifting Champion, former columnist for 


"I found Pavel and Dan's Easy Strength to be a very worthwhile endeavor. ‘Do no harm’ is very much in line with our methods (‘Do all that's necessary, not all that's possible’) wherein we have not had a single injury for the last 6 years which includes thousands of workouts. I will do my very best to promote Easy Strength not just because of its authors but because it is necessary for anyone who needs to be stronger for a purpose!

—Barry Ross, author of Underground Secrets to Faster Running

"This book kicks some SERIOUS ass!! Pavel and Dan put together a simple to understand and easy to apply training regime for athletes and for those of us who want to train AND perform like athletes.

I've seen MANY books based completely on the science of training athletes, but from my own experience, when you train athletes in the real world you need to learn how to tweak science.

Easy Strength is what I see as the blend of science, real world experience and application blended together in an easily understood manner without needing a PhD. to understand what you're reading.

You just can't go wrong when reading what Dan and Pavel put together."

—Zach Even-Esh, Founder, Underground Strength Gym

"Easy Strength by Pavel and Dan John is full of information on how to become a better athlete. How? By learning how to train optimally."

—Louie Simmons, Founder of Westside Barbell

"If you could sit at a table with two of the smartest, most experienced and most respected names in strength and listen in on their conversation, would you do it? What if they were also two of the best communicators, men who are known for taking complex info and distilling it down into easily-digestible, family-sized portions? I have had the good fortune of being able to do that very thing on more than one occasion and Easy Strength often reads like someone transcribed one of these conversations.

Pavel and Dan open up on the subject of strength, why it is important and how to develop it. This book is a wealth of information for anyone interested in getting stronger."

—David Whitley, Master RKC Instructor

Karen Smith, Senior RKC used Easy Strength techniques to successfully complete the Iron Maiden Challenge:


Preface: Not the ROLE of the Strength Coach but the IMPACT! ix
Chapter 1: The Continuums and the Quadrants 1

QI: Lots of Qualities at a Low Level of Relative Max 4
QII: Lots of Qualities at a High Level of Relative Max 215
QIII: Few Qualities at a Low or Moderate Level of Relative Max 32
QIV: Few (or One) Qualities at the Highest Level of Relative Max 50
Kettlebell Exercises and Programs (and a Few Other Things) in Quadrants 56
Barbell Moves (and a Few Other Things) in Quadrants 57

Chapter 2 Where Are You? How Do You Measure Up? 59

Clue Number 1 62
Clue Number 2 63
Clue Number 3 64

Chapter 3 The Magic of Easy Strength and Realistic Reps 73

Ten Rules of Thumb for Easy Strength Training 86
How Even Easier Strength Training Differs from Easy Strength 95
Principle 1: The Whole-Body Movements and the "Rule of 10" 106
Principle 2: Grinding Lifts and "Three Ladders and Three Rungs" 109
Principle 3: The Explosive Lifts and the "Fast 10 and 20" 110

Chapter 4 Plyometrics—Demystified. Heavy Lifting—Acquitted. 119

Chapter 5 Armor Building, or the "Elephant in the Room" 133

Fat Loss 137
Hypertrophy 137
Element 1: The Basic Strength Program 153
Element 2: The High-Rep Back Squat 154
Element 3: The Complexes 155
Nutrition and Other Factors 156

Chapter 6 Specificity Demystified 159

Train "Same but Different" 161
The "What the Hell?" Effect 169
Specific Training for Characteristics of Movement 175
Other Hardstyle Drills 185
Short-Term Muscle Memory and the Complex Method 197 Types of Complexes 198
Variable Practice 201

Chapter 7 Strength Training Planning 207

Chapter 8 Learning Your Lessons 239

Everything Old Is New Again 239
Mining Your Journal 241
The AIT Formula 243
On Winning and Losing 244
The Rules

Read Reviews For: Easy Strength (eBook)
9.71 out of 10 (65 reviews)
Rated 10/10 Apply this information or lose to someone who does
By Jeff O'Connor / Talala, USA

My 2nd reading of "Easy Strength" confirms the impression I had after the first. Every athlete should be required to read it. Every coach should be tested on it. This is the best information ever put in print for the real nuts and bolts of how to strength train an athlete. Pavel and Dan John are two of the best communicators in the industry. They are also, two of the most knowledgeable coaches ever. The education and experience shared by them will shorten the learning curve of anyone that applies it.

By David Stephens / Jacksonville, United States

I've been involved in the weightlifting, strength training, and bodybuilding game for 26 years now. In that time I have pretty much tried it all. Working out 1 day a week to working out 6 days a week, twice a day. I've read pretty much all of the best books there are to read on strength training; including Verkhoshansky, Zatsiorsky, and almost every book available from Dragondoor. I've used Westside templates, Bulgarian Burst training (if anyone remembers that), programs from DeFranco, and on and on and on. You name it and I have probably tried it. I'm also a retired United States Marine, so I definitely know what it means to work hard.

I say all that to say this! Easy Strength is, HANDS DOWN, one of the top strength books that I have in my library. The wealth of information that is available, and the format that it is presented in, make it extremely easy to understand and apply to your own training, and the training of the athletes that you coach. It seems like some of the training recommendations would never work, based off of comparisons of traditional strength training protocols. The strange thing is, they not only work, they work EXTREMELY WELL. Me and my two training partners implemented the Even Easier Strength rep scheme, waving the weights up when we are feeling stronger, and taking it easy when we don't. And even taking it easy on days when we know we could really push it. Compared to some of the other programs that I've followed, the workouts are "easy", and we never leave the gym completely exhausted or worn-out. Our strength continues to climb on a weekly basis, and PRs are getting broken on an average of every other week to every third week. Our workouts take an average of 40-50 minutes max. It is truly an eye-opening experience.

Easy Strength has my absolute highest recommendation for anyone involved in strength training. Forget what you THINK you know about getting stronger and about training athletes. Buy this book and start implementing these principles immediately. It will be one of the best investments you will EVER make.

Rated 10/10 These Guys have a Ph.D. in Strength
By Rick Elliott, HKC / Long Beach, CA, United States

Dan John and Pavel... Wow! This book is a must read. Like Bruce Lee's philosophy of leaving what doesn't work and taking what does, this book blasts away what doesn't work in plain language without the fluff. Pavel refuses to repeat what we already know. These guys have to experience. They know what works. I was at a sticking point in my strength. This book helped me break through that brick wall that was eluding me. I'm getting ready for my RKC weekend and was worried that I wasn't going to meet the standard. I have no worries now. I was sapping my strength thinking I was doing the right thing. I found out right away what I was doing wrong in the first chapter. This book is revolutionary.

Rated 10/10 This book should change the industry
By Brett Jones, Master RKC / Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Pavel and Dan have produced a book that I feel should change the industry!
(strength and conditioning/personal training)
Breaking down the quadrants and the programming Pavel and Dan show you how to design a program for building strength - How and Why including fantastic research.

Belongs on the bookshelf (well read of course) as one of the classic and definitive strength and conditioning texts.

Rated 10/10 The New Testament of Training
By Jack Reape / DFW area. TX, USA

Just finished an "Easy Strength" slow read through and highlight last night. As much as I think of Beyond Bodybuilding, it is now moved one further out on my shelf so Easy Strength can sit side by side with Supertraning. If Supertraining is the old testament of training (acutally I would really consider it the TORAH), I now consider Easy Strength to be in the new and maybe even specifically Revelation to continue and add to the metaphor. As Chuck Missler says, "The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed". Bingo.

Rated 9/10 3rd read already and still learning more!
By Jamie Bain / Gloucester, UK

Hands down the best book I have read in the strength and conditioning domain. I will continue to reread it for the rest of my career and recommend it to everyone working as a strength coach. It has married the science from Eastern Europe with the common sense of two very experienced and successful strength coaches and is a hugely enjoyable read. Whenever you are getting frustrated with the industry pick up this book for a reminder of all things good about strength and conditioning! I really hope Dan and Pavel collaborate in this format again.

Rated 10/10 Brilliance from cover to cover!
By Brandon Hetzler / Springfield, MO, USA

"If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein

Pavel and Dan have expressed their level of mastery in the world of strength in this book. Essentially, they have removed the fluff, filler, static, and misinformation that has leaked into the world of strength training and refined all of the important information into an approach that is so simple it is brilliant. Unfortunately, this brilliance may be over looked on the first read of Easy Strength because it is such an easy approach. Rarely is complex better than simple. This book is a MUCH needed reminder of that in the world of strength training where the latest and greatest training programs often begin with "5 minute this" or "Super Secret that" but rarely produce lasting results. This book is a breath of fresh air that reminds us of what we really need to be doing to get results and more importantly gives us a system to achieve this.

Dan John could make a book on numbers fun to read and Pavel could make a book of mathematical algoithms easy to understand. They are the perfect complement to each other and make the ofter confusing, and swirling world of strength training simple to understand. Brilliant!

Rated 9/10 You won't get it...until you get it.
By Dunte Hector / Austin,TX, USA

I am re-reading Easy Strength for the fourth time in 18 months. When I first read it, I did not understand it truly. Simple rep ranges certainly meant strength, or mass, or stamina gains, as the sport science textbooks all agree, so what was special about this book?

Between the 2nd and 3rd reads, I returned to training for pure strength, being 6 years removed from powerlifting. I read EtK, Convict Conditioning, and Christopher Sommer's Building the Gymnastic Body; articles from CrossFit,, Gold Medal Bodies, and T-Nation. I hopped from program to program each six weeks. I even used Dan John's 40 Day Program (for 20 days...). I felt like there was a pattern, but I was missing it.

Then, the real genius of Easy Strength hit me. I scanned 5-3-1, read about Sandow, Aserati, and the Russian greats. And just before this 4th read, I devoured Rippetoe's Practical Programming for Strength. I noticed that the same ideas were being repeated by all the elite professionals in strength.

Oh, and since following the key ideas from 10 Rules of Thumb for my iron work for just TWO MONTHS, I am stronger than ever, more mobile, and better balanced than I have been in years.

Easy Strength set me on an incredible learning journey in the world of training. So much of my work with clients has evolved and improved since I first booted up Easy Strength on my kindle.

It took a fool, a young and naïve one, to write off this text as redundant, missing its many insights, anecdotes, and research-supported facts about the iron game. On this 4th read, I finally see how much I do not know and am excited about it.

One of your many great products, and I think I am just starting to get it.

Rated 10/10 A Systemic Education for Strength Coaches
By Anthony Donskov / Columbus, OH, USA

There are few Coaches that transcend the profession of his/her craft into the value of life and purpose. Coach Dan John fits that mold. It takes years of befriending iron, chalk, and calluses, coupled with practical application and trench training to provide fellow Coaches with a simple recipe for “Easy Strength.” Such a simple concept, but simple should not be confused with easy! Coach John brilliantly lays the foundation of decades worth of experience to provide the reader with a unique recipe, the recipe for “Easy Strength.” “Easy Strength” is filled with countless gems of information and real world experience from a Coach who’s walked the walk and blazed a path built on character, experience, passion and RESULTS! Without a doubt “Easy Strength” is one of the BEST strength and conditioning books I have read in the last ten years (post University)!

“Lift heavy, not hard”, the “Prisoners Dilemma”, “don’t major in minors”, the reverse S-curve of hypertrophy and the role of less is more are just several of the informational treasures that “Easy Strength” provides. Great Coaches and exceptional people can turn prospects into customers, and customers into evangelists. It is easy to see how much affect Coach John has had in my career as a Strength Coach! “Easy Strength” is so simple, yet so profound. It is a “must have” resource for strength coaches and personal trainers alike. Michelangelo said it best: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Anthony Donskov, MS, CSCS, PES
Donskov Strength and Conditioning, Inc.

Rated 10/10 "Why would I learn from a book on "Easy" strength?"
By Caleb Lee / Fredericksburg, United States

I have to admit, that's what I was thinking when I saw the new title Pavel and Dan put out. "Easy" strength ... that doesn't sound right. Then again, Power To The People was one of the best (and earliest) books I've read on strength training ... so I ordered it.

It was the best book I've read this year on training.

The main thrust of the book is of course "easy strength" -- almost like an extrapolation of "Greasing the groove" and all the ways that an athlete could apply that type of strength to make themselves better at their chosen sport.

Yes, Pavel and Dan like to tell stories. Yes, there are lots of different routines (like a buffet). Yes, that all makes it more enjoyable for me.

I picked up some great tips that will take my deadlift through the roof next year (High praise for me, I am already at a 3x BW Deadlift with no belt) ... and enough subject matter to keep my other lifts steadily advancing.

It's great to get a couple of guys who have been in the iron game for SO LONG ... and ... have seen it "all" when it comes to building strength and staying active.

That's the key thing I got from this book. Yes! I want it all now. Yes! I want to be super strong now. Yes! I love training balls to the wall/no pain no gain/cramp or die/etc ... but ... I also want to be strong AND mobile/healthy well into old age -- and easy strength is definitely the ticket there.

I really can't recommend this book enough. I almost used up an entire highlighter going through it just once ... let my friend borrow it to read ... and ... now I'm itching to get it back so I can go through it again (with a different color highlighter) and make more notes and plan out some more strength goals!

Do yourself a favor, get this book and get strong!

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