A bit of moderation – making ‘dad strength’ easy

I recently read a book called Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel. It’s written primarily for strength coaches who train athletes but I found (parts at least) really interesting from a dad-that-likes-to-keep-in-shape perspective.

‘How can that be?’ you may ask. Surely an athlete and the average dad have very litttle in common? And for the most part you would be right.

One of the main principles in the book is that because the sport is an athlete’s priority, there should only be enough strength training to improve it, but not so much that it is too tiring and negatively affects the sport.

So it’s written for an audience that wants to get stronger but need to prioritise as they don’t have a lot of spare energy to recover – sound familiar?

The method of training in the book was a bit of a revelation for me – doing just enough to be effective but not so much that you are left exhausted. I made my best strength progress ever in the (very sleepless!) weeks just after having our third child, while still being left with enough energy to do the really important stuff (the dadding thing).

My main lesson here was that when some things get complex, you need to simplify something else or very quickly the wheels will fall off. For me that meant a focus on a few big items that give a lot back. Perhaps this is obvious to most people but it can be difficult to let go off something you’ve worked hard for – the temptation is to keep going as before and just add to it. But if you’re planning on maintaining a high workload and adding all of the extra joyful, but exhausting, work that a new child brings then some moderation may be a better option.

For me this has way better than the other temptation – to do stop doing it all together – and actually worked well enough to pick up again should life get harder to handle in future. It’s a keeper, and currently a bit of steal on the Amazon (link not affiliated).


2 thoughts on “A bit of moderation – making ‘dad strength’ easy

  1. Thanks very much for linking up again. That sounds really interesting and I might have to invest in the book. It reminds of a premise by the Naked Warrior. He only ever trains using 2 moves. He believes in simplicity and never working to absolute failure. The 2 moves he does are 1 arm press ups and single leg pistol squats. Each of these moves, when done correctly, require the whole body to tense and by focussing on the isometric contraction, the neuromuscular connectivity is improved, by doing a lot of reps, but spaced through the day so as never reaching failure, the body adapts to the overall load and not the individual rep range. You can progress naturally from assisted all the way to doing single leg pistol squats holding 75kg dumbbells in each hand. But the point is simplicity.

    It’s amazing how much of what you mention applies to everyday life, don’t overload yourself with too much at once, if you want to go harder at one thing ease up on another. How many of us try to do everything at once and get frustrated when we rarely succeed, whereas if we could just prioritise what requires our absolute focus and tick each thing off gradually we would succeed that much more often and be that much more content with life.

    Brilliant post, really thought provoking.

    • Glad you liked it. This book does share a lot with Naked Warrior. I keep coming back to the same way of training, maybe because between three children and a busy job I still have enough going on – too much to let rip in training.

      You make a good point about prioritising. You only have so much ‘you’ to spread around, spread it too thin and you end up being a bit shit at everything you’re doing.

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