Strength Book Club

I took a weekend away recently and decided I wasn’t going to work at all. That’s pretty tough to do when you own a business. Everyone talks about the “freedom” to “make your own schedule” and all of that. Which, don’t get me wrong, is awesome, but the downside: it’s tough to truly take time away.

I was determined though. There would be no thinking about: kettlebells, workouts, training programs, clients, marketing strategies, goals, etc. I brought my book club book and started reading on the plane. It is a really great book- the women in my book club always pick winners- and I was getting into it.

Then I got to my destination and pulled “Easy Strength” by Pavel & Dan John out of my suitcase.  I brought it in case I finished my book club book.

I mean, really. Look at this cover! How do you NOT want to devour this book right away?

Kept thinking, “Do not read it… No work this weekend… Put the book down… Walk away…” And I did walk away that night.

But then I went right back to it first thing in the morning. It was the cover that sucked me in originally. That perfectly muscular athlete, ready to sprint, with calm determination in his eyes; he seemed to embody the title over his head, “Easy Strength”.

I started reading on the deck with my nice warm cup of coffee. I was only going to read the first little bit.

Just until my coffee was finished.

But Dan John and Pavel are both such great minds in the strength world. The way the book is written, it feels like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation they’re having about their very best ideas and experiences with strength. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to stop reading any time soon. Actually, it was only page 3 and I was hooked.

That’s where Dan John explained his genius four quadrants idea. The quadrants are based on the number of qualities a sport requires (i.e. strength, speed, agility, power, vertical leap, etc.) in relation to the absolute maximum or each quality (i.e. how fast is fast enough for your sport? how strong is strong enough?).

Let me explain. We inherently know that a good 100m sprinter is fast enough to be a football running back, but does he have the lateral movement, the strength, or the size to play football? A great female miler has the endurance to last through three soccer games as a mid-fielder, but does she have the speed, the strength, or the coordination to play this team sport?  Not all sports need all qualities and that’s where the genius of the four quadrants comes in.

It’s not a bad thing that the miler is not a great soccer player. She’s a miler! She doesn’t need agility to run around in a circle. She needs speed, but in a different way than soccer players. Same goes for the sprinter- if he were to gain size to play football, it would most likely slow him down. Back to the question: what do you need for your sport?

Needless to say, I couldn’t put the book down. It was nugget after nugget of brilliant information.  And it seemed so EASY to do!  You mean you don’t have to go all out, kill yourself every workout, and feel depleted to know you’re making progress and getting results?!? That’s what the these guys have seen time and time again. Imagine being happy after a workout and feeling like you still have more to give to your training. Don’t you think you’ll be more likely to stick to it? So instead of reading over one cup of coffee, I cheated and kept getting refills because I didn’t want to stop reading!

With my bottomless cup of joe, I got through most of the book. The entire time I was reading, I was thinking, “Why can’t this be my book club book?”

And then it hit me.

Why not start a Strength Book Club?  We can read or re-read some of our favorites together, then come together after a month to talk about what we learned.

Many of my RKC buddies are already reading it, so Pavel & Dan John’s Easy Strength is the SBC (Strength Book Club) Book #1. It’s also available in eBook if you prefer that method. Even if you’ve already read it, I’d love for you to join the discussion. It’s one of the best books out there and it’ll be a great one to discuss.

Here’s how I propose we do this thing:

  • Pick a book
  • Take a month or so to read said book
  • Test out new strategies on yourself &/or your clients
  • Discuss highlights, questions, what we learned
  • Discuss what worked, what didn’t, and everything in between
  • If we need more time to discuss results we get with clients, we’ll come back and discuss at a later date

What do you think?

For the rest of the books, I’d like to steal my book club’s strategy for choosing the next book we will read. It goes like this:

  • Recommend 5 books
  • Everyone in the book club gets 2 votes
  • Vote for the 2 you’d most like to read
  • You may vote twice for the same book
  • Book with the most votes will be the next SBC book

Who’s in?

Start reading today and we’ll “discuss” via the comments section on Monday, May 7th!

Thanks for stopping by!

Iron Maiden Val, RKC, CSCS, FMS
Official DragonDoor Iron Maiden Challenge Winner


New Strength Blog

Since completing the Iron Maiden last year, I’ve been getting requests from other trainers and RKCs about my thoughts on, experiences with, and training for strength. A great deal of the questions are specifically about the Iron Maiden Challenge and how to train to complete that. Many of the other questions are more general about Women and Strength. Still others are about kettlebell technique.

I was trying to answer the technical and Iron Maiden questions in my other blog and it just wasn’t working. My Simple Strength & Fitness blog is for the majority of my clients, who are people just looking to live healthier lives every day.  I felt like I was trying to reach everyone: current clients, former clients, potential clients, RKCs, future Iron Maidens, kettlebell enthusiasts, recreational runners, and strength athletes. While trying to speak to everyone, I ended up speaking to no one. My grandmas don’t give a rats @%$ about training for the Iron Maiden and RKCs really don’t want a basic jump rope tutorial.

Enter or Val’s Strength Blog!

In this blog, I intend to talk about:

  • Getting Crazy Strong
  • Kettlebell and Lifting Technique
  • Any New Stuff I Learn
  • Things I Think Will Help You Get Crazy Strong
  • Answers to Common Questions I Get About Women and Strength

Comments, questions, and thoughts are always welcome. I will do what I can to reply in a timely manner.

Thanks for stopping by!

Iron Maiden Val, RKC, CSCS, FMS
Official DragonDoor Iron Maiden Challenge Winner