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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Product Review: Intervention

Dan John's Intervention is a lot of things. It began life as a seminar, it seems, which turned into a DVD set. Which then turned into a book. I'm sure I'm missing some steps here, but that's what seems to have happened from the outside looking in. This is a review of the book. Well, the book package. This thing is available in so many different formats that I feel the need to highlight that separtely.

Inside Dan John's Brain

Coach John describes Intervention as the culmination of the process of reverse engineering his brain. In essence, it's a system for identifying where you are in your training, where you need to be, and how to get there. That makes it sound incredibly simple...which, in a way, I guess it is. In other ways, it's very complex. Deep, even.

The book consists of 28 chapters, which explore the Intervention process, some tools that Coach John uses for applying it, and guidelines for making it work for you or your athletes. The core of the process is a series of ten questions, and five connecting principles that inform how you should respond to the answers you get to those questions. There's also information on patterning, exercise selection, a little bit of diet and nutrition advice ("eat like an adult" has got to be the simplest, best nutrition advice out there), and no small amount of philosophical life-musing along the way. One of the things I find really fascinating about Coach John's work is the way he draws upon his background in history and theology to inform his training. I've read many strength and conditioning books that made me want to train, and quite a few that made me want to read more about strength and conditioning. Dan John's books are the only ones that make me want to go read philosophy. If I finally get around to reading the Tanakh this year, it will be in no small part because of Dan John.

The ten questions and five principles serve as guidelines. They are, in a sense, a formula. Plug in the answers, apply the principles, and you will see where you need to go. Again, it sounds simple, but there's a lot of work to be done within it. One of Coach John's favorite expressions is "I said it was simple, not easy." That's a pretty good description of the Intervention process. I'm starting to work with and experiment with it, but I know it's going to take some time for me to get it nailed down.

Intervention has informed my thought processes about how I'm going to train for the next year, and will likely continue to inform them for years after that. There is a lot of good info in here.

The Physical Thing

I don't normally make a big point out of this, but the folks at On Target Publications have done such an amazing job of offering Intervention in a wide variety of formats that I need to bring it up.

Intervention is available as a print book, an ebook, a DVD, an audio book, AND a downloadable video. There's also some nice package deals. I got the one that includes the physical book, the ebook files, and the audio book. It was a nice deal, and COMPLETELY worth it. I listened to the book several times while driving my son around. I have a copy on my kindle for easy transport. I'll be marking up the physical copy, and keeping it on hand to flip through. And I looked at the PDF while writing this review.

"It's not available in a format I like" is NOT a valid excuse for not buying this book.

Who Is It For?

If you are any kind of trainer, strength coach, or educator in general, you need to read this book. The concepts and principles contained in here are gold, and applicable to anyone.

If you have been hitting the gym for months or years on end without getting anywhere, you need to read this book.

If you're a strength and conditioning junkie...well, you probably already read this book. If not, you should.

Really, I can't think of a population this book isn't suited for. MAYBE a raw beginner...if you have never exercised before, parts of this book might be overwhelming. But it also gives you a format for how to figure out where you're going...so, I guess a raw beginner could use it too.

Hell, just go read it. It's worth your time.

[If you have read it, or just want to get a taste for some of it, check out Dan John's blog and website. He's posted some sample chapters, plus a bunch of links with info on things he discusses in each chapter.]

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