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Foreword to Danny Kavadlo's Strength Rules by Dan John



Return to the Strength Rules page

Foreword to Strength Rules by Dan John

Steve Martin changed comedy. In an interview with Charlie Rose, he answered the great question that plagues everyone trying to shine in the limelight:

How do you make it?

"Be so good they can’t ignore you."

Strength Rules by Danny Kavadlo, is so good you can’t ignore it. It’s minimalistic. It’s low tech. It’s simple.

It’s right.

The equipment required for this program is three-fold, and I quote: "Something to step up on," "something to hang from" and "something heavy." The emphasis in the nutrition section is almost out of my mom’s kitchen: eat real food. Supplements? Eat fish rather than fish oil.

From a laugh out loud point of view, Danny’s attempt to explain to someone about eating apples is something that would make Steve Martin chuckle. You can’t make this stuff up and anyone who has ever answered an email knows the punch-line. For clarity: eat an apple a day. It keeps the doctor away.

Like Steve Ilg, one of the least appreciated fitness coaches in the world, Kavadlo’s work always has me nodding along with a lot of "yeses" and "good points." And like Ilg, he also stops me in my tracks. Part of the Strength Rules system is to practice forgiveness and perform an act of kindness every day. If litter on the streets is bothering you, pick it up. Throw it away. The world is now a better place. You have made the community better.

This book is about true strength. The old kind of strength where heroes were people, like Beowulf and Ulysses, who protected the community first. You can feel the "judgment free zone" of his approach to coaching others. This book is about empowering yourself and others…without stepping on their heads to get to the top.

In addition, he quotes one of my heroes, St. Francis of Assisi: "Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible." True strength, becoming the best you can be, starts with what one needs to do rather than what one wants to do.

The entire work is based around free weights and calisthenics. Many have sneered at calisthenics since the advent of machines, barbells, Kettlebells, dumbbells and the army of other pieces of loaded apparatus. Yet, there is still something about moving your own body in space and across the environment.

Perhaps you bench double bodyweight, but the elbow lever and hinge dip (the Russian Dip) are going to teach you a few things about strength. I know there is a plethora of videos showing kipping pull ups and momentum-driven chin ups, but show me a plyo-pull up where you clap behind your back and I will listen to all you have to say about upper body strength.

We often ignore calisthenics because of one issue: they are really hard to do. Stop ignoring them. Stop ignoring common sense in nutrition and supplements. Stop ignoring Danny Kavadlo.

Strength Rules is so good, you can’t ignore it.

Daniel John, author, Never Let Go