the origin or mode of formation of something.
“this tale had its genesis in fireside stories”
synonyms: origin, source, root, beginning, start

If we look at the genesis of an idea or method, we can sometimes view it without addition, modification or ornamentation. The is nothing good or bad about variation or evolution. It’s not about morality, it’s just sometimes refreshing to see the beginning of thought and action.

For example, Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John wrote a book called Easy Strength. It’s a fairly large book full of thoughts, ideas, examples and explanations about the process and idea of “Easy Strength”. There is a quote by Dan John that is vivid and basically the genesis of the book, summed up in his words.

“Years ago, when I first met Pavel, he challenged me to do a “40 Day Workout.” I followed his simple instructions to a “T:”
“For the next forty workouts, pick five lifts. Do them every workout. Never miss a rep, in fact, never even get close to struggling. Go as light as you need to go and don’t go over ten reps for any of the movements in a workout. It is going to seem easy. When the weights feel light, simply add more weight.”
So, I did exactly as he said. On the 22nd workout, alone in my garage gym, I broke my lifetime best Incline Bench Press record that was 300 for a single. Without a spotter, in a frozen garage, I benched 315 for a double. All the other lifts went through the roof and I was as amazed then as I am now.”

Rather than think about the workout, I wondered where Pavel’s idea came from. Then it struck me. I was around in February 2002 at the second RKC in the frozen north. Others included Brett Jones, Mike Mahler and Rob Lawrence. Shortly afterwards a “Tactical Strength Challenge” was being organized. It would be, Pullups with a 32k ‘bell. Pistols with a 32k ‘bell. Snatches with a 32k ‘bell. The thoughts on how to train this were filling up the old Dragon Door forum on a daily basis. Brett ended up following some of the early and most basic rules. The genesis of much of what is used today.

  • Fresh But Frequent
  • Same But Different
  • Density Training
  • Breathing Ladders

How did this look on paper?

  • 5 to 6 days of training
  • Two sets, maybe three on pullups
  • Train the event, specificity
  • Low reps, sometimes higher on pullups
  • Same but different. Include variations of each drill
  • Use density and/or breathing to develop specific snatch endurance.
  • Have a plan, but be flexible

Brett’s article can be seen here –

I don’t want to mislead you. Best to read Brett’s own words.

As per Density Training, this has probably been around for many years, however the process has been solidified by Coach Ethan Reeve. This is his original post from the forum. It was saved on Brett’s blog and bears repeating here. It’s good stuff.

“To all concerned,
This may be a little different training than many are accustomed to:
I have had many types of athletes have great success increase their strength
as well as strength or power endurance doing what I term “density training”
For instance, let’s say your goal for the 2 pood kettlebell clean-n-press is to do
12 reps in a row. First, you want to use double the voume of your goal which is
24 reps. You will only do this workout twice per week. You will start out
doing 12 sets of 2 reps in 12 mins. Meaning you start a new set every 60 secs.
At first your rest periods will be about 50-55 secs. After this becomes easy to
you move to 8 sets of 3 reps in 8 mins. When this becomes easy move to 6 sets
of 4 reps in 6 mins. When this becomes easy move to 5 sets of 5 reps in
5 mins. You will notice by now your rest periods become shorter as your reps
increase. After this becomes easy move to 4 sets of 6 reps in 4 mins. When this
has become easy for you I can promise that you will be able to do the 12 reps
goal on the clean-n-press. Using this formula I have had many, many athletes
perform between 30-45 reps on chinups in a row. I had one wrestler do 600 chinups
in 63 mins., he was a 3-time state champion.While I have had many other
athletes do between 400-500 chinups in 90-120 mins. Our goal at UT Chatt.
was to have 90+% of our wrestlers do 10 sets of 10 reps on chinups in 10 mins.
We started with 20 sets of 5 in 20 mins. then working to sixes to 7’s to 8’s
to 9’s until we reached 10 sets of 10 in 10 mins. This took a period of 3
months to reach.
However, we then did the 100 reps each day throughout the season along with
our rope climbs, and 3x’s per week power cleans, front squats, rdls,
standing presses, bent rows,dips, etc.

Let’s say your goal is to do 2 pood kettlebell snatches for 40+40. The total
volume will be 80+80. Do this only twice per week. First you might do 40
sets of 2+2 in 40 mins.
When this becomes easy move to 26 sets of 3+3. Then move to 20 sets of
4+4 in 20 mins. Notice that at first your workout might only be snatches.
However, as you spend less time on the snactches you will be able to put
more lifts into your program.Then move into 16 sets of 5+5. Then 13 sets of
6+6 in 13 mins. After this becomes easy do 11 sets of 7+7, resting one minute
after completion of each set. Then work on 10 sets of 8+8, resting one mins.
after completion of each set. Once you have reached the 10’s decrease the
volume to the goal volume because now you are going for pure quality. So,
you will do 4 sets of 10+10 with one mins. break after completion of set.
Then move 4 sets of 11+11. Then to 3 sets of 12+12. Then to 3 sets of 13+13.
Once you have reached 2 sets of 20+20 WITH ONE MINS. BREAK AFTER COMPLETION OF SET
you will be very close to the 40+40 goal. My caution to you is that you will want to do
this only twice per week. It can be very taxing. Density training is basically
squeezing alot of volume into a short period of time to make it more quality.
If you have any questions, please reply!
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve”

The variation that Brett employed as I remember back to his posts of 12 years ago is a reduced volume of daily work to build more overall physical endurance.

His other method was Breathing Ladders. This was a training idea from Rob Lawrence. This quote sums it up, but the link to the article is provided as well.

“1. Do one snatch left, one snatch right, take two breaths. 
2. Do two snatches left, two snatches right, take four breaths. 
3. Do three snatches left, three snatches right, take sixth breaths. 
4. Etc. …”

The exercises, as I stated, were the Pullup, Pistol and Snatch. Brett included an upper body push. At the time it was a bench press, but I remember him using a kettlebell press or a one arm/one leg pushup to stimulate total body tension.

This workout, done 4 to 6 times per week will provide ample stimulation to the abdominal area. If you want to add anything, a few simple roll outs with the abdominal wheel or hanging leg raises will suffice. Do this at the end of the workout.

I’d suggest a back off or deload, every fourth week. You can also vary the lift and do a one armed long cycle clean and jerk if you like or even heavy swings with a thick handled kettlebell.

In Armor of War I have many variations of the single leg squat, upper body push and upper body pull. Any stage can be skipped or augmented with added weight. The weakness of body weight programs is the lack of a strong posterior chain movement. This BRETT2K2 workout takes care of that with ample snatch volume.

For a good source of pre workout mobility –

For a guide to relaxing your muscles for stretch –

And the source for body weight training, Armor of War, look no further than here –


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