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“Demon Deacon”

Challenge Workout by Dan John

1.4K 33
  • EMOM in 60 minutes
  • Choose one of the following movements:
  • 1 Front Squat (205 lb)
  • 1 Deadlift (315 lb)
  • 1 Clean (205 lb)

On a 60-minute clock, perform one repetition of the chosen movement every minute on the minute until failure.

Score is the total number of reps completed in the given time frame and the load used.

Intended Stimulus

The time can vary from twenty minutes to one hour, but the key is the proper selection of load. It works best with the “big lifts” like the Clean, Power Clean, Front Squat, and Deadlift. (The back squat doesn’t seem to work well as it seems one can always do another back squat.) For loading, choose a lift that allows for a solid plate selection. For instance, two 45-pound plates on the ends of a bar (225 pounds) are going to work better than a whole bunch of assorted clanking plates.

If you want an interesting variation, try it with military presses. Use a “natural” number like 95, 115, or 135. Remember, it’s a single rep on the minute, every minute, for the total time planned. Certainly, you could plan on continuing to failure, but simply trying your hand at 20 or 30 minutes first and then extending to a full 60-minute game.

The great benefit of this workout is that you’re focusing on a single movement and gathering your resources to make the lift over and over again.


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Background: This workout was one of the challenge workouts Dan John posted on T-Nation back in 2014. It was inspired by Ethan Reeves, the outstanding strength coach at Wake Forest, who would post workouts on popular forums. Dan said, “He would simply post the workouts and one or two examples of the actual weights/reps recorded. The numbers were stunning and it reminded many of us that we just weren’t born to be elite football players. One workout became a staple of all my programs. It’s simply this:

One rep on the minute, every minute, for the allotted time.”

Dan John has spent his life with one foot in the world of lifting and throwing, and the other foot in academia. An All-American discus thrower, Dan has also competed at the highest levels of Olympic lifting, Highland Games and the Weight Pentathlon, an event in which he holds the American record.

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