Jasper Roberts - Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011-07-31 Switchup

Today was PSP and LL. I passed the progression standard for Leg Lifts today with two sets of 15 Hanging Bent Leg Leg Lifts. I always start with flat straight leg leg lifts and I think that is a great warm up no mater what step you are on. I recommend flattening the small of the back to the floor and keeping it there while you do your set. It's harder and builds a good habit of straightening the spine for martial arts work. You can feel the floor so it's nice feedback.
Push-ups were 15 regular, 15 close for warm up, then 2 sets of 15  uneven push-ups each arm. My challenge set was 2 sets of 6 reps each arm incline one arm push-ups. I think these are invaluable and I added them to the steps because the step after uneven push-ups is the one arm half-push-up and it is incredibly difficult as a challenge exercise. I can't see it suddenly being easier so that's why I am working in the incline one arm push-ups (3-4 feet from a wall) as an intermediate step to help. Remember, the run of the mill "one arm push-up" is a joke, and I can do a bunch of those with twisting the body, legs wide, etc. The true one-arm push-up is extremely difficult and it's why you really haven't seen a really good one on youtube yet.
I worked calves and some light grip exercises just to switch things up a bit. It's the weekend.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011-07-30 Two Steps Forward, One Back

I think in pretty much every facet of life progress is never ALWAYS forward. There are sometimes plateaus and dips down, but as long as the overall path seen from a larger perspective in time is upwards and forward, then you are making progress. Having said that, after several days of rest for suspicious joints I was back at HSPSP and BRG. I have implemented a process whereby the days I do HSPSP and BRG I will start out with HSPSP and then do BRG, but the next time I do these sets I will do the BRG first and then the HSPSP. Just to switch it up and see how it goes. I held steady with head bridges: set1 20 reps and set2 10 reps. These were nice and slow and proper. No challenge sets today, still easing back into things. HSPSP I held slightly below my previous workout at 1 minute. Then challenge set of 5 quarter HSPSP. Again, not going crazy and easing back into things. Same with neck exercises- I did 15 reps of my neck exercise of standing about 2 feet from the wall and slowly pressing away and lowering back, front and back.
Oh yeah, I also grabbed the kettlebell and messed around with that doing some standing presses. I'm sure that my technique is far less than perfect and I'm probably not doing the "correct" exercise. Whatever, I ordered the Pavel's book so I'll find out soon enough. Plus, I don't think carefully lifting 35lbs around without being "certified" is going to kill me. At least I hope not.

Friday, July 29, 2011

2011-07-29 Push Through

I am feeling the power of rest in my body today and especially this morning. It's difficult to articulate, but in the same way that you might feel a sore elbow or a stiff back I feel (in an opposite way) resilience and strength that comes from rest. My knee and shoulder are what they are, so tomorrow I will jump back on track with my CC schedule- HSPSP and BRG.
Still have my eye on that kettlebell.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011-07-28 The Shoulder

I've been feeling something in my right shoulder for a couple days, and I now realize that I likely aggravated an old dislocation from about twenty years ago (at least that's what it feels like). On one hand I'm tempted to just push through with CC no matter what, but on the other hand I don't want to worsen the situation and get set back even farther. Today I'm supposed to do HSPSP and BRG but was thinking about resting. As a compromise, I will do some very light bridging with a weight on my hip and just rest my shoulders for the next couple days. Honestly, my right knee needs rest as well. Rest is good. As an old karate instructor once said to me when I felt bad I couldn't make class for a week, "karate will still be here". Convict Conditioning will still be here.
Oh, last night I picked up a 26lb. kettlebell as a gift for my girlfriend. I was on my motorcycle so I could not also get my own 35lb kettlebell. Nearly got smashed by some idiot in a car too. Good times.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011-07-27 My CC Excel Spreadsheet Available

For those interested, this is the spreadsheet I am using for training. Feel free to download and modify as needed. Please check it carefully against Paul Wade's original because I have made some minor changes.


Today I worked PUL/SQT. Squats felt great, doing Bulgarians and Double Chairs, and then 3 reps of half squats each leg. I always warm up with about 20 regular old squats, done slowly and intently. Grip work went well too. Warmup with Trainer 5 times, the hit the #1 for ten honest closes each hand. this is a first for me and demonstrates the power of consistency. I then did 6 reps on the #1.5 (not all HCs) and ended with a 25 second hold on the #1.5.
Pullups were discouraging today. I am trying to transition to the jack-knife pullups by bending my legs to get more assistance before I do the true jackknifes. I'm currently doing what is essentially 2 sets of 15 reps, but they are crap. Going to have to think about these a bit. Perhaps do lower number of reps of original jackknifes and go from there.

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011-07-25 Arms Feel Pumped

Today I did PSP/LGL in the office. My work set for pushups is still step 7, the Uneven Pushup using a basketball. After 15 regular pushups and 15 close pushups for warmup, I did one set of 16 each arm unevens. It was tough, but I'm still making progress. My challenge set was one-arm wall pushups (incline). Similar to wall pushes (step 1), but further away and with one arm, held tight in a regulation manner. I did 7 each arm, nice and slow, no body twisting. Final challenge set, 2 half-one arm pushups each arm with ball under hip.
For LGL I started the bent leg hanging leg lift and was surprised at how many I could do fairly easily. One set, 10 times. Warmed up with 10 flat back straight leg lifts on the ground beforehand. For challenge I did one set standing, one leg, 90 degree leg lift hold for 30 seconds.
After my PU sets I felt ridiculously pumped up in the arms- not looking for that, don't even like it. Although it did make me "feel" bigger and stronger. LOL

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011-07-24 Feeling the Benefits

Today was Handstand/Bridges day. I broke my record for holding a handstand at an honest 1:10. I completely re-wrote my log book spreadsheet which I need to get up on the blog. I have made minor modifications to some of the ten step series in order to transition more smoothly from one step to the next on CC.
At lunch today, just standing up off of my chair I noticed how much easier it was. I know it sound silly, but I "feel" a little stronger already. Teaching some Aikido classes today at my friend's dojo.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011-07-23 The One Arm Hang and Pulling the Knee

Today I worked Pull-ups and Squats (and grip). I had an idea to work in another step to the pull-up series: hanging from one arm. This makes a lot of sense to me because in handstands we hold the position, and you need to be able to hang form the bar anyway when you are doing pull-ups. When I say hang I mean keeping the shoulders and body alive and engaged.
Pulling the knee means I need to get my inversion table back because the limited pulling of the leg I've done as done wonders for my tight knee. No pain anymore.
Today was also the first day I started doing my new intermediate combo step of One Legged Bulgarian Squats with a basketball, and Sitting, one-legged half-squats with two chairs. I am positive these will allow me smoother transition to assisted pistols.

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011-07-22 Flatten the Small of the Back

Last night the commute was too long and I missed Jiujitsu, so I did CC. I had a company BBQ so I missed my lunch hour for CC then.
I worked the PU (pushup) and LL (leg lift), from hereon out know as PU/LL. I passed the progression step of two sets of 20 of the flat straight leg raises (step 5). Slow progression paid off, and I kept the small of my back flat against the floor the whole time. Plus, I lifted my legs to an honest 90 degrees, and I felt the burn inside my hips (psoas muscles I think). I did extras afterwards- standing and holding each leg at 90 degrees off the floor for 20 seconds. I will add this extra into the LL series for a while.
Pushups went well, being out a week and a half I was happy to do my previous PU workout, but I increased it a bit. 20 pushups, 20 close pushups, 12 uneven pushups @ arm (2 sets), then 2 sets of 7 reps of one armed inclined bar pushups. Then the hard one: one armed half-pushups with a ball on the hip. One set of 2 reps each arm. Finally, an 8 second hold on one arm @ side. Difficult after all the previous stuff. I forgot to do calf work.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I tested out video making last night and it works. Without a studio or a nice nook somewhere I'm relegated to filming with household stuff everywhere, but maybe thats the way it goes.
Yesterday I did the handstand push-up and bridge sets, (HSP and BRG). In particular, I did 1:00 headstand, 0:30 crow stand, 0:50 handstand, 10 reps of quarter HS pushups, and finally 2 sets of 1 rep each of half HS pushups with slow let-down. (Hold at top for 0:10, then ease down over 0:10).

For the uninitiated, I follow one of the regular CC training regimen of working out every day except for two days (and I teach martial arts at work those two days so it works out well). I train the push-up and leg lift sets (plus calf work) on Day 1, pull-up and squat sets on Day 2 (plus grip work), bridge and handstand push-up sets (plus neck work) on Day 3, and then just repeat this sequence moving forward. I typically do a lower level exercise for a warm-up, then one or more sets of my work level exercise, and then one or more sets of challenge level exercise. I believe that by working a little behind and a little ahead of my work set, I can continue to progress on my work set. In addition, I believe in getting both semi-range movement AND full-range movement in each exercise class, but some of the CC steps are not full motion; hence my approach.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back on track...sort of.

I'm back from a week-long Combat Systema training camp, and started back on my CC Tuesday. However, my right knee is giving me a little pain so I did not do squats. I basically did my last sets for pull-ups and also Captains of Crush (CoC) grip training.
My modified jackknife pull-up is to keep my knees bent about 45 degrees. This is easier, because I can use a little more force from my legs to assist. My challenge sets on the pull-up series are underhanded full pull-ups, and overhand half pull-ups. I always try to include both full-range and half-range exercises for each exercise for maximum benefit. Some of the CC exercises have progression standards that are (in my opinion) a little higher than necessary for further progression in that they start to work endurance rather than strength. This is fine, but there should be a good mix. This is a little bit dependent on body type as well- I'm tall and thin so some exercises may be a little bit harder than others compared to someone built like a fireplug. Still doing my best.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Standard Regimen

I decided that since I had free time at lunch (at work) and an office with a door (like a cell), I would train five days a week and rest two. I also train and/or teach jiujitsu and karate so that gets worked in there as well, but these are not high weight strength exercises.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Martial What?

A painting by Picasso or Van Gough is an interpretation or impression of reality- it's an expression of the 'real world'. I would argue that a camera is a better tool for capturing details of the 'real world' in an unbiased manner. Even then, a person decides where to point the camera, when to shoot, etc. but you get the point.
A martial art is different from a martial sport (combat sport), and different from a martial science (self-defense or combatives). It's an interpretation of reality. The equivalent of a camera in this field means you're literally living on the edge of death, prison, and incapacity. Not something that necessarily appeals to me. Fortunately there are lots of different media through which to view the world- impressionist paintings, realist watercolors, black and white photos, and sculpture. Food for thought.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Post (Test)

Just setting up this blog. I've been following Convict Conditioning (CC) for two months already. I did not cut any corners- I started form step one just like the author recommended. In videos following I will talk about specific details of training.