Jasper Roberts - Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011-08-31 Back in the Game

Pushups (PSP) and  Leg Lifts (LL) today. One set of 20 super slow full pushups, then incline one-arm wall pushups 1 set 12, 1 set 6, 1 set 5. I also did 2 sets of 5 half one-arm incline table pushups. Leg lifts: 12 flat straight LL, then 2 sets of 12 hanging knee raises, and 40 second standing one-leg lifts to finish. Calf work: 25 double leg calf raises, then 2 sets 15 single leg calf raises each leg. I felt strong today, getting back in the game.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2011-08-29 Should've Rested...

Perhaps it was the three beers and shot of rum last night, or maybe I'm fighting a bug. Either way I had zero energy today. This was the first day in four months of CC training I've felt this way and did not exert maximum effort on my progressions. I was supposed to do HS PSP and BRG, and I did something but nothing near what I was hoping for. Honestly all I want to do is go home and sleep. I did a 60 second handstand, then a paltry 6 V-pushups.  I did 20 angled bridges and then grip work. CoC actually felt ok, I again got close to closing the #2, and banged out every other lower gripper, grinding them closed. I need to put a little oil on the springs of the #2 as it's squeaky and jerky which isn't giving me a fair resistance for progression. Can't wait to get some more rest. I'll start again fresh on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011-08-28 Returning to Endurance

Today: Pullups: Squats. 2 sets 9 half pullups, 2 sets 6 full pullups, 2 sets 8 45-degree wall pulls each arm, and 5 close pullups (overhand). Squats: 20 full squats, 10 Bulgarian squats each leg, 5 pistol-ups each leg, and 4 half squats each leg. On the last 1/2 squat on my right leg I crumpled onto the floor with a searing pain in my knee. That probably means I need to take it easy. Lots of people do pistols, but I have to say that I think 1/2 squats and certainly uneven squats are harder in some ways because of all the other things besides quadriceps strength that is involved. Plus, it requires stopping halfway down.
As for pullups, I'm a little stretched out over several steps, so I may go back and just try to conquer 1/2 pullups, with only minor full range work for a week or two. I'd like to put that step past me as an accomplishment.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

20-11-08-27 Standard

Pushups and Leg Lifts day. 10 close PSP, then 2 sets of 12 one arm wall presses each side. Three half-one arm pushups were really hard without twisting. Will get there slowly, building sinew and connective tissue and fascia and ligament and tendon...along with muscle. Finished with some wide superman style pushups. When I started CC I could not do even one proper one-arm wall press. Now 2 sets of 12 are no big deal. Love it.
I did 10 slow straight leg lifts, the 2 sets of 12 hanging knee raises. Due to my progress in grip training and pullups, I'm able to hold the bar better and longer. I did some calf work, 25 raises on a step both legs, then 2 sets of 15 one leg calf raises on a step. The second set I did with the knee bent about 25 degrees while holding a 16kg kettle bell. I recommend this as it works different areas of the calves.
I went to the SF Zoo this morning and saw the gorillas (in addition to lots of other animals). The silverback gorilla was...impressive, and he had an amazing presence. The other animals I saw only 10 feet away from where I was standing at the time later on were a male and female Lion. I don't have the words to describe seeing a Lion face to face. If it's been a while since you've seen a real one up close, go see one. It has a presence which is so...real. It's massive, it's large and right there looking, pacing, breathing....It's difficult to articulate. When it's right there in front of you (obviously behind cage bars), you can just feel the intensity of it's being, and knowing it could rip you to shreds and there's absolutely nothing you could do about it is a very humbling event, and one I highly recommend for CC fans.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011-08-25 Bridges, Bridges...

Today was HS PSP and BRG day. I had a major success on HS holds: 70 seconds. A new record for me. I also did 2 sets of 11 V-PSP and 2 sets of 5 Quarter HS pushups. Grip training went well, closing the #1.5 CoC felt easier and I almost closed the #2 which pleasantly surprised me. About holds: I have been unable to increase my time holding the #1.5 closed, but I'm thinking that it's a waste of time. It hurts the hands too much and doesn't buy me much beside ripping my skin up. I'm thinking of instead doing shorter holds (20 seconds) on much more difficult CoC grippers OR perhaps holding a grip on something like a barbell plate. Comments or suggestions for me?
Bridges were tough. I thought I'd easily bomb through my head bridge step but was stymied again with 1 set 25, then 1 set 20. just shy of the progression standard again. No problem, I did some half walkdowns and feel good about it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011-08-24 Smiles

Today was PLP and SQT day. I really hate doing pullups on a hanging bar (one that's not solid and fixed to something) but that's all I have at work for now. I do have rings which are fantastic.
Pullups: warmup with 2 sets 20 45-degree ring pulls, then 8 half pullups 2 sets (overhand/underhand), 2 sets 6 full pullups (OH/UH), and finally...the magic find- 45-degree ONE ARM ring pulls (2 sets of 6 each arm). This magic bullet is something I found today and I am all smiles about it. I added it to my pullup progression and it makes so much sense. Squats went well and i found high strength, also working intermediate steps. I warmed up with 20 full squats, then did 2 sets of 4 "Squatted Pistols". These are where you squat down fully, extend one leg straight out in front of you, the press up from the floor; it's sort of a half one-legged squat but from the bottom up only. I finished with one set of 5 half-one leg squats. Today was the first day I could do these without any pain at all. By the way, in between pullup sets while resting I did unweighted lunges in the hallway. I'm definitely going to find a way to work these in somewhere, somehow.
I will be updating the CC excel spreadsheet right away with a bunch of new intermediate steps. I'm continuing to capture video footage for both an inspirational music video as well as all the individual exercises steps I'm doing (or have done).

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011-08-22 Little by Little

Success is an amazingly simple thing in some ways. When you talk to people who have become successful in their chose field, you very often find out that they have working at it slowly for a long, long time very consistently. They wake up one day and everyone is looking at them as an expert and ....they are.
On that note, I can appreciate the tiny little successes I've experineced with CC. One day to the next you don't notice much change, but on a longer time scale the success is obvious and it's because of the consistency. Today I worked pushups and leg lifts (with supplemental calf work). I just recently finished Assisted Pushups, and I'm now working on a mid-step before I start Half One-Arm pushups. That mid step is the one-arm incline wall pushup and I may add one or two more intermediate steps, because the half-one arm pushup done correctly is very hard. Too hard to do even one with perfect form. However, when I first started the one-arm incline wall pushups, I could barely do one or two. Today I cranked out two sets of 10 each arm, slow and correct...and I was pleasantly surprised. Leg lifts were so-so, I did 10 flat sraight leg lifts, then two sets of 10 hanging knee bends. I finished with 35 second standing single lig lifts. Then calf extensions...some done with bent knees which is very interesting, I will be looking into those some more.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011-08-21 CC Autopost up

Looks like my autoposting to facebook is working so I'm happy about that. Today was HS PSP and BRG day. I'm still stuck on a one minute handstand, but I'm working V-pushups so hopefully that helps. I felt noticeable progress on head bridges, doing one set of 25 and a second set of 20. CoC grip training felt good. Getting close to closing that #2, but still working the #1.5 heavy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011-08-20 Park Run and Pistol-Ups

Today was PLP and SQT day. I'm also gathering footage for a video, so I'm doing a bunch of other things as well. I did 2 sets of 7 half-pullups, 2 sets of 6 full pullups, and 6 close pullups. For squats I did some warmups with close squats, then 2 sets of what I'm calling pistol-ups. These are basically just the 'up' portion of one-leg squats. I realize that it seems like I'm skipping ahead in CC, but I've read that many other people have had more trouble with uneven squats than they've had with pistols. This has been my experience too. I even added an entire step after close squats (Bulgarian Squats, and Double Chair Squats) with no success toward being able to do uneven squats. The way I'm going, I will likely be able to do pistols before I can do uneven squats, but that's ok because I'll just go back to them and work those.
My girlfriend and I worked out in the park afterward, which was really nice. We did some jumprope and went for a jog in GG park. I made her shoot a bunch of video footage too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011-08-18 Another One Down

Today I passed the progression standard for CC Pushup Step#7, The Uneven Pushup. I'm learning that there is static strength, dynamic strength, and straight endurance. The uneven pushups seem a little more about endurance, though ultimately without strength there can be no endurance. Anyway, going forward it's more and more about one-armed pushups, though I will definitely include full range two hand work.
I worked LL today too, hanging knee raises- one set 15, one set 10. I'd like to stay on these a bit, not blast right through. There's something good there. Finished up with some calf  work. Tomorrow is break day. Need to bring my kettlebell to work and start doing something with that....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2011-08-17 Grip is Good

Today I tried to get back in the grind after vacation. Two sets handstand holds 0:50. Two sets of 10 reps of V-Pushups. I'm hoping the V-Pushups help me hold the HS longer. Bridges I did two sets fo 20 reps of Head bridges, soon I'll be passing that CC progression standard. I also did four wall holds. I have a feelign I'll do well on bridges, since I did a lot fo bridge-like exercises when in Aikiod for many years.
Grip training went very well today, in fact I almost closed the #2 CoC. Regimen was (each hand): 5 reps Sport, 5 reps Trainer, 5 reps #1, 6 reps #1.5, 6 reps #1.5, 3 reps #2 (not closed). Then I did a 20 second hold on #1.5. I can see myself closing the #2 in the next  month or two and I will be very happy about that. In the meantime, I need to think about some additional grip training to supplement the CoC. Perhaps pinch grip practice...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The One-Arm Wall Press

Here is another invention I developed to help me on the road to reaching the one arm pushup (true one-arm pushup with feet together, one arm behind the back, and zero twisting of the body). The one-arm wall press progression is shown in the picture series here.
 Do these slow and stop when your head reaches the wall, just for a second. It's much easier even with a little bounce. Resist the urge to bounce. Utilize your whole body, not just your arms. I've almost completed the progression step for uneven pushups, but half one-arm pushups are brutal. So I need an intermediate step, and this is one of those steps. The one after this I will work is identical, except instead of using the wall, you use a table. Work these in conjunction with half one-arm pushups and some other pushups like close pushups and you will be on your way to assisted one arm pushups and beyond.

The V-Pushup

I'm still working on reaching the progression standard for the handstand hold of two minutes. In the meantime I'm doing challenge work. That challenge work will help me get through the lower level progression standards. One of the big helpers for the handstand pushup is what I call the V-Pushup. The progression is shown in the picture series.
Notice that the body is kept as straight as possible, except for bending ninety degrees at the hips, AND although it looks like I am resting my head on the floor I am not. Most people doing handstands on youtube do not bring their head very close to the floor, and they don't usually stop completely either because it's damn hard pressing with the arms bent so much.
I'm finding this a great insertion step to build strength for the HS pushup.

Thoughts on the Squat Progression...

Today I eased back into CC coming off a light weekend because I was on vacation. I was surprised at my ability in pullups- 2 sets 6 Half pullups (one set overhand, one set underhand.) Then 2 sets 5 full pullups (same OH, UH). Then 1 set 5 close pullups. Definitely stronger too, I exploded up almost going into a muscle-up on the first few.
Now the squats. I cranked out 10 full SQT and 15 close SQT for warmup, then thought I'd do at least one uneven squat. No dice. Now mind you I can do 2 sets 20 Bulgarian Squats AND 2 sets of 20 2-chair get ups all in one session, AND I can do at least one pistol each leg. This is sketchy these "uneven squats", but maybe it's just my body type. One thing is for sure- going from close squats mastery directly to assisted squats is bullshit. Going forward I will finish the Bulgarians and 2-chairs for endurance, then launch hard into the half one legged squats. I may even add in another step something I learned at Combat Systema camp. More to come.

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011-08-15 Back Home

I was in Seattle on vacation for the weekend. Managed to get in two days of training. I did some bridges work and HS holds (45 sec.) 2 sets. Also some V-pushups (some people calling them stoop pushups). The next day I did regular pushups and chest presses, with 2 sets of 7 one arm wall presses.
I took some photos but need to re-do them. Had a really nice relaxing time, and looking forward to getting back into the swing of my training this week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011-08-11 When it Feels Stronger or Weaker

Today was PLP/SQT day. Started with Bulgarians and Double Chair single leg SQT. Did 1 set of 20 each leg then a set of 20 Double Chairs. Finally a set of 4 1/2 pistols each leg. Didn't want to push the endurance thing, plus short on time. Did neck exercises against the wall as usual, and then started in on pullups.
I did 2 sets of 25 of the 45 degree pulls from the wall, then 6 overhand 1/2 PLPs and 6 underhand 1/2 PLPs. Ended with 2 sets 4 full pullups, overhand then underhand. Very slow.
The squats felt very strong, and I busted out a pistol just to feel it. Not easy but sturdy and not wobbly. That is key I think. My pullups felt weak, just not feeling them today. A little tired, looking forward to a mini vacation with the girlfriend this weekend. It'll be HS PSP and BRG in the hotel room!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011-08-10 Pilates...

I need a break today, but will get back at CC tomorrow. Last night I was asked to do a Pilates class with my girlfriend. I thought "Pshh. Piece of cake", and I was wrong. For the tough guys out there who (like me) have always thought Pilates was sort of silly because they didn't know what it was....do yourself a favor and go find out what it is so you can speak intelligently form experience. It works your core and abs pretty damn well. That, plus having emergencies at work, plus going to jiujitsu tonight, I'm not training at lunch today.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011-08-08 Partials

Monday was PSP/LL day. Got cut a little short because I got busy at work. Still had a great pushup session,1 set 20 uneven PSP, 1 set 15 (each arm). Then 2 sets of 6 reps of one-arm incline PSP against wall.  For LL I just did 10 flat straight leg lifts. No calves, no time.
I received "Building the Gymnastic Body" in the mail. Mixed feelings about it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2011-08-07 New Bridge Exercise

Today was HS PSP/BRG day. Ok, so going from holding a handstand to doing even a half-handstand pushup is a tremendous step. That's why I added quarter HS pushups, but even that's not enough. I thought negatives were the way to go, but I'm not relying on that- rather I simply lower myself slowly anytime I'm doing quarter HS pushups or whatever. I have decided to add the V-pushup. It's basically a severe decline pushup. From standing, you raise your arms above your head, bend at the waist as much as you can, keeping everything super straight, then fall so that your hands touch the floor. You do pushhups from there keeping your body in an upside down V. It is very close to the HS pushup. I did 2 sets of 5. Then I did a 0:50 minute handstand. then I did 6 quarter HS pushups. The quarter HS pushup is where you use either a zafu (zen pillow) or something to raise your head off the floor about 6 inches. From there you press up, which is roughly a quarter HS pushup. The closer your head is to the floor, the more difficult it is to pushup. You see very few people online doing HS pushups where they touch their head to the floor. It's not linear in difficulty.
For bridges, I'm still working head bridges. 1 set 20, then 1 set 15. I discovered a new exercise I call the wall hold bridge. This is very similar to the walk-downs, except that you hold onto the same place on the wall, and use your body (not your arms) to pull yourself back up. Kind of a step before half-walkdowns.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2011-08-06 Moving Forward

Funny how rest works....Today was PLP/SQT day. I took some advice form both Internet sources, Paul Wade's latest interview, AND a blog comment (thanks). I warmed up with 3 sets of 25 reps of 45 degree Horizontal Pulls (kicking ass). They were actually not that hard, but I felt the endurance work. Then I easily completed 5 reps overhand half pullups, 5 reps underhand half pullups, 4 reps full pullups overhand, 4 reps full pullups overhand. One each pullup I made sure to move very slow on the lowering part. Strength in the bank baby. Squats went well. I did 2 sets of 15 reps of Bulgarian Squats and 2 sets 15 reps Double Chair Squats. Warmed up with 20 close squats. Right knee still feeling weird, but I'm just keeping an eye on it. Neck work was 20 front, back, and each side presses from 2 feet away from the wall.
I need advice on body-weight neck exercises. Anybody have any suggestions?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Awesome New Find !

Folks, I decided to browse the facebook fan site for CC and found this document: 
http://www.dragondoor.com/pdf/Convict_Conditioning_SUPER_FAQ.pdf

My main takeaways from this read were:
1. I need to start including various explosive (plyometric) exercises (because I am doing CC to improve my strength in Martial Arts).
2. Don't rely on negatives. I'm glad I read this because I was about to launch into heavy negatives usage on pullups.
3. Don't give up on high rep work just because it is not low rep work. Stick with it.
4. Re-evaluate the horizontal pullup. Wade says it should not be harder to do the progression standard of horizontal pulls than it is to do a full pull up.
5. The uneven squat needs to be mastered if the pistol is to be mastered. I will start working it with books, then a b-ball.

2011-08-04 Another Day at the Office

Today was PSP and LL day. Pushups went quite well, working Uneven Pushups with set1=20 @arm, set2 15 @arm. I'm almost to the progression standard. It's tempting to push through and pass the standard, but I'm taking my time somewhat. I realize that the rest of the one-arm stuff is going to be a very long road. No need to rush. Then my Incline One-Arm Pushups, one set of 6 @arm at 30 inches form the wall. I didn't do half one arms because I was nearly spent and it didn't feel right to do too much challenge work.
Leg Lifts went ok, I did 10 nice flat leg raises, then 6 hanging bent leg raises. I did a 37 second hold on each leg with my standing straight leg lifts. These are not easy and will make you work.
At lunch I went out and bought myself a 35lb kettlebell to start playing with. I also received Pavel's book "Enter the Kettlebell". Looking forward to doing a little extra with it in hope that it will improve my CC progress. Oh yeah, I also bought this book: http://www.gymnasticbodies.com/store/homepage/building-the-gymnastic-body.html  I heard it was good and it seems like something that will help me. That's currently in the mail.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011-08-03 New Walls...and New Solutions

Today was HS and BRG day. Bridges went very well. Warmup with some angled bridges, then straight to a couple sets of head bridges at the intermediate standard. Grip training with CoC today was the same as last time, so I did not feel progress. I'll come back to this later on, for now I'm pushing forward on CoC.
As for handstands, I hit a sort of wall since I've been unable to get past holding a handstand against a wall for much more than one minute, and I've been at that same level for a while now. So, I'm going to use what I learned about pullups. I'm going to insert a HS progression step called Handstand Pushup Negatives (where I go into a handstand and lower myself onto the ground over 10 seconds).  I'm going to hit these hard and also do challenge sets Quarter HS Pushups. that should keep me progressing. I hate walls.

Updated CC Spreadsheet (errors corrected)

I apologize. My last uploaded spreadsheet had a million errors. I did so much copying and pasting and updating that the author's progression standards and beginner standards, etc. were all screwed up. This morning I went over every single one and checked them for accuracy. Here is the corrected version (with some new bells and whistles). It is a living document I should mention- meaning as you progress (or stall) you may find the need to make your own changes or adjustments/additions/etc.

http://sheet.zoho.com/public/nbednar/convict-conditioning-workout-journal-2011-08

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011-08-01 Pullups Are My New Friend

They say embrace the darkness, befriend your demons. So I am dedicated to befriending the pull-up. I'm seeing that the CC steps incorporate both endurance and strength, and certainly more endurance on the low end steps; but if my goal is to do 100 one-arm pull ups then I don't need to be farting around with too much endurance (yet) if I don't have the strength to do a one-arm pull up. Anyway, point is- I'm sort of plateaued on the jackknife pull ups. So I  went looking for help. There are a lot of good resources out there, and I found several programs. I'll post more later, but I'm going to be using a practice where I do like 5 sets of low rep Full Pull-Ups. I know that CC has the half pull up step and I will find a way to work that in, but do I really need to be able to do three sets of 20 jack knife pull ups in order to start doing even one full pull-up? I love and respect CC but I have been doing jack knife pull ups for two months straight. At this rate I won't be doing regular pull ups for a year, and one arm pull ups ever. I need to fudge a little. I have been working on jack knife pull ups for two months and I have basically hit a wall. If I knew that was the last step I'd stay here and grit it out, but it's not the last step- it's only step 3. I am currently at two sets of 15 jack knife pull ups and a final third set of 12 (at my best). I will start working half pull ups and the full pull up sets according to some other sources whereby you do five sets of 4,3,3,4,3 then 5,4,4,5,4. I am confident that this will allow me to eventually get through both the half pull up CC progression standard and the full pull up CC progression standard. Doing three sets of jackknife pull ups isn't going to do anything for me at this point.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Help for the Pull-Up !

I found this gem of a post for improving the pull-up. Notice the author recommends essentially what Paul Wade does, in that you should always leave some strength "in the bank". Jason Ferruggia recommends NOT going to failure on pull ups, and that when your form gets sloppy the set is over. When you can't reach the bar the set is over. Start with your shoulders activated to protect your shoulder joints. Fire the lats first. Focus on dropping the elbows down and back, not on pulling with the biceps. Pay attention to the rep ranges: 1-5 for maximum strength, 6-12 for endurance, and 15-30 for maximum endurance.
This is all excellent stuff that I am definitely going to be putting into practice.

Link:
http://jasonferruggia.com/top-10-ways-to-improve-your-pull-ups/

2011-08-01 Feeling the Change in the Body

Today is SQT and PUL (and neck) day, but I am resting my shoulder from pull ups some more and also my neck as I've felt some discomfort in my spine which I'm linking to the neck exercises. I'm not worried about this hampering my progress, I just need to have patience and allow the body to heal. My squats kicked ass today, easily pumping out a warmup of 20 full squats, then set1 15 Bulgarians and 15 Double Chairs, set2 10 Bulgarians and 10 Double Chairs, and finally 4 One-Leg Half Squats each leg. It's not enough for me to blast out an exercise just for the sake of saying I did it. I can do pistols. Rather, I want to own them. I want to be able to do an exercise with minimal to zero pain, and to be able to do it without too much difficulty. Then I know I am ready to move on to the next step.