Jasper Roberts - Blog

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012-002-27 Pain is Temporary

I'm out of the office for a few days. Thought I'd throw up an inspirational video for the Convict Conditioning athletes out there.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012-02-25 Subtle Strength

I've been sitting here watching my new DVD, "The Forge". Came in the mail yesterday and is simply awesome. It's by one of my Systema instructors, Sonny Puzikas. Available from his webstore: Gospel of violence

It's amazing how the bodybuilding crap we have been force fed since the 1980's has formed most common understanding of fitness and strength. As you learn from Convict Conditioning and from things like Russian Martial Arts, functional strength is so much more than blasting out bench press reps to look pretty.

Today I experienced subtle strength in a weird way. I warmed up with 10 pike pushups, 10 half-HSPU and went on to do two sets of 4 three-quarter HSPU. Then I looked over my training log and got depressed that I had been doing two sets of four three-quarter HSPU for over a month and  thought that I hadn't been making much progress. However I did feel today when I did my Half-HSPU and three-quarter HSPU that they felt different somehow, and I also did them right (slowly with correct breathing and mental attitude). Not easier, just different. THEN I said screw this and went into a head stand and went to see if I could press up into a handstand. Before today I had done it but it was HARD and I always fell over afterwards. Today however I pressed up easily...then dropped down to touch my head and pressed back up! Two Full Handstand Pushups from head touching the floor. Proof positive that strength has been gained. Subtle strength.

Finished up with full bridges: 10/10, and then walkdown bridges: 4/4. Taking it easy on grip work, just did some CoC- focusing on just the trainer/#1/#1.5/and #2. I closed the #2 before but it eludes me. I'd do better to take it easy on these things, elbow still giving me problems.

Oh, and an update on usefulness of CC- I carried a large bookcase up three flights of stairs this afternoon...by myself. Likely impossible for me before CC.

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012-02-24 Comic Relief

Ahhh. Heavy weight lifting. I'm not saying it's always a bad thing, but one thing is for sure- progressive bodyweight training won't give you any of these disasters. I previewed this for nasty broken bones and things. Don't worry, it's just lots of laughs.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012-02-23 Squatted Pistols

These are what I've called "Squatted Pistols". I have used them as challenge work while doing the half one-leg squats (CC Step 8), even though I completed the progression standard for CC Step 8 BEFORE the uneven squats (CC Step 7). Right now I'm working uneven squats (CC Step 7) which many people agree are harder than the half one-leg squats. The Squatted Pistols allow you to squat normally, extend a leg and work your balance, and then press up using only one leg, so you get the strength work of the 'up' portion of the one-leg squat. I just recently started holding my toe to make it even a little bit harder. You will likely find that the Half One-Leg Squats force you to work the 'down' portion of the exercise which is critical for stability and control.

Today I worked pullups: warmup with full PLP: 7/7, then archer pullups: 2/2/1, then horizontal rows: 15. I did neck work from CC2, then squats- full: 10, close: 10, uneven: 4/4, squatted pistols: 2

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012-02-22 Lot's of New Info Out There

There sure has been a bunch of cool articles and videos to come out this past week. I read one about the power of mental imagery on exercise results (check the facebook fan page), as well as the ability of resistance training (like CC) to increase anti-oxidants and help reverse ageing.

At jiuijtsu last night I happened to notice that my flexibility has gone to another level. I have done almost zero stretching while on a steady diet of Convict Conditioning. This means one thing: CC style calisthenics absolutely improves flexibility. And I have a theory about this. I believe that you cannot stretch existing tendons and ligaments and muscles beyond a certain point comfortably. But by ADDING new tendon and ligament and muscle to the body through calisthenics, it allows for a greater range of motion than before. Of course there are other things going on here as well, but it's too large a topic for me to blog now. Post your own theories, I'd love to hear them.

Today I warmed up with 10 full pushups and 10 close pushups, then did two sets of 10 one arms at 39". These were tough by I did them right- slow and with good form.  Then a set of 2 at 32". Then a set of 3 half-one arm pushups at 29". Somehow half one-arm pushups as in CC proper are still almost impossible for me (using correct form).

I did two sets of 40 calf raises (split between bent and straight leg), then did 10 flat leg raises. I went for hanging knee raises and passed the progression standard without much problem. I felt good about being able to pass that level, given I haven't been strict about working through the proper steps (I've just been doing flat leg raises and hip raises). It was also good for some minor grip work just from hanging from the bar. Still nursing the elbow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012-02-21 Inspiration from The Bay

Found this video of a kid who is doing all sorts of crazy calisthenics around my town (San Francisco). The clapping HSPU has got to be the most impressive. Enjoy....

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012-02-20 Rethinking Grip Training

Left elbow tendon worse. I keep thinking that maybe I blasted through the CC2 grip progressions too quickly, along the time I was just getting into one arm pullup work. Back when I was using Captains of Crush grippers I never had any elbow or tendon pain. This sucks because I really love grip training. I think that I will do three things:
1) Lay off the CC2 grip progression for now, the one arm hanging for time is too much right now.
2) Get back to CoC grippers just to keep some strength there.
3) Start back on the Leg Lift series more properly, which will have me holding the bar with two hands.

Today I warmed up with 10 V-pushups (pike pushups), 10 Half-Pushups, then did sets of three quarter pushups: 3/3. I did these slowly with proper form and I felt some true strength peak out. It's was a little disconcerting. I warmed up with sets of full bridges: 10/10, then did wall walkdowns: 4/3. I did do grip work today and that why I'm feeling the elbow. I did one-arm hangs: 0:10 x 4.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012-02-19 Back from Vacation

That's me trying to hold a planche on the balcony. It is incredibly difficult to hold the legs out straight (I failed). I did get one CC session in while away- I worked one arm pushups off the countertop in the bathroom, which was a bit lower than my current setup. Felt good. The rest of the time I just took it easy, ate, and drank beer. I don't put on weight so I wasn't worried in the least.

Today I tried to get back in the swing of things with my Convict Conditioning regimen. By the way, I've been going back and re-reading a lot of the book. I recommend doing that at some point. Today I worked pullups and squats (and neck) and not surprisingly I had to drop back a little bit having not done any exercise for about four days. Looking forward to easing back in this week and then hitting it hard.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012-02-13 Whatever

Back and feeling pretty good. I did sets of Half HSPU: 16/15 and I am considering moving forward to Three-Quarter HSPU. The 2x20 has me worried that I can never pass the progression standard (much like horizontal rows). I did grip work but took it easy as my elbows are still healing: :20 one arm hang, then :50 towel hang. I did walk downs (Bridges Work) for the forst time, doing 2x3 just to get a feeling for these.

I see on some forums that people are incredibly impatient with results. They bash Convict Conditioning, bash me, bash Paul Wade, and....surprise, make very little progress. Whatever. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was the one arm pullup or the one arm pushup. Time will tell.

Off to Mexico for some R&R. See you next week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012-02-12 Coming Back Strong

Ahh, the elusive one-arm pullup. Proof positive of near mastery of one's own bodyweight against gravity. No, I'm not there yet. I took about a week and change off from grip training and pullup training to let my tendons heal (had some discomfort near the elbows). Now I'm back and damn if I'm not feeling super strong on the archer pullups (not shown). The video above is just some warmup work.When I did the archer pullups I almost felt like I could tackle a one-arm. Not that I'm going to go for it yet, but good for my psyche to feel that strength toward my goal....and I still have the rest of the year to reach it!

I went back and re-read a lot of Convict Conditioning. Nothing like re-reading to learn things, let them sink in. Coach Wade says to warmup with 2-4 sets so I've bumped up my warmups a little. Especially now working the one arm or one leg stuff, the warmups are important.
If you're checking out this blog, thank you. Also, please head over to my facebook fan page and post YOUR pictures and videos. I want to see how everyone is doing! (There's a link in the lower left hand corner of this blog)

Warmups: 2x6 PLP (full), then 2x2 archer PLP. Finish 2x15 Horiz Rows. Warmups: 2x6 Close SQT, then 2x5 Uneven SQT. Finish: 8 squated leg extensions. Neck work: 12 prelim wrestlers BRG, 12 prelim font BRG, plus left and right.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012-02-09 Forging Ahead

I took a few days off from Convict Conditioning to give my elbow tendons some time to heal, as they've been tender for the past few weeks. I had all kinds of panicky worries about an injury cutting my goals short, and even considered dropping back to step one and beginning again. But today I worked pushups/LL/calves and had gains in strength. I'm going to push forward and see how it goes. It's the pullup series I'm concerned about and especially grip training from CC2 that worries me, but we'll see how it goes this weekend and into next week. If it gets worse I'll figure something out. One thing is for sure- I'm planning on working horizontal pulls back into the mix, maybe after my regular work set. The one-arm pullup type of work puts a lot of stress on the body, gotta take it slow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012-02-06 Another Step Forward, Another Step Back

You have to take what you can get. Today I passed the progression standard for The Bridge Exercise No. 6 (Full Bridges) with 2 sets of 15. These wiped me out, especially after handstand work. I was not thrilled with my form but it was decent I think. The thing is, as I for the first time look at pictures of myself in bridge I wonder if I should be higher up in the bridge. When I'm down there it feels like I'm pushing my hips high, but the pictures don't convince me I'm maxing out. Anyway, 2x15 done. I will always come back to this simple exercise no matter what- it should be a mainstay of any regimen. Even holding the position for several seconds every day is a good thing. If you can work up to doing 10 bridges slowly with good form every day, there's no way you can still have back pain.

My HSPU work was tough, I felt like I had no energy today and I lost my balance on the first set so that through me off. I did half HSPU sets: 8/12 and also Three-Quarter HSPU sets: 4/4. My last HSPU session I did Half HSPU sets: 18/16 so I believe the progression standard is within reach. I'd like to get past this so I can focus more on higher sets of low rep three-quarter HSPU work.

Planning plenty of rest in the upcoming next few weeks to get these elbow tendons healed up. this might possibly cause me to drop back in CC progress though I don't think it will hurt me that much.

By the way, I'm wearing shoes for bridges because if I don't my feet slip and the exercise becomes too difficult. Bare feet on a wood floor work well too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012-02-05 Time For Rest

After some consultation and thought I'm going to take it easy on pullups and grip work for at least a week or more, until this mild case of medial epicondylitis subsides. I figure it would be more comfortable for some tender ligaments to rest and heal, than to keep pushing it. I'll focus more on pushing work as well as cracking the book on TACFIT. I bought the program a couple weeks ago but haven't dived into it yet.

Today was very pleasant. Rest and adventure. Also had the pleasure of  meeting up with a fellow Convict Conditioning enthusiast and athlete up North to chat about progressions and other guy stuff......

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012-02-02 New Insights

I got some really good tips from the Coach today. I've been having some trouble with the One-Arm Pullup work- specifically Half One-Arm Pullups. I can't even do negatives under control, even though I can do two sets of nine uneven pullups. Suffice it to say that I'm going to be starting in on some new intermediate steps, though I will keep working full pullups as well.

I was thinking I would do a personal record (PR) today on overhand full pullups, but I only got to 10 before my form started suffering and my chin started to drop. Oh well, more stuff to work on.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012-02-01 Common Traits

Doing some CC work in the gym today and I noticed more clearly some guys doing their thing. One dude was bench pressing 50 lbs. (on a Smith machine) for about 8 reps, really fast like it wasn't hard. He did three sets. I wondered.....WHY? I considered asking him if ever considered the lowly pushup, but immediately realized that, like one of my close friends who spends every penny he has at every possible opportunity and never has money for important things, it would be a waste of my breath.

After 42 years on this planet I know at least one truth: People only change their behavior when they decide deep down inside that they really want to change, not when someone else gives them a reason. It's an on/off switch that gets flipped- simple as that. Even then they may not be able to change. Besides, if someone is doing something that can be objectively shown to be counter productive, they have clearly been getting something out of it and this is their therapy or their 'work'. Let it be and just be a good listener.

Today I warmed up with 10 explosive full pushups and 8 regular close pushups. I did sets of one arm PSP form 39" bar: 8/6, then half-assisted lever pushups: 4/3/3. For kicks I did three pushups each from: wide, high and staggered hand positions. These felt amazingly strong. Still, I didn't feel like I pushed myself very hard at all compared to getting a runner's high or whatever, but I know I did some good work. Finished with regular calf work sets, and my standard Flat Leg raises, hip raises, and single standing :20 leg lifts. Those hip raises get the abs sticking straight out- think going from a leg lift into a shoulderstand squat with legs extended the whole time slowly and you have hip raises.