Jasper Roberts - Blog

Monday, July 30, 2012

2012-07-30 Tightness and Relaxation

Let's say that all you do all day is get stressed out, yell at people cutting you off in traffic, and then glue yourself to your office chair. You are in a bad situation. That tension needs to be released. But better than that, how about being able to notice the tension before it even takes a grip on you and mobilize your body to combat it? I've noticed lately the tension developing in my neck as I ride my motorcycle into work. So I've begun mobilizing my mental energy into loosening that area and keeping the joints active, and most importantly just breathing. This has helped immensely. In the past I'd get to work and just wonder why I had a sore neck.

Progressive bodyweight training has taught me about the fascial lines and mechanical tensions developed in my body when I do integrated movements like one-arm pushup work, bridges, and leg raises. I love this stuff because it has application in combat sports. Some people want to look good naked, and let's be real- who doesn't? But what I'm primarily interested in is delivering energy through my body in as an efficient manner as possible. If that force vector is inefficient because of poor structure or because of excess tension, it will be a poor conduit of energy transfer. Something to study, and something I will be teaching a seminar on August 18th in Oakland, CA. Message me for more info if interested.

Tension is necessary to perform CC exercises, in order to move the body. If that tension stays put you're likely going to need a masseuse or a change of attitude, or a psychologist, or maybe even surgery. Learn to let go of tension when you are done with it, when it no longer serves your best interest to keep it in your body. This includes mental tension as well. Stop worrying about something which is not happening right now. Write down your thoughts on the topic if necessary, and then simply forget about it. Forget it. It's not important right now. Too much stress. I've completely destroyed insomnia with this technique.

Here's a technique I invented to help people understand excess tension, give it a try and let me know your experience.
1. Go into a pullup and maintain a static hold at the halfway point (or lower if you're not strong enough to hold halfway).
2. Begin breathing and relaxing every muscle and every body part completely from head to toe and then back up again. Keep breathing and keep doing it.
3. Now obviously there are very specific muscles and body parts that you MUST maintain tension in, in order to be able to hold that pose. Remove everything else and you will quickly see how much other tension was completely unnecessary.
4. This static hold exercise can and should be performed with different movements (ie.e pushup, or bridge, or squat).
5. For extremely advanced students, try this dynamically (while moving).

More stuff- still need to do a video review of the CC Vol. 3 and 4. I finished reading the booklet that comes with the DVDs at least. Very good stuff so far.

Today my work was two sets of 9 strict one-arm pushups off a 33" bar, two sets of 9 step 10 leg raises., and a bunch of calf work from CC2.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012-07-26 Back to Hanging

After watching an awesome video over at Adam Glass' website where he shows little-known method of increasing grip strength, I have been inspired to get back to Convict Conditioning II grip training work. I still do Iron Mind Captains of Crush, but the way to go is to hang, just like our primate cousins. What I've found from multiple sources is that the main secret to grip strength (and an easy to train method) is hanging while gripping large diameter things (rolled up towels, etc.).

I was able to read the handbook that came with the new CC DVD on Bridging this morning, and I am implementing a few tips that have really helped my bridging. It's a fantastic exercise that is soooo overlooked in our culture. Today I worked bridges and handstand pushups, and looking over my notes I may go for passing the progression standard for half HSPU next time.

Oh yeah, forgot that I didn't blog yesterday. Paul Wade had Dragon Door send me the CC DVDs volume 3 and 4. Bridging and Leg Raises. Good stuuf. Will be watching them soon and doing a video review of course.

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012-07-23 Minor Aches and Pains

OK, so it's not this bad by any stretch. I checked my log today before my pushup/LL workout and it has been a damn MONTH since my last pushup/LL workout! Man, that is too long. My shoulder has been feeling weird, but I think it's from a couple weeks ago when I kept popping it (it has been dislocated before). The popping temporarily made it feel better, but I'm thinking that long term it was a bad idea. Who knows, it could have just as likely been from my training camp (nunchucks and sticks getting swung full speed).

I powered through the dips and did 12/10. At first my shoulder felt weird, but later in the set it felt fine.

Moving on slowly. Lots on my plate these days. Looking forward to getting back to a position where I am making unprecedented progress.

Oh, and I have some new Convict Conditioning exercises that are "add-ons", things which are tweaks on the existing exercises but make them interesting, etc. Plus, I;m looking at making some of the standard things I do a little more "functional", but that's a topic for another post. It's late and I'm tired.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012-07-19 Reverse Hyperextensions and Coach Paul Wade

Ok, I'm cheating a bit because this video is from an older post. I'm posting it again as a reminder about how I'm working differently now. Instead of doing two sets of four three-quarter HSPU, I'm doing five sets of them but lower reps: 3/2/2/2/2, then I'll increase from there, maybe even add another set or two. Bigger volume, less stress to the CNS.

In a recent email from Coach Paul Wade (that guy has a tremendous amount of knowledge whoever he is), he gave me advice on some back work since I was asking about hyperextensions. He recommended reverse hyperextensions and these blew my mind at how healthy they are and how well they work the back. You lie flat on an incline, and bring your legs straight up into the air for reps.  They worked so well, that after only 8 reps I felt like I could *almost* do a stand-to-stand bridge without stress and exertion. By the way, this is key. If you're head feels like it's about t o explode and you can't breathe, maybe you should back down on the intensity a bit....work your way up slowly.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2012-07-18 Lots of Stuff

Ok, hold onto your mousepad blogfans because I have a load of stuff to write about today. I'm super busy at work but I need to unload.

Today was my first real day back to CC training after my week and a half off. I started in on pullups and squats and was able to fairly easily do just shy of what I did last workout. I'm working 35lb weighted pullups as well as horizontal pulls, and assisted pistols as my main work. Lots of other stuff for warmups and plyo-exercises as well which I'll detail in video later sometime.

As I did my thing, the TV in the gym blasted out an infomercial on...ZUMBA! Now yes, infomercials are annoying in general, but I have to say.....why do people hate Zumba? It gets people off their ass moving around exercising. It's probably one of the healthiest things you can possibly do other than walking. It seems to me that haters of this new fad are simply jealous that they never thought of it themselves. Are people dropping dead becuase of it? No. Are they inuring themselves in droves? No. Is it silly because you're too self-consious to do anythign in public other than sulk? Yeah, probably. Quit hating and start inventing your own shit! It's got people losing weight and exercising. Anything that does that without causing injury is excellent in my book (Note that I've never done Zumba, and of course wouldn't be caught dead in a Zumba class but that's just me). Seriously though, I would try it if someone asked me to even though I'd probably look like a llama having an epileptic seizure.
Speaking of weight loss, I feel pretty damned vindicated after a 0.53 second google search on the words "study, weight, speed, eat". I've been floating this theory over the past year or two (completely without any scientific basis other than my own intuition) that eating more slowly can help you lose weight. Of course friends and other unnamed individuals have scoffed at me. In about 2 minutes I found a dozen scientific papers showing positive correlation between obesity and speed of eating a meal. Now granted, correlation is not causality, but it's hard to prove that unless done over a long period of time under much more complex conditions. It was just the sort of information that made me say..."yep...I knew it."

And about weight loss.... I lost five pounds over vacation. Eating out every day, sitting around drinking beer and not getting enough exercise, that kind of thing. And I feel it too, I can actually feel it on my body going from 170 to 165. Weird.

Today for kicks I tried and succeeded at one rep of a 35lb. weighted pistol with each leg. Was easier than I thought. I definitely can do more weight, but I need to work reps too.

New info on the Side-Neck Bridges on the wall. I realized that turning the head for side work is not safe because of the structure of the cervical vertebrae. Because of this I began keeping my head straight, and simply turning my body toward the wall to work the sides of the neck. Much safer (and more functional IMO).

Moving into the weekend slowly, looking forward to getting the house and garage organized. Going to a massage tonight. Good to be back home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012-07-17 Back to Work

Well, I'm back home in California and it feels good to be home. Work is kicking my ass, and I have some soreness from the training camp so CC will be moving slowly back on track but little by little. I backed way down several steps today and worked all big six exercises today, but only for one set each. I just want to heal and get back on track. My joints are oddly sore.

The Combat Systema training camp was enlightening beyond words. It exceeded my expectations, and then some. There are some truly amazing things going on out there in the martial arts world if you only know where to look. Checked out Quebec City with my wife on the tail end of the trip too, which was really nice.

The flight home was crap. I don't need to tell you how it feels to be cramped into a tiny space for six straight hours. My body rebels hard against that sort of thing. Out of the chair, right into the one at work with an extra heap of stress and frustration.

Getting back into a regular training regimen is something I am really looking forward to.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012-07-05 Summer Hiatus

Not only have I been moving around boxes for a week and setting up a new house, but now I'm off to Montreal for martial arts training, and then a trip with my wife to Quebec City. Add to that the fact that things at work are totally blowing up, and yeah...I'm pretty busy. I'll leave security at home to a couple of my female Special Operations friends. ;)

I'll be back to all things Convict Conditioning soon enough though.

See ya on the flip side.

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012-07-02 Moved into New House, Plus New Stuff

Like my new house? Hah, just kidding. I couldn't even afford the homeowners insurance on a place like this. Besides, imagine the cleaning bill with all the parties? My wife and I did move into out new pad though and it is absolutely wonderful. Going from an 800 square foot apartment with no yard and no parking to a 1,700 square foot home with two-car garage and quarter acre is fantastic. Next project will be to clean out the garage and build a gym.

Today I was very pressed for time at work. Instead of my normal pushup and leg-lift session I tried a mini-hybrid CC session. I worked all big six exercises, but did them plyometrically with little rest. I did :

10 Clapping Pushups, 10 Flat Leg Raises, 6 Pullups, 10 Squats, 10 Bridges, 10 Half HSPU. Then,
10 Clapping Pushups, 6 Hanging Leg Raises, 4 Pullups, 5 Half Pistols, 6 Bridges, 2 Three-Quarter HSPU. Then, 6 Clapping Pushups, 5 Hanging Leg Raises, 3 Pullups, 3 Half Pistols, 4 Bridges, 1 Three-Quarter HSPU. All were done as ex;plosively as possible with minimal possible rest time. Better than just sitting my ass in a chair through lunch I think.