Jasper Roberts - Blog

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012-08-29 Time off to Heal

I need to heal up this shoulder, otherwise it just keep getting screwed up. When I return in about a week it will be a brand new CC routine, amping it up a few notches. Of course this means eating a lot more and trying to get enough sleep.
In the meantime I'm doing some very light cardio work and shoulder rehab for rotator cuff irritation.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012-08-27 Big Changes

Ok, maybe not big changes but pretty big changes. I've been considering a switch-up in my routine. After an email consultation from Paul Wade I am going to be switching my routine to a more intense, but shorter, and more compact session. I'll be working three of the big six plus one or two axillary exercises into one hour-long session. I'm also going to be amping up some cardio work on Mondays and Fridays. With this approach I'll be effectively doubling my workouts per exercise, but only marginally increasing my weekly volume...got it?

Details soon.

Friday, August 24, 2012

2012-08-24 Say Goodbye Chair

Sitting down is for driving and brief moment of rest. I'm changing the world one example at a time. Naysayers will of course worry, as some at my office did, that "if I get one of these, then EVERYONE will want one". My response? Wow, that would be wonderful.

As a sidenote I noticed one of those large banners on the side of a bus that said "Thrive", it was an ad for a Healthcare company. I thought to myself "Hmm. That's either disingenuous or incredibly poor marketing because if we do that then it puts you out of business."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-08-23 Sustainable Genetic Strength Limit

Me five months ago versus me today. I look about the same, and I'm not a lot stronger. I looked over my training log and I did essentially the same workout, though I did five three-quarter HSPU for my first set today and only three in March. I also did two sets of walkdown bridges in March but only one set of eight today. And yet it feels different today. There was no way I could do five three quarter HSPU in March, forget it. Today it was tough but not impossible obviously. Also with walkdown bridges, even though I did more in March I remember that they wiped me out. Today, not a big deal.

It makes you wonder about your genetic potential. I'm not saying I've reached mine yet but I'm asymptotically approaching it and I'm getting close I think. There are supplements and risking injury and crap but to hell with that. I'll keep plugging along with this Convict Conditioning and throw in Tabata Interval training for more cardio work and see how it pans out in another six months. Until then, it's full steam ahead.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012-08-21 My "Cardio" Test

Today my student couldn't make it to class so I decided to do some TACFIT. Ok, I didn't use a heart monitor and I'm not measuring my VO2 max, and I'm not dialed in to the optimized Tabata routine etc, etc. It sure seems like Coach Wade is right when it comes to CC being a sufficient "cardio" workout. I'm not going to win any endurance competitions today, but I definitely am able to do a lot more than a year ago. I went through the whole Tacfit Routine, plus did kettlebell work and I'm barely breathing hard. That was a solid 30 minutes of pushups, sit-thoughs, scorpion bridges, lunges, etc. Weird. I'll be playing with this path a lot more....

Monday, August 20, 2012

2012-08-20 Answering the Right Questions...

First off, I gotta say that the leg lift exercises have added a good half-inch extension to my abs. I've always had a six-pack because I have low body fat. But I'm developing a six pack from hell nowadays, simply because my bodyfat hasn't increased while my muscle mass in that area has. It's an interesting feeling.

Ok, now that that's out of the way I have an axe to grind. I think that a large portion of suffering in life is caused by pursuing answers to the wrong questions. People eventually find an answer, but then they realize they aren't so happy with it for some reason. Wisdom cures this.

Consider two mildly out-of-shape office workers "A", and "B" who begin developing lower back pain. Given the structure and confines of our standard cultural paradigm, they both begin seeking solutions to their back pain by looking for a more comfortable "ergonomic chair".  Right away however, person "B" gets struck by lightning and has an enlightenment experience (just to make this story simpler). While person A gets an expensive chair and it seems to help for awhile, it's only a matter of time before person A has the pain return, and eventually has surgery, another upgraded ergonomic chair, etc. Person B meanwhile, begins looking not for a more comfortable chair, but rather begins looking into what is natural for the human body. Person B researches alternative approaches to back pain that do not involve treating the pain, but rather seek to address the reasons that back pain develops in the first place. Person B researches anatomy and looks into the mirror, thinks more for himself and considers radical alternatives even if only in his mind. Person B orders a standing work station and begins walking for 10 minutes every morning too. This leads to some light strength training classes, and eventually he signs up for a Pilates class. Person B finds renewed vigor from all this and finds the fortitude to begin doing some pushups at lunch, and some bridges, and planks.

You see where this is going. Stop answering the wrong questions. Even asking "Fine, what are the RIGHT question?!" is part of answering the wrong question. Get out of old paradigms that obviously don't work.

 Finally, (and unrelated to my post) here's a great article written about one-arm or one-leg training. If you easily dismiss pistol squats as a silly trick, maybe it's because you just CAN'T DO THEM....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012-08-16 Super-Weak

Today I did three-quarter HSPU sets: 4/4/3/3/2. I took a 3 minute rest in between as these were not easy. I warmed up with pike pushups: 10, and then ended with true pike pushups, with my back completely flat against the wall, and feet on a bench (hip touching the whole time), and going down fully to touch my head: one set of three. I finished with three sets of :30 towel hangs, and bridges: 10 full, 7 walkdowns, and 10 full again. My bridges are feeling very, very strong. There is no pain anywhere and I am getting them taller (hips higher).

This had me thinking- compared to where I was a year and a half ago, I am far stronger. I was training martial arts regularly and still am, so I wasn't a total slouch. So If I was that much weaker, then the average office workers around me must be incredibly weak. Just thinking out loud.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012-08-15 I'm Slow

I'm not claiming to be mentally challenged (all the time), but I am claiming that CC is a slow process. And that's not a bad thing. I'm almost never sore from working out, I'm almost never injured, and I'm almost never too tired to do anything later on. In fact when I train martial arts it's often after having done my CC workout earlier in the day. And yet, I continue to increase my strength and size slowly. I am building a base to do other things later on perhaps. Convict Conditioning bodyweight strength training is a healthy base-building method. Forget muscle size, that will come, and it will go. Build a BASE....slowly.

Today I warmed up with two sets of full pullups: 6/6, then did work sets of 45lb weighted pullups: 3/3/2/2. Then horizontal pulls at hip height (33"): 10/10. Then 11 full pullups. I warmed up with 15 full squats, then did sets of assisted single leg squats: 7/6/5, and ended with ten in-place high jumps. Finished with 20 each of neck bridges off the wall- front/back/left/right.

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012-08-13 The Importance of Focus

I watched about 80 seconds of the Olympic Gymnastics Competition while in line at the cafeteria today. It was amazing to see people doing the kinds of handstand to handstand flips on parallel bars they do.

Today I was working Leg Raises and realized how my focus was slipping, and in turn my form was slipping, and finally my reps went down...simply from lack of focus. As my CNS was forced to be active in the moment of the exercise, my body responded and- presto. Two sets of 10 Master Step Leg Raises- no problem.

And for friends of the Handstand, you will enjoy this video I found from Logan Christopher's website on Handbalancing:

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012-08-10 The Thing About Being Positive

Just some more thoughts...If I told you "Do not go over there." How would you know where to go?

It is impossible to give actionable directions by using a negative. "Don't, Never, etc." It is so much more efficient and effective to give positive directions. Let the spirit be the guiding force to the mind and body. Give them positive directions all the time. If you think that positive mental attitude is silliness, think again. Records in the physcial realm have been broken with tricks of the mind.

Here's just a little note on PMA I found. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012-08-09 Quality vs. Quantity

I was tired today but pushed through the workout. Then I got bummed out when I looked back through my notes. Today I did five sets of three-quarter HSPU: 4/3/3/3/2 with a 2 minute rest bewteen sets. But back in March I did 5/5.
Then I realized the difference. I'm doing this HS work nowadays with more balance, more confidence, and more control. Plus, it doesn't wipe me out and I'm doing it more reliably by using a yoga block to mark my vertical height. So five reps several months ago? Yeah, maybe but it was quantity not quality compared to now.
Plus I'm doing more sets, and more overall volume. Past be damned!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012-08-08 Just Shoot Me

Are you f*cking serious? Look, if you are a typical office worker why in the world are you going to dial in 50lbs onto the leg press instead of doing a bodyweight squat? If you are injured I understand your hesitation. But the people I see are not injured. And why so much goddamed sitting? What, sitting for an hour in the car, and then sitting for eight hours in front of a computer screen at work, and then sitting in the car for another hour is not enough sitting? You need to go into the gym and sit down? Good God, what has happened to this world?

Had to rant and get this off my chest (no pun intended).

Today I did sets of weighted pullups (35lbs.) 4/4/3/3/2, and 39" pulls 14/12. I did single leg assisted squats 6/6/5 and 20 plyobox jumps. This doesn't include warmups and other extras. I forgot to work neck today.

Monday, August 6, 2012

2012-08-06 Experimental Proof

Over the past several months I've been working on the assumption, based on my deductions from other sources, that increasing my strength by doing more difficult "challenge work" (along with my regular work) would help me increase the number of reps of the less difficult exercises. Well, today I proved to myself that this is effective.
Specifically, throughout all the CC2 calf work I've done over the past year, I've always started to get tired (feel a burn) after about 20 reps of double leg calf raises no matter what. For the past month or two I've been doing single leg work steadily and exclusively, except for higher rep double leg calf raises at the end of my sets. Today on this endurance part, after my main one-leg work I easily did 30 double leg raises without even feeling a burn. When this happened I knew for sure that something was different.
So I am empowered now, because what has happened for my calf raises- I see no reason why this cannot happen for my other exercises (pushups, pullups, etc.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

2012-08-05 CC DVD V.4 Review

Had another exhausting weekend of working around the house, still getting moved in. I owed you guys something on these new DVDs....
I've been resting on weekends this past month or two. But I just picked up a power rack on Saturday. So things will be seriously ramping up soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2012-08-02 Inverted Reverse Hyperextensions

Today I jammed on three-quarter HSPU work, grip, and bridges today. And I also tried something specifically reccomended to me by Paul Wade: inverted reverse hyperextensions. This is a bodyweight exercise for the back and posterior chain. You get into a handstand like above (or I use my hands), and slowly move toes from floor to sky for reps. Very good stuff.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012-08-01 A Method for Moving Beyond

Sometimes you might find yourself stuck on a plateau. For me it was uneven squats (CC step 7), so I started working step 8 (single leg half squats) and was able to eventually do the progression standard for those. Then I came back to step 7 and got stuck again. So I went to step 9 and that is what I'm working now (I use a handle and a rope). I guarantee that if I had to do a personal record for uneven squats, I'd do one today. But you have to approach these things slowly and find a way. My way is bouncing off different steps. I call it doing "challenge work". Do some more difficult work steps as a touchstone to what you will eventually be working regularly.