Jasper Roberts - Blog

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012-11-29 Status Check-in

Today I did:

Pike puhsups:11, Full chinups(w/25lbs): 6, Full squats: 25
Full HSPU: 3/2/2/1, Full chinups (w/70lbs): 1/1/1, Squatted pistols: 8 (E.S.)
Half HSPU: 15, Full chinups (w/35lbs): 5 Assisted Half pistols: 12 (E.S.)
HS position left to right one arm holds: 5, True horizontal pulls: 14, Lunges with 2x20lb dumbells: 20
front, side, and rear neck bridges off the wall: 20 (each position)

This is a typical assembly of my CC workouts. It takes about one hour. The next time I workout I will do  Pushup work, Leg raise work, bridge work, calves, and grip.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012-11-28 The Growing Rectus !

I've been slowly working the Leg Lift series over many months and I can do 10 regulation hanging leg lifts pretty easily- slow and going even more into a "V" than to 90 degrees. Lately I've started to do some other abdominal work taught to me by a friend. Since the leg raises aren't as challenging these days. He calls them "cheetahs", as in the animal. I may ask him to show me again and then post some video. The things really work the rectus abdominis- the "ab" muscles. Weird thing is, I'm feeling these things slowly creep up higher into my chest now (the rectus abdominis). It's a like a thick, sinewy fungus growing up over my ribs. Ok, now go do your leg lifts.

EDIT: I forgot that I have an "ab roller". Now I just need to start using that thing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012-11-26 Everyone Lookin' at Ya

I've spent the majority of my Convict Conditioning workout time these days in a small gym in my office building rather than my personal office. When I started out I stayed in my office, but now I need the pullup bar more often (pullups, grip, leg lifts) and I need a standard height object (bar) for one-arm pushup work, horizontal pulls, etc. Thing is, there are usually about three or four people down there working out. In some ways I'd like to think that I inspire them to keep working out because every one of them except a few individuals started working out there AFTER I had been there for awhile and told them about the gym. Point is, I'm not alone in the room working out now but it's fine. In some ways I'd prefer time alone, but if I smash my head into the ground doing HSPUs, it would be good to have someone call 911 I suppose.
Today I was working weighted pulllups and one of the guys said "Hey Neil, we're watching you! That's pretty amazing because I can't even do one without weight!"
I wanted to tell them that they could definitely do what I'm doing if only they had the patience, but I doubt they'd have the patience to hear me complete my sentence....let alone spend a couple years working on progressive calishtenics.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012-11-22 Thanksgiving Fun

While you and I are eating like pigs and sitting on the couch watching movies, the Russians are doing one arm muscle-ups, one arm backward levers, reverse-hold pullups, and all types of insane displays of strength.
Enjoy your time off. Next week we hit the calisthenics HARD!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012-11-21 Secret Knowledge

Since I can remember I've always been intrigued by mysterious places and legends, and things like UFOs, bigfoot, and the Loch Ness monster. These things completely fascinate me, and make life so interesting- so unknowable. When I meet people who completely dismiss oddball things like this outright, with virtually zero research into the matters it's sad. It's sad not because I'm not validated by them, but rather because their sense of what the world is or what they think the world is supposed to be is so limited. It's weird when someone makes wild claims loudly, unprovoked. But it is equally weird when someone makes other claims denying something loudly with even less work in researching the claims.
I suppose that this background search for some unknown answers in life is at least partly what led me into martial arts. Certainly, martial arts from the time of my childhood was still steeped in a sort of foreign mystery which is probably hard for young people to imagine nowadays in the age of MMA and the internet.
But there is still a type of secret knowledge. This type of knowledge is better known as simply "wisdom". Wisdom comes only from time spent doing. It comes from shutting your mouth, putting your nose to the grindstone, listening and learning from others who have more or different experience, and by experimenting for oneself. Sometimes it seems like most people have little patience to develop wisdom. Consequently, a shallow level of understanding is gained, before moving onto something else entirely. It's not necessary to spend fifty years doing the same thing in order to master it, but more than a cursory dallying into the topic must be committed to if any wisdom is to be gained at all.
Now I'm not claiming to be a master of the one arm pushup because I am not doing one as is described in Convict Conditioing. Of course, neither is anyone else in the world unless that person has yet to post a video to youtube. Even the models in the Convict Conditioning DVD do not perform with perfect form (no body twisting, etc.) Even poor form is an incredible display of strength- I'm not taking anything away from folks who can do the OAPU at this level.
I've been working toward the OAPU for a year and a half and a true half OAPU is still almost impossible. But that's ok, because I realize that sometimes form can suffer if progress is to be made; and I have done plenty with the basic tools of CC and a little imagination.
Now for the wisdom. I started with wall pushups (1), passed the progression standard and went onto bench pushups (2), passed the progression standard and went onto knee pushups (3), passed that and went to half pushups (4), passed that and did full pushups (5), passed that and did unevens (6), passed that and ....wow the half OAPU wasn't possible then and still isn't. However, after unevens I worked one arm wall pushups, then went to one arm pushups at lower and lower levels. I'm also working lever pushups, but I am doing one arm pushups at 27inches with perfect form (feet touching, not twisting at all). THIS was impossible a year and a half ago. Now it is not. So progress has been made for sure. What's most noticeable however are standard pushups- they feel infinitely more powerful than they did before I started CC even though my max number isn't a lot higher.
What I've learned from this time in CC pushups is that resisting the twist in one arm pushup work is valuable and develops some other things which are not seen simply in arm muscles. You build a tremendous strength in the spine and in the cross-lateral fascial trains (punching anyone?). However, I think that there is a rule of diminishing returns here. If you can do two sets of one arm pushups off a bar at 33inches with perfect form, then I do not believe that resisting the twist much beyond this will have much additional benefit. In fact, I believe that the risk of injury is heightened. Indeed, the best experts we have seen, do twist somewhat when doing a regulation CC OAPU, and I suspect that this is likely the best that a human can do. Again, this is ok. We need to use common sense tainted with optimism, rather than delusion tainted with fantasy and ignorance.
It is a constant path of discovery, pride, and humility. Just like life. Go figure.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012-11-19 Just Keep On Keeping On

Today in the gym, a guy who's normally in there saw me do some handstand pushups and must have been impressed, because he said to another guy there "Man, Neil's a stud! Look at him go!"
I must admit I was a bit embarrassed and I said "Nah, it's just consistency. Consistency is what it's all about. When I started training I could barely do even one handstand pushup." The guy said "Yeah I know! I've watch you from the beginning!"

So that's all. Just keep doing it. Besides, what else are you going to do?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012-11-14 Three Times As Strong

Today I realized how much stronger I am than I was when I first started this Convict Conditioning journey. I remember very distinctly that I would go into a headstand, but then it would take everything I had to be able to press up into a handstand- and often I could not even do it. Today I did it three times in a row. I wonder if this makes me three times as strong?
Still working weighted pullups. Major work was two sets of 1 pullup with 70lbs strapped on. Those plates are getting heavy, I need to be concerned about the capacity of my pullup bar at this point. My goal will be to work toward eventually doing ten reps with 100lbs. I think by then I will be ready to try for a one-arm pullup.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012-11-12 A Man, Not a Machine

Took a nice little four day weekend vacation to Los Angeles last weekend with the wife. We had some good food and saw a musical and a movie, and did some sightseeing. It was a nice change of pace. Most of the time I relaxed, but when we first got in I went to the little gym they had at the hotel (Stayed in a cool little place on Sunset Boulevard by the way). It was an experiment really. I was curious to try out my normal workout using equipment instead of bodyweight as is normal for Convict Conditioning. It was strange, as I really got a better understanding of the equipment. In this sense I think it has value for either a) rehabilitation, or b) bodybuilders. I'm sure you can build strength but are you really wanting to sit down throughout your entire workout? This is laughable. In fact I'm actually sitting here laughing. What do I know? Maybe you're supposed to run and then sit down for your strength training.

So I kicked it up a notch and did my sort of normal routine (except with the machine). Instead of full handstands pushups I sat down and placed the marker in the 150 lb. location and did three presses. (This was max weight on the machine). Later I did 15 half presses. Instead of pullups I put the marker on the lat pull-down machine to 200lb. (the max), sat down and pulled five reps (this is like my bodyweight plus 30lbs.) Later I did less weight and more reps. For Squats there was nothing that really translated. I tried out the leg extension machine (also sitting down) but I felt like all it did was give me a pump and put stress on my knees. I can see this being a great rehab tool for knee injuries done slowly at low weight. Afterwards I jumped on the elliptical machine for barely ten minutes to play. I got bored.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012-11-05 Adjustments

So these days my Convict Conditioning sessions are one of either two variations: A (pushups,leg raises, bridges, grip, calves) or B (handstand pushups, pullups, squats, and neck). I do an "A" workout, then the next day I train it will be a "B", then "A", then "B", etc. I try to train five times a week. For each one, I do three sets minimum of each exercise, but I go through all the exercises one at a time (set one of pushups, set one of leg raises, set one of bridges, set one of grip work, set one of calves, then I do second set of pushup work, second set of leg raises, etc.). So far this is working fine, but it's taking about an hour and five minutes depending on rest time. I'd like it to take less time, so I'm thinking about doing a very brief warmup, then upping the intensity a bit and only doing TWO sets. Again, the idea is that I am trying to do more work PER WEEK, and less work PER DAY, by training more frequently...it's all a big experiment anyway- kind of like life.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012-11-01 Strong As Hell !

Maybe it was because my workout yesterday sucked, I had to cut it short since I had zero energy. Who knows? Today I kicked the Convict Conditioning workout in the ass. I feeling the strength return. Of course, there are certain areas where I have declined a bit (squats because of my accident), but other areas which are feeling strong (pushups, calves, and grip). So it's a balance. And I can feel that one-arm pullup just around the corner......

Feeling good in November 2012. Let's keep this going slowly forward for another 30 years or so.