Jasper Roberts - Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012-12-20 Last Post of 2012...

Today I felt strong on the pullups, HSPU, squats (owning the Cossack squats), and neck (I'm incorporating some stuff I learned from Mike the Machine in addition to the stuff from CC2) After today though I have two words for you: Rest and Hawaii. I'm taking two and a half weeks off from work. This is the longest I have taken off from work (while at a job) in my life. The first seven days I'll be spending at home with my wife, cats, and chickens relaxing. The following ten days we'll be recreating in paradise.
This means rest people. I don't plan on working out. It'll be hiking, walking, swimming, and leisurely strolls- letting my body heal for awhile and letting this year's CC training sink into my bones. Consider some of the same for yourselves. I may sneak in a few photo ops if the mood strikes me.
Please have an enjoyable and safe holiday season. See ya in 2013...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012-12-19 More of My CC Secrets

In my opinion, "in-between" steps are the only way to really get from some Convict Conditioning levels to other, higher levels. For example, after I completed uneven pushups, half one-arm pushups were impossible. I couldn't even do one. But I've written about this before, and others have picked up on it.
There's more though...
Some people have questioned why Coach Wade has suggested such high repetitions on some exercises when we understand high reps to be associated with "cardio" or at least NOT with strength gains. We need low reps with high stress to gain strength right? Well, not so fast. My answer is: yes and no. It drastically depends on your form and your speed, which is difficult to maintain and track. Hell, even in this video above I didn't realize I had my ass sticking out so far when I was doing the exercise.
In my last post I talked a little about some research that has gone into this high rep/low rep/fast/slow subject. But essentially, when I did a big change in my CC workout scope about six months ago, I have had big gains in strength and even in my physical body.
Admittedly, I do not follow CC in an extremely strict manner. I use it as a general guide, though I gotta say that I feel strongly about the concepts I've learned form it: slow progression and consistency. My approach is simple and effective so far: medium stress/medium rep warmups, high stress/low rep primary work, and medium stress/high rep secondary work (all of it at a relatively slow, standard CC rate when I can). Occaisionally I will do explosive work when I get bored. Also, I cycle through exercises in a single session so that I'm not doing all my pushup work, then all my leg raise work, then all my calf raise work for example. I don't want to be exhausted from pushups to do my leg raise work.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we are human beings. As much as I document my progress in a notebook (diligently), there are days when one exercise just isn't going to feel right or something. Today for example, I was NOT feeling it with the walkdown and walkup bridges. So that's how the cookie crumbles. I did a few and moved on. My other exercises felt strong, just not my bridges.
That's life.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012-12-17 More Insights

I was speaking to Johnny Pearman of Pearman Fitness last weekend and he mentioned some things that really had me excited and thinking a lot about how I train. We were talking about recent research results about repetition speed (slow work) and also about endurance versus intensity, and time under tension and related concepts....you know, the whole "low rep and high resistance" vs. "high rep and low resistance". Well, it seems that all is not always as we think it may be. There is reason to believe that what Coach Wade tells us about about working slow reps may finally have some scientific backing.
I'm feeling vindicated in my approach to CC and bodyweight training now. truth be told though, I generally mix it up when it comes to high rep, quick work, and low rep high intensity work. I also mix it up with regard to working the 2-1-2 slow method of CC with faster, more conventional tempos. All in all, things are continuing to look good for my method. An interesting reminder as well....I'm never sore from training but I am continuing to progress and get stronger. If someone tells you that if you're not sore you're not working hard enough? Let them believe that fallacy and continue on your way.

By the way, read THIS abstract:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11447355

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012-12-13 Putting it to the Test

You know how almost every action-adventure movie has the star hero hanging from a rope (tied to a flying helicopter on one end) with one hand, while holding onto a damsel in distress with his other hand? Total and complete bullshit.Go ahead and search YouTube until your eyes bleed and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone hanging onto a rope or towel (not a bar) with one arm for more than 30 seconds, let alone holding extra weight. That's because it is damn hard. I will say that if your life depended on it, you might be able to summon the strength to break a record, but your tendons would be toast. I'm not saying it's not humanly possible to hang from a towel with one arm for five minutes (because I believe it is), but there are few people out there who can come close today relative to the general population. Hopefully one day I will be one of those individuals.
I developed an elbow injury last year which took me months to fully recover from, and it was because I was too aggressive in making gains in grip work from hanging. So please take your time in grip training! These days I up my time by one second per week. But hell, after a year that almost a full minute, and that's respectable. Plus I recommend both finger and finger-tip pushup holds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012-12-12 Pronated or Supinated ?

Pull-ups or Chin-ups.....such an important question. I have a confession. Since the beginning, I have been doing both- mixing it up about half and half throughout my CC journey. However, since I started weighted bar-work a couple months ago I have almost exclusively gone to supinated pulls (chin-ups) as opposed to pronated pulls (pull-ups). Yeah, I know that chinups are usually a little easier for most people, me included. But when I only do pullups, I don't see the same results. I feel my elbow area get pumped full of blood, but that's about it. Sure my lats get a workout, but with the chinups my biceps have been steadily getting bigger and I also feel like I've been making strength progress right for my body type (a lanky ass mo-fo). Plus, who doesn't want bigger GUNS!? Seriously though, I prefer chinups for my main work at this time, though keep in mind that I am also working Horizontal pulls, and this is exclusively a pronated exercise (strict CC).

Above is a short article on the differences, but listen to your body and see which variation works better for you. Keep in mind that variations in the distance between your hands on the bar when you grip also makes a huge difference. Experiment with this as well.Gripping wide means you do not pull as far- it's physics.Gripping tighter together allows for other things, like transitioning into muscle-ups more easily. Play with it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012-12-10 The Next Level

I see that the blog has hit 100,000 all-time views. A big thanks to everyone who surfs over here to read my rants. As a side note, I was out (from CC) most all of last week in long meetings. Good news: I put on a few pounds (that's actually a good thing for me), and my workout today (which was a repeat of my last workout) was actually pretty easy. This tells me that time off is big. It's necessary, and it's healthy. Lot's of hard work is needed, but push it too hard too soon and you'll be doing yourself a disservice.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012-12-04 My Experimental CC Cardio Interval Routine

I knew I was going to be very busy all week and not able to train my normal CC exercises according to schedule at lunch time. So...I figured on Sunday night I would get sore and get in some cardio work and experiment.
Here's what I did. Give it a try and tell me what it feels like.

Four sets:
-5 pushups
-5 leg raises
-5 chinups
-5 pike pushups
-5 Cossack squats (each side, switching sides each rep)
-5 bridges

Final fifth set:
-10 pushups
-10 leg raises
-10 chinups
-10 pike pushups
-10 Cossack squats (each side, switching sides each rep)
-10 bridges

NOTE: All exercises done as quickly as possible without full attention given to form. NO rest in between exercises. Rest only between SETS for 30 seconds. (My legs are still sore from Sunday)

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012-12-03 When You Can't

I'm in a required business meeting every day this week. This means I can't do my normal CC routine at lunchtime. So, I've got to expect that this happens every once in awhile, like other things I don;t like. Fortunately for me it's a once or twice a year thing. If it were otherwise I'd have to figure out a way to train before or after work. I also have too much going on this week to be able to do anything after work, so...I'll get back to it next week.