Jasper Roberts - Blog

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013-06-27 Dropping Knowledge




Just found this article from Beast Skills. An interview with Jack Arnow. Don't know who he is? If you are a CC or calisthenics enthusiast, you need to know. This is cool stuff, sort of reminds me of martial arts where there is the teacher, his master, and then that guy's teacher who is some hermit living in the mountains and meditates while levitating. It's a long article but a good read with critical secrets on the one-arm chinup.

http://www.beastskills.com/interview-with-jack-arnow-2/   LINK

I'm still figuring out my schedule with the baby. Feeling tired and lazy, but plotting my full return.
I WILL do a planche and I WILL do a one-arm chinup and I WILL hold a one arm HS for 30 seconds before I die.

Now go get to work.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013-06-25 The Master Spoiler


Feeling pretty dark today. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the constant battle against the system just to barely stay afloat. Who knows.

Remember the first time you ever saw that scene from The Wizard of Oz where Toto the little dog pulls back the curtain in the emerald palace to reveal that the Great and Powerful Oz is just an bumbling old man working control knobs? You kind of saw that coming though, didn't you? And remember the first time you found out that there actually was no Santa Claus? You probably had a gut feeling about that too. The same goes for the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.

Today's workout was mediocre, though I'm not sure what metric to use. You could say it was great or fine or crap. I sweat so I guess that's good.

Tired. Weak.

Already looking forward to Friday. Sometimes I hate working out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

2013-06-24 Getting Blood From A Stone


As with anything in life, it's a mater of perspective. When I was in college, there was a time when I was a summer I was only working part time and i needed more hours. So I looked for a job and found a gig paying just over minimum wage (something like $4 an hour), cleaning the floors at SEARS in the mall. The hours: 4:00am-9:00am. You want to talk about nearly impossible for me to get there on time?
It didn't matter because my boss was a drunk and I only stayed two weeks. Of course in the short time I was there the other four guys in my crew had all left and been replaced. Seems like nobody wanted that gig for $4 an hour.
Fast forward ahead twenty years and I am getting out of bed an hour after turning in, then again at 1:00am, and again about at 4:00am, about an hour before I normally wake up for work. This time instead of driving to SEARS to clean floors I am helping take care of my infant son. And I should say that as difficult as it is, there is an interesting new drive I have found which is very different. Yes it sucks big time and every cell in my body is screaming to go back to sleep, however after I'm up and moving for a minute my mind settles and it becomes much easier. Even more to the point, if I ever hear a cough or some sort of gasp I usually jolt up straight completely awake. I wish I had a button for that ability.
So it comes down to perspective. They say you cannot get blood out of a stone, right? Well what if that stone is actually just a hardened, polished, solidified lump of dried blood? Then all it takes is some water and some agitation. There it is. Blood from a stone.

Today I continued working on my new CC HIIT- fine tuning it. I'm finding that I need about 40 seconds of rest for every 20 seconds of calisthenics work. Yeah, yeah it doesn't fit the HIIT protocols... Who says? My heart rate stays high, so it's working. That's the point, as well as performing strength work.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2013-06-17 Updates...



Well, I'm back at work today after two weeks and I cannot wait to get home ASAP to see my new 13 day old son! Very excited to spend time with the little guy and give my wife a break.

In other news, I am in the process of testing out my new "High Intensity Interval" training method. It is basically a way of working every exercise of "The Big Six" (Plus CC2 work like neck, grip, and claves- and also other skills like holding a HS, working on the planche, etc) in a short period of time (less than 30 minutes). It includes what I call a "Wake-up", then a "Warm-up" then you start in on the calisthenics in a very specific and complex way, which I have figured out and can tailor to each person wherever they are in strength using a simple formula.

Traditionally, the HIIT method involves anywhere from a few minutes up to half an hour of exercise performed under very specific timing regiments. It usually involves an intense exercise period, followed by a much less intense exercise or even rest and recovery, which is repeated a number of times. Many studies have shown that exercise performed like this delivers the same or even better cardio vascular health benefits as other, longer exercise endeavors. Newsflash: you don't need to jog for an hour- you can do tabata intervals.

Now, the whole HIIT thing can (if you want to) get extremely complicated, and various methods are created for Olympic athletes depending on their particuclar sport,time of year, time of season, weight of athlete, VO2 max levels, and other more compliccated details. Suffice to say that if you're not an athletic scientist you don't need to know that much about the details to do something simple that works.

Here's the magic of my CC based system and why it is different- I'm using strength and skill based exercises to generate the intensity of the workout rather than more mindless work like jumping jacks or running. It doens't take a genius to realize that jumping jacks are not as intense and difficult to perform as one-arm pushups. I'm not saying that other HIIT programs are bad, don;t get me wrong. I loveTACFIT, I love traditional Tabatas, and I love the simple ones described in a recent NY Times article. But I also love skill-based calisthenics. Now, some exercise physiologist may come along and prove me wrong and say I'm wasting my time because you can't do it like that....and I welcome that criticism if and when it ever comes. Though it better be logical and scientific. However, based on my own research I cannot fnd any reason why you cannot utilize strength and skill based exercises as a part of a traditional HIIT.

That said, I will continue tweaking it and testing it out over the next couple weeks. Then I plan on offering either a pdf plan through PayPal, or perhaps some sort of video. I've been working on it for quite a while so it would be nice to make at least a couple bucks from it. (It'll be cheap don't worry)

I do agree that if you really, really want to ace that one arm pullup and you want the strength and skill to do that, then...well, you're going to have to spend time working on that and a HIIT is not going to help you with that as much as focused training will. However, if you are already at a particular level of strength and want to maintain it in a simple manner, then I believe you can do that, while getting the health benefits of a HIIT in a shorter period of time per session. Yes, you will work HARD. As if you thought you wouldn't.

PS. Checkout this cool article talking about human evolution and exercise. You will ALWAYS crave the donut and you will always prefer the elevator. Get over it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

2013-06-14 Down But Not Out

I've been adapting to my new responsibilities as a Dad. The past two weeks I've been away from the office, now that will be changing soon. This means further adaptation to a new schedule yet again, so I will be figuring this out as well.
If you've been following this blog you know that I have been advancing my CC training so that CC is really just a base from which I work. The exercises are key and even more the philosophy of slow progressive advancement is crucial. I'll be ready to start testing a compact, high density, high intensity interval training system based on what I have been developing from CC and other sources on Monday. Will report as soon as I can give an intelligent assessment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013-06-09 The Big News


Yes, the original Convict Conditioning blogger is now a father! My beautiful wife and I are very blessed to have a healthy and wonderful little boy. The picture you see of me is six days without training and with very little sleep. I'm glad I spent two years building up my physical strength and endurance. I knew that the day would come when I needed it, and now I do.
And I won't bore you with details or get on a soapbox about being a new parent- I never listened to those people before I had a child so why would I expect anyone else to? Suffice to say that I am very happy, excited, scared, ecstatic, curious, hopeful, pensive, and just plain silly with glee to show this little guy around the world. I disagree that having a kid necessarily change your life. Rather, I think it changes your perspective.
As Morpheus said in the movie 'The Matrix', "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. "  And so life imitates art in this case. I have been exposed to the Matrix so to speak, my hands have been unbound and my eyes opened.
It occurred to me the other day, something quite profound. Something which finally explained the "why?" of conscientiously having children, at least for me. You see, you will die one day. So will I, and so will every one else walking around on the planet right now. This may or may not be obvious, but I have thought abut death briefly, if momentarily, every day of life since I can remember. Nothing you do can change this fact. Nothing I or anyone else does to extend life or even improve it will change that cold, hard, and inevitable fact. The single fifty year old ladies man, the twenty five year or father of four, the monk, the murderer, the wealthiest person in the world, and the most impoverished- all face a last and final day. I feel that raising a child (can be) a simple and beautiful act of fully accepting what most of us run around trying to avoid the reality of. It can be an manifestation of the realization of the inevitable. By accepting my own mortality, my own finite-ness, I open my soul up to the world and bring in everything- the joy, the pain, the fear, the happiness, and the inarticulable joy and excitement of being a human being. Fair to say it's one way of looking at it.

Ok, now onto some very cool CC news- I have spent the last couple weeks researching and writing and  thinking. I have put together a HIIT (High intensity interval training) circuit based on Convict Conditioning. It will be highly sought after, when I release it, I am confident. :) Of course, I will need to test it out and see how it goes. The idea is that as a new father I will have less time that I've had in the past. In addition, I want to ramp up the heart rate for a little longer. However, I do not want to slip down from where I am on the strength meter after two years of this stuff. So, I think I have the ultimate solution coming up in a post soon enough......

















Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013-06-04 Brutal Irony


There's one line in this video that is haunting. It's when Ido says something along the lines of "You get better and better at what you do, or do not do." Basically he's saying that if you practice handstands you will get better at handstands, just like you will get better at being cramped into an office chair if that is what you practice a lot.
It occurred to me that if you rarely or never squat, then you kind of get good at being stiff in the hips and your calves and quads and knees really adapt well to this non-squatting lifestyle. This is the irony in some ways. Maybe this is why many of my office colleagues are so much better at long periods of sitting than I am. Serious problems arise however if you one day decide to do something that requires flexible hips and strong knee joints. Then you're in trouble. "Having it and not needing it is better than needing it and not having it"...seems like I've heard that saying somewhere before. ;)




Monday, June 3, 2013

2013-06-03 One Leg Squats


 Home today, working my lunch hour in the garage. And by working my lunch hour, I mean Convict Conditioning. Is it me or do pistols take everything you have? When I'm finishing a set I feel depleted in strength and cardio- they exhaust me across the board unlike any other exercise. Anybody else feel like this? Maybe it's because I have super long legs.
The pistol is a gem of an exercise though. It takes balance as well as strength and endurance. There is a lot of controversy about the uneven squat (using a basketball) as found in CC. I found that I was able to pass the progression standard for half one leg squats before I could even do one good uneven squat, so I went on to full pistols and then began adding weight. First I held two dumbbells, but then recently went to a single dumbbell racked near the shoulder because it's much harder than holding weights out in front of you...much harder.
You'll notice that I also do my pistols left, right, left, right, etc. instead of all on the left and then all on the right. I believe that exhausting one side before starting the other side doesn't make sense, especially because the pistols truly take so much effort. With one arm pushups I don;t feel the same bodily exhaustion I feel with the one leg squat. More research, more exploration.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2013-06-01 Two Major Realizations, Plus Some Fun

First the fun. An exercise I picked up called a "Gathering". The beginners level is bent knees into locked legs. Intermediate is locked legs the whole time. Advanced is locked legs, but pressing up into a full handstand. Very difficult, but approachable. Here's my first-ever attempt at the advanced Gathering exercise. I've been doing the beginners and moved onto intermediate. My tweak is that you can use the wall initially, then you must move off the wall quickly because we're talking about head stands primarily, not handstands. In my opinion, this is an excellent exercise for the posterior chain, and it works your body in ways difficult to imagine if you're not familiar with it.


Ok, now to the realizations. First, I discovered something I call "hidden psychological effects" which serve to limit your power. Today I worked pullups and chinups, both two arm and one arm work of various kinds. I did this work at home rather than at the office, and my pullup bar at home has a smaller diameter. This is very much noticeable and it crushes your hands compared to the bar at the office. So when I couldn't do the same work today I had done last week, I started wondering. Then it occurred to me that if I paid attention to my hands...they hurt! I mean, it's not a big deal and all because it's temporary, but this bar at home really twists the hell out the skin on my hands. I know "Whaaaa!", but here's the thing- when I'm doing the pullups I don't notice any pain at all, only when I finish and only if I think a out my hands. So, I have a theory. The theory is that even though I'm not consciously aware of the discomfort, I am subconsciously aware of the higher level of discomfort and this takes energy and effort to deal with it, and this is energy and effort taken away from that normally directed toward simply executing the pullup. Basically, on a painfully small pullup bar I'm wasting neural energy better spent on developing muscle mass, tendon strength, etc. I have no science to back this up. At this point it's just my theory.

The second realization I had today is this: Fighters should be doing a lot of isometric holds. Why you ask? When a punch lands, what is the position of the arm and for how long does the force transmit through the arm? Is it similar to bench pressing? Absolutely not.
A punch sees the arm fly out from the body largely unimpeded and makes impact (ideally) at 70%-90% full extension. Furthermore, the force of impact lasts a very short period of time (fraction of a second). The salient point is that the impact force presents solely at the moment of impact while the arm is extended. A bench press (or even a pushup) sees the arm pressing against sufficient force throughout the full range of motion of the moving arm. Very much unlike the way an arm encounters force during a punch.
Now, I'm not saying that a fighter shouldn't do pushups. You need strength over a full range of motion, full body integrated strength development, etc. I am saying however that his time would be much better spent doing single arm planks, single arm pushup holds, handstand holds, bridges, and probably ballistic kettlebell work rather than heavy bench presses.