Jasper Roberts - Blog

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013-08-29 Play

The L-Sit is good, but the V-Sit is even better (IMO). Of course, it's much more difficult. I'm playing with it. I know it looks like three seconds in the hold wiped me out, but this is at the end after a shitload of other calisthenics.

Good news for those who have moved beyond step 2 in Handstand work without passing the progression standard- you might get really strong and still not have the endurance to pass step 2. That's what happened to me. It's all about the practice I suppose. Two full minutes in a HS is quite long I think, and certainly not absolutely necessary for further development in that exercise.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013-08-26 Not All HSPUs Are Created Equal

Look around on Youtube and (aside from the elite athletes) most of the HSPU examples you see are half-ass, meaning that the head does not touch the ground and/or the arms are far from the head and so the elbows don't bend very far. I manged to push out two full HSPU after a bunch of warmup work including a set of twenty half HSPU (these are what you mainly see on the web). Lowering the head to the floor and touching solidly, moving the arms close to the head and BAM! - exponentially more difficult work.
True HSPU are quite difficult, especially for guys with long arms like me. I'm currently working pike pushups, half HSPU, parallet pike pushups, and three-quarter HSPU holds. All of these have the end goal of improving the HSPU.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013-08-21 Change IS Life

There is an old saying, "The only thing that never changes, is change itself." This is not to say that we should seek out change for no reason. It's also not to say that we should spend all of our time making contingency plans. It's simply to point out that we are tested in life on our ability to adapt, and that the essence of life is movement of some sort or another. No movement of air molecules into your lungs means death. Movement is, by the way, simply defined as  change in position. Change. Sometimes we are tested on our ability to adapt to something that feels like it's never going to change, even though we desperately want it to! Then again, you have to know when it's a healthy challenge and simply a waste of time. This takes some experience and guidance from your elders.

 I'm planning on modifying my training regimen (again) and I'd like to implement a morning session. For me this is almost inconceivable, since the mornings are incredibly difficult for me to mobilize. I've been reading about this  recently and one of the most motivating statements I've read came from a Navy SEAL instructor who said that he hated morning workouts, really hated them, but realized eventually that once he got warmed up, it wasn't really that bad.

I'm going with that...

Today more skills work, pushups, leg raises and yes...The Ab-Roller ! Honestly this thing is not simply for the abs. It requires a special kind of skill, and I'm going to play with it some more. Oh yeah, and Jack-Knife situps, slow and perfect. Those are good for you. Plus the usual elastic band work and calf exercises.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013-08-19 All Six For a Full-Body Workout, Plus When Lifting Less Weight is Harder.

All six of the big six today, but in my own way because some exercises are variations. But the principle was the same for today. I've been on a break for half a week or so to rest my wrist and neck and back. I wanted to get some training in on everything. Good stuff.
When I was doing regular pistols I found them harder WITHOUT holding two ten pound dumbbells. Yeah I know it has to do with balance, but it still is sort of weird. You're still pressing less vertical weight. The body is a marvelous and mysterious machine.

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013-08-12 Say "Yes" To Life

Ahh, the perils of modern life. The challenges and the shit that just drives you mad. Guess what? It has always been this way and always will, sort of like the sky being blue. And yet, would you stand and scream at the sky for being blue because you don't like blue? You would truly be mad.
Say yes to life, say yes to living and realize that everything that is a certain way has no concern for you wanting it a different way. Everything is perfect the way it is because this is the way it is. Nihilism? No. I do seek to change what I can and to do good work in this world. My changes will come about on my own accord and in ways meaningful to me and my immediate community of loved ones. I choose to say yes to the challenges and yes to responsibility and yes to accountability and yes to being an adult and yes to being man...as a mythical hero has for eons in our human history. The sort of which is becoming harder to find these days.

To do less would be to give up, crawl into a ball and die...or worse.

For the beautiful things in life, do not despair. Say 'yes'. And for the doubters...

As for calisthenics training today (yeah that)- I broke a new PR: I did ten pistol squats each leg while holding twenty pounds (2x10lb dumbs). Good stuff, now onto the really cool squat and lower extremity work.

Friday, August 9, 2013

2013-08-09 A Friday Treat

If the body is not sufficiently prepared then the joints are not in a place where they can safely sustain certain loads. Move slowly toward your goals. What is the rush? Nobody cares except you anyway.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013-08-08 Use The Physical to Help Build The Mental

Willpower. Mental stamina. One of the simplest ways to test it and to build it is to utilize the physical as a tool. Can you do one more pushup? I know you don't WANT to....but CAN you?
Injuries aside, consider that many astounding physical acts are simply mind over matter. Utilize your physical training to bring about a stronger will and a sharper mind. It doesn't always come 'automatically', but if you focus a little energy on this type of training it will come.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

2013-08-07 Static Holds

Isometrics are an excellent tool to help you in your calisthenics progress. Have you hit a plateau yet? I'm using static holds as one tool to help push through a plateau on the HSPU. Here's how it works-
Lower yourself down to within some standard distance from the floor (I use a yoga block), and hover yourself there for a count. Do NOT rest your head and weight, keep a gap.
It's very difficult, but helps develop what gymnasts call "bent arm strength". Everyone can hold a pushup position; however, ask even a fit individual to hold a pushup position one inch off the ground and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, August 5, 2013

2013-08-05 The Secret To "Old-Man Strength"

You’ve probably heard the term before and wondered what it was, or if it was even real. The idea is that men over the age of about 37 begin to develop a strength that doesn’t seem to match their physical appearance or demeanor.
I have a theory. It came to me during my workout today, partly because I was tired as hell (same story for now), and partly because even though I was tired, I was crushing it. I reached my training goals today and they were generally higher than ever before. Let’s just say that I am ecstatic about how my performance is going to improve once I get on a regular healthy eating and sleeping pattern.
The mechanism I believe is “Neuromuscular facilitation”, to borrow a term from Comrade Pavel of kettlebell fame. If you’ve been working out and exercising and maintaining an athletic existence for most of your life, then by the time you reach forty you still have quite a bit of the muscular development that you did at thirty, but there’s one thing you have a lot more of: experience. Your neurons have been firing and gaining an intelligence in and of your body as you’ve moved it and subjected it to stress for a long time. It’s an efficiency thing, and like any endeavor it’s usually the more efficient player who wins.
In this case, you have developed subconscious neurological system efficiency.  Congratulations. Now keep paving the way for the whippersnappers. In case you doubt, click on the picture of the old man above. Eighty nine years old doing a clutch flag.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2013-08-01 Change Your Goals

You may want to feel a certain way or look a certain way, but many times you have to be happy simply with passing. Reaching the goal you set out for that day is success, right?
Since when is reaching a goal a failure? That shit pisses me off. If you're not happy, then set the damn goal higher.
Today I successfully carried out the objectives I set out to do today in my training. That is all.