Jasper Roberts - Blog

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

2014-04-24 It's The Lats Son, The Lats.

Latissimus Dorsi, what a wonderful thing. Many years ago one of my friends told me that I should forget about my biceps and focus instead on triceps because it was a larger muscle. That comes back to haunt me now, in a very positive way because calisthenics strength training shows that there is truth here.
If you want big biceps quit doing curls. Well, you don't necessarily  have to quit doing curls, but at least understand that your puny arms are an extension of your powerful core body. Like a tree.
Do you see many trees with skinny trunks and big fat branches? Of course not. And your body is structured in a similar fashion.
Build the core, the shoulders, and the lats through handstand work and pullups and pushups.....THEN you can expect your biceps to grow a tiny little bit.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014-04-17 Massive New Gains

The best advice I got in the past few months related to calisthenics training was from one of my trainers, who told me to focus on a goal and not get spread too thin. I'm actually pursuing two goals simultaneously but the point is that I'm not trying to get better at all of the "Big Six" at once. I don't believe it's a good idea as you get more advanced, it's just not feasible. In fact the specific things I'm working involve more than just strength too, so it gets complicated.
Up until today I don't ever remember being able to hang from one arm and slowly drop to half-way and hold that. Forget it. Until today. My secret training methods I got from the ancient scrolls I found in that cave are finally paying off! One arm chin here I come.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014-04-16 No Energy

I planned on training Monday- got distracted at work. I planned on Tuesday- met my wife for lunch. Then today I was excited to get back to it, but I taught a sparring class last night and didn't get to sleep until 11:00pm with an hour spent rocking the baby to sleep from 3:00am-3:00am.
I went to the gym and did some elastic band shoulder work, then one set of kick ups on the wall.
Forget it, zero energy to do pull-ups. Next time.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014-04-07 Improving Character by Becoming Less Judgemental

Serious calisthenics and pursuit of the mastery of the difficult skills like freestanding handstand pushups, one arm chin-ups, the planche, and the levers (front and back) are a pursuit of perfection of form, mastery of one's own body, and require outstanding consistent discipline.
Likewise, pursuit of the perfection of the person involves similar attention to detail. The problem is often in the path, just like in calisthenics- HOW do I get there?
One first-step is simply gratitude. Be mindful of what you have. Another baby step is getting away from being judgmental. This seems simple but it not so easy. I believe the reason is that as human beings we naturally believe in certain ways, are attracted to these ways, and the very fact that you prefer one thing and not the other means you hold the other to have less interest and value- otherwise you'd be a fan of the other way! If you like chocolate more than vanilla ice cream, then you can't say you're as big a fan of vanilla as you are of chocolate because if you were then you'd prefer vanilla...and you just said you don't! This is a fundamental stumbling block in logic the way I see it, and is an obstacle to eliminating judgmental behavior. The only sure solution is to not really care too much about anything in particular, to be pretty much unattached to specifics. It's a lofty goal because it doesn't provide much drive and motivation to do hard work in the pursuit of something specific. If you're a fan of something you get into it and get excited about it. If you're not a fan of anything, where is the motivation? It's tough.

I'm feeling, much stronger in my freestanding handstand work these days. Also, the one arm chin is coming along slowly but surely. Squats are somehow still strong, even though I'm working them less and I now feel like the planche is a real possibility in my life. On the downside, I've put my splits progression on hold for lack of time (or inclination I guess).
When I see older and chubbier folks in the gym lately I am feeling joy that they are working out. They are there. They are doing the work. To demean people who are visibly working to help themselves get healthier is absurd and shows one's own lack of confidence and compassion.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

2014-04-02 Random Rant, Plus Some Helpful Videos

I got home and had a beer, and perhaps because I was pissed that I ran out of training time earlier today and couldn't finish my leg work- I felt the need to shoot his video. What I'm calling a "Squatted Pistol" is my own invention to assist one in learning the one-legged squat (pistol). You start from the ground and press up- it's the "up" half of the pistol squat. It's one tool for learning one part of the entire progression. I recommend getting a little bit strong in a wider range of motion. This alone will do wonders for your strength in your normal range of motion, plus it will stabilize and strengthen the joints which is what a lot of this should be about as we age. There are no 75 year olds competing in Olympic lifting with no age categories.

Then later I searched for pistol squat on Youtube and this came up:


Not to pick on any particular person or group (in this case the video that popped up happened to be from a Reebok Crossfit Demo), but the point is articulated very well in THIS much longer video:

Worth a watch on all of these. Consider the health of your knees and ankles and your skill in balance and preservation of stability throughout a body movement- not just your ability to burn your quads. If you're going for endurance, it's probably a lot safer to do barbell squats or sandbag squats.