Jasper Roberts - Blog

Monday, July 28, 2014

2014-07-28 Doing Research and Learning The Way

So after twenty plus years of martial arts and doing splits stretches in every class, no instructor has ever shown me how to actually get my body into that position. Consequently, I never have. Now, I'm not faulting them because it's likely that the instructor didn't know the methods either and was just following his instructor. Now that I have been researching methods of movement outside my known realm, I have gone further into a split with chest to ground (what gymnasts call a "pancake") in 90 days than I did in more than 20 years of martial arts stretching. Picture below as proof. Oh, and by the way- I only train this for about five minutes three times a week. Yeah, you read that right. Fly me out to your martial arts school and I'll teach you for free. I figure in another 90 days I'll have my chest flat on the ground and my legs further out. Great base for a press-to-handstand.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014-07-26 The Leg Work I'm Doing These Days...

Primary current goals:
-Freestanding Handstand for time working toward freestanding HSPU.
-One arm chinup, with minor concurrent slow muscleup on the bar.
-Pancake. (This is where you do a 180 degree split and put your chest on the floor).

So everything else is taking a temporary backseat. Everything else is on what's called "maintenance", because the fact is, you cannot simultaneously pursue every single strength goal. It's impossible because a) I don't have eight hours every day to work at that, and b)the body doesn't really work that way. Nobody learns Spanish, French, Russian, and Portuguese simultaneously. It's counterproductive, slow, confusing, and unnecessary.
That said, it would be stupid to leave out other exercises completely. Yes I squat and I even do some weighted squats but the bulk of my leg work is unilateral because it involves a much larger range of motion done properly and it incorporates other skills necessary for the main goals, though indirect. It's also much safer at this point. I'm not interested in squatting 400 lbs. I'm interested in being able to get up off the floor from sitting on it, holding a drink and a baby safely, with authority and control. You're body is asymmetrically loaded, and you're in a weird, irregular position- Squatting 400 lbs, will only help that in a small degree and over a very limited range.
Anyway, here's a clip of something I'm calling chaining work. It's a deep reverse lunge, front leg raise, zero weight single leg deadlift, into a pistol squat, into a shrimp squat. Fun and challenging.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014-07-23 Typical Dinner

I was in the mood to shoot some video as I was finishing up cooking dinner. Calisthenics and eating and sleeping. I need more of the sleeping part.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2014-07-21 Still On the Path

Not my kid, but funny picture. I am still trying to get a hold on what it is that is causing me pain in the left side of my back. My new theory is that I've been drinking too much. I have a few data points to support this ridiculous theory, so I'm curtailing my imbibing to see how it goes.
I realized that there is simply not enough time in the day to move as much as I would like. The challenge then becomes: what do I do with the limited time I have?
There was a fascinating video interview of Ido portal recently, I highly recommend watching it even though its almost two hours (speaking of limited time...) Also interesting is his statements about CrossFit and Martial Arts, and many many other things. Human beings are BIOMECHANICAL, not mechanical. Good stuff right there.

LINK:  http://www.londonreal.tv/episodes/ido-portal-just-move

Ido speaks about movement of course and about breaking dogma. Lots of good stuff related to what we do. One thing that struck me later, and something which I've been harping about recently is the severe lack of information and help for the majority of people out there who are lucky to have thirty minutes to train each day. The demands of an actual job and a family, it has finally dawned on me, are so far removed from what those unencumbered folks experience, as to be like explaining an alien civilization. Most people cannot possibly imagine this life. And please note that this is not a complaint- far from it. It's a realization of fact for many regular people like myself (and I suspect many of you out there) who just want to have a better connection to their body and their humanity. THIS is where I hope to deliver content and service at some point in the near future. Moving for five hours a day is great if you're independently wealthy and single. And don't give me that shit about making time- I DO make time, but I and many other people choose to also encumber other responsibilities which supersede, ultimately, their own health to some degree. THIS is the challenge whose solutions will change normal folk's lives. Not one arm handstands on top of a golden post. (Although that would be pretty cool)

Today I screwed around with some (quasi) weights on the smith machine. Note: I don't deadlift. Mainly because I don't have access to REAL weights and because I have extremely limited time. I'm not going to be spending twenty minutes fucking around carrying weights onto and off of bars. That said, I lifted 230lbs off the ground pretty easily. I realize this is crap and for a 6'1" 170lbs bloke like myself. I should probably be lifting 500lbs or something, but whatever. I have never trained it and didn't practice. Not too shitty I suppose given that. I didn't want to risk going for a max. Just screwing around. If at some time I approach that goal I'll approach with caution like everything else in strength training.

By the way, if you think you're strong in the deadlift, just remember that one of my strength heroes, Adam Glass once lifted 585 lbs with one hand (barbell deadlift). And he is not a humongous guy either.

Adam Glass

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2014-07-16 Coming to Terms With....

The oldest man who ever lived, died last year at the age of 116. Guess what? During the interview he wasn't doing behind the back planche pushups like the kid on a recent video going around. You read that right- behind the back clapping planche pushup. Unbelieveable power and also probably a very specific strength to weight/height ratio.
Anyway, if you have the amazing luck to live to be 90 years old, don't kid yourself- you are much more likely to be happy about satisfactory post-meal digestion than you are about completing twenty reps of double bodyweight squats. Walking up a two flights of stairs without holding the rail will be a solid athletic accomplishment. And that's ok.
I'm not saying to settle for old age today, and I'm not suggesting that you've got one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel...however I am saying that we are all going to get old and die...If you're lucky. Because you might just die without getting old- but there are your two options.
My point here is to appreciate what you DO have. Today. Right now. Appreciate the mobility that you create for yourself and realize that some people are happy to simply wake up with minimal pain- period. Many people. And in one hundred years nobody will give two shits about you or how many reps of whatever exercise you did- not even the behind the back clapping planche pushup kid. So do things today for yourself and your loved ones, and balance it with a sense of humor and a sense of unattachment....like the best out there.
This week I'm still working on recovering from shitty back discomfort. My handstands are solid, I can go up and stay up without the wall for about 10 seconds or so depending on my energy level. One arm negatives are feeling solid as well- I can almost eek out a single "half-one arm chinup" which is huge for me these days. Not training squats as much as my main work but still able to run through my chaining routine including pistols and shrimp squats. Coming along slowly. Gotta stay strong for the kid. He's already kicking my ass at age 13 months. And I love it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014-07-09 Attack the Pain

Maybe I got a second wind but I've been seeking out online help and came across some amazing stretching videos by Kit Laughlin. Wow. So new movements and I am attacking the pain with stretches and body movement. Plus Advil. Doing much better tonight.
Today I had a pretty decent training session. One arm pulling work feeling solid today and so are my one leg squats and shrimp squats.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014-07-08 Slow and Easy

This is me 24-7 lately. I refuse to take too much time off simply because I know I'm not injured, I just have some ridiculous muscle stiffness on one side for some reason. Ok, I actually don't know I have no injuries, I'm just reasserting positive mental attitude in hope that the placebo effect will take over.
I had a good massage last weekend and it did something, perhaps initiate the healing event? Either way, I'm definitely not at 100% which makes calisthenics (and basically everything else) just mildly painful ALL the time.
I'm trying to stay moving and hope it goes away sooner rather than later. Reducing my volume a bit and re-focusing my energy on my goals: freestanding handstand and press-to-handstand, and of course the one arm chin-up.
Made some interesting gains yesterday by practicing mobilizing my shoulder to initiate a pull on the bar with one arm from a dead hang. This is where it starts to get interesting.