Jasper Roberts - Blog

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014-08-27 Minor Points - Planche Progressions

The tuck planche is the preferred starting point. Been there, done that. Working on some alternatives. Finding out some interesting things. One of the best in the world says that the key to planche is getting as far forward as possible. And I'm not even working on planche, it's just a side maintenance project for now....and STILL making gains.
Here I'm trying to keep a flat body (here I'm erring on the hip forward) while moving as far forward as my wrists will allow, while alternating the legs. Much harder than it looks. If you find it easy then your hands are likely way too close to your head.

Friday, August 22, 2014

2014-08-22 The Cost of Success is Suffering

There's no easy way. If you consistently take the easy path in every aspect of life, eventually you'll run out of the fun times and you'll either be bored to tears to find yourself in a ditch (or worse). Consistent, small-step, targeted and intelligent suffering is the way to rise above every challenge. Some people say they like working out and if you're doing something like martial rats or sports perhaps that's true. Doing pullups sucks. That's precisely why I do them. It is uncomfortable and I want to quit every time I grab the bar- but I don't.

Progress is satisfactory. What you see in the video is something completely out of the question for me six months ago. One arm negative work:

Freestanding HS work. Coming along at 12 seconds, though I've done much longer with a spotter not against the wall. This one shows a couple frustrating starts:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014-08-14 My One-Arm Chin-up Methods (Plus a motivational visualization tip)

The CC method for getting to the one-arm chin is unrealistic in it's pure form, and other methods I've read are also problematic (weighted chin-ups, archer pull-ups, negatives only, and other stuff). I've done a lot of research on this and bought books on it as well. I've also tested out methods personally over several years...and my conclusion is (sorry to sound like politician) "all of the above". I used weighted pull-ups and found some value but there is something else required I believe for the average person to develop this skill. I am currently using a weight vest for some work I do, and I definitely use one arm negatives as part of my method too. Another tool rarely talked about is the isometric hold- yes I'm definitely using this tool as well. So between iso holds, a weight vest, and negatives I am definitely making great progress on the one arm chin-up. Oh, almost forgot because it's laughable- I'm doing some hammer curls with dumbbells as a tool as well. This, believe it or not, is quite helpful for me- especially as a guy with skinny arms like myself. There you go, along with some other tricks I developed which I didn't mention like one arm hanging shrugs. As for specifics, you'll have to either spend years figuring it out on your own like I did, hire someone who knows what they're talking about, or talk to me about designing a progression plan.

The key element I found which few people are talking about is the concept of strength within a particular ROM. Some of this is due to physics and some of it is due to deficiencies which need to be addressed to gain the particular skill. The muscle up is an excellent example of this- its easy to do a pull-up, and easy to do a dip- the trick is transitioning and having the strength in the pull-up AT THE TOP in order to make that transition. It doesn't matter if you can pull-up your own body weight strapped on. If you don't have the necessary strength at the range of motion where you need it the most you won't be able to complete the task (muscle up in this case as an example).

I came across an interesting new tool today, more like a better developed tool: The mental visualization is POWERFUL. It's tricky because it is different for every person, but here's what I sometimes do: when I'm feeling like I'm going to be struggling to complete a difficult move, I may imagine my son (who's just a toddler) standing there looking at me and saying "Daddy can you do that?" Then I feel empowered to "show off" for my little boy. That's just me. Perhaps it's a parent or another loved one, or someone or something else entirely for you. It's fun and it works.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014-08-08 Believe in Yourself

Have you ever said something and as you were saying it you thought "..yeah but that's kind of bullshit, I'm going to need to clarify that as soon as I finish saying these words..." ?
The source motivation for each person varies quite a bit, but one thing is for sure- you either have motivation or you don't. And if you don't, then you really should find it somewhere. If you haven't found it, then you probably haven't had a good enough reason to go looking hard enough for it.
The very nature of making a choice to be motivated is the choice along a particular path. You cannot take two road simultaneously. You cannot eat meat and also be a vegetarian. You can eat meat and THEN decide to be a vegetarian, or you can be a vegetarian and THEN decide to eat meat, OR you can be either one and still love people who are the other and respect them but you cannot BE both vegetarian and meat eater. That's called an omnivore and it's something else entirely. This is probably a bad example, and it will probably take me a year to make the point I want. That's ok.

Just get motivated by...something, or someone.

Today I felt particularly string in my one arm chinup work. Able to hold at the halfway down point for decent time. Also, I am working "one arm shrugs from the hanging". This is proving to be a FANTASTIC development tool for the OAC.

Still plugging away at my freestanding HS work. This is a very long term project.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014-08-07 And The Reason is...

Read a fantastic posting from Ido Portal this morning on hanging and the importance of this for shoulder health. Even damaged and unhealthy shoulders can be healed with hanging, according to some orthopedic surgeons. A key point is to do it a little at a time, and often rather than all at once (like at a gym). This got me thinking...
Not to belabor a point, but why is it that when movement culture geniuses like Ido tell us to move a little bit but often we find it so damn difficult? Or why is it that when fitness experts tell us to spend four hours a day exercising (and moving) we can't find the time?

I'll tell you why...

You probably take it for granted that humans have always eaten three meals a day- breakfast, lunch, and dinner like we do today. You also might take it for granted that humans need (and get) eight hours of sleep (or 4,5,6,or 7) each night in one stretch. In fact, both the three-meals-a-day and the eight-hour workday, as well as the eight hours of sleep at night (in one stretch) are simplistic constructs that emerged out of the industrial revolution to facilitate greater efficiency from human workers and force them into a world of machines. Don't believe me? Do some research and you will find out some fascinating facts about the development of the clock from about the 17th century on. As clocks were developed with greater and greater accuracy and better dependability, and as the access to clocks increased (like in the town square) human activity became more and more beholden to more rigid schedules.

With a full workday of running looms or metal presses, you were prohibited from eating when you were hungry or resting when you were tired. Instead, set limited times were specified by the factory owner that allowed the manufacturing process to continue uninterrupted despite the inconvenience of necessary human actions (like eating, sleeping, and using the restroom). This meant eating before work (breakfast), eating once on a break at work (lunch), and eating after work (dinner). It also meant that the only possible time left over for sleeping had to occur all at once at home (not at work of course) which meant nighttime. Society at large also eventually adopted these seemingly innocuous conditions. It turns out that the even our notion of sleeping all the way through the night is a relatively new construct.
So the short answer to the question of why it is that we find it hard to move more every day is that our social and state constructs don't allow it. That is, unless you operate largely outside this construct (artists, personal trainers, or many other people who generally don't work in an office eight hours a day).

So hang more...and fight the power.

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014-08-14 Random Stuff and Time Off

Spent some time up in Olympic National Park, attending a wedding of a good friend. I had been wanting to see Olympic since I was 18 years old. One of those things. It's unpolished and beautiful- rugged, green, and feels very remote.
Instead of trying snag a picture of some handstands I just relaxed (as much as I could taking care of my 14 month old), and enjoyed time off. One thing I did do that was brand new for me was a post pistol. I don;t remember being able to pull it off until this past weekend when I tried. Stand on a tall post with one leg. Drop down into a pistol squat and let you free leg dangle. Then, press up and stand again. It's tough. Especially without excess movement.
Feeling frustrated with my HS work a bit, but making headway in the one arm chinup.