Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fitness update

On August 17, 2011, I started following the Rings One program. I was interested because it was a CST (Circular Strength Training) influenced strength training program for gymnastic rings. At the end of Level A, Phase 1, I was not strong enough to progress to the next phase, so I repeated Level A, Phase 1. On November 17, I completed the repeat of this phase. I was back to doing the same number of pullups I did before my latest shoulder injury, and was able to do 5 dips, sometimes 6 on a really good day, on the rings, which was an improvement from not being able to do any. I think the Rings One program is a great program, but the results will vary depending on the trainee's physical condition. For someone like me coming off of a shoulder injury and never really possessing a great amount of strength, I think it would take at least 3 repetitions of Level A, Phase 1 before the trainee could progress to the next phase. Level A, Phase 2 includes exercises that I was not able to execute even after going through Phase 1 twice, such as Tuck-Up To Shoulder Stand and Inverted Tuck Roll Chin-Up. The exercises I could not do in Phase 1 until the middle of Phase 1 included Jump Tuck to Inverted Hang (could not do even one rep) and Mountain Climbers (8 reps minimum - I could manage 6). I have no doubt if I kept following Level A, Phase 1 over and over, I'd eventually build up the strength to take on the next phase.

 But I started to get bored and am switching to the Clubbell Mass Evolution program. This program includes the use of a 2-handed clubbell. I have a 45 lb. "Bruiser" clubbell, but it's too heavy for me, so I ordered a 25 pounder. Until it arrives, I will follow this exercise routine: Intu-Flow Intermediate 5 Pullups on door pullup bar (breaks allowed if I can't do 5 consecutive) 5 Pike Pushups on Power Wheel (partial range movement ok) 7-10 "steps" per hand Hand Walks in Plank Position on Power Wheel 5 Hip-Ups to Shoulder Bridge on Power Wheel Rest 5 min. then repeat above Cooldown: Pigeon Pose, Hip Flexor Stretch, Hamstring Stretch Cooldown routine from Rings One I'll be doing the Power Wheel exercises to address core strength (abs and back) defiencies. The pullups address pulling strength deficiencies that prevent me from doing Inverted Tuck Roll Chip. The Pike Pushups start to address the upper body strength deficiencies - particularly the shoulders - when I attempt to support my bodyweight while facing downward, such as in the Tuck Shoulder Stand.

What I hope to gain from Clubbell Mass Evolution is muscle mass to help burn fat, and particularly muscle mass around the shoulders to make them a little more injury-proof. The program also has a lower body training component that was a bit lacking in Rings One.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jazz and piano advice retrieved from old forum posts

After quite a layoff from practicing the Bach Two-Part Inventions (actually, I only practiced No.1 and was noodling with No.2 a bit), I searched old forum posts for the advice that I dimly remembered getting as to which of the Inventions to learn first and came across this old thread:


Some highlights:

If you want to improve your jazz playing, there are much better ways than that too.
check out Clare Fischer's Harmonic Exercise book from Advanced Publishing for starters.

... I haven't ordered the Clare Fischer book yet. Doh!

(in answer to which Bach Inventions to learn first) No. 1 in C major is a good one to start with. No. 4 in D minor and No. 8 in F major might be good as well.

It turns out the person who I thought steered me to the Bach Inventions was someone else, but this first person called my attention to Bill Dobbin's books. He has a bunch out - I'll have to ask which ones to check out...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Ekdahl Moisturizer - Unique spring reverb with unusual features

From the Knas website:

Ekdahl Moisturizer is a spring reverb where the springs are exposed so they can be played/hit/fiddled with. As well as being capable of creating sound in itself, you can of course also play sound through the springs like a regular spring reverb - this makes for happy-fun-time finger-modulation of the reverb on whatever audio that's going through it. On top of this there's an analog multimode filter that can be used to attenuate or exaggerate certain frequencies in the sound, this is real handy while playing the springs as you can - for instance - cut all the highs and just make thunderous doomy sounds or do the opposite; cut all the lows and make that ear piercing high frequency special love. Also, it incorporates an LFO that's internally routable to the filter and that also has some external routing-stuff. The Ekdahl Moisturizer has tons of CV / Expression pedal options on the back for even more hillarious moments. The Moisturizer is a mono unit.

This unique reverb unit is definitely on the list of gear that I'd like to acquire in the near future.