Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First ever commute by bicycle

Less than ideal start on Huntington Ave heading east - it was trash collection day and the garbage truck made a right turn onto Huntington Ave. in front of me, which was pointless because the truck immediately stopped for its guys to pick up the garbage bins. If the truck was in a hurry to get out of the neighborhood I would have understood. I couldn't pass the truck because there were cars on the left lane. I had to go on the sidewalk to get around the truck. I later submitted a complaint to Fairfax County via the online form.

Met up a with a colleague on the MVT who graciously showed me his route to work after crossing the George Mason/14th St pedestrian bridge.  He gave me a crash course in city cycling techniques: How to take advantage of red lights to get a jump on motorist traffic, how to take advantage of legal lane-splitting, etc.

Aside from the garbage truck and some scary moments riding with car traffic on N. Capitol St, I enjoyed my first commute by bike to work.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Parallettes One Update

I haven't been posting updates on Parallettes One (aka "P1") because there's hardly anything to report.

I'm still pursuing the program and enjoying each session.

I recently bought a large Brita water filtering pitcher.  I was holding the pitcher with one hand instead of two.  I believe this contributed to fatigue on both of my shoulders, which in turn has been limiting my performance on the hardest pressing movements for me in P1 - Plank Pushups and Assisted Inverted Presses.

I have however been making incremental progress in the Plank Jump To Tuck Swing, and Plank Jump to Dip, both of which require a controlled tuck.  Tuck Swing similarly requires good control, because out of control swings could lead to flying off the parallettes.  Tuck Hold is getting a little steadier.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Parallettes One, Level B, Phase 1: Week 1 Report

Late last week, I received my set of wooden parallettes, made by the manufacturer recommended by GMB.  They are very nice indeed.  Thus, I was ready to complete Week 1 of the Parallettes One (aka "P1") program.  As with Rings One (aka "R1"), P1 has beginner (Level A) and intermediate (Level B) levels to choose from, and progression of skills in four Phases.  After watching the Phase 1 training videos at Levels A and B, I decided to train at Level B.  While I did not achieve a great level of pressing strength or core strength with Rings One, I developed enough strength to enter P1 at Level B.

I don't think I ever stated why I got into working out using gymnastic exercises, using an apparatus like rings or parallettes.  Basically, I want to get better at using my body, in addition to improving my strength.  I enjoy the challenge of learning and polishing new movement skills, that require both strength and coordination, which is more fun to me than simply lifting more and more weight or simply doing more and more repetitions of a common bodyweight exercise like the pushup.  Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for anyone who can do a triple-bodyweight bench press or do 100 pushups without rest.  It's just that the quest to do a planche pushup (a pushup in which the feet never touch the ground) is more fun to me, as is going a combination movement like L-Sit to Shoulder Stand.

Another similarity between R1 and P1 is the division of exercises for Phase 1 and Phase 2 into "workout one" and "workout two" routines.  In R1, "workout one" is the "above the rings" day and "workout two" is the "below the rings" day.

One interesting difference compared to R1 is the warmup routine.  Every warmup exercise is done for time (30 or 60 seconds) instead of reps.  This makes the warmup routine a bit longer but since parallette training is more demanding for the shoulders, elbows, etc. it makes sense that this warmup routine focuses more on prepping the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

Progress on Workout 1 Exercises

Plank Push-Ups - 4 reps

Plank Jump to Dip - 7 reps.  Fun but tricky move - a good squeeze on the core seems to be key.

Battle Ram - 8 reps.  It's actually easier in full pushup position (bottom) than being on the knees - the problem with being on the knees is I have a tendency to use my lower body to push my head forward.

Tuck Hold - 3 sec.  This is actually harder for me than on the rings.  I do notice that when I've practiced this hold on the rings, I couldn't get my knees that much higher than my hips.  P1 asks the trainee to tuck the knees as high as possible.

Mt. Climber Holds - 8 reps.  This does not feel that much different than the R1 version.

Progress on Workout 2 Exercises

Tuck Swing to Top Plank - Forgot to record how many reps I did.  It wasn't many, and my technique wasn't good anyway.  I suspect the technique will get better as my Tuck Hold gets better.

One Leg Shoulder Stand Hold - 4 reps.  Reminds me of half the Assisted Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand from R1.

Tuck Swings - Same comment as Tuck Swing to Top Plank.

Assisted Inverted Presses - 4 reps.  While waiting for my parallettes to arrive, I tried this on the floor and was concerned about how my shoulder would take it.  Seems fine on the parallettes vs. the floor, as long as I keep my shoulder packed.

Dive Bombers Standard - 8 reps.