Friday, December 18, 2015

Another change in exercise program

I recently had an emergency operation to repair a retinal detachment.  As a result, I now have a gas bubble in my eye and am under doctors' orders to maintain a face-down head position the majority of my waking hours and avoid any exercise or other activity that would affect the pressure in my head.

Thus, I stopped training on the rings and the parallettes.  I also cut down my consumption of meat and other fattening foods to try to avoid gaining too much body fat as a consequence of reduced exercise.

I don't recall if I ever explained why I got into ring and parallette training in the first place.  I forgot the exact reason(s) but I do recall my interest in exercise on these apparatus developing as part of my growing realization that the reason I started strength training was to improve my athleticism and movement.  Getting bigger muscles was never a priority - I just assumed that if my muscles grew bigger, it was just part of getting stronger.  I later learned, as I read Pavel Tsatsouline's book Power To The People and the writings of other respected trainers that muscle size does not always increase with strength.  I enjoyed lifting weights to get stronger, but ring training appealed to me as a way of increasing strength and learning new movement skills as the same time.  As documented earlier this year, I was sort of forced by a bicycling accident to switch to parallette training for a while, but I also quickly grew to love training on the parallettes as well.

Unfortunately, as explained earlier, I had to give up training on the rings and parallettes.  Fortunately, I found another exercise program which I could start following, which features exercises I can practice without generating enough internal pressure to cause problems with the gas bubble in my eye, and do so while maintaining face-down position the majority of the time.  I don't know if I'll burn enough calories under this new program to prevent unwanted accumulation of body fat, but it's better than not exercising at all, and I'll be exploring a new set of movement skills, which always appeals to me.  It also promises improvements in flexibility and strength.

Perhaps not coincidentally, this program is also offered by GMB and is called Elements.  I completed Day 2 today and am looking forward to Day 3 tomorrow.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover today that I can practice the unassisted pistol squat without much strain - and thus no dangerous internal pressure.  I practice it "grease the groove" style - one rep on each leg once every 40-120 minutes.  My recollection of this concept as explained in Power To The People was that you practice the chosen skill (in this case the pistol squat) all day, but you do it when you're fresh so you can concentrate on technique, without the distraction of fatigue.  The more you practice this skill mindfully, the better you will get at it - "better" usually translating to less effort to execute the skill and greater work capacity (ability to do more reps of it).

Monday, December 07, 2015

New article from GMB about stretching for stiff/inflexible people

Great tips on stretching for inflexible people:

Hamstring flexibility (or, lack thereof) are a particular problem for me, so I look forward to trying these at the next opportunity