Friday, April 29, 2016

Rings One: Week 1 Introspection

Ok, I'm not really starting at the very beginning of Rings One, due to previous training done under Rings One (at Level A) , Parallettes One Level A, and Integral Strength.  I'm kind of resuming where I left off in Phase 2, except of course due to lack of ring practice I'm not quite in shape for Phase 2 either.  So I'm going to be quite a bit less formal for my Rings One introspection posts.

What I did this week was 2 sessions of Above The Rings and 1 season of Below The Rings as if I were in Week 1 of Rings One.

For Above The Rings what I will do for next week is this routine:

Dips - 3 sets, just like in the Phase 2 routine.

Superset of Inverted Press and Pushup - 30 seconds each set, 3 total reps of this superset.  This is straight out of Integral Strength, except done on the rings instead of the floor.  I found that my pushup level is with knees on the floor - it's better to get the Quality and Ease of this movement down before progressing to the full pushup.  The purpose of this superset is to prepare for the Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand - this is not a movement I can attempt cold after months of no ring training.

Tuck Sit Hold - 3-5 sets, one 20-30 sec. hold per set.  The official program prescribes 3-5 sets of 3-5 second holds, but experience has taught me this is not enough to progress towards the full L-sit.  Parallettes One was recently updated so that the trainee now practices for up to 60-second holds of the Tuck Sit before progressing to L-Sit - so the hold times probably need to be bumped similarly for ring training.

For the Below The Rings sessions the prescribed Phase 2 routine of pull-ups, tuck-roll chin-ups, and skin the cats should be fine - just 3 sets per exercise.  Then I will add 3 sets of pistol squats.

This is what I will practice for 3 more weeks.  Then I will evaluate where to go next with my ring training.

I ended up not bike commuting this week because of rain.  I still have a lack of confidence in riding my road bike after that fall on the ramp (bad angle, so the wheel got caught in a groove between the ramp and the road), so I want to ride on the road bike some more before attempting the full commute, and I want to ride on a dry day.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Integral Strength: Today was the last day

The scheduled called for a Strength And Power session today, with 5 rounds.  I practiced the session as prescribed:

Broad Jump - Never measured it so can't tell how much I improved.  Fun to practice though!

Shrimp Squat - Able to do the full movement, albeit without the leg hold, for 7 reps/leg

Chinups - Able to do 5 reps within the 30-sec. time limit.

Tuck Sit - Able to hold the full 30-sec. with my feet barely off the ground.

I have company arriving this weekend, which will prevent me from practicing for all 6 days as scheduled.

I've enjoyed training under this program, but 6 days a week is a big commitment.  I have not had the time to commute to work by bicycle as a result, and this has frustrated me as the weather has started getting warmer and more pleasant.  I could just continue the program and thus finish it by repeating Week 7 next week,  but I simply cannot bear the thought of putting off biking to work by another week.

What I will do instead this week is switch to Rings One training, and commute to work by bike on one day of this week.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 6 Introspection.

You’ve now gone through 3 different training day sessions, Strength and Power, Strength Endurance, and Integrated Conditioning. Which of those did you perform best at and which were harder? Does this fall in line with your previous experience in training?

I perform the best at the Integrated Conditioning sessions.  The 10-sec. intervals make it easy to really focus on Quality and Ease.  Strength Endurance is the hardest overall session.  Even though I try to adhere to working at a level I can perform with Quality and Ease, the inverted press in the first superset always makes the pushups harder to do.  There there's the rope skipping at the end, which I've struggled to do uninterrupted due to the poor quality of the jump rope - it's plastic rather than true rope, so it tends to curl up.

I have no previous training to really compare to this.

What changes are you seeing in your daily life now? What do you notice is easier to do?

Virtually all the changes I'm seeing are within the context of the Integral Strength movements.   I'm definitely getting stronger in those movements.

Because I'm now practicing this program 6 days a week, I have no time left to ride my bicycle to work.  Perhaps after I finish the program I may have something to report as far as impact on my bicycling.  Then again, I'm not into bicycle racing.  I don't play any sports, so I can't say this program has improved my tennis serve or basketball rebounding or whatever.

Is there any movement in particular you want to improve yourself the most on? Why is that?

No particular movement.  I'm content to continue working on improving my performance in all 10 movements.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tributes to Prince

NPR's "stories about Prince", including footage of Prince joining James Brown and Michael Jackson onstage.

Ex-art director for Prince shares memories, including a gallery of some awesome portraits:

Prince and The NPG covering the Wayne Shorter classic tune "Footprints" - I'm guessing he plays the guitar solo.

Another NPR tribute to Prince - much, much longer article

Prince's "secret" charity work in the SF Bay Area:

Tribute by a writer from his home state of Minnesota:

Clip of Prince playing "Summertime" on piano during soundcheck:

19-year old Prince funk jam recordings:

Miles jamming with Prince:

What it was like recording with Prince:

Wendy And Lisa working with Prince:

Prince interview w/ Larry King on CNN:

Prince's chef

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Polar Bear Cafe: One fan's apparent reaction to the "Wolf's Occupation Change" episode

As I recall, this was the episode in which Wolf discusses career options with his good friend Tiger, while they're waiting for their mutual friend Lion to show up at their favorite bar "Bar The Grizzly", which is of course the bar owned and operated by Grizzly.

It's a cute reaction, with lots of stills from the episode.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 5 Introspection

The ability to maintain your strength over a period of time is a great attribute. This week introduces a conditioning circuit, how did you do with this?

I've been using an iPhone app called Interval Timer Pro for Integral Strength training.  It lets me set the time between exercises in a circuit.  I had it set to 15 seconds between exercises.  I think that might be a bit too much.  I set the time to 5 seconds which made the circuit feel more like a conditioning circuit.

Are you able to keep your Quality ratings high in the later rounds of work? If it’s not as good as you like, try longer rest periods for now and gradually decrease them.

Yes, I can keep the Quality ratings high.  I am working at the appropriate level.

What do you feel is holding back your progress the most now?

My ab strength.  Progress on the Hollow Body Face Up and the L-Sit has been slow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today's Musical Discoveries

Luna - Lost in Space

Miles Davis - Paris, Salle Pleyel (1969)

Integral Week 5 : Assessment Day

Broad Jump

To be honest I didn't measure the distance I jumped.  I guess I should have.  I was too focused on getting the form right.

Shrimp Squat

I could go all the way down and back up on each leg .


I could do a regular pushup with solid ease and smooth quality.  I could do 7 reps.

Bridge Press-Up

I can push about half-way up to the full bridge (as demonstrated by the coaches).


I can do 3 chin-ups on the door pull-up bar.  I should have set up the rings, as the door pull-up bar was less comfortable to use and I was distracted by trying to keep my knees in front of me in the hang position.

Inverted Press

No I cannot do a full inverted press.  My Week 1 assessment was incorrect, because I missed the part about a full inverted press including a light touch of the head to the ground.  I can lower my head to about 6" off the ground but that is about it.


I cannot do an L-Sit.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Today's Musical Discoveries

WMD William Mattewson live performance Superbooth 16

The Psychedelic Furs - President Gas

A century ago, the great French composer Claude Debussy sat down at a contraption called a Welte-Mignon reproducing piano and recorded a series of performances for posterity

Recorded live at Yubin Chokin Kaikan Hal , Tokyo on May 14 , 1986.

Don Cherry - pocket trumpet , piano , vocal , (written by)
Steve Lacy - soprano sax
Dave Holland - bass
Masahiko Togashi - drums , percussion

Friday, April 08, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 4 Introspection

How are you feeling now with a month of Integral Strength training under your belt?

I'm feeling stronger in most of the movements. The left shoulder is quite a bit more stable.  I used to feel some pain with this shoulder if I did not adhere strictly to the proper form for pushups and inverted presses - the elbows must absolutely not be allowed to flare, the elbow pits must absolutely face the front (elbows pointing at the knees), etc.

How does this compare to how you’ve trained before?

There is a LOT more emphasis on getting the quality of movement right, over merely busting out reps.  The program encourages you to do as many reps as you can within a superset or circuit - but absolutely NOT at the expense of quality.  If it is necessary to perform the movement slowly in order to get the quality high, this is encouraged.

Is there anything you would change about what you did in this last few weeks?

No, I think I'm progressing reasonably.  

Actually, there is just one thing - I should have started hanging my jump rope earlier.  The problem with cheap plastic jump ropes is they tend to stay curled up unless you hang them on something all day.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 3 Introspection

I don't remember why I skipped Week 2 Introspection.  Too late now.

Is there anything in particular that is giving you a harder time than you’d have thought? Why would that be?

Side hollow body position.  I can almost do the advanced version, but have trouble getting the lower arm off the floor.  I think it's because

Another is basic rope skipping.  I just have so little experience with it.

Where do you see yourself progressing the most? Something that you are good at already, or the most difficult areas revealed in this first 3 weeks?

I seem to be progressing the most in the Bridge Press-Up.  I had so little experience in this movement before starting Integral Strength.  I am not particularly strong in this movement, but I seem to be pressing up into a noticeably higher position than at the time of initial assessment.   I think it is a combination of a little strength gain and steadily improving coordination and flexibility.

What specific thing would you like to improve the most of what you’ve done so far? A particular exercise, or something other in the way you perform in this program?

I think I'm doing something wrong with the Side Hollow Body.  I can raise both legs, my head, and my upper arm.  But when I try to raise my lower arm, my body ends up rolling out of side position.  I think I might not be making my body "hollow" enough.