Friday, March 17, 2017

Today's Training

This was not a pure Rings One workout.  It’s more of a preparatory workout for training on the pullup bars and parallel bars outdoors, inspired quite a bit by Al Kavadlo's book Raising The Bar.  The front lever is actually part of Rings Two, not Rings One, but after finding I could do the tuck version without any issues on the pullup bar and the rings, I decided to work on the progression.  Maybe I got the ab strength for the tuck front lever from training for the L-Sit, plus other training on the rings and P-Barz.

After a couple of years of training and struggling with the L-Sit progression, I didn’t expect to be able to do a hanging straight leg raise up to waist height.  Maybe it’s just easier to do this than an L-Sit.  I’ll practice this movement until I can get my feet to touch the bar.  Right now I can raise my feet to just above waist height.

Skin The Cat - 6 reps. Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid. Kept the rings parallel for a little extra protection for the vulnerable shoulder.

Tuck Front Lever Row - 7 reps. Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid.

Chin-Ups - 6 reps. Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid.

Hanging Leg Raise- 7 reps Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid

This is pretty much the pulling routine I will practice on the outdoor equipment - the Tuck Front Lever Row on parallel bars and the rest on pullup bars.  The Skin The Cat will work the abs a bit more on the bar compared to the rings, because it pretty much includes a hanging knee raise.  I will start the routine with Back Lever progression practice.  I can hold the beginner’s Tuck Back Lever on the rings - we’ll see how long I can hold it on the bar.  I’ll probably start working on moving the knees back a bit, to straighten the back a bit more.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Zhan zhuang update

I set my timer to 17 minutes yesterday.  My body still trembles involuntarily towards the end but my right shoulder stayed much more relaxed than usual throughout the practice, except when I thought of my hand position - then it started to tense a bit until I used ground and gravity jin to relax it again.

My left shoulder got sore here and there, because I'd been messing around with the elbow lever on a dining table and a foot stool, and putting a bit too much pressure on it.  I don't think I did any real damage to it, however.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

My zhan zhuang progress

Mike Sigman's post about seeing progress in people after just 3 months of consistent zhan zhuang ("standing like a post") practice - didn't matter how they actually stood -  inspired me to try practicing it more consistently.  His thoughts on zhan zhuang can be found here.

I am most familiar with the "tree hugger" version of zhan zhuang.  It was introduced to me as "standing meditation".  My biggest problem with this version is I'd never been able to get my shoulders to relax.  I could never make it to 10 minutes of standing without my shoulders getting sore. despite the instruction to "relax the shoulders".  I must be one of those people who are chronically unaware of just how much excess tension I carry in my shoulders.  Zhan zhuang practice mercilessly reveals this tension.  No matter how many times somebody tells me to relax the shoulders, I just couldn't make the tension leave my shoulders.  Saying out loud "Relax, dammit!" doesn't work either.

I finally started making progress after reading the Sigman article.  He says to bring Up jin (force vector) to the top of the head.  That does help.  I found what helps even more is to bring the Up jin to my hands too.  When my shoulders start aching from unwanted, excessive tension, the Up jin turns off the tension either completely, or reduces it considerably.  I also play with Down jin on the hands but it doesn't seem to be as essential.  In any case, telling somebody "Relax your shoulders!" is useless.  The instruction to "think about nothing" or "focus your thoughts on your breath" is not not much better.  it's better to show that person what Up jin is, and how to use it.  Then the practitioner can "meditate" on using jin and maintaining a decent posture - just those two things are enough to occupy one's attention and prevent boredom.

My new personal record in zhan zhuang is 15 minutes.  During that particular session, an uncontrollable trembling took over my body towards the end.  From what I can glean off the Internet, this is normal for those new to regular zhan zhuang practice.

So it looks like zhan zhuang is working for one of my goals, which is to eliminate excessive tension in the shoulders and anywhere else in the upper body, while practicing martial arts.

BMI and Bodyfat numbers from 2014

Just for fun, my measurements from a 2014 health fair at work.

BMI: 22.8 ("Ideal")
Body Fat %: 24.1 (Way over the "healthy" range of 8-12%, in the "overweight" range)

Not convinced BMI is all that useful as it does not differentiate between muscle mass and fat mass.  I believe these measurements were taken with a device that you grip.

Looking back at my 2014 blog entries, it doesn't look like I was pursuing a consistent exercise program.  I forgot what I was doing for exercise back then.  I didn't have my parallettes yet, and I had not yet learned how to ride a bicycle.

Somebody's Camino De Santiago Vlog

Day 5 Walking the Camino De Santiago - #Vlog 7 - Pamplona to Puente La Reina

Day 7 Walking The Camino De Santiago - #Vlog 9 - Puente La Reina to Ayegi

Day 9 Walking the Camino De Santiago - Los Arcos to Viana

Day 10

Day 11 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Navarette to Najera

Day 12

Day 14 On The Camino De Santiago - Resting in Grañón

Day 17

Day 19 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Castrojeriz to Poblacion

Day 21 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Carrión de los Condes to Moratinos

Day 22 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Moratinos to Bercianos de Real Camino

Camino De Santiago Day 24 Visiting Leon

Camino De Santiago Day 25 Leon to Hospital De Orbigo

Day 28 - Walking the Camino De Santiago - Foncebadon to Ponferrada

Day 30 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Villafranca del Bierzo to O'Cebreiro

Day 31 Walking The Camino De Santiago - O'Cebreiro To Triacastela

Day 32 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Triacastela To Sarria

Day 33 Walking The Camino De Santiago - Sarria to Portomarin

Day 37 Last Day Of Camino Arriving In Santiago - O Pedrouzo to Santiago De Compostella
Must visit albergues

Berciano Albergue de Santa Clara
Albergue Verde
Jesus Jato - Ave Fenix Albergue in Villafranca del Bierzo

Where to get credencial (Camino passport) in Sarria:
 The church of Santa Mariña, Rua de Maior, Sarria (Schedules: from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Except mondays they are only open from 7 to 8 p.m.)

The monastery of the Magdalena, Avenida de la Merced, 60 (From 10 am to 1 pm, and from 4 pm to 7 pm ) 
The municipal albergue run by the Xunta de Galicia at Calle Major 79

Cafe Matias Italian?

Friday, March 03, 2017

Back to P1 today

P1, Phase 1, Level B, Sequence 1 

Plank Push-Ups - 3 reps. Quality: Rough. Ease: Challenging.

Plank Jump to Dip - 6 reps. Quality: Rough. Ease: Challenging.  This is probably the more accurate Ease score, as I’m struggling to tuck properly after the Dip, so that my feet don’t hit the floor.  What happens too often is I end up walking my feet back a bit before I can lift my legs again.

Battle Rams - 8 reps. Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid.

Tuck Hold - 14 sec. Quality: Rough. Ease: Solid.

Mt. Climber Holds - 8 reps. Quality: Smooth. Ease: Solid