Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Hybrid GSCARVE: Week 5

For the Monday Leg session, the results were:

Assisted Pistol Squats: 6 6 6
Suspension One-Leg Hip Hinge: 5 5 5

The pistol reps were higher than last week because of the greater assistance from the NOSSK suspension trainer. In the afternoon, I did a few sets of 3-5 reps of weighted Jefferson Curl with a bag of canned food serving as weight. The low back felt a little sore. It might be because of the one-leg hip hinges. While I don't feel the low back working during the exercise, the spinal erectors and multifidus are thought to be working isometrically, and thus may get sore later. Because of my past history with low back injury, I will restrict the practice of weighted Jefferson Curl to the "chest up" variation to minimize forward spinal flexion for the time being, focusing more on hamstring mobility. Eduardo Orihuela showed this and other Jefferson Curl variation in his Instagram post.

For the Wednesday Upper Body session, I did the Pike Push Ups starting the eccentric with the feet on step 4 of the stairs. The greater height might create a greater load on the eccentric, but the load may have been reduced as well by the feet being also further back. Hard to tell if shifting more weight back, by the feet being further bac, canceled out the load increase by the feet also being higher than last week. Next week, I'll try moving the parallettes closer to the stairs, to try to let the hips get closer to forming that ideal vertical line from the hands, through the shoulders, to the tailbone. I did not feel stronger in the concentric, but it almost doesn't matter if I progress in the eccentric. For the Finisher, I did a drop set of incline push ups on the NOSSK suspension trainer. Next week, I will try starting the drop set at a higher incline, to allow for higher overall reps before burning out the muscles.
My pull up performance was: 7 7 8. It was a bit of a drop from last week. For the Finisher, I did a drop set of table rows, followed by incline rows. Next week, I will skip the table rows and try starting at a higher incline to increase higher overall reps.

For the Friday Leg session, the results were:

Assisted Pistol Squats: 6 6 8
Suspension One-Leg Hip Hinge: 6 6 8

Mobility Routine post that includes weighted cossack squat

Saturday, March 19, 2022

M8 Tracker: Initial collection of notes

Red Means Recording put up a video in which he announced his new album Rituals, then did a walkthrough of the song"Deep Throat", in which he explains how he programmed the song on the M8 Tracker in fair amount detail. He also shares the thought processes that went into composing the song.

The tracks on the M8 Tracker are not polyphonic, so you can only program one note at a time on one track. However, there are workarounds for playing chords on on track. One way is to use the Sampler instrument, and have it play samples of chords. Another way is to use the Macrosynth instrument's Wave Paraphonic engine. Using that engine type you can move between a selection of 4 note chord voicings, while also scanning through a wavetable to get different timbres etc.

Another way to play a chord on a Track is to use Tables. The M8 Discord Meetup #10 video shows this approach, first with the Macrosynth Triple Saw, then the FMSynth instrument. The video has other tips related to using Tables as well as tons of other info

Selecting within a phrase or chain to loop has been a struggle for me. One tip I got from a fellow user:

If I’ve understood you correctly, you can make a selection within a phrase or chain using shift + option and then hit shift + play so it’ll loop that portion in all tracks. That means you can edit one phrase within a track while being able to hear how it fits with the others without it advancing the song. Very handy!

Another struggle has been getting the hang of cloning a Phrase or Chain. The documentation tries to explain how to press the buttons, but I still found the procedure hard to understand. Basically, you have to hold the SHIFT button by itself, then press the OPTION button, then release the OPTION button, then press and release the EDIT button.

Another question that comes to mind is when to use Chains or Phrases. Some thoughts from fellow users:
IMO the best way to think of it is that phrases are the equivalent of pages in Elektron sequencers, and chains are the equivalent of patterns, but for individual tracks. My chains are usually 8 phrases long, but the optimal length really depends on how your song is structured. If you’re doing long chord progressions, it makes sense to have them all self-contained in one chain each, so you can just repeat the same chain over and over, rather than alternating between 2+ different chains, if that makes sense?

I’m trying to keep my chains to 4 phrases (64 steps). Multiple chains per track to add variation to melody / notation. 64 steps for phrases seems to calculate better in my head, considering I’ve used Digitone as a sequencer for years. If all chains use 4 phrases, across all tracks, everything will stay lined up as the song plays. However I have had a few smaller chains and everything then starts moving at a different rate, can be confusing for me.

A tip about the chance command:
One of my favorite things about the M8 is being able to use the chance command with one percentage to the left and another to the right. Similar effect to programming drums on the Octatrack, but instead of using an LFO to bring fx in and out, I use the chance command
Tip for using Groove for slides at very slow tempi:
I was working on a song at very slow (~40) BPM and wanted some really subtle slides. I was getting frustrated because doing a PSL even over just a single tick still took so long at this BPM that it felt overly dramatic.

“Nothing for it,” I thought. “I’ll have to double the BPM and go back and manually expand all my phrases over twice the steps to maintain the tempo.” I was half way through this laborious process when it hit me: if I could just increase the number of ticks each step in my phrase consumed, I would get more resolution out of each tick without rearranging my phrases.

And this, of course, is exactly what Groove let us do! I just doubled the ticks-per-step in the Groove page, doubled my BPM, and ended up exactly where I would have been, timing wise, if I had spaced out all my phrases.

All of which is to say: Groove isn’t just about getting swing in your patterns. It can also act as a “zoom” (or “page scale” in elektron-speak) that lets you, for example, lay out those chunky whole-note drones without breaking them up single-note-per-phrase over, like, 20 phrases or whatever.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Hybrid GSCARVE: Week 4

Monday leg session results were similar to the previous Friday's:

Assisted Pistol Squat: 3 3 3
Suspension One-Leg Hip Hinge: 4 4 4

For the Wednesday session, I did the Accommodating Resistance Pike Pushups on the stairs. The stairs under my feet are much more stable than the old dining chairs I'd previously used. Without the distraction of a moving platform under my feet, I could focus more fully on the pike push up itself. With the P-Barz at the bottom of the stairs, the first stairstep is just a couple of inches lower than the P-Barz handles. All the other stairsteps are higher than the P-Barz. I set my feet on step 3 for the eccentric phase, and kept them there at the start of the concentric, until I got stuck due to strength limitation. I then moved my feet down to step 2, which reduced the load enough to resume the concentric. My feet did not rise in the lower half of the eccentric like they did last week, because my hamstrings were not put into a tightened enough position. Next week, I will move the P-Barz closer to the stairs to make it easier to form a vertical line that goes from the hands, through the shoulders, all the way to the hips, per Mindful Mover's video. At least, if I can't form that ideal vertical line, it should be because of my own strength/mobility limitations, not because the P-Barz were just too far from the stairs. We aim for this ideal vertical line to maximize the load on the eccentric.

The Wednesday pull up results were: 8 8 8. Quality of movement was fine, but level of effort was moderately high.

The Friday Leg session was kind of like the Monday session, except after the first set, I decided to set up further from the NOSSK trainer anchor points, in order to use more assistance and thus get more reps per set. I figured that at this stage I would benefit from the greater number of reps as it would mean more practice of the movement.

A finisher for Leg sessions which I didn't get around to this week but may try next week: Bear Squat as taught by Mark Wildman, which looks like a more accessible way to improve hamstring mobility.

I asked Eduardo Oriheula about Jefferson Curl reps and sets upon seeing his great post. His reply was:
I have one lower body day where I do Jefferson curls right after for 3 to 4 sets of 3 to 5 reps with about 10 second holds at the very bottom for each one. On other days I play it by feel and don’t use any weight

His post on the Helicoptero move from Capoeira shows some of his considerable movement skills.
Rest-Pause post by Mindful Mover. They also suggest trying it between the eccentric and concentric phases of a movement.
Warmup Ideas
GMB Shoulder Prehab Article
Bear-based Flow for strong shoulders, flexible hamstrings, and body control
Ankle mobility
Tips for Wall Handstand Pushup with Accommodating Resistance

Monday, March 07, 2022

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar for Laundry and the Washing Machine

For some reason I now get Reader's Digest articles emailed to me, though I did not ask for them. Reading these articles, however, may have nostalgic appeal for those who used to read the print Reader's Digest. A lot of home care/cleaning articles recommend baking soda and vinegar but this is one of the few that actually mentions when to not use them both at the same time.

How To Use Baking Soda and Vinegar for Laundry and the Washing Machine

Friday, March 04, 2022

Hybrid GSCARVE: Week 3

The Monday leg session went smoothly. The pistol squat performance was almost the same as Friday, except I used a little less assistance from the NOSSK suspension trainer. I sank a little too quickly into the bottom position, however, so next session I will make myself do a 4-count eccentric. I progressed on the suspension hip hinge to cross-ankle, then to fully single-leg hip hinge after finding the cross-ankle variation almost as easy as the two-leg version.

For some reason, I woke up earlier than expected on Wednesday morning, thus getting less sleep than desirable. I felt a little weaker in my Pike Pushup practice. There were a couple of times in which I stalled on the concentric, failed to shift enough weight away from my hands, and had to restart the con centric. I decided to try rest-pause, inserting at least 15-second rest between reps. I think part of the problem is that I had my feet on a chair that was sliding too much because of the sliders on its feet, despite the chair being up against the wall. I originally started using the chairs because I thought I would be practicing Pike Pushup with my knees on the chairs. But I don't really need the chairs anymore. So next week, I'll practice this move with my feet on the stairs, and the P-Barz against the wall - as they were sliding a bit too and thus distracting me from the weight-shift.

I did these reps for the pull up sets: 7 7 9. The Backfill strategy from GSC appears to be working better than my previous strategy of doing reps to failure, or close to it, on every set, which resulted in rep numbers like: 9 7 5. By doing only 7 reps per set for the first two sets, even though I could have done more, I had enough energy on reserve to do 9 reps for the last set. Thus the Backfill strategy promotes greater overall training volume.

For the finisher set, I did archer rows on the NOSSK, alternating working arms and using the assistance arm as little as possible. I tried to focus on keeping the shoulders down.

I wanted to make up for my disappointing Pike Push Up performance, so I did a finisher set by setting a timer to 90 seconds, then doing Bent-Arm Bear for as long as I could, then regular Bear. I didn't make it to the full 90 sec. so I stopped the timer, and did hands-on-floor push ups to finish burning out the pushing muscles.

For the Friday session, I did 4 antagonist pair (assisted Pistol Squat and one-leg suspension hip hinge). The results in reps:
Pistol Squat: 3 3 3 3
Hip Hinge: 4 4 4 4

These are the 3 mobility drills that Mindful Mover recommends the most for people who are training for general-purpose strength (not for specialized purposes): Split Squat (aka "ATG Split Squat"), Jefferson Curl, Brachial Hang. I finished the Friday session with some ATG split squatting with the front foot elevated on a thick book, then some Jefferson curls with a couple of soup cans in a bag for load.