Saturday, April 22, 2023

Improvisation articles/videos

"Adam Maness talks you through why and how to transcribe."

Pat Metheny explaining to Rick Beato how to get started with building a solo on his tune James

Friday, April 21, 2023

Easy Muscle : Week 1

I started Easy Muscle, this time on Schedule A which is the "clean-and-press only" schedule. I spent the previous 6 weeks on Kettlebell Strong! Foundation to prepare myself for Schedule A. Maybe it was not possible to develop perfect technique in the two component exercises - double clean and double press - of the double clean-and-press, but I thought it would be worth investing 6 weeks to practice these exercises before taking on Schedule A.

One of the principles of this program is "autoregulation". The number of reps per set for a given session is specified, and a timer is set to 20-30 minutes. The autoregulation part is the time between sets. It is up to the trainee to decide when they have rested enough and are ready for another set. Autoregulation is used in a lot of programs authored or co-authored by Geoff Neupert, including the free Dry Fighting Weight.

The very first session on Monday was challenging for me because I had never done double kettlebell clean-and-press for 20 minutes, even with the amount of rest allowed under autoregulation. Just one rep of this move requires more effort than one rep of a double KB clean or a double KB press. I did 7 sets if I counted correctly.

The Wednesday session was a little tougher because the prescribed reps per set was a little higher. I got only 5 sets done within the 20 minute period, because each set took more out of me compared to Monday.

The Friday session felt the easiest because the prescribed number of reps was the lowest. I did 8 sets. Afterwards I was able to hang from a pull up bar for about 20 seconds with feet on the floor to reduce the load on the shoulders. This was exciting because once I regain the ability to hang from the bar with my full bodyweight, my progress towards full range of motion in the double KB press will accelerate.

I did GMB Mobility sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. It's still a valid approach, although some of the stretches in the program like the kneeling lunge might be considered obsolete by those who have embraced ATG split squats and other ideas promoted by Knee Over Toes guy. The locomotion exercises for training the body to be confident with increased ROM, like Spiderman, Monkey 180, and Sumo Frogger remain unique to GMB programs.

I was glad I did the 6 weeks of Strong! Foundation. It's difficult to focus on perfecting the cues for the double clean and the double press when I'm doing the double clean-and-press. It was much easier to focus on those cues when working on the component exercises separately. The volume in Foundation was lower, but there was enough ramp up in volume so that the volume in Easy Muscle didn't feel as overwhelming.

I have to admit that as I was finishing up my Isochain 6x6 training block, I was tempted to start Easy Muscle, Schedule A the very next week, because I was eager to try buildng muscle mass again under Easy Muscle. I experienced some muscle growth in the arms from the previous Easy Muscle training block, although my bum shoulder restricted my range of motion. I couldn't wait to get on Schedule A because my shoulder had healed enough to allow me to press a KB overhead for a decent ROM - maybe enough to stimulate more growth in the arms as well as the shoulders. However if I had gone from Isochain 6x6 to Easy Muscle without taking the time to learn and practice these double KB exercises, my conditionining would not have been up to the the task, nor my technique and I probably would have hurt myself.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Kettlebell Strong! Foundation: Weeks 4-6

The instructions for Week 4 are the same as for Week 2. There is a note though that says that you might have gained strength and proficiency in the 2 weeks that have passed, which may allow you to do more work in the same time period.

I chose not to intepret that statement as an invitation to rush through the exercises and/or cut rest time between exercises in order to force more work to be done within the time period.

Instead I chose to take the time to run through a mental checklist of all the cues for proper rack position, every time I entered the position, like after lowering down the kettlebells after a double press, or after a double clean. This slowed me down a little, but I still feel like I did one more set per session this week, compared to Week 2.

For Week 5, I raised the effort level just a little by resting just a little less between sets than the previous week.

For Week 6, I allowed a generous amount of rest between sets, because the following week will be the first week of Easy Muscle, in which I expect to be training at a much higher volume.

My choice of cooldown after each Strong! session varied from the stretches recommended in the Simple and Sinister book, to the Flexible Steel routine that I found, to Manly Mobility. I wanted to figure out how to reduce DOMS in the hips and obliques from Strong! training, as well as improve mobility in the top range of the double kettlebell press. I don't feel like I achieved either goal really but mobility improvement has always been slow going for me.

I did however progress from shoulder pain being the limiter of my double-KB press ROM, to just mobility limit being the limiter.

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Mobility ideas from Flexible Steel

A 2012 article on Untying The 4 Knots

A simple routine from the Flexible Steel system, taught by Catherine Buck Le. While the Prying Goblet Squat is not exclusive to the Flexible Steel system, her tutorial is also worth a look. This 5-minute mobility warmup also looks interesting.