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  1. 11 likes
    “The ARC of Mountain Hammer is long, but it bends towards Physical Alchemy” On my self-healing journey I discovered ST in late 2015, and found it to be one of the best communities I’ve ever come across. Everyone has been extremely helpful and generous with their time and knowledge. The ST system in itself has been transformational, let alone all the other practices I’ve discovered through the ST community. I’d like to dedicate this year’s fire rooster log to Craig and remembering ARC! Craig not only introduced me (us) to DX, but has been supportive by way of answering a billion questions, on top of having an inspiring story, and continuing to maintain his log which has proved very motivational for me. But most of all, his tutorials have been complete game changers; I will be spending a majority of available non-meditation time working on them. Plus Aware Relaxed Connected is merging with PA, it is no end, only a beginning! The goal of all non-meditation practice is essentially to enhance the quality of the meditation practice: overcome injuries, eliminate all unnecessary tension, enhanced body maps, increase suppleness, eventually being able to sit on the cushion. Which is all, in the end, to improve the "yoga of daily life" Focus: - limbering movements (mainly ST) - foot awakening (incl. ankle/foot stretches) - craig’s tutorials: - rib, torso awakening - lat activation - leg awakening - glute activation - the list continues (qi gong, spinal waves, TBA tuts, etc.) !! but these are ones I’m prioritizing now Meditation practice: - Nei Dan, Nei Gong, Shen Gong - Qi Gong - Wai Gong (Basic Hands, Static Postures) - Minimum: 1.5 hours per day (30 min/practice), but shoot for ~2.5hrs Bonus: - SLOW FLOW!! - reverse posturing work whenever I can fit it in: - core activation / stability (plank variations, anti-rotation, etc.) - movement patterns & glute activation (SLDL/RDL, skater squat, etc.) - pec stretch - HF stretch - thoracic opening (e.g. passive backbends) - groin: frog, tailor pose - piriformis stretching - random SMR - joint mobility stuff - active flexibility stuff - bagua walking For the most part, it’s the same shit every day. But “the basics are the most advanced,” as Serge says. On one hand, it’s monotonous doing the same external form all the time. On another level, it’s transcending the monotony: settling into the truth that it’s the same form, but never the same experience. Returning to the form with the ceaseless cultivation of greater levels of embodiment and mindfulness, as Heraclitus said “No man steps in the same practice twice, for it’s not the same practice and he’s not the same man.” or something like that I own just about every ST program and have had over an entire year to play around with all the exercises, so I’m at a good place where I can pick the perfect tool for the job. This year is all about execution! Doing the laundry, taking out the trash
  2. 8 likes
    It is my idea and it's accurate. I worked with a number of world-class sprinters years ago, and the HF stretches made the most difference to their power production capacities and a more upright stance (à la Michael Johnson): You need serious extension in the HF to even get into this position (note no extension in lumbar spine). And he has massive glutes. But a powerlifter or an Olympic lifter will never need to produce strength in this kind of ROM, so not necessary for them (except for the usual reasons of reducing parasitic tension in the spine). I can elaborate.
  3. 7 likes
    Damn, I forgot to post about this. I've been experimenting with this both on myself and a few other people with dramatic effects. What I found though is that it does not work as well as I thought while in the couch stretch (but it is the perfect position to see the before-after change), but it does while in the basic quad stretch; I have people start mostly upright and work on the VMO and VL, then they slowly start lowering (every single person I've tried this onto has been able to lower all the way down after working on the vasti, even the tight ones) until they are lying on the floor; then I start working on the rectus femoris (having them keep PPT). One interesting thing I noticed is that it's as if the rec fem can't be accessed if you don't first work on the vasti. The results is a massive decrease of the tension felt in the couch stretch, both immediately after and in the following days. The result also seems to be long-lasting (I've done it on two of my students in our long class three weeks ago, and yesterday they were at the same level they were immediately after receiving it).
  4. 7 likes
    Why you should do Klokov press. (Snatch grip behind the neck press): 1. It's overhead pressing, so it's awesome. 2. It's overhead pressing in external rotation, so it's great for shoulder stability. 3. It's overhead pressing in retraction, so it's great for shoulder stability. 4. It's named after Dimitri Klokov, so it's badass as fuck. 5. I believe Emmet called it "the weight training exercise with the absolute most carryover to upper body weight strength training". As far as I know, everyone here who has tried it, likes it, so it must be good. 6. Not only is it overhead pressing and thus awesome, it is wide grip and behind the neck overhead pressing. Every body knows wide grip behind the neck exercises are at least 40 times cooler than their regular counterparts: exhibit A, exhibit B
  5. 6 likes
    Jaja asks about how "broad" the meditation object - the point of focus - should be; and he mentions the issue of maintaining stillness. I would like to step back to consider these questions by beginning with the issue of what we call "distraction." At a fundamental level it does not matter how wide or narrow the meditation object is, or whether we are moving or still. The only thing that matters is the quality of our engagement with the meditation object. Let's start at the basics. Meditation deals with awareness. We are already aware; we don't have to do anything to be aware, because we are already aware. And, if we are aware, we are aware of something. In other words, awareness always has an object. If I am seeing, I am seeing something. If I am thinking, I am thinking something. In the context of meditation, we call this "something" the meditation object. Notice that if I choose to meditate on a specific object - let's say, breathing - then I am not just working with awareness itself, but attention. Attention chooses some aspect of the field of awareness and focuses on it. This act entails some degree of effort, and it necessarily introduces distraction. After all, I choose to be aware of breathing, but find myself lost in thinking - I am "distracted." Distraction is bad, from the perspective of attention - I am not focusing my awareness on my chosen object - but neutral from the perspective of awareness - I am aware, but at this point it is the distraction that I am aware of. So it is important, for me, not to get caught up in concerns about distraction. Distraction is inevitable, unless one's attention and concentration are perfect. Which they are not. Let's say I decide to focus for 30 minutes on my breathing. Can I? Some people can, but most cannot. For most, this is an impossible job. But this does not matter. What we all of us can do is be aware, now. Right now, what am I aware of? This is the central question, pointing to the central activity: now, aware of what? Forgetting what happened before, or what may happen later - because both these are just thoughts arising now. When we approach meditation from this angle, then although we may make certain craft decisions, like whether my meditation object should be wide or narrow, or whether it is permissible to move or not to move, once we begin to practise these are not the central issue. The central issue is: What's happening, now? The rest will take care of itself over time.
  6. 5 likes
    Get a heavy mate (my training partner by choice was 125Kg) and get him to follow all directions for the stretch below: it will change your life. Most tension in people's spine and neck is unnecessary, but required to balance toe body against an anteriorly tilted pelvis. Until you have both HFs stretched properly, you can't know this. It took our group two years of weekly work for everyone to get this. And then add this: You must do the partner versions if you are strong, or tight, or want a stretch that cheating is impossible in!
  7. 5 likes
    just to give an update on the past couple months, from what I can remember… craig reminded me of the ’letting the pelvis hang’ cue along the same time I actually began committing to nei dan. since then, connection to the center line has been stronger than ever, spine lengthened more than ever, and I hit an ‘energy awakening’ and very clearly leveled the f*** up in everything and energy seems to be increasing daily for a while I just stopped stretching piriformis because I no longer felt any stretch from the "Beginner" piriformis ST stretches and the advanced piriformis on a bolster was too big of a jump, would aggravate my hip impingement and fairly easy to cause numbness craig's post on stretching on the bed reminded me of way back in the day, I used to do a similar stretch except on a plyo box (starrett was huge on camping out in that position), so I have just been clocking in a few minutes each leg on the box every other day. never going beyond a mild stretch but I’ve been making steady progress a couple months ago my right hip impingement just all of a sudden got significantly worse. pretty sure its due to sleep. when I switched from my old mattress to a much firmer futon, I still slept on my stomach and side, and I got rid of using a pillow in between my legs when sleeping on my side. I was fine for months but of course the pain now is a lagging indicator. I’ve since started to use a pillow in between my legs when sleeping on my side, and drastically cut back on sleeping on my stomach. I really need to re-program myself to sleep on my back but it is hard!!! the impingement has gotten slightly better since adjusting sleep, but is still overall worse off instinctively I’ve been turning to stretching the adductors and activating the glutes to ‘alleviate’ the impingement. so I’ve been playing around with long-held frog position… I don’t time it but maybe upwards of 10 minutes 1-2x a week… limbering super slowly in it, wakes up all sorts of lines, and hits certain spots in the hip joint that feel great. a little tailor pose too here and there with either of these, I cannot do the PNF contraction that involves resisting adduction/bringing the knees closer together… this immediately causes me to feel my impingement (I used to be able to do this though!! :/ ) also I’ve been clocking in time on holding the L1. sumo squat from master the squat, as an isometric strengthening exercise craig’s lat activation, making good progress. it’s cool where I’m at a point, I lift the arm and the lat is already unconsciously activated, zero trap involvement. of course there are still angles where the trap turns on, but significant progress has been made. and i’ve noticed interesting left/right differences rib awakening is coming along nicely too, it’s a great supplement for the nei gong practice, in terms of sequencing the kinetic chain, and even the nei dan in terms of freeing the breath, loosening the structures around the diaphragm. feet awakening pretty much everyday. also began kit's side ankle stretch again. has led to much improved grounding, nice feet qi sensations and afterwards feel like my whole system has absorbed qi craig’s leg activation maybe twice a week. tried SF3, pretty good. there’s some great lower body stuff I want to memorize, legs were pretty activated (fatigued/shaking afterwards) to do: - since really committing to nei dan (breathing practice), I want to do whatever possible to enhance the sensations and get the fire burning. so I want to: - actually commit to massaging the pelvic floor and diaphragm with a SPRI ball on a daily basis (to reduce tone and increase proprioception of internal organs) - diaphragm stretches - do more SF1
  8. 5 likes
    jaja, your original question/comment was: That is what I and others responded to. Today's comments/musings are (it seems to me) on a largely different subject, namely what to do next, firstly, and the second, perhaps more interesting, "maintaining enough dedication to actually grasp some fruits from my practice". I believe you have presented this same question in a number of different guises while you have been posting here. Both questions, in my view, turn on the answer to the biggest question, namely, "what do I want?". And you do not have an answer for this. Hence suggestions like start with being clear about what you don't want. And just like many other things in life, and certainly stretching and playing/exercising as many have commented on here (usually after considerable resistance), only you can work this out. So, if you have no clear desire for any particular state or capacity/skill, start be actually making a list, hopefully a long list, of what you are sure you don't want. And many others share your plight: it is a modern disease. See here, an early discussion with a colleague who has since pulled himself out of his initial state: So, in the same spirit, let me attempt to reflect the structure of your mind back to you, for consideration. Your starting cast of mind (that is, when you decide to think about something, the state of mind you bring to the task) is confusion and the result is inaction. This is because there is no clarity about what you want, and your mind throws up to you all the reasons (lack of time, emotional turmoil, degree ending soon, etc.) why you can't do what (momentarily) you do want. Because you do not want anything strongly enough, your mind is disabling you. So, don't listen to it—instead do nothing at all, and try to feel what you want. This is one of the deep reasons for recommending meditation and yoga nidra: it is only in periods of real stillness that clarity can emerge, and there's no guarantee of the timing of it! The alternative is to go through a 'dark night of the soul' kind of experience (many have written about this; Eckhart Tolle is particularly eloquent in his original "The Power of Now"); some people simply have to experience deep despair before clarity can emerge. And, honestly, in your situation because you do have some money, don't go on to full time employment—instead, you could devote time and energy to your mother and grandmother—but both of them will understand that you need an hour or two of time each day for yourself. Set a specific goal for your practise, and steadfastly head towards it. Only you can do this. One of my teachers said, "Don't futz the practise"; by this he meant do the practise as it was taught, and do not chop and change: head towards a goal, and do not deviate. Practise stillness until a goal becomes clear.
  9. 5 likes
    Taught a workshop in Cologne. Two days of basics, stances, kicks and partner work. I'm super excited to get back into doing my old training methods with knew knowledge and awareness. Also got to learn some incredibly important details from my friend and co host Carsten, if you're ever in Cologne I can highly recommend his classes. We did: - joint circles type prep - leg awakening -spinal waves - lifting with the armpits -how to use all of this to make a good structure -partner drills to test the structure -learning the weak points of the structure and how to manipulate it -grounding with heaven and earth -qigong basics and how the structure is integral to a good qigong practice - shi da pan -basic kicks - 5 step boxing form (a basic method of training the 5 stances) - more partner games - movement leading with the head - how the head can be used to break structure - more qigong basics and a little form A great weekend overall. Next stop, Iceland. Physical practice will be reasonably sparse between now and then for many reasons.
  10. 5 likes
    Hi B, Sorry to hear about your injury. It's really hard to offer any kind of accurate advice because I don't know you and your situation and your history and so on. The context is absolutely important for this kind of thing so please take the following with a grain of salt - it's very general advice and I can't say that if it is the right direction or not but hopefully it gives you some inspiration to explore in a way that will helpful for you. The immediate "don't go further" response should be listened to in my opinion. Don't go further With rehab I basically treat it the same as any progression, although the damaged tissue has to be treated much like a "before the beginning" beginner to restore it. In other words we want to be really gentle with it, the same as if we were working with elderly or some such. I also advise people to not take risks and push into things they aren't 100% certain of. This way may take a little longer, but if you re-injure the troubled spot it's going to be worse than the first time and take even longer then to restore. On to the restoration. Progressions I use (with anything) are static holds > slow gentle movements > faster less gentle movements > pulsing > explosive ballistics. The idea being if you can't safely hold it, you're probably going to have trouble moving through and around it safely, if you can't move slowly you're going to have trouble moving quickly and so on. You can also train these in a somewhat overlapping fashion, for example doing static holds one day and slow movements the next, or even both in the same session but slow movements dialed back away from the injury. An example of an approach like this would be to do a standing straddle, and hinge at the hips so you start doing a standing pancake, stopping the hinge just a little before the nope feeling comes into the body. It will be pretty easy for you as this range will probably be strong. Do 30s holds here, inching your way session by session closer to the area giving the nope signal but never going into it. We could then also do a seated pancake sitting upright like you said and do pelvic circles, making the circle only big enough so that when it passes the affected area it comes near it but does not go into it. Again this will be super easy for the rest of the circle made with the pelvis but should come close to the affected area without crossing the line so to speak. The idea with both exercises is to kind of massage the threshold line further and further away, reminding the body of the strength that it once had. The key (I think) to successful quick massage is to come as close to this threshold as possible without crossing it. The more you can do holds as close to the edges of it and have circles basically brushing this threshold, the faster it will heal. The problem here is that it takes keen awareness and control to do this, and therefore a large measure of skill because passing the threshold and messing it up will basically result in re-injury. The other problem is that most people don't have the patience and the dedication to keep up the volume necessary for long enough time to complete the restoration. We want reasonably high volume of these super easy gentle circles and holds, and we also want to respect the threshold - it will move, some days you can go deeper without passing it and others not so deep. Variation is also key to any kind of "life building" methods in my opinion. So basically we need to explore in a way that lets us find as many movements as we can that have these thresholds that give us the "nope nope nope" response. These movements are the gold, because they are where the faults are, they are the part that need to be restored. We find the movement that makes us go nope, then we back it way off to a much easier variation and start massaging with gentle movements and holds, keeping the distance from the threshold you feel is safe enough to massage in without crossing. Sometimes we also might not know that a threshold is in a particular movement, so we must only explore with movements that we can completely control and move gently enough that we can spot the threshold before crossing it. We must keep up this variety of gentle movements and holds until we have massaged the thresholds away. Once the thresholds are gone, we are not done. The tissue will still be somewhat weak, so we must also begin to strengthen the area by slowly loading the holds and the movements, and beginning to reintroduce pulses and eventually explosive ballistics. As for other movements, we must test many things. Sometimes a movement feels OK at the time but then after you realise something has gone wrong. This makes the whole process very difficult to give "yes you should do this and no you shouldn't do this" answers to. In my opinion the best thing you can do is take the responsibility into your own hands, it is after all your body and only you know what it's feeling. By all means seek out therapists and experts but the issue is more than half of the professionals don't know what they are doing, so you need to know how to find the good ones. To do this you need to have a good idea of your own system and the responses to see if they are aware of them and dealing with them or just absent mindedly prodding things and giving you random exercises. Finally, the restoration process will teach you so much about yourself, it's really quite an opportunity to have an injury like this that is not so serious that you can test things out and see what's effective for you and what isn't. After all, everything I just said I say because it works for me and the people I train, but it may not work for you or I might just be talking garbage. It's the internet after all and I'm really just a stranger. I hope this helps a little and that you restore your pancake smoothly! Cheers, Craig
  11. 5 likes
    continuing exploration of kicks, piriformis and activating the deep anterior hip/abdominal junction. All is going well, surprisingly little DOMS from the kicks. Side kick needs lots of work, as does the round kick which I've added. My current piriformis variation is doing magical things for both me and Cherie, I'll film a new video with the new explorations and movements soon. filming of new tutorials to begin soon. On the menu: - stances - kicks - waking the wrists (the wrist prep video remastered plus loads more things added) - deep hip and shoulder awakening - an exploration of rotating in the socket using straight limbs - qi gong basics speaking of tutorials, the quickening is upon us, and there shall be only one. Physical Alchemy has removed the head of ARC and now has all my tutorials. Same is happening with the website. You can now find the tutorials here: https://physical-alchemy.uscreen.io/
  12. 4 likes
    Side splits evening with the splits wizard @Emmet Louis ... Much progress made. Cueing in this movement is essential. It's amazing what difference a few degrees of pelvic tilt and specific tissue chain contraction does. I think I was as deep as I've ever been, calves closing in on the floor!
  13. 4 likes
    At the risk of repeating myself the standing wide-leg Elephant walk, especially the version where you bend one leg, pull a straight-back body on to it, and work on straightening the leg (but only to the extent you can hold your back straight) will stretch the $%^& out of the upper hammies in particular, and strengthen the back in the process—please try this. When you are loose enough, you will not find the resistance in the hips and legs the next time you do a pancake—that's what you want. If I have not been clear about this before, let me say it a different way: the pancake is the goal, but repeatedly doing the pancake badly is probably the least effective way to achieve it. Of course, you will get there by doing just the pancake, but where there are way better (as in more efficient, less painful) methods, why would you?
  14. 4 likes
    It's funny how it can take some time for a concept to sink in. I have been doing the solo HF stretch that Kit speaks about in numerous videos and even though the concept is explicit (posterior tilt of the pelvis) and I thought I was doing it I don't think I ever really "got it". Listening to a podcast with Emmet yesterday on propane fitness and again he talks about posterior tilt of the pelvis (related to rec fem, psoas and HF). Got home and did a simple floor based HF stretch. Like couch stretch without the couch. Hardly had any stretch going on and got into as much pos pelvic tilt as I could. Wow! As Kit says my body has been lying to me. Hips and quads felt incredible after. This has led me to believe I haven't even been stretching my HF at all the last 15 years I've been doing these types of stretches. Makes me feel a little silly but grateful for the awakening now. I also tested my HF strength as per the podcast. Can hold both legs above parallel for 15+ seconds quite easily. Absolutely no cramping or fatigue in the left one. Some cramping around 15s and fatigue in the right one so something to keep an eye on. Spent a good 10+ mins working through the tailor pose last night and then another 10 in pancake exploring. Post tailor pose I have been finding my HFs feel cramped though so not sure if I need to stretch them before or after for the best result. Plan for the weekend is to get right through the pancake program and explore all the movements.
  15. 4 likes
    @Francesco excellent! The gua sha is definitely a very good tool for removing fascial adhesions. I'm going to keep doing reasonably regular work with @Emmet Louis while I can hopefully. Physical training continues to be light, a bit of stretching here and there. On the tutorials front, I just filmed a 9 week qigong course that will be available to all and will take them step by step through a form from my first teacher Dapeng. Looking forward to editing this one and getting it released!
  16. 4 likes
    Got the next phase of training yesterday so it has begun!! This week will be a half week then I will start week one on Monday. So far I am doing the 30/30 squat challenge currently on day 7. Squat mobility has improved heaps and it is taking me less time to get to maximum hip mobility each time. I'm currently doing bouts of 10-15 mins and it is making a big difference and generally sticks around for a few hours after whereas the shorter bouts don't tend to give that effect. Kicking of with some bent arm. 09/02/17 Day 4 - BA Ring Dips 30X2 4,3,2,1,1 + 10-15s support hold after final rep P-Bar Dips x8 False Grip Chins 2015 3,2,2,2,1 Seated Cable Row 30X2 45kgs 3x10 L-HSPU 30X0 3x5 Reverse Curl 30kgs x7 20kgs 2x8 Bridge Pull 3x3 Box Bridge Press Ups 3x8+20s Ring dips with support holds, was a bit shaky after the time off and reps were down a tad but will get that back next week. The support holds fatigue me heaps could also be a factor. Did a set of P-Bar dips to failure afterwards to get in some extra volume. False grip chins, was happy with my false grip today it was really strong. Am now doing these with a 5s top hold!! Is so hard to maintain the height and reps, down to about chin level by set 3 just from fatigue. Hopefully improves quickly, once I can pull high enough it will just be a matter of transitioning into the dip and bam muscle up. L-HSPU, was like to Emmet "can I elevate these so I get full rom?" he just laughed at me and said I was brave. Was quite humbling, i did them with my hands on the ground going to me nose in a pike on my toes and they were hard!! I really like them though they gave me the best shoulder pump ever!! Shoulders felt like they were working exceptionally hard and they are very hard to get the concentric moving. Doing reverse curls this phase. I can notice a small increase in biceps size and they definitely got stronger last phase so I wanted to fill in the literal gap in my arms (aka lack of brachialis) and get some forearms strength and size happening. Am very limited with picking things up with a pronated grip which highlighted my brachioradialis strength which was lit up doing these reverse curls, the pump it got literally increased it's size from unnoticeable to nearly a full inch raised so the potential is there. 30kgs was too ambiguous so I will build up from 20kgs. Will also help balance out all the wrist flexor work from all the pulling work and carrying stuff at work. These are off the books so I hope it's alright to do haha. Bridge pulls felt solid today, more control and I think I am really close to touching down on the bench top at the gym. Box bridge press ups also very good was over my hands basically straight away, stepped down into a back bridge on set 3 but it was too intense so I bailed. Lower body tomorrow with a lot of new movements I haven't really done much of before so should be interesting!!
  17. 4 likes
    Some experimental work today, kind of cramming my recent reading into a single workout. Took my normal backbend workout and tried to involve/stimulate/overload conscious/unconscious and use some neglected systems a bit. A curiosity for a while has been on the effects of impact/hitting in a stretching routine. So... supersetting 5x5 drop downs with self-flaggelation (10x "hard" [not really hard I guess] slapping of face and anterior line - I have seen a couple of videos of Connor and others training more strength/endurance while receiving blows). This actually is awesome. Not sure how an untrained person would react to this... must find someone to slap me when stretching now. My morning went something like this: -read affirmation questions for what I wanted my day [eg What can I do to suppport my self/family/community today? etc], not to try and answer with normal conscious person who answers this ie the smarter one to answer. -wrote affirmative to-do list [eg I have an amazing backbend which I am learning from. etc] -chatted to kids and people in community, seriously I love where I live. Crazy paradise. -25' meditation, need to find a way not to go numb, incense. -cold shower, which is actually warm. Note to self -- buy couple of bags of ice. -extensive shaking post shower -new age music bringing spiritual vibe with namastes and the like and eye gazing myself in the mirror [WTF?], mandarin essential oils. -spinal work, extensive which is like 10minutes for me. eg 10rotations each way, focusing on about 6 points going down the spine, then spinal waves and some ecstatic type dance. -Spinning, until just before I need to throw up. -Cathartic yelling into the sink x 3 -hanging by my feet -backbend pushups 5x5 -low weight dislocates incorparating behind the back pressing as required -unloading right wrist, pec stretch and rope hang -drop backs and the aforementioned self-flaggelation. 5x5 -few reps of back bending I am very happy to be alive. What a great day so far LOL, some may think I have gone off the deep end... and I have! Adam used to say I didn't bring enough intensity to my workouts (I think I always have, just not cardio and beast mode). Thanks for reading and happy stretching loggers.
  18. 4 likes
    @AlexanderEgebak I am sure it is easier to progress the more basic weighted movements if nothing else. That said, one of the primary reasons I started with BWF/GST is a lack of equipment and proper setup to really get the most out of more traditional weighted movements. My motivation has shifted more toward simply enjoying this style of training, but I still don't have the equipment or setup to effectively do movements like overhead press or cable rows. Plus, I'm really in this just to stay healthy and enjoy myself, so I'm happy with the way things are, even if they're not optimal. Perhaps that will change eventually, though! @161803398874989 You only needed to provide reason number 4 Although definite bonus points for a Jason Statham reference! But alas, with no squat rack or similar support I don't think I'll be working overhead press type movements. Perhaps if I could train weightlifting movements at a gym to a basic level of proficiency so that I was comfortable with moving big weights from the floor into position, but no gym and no coach, so I don't see that happening any time soon. I can get moderate loads into position, but it's a lot of extra stress on my wrists that I'd rather avoid and it limits the amount of weight I can use. 2/6 Mon. Light UB. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, dislocates, and handstands, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MSH) 3x30s. Bumped these up to 30s. Feels pretty good. Will continue for a few weeks until nice and comfortable. Middle Split Holds: (Bent Leg/Parallettes) (Paired with RTO Support) 2x10s, 1x12s. That feeling when you suddenly release an intense isometric hold 10s is feeling pretty good, although the hips are actually barely rising. Going to move to 12s holds next time. Will progress hip angle after increasing hold time at current position. Bar Pull Ups: (Paired with HeSPU) +15kg 2x6, 1x7. Tried swapping push/pull pairs instead of adding a 4th set to these, and they were much more solid. Going to continue like this since it seems like I can progress without the extra set. Will go for 3x7 next session. HeSPU: (Paired with PU) 2x5, 1x7. These were also much more solid. 3x6 next session. FL Rows: (Paired with RTO PPPU) (Bar-Pike) 3x5 (12X0). These were a bit tougher with the new ordering, but the improvement in the other movements far outweighs the decrease in quality here. RTO PPPU: (Paired with FL Rows) 3x5 (10X2). Same as above. Elevated the feet onto a yoga block on the second and third sets. Increased the difficulty a bit, but I like the angle better so will continue like this. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 3x20s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression 5x10s, Straddle Compression 5x10s Today was a good session overall. Good energy levels. Swapping the push/pull pairs was a good move. Minimal effect on the rows and PPPU but the PU and HeSPU were much better. Also, good news! Finding used stuff for sale in Japan (especially workout equipment) is not easy, but I managed to find a pair of 15kg plates for pretty cheap fairly close. Was really hoping to get some 20kg plates, but these will tide me over for a while I hope. Was supposed to meet the guy on Sunday but that ended up not working out. Set to meet up tomorrow, so hopefully everything goes as planned this time! I can progress my deadlifts on Friday without any extra deficit
  19. 4 likes
    In the beginning, don't "try hard not to get distracted" it is the effort that creates the tension, or which amplifies the tension already present. Relax as much as possible and experience the sensations of breathing, even if this means you get distracted more often—the task of meditation is to simply be aware of, or note, the distractions; then in the instant of being aware that you are distracted, smile internally and bring your awareness back to the sensations. Concentration (which is what people mean when they use expressions like "I find it harder not to get distracted") will strengthen by itself, over time, through the repeated action of noticing. This is how it works. Trying harder only increases tension; the next time you do this activity, take a moment to experience this. Context is everything in understanding any instruction: yes, restless movement will agitate the mind, as "restless" means no control over the movement. If, on the other hand, you follow my instruction which was (to save you re-reading the ling post above): "Try to make any adjustments to your posture really slow—so slow, you can think, that if anyone were watching, they would not see any movement" you will experience the antithesis of restless. The very act of moving so slowly in the correction that an observer would not notice the movement guarantees that your full awareness will be in the doing of it—presence in each instant is the long-term goal of the practise, and if you do manage to move this way, you will experience this presence powerfully. Wonderful: consider making this your meditation object instead—it might be a better object because it is so clear. My colleague Patrick makes this point often on retreats: if there is some aspect of the experience that is really strong, then deliberately move your awareness to this—and see what happens. You might be surprised.
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    Short answer: nothing. There should be no tension, or very little, when you sit. Longer answer: the answer depends on your time frame. Let me clarify a few points raised in the question itself. You say, "shoulders pressed down slightly". No; the overall goal is no tension in the body, with an efficient posture that, in time, emerges from effortless alignment. I have demonstrated this on workshops and retreats many times: when I sit, all the muscles of my trunk and neck are soft—you can press your fingertips into the muscles, and little resistance can be felt. When I say, "soft", that's what I mean: the muscles, if poked, will be soft to touch. And as Olivia has teased out in the Muscle tension and flexibility thread, there is only a small relationship between these qualities. So, make zero effort while sitting, but direct some of your stretching efforts at other times into being able to create a lower-effort sitting posture. This is what the How to sit for meditation program focuses on; for most people, piriformis stops the pelvis being put into the perfect position (just enough anterior tilt; I will explain below), so that the whole body can be arranged above it, also without muscular effort. Piriformis (and other external rotators) resists tilting the pelvis forwards—which means that you have to use erector spinae and the paravertebrals to pull yourself into your idea of good posture. If you sit, then do a little tail tuck–untuck drill, you can feel that only the back and thoracic spine muscles mentioned can move the pelvis in this way. This effort becomes pain in little time. I have to say this again: P. needs to be so loose that the pelvis can be put into the required position against no resistance. This takes a long time for most people. How loose? Being able to put your face on your foot with little effort and a straight back is about the ROM that's needed. This will take years, for most people. And this is why I recommend a firm cushion, and of sufficient height, so that the pelvis can be positioned without effort. For most beginners, 4–6" in cushion height will be about right. Keep in mind you did not grow up on the floor, so acquiring the required ROM will take time. And the knees: if your knees/thighs/calf muscles do not touch the floor, then put small hand towels or cushions under the outsides of them, so the body can let that tension go, too, by resting on the supports. In this restriction (which comes from hip flexors and some adductors: you can find out which ones by palpating your own inner leg once sitting), if the muscles mentioned do not allow the legs to rest on the floor, then the outside of the foot is exposed to a lateral force—in time, this results in foot numbness, knee pain, or both. Use props; in the school of yoga I studied in, this process was called building a nest. It is necessary in the beginning. Similarly the shoulders: by all means pull them down a tiny bit (until you can feel the traps and levator scapulae being stretched, but then let that effort go too. Then the abdomen: for most people this is the hardest to let go tension from. On the retreats, we go around and physically palpate abdomens, if the students want that—everyone thinks they are relaxed, but there's always more to let go of. So (and this is the time frame aspect) in the sitting session itself, work for a few minutes to loosen the key structures to get as comfortable as you can for today, and then go through the process of constructing the meditation posture, and then let as much tension go as you can and still be sitting upright. In the longer time frame, work on getting the key parts loose enough so that you are supple/loose enough to be able to position the body in the recommended way without effort. Any effort will become pain if you sit long enough.
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    29/01/17 Spent just over an hour exploring various stretches. Body feels tight in areas that it shouldn't but I got some decent relief through this session. It has occurred to me that I am getting caught in that same old trap. Spending plenty of time in the gym but not moving enough or doing the things that are likely to make me athletic. Food for thought and will add/remove some elements in the next few weeks. Also, have eaten my way through the last few days. Kind of fun but noticing those same old pains when I over-consume sugary foods. Did get a chance to catch up on movies though. Watched Trolls with the kids which is a great movie. Love the music and I see it becoming a favourite of my daughter. Re-watched Fong Sai Yuk for probably the 30th or 40th time. Jet Li movies really never get old for me. Then watched Stephen Chow's Journey to the West. Not too bad but prefer his movies when he is actually in them. Did have some laugh out loud moments though. 30/01/17- 6.30pm 1 hour of foam rolling earlier in the day. Warm up- Ido's squat clinic 2, banded ankle dorsiflexion, banded hip flexor, Some moderate intensity jumps- some VJ and 1 step jumps. Around 20" which wasn't too bad considering I am not jumping a great deal these days. Squat- bar x 10, 60 x 5, 80 x 5, 100 x 3 belted- 115 x 4 (no back off sets due to left knee pain) Single Leg DL to Press 15 x 6, 6, 6 (each side) Pull throughs (purple band) x 10, 10 Weird session. Legs felt great going in but not so great after the top set of squats. Going to assume it's the lack of attention to my body the last week or so plus the shit I've been eating. Will get back on it and potentially pencil in a massage later in the week. This is my 4th week so will deload next week. I think I'm due. May just deload legs and leave upper going as I don't seem to have the same issues there. Watched Once upon a time in Shanghai last night. Predictable story line but good action and nice cinematography. I used to watch a heap of HK movies and haven't done so much in the last few years. Have realised how much I miss them. They more often than not have silly story lines and missing links but that's part of the appeal.
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    1/27 Fri. Heavy LB. Bouncing, burpees, squat/hip mobilization, dislocates, light wrist stretches and handstand work, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with DF) 3x25s@+0.5kg. Dragon Flags (straight arms): (Paired with RTO Support) 3x5@+0.5kg. These felt tougher than usual today. Might be the back. Snatch Grip Deadlifts: Did conventional instead without the (extra) deficit. Did a bunch of warm-up sets slowly working up to 100kg, and then did 3x3 with that. Romanian Deadlifts: Skipped today. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 3x20s Treated today kind of like a deload for the deadlift. Low back/erectors felt better and better with each set of warm-up lifts, and everything was feeling really good by the time I got to 100kg. 3x3 was easy and felt really solid. All in all, felt like a success since I actually felt better after the session than before. Should definitely be back to normal by next deadlift session. Will probably lose the extra deficit, though
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    1/26 Thu. Heavy UB session. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, handstands, and dislocates, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MWS) 3x25s. Manna Wall Slides: (Paired with RTO Support) 3x5 with extension stretch between sets. OAC (pulley assist): Tried starting with 2.5kg assist and it wasn't happening. Not sure why, but today wasn't the day for OAC. Possibly the back issue, or might be because I had a really early dinner (longer time between eating and working out). Could just be one of those days! Anyways, upped the assist to 3.75kg and did 4x2. Those weren't moving as well as last session, so on the last set I upped the assist to 5kg and did 4 reps left arm and 3 reps right arm. Will look forward to more progress next time. HSPU (elevated against wall): Added the 5th set, but I could tell 3 would be pushing it, so did 4x3 and 1x2. Kept good form, which made the last rep a real grinder. Front Lever Rows: Adv. tuck. Still 4x4 (12X0). Hold is strong. Planche Push Ups (parallettes): Tuck @ 3x4, 1x3 (10X2). Thought I might be able to manage increasing reps across sets, but was getting some form breakdown, so I kept the last set at 3 reps. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression 5x10s, Straddle Compression 5x10 Would have liked OAC to continue the excellent progress, but overall not a bad session. Back is feeling pretty good. General soreness has faded, with the last bit of soreness remaining along the right side erectors. Will see how things feel tomorrow and decide how to proceed with deadlifting then.
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    I think the best thing people could do for their health is cut all news papers and news programming out of their lives. Less stress less anxiety. Add all useless celebs there too.
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    Nothing more motivating and demoralising at the same time to watch kids doing gymnastics and sitting so easily in positions us adults would kill for.
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    Thu - Rest Fri - DL Lower DL and stuff Equaled my recent DL PR 170kg too easily and make a rather ambitious jump to 180kg. Levitated the bar twice, maybe 5cm, which makes it a new type of "fail", in the past the bar simply stuck to the floor.
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    Hello, I won't' have the exact information you are looking for regarding your goals i.e. high kicks since mine are different but I am in a similar situation as you are. I am a 29 year old male and quite stiff from years of sprinting without proper stretching protocol. I started reading kit's material in December (ordered S&F) and then I bought the squat program in vimeo. I am planning to buy the pancake program sooner or later. What has helped me the most is the fundamental belief in stretch therapy that flexibility does not come because you are lengthening the muscles (the old belief according to my understanding) but because you are making your brain understand that the positions you want to get to are safe. This information completely changed the way I trained my flexibility. Before, I was trying to get to it via brute force as I was doing for strength training, cardio, ... More work will get more results. This is not true, neither for strength and cardio nor for flexibility. Linked to that aspect (teaching the brain) is learning to control your breathing. This was also very important to me. Calm and controlled breathing puts you in a situation of control and helps telling the brain "this is ok". Quick breathing is similar to a situation of stress and danger. Then the third break through I recently had is realising that I am way too much immobile during my daily life. Yes I do a "significant" amount of sport for someone who has a family and is working full time but still the sport time is nowhere near the amount of time I am sitting on my butt at the office. So now i am trying to incorporate more movement and stretch in my daily life e.g. squat down when I can to pick up an object or bend over rather than bending the legs, stretch my arms on door frames, reach overhead from time to time, get up every 20 minutes and limber at the office. Hope this personal and recent experience helps. Also having a way to actually look at your form helps. Personally I use a camera and spend one day a week focussing on some movements and record everything on YouTube so that I can assess my progress and review my form.
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    20/02/2017- 9pm bw- 91.something BA Day 1- Shoulder and scap prep- some ext rotations thrown in Incline Bench- bar x 10, 40 x 8, 60 x 5, 70 x 1 77.5 x 2, 2, 2 DB Row- 5 x 10, 15 x 8, 25 x 8, 35 x 5 40 x 5, 5, 5 Falling into the same old trap of doing less work. I was in and out in around 40 mins. Probably had the time to do some dips and chins but not the energy, especially after a full day of eating. Either way, bench felt good and this is pretty much PR territory for me so I'll take it. Did HF stretches between sets of bench too. 21/02/17 Nothing like some morning Shi Da Pan to wake the body up. My morning routine is getting better. Out of bed earlier and straight into some kind of activity. Went through Shi Da Pan 1-6 with 20 reps each way on 1 and then 10 for 2-5. Followed that with some bridge entries just to gauge my current level. Not too bad actually. All up about 15 mins. Hams and hips super tight though. One of the reasons I love this type of stretching is that when I did it regularly I had great results and was generally loose all day with minimal tightness. As with all things I got excited by the shiny new idea and moved on. Funny though that back then I thought it was "dynamic" stretching when in reality it was very much ballistic but still rather controlled. SAS to come tonight.
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    Depends on the glute ROM you are interested in: if in the stepping up ROM (so thighs at 90° to trunk range) then standard glute activation techniques will work perfectly well. BUT (thinking sprinting here) if you want to gain glute activation in the 0° to extension range, then unless you really get into the HFs you are wasting your time completely: the reciprocal inhibition reflex will shut the glutes down as you reach the end of the HF ROM.
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    Lower body session number 2! Day 5 - Lower 2 Sumo Deadlift 30X0 60 2x5 100 6x3 Goodmorning 3020 20x10 40 4x10 GHR 30X0 10,10,8,8 FFE Split Squat 3020 12.5kg DBs 4x10 Splits Mobility Pretty good session! All those videos paid off as sumo was fine today haha. I think I'm going to try doing 7.5kg jumps each week which is roughly 5% increments based off my max deadlift. Still hurting my left knee every rep but will see how that goes.. Got nice and bloody today had to raid the first aid kit for some band aids as I scraped all the skin of my shins and blood was everywhere haha, going to invest in some deadlift socks I think! Goodmornings, best lower back and ab exercise in existence haha, they both had quite the pump. Switched it up to high bar to make it more challenging but I must say compared to last week it was easier even with the more leveraged disadvantaged technique I used today with way less knee bend. Getting my strength up on these will make a big improvement as it's a massive weakness. Have been doing seated calf raise stretch for soleus 3x a week so I started with that. Makes a bit difference to my squat afterwards, hopefully I can finally make some dorsiflexion gains!! Front splits are okay atm, have a bit of HF tightness built up so they aren't their usual selves especially the left TFL it's still ruined... The FFE split squat I noticed opened them up each set but didn't transfer to the actual splits afterwards. Side splits were awesome again and so was the buttefly, awesome synergistic effect with that pair. Splits were the hight of the box I use for box bridge press ups which is about 10 inches or so high. Using two 15kg DBs for the lifts massive change between sets, hopefully I can flatten it out soon as it really opens up my side split. Pancake was intense again, not getting as deep atm compared to last phase but give it a few weeks. Still at face to floor level. Finished with some active piriformis and IR work.
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    Was supposed to be heavy UB yesterday, but HRV was down and I just wasn't feeling it. I usually get it done anyway, but I didn't want to have another demoralizing session So I postponed it to today and did a nice little parasympathetic pancake stretching session before bed instead. Felt like it had been a while, but still got nice and deep and spent some quality time there. 2/17 Fri. Heavy UB session. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, handstands, and dislocates, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MWS) 3x30s. As mentioned, kept these at the start today to get the biceps warmed up a bit for OAC work. Solid holds. OAC (pulley assist): Started off with a bit of movement-specific warm up this time as well. Did a set of 10 chin ups and a couple of OAC with 10kg assist per side. Planned 5x3@3.75kg assist. Managed the first set, but effort felt too high so I dropped down to 2 reps for 3 sets, and then did the 5th set with 3 reps since perceived effort was lessening with each set. Ended up with 3-2-2-2-3@3.75kg assist. Will shoot for at least 2x2+3x3 next time. HSPU (elevated against wall): These felt more solid today, so I did 3x4+1x3. Last rep was difficult, but not a real grinder like last time. Will shoot for 4x4 next session. Manna Wall Slides: (Paired with RTO Support) 3x5 with extension stretch between sets. Could definitely feel more fatigue (mostly triceps?) with this placement, but pretty solid reps throughout. Front Lever Rows: Adv. tuck. 4x4 (12X0). These felt solid today. May extend the tuck a bit next time. Planche Push Ups (parallettes): Tuck. 1x4+3x3 (10X2). Had planned 4x4 but didn't like the form on the last rep of the first set so I dropped the remaining sets to 3 reps. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Elevated Bridge 3x25s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression 5x 10s, Straddle Compression 5x10s Overall happy with this session. Finally back to progressing a bit with OAC, and HSPU progressed nicely as well. FL rows felt solid. Having played with a couple of different orderings for MWS, I don't really feel like they negatively impact OAC/HSPU work so I think I'll move them back to the beginning, paired with RTO support holds.
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    What a week! Have been working 12 hour days everyday before going to train and returning home extremely late before going to bed to do it all over again. Finally have some time to actually get to the shops while they are open and get some real food instead of breakfast in the morning and midnight takeaway for dinner haha. Training so far this week. Day 2 - Lower 1 Back Squat 30X0 20 2x5 60x5 80x3 Wave 1 100x3 107.5x2 115x1 Wave 2 107.5x3 115x2 122.5x1 Wave 3 115x3 122.5x2 130x1 Rep Out 80kgs x16 Elevated Deadlifts 60x5 102.5 8x2 Arching Back Extension 3x10 GHD Sit Up 3x10 Splits Mobility First time back squatting since August and it felt good! Was pretty fatigued going in but everything moved very well. Did my 9 sets of waves then had a rep out at 60% of the final set, nearly killed me haha. Arms went numb, legs were destroyed lunges were on fire!! Had an awesome quad pump for like an hour followed by some nice soreness which still hasn't subsided haha. Elevated Deadlifts at 60% for speed, nice and quick to get through, explosive as possible. Flexibility training is the same as last phase but I'm doing butterfly lifts paired with side splits this phase. Has a good effect hit a really nice side split by the end. Pancake end range closing was intense, after I hit my deepest position after the last set I tried to stay in the position for a few minutes and relax as much as possible to get comfortable in that range to set it. That's something I've been playing with lately with all stretching, after the heavy work just statically holding the stretch and really trying to relax in that end range. A few videos I got of the session https://www.instagram.com/p/BQmRk57hEl9/ Day 3 - SA A1 Wrist Prep A2 Bodyline Drills A3 Half Kick Ups x20 B HS Walk x10, x4 CTW HS 3x30s C Heel Pulls x0 D1 Tuck Front Lever 15s,15s,10s,10s,10s D2 Planche Lean 15s,15s,10s,10s,10s Okayish session, really rushed through this as I wanted to get home and eat as all I'd only had time for was breakfast!! Determined to get these heel pulls happening on Saturday when I have heaps of time to focus on quality work. Have been doing the kick ups whenever I think of it, starting to get more floaty and controlled at the top. Day 4 - BA Ring Dips 30X2 PBar x8 3,3,3,2,2+1 (14) PBar x12 False Grip Chins 2015 3,2,2,2,2 (11) Seated Cable Row 30X2 45kgs 3x12 L-HSPU 30X0 3x5 Reverse Curl 22.5kgs 3x8 OH Rope Extension 70 x8 80 2x8 Bridge Pull 3x3 Box Bridge Press Ups 8,7,6 + 20s Solid bent arm session, really going to try and try add one rep each session on my ring work to progress this phase. Is probably easier to add a set or weight than a rep haha. Emmet is letting me move the support holds after the ring dips set to SA day, I just can't get quality holds in after the dips. 3 reps and my stability is gone and the hold afterwards my shoulders are elevated and my elbows heaps bent so working it separately for good quality should help a lot I hope. Bridge work was a bit harder this day as my psoas were really tight so I couldn't get as good a bridge as usual. Still managed to step down on the 3rd set but it was very intense in the lower back so I bailed pretty quickly. Will be heading in for lower 2 soon. Have watched like every sumo deadlifting tutorial on youtube so I think I should have the technique down hopefully haha.
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    Training for today! Day 1 - BA A1 Ring Dips 30X2 PBar x8 4,3,1,2,2 PBar x8 A2 False Grip Chins 2015 2,2,2,2,2 B1 Seated Cable Row 30X2 45kgs 12,10,10 B2 L-HSPU 30X0 3x5 Reverse Curl 20kgs 3x8 Bridge Pull 3x3 Box Bridge Press Ups 3x8+20s Support holds after the ring dips just kill my chest, so much fatigue I failed set 3 after 1 rep. Struggling to hold the support hold for 10s after a set, still can't lock elbows. False grip was slippery today even with all the chalk. Those 5s holds are killer I can barely pull past chin height after the first set arms and back are just fried. L-HSPUs were awesome again, this time I got a mega triceps pump as well as shoulder pump. Bridge work was really good, almost got my pulls to the bench, I could see it with my eyes so I must have been close!! Bridge was solid today, stepped down off the box on my 3rd set and help the bridge. Was a pretty solid session but it felt like I hadn't done anything, I was finished within an hour, after the ring work the rest takes no time at all. Hit failure on the last reps of everything but still feels like nothing. Glutes and hams were sore after bridging last week I wonder if they will be tomorrow! They always tend to be. Tomorrow, lower 1 featuring 10 sets of squats and 8 sets of deadlifts, goodbye legs
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    Just a couple of points here: When you are working with very strong - and therefore very clear - physical phenomena like the tension you are speaking of, it is important to check the energy behind your awareing. When you attend to an object, you are directing awareness to something; you are putting energy into making some particular phenomenal event the centre of your awareness rather than another phenomenal event. If you use too much energy to direct your awareness, if you push your awareness onto the phenomenal event, you can actually stir up the tension and make the sensations stronger and even more dominant. So be gentle in your awareing. It's like you keep your distance from the tension; watch it from afar without stirring it up. You are practising awareness-of-tension; don't get lost in the tension and forget the awareness. Secondly, when you aware phenomena such as tension, yes they will move. This is natural. You are seeing the impermanence of the phenomena. Is this vipassanā rather than samatha? Both "vipassanā" and "samatha" are concepts. Your job as a practitioner is to clarify the raw data of the experience, not to describe the experience with a particular set of concepts. Don't start with the concept (e.g., "I am doing samatha") and project it on to the data (e.g., "Is this samatha? Should this be happening when I practise samatha?") Instead, start with the data (e.g. "Oh! It's moving! That's interesting.") and from there analyse what is happening (e.g., "Maybe this is what a vipassanā relationship looks like").
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    2/10 Fri. Heavy LB. Bouncing, burpees, squat/hip mobilization, dislocates, light wrist stretches and handstand work, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with DF) 3x30s@+0.75kg. Dragon Flags (straight arms): (Paired with RTO Support) 3x5@+0.75kg. Adding the weight at the very end of the lever makes even an extra 0.25kg substantial enough to really feel it. Stuck with 3x5, but definitely tougher than before so will stay here until a bit easier. Snatch Grip Deadlifts: 3x3@105kg. Romanian Deadlifts: 3x3@105kg. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 3x20s, 1.25kg Curls 3x30 Finally got to use my new weights Of course the first thing I wanted to do is throw it all on and try deadlifting all of it, but I restrained myself I did load up one side to see how much the bar would hold, though. Looks like I'll be able to fit 127.5kg. I decided I would try adding 5kg each week and stay at 3x3, so assuming I can keep up the new weights should last me a month or so. I may hold the weight steady a few sessions and keep the effort comfortable, though. Will be on the lookout for more plates in the meantime. As for 105kg, I could definitely tell it was heavier but it wasn't bad. Feels nice being able to progress the weight, though! Threw in some light, high-rep curls to get some extra blood flowing to the biceps just for good measure after shocking them a bit yesterday Bridges feel really good after deadlifts. I wondered how that would work out the first time I tried them on deadlift day, but they feel better than on any other day. Think I'm about ready to push the holds up a bit next week. Will go for 25s holds and see how that feels.
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    looking forward to this log! **RIP ARC**
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    Did the MMA class last week. Was a well run class and had a lot of fun. It's also a lot of stuff that I've done before which is not a bad thing but not quite what I'm looking for. Lots of kicking and punching in combos with some good tips that I hadn't come across before. Really though, I am more interested in BJJ for my own training. I like the idea of being able to train BJJ and Hapkido alongside each other and think there's a great synergy between the two if trained properly. I was due to try the BJJ class the next night but didn't end up making it. My wife came off her bike going about 40km/h on the morning I did the MMA class. There was a large rock (melon sized) that she didn't see and ended up riding straight into it. She was super lucky and didn't hit her head or upper body but her knees and left hip was pretty banged up. Her bike came off okay but could be pretty exxy to repair. Obviously the main thing is that she is okay. She's pissed at the injuries but glad they weren't any worse. So last week kind of ended up being my deload anyway. Not the way I wanted it to and certainly not enough activity for my liking but what can you do. Back into it this week.
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    7. Gives you the best shoulder pump ever. I got to do this a few months ago and it instantly became one of my favourite pressing movements, plus overhead pressing FTW always and forever haha. Had a little trouble to start with but after awhile my shoulders felt better than ever. But behind the neck pressing is bad for your shoulders so you should never do it!!
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    Today was a high gravity day Might have something to do with training my maximum stomach capacity at a buffet yesterday... 2/2 Thu. Heavy UB session. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, handstands, and dislocates, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MWS) 3x25s. Manna Wall Slides: (Paired with RTO Support) 3x5 with extension stretch between sets. OAC (pulley assist): Decided to start with 3.75kg assist after my experience last session. Right arm tougher than I would have liked, but this worked for my sets of 2. Initially planned 3x2 and then another 2x2 after dropping the assist to 2.5kg, but I could tell that wasn't going to happen. Did 4x2 with the 3.75kg and then attempted 2.5kg on the right arm, but no go, so I moved back to 3.75kg and managed to squeeze out my final set for a total of 5x2. HSPU (elevated against wall): Managed somehow to add that extra final rep for 5x3. Felt like I was moving in slow motion Front Lever Rows: Adv. tuck. 4x4 (12X0). Reps not changing yet, but hold feels like it's improving each time. Planche Push Ups (parallettes): Tuck @ 2x4, 2x3 (10X2). Not sure if it was the HSPU grinder rep, but these felt a lot tougher today. Dropped to 3 reps after set 2 because form was starting to suffer. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Elevated Bridge 3x20s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression 5x10s, Straddle Compression 5x10 I'm always really excited about this session since it's my favorite, but I had a feeling it wouldn't be great today going into it. I felt like I was in low-energy mode this morning for some reason. I track HRV and it said I should limit intensity today... maybe I should have listened But I got it done, so I'm happy with that. I haven't really been in the mood to do much stretching before bed lately, so maybe I'm starting to push a bit too far sympathetic. Interestingly, my one-arm hang holds also tanked a bit over the last day or two. Might be time for some high-intensity rest-and-relaxation
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    Played ball last night. We won but more importantly I felt great and bouncy going into the game. A few light pre-game dunks off 1 foot help that too. Tried a couple of 2 but just couldn't grip the ball well enough to land it. Funny how the body was feeling so average earlier in the week and this happens. Pulled up really well from the game. I was going to deload next week but given I have only lifted once this week I'll get another upper session in and maybe call this week the deload. Will see how the body feels on Sunday and call it from there. Super excited as I'm trying out my first MMA class tonight and then BJJ tomorrow night at the same school. I've done plenty of martial arts so not too intimidated but will still be interesting going to a new school. The MMA is called Tactical MMA and is more MMA style training with a focus on self defense as well. Can't wait.
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    Went to the park because I was bored and did some hangs and rail balancing on this circular play-equipment that spins as you walk on it. The most fun part was trying to balance like how you'd stick a precision in parkour (feet/body perpendicular to rail rather than parallel, standing on the balls of your feet). Since parkour has been mostly out of the question for me right now it was nice to finally do something that incorporates it a little. I was barefoot the whole time and, interestingly, the balls of my feet were a little sore towards the end. I wonder if this means my feet aren't as tough due to a lack of precisions/training since the surgery or perhaps this always occurred and I never noticed since I mostly train with shoes (though I have done quite a lot of barefoot rail work in the past and never recall this happening). There's also the daily bounces I'd normally be doing but haven't since the surgery so that could be another reason why they were sore.
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    Florian, I have kids and the motivation to improve becomes, to role-model and BE: change, persistence, resilience, rest, recovery, fun, play, calm, awesome etc etc. Very few parents are doing this, they try of course & actually a lot do it well, so I am not criticising really - as the world is genuinely perfect the way it is. It is what it is. My perspective on children is that everyone is ultimately still a 'child', so with or without biological children - you can't help but be surrounded by them whether they are young or old. Hence we love. They need to see quality and people who are not stuck. That's inspiration, teaching... whatever you want to call it. You need to take care of yourself, this then allows you to take much higher levels care of others: this is not an either or situation. Quality care for self = others. So priorities/values may change when you have kids, however you can't get too attached to, for instance 'acrobatics', what happens if you break both arms? We are young, we invest/obsess/master/regress in the actiivities of awesomeness, we also develop the ability to move on. Train something well and then un-train it calmly & happily is a pretty good exercise. Re work covering your needs, ok. However, I think your money ideas are not useful in a lot of respects (well a few posts ago, but all is changing it seems). Money is just another idea, it can be a better idea to just throw out the non-useful ideas that are swarming around "money". Your work is worth rewarding, I am sure of it. When you do it well as a teacher and/or aiming for mastery as per your choices. To practice now, I have my work to do as a student first and foremost. I was thinking also about the birds flying about... collecting their seeds, tending the nests & calling out. Yet, the world has a lot of money problems that we don't like? Often there there are other things to think about and do. I like Kit mentioning Investment. A solid idea.
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    1/31 Tue. Light LB. Bouncing, burpees, hip/TFL mobilization, dislocates, light wrist stretches and handstands, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with Wipers) +0.5kg 3x25s. Added ankle weights to the wipers and left them on for support holds. Windshield Wipers: (Paired with RTO Support) +0.5kg 3x5. Decided to add ankle weights. Wasn't sure if dropping to 5 reps would be too drastic with only 0.5kg, but my abs definitely felt the difference even at only 5 reps! Will go 3x6 next session. Glute Ham: (Bend->extend with assistance from hands during extension) 3x5. Weights tree tipping again, but I figured out how to position some of the weights more directly over my feet, which gave me better leverage. These seem to be progressing pretty quickly, despite being unable to really measure. Pistol Squats: Stuck with +30kg@3x3 but switched to normal form and ordering, i.e. full(ish) depth and unilateral sets. Still being careful and paying close attention to make sure the back is completely healed. Tough, but will go for 3x4 next session. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 3x20s Overall good session. Felt like improvement all around. One-arm hangs leveled up again, as well. I'm not really pushing for extra time, but am increasing when my body tells me it's comfortable. On Sunday, I didn't feel the need to stop at 30s and went to 45s instead. 45s seems to be consistently fairly comfortable, so I have continued with that for the past couple of days.
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    The modern schedule is why you need such an investment... Instead of discussing generalities, please mention how many hours a day you work, and travel. Do you have a lunch break? How many times a week do you need to go out at night (assuming this is part of the necessary social life you mentioned)? All my life I have maintained myself in excellent condition by stretching whenever I feel like (I was doing Cossacks and Skandasanas in the car park the other day, waiting for Liv; and chin-ups in another car park another day). I do not have a schedule for the strength training or the balance play: I just do it as the situation to play arises. Unless you are following a men's gymnastic strength training protocol, no one needs to do any more than two (or three) hours of resistance-type exercise a week, and this can be broken down any way you like: ten minutes here and 1.5 hours there. Stretching can be done anywhere, and in any duration blocks you can manage. This is why I asked if you had a lunch break. When I was an athlete, working 65 hours a week on film sets, I ran in the morning, and a short session at lunch time, and long runs on the weekend. In winter, I was running 100 miles a week, while working more hours than most people do. Florian nailed it when he said "I can only speak for myself. I think, in some way, its a question of priority". I would delete the "in some way". What do you want?
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    1/30 Mon. Light UB. Bouncing, burpees, Yuri sequences, dislocates, and handstands, followed by: RTO Support: (Paired with MSH) 3x25s. Middle Split Holds: (Bent Leg/Parallettes) (Paired with RTO Support) 3x10s. FL Rows: (Paired with RTO PPPU) (Bar-Pike) 3x5 (12X0). RTO PPPU: (Paired with FL Rows) 3x5 (10X2). Bar Pull Ups: (Paired with HeSPU) +15kg 3x6. Much better than last time, but still not enough to consider solid. HeSPU: (Paired with PU) 2x5 1x6. Managed to get an extra rep on the last set this time. Think I will increase these and weighted pull ups to 4 sets since both are exercises that seem to respond better to more sets for me. Prehab/Misc.: German Hang 3x45s, Feet-Elevated Bridge 3x20s, Cuban Rotations +10kg 3x10, Pike Compression 5x10s, Straddle Compression 5x10s Looks like pretty much the exact same session as last time on paper, but it was completely different. Everything felt much more solid, with improvements in either form, reps, or continuity of reps, etc. Even reduced the rest a bit between the first pair (rows/pppu) since I was feeling good. So overall happy despite very little increase in numbers Also, regarding last week's OAC performance... it occurred to me during my weigh-in on Saturday that there was only a difference of just over 1kg and my weight easily fluctuates 1kg or more from day to day. I only weigh myself once per week now, but I weighed myself daily for years and I've seen fluctuations of up to 5-6kg from one day to the next Obviously that's not the norm, but it reminded me that when dealing with such a small difference, it's only natural that some days will not go "as planned" Either way, hoping to progress anyways on Thursday!
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    25/01/16- 6pm Mixed netball game. Lol. Forgot how bitchy men can be. Almost worse than the girls on the other team that were threatening to punch another girls face in. #goodtimes Surprisingly good run though. Netball is so much quicker than basketball with less rest. Sweating bullets and on the go for 40 mins with minimal rest. Knees pulled up pretty shit but can't decide if it was all the lateral movement or the shoes I was wearing. Cleared up in a day so it's not too bad. 28/01/16- 4pm scap and shoulder prep OHP- bar x 10, 30 x 5, 40 x 3, 47.5 x 4, 40 x 6, 35 x 8 BB Rows (parallel) 5 x 10 @45 Chins- bw x 5, 5, 5, 5, 4 (24 reps) Ring Dips- bw x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 (12 reps) Red band tricep push downs x 40 reps BB curl (bar only) x 40 reps First time doing dips in a long, long time. Felt solid. ROM was good. Will try to add a rep each session and build towards 5 reps before adding weight. Haven't been diligent with my stretching lately though and am noticing the difference. Fixing this ASAP.
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    Fnishing up, the last 3 sessions this week are deload session but I'm feeling quite beaten up so I'm going to take rest until next week and start the next phase. Finished up with SA today. Feeling so rekt today after yesterdays efforts, legs, upper back and even my arms are sore. Day 3 - SA À1 Wrist Prep A2 Bodyline Drills B CTW HS 5x20-30s C Handstand entry attempts D1 Tuck Press to Inverted Hang (5s hold in tuck FL) 3,1,1,1,1 D2 Planche Lean Slide to Tuck 5x5 Wasn't too bad of a session, the first set of tuck press was so easy but then in set 2 I got stuck at the tuck FL on the concentric of rep 2. Set 4 I held the tuck FL for an easy 10s, set 5 I tried to hold an open tuck but didn't go that well. Seems to take all of the load off my back and put it directly into my brachialis. Planche slides were strong, the lean is slowly increasing. Wrists are a bit beaten up from the handstands and planche work so I'm hoping they heal up before next phase. Currently relaxing while enjoying a few quiet beers, life is good.
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    24/01/17 - 5pm BW- 89.9 SAS Day Shoulder & Scap prep Wrist prep & bodyline drills (expanded bodyline to around 5mins total) Circuit 1- x 4 CTW handstand x 20s False grip hang x 10s Circuit 2- x 4 Tuck FL x 5s Planche lean x 5-10s Hanging knee raise- 2x8 Ring push up support- x 30s x 2 25/01/17- 12.30pm BW- 89.9 quick warm up & stretch Hang power clean- bar x 5, 40 x 3, 50 x 3, 60 x 3 Squat- 60 x 5, 80 x 5, 100 x 3, belted- 120 x 1 Deadlift- 60 x 5, 80 x 5, 100 x 3, 120 x 1, 130 x 1, 140 x 1 Two pretty good days of training. Still kind of have no idea if I'm doing the SAS thing right but my body is liking this combination. I'm visibly bigger around the chest, shoulder and upper back and leaner around the mid section. Squats felt quick and easy. 120 probably didn't require a belt but I'll still use it for top sets. The 120 was quick though. Deadlifts weren't too bad. 140 was a slow one but I haven't deadlifted much lately so it's no wonder. Need to get back to that comfortable 160-170 range and take it forward from there. Skipping ball this week but have agreed to fill in for my brother in law's mixed netball team so this should be interesting. Expecting to hear plenty of "obstruction GS" tonight lol
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    I have written two or three substantial articles on what to put into the body; all have stood the test of time and have weathered the storms of public (and scientific) opinion moving between high-cab, low-fat, high protein, high fat, and no carb diets. Most people don't realise, for example, that a full-on ketogenic diet (no carbs) is still the recommendation for children and teenagers with epilepsy—there are no "essential carbohydrates". Food for thought, right there. No one really talks about movement and nutrition together, or the effects on the one on the other, but clearly there is a relationship. And the articles (and one book chapter) I have written presuppose the movement/exercise requirement for effective nutrition (what you do changes what your body takes from what you eat/drink). All this is obvious. But Emmet's point can be reframed in a more general rule: what we occupy our minds with has the greatest effect on what we become (another way of looking at the trajectory of 'health'), and more than what we eat, I feel. What we are talking about here in the largest sense is our consumption patterns. There is no doubt for me that news (print or television) and pop culture is a toxic influence. In the current spirit of "full disclosure" (in 'scare quotes', because an impossibility), I subscribe to the Monthly, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones, and also read these things called books. I do not read via a phone or tablet. I do read some books on Kindle for the Mac, on a 15" high resolution screen; I draw the line there, visual–quality-wise. I always read the Harper's Bazaar digest (one-page on-line recap of the week's insanity; footnoted and occasionally very funny). Re. Rolling Stone: I skim the pics in the first section, scan the articles re. musicians, and read the one or two longer articles (and the movie reviews). Skimming most of RS is as close to pop culture that I want to be.