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zenwoof

Keep Calm and Make All Kinds of Gains

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Do you have bands? Once you know the sensation you're looking for with the pec minor stretch, I've found that I can get a pretty good stretch through that whole area using bands. It's a nice gradual release. Also, rolling up and down across the pec minor - especially right up into the corner near the armpit - has given me a really nice release that I couldn't get with the stretches.

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@Nathan: I've been doing Starrett's banded shoulder/bicep/neck/chest stretch for years (as well as all the others), if that's what you are referring to. They were good, but to get a good stretch I had to create so much tension in the band to the point of needing to expend a lot of energy just maintaining the position... with ST I can just relax and get an even stronger stretch :) as for pec minor SMR, I will give that a shot with the LAX ball, I occasionally roll around the chest & 'titty twister' myself with the supernove lol tack that sucker down on the skin, twist the ball, and go to work

 

Tuesday

-20 min Wai Gong 7-8

-20 min nei dan

-20 min shen gong

-foam roll

-joint mobility

 

saw chiro again - said I should start voodoo flossing again... fun

 

also, I remember the exact moment practicing yin yang palms (#8) when it went from Wai Gong to Nei Gong, when the technique became automatic, all of a sudden I felt muscles across the back get activated. as soon as I stopped a few minutes later, I immediately felt fatigue across my entire back... now I actually can kinda relate to the other logs when I see people like Simon saying "The basics hands set is really excellent. Crazy action through the lats and shoulder girdle, intercostals and abdominal walls, erector spinae, hips and adductors, spiralling down through the backs of the knees and peroneals into the feet."... no I don't feel spirals yet but I understand how this training activates the body, bringing new sensations

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Hey zen, wasn't familiar with the Starrett video, but that is indeed what I meant by band. As for the stretch, if you position it right it shouldn't require much tension from you - the band should be doing the pulling. (It does require some tension in the core to keep yourself upright.) For me, it mimics the ST partner stretch with a stick, although not nearly as strong. But you are right in that you cannot just "let go" and relax with the band!

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Wednesday

- 20 min wai/nei gong 7-8
- 20 min nei dan
- 20 min shen gong
- clams
- skater squat
- SMR glutes

PT cupped my IT band, or as she says the west calls it, ‘myofascial decompression’… first time i’ve had it done, looking forward to seeing what the bruises end up looking like lol

the part of Kit’s wrist/forearm sequence where the back of the palm is against the floor and you squeeze fingers to make a fist… first starting this I couldn’t close my fingers that much; now I can fully squeeze and make a tight fist…  this is one exercise I didn't see in ryan hursts wrist YT video but it has been money for me

to-do: SMR & stretch psoas, gute, ITB

gonna close it out with Dead Prez mother*****rs:

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the part of Kit’s wrist/forearm sequence where the back of the palm is against the floor and you squeeze fingers to make a fist… first starting this I couldn’t close my fingers that much; now I can fully squeeze and make a tight fist…  this is one exercise I didn't see in ryan hursts wrist YT video but it has been money for me

 

Yeah, this is in Yuri's sequence too. It's done in various positions, and there is also a stretch that works the same. Yuri's hand and wrist sequence is great - definitely recommend grabbing it. I've only been doing it for a couple weeks now, but this is getting better. I found that my pointer finger side is much, much tighter than the other side. I've been focusing on really bringing the pointer finger in first when I do the infamous novel wrist movements as well and it definitely changes the difficulty for me.

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Thursday

- 20 min wai/nei gong 7-8
- 20 min nei dan
- 20 min shen gong

- PT stuff, cut short due to nerve problems (left foot went numb)

 

left shoulder really not letting me get past wai gong on #7... i dont know what the blockages are, but left shoulder has stiffness. stopped to do the pec stretch w/ fascial and that helped make #7 a little smoother

 

Friday

-no daxuan

-PT stuff, SMR

 

I will log whole workouts as much as possible, but really the only variables I work to keep track of is da xuan...

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Sunday
Fidel & I went to a seminar led by a few Master Daoists of a Korean lineage,  among them a Shaman… the other Master could hold (their variation) of horse stance for an hour, while he didn’t prove it, I have no doubt about it, his form is perfect…. Fidel explains it much better in his log, but one of the Qi Gong exercises, where you bounce on the balls of your feet and flick your fingers, has produced super intense DOMS in the calves. I’ve been stretching them like crazy and SMR still sore. I think I may finally understand now what Kit means when he does 'bounces'. Still have no clue what Dave means by ‘alchemical calf raises’ lol

 

Also, was taught Om mani padme hum meditation at the seminar, which I enjoyed; he said when doing it to basically direct awareness to feeling the resonance on the center forehead above the eyes (where the third eye chakra would be)... this stood out to me because the binaural beat meditations I've been doing prior to this have allowed me to experience strong vibrations in this precise area, but it's nice to know another technique that can be used to heighten sensations in that area as well.

Monday
PT
20 min wai/nei gong 7, 8 (trying to do #8 yin-yang palms in 3 diff variations - moving waist only, hip only, then both - not 100% I’m doing it right, but I try)
20 min nei dan
20 min shen gong
knee CARs

Tuesday
SMR - glutes, ITB, quad, calves
ST - calves, figure 4
psoas stretch

20 min wai/nei gong 7,8

20 min nei dan
20 min shen gong

 

fuuuck my calves are sore from that Qi Gong exercise. stretching them like crazy and SMR is barely doing anything - I think time is the only thing that will recover. producing this much soreness must mean the exercise is valuable, but reluctant to add it into the mix if it will ultimately make my calves even tighter (and always sore)

TODO:

- still need to learn to SMR psoas.

- novel hand/wrist movements video Nathan posted (I skimmed through a few seconds and immediately resonated, I find myself doing random movements like that in order to explore new sensations gained by daily wrist conditioning/stretching) + check out Yuri's video

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When I was doing the H2T challenge, I spent about 30 mins every night doing this:

 

 

You don't have to spend that long, but I just worked them out really well while watching videos on YouTube, etc. DOMS in the calves wasn't really a problem, but it does wonders for loosening them up. Might give it a try.

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@Fidel: cool! was not aware, but looks good

 

@Nathan: thanks, totally forgot about that! used to do it way back (it's part of Master the Squat)... def throwing it in the mix again

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Returned from a week-long vacation; while I didn't get my PT in, I've been a good Da Xuan student wai/nei/shen gonging and nei danning.

 

Overall, the knee is feeling much better; it does not ache nearly as much as it used to. I wrote this about 2 months ago:


I remember that once upon a time, I used the black (most dense) rumble roller on my IT band, as I was able to roll through the entire illiotibial band slowly with the normal cylindrical black foam roller and not encounter a single trigger point. now, I can spend 10 minutes each leg just on the IT band with the foam roller - I definitely have regressed, but good to know theres progress to be made

 

Not only has progress been made - now, even with full body weight on the ITB, I cannot find any trigger points with the black foam roller, and have advanced to using the grid (after which I’ll bring out the rumble roller and big PVC pipe) - but it has been made quickly with seemingly little effort on my part: I have my PT to thank for that; I believe the few graston technique sessions on my left ITB were surprisingly effective.

 

Having equal tenderness (or the lack thereof) in left and right ITB when rolling may not be the only indicator of tension: there's one movement screen my PT continually uses to expose asymmetry, showing how much tighter my left ITB is than my right ITB.

 

I will comment I’ve been meditating more often & for longer durations, and still experimenting with different binaural beats. More intense beats have brought out strong vibrations in the throat chakra area. I think continued meditation practice is creating stronger awareness of subtle vibrations in these areas outside of the meditation practice itself.

 

Also, having been working on basic hands #7 (tea cups) & #8 (yin yang palms) for two weeks, just as I was thinking how I'm ready to learn and practice #9, I re-watched the videos and noticed new subtleties in the technique; very minor re-adjustments in position seem to have made these two movements completely novel again!

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Keep looking for those subtleties! These first basic hands are like the gift that keeps on giving. There's a reason they are there as the foundation, I'm still pulling all of the gold out of them :)

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For my first update in months:

I started wearing ultra-minimalist barefoot shoes 1.5 months ago (a few weeks with toe spacers to stretch toes out).

Decided to wear my pair of converse 'just for kicks' the other day... was waiting ALL day to throw those fucking rubber bricks off!

Never going back (me @ old shoes: CEs7GthRagTss.gif)

-------

First off SPECIAL thanks to Chris at postcompetitiveinsight.com - she's been an awesome help and her instagram is loaded with things to keep me busy for quite some time

As for training:

  • still doing glute activation and glute (medius) strengthening and integration stuff (clam variations, lunge to high knee, etc.)
    • chondromalacia/patellofemoral pain maybe 80% healed now
  • a lot of core stability work (planks, side planks, dead bug variations)
    • lately side planks on my right side seem to cause numbness in hand/forearm so I've stopped!
  • focusing on GH internal/external rotation (been basically doing this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BCEASc-r8QA/ but gradually working towards arms overhead on the floor, and doing it seated too with arms abducted out to the side)
    • brain maps and motor control definitely improved! and continue to improve. I've only gone 15 degrees up from horizontal abduction on the floor, and I still have to rotate rather slowly (definitely not as fast as the video)
    • focusing on having ANY movement requiring GH IR/ER for the IR/ER to be *initiated* from the shoulder... really feeling the humeral head screw into the socket tightly
    • left shoulder has more difficult time with IR
  • been doing standing hip CARs with knees bent 90º... feels like the left hip impingement is becoming less prominent
    • lumbar spine really wants to extend when it comes time to go from IR-->ER or vice versa... try really hard to keep a neutral spine
  • been doing standing shoulder CARs... the left shoulder seems to be getting a bit more ROM in the supine shoulder flexion test
  • spine stuff
    • try to wrap up every workout with Craig's Spinal Qigong exercise (so good!!!)
    • do the cat stretch on a regular basis now

a big impediment for me is not really being able to do anything from a quadruped position because of really tight wrist/forearms (from my bodybuilding days, on top of all the tension from daily work on the computer), inability to fully lock out the left elbow, and shoulders that don't have the muscular endurance to support it

  • for (left) wrists/forearm issue:
    • SMR: I'll use a gemini (http://www.roguefitness.com/mobilitywod-gemini) all along the ulna and then a LAX ball on the forearm (mainly on the bottom flexors, near the elbow)
    • Movement: then do wrist CARs and novel movements (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hlWgH3_0NU)
    • Stretches: I can't really do any cuz the shoulders, and standing stretches I don't feel any stretch on... I own yuri's hand/wrist sequence (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/37606) but can't do any of those stretches for long enough to get any benefit out of them before my shoulder *burns* up and fatigues out
    • but the SMR+movement has made a BIG difference
  • (left) elbow extension issue:
    • internal martial art stuff is helping (to soften the structure as a whole)
    • SMR of forearms helps
    • every so often doing floor 'pec stretch with fascial dimension' Kit recommended (focus on stretching brachialis and co.)
    • just started doing these elbow CARs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv2JnlqZAXY
    • this probably is tied to the left shoulder impingement
  • shoulder burning issue:
    • I do what SMR I can on it and stretch it already (pec stretch, subscap 'eagle' pose stretch, and ext rot w/ stick stretch from Master Shoulder Flexibility)
    • I'm assuming I need to do some scapula work and work more on thoracic extension... but first I need to fix my wrist and elbows so I can actually do the closed-chain quadruped scapula exercises (which are probably what I really need)
    • so I'm doing this right now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WorBNmWbp3A
      • this except from all angles, not just arms parallel to the floor with back perpendicular to the floor, but varying angles of the arm and back (e.g. bent-over)
      • also with holding a PVC pipe

Oh, various IMA shit Wai Gong included (I just cultivated awareness of the 'crotch arch' - fun!) - and perhaps most importantly DAILY MEDITATION PRACTICE (SHEN GONG --> NEI GONG --> NEI DAN)... plus some other auspicious meditation practices that don't fit into those categories (binaural beats... +dreams,clock, candle, shapes etc.etc. for those aware)... Maintaining alignment between heaven & earth all damn day... Feeling how the fascial lines of the body (esp. dan tien & ming men areas) adjust to each breath in and breath out...

My highest goals would to get to the point where I can actually sit in proper meditation posture on the floor w/ cushion for shen gong and nei dan as opposed to on a desk chair (it's my knee holding me back here)... and so during nei gong I'm not distracted by the 'kinks' of my left shoulder

another thing... I did a 'fluid body dive' for the first time in over a month yesterday, out of nowhere I was just able to tap into it, and it was incredibly nourishing for my body... feel like it really 'defragged' my body and smoothed out all the patterned movement I've been drilling

TODO: try ROLFing (Structural Integration specifically)

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Heya zen if you're needing some more input re the patellofemoral joint pain (PFJ) I can hopefully help! I havent read through all your posts. Just noted that it's obviously been a major problem for you. I'm actually doing a systematic review on the best exercises for it at the moment so everything is quite fresh.

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@Ciaran: cool yeah if you have a list I'd love to see what has worked for you! and then we can compare and see what has worked for me as well. we seem to be in the same boat with the knee pain and hip impingement :lol:

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Started doing reverse breathing nei gong a week ago, as well as the push/pull drill. Fidel & I tried partner variation, and since then I've been added the push/pull exercise to my nei gong practice

Three rolfing sessions in, and remarkable change in the side & front lines. The rolfing plus the addition of reverse breathing quality to nei gong (+ split stance nei gong) has proved to be an alchemical nuclear bomb

At the same time started adding reverse breathing to nei dan hands on belly

glenohumeral external & internal rotations continue to help intrinsic activation of shoulder

Crazy gains, all over. Too many to list. chi gains, more connection with the subtle

delicious gains

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Subtle gains are the best gains. I just completed a challenge I set myself to do a year of uninterrupted nei dan w/ reverse breathing. I only missed one day. You should do the same challenge :)

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I think I was all pumped on nei dan after reading damo Mitchell's book ha-ha!

 

I do shen gong and nei gong every day also since about November, although I've missed one or two days of that. I'm not counting though, the daily training habit is well and truly set in my system (typically 30 mins nei dan, 45 - 75 nei gong, 45 shen gong)

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Since Craig ^^^ said the challenge, I've been 38 days straight of nei gong, shen gong, nei dan.... 90% of the time for 30 minutes each, but sometimes I've had to do as little as a few minutes each just to keep the streak going.

Completed 7th structural integration session which finally put my head back on top of my body! rolfing isn't your typical bodywork, people... to give you an idea, he brought out the latex gloves and did some fascial repatterning work INSIDE the mouth and nose. boom. less tension in the face? carryover to yoga of daily life? ding ding

stretches have taken on a completely different dimension...

continual massive changes...convinced the rolfing, and then doing nei gong + nei dan after to fully explore the 'new' alignment/structure (while in the 'rolf line') is playing the biggest role...

call it whatever you want, but tapping into the 'fluid body' and experiencing the amoeba-like motion has all of a sudden hit a massive all time high (more connection with the intrinsic = allowing more of the intrinsic to inform the movement... suprise!)... what was subtle movement in fingers and toes has become much more pronounced and spread to more of the body and also in more expressed ways... to allow it to move you, you have to basically relax into the energy flow of the body and where does it go? how is the energy expressing itself? as amoeba like motion. convinced this life force or energy is the same thing as chi...

anyways, now that the motion expresses itself more in the upper body, I can literally just stand, tap into it, let this 'myofascial unwinding' take place, and after just a minute so much tension is released... kinda looks like this: https://youtu.be/eT9tNMBCqR8?t=15s but not quite haha cass (who I learned it from) said for everyone it's different :)

another example of a change in the 'subtle' (there are many)... directing awareness to parts of the body (especially the hands, belly, or feet) at will and all of a sudden being able to feel how cool the surrounding air is

 

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@AndeL: It's to the fascia what steroids are to the muscles. Do keep in mind, however, that the body I bring is one patterned by weightlifting as the dominant physical activity most of my life, with very little stretching, mobility, or movement work.

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