Thursday, April 30, 2009

2009/04/30 - Day 19: Moderate day

Today's session consisted of a nice mix of strength work, Flowfit and Tai Ji. The session looked like this:

Static holds:

Crow: 10 x 6 seconds

L-Sit: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic body weight work:

Ring push ups: 3 x 3

Ring Rows: 3 x 3

V-Up holds: 3 x 10 seconds

Flowfit level 1: 1 x 13 minute round

Tai Ji form practice

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, in fact, I would even say I had fun. Us masochists do however have a strange idea of what fun actually is. I felt a lot stronger in the static holds and body weight work. I am getting close to straightening my arms in the Crow and I am now able to keep my hips pushed forward in front of my hands with the L-Sit. I was also able to lower the rings to just a few centimeters above the floor for my push up work. One thing to keep in mind though is that Coach Sommer considers these early gains as mainly due to neurlogical adaptation to the exercises. Real strength that can carry over to other activities apparently takes significantly longer to develop. The Tai Ji is also improving but I have a long way to go to regain the fluidity I used to feel in the form. Luckily I do know that Tai Ji really is a life-long adventure. More fun stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009/04/29 - Day 18: Low intensity

Some more outside training today. I did:

Intuflow intermediate

Cricket Flow x 4

First section of Spider Monkey x 4

Back bend wall walks x 3

Some Tai Ji forms practice (Yang Lu Chan form)

Tomorrow it's back to the strength work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009/04/28 - Day 17: Intuflow and an old friendship rekindled

After my Intfuflow session today I felt like moving a bit more, but in a relaxed fashion. I went to and downloaded Erle Montaigue's excellent free ebooks on the so called "old style" of Tai Ji as developed by Yang Lu Chan. I used to practice this style (as well as the less martially oriented Yang Cheng Fu form) extensively a few years ago. It was great to rediscover this trustworthy old friend on the lawn outside. The movements felt a bit rusty but after playing around a bit with the first section of the form I felt great. Tai Ji really is a perfect compliment to the strength oriented training I've been doing lately. Who knows, it might just become part of my daily schedule again like it used to be.

Monday, April 27, 2009

2009/04/27 - 16: High intensity

I did some more body weight strength work and Flowfit today. I am really liking the exercises from the Gymnastic Body book but they are REALLY hard. This is what I did:

Static holds:

Tuck front lever: 10 x 6 seconds

Ring support: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength work:

Pull ups: 3 x 3

Ring Roccas: 3 x 3

Ring Jack-knives: 3 x 5

Jump Squats: 3 x 5

Flowfit level 1: 1 x 12 minutes round

Out of all the exercises it is the front lever that needs by far the most work. I just cannot get my body horizontal yet. I'm not sure why this is the case but I think the most likely suspect is that I don't have sufficient core strength yet. Like I said yesterday - success with these methods are measured in years, not weeks. Now I just need to remain patient.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009/04/26 - Day 15: Moderate day

I just finished a very enjoyable session which consisted of a mixture of basic gymnastics strength work (for ABSOLUTE beginners) and some Flowfit. The session looked like this:

Static holds:

Crow: 10 x 6 seconds

L-Sit: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength work:

Ring push ups: 3 x 3

Ring rows: 3 x 3

V-Ups (tuck) 3 x 10

Flowfit level 1: 1 x 11 minute round

I'm beginning to understand why Coach Sommer is an advocate of steady state cycles lasting 12 weeks or longer. He makes it very clear in his book that gymnastic strength is built slowly over long time periods. With this type of training I'm beginning to think in terms of months (and even years) rather than weeks. Although I have made some gains since the beginning of the cycle this work feels like something that should be chipped away at day after day and month after month to see real results. My most notable gains thus far have been with the ring push ups and crow posture. The rings were much closer to the floor today than the first time I did this. In the crow posture I'm beginning to feel as if I can almost lift my legs away from the arm support which means that a full planche will be on the cards before my 50th birthday (which is only 11 years away).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009/04/25 - Day 14: Low intensity

I trained outside on the lawn again today. I guess I'm trying to catch the last bit of warmth before winter really sets in. I did the following:

Full Intuflow intermediate sequence

4 rounds of the Cricket flow

2 rounds of the first part of Spider monkey

It was a great session except for the fact that I'm itching now because of rolling around on the grass.

Friday, April 24, 2009

2009/04/24 - Day 13: Fast Intuflow

I just did a short and fast Intuflow session today. I normally train inside but today I decided to train outside on the lawn. I really must do this more. It felt good to stand outside and watch the sun going down while training. For some reason I did all the movements very fast today and this generated a great sense of flow and relaxation. Quite nice!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2009/04/23 - Day 12: High intensity

After my cold I was finally feeling up to a slightly more intense session today. Now that I'm writing this it doesn't seem like much but Flowfit really kicks my butt every time. Anyway, this is what I did:

Static holds:

Front lever tuck: 10 x 6 seconds

Ring support: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength:

Pull ups: 3 x 3

Rocca (feet on box): 3 x 3

Flowfit (level 2);

2 minutes on / 1 minute off x 5 rounds

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2009/04/22 - Day 11: Moderation

Today I just did some moderate day body-weight work and Flowfit. Here's the session:

Static holds:

Crow: 10 x 6 seconds

L-Sit: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength work:

Ring push ups: 3 x 3

Ring rows: 3 x 3

1 x 10 minute round of Flowfit level 1

Monday, April 20, 2009

2009/04/20 - Day 10: Low intensity

Just a quick session today.

Intuflow intermediate level

4 rounds of the Cricket Flow

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So much to do, so little time

I am confused. Very confused. I started this blog because of my love for kettlebells. Initially kettlebells meant Pavel. Then it meant Girevoy Sport. Where I am now kettlebells somehow seem to have become a toy in a very big playpen. I have recently discovered that my main focus when it comes to fitness is the ability to move my body through as many ranges of freedom as I could possibly think of. The problem is that I feel that I am dropping the kettlebell crowd if I don't use the bells as much as I used to. At the same time it feels as if I am dropping myself if I rigidly stick to a protocol that is essentially linear in nature. I have always been a bit of a maverick when it comes to living life and now, finally, this personality quirk is beginning to express itself in my training as well. Ideally my training will allow me to develop the ability to move freely while using tools or while simply moving my body in space. I am also starting to wonder about the HUGE fight between the Hard Style and GS (soft style) exponents of kettlebell training. From where I am at (at the moment) neither of these methods seem to be "right". I guess I am starting to think that my body is a laboratory that is able and willing to try out various things. Obviously if I choose to become a performer in a specific sport I will have to narrow my focus to get good at whatever sport I choose. At the moment it feels as if life is my sport - which means that I will have to develop mainly the capacity to adapt to a variety of movements and modalities. For now I guess I will just be playing with all the various approaches to fitness rather than fully committing myself to any specific school of thought.

2009/04/18 - Day 9: Not too intense

I'm still taking things fairly easy but at least I'm moving (a bit). I did the following today:

Static holds:

Front lever (tuck): 10 x 6 seconds

Ring support: 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength:

Pull ups: 3 x 3

Rocca (feet on box): 3 x 3

6 rounds of Flowfit level 2

Friday, April 17, 2009

2009/04/17 - Day 8: A pretty moderate session

I'm still taking it easy because of this nagging cold. At least I did do a bit of gymnastics body weight work today. This was the session:

Static holds:

Crow (10 x 6 seconds)

L-Sit (6 x 6 seconds)

Basic strength:

Ring push ups (3 x 3)

Ring rows (3 x 3)

5 rounds of Flowfit level 2

That's it for today. I'll hopefully do some more of this tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2009/04/16 - Day 7: At last!

I've been out of action due to a cold for the past few days. I did do Intuflow a few times but nothing more serious than that. Today I decided to do a bit of a moderate day which included:


4 rounds of Flowfit level 2

4 round of the Cricket flow

Even though this session was not intense in any way I still felt a bit breathless. Having a cold is really not much fun. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to continue my exploration of the gymnastics exercises that form the core of my current cycle.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A couple of clips of what I'm working towards

Here are some clips of some of the gymnastics exercises I'm playing with. My efforts alas look nothing like this - yet.

2009/04/09 - Day 6: High intensity

Today's session felt like pretty hard work even though it seems pretty simple on paper. I felt particularly smoked after the gymnastics oriented strength work which is why Flowfit only got 10 minutes of my time today. The session looked like this:


OAJ (16kg): 2 minutes: 12/12

Snatch (16kg): 2 minutes: 16/16

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes: 12/12

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes: 12/12

Gymnastics strength work:

Tuck front lever (my version): 10 x 6 seconds

Ring support hold: 10 x 6 seconds

Pull ups: 3 x 3

Rocca (feet on box) 3 x 3

Flowfit: 1 x 10 minute round

The objective with the tuck front lever is to eventually get into a full tuck position with the back parallel to the floor. This of course while hanging either from rings or a bar. The whole process starts from a basic hang followed by lifting the knees and hips up and forward while "leaning" the shoulders back. At this point in time my attempt looks more like a hanging knee lift but I am starting to get a bit of a lean and my hips are moving a bit higher and more to the front than on the first day I started this. The ring support was OK today and I managed to keep my body pretty upright and my toes didn't have to go down to the floor for some assistance like they did on the first day.

The pull ups are still a pain - I have always struggled with these and I'm still doing them with a bit of a jump at the start. I am however trying to make the negatives as slow as possible. For those not familiar with the Rocca the basic version looks very much like a downward facing dog posture from yoga. The difference is that you raise on your toes and then do a push up. This posture allows a push-up to become more like a military press than a bench press. The version I did paves the way towards hand stand or head stand push ups. It is performed by placing the feet on a box and then walking the hands in as close to the box a possible. The closer the hands to the box the more inverted the push up position becomes. I was pretty happy with my efforts today. Maybe I will one day master the hand stand push-up after all. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

2009/04/08 - Day 5: Moderate intensity

Today' session:

Static holds:

Crow: 10 x 6 seconds

L-Sit (legs bent): 10 x 6 seconds

Basic strength:

Ring push ups: 3 x 3

Ring Rows: 3 x 3

1 x 14 minute round of Flowfit level 1

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009/04/07 - Day 3 and 4: Prehab and compensatory work

Yesterday was just Intuflow focused. Today I worked through Intuflow intermediate level again. I also did 4 practice rounds of the first part of the Spider monkey flow and 4 full rounds of the Cricket flow. For good measure I also threw in 3 sets of back bend wall walks. These are pretty difficult but very good for enlivening the spine.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009/04/05 - Day 2: High intensity mix

Today's session was quite a mixture of methods. This is what I did:


OAJ: 16kg / 5 minutes / 12rpm

Snatch: 16kg / 3 minutes / 14rpm

Static holds:

Tuck front lever (attempt): 10 x 6 second holds

Ring support position (attempt): 10 x 6 second holds

Basic body weight work:

Pull ups: 3 x 3

Rocca: 3 x 3

Flowfit (level 1): 1 x 14 minute set

Most of the gymnastic work I did today feels really good but is also enormously difficult. With the front lever I wasn't anywhere near getting a tuck. The ring support position was also pretty ugly. My intent at the moment is to use as much tension throughout my body as possible while executing my very amateurish attempts at getting into some of the postures. Hopefully this will gradually build the required strength and body control to execute the full postures.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2009/04/04 - Day 1: Starting the new cycle

In this cycle I am introducing gymnastics body weight conditioning methods from the book "Building the gymnastic body" by coach Sommer. The goal of the cycle is to begin building what coach Sommer calls "basic strength" which is the key requirement for eventually mastering more advanced gymnastic strength skills. My session today looked like this:

Static holds:

Crow: 10 x 6 second holds

L- Sit (legs bent): 7 x 6 second holds

Basic body weight work:

3 x 3 ring push ups

3 x 3 ring rows

1 x 15 minute set of Flowfit (level 1)

The gymnastics exercises are great and I can see the potential for some serious strength gains through regular practice of these methods. Now I just need to see how my body adapts to this work before I decide how much of the gymnastics work I will include in my weekly routine.

Friday, April 3, 2009

2009/04/03 - Day 27 & 28: No and Low intensity

Yesterday I just did Intuflow beginner level. Today I did Intuflow intermediate level and a 15 minute set of Flowfit level 1. That's it for the current 4x7. Tomorrow I am starting another aspect of my investigation of body weight exercises via Coach Sommer's gymnastics body weight exercises.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2009/04/01 - Day 26: High intensity but no bells

I woke up this morning to the presence of an old "friend" - a solid spasm in my left shoulder blade near the scapula. I'm not sure what it is about but I have been getting this about once or twice a year for a few years now. I think it might be related to an original injury a few years back during too zealous a session of Ashtanga yoga. Anyway, the spasm makes some movements pretty difficult so I decided to leave the bells for today. I just did the following:

Flowfit (level 1): 1 set of 21 minutes

Flowfit at level 1 difficulty feels really good. Although working pretty hard it feels like a kind of moving meditation after a while. I'm quite curious to see how long I can go without absolutely having to stop. I definitely know that I could have gone for at least five more minutes today. Flowfit level 2 is of course a different story and even 4 minutes feel like a lot.

Today was the last high intensity day of my current cycle. My new cycle will start on Saturday with a program based on Coach Sommer's gymnastics conditioning methods on the low and moderate days and them bells on the high days for metcon; at least that is the plan at the moment.