Tag Archives: bodyweight training

The Feeling of Having My Arms Replaced with Jelly

I am going to fall.

I’m going to lose my grip and fall backwards on my ass…

That’s pretty much what I was thinking while training for pull ups this morning.  I say “training for pull ups” instead of “doing pull ups” because right now, I can’t even do a single pull up.  And I don’t recall ever being able to do one even as a kid.  Well, there was that time in 6th grade when I could jump up to a bar and pull myself up – but I’m talking about a proper pull up from a dead hang, without the help of a jump.

The problem with training for pull ups when you can’t even do a single pull up is that the solution can’t be as simple as “Just do more pull ups.”  How can I “just do more” of what I cannot do?  If I could do even just one that would be enough – I’d just work on adding one more rep every session.  That’s why I’ve been working on my upper body strength: because right now I’m relatively weak. My biggest weakness is my grip.  Part of it is my body type: I have small wrists and small hands (which is also my problem when working on my handstands), making it hard for me to maintain my grip for long.  It also doesn’t help that I am overweight by about 8 kilograms (that’s 17.64 pounds for those who measure in pounds).

Hence the thought of losing my grip and falling backwards about halfway into the set.  I’d been working on reverse row-sit backs, and still had a set each of straight arm bar pull ups and TRX bicep curls to look forward to.  This, after practicing getting in and out of a straddle press to handstand against the wall, followed by a set each of hollow body pushups and TRX tricep extensions.  Just another normal handstands-and-pull ups training day, a.k.a. upper body strength day, a.k.a. “try-not-to-fall-on-your-ass” day.

Training for pull ups really is a pain in the ass – well, more like pain in the forearms and hands actually – but it’s also rewarding.  I like the feeling of getting stronger gradually.  Sure I’m still weak, but every session I get less weak.  And even if after a couple of months or so I still am unable to do more than a single pull up, that one pull up will be more than zero!  And it will really help with my parkour and freerunning, especially once I start training wall runs and under-bars.  It will even help me keep my grip on my kali sticks during FMA practice.

So I welcome the feeling of having my arms replaced with jelly in the morning.  It’s all good training.  And look!  I can still type.  Oh yeah!


Day 2 of Going Back to Ninja Training – Err… Parkour/Freerunning and Martial Arts

I feel sore.

In places I didn’t expect, though in hindsight I should have expected.  After all, going back into tumbling after a few weeks of not tumbling is bound to make one sore in the core.  It’s just that I expected to feel it more on my abs and sides, and I’m feeling the soreness on the sides of my lower back.  Must be all those cartwheels.  Yup, definitely all those cartwheels.

After a long period of relative physical inactivity due to suffering and recovering from sinusitis (hey, remember when I said my week-long headache may have been caused by my dental issues? Yeah, turns out it was acute sinusitis.  Go figure.), traveling out of town twice – first for a wedding and then for a live audition (more on that on the next blog post), and then recovering from said travels and THEN recovering from having my wisdom tooth removed, I finally officially returned to my regular physical training routine.  It helped that yesterday was a holiday, which meant I didn’t have to worry about getting things done by 7 so I could leave for work by 8.

So before breakfast I worked on:

  1. Cartwheels – both regular (2 arms) and single-arm cartwheels for my right side, which is my stronger side; and regular cartwheels for my left side.  I intend to work up to doing single-arms on my left as well, but all in good time.  I have noticed a significant improvement on my left: I’m more stable and I travel in a straighter line than I used to.  So it’s just a matter of time.
  2. Parkour rolls – on a yoga mat over a tiled surface.  No, I’m not bragging.  Okay, maybe a little.  But only because I used to stack said yoga mat over some thin kiddie puzzle mats.  No more.  If I’m gonna train in Parkour and Freerunning, I’m gonna have to get used to rolling on hard surfaces.
  3. Jump rope intervals – this is a new one for me.  I’ve never used a jump rope as part of a regular routine before.  I patterned my intervals after the Tabata protocol – 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x 4 + 60 seconds cool down – but I rested 20 seconds instead of 10, and I didn’t go all out like you’re supposed to in Tabata.  Hey, I’m jump rope virgin!  It’s okay to take things slowly.

After breakfast I still had some time to kill before a 10:00 meeting, so after I felt reasonably settled in my stomach, I proceeded to practice the 13 basic strikes of Kali.  I would have finished it with a minute of Carenza (free play) but my son borrowed my stick and we ended up playing sword-fighting.

In the afternoon, I was still feeling okay so I decided to practice some Aikido sword movements then finished with the 24 forms of Taichichuan.  I learned the 24 forms a few years ago when I was in graduate school.  I only took a few lessons though, just enough to learn the forms.

So that’s what I did yesterday that left me feeling sore.  This morning I worked on my straddle press to handstand and freestanding handstand.  For straddle press, I worked on doing the against-the-wall progression where my head and back are supposed to press tightly against the wall as I stand in a straddle and roll up into a leaning handstand and slowly roll back down.  I still can’t quite do it – and I’m pretty sure it is more psychological than physical – so I placed two chairs behind my legs, placed one foot on each chair, then rolled from there.  After a couple of reps, I kicked up to a handstand against the wall, then worked on pulling away both feet and holding that freestanding position as long as I could.  To date, I have never gone past 4 seconds.  It’s pretty frustrating, but it is what it is.  Sometimes all you can do is just train your ass off.  It is comforting to know that even though I can’t still pull off a 10-second freestanding handstand, I can tell that I have gotten better in the past year or so.  This time last year I was still struggling to kick up to a handstand (again, it was more of a mind thing than any actual physical shortcoming).  And as I’ve mentioned earlier my cartwheels have improved, which can probably be attributed at least partially to my handstand training.

Well, there you have it.  Two days of ninja training.  The original plan was to also include pull up training this afternoon, but I ran out of time.  Oh well.  Next time.  Tomorrow is recovery day, and I’m looking forward to a massage in the evening.  Yippeee!


Welcoming my 34th Year with a Cold

It’s been a week since I turned thirty-four and I’m still not feeling a hundred percent, though I am getting closer to it. Just yesterday I managed to practice L-sits and handstands – this morning I did more handstand practice. Yeah, I’m deviating from the plan. No excuses, just a perfect storm of circumstance and me trying to do way too much as usual. I mean, writing it down allowed me to make some daily structure for me to follow, but it seems I both greatly overestimated my ability to recover and underestimated the effects of the physical training on my body, especially given my 1-year-old’s newfound penchant for suddenly crying out several times after midnight and disrupting my sleep. And of course, after coming down with a terrible cold that had me call in sick, I opted to focus on rest and recovery for a week. Oh well, at least I weigh nearly a kilo less.

Therefore, my solution is just to: simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY!

In other news, there’s this songwriting camp in November that I plan to join. It’s not as simple as signing up though. Only 60 slots are available, and I’ll be competing with Buddha-knows-how-many other songwriters from all over the country just to get in. It’s a pretty big deal, though – those who pass the final auditions get to stay in this place for about four days, learning from professional songwriters and composers about the craft and business side of songwriting. I’ll put in the link here later, if I remember.


Day 3: Rainy Day Bodyweight Conditioning

Zen: Had a short, 8-minute session today.  I wanted to make sure I had just a little more time for…

…the GUITAR *cue appropriate melodramatic proclamation-type music*.  Nothing special, just worked both on the song fragment (which I will henceforth give the working title “Walk Away”) and on two earlier songs.

Later I did the following with 60 seconds rest intervals:

Quadrupedal movements

Cartwheel-Chinese squat combo

Single-leg jumps and 180-degree jumps superset

Plyo pushups

10-second dead hang

Wall crawl to bridge push ups

Never mind that it was raining a bit.  I had to relocate to a nearby sheltered spot, but that’s all.  Damn near pulled a back muscle doing the wall crawl back up from the bridge, but that’s my fault for rushing it a bit.

And that’s all for now.  I am looking forward to a nice massage tonight.


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