Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Training notes 04/30/08

Well, I'm finally starting to feel a little worn out from my training regimen. I often complain about my entire body feeling tired and sore, but these past few days, it's been more noticeable. Not a bad sort of sore, but that sort of I ache all over and wouldn't mind soaking in a hot tub and having a massage type of sore. I think it may be time for a few days break from the strength conditioning.

I did dead lifts again yesterday and made it through 30 reps at 135 lbs (over 4 sets). Not too shabby. My form probably wasn't as clean as usual since I was already tired from doing the rings the day before. Anyhow, my back is only a little sore today, so I think I've made some posterior chain strength gains.

I've been slowly upping my ILC solo training sessions to 40-45 minutes. I think I can start getting it up to an hour, but it starts getting tough getting much beyond that since I usually have an hour long workout after my martial arts training. I spent a lot of time during yesterday's training session trying to understand the frontal plane. The frontal plane is slowly getting better for me, but can't say that I fully understand the body mechanics behind it. Generating real power in the frontal plane still eludes me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Body weight, where hast thou gone?

It figures that when I'm trying to up my body weight, I keep dropping weight. I can't say that I'm complaining with the way I look, since I am definitely getting trimmer and leaner. Once I lose a little more body fat, I'll probably have a bona fide 6-pack instead of the pseudo 4-pack I'm sporting now. On the flip side, I'd really like to pack on some more muscle mass to offset this drop in body weight. I may have to resort to buying some supplements like branched chain amino acids and whey powder if I drop much more weight. I actually don't like being this light when I have to train martial arts. It's already bad enough that everyone I train with is taller than me. The weight differential just exacerbates the size difference.

On another note, my fitness level has definitely gone up. I'm starting to jump rope for 10-15 minutes at a pretty fast clip as my pre-workout warm up. A rope workout that would have wiped me out 2-3 months ago feels like child's play now. My dips on the rings and false grip pull ups are slowly getting better, though I'm not quite where I'd hoped to be. I still can't do 10 straight ring dips or 10 straight false grip pull ups, but that may be because I always do them after jumping rope and because I've been concentrating on proper form.

My front lever feels better. I can hold the 1-leg tucked variant (knee pulled in close to body) for a solid 15s. Half-tucking my leg (knee nearly perpendicular to body) drops my static hold time to 5s. It's surprising how huge a difference that leg position makes. Same thing with the dragon flags. One leg tucked variants, I can hold for 20s when fresh, but with the full flag, my time drops to a measly 5-6s. Oh well. I need to strengthen those grinding muscles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

training habits, deadlifting

Well, I've been upping my personal training time to 30+ minutes a session, which is what I was originally shooting for like 2 months ago. Unfortunately, that personal training time doesn't happen everyday. It's a little tough to work in on certain days, particularly if I have a class/lesson to teach. But, hey, it's a start. Now if I could only revive my daily meditation goals.

I did deadlifts again yesterday. I really like them, but they sometimes bother my left wrist (the wrist that previously had tendonitis) and often make my whole back sore. But today, there was no back soreness or stiffness at all. I hope it's from my posterior chain getting stronger, but it might also be from the fact that I didn't jump rope for 20 minutes before doing the deadlifts. Anyhow, next week I may have to attempt upping the reps or weight. I've been able to get 3 sets of 10 at 135lbs pretty easily. I should be able to do significantly more than that, but I've been loathe to stress my wrist too much or make myself too sore.

Friday, April 18, 2008

4/17/08 training notes

Oof. Man, my muscle ups really suck. After being able to do them last month, I just can't do them this month. I think my pull and dip strength is good enough, but I just cannot for the life of me transition between the pull phase to the dip phase. I've started putting my feet on an elevated box to help me push through that troublesome transition point. It's no problem on the box. I'm not sure whether my grinding strength isn't good enough to get me over the rings or if my triceps just aren't strong enough at the lower end of the dip position. Anyhow, time to revisit Beast Skills to get some technique insight.

That being said, I tried full range of motion dips on the rings again. I feel weak. I used to be up in the 8-10 dip range on the rings. I'm back to 5, but maybe it's because my grip is now wider and I'm really focusing on the full range of motion. I go down far enough for my wrists to nearly touch my front shoulders/upper pecs. I can't say my form is great. My hands keep turning in rather than staying parallel. Anyhow, that'll be a definite strength exercise focus on the rings for the next several weeks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

slowing down for gains

I was a little annoyed yesterday at the gym since some fool was on the cables lollygagging. Honestly, taking 5 minute rests between sets is not necessary, and then sitting down smack in the middle of the cable machine just shows that you're too lazy to do a real workout. Anyhow, rant over.

I had intended to do weighted pull ups and dips yesterday, but the cable machine (and consequently the lower 7 foot pull up bar) was occupied and I didn't feel like jumping up to an 8-9 foot bar on the power rack with 35lbs strapped to me. So, I switched to the slow single rep pull ups and dips. I made it to 50s on the pull up and dip for the first rep. Then I got 25s for the second pull up and 22s for the second dip. That's a solid 10s improvement over my attempts 2 weeks ago. Now if only the strength gains would translate into me losing less weight...

Oh yeah, I also managed to jump rope for nearly 23 minutes straight yesterday: 17 minutes, 1 minute jog in place while twirling the rope, and then another 5 minutes. I had a plan on attempting 30 straight minutes, but I quite honestly think I would get bored of the rope by then and quite possibly get one of those post-workout exhaustion headaches.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

checking in

Well, I tried a dragon flag, and Gen clocked me at a 6 second hold. Form wasn't as pretty as it could have been, but a 6 second hold ain't half bad. I only have to hold it for 14 more seconds to reach my goal. I think I'll be shooting for 10s and improved form in the near term. If I half tuck 1 leg, I can hold it for 25s, so I guess my core strength has improved somewhat. I'm getting closer to the front lever, too. The 1-leg tucked front lever looks pretty good form-wise, and I can hold it for 15s or so (with me counting, no official Gen timer for that number). The full front lever eludes me. I can just barely get into position, but I can't hold it.

Got 1-leg squats on the bosu ball down. Woot!

Handstand progress is still frustratingly slow. I think my forearm strength is getting up to par, but I cannot balance on my hands. Wall handstand press ups: no problem. Wall static handstand for over a minute: no problem. Feet leave the wall: Geronimo! My planche progressions also still suck. I can just barely stick out one leg before toppling over. I know I'm not actually weak, but that exercise makes me feel weak.

My last weigh in was 142 lbs. For once in my life, I don't want to lose anymore weight, and it keeps dropping. All I have to say is that it had better all be fat loss. I may have to start protein supplementing to gain some weight back. I don't think I'm losing muscle mass since some of my strength exercises are improving, but I'll probably up my protein intake just to be sure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New format, and slow exercises of pain

Well, I'm pretty sure no one actually reads this blog since it's mostly a journal to keep myself accountable for my fitness, training, and nutrition goals. So, I'm going to try something different to keep my blog fresh and looking less cluttered. I'm going to track my progress monthly via publicly viewable Google documents from now on and just note cool milestones in my training. I'll still be accountable to anyone caring to read my training blog, but all those daily details won't have to clutter up the blog. So, here's my training log from March 31st to April 30th, 2008.

I managed to do a modified version of this T-nation workout. Basically, it centers around doing a really slow single rep, doing one set of a similar exercise at regular speed, and one more really slow negative. I will attest that it's quite challenging doing a really slow chin up or dip over 30 seconds. I definitely fall in the category of not being able to do a full minute like the original workout called for, but then again, the author of article notes that he had a lot of people dropout of the workout with the 1 minute slow reps.

I actually made it up to a 40s chin up, and I'm quite proud of that. I will actually probably continue this workout past the suggested 10 days, but maybe at a reduced frequency. Once I hit 1 minute for my slow reps, I'll move on to something else to stimulate some more muscle growth and strength development. I definitely need more pull and ab strength to get the muscle up more consistently and to hold the front lever/dragon flag longer.