Photo gallery for this series

(Part 1 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

This post presents a gallery of ALL images in this series. You can click on any to enlarge; you can even click on the first, sit back, and it’ll run them all as a slide show. The gallery is dynamic so it will automatically grow as I add more posts to this series.


10,000 repetitions

(Part 2 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Today (Friday, Sept 25) was day number 66, and without realizing it, I did pushup number 999.

Way back in June, I read about someone who was going to “celebrate” their 30th birthday with a year-long challenge: They were going to try to complete 30,000 pushups in one year.

That would be 82.19 pushups per day, every day. (81.97 if it’s a leap year.) That’s crazy. That’s crazy like repetitive-stress-injury crazy. Especially since their point was that they were out of shape and wanted to get into shape.

Celebrate: n., to torture oneself?

I chuckled, and sipped my coffee. But the wheels were turning. With my 44th birthday approaching, I briefly considered 44,000 as a goal. Briefly. Very briefly. But then I was thinking: …well, I can do 10 pushups, easy. So doing just 30 per day wouldn’t be too crazy, and that should get me to about 10,000 in a year. (Calculator’ing happens.) Actually, about 27 pushups per day would get me to a nice round 10k in a year.

And over the next few weeks the idea grew.

It seemed clear that completing 10,000 pushups would be eminently possible without injury. Maybe I should try doing 10,000 repetitions of something I currently suck at? That would force me to get from “I can do zero of these,” to a competent 30-or-so per day. This started to sound more interesting and useful. It would be like a race, but a long-term race with me pitted against the calendar.

(It also fits very well with my Oath.)

Eventually I settled on five exercises which would be a serious challenge, AND would yield major improvements:

1. pushups
2. squats
3. pullups
4. bar-to-bar precisions
5. handstands (10k seconds in a handstand)

I’m not going to describe the exercises in detail. I’m not going to brag about how great I’ve gotten at them. (Which is, “not very.” But I’m still working on them.)

I decided up front that I would do whatever it took to reach the goal. To me, that means, doing enough to get stronger, but not hurting myself. It means continuously thinking about the form of the exercise and striving to do them well. But I do NOT fixate on perfection. Build it. Refine it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

What I really want to share is HOW MUCH FUN THIS IS!

Every time I do one of the exercises I am acutely aware of how much I’ve improved. Early on, I had little variations to everything to make it possible; I’d do 3 crappy, negative versions of a pull-up (climb up, and fight the fall for as long as possible) and happily mark “3” completed in my spreadsheet. Now I do sets of three reasonably good pull-ups and I think, “boo-YEAH! Pull-ups! Who’s ‘da man?!” I can’t wait to see what it’s like to crank out a clean set of 10 in a row.

Did you say spreadsheet?

Yes I did. Of course I went to the trouble of making a full-geek spreadsheet. It has a row for all 365 days. I enter the reps completed and it has columns for the cumulative number completed, the number remaining to reach the goal, and it does the math to tell me the rate-per-day that I’d have to continue at to reach the goal. (So if I do 10 pull-ups and it says the required rate is 27 per day, I know I’m digging a hole. If I do 40 pushups and it says the rate is 30, I know I just banked 10 for a day off.)

Well, here’s what day 66 looks like. I entered 42 under pushups and 999 popped out. What a neat surprise! :D



1,000 pull-ups and renewed motivation

(Part 4 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

On Saturday, Nov 7 I rolled past 1,000 pull-ups! …but I’m actually falling behind on the overall pace needed to reach my 10k goal. It’s time to find some renewed motivation.

A few months ago, I was working with a friend on a planned exercise program. He had me planning workouts targeting specific times in heart rate zones, running and other activities. After about a year, we felt we no longer needed to check in regularly, and we went our separate ways. (No bad blood, just moving along our separate orbits.)

That was a mistake. It turns out that I didn’t realize how critical the accountability aspect of working with him was. So training on my own, I slowly drifted from “diligent”, to “sporadic”, to “uh oh…”.

A few aspects of my physical activities started slipping; most notably my progress on my 10k project. For a few weeks after I realized this was happening, I tried to re-energize myself. But it just wasn’t happening.

I’m a big believer in explicit goals and tracking progress. But motivation is the key. I have to find something that motivates me – a project, goal, challenge, location, anything – and run with that until it loses it’s luster. Then I find something new to motivate me. So while the goals and tracking are long(-ish) term, the motivation can be anything that works in the short term.

I recently reached out to another friend about working together as “accountability” partners. We started by meeting for lunch. He’s not a Parkour guy (neither was Mike who I was working with before), he’s a martial artist and is knowledgable about weight lifting. As a bonus, he’s recently been on a “body weight exercises” bender, which makes a lot of what we’re doing for training pretty similar. We had a long, animated lunch discussing everything from exercise specifics, to Parkour, to weight lifting. I left lunch highly motivated and with a pile of new ideas.

So three new things…

1. I’ll be starting each week by communicating my plan to my partner. This requires me to actually sit down and make a plan.

2. On each day that I have a planned workout/activity/whatever, I check in with a brief post-activity status report. This adds a bit of cost/guilt to get me going. We also discussed that this could be later expanded to have some sort of actual cost for failure — a physical penalty, or even a cash fine. (We’re reciprocal accountability partners so he’s also checking in with me on his plans.) But for now we’re going with simply communicating.

3. I’m starting a 12-day, designed pull-ups program. In my 10k project, pull-ups are the weakest activity, so I particularly need to build up strength here before I can go on piling on numbers to reach the goal.


Plan, Measure, Suceed?

(Part 5 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Heading into the holiday season usually means falling off the “activity” wagon in addition to over-eating. Since I’m deep into my 10k project, I’ve been working with my accountability partner ( Hi Clif! :) to map out my training goals. So the idea is to have a plan of exactly what I’m supposed to do on which days. (Plus the other regular stuff I’m doing well with as general habits — parkour class on Sundays, Tracy and I running Tuesday/Thursdays, walking regularly, etc.)

So here’s a glimpse behind the curtain and what happens at my desk nearly every day to keep the planning on track. Here’s my most recent message to Clif where I’m checking in. Below, if you care, I’ll explain a bit more about what’s going on here:

did today’s 10k stuff; no problem
tomorrow is another set of 10k stuff (with a trivial bump of +10 bar precisions) AND the pullup assessment
saturday very busy, heading into Brooklyn and no idea what sunday holds
but sun/mon are planned-clear so I’ll still be on track
still have to decide what I’m doing with pullups starting next week…
I have “50” pencilled in under pullups, and then a regular +5 increase just to see how it plays out for catching up the pullup numbers:

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 11.31.29 AM

…so there’s a lot happening.

  • “10k stuff” refers to the set of 5 exercises (pushups, pullups, body-weight squats, seconds-in-handstand and bar-to-bar precisions) that I’m attempting to do 10,000 repetitions of within one year.
  • Rows in the spreadsheet are days. Today was day 129, Friday Nov 27, so that row has “actually did” numbers.
  • Weeks start on Mondays. This week has yellow cells on Saturday — that’s “planned” repetitions — and zeros on the cells where I have a day off.
  • Daily is the number of reps, Total is the running total number since day one, Remaining is the spreadsheet subtracting from 10,000, and Rate is the spreadsheet computing how many reps I would have to do EVERY SINGLE DAY to the end of the 365 days to make it to 10k.
  • RATE is like the ticking clock of death. If that number is creeping UP, things will get harder and harder as I dig a hole of reps that I have to finish in a sprint. Bear in mind that if I injur or overwork some part of me, then I have to take a rest, and the rate just keeps tic tic ticking upward.
  • Next week – days 132-138 are sketched out tentatively. When I report in to Clif with an actual plan, the cells will be “locked in” colored yelllow.
  • This week (that I’m finishing) and next week are odd: I’m jiggering the reps to pull four of the exercises to matching total counts on Monday, day 139. I’ve been tinkering for weeks so that they all align AND pass over 2,000 reps in the same workout. Just a fun short-term motivational thing.That’s why tomorrow, bar pre’s goes up to 70 and then down to 40 next week.
  • Pullups are my weakest activity. For the last 24 days, I’ve run twice through a 12-day “pullup increase program”. I started with a max possible of 3 [crappy] pullups, and now I’m up to 5 easy, clean pullups, with a 6th and 7th available to max out. So you can see the problem: The “rate” under pullups says about 38, meaning I have to about 80 pullups every other day to make the pace. But if I can only do little sets of 3 or 4, then doing 80 takes like an hour. So I’ve been focusing on the pullup program so I can get up to some real rep numbers. (Every pullup that I do as part of the program I mark down though.) Saturday (tomorrow!) is the assessment day at the end of the second cycle through the pullup program. When I see what I have for a number, I’ll decide if I’m going to just go back to doing small-number sets (what the spreadsheet has pencilled in as 50, 55, 60 etc) or if I’m running the pullup program a third time.


500 pullups behind

(Part 6 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

As my 10k project plods onward, I’m making good progress. With some renewed motivation to keep knocking out the numbers, I’ve been making a weekly plan and sticking to it for several weeks now. (A big thank you goes out to my “accountability partner”, Clif!)


Through November 22 (day 124 of the year-long challenge) I’ve been doing various numbers of exercises. In particular, I’ve recently been doing a “pull-ups program” designed to get me from being able to only do 2 or 3 lousy pullups, to being able to do a few sets.

The orange cells show [what I call] the “odometer problem”: pushups and squats are close in the 1800 range, but pullups are way behind, with handstand-seconds and bar-to-bar precisions adrift in the midlands. Green cells remind me where I’m changing numbers, and yellow cells are planned; That’s the number of reps I should do — so this screenshot is from before December 3rd.

For the last week of November and the first week of December I’m focusing on brining four of the activities into line. Low reps of pushups, easy squat numbers, and a load of bar pre’s. On Monday the 7th, the blue cells show the four coming together. And, after a bit of fiddling, they will also all pass over the 2,000 reps count in the same workout. (Yeah short term goals! :)

That leaves pullups (the red cell) a wopping 500 reps behind the other four. Going forward from the 7th, I’ll keep the other four activities in lock-step and work as hard as I can (without injuring myself) to crank on that pullups number. If I get the math right, I think I can make all five activities come together AND pass 3,000 in a workout near the end of January.


Sunday’s workout report

(Part 7 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

long day yesterday, lots of bus riding and walking around nyc, and a short but intense parkour class with lots of arm work. So last night I was sore, tired and exhausted. Slowly warmed up all morning in front of the fire and managed to get outside, warmup and actually get through my workout. My left achilles tendon is sore so it took a lot of moving and warming up to get the bar pre’s feeling good. Probably the cleanest (<< nicest landings, most controlled, most ‘stuck’ landings) set of 70 I’ve ever done. boo-YEAH! It’s a schmeazly small workout in the grand scheme, but it was a MAJOR mental win today. Perfectly on-plan for the past week.

Here’s the coming week…

Monday will be tough; class this afternoon and it’s a back-to-back workout. But I don’t want to delay it to tuesday when I plan to run. So, Monday it is. It will be a delight to lower bar pre’s DOWN to 40 reps. Few more pushups just for round numbers and I’ll start ramping pullups.

Which by the way, pullups are paying off in parkour. I have a little video clip of finger tips on an I beam flange pullup-tuck thing that I discovered I can now do. I happen to recall how inconceivable that move seemed when I saw it years ago.

This week I’ll add 5 pullups. I was doing 8×5, I’ll either to 9×5 or go to some sets of six just to get it done faster. My tentative idea is to add 5 reps every fourth workout… that should be easy since it’s only a 10% addition. I hope :) At that add-on rate, pullups will catch up in mid/late January. I’ll then assess if I can go to 50, 60 or more reps across the board on all the activities. With things at “40s” while I’m catching-up pullups I’m continuing to dig an over-all rep-count hole.

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 12.28.16 PM



(Part 8 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Today’s checkin for the 10k project. It will now be a long road to 3,000… so I suspect it will be a while before there’s anything interesting to report.

pushups, pullups, squats and handstand-seconds just passed 2,000 reps !
This is the first day I’ve ever done more pullups than any other activity !!
(granted all the other activities were way too easy ;)

Today’s workout is completely as planned. WOOT!
Did excellent for being tired from a good 2hr parkour workout yesterday that involved pushups and handstands…
(Thanks Adam :P

I did pushups, squats and precisions in 5×8 sets, and 2×25 handstands — all super easy.
and the 9×5 pullups were all emminently doable
I’ll see how I feel on Wednesday morning: Since this is now a numbers race about pullups, I may stick with sets of 5 pullups, and just add an extra set more often than every fourth workout.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.00.02 PM


One step at a time

(Part 9 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Last night I thought there was no way. But I didn’t want to push things back a day. The 24th would then be another push-back (there’s no time to train on the 24h.) So I just got started… dress, start the fitbit tracking, saw some firewood, finish warming-up and start hauling my ass up and down…

60 minutes from start to finish (including the warmup). Pullups were 12×5,4,4,4,4,3… I was at 40 reps of pullups and thought I’d never make it to 75. I just kept saying, “anything over 40 doesn’t dig a hole. Just do one more set of pullups.” The plan was to do 75, and I had it in the back of my head (I don’t know why) that I needed +6 sprinkled in over a few weeks; So instead of 12×5,4,4,4,3 for exactly 75, I made the last set a 4, and then an extra set of 3. The last rep was a stall and kip/struggle. I could not have done a fourth rep in that last set.


Seventy. Nine. pullups . . .
…and then updating the spreadsheet back at my desk I see that on Monday, if I do a tidy 80 — ie, NO INCREASE :)))) – the 80th rep will be number 2,000!

So here’s next week planned out. It’s a four training days week, and it’ll be interesting to just do the same number of reps of everything on each workout. The 24th is a “rest” day involving 2 two-hour drives, and 3 (THREE!?) separate stops for Tracy/Stacy’s birthdays. So I’ll be trying to remind myself to keep the eating under control so I can get the workout in on the morning of the 25th.

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 11.08.37 AM


2,000 pullups

(Part 10 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

As I mentioned in the previous post, today’s workout included 80 pullups, and the last pullup was number 2,000. What a milestone! They’re not the greatest pullups – there’s some kipping and flailing at the end – but, build it, lather, rinse, repeat. 16 sets of five pullups is a LOT of pullups. I now have to do that, every other day for a couple weeks to finishing digging pullups out of the hole to catch up with the number of rep’s on the other exercises.


Tough week. That’s why planning leads to success.

(Part 12 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

This past week is filled in. Everything went as planned. Today was an exact copy of Friday.

Oof! My forearms are starting to get sore… the part where the grip tendon(s) attach at the elbow. I must make sure that doesn’t develop into tendonitis. I’m HEAVY from holiday eating, tired from messed-up sleep, etc. so this week’s workouts were tough. BUT, this was all expected and planned for, so I’m treating it like an expected plateau, smiling proudly and moving onward.

This coming week has several big changes…

I’m switching to a “workout, rest day, workout, rest, rest” pattern to give me a two-days-in-a-row recurring break. All the way into MARCH I’m going to have to be ramping up all the excercises so I’m going to need that double-day recovery break in the pattern. This week, Monday/Tuesday are MUCH-needed rests, and that makes Saturday/Sunday rest days too — so this week is going to be an easy week.

The following week I have January 5 thru 9 marked red because I’ll be in Boston. After a bit of juggling, I’ve arranged for the Tuesday/Sunday travelling days to NOT be workout days to avoid having to do 80 pullups in a train. I’ve two workouts planned while in Boston. I’m not 100% sure I can find a suitable bar-precision I want. So, to be 100% sure I can get the reps in, I’m going to take the 110 bar-pre’s that would be in those two workouts, and bank in the next three workouts. Thus the inflated 85,85,85 count on the bar-pre’s coming up. They’re not physically hard any more (just technically challenging) so there’s no probably cranking out those reps to ensure I don’t fall behind in the Jan 5-9 week.

Finally, if I stick to the plan, on day 184 — just a smidge after the mid-way point of the challenge — I hit 3,000 on the final rep in the workouts, AND sync-up all the activities. That will be a red-letter-day :D

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 12.39.57 PM


Happy new year! Welcome to 2016…

(Part 13 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Today was challenging: Up late for New Year’s Eve. Nothing major, but snacking late into the night, short on sleep, alcohol… all adds up on the negative side of the balance sheet. I did my usual warmup, started into things, and then had to stop for my back. I could just tell it wasn’t feeling 100% and that I would have been in pain before I was done. So I started over doing range-of-motion and a second, longer warmup — it took me forever to get up to speed. BUT, I’m very happy that I managed to pull out of the nose dive and get the workout done without injury!

So today’s workout is done as planned. Pushups, squats were 5×10 (numbers are creeping up, but this is still easy :), 2×25 handstands — even managed a few seconds free-standing at the end of each handstand, 85 bar precisions as 5×9 and 5×8, and a tedious 80 pullups as 5×12, and 4×5. I’m definitely stuck on a plateau with pullups! But with the holiday “weighted vest” currently holding me down, I’m hoping to move on in the coming weeks… Saturday and Sunday are rest days.

Next week has three workouts, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. That’s planned to work around my Tuesday and Sunday travelling days to/from Boston. Monday I’ll finish banking bar-precision reps so that I don’t have to do any while in Boston (since I can’t be 100% sure I can find a handy bar precision.) So the two workouts while I’m away are just pushups, squats, pullups and handstands… I know I can get those in. I’m thiking of going to Brooklyn Boulders (a huge climbing gym where the parkour group has scaffolding setup for indoor classes) on Wednesday; that would let me use the scaff for pullups and get my workout in. Saturday I’ll see what’s happening.

Here’s next week filled in:

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.21.42 PM



(Part 15 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Planning is really paying off…

While I was in Boston, my schedule shifted and I did my planned-for-Saturday workout on Friday. When I got home to my desk and looked over the bigger picture, I realized that shift enables me to pull the “3,000 reps milestone” workout forward so it falls exactly in the middle of the year — on day 183.

Just-completed week is filled in, and next week is laid out. A few really neat things are coming up in the next two weeks:

Monday: I finally get the slightest back-down on pullup counts since I started really working on them over 3 months ago. 80, drops down to 75 :P At the same time, everything else goes up to 60 reps. 60 bar-precisions is going to be so nice after having to crank out 85 for a few days (to bank rep’s) before I went to Boston.

Saturday: Another increment of activities, and the final back-down of pullups.

All of which is working toward a very special milestone that’s coming up in two weeks. :D For next few months I’ll be settling into a regular pattern of ‘work, rest, work, rest, rest’ with a regular +5-reps across the board as I work to build up the total numbers. All across the board, the “running rate needed” numbers is about 40, or 80 every-other day; So I’m still behind the pace I need to finish on time, but now I’m really getting close. The medium term goal is to do 100 rep’s of everything, and run that out to the end of the challenge.


Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 9.09.19 AM



(Part 16 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

I post this stuff partly in the hope that someone might find it inspirational, but mostly as way to keep myself accountable. I’ve been talking about this project for 6 months — tomorrow is literally the 6 month point — and there’s just no way I want to have to explain how/why I didn’t make the goal.

There are a number of people out there that I’m quietly using as inspiration. I’m going to try to take the time to thank them face-to-face in the coming weeks rather than name-drop them in a post. So moving on…

Here’s the status update from Monday’s workout. (I wrote this status update to my accountability partner on Tuesday[today].)

I did it. Monday was a whirlwind, so just now getting around to workbook updates and status.

Mega-crappy workout. Everything stacked against me; tired from lots of training and driving, 3 hours of sleep, my hands were super-sore from doing a ton of hanging/swinging/climbing on sunday… frickin’ cold outside… I taped up my hands and shoved ’em in leather work gloves (makes pullups even harder on the 1-1/4″ pipe because it’s slippery with gloves) and just went, “odometer numbers, forget everything else”… I broke into a zillion 6 and 7 rep sets of push, squat, bar-precision (to do 65 of each activity) and did a zillion sets of 3 pullups to get 70 reps of pullups. My grip was already sore and burnt-out from Sunday so it was all red-lining what my forearms would do.

BUT, I made my goal numbers of reps for the day.

Also, Tracy and I did our usual run this morning, very cold but managable. Now I need to sit around all day today and recover, I have like this head cold from being exhausted i think.

Anyway. I’m still on track for tomorrow’s workout for the 6 month mark and 3,000 reps.


6 months. 3,000 rep’s.

(Part 17 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

3,000 reps is in the bag, exactly 6 months into the challenge (on day #183.) Also, for the first time ever, all five activities match up exactly.

In a disucsion with some friends yesterday, the 70 pullups of today’s workout turned into a challenge: Do them in as few sets as possible. I only managed 7,5,6, 6,6,5, 7×5 — but that’s still the fewest-ever sets for 70 pullups for me. (I’ve been doing all sets-of-five, or trailing off to sets of 5.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 3.15.51 PM

This week has another workout planned on Saturday. I’m watching the snow storm coming, and I might be going into NYC for some parkour events on Saturday. So I may pull that workout forward to Friday. If I do that, I’ll also pull the following workouts forward to keep the ‘work,rest,work,rest,rest’ pattern intact. (Which, by the way, feels like it’s working well for me.)

Beyond that, I have all the workouts sketched out, with various +5 steps in reps, to get to 4,000 reps in another 5 weeks. At that point, the workouts would be 85 reps of things hopefully in a 5×17 arrangement for pushups, squats, bar-precisions and who-knows-what the pullup sets will look like. I’m currently doing the 65 seconds of handstand in two parts so it would be cool if I could keep the handstand to just 2 stands to reach the time for each workout.

Feels like a lifetime ago that I started this craziness! :D


Haulin’ the mail

(Part 18 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Whatever it is that you think you could NEVER do, figure out how to make a small step in the direction of your goal. Take that first step. Then look back and say, “well, now that I’ve come this far, I may as well go a little farther.”

I hope someone reads this, gets riled up, and thinks: “YEAH! I want to go for a walk!” …or a run, or a 5k, or swing on some bars, or walk a flight of stairs without gasping for breath, or lower my cholesterol, or be alive to play with my grand-kids. Whatever your goal is, GO CRUSH IT!

I remember when doing ONE STINKING PULLUP was inconceivable. Now I’m doing 70 — yes SEVENTY — per workout. The things that used to CRUSH me in class? …that stuff’s now my WARM-UP. Here’s a part of the worksheet that shows what’s going on with the pullups odometer. 3,000 reps is in the past (again, INCONCEIVABLE!) 4,000 is right on the horizon. Every workout through 4,000 is planned. A few more of the workouts are an identical, “all 70’s”, setup. Then, there are three weeks of bumping everything up +5.

In this screenshot, I’ve just completed January 27th/Day #190. The yellow block is the next planned workout; an exact repeat of today. There are more columns for the other activities, but now that all the activities’ numbers are in sync, they’re all the same. The pattern of workouts-to-rests is work-rest-work-rest-rest so that I have a regular, two-day rest over and over. Also, that’s a 5 day pattern so my workouts do not have the same weekdays — that’s really important to keep things from turning into “Monday’s suck” if I had a fixed weekly pattern. The double-rest also gives me a space to pull a workout one-day-earlier if I need to rearrange things, without making it into a killer two-days-in-a-row. (The things you think of when you do this for six months. D8 )

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 4.08.34 PM

If anyone wants the details: The workouts are a ~45 minute circuit, based around 5 sets. Pushups, squats and bar-precisions are 5×14 (that’s 5 sets of 14 repititions.) The pullups are 5×6 (5 sets of 6 reps) plus 8×5 (8 sets of 5). So I do a set of pushups, squats and bar-pre’s to get really warmed up, then do a set of pullups between each set of everything else:

14 pushups
14 squats
14 bar-precisions

6 pullups
14 pushups
6 pullups
14 squats
6 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

6 pullups
14 pushups
6 pullups
14 squats
5 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

5 pullups
14 pushups
5 pullups
14 squats
5 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

5 pullups
14 pushups
5 pullups
14 squats
5 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

5 final pullups (but sometimes I just wedge this in somewhere above)
40 second handstand (against wall)
30 second handstand

When I do a +5 bump, I just turn all those “14s” into “15s” and the 5-set layout makes a tidy +5. For pullups I can add a separate set of 5 at the end, or turn 5 5s into 5 6s, whatever — I have to see what I feel like in a few weeks.


Setbacks are inevitable

(Part 19 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Last weekend I trained exceptionally hard all weekend. Monday and Tuesday were tired, sore and broken-down recovery days (as exepected.) But by Wednesday, it was clear I was also sick. booo.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 7.21.14 AM

So all week I did nothing other than some stretching/yoga-esque recovery work. (In addition to moving and reassembling the scaf on my patio.) All week I was sore, achy, and just felt like there was “no gas in the tank”.

By friday, it was pretty warm(-ish) and I was getting cabin crazy with the new scaf setup still unused. So I tried to go out and do one of the full workouts. It was a planned workout, just now about a week behind schedule. It called for 70s of everything. Well, my right forearm didn’t feel up to it, and I was just really low on energy. (I’m pretty confident the forearm pain is in the muscle, very close to the tendon, but not the actual tendon nor the attachment point.) So instead I made it into a really low intensity workout of just 40 reps… Just enough to put some numbers up on the board. I also mixed in some light work, like moving firewood (in small arm loads) and cleaning up the patio just to move around and get my heart rate up.

I’m feeling better today, so I’ll see what plays out. Some friends are coming over this afternoon to play on the scaf.

In my worksheet, I’ve just been “pushing” the workout numbers forward rather than spend time juggling all the rows in the future. Once I have some idea how long it’ll take to get back up to speed, then I’ll rework the schedule. So I’m not actually going to try to do all those every-day workouts that seem to be scheduled for next week. (All the columns are identical now, so I just snapped the pushups.)


Crash, burn, reboot

(Part 20 of 36 in series, 10,000 Reps Project)

Workout catchup…

…ok, so yes, I’ve been sick, but I’m still a slacker. This past week, I went to the doctor and got some good cough medicine to improve my sleep. Friday I was feeling better and coughing less, so I talked myself into going out and trying to finish the 30-reps, second-half of the workout I had split in half the previous week. So I got that done, but, ….brrrrrrrrr CHILLY!


This is challenging again. My latest scaf setup has higher bottom bars. Used to be about 4 inches off the floor — scary as hell when you start out, but at the low height, it’s nearly impossible to hurt yourself if you slip long or short. New setup has the bars about a foot high, so this is again SCA-RY when you slip or don’t have your feet where you want them. Also, the current setup makes the bars rock-solid. So the old setup you could pre-load the bar flex just before jumping and then the landing bar is nice with just a bit of flex. Now, if you don’t do the legs correctly on the landing, it’s a bone-jarring bang when you land. Anyway, just yakking about an exercise that I’ve tweaked just a bit and is suddenly a fresh challenge.


Hip ROM is one of my current “projects”. I’ve been working (desk-type work) on the floor in my living room using my coffee table as a desk. It’s like japanese-style living :P I’ve a couple yoga blocks to sit on as a starter-crutch and I cycle through cross-legged, one-straight, seiza, etc to work on hip ROM/flexibility. I usually run a 15 minute or so timer as I work and then shift to a couple of minutes of working on a flat foot squat. So doing body-weight squats is ever-so-slightly easier. I can take a bit-wider-than-shoulder stance and do a full squat to seated, but up into multiple sets numbers it starts to feel tight in the knees and then I let my heels unload… I’m thinking going forward I should keep the heels planted and just not squat all the way down. (Would also increase the difficulty on the descent as I’d have to do more negative work to stop before the movement limit. Probably also a good thing.) As soon as I unload the heels (even the slightest) I can feel that I’m no longer pushing the hip/ankle ROM like I could be. So I think just stopping before the last few inches of squat depth would yield more results in hip ROM. I can take a *wider* stance, but then it seems the knee pull/torque comes to my attention *sooner*.


These are definitely a “can do” exercise now. Getting better velocity/acceleration from the dead hang, and the consistency of height, and height in general are slowly improving. (I don’t dead hang most of them — I prefer to run up and down with the shoulders/lats remaining activated at the bottom.) I’m convinced the next step in my progression is to shave off a bit more dead weight. There’s 5, maybe even 10, pounds I can easily drop just by paying attention to carbs. So I’m off to try and get that in the coming weeks.

Related, two weekends ago I did my first ever “climb up” in perfect form. Basically, a fingers-over-top wall grab, feet on the wall, arms fully extended, pull up to max height and with the last of the momentum, hop your hands up on top of the wall, so the heel of you hand can bear weight. Haul your chest forward (low) over the top of the wall so you center-gravity moves into where you can push up through the dip part of the lift. Never managed the fluid hand transition before as a continuation of the pulling movement. It’s crazy difficult; the transition of hands is pretty easy, but if you do it and end up too low, you’re not able to tricep-push your way out of the dip (because the wall is in your way in front of you) …can make for a smash-your-chin/face train wreck if you mess it up. ANYWAY, my point is, pullups are really paying off in some of the functional movements that have been on my list for years. The grip-strength gains alone are crazy-useful.

Now for the problem: My right forearm is no longer sore/aching in general. Before this two-week-ish sick break, I could make the muscles ache just by making a fist and flexing my wrist pinky-side. That’s healed/gone away. But as soon as I start pullups, that exact muscle/area complains. I did 6×5 on Friday and it was a consistent “you better cut that out”. So again, losing a few pounds would help.

But my workouts require getting 70+ pullups in to make the 10k goal. I have the general strength/stamina to do it in an hour-ish workout, but it’s going to trash that right forearm if I go at it. So I’m going to experiment with a few things: 1) Banking pullups indoors; I have a smaller sized bar indoors versus the 1-1/4″ scaf pipe outside that is way harder to grip. So doing 5 or 10 reps, a few times through the day will allow me to vastly reduce the pullup reps when I do the “main” workouts. (Bonus, reduces how much I have to take my gloves off to do pullups outside… fr-fr-fr-fr-icking cold scaf pipes!) 2) Changing the grip; perhaps switch to the easier chin-up grip on one side. I’m not sure if its better to switch the right grip to not aggravate the muscles, or switch the left grip so I can do more work on the left to lessen the load on the right. I’ll also try removing pinky finger from the right grip since that corresponding side of the forearm muscle is the part that complains. 3) shift the hanging position (eg slight archers) to just load the left side more.

So, lots of work remains with pullups.


Snapshot attached with usual-looking plans for next week. Bearing in mind that for the pullups, I’ll be working on banking reps in the day(s) before each workout.

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