Merry Christmas everyone!

(Part 11 of 36 in 10,000 Reps Project)

Glorious weather (ignoring the fog) for working on long term goals. Doing my homework before Christmas day with the family. (Yes, the “40’s” for push-ups, squats and bar-precisions are small-ish numbers, but I have a lot of pull-ups to catch up on.)

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

(Part 12 of 36 in 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

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Happy new year! Welcome to 2016…

(Part 13 of 36 in 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:

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Force, dignite, partage

(Part 14 of 36 in 10,000 Reps Project)

Rep’ing #addquebec as I do my 10k project homework on #pkgenamericas awesome scaf at #brooklynboulders in Boston! So happy I had a workout plan for this trip… because Anton is trying to fatten us up like foie gras! Next, John and I are going get some climbing in. :)

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Onward!

(Part 15 of 36 in 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.

Onward!

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Motivated

(Part 16 of 36 in 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.

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6 months. 3,000 rep’s.

(Part 17 of 36 in 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.)

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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

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Haulin’ the mail

(Part 18 of 36 in 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 )

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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:

SET 1
14 pushups
14 squats
14 bar-precisions

SET 2
6 pullups
14 pushups
6 pullups
14 squats
6 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

SET 3
6 pullups
14 pushups
6 pullups
14 squats
5 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

SET 4
5 pullups
14 pushups
5 pullups
14 squats
5 pullups
14 bar-pre’s

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

FINALLY
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.

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Setbacks are inevitable

(Part 19 of 36 in 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 AMSo 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.)

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Crash, burn, reboot

(Part 20 of 36 in 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!

Bar-precisions…

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.

Squats…

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*.

Pullups…

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.

Worksheet/workouts…

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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