News on the gym front

Recently, Gen and I have been going to the campus gym, which I find... well, let's just say less than stellar. It's not actually bad or crappy or anything. It's pretty nice, but it just doesn't suit the needs of someone who's a little more serious about fitness and strength conditioning. I can easily clear the entire weight stack on the cable machine, and the dumbbells top out at 50lbs. Granted I usually don't train with the weights, but sometimes I like doing Turkish get ups; if I can already do the 50lb weights, I can foresee those weights becoming too light down the road.

Pulling too much, but ignoring the dips?

Ok, for the first time in my life I can do more pull ups than dips. I think having a pull up bar in my home and no corresponding dip equivalent has really biased my training to stuff I can do while hanging. And I guess doing the rings (mostly hanging or straight arm support-type skills) is also biasing the type of strength I'm developing. I did weighted pull ups and dips again yesterday. I can do 70lb weighted pull ups, but I don't think I can do 70lb weighted dips. Plus, my lats and back still feel pretty fresh whereas my pecs are a little sore this morning.

Sort of back into weight training

I've forgone weight lifting for nearly two years now, and amazingly, I've actually gotten significantly stronger. That's not to say I think weight training is crap, but I do think now that I was taking the wrong approach to it before. If only I'd started subscribing to the "train smarter, not just harder" mantra earlier, maybe I'd be a beast by now.

October gains

Despite working really long hours and not getting nearly enough training and workout time in, I've managed to make strength gains this past month. I went to the gym and banged out 10 clapping pull ups with ease. I was shocked that they were that easy, so I strapped on the dip belt with a 45lb plate. I did 3 sets of 5 weighted pull ups and dips. That's definitely stronger than I've been in the past. I used to only be able to do just 1 set of 5 (followed by another weak set of 4).

Unexpected results

It's been a long time since I've done weight-lifting strength training. The vast majority of my strength training has been bodyweight exercises over the past 2 years. I have done the occasional squat or deadlift, and dabbled with weighted dips and pull ups, but that's about the extent of the actual "weight" lifting I've done in the past couple of years. I'll probably start ramping up the squats and deadlifts at some point since I find it a little difficult to find similarly challenging bodyweight equivalent for those exercises.

Grippy rings

So, I taped my rings with climbing tape and tried muscle ups tonight. I can now say that the grip on my rings is not holding me back anymore. My hands didn't even come close to slipping out of position. In fact, the glue from the climbing tape started seeping through from the adhesive side to the grippy cloth side, making for a truly sticky hold. The first set of muscle ups felt really awesome. But then the 15 minutes of hard jump roping for my cardio warmup and the weekend pull up fest on my new home pull up bar caught up with me.

Raising the bar

With my abundance of free time, what do I do on the weekends? Why, I build myself a pull-up bar so I can bang out some pull ups at home. I don't always make it to the gym since my boss seems to think it necessary to keep me working until past 8 p.m. Not a great way to get workouts in when the gym closes at 9. Anyhow, here's what less than $20 worth of parts gets you:

Handstand and planches

I'm mostly recovered from my weeklong cold and started getting back into my gymnastic skills training. Mostly, I'm back into the handstand and planche practice because I have no other choice with my crazy work hours. I can do those two exercises at home on my parallelettes. Anyhow, I did manage to hold a handstand for nearly 5s. As usual, my technique needs improvement. I need to keep my core tighter and get my leg and shoulder alignment better. I can also hold the arched handstand a little easier than the fully straight version for some weird reason.

Mindfulness Inside Out

Thinking the box, inside and out
Illustration compliments of Lem Fugitt of Robot Dreams

Thinking inside the box

We often hear people talking about “thinking outside of the box.”  Usually what is meant by this metaphorical box is the boundaries defined by some line of thought.  By exploring new possibilities different from the previous ways of approaching some

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