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Rocking the Relaxation

"Relax!"  It's a phrase you're bound to hear if you study an internal martial art, especially any of the tai chi variants.  But what exactly does it mean to relax?  According to the dictionary definitions,

relax (verb) is
  1. to make less tense, rigid, or firm; make lax
  2. to diminish the force of
  3. to slacken or abate, as effort, attention, etc.
  4. to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest and recreation.


None of those definitions


Training Gear Update: ladder, rope, belt, hammer, oh my

It's been a while since I've made any notes about my training gear. In fact, the last time I've discussed training gear was my post on my cheesy pull up bar solution. So, here is my long overdue training gear post.

Buddy Lee Aero Speed jump rope

New killer exercises

I've added two new exercises to my repertoire. They were much harder than I originally anticipated. I guess everything looks easy. The reality was that the exercises were far from easy.

Offset barbell side bends (or lateral flexion as this vid calls it):

back to deadlifts

After taking about two months off from deadlifts to give my wrists a rest, I tried them again today. I'm not back to where I was, but I'm also not that far off from my prior progress. I got up to a solid 4x5 at 165lbs. My grip still gets pretty tired from deadlifts, which is to be expected. I felt like I could have gone up to 185 without too much trouble. I'll stay at 165 for another week or two and then start slowly ramping up.

1.5 minutes to nausea

Over the past month or so, I've managed to pick up some new workout toys. They're nothing fancy, but they sure are effective. What did I get? A stopwatch and a round/interval timer. I've been keeping track of my rest/work periods during my workouts to do a little energy system training during my strength training. I though I'd go a little conservative with 1.5 minutes of rest between sets of pull ups and dips. Oof. That was tougher than I expected. By the time the 4th set rolls around, I'm not feeling so great.

Crunches suck

Not only are they completely boring, but they also apparently aren't good for your back either. All that flexing puts unnecessary strain on the back. People usually do crunches to tone their abs and get closer to the six-pack stomach, but ironically lots of crunches don't accomplish that. Nutrition and total body exercise (i.e. dropping your body fat percentage) play a bigger role in the ab aesthetic than tons of crunches.

Injuries Galore

Well, my wrists feel a little better after basically a month off. Granted, I did cheat on my "no gripping exercises" policy just a little. Not much though. Just the occasional set of pull ups and dragon flags. I started doing the agility ladder to offset my lack of time on the jump rope. The ladder was a heck of a lot more of a workout than I was expecting. I also started doing medicine ball throwing exercises. Three rounds of varying exercises using of 30s effort and 30s rest pushes me to the edge of feeling queasy.

bleh, wrist tendonitis

My wrists have been hurting for the past week. After some research and consultation with friends, I'm guessing I have inflamed tendons. I have to lay off for a week or two from exercises involving my grip. That really sucks. What exercises do I usually do for my upper body that don't involve my hands? Not many. I'm going to have to be pretty creative for the next several workouts.

woot! 75 lb weighted dips

We didn't make it to our regular gym today, so we had to go to the campus gym today. I'm not a huge fan of the campus gym. It looks nice, but it's not exactly a gym set up for people with above average training goals. Anyhow, I lugged along my dip belt and 3/4" rope to the gym in an attempt to get a decent workout. Folding over the rope two times gave me 4 strands to imitate a 3" rope for rope pullups. Oof! That was a serious grip killer. I barely got 8 reps before my forearms were telling me to let go.

Squats hurt

They really do. I just started getting up into the 115-135 lb range on my front squats. I know that doesn't sound like much (and it probably isn't), but I am doing them pretty deep. I squat down until the tops of my thighs go about 15-20 degrees below horizontal. Anyhow, I'm finding that the first night my quads are really tired, and then my glutes and hamstrings are sore for the next two days. Sore and tired legs make stance training a lot more interesting.