Month: September 2013

Practicing Rolls

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As most do, when starting a new project, I first started Gymnastics very enthusiastically.  I went in thinking that I would overcome my fear of pain – as I expected to hurt myself and it not be a big deal.    The first day I managed to overwork my calf muscle (I kept landing on the same one coming off my handstand attempts) and on one of my jumps it just simply gave out on me.   It wasn’t a serious injury and bandaging it up for a week and during the next couple of training sessions was sufficient.  I was proud of myself, because I kept on going and for the first time ever, didn’t let a little bit of pain stop my progress.   So I suddenly also got brave.

We had been practicing rolls on an inclined ramp (mat) which are part of the flip progression.   It was feeling good, and I could ‘feel’ how it should go in the end.  So I had a bright idea.  If I could get high enough on the trampoline, and then did my roll, I should be able to flip.   Easy, right?

Please, please, please – if you’ve not learned the progressions and never done a flip on the trampoline – DON’T DO THIS!    How this went for me – jump, jump, jump, ‘okay I can do this’, jump.  Begin to roll, see the trampoline floor.   Realise head is not going to make it all the way around, freak out, land on neck.     At that moment, I heard about 30 odd cracks in my neck and the first thought to go through my head was that I had broke my neck.   All I could think about was never being able to walk again and how my poor children were going to have to live without an able bodied mother.    I lay on my back and realised no one had seen me do it, so I had a choice, I could lay on my back and call out, hoping someone could hear me over the music, or that someone would see me and realise I wasn’t moving, or I could try and move a bit and wave to get my husband’s attention.

Despite my brain screaming at me “Don’t move if you suspect spinal injuries!   Your neck is part of your spine!”, I decided to sit up.   Well I resolved that if I supported my neck with my arms, and if at any time it felt wrong I would revert to the lay back and scream option, then I’d be alright.   Thankfully I was.  I managed to sit up and realised that while it was a little bit sore, I could move and I wasn’t paralyzed.

I got my husband’s attention who then got our teacher.   He let me know that it would be more of a worry if I wasn’t feeling anything and that I should put some ice on it.   He also warned me that it will stiffen up too.   So yeah, it stiffened up.  That night I couldn’t sleep, because every time I wanted to roll over, I couldn’t, so I’d wake up and have to hold my neck with my hands to painfully change positions.   Thankfully, after a couple of days I was mostly okay and after a couple of weeks I thought I was good enough to get back into rolling down the ramp.

That was when I learned that neck injuries take at least six weeks to fully recover (and that’s a minor one), so I strained the muscles again.   I ended up getting some physio and stopped doing gymnastics while I did.   Taking over 3 months to fix it all.  That is all but my newly refreshed fear of pain.   It has taken me 7 months since I first did the injury to fully feel comfortable to give it a proper go – and I am back to where I started.

One of the things my teacher told me, however, was that I should learn how to fall, and that means rolls.   There are lots of types of rolls and I should be training my body to instinctively respond with all of them.    I’d been practicing the gymnastics (head between your hands) roll, but needed to also learn how to fall backwards and to do the parkour rolls.

In the quest to help me, my husband found this nifty tutorial:

So, last night that was what I practiced.  Roll after roll.   Parkour rolls, gymnast rolls, rolls on the mat.   I used the above tutorial to get me started, as well as what our teacher taught us.   It’s surprising at how many ways you can do a roll.

Today I feel sore.  I didn’t realise that rolls worked so much of the body.

Driving me up the wall.

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100_9282 Last year I was introduced to rock climbing, and from then on I was hooked.   At that time, I was not much into keeping fit at all, so it was a surprise to find something that I enjoyed doing; especially as it was something that took effort too!   I was so hooked, that when scoopon had a deal at my local rock climbing place, I snapped it up and bought a few lots of the deal.   I intended on going every second weekend.  But, alas, being the lazy person I was, it wasn’t hard to find other things that took priority over exercise (no matter how much I enjoyed it), and the tickets were almost completely wasted, if it weren’t for a friend’s son wanting to do rock climbing for his birthday and her buying them all off me for what I paid for them – a week before they expired.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I was thinking about how much I enjoyed rock climbing and wanted to go again.   I suggested to my husband that we should go again, and he jumped at the thought (he is a bit of a health nut and loved the idea – also remembering how much fun it was).   This time we decided to bring our children (son aged 6 and daughter aged 4 and a half).

It was super fun, and while my son loved it, my daughter hated it (too hard and boring for her).  I was a little bored, as either my husband or I had to always belay, so I spent a lot of time watching others climb before it was my turn.   I felt like I didn’t really get to have a good go at it, so suggested we go again the next weekend, leaving my daughter at her grandparents.

So the weekend rocks up again, and we ask my son if he wants to come with us and surprisingly, he didn’t, leaving my husband and I with a full two hours of rock climbing to ourselves.   I pushed myself harder than any other time I’d been climbing and absolutely loved it.    With my appetite whet, we went again the following weekend (which happened to be yesterday).

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After smashing myself on Thursday with cross-fit, I was already feeling it in my muscles, but still gave it my all.   By the end, I could barely hold my arms in the air, let alone hold myself from them, but still went one more.   While we were recuperating, we were listening to another group discuss one of the ‘number 8’ routes.   “I think it’s been numbered wrong, it’s too hard to be an eight.  The thirteen next to it was easier!”   Well, I had already done the thirteen next to it, so I was up for the challenge – despite having already fatigued my arms for the day.    After they finished trying to get to the top, we asked if we could have a go and started the ascent to the top of the wall.

I will have to say, I agree – it did feel a bit harder than what I expected an ‘8’ to feel like, but I think that was just because it depended a lot on technique (they were not very big finger holds), so it was different.   I almost got to the top before falling off the wall, but managed to get back on and finish the route.

I’ll be back either next week, or the week after (depends on when Parkour is meeting up), to conquer it properly again!

 

Introducing the slackline…

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Well my husband decided it would be a good idea to buy a slackline so we did, and who would have thought a piece of strap could be so much fun?

Let me start from day one, which was Wednesday.   We’d gotten the slackline in the mail and just had to try it straight away.   Never mind feeling a little sore from gymnastics the day before, and never mind the fact that it was wet outside, we were going to do it.   At least we thought we were going to do it.

jwj-slackline-0041__17561_zoomBefore we got the slackline delivered to us, we checked out the dimesions.   We measured spaces between trees at our local park and thought we were pretty sweet to go.  Until we got there with the slackline.   The trees we had thought were perfect were about  —>|this—far|<—  too far apart.   So we tried another two which were closer to each other and because one was too fat, they were still too far apart.

Third time lucky, right?    No chance.   Nor with the fourth or fifth.   Now there aren’t a lot of trees at this park, so we were running out of options, thinking that we’d wasted our money buying a slackline that was too short, but then we found some trees that were suitably apart.

Slackline attached to the tree, ready to go.  So I was volunteered to be the first guinea pig.   I put my foot tentatively on the strap and began to shift my weight to it.    Ever got the speed wabbles before?   Well I wasn’t going anywhere fast, but the strap must have thought it was, because it got wobbles – and my leg decided to join in.   However I got both feet on it (clinging on for dear life to my husband) and began my journey across it.    Definitely not my cup of tea – there was no way I was going to master this thing.   My husband was no better – his hands were grasping into my shoulder like a wedge tailed Eagle’s claws.

Disappointed, we packed up and went home (although bored children had a lot to do with that).

Today we decided to give it a go again.   We decided to visit the other park this time (with a few more trees) and found some suitably situated away from each other (perhaps a little too close if anything) right next to the playground so the kids wouldn’t get bored – score!

Again, I was made to be the first guinea pig.   God forbid the thing would snap and kill me or anything…  Again, my feet and the line began their wobble dance, but I got on and started to walk… while my entire body fought between getting to the other end and dancing with my leg and the line.   Again – holding onto dear life to my husband).    Then it was my husband’s turn.   It wasn’t as bad as the time before – with him only gently touching me if he began to lose his focus.

Then I got the bright idea to see who could balance the longest in one spot.   I figured it was a good starting point.   1… 2… 3…  I didn’t last very long.   But after a few goes, I was the champion with a count of 7.   My husband with only 5 his highest.   Then he tried to walk.   It was funny to watch so I had to have a go.

I stood next to the line and focused my mind – you’d be surprised at how much your mind plays a part in being able to do this thing well.   “Breathe in.   Center yourself.   Eye on the target.   Get up.   Steady….   Steady….  Step.   Step.  Step.  Wobble.   Windmill arms.   Fall off.”  After a few times, I ended up to the other side.   Only 2 days ago, I couldn’t even get on the thing, and now (while it was not very graceful) I was walking the length.

I got to the across the line 3 times, one of them I got almost half way back too (after turning around) and have claimed the title for the day.   The only bad thing about the slackline (in my opinion) was I didn’t want to go home, but it was dinner time.   It was great to do something where you can see the progress in just one session.

 

Epic Fail?

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Well, when it comes to exercise, the only epic fail I can think of is not having a go.  Everything else is just a fail – or simply just painful.

As I said in, this post, today would be my first day doing cross-fit.   I got the work out of the day from crossfit.com and it was HARD.   There were three rounds, right?  Well I couldn’t even finish the second one.   But at least I tried!

• Knees to elbows:  I could barely lift my legs up, let alone to my knees.   After about 6 I was beginning to cry and I think the only reason I managed to wiggle my legs that centimeter in the direction they were supposed to go was because of my husband cheering me on.   I did two rounds of pathetic knees to elbows – full 21 sets in each before giving up.   And when I say they were pathetic, they were pathetic.  Perhaps I should get my husband to video the patheticness of them so that I can inspire all those who think they can’t do it – you have to start somewhere!

Kettlebell swing:  I thought I’d test out the kettlebells we had before starting to make sure I had the right weight.  I got 8kg kettle bell out and it felt like a good weight, but my knee stung when I tried to do the swing, so then I tried the 4kg one – same thing.  I ended up just doing the squatting motion to teach my body what to do in the hope I wouldn’t ruin my knees.   They were easy, so no real difficulties popping them out (except for ignoring the knee pain that was still there, but not as bad).   I only did the two rounds though, as I never even started the third.

• Push-ups:  I started off doing these the way I’ve been practicing the last few weeks, with my hands at about waist height on the dip bars attached to our squat rack.   I got about 10 out in the first set, before I had to finish them off against the wall.  Second round I only got four out before reacquainting myself with the wall.    I was a bit disappointed, with having doing these daily I thought I would have done better.

• Rope climb:  I really enjoyed doing the modified rope climb.   We found some rope that we use for tying up our trailer when picking up goods and braided it together to make it thick enough and tie it around the bar on our squat rack.   I did the modified version of the rope climb, where I started lying on the ground and used my feet as a pivot point, keeping my body planked.   It was difficult, but about my skill level.  However, I could only do the two of three reps on my second round before I completely died in a heap and gave up.

• Box jump:  Okay, I couldn’t find a box that was appropriate so used the coffee table (our table is a very solid timber) to do this.  I started with the double jump, but found it too jarring, so did the step-up instead.   I finished the first round.   I did try to continue after the rope climb on the second round, did two steps and couldn’t keep going.

• Back extension:  Did this on the bed, like I said, with hubby holding my feet.   It seemed easy enough at first, but by about rep 15 my back started spasming.   It was okay though, as I got the 21 out and was beginning to feel pumped for the second round.    After bombing out on the rope and box jump though, the thought of even trying made me feel sick, so I didn’t.

• Walking lunge:  Unfortunately I chose to skip this exercise.  On round one I did about 5 steps, but my knee felt like it was going to pop out of the skin and collapse on me, and that was after I strapped it up.   I think I’m going to have to have a look into that.

So the end result?
1 3/4 rounds in 21 minutes and 18 second

Starting in Cross-fit

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Well, I am not entirely new to cross-fit or weight training, but it has been a while. The last few months I’ve been focusing on gymnastics and the last few weeks we’ve (my husband and I) added in rock climbing. Today, I’m starting the cross-fit component of my training of the masterpiece – my body.

I’ve gone and found crossfit.com, which gives me the work out of the day, with today’s being;

Three rounds for time of:
Knees to elbows, 21 reps
1 1/2 pood Kettlebell swing, 21 reps
Push-ups, 21 reps
Rope climb, 3 trips
20 inch Box jump, 21 reps
Back extension, 21 reps
Walking lunge, 150 ft

So,
• I can do the Knees to elbows – well a severely modified version (I have the equipment, it’s the skill that’s lacking).
• Had to look up what pood meant (it’s a measurement for kettle bells).  I am not sure if I could lift that much, so will start off with one of the smaller Kettle bells and work up from there.
• Push-ups will be modified, I know my level here as I’ve been doing them for a couple of weeks now.  I am not at full push-up stage, but have an inclined set up.
• I don’t have a rope – but might be able to find something to use for the modified rope stuff in the video (that can be found here)
• Back extension: Might have to do this on the bed with hubby holding my legs, as I can’t see anywhere else I have suitable.
• Should have no issue with the lunges, other than space – in which I’ll go and walk outside.

So…  this is the plan for this afternoon.  I’ll record my time and post it.   Wish me luck!

Stretches

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I’ve been trying to improve my flexibility and thought this was a good video for morning and evening stretches.  There’s only three to do, so shouldn’t be too much of an imposition.