Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rant #1 10.20.11

Sooo there's a Halloween Fair literally outside my window (as I live on the corner of the block) for the Police Station located 2 blocks away.
The Police Station came about not to long ago (maybe a or two year now) and I was glad because this meant that the next time we needed them, they might get here in time. The keyword is might.
Anyway, this is I believe their second (quite possibly third) annual for the Halloween Fair, and honestly I had no real problems with it, for they set up on a street that runs North/South a block west from me.
Traffic and commuting was a disaster, for they set up on a major street, but otherwise I didn't even notice it was there.

The problem this year, however, is that they've somewhat changed locations.
For example, let's say last year they were located on the intersection between street A and B. Street A runs north and south while Street B runs east and west. Last year, the fair encompassed approximately 3 blocks on street A, thereby only affecting street B at the intersection.
This year, they've decided to run the fair on street B. What this did is that now they were setting up outside my window, which the first street light east of street A on street B. I hope you're still following. If you're not, just get that they were setting up outside my window and that they had not the previous years.

The point is that they began setting up yesterday afternoon. At the time it was a mild surprise and amusement at the new location they had chosen, but I had nothing against it for the moment.
But came nightfall and the clanking sounds of machinery being set up. There was flashing lights everywhere and there was an incessant humming from every machine in sight.
To top it off a bunch of Latinos (not trying to be racist but this is true because of the fact that they were unmistakably speaking in Spanish), presumably the people setting up, were whistling and screaming for whatever reasons (possibly celebratory..but in celebration of what?) in the middle of the night. And it almost seemed like they were PURPOSELY throwing things on the ground, trying to cause a ruckus.

A thought came to contact the police about this disturbance, but I quickly came to the conclusion that the police might not appreciate me ranting to them about how the fair (that's supposed to be bringing them revenue) was ruining my night.
And to be honest, I have an irrational fear of being beat by the police. Ghetto mentality right there.
Anyway, this went on for many hours, but eventually the sleepiness won and I fell asleep.

I was awakened by a noise at around 2 30 in the morning. I tried to figure out what it was, but it wasn't coming from outside, for it looked like the lights of the machines were turned off and the set up crew was most likely in a drunken slumber.
I strained my ears to hear...snoring.
That's right, snoring.
The snoring was coming from downstairs, as I live on the second floor. Now this was peculiar because in all my years of living at this place, I have never heard a snore without having to press my ear against the carpet (don't ask why I had my ear against the carpet).
The people who had lived there had moved out a few months earlier and I was free to make all the noise I wanted, in which I did.
But this must have been some outrageous window shattering snore only matched by the snoring of a Snorlax while eating Leftovers.
The ridiculousness of it all kept me awake for another 30 minutes. But as I've proved in many a parties, I always knock out when I need my sleep.
Then I was awakened AGAIN at 4 30. This time, apparently, the TV was on downstairs at a blaring volume. Who watches TV that LOUD at 4 30 in the morning? What is there even to watch at that time?

I eventually fell back to sleep and I thought it was all over. Except it wasn't.
I was awakened AGAIN at around 6 45 (why 2 hour intervals, I don't know) by a bunch of kids walking to school, commenting on the rides that had been set up. Now if they were just commenting at a conversational volume it would have been fine. BUT, they happened to be screaming it to each other across the street. Yeah.

I went back to sleep only to be REAWAKENED by the TELEVISION AGAIN from downstairs. I looked at the clock and it was 7 35. I am not a happy camper.

I had stopped practicing handstands after the people moved in downstairs, but I think I might be starting it up again, just for them. (When I walk on my hands I tend to make a lot of noise).

Anyway, that would be the subject of my ranting (for the moment) but I'm sure there'll be more to come, for the Fair is here to stay for at least another few days. (That and I tend to rant about normal things in general.)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting Started

To get started, it typically helps to have some sort of motivation, whether it's to look better, feel better, improve health, prevent diseases, etc.
But the important thing is that this motivation has a basis on which you can develop a fitness lifestyle.
What I mean is that to be able to reach a certain level, you have to turn exercise into a habit and lifestyle, not a chore to be done.

If you enjoy your job, you'd love to go to work.
If you hate your job, you still have to go to work for the money, but you'll despise every moment of it.
Though not in that extreme I believe exercise is the same way. Although not all people have the intrinsic affinity towards exercise, I believe just THINKING about exercise in a positive light puts you in a favorable position to adhere to your workouts.

Anyway, as for actually getting started, it's always good to develop a solid base.
The Holy Trinity (push ups, pull ups, sit ups) is pretty much the foundation of upper body exercise. Therefore, it's only natural that you get these skills way up, otherwise you'll collapse if you try to move to harder exercises prematurely.
Would you take a Calculus class when you don't even know Algebra? Hopefully not, otherwise you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

So, if you don't know where to start, you should try to gauge your level based on the maximum repetitions you can perform from the Holy Trinity.
Here's a (very biased and subjective) standard I figure represents the population:

Push Ups:
0-10 = beginner.
11-20 = intermediate.
21-30 = higher intermediate
31-40 = advanced
41+ = good to go!

Pull Ups:
0-3 = beginner.
4-7 = intermediate.
8-13 = higher intermediate.
14-20 = advanced
21+ = good to go!

Sit Ups (note: these are sit ups, not crunches):
0-10 = beginner.
11-25 = intermediate.
26-40 = higher intermediate.
41-60 = advanced
61+ = good to go!

Assuming you're coming off a "never really exercised" basis with no weightlifting background, these exercises will be great in every way.
Definite strength gains, eventual visible results, and hopefully confidence in your ability to be able to move your body in a decisive and controlled manner.

So before you start thinking about impressive looking gymnastic skills and all that stuff it'd be a good idea to develop a solid base.
Not to say you should stop doing the skill progressions, just keep in mind to SUPPLEMENT them with these basic exercises to build the strength necessary to do them.
I think higher intermediate is where you want to be before you start doing crazy stuff like levers and certain multi-plane movements.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Home Back/Bicep Workout

So I guess I'll jump right into it and start with an exercise routine, since I have nothing to rant about (for the moment).

So to start I'm gonna mention that this is more of an advanced workout (there are probably tons of people who would find this easy, but they probably don't need to take exercise tips from me), but it can be tailored to your level (if necessary) via substitution.

On another note, my back has a bad habit of being the predominant muscle group that does the pulling motion, and since bicep isolation is difficult (using body weight with a few exceptions), I tend to try to burn out my back as much as possible before getting into pulling movements so that my biceps can take actually do some of the work.

1) Front lever hold (goal: 5 seconds), adv. tuck front lever pulls (to burn), straddle front lever hold (goal: 5 seconds) without rest
60-90 second rest
2) FL hold (goal: 4 seconds), adv. tuck FL pulls (to burn), straddle FL hold (goal: 4 seconds) w/o rest
60-90 second rest
3) FL hold (goal: 3 seconds), adv. tuck FL pulls (to burn), straddle FL hold (goal: 3 seconds) w/o rest

For these it's important to never drop your hips so that there is continuous strain on your shoulder and back.

2-3 minute rest

1) Side pull ups (from hang pull to right side, back to hang, then pull to left) 5 each side,
    Front lever ice cream makers (goal: 10 reps) w/o rest
repeat 3x w/60-90 rest in between

For these I'm gonna be nice and say dead hang isn't essential, but make sure to squeeze at the top.

2-3 minute rest

1) High wide grip chin ups (chest to bar) 10 reps, high regular chin ups 10 reps, rotating curls 10 reps on each arm (light weight) w/o rest
60-90 second rest
2) Wide grip chin ups 10 reps, high regular chin ups 10 reps, hammer curls 10 reps each arm
60-90 second rest
3) Wide grip chin ups 10 reps, chin ups 10 reps, rotating curls 5 reps, hammer curls 5 reps each arm

With the high chin ups make sure you're not kipping, otherwise you're taking away the work your biceps are doing. Your back is SUPPOSED to feel bloated and helpless so that your biceps can do the work.


That would constitute my home back/bicep workout, it's really time-efficient and builds on front lever training.

Any questions or comments would be appreciated, happy exercising!

PS: To those of you saying using dumbbells isn't "bodyweight," you can substitute the curls by doing bodyweight rows using gymnastic rings/resistance band or a long stick held against a doorway.