Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 334 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Walk outside
Mobility wth 12k kettlebell

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 45, 80, 90, 105lbs
Axle Deadlift - 5 x 115, 140, 150lbs

Yesterday's yoga class left a strong impression. I struggled to do the bare minimum today. It hurts to move.

I did enjoy taking the squat weight off a rack, instead of cleaning it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 333 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Yoga in the morning and it is hot outside

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 85, 100; 12 x 110lbs
One Arm Row - 3 x 10/10 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 8 x 16k

It was a real treat to lift off the squat stands for bench, instead of cleaning the bar and sitting back with it. I am enjoying the new toy. My shoulder was a clicking a little on bench, but I got through it with no pain.

The additional stress from yoga this morning made things a little harder. I cannot lift on Wednesday, so I decided today was the time to double up my workouts. Tuesday would be the other option, but squatting and doing yoga on the same day is miserable.

Day 333 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga went well today. The improved vinyasa transitions were significantly easier than on Friday. My breathing was better. I still gassed out, but not as quickly. I got a deep stretch on extended side angle, which contributed to getting extra deep on half pigeon. I was a wreck the end of class. I just sat on my mat dazed for a good 5-10 minutes.

I have been looking at Baron Baptiste's books. This morning I recognized that the second half of the "warm up" portion of our class is actually his Sun A and Sub B series strung together. Knowing that will make sequencing on my own a little easier.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 332 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Move squat stands to the basement
Mobility with 12k kettlebell

Deadlift - 5 x 45, 135, 180, 210; 6 x 235lbs
Overhead Squat - 10 x Hollow Bar, 45, 55, 65lbs

I was tired, but I made my reps.

Friday I bought some top of the line squat stands off of craigslist. I picked up three sets for a little more than what one set costs new. The seller was motivated, so with a little patience, I think I can recoup my cost selling just two of the sets.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 331 of 365 - Yoga

Class this morning was rough. I learned a lot yesterday, and I tried to incorporate it all. By halfway through, I was gassed out. I actually sat out the pyramid sequence in child's pose. It was that or get sick on my mat. With all the changes, it almost feels like I am starting all over again.

I will be sore tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 330 of 365 - Overhead Press

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 75, 85; 6 x 100lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 7/7 x 20k
Grippers - 5 x IM#T; 3 x 7/7 x IM#1

It was a long, hot day. I opted to skip my warm up. Had I done the session first thing in the morning, I probably would have got 7 or 8 reps on the heavy set of presses. As it was, I am happy to have done 6.

Day 330 of 365 - Yoga

My yoga lesson was this morning. I still have a lot of work to do on the fundamentals. The teacher says she could spend an hour on a single pose. I believe it. My takeaways:



1. The 10 minute segments I identified were largely correct, but I missed a higher level pattern. The class ascends to a climax with twists just before the 30 minute mark, and then descends back down starting at the 30 minute mark, with balances. I should think about it like:


a. Warm Up

b. Flow

c. Lunges, All 4's, Twists



e. Balances, Face the wall,

f. Prone, Supine, Abs, Lying twist

g. Hip Opener, Inversion and Shavasana

2. The length of time poses are held is to facilitate this trip up and down. Gradually shorter holds (all the way down to one pose per breath) are used to climb the intensity curve. Longer holds are used build the early climb and the descent.


3. Twisting at the peak of the physical intensity is very intentional.


4. The crescent lunge twist comes first in the sequence, before the utkatasana twist


5. Supta baddha konasana after bridges is primarily a chance for the class to rest and get instruction. If I am physically ready to keep going, I can skip it.


6. The same is true for the prone laying just after the "face the wall" sequence. That one releases tight muscles in my neck that give my shoulder problems though, so I'll keep it in.


7. If backing off on intensity a little will let me align my breathing with my movement, I should do it. Otherwise, I am missing the calming part of the moving meditation.



1. Owning a pose is not about imitating what other people look like, but learning to feel the pose. It is really hard for me to "feel" a pose on my own, without someone adjusting me into that feeling a few times. We did this on a couple poses, and I am going to take a class tomorrow in an effort to memorize those feelings before they fade. This is not intuitive to me, at all. It is probably the most important lesson from the morning.


2. Down dog

2.1 Focus on spreading my fingers and widening my hand position to the edge of my mat.

2.2 Moving my feet closer to my hands so they will go flat on the floor is not the goal. Having the heels off the floor provides space to move deeper into the movement.

2.3 More importantly, I have the habit of supporting my weight with my upper traps. This prevents me from relaxing into a stretch for my lats and upper/mid back. With coaching, I was able to feel the opening in my upper body. I need to remember that and move into it. I think it will help with the upper cross syndrome I am prone to from sitting all day. The teacher says my posture is less forward than it was when I started, so it is quite possible I did not have the range of motion to down dog like this at the start.


3. Vinyasa Transition - Low Plank to Up Dog


3.1 If I am going to separate pointing my feet and the press up, I should move the feet first. This puts me part way into up dog with little effort.


3.2 I am still shrugging my shoulders towards my ears as I descend from high plank. This puts my shoulder in an impingement prone position when I am ready to press up from low plank. Learning to tuck my arms into my sides during chatarunga will help this, but I lack strength in that position. I may need to do some work from my knees to build it.


3.3 Letting my weight drop all the way to the floor before going into up dog (my current approach) adds a lot of extra work. I can conserve energy by learning this transition better.


4. Vinyasa Transition - Up Dog to Down Dog


4.1. Don't pop from up dog to down dog. It misses the physical point of the transition


4.2. The reason people are able to "roll" over their toes is because a proper transition uses the core to transfer weight to their upper body. Relatively little weight is on the legs.


4.3 Almost all of my weight has been on my legs during this transition. I need to stop doing that. The cracked nails on my big toes are the sign of a movement problem, not just something I need to tough out.


5. Vinyasa Transition – Floating


5.1 It is reasonable for me to try floating forward, even though I cannot land between my hands yet


5.2 Fixing my hand spacing on down dog will help with creating space to land in


5.3 Learning to engage my core for down dog will help to control the landing


5.4 Otherwise it just needs to come with time. Until I have the hang of floating forward, I should not worry about floating backwards. That is more likely to lead to injury.


6. Opening on Twists


6.1 Hooking the elbow does not just mean "get enough of your elbow on your knee that you have leverage". It means getting the arm pressed against the side of the knee.


6.2 Until I can fully hook my elbow, there is no reason to focus on opening my arms. I'll probably end up cheating the twist if I open without a proper hook.


6.3 Doing a proper twist without being fully warmed up can be sickening

7. Half Moon - the point of the pose is feel opening of the body, so I should go for the bind, even if my unbound form is not perfect.


8. Extended Side Angle


8.1 The knee should be positioned plumb over the ankle. When I am ready for a wider pose, I need to move my back foot, not lunge forward


8.2 My arm is on my leg to press on the inside of my thigh and open my hips, not to support the weight of my upper body so I can rest. Whoops. The pose feels much different doing this. It is a huge hip opener.


8.3 Once I learn this new feeling, then I can put my hand to the floor, but I should still be using my arm to push my hips open. A block can help here.



Learning physical skills is really hard for me. I am glad I lucked into finding a good instructor and have enough sense to take advantage of the opportunity. There is still a lot to learn (I only asked 2/3's of my questions), but I believe it is worth the effort. The postural problems sitting all day introduces are gradually reducing. Yoga is likely to become a lifelong habit for me.


I suspect if I can get the breathing down for a moving meditation, I will experience more of a mental health benefit. At the very least, I enjoy learning something new and having a reason to get out of the house. Practice calming myself while at my physical limits seems worthwhile. It is going to take a long time before I understand the full mental impact.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 329 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga this morning. I was able to open my arms on the twist during crescent lunge. The teacher skipped our "rest" poses during the middle of class, but I managed to keep up anyway. We attempted revolved half moon, did power chair, hero and did a single legged squatting hip opener. Those are all infrequent movements, not usually done in class. That's what giving up the rest gets, I guess.

The teacher was doing yoga with us, and I think that was a significant factor in class getting switched up. At one point, she was doing a headstand and fell, but landed in wheel. I have a long way to go...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 328 of 365 - Front Squat

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 45, 65, 75lbs
Axle Deadlift - 5 x 85, 105, 125lbs

Last workout of deload week. Back to the hard stuff on Thursday. Yoga tomorrow morning.

Making hummus was a total failure. It turns out what I imagined making it involves, and what it actually involves are very different. The big misses were:

1. The macro nutrient ratios of my preferred hummus make it something that does not fit well into the higher protein diet I try to eat. I opted to combine the ingredients in a way that was higher protein and lower fat. Fat makes hummus creamy.

2. Most hummus recipes call for use of a food processor or blender to make it smooth. I hate loud noises, so I opted to use a fork. Some of them suggest peeling the skins of the beans. No way I am spending my time popping bean skins.

My goal was to figure out a hummus recipe that would become a staple part of my diet. Instead I have a tub of stiff, chunky lemon flavored bean mash. It is gross. There are more rewarding things to focus my time and energy on, so I give up on making hummus.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 327 of 365 - Bench Press

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 65, 75lbs
One Arm Row - 3 x 4/4 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 4 x 24k

Twenty minutes and done. Deload week rules.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 326 of 365 - Yoga

The morning yoga class went well. I expect to keep up with class the entire time now. It is hard, but that's kind of the point. I might have made some small improvements, but I do not remember any of them specifically. I am looking forward to Thursday's lesson.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 325 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up

Deadlift - 5 x 45, 135, 135, 160lbs
Overhead Squat - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 45, 45lbs

Just getting my deload week work in. Nothing strenuous.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 324 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Nah, it's deload week.

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 65, 65lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 4/4 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 4/4 x #1

Quick and easy. Even so, it was nice to use the weights after so much yoga.
I am going to try making hummus this weekend. I have dry chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemons, and garlic. I just need to cook the chick peas, juice some lemons and figure out the ratios for mixing everything together.

Day 324 of 365 - Yoga

I dragged myself out of bed for the 7:15 class. Including me, there were only 3 students, so the teacher did yoga with us. I was pleased. I appreciate the chance to see how she does what she says and experience the influence her participation has on the sequencing.

The pace of class was a little lower key today, and I welcomed it. I was able to keep up the entire time. I tried opening my arms on the twists, but otherwise did nothing new. My ankles were clearly tired from doing yoga on my own earlier this week.

Having tried the yoga on my own, I had much better perspective to pick up on the patterns in the class. There were a few things I just missed when I made up my 10 minute segments. I'll clean those up for next time I do yoga on my own. I also found it far easier to anticipate where the teacher was going.

I think I realized a key element of why the class sequences are always so seamless. Each move has a small set of moves you can enter or exit it with. Once those are memorized, it's just a matter of picking the moves for the day and linking them together. I suspect an experienced teacher thinks a few moves ahead, and that is what creates the sense of fluidity.

I already have a list of the moves. I am going track how they link. Then I can use the links to diagram how the moves relate and use that to plan my sequencing. In the process, I'll memorize the relationships and be able to use them for improvisation. I doubt sequencing is presented to yoga instructors like this (reducing the physical practice to traversal of a flowchart doesn't seem in the spirit of yoga), but I think it will work fantastically well for me. It should also improve my ability to predict what the teacher is going to call out in class, making it easier to keep up.

I better search for a baptiste yoga flow chart before I start. I know what I'm doing this weekend

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 322 of 365 - Yoga

I did another hour yoga session on my own. Yoga 3 days in a row is a little much, but I wanted to play around more. It helps that the intensity is a little lower without someone pushing me along. I gave the transition between low plank and up dog a few more tries, but I still cannot do it correctly. I think it is unlikely upper body strength is holding me back (most of the women in my class do it easily), so I need to figure out what the form problem is. Hopefully I can work it out with my teacher during the Thursday lesson.

Otherwise, I was just happy I found the motivation to do this again. My schedule will allow me to return to normal classes pretty soon. If I get to bed early enough on Thursday, I'll attend the Friday 7:15am class.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 321 of 365 - Yoga

I did yoga on my own, for an entire hour. I planned what I would do ahead of time, basing it on the structure I inferred from classes at the studio. From what I can tell, the teacher breaks classes into 6 segments, each about 10 minutes long:

1. Warm Up
2. Flow
3. Lunges, All 4's, Twists
4. Face the wall, Balances
5. Prone, Supine, Abs
6. Hip Opener, Inversion and Cool down

While I had a high level structure, I did find my sequencing was far from seamless. I might know what happens, but I do not know how to string it all together and create a fluid series of movements. I also found that without someone pushing the pace, I hold each pose significantly longer, resulting in fewer total moves.

Overall though, I managed to break a good sweat and loosen up. The big upside of leading my own practice was controlling how long I spent in a given pose. I could linger on something that felt especially worthwhile, or even spend more time on one side if it was considerably tighter than the other.

I am far from doing yoga by myself on a regular basis, but it will get rotated in a few times a month. Now that I have a framework to build upon, I expect my ability to sequence will rapidly improve. I was having trouble memorizing the entire class, but chunking it into 10 minute segments will make remembering what happens much easier.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 320 of 365 - Yoga

I went to yoga tonight, figuring it would either make my back much better or much worse. As luck would have it, yoga relieved all but the faintest hint of the cramping. Maybe I should have gone on Sunday morning after all.

We had a sub teacher, and I found myself sweating a little less. That contributed to me getting a partial wheel at the end of the class. My hands and feet were the only things touching the mat, but my arms were not locked out, and I had to balance on my head at first to get into position.

I cannot go to yoga until Friday at the earliest, so I am going to try yoga on my own tomorrow or Wednesday. Heck, maybe I'll do it both days.

Day 320 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 45, 90; 3 x 100; 5 x 110lbs
DO Axle Deadlift - 5 x 140, 160, 180lbs

I slept on the couch last night due to the muscle cramps in my mid-back. They were a little better this morning, so I decided to ignore them and lift anyway. I may have had a few more reps in my heavy set of squats, but opted not to push things.

This was my last workout before deload week. Time to take things easy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 319 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 95; 3 x 105; 12 x 120lbs
One Arm Row - 3 x 5/5 x 28k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 3/3 x 24k

Muscle cramps in my mid-back made it really hard to sleep last night. I finally got enough hours in, but missed yoga. I was not sure doing yoga with the muscle cramps was a good idea anyway. They hurt the worst when I breathe deeply, which is kind of what yoga is about.

Lifting did not make the cramps any worse, and it gave me something distracting to do, so I opted to get my reps in. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 318 of 365 - Deadlift

Warm Up
Walk around all morning
Foam roller briefly

Deadlift - 5 x 132, 200; 3 x 225, 255lbs
Overhead Squat - 5 x BW, hollow bar, 55, 65, 75lbs

I was short on time on my mid-back was cramped up. I opted to get this one in, but keep it as short as possible. The muscle cramps did not seem to impact my strength. I am not sure what is going on with them.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 317 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell
Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 85; 3 x 95; 4 x 105lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 4/4 x 24k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 1/1 x BBM

Got my reps.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 316 of 365 - Yoga

Tonight's class went well. Everything is so much easier now that the instructor is using the air conditioning. I tried to work in a fluid transition between low plank and up dog, but I realize I have no idea how. I need to get list of questions together for my lesson on the 26th.

I plan on trying to do yoga without a class next Tuesday night. It will be interesting. I am trying really hard to memorize the class sequences now

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 315 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 45lbs; 3 x 80, 95; 6 x 105lbs
Axle Deadlift - 8 x 125, 150lbs; 6 x 170lbs

Watched a movie and got my reps in. That's about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 314 of 365 - Yoga

I went to class even though I was tired. The person next to me was awesome at yoga. It made staying focused a little harder.

Day 314 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Walk outside for 20 minutes
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 3 x 45, 90, 100lbs; 12 x 115lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 10/10 x 24k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 6 x 20k's

Bench was a little hard. The accessory work was harder. I am wore out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 312 of 365 - Deadlift

Deadlift - 5 x 132; 3 x 185, 215, 240lbs
Overhead Squat - 5 x BW, hollow bar; 8 x 50, 60lbs; 6 x 70lbs

Following morning yoga with afternoon deadlifts did not go very well. I was warmed up for sure, but yoga takes a lot out of me. It was all I could do to get my reps.

Day 312 of 365 - Yoga

Class went well today, probably one of my best classes yet. The small increments of progress continue. I signed up for a private lesson at the end of the month. I am going to try to learn the vinyasa transitions and improve my balances.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 310 of 365 - Overhead Press

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 3 x 80, 90; 6 x 100lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 6/6 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 4/4 x BBSA

Given the heat and yoga this morning, I opted to skip a warm up. Yoga impacted my pressing for sure.


Day 310 of 365 - Yoga

Since I did not want to attend yoga two days in a row, I went to this morning's 7:15am class, instead of last night's 6:30pm class. I am pretty sore from lifting on Wednesday evening. It made yoga class a lot harder. I think the benefits are still there though. I tried one of the wider towels I picked up last weekend. It worked well for keeping my hands from slipping.

Assuming I stay in good spirits despite the heat, I'll lift this evening. Doing yoga and weights on the same day is a little rough. I am looking forward to resuming my normal schedule tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 308 of 365 - Front Squat

Warm Up
Mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squat - 5 x BW, 45, 75, 90; 10 x 100lbs
Axle Deadlift - 10 x 105, 125, 150lbs

Took it easy on my warmup, given this morning's yoga. I fit a nap in today, so I was fairly fresh going into this one. My hard set went well.

I spent a good part of the day reading on pressure cooking. The stew and brown rice I made on monday turned out decent enough, but I think I can do better after my reading. The biggest barrier to improvement is that I only bulk cook once a week.

Day 308 of 365 - Yoga

I attended the 7:15 class this morning, since I skipped last night's class to eat out... The owner of the studio was finally back and the class went really well. She has started running the air to keep the studio around 80 degrees. Between that and my new shirt, I went the entire hour without overheating. I was sucking wind, no doubt, but I participated the entire time.

My only real goal for yoga is "be able to participate". It is great to finally see it happening. I do think the instructor slowed the class down a little based on who was there, but I am just fine with that. I had fun.

I plan to lift this evening, so my schedule stays on track.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 306 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Foam roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Bench Press - 5 x 80, 95; 12 x 105lbs
One Arm Rows - 3 x 10/10 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 3 x 8 x 16k's

The elliptical remains unappealing. I was tired and had a headache for this one.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 305 of 365 - Yoga

Today was my first class in a sleeveless shirt. I finally bought some last week. It helped with the heat, a lot. I was able to participate the entire class without stopping, even though it was a very flow intensive class. I bought 9 of them, so my classes will be cooler from now on.

This morning I used the Kohl's cash my purchase generated to get three 16" x 18" towels for the front of my mat, so I don't slip. The rags the studio provides work ok, but force my hands in more narrow than I'd like for down dog. I think these will be a nice addition to the experience.

My shorts still have a lot of room for improvement, but I am taking things one step at a time. After dropping $60 on yoga stuff the past month, it's time to just focus on actually doing yoga. Class actually went well. The instructor had us transition from dancers into bound half moon. I did alright, until I let go of the bind and fell over. Whoops

The normal instructor is back on Tuesday, after two weeks of subs. I am interested to see if all the switching things has improved how I handle her sequencing.