The 4 pull up challenge

There is no perfect plan. Each fits the bill for a situation.

This plan aims to build stamina and healthy connective tissue and joints.

Do this once each morning and don’t confine yourself to pull ups.

We begin with doing 4 pull ups where we inhale on the upwards motion and exhale on the downward motion.

Next we progress to talking a full relaxed inhale and an exhale on both the upward and downward parts of each motion.

Now we add an inhale and an exhale to each part of the motion once we feel comfortable with the current pace and add a few breaths in between if need be. Mind to count the rest breaths if needed and keep them consistent or lowering in numbers.

Once you can do 4 consecutive pull ups with 10 relaxed breaths going up and the same going down, you will have a better foundation of connective tissue and lasting strength in your upper body and again, do this in the appropriate numbers for other movements such as the squat, pushup and the bridge.

Building a strong balanced back

A strong back will help you through life but a balanced one will keep you healthy as well. There is a strong tendency to strengthen the contracting muscles and a neglect of the erecting ones.

Your work must reflect where you are instead of where you want to be.

Movements:

  1. Lie on your stomach and inhale, as you inhale bring one leg from the hip upwards and relax on the exhale. Repeat for both legs several times.
  2. Lie on your stomach and inhale, as you inhale bring both legs together from the hips upwards and relax on the exhale. Repeat  several times.
  3. Lie on your stomach with your arms in Superman position and inhale, as you inhale bring one arm upwards and relax on the exhale. Repeat for both arms several times.
  4. Lie on your stomach with your arms in Superman position and inhale, as you inhale bring both arms upwards and relax on the exhale. Repeat  several times.
  5. Lie on your stomach with your arms in Superman position and inhale, as you inhale bring both arms and legs upwards and relax on the exhale. Repeat several times.
  6. Repeat the previous movement and hold for a growing number of breaths for each hold. It’s all right to time yourself by singing the national anthem or a blues song.
  7. Repeat the previous hold but use your breath and torso muscles to turn belly to back and forth with all limbs in the air.
  8. Stand on stable ground and a step away from the wall. Place your hands on your head and lean on the wall keeping your body straight. A mirror or a frank friend will help in this. Time yourself by breaths.

Have fun

Notes from Class: Save your back

We break weather we overload our spine or if we completely avoid loading it. Being smart about it will keep us both able and mobile. Let’s start.

Make your breath the regulator of beginning and end. The tempo setter.

  1. Stand a step away from the wall and place the top of your head on it with your palms between your top and wall. Relax slightly and walk turning right and left letting your cervical spine release tension and build strength.
  2. Stand a step away from the wall and place both hands or fists on the wall overhead. Release one fist and opposing foot and rotate the body to one side and the other and then repeat with the other fist and foot. Allow the spine to lightly twist and unwind.
  3. Stand a step away from the wall and with your side to the wall. Raise your arm that is further from the wall overhead and arch your spine upwards and toward the wall. Once you touch the wall, press against it from your feet and return to the start. Repeat to each side.
  4. Place your back on the ground and your legs folded together with your ankles close to your behind. Raise your hips in a circle in one way and then the other. Make sure you allow your lower back to relax to the ground each time and initiate the movement from the breath and at the same time the back and the legs.
  5. Place yourself on one fist and both feet. Bend at the hips till you create a straight line with your upper body and arm and back down. Change arms and repeat. Focus on moving smoothly under control and balancing.
  6. Place yourself on your fists and toes facing downward. Bring your ground contact points to the sides of your body and slide from side to side parallel to the ground and close to it.
  7. Place yourself on your fists and toes facing upwards. Bring your contact points in alignment with your spine and slide forward and back side parallel to the ground and close to it.
  8. Place yourself on your fists and toes facing downward. Bring one arm and opposing leg in the air and arch them to meet over your back. Repeat for both sides. Allow the neck to move with the movement of the rest of the spine.
  9. Place yourself on your feet in a squat. Release one knee forward and opposing behind backwards and roll back into a shoulders stand without placing yourself on your spine. Rock back with your breath to your feet and repeat to the other side.
  10. Place yourself on your knees and shins. Rock forward and transfer your mass to your fists and advance yourself a step. Repeat and let the breath distribute the tension in your body evenly.
  11. Place yourself on your feet in a squat. Lean backwards and rest yourself smoothly on one fist and then both. Advance one step and repeat.

It is easier to help yourself and others when you are well.

Move under pressure – wisely

Here are ten suggestion to increase the pressure we place on ourselves while working on our health and ability.

Principle – example:

  1. Height – raise your legs to differnet heights as you do push ups.
  2. Stability – Do push ups on two hanging ropes.
  3. Surface – Walk on your fists and feet outside and choose your placing wisely.
  4. Speed– Slow down or speed up your sit ups and leg raises to spend more time on the movement and give your mind more time to understand how you move.
  5. Breath – Dictate how many breaths you have per movement or give yourself no breath at all to perform a task.
  6. Sight – Close your eyes and do one legged squats.
  7. Position – Place your fists/hands in different angles as you do push ups.
  8. Tension – Keep your arms tense as you climb a rope.
  9. Tempo – Set a time and perform differnet counts of a movement during it.
  10. Movement – Change the movement itself. Do a turkish get up without placing a hand on the ground, do a snatch with the KB on the side of the hip.

There is endless variation. Be free in your mind first and enjoy each day of movement.

Do not take things for granted. Learn something by making small changes every time.

Fist ups

Let’s have some practical fun while gaining deeper awareness health and ability.

 

  1. Stand and have a partner place a fist on your stomach. Exhale and relax your frame to drape over the fist and rise up with your inhale. Repeat while reversing your breath and for different angles and locations on your front.
  2. Stand and turn your back to your partner. Repeat the drill you worked on your front and release your horizon perception so your body does not go into a tension isolation over a fixed plane (don’t try to imitate an ostrich or a European politician)
  3. Stand with your side to your partner and repeat the drill.
  4. Have your partner lie down and repeat the drill starting on all four limbs facing down and then facing up.
  5. Have your partner walk around you and push their fists into you. Use the breath phase you are in to release your frame and bounce back to push the fist out and away. Focus on moving from your hips and shoulders and directing the fist out in different directions. This will develop the inner awareness to movement generation and manifest in every movement you make.

 

Note. You can do most of the work by yourself with a sturdy stick and a corner to anchor one side of the stick. Make sure you work gradually and avoid  harming yourself.

Notes from class – Invisible in plain sight

Freedom is very tangible. You feel it, you see it, you know it. It is also one of the easiest qualities to loose by pursuing a moment of it which already lies in the past.

Here are three methods to preserve ourselves from pursuing freedom and thus attaining it.

  1. The invisible touch – Touch hands or feet  with a partner and have them push and pull and twist on you. Maintain the contact but allow no force to travel through it by moving your body, limbs and maintaining relaxed eyes.  Continue up the limbs to the hips and shoulders with this work and then go body on body until you are free to move within any movement. To further work this understanding of self, tense your body in different ways and learn to move within your tension.
  2. The invisible frame – Start three paces from each other and have one advance on the other. Work to maintain the appearance of your frame for the partner by moving your mass, your tension and parts of you to allow them to sink into your frame without any substance in it. Slowly close the distance from three paces to one and engage each other at the same time. Remember your eyes hold both your and your partners frames and alignment. Do not stick to a plan but let the situation blossom with your participation.
  3. The invisible blade – lie down on your back and breath continuously. Let the feeling of this never-ending movement spread through your body and limbs. Close your eyes and have a partner press first the flat of a blade to your body. Feel the pressure and and press back with your entire body. Cover the entire body with this work and continue to the end of the handle repeating the work on a point surface. Continue to placing the blade on the body and breathing where the breath does not increase the tension against the blade. Continue to placing the tip of the blade on the body and breathing where the breath does not increase the tension against the blade. Continue to lightly pressing the blade to the body and moving with the contact and then with the tip of the blade. Continue to cover the work so far with your eyes closed, standing against a wall and then finally open your eyes and repeat the touch and frame work with the blade and finally with several partners and blades.

I do not believe in wasting space. Not with excess movement or words. Some things are always worth saying though. Those are of kindness and of honesty. Be honest and kind in your practice. Both may preserve you and your spirit onward.

Three methods of hand/wrist work

In this piece we will explore three methods of hand work for a more capable and healthy hand and wrist.

Wall work

  1. Stand a step away from a wall and place the flats of your fingers on the wall. Press your body gradually to the wall with increasing activation in the hand and wrist to maintain the shape and gradually release the tension. Work this in different angles and distances from the wall.
  2. Stand a step or two away from the wall and place your hands on it. Lean slightly on the wall and with combined body and wrist work, rotate your hands around the forearms.  Vary the work in the same manner.
  3. Stand an arm length away from the wall and place both hands on it. Walk side to side with a slight lean forward and then the same while facing away from the wall with arms both over and under head. Progress to walking down and up the wall in the same way with varying in the regular method.
  4. Stand or sit a step away from the wall and place your hand on it. Lean on it and under this pressure, close and open your hand in various angles. Make sure your eyes and breath are free to move and continue to function.
  5. Stand a step away from the wall and place the back of your palms on the wall. Walk on the wall on the back of your palms and then on your fists and lastly using your fingers acting as spiders. Remember to breathe and keep your spine free to shape itself to the needs of the movement.

Rope work

  1. Take a long towel and place a  light soft wight in the middle ( a sack with some sand or a water sack). Fold the towel over the wight and secure it with strand. Now hold the ends in one or two hands and start rotating it around you in the air. You will learn to vary the resistance by angle and speed and learn to coordinate better while creating healthy tissue.
  2. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam and stand while holding onto the rope at various heights. gradually move the wight to the rope by using your arms and body and return to the ground in the same graduation.
  3. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam (a rope can be made of 550 cord and a towel with a bit of thought) sit under it and with some help from your lower body, climb up and down the rope in sync with your breath.
  4. Stand by your hanging rope and climb up and down the rope once facing the ground and once facing away from the ground. Remember to release tension from your back and hips by letting them move freely.
  5. stand a step away from the rope and fall forward. Catch the rope on the way down and swing your way back into a standing position. Breathe continuously.

Stick work

  1. Take a stick ( a shovel handle works well) and hold it in the middle. Rotate it in your hand so both ends swing in circles and hold it in various angles to the body and at various heights. The more you are acquainted with working dynamic angles, the better your inner map of self will be.
  2. hold a stick in one hand at its end with your hand relaxed at your side and slowly move it up and down. Breathe continuously and slowly draw circles in the air and work to use the least amount of tension and your best form to move the changing resistance. Your can load the end of the stick with a hammer head or heavy rope. Stay light and work on control before tension.
  3. Hold the stick at both ends. Tense arm against arm in different directions and twists through the stick and make sure you are tension only the parts you want to use. Move the stick overhead and place it on the flat of your back and vary the drill further by placing your hands on various locations on  the stick.
  4. lie on the ground and hold the stick at one end and further on the length. Place the free end on the ground and drag your body in various directions while maintaining a relaxed face and body.
  5. Take a heavy object suck as a rucksack or rock and hold the stick with both hands. Breathe and work to move the heavy object around using just the free tip of the stick and with the least amount of tension in your body. You can also do this with a partner laying down and relaxing and learn further about tension and appearance.

The least amount of pull ups you can do

The drill is simple. The lesson is too. The reward is awareness and long time health.

Let us take the pull up as an example. Take a time frame such as a minute or two and try to do two things:

  1. Keep in movement during the entire time frame.
  2. Move as slowly as you can.

This drill is trying to most when choosing the pull up but you can build up to it over a duration. Keep in your mind that it is the hunter that returns home which feeds his family. Not the fastest runner.

Solo Tension and Pain Understanding and release using wall and balls

In this video we show a few variation and a way of exploring and using the tension and pain input in order to understand it as a symptom and live a better healthier life. We are using balls of different density and a wall and a angle in the wall to do this. No purchase is needed, just attention

Stand and slowly lift both legs off the ground and bring them to your body. This sounds ludicrous but consider if you relate to just your body in movement what freedom you have. Try this slowly with every breath shortening the distance between your feet and hips and you will be able to squat with almost no tension. The same goes for the rest of the basics movements and rolling. Think of what you are supported by and remove it and see what you can do without supporting yourself (tension) against it. The same can be done with a person pushing you. Avoid reacting to him or her and simply do what seems logical in that moment. Breath relax and move naturally.