Sunday, January 3, 2010

A recent injury has kept me off the Jiu Jitsu mats and condemned me to about a month without doing any real upper-body exercises in the gym. It also affected my lower body lifting because I was unable to support a bar across my back to do squats or in my hands to do deadlifts.

I hate to admit it, but I did engage in a few dreaded leg presses (Not a bad exercise per se, but a poor substitute for the high-bar ass-to-the-ground squats I typically engage in).

I'm well on my road to recovery. I'm reintegrating exercises into my routine as I become sufficiently healed to do so. That means I can do pull-ups and dips, but no bench press, no snatches, etc. I have replaced everything that's missing with a sort of paleolithic style of workout that I hope will allow me to keep gaining strength despite the holes in my typical routine.

Unfortunately, winter in New Jersey is not conducive to running around trails, swinging from tree limb to tree limb, swimming through rivers, and hopping on rocks MovNat style. Because of this, I have to do indoor versions of everything this time of year.

I've joined a new gym recently, and one of its 2 locations has a TreadWall. If you're not familiar, it's an apparatus that allows you to wall climb a continuous loop, sort of like a vertical treadmill with hand- and foot-holds. Your weight turns it, but there's a lever to adjust the resistance (labeled: speed) and another that regulates the angle of the wall, so you can alter the resistance. I am learning quickly that my grips fatigue first (even when I do a good job of keeping my weight on my feet), and this is forcing me to find other ways of using my hands and wrists to grab. While I welcome the grip work, I think that the compulsion to use my hands in other ways is going to benefit my in a lot of ways. I'll update everyone as to how this works out.

Next, I've increased my swimming from something I was using just as a lungs/diaphragm workout (hypoxic laps have been one of my secret workouts for most of a year now) to something I do for strength training. I'm trying to swim more interval-style than old-fashioned cardio style, but I'm taking it a little bit easy with the injury, so I'm not currently swimming with the intensity I'd like.

For my real high intensity intervals, I am using the new interval timer I got for Christmas along with the rowing machine to really get my heart rate up into the 180's or 190's. I love the rowing machine as a full body workout that incorporates an upper body pull (literally, the row), unlike many others. It's also one of those exercises where you can really push yourself and exert a lot of effort in a short period of time.

I'm still doing various squats, pull-ups, dips, cleans, and back extensions on a machine (to replace my romanian deadlifts) in addition to all this stuff. I will post soon when I have an idea how it's working out. I'm optimistic and hopeful, as it follows the paleo principle to some extent, and to a lesser extent, imitates some of the MovNat stuff.

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