Been following Seth Godin for some time now and after listening to his podcast, Akimbo, I decided to pull the trigger on The Bootstrapper’s Workshop today. I’ve been finding myself trying to bring what seem to be two very contrasting worlds, my development freelancing and coaching movement, together to move towards what I believe to be my higher purpose. Excited to see who I meet in this course and the breakthroughs that may occur. This in conjunction with my mentorship from Carl Paoli will be my 1, 2 punch into greatness this year. That’s the plan at least. Looking forward to sharing more of the journey with you all. Please feel free to ask me any questions and if you are part of the cohort, let me know!
Starting up my journey to the one arm handstand with the instruction and guidance of Adrian McCavitt. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I’m super pumped about focusing in on this discipline and practicing daily. The current focus will be on achieving a one arm handstand, aka the road to one arm, aka the road to nowhere. I will be using this time to document my experience in the hopes of providing some insight into my own practice while helping those who are on the journey as well. Practice tips and anatomy will also be explored. Here are some takeaways and practice videos from my first day of documenting this one arm practice.
Here’s a few clips from last nights practice before a red eye flight back to Miami. Trying to understand positions and feeling things out before I start my programming with @adrian_mccavitt on the road to one arm, aka road to nowhere. Excited to see where this goes and sharing the ups and downs of it all. .
Also, I will be dedicating some time each day to learn more about a subject I seriously lack in: Anatomy. Today I am learning about the anterior deltoid and it’s relationship to the handstand. In my research and if I understood correctly, initiating external rotation of the shoulder while pushing the shoulder close to the ear will help fire the anterior deltoid. Transferring weight of the legs for one arm balance will require increased tension in the anterior deltoid to achieve the stability needed in the balancing shoulder. The anterior deltoid allows us to flex the arm at the (glenohumeral) shoulder joint (think arms by your side and bringing them up towards the sky, directly in front of you), medially rotates the arm at the (glenohumeral) shoulder joint (think rotating your shoulder inward to show someone your triceps) and abduct the arm at the (glenohumeral) shoulder joint (think of having your arm by your side and raising it to the side as if you were to flap your wings and fly away). @hippoparthamus you can call me out if I’m totally off 😉
Thoughts on this? Do you practice any specific exercises that target the anterior deltoid that you would like to share?
If you want someone to participate, give them all the tools and resources you can to enable them to get started. Don’t make them solve riddles. People who value their time don’t want to play your game unless you make clear the value that’s offered and the rules to get started. Another way to frame participation is with that not-so-dirty word that starts with an ‘s’; selling. Getting people to participate, aka buy in, is nothing else but selling. I was inspired to talk about this after someone message me on Instagram asking me to participate in a challenge. Besides being in another language, I couldn’t make clear what he was asking of me so I asked him to expand and provide some details for me. He responded with something not quite comprehend-able so I asked to explain further and then he told me I would know when I know. Nope! Sorry dude, you lost me. I choose not to waste time trying to decipher your Davinci code so I can THEN participate in something that seems likely to only benefit you. This is how some of your customers feels if you aren’t laying it out for them. Give them the resources. Make it as easy as possible for them to engage and become a part of the process. Make it worth their while. Provide the value. Then make the ask. Be Batman and reach for your tool belt and then give selflessly. Don’t be the Riddler.
When I’m traveling, I frequently get this question; “How do you have the time to practice for 1-2 hours a day.” This question is usually accompanied with some stories around the reasons why that individual is unable to start exercising or moving due to some self imposed limitations. I understand where these ideas come into play for myself and others and travel has helped me better understand their perspective while also knowing that these are still, merely, self imposed. There is always a solution to this inability to move and here are some ways I have changed the narrative of my own story as I travel.
There is always time
As I write this, I am on a flight to Puerto Rico from Miami. My layover in Miami was 40 minutes long. What did I do during that time? I worked on progressions for the stalder press and got in 3 successful sets. I didn’t concern myself with shitty airport food or mindless entertainment, being slouched over in the chair, scrolling through social media like almost everyone else. I didn’t concern myself with the looks I might get for practicing where few will dare to expose themselves (This has taken several airport visits for me to get comfortable with practicing, and failing, when many are watching. ps. Headphones work great to put you in your own world ;). I went immediately to my gate, put my headphones in and got to work. I am not some especially disciplined individual either. I am not special. We all have this time throughout our days to practice a new skill or simply, move our bodies and articulate and explore old and new possibilities within the flesh.
If dedicating a portion of time from your day to practice, let’s say one hour, is a no go for you, perhaps this ‘Greasing the Groove‘ approach may work for you. I first heard of GTG from Pavel Tsatsouline when I was eighteen. The principle is simple; throughout the day, you accomplish a few reps, here and there for a skill you want to become better at. Let’s use the chin up as an example of a skill that can be worked with this approach. If you’re having trouble getting your second repetition, you will spend a few minutes throughout your day, multiple times per day, working on perfecting your first rep. If you feel as if you won’t be able to complete the second rep as well as you completed the first, you ignore the ego and end your set there. With this approach, you will find that avoiding muscle failure by attempting that second rep will allow you to create a neural connection between positive outcomes and your chin ups. We can view this as training the nervous system instead of simply training the muscular system. This approach allowed me to get to sets of 5 faster than my friends who consistently trained to failure. I was rarely sore and felt strong after each session. I highly recommend this approach for anyone, especially beginners. No more stressing over time and find gains in the process!
Can’t get to the gym; Bring it with you.
Gymnastics rings plus your body equals the ultimate gym, wherever you are. For under $100, you can purchase great quality rings by Rogue Fitness and have a gym on your person for the rest of your life. If we focus on the rings, we have plenty for a days work. The rings allow us to tackle almost every range possible to develop strength, even with the legs. There comes a freeing sense of self knowing that with the body alone we can achieve much and by adding a single pair of wooden rings with straps, we have the ultimate tool for physical development.
Rings are easy to travel with and as long as you can find a strong enough branch or horizontal structure to hang on, you have a place to get practicing. They tend to be a great conversation starter when you have them hanging on a tree or are passing them through airport security. If you need some ideas on how to get started moving with your rings, check out this video.
Find the spaces that have spread through the world like a beautiful virus: Crossfit Gyms
If I can’t find a gym like my hometown go to, Republic of Movement, I usually drop in to a Crossfit gym while I am on the road. These gyms are everywhere and many of them will have an open gym time when you can work on your own practice. They typically have all of the equipment you would ever need and plenty of floor space. The patrons and owners are usually friendly and interested in what I am up to. Sometimes, you can even get a nice t shirt included with your drop in for the typical cost of $25. If you check out the Crossfit site, you can find a map with the seemingly infinite amount of ‘boxes’ all around the world.
Bonus: If you are traveling and have extra space in your bag, I recommend packing the following:
- Rubber band for warmup
- Mobility WOD band for compression
- Tennis ball for warmup and games
- Lacrosse ball for self massage
- Captains of crush grippers for hand, wrist, forearm and finger strength
- Hand balance blocks
- GoPro to film your practice (This is a better option that phone because you can continue listening to your music and not run out of battery. GoPro also has a lense that allows you to capture video while having it very close to you, allowing you to film in tight spaces)
- Headphones to block out distractions (I recommend AirPods or JayBirds)
Be accountable to someone
Having a teacher that provides me with programming and checks in with me regularly has prevented me from being lazy with my practice. If I miss my marks and don’t put in the work, I risk the social embarrassment of having to explain why I missed x amount of sessions, usually exposing the bullshit excuses I am allowing myself to make. Having someone to check in with while I travel also helps me root my practice. When I am in Miami, we get together to review the pieces that are best explained and demonstrated in person. We work together to create a routine that adapts to my lifestyle on the road (Thank you Sean for your patience!). Although, I can program for myself, I prefer having a teacher for two main reasons:
- My teacher and I have established a relationship over the last two years. In the spirit of the methodology that I’ve been exposed to I will quote my teachers teacher, “If you find a real teacher, if you find a real process, it doesn’t matter what it teaches. It just matters that you follow that thing.” This is the state of the relationship between my teacher and I so I’ve chosen to steep myself in his teaching for the last two years.
- Delegation is a key to freedom. Much like my web development business, when I chose to delegate my training routines to someone with over 10 years of experience within their own practice, I found the freedom of mind and time to focus on the more pressing matters of my life while unlocking more gains than ever before within my practice. Trust in others, especially those who are much better qualified than you to get the work done to propel your practice and life in general.
Surround yourself with like minded movers to upgrade your level of performance and dedication. Facing embarrassment while also stepping in to encouragement are two powerful tools that you can only access with the right peer group to collaborate with. If you are looking to stay accountable to yourself, tracking my sessions by keeping a log/journal has been the best way for me. This allows me to quickly see the days that I have missed and track progress over time. If you want to take it a step further, streak building apps will help you see when you missed a day. For the ultimate test of accountability, use a service that forces you to pay up if you miss a training session. Few things motivate better than knowing you will have to pay up your hard earned dollars due to your inconsistency.
A life on the road can have the same obstacles to a daily practice as a life rooted at home. The excuses follow us wherever we go if we allow them to take their place in our minds. None of us are impervious to this reality but those who consistently make the gains are those who find systems and tools that ease work for them while reducing the friction to getting the work done.
Where do you find the most friction when trying to establish your practice? What are the tools that you use to help you stay on track?