Training your weakness

One of the reasons I like MovNat is that it forces you to train your weaknesses. By focusing on a range of skills you very quickly realise which ones you are not good at, and so which qualities you need to develop.

I am finding that Judo is also highlighted weaknesses. In my class we are all beginners, so have similar amounts of skill but different levels of conditioning.

Compared with my classmates, my speed, flexibility and mobility are all fine (ok my hip mobility could be better), but my strength, especially in my legs, is not great.

This is no great surprise. I don’t have a long training background and spent many years building a base. I also hover around 65kg so am generally one of the lightest in class.

My upper body strength and grip are fine but it’s my legs that let me down. A quick look back over my recent training and you can see why. I have been doing plenty of upper body work but just a few sets of swings for legs.

If I’m honest with myself I’ve never really stuck with serious leg training for long – partially because it’s a weakness but also because it is bloody hard work.

It’s time to change that. Not just for judo, it’s a pretty obvious weak link in being ‘fit for life’ as well.

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A revised dip/muscle up progression

I wrote a post a while ago about progressions for ring dips and muscle ups. As I’ve been working on them it’s become clear that:

  • The jumps in difficulty were too big
  • RTO dips are too hard for me right now
  • I need to add more steps.

I’ve since revised the progression I’m working on. For dips it now looks like:

    1. Forearms touching rings
    2. Forearms touching rings with hollow
    3. Forearms off rings
    4. Forearms off rings with hollow
    5. Keep rings turned out
    6. Keep rings turned out with hollow

      My muscle up progression is taken from this post by Coach Sommer:

        1. Kipping narrow grip (inside shoulders)
        2. Kipping medium grip (shoulder width)
        3. Kipping wide grip (outside shoulders)
        4. No kipping narrow grip (inside shoulders)
        5. No kipping medium grip (shoulder width)
        6. No kipping wide grip (outside shoulders)

          Right now I’ve dialled right back to the start and am working dips twice a week. Once I am doing them with forearms off of the rings I will switch to one day of dips and another of muscle ups.

          I’m thinking this will work fine until it comes to RTO dip/muscle up integration – that is very hard and may need another rethink. At that point I may take the two skills in different directions: dips go RTO, MU go for minimal forward lean or ring routines.

          Endurance/HR training update – August – October

          It’s been a good month for my running. I’ve not always gone out as frequently as I’d like, as I’ve had to rearrange traing to fit in my judo class, but it’s usually been once a week.

          Progress has still been good though. The drop in temperature has had a really positive effect on my ability to manage my heart rate.

          It’s obvious when you think about it – heat will make it go higher, faster. Interestingly barking pitbulls have a similar effect.

          The general trend has been for the amount of time spent in my target HR zone to go up and the time per km to come down – all good.

          Here’s the stats for the last month or so:

          Date Distance (km) Time Ave HR Max HR Time in zone Time per km % in zone
          29/08/2012 6.11 00:36:19 140 155 00:23:33 00:05:56 64.85%
          02/09/2012 7.36 00:42:41 140 151 00:30:14 00:05:47 70.83%
          08/09/2012 7.3 00:41:06 142 153 00:31:49 00:05:37 77.41%
          13/09/2012 3.8 Forgot HR monitor
          21/09/2012 5.75 00:30:16 140 151 00:20:32 00:05:15 67.84%
          28/09/2012 5.75 00:30:31 140 151 00:21:35 00:05:18 70.73%
          12/10/2012 4.4 00:23:56 139 152 00:15:22 00:05:26 64.21%

          And some comments:

          • 151-2 bpm is when I realise I am out of the zone. My monitor does beep but it’s pretty quiet and this seems to be the point I notice I’m working a bit too hard.
          • It looks as though my % in zone peaked on 8 September, but that is misleading as it was also one of the longest runs. The amount of time spent warming up and cooling down is the same no matter what distance I cover so time in zone is more likely to be high on a longer run.
          • 21 & 28 September show good progress. This is exactly the same route. I was a little bit slower second time , but the time in zone increases nicely.

          The best measure of progress I have is the very first and last runs.

          Date Distance (km) Time Ave HR Max HR Time in zone Time per km % in zone
          28/06/2012 3.8 00:23:00 142 160 00:15:03 00:06:03 65.43%
          12/10/2012 4.4 00:23:56 139 152 00:15:22 00:05:26 64.21%

          The time spent running is roughly the same but the distance covered, and especially the pace, is way up.

          I’m pleased with how this is going – it feels like a nice four months work.

          It’ll be interesting to see where I am when the progress plateaus. If I can get to a point where I’m consistently in the zone for 70% of a 6km run, where the time per km is under 5mins, I’ll be pretty happy.

          Current training – October 2012

          My muscle up and dip training is going well. I can now do muscle ups from a dead hang, rather than bent arms, which is a massive step forward.

          Things aren’t going exactly as planned (they never do!). So I’ve made a couple of changes:

          • RTO dips in a hollow are phenomenally hard so I’ve backed off to normal ring dips, but keeping the hollow. I’ll build some reps there before moving on.
          • My elbows don’t like training muscle ups twice a week. I’ve switched to a two week cycle that includes a day off from all ring work every fortnight. I’m also going to start doing some reverse plate curls as I think my elbows may be aching partially because I’m working my wrists super-hard in flexion but doing nothing the other way.

          On the non-ring days I’ve added a bit of planche play. This may seem like an odd exercise to add in if my elbows are feeling tweaky, but it is very much play and kept very light.

          I’m now using 30 second holds both my low l-sit and tuck front lever, which is my target time before moving up in difficulty. I’ve only just got these so I’ll stay with those variations for one session a week and will move to l-sit on the floor and advanced tuck front lever once a week.

          The other big change to the introduction of judo training. Only one class so far but I am loving it.

          The class is quite demanding so I’m counting it as if it’s a weights session and have dropped gym workouts to twice a week.

          Here’s what it looks like:

          Week 1

           Tuesday – Judo

          Thursday

          • A1: L-sit on floor – 2 x 20sec
          • A2: Tuck back level – 2 x 20sec
          • A3: Tuck front lever – 2 x 30sec
          • B1: Handstand practice
          • C1: Ring dip w/ hollow – 3 x 5
          • C2: 28kg KB swing – 3 x 10-15
          • D1: Rope climb/powerclub circuit
          • E1: Reverse plate curls

          Friday – Slow run

          Sunday

          • A1: Low l-sit – 2 x 30sec
          • A2: German hang – 1 x 30sec
          • B1: Handstand practice
          • C1: Muscle up – 3 x 3-5
          • C2: 24kg KB swing – 3 x 12-20
          • D1: Reverse plate curls

          Week 2

          Tuesday – Judo

          Thursday

          • A1: L-sit on floor – 2 x 20sec
          • A2: Tuck back level – 2 x 20sec
          • A3: Tuck front lever – 2 x 30sec
          • B1: Handstand practice
          • C1: Muscle up to Ring dip w/ hollow – 3 x 2-3 (MU) to 2-3 (dip)
          • C2: 28kg KB swing – 3 x 10-15
          • D1: Rope climb/powerclub circuit
          • E1: Reverse plate curls

          Friday – Slow run

          Sunday

          • A1: Low l-sit – 2 x 30sec
          • A2: German hang – 1 x 30sec
          • B1: Handstand practice
          • C1: Planche play – 4 x 10-30sec
          • C2: Adv tuck front lever – 4 x 5sec
          • C3: 24kg KB swing – 4 x 12-20
          • D1: Rope climb
          • E1: Reverse plate curls