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Parkour: Week 2, Day 2 - Rolls and Rolls

Today was interesting. I went out around 3:30PM and it was beautiful and sunny - when I got back to my office, it was pouring and nasty out. Then when I left the office around 5:30PM it was okay out, and when I walked to Primal Fitness around 6:30PM it was nice again.

By the time class started at 7PM, it was a brutal rain outside again - I think deflecting at least a few people from showing up. We began class with a new warmup as usual, this time without laps:

1 set Quadripedal Movements back and forth across the gym
10 precision jumps
10 explosive pullups
10 tuck jumps

Repeat a total of three times. As usual, my quads are still troubling me, really preventing me from focusing on some of the jumping. However, I made it through all right this time (wasn't the last person to finish!) and also really felt an improvement on my tuck jumps and precision jumps when it comes to using my quads. On the other hand, I feel like I have less control and balance on the landing of the precision jumps by easing up the quads - hrm, hrm.

Right after the warmup, Rob asked who did their homework - hold the plank as long as you could. Almost all of us did, with varying results - mine of 1:56 was about middle of the class, two guys were over 3 minutes, with the top at 3:27. To spite us all, Rob took that time and said that together we were all going to beat it. Eep.

He set a couple ground rules, primarily you *could* rest but not by relaxing - no dropping your hips. Instead you have to poke your butt up to rest (less pressure on core). So off we went for 3:27! This was extra hard after all the pullups and jumps, and annoyingly I seemed to suffer slightly differently from everyone else (confirmed via random conversations later): most people seemed to suffer in their core and legs, whereas for me all the effort was around my elbows and wrists. It was very hard to keep them in proper form, I had to rest my arms more than my core. Interesting.

We all made it through though! As Rob explained, it's a huge advantage to group training - as a group, we push each other further than we would push ourselves. Very cool, and quite true.

Next, we were going to start doing some more rolling. During the setup for this, Travis was putting away some of the rings hanging from the ceiling and I *think* knocked out an overhead flourescent light - I didn't actually see it, so to be fair the light may have fallen on its own. Either way, the result was a shattered bulb all over Adam (secondary instructor, also yoga instructor) and all over the floor and mats. Yeah, um, no rolling around there.

Luckily Primal also has an upstairs, where they do yoga and judo. The main upstairs room is not as big as the downstairs but it was good enough. No class was up there so we moved up there instead and started rolling.

The rest was smooth and fairly easy physically - basic repetition of the roll for quite awhile. This was quite fun, though to be honest it was still a bit frustrating. I still have to override the muscular control that wants to do a perfect diving forward roll or a quick fast escape roll. Definitely started to feel it more this time around, and Rob took some more breaks to point out various things and people asked a lot more questions - you can tell the class is starting to get more comfortable.

After a long set of these (easily 50+ rolls total), we moved into rolls from a walk and into a walk, trying to maintain momentum. This was kinda neat and harder than it seems - we would walk about five steps forward then drop into a roll then step out of it walking at the same speed. I again wanted to dive into it and also had a hard time not gaining momentum coming out of the roll. We did this a lot also, and it was super cool.

That was pretty much it! After all the rolling, it was just more stretching and end of class. One cool thing Rob talked about was how important it is to roll on a harder surface to get proper form, and how the mat masks it. This is totally true - somehow for me it seems harder on the mat. We'll see - homework is three rolls on each side (right shoulder to left side, left shoulder to right side) on a hard surface. I have no open carpet space at home, so I'll be trying my rolls out tomorrow on the Mall at kickball. Hoorah! Maybe I will even slowmo them. :)

Very stoked. This Saturday's class is cancelled apparently because it's National Parkour Day (haha), and the Primal guys are getting together for an event at Great Falls in VA. This sounds totally awesome except for the fact that they are planning on getting there around 8AM?! Which means leaving DC around 7AM and getting up at 6AM on a Saturday?! Oof.

I will have to think about this. :) The nerd in me is very tempted by the idea of cool slowmo footage of experienced guys jumping around on giant rocks though...

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