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Parkour: Week 2, Day 3 - Even more rolls!

I'm starting to find a groove now, which is pretty cool after only two weeks of training. I noticed this on Wednesday and confirmed it today - I'm definitely able to handle a lot more than I was when I started two weeks ago. Still having those darn quad problems but at least they seem to ease up a lot faster!

Saturday training was cool (I missed last week), we apparently overlap with the Intermediate class, so we got to meet a bunch of new people and warm up together, then do some initial exercises together. Of course, a lot of the normal people from our class didn't show up (it's Saturday after all), so it was a bit smaller than normal and kinda neat.

Warmup (x3):

Rob called this a "light" warmup because we were going to be working hard in the class. Eep.

1 Lap around the block (4 blocks)
10 precision jumps
10 explosive pullups
10 leg popups per leg

I was able to run/jog all three laps, which was neat (the first day of class I could do this, but every time since I have been too sore and needed to walk a bit). I was also VERY happy with my precision jumps this time around - some very noticeable improvement. The trick is to not try to stay on my toes (as discussed previously) and this is definitely working. I have a lot more control of my landing by using the ball of my feet only for a moment then quickly transitioning into a controlled footing, using my quads much less.

The pullups are also getting a lot easier, at least the first two times. I did not jump at all for the first two sets, instead only using my upper body. For the last set, I needed to kick off a bit to get the momentum up to throw my whole body up though.

The leg popups were the worst again - my right quad (the one I tore) was especially hurting, and it wanted to keep giving out while I was jumping on my left leg. Ugh.

So, warmups done Travis and Rob had us all (intermediate plus basic class) line up against the wall and divided us into two teams. In front of us each were two lines of precision trainers set up something like this:

HHHHHHHH

(with the middle bar of the H being the longest)

We went through three sets of contests between the teams, and this was a lot of fun and also incredibly tough!!

Content 1: Walking

Simple - each member of each team needs to stay on the middle bars and walk all the way to the end, then turn around and come back. First team to have everyone over and back wins. No problem right?

Problem - anyone who is not walking across the trainers has to hold a plank. Ooof. We proceeded to go through with this, and we won. Holding the plank during this time was very hard on my wrists, especially my right one for some reason. I ended up spending a lot of time up on my fingers (good for them anyway) to try to reduce strain on the wrist. When it was my turn to walk across the trainers, this was no problem at all - I was being a little careful but I could have probably almost run across it. I've never really found balancing at speed to be horribly challenging (well until contest 3 haha).

Losers had to do 5 pushups, winners had to do 10 squats. Not sure who was the real winner here... ;) haha.

Content 2: Quadripedal Movement

For the next contest, we had to crawl across the trainers in the quadripedal movement we had practiced. This was hard, actually, but not how you'd think - I didn't really have any problems maintaining my balance, grip, or speed, but I kept getting the correct positioning of which leg and arm move at the same time confused. I wanted to move my arm, then my leg, then my arm, etc. instead of moving opposite arm and leg at once. This will hinder my long term potential speed until I get the hang of it but didn't matter too much here.

So, while everyone is running over, we all have to hold a V with our bodies, torso and legs off the floor with our butt on the floor. This looks easy. It feels easy for about ten seconds. Then your abs (or your gut in my case hehe) starts to wonder what the bloody hell you are doing to it. After a minute or more of this most of us were destroyed, you could watch everyone's legs and bodies (myself included) twitching horribly as the muscles struggled to maintain balance. It was brutal. The entire team took what felt like easily 5+ min to complete, and my abs were unhappy. When it was time to crawl it was like taking a break heh.

We lost this one, and had to do 2 burpees (no problem!). The other team had to do 5 pushups again I think.

Content 3: Walking Backwards

Oof. I have to admit, I did not think this would be that hard... but it was. The challenge was that the team had to walk across the trainers like in contest 1, except we had to do it backwards (and only one direction). Falling off was a five second penalty. Everyone had a lot of problems with this, and some people were incredibly slow. I have to admit I probably did this a bit too fast and probably looked hilarious - I would take 3-4 steps very fast and quite easily, then a shift in the trainers or my footing would cause me to start to lose my balance and I'd be sitting there waving my arms like a bird with one leg sticking out to stop my momentum... haha. On the plus side I did make it across without falling!

However, that was not at all the hard part. The hard part was holding a "good" squad position during this entire time. This was almost impossible for me, which is really annoying - it wasn't mental this time, it was actually physical. My quads, especially my right one, just refused to keep holding a good squat for a long period of time (we're talking easily 5+ minutes again). I can remember at least three distinct times where my right quad actually cramped up momentarily and completely gave out, very painfully. I kept trying though, and we made it through.

One thing about this contest that made it extra brutal was that any time Travis or Rob saw someone resting or holding a shitty squat, they would make the person crossing stop until everyone was holding a good squat again. This put a lot of pressure on you to maintain it properly while also prolonging the pain. Augh!

Funniest part was at the end when almost all of us were done, and all bunched up in the smaller side of the gym... Travis walked up with the giant PVC pipe previously discussed and started swinging it back and forth over everyone's head, yelling something to the effect of "if you try to rest and straighten up you're going to get smacked!!!" lol. It actually worked too, for about 20s nobody straightened up!

On To Rolls!

At this point, we split back up into basic and intermediate with the latter going outside to play. The basic class set up the gym mats and proceeded to practice rolling again. This was a lot of fun, but as always a bit frustrating. We started out doing 10 normal rolls on each side, then moved into faster rolls, trying to increase momentum and come out of the roll into a jog or run.

I'm increasingly noticing that it's much easier for me to do the form properly on my off-side (left shoulder), because I'm not used to rolling that way and don't have to do as much re-training. On my right side however, my roll is still very inconsistent, sometimes coming out very well while other times folding sloppily. Travis talked to me for a bit about using the circle of my arm more in the roll, and I tried to work on this but it seems counterintuitive to me.

The hardest part is that I have to think through the entire roll on my right side, whereas on my left side I can just go "okay roll" and it would all happen. I started trying to practice my right side a bit more to smooth this out and I did notice some progress, so I was fairly happy with that.

By the end of the class we were doing very fast rolls, coming from a fast jog into a roll and almost coming out of it at a run. This was really fun but obviously minor mistakes can lead to a lot of pain - I remember at least one roll where I didn't tuck my head properly and pretty severely smashed the side of my head on the mat. Thank goodness that wasn't concrete!

After this, we all did group stretching and off we went to enjoy our weekends - no homework (that I heard at least!), but I'm definitely going to practice my rolls more. I found when doing Wednesday's homework that I can do rolls down the hallway in my apartment and I get the benefits of practicing on hardwood (oof) as well as making sure I roll straight to avoid hitting the walls! Good stuff.

I was definitely excited when done with the class today and felt like I had a lot of energy left. I hit Safeway (brought my giant backpack) and got groceries on the way home, and even walking home with a huge pack full of goods was not a hassle at all. Considering I relaxed Thursday (kickball was cancelled due to rain) and Friday, I think I will probably go for a bike ride tomorrow to put some more work in - maybe up to the zoo, should be fun.

I'm really looking forward to Week 3 now, and I gotta say the class has surpassed my expectations so far. Very excited.

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