2 key principles for training around an injury | The Cloudfoot Diaries #80

I’ve been injured numerous occassions with various grades of severity and as time goes on, I’m discovering more and more what are the useful mindsets to employ whilst recovering and what thoughts and practices should be discarded.
All too often, people let injuries snowball into excuses for stopping. Stopping their training, stopping their goal-hunting, stopping their positive attitudes etc. And I’ve realised that thinking this way is not useful because it’s the “I’m a victim of circumstance” attitude instead of “I am going to seize this opportunity!”.

It might not be obvious but if you’re injured and it’s not life threatening, you actually have a set of real opportunities you must capitalise on.

I’d like to share with you some of the useful mindsets and principles I have discovered. Perhaps they will assist you in overcoming whatever injuries you currently have.

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Hacking the Optimal Performance State with Steven Kotler | The Cloudfoot Diaries #75

One of the most fascinating Rogan talks this year, without doubt, was with guest, author and flow state engineer, Steven Kotler.

If you’re even remotely interested in optimising your own performance, be it in the movement and sporting world, or cerebral domain of intelligence, you really ought to give this episode a listen all the way through. These guys cover some fascinating topics and much what I write below is in relation to what is discussed.

Enjoy the ride!

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Combining Weightlifting with Gymnastics; Weeks 5-12 | The Cloudfoot Diaries #62

fitnessweightsThe second block of combining weightlifting with gymnastics is in full effect. Some changes had to be made; the tendons were getting spicy from too much work and the neural fatigue was setting in. Time for a reconfiguration. And if you’re wondering what the above picture has to do with any of this? It doesn’t.

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Praise Shiva, it’s DeLoad week | The Cloudfoot Diaries #60

After burying myself at the end of week 3 with a good old dose of overreaching, I couldn’t have felt more relieved to begin seven days of deloading nirvana.

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Now’s the time to start the recovery process….

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Week 3 of 12 – Everything Hurts | The Cloudfoot Diaries #59

Only 3 weeks in and I’m now in a lot of pain. My joints are aching. My tendons nagging. And my energy levels nowhere to be seen.

burntout

Hints towards the flavour of overreaching are present. My appetite has decreased significantly and I’ve resorted to behaviour matching that of an insomniac when in bed. To be honest, it’s been a rough week. Time to reassess the programme some more. Training used to be fun!

A quick rundown of week 3;

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Pondering the requirements of a personalised training programme | The Cloudfoot Diaries #47

megabacksquat

With the global new year’s resolution craze under the title ‘health and fitness’ being somewhat viral each and every January, I have been thinking lately about my own goals and the requirements that need to be present in my training programmes for 2015. Whatever your physical goals are, the information is out there on how to attain it.

For me personally, my quest towards ‘Ninja status’ continues. With a new found interest in the sport and methodology of Weightlifting coming in the latter part of 2014, and a continuing desire to achieve the most ridiculous of gymnastic holds, a key question for me when designing and researching the available methods on how to achieve this was; ‘How can I combine gymnastics and weightlifting together, into a week-by-week programme?

Taking that question a step further; ‘What are my physical goals for 2015?‘ and ‘How can they be implemented in to the same programme, as a semi-professional athlete?

pantplanche

Planches in your pants are a must

These are important questions to ask yourself for your own training. Following people’s programmes is a great idea, as long as they aim to deliver the same sort of results that you are striving for. Too many people out there fall for the Men’s Health Bullshit Special, that rarely addresses real weaknesses of the individual (or has a built-in methodology on how to do so) and is founded upon achieving often unrealistic goals that are based on fads and mass-marketable appeal. You know turd is in the air if your workout can’t be completed without buying the author’s supplement inventory.

One of my favourite pastimes is digging around the internet, researching whatever it is I’m interested in. In this instance, combining gymnastics with weightlifting isn’t really talked about other than within the realms of Crossfit, which doesn’t interest me beyond the programming side. I’m more psyched for movement enhancement, a state of flow and ninja prowess, than I am increasing my capacity to that of an engine.

The Chinese Olympic Weightlifting team are renowned for combining gymnastics with weightlifting, except they are all juiced to rafters from aged 11 meaning they can recover overnight and go again, for years on end. I’m not taking steroids, so I have to bare in mind I’m realistically not going to be able to match their training standards, however much I might think I’m superhuman.

olympic-lifting-backflip

Programming is everything. The highest quality results don’t surface from the ‘I’ll just feel my way through today’s improvised workout‘ anymore. Scientific programming produces the best of the best; just look at the Soviet’s gymnastic and weightlifting record (science combined with ruthless political agenda no doubt, but still science nonetheless).

Programming yourself is tricky, however. It’s hard not to over complicate the template and to be brutally honest about where your weaknesses lie.

Considerations and requirements for my own programming were as follows;

  1. Increasing my Snatch lift from 63kg to 70kg and Clean and Jerk from 90kg to 100kg.
  2. Increasing Front Squat 3RM from 90kg to 100kg.
  3. Progressing along the seemingly infinite path towards holding a Planche and Front Lever.
  4. Mobility exercises that develop my own mobility weaknesses and progression towards achieving the splits (in time); ankles and hips mainly.
  5. Gymnastic movement progress – notably the roundoff and basic tumbling.
  6. Intrinsic prehab exercises to help prevent injury as much as possible.
  7. Training 6 days a week whilst somehow still having a life
  8. Increase my lean muscle mass – body weight increase from 82kg to 85kg.
  9. A basic metabolic conditioning component (I’ve noticed stagnations in my strength and recovery progress without including this)
  10. Each session can’t really exceed 90 minutes in length. I have friends. Honest.

The above are scheduled in for a 12 week block. Programming beyond this and I tend to lose focus. 12 weeks also allows you to tell what is really effective and what is rubbish.
Of course, the appropriate deloading and recovery protocols are included – 12 weeks straight up is not a wise move.

So how do exemplary sessions look like taking the above into account? In what order do each of these requirements exist?
Here are some ideas;

Option 1
Warm up
Low Intensity Skill Training (Handstand progressions / variations)
Sprints / Plyometrics
Strength Training 
Stretching

Option 2
Warm up 
Low Intensity Skill Training 
Weightlifting
Metabolic Conditioning
Stretching

Option 3
Warm up
Low Intensity Skill Training
Weightlifting 
Gymnastics Static / Dynamic Strength 
Stretching

Option 4
Warm up
Low Intensity Skill Training
Gymnastics Static / Dynamic Strength
Accessories
Stretching

Option 5
Warm up
Gymnastics Class 
Stretching

The reason for the skill training being placed directly after the warm up is because this is when your nervous system is freshest. If you’re progressing through a technical movement or hold you do not want to be attempting to reinforce the motor pattern after you’ve exhausted yourself. Fresh is best. Low intensity is important, too. From the resources I have found, it has been suggested that if you use a high intensity before your main work begins, you’re at risk of fatiguing key muscles that you’re going to need for proper progression later. A lower intensity progression is a wiser move as it allows you to still reinforce a position without it tiring out stabiliser muscles too early.

Also, with so many considerations to include in a session, time management is key. Throwing the skills in early as part of an extended warm up, each and every time I train, means I’m getting in the mileage without realising. Productivity!

So how does this all fit in to a week’s schedule? That’s the next post…

Resources
Gant Grimes Hybrid Crossfit PDF
Greg Everett – Olympic Weightlifting
Christopher Sommer – Foundation 1 and 2
Eric Cressey – Show and Go

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Harry Cloudfoot is a slackline instructor and stunt performer based in London. You can follow him on Twitter or read his other Cloudfoot Diaries here.

 

 

New Video for LIFT PERFORMANCE APPAREL Portraits feat. Harry Cloudfoot | Episode 1

At least 3 months of hard work, multiple site visits across the UK, and dropping a lot of verbiage in an intimate, #vanlife interview, led to this inspirational piece of footage.
Episode 1 of LIFT’s ‘Portraits’ series takes an in-depth look into why LIFT’s athletes do what they do. You can check the episode below.
Read on and find out more about how we created the video and why I’m so stoked with my involvement with LIFT.

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Building your Will Power with the Daily Delay | The Cloudfoot Diaries #41

Today I had a day spare, rescued from the recent timely demand of having a job. I thought since I hadn’t written anything in a long time, I’d share with you a random thought and perhaps a more practical idea. if nothing else.

I have been thinking today about the process of delayed gratification, and what undergoing that process does to stimulate and build your sense of will power.
With everything becoming more available and more instant than this instance itself, my intuition declares that taking the opposite path is needed. One of control, one of slowness. One of aware, delayed gratification.

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1 simple strategy for repairing your injuries … FLEX | The Cloudfoot Diaries #36

Over the past few weeks, chatting to the various strength and conditioning heads walking through the doors at Locker 27, the topic of injury inevitably rears its ugly head.
What to do with one, how to avoid getting one, specific ideas for repairing one etc have all been whirling through my head.

Through my own experience, I would like to share one strategy I have found to work extremely well when it comes to repairing injuries… muscle control, a.k.a. the FLEX.

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Parallette Progress : Headstand to Handstand | The Cloudfoot Diaries #31

With a healing, yet still rather obese finger, one must get creative within the realms of hand balancing. I still can’t quite flatten my hand to perform handstands on the floor. Instead, the method of using a handle like the parallette is far kinder towards my alignment.

Today, inspired by attempt videos from Miss MindMuscleYoga herself, I thought I’d play around and explore the movements that take place when transitioning from headstand to handstand, and how much the legs are involved. Try it, it’s great fun when you stick it!

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