Thursday, October 11, 2012

Initial Leg Raise Attempts

Saw the update this afternoon for our fitness standards, and the leg raises demonstration. When I looked at the grid for my age bracket and saw a minimal of nine would be required for black rank, I thought that might be too easy. And perhaps it is. I've never tried to do these before, and so I gave it a go right away. On my first attempt...

... I did thirteen. But it was sloppy, with increasingly bent legs toward the end, as Sifu noted in his post. Then I went down in my basement, where I have more room to hang (although no comfortable bar to grip) and tried again...

This time, my legs were straighter than the first go-round, but still not perfect. I tried twice, and did nine for each before it felt dangerous, like I might slip with my exertion and drop from the rafter. So I'm going to see if I can get it up to sixteen, which is where my pull-ups are at, over the next few weeks, and work on getting those legs straight. The latter may be more a flexibility issue than a muscle-strength problem. Any case, I'm excited to have a new addition to the fitness requisites, and one that is focused on the abdominals. As you will see in the videos, I do need some serious work there, though mostly in the cardio form to get rid of the belly fat. Not so happy with how that stomach is looking this days

I'll also share a video I made yesterday, when I brought some of my students to climb the 'Sweetgrass Hills' in Montana. Four of us made it up to the summit at 6,983 feet, under basically winter squall conditions. I love mountain climbing and back-country hiking with my students, helping them conquer fears and self-imposed limitations. There were about thirteen of us that started off yesterday, and I can't force everyone to continue to the top, but I was glad there were three who joined me all the way, and that one of them was female, the first woman ever to make it to the summit of one of our climbs...


  1. Ryan,
    The 2nd and 3rd attempt looked a lot better. Keep up the good work. I need to get better at it as well, I'm excited for this new challenge for the body, I actually feel my abs a little sore, something I have not felt in a very long time. When you train at it, not for max reps, but for quality reps, try going up slower and lowering slower, it will make it much more difficult. Try not swinging up but using the abs to go up, that will make it more difficult as well. I hope to get all the Sidai's capable in this exercise so that I can officially make it a part of the required testing for rank for any newbies that may be coming in.

    Your home is awesome by the way. It would be a dream home for me and many people I know. Plenty of space to train Todai's if that time ever comes.

    1. I think this is a great addition to the fitness requirements, and an excellent exercise to promote in general, because it requires no special equipment, and - as you point out above - you can easily switch up the speed of the repetitions, or hold any of the positions along the way, or add movements like scissors to it. Lots you can do with this one. The same abdominal strength and leg raising is also required to pull oneself up onto perches or platforms of various sorts, using a similar technique, so it has a practical application

      As for my house, I do have a good amount of space here. Definitely enough to host a kwoon downstairs. I also have a really huge garage that could be used similarly. The house is way bigger than what my wife and I need. When our daughter was starting high-school, we decided to rent this place. Before that, we lived in a little duplex, in a fairly rough neighborhood (I apprehended burglars to our house twice in the old place). The current house is in a nice, new neighborhood, pretty upscale. The rent is pricey, double what we used to pay, but it's worth it. It's our one real luxury. We have a large jacuzzi tub in the washroom off our master bedroom that I lounge in before bed every night. Can't beat that


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