Sasuke (3) Workout (3) injury (2) Health (1)

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sasuke .. I came , I saw ...... I need to work harder !

My Sasuke Journey...........

Where to start ... how about the beginning.  January 20th 2014 , I heard I had been accepted to qualify for the Sasuke Asean Open Cup 2014 on February 22nd .   To say that I was excited was an understatement... to say that I was nervous was the same.  4 weeks to get Ninja  ready ...........

Considering my short time frame, and limited Sasuke skill set, I had to prioritise the areas that I was weakest at and could train the most effectively.

My original thoughts were that we would have to go through Stage 1 which would be an agility course etc :  So I took up Parkour to learn some basic vaulting and wall pass techniques.. 4 weeks is not anywhere near enough  time to get proficient at vaulting ( it takes years) but I thought it couldn't hurt.  Speed drills , agility drills, leg power circuits .... wall climbs .. ( serious amount of knee bashing went on ....  but for the sake of Sasuke ... I endured).

Assuming that was enough , I turned my attention towards Stage 2 .. Notoriously tough on the upper body specifically grip strength .... . I am pretty good at upper body strength but found myself wanting when I was using finger grips instead of hand grips... so I came up with the below training regime based on a recommendation ( location wise) from my friend (and Parkour mentor) Marcus Lim

Lastly the 3rd Stage ( yeah right, like I was gonna get that far.. but you never know ) Ropes ropes and more ropes. I climbed 5m ropes from a seated position .. 20 rounds .. Screwed up my hands but had to be done. 

I tried the above routines consistently for 3 weeks.  My body was battered and bruised but it was the only way to get in a position where I thought I could half compete. My aim was to at least make it through the first obstacle lol nevermind the first round ( Bar set very low indeed! )

The day itself.......

So what I thought would happen ... didn't.   We would be allowed to compete in 3 Stages!!!! .. No qualifying for latter rounds, just time trials for each Stage.   This was awesome, it meant that I get to try everything!

Power Stage :
This was my first stage and consisted of :
Throwing a 10kg weight over a 10 metre ( I think) 

Followed by lifting 4 sliding walls, each one getting progressively heavier by about 10kg. ( The final wall was 50kg).

Having watched a few people demo , there are two schools of thought to this. Firstly be strong and lift it fast and high to run through, or secondly,  you can lift it midway and try and dive under... I chose the latter approach and it was clearly the wrong technique for me. Wasted too much time trying to get under ( the walls kept catching my back and ultimately delaying me). I finished with a time of 19.05 seconds. To put it in perspective.. they guy who won Stage 1 ( Drew Drechsel) did it in under 10 seconds!  What's the learning ? Trust my strength to get me through this, I can clean and press much heavier than this so I need to work to my skill sets and not try to do new things.

Hang Stage :

This is the one that I think i was probably most prepared for, my hand and grip strength has come on due to my intense training, the only thing that could let me down is technique ...... and the weather ! 

I cleared the Devil Steps relatively easy and then hit the unstable bridge, I was confident as long as the second bridge didn't move . And then this happened.........

I didn't really have a Plan B here ,( hindsight has now suggested that I either should have waited or tried to grab the front of the 2nd bridge near the middle and try to stabilize it) so i just went for it and as you can probably guess.... one hand missed.  Really really disappointed. Good thing I can take from this is that I was physically prepared for this stage just need to work on the mental aspect.

Climb Stage:
My least prepared stage,  Spider man climb followed by two Warped Walls increasing ( slightly ) in height.

I haven't done a spiderman climb since I was a kid... and even that was just for a laugh( nothing competitive). I figured just basically stick to the sides and don't make any stupid mistakes....

Once I had managed to get through this .... I was onto the dreaded warped walls.. Not being the tallest of chaps, you can understand why I was apprehensive but figured as long as I had good technique .. height shouldn't be that much of an issue..... ( famous last words) . All my wall pass training.. didnt really prepare me to be honest.. as the slope of the wall really threw me off.. but i successfully managed to get up the first one. ( Apparently so did all the other 99 competitors including the girls .. so if i didnt get that .. It would not have been a good look).

The second wall was more of a challenge, slightly higher .. and slightly more daunting. Some of the American participants had come to offer support and advice but when I looked at them ... i just saw lips moving and couldn't hear a damn thing.. ( the zone is a messed up place). First time I tried ..... fingers just touched and then I rolled back down... " I got this!" I thought. Second time .. no where close, my legs were not cooperating and i was short by about a foot or so.... Frustrated, and tired, I  tried once more with no real thought of how to modify to improve my chances .......failed... Sucked . THE END

Well not quite, after wiping the stench of failure and disappointment, wifey and friends rallying around me      (bless them , they had been out there all day in the hot ass sun watching me repeatedly come up short).
I went back to the warped wall, and who was there ? The same Americans who were offering my support previously!  "You're gonna get up that wall", said Brian Kretsch. A few pointers ...... and I was UP !!!
Unbelievable ..It felt awesome!

Here is a video montage of all my best ( and not so best bits ) of one of the most incredible days of my life. Think they call them... Game Changers !

What have I learnt ?  Experience is key to Sauske, you need to be confident in your own ability but you must have strength and technique,  Passion and desire doesn't quite cut it here.  I will be back next year, mentally and physically ready to compete.

Big shout out to a few people ; my lovely wife Masrina Husain for supporting me and  who had to put up with my whining and incessant babbling about ninja this and ninja that.  Original Bootcamp for the animated and vocal support all day.... your energy and passion for supporting your friends is unsurpassed. Thanks a bunch guys .... Finally my fellow Sasuke Warriors,Farid (Cat),  Ben De Silva, Eddison Wong and the US Dream Team: Brian, and the gang. You guys rocked ! :)

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Sasuke Training : Cliffhanger Part 1

So the Sasuke Asean Cup is approaching so I really need to step up my training....

Good friend of mine showed me this training area in KL to practice Cliffhanger type moves using only a ledge.

The feeling of this is very very different to hanging on a bar etc .. just your finger tips adds a whole new level of strength requirement... The tendons controlling your fingers are controlled by the muscle group in your foreman just above the inside of the elbow. Trust me you will know who they are when you try this ... they will be screaming at you !!!

This is only my second time trying this so have a lot of work to do in terms of endurance.. I need to be able to do a few rounds of the ledge to be confident going into Sasuke .....

Key things I need to work are : Stability ( legs are all over the place) and more efficient movement. Not quite figured what is the best method is yet ... dead hang or bent arms .... Shoulders ...or biceps.

Guess I need to train them both!

Enjoy .........

Monday, 3 February 2014

Advanced Bodyweight Workout :Ladders !

Just Sharing my latest obsession !  Ladder workouts.

These are great high density workouts which will definitely burn a shed load of calories, improve your VO2 Max , allows you to practice newer exercises that you may not be too confident with and most importantly .. THEY ARE NOT BORING!!!!

Due to the load that you will be put yourself through, I wouldn't advise doing this more than once every 2 weeks. Gives you time to recover....

But you can always break it down into smaller ladders and do it more frequently :  go nuts :)

Great thing about ladder workouts are that they can always be different , you decide what exercise to do and how many times ..

Have fun .. drop any questions below :)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sasuke !!!!!!!!!!

Been freaking out all day.........

About eight years ago , I was sitting in my living room in the UK just flicking through the TV Channels , when I came across something that made me sit up wide eyed and jaw opened.

I was witnessing the Japanese TV Show Ninja Warrior for the first time.. ( Previously called Sasuke). The obstacles were big and bold, the athletes tough and fearless. I was hooked.... How can normal everyday guys actually do these super human things ? What kind of dedication does it take to do this....???  And more importantly ..... Where the hell can I do it !!!?!??!

For those of you who have never heard of Ninja Warrior , Sasuke or even American Ninja Warrior.. ( really ?? )  .. Here's a link to the 1st Sasuke Series Promo here in Malaysia ( 2011)

It turns out that the original Sasuke is now making a come back in Asia .. and today I got the news that I have been accepted to try out for the qualifiers on the 21st Feb 2014......

WHAT ? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?????  Like I have been saying to anyone and everyone all day .....  Shit just got real.

 I am super pumped and ready to try out something that I have been dreaming about doing for years.

All I want to do  is to compete, I highly doubt I have any chance in winning... but just getting out on the course will be a victory in my eyes.

Sasuke training starts now ... ( secretly started a few weeks ago when I applied but don't tell anyone! :P).

I will track my progress , the what, where and how , so please join in, comment or just give me some feedback. Look forward to training with fellow  :)

I need to step up my game and push myself harder than I have before.

Here's a link to a circuit that I have been doing quite regularly  to build up hand strength, upper back and core strength.... ( Key components for obstacle runners).

My training is going to consist of :
1) Calisthenics ( lots of bar work)
2) Rope work
3) Parkour
4) Sprint training
5) Compound Weight Training

Will post more vids as and when ....... Wish me luck guys !!!!!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Burpee Blast ... 1st Attempt !

Just came back from Singapore to take part in the inaugural Commando Challenge. The event itself wasn't as intense as anticipated and the amount of food consumed on the drive down and on the way back ( My passengers .. were extremely good guests !!! .. Cup cakes, croissants .. CARB Overload!) made me very anxious that I need to do something drastic today to kick my own ass for being so weak around delicious pastries !!!

210 Burpee  Madness !!!!

Initially I was aiming for 300 but that was not going to happen, so made it 210.... room for improvement !!!

  1. 30 Push Up  Burpees
  2. 30 Surfer Burpees
  3. 30 Single Leg Push Up Burpees ( Right Leg)
  4. 30 Single Leg Push Up Burpees ( Left Leg)
  5. 30 Single Arm Push Up Burpees ( 5 and then switch arms)
  6. 30 Flying Burpees
  7. 30 Bench Jump over Push Up Burpees 
Total time : 59 min

I took rests of 30 secs when required and allowed myself 3 2 min breaks.

Time will improve and when it does .. will knock it up to 300 with some other variety of burpees.

It sucked but I am sure the pastry evilness is slowly leaving my body :)

Post a comment if you want to know more if you want a video demo.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Short on time ? 25 Min workout!

Quick 25 min workout!

5 min warm up :
  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Running on the spot
  3. Shadow boxing\kick boxing

Today I really wanted to work on two exercises that have dropped since my illness, push ups and burpees.

Push ups
45 seconds standard push ups
30 second rest
30 second wide push ups
30 second rest
15 second ballistic (jumpin) push ups

repeated 3 times

10 standard burpees
10 Single arm ( right) burpees
10 Single arm ( left ) burpees
10 chest to ground burpees
10 Single leg ( right) burpees
10 Single leg ( left) burpees
10 flying burpees

30 sec rest in between each set

Killer !

Monday, 11 November 2013

Rejuvenated, Rehabilitated, Reassimilated !!!!

11th November,  I was supposed to finish this section of my blog 2-3 weeks back with a positive recovery message and saying how great it was to be back.

But things did not go as planned , and I ended up back in hospital on an IV fluid drip with medical professionals ( and friends ) concerned that I had a serious disease. Possible suspects ranging from Dengue to a possible heart related issues.

Convinced blogging was somehow prolonging any recovery ( bad luck, Karma , self prophecy? ) I decided to lay low and only come back on when I am back to 100% and ready to deliver what this blog was intended to do.

I am not going to go into details of what happened for the reasons mentioned above. I am healthy and I want to remain that way :P.

Key things I have learnt have started to follow :

1) Everyone needs rest ! Even though you may feel ok in the short term, lack of rest slows down your recovery. Get your 7hrs in !

2) Drink more water. I was rubbish at this, only drinking water during meal times and working out, this was no where near enough and have made it a regular schedule to stay hydrated 2-3 litres a day.

Since being discharged from hospital I have so far managed : Tough Mudder (20k), 2XU ( 15k) , Wild Tiger Run ( 10k +3k Fun Run recovery :P ) and Salomon Trail Run (10K).

I took all at a comfortable pace and have zero set backs ,  no fever or other viral type symptoms which is really great for me as I look to get back to my fitness level of Mid 2013.

Big shout out to my new cousin :P Mindy Gill. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't even know I was as sick and could be lying on the side of the road during a race somewhere. Words cannot express my gratitude

Last but not least my wife Masrina Husain who's support throughout really helped me get through this . Never once did she complain about the addtional work she had to do as well as putting up with a grumpy little boy who wasnt allowed to play outside.

So I leave you now with a pic of where I am now .. for comparison of what I will hopefully get back to!

Some of you may think I actually ok but from where I was, I have lost alot of muscle and tone which to me equals loss of strength and lack of fitness :( .
So my next few goals :
1) Get back my running fitness
2) Improve my Body Weight Endurance Performance
3) Get Stronger !!
My posts will be much shorter and more fitness orientated now so feel free to drop my questions or comments below. If you want to start this journey with me .. feel free !!!